Chapter 1 - They Will Just Be Showbottle


"Now I want that we shall concentrate on making our devotees Krsna conscious and ourselves becoming Krsna conscious, and not be so much concerned with expanding ourselves widely but without any spiritual content. just like boiling the milk, it becomes thicker and sweeter. Now do like that, boil the milk." (Rupanuga, 5/9/72)

"You mention you like to speak now very often, but the first business should be to preach to the devotees. It is better to maintain a devotee than to try to convince others to become devotees. Don't be too much concerned for the time being with non-devotees, now we must fix up what devotees we have got in the knowledge of Krsna consciousness, then we will succeed. What good are many, many devotees if none of them are knowledgeable?" (Satsvarupa, 6/16/72)

"I have divided these departments to solve problems, but if in the end they are all sent to me and I have to tackle, then just imagine what is my position. The best thing would be to stop all activities and simply chant Hare Krishna." (Brahmananda, 5/15/69)

Note: Here Srila Prabhupada is saying to stop everything and simply chant to become purified. The problems Srila Prabhupada was referring to here are not as significant as the problems which ISKCON is facing today. The leaders, however, still refuse to follow this instruction.

"I am glad to hear that you are now concentrating on improving the regulative life of the temple rather than so much advertising with brochures. This is very nice; this is what I want. A good example is better than precept. The pamphlet is precept, but if we don't follow the precepts ourselves then such advertisement is not good." (Mukunda, 2/7/74)

Note: You may ask: "How can distributing transcendental literature not be good?" Obviously, if someone reads a book, and, coming to the temple, sees hypocrites, who do not understand or follow the philosophy they are distributing, then the book distribution becomes counterproductive. If the newcomer is really intelligent, he may read the book and be able follow the instructions on his own. Generally, however, people will simply be repulsed by the hypocrisy. They will then often neglect the book or sometimes even throw it away. Why should Krsna send any sincere souls to ISKCON when ISKCON is not ready for them? So, as Prabhupada says above, if we cannot properly represent the truth, then better to stop all preaching and first become the proper example.

"We are not concerned with any other movement save and except Krsna consciousness in its pure form. In India it is said that a little bit of a pure thing is much better than huge volumes of impure, adulterated things. So please try to follow this policy..." (Brahmananda, 8/27/69)

Note: This is called simple living and high thinking. In many temples we see so much money coming in and so much opulence-especially the "gurus" quarters-but no real education system. Even the "gurus" themselves are unable to defend their claim of being bona fide gurus. They have yet to honestly defend their claim in any formal document compiled from Srila Prabhupada's teachings.

"It doesn't matter if things are going a little slow, but make everything slow but sure. That is a good principle. To do things hastily and incorrectly is not good. There is a proverb in Bengali; 'sabure mawaphale.' This means that all valuable nuts like almonds, macadamias, walnuts, coconuts, etc. all take a long time to fructify. Anything valuable takes a little time to come into existence. Therefore there is no harm in waiting for the best thing. But everything is well that ends well. That should be the principle." (Shyamasundar, 7/15/69)

Note: This statement "there is no harm in waiting for the best thing," is very important to new devotees. There is no rush to take initiation. Best is to study Srila Prabhupada's books and chant sincerely for some years and, only then, in knowledge, accept a bona fide guru. One must have faith in Krsna to send the guru. If we can become sincere, Krsna will send us a bona fide guru. This is the real process of getting a guru. First we must become sincere. Then we should know how to recognize a pure devotee. Otherwise, so many men will lure us to serve them and then cheat us as stated below.

"We will establish hundreds of temples, and they will all be very opulent. But if we do not follow the instruction of the Spiritual Master, they will just be showbottle. Do you know what showbottle means? It means colored water in a bottle which looks just like medicine, but which does not work." (Room conversation, NY, July, 1970)

"Now people are seeing how genuine our movement is, they are coming forward to offer us so many places. We simply have to maintain our strict principles, keeping ourselves pure. Otherwise, there are so many bogus institutions doing business in the name of God and simply cheating the people. We have to be careful not to degenerate like these others. Our strength depends upon regular chanting the required 16 rounds and rigidly adhering to the regulative principles. (Jashomatinandan, 1/9/76)

Note: Srila Prabhupada also defines bogus institutions as "Making a show of the Deity to cheat an innocent public." So, if the Deity doesn't make an institution transcendental, then what does? The purity of the followers and specifically the leader is the answer. ISKCON is bona fide because of Srila Prabhupada, not because of the "GBC." There are so many stories about all the "gurus" which point to the fact that the purity isn't there. Many such stories will be exposed in this book. Then, if necessary, we will continue to make the truth known until all of these new "vyasasanas" are removed from Srila Prabhupada's temples.

