Distorted image of Hinduism abroad and in Russia
Most non-Hindu people living abroad are given a wrong impression regarding Hinduism and its beliefs. This is largely due to International Society of Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) activity abroad. They classify themselves as a religious society but in reality it is a dangerous CULT. It was started by Prabhupada, who is himself a Gaudiya Vaishnava. His teachings take its roots from the school founded by Caitanya Mahaprabhu in 15th century only so it is a relatively new movement. Needless to say, how old Hinduism is.
Prabhupada started promoting the image of Krishna along with his sectarian ideas abroad when he moved to the USA in 1966 and started his “religious” movement there. His sect wasn’t successful in India before that date as ISKCON is not related to Hinduism at all and their teachings are Anti-Vedic. Therefore, they can’t be called Hindu as they preach things that have never appeared in the Vedas and other Hindu sacred scriptures. But do foreigners know? No, they join their cult with an aim to understand Hindu culture and religion without being aware that those teachings are wrong! Sometimes they have no means to check what is right or wrong through scriptures as the translation is not available in their own language or in all cases they are given books written by those who founded ISCKON and not the original copy of Bhagavat Gita which they like to cite so much.
ISKCON are known for their frequent filing of lawsuits, murders, sex scandals and money laundering. They are also famous for its marketing but not spiritual development and inner peace as other schools. Instead of concentrating on the latter, they simply try to get as many devotees to join them as possible to continue leading a luxurious lifestyle and fund their activities and organization.
As I can speak Russian, I had an experience of communicating with Russian devotees of this ISKCON cult which was started by Pradhupada there in 1992 so I know what sort of non-existent things ISKCON put inside the heads of innocent people. As a result, their perception of Hinduism is entirely wrong, unfortunately. Some of their followers become zombie-like and unable to make their own decisions without ISKCON “guru” and face the facts that you give them regarding “traditional” Hinduism. They are in a tight grip of ISKCON. However, some manage to break free and stop attending their meetings and so on.
Let’s see what ISKCON propagates and why they are anti-Vedic, anti-Hindu and regarded as blasphemy by traditional Hindu believers.
First, the Gita that they offer to their devotees is not the original Gita. It is the commentary of Prabhupada himself and he calls it “Bhagavat Gita as It is”. Well, it is not as IT IS, it is as he wishes to interpret it. In that book he underlines the importance of Krishna saying that only Krishna is the supreme personality of Godhead and we must serve only him and nobody else, otherwise we will not attain Moksha (liberation). Moreover, all other Gods are “demi-gods” and not worth worshipping. For instance, many of his devotees keep on calling Ganesha a demi-god. How is it possible? They say “only Krishna is supreme, we must not deal with other Gods if we want to attain liberation”. When given a story from Shiva purana about the appearance of Ganesha and the fact that he was given the same divine rights as all the other Gods, they start saying that Shiva purana is tamasic, not worth reading and doesn’t lead to liberation. Therefore, in their view, we should never read it. In their view, only Krishna is supreme, Shiva is lower than him according to them. But they contradict all Vedic teachings by saying it.
It appears that ISKON is unaware of the importance of Trimurti in Hinduism- the three ultimate Gods of Hinduism- Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Brahma as a creator, Vishnu as a protector and Shiva as a destroyer. All are 3 aspects of the Universe and therefore no one is supreme. All are important. And all the avatars (reincarnations) of Gods are important in Hinduism. Hinduism never says only Krishna is supreme, all Gods and its manifestations are good and equal. This is not Christianity where you either believe in Jesus or you can’t get salvation. Krishna himself never says in its original version of Bhagavat Gita that you either believe in me or I will destroy you as my creation in contrast to other Abrahamic religions. So ISKCON is a cult that appeared as an attempt to christianize Krishna and fabricate the facts to distort the truth about Hinduism.
Next statement of ISKON is that “Shiva is the best Vaishnava and the greatest devotee of Krishna”. You can see that the internet is full of misleading pages and social groups propagating this. Again we come back to Trimurti and see that Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, 3 in 1 are all equal. Krishna as an avatar of Vishnu (not the other way round like ISKCON teaches) is equal to Shiva and Brahma but in no way is he superior to Shiva or any other forms of God. None is a devotee of the other one.
For those who are still confused the Vedas teach that all is one, there is nothing superior or inferior, so such an idea as “Krisha is supreme above all other Gods” and especially “Vishnu is Krishna avatar” is against Hinduism and the Vedas. These are anti-Hindu, anti-Vedic ideas. ISKCON has been doing whatever they can to degenerate other Gods of Hinduism. This is indeed anti-Vedic.
