terça-feira, 24 de junho de 2008

Hinduização da ISKCON

Como nós sabemos, não existem as palavra "Hindu" ou "Hinduísmo" nos Vedas.

Ao longo dos séculos estas palavras foram incorporadas até mesmo pelos indianos para designar suas tradições religiosas.

Mas são termos inapropriados. O termo apropriado é como designado no Srimad Bhagavatam, Sanatana Dharma ou Dharma Védico ou ainda Vaisnava Dharma.

O propósito do Dharma Védico consiste em "educar todos os homens no avanço do conhecimento de Krsna, ou Deus. Nisto consiste todo o programa Védico." (Srila Prabhupada)

Agora, dentro do Dharma Védico existem muitas linhas e vertentes que ou aproximam-se ou afastam-se deste propósito.


Os Smarta Brahmanas ou sacerdotes hereditários presidem as cerimônias religiosas de milhões de "Hindus".
Estes sacerdotes conduzem os serviços aos diferentes Devatas (Semideuses) que abençoam as pessoas com bençãos materiais (Riqueza, felicidade familiar, boa saúde, etc).
Os Smarta Brahmanas estão agrupados em Gotras (Famílias) que acredita-se descenderem diretamente do Senhor Caturmukha (Quatro cabeças) Brahma.
Eles defendem o sistema de castas (Jaya Vyavastha (Asura Varnasrama)) o qual determina a posição social da pessoa na sociedade "Hindu".
Para eles a principal qualificação é nascer numa Brahmana Gotra.


Os Saivities e os Shaktas adoram Siva e a energia feminina Shakti, que é chamada Durga, Devi, Parvati e Kali.
Eles adoram Siva e Shakti para obterem rápido avanço material com pouco esforço.
Também adoram Ganesh e Muruga (Kartikeya), filhos de Siva.
Também associados ao Sivaismo e ao Shaktismo estão o Tantra Branco e o Tantra Negro.


Diferentes Vaisnavas Sampradayas autorizadas adoram a Suprema Personalidade de Deus.

Também existem diferentes Apasampradayas (Linhas desautorizadas dentro do Vaisnavismo).


Sankaracarya ensina a filosofia Mayavada e introduz o sistema Pancopasana.(Panca-cinco, Upasana-Ritual de adoração)
Como não podemos concentrar nossas mentes no Brahman impessoal devemos meditar e adorar Durga, Surya Deva, Ganesh, Siva e Visnu, que depois devem ser abandonados.

Assim, para a grande maioria dos indianos o Dharma significa estar inserido no Asura Varnasrama dos Smarta Brahmanas, adorar diferentes Semideuses (Politeísmo), adorar Siva e Shakti com propósitos materiais, adorar de acordo com o sistema Pancopasana de Sankaracarya.
Para eles adorar Visnu ou Krsna esta na mesma plataforma que adorar os Semideuses.

"Cultivar uma comunidade Hindu" não é tarefa fácil, e requer devotos muito dedicados.
O conhecimento desvirtuado é pior que a ignorância.
Então mostrar para esta Comunidade "Hindu" que a perfeição do Dharma Védico é aprender a amar à Krsna, Deus como ensinado por Sri Caitanya é o propósito da ISKCON.
Srila Prabhupada instituiu o programa de Membros Vitalícios (Life Members) com esta finalidade.

Tendo tudo isto bem claro, de ambas as partes, então ISKCON e Comunidade "Hindu" podem ajudar-se mutuamente, caso contrário ocorrerá uma Hinduização da ISKCON.

Os seguintes artigos são muito interessantes e mostram os consequências da "Hinduização" da ISKCON nos Estados Unidos e na Inglaterra.

The Hindufication of ISKCON
by Ragaputra das
Posted March 31, 2005
I read with almost utter disbelief the announcement from the Spanish Fork temple in Utah regarding the
"Holi/Gaura Purnima festival." Here's the quote, among many paragraphs about Holi, which contains the sole mention of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and his glorious appearance day.
"Elements of the festival will be observed with classical Indian dance, and a PowerPoint presentation and bathing ceremony for India's greatest incarnation, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, whose appearance day coincides with Holi. There will be musical interludes, the lighting of a bonfire, burning of an effigy, and the throwing of dry colors on friends and foe alike. The dry powders supplied by the temple are non-stain, but still guests are cautioned not to wear their 'Saturday Best'."
Notice, if you will, the Lord's appearance is third on the list and "coincides with Holi" (not the other way around).

Further, about half of the article is dedicated to the résumé of the Indian dancer who will be featured. Last, but not least, Gaura Purnima is on Friday the 25th, not Saturday the 26th, at least in North America (fasting until moonrise, in case anyone has forgotten). So what gives?
I know I am not the first person who has commented on this trend, and the Spanish Fork temple has repeatedly held several similar festivals in the past, but where is the outrage?
Here in San Diego, a similar trend is noted. Millions of dollars have been raised for a new temple project (almost exclusively from the Indian community) complete with Siva and Ganesh, samskaras and pujas are performed with regularity for the Indian community, some of the devotees are making a trek to the peak of Mt. Whitney for Siva puja, etc., etc. Incidentally, Sivaratri was a two day affair because it fell on a weekday. So there was a follow up celebration on Saturday so the (Indian) community would not be inconvenienced.

