Ex Monk

The other day we were having a family discussion about spirituality.

My children are in infancy to KC - they love the Kirtans, Prasadam and association. and slowly getting up the ladder.

A question my daughter asked:

" Why do some Monks leave the Monastery and go into the material world and have become personal development gurus, and are now selling their product to so many gullible people for money, and have become overnight sensation and have huge social media following.

Why do they say they are EX-MONK, by saying that are they giving message that spirituality is bad and the place is to be there in material world.

I do not want to give names of these "ex-Monks" - as they come from all walsk of lives ie iskcon family as well as other hindu, budhist faiths........... they are so many.

I had tried my best to explain - mostly using the teachings of Radhanath Swami - who is a monk, stayed a monk, and easily goes to the New York Stock Exchange and talk about Bhagavad Gita.

I will greatly appreciate some input to this matter so that My family can read this.

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  • Sevak
    Hare Krsna

    Why do some Monks leave the Monastery and go into the material world and have become personal development gurus, and are now selling their product to so many gullible people for money, and have become overnight sensation and have huge social media following

    Firstly whatever any person does is their choice. As long as it is not illegal, immoral nobody is answerable to any one.
    Secondly just because someone leaves residence at spiritual institution does not mean they have discontinued their spiritual practice. Spirituality can be practiced in various manners. So they are likely to continue to their spiritual practice although not 100% of the time.
    Thirdly these three things are changing - People, institution and time. Maybe they are not the same person when they joined a spiritual society, may be the spiritual society has changed or the time / circumstances have changed. In some way a person may feel incompatible and decide to change.
    Fourthly Krsna Himself says in BG 2.60 that even one of the uncontrolled senses can mislead a determined practioner towards sense objects. It is unfortunate but Sri Krsna's material potency is quite supreme and without mercy and shelter of Sri Krsna, anyone could be swayed.

    Why do they say they are EX-MONK, by saying that are they giving message that spirituality is bad and the place is to be there in material world.
    Either because of their ego or because of ignorance. For some egoistic people everything that is connected to them is great and anything disconnected to them is bad. So now that they are disconnected with it, spiritulity is not good.
    Some other ignorant persons never understood that spirituality means sacrifice of petty selfish desires.

    Either way irrespective of what others say or do, the path of Krsna bhakti is the highest. This was shown to the entire material world by Prahlad Maharaj as a boy. The whole universe was shaken and obeyed king of demons - Hiranyakashipu, but Prahlad was unafraid and continued to practice and preach the process of Bhakti. So for Prahlad it was whole universe against himself, but he knew he was on the side of his guru and Sri Krsna so nothing could ever harm him.
    Similarly Srila Prabhupada also against all odds remained courageous and faithful to his guru and Krsna and was thus able to succeed in preaching the message of Krsna consciousness in the whole world.

    Hare Krsna
  • Usually people leave the monastery because their material desires creep up on them and they can't really overcome those desires or vasnas. They come into the faith thinking that they can do but usually due to frustration or resentment turn to maya again. This is given in B.G. 15.19 where we turn to maya for our sensual addictions to get familiar results because the mind is still agitated and the previous lives karma is too strong. We don't feel that we are aatma and a part and parcel of the Eternal Lord. In B.G. 16.18 when the mind is too strongly scarred then the agitation takes some time go. So some monks leave because they still cannot overcome their sensual addictions, pleasures and pain.
    No one really leaves theism. It is just that they break easily and His Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prapbhupapda has said, that an old man he never was more strict than what the human body can handle. So some leniency is required otherwise people break and get more emotional distress than what they started with.
    They always come back once they see that there is more satisfaction of some sensual desires before they were monks than after they become ex-monks. Our Guru Sri Adhikaran Das ji has said that there is no satisfaction to lust however theistic science of Bhagavad Gita and it's daily practice helps us see that in ourselves so that we can become parts and parcel of the Lord. Remember that if God is a gold mine, we are a gold earring who is connected to the Absolute Truth or Parmatma and it is when we move away that we are in sense gratification.
    With a sense gratification that is designed to exploit others, it is not Krishna conciousness to do so and perhaps for these people it is better to revaluate where they have dust from previous lives on their hearts that they still have to come to a state of piousness. For some devotees it is difficult and they need more assistance. More internal surrender and faith that what they are doing will reduce their pain and suffering and external surrender like chanting, reading Srimad Bhagavatam and Gita, regulative principles etc.
    Hope that helps! I would also re-read the sikshashtakam prayers because Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has clearly outlined that this life we have gotten after millions and millions of life and the human life is meant for understanding God. So society eventually catches up to ostracize him or her and then they come back into KC because of the sheer prem of Krsna devotees, prasadam etc.
    Hope that helps!
  • I think a good explanation for a child might be-- "Because that monk doesn't have any business in the material world-- The monk just appears to be engaging with the material world for the sake of broadcasting the holy names" I think that's really the crux of Srila Prabhupada's vision and mercy. It's important (I think for kids especially though I don't have any) that we're able to see beyond the form Krsna Consciousness might take and penetrate into the inner thing.

