[1/28, 12:48 PM] Basu Ghosh Das: 1. Bhakti Vikas Swami has advocated that all sides sit together at Mayapur, chant together in kirtan, and discuss the issue face to face. That hasn't happened.
2. ISKCON sannyasis aren't sannyasis strictly according to varnashram principles. Sannyas was given by Srila Prabhupada as a "preaching title", to facilitate preaching, but sure, strict standards of behavior and detachment from women were mandated. Unfortunately all sannyasis and diksha gurus were not able to strictly follow. In recent years, due to stricter regimen for screening sannyas candidates, the "fall down rate" as decreased considerably. There are a number of "discontents" who will never stop criticizing ISKCON and its leaders. This doesn't mean that all ISKCON leaders are "perfect and pure". It is particularly disturbing that so many are propagating gender equality and egalitarianism in ISKCON. A godbrother recently wrote to me:
It seems that you keep up with the news in the US, so I am sure you see the similarities between what's going on in ISKCON and western society. I believe it is because we are associating too closely with mundane culture since so many devotees have moved from the temples. With a lack of sadhana we become contaminated by that association, however we still want to be devotees so we adjust our philosophy to fit western culture. You heard Garuda Prabhu say he could never agree to anything less than the "ultimate Bhakti" and he is not the only one.
Around 15 years ago they tried to cancel me in Prabhupada VIllage, NC because I pointed out that there were two kinds of people in the world, men and women, and they had different roles to play in a Krsna centered culture. Didn't Srila Prabhupada say we should not try to become Sukadeva Goswami without attaining his level of consciousness?
[1/28, 12:51 PM] Basu Ghosh Das: 3. ISKCON India and its bureaucracy and influences.
Well, in India ISKCON has no women in managerial positions. No TPs, GBCs, etc. Bur sure, I am a grihasta, and there are a number of other grihastas in the management. In fact, sannyasis ideally should just preach, and not manage - but the reality is that some of them are in the management. Some of them won't retire from management duties, even if they are physically unfit to perform them!
[1/28, 12:54 PM] Basu Ghosh Das: Yes, in my article I did not deal with the honorific significance of "Mataji". That would be a good subject to highlight in an essay, for sure. I will seriously consider writing on that topic at the earliest!
[1/28, 2:19 PM] HPSwami - ProfHHR: I was living as a Vanaprastha, B'cari, when I joined the Temple in San Francisco.
After ten years Hansadutta Das pushed several of us to take Sannyasa. I explained that I thought it was a kind of oxymoron because rather than being renounced of name and fame, you had to accept more.
He pushed and I accepted.
Then he fell down and GBC said that anyone who had taken Sannyasa from him in his big rush could continue with it if they accepted an ISKCON Guru as their Sannyasa guru.
I accepted that I could just return to the rather obscure position of B'cari ashrama, but Trikrama Swami, B. S. Damodara Swami, Ramesvara Swami, Tripurari Swami and Atreya Rsi Das all said, "No!
You've taken the vows. You stick with it!"
Got 'reinitiated' into Sannyasa by H. H. B. S. Damodara Swami, my esteemed Sannyasa Guru.
Then... I experienced Kuti chaka, Bahudak, Parivrajak etc.
It came naturally.
First, I was living in one small loft room in a warehouse rented by the Temple and preaching and attending Temple programs and taking Prasadam and waking Deities and doing Mangala arati, but the Temple President still put pressure on me to use my Sannyasa status to support his political agendas since I was 'living' in his Temple.
So, I started staying with different devotees around the S.F. Bay Area, then Northern Califorinia, even passing nights under the bushes by the side of the road if that was not easily available.
Then I could still feel I was expectied to pull the Zonal line if I was getting shelter from people in the specific GBC's Zone.
So, with some fear I took off on a ride offered by Krsna to Seattle and Vancouver and did local preaching and worked to develop the visit of our Manipuri Troupe.
It was amazing.
Krsna seemed to be arranging transporation, accomodation and Sankirtan.
Came back thorugh the Bay Area but now as a new Parivrajakacharya preacher. Who had some seriouis conviction that Krsna really is guiding us and really does want the Kali yuga version of Sannyasa.
Other steps fit right into this Vedic pattern until I finally went all the way to Peru, out of the USA, with only $10 in my pocket, but with an experience that made me feel that it was exactly an arrangement of Krsna to show me that I should not waste "my mind and intelligence" thinking about this bodily maintenence. That was His job. I should focus on just traveling and peaching and realizing His guidance of Paramatma.
Seems that some people have taken Sannyasa vows, or think that their B'cari life is the same as a full Sannyasa, but are still taking subtle shelter, freedom from fear of being alone, of husband and wife, or mother, to be free of the political control/shelter of ISKCON.
Giving up these things they can really give unbiased advice.
Then they really become the essential shelter that Ksatriyas and Vaishyas need for subtle sense control. Stronger than the Ks. and Vaishya.
Thank you for your association.
Hope to hear more from you soon.