The most important scriptures of Hinduism are Vedas, they are vital. The Four Vedas are ‘shruti’ (revealed). They are the words of God and were transmitted accordingly via an oral tradition. The four books are Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Sama Veda, Atharva Veda. The Vedas propose the Advaita, which means that all Gods are one and the formless God Parabrahma is the supreme God. But ISKCON make people believe and believe themselves as a sect that Vedas are inferior to Prabhupada’s version of Bhagavat Gita. The scriptures that they use and refer to are written by their own people. So always check what they give you. Their Sivastakam says that Siva chants Vishnu’s name and similar things. If you check who the author of that Sivastakam, you will see it is Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the founder of Gaudiya Vaishnava. Read the one that is read by Hindu people, not the one written by the founder of the sect that later turned into ISKCON.
In addition, ISKCON calls Lord Shiva an “anti-Vedic God” stating that he is not present in the Vedas. However, ‘Rudra’ is present in Vedas and it is another name for Shiva. Failing to know the different names of Shiva, how could ISKCON ever be a VEDIC organization? They are anti-Vedic. Unfortunately, after such propaganda and false teachings ISKCON devotees spread rumours that devotees of Shiva drink alcohol, have sex with their mothers during rituals, smoke marijuana and other baseless and silly things that Hindu people AND Shiva devotees would never even think about.
Moreover, ISKCON says that another God from Trimurti named Vishnu is lower than Krishna. This is only possible because they don’t understand that Krishna was an avatar of Vishnu from Pradhupada commentaries of Gita as he himself says that Vishnu worshipped Krishna and is inferior to Krishna! It is understandable why Hindu people regard it as a lot of rubbish in most cases because it contradicts the main scriptures and teachings of Hinduism. ISKCON people fail to see that Krishna is equal to Vishnu. There is no question of superiority here. Pradhupada lacks fundamental Hindu concepts! But foreigners believe in this as they don’t know the real picture. Bhagavad Gita in its original version teaches equality of all paths Gnyana , Karma, Bhakti and Raja yogas.
In every age, when evil becomes dominant, Vishnu will incarnate on Earth to defeat it. In the Dwapara Yuga, Vishnu incarnated as Krishna in human form. He did his Karma and died. Even there is a story behind that where Rama, the previous avatar of Vishnu killed Vanara King Bali by cheating. Knowing that what he did was wrong, Rama said, “You will kill me the same way, while I’m not aware of your attack in our next life”. Just as he said, Krishna was the reincarnation of Rama and while he was sleeping in a jungle, a hunter (reincarnation of Bali) shot Krishna with an arrow thinking that he was a deer by just seeing his feet. Thus the law of Karma is even applicable to Gods in human forms. Krishna died, but Vishnu still lives because he is timeless like Lord Shiva.
Over the last few decades in Russia ISKCON movement has become very popular thanks to “vedic lecturers” who are now common in Russia. Those lectures have never read the Vedas themselves so when they say in their lectures “it says in the Vedas”, it means that there is no such information there and you can expect a portion of lies straight after this saying. Most Russian people have never read the Vedas so they just listen to those “vedic lecturers” and are misinformed. After that they start believing all sorts of nonsense that those “vedic lecturers” who belong of course to our beloved ISKCON movement preach. For instance, when you come to such a lecture and pay for it, they will tell you that all your problems in marriage stem from a fact that you are not a good “vedic wife”, then women ask what a “vedic wife” is and they answer in a similar to this way “In Vedas it is said that a wife must stay at home, develop her feminine side, wear skirts and never complain about her husband. She must listen to her husband and never divorce because this is her karma”. Then women start believing that they are not good enough and it is because of their fault that the marriage is not working properly. They wish to learn how to be a “vedic wife”. So they start attending those lectures, pay lecturers, learn about things that are “written in Vedas”.
After that brainwashing they do not know what is real, what is not, they lose their control and unable to make their own decisions. They always repeat the words that their “vedic lecturers” said regarding the Vedas and Hindu philosophy. Those “lecturers” use NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) techniques to make sure that people are under control and still attend those lectures. Then they invite all women regardless their faith to attend their organized activities and meetings such as “Vedic festival” and so on with an aim to get more followers to ISKCON. Some of the activities organized by ISKCON people in Russia are called “Vedic lifestyle”, “Vedic Culture”, “Vedic Festival” and designed to attract as many people as possible and then try and make them ISKCON followers because those “vedic lecturers” are from ISKCON themselves. However, that “Vedic” bit that they are using is misleading because ISKCON is anti-Vedic. What they teach is against all the principles of Hinduism and the Vedas. And those lecturers misinform Russian people distorting Hinduism and the Vedas too.
