Aparadhi to the Sannyasa Order BY: ROCANA DASA
Nov 04, CANADA (SUN) — This is a response to Candrabhanu das's article, "Fools Rush In", which was a response to my article, "Apologist for the Avant-Garde". Candrabhanu makes clear in his opening salvo that I hit a hot button in my characterization of him, and was wrong in having said that he is a 100% sold-out ISKCON-ite, a 'poster boy'. And I have to admit that he's right. I apologize to Candrabhanu das and the readers for this error. As Candrabhanu prabhu notes, I do not 'known him from Adam'. Being more fair and accurate, what I should have said is that Candrabhanu das writes like someone who is a 100% sold-out ISKCON-ite, and 'poster boy'. He may not really be such a personality, but has only written in such as way as to sound like one.
In fact, I do not know Candrabhanu das, having not had an opportunity to serve with him. He describes himself as being a strong critic of ISKCON management at times, an active player in the Reform Movement, and a participant with other academics in a committee working at the GBC level on the matter of guru-tattva. Unfortunately, we do not find online anything of any philosophical substance that he has written over the years. Unlike Candrabhanu das, I have written volumes of material on various philosophical issues, and hopefully if prabhu takes time to read any of them, he will discover that my opinions are not trite, predictable or melodramatic, nor am I a two-dimensional man with no 'colors on my palette'. While Candrabhanu das was previously finding fault with the fault-finders in his original article, "Dogs and Caravans, he has now taken me to task for making critical comments about his character, treating me to a dose of the same medicine. Perhaps now we can move on to the more important issues.
With his last article, the readership has gotten to discover a little more about Candrabhanu das by his own perception of himself. He perceives himself as being an independent and common sense person who is trying to change ISKCON from the inside, whereas we're in a position of trying to change it from the outside. He told us of his participation in the change process going back to 1978, and a situation that does not appear to have been enshrined in the common ISKCON history -- at least, I have never heard about the coup staged to try and take the Cleveland temple back from Kirtanananda's control. Of course, New Vrindavan and the other ISKCON leaders were very expert at covering all sorts of things up.
Candrabhanu also says that he was a vocal critic during the Reform Movement, although there's no written evidence of this chapter in his history. I was rather surprised to hear that he had been 'arm-in-arm with the reformers' in the 80's. I was at every Reform meeting in New Jersey and was a member of the delegation to Europe when Ravindra Svarupa, Bahudak and I went to meet with Bhagavan. I was very actively involved, but frankly I can't remember being arm-in-arm with Candrabhanu. Perhaps he'll refresh our memory of his specific role in the Reform process.
As history shows, right after the so-called Reform, some of the participants in the core group of those who had helped to spearhead the movement in the 80's ended up going over to the other side. Led by Ravindra Svarupa, they sold out their brothers in arms, in exchange for positions of power. There was an official declaration made that the Zonal Acarya principle had been wrong, and now the GBC would be including more people in the guruship club. Ravindra Svarupa, Bir Krishna, and several others immediately got their pay off, and became diksa gurus. Beyond that, the Zonal Acarya system didn't change one little bit. None of the consequences of the philosophical deviations were reversed or corrected, and there was little other change going forward, except for the new members of the guru club. The Zonals didn't give up their disciples and didn't relinquish any power whatsoever, except for sharing some of their remnants. So we would be interested to hear from Candrabhanu das just what his role in the Reform Movement was, and what his thoughts are about how the matter was "settled."
But of course, the Reform Movement is not what we're here to discuss, either. We're here to talk about the fact that Candrabhanu has a certain perception of Hridayananda das Goswami and his pastimes, and that his conclusion is very different from my own, and from several of our Sun contributors. Candrabhanu alludes to the fact that he knows Hridayananda very well, but doesn't give us any details. It would be interesting to know if Hridayananda is a member of the academic committee that is advising the GBC on guru-tattva, pushing the GBC to rethink or redefine their guru nomination and voting procedures, which are contrary to sastra. Hridayananda would be a natural choice for such a working group. Of course, if the GBC accepts a new system, we assume it won't be retroactive. In other words, the GBC won't be likely to look at Hridayananda's own guru status, or his participation in the Zonal Acarya system, in which he and his associates promoted the concept that Srila Prabhupada had chosen them to be diksa gurus, which was, of course, completely false. That's a good part of what the Reform Movement centered on: that these individuals were not nominated, the July 9th Letter did not represent Srila Prabhupada's appointment of them as being the sole and only diksa gurus within ISKCON, exclusive to a particular zone, and that all the disciples they had gotten under those false pretenses should be freed up to make a proper choice of guru, without being forced. Whether or not Candrabhanu das and Hridayananda das both serve on this committee, we would like to know if Candrabhanu concludes that Hridayananda behaved in an asiddhantic fashion when putting on the mantle of a Zonal Acarya.
