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What Is Gained By "defeating" An Opponent's Philosophy? - And who is your real audience when doing so?

vamsidas - Sat, 27 Mar 2004 04:26:14 +0530
I have a question for those of you who have come to this forum in the hope of "defeating" the philosophies and practices of orthodox Caitanyaites: What exactly are you trying to accomplish?

Does your method have any record of proven success? If not, is it possible that your motive for aggressive preaching is a bit more complicated than you may realize?

Is your motive to "convert" orthodox Caitanyaites?

I am not aware of any Western devotees, initiated in a "traditional" Caitanyaite lineage, who have given up that lineage in order to enter a Gaudiya Matha/ISKCON lineage. A handful of Indian devotees have made this switch, particularly in the first decades of the 20th century, but the phenomenon is rare in India, and unheard of in the West.

So if your motive is to "convert" orthodox Caitanyaites, experience shows that your attempt is foolish at best, even apart from the question of your adequate preparation for the task.

Is your motive to "protect" the innocents who have not yet received initiation in either a traditional line or GM/ISKCON?

If so, I am sure you realize that a devotee viewing this site is likely to have read the contents of both this site and sites like -- NOT just discussion forums. An inquisitive "new" devotee will not be constrained by institutional taboos, and is likely to have read extensively in the Goswami literatures that are de-emphasized, frowned upon or even forbidden by GM/ISKCON. So you must surely realize that you cannot adequately "protect" innocents unless you know something about their frame of reference. If you present "cartoon caricatures" that do not authentically represent the orthodox belief and practice, you will not convince devotees who are exposed to the truth of the matter, and are not receiving their information "secondhand" from partisan opponents of the traditional lineages.

So if your motive is to "protect" innocents who might someday accept GM/ISKCON initiation, your attempt is inadequate at best, and utterly foolish at worst, unless you have read the Goswami literatures and tried to understand them from the traditional perspective.

Is your motive to "reassure" GM/ISKCON devotees that they need not or should not explore the traditional Caitanyaite teachings?

If so, your argument needs to be based on firsthand knowledge, rather than cult taboos and misinformation, because if you rely on falsehoods, you will "lose" your straying members once they discover the truth firsthand for themselves, and recognize that they have been lied to by your lineage.

There is an honest argument in favor of the GM/ISKCON position, but it is weakened, not strengthened, by overblown rhetoric that raganuga devotees can disprove from firsthand readings and experiences.

By contrast, most of the "anti-raganuga" (or "anti-siddha-pranali", etc.) arguments that are posted to this forum seem useless as tools to convert raganugis, protect innocents, or reassure GM/ISKCON bhaktas who are sincerely exploring beyond the horizons of their institutions.

So what purpose do these "arguments" serve?

About all they can possibly be good for is:

1) Winning "brownie points" among fellow GM/ISKCON members, whom you hope will appreciate your "defeating the sahajiyas."

2) Bolstering your own neophyte self-confidence. It is a well-known psychological principle that fearful and uncertain believers often preach fervently so that they can avoid having to confront their own doubts, fears and lack of knowledge.

I have been much impressed by a couple of GM/ISKCON devotees who post on these forums, who have internalized the ideals of their tradition and who can present reasoned and positive arguments for that tradition, without having to resort to poorly researched (and often false) attacks on those who come from a different tradition.

Sadly, however, these devotees seem to be in the minority. I hope that this post will serve as an opportunity for some of their less thoughtful fellow-believers to reflect on the motive and effectiveness of their current "militantly ignorant" approach.
Bapuji - Sat, 27 Mar 2004 05:39:29 +0530
First thing; you need to stop telling the lie that the sahajiya schools are "orthodox" lineages. In fact, there is no such term as "orthodox" in the Gaudiya canon. In fact Gaudiya Vaishnava philosophy is too fluid and dynamic to be stereotyped as "orthodox".
Stop inventing labels that give false credentials to sahajiya parivars.

