Deconstructing the Lilamrta, Part 78

BY: ROCANA DASA - 14.9 2022

The last in a critical analysis of the Srila Prabhupada-Lilamrta by Satsvarupa das Goswami.

Throughout this Deconstructing Lilamrta series, my constant theme has been that Satsvarupa fails to present the true, absolute definition of Srila Prabhupada's spiritual position, instead minimizing and seriously misrepresenting him.

The GBC don't do anything to warn the reading public that he is a phony and the Lilamrta is grossly offensive to His Divine Grace. In fact, the GBC won't take action about Satsvarupa because he wrote this Lilamrta.

Since the time of its conception, well before it was actually put into print in the late 1970's, the GBC have invested an inconceivable amount of Srila Prabhupada's money in Satsvarupa and his literary project. This money could well have been used to produce Srila Prabhupada's books, which have inconceivable potency. But instead, the Lilamrta was produced, and it forms the backbone of what ISKCON is today. Satsvarupa himself is so arrogant that he doesn't care, really, what kind of impression he's giving to those who read his books, now or in the future.

Especially in the early days of the Zonal Acarya system, this so-called biography intentionally painted a very subtle philosophical picture, making the Zonals appear to their followers and the movement as if they were qualified to be who they depicted themselves to be. In fact, they were really imitating the Sampradaya Acarya, at first very blatantly, then, as we find today, more subtly.

So this is not only a great disservice, but a great offense to Srila Prabhupada. It's my opinion that the reason Satsvarupa has virtually gone crazy, losing his mind and intelligence and totally destroying whatever reputation he previously had, is that it's simply a reaction for writing all the treatises supporting the Zonal Acaryas, including Lilamrta. Up to this very day, he and his followers claim that the has officially renounced that Zonal Acarya era mentality, but if you carefully read his writings, you see that he never did accept. Even now, he has not. He won't accept today that he's not a bona fide guru, not a sannyasis, not even a good disciple of Srila Prabhupada. And in the same way that he obviously won't accept his reality, he has refused to accept the reality of who Srila Prabhupada is.

The pandits of ISKCON see fit to re-edit Srila Prabhupada's books, when they should instead be editing the Lilamrta, which is full of falsehoods and contaminated ideas. When the book gets into the Zonal Acarya period, it states categorically that Srila Prabhupada chose the 11 to be what they were. Throughout the Lilamrta, there is a carefully crafted depiction of these personalities in the most favourable possible light. The fact is that there are many, many unfavorable things that unfolded during Srila Prabhupada's lila wherein some of the Zonal Acaryas were exposed, but all this has been glossed over by Satsvarupa and excluded from the Lilamrta.

And of course, many other devotees had pastimes with Srila Prabhupada, and many of these pastimes were recorded during the interviews that took place throughout the world in preparation for the Lilamrta, but almost none of these stories were included in the Lilamrta - only the stories of Satsvarupa and his friends. These devotees were definitely made to look like they were the principle players and without them, Srila Prabhupada wouldn't have been successful. It's inferred that they were spiritually qualified from a previous lifetime, benedicted to take the positions they did. Of course, ISKCON history has proven a lot of the depictions in Lilamrta to be foolish nonsense - basically propaganda for the Zonal Acaryas.

Now, for ISKCON to put Satsvarupa in the place that he deserves, exposing him for what he is, and renouncing him, it would mean they'd have to also admit that this Lilamrta is bogus. And not only is it garbage, but it's contaminating the movement and anyone who reads it. Our whole philosophy, our sastra and tradition, and the spirit of the entire Sampradaya is to present the truth about who is God, who are God's pure representatives, and what are their inspiring characteristics and pastimes. This is the business of a pure devotee. To depict God or any of His pure representatives in a way that is not spiritually accurate is a great disservice - in fact, it may be greater than any offense, because the effect lasts for so long.

Once you've read the Lilamrta, especially as a new devotee, you have been impacted by all the subtle messages contained in it. This will cause you to form an incorrect opinion of who Srila Prabhupada is, and it will take a tremendous amount of effort on your part to get free from this contamination. This is also true of many of the biographies that have been written by the devotees, which are unbonafide and unapproved by the pure devotee. Many are just the remembrances and opinions of a conditioned soul, with stories that are slanted to make the author look good.

Really, there's not even a hope of re-writing the Lilamrta. It must be discarded in its entirety. Even those devotees who went through Srila Prabhupada's lila period will certainly have become contaminated, to some degree, by their reading of the Lilamrta. But that doesn't come close to the degree of contamination experienced by a new person, or anyone who read it after Srila Prabhupada's physical departure. Their contamination is that much greater. I've heard so many devotees who've claimed, 'Oh, it hasn't affected me… I still see Srila Prabhupada for who he is… I'm very attached to Srila Prabhupada and see him as a pure devotee'… but that's not always a truthful statement. Many have been contaminated by the Lilamrta and don't even realize it. The book is pure garbage, and every volume should be destroyed, if possible.

A whole new way of depicting Srila Prabhupada philosophically and spiritually has to be systematically developed. I've stated many times that we have to destroy this Lilamrta, replacing it with a bona fide book, although that's also problematic, because who's pure enough to author it? I'm not. I've been making some commentary on the Lilamrta, giving the reader some idea of how I personally feel. Now if other devotees would begin to seriously do the same, we might have a beginning. If others would begin to systematically work their way through the Lilamrta, giving their own remembrances and realizations, that would certainly be a great improvement over Satsvarupa's book, which was purposely turned into propaganda for the Zonal Acaryas.

Satsvarupa gives the distinct impression, and has made a great effort to get the readers to blindly and obediently accept that the Lilamrta is absolutely true, as good as sastra. Time and time again we hear devotees repeat what they've read in Lilamrta, straight from the vyasasana in the same way they quote Srila Prabhupada's books. This is an insidious contamination. As I've said many times, if you want to reform ISKCON, this is the place to begin.

We have to purify everyone's conception of who Srila Prabhupada is, and believe me, this will solve so many problems. And that is Srila Prabhupada's program… you want to solve problems, look at the philosophical deviation underlying the problem, and from that perspective you will actually be able to bring about some resolve, resolution and reform. Without that, you're blowing on the boil.