Meanwhile, preaching to the public at large in the form of book distribution is going on only because two dedicated brahmacaris, Mahat-tattva das and Tota-Gopinath das, are bucking the trend. The bhakta program seems almost non-existent and the current temple facilities are badly in need of repair. What's going on?

The answer is obvious. The Indian community has a lot of money and is willing to fork it over for the projects that fit in with their notions of "Hindu dharma". But we are not Hindus. We are devotees of Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and we have dedicated our lives to spreading the Sanatana Dharma of service to Krishna. Kowtowing to the material conceptions of the Indian community, or any other materially designated group (vegans, PETA, etc.) will not advance us in spiritual life.

It's not about getting money; it's about serving Krishna. Better to keep the purity and remain poor, than deviate and get millions of dollars.

Unless one is very advanced, he should be careful about accepting money from materialistic men. So many deviations have occurred in the name of preaching simply for acquiring money and good taste prevents mentioning them all here. But anyone familiar with the goings-on of the society for the last 30 years will know what I'm talking about.

I'm not suggesting that we discount the Indian community or fail to encourage them to donate money for Krishna Consciousness. My concern is that in the name of preaching and yukta-vairagya, Srila Prabhupada's movement is morphing into a western sect of Hinduism. This is certainly not what Srila Prabhupada envisioned for his society. I welcome comments and opposing viewpoints.

Response to the article "The Hindufication of ISKCON"
by Urvashi Patel
Posted May 4, 2005

It is true, and it is a worrying trend that ISKCON seems to more and more take shelter of and accommodate the Hindu community. This has also been seen in the UK. Bhaktivedanta Manor for instance has become a major Hindu Temple which can show results in terms of great numbers such as thousands of visitors on Janmasthami day, hundreds of visitors every Sunday, Holi, weddings and the whole lot of the Hindu calendar.

Analyzing it we come to the conclusion that it is all tied in with vast donations from the Hindu community. The management feels obliged to their donors if the flow of laksmi should continue. That is not to say that there is no other preaching. There are school programs where hundreds of children are taught Hinduism/Krishna consciousness in some sort of balance, there are open days for everyone, workshops etc. That is good and laudable. However, it remains that the vast bulk of time, finances and resources is devoted to accommodate the Hindu community. The worrying thing is that this is a trend which is dictated by financial considerations.

The importance of the Hindu community has also been recognized by the Prime Minister, Tony Blair. He has for the first time spoken openly about the Krishna consciousness movement, a pad on the shoulder for ISKCON UK/Bhaktivedanta Manor no doubt. I am sure Srila Prabhupada would be proud of such an accomplishment. However, this has some deep ramifications for the whole of the UK yatra.

Now suddenly ISKCON is in good terms with the Prime Minister, the major of London and other top ranking politicians who promise themselves a sizable slice of the Hindu votes. This ISKCON/Hindu image has to be maintained at any cost by the Bhaktivedanta Manor/UK management. The Hindu community has become a political powerhouse. And the cost/loss is actually great in terms of preaching, as any other endeavour to present Krishna consciousness in the UK is crushed in its very beginnings. The ISKCON establishment has established itself and its financial basis. Bhaktivedanta Manor is its headquarter. The finances are not to be underestimated. It is a multi-million business. Along with it comes that the top ranking managers are on a sizable and ever increasing payroll. Other junior managers follow suit to various degrees.

This newly found wealth has given rise to another interesting phenomenon. The majority of devotees who do the essential services are imported from abroad and overseas. This is not a problem in itself. However, the problem is that the Manor has become too rich too quickly. There is no need anymore to care for the well-being of devotees. If it doesn't work out with a particular devotee one can quickly 'purchase' another one from India, Russia or any other third world country. In contrast, a purer yatra or a smaller temple will have to look after its devotees. They are their life and soul. It is a healthy relationship.

On the GBC level it doesn't look much different. The GBC secretary feels more obliged to those holding the financial and political power than to uphold the all around preaching in its various forms and facets. Control becomes the major instrument for upholding and securing the status quo with the consequential effect that Srila Prabhupada's actual preaching mission gets distorted or even lost in order to accommodate the Hindu community. It is sad to say the least and it is disastrous in the long run as the once so vibrant yatra becomes more and more institutionalised by favouring those few in positions and neglecting the many with the consequence that the UK yatra becomes fragmented. The majority of devotees have no role to play anymore and either they take shelter in the material energy or else join Narayana Maharaja or any other grouping.

In fact we have created and are feeding those groupings and one day they will have so much increased in size and importance that ISKCON will be marginalised altogether. By then we will have lost our purity and shakti due to not following Srila Prabhupada's order.

