(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 2011, Berlin, Germany, Lecture)
In the earlier days of ISKCON, austerity was a big thing. It was considered spiritual, the more austere the more spiritual – the colder the water the better, the less you ate the more Krsna conscious you were! The days of austerity where everything was taboo! A book that was not Krsna conscious, if found in the ashram, would be confiscated and burned!
“Such books are not to be read, such books are maya, such books are contaminating us! We do not even wish to see them! Destroy them, annihilate them so that we will be safe from maya and it will not in any way disturb us and we will have purity in our devotional life!”
There is just one thing that we forgot. We forgot that we are human; we forgot that we have taste; we forgot that we have likes and dislikes; we forgot that we desire to enjoy and feel good.
Those days of fanaticism have moved along; it does not last.