An Open Letter to all Krishna Cult Members

By: gaurarader

It is time to grow up. It is one thing to believe ancient superstitions as many people in the world do. It is entirely another thing to destroy your own life and the life of those whom you love most, your children, based on ancient, and medieval superstitions. Simply put: There is absolutely no good reason to believe any of the metaphysical claims of the Bhagavad-gita, Srimad-Bhagavatam, Chaitanya Charitamrita, or any of the other “Vedic” literatures are true. Give me one good reason to believe Krishna consciousness is true, that is stronger than all the reasons not to believe it to be true, and I’ll take down this website and start chanting sixteen rounds a day. When I was in gurukula we had a teacher who sincerely believed Krishna consciousness was the greatest philosophy out there. He taught us some basic critical thinking and logic skills in hopes we would apply them to thinking about Krishna consciousness, become convinced of the truth of Krishna consciousness and dedicate our lives to ISKCON. Despite him really believing what he said, it was really pretty silly. All ISKCON devotees believe Krishna consciousness to be entirely logical and rational but I would pretty much be willing to bet my life on it there is hardly a single member of ISKCON that has actually studied philosophy, much less taught it systematically to the members of ISKCON. 1966 was fifty years ago, ISKCON has grown but we’ve failed to mature intellectually past the 60s.

 

It is seriously time that we admit to ourselves that we have given our lives for a lie. That there is no reason to believe any of it is true. Give me one and we can talk, although if you never read any Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Hume, Kant, Wittgenstein, or Quine, to name a few, how could you reasonably think your reasons have any value. Hey, I’ve been there. I dedicated my life to God on the flimsiest of intellectual grounds and didn’t look back for fifteen years or so. The philosophy I did read was after I wanted to become a devotee and that really doesn’t count for much. In my case I got a Philosophy for Dummies book, no joke, and decided that I was right in my choice to believe in God because the book introduced every major topic in philosophy and concluded theism is the way to go. The book was of course written by a Christian, so was far from objective. As absurd as that is it might be more than most Hare Krishnas did before they joined. Shouldn’t I have checked another book? Maybe one written by an atheist to get the opposing perspective? But here’s the thing, people don’t make moral and religious choices based on objective reasons. We do it based on feeling. We feel something is right. Then what we do is we look for evidence to confirm our belief. This is a problem. What we should actually be doing, especially if we are about to turn our entire life upside down, is look for evidence that might disconfirm our belief. That is the way science works, that is the way rational thinking works. Unfortunately, humans are usually not very rational.

But you know, all this talk of rationality and reasons is really beside the point, right? Because Gaudiya Vaishnavism, following other Vedic traditions, rejects reason entirely. The very first philosophical principle of Gaudiya Vaishnavism is that we must accept the Vedic literatures as the only source of true knowledge. So, is there any reason to accept the Vedic literatures as the only source of true knowledge? Again, give me one and I’ll take this website down and start chanting sixteen rounds. I promise if you study the history of ancient India to the present you will see Gaudiya Vaishnavism in an entirely new light. Fundamentalism is ahistorical. When you see the historical context it becomes hard to accept a scripture as divine revelation. Add to that false astronomical views about our universe (about to be proudly displayed in the TOVP), racism, sexism, and it becomes clear that while the Vedic Literatures are incredibly impressive they are clearly not divine. They are the product of thousands of years of philosophical and theological writing, layer upon layer accreting on top of the previous layers to produce works that are often incredibly beautiful, profound, and moving, but clearly nothing more.

So, if you’ve had doubts now is the time to explore them. Don’t be a part of the absurdity that others should be subjected to having the entire life destroyed by ISKCON. Don’t let you kids grow up believing utter absurdities that you believed at one point. And if you think I’m wrong prove it.

12 Comments

  • PREMA-KANTHA D.:

    try repetition of your speculative theories and or mindless meanderings regularly to the tune of 2 hours daily to see what is produced: then witness how much love & responsibility for our own actions is manifest. Is it possible to churn nectar from the ether and maintain a discipline without taste? The dogs may bark but the caravan will pass. love you a lot notwithstanding-Prema

    • Sebastian Cormier:

      I’d take speculative theories over unquestioning faith in old books on the basis of their boldness anyway.What you call mindless meandering I’ll call independent thought.He never said philosophical contemplation was his sole method of pursuing happiness.Theoretical philosophy should lead to applied philosophy and therein happiness is within reach.