One of the famous lectures and of course prabhupads is Torsunov Oleg Gennadievich. Other “devotees” are Valyaeva, Ruzov, Narushevich and many others who are involved in brainwashing and have never read the Vedas and have no idea regarding Hinduism.
Mr. Torsunov is the main culprit and the most popular among other ISKCON prabhus. He charges a lot of money for “healing cancer” and other diseases. Many people died because of him as his treatment failed but “patients” never looked for other options. He also said that he specialised in Aurveda and was a professor in Bombay teaching Aurveda but later it turned out to be a fake story as well as everything related to ISKCON. Without any diagnosis he sells online cow dung powder which he proposes to consume. There is such a technique in Aurveda but first, he is not a specialist, second he can’t diagnose people as he claims he can! Being 3 times married and divorced himself, he gives advice to women “Don’t get divorced, it is bad for your karma, stay married and you must serve your husband”. Whereever you check ISKCON sources, their information, everywhere you can find appalling results and disgusting facts or distorted truth in order to suit only their needs to make more money.
Apart from this madness with “vedic lecturers”, in Russia devotees of ISKCON movement go around the cities with various publications from their ISKCON movement and ask to join them in worshipping.
First, again they are spreading false literature which is not Hindu but anti-Vedic, second, in Hinduism missionaries are non-existent and there is a very simple reason why-in Hinduism we believe that people can come to God by following different paths, no religion has the right to say “we are the right religion, only through us you can get salvation or attain liberation”. So they are doing anti-vedic and anti-Hindu things by breaking these principles and above all saying that only through Krishna liberation is possible. Third, in Russia most people belong to Russian Orthodox Church and for ISKCON convenience they started calling themselves, now prepare yourself, especially if you are Hindu, ORTHODOX KRISHNA DEVOTEES. Wow! Krishna has no relation to Christianity regardless the similarities of the sound. But of course if ISKCON says that they are Orthodox Krishna devotees then it means that Russian people would be more likely to listen to them. But in truth, this is all fabrication and a big fake organisation spreading incorrect teachings.
Now moving on to the scriptures that are used specifically by ISKCON which believe that they are the only way to liberation and “only one true religion ever” breaking all Hindu and Vedic principles. As the case with “Bhagavat Gita as It is” commented by Pradhupada distorting Hindu and Vedic principles, the ‘Brahma Samhita’ which states that Shiva worshipped Krishna and which they always cite to the question why they don’t worship Shiva, was written by the Gaudiya Vaishnavas 500 years ago themselves. The ISKCON fails to point out any other sacred text apart from the distorted ones of their own in support of their views.
Regarding their favourite Hare Krishna Mantra which they say is the best one to chant. Why? Well, this is only based on their views that Krishna is the supreme God and all other are inferior, which is Anti-Vedic as we have already mentioned before. Regarding Krishna mantra, the Vedas never said that any mantra was the greatest. The Vedas are a collection of hymns for Gods and if all Gods are One, all equal, then how is possible that one mantra is better than the other one? This is only possible for ISKCON organization and its misled followers.
Why is ISKCON so popular abroad? First, it is teachings are anti-Vedic and anti-Hindu and most foreigners have never read the Vedas and other sacred scriptures of Hinduism. They have limited knowledge of Hinduism and what it means to be a Hindu. Those foreigners who are Hindu usually know the scriptures well and therefore for them it is easy to identify that ISKCON is a horrible mess and mixture of pseudo teachings.
Why is ISKCON so popular in Russia? It proposes a shortcut to happiness, just like Christianity or Russian Orthodox Church. They believe that no matter what you do, you get salvation only if you believe in Jesus. If you don’t believe, you go to Hell with no option of changing this state of things.
In Hinduism there is no shortcut. After life comes either other life the quality of which depends on the karma acquired within our present life or liberation from samsara/reincarnations.
Krishna Conciousness Movement is similar to the behaviour of Christians in a way that they say that only through Krishna, liberation is possible and that all other Gods are demi-gods, just like Christians preach that Jesus and Christianity are superior. This appeals to many as we know that these days most people are Christians, especially in Russia and most people find an idea of a shortcut” more appealing than anything else. Many of them change their faith by following this destructive cult which is anti-Vedic and anti-Hindu.
In short, ISKCON has spread their incorrect teachings regarding Hinduism and Vedic culture all over the world and in Russia this movement has become especially dangerous because fake “vedic lecturers” are simply from ISKCON organisation themselves and are anti-Vedic, anti-Hindu. They spread incorrect messages to thousands of people yearly. Their organized activities have already destroyed many lives and families too.