Sunday, 15 March 2020

The Reason Iskcon Gets the Fanatic Label

Pic above taken by yours truly, during a ratha yatra in Penang. Jai Shrila Prabhupada.

I have always refrained from penning this article despite a persistent urge. A question from a friend some days back made me rethink my decision.
The question she asked, in verbatim : 

' Why some are saying that Iskcon devotees are very rude and fanatics ?? I'm not like that, isn't it ?? Clarify please '

So that's the purpose this article holds - An opinion from me as to why such labels arise. I would like to affirm that I am not against Iskcon as a sampradaya itself ,though I disagree with their scriptural interpretation. I love the eminent standard of deity worship they hold and their dharma towards Bhakti-yoga. I love their goshala-s. I still do have many friends under Iskcon. I still attend ratha-yatra-s and enjoy the scent of nama sangkirtan that pervades the air.

I still bow to the Acharya-s for spreading the essence of nama-smarana and the path of bhakti across the globe which has helped raise the collective consciousness of this planet.

I have even made a video on the meaning and commentary on the Kali Santarana Upanishad of the Yajur Veda which reveals the 'hare krishna' mahamantra , as shown below : 

So be assured that I am in no way against Iskcon as an expression of Gaudiya Vaishnavism.

Nevertheless, Iskconites ( clearly referrring to those who claim to be in the org ) in large really do get on my nerves when it gets personal and I guess that's a mutual emotion everyone who labels Iskcon as a fanatical organisation share.

 I will be writing this article in a mood of fury but I hope the followers take it in a positive manner which may serve as a positive feedback for quality control.

Iskconites and their taunts 

Experience speaks. I have to quote incidents in order to justify my views. So here goes the list. Though these experiences are personal, they still vibe with what a lot of other Hindus go through in this country.

(1) Looking down on those from a different sampradaya / belief

About 5 years back, one of my seniors invited me to a kirtan in a house of an Iskconite. I enjoyed the kirtan and deeparadhana but things turned ugly after that.

A lecturer ( not my department ) actually told me to remove my rudraksha mala and to have it replaced with Tulasi when we sat down for Japa. I have not known of any vaishnavite text which tallies with his command. In fact, the texts glorify rudraksha as a potent bead. Perhaps he assumed to be vaishnavite was to hate other marga-s. Or perhaps he believes I know nothing about Vaishnavite scriptures simply because I adorn myself with Śaiva symbols. Nevertheless, he looked least guilty with his disgusting gesture, which was disturbing.

Picture below is taken from a website ( ). This is a screenshot of someone who has shared a similar experience to mine.

My experience is mutual with many out there

This is where people get irritated - to see half-baked preachers spoiling the name of their sampradaya.

His feat ( the lecturer ) did not end there. As we partook prasadam after the prayers, he approached me and spoke on his apparent experience of 'realising the true path' - the typical tale of them worshiping false deities until arriving at Krishna to have their standards heightened to a degree superior to mere mortals ( non-iskconites )

He went on to insult the deities from my sampradaya and claimed to have studied the scriptures for years to realise this truth - which he is now mercifully sharing with me in hope that I come to light.

It was simply a sugar-coated version of ' worship the ONLY ONE or rot in hell, imbecile '

What truly pissed me at that point in time was that this lad had recited nṛsiḿha-kavacaḿ earlier with corrupted pronunciations and is now proudly talking about his scriptural venture. How did he venture so much into scriptures without knowing Samskrta? Perhaps, what he meant by 'going through the scriptures' is reading a handful of biased Iskcon authored - English Translated books on selected Pauranik scriptures

Image result for iskcon fanatic

(2) Modifying Vedic Scriptures to Suit Their Belief.

Iskconites love using the term 'demigod' which does not tally with the Vedic vocab. The term devata does not mean 'demigod'. Demigod comes from Greek Mythology. But this is how scriptures are modified in Iskcon to favour Vishnu-tattva. भगवान् ( bhagavān ) is translated to 'supreme personality of Godhead' .देवता ( devata ) is translated to demigod.

The next time a pest dictates with verses like, ' I did not say such, Krshna says He is the supreme personality of .... in the Gita'

Just reply, ' No, Krshna did not give the Gita in English. The term ' supreme personality of Godhead' is a fancy created in Iskcon'. If you don't know Samskrta, keep your personal ideologies to yourself!

Bhagavān is actually a term used for One who has Bhaga. Bhaga constitutes 6 guṇa-s: aishvaryasya samagrasya viiryasya yashashash shriyaha | jnaana vairaagya yoshchaiva shhaNNam bhaga itiiraNa.

This is the definition as per Shrimad Bhagavatam which was explained by Shrila Prabhupada himself!

This is also why you don't find any other sampradaya equating the term bhagavān to a 'supreme personality of Godhead' 

Devata means - the One who ''shines''.The root sound is 'div' which means 'to shine. It simply means a 'divine state'. How is demigod a translation to 'devata'?

In fact, the term bhagavān is widely used across our culture to denote enlightened masters, deities and saints.