It is a lie. It is a deception. There is no such thing as an "orthodox" parivar.
No parivar is orthodox. There is no such thing as orthodox rupanugas. It is the most ironic designation that one can assign to the Gaudiya school - to call it "orthodox". This terminology has been manufactured by western devotees who want to use this false terminology as a way to assert superiority over the current acharyas who have taken the Krishna consciousness movement all over the world.

It won't work. Their scams and schemes will be sytematically exposed, as this false terminology of "orthodox lineages" has been exposed here as a fraudulent term that has no basis in Gaudiya thought.
Madhava - Sat, 27 Mar 2004 05:45:15 +0530
Bapuji is now a moderated member.

Madhava to Bapuji in PM:

I requested you to identify yourself, and explained the reasons. I believe I made myself sufficiently clear. However, you seem to be neglecting that, while the tone of your posts escalates. You will be a moderated member for ten days. This means that all posts you make will be reviewed by the moderators before they appear online. I would expect the first post to be one where you identify yourself, tell us where you stand and whom you follow. Thank you very much.

Is this, by chance, another episode of K Buddhi and the Many Descents? The Tale of the Cover-up Proxy? The persistent avoidance of straight-forward identification along with some of the patterns in the posts seem to suggest this. And the tone is very similar to what you'll find for example in this recent contribution.

Is that you, KB?
Madhava - Sat, 27 Mar 2004 05:46:39 +0530
It seems to me that Bapuji just underlined many of your perceptive statements, Vamsi ji.
Mina - Sat, 27 Mar 2004 06:10:01 +0530
There is an honest argument in favor of the GM/ISKCON position, but it is weakened, not strengthened, by overblown rhetoric that raganuga devotees can disprove from firsthand readings and experiences.

Oh really? And just what might that 'honest argument' be, pray tell?
braja - Sat, 27 Mar 2004 06:30:17 +0530
Very well said, Vamsidas-ji. My hat off to you--and to those who tolerate the tedious aggressive arguments and still reply with dignity, humor, and philosophy.

As far as "orthodox", Bapuji, take a look at "As Good As God" by Mans Broo, aka Bhrigu. He gives a very good synopsis of the Gaudiya tradition, at one point listing three prominent, contemporary non-orthodox groups, including the group he took initiation in! (I believe)

At any rate, you can't defeat history by redefining it--that would be akin to claiming the United States was responsible for defeating Napoleon or something as silly. No matter how much you enjoy chanting "U.S.A." it just won't become a fact.
Jagat - Sat, 27 Mar 2004 09:43:22 +0530
Didn't the USA support Napoleon (morally at least), and use the opportunity to try to whup the British in Canada in 1812. The Americans haven't always hated the French, you know. Statue of Liberty and all that.
Jagat - Sat, 27 Mar 2004 09:53:04 +0530
Of course the Gaudiya Math have positive arguments they could use to support their cause. If Saraswati Thakur had not made a persuasive case, he would not have attracted such a large number of dedicated supporters who continue to multiply.

The problem is that the validity of one thing does not necessitate the invalidity of the other. The existence of one does not necessitate the destruction of the other.

The best argument for Iskcon/GM is indeed the kind of person described in Vamsi Das's post and I wholeheartedly second them. I name Audarya Lila, Braj, Brahma Das (though he does not post here), Babhru, Perumal, Rasaraj, to name just a few.

There is hyperbole on both sides, and I think that those of us who belong to "orthodox" traditions (for want of a better name) should appreciate their sincerity and the validity of their contributions without condescension or insisting that they "convert."
Perumal - Sat, 27 Mar 2004 18:16:24 +0530
Orthodoxy....... here is my opinion, for what it's worth (and I know some people will object, but what the heck).

