How to regain my faith in ISKCON as I left ISKCON after Prabhupada left?
A Direct Disciple of Srila Prabhupada and Senior devotee (Name hidden) wrote like this:
I just came across your page. Before I go into the “long story”, I would like to just introduce myself and give a brief description of my situation. I joined the movement in ………… on ………..Street in 19……. I received the initiation from Srila Prabhupada (SP) in 19……. Although I have many faults I always considered myself a very sincere and surrendered disciple to SP. Long story short for now, I am a ……… year old ……………(Career)……….. recently retired in ……………..a few years ago. I left the movement shortly after SP left the planet. I returned to doing regular service in 19………, while maintaining my job outside the temple in …………… for ……… years. Although the details I believe are important, the bottom line for now, because of a long series of betrayals, abuses, and other very traumatic events, perpetrated by devotees, in my “Devotional life. Up until even quite recently when I attempted to retire in …………………….. And open a …………………….to help the devotees. I have certainly lost faith in ISKCON as an institution, some time ago. But I’ve now lost faith in SP also. Appreciate your thoughts. Thanks in advance.”
First of all, I thank you very much for approaching me for your confused mind about How to regain faith in ISKCON.
Though I am junior to you in ISKCON and a disciple of the disciple of Srila Prabhupada, you, a direct disciple of S.P has put your faith in my words and approached me. Hence, let me reply to your question.
(Why some devotees fear to attend ISKCON and follow strict rules? READ HERE!)
See Prabhu, too much of thinking and analysis will slow down our faith in any forum/ person.
Life time is short. Let us make our lives simple, easy and less complicated.
You were very fortunate to receive initiation from Srila Prabhupada. So, you should never leave the organization of S.P whatever the issue may be.
It is a rare opportunity given by Krishna Himself.
You have served the devotees for nearly 4 decades using your respectful career.
I came to ISKCON 15 YEARS after S.P left this world.
As said by you, I too have seen some flaws in the management, some politics, verbal fightings, etc.
I have witnessed them in many centers.
But, it did not shake my faith in the authenticity and greatness of ISKCON.
Though ISKCON is for Krishna, it is managed by the HUMANS and for the HUMANS.
(Why Only ISKCON says Vishnu as Avatar and Krishna as Source? READ HERE!)
All humans have the following four defects that you know:
(1) He will definitely commit mistakes. Therefore, no one can say that he never committed any mistakes.
(2) He is invariably illusioned. That is why, every man wrongly considers “good” as “bad”, and vice versa.
(3) He has the tendency to cheat others.
(4) He is limited by imperfect senses.
Since any spiritual organization has to be run by the humans with the imperfect senses, they will definitely commit mistakes.
I have never said anywhere that ISKCON is free from mistakes.
See, the management trusts some devotees and allow them to run the center. If those devotees commit offenses, we can accuse the organization only if they do not take any remedial steps.
(ISKCON ARATI SONGS – MANGAL & SANDHYA ARATIS WITH MEANING! READ HERE!)
Usually, if it is found that any devotee is involving in the disciplinary violations, actions are taken on that devotee and the things are again set right.
And Prabhu, wherever there are 100 people, there will be some misunderstandings because atleast a few out of 100 people will have the domination of rajo and thamo gunas.
We can not expect that all the 100 devotees will have satva guna domination. Impossible in kaliyuga.
Because of these few people there seems an image among the people as if the whole organization is acting offensively.
I will get inputs from many senior devotees when they discusss with me about some issues in their temple.
Most of their complaints will be like this:
(i) See, there are two senior prabhus in our temple. There is competition between them in impressing the devotees.
(My Vedic Brahmana family is against ISKCON way of devotion. How to explain? READ HERE!)
(ii) In our temple, this devotee do not give all the collected money to the management
(iii) In our temple, if I remain close to this administrating devotee A, another administrating devotee B gets fumed. They act as if two parallel managements.
(iv) In my temple, served for this much of years, but, they just simply started to give less importance to me among the other devotees.
(v) In our temple, these two senior devotees fight with themselves for getting the manager position.
(vi) In our temple, they compel me to wear tilak, dhoti, etc. If I do not wear, they do not consider me a good devotee.
Thus, everyone may have his own set of issues.
This is endless Prabhu.
Even when Krishna was here, Kamsa, Duryodhana, etc opposed Him.
When Rama came, Ravana was there.
(Will ISKCON help us if we become poor following the devotional life taught by them? READ HERE!)
Wherever there are good souls, there will be opposing souls also.
In some managements, a team of persons will be taing great efforts to improve the situation. But,, there will be a betrayer who will be spoiling everything.
You take any forum or company…Political party.
There will be a few to create issues.
So, we have to take only the required good things from any forum and leave the bad things to be corrected by the managements.
In your case, you are a direct disciple of Srila Prabhupada.
So, some of your God brothers might have become gurus after the leaving of SP.
During their young and initial period, there might have been some issues, that should be understood as if the new born child falling down when it tries to walk on its own.
(MY FRIEND TALKS ILL ABOUT ISKCON. WHAT TO DO? READ HERE!)
See, when the father dies in a family, the family takes some time to stabilize itself.
When S.P left, the disciples were so young. So, naturally, there might have been some issues in the recovery process.
Those days have passed.
Now, the preaching programs have grown big worldwide.
Thousands of devotees follow devotion through these centers wordwide.
They are doing a great service even in the countries like China, Bangladesh, Pak.
The devotees are taking great efforts.
Still there may be some issues. I do not deny.
But, we need not allow ourselves to be affected by those issues.
(i) We need sathsangha of devotees. They give it nicely.
(How to take Diksha (Initiation) and become a disciple of a guru (spiritual master) in ISKCON? READ HERE!)
(ii) We need delicious prasadam. They give it nicely.
(iii) We need some service options to serve Krishna. They have more opportunities to serve.
If you need anything more, problem starts.
So, what prevents you to come to the temples, encourage the younger devotees and say Hare Krishna to the elders?
It is possible for you if you wish to be a moderate person.
Since I do not have any expectations from ISKCON, my association with them is going on without any strain. I know that there are some issues there. I too was about to be affected once, but, I carefully insulate myself from getting affected by those issues. Because, I just wish to encourage the forum of Srila Prabhupada that has Bhagavad Gita as its root.
In my view, Srila Prabhupada’s movement is the only forum in this world now that is forming REAL DEVOTEE BRAHMANAS who follow brahminical rules more than we, the traditional brahmanas. Ha Ha, in fact, I too became a true brahmana only after following ISKCON’s guidance.
(I like to join ISKCON to become a Member and Practice Devotion. How to Join? READ HERE!)
So, I have to admit that they are doing great things.
Ha Ha… I do not expect ISKCON to remain a Perfect forum. I just see whether they are taking efforts to preach. They are doing it nicely. See they are selling lakhs of copies of Bhagavad Gita every year at a cheaper price of just Rs.150 in India.
Which forum does so in this world? Of course, there may be some flaws. They have reporting system. We can use that.
Whether you are in ISKCON or in any other forum, only your Guru’s blessings, chanting, detachment level and Prema level are going to take u to Krishna. Nothng else.
These things can be done as a moderate ISKCON devotee.
I am doing that.
Why can’t you take what you want and serve what you can and remain peaceful?
It is possible. Think of it positively.
I will pray to Krishna for your peaceful devotional life.
Hope this humble reply would have helped you to regain faith in ISKCON. Please bless me as you are the direct disciple of S.P.
(30 Tips to take some services in ISKCON Temples! READ HERE!)