Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/absolut6/public_html/forums/bb-settings.php on line 186

Strict Standards: Redefining already defined constructor for class BPDB in /home/absolut6/public_html/forums/bb-includes/backpress/class.bpdb.php on line 183

Strict Standards: Declaration of BB_Walker_Blank::start_lvl() should be compatible with BB_Walker::start_lvl($output) in /home/absolut6/public_html/forums/bb-includes/class.bb-walker.php on line 148

Strict Standards: Declaration of BB_Walker_Blank::end_lvl() should be compatible with BB_Walker::end_lvl($output) in /home/absolut6/public_html/forums/bb-includes/class.bb-walker.php on line 148

Strict Standards: Declaration of BB_Walker_Blank::start_el() should be compatible with BB_Walker::start_el($output) in /home/absolut6/public_html/forums/bb-includes/class.bb-walker.php on line 148

Strict Standards: Declaration of BB_Walker_Blank::end_el() should be compatible with BB_Walker::end_el($output) in /home/absolut6/public_html/forums/bb-includes/class.bb-walker.php on line 148

Strict Standards: Redefining already defined constructor for class WP_Object_Cache in /home/absolut6/public_html/forums/bb-includes/backpress/class.wp-object-cache.php on line 285

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/absolut6/public_html/forums/bb-includes/backpress/functions.wp-object-cache.php on line 108

Strict Standards: Redefining already defined constructor for class WP_Http in /home/absolut6/public_html/forums/bb-includes/backpress/class.wp-http.php on line 67

Strict Standards: Redefining already defined constructor for class WP_Http_Cookie in /home/absolut6/public_html/forums/bb-includes/backpress/class.wp-http.php on line 1633

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/absolut6/public_html/forums/bb-includes/backpress/pomo/mo.php on line 171

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/absolut6/public_html/forums/bb-includes/functions.bb-l10n.php on line 484

Strict Standards: Redefining already defined constructor for class WP_Users in /home/absolut6/public_html/forums/bb-includes/backpress/class.wp-users.php on line 11

Strict Standards: Redefining already defined constructor for class BP_Roles in /home/absolut6/public_html/forums/bb-includes/backpress/class.bp-roles.php on line 11

Strict Standards: Redefining already defined constructor for class WP_Auth in /home/absolut6/public_html/forums/bb-includes/backpress/class.wp-auth.php on line 36

Strict Standards: Redefining already defined constructor for class WP_Dependencies in /home/absolut6/public_html/forums/bb-includes/backpress/class.wp-dependencies.php on line 33

Strict Standards: Redefining already defined constructor for class WP_Taxonomy in /home/absolut6/public_html/forums/bb-includes/backpress/class.wp-taxonomy.php on line 36

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/absolut6/public_html/forums/bb-includes/backpress/class.wp-taxonomy.php on line 581

Strict Standards: Non-static method BP_Options::get() should not be called statically in /home/absolut6/public_html/forums/bb-includes/backpress/functions.bp-options.php on line 9

Strict Standards: Non-static method BP_Options::get() should not be called statically in /home/absolut6/public_html/forums/bb-includes/class.bp-options.php on line 26

Strict Standards: Non-static method BP_Options::get() should not be called statically in /home/absolut6/public_html/forums/bb-includes/backpress/functions.bp-options.php on line 9

Strict Standards: Non-static method BP_Options::prefix() should not be called statically in /home/absolut6/public_html/forums/bb-includes/class.bp-options.php on line 49

Strict Standards: Non-static method BP_Options::get() should not be called statically in /home/absolut6/public_html/forums/bb-includes/backpress/functions.bp-options.php on line 9
<br /> <b>Strict Standards</b>: Non-static method BP_Options::get() should not be called statically in <b>/home/absolut6/public_html/forums/bb-includes/backpress/functions.bp-options.php</b> on line <b>9</b><br /> Dangers of Guru Groupism « Absolute-Truth Forums

Absolute-Truth Forums » Vaishnava Corner

Dangers of Guru Groupism

(1 post)
  1. Truth Seeker
    Key Master

    by H.H. Bhakti Vikasa Swami

    (Featured in Congregational Development Journal, published by ISKCON Congregational Development Ministry, Jan–Mar 04)

    By the mercy of Srila Prabhupada, more and more people worldwide are coming to Krishna consciousness. Congregations especially are increasing. Along with this naturally come challenges, but better to face the challenges that arise from preaching than to have no preaching.

    A unique feature and strength of ISKCON is having many devotees awarding initiation. But this can also engender problems. One problem that negatively affects the development of preaching is that of “guru groupism.” In some places there is no such competition, either due to enlightened leadership or more commonly because something resembling the old zonal acarya
    system is still prevalent, with new devotees having little choice in who they should take initiation from.