      • Vichal Gajapersad:

        Yes you’d take that because you do not want anything perfect. Instead you want unhappiness and then speculate on it. But do you come for a world peace solution? It is already explained that there will be people like you who are bewildered. You are all and all out against God’s Supreme Will. In the mean time you get older, get sick and then you’ll die. Please explain oh, wise one, what happens after death and I want details!!! You mental speculators can’t answer this question. It is now 2018, what did your great western materialistic society do for humankind? The only think positive coming out of it was the Hare Krishna Movement in the 60s. That’s it, the rest is only suffering.

        • Alec:

          You can’t answer the question about what happens after death, it is all speculation, And you talk of peace, but Prabhupada himself talked about a Krishna theocracy where non-believers are killed, is that the World peace you lot talk about?

  • Sebastian Cormier:

    There might be supporting evidence for some Gaudiya Vaishnava beliefs but not conclusive proof of the whole package.An example would be compelling cases of children’s past life memories supporting the notion of reincarnation.So there might be a baby or two in the bath water but we still need to throw out plenty of bath water.Philosophy allows us to pick and choose what we find of value in different philosopher’s teachings.Religion demands unquestioning agreement with a set of intellectual authorities.To be fair though I don’t think most devotees see their lifestyle as “turning their lives upsidedown.” Those who claim greater happiness from the practice are probably not lying.

  • Nemi:

    When you are sincerely seeking God, He will find you. Your problem might have to do with your approach. People find more meaning and value to life reading the philosophy presented by Prabhupad as it is. They know instinctively that is is for them, and why wouldn’t it be? It is advanced and age old. You’re saying it is another layer on top of other layers, yes, it is. People are not all on one layer. To understand the SB philosophy one should have crossed through various layers, from previous lives, to very quickly, click with everything on the layer of Bhakti (love and selflessness). Krsna Consciousness is not a religion, it is a journey. What you put in is what you get out. If you do not chant, how will you connect? If you did chant and focus in those 15 years you say you were a part of the movement, then you wouldn’t be writing this stuff above. I personally know people who have had many phenomenal experiences being Krsna conscious. We know that phenomenal experiences are not subject to religious subscriptions. They are people dependent,so they can happen to atheists too. They can happen to anyone who seeks, or requests it sincerely. They can happen as a result of karma. In our materially happy times we seem to not call for God, but when you are aware that good and bad things are temporary you become more grateful and more conscious, and this inspires the beginnings of humility, which is a characteristic much needed in spiritual development. What KC does is what no religion does. It frees you to open your mind, to think, to question and find the answers which cannot be found elsewhere, but in the Vedic Philosophy.

    If you were a part of Krishna Consciousness at any time then you would by now know that Vedas mean Knowledge of All Knowledge, and you only need to look at the world around you and begin tracing your way back to Vedic Knowledge. Sanskrit, the language of God is the mother of all languages. It is also the only compatible computing language. Ayurveda, yoga, mathematics, science, music, tattoos, classical dance, ALL that you know has it’s roots in Veda. How come you don’t know this? Everything in the west is a branch out of Eastern Vedic Philosophy.

    In the Bhagavad Gita or Srimad Bhagavatam it states that King Kuru and his people set up the first cities over 100, after the flood. Indus History is being discovered and the earliest cities being excavated are many. This was the region the survivors of the flood settled on and the civilisation of mankind continued into this ‘modern era’. This is where the 7000 year old history is traced back to. Maths, counting, writing, trade, farming, the history and stories of Noahs Ark (Matsya Purana), etc – it was all a continuation of the previous age. You look on a map and you’ll see Uruk and Ur, plus names like Kush/ Kish/Cush, and many other biblical names that are sanskrit but distorted.

    I think what will help you is if you read the books Prabhupad wrote. I would also just stick to the simple prescribed method. Read (authentic Prabhupad scripture) and chant, and you’ll be happy. Life is only complicated by people who are ignorant, purposeless, misdirected, and there are too many of those doing abominable things. If you’re a religionist, try to be one who does not criticise others without first checking himself.

  • Gaura das:

    You say there isn’t a single member of iskcon who systematically studied philosophy.

    I did.

    I studied philosophy in depth for 10 years before becoming a devotee.

    You say let’s discuss Descartes as if no devotee would be able to defeat you. You mention Wittgenstein as if he was some kind of genius. What about Sartre? Do you also put him up there?

    It’s condescendig on your part. It assumes all devotees are uneducated.

