Monday, March 8, 2010

It Is The Message That Sits On The Vyāsāsana - Your devotion was never intended to end with me.

Question from former disciple:

Fernando Rodriguez Torres:
Hi, Bhagavan prabhu, I want to ask something. I have been initiated by you in 1986. I accepted you as a pure devotee of Krishna, at the same level of Lord Jesus Christ. Devotees around me were convinced in absolute terms of your position, evolution and purity. They were ready to do any kind of sacrifice for you. Samsa...ra prayers were chanted thinking of you. You and your entourage were presenting yourself as a pure devotee. That was the status. My question is: Did you know at that time that you were not a maha-bhagavata devotee of Lord Krishna? How can a person accomodate such a great, ahem, cheating, consciously in his mind?

Dear Ferando,
I am sorry that it has taken a while to respond. Not because as some expressed and accused, I have been ignoring you, but only due to my schedule. Actually I think about you frequently. I opened this channel to give you a chance to express, and that is what you did. I heard you and felt the emotions in your words. Because it is toxic to keep negative emotions going on and on we must change this.

I will try and be concise, clear and honest so that whatever stuck energy is there can move. I know there are others who think as you do so this may include them as well.... See More

You say I gave you initiation. That form has long changed so now we journey as brothers. If the intent is to release and evolve pain of any sort on any level, judgments towards others- myself the issue here or even yourself in any way, then I am certain Kṛṣṇa and Prabhupāda will show us the way as we begin.

Today when I was driving with my partner Soṇā, I was thinking of this opportunity to communicate with you. After a while she looked into the dark blue rainclouds and pointed out an exquisite double rainbow that lasted half an hour. What might that mean to you? May be against the dark raincloud of Kṛṣṇa, His expanded parts and parcels are originally intended to be in harmony with their Source and each other. For the pleasure of the Lord of the Senses our offering is to come to a better place and not live in the gap of unhealed rage or fear.

First let me say that I am sorry to have triggered such disturbing energy that manifests as deep betrayal of love and trust, shame at being tricked, and anger at the thought of being misled. I accept that you feel like that. I also accept that you may want to find a way to let those emotions change into something else.

You state that you looked at me as Jesus. I looked at myself as someone who understood what Prabhupāda wanted to do in this world- give information about Rādhā Kṛṣṇa and Caitanya Mahāprabhu, bring out people's devotion towards Them and create a society where love rules. It was only because I was connected to Śrīla Prabhupāda and was able to help connect those in my zone to him, that the amazing manifestations of his presence in his form of talented and intelligent people, temples, beautiful books and magic sankirtan experiences could have taken place.

So did I connect you to him or not? Did I connect you to Rādhā Kṛṣṇa or not? Did I connect you to the Pancha tattva of Gaurāṅga or not? Did I connect you to the mahā mantra or not? If I didn't, then why in the world did you accept me as your teacher? Were you just brainwashed or did you experience a quality connection with the Truth. My leaving or the perception to you of who I was, comes secondary to whether I guided you and connected you to love Kṛṣṇa and Prabhupāda. Did I give you significant bhakti?

Did I connect you to a taste of Kṛṣṇa's name? If so you made a good investment of your time and energy. You weren't cheated. If not, you wasted your time and you can just see me as tricking you to worship me and stealing your devotion to Kṛṣṇa and Prabhupāda. If you didn't see the paramparā's message in me that the Absolute lives everywhere at all times and maintains a unique Personality, then why did you want to be initiated by me? Any love, devotion, ritualistic worship, etc. was never intended to dead end on the person. That creates a personality cult. It is the message that sits on the Vyāsāsana. Your devotion was never intended to end with me. It is interesting to note there are not only different Jesus cults, there are also different Prabhupāda cults.

If you feel that I abused any power over you by making you do something that was against your will I am truly sorry. While I was acting as your teacher I tried to help you love your Father and Mother. I hope I succeeded on some level. So with this said do you still think it was all just a show?



  1. I appreciate your reply to your ex-disciple, because in a "un-guru" way, you still act as siksa guru, in the way that you show him the way to come out of disappointment and blame, without ever mixing your personal emotions with it.

    Very wise, very balanced.

    I think we are coming of age in our society, and what we are encountering right now is a total shift, a paradigm shift in spirituality, from ascetic, sex-neurotic, body-hating, love-ambivalent, herarchic religion, into something purer, more heart-focused, more love.

    I am so blessed to be living in this exciting time.

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  3. Dear William,

    I joined ISKCON for a short time after you left... so there are no issues between us... no feelings of betrayal... no wounds to heal.

    I consider myself somewhat fortunate in that I am from a well-to-do family, am educated, wealthy and attractive enough to get my fair share of sense enjoyment. But in time I became bored with smoking pot and chasing women... it seemed dry to me. So like many others I began a search for something higher... for spiritual life. I joined on the West Coast and put in a few years practicing Bhakti. Prabhupada's books made sense to me but all the bickering turned me sour. So I left.

