How to Start a Cult, Lesson 1025: Dealing with questions when you don’t have the answers

Los Angeles, June 26, 1975
Prabhupada: So what can I do? I say that whatever I have got experience, I am explaining in my books. I have explained. So it is not possible for me to answer every individual person. It is not possible.
Devotee (2): We respect that. We understand. It is just that because they are saying these things…
Prabhupada: I have got my advanced students. They can answer. If they are unable, answer, if you do not find answer from my books, then it is hopeless.
Devotee (1): Ah! But your advanced students are saying if they give an answer that because they have been appointed by you, therefore their answer is perfectly correct, because, absolutely correct on all things in the relative world because, they have been appointed by you, and because you know…
Prabhupada: You may… That’s all right. If you don’t believe them, you can finish business.
Devotee (2): But are they correct? That’s what we want to know.
Prabhupada: Yes. They are correct.
Devotee (2): That everything they say is the absolute truth?
Prabhupada: So what can I say? But I have no time to meet everyone.
Devotee (2): Is that correct, Srila Prabhupada? I want to know very clearly that every word that anyone whom you have appointed says is completely correct on all things?
Prabhupada: Yes. If they are authorized, it is correct.
Devotee (2): If they are authorized by you to be temple president…
Prabhupada: There is no reply.
Devotee (2): Then when (name witheld) said to me that he wanted to have homosexual affair with me, I should have said, “Okay. Whatever you say.” Is that correct?
Prabhupada: So how to answer these questions?
Devotee (2): That is what he said to me. And he was a sannyasa. He is sannyasa and he said to me, “I want to have sex with you.” Does that mean that Krsna was saying I should have sex with him?
Jayatirtha: So you have to see whether it is according to our principles.
Devotee (2): I’m asking you on a very practical… No. That is not what he said. He didn’t say that. He said absolutely, and this is…
Upendra: Then you should listen to everything he said.
Devotee (2): I am. Because if I can judge then, if I can say, “Oh, at this point he is wrong,” then that is what we are talking about, Srila Prabhupada. That is the issue. If they are absolutely right all the time and they can make no error, they wield absolute power over our lives.
Prabhupada: Where is (name witheld)? Where is (he)?
Satsvarupa: He is across the street.
Prabhupada: Has he said like that?
Devotee (2): Yes. I have witnesses.
Upendra: But he’s admitted his error.
Devotee (2): That’s beside the point.
Revatinandana: That’s all right. But that’s not the point here.
Upendra: The point is that Prabhupada, that if you come before Prabhupada for your own spiritual advancement, then it doesn’t matter what other people are thinking…
Devotee (2): That’s not the…
Devotee (1): That’s not the crux of the matter at all.
Revatinandana: The point here is not to criticize (him).
Devotee (1): No. We did not come for that at all.
Revatinandana: That wasn’t the reason. The point is that anyone, (name witheld) or anybody else, he may be a sannyasi, but if he’s doing all kinds of nonsense, how can we say that he has absolute authority? Because he was in charge of the place, etc., and he is also in an authoritative position, yet he breaks the principles.
Devotee (2): His personal servant, when he came… His name is (name witheld). (He) instigated a homosexual affair with him. This boy came to surrender to Krsna and surrendered to (him). But (he) told him to do that.
Upendra: But Prabhupada…
Devotee (2): Wait. I am not speaking with you. He said he did that and he did it in the name of his authority as a sannyasa. So if you say, Prabhupada, that everything that they say is absolutely true, then they will have absolute power and can do anything that they want, and anything that they say and any opinion they express is taken to be the same as yours, then it becomes implied that you agree with and condone such things, because they do them with absolute license. And we don’t believe that to be true. So we think it is some kind of mistake.
Prabhupada: They say like that?
Devotee (1): Everyone says like that.
Devotee (2): They do, Prabhupada.
Satsvarupa: No, they don’t. Srila Prabhupada has said these things don’t apply to you. Don’t worry about them because you are not following the principles.
Devotee (1): But they do say, and we are following and you don’t know what we’re doing, Satsvarupa, because you haven’t known me for two years. So you really don’t know what I’m doing. You’re not around.
Satsvarupa: But our society is going nicely. It’s not…
Devotee (2): In some respects it’s going fine. But these are problems which can be dealt with amongst us, and they are affecting all of us. And for some people these are problems though they may not be for you. I think, as far as I know, your conduct has always been very honorable. But for some people who it’s not and where these misconceptions apply, it’s a real problem and we’re trying to deal with it because it affects our lives.
Upendra: The strength to deal with those problems comes from following sadhanacara.
Devotee (2): We are also attempting to follow sadhanacara. And if we are imperfect…
Prabhupada: Anyway, if he has said so, that is wrong.
Devotee (1): But is that then applying to everyone. Does someone who is in the adminis… (end)

This is an exchange between Prabhupada (founder of the Hare Krishna movement) and some of his followers. Normally when he starts going ‘you have doubts, means you’re a rascal, go away’, people shut up, but these two are not playing by the rules.

In the process they making it completely clear that 1. the whole thing is out of his hands, 2. he doesn’t care about the individual anymore because there are enough disciples to make up the numbers, 3. he has always made things up and manipulated his way out of answering questions when things didn’t make sense anymore, 4. the people he left in charge are nicely shaved complete idiots.

If anyone had had any conscience (and balls) at this point they would have shut the whole thing down and spared a lot of people a lot of trouble.


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