    Overall you seem to have some of the bad qualities you are condemning on your site. It’s irrational.

  • steven:

    don’t listen to anything these people are saying. Thank you for posting this. I am a neuroscientist who looks at life with objectivity and rationality. I also understand that there is an ultimate higher power. What i see in this comment section are people genuinely confused. They are seeking some desire, that being “the ultimate love from krishna”. Isn’t that right there a direct contradiction to their own beliefs? I do believe we need to focus on progressing our consciousness to resonate with God consciousness. There is a higher power. But why is it that people who devote themselves to Krishna even today end up raping kids? Raping dogs, the things they call all westerners due to our materialistic ways? This is overlooked? Its madness. Harmful madness. God exists. Is it Krishna? Well first understand that Krishna says “I have no name that you will understand”. But chant hare krishna more than you breathe. This is harmful. The people who portray krishna also… are people thousands of years ago who created a caste society, systematically raped woman, and viewed most races as inferior, due to motives serving to their own short term gratification. How can we not see this? It is Indeed 2018, as someone has said above. Just because there is preserved philosophy in their scriptures of a higher power and our ongoing mental jihad for controlling our brain for perceiving something more than instant gratification… doesn’t mean we indoctrinate ourselves to words spoken by those before us, with less resources, less education, with moral indignities. ALWAYS understand this. These people commenting, telling you they are devotees and you are wrong, you are atheist, etc… The more i understand hinduism the more i come across this type of morally wrong behavior. It is a disgrace to true self realization, although i hold dear many philosophical teachings of hinduism. This is solely because Truth transcends all bullshit. There are many truths to Hinduism, but one can learn about God being omnipotent and all powerful in many many different fairy tales and folklore. For me, I wish to be someone who understand how to use modern technology to further control our minds in the fixation for a higher consciousness for all With God as the apex. Most of these Hare Krishna people… I feel in my heart a “I will kill a soul in order to reach God” mentality mixed with “all humans are scum. This is the mentality to reach God” fixation. I give them my compassion solely because i understand what it means to be a lost soul trying to spark the conversation with God. Yet my desire to reach God made me educate myself. Not chant to myself and look at life as a spiritual caste system. Madness. Thank you for your story, it was very insightful, and these comments made me feel a necessity to share my thoughts, knowing these sorts of words hold weight rather than their confused bullshit. I hope you find more peace, because obviously no peace, spiritual education, or advancement towards enlgihtments will come from practices such as sense deprivation and loss of independent thought. What will 2 hours of mental speculation will give you everyday? A more refined and educated brain. Chanting words…oh… just understand the fMRIs of chanting ANY phrase repeatedly has the same conserved effects on the individual – decreased activity in the frontal lobe. You want to find God, by controlling ones senses… by decreasing the executive functioning region of the brain? But fuck science, because it is demonic. Yet the only two ways to reach God are devotional service and analytic thinking of Him (science). Just a big old clusterfuck of contradictions. Ones in which raping children is holier than eating meat. Just remember kind sir, that there is a place incomparable to this retched ideological prison. An eternal and all curious place.

  • Sebastiaan:

    Do not listen to this guy Steven. Altough he does make some good points, like blindly following ISKCON GBC is not correct, he then proceeds to attack the entire Vaisnava philosophy. This proves that he has an agenda.
    Have a read on Bhagavad Gita As It Is, Chapter 7, verse 15.
    These 4 types of men do not surrender to Krishna.
    Come explain properly why one should not chant Hare Krishna?
    Look at Western Society today, so much deceit, still this guy tells others not to chant.

  • Kreemer:

    Wow.
    My name is Kenny.
    I was Jagadanamba.
    I still chant.
    But it is so strange looking back.
    I am a Christian. I am Hare Krsna. I am a Brahma Kumar. I have listened to Allah. I hear the Ancestors. I have done at least a decade doing each one.
    What I have never explored is Atheism… I need God.

    What I have found that Religious Fundamentalism is fake.
    Not everything Vaishnava is rational.
    There is a little bit of Truth everywhere.
    There is no Truth in anything that claims to be the only Truth.
    God is God. Love is Love. People are people. Prabhu was not always right.

    Honoring God is not possible when one lies. A lie is declaring something you know, at that moment, is untrue – or being silent when that silence implies the same.

    Something True in this moment may not be True in the next.

    Truth is beautiful.

    Unchanging Truth can only be owned and known by God.