Iskonites contradicting themselves

The above verse from Gita Mahatmya is commonly used by Iskconite-s for obvious reasons.

Funny enough, this verse quotes Devaki Putra ( Lord KrSHNa ) as a deva ( Eko devaH..). Iskonites can call Lord Shiva and Ganapati 'demigods' because according to them, deva = demigod.

Then why is KrSHNA not called a demigod as per this verse?

As you can see, they cunningly manipulate scriptures and use English terms to suit their philosophy.

Image result for bhagavan ramana

Nothing wrong with following what your guru has chosen to enlighten you with. But don't go around shoving your ideology into people from other paths and lineages. That's when you get labeled.

And you cannot avoid them stressing non-Viṣṇu-tattvaViṣṇu-tattva deities as 'demigods'. For example, they can never say Shiva or Gauri. They gotta use 'demigod Shiva'.They cannot live without a hierarchy where they place Gods they have never experienced in an order - highest to lowest.

You will find iskconites terming other deities as dummy gods as well ( demigod ----> dummy god ). It's like they get high by insulting deities they dislike. It is as though they earn merits for every insult so they have enough points to get an express train to Goloka.

Pic: Iskconites and their ego. You fellas edit shit into these pictures and expect the followers of Adi Shankaracharya not to get pissed? 

Most of the Iskconites in Malaysia know nuts about samskrta or Vaidika Bhasha. Hence, they perceive Vedic terms in a biased English translation which fuels nothing but fanaticism. This fanaticism assumes a crude form when they believe themselves to be scripturally enlightened enough to dictate.

Try replacing every ' supreme personality of godhead' in their books with simply 'bhagavan' and every 'demigod' into 'devata' and you will see how different the very books appear.

Rudra is described as Bhagavan in the Yajur Veda. But you don't see Yajur Vedis going around calling Rudra as the 'supreme personality of Godhead' and demeaning Vishnu-tattva deities as demigods like there's no tomorrow. They could if they wanted. The same applies to every path.

Nothing wrong with worshiping the deity you perceive as supreme without having to condemn other deities desperately.

Other sampradaya-s have this bias too. But you don't see people getting pissed with them as much as they do with Iskconites simply because Iskconites are overdoing it with sheer ego - that they KNOW it and those who do not submit to their philosophy are worthy of harassment.

(3) Forcing Others to Leave their Sadhana and stick to the 'maha-mantra'

You will find Iskconites who can barely pronounce Kṛṣṇa in accordance with the correct Sanskrit pronunciation teaching you the best 'mantra-sadhana'. I was told by many Iskconite-s to stop reciting and teaching Vedas and to instead resort to their 'Hare Krshna' mantra and nothing else.

This was a time when I was propagating on the greatness of Rudra prashnam of Yajur Veda. I was told by several iskconites to drop it and instead, stick to the maha-mantra alone.

Grab the Mahabaratha and look at the anushasana Parva - where Lord Krishna Himself declares that His daily sadhana was to worship Lord Shiva with the recitation of Rudra Prashna. This occurs in a conversion between Lord Krishna and King Yudhishthira.

The followers of Iskcon are clearly even anti-Vedas, evidenced by this.

I have had many contacts from Iskcon and it is common to see them ridicule people who have meditation, kriyas or any non-bhakti oriented sadhana as their focus. To them, anything other than the 'Hare Krishna' mantra is cheap.

It's like they need this daily dosage of roasting other sects to convince them they are on the best path. This actually heavily resembles insecurity. So insecure about your belief that you gotta constantly put other deities and lineages down.

(4)  Using Scriptures Like Buffet

Most of them have typical quotes to approve their 'respect' towards Shiva - to demonstrate that they are not fanatical but merely quoting the scriptures. You can hear them revering Shiva as the greatest Vaishnavite as their texts say so.

वैष्णवानां यथा शम्भु: 
vaiṣṇavānāṁ yathā śambhuḥ

Next, you have the typical milk to yogurt analogy where they give an impression of their reverence towards Shiva ( Milk can become yogurt but yogurt can never become milk - Kṛṣṇa can become Shiva but Shiva can never be Kṛṣṇa )

These are the typical pickup lines they mug and parrot in public to show how 'right' they are.

Again, a screenshot from '

Firstly,these texts ( used by Iskconites as reference ) are Pauranik and not Vedic. Meaning - they are not part of the Vedas - the highest authority in Sanatana Dharma.

Puranas are always biased to a particular principle. Take Linga Purana and you will find Shiva being glorified as Supreme. The same applies to Shakta Puranas etc

So simply picking up a verse from your desired text and claiming it to be the only right truth is never applicable to our culture - which is overly rich with literature and scriptures.

Image result for hindu puranas

If you want to talk about scriptures - talk about all of them, not pick what you like. This ain't a buffet.

Many paths exist to accommodate people from different backgrounds who have an affinity toward a particular sadhana that leads to their enlightenment. So stick to yours and stop poking your nose into the sampradaya of others.