    Although devotees have been aware of guru groupism, some have come to accept it as part of life, and to openly discuss it has seemingly been taboo. However, I submitted this topic for open discussion among ISKCON leaders. I suggested that in our movement some disciples tend to form groups centered around their gurus. Thus, rather than functioning as a united organization centered on serving the mission of Srila Prabhupada, we tend to form smaller sub-groups within the institution, each with the petty agenda of increasing its numbers, and-in competition with other such groups-to canvass new devotees and to promote their guru as best. Guru groupies become preoccupied with competing for new recruits rather than educating devotees on the principles and practices of spiritual life as taught by Srila Prabhupad. Significantly, no one denied that such problem existed and discussion ensued as to the effects of this syndrome. His Holiness Lokanatha Maharaja commented that guru groupism is one of the greatest dangers facing our movement: if left unchecked it could lead to a complete splintering into various factions. It should be checked now, before it’s too late.

    Guru groupism tends to promote a neophyte, fanatical, divisive, and separatist mentality that cannot be healthy, neither for the individuals who subscribe to it, nor for our movement as a whole. Certainly there can be no real cooperation and unity if this syndrome persists.

    Despite the above, my observation is that in many areas of the world devotees initiated by various ISKCON gurus tend to serve Srila Prabhupada’s mission in a spirit of cooperation. Although each devotee has a personal relationship with the guru, it is a private matter that creates no separatism in the interactions with disciples of other gurus. These devotees tend to better respect all gurus and senior devotees and to identify themselves as members of ISKCON and followers of Srila Prabhupada, rather than as members of a guru-based subgroup.

    So how do we tackle this problem. GBC has already made few recommendations like

    1) Educating devotees on importance of keeping Srila Prabhupada perspective of ISKCON in their congregation.
    2) Preserving the mood and mission of the founder acarya as the mainstream ISKCON activity. And that Srila Prabhupada as the universal Siksha Guru for all ISKCON devotees.
    3) All the guru based sub projects should be encouraged to be done as a secondary and private activity for disciples. And glorification of one's spiritual master be done openly only on specific days like Vyasa Puja etc. Otherwise it should be relegated to an internal affair.
    4) The congregation leaders should give due emphasis on hearing from Srila Prabhupada as part of the Sadhana.
    5) Create an open atmosphere for new devotees to choose their spiritual masters and remove undue influence or nepotism for choosing a specific guru.

    Other points I raised:

    (1) Many people come to Krishna consciousness because they want to get away from the superficiality of material life, in which everyone is competing with each other. When they read Srila Prabhupada’s books they become inspired by the high ideals His Divine Grace articulates. But when such newcomers become subjected to the manipulative tactics of guru groupism, they think that the temple environment is the same as the material environment from which they seek
    relief. Upon encountering this neophyte competition, many intelligent people back off and leave Krishna consciousness altogether.

    (2) On the positive side, it was noted that if disciples of different gurus could unite more, we could achieve wonderful results, considering the ripeness of many of the affected preaching fields.

    (3) The stress should be on educating newcomers in what it means to be a disciple and what are the qualifications of a bona fide guru, thus enabling them to come to an intelligent decision based on genuine faith in guru. Without this, the number of disciples may increase, but the
    quality of guru-disciple relationships might be shallow and based on hype rather than genuine spiritual exchange.

    (4) Although every disciple has an individual relationship with the guru, our preaching should be as members of Srila Prabhupada’s mission; we must understand that ISKCON’s initiating gurus have no other mission than that established by Srila Prabhupada. Our preaching efforts should be on behalf of Srila Prabhupada for ISKCON, and we should feel happy if a new devotee feels attracted to any bona fide guru within ISKCON.

    (5) Some devotees believe that canvassing for new initiates is a service to their guru. But it is actually a disservice to the guru to bring him people insufficiently educated in what it means to be a disciple. Later, such recruits’ dubious activities would give the guru a bad reputation and
    extra karma. Another result of such aggressive canvassing is that later some devotees lament that they were unduly influenced or practically forced to take initiation without being given the chance to thoroughly examine the guru and make a thoughtful choice.

    (6) Local leaders in areas where gurus spend little time become de facto gurus if all devotees under them are their junior Godsiblings. Although this may appear to be a smart managerial ploy, it rarely helps—either the de facto gurus or those under them—to mature in Krishna consciousness.

    (7) Temple leaders should invite initiating gurus other than their own to visit their preaching area and let all devotees benefit from a multiplicity of association.

    (8) The sustained input of gurus is required to rectify matters. Gurus should make clear to their disciples their duty to educate newcomers about the process of initiation, which includes making a personal decision based on knowledge and without undue pressure from others.

    Guru, Vaishnava Dasa
    Bhakti Vikasa Swami

    Posted 5 years ago #

RSS feed for this topic

Reply

You must log in to post.