    The problem is that several philosophical impressions have stayed with me... like the concept that material sense enjoyment is temporary and cannot satisfy the self. This is my direct experience and the Srimad Bhagavatam confirms and reinforces this.

    Now the problem I'm facing is that I am adrift... I am no longer part of a spiritual movement and am thus not surrounded by spiritual aspirants. I live in the material world and am thus influenced by the default mode of chasing after sense enjoyment. And when I succumb to it, I feel guilty... like if I have betrayed myself.

    I remember where Narada Muni explains about the person who indulges in sense enjoyment and in due course realizes that it brings no lasting satisfaction and resolves to give it up. And he succeeds for some time but then returns to his old ways... he returns to indulging in that which he previously rejected and Narada compares this to eating his own vomit.

    This comparison has made a deep impression on me and after indulging in recreational sex and intoxication I am haunted by the imagine of eating my own vomit . And it spoils everything... after indulging my senses I feel not euphoria, but remorse... disgust... disappointment... self-hate and self-betrayal.

    After reading your blog I can see that you harbor no guilt or remorse from your past. I know you left a life of sense enjoyment to join ISKCON and become a spiritualist. You became a sannyasi, a guru and then returned to the material world. But your writings today clearly show that you harbor no guilt or other disempowering feelings. Your writings show that you grew from those "failures" or "negative" experiences.

    It seems to me that you have found the key to reconciling indulgence in sense enjoyment while striving spiritually. You have discovered how to turn sense enjoyment into stepping stones to spiritual happiness. It is obvious to me that owing to your sincere efforts the God and Goddess have revealed to you many ways to make vomit-eating more palatable.

    Please teach me this art for It is obvious that you've perfected it. If you agree to teach me this art, I will dedicate myself to you and help you spread this art to every town and village. This is my firm vow. Please help me.
    Your aspiring servant, Kary

  4. Dear Bhagavan prabhu homages. All the glorie as Shrila Prabhupada! They are a disciple of Matsyatara prabhu. Ananda Vrndavana always speaks to me with much affection about you. I find myself in a difficult moment of my spiritual life and in the answer to your former disciple i have recognized authentic a guru. I have understood finally the role of the spirituals master and that of the disciple well regarding Shrila Prabhupad and Shri Krshna.
    Thanks from deepest of my heart.
    Aspirant servant of the Vaishnava
    Madhumati devi dasi

  5. hello bhagavan

    i seem to remember that back then initiation by you was obligatory if we lived in your zone. Where did this sudden choice appear from that you mention in your letter to rodriguez ? of course we always have a choice in our lives but back then if you wanted to live in an iskcon temple and stay in your zone, one had to be initiated by you or at least one of the 11 initail gurus. I know quite a few devotees who were in this case. You participated in creating this mood along with your right hand men and of course along with the herd of "lesser" devotees out there. I get the impression that you want to put all the responsability of the initiation choice on the disciple. Reading your answer i get the impression that you had no intention for self agrandizement, desire for worship, desire to be the mega guru etc but were only there to give us the message of srila prabhupada and bring him closer to him - gimme a break, i got plenty of stories to jog your memory.


  6. I found it interesting to read the exchange. I have also read more on what is written elsewehere on these pages. What I think is that Bhagavan prabhu could have done, what he has done for ISKCON and SP, better in the intended position of zonal ritvik. Initiating on your own Bhagavan prabhu was the mistake and that of the other 9 'selfassumed acharyas'after SP physical departure.. For me this is so evident; I can't understand how you and others could think/think and perhaps will continue to think that SP appointed successor gurus, while all he did is appoint ritviks...Would you have initiated the thousands of disciples on behalf of SP and not as your own - that would have been linking us all to Srila Prabhupada.
    I was initiated by you in 1979 and I truly think that initiation was not to have been with you as 'saksat hari' but as "representative of the acarya". Having read and thought over your present state of mind - I think you are as mistaken as you were back than in 1977 regarding your own role as GURU in Iskcon.
    For the rest I wish you all the best. Krishna....dasi

  7. Whatever happened back then, in the 1970's and 1980's, must be left behind.

    We all know what happened in ISKCON, more or less, and of course Bhagavan was a part of it - but he also left, partly because of it, and as I imagine, out of a frustration that no real change seemed possible with the current leadership.

    More than 20 years has passed.

    Can we give the man a chance?

    He has apologized for all mistakes and then some, explained his standpoint, why he left, and now after more than two decades he wants to take his responsibility for whatever he can do for society as it is NOW. Not 25 years ago.

    I see a humble man, a strong conviction, a listening ear, a sensitive person with a heart.

    Ranting about the ritvik system is just so... obscure. We don't know exactly what Prabhupada wanted - noone obviously does. So we'll have to settle with what we have got so far, and maybe try to do better in the future. We can't go back to 1977 to change history. It's just not an option.

    I would like it if we could focus on the present, the HERE and NOW.