    We never know who might be a great soul; Bilvamangala Thakur's pastimes comes to mind. We have to stay humble.
  • Hare Krishna,
    Those who take KC as a result of some attraction to the try new things or just feel it as a new method " why don't we give it a try"...This type of people only go out of KC and become Ex-monks becoz they have no determination.. They just came to check this try this method. They developed some fascination to test some new religion and just came into the organisation to cope up with sudden emotional stress. They have not developed the taste for Nama...
    These type of people when the favorable conditions return they feel this KC is boring stressing..
    Those people have not developed any prema for Lord nor developed any taste for nama.
    Such people are hanging between material world and spirituality.
    Such people move out of Organisation and talk bad about the organisation and you know they are ex-monks... well not even monks
    Ex- monkey's you see.. HEHEH
    Mind is a monkey afterall. If mind surrenders to God in full faith .. It will act according to KC
    If mind is surrendered with supression of all desires one day the person will break out and go away saying bye bye to the organisation and spread bad stuff also.
    Real monk is one who surrenders to Krishna only with love for Krishna.
    He didn't have to control his instincts becoz ...when you love something ( YOU KNOW BETTER) you love ur family you can go to any extent to please them.
    Similarly If you have surrendered to Krishna in love you wont supress your desires......you will naturally without any force give up things for Krishna's sake
    Such people are only called Vairagi's or monks.
    rest all are monkey's jumping from one branch to another You know what I mean.
    And more over any person cannot be in one mode all the time.. He is operated upon by different modes of material nature like satva , rajas and tamas.
    So in Kaliyug people tend to keep changing its normal.. But holding to what is truth even if we jump from one mode to another and getting back the mind and senses under control is a great task esp. in Kaliyug.
    Hare Krishna
    • The idea that some devotees have developed, "Prema" and that's what's driving them towards renunciation is in direct conflict with Srila Rupa Goswami Prabhupada's Bhakti-Rasamrta-Sindhu. The stage of Prema/Maha-Bhava/ect... comes after the state of Anartha-Nivritti. Taste (Ruci) comes after this stage as well. Following the regulative principles will come as a result of sincere, heartfelt service to Sri Guru and the Vaishnavas. We can't just, "be determined" and counteract the forces of illusion and lust. These things have been effecting us for many billions of lifetimes and to engage in artificial renunciation is harmful to the soul. Pleasure-seeking is an aspect of the soul; even their Lordships have this quality. We are acting in manner whereby we wish by provincial interest (selfishness) to Lord over the material nature-- and as such we are effected by the negative aspects of Kama and the modes of material nature. This tendency can be counteracted only by the sweet will of the Absolute as Sri Guru. We have to understand how helpless we really are and sincerely beg for His help. If we can do that sincerely and have good association with the Vaishnavas in a mood of service and surrender then the determination to advance in spiritual life will come naturally and very sweetly.


      Kind of only semi-related but an interesting statement made by Kapila-Deva in Canto 3 of SB (Kapiladeva's Instructions for Devotional Service)-- Quote won't be verbatim but, "It's not actually the false ego (Ahankara) that causes the fall-down of the living entity into the material manifold-- rather it is the tendency to lord over things." Srila Mahajana Sad-Cit-Ananda Bhaktivinoda Thakur said that it was the tendency towards a desire for prestige or a desire to be famous that is the great malady of the living entities. Worth considering. Hare Krsna Gayatri.
      False renunciation - Vaniquotes
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