Srila Prabhupada's Warning on Subtle Sex
BY: ROCANA DASA
Jun 30, CANADA (SUN) In response to Praghosa dasa's article, "All the Hoopla", following is an excerpt from a lecture that Srila Prabhupada gave in Vrindavan in May, 1975 (SB 7:6:4). It's abundantly clear that his warning about subtle sex applies to Indradyumna Swami, and whatever other swamis/brahmacaris fit the bill:
"They feel very happy: “How this man is talking with this woman woman is talking, this woman, and how they are enjoying.” So that is subtle, subtle enjoyment. There are eight kinds of subtle sex life. If you see one beautiful woman and if you appreciate, “Oh, how nice the face is,” that is subtle sex. If you read books, that is also subtle sex. If you endeavor how to approach that woman or man to find out the opportunity, that is subtle sex. There are eight kinds of subtle sex life. So it is forbidden for a brahmacari even to think of woman. That is brahmacari. Even thinking of woman is subtle sex life. It is very, very difficult."
Yet again, Praghosa dasa gives us all an opportunity to see what we're really up against in trying to bring about positive changes to Srila Prabhupada's once glorious mission. The reader should keep in mind that Praghosa dasa is an older Srila Prabhupada disciple, and if he's thinking and reacting like this, then we can only imagine what the disciples of certain personalities are thinking when their gurus are criticized by their well-meaning godbrothers. Of course, none of these leaders have responded, and rarely are they defended by their disciples.
Praghosa dasa seems to think I've demanded that Indradyumna respond to me, but that's untrue. I never, ever expected Indradyumna to respond. Praghosa also seems to think I don't have the right to publicly comment on the Swami's own published material without our having first had a conversation about it. But as far as I'm concerned, the fact that he published his Diary is the equivalent of his consent to comment in a world where freedom of the press and expression exist. Of course, these are not principles that ISKCON leaders like the Swami advocate or admire, and neither does Praghosa.
Praghosa dasa has this idea that prior to publishing anything in response to the Diary, I should have personally gotten hold of the Maharaja and expressed my concern for him based on the principle that he is a friend and/or brother. But the fact is that he's neither a friend or a brother. Technically speaking he's my godbrother, true enough, and I am certainly willing to maintain a degree of Vaisnava etiquette when addressing him. But in terms of us ever being friends at anytime during my service within ISKCON, never has that been the case.
Anyone who follows Srila Prabhupada is my godbrother. And in line with my Sampradaya Acarya proposal, I feel that all the emphasis and initials in brackets after the devotee's names, which signifies who the diksa guru is, is a lot of nonsense. We should be known as followers of the Sampradaya Acarya, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Thakur. Some of the most dedicated followers of Srila Prabhupada have been initiated, some a number of times, by so-called diksa gurus. Some Srila Prabhupada disciples have essentially rejected him, while others have transferred their faith to so-called siksa gurus.
During the Zonal Acarya period I was stationed in the UK and was in charge of the Sankirtana program there. There was a cold war going on between Bhagavan's zone and Jayatirtha's zone at the time. One of the most contentious issues was the Sankirtana, and it was assumed that one Zonal shouldn't dare infringe on another's money-making territory. There was no-cooperation whatsoever. At one point there was a bit of a thaw, and some of our senior persons were invited to Bhagavan's vyasapuja program. It was during that experience at the Chateau that I took a personal dislike to the Maharaja. When the 'vyasapuja party' got out of hand, Indradyumna Swami led a whole group of brahmacaries in a huge food fight. If memory serves me, I think Praghosa was one of them. They took the entire prasadam feast and smeared it on each other and anyone else they could get their hands on, then they began wrestling and throwing each other in the fountain. I just couldn't believe what I was seeing! This activity was as far from transcendental as you could imagine. Indradyumna certainly showed me that he was a party animal back then, and he seems to continue being one today. In those days Bhagavan was the lead singer in the band, but now it's Indradyumna.
We shouldn't be surprised that Praghosa dasa is such a strong supporter of the Swami's. After all, they were all buddies back in the Detroit days. Bhagavan recruited his close friends, those who were in his original temple in Detroit where he was the Temple President in the early 1970's, and this included Praghosa and Indradyumna. There was another devotee from Detroit who Bhagavan arranged to have take charge in Italy. I don't recall his name, but know that he later fell down. If you had friends in high places you got promotions, which in this case was Sannyasa. Praghosa didn't take that bait, as I've mentioned in previous articles, and this brought heat down on him from Bhagavan and his closest associates. Praghosa hasn't commented on this part of history, which indicates he doesn't deny this is the truth.