The formalities of transmission of discipleship are not always the same in every place and every time. Look at the case of Sukadev, who was born as a brahma-jnani but then became attracted to bhakti. He never received diksa from anyone. He refused to accept diksa from Vyasa and he ran away to the forest. And when he recited the holy Bhagavatam to Pariksit even Vyasa and Narada sat and listened, and learned something. If I am born in the worlds of the Gandhavas I may find my Guru has wings and the face of an eagle, but still my Guide will point the way forward, towards the highest light, and I will try to soar up through the sunlight and enter the doors of Vaikuntha. If I am born in the ocean in my next birth as a sea slug (a high probablility), I may not even have an ear, so how will I be able to learn and listen? Well.. maybe Matsyadeva will find some other way to illuminate me, with divine rays of wisdom arising from within.
Madhava - Sat, 27 Mar 2004 23:41:19 +0530
How would we define orthodoxy? When it comes down to practically labeling groups as orthodox or heterodox, I believe it has just as much to do with doctrinal purity as it has with preserving the heritage. Those advocating new-found doctrinal purity along with breaching from the tradition are protestants.
Mina - Sun, 28 Mar 2004 00:51:19 +0530
I agree with you on those points, Jagat Ji. However, as you and I both know, the deficiencies are there and we can't ignore them - at least not if we are being honest with ourselves. What I would have liked to happen back in 1980 is a continuing dialogue with the ISKCON folks, but that was not to be. Instead the leaders sent emissaries over to Krishna Charan Baba's ashram to harrass Jagannath Das and cajole him into returning to ISKCON on the trumped up premise (which was not only totally false but patently absurd) that Jaisacinandan had been forced to leave Vrindavan because of supposed political pressure exerted by ISKCON, and they were threatening Jagannath with the same 'fate'. I could not sit by and watch that, so I told them that Jaisacinandan had stored away in a bank vault information about threats made against him by ISKCON people that would be published in the newspapers should he meet with any harm or demise, and that they could take that back to their leaders. We did not hear another peep out of them, but I had clearly drawn a line in the sand. Of course that is now all ancient history and the dialogue has since resumed, albeit in a somewhat stilted manner.
nabadip - Sun, 28 Mar 2004 01:27:43 +0530
QUOTE(Madhava @ Mar 27 2004, 07:11 PM)
How would we define orthodoxy? When it comes down to practically labeling groups as orthodox or heterodox, I believe it has just as much to do with doctrinal purity as it has with preserving the heritage. Those advocating new-found doctrinal purity along with breaching from the tradition are protestants.

Orthos-doxae in Greek means: Right opinion, lore.
Heteros-doxae means different opinion...

There is no value-judgement in either of the terms. What is heterodox in relation to the orthodox, can itself be orthodox versus its heterodox off-shoots.

When you talk about a tradition, it is relatively easy to point to an orthodoxy, perhaps to the central core beliefs or statements that each member unit shares with the others, and in contrast to this then see where other units appear as differing, as heterodox.
Advaitadas - Sun, 28 Mar 2004 01:37:03 +0530
How about 'authentic', 'foundational' or indeed even 'fundamentalist' wink.gif ?
Madhava - Sun, 28 Mar 2004 01:43:42 +0530
Or "damn fanatic", even? biggrin.gif
Advaitadas - Sun, 28 Mar 2004 02:14:01 +0530
'Traditional Vaishnavas', 'sad-dikshits' ? cool.gif
dirty hari - Sun, 28 Mar 2004 03:53:01 +0530
Maybe seeing in terms of traditions is better, I am sure you can find many
who consider themselves to be in the real lineage of Gauranga
and find everyone else to be inauthentic and oppose both
Gaudiya Math types and the followers of the "orthodoxy" championed

I think when you use terms like orthodoxy in the Caintanya schools
the problem is that the origins are coming from many different sources,
Mahaprabhu didn't start the religion His various followers did
and there are numerous lineages that claim orthodoxy to the exclusion
of all others.

Whatever merit the claims are for superior authenticity in a particular
lineage is limited by the nature of the siddhanta and the personal
understanding of esoteric jnana, superior status is not aquired by
empirical study of specifics or specific process of sadhana as some may think.
Mina - Sun, 28 Mar 2004 21:15:52 +0530
Mahaprabhu didn't start the religion? On what do you base that statement?