"However, don't create any awkward situation that may be criticized. Caesar's wife must be above criticism. Up to now as I have got respectable situation, I wish that all my disciples will have similar respectable position in society. That will keep my name good. Like father like son." (Caityaguru, 7/11/76)

Note: Prabhupada is concerned to keep his name good because he wants his books to be read for all time. However, there are a group of men today who have none of Prabhupada's divine qualifications but who are posing as saints all the same. This is the problem. By impersonating Prabhupada and doing all nonsense, these men are spoiling Prabhupada's good name. The innocent class of non-devotees will naturally think, "like father, like son." In this letter Srila Prabhupada clearly indicates the possibility that his initiates may misuse their opportunity and drag his name into their mud.

"Recently I have received from one Sannyasi complaint about another Sannyasi who is not chanting regularly. So our view is that we shall be strictly following the rules and regulations. Monetary matters are secondary. On principle, we should better starve than neglect our rules and regulations. We are trying to present an ideal society to the world, so although we are very rigidly following these principles, still, we are very liberal to everyone. For this reason we are being appreciated everywhere. So anyway, I am not at all dissatisfied with you, but it is my duty to point out the mistakes. You are in charge of the Germany organization. Please do it nicely there, not very much on the material side, more on the spiritual side. Example is better than precept. Everyone of you must be the perfect examples, then everyone will follow." (Hamsadutta, 4/11/71)

"Simply become more concerned with increasing the spiritual content of our lives, and in this way all other problems like management will be easily solved, not that they can be solved by making some legal formula and having big, big meeting and talks. The politicians have been holding such meetings and talks for some time now and the world is no better place for it, and they have only made things worse. We should not follow their example. The world is in a very precarious condition simply for lack of God consciousness, so this should be our point of stressing, that we should revive this emphasis on God consciousness everywhere in the world and that will be our contribution." (Jagadish, 5/2/72)

Note: If ISKCON cannot even clean its own house, then what is the possibility of its cleaning the world house thereby preventing these nuclear bombs from dropping? Still, every year, ISKCON has more and more big, big meetings with absolutely nothing sound accomplished. This year, 1985, some devotees were appointed to investigate the guru-issue and make a paper on it to be completed by next Mayapur. That was their initiative for this year. Last year, ISKCON spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on a science magazine. ISKCON can't even set an example for sudras as to how to live in peace and harmony with Krsna in the center, but they can spend huge sums trying to preach to the intellectuals. This is the height of folly.

In other words, there isn't even the slightest trace of ordinary good manners evident in the behavior of most ISKCON "gurus," but they went to preach to the scientists. That magazine was a waste of time and money. As Prabhupada says below, some people may be attracted by shows such as this magazine, but that will not be a true attraction to spiritual life.

"So far the Road Show and the Yoga Village are concerned, these things should be stopped. Simply perform our kirtan. If we divert our attention in this way, the whole thing will gradually deteriorate. He is going far away. All these things are nonsense inventions. Such inventing spirit will ruin our this movement. People may come to see, some will become devotees, but such devotees will not stay because they are attracted by some show and not by the real thing or spiritual life according to the standard of Lord Caitanya. Our standard is to have Kirtan, start temples. What is this 'Road Show' and 'Yoga Village?' It will be another hippie edition. Gradually the Krsna consciousness idea will evaporate: another change, another change, every day another change. Stop all this. Simply have kirtan, nothing else. Don't manufacture ideas." (Sudama, 11/5/72)

"I know you are a musician, and naturally you have got a tendency for musical entertainment, but at the present moment our main business is to push the Sankirtan movement. So, as you are doing, take the Sankirtan Party to various places, and this will be the most appreciated. If you adulterate our Sankirtan movement with some business motive, then it will be spoiled immediately. Be careful in that way." (Mukunda, 7/1/69)