Sticking with the subject of godbrothers and friends, after 20 years of dedicated service in ISKCON I made many acquaintances and what I thought were close friendships with the leaders. Since the time I made my exit 20 years ago, not one of these leaders or 'friends' has phoned me, let alone visited me or tried to convince me to get re-involved. In fact, when I did make an attempt to get re-involved a few years ago, I was thrown out twice in a row by my so-called friends here on the West Coast, simply because a grand disciple didn't like something critical I'd written about a godbrother on my website. So why Praghosa dasa feels that I'm somehow obliged to give the Maharaja this courtesy is beyond me, especially since he himself says that I'm taking the position of being a journalist. He apparently feels it's incumbent upon journalists to go out and personally approach anyone and everyone they write about beforehand. It's a ridiculous proposal. In fact, for Praghosa dasa's information, I've been banned from the PAMHO email network for over ten years now. This prevents me (and anyone else they choose to exclude) from contacting any of these well-insulated leaders. There's no recourse - they just put you in the kill-file. So if Maharaja wants to hear from his 'outsider' godbrothers, perhaps he should sign on with a different email provider.
With respect to who lacks courage and integrity, I think Praghosa dasa should take a close look at the persons who are presenting themselves to this society and to the world as preachers, taking on the status of sannyasis. He should ask them why they aren't preaching to persons such as myself. And I represent thousands of trained-up preachers -- professional preachers -- who due to their preaching have made thousands of people into lovers of Srila Prabhupada and preachers of Lord Caitanya's message. So why is this the case? Why isn't the traveling mendicant Indradyumna Swami bothering to minister to his godbrothers who are no longer able to take shelter of our Spiritual Master's society? Of course we know why - because he's far more attracted to the festival circuit. In a previous article, Praghosa dasa stated that he didn't think the Maharaja would even pay attention to me because he's too busy, which I'm sure is the case. From what I know of the itinerary of these leaders, they just go from one place to another, always surrounded by admirers. This is their preaching field. I certainly don't fit into their market demographic. Instead, I choose to go about my service of writing, in part with the intention of informing people about personalities such as Indradyumna Swami.
Praghosa dasa brought up the concept of 'market' when he said the market will accept or reject the Diary. That's exactly the principle I've been acting on all along. But somehow Praghosa dasa feels that persons like Indradyumna deserve special consideration in this regard. Praghosa dasa states that I've feigned some concern for the Maharaja's spiritual well being, which isn't true. I do have personal concern for my godbrother, I just don't have much respect for him, especially when I read what he has to say in his Diary and constantly see pictures of him surrounded by adoring females. Such behaviors are consistent with my direct personal experiences of the Swami in the past. But it's not all 'old news'. Just yesterday a brand new devotee, a 21-year old woman who's been in the temple community for less than eight months, mentioned to my wife that one of her girl friends "just loves Indradyumna Swami because he's so cool and good-looking!" Given her lack of training, she somehow thought her friend's statement exemplified just how wonderful the Swami is.
We should all consider the fact that the ultimate issue here is Srila Prabhupada and the maintenance of his transcendental preaching mission. While I may not have a great deal of concern for how Indradyumna Swami feels about the criticism I direct towards him in the public media, I do have a great deal of concern for Srila Prabhupada's movement. ISKCON has chosen to glorify Indradyumna Swami above and beyond many other Swamis in the movement who, from what I can tell, are far closer to following Srila Prabhupada, and the definition of sannyasa given to us by guru, sastra and sadhu. It appears that these humble, unassuming Swamis get very little recognition in comparison to the Super-Swamis.
Praghosa dasa accuses the Sun of rag journalism, saying we'll print anything: "If it bleeds, it reads." But when it comes to Swamis like Indradyumna, one could also say "If there's bubbles, there's troubles", or "If it giggles, it wiggles", or "If it's fun, better run." In this case, the Swami should run straight to Srila Prabhupada's purports on the dangers of subtle sex. He might wish to begin with Srimad-Bhagavatam 7:6:4.