Candrabhanu das goes on to say that he has observed Hridayananda's character and his teaching, but to what degree? To what degree has he personally associated with Hridayananda? That he hasn't chosen to share with us. Did he have previous association with Hridayananda, during his Zonal Acarya phase? He indicates that he was in Kirtanananda's zone, so we can't be sure. There are undoubtedly many of Srila Prabhupada's disciples who survived the Zonal Acarya period, and their perception of the individual Zonal Acaryas was inarguably influenced by which zone(s) they were actually in. I had the misfortune of going from Hansadutta's zone to Jayatirtha's, to Kirtanananda's, so my perception will be different than other devotees who stayed in one zone for the entire time. Many of the devotees who have submitted complaints on Hridayananda actually spent years in his zone during the Zonal Acarya period, and some are still in communities he currently visits disciples in, like in Mexico.
I did have Hridayananda as a GBC during Srila Prabhupada's ISKCON lila period, but I did not have him as a Zonal Acarya. My position in the hierarchy during that period was primarily one of Temple President and Regional Secretary, a few layers down from the Zonal Acarya echelon, so I got to know what was going on in the other zones by the reports that were coming in. For example, Candrabhanu prabhu, I know that your statement that Hridayananda has had an unblemished past is simply not true. You claim that I'm lying in my articles, which I'm not, and that those who submit articles to the Sun are telling lies and are full of deceit, which I don't believe – and here you are, telling an outright lie! In fact, I could point to several things you've written that I consider to be misleading, at best. You may now wish to stop preaching to us about "hyperbole, half-truths, outright lies and misleading innuendo."
In "Dogs and Caravans", you wrote:
"I should not have to mention the tremendous success HDG has encountered in his 40+ years as one of this movement's foremost preachers and educators. Nor that as a sannyasi for 35 years he has never even had a brush with falldown."
For you to make this statement, you either have to be totally uninformed (which you assure us you are not) or, as I suggested in my previous article, you are a sold-out supporter. There have been scandals. Take, for instance, the scandal while Hridayananda was a Zonal Acarya, around the time of the Reform. He was living in Miami Beach, in a converted hotel that the temple had purchased. While living there, he developed an attachment to a woman. He pursued a very unhealthy relationship with her – enough so that it certainly constituted a falldown – and serious enough so that the GBC had to step in and put a stop to. Hridayananda did give the relationship up in due course, but not until he was essentially threatened by the GBC. Of course, the GBC did not announce that this was going on, but many devotees in leadership positions at the time knew many of the details. Likewise, we certainly can't assume that Hridayananda is not 'falling down' right now, just because the GBC aren't telling us that's the case.
The reality is that Hridayananda lives a very private life compared to most devotees, and most sannyasis. Of course, the standard, the rule of sannyasa practice is that sannyasis are never supposed to be alone. They are to have a brahmacari or an assistant with them at all times, so they will never be tempted to engage in sense gratification. Now perhaps, Candrabhanu das, you think this is just another archaic rule that Maharaja has rejected – 'eschewing orthodoxy for its own sake', as he does.
"Accusations regarding his inattention to sadhana are false. I defy anyone to prove otherwise. To place him in a category with devotees who have experienced serious fall downs and/or have left the movement is more or less despicable."
You cannot claim that these accusations are false. I defy you to prove that they're false, or to prove that Hridayananda does maintain proper sadhana practice. You can't do it. We have heard so many reports over the years that Hridayananda does not chant his rounds. Some of his devotees have even offered an excuse for this, claiming that "Maharaja has Carpel Tunnel syndrome, so he cannot chant on his beads." But as I've said many times, how someone keeps their personal sadhana, or not, is impossible for anyone but Krsna to know. We can, however, observe many of Hridayananda's other habits.
From what you're written, Candrabhanu das, you're very interested in varnasrama. I assume you'd agree that in the context of ISKCON, varnasrama consists primarily as 'asrama'. Hridayananda has chosen to participate in the sannyasa asrama, although his activities are what you like to consider "avante-garde". But in fact, his personal habits in this regard are the antithesis of the standards one in the sannyasa asrama should be strictly following, as set down by Srila Prabhupada. I would assume someone as interested in varnasrama as you are would be against this precedent Hridayananda is setting -- the fact that now sannyasis can wear baseball caps, trading their Tulsi neck beads and brahman threads for T-shirts, what to speak of joking around and associating with females, not only in the classroom, by lying around giggling in the bedroom. He clearly has no strictness in this regard. He supports gay marriage. He gets his salary from the university as well as having his own private monies. In essence, he lives a dual life, drawing from each side whenever convenient. And this is all OK with you? There's nothing wrong with it? I'm sure that if the pujari at New Talavan showed up to offer arotik to the Deities wearing Bermuda shorts and a T-shirt, you would be there protesting, or if the Temple President showed up at the Sunday Feast to give the lecture, dressed in the same kind of attire we see Hridayananda wearing in front of the devotees.