"I am pleased to note that there is interest in having our Sankirtan. Party perform in various public engagements. The same thing is going on here, and they have been invited to such places as Amsterdam and Germany. So if you can also do this, it is nice. But do not change our principles. Practicing is already done by kirtan. It is not required for us to become artists. Our main point is service to Krishna, not to please an audience. We shall not divert our attention too much to adjustment of musical sounds. People should not misunderstand that we are a band of musical artists. They must know that we are devotees of Krishna. Our devotional practice and purity should be so strong that wherever we chant there shall be immediately an impression in the audience for devotion to Krishna." (Tamala, 10/30/69)

"With regard to your question about Bengali style kirtan and mrdanga playing, one or two styles is best. To introduce more styles is not good. It will become an encumbrance. Who is that Krsna dasa Babaji who is teaching? If we introduce so much emphasis on style of kirtan, then simply imitation will go on. Devotional emotion is the main thing. If we give stress to instrument & style then attention will be diverted to the style. That will be spiritual loss. I hope this meets you in good health." (Satsvarupa, 6/30/76)

Note: It was because Prabhupada was tired of repeating himself so often on this point that he told the devotees to make some program to circulate his letters. Still, it appears that Ramesvara never understood this instruction above. Has he read these letters? In LA, they try to impress the Sunday guests with amplified stage performances. Many temples now support rock style bands. The LA Rathayatra in 1985 had two staged rock kirtan performances going on simultaneously with a handful of crazy hippies doing aerobics in the front. It was very embarrassing to see the Holy Name prostituted in this way. Because of the offensive atmosphere in ISKCON now, very few devotees are inspired to chant and dance. So, naturally, emphasis is increasing on the performance-type kirtan, the showbottle, which Prabhupada absolutely condemns.

"I am so glad to hear that our Philadelphia temple is running so smoothly, filled with love and truthfulness. Such an atmosphere is so congenial for advancement in Krsna consciousness and if the Prabhus there continue their devotional activities in such a spirit, so many people will be attracted." (Vrindaban-Candra, 1/8/71)

Note: This is what attracts people to Krsna consciousness and not the grand show of opulence. This paper will go into detail to show how love and truthfulness has all but disappeared from ISKCON due to the different warring factions.

"I have seen your advertisements as shown to me by Shyamasundar, and I think you have made the thing less important. This kind of ad is not good, it is not grave. Our process is to show Krsna consciousness as it is, not as others want to see it. By showing Krsna consciousness in this way, you are making the thing less important. It is not that we should change to accommodate the public, but that we should change the public to accommodate us.... These books are the best advertising, they are better than advertising. If we simply present Krsna consciousness in a serious and attractive way, without need to resort to fashionable slogans or tricks, that is sufficient. Our unique asset is our purity. No one anywhere can match it. That will be noticed eventually and appreciated, as long as we do not diminish or neglect the highest standard of purity in performing our routine work, not that we require to display or announce ourselves in very clever ways to get attention. No, our pure standard is enough. Let us stand on that basis." (Yogesvara, 12/28/71)

Note: Here is Prabhupada's plea. Purity is the force and the only worthwhile point of stressing, nothing else. Prabhupada often said that he was only building these large temples to engage us. They are not necessary for preaching. A simple and pure Sankirtan party will make more devotees than a mammoth temple structure; perfect proof of this fact is New Vrndavana. They have so much opulence and space there, but the overwhelming majority of the devotees who go there leave almost immediately with a bitter taste in their mouths. Since Prabhupada left the planet, not one Prabhupada disciple has gone there and stayed permanently. Most stay only a few months, proof of which is available by studying the vyasa-puja books. The purity is missing there (the full story is given in Chapter Ten). However, the small and simple temples of the early days made hundreds of devotees through chanting and philosophy with no material opulences. Simply there was a picture of the Pancha Tattva and kirtan. Those who were around in those days can well remember where the emphasis was placed and how enlivened all the devotees were. At New Vrndavana they practically have to hire devotees to perform kirtan for the tourists.

In this way ISKCON is not being very much appreciated these days by sane people. This is because Srila Prabhupada warned, in the above quote, that we have a tendency to diminish or neglect the highest standard of purity in performing our service. The chance to misuse free-will is there. Srila Prabhupada never said it would be automatic. The current ISKCON management, for whom setting the perfect example is of prime importance, is grossly misusing their power and opportunity to serve Srila Prabhupada. Therefore it is high time they were purified or replaced so that other devotees can be given a chance to utilize that opportunity to advance in spiritual life.