Any Shaivite, Saura or Shakta can do the same by picking a verse that glorifies His or Her preferred deity as supreme. But you don't find that often.

Iskconites do it like drinking water - and that's why the label.

Image result for vibhuti
Demonising Vibhooti - The Sacred Ash of Hindu Tradition

Once, a half-baked acquaintance from Iskcon pled me to refrain from using vibhuti as the Agni Purana apparently classifies bhasma ( ash ) as dirt.

I showed Him another reference from Shiva Purana which glorifies the same vibhuti. But again, they have a typical answer to that. Any scripture which does not agree to their belief is termed 'tamasic' - hence inauthentic. Any philosophy that does not tally with their belief system is classified as 'mayavadi philosophy'.

 Firstly, these nutcases need to realise that vibhuti or bhasma is not about just smearing random street dust on your body. The Kamika Agama gives detailed instruction on preparing bhasma which involves using ash from the remains of a shiva agni. So the dust described in Agni Purana is not in reference to the sacred bhasma Shaivites use.

It's a typical denial mode were they using fancy terms to live under their shell. Arguing with an Iskconite is like playing chess with a pigeon. It simply flies around shitting everywhere, toppling the pieces - ultimately believing itself to be the winner.

Silly enough, the so called scriptures which they claim tamasic revere Vaishnavite deities as well - thus, putting them in a paradox of buffet-picked foolishness.

(5) Iskconites who Traumatise temple visitors

This always happens when I visit the Shri Shri Radha Kṛṣṇa Kanhaiya Temple of Penang.

Image result for penang iskcon temple

Iskconites never fail to disrupt my inner peace in that awesome temple. I can barely appreciate the beauty of their alankara before getting ambushed by a hardcore preacher.

It is good to share what your sampradaya has to say - but do it in a socially acceptable way, especially when I have my own path and guru.

This is literally how I get ambushed verbally :

'' So,when are you gonna get the kanthi maala around your neck ? ''

'' Do you know Hinduism? You should start reading our books. I was also worshiping demigods like Shiva and Kali before learning Hinduism. Finally, truth dawned by the grace of Krshna and I am here''

'' Even the Bala Muruga who resides beside this temple is a servant of Krshna. He is a vaishnavite, a demigod. Yet, people do not visit our temple and they pray to the servant of Krshna''

Lord Krishna Himself quotes His state of Oneness with Skanda by proclaiming Himself to be 'Skanda among the Lord of Wars' in the Gita. And here we have a joker who insults Muruga, the deity who is a breath to Tamizhs.

They do this shit and expect the public to love them? You are insulting a deity who is celebrated by millions of Hindu-s every year dude! Stop being a nitwit!

They should really consider stand-up comedy. They can put the clowns of the London Royal Circus to shame.

It really annoys you when you get judged by half-baked morons who do not adhere to the dharma of their own sampradaya. Nevertheless, I make things simple and walk away saying I have my own Guru. They don't really bug after a few failed attempts.

However, what I witnessed during one of my visits disturbed me deeply. It was a Saturday morning in 2017 and I saw a simple nuclear Indian family - Father, mother and a kid visit the temple. It was their first time there and they wanted to experience a temple that appeared a little different from the norm.

They could barely pray as they liked before getting ambushed. A preacher traumatised them by throwing insults. And mind you, these were very simple people who worshiped all deities with a pure heart. They clearly did not like arguing over scriptures and supremacy.

This went on for an hour ( I actually sat and eavesdropped ). The wearied family left with the lecture and I took the chance to have a word with them. They actually expressed how their way of worship was beyond form. They practice a form of meditation where they contemplate upon God as jyoti ( light ). In addition, they visit all temples without any bias for a particular form.

They looked pretty hurt and expressed their horrid experience. I tried my best to convince them not to hate vaiṣṇavism because of these jokers. It didn't seem to work and they left with an oath to never foot into the temple again. I swear I ain't exaggerating this. I will never forget the tears in their eyes when they left the temple.

And you can ask the world as to why Iskcon is getting labeled as a fanatic association?

I was actually instructed not to 'waste' time in the Bala Subrahmanya temple adjacent to Kanhaiya and if this is not fanaticism, I do not know what else is.

Image result for bala murugan temple penang
The Bala Subrahmanya temple beside Krishna Kanhaiya temple in Penang

For now, I have a new method to get rid of such pests - just ask them to recite the shloka of reference they use to validate their philosophy. If they fail to recite it with perfect pronunciations or at least give the individual meanings for each word without parroting the presented English translation, they are in no authority to dictate.

If you have experienced similar trauma, warn any preacher who starts harassing you. Remember- no one has the right to dictate over which Guru, lineage and deity you should adhere to.


  1. Thanks bro, I have encountered them a few myself and yes they seem to be arrogant and not following their own philosophy properly.

    1. Yes.They are simply an abrahamic version of Hinduism now.It's all about 'believe in the only One or rot in hell'.To convince themselves that they are on the right path,they constantly insult other deities and gurus.