Why Does ISKCON Hate Advaita?

Table of Contents:

  1. Introduction to Advaita Vedanta
  2. The Concept of Maya
  3. Is Hinduism an Illusion?
  4. The Significance of Hinduism
  5. Conclusion

Introduction

The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), generally known as the Hare Krishna movement, is a Hindu religious organisation founded by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada in 1966. ISKCON is founded on the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads, and it emphasises bhakti yoga, or loving devotion to Krishna.

Advaita Vedanta is a Hindu philosophical system that holds that the ultimate reality is one without a second. This signifies that the particular self (Atman) and the Supreme Self (Brahman) are inseparable. Everything that appears to be distinct is an illusion (Maya).

Advaita Vedanta and ISKCON have a long history of disagreement. A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder of ISKCON, was a harsh opponent of Advaita Vedanta, teaching that it is a hazardous and deceptive ideology.

In this blog post, I will explore the reasons why ISKCON hates Advaita Vedanta. I will also discuss the consequences of ISKCON’s hatred of Advaita Vedanta.

What is Advaita Vedanta?

Advaita Vedanta is one of the six mainstream Hindu philosophical traditions. It is based on the Upanishads, a collection of intellectual works that are part of the Vedas, Hinduism’s ancient traditions.

“Advaita” translates as “non-duality.” The term “Vedanta” literally means “the end of the Vedas.” Advaita Vedanta literally translates as “the non-duality of the Vedas.”

According to Advaita Vedanta, the ultimate reality is one without a second. This signifies that the particular self (Atman) and the Supreme Self (Brahman) are inseparable. Everything that appears to be distinct is an illusion (Maya).

The goal of Advaita Vedanta is to realize this non-duality. This is done through a process of spiritual practice, such as meditation and study of the scriptures.

What is ISKCON?

The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), generally known as the Hare Krishna movement, is a Hindu religious organisation founded by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada in 1966. ISKCON is founded on the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads, and it emphasises bhakti yoga, or loving devotion to Krishna.

Gaudiya Vaishnavism is a subset of Vaishnavism, a significant Hindu school that worships Vishnu as the Supreme Being. The focus on Krishna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead distinguishes Gaudiya Vaishnavism.

ISKCON is a global organisation with over 600 centres in over a hundred countries. It is well-known for its distinctive singing of the Hare Krishna mantra, vegetarian cuisine, and colourful attire.

The Differences Between Advaita Vedanta and ISKCON

There are a number of key differences between Advaita Vedanta and ISKCON.

  • Advaita Vedanta is a monistic philosophy, while ISKCON is a dualistic philosophy. This means that Advaita Vedanta teaches that there is ultimately only one reality, while ISKCON teaches that there are two real entities: Krishna and the individual self.
  • Advaita Vedanta teaches that the world is an illusion, while ISKCON teaches that the world is real.
  • Advaita Vedanta emphasizes the importance of jnana yoga, or the path of knowledge, while ISKCON emphasizes the importance of bhakti yoga, or the path of loving devotion.

Why Does ISKCON Hate Advaita Vedanta?

A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder of ISKCON, was a harsh opponent of Advaita Vedanta. He considered Advaita Vedanta to be a hazardous and deceptive doctrine.

Prabhupada despised Advaita Vedanta for a variety of reasons.

  • First, he believed that Advaita Vedanta is impersonalistic. Advaita Vedanta teaches that there is ultimately only one reality, which is Brahman. This means that there is no personal God, such as Krishna. Prabhupada believed that a personal God is essential for spiritual life.
  • Second, Prabhupada believed that Advaita Vedanta is atheistic. Advaita Vedanta teaches that the world is an illusion. This means that there is no God who created the world. Prabhupada believed that the world was created by Krishna, and that it is real.
  • Third, Prabhupada believed that Advaita Vedanta is intellectually arrogant. Advaita Vedanta teaches that jnana yoga, or the path of knowledge, is the highest path to liberation. Prabhupada believed that bhakti yoga, or the path of loving devotion, is the highest path to liberation.

The Consequences of ISKCON’s Hatred of Advaita Vedanta

ISKCON’s hatred of Advaita Vedanta has had a number of negative consequences.

  • It has led to a climate of intolerance within ISKCON. ISKCON members who express interest in Advaita Vedanta are often ostracized or even excommunicated.
  • It has prevented ISKCON members from learning about other legitimate paths to spiritual realization.
  • It has limited ISKCON’s ability to connect with people who are interested in Advaita Vedanta.

Conclusion

ISKCON’s hatred of Advaita Vedanta is a serious problem. It is important for ISKCON to be more tolerant of other paths to spiritual realization. This would allow ISKCON members to learn from other traditions and to connect with a wider range of people.

In addition, ISKCON should be more open to studying the Upanishads and other texts that are foundational to Advaita Vedanta. This would allow ISKCON members to gain a deeper understanding of Advaita Vedanta and to appreciate its insights.

By being more tolerant and open-minded, ISKCON can become a more inclusive and welcoming organization. It can also play a more positive role in the world by promoting understanding and tolerance among different religious traditions.

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