"One thing, if we are not very careful to always stick to the point of regulative principles and purest standards of high living, then everything will spoil very quickly and the whole show will be a farce. So impress this point in your preaching for training the younger devotees, they will follow your example in all respects." (Rebatinandan, 2/2/72)

Note: Prabhupada warned again and again that if the pure standards are not maintained, then everything would spoil. But, if we suggest that ISKCON has now spoiled, we are considered pessimists, blasphemers, enemies, etc. Prabhupada certainly didn't think it couldn't happen, so why should we?

"But we should never steal anything like money, food, water, gasoline, just to enhance our service to Krsna. That is too much dangerous, and if we are caught then all of our work is finished. just like in India recently, this Balyogi Guru Maharaja was detected by the customs authorities attempting to smuggle some small items into India. By this one tiny incident his entire effort for preaching, even he is rascal number one and his preaching is nonsense, even so the example is there, his work is now ruined and he is practically finished as the government will not grant him passport to leave India. So we shall always be careful to avoid any kinds of jeopardizing our high standing in the society by some foolish and small act of illegal stealing." (Sankarshana, 12/31/72)

Note: Many devotees don't seem to realize that Prabhupada did not approve of illegal collecting techniques. One reason for his disapproval is mentioned above. The other, and equally important reason, is that devotees are supposed to be developing good character. "Our devotees must be adored as honest." Virtually the only statement Prabhupada made, which could be misinterpreted as an authorization to "he," is quoted below. But he fully clarifies that a neophyte should not even consider lying to get money. Kirtanananda often quotes this letter below to justify his illegal dealings. This is a common ISKCON mentality. In many places, Prabhupada emphasizes honesty, truthfulness, humility, etc. In some rare instances (and often he clarifies the proper understanding) he says, "We may do anything for Krsna." All of a sudden anything goes. Murder for Krsna, counterfeiting for Krsna, dealing look-alike drugs that kill people for Krsna, prostituting innocent women devotees for Krsna, having homosex and sending young boys to the hospital with ruptured anuses for Krsna. These "gurus" justify so many activities, in the name of Krsna.

"So far this making some false story for collecting money or selling books, of course we may do anything for Krsna, but that is supposed to be reserved for the very advanced experts in Krsna consciousness, they know how to catch the big fish without themselves getting wet. So it is not very much advisable to make lies just to sell a book. If we simply stick to describing how wonderful is Krsna, then whatever we may lie or exaggerate, that will not be lie. But other things, lies, they will not help us to train ourselves in truthfulness. Lie to some, not to others, that is not a good philosophy. Rather the brahmins are always truthful, even to their enemies. There is sufficient merit in our books that if you simply describe them sincerely to anyone, they will buy. That art you must develop, not art of lying. Convince them to give by your preaching the Absolute Truth, not by tricking, that is more mature stage of development of Krsna consciousness." (Sri Govinda, 12/25/72)

Srila Prabhupada then delivered a final decision; issue a letter to all GBC to stop this disguising immediately. His Divine Grace said, "We shall not in any way sacrifice our standard. We must maintain our principles strictly. This dressing with long hair and karmi clothes is the tendency to once again become hippies. Because before you were hippies, that tendency is still there. So this should be stopped immediately."

He made the point still more emphatic by pointing to some poor people who were passing stool on the roadside quite openly in public and said, "They are not changing their standard, despite public opinion. We cannot maintain our standards as strictly as they are maintaining theirs?" (GBCs, 9/20/73)

Conclusion: In this way, the entire movement should immediately rectify themselves or stop "preaching." Hypocrites do more damage than good. The Society should come together, hold kirtana, chant 16 rounds together, study the books, have debates, make apologies, reinstate devotees, etc. and only then, when everyone is satisfied, should the precept be preached. "Example is better than precept." There is no point in doing any more preaching if our own house is unclean. It is doing more damage than good. Already it has become embarrassing to claim any affiliation with "ISKCON." Those who are not interested in cleaning our house, but are satisfied with their own little cults and worship, should be considered the real enemies of Srila Prabhupada's divine movement.