    Human sexuality is not evil.

    Self expression is part of each souls’ obligation on this Earth. Honest self expression is never wrong.

    Being a Hare Krsna can ruin your life.
    Being a Christian can ruin your life.
    Being a Muslim can ruin your life.
    Being dogmatic – i.e. unyielding and unloving with the principals of Religious life ruins lives.

    Neither Krsna, nor Jesus, nor Allah came to ruin human beings.

    What I have learned is that when you look for God, God finds you.
    God changes…God is always the same.
    God travels with you.
    Things that bind and chain, always bring sorrow.

    What I have learned is that Science is not infallible – but Science is not wrong.

    In today’s age, information that can be transported and reproduced – indicates Truth.

    The Sun is not closer to the Earth than the moon. Women can lead men. Don’t give all your money away.

    Don’t lie.

    I wish I could really express what I mean to say. Leaving ISKON is not a bad thing. If it’s time to leave, leave.

    I can live a good life wherever I am. A happy life. A positive one.

    • Sebastiaan:

      Oh? A “good life”? What about the pains of birth, old age, disease and death? Is this happiness?

  • OneMind:

    Krishna Consciousness is not about reason. It is about blind following which they call devotional service or bhakti-yoga.
    Take for example a deity worship. A gross example of blind following, since no one can actually see or reason if the Absolute Truth is present in the stone, wood or metal. There is no other evidence, except their guru instructed them to do so, whom they blindly follow without questioning.

    The first instruction their gurus will tell you is that you are a fool.
    (In Bhagavad-gita, Krishna’s first words to his disciple Arjuna is that he is a fool, although he is speaking wisely.)

    But, of course, before Arjuna became a disciple, he and Krishna were talking just like friends.
    The real brainwashing began after Arjuna surrendered his mind and intelligence to Krishna.
    Then Krishna began to clean-up all the previous ideas which were considered as a stool.

    When Krishna was done lecturing, he asked Arjuna if all the stool was removed from his mind, or anything remained left.
    And Krishna was ready to repeat this cleaning process, as long as it was needed.

    After all the stool was removed, Arjuna surrendered fully to Krishna’s will.
    This is the final instruction of Bhagavad-gita – to give up all your stool and fully surrender to Krishna.

    Bhagavad-gita does not teach to surrender to reason, but to surrender to Krishna, who is above reason.
    The same rule holds to surrender to one’s guru, who is above reason.

    And what Krishna cult teaches?
    To give up your reason, which is no better than stool, and fully surrender to guru, who is considered equal to Krishna, or a direct servitor or blind follower of Krishna.

    The whole Krishna consciousness philosophy is not about reason, but about blind following.
    Blind following is the final goal of Krishna consciousness.
    Different levels of reasoning for different kinds of contaminated minds may be used in the process, but only to achieve that final goal, which is – follow blindly your guru.

    Once you become a blind follower, you are considered a guru, a pure devotee (follower) of Krishna.
    Then you instruct your disciples that they are fools, you give them pills (medicine) by which they will gradually give up their reasoning, and start blindly following you.

    And how they are teaching you to give up reason?
    Because you have nothing to do with the reason. You are spirit soul, who is above reason.
    Take careful notice. You are not the body. And the reason, which is the function of mind and intelligence, which are part of your body, which is not you, is not part of you.
    And because you are identifying with reason, or giving faith to reason, you are suffering in this world of reason.
    (Despite all advancement of reason in the 21st century, people are still suffering the 4 miseries of life – birth, death, old age and disease).

    So, if you want to get free from suffering, you must give up your faith to reason, and you must blindly follow the guru, who is above reason.

    Because you are blind, only those who are not blind can deliver you from the 4 miseries of life.
    But if you still rely on your reason, and do not follow blindly the guru, you will not achieve the supreme goal – the abode of eternal knowledge and happiness.

    Is this a good reason to believe Krishna consciousness is true?
    No, because Krishna consciousness is not about reason. It is about blind following.
    If Krishna consciousness is about reason, they would prove that Krishna is right and you are wrong, and then you would be chanting 16 rounds a day without deviation.
    But, since Krishna cult does not rely on reason, it has nothing to prove, or make you to believe.
    You have to decide by yourself – to be or not to be the blind follower. That is the question.
    The same question Krishna asked Arjuna at the end of Bhagavad-gita.

    You only need to consider where you should place your faith.
    To reason or to guru.

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