“Don’t Learn Too Much (You’ll Find Out we Don’t Know what we are Talking About)”

Here are some remarks people apparently still encounter from senior people in ISKCON when they talk about their intention to deeply study Śāstra and Sanskrit. I will add my brief replies:

“Srila Prabhupada has already translated all the relevant Sastras, so why would anyone need to learn Sanskrit? Just study his translations!”

If his translations are all that’s required, Why did he put the original Sanskrit in the books?

And why was one of his favorite disciples Pradyumna, a Sanskrit scholar?

“If you learn Sanskrit you’ll find mistakes in Srila Prabhupada’s translations – because they are not academic, but from the platform of Bhava.”

It sounds like someone is afraid of being exposed. “Don’t study too much, because then you will find out we are wrong [I mean, we are not really ‘wrong,’ we are just on a higher level].”

If you are really on a higher level, that would be more (not less) obvious to the more educated and discerning eye. If only the uneducated can appreciate your “higher level” it is not really a very high level, it is a fake.

And no, I am not saying Srila Prabhupada was a fake, I am saying that the logic in the quote above is bogus.

“Devotees who learn Sanskrit think they know everything, and lose their faith in Srila Prabhupada and the Parampara – so how can they ever be delivered?”

“People who are smart lose their faith in us, so don’t become smart, because if you lose faith in us you are doomed.”

Cult alert.

The reasonable conclusion is, “People who are smart lose their faith in us, so, probably we are not so great.”

By the way, most of the people who study Sanskrit and Śāstra probably don’t “lose faith in Śrīla Prabhupāda.” They probably lose faith in the cult of ISKCON. And, despite what the cult says, the two are not completely identical.

Scholarship will never take us to Bhakti.

Neither will lack of scholarship.

Sambandha-jñāna (philosophical knowledge) is the foundation of abhidheya (the practices of bhakti), which is the foundation of prayojana (the goal of bhakti, prema.). So, the truth is that very clear comprehension of Vedic, Purānic, and Vaiṣṇava philosophy IS the foundation of what will take us to bhakti.




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