I just went for a couple of hours to the Montreal Rathayatra "Festival of India" fair. Just thought I'd note a little irony that became clear to me today, after watching the program put on by the Gurukula Youth traveling road show. I was very impressed by the quality of the performance, in particular by the young woman who seemed to lead things. The style of dance and music is Carnatic.
I bought a couple of CDs and could not fail to notice that Nitai Das sings in the Anupa Jalota style, like Haridas and a number of other Iskcon bhajan singers. Haridas even sings Hindi translations of Bhaktivinoda songs ! I also picked up another CD by Karnamrita, Dasi, which I like best of the three. But here too, I noticed that there is little that shows a direct Gaudiya influence (songs by Meera, Harivams, Bhagavata verses, etc.)
Another thing I was doing was trying to give a way a bunch of Bengali books to the Bengali speakers here, without much success. Finally one devotee kind of reluctantly took them, asking whether they were "in the right line"!!
Now does no one get the irony? Everyone will take bhakti from Anupa Jalota, from their Benares or Carnatic music and dance teachers, but when it comes to Vaishnavas in the Chaitanya tradition it is all suspicion and rejection. The result is that Iskcon culture is turning into this kind of modern generic Indian culture, with a great dollop of Western influence, all more or less without any defense mechanism questioning purity or genuineness, etc. The only thing that must be avoided at all costs is the Gaudiya tradition. Triple exclamation mark! Quadruple!!
I am all for innovation, and I really like Krishna in all forms. But...