Back To Godhead

Godhead is light, Nescience is darkness. Where there is Godhead there is no Nescience

Back To Godhead Volume-10 Number-01, 1975

How the Teachings of Lord Caitanya Came to the Western World

by Brahmananda Swami

Challenging the Bogi Yogis

Back To Godhead Volume-10 Number-01 Srila Prabhupada was a blunt critic. His targets were all the things sacrosanct to us young American materialists: sense gratification, mental speculation, sex, meat-eating, skyscrapers, fast cars, the United Nations, nationalism, science, space exploration, family and love, impersonal spirituality and other gurus, He was against the entire modern civilization. He even discouraged us from eating in restaurants. One thing difficult for us to accept in the beginning was his unreserved criticism of other gurus. As student-aged youths, we were skeptical of those who claimed to monopolize anything, what to speak of the truth. We were tired of those who said that theirs was the only way. Our idea for eliminating all the hatred in the world was simply to accept everything as good. Let everyone do his own thing, we thought; you can follow or not, but you should not criticize, especially in spiritual matters. Srila Prabhupada swept away all this. He showed us how to discriminate sensibly between true and false spirituality. Like Bhaktivinoda Thakura, who had courageously defeated a yogi imposter who was imitating Krsna, Srila Prabhupada would not let us be misguided by the "bogi yogis," as he called them. To this day Srila Prabhupada has continued to chide so-called gurus who mislead their followers from the path of devotional service to Krsna, or God. Here is a recent article from Time (Feb. 11, 1974):

Back To Godhead magazine: Prem Rawat aka Guru Maharaj Ji "Trouble is stirring in Nirvana. A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami of the Hare Krishna movement, at a news conference in Hong Kong last week, denounced a rival guru: self-styled divinity Maharaj Ji, 16now counseling his disciples in California. The ascetic Swami, whose followers constitute a kind of saffron-robed Hindu version of the Salvation Army, began by saying, 'You've got to decide whether he is God, or a dog.' Noting the young leader's luxurious life style, the Swami declared rather ominously, 'He is cheating people, but he will be cheated in a bigger way. When God meets cheats, he can be a better cheat than they.' "

Srila Prabhupada did not come to America as a beggar. "I have come to teach you what you have forgotten," he told reporters. "It is love of God." He chose America of all places in the West because the entire world is following her example of economic development. If he could succeed in making Americans take up spiritual life, then the rest of the world would follow. This was his master plan for fulfilling his spiritual master's order.