In summary it can be said that we are on a dangerous trend by too much accommodating the Hindu community. It happens slowly but steadily month after month and year after year and before we really wake up from this unfortunate paradigm all our valuable preachers, Prabhupada disciples and dedicated followers will have moved either to other Vaishnava groupings, become victimised by the illusory energy or will have organised themselves in one form or other. What a loss! All spiritual leadership will have disappeared by then having been replaced by institutional leadership and managers who are more concerned about themselves then about their suffering god brothers and juniors, what to speak about the actual preaching. The good thing is that Krishna will not tolerate that His devotees are neglected, i.e. He will bring about a change in the whole situation in as much as we have seen some major changes when the majority of devotees feel neglected and dissatisfied. But then it will be too late to settle things peacefully.
Urvashi Patel

The Need for Diversity

by Urvashi PatelPosted June 8, 2006
...There have been numerous articles of concern about the Hindufication of ISKCON...

...The worrying trend is rather that due to the vast financial input of the Hindu community ISKCON's core values are watered down and are in danger of getting lost altogether. In not more than one generation much will have disappeared. Money obliges, especially if it is coming repeatedly from the same source. Influence is being bought and vision is being changed.

Srila Prabhupada wanted the help of the Indian community no doubt but he didn't want the preaching to the Westerners stagnate or directed entirely towards the Hindus.

Let me give an example to show what I mean. It is obvious that book distribution has massively declined in the past so many years. There is no immediate economic need any more to distribute books as the temples are secure because of donations from the Hindu community. Naturally book distribution is in the decline.

Hardly any new devotees are being made either. Those serving at the temples are mostly imported from Eastern Europe or from India. We don't even have to sincerely look after or care for devotees any more because we are rich enough to 'buy' and 'import' any devotee we want. It has regrettably left temples with much of an impersonal atmosphere.

Visiting Bhaktivedanta Manor you are forgiven to think you are coming to a 'Hindu Mandir' as perhaps 95 percent or more are Hindus who attend the programs. Any Westerner will definitely feel out of place.

I have been told there was once a thriving devotee community of hundred or more Westerners living around the Manor. They have almost all moved away because there was no need for them anymore.

The Hinduization in the UK has also implications for the wider preaching. Due to historic reasons all temples in the UK are managed by one centralized charity. This is in direct contradiction to Srila Prabhupada's instructions on management. Everybody knows those instructions. There is no need to repeat them here and I am sure most would even agree. There have been moves towards de-centralization in the UK but more than five years have passed without any tangible result. One can only assume there is no real will for it anymore.
This has far reaching implications for the overall preaching. A rigid central management is trying to control almost every aspect of development throughout the country thus stifling the preaching due to fear of loosing control.

Only one vision is being pushed, the 'Hindu Paradigm'.

After all one needs good press more than anything else, especially if one shakes hands with ministers, rich Hindu industrialists and even the Prime Minister who himself needs the Hindu votes. Political influence is being bought. But there is a high price to it. The preaching to the indigenous people of the UK has more or less stopped.

One can only wonder why Srila Prabhupada came to the West. To liberate the two percent of Hindus in the UK? Their Krishna consciousness is just under their skin. But what chance do the 98 percent of Westerners stand if the outreach towards them has trickled to almost zero? How will they get liberated or receive Lord Nityananda's mercy?
In short, the 'Hindu paradigm' is so strong and all encompassing that any other preaching endeavour is made almost impossible by default.

Bhaktivedanta Manor, the UK's headquarter, is the heart and powerhouse of the Hindu preaching. It is leading the centralized management in the UK. This is a worrying trend I feel.

What we need more than anything else in order to bring Srila Prabhupada's preaching, vision and outreach back is de-centralisation and diversity. Why should we be afraid of it? Why not give it a chance? Our philosophy is after all 'Unity in Diversity' and NOT 'Unity through Centralisation and Control'. I feel the Hare Krishna movement in the UK would rise to new heights if the 'Hindu paradigm' was not the ONLY possible preaching and outreach route. I know from my own experience and community that Hindus do actually respect and support ISKCON for preaching to the Westerners. We know they need it most. We also know why Srila Prabhupada left India and took on great austerities to preach to the mlecchas and yavanas. Let's therefore make a concerted effort to bring Srila Prabhupada's legacy back before it is too late.

Ou seja, as comunidades "Hindus" fora da Índia são muito fechadas e são formadas na sua maioria simplesmente para manter o padrão de rituais e crenças do assim chamado "Hinduismo".

Quando comunidades "Hindus" ajudam um projecto da ISKCON, fazem-no porque gostam de Krsna, assim como também gostam de Siva, Ganesh, Durga, etc.
De um modo geral, não estão muito interessados em adoptar as práticas da ISKCON.

Portanto, toda a ajuda financeira e de influência (que são muitas) das comunidades "Hindus" são muito bem vindas, desde que o padrão da ISKCON não seja alterado, o que infelizmente nem sempre ocorre.

Vosso servo
Prahladesh Dasa