My Perspective

To remember Radha Krishna always and never forget them is the purpose of following the rules and regulations of regulative devotional practice. Once one attains this realization, “the devotees reject a rigid, fanatical adherence to the injunctions and prohibitions and according to their individual qualification give up some of the injunctions and begin to practice some items of devotional activity that were prohibitions previously.” Sri Chaitanya Sikshamrita, p 49.

I resigned my position as a renounced leader of ISKCON and disciple of A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami in December, 1974 due to the large scale unethical practices that were going on in the name of Krishna consciousness. ISKCON was the support system that allowed me to live a renounced devotional life and preach throughout the world.

I was and I am still a disciple of Srila Lalita Prasad Thakur, my siddha pranali guru who told me to return to the West and preach. I never gave up my love for Radha Krishna or my basic beliefs. I reintegrated into a Western lifestyle, eliminated unnecessary or undesirable Indian cultural externals and sought alternative means of preaching The Path of Love.

This led me to a three year, seminary education with an ecumenical group of progressive Christian seminaries in the San Francisco Bay area, The Graduate Theological Union. In 1991, I received a Master of Divinity degree and was ordained in the United Church of Christ.

I was the pastor of three Midwestern churches from 1991-2002. I found Christian beliefs to be compatible with my beliefs: God is love, love God and your neighbor, show this by working for peace, justice and the integrity of creation, etc. I taught persons to be disciples of Jesus and to live as he lived. Therefore, I say, “Realize your full potential, live life abundantly and love extravagantly.” as well as, “Love is the answer.” When I described my spiritual life, I said I practice the presence of God. For me that meant Oming and remembering Radha Krishna.

In the last three years since I left the church, I revived my devotional practices that were so abruptly interrupted in 1974 and am continuing from where I left off only in a manner that is conducive to my life now.

I have also not changed what I believed in the church. My Christian beliefs and my Radha Krishna beliefs live in harmony within me and are both part of the eternal religion, The Path of Love. They complement one another. Christianity is more incarnational and Radha Krishna devotion more transcendental.

And so, in my ministry, I am Steve Bohlert, M.Div. / Subal Das. In churches I can preach and teach from a Christian perspective, and on my own, I can teach devotion to Radha Krishna. I am able to minister to a wide range of persons due to my wide range of personal experience.

I feel I am especially well positioned to help other former members of ISKCON and similar organizations. I know the pain, anger, sense of betrayal, etc. that devotees go through when their guru or guru’s organization does not live up to what it should be. I’ve lived a long, full life and made peace within myself. I help others to do the same.

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