So basically, Candrabhanu das, if you want to defend Hridayananda by accusing myself and the other Sun writers of being 'full of hyperbole, lies, and innuendo', which according to you constitutes Vaisnava Aparadha, then we're open to discussing these things. But I suggest that you be far more specific in the charges you make. You're saying, for instance, that the photographs we published were out of context. But which photos? Some of them? All of them? What is the true context of these photographs? Do you mean they weren't shot in Mexico, or not at the time of his most recent visit? In our estimation, these photos are not at all out of context. The subject matter in the photos is basically Hridayananda, putting himself in a position that as a sannyasi, we know the Spiritual Master would never approve of. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur wouldn't even meet with his female disciples alone, and Srila Prabhupada gave up the practice of associating with his female disciples as soon as practical, after he began giving sannyasa to his own disciples. That's why Jadurani is where she is today. It's why Yamuna left the movement, on account of Srila Prabhupada rather abruptly deciding not associate so closely with them.
As godbrothers of Hridayananda, and as representatives of Srila Prabhupada, many of us are offended by Hridayananda's behaviour. We think that he's offending Srila Prabhupada, and he's the real perpetrator of Vaisnava Aparadhi -- not those who are stepping forward and stating the obvious. Now if you want to clarify for all of us the philosophical rationale you and/or Hridayananda have come up with that allows persons of Hridayananda's stature as a sannyasi and guru to engage in the activities he has, please do so. We will be very interested to read it. No one is questioning the fact that Hridayananda has a degree from Harvard, a big brain, and a great aptitude for memorization and language. I'm not questioning that in the least. He's always been recognized as someone who's been endowed by previous karma with a great deal of intelligence and an extraordinary ability to achieve success in his academic pursuits. But that in itself doesn’t qualify him to disregard important aspects of Vaisnava tradition, setting an example for what could be generations of devotees to follow.
In the future, we can expect that young devotees will point to Hridayananda and say, "Well he did it… why can't I do it? Why is he so special, that he can flaunt and disregard the rules of society? The rules must be open to interpretation.' And you, Candrabhanu das, have now gone down on the record as being one of the persons who supported him and his behavior, in a sense allowing it to continue. Because you're not really speaking to me or the other Sun contributors here -- you're speaking to his followers, and to those persons who want to believe as you do, that all the liberties he's taking with the philosophy are really OK. And of course, there are a lot of those people in the institution – including the GBC themselves. They want to believe and see things the way you do. You're articulating a rebuttal for them, and you're convincing a lot of doubtful and vulnerable followers and disciples of Hridayananda, and of other gurus, too. So if you want to take that kind of risk, if you want to be a fool who rushes in and defends someone on those grounds, then I can't stop you. There have been many fools in the past who have defended the other fallen gurus, before it became public just how fallen they were and the charade came to a painful close.
as the videos below indicate, Hridayananda's charade is still a work in progress.
Here are some other fools who, like Candrabhanu das, are supporting the bogus
swami, who is busy making a great joke out of the order of Sannyasa, the concerned
devotees, the GBC, and everything Srila Prabhupada stood for.
He's My Guru and I'll Jay! if I Want
I Blessed Too Fast
Hridayananda aka Howard Resnick aka Acaryadeva aka Acaryapada aka Gurudeva Go-Swami
From Pada: Hridayananda (Howard Resnick), born 1948 November 5, is a self-appointed bogus GBC ISKCON "guru" clone (clown), he perverts Srila Prabhupadas books, preaches bogus philosophy, stealing Prabhupadas disciples. Hridayananda received his rubber stamp guru certificate in Iskcons homosexual re-coronation ceremony and crowned himself Acaryadeva. He personally picked that name for himself in the days of the Zonal-Acarya nonsense with the misconception that he was one of the "acarya successors" of Srila Prabhupada. He forced his godbrothers to worship him in a simultanious guru-puja, declaring Prabhupada for dead.
please also read:
expose - mexico
Hridayananda melt down
Hridayananda's Tough Love
Hridayananda's Falldowns with Devamrita devi dasi
Hridayananda fall down from sannyasa
Hridayananda -- Out of Character
Hridayananda exposed by Payonidhi Prabhu
Hridayananda's Sex - Drugs - and Cocaine Party
Hridayananda advocates homosex philosophy
A Response to Hridayananda's Homosexual Philosophy
Hridayananda rejected by his disciple Krishna-Kirti Das
Hrdayananda's bogus Srimad Bhagavatam
Hridayananda rejects Srila Prabhupada
Srila Prabhupada on homosexuality
IRG South America Update
Krishna-kirti's letter to the GBC [doc]
Krishna-kirti pdf article here [pdf]
Photo Gallery of Hridayananda
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All glories to His Divine Grace A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada!