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Iskcon and Gaudya Math
Three directions of institutional development seem to have developed:

- the Ritvik model, which subsumes any possibility of new charismatic leadership, putting “the seal on prophecy,” so to speak.

- the other extreme is the openly charismatic model, led by Narayan Maharaj, an outsider from the Gaudiya Math who rather openly makes claims of esoteric knowledge to which Iskcon’s leaders are not privy.

- a middle way, Iskcon itself, developed after the disastrous leadership of the eleven successors to Bhaktivedanta Swami, in which a certain amount of charismatic leadership is given scope, but one that is nevertheless subject to the approval or sanction of the "governing body". On the whole, however, like any institution that seeks self-preservation, Iskcon is wary of the true charismatic leader, whose objectives are invariably destructive to existing power structures.

As such, the charismatic attractions of Narayan Maharaj, and to a lesser extent, that of other Vaishnava leaders outside the Gaudiya Math or even Gaudiya Vaishnavism itself, continue to cause a certain level of discomfort within Iskcon.

The reason for this is rather easy to pinpoint:

Siddhanta Saraswati placed so much emphasis on the need for “unconventional” leadership from a spiritual master, to the detriment of the “conventional” leadership of the caste Goswamis, continuously pointing to the ideal example of notoriously unconventional Vaishnavas such as Gaura Kishor Das and Vamshi Das, that the purely bureaucratic functionary leader (“guru by committee vote”) pales by way of comparison.

In an age where the urge to personal religious experience dwarfs the idea of adherence to duty as a spiritual ideal, the attraction of the charismatic leader will no doubt continue to exercise a hold on the seekers drawn to the Vaishnava path.

On the other hand, as the Ritviks have pointed out, the concepts of bhagavati diksha and bhagavata-parampara open the door to a kind of organization that does not specifically need charismatic leadership at every generational level.

This permits institutions that are more rational in character.

The contradiction here is that a certain amount of charismatic leadership is necessary for the promotion of even this idea if it is to take root in Iskcon itself. Whatever little successes the Ritvik movement has had seem to be due to the banding together of disgruntled ex-Iskcon members rather than to any great shows of positive spiritual strength. It seems as though this spliter group is destined to remain marginal unless it can find that kind of leadership.

Within Iskcon itself, it does not seem as at present that there are any individuals who wish to exercise a uniquely dominant leadership over the movement as a whole, living out the traditional role of an institutional acharya.

The bad experiences of the immediate post-charismatic phase have left a very deep mark in the consciousness of the movement’s current leaders. It is yet possible that the spirit of collegiality and even a certain degree of democracy may take root in the movement, though the problems involved in developing truly modern institutional structures may well be insurmountable.

Where did Bhaktisiddhanta get his brahmana-thread from? Gaura Kisora das Babaji did not wear it (as the photos show), for he was born a vaisya. The proof that brahmana-initiation does not exist in reality is that there is a separate 10-syllable Gopala Mantra for brahmanas and an 18-syllable mantra for non-brahmanas. This means that 2nd initiation is not the same as brahmana-initiation. And if you do become a brahmana through such initiation, then why not receive the 10-syllable mantra instead of the 18-syllable mantra they now receive?

Calling diksa as "brahmana" initiation is popular nowadays in Iskcon and maybe in some Maths. But it is just the way of calling it. Nobody with any knowledge about the topic will have any doubts: Vaisnava diksa makes one member of Vaisnava sampradaya not brahmana community. Bhaktisiddhanta wanted just to show people that Vaisnavas are nothing less than seminal brahmanas therefore he started to give Brahma Gazatri mantra to his non+brahmana disciples and give them sacred thread.

As I gave evidence from Rupa Gosvami’s Bhakti Rasamrita Sindu and Krishna dasa Kaviraja Gosvami’s Caitanya Caritamrita in the previous post, this idea, well spread in Gaudiya Mat as well as in ISKCon, is a wrong siddhanta.

The practice of vaidhi bhakti does not help the neophyte devotee to rise to the stage of raganuga bhakti.

They are two totally different ways of sadhana (spiritual practice).

It is not required to first get purified by vaidhi bhakti, and when purified you can start raganunga sadhana. Raganuga sadhana bhakti is in itself so powerful that one quickly gets free from any worldly attachments.

Who is a brahmana? a) In ISKCON/Gaudiya Matha we see everyone ultimately receiving brahmana-initiation. But which varnasrama-society has only brahmanas? Even from their viewpoint "we judge people on their qualities and not on their birth," most of Bhaktivedanta's followers are not qualified brahmanas. ISKCON/Gaudiya Math "brahmana"-women leave their husbands, have children from different men (this is lower than a sweeper's wife in India), and, what to speak of knowing Sanskrit, the men don't even know Hindi or Bengali, or even what the weather is like in India. No one knows even basic sadacara, the practices of cleanliness and chastity.

Messages In This Thread
Iskcon and Gaudya Math - by HareKrishna - 09-05-2011, 05:40 AM
Iskcon and Gaudya Math - by HareKrishna - 09-06-2011, 03:46 AM
Iskcon and Gaudya Math - by Meluhhan - 09-22-2012, 07:26 PM
Iskcon and Gaudya Math - by Meluhhan - 01-25-2016, 04:52 PM
Iskcon and Gaudya Math - by Meluhhan - 01-25-2016, 04:52 PM

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