Surviving "Swaggart Syndrome"
There's no such thing as "Swaggart Syndrome" which is just a ficticious
name to indicate an often fatal disease of the overzealous religious man.
The question is how to survive the serious spiritual disease.
Persons afflicted by "Swaggart Syndrome" have been given good descriptions
under the cliches of those who live in glass houses throwing stones, and
being of the "holier-than-thou" type.
Jimmy Swaggart was wrong last summer during one of his TV broadcasts where
he publicly denounced the Hindu belief in reincarnation. If anyone is going
to play the role of representative of Jesus Christ, or Lord Krishna, then he
must be conscious that he is relaying the messages of God only and not
producing a mixture of various ideas and theories. If there is a lesson
there, then the Almighty God is clearly showing us the pitfalls of the
creative so-called religious men.
It is absolutely a wonderful thing that a man stands up out of the crowd
to proclaim the glories of God. Such a person sometimes risks his life
because people are fond of the darkness of deception and envy such a pure
However, the powerful influence of the Satan or "Maya"--as it is known in
the sanskrit language--is very clever to catch that man whose eyes have
turned to God and lies in waiting to throw him down into the mud of material
life during a lapse of good consciousness. God is seated in the heart of
everyone and He appears to influence the heart of the man who desires to
seek a higher form of consciousness and who wishes to taste the nectar of
immortal happiness. But on the back side of God is Maya and She attracts
the hearts of men with the prospects of lusty pleasures which robs man of
his good intelligence.
So the man raises his hands and exclaims to the world about the glory and
goodness of God in exultation, but being ill prepared to outwit the Mayadevi
who makes playthings out of the minds of men, he may become victimized by
the Swaggart Syndrome and become proud of his Godliness.
It may be asked: "How is it that a man who is taking good advice from God
either from within the heart from the Supersoul or from without from the
Spiritual Master or from the authorized Scriptures that such a man falls
prey to the influence of the Mayadevi or Satan?" The answer is that in the
beginning of his progressive march toward the Godhead, sometimes he is not
expert in discriminating between Godly and Godless activities and may fall
down from the Godly path.
Therefore it should be noted as a warning hat even in the name of
following expert saintly persons like Lord Jesus, or Lord Krishna, there is
every opportunity to become a first class demonic man by deviating from the
straight and narrow path.
No one should consider himself as a Spiritual Preceptor for anyone else
unless he has overcome the irresistable powers of Maya. Without being able
to deliver oneself from the clutches of illusion, then there is no
possibility of delivering the disciples who must sacrifice their soul at the
feet of such Spiritual Master.
Even in the Hare Krishna movement, there has been some misunderstanding
about the qualification of the divine Spiritual Master. During the personal
presense of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the
founder of the Hare Krishna movement, it was assumed by everyone that he had
all the necessities to be able to direct anyone who was interested in once
and for all overcoming the otherwise impenetrable wall of ignorance and
bring him in contact with Lord Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead,
face to face. But since Prabhupada is no longer available to set things in
order, the Governing Body Commission of the International Society for
Krishna Consciousness has prematurely bestowed the sacred title of Spiritual
Master upon some men who had no good ability to fight with the onslaughts of
the Satan. The result is that such men must carefully examine if they are
under the clutches of Maya and candidates for suffering the fate of a fallen
In our historical accounts, there was a Krishna devotee and contemporary
of the fourteenth century saint Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu called Junior
Haridasa. Junior Haridasa had taken the renounced order of life known as
the sannyasa order which means that he had taken a solemn vow of
bachelorhood. Generally in American culture, the bachelorhood is taken as a
period of unrestricted womanizing but in the Vedic culture, it means that
sex life is strictly forbidden. Such sannyasis are given the utmost respect
and worship even, due to the strictness of the vow and discipline involved.
Unfortunately, Junior Haridasa took a casual view toward the regulations
concerning sannyasa life and he indulged in a sexual attitude with a woman.
Lord Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who is none other than the Supreme Lord
Himself, took notice of this action of Junior Haridasa and immediately
rejected his association. This severe action by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu
is there as a warning for anyone who cares to act as a big religious man and
advertise himself as representative of Lord Jesus or Lord Krishna and then
simultaneously harbor sexual attitudes in the privacy of his heart. It will
never be tolerated by the Lord as He will also come to reject such a
duplicitious display of hypocrisy.
The aftermath of such a rejection by the Supreme Lord came as such a
thunderbolt to the mind of Junior Haridasa that he rightly decided to finish
his life. Practically we can see in the life and example of Jim Bakker that
such a fall down from the exalted position of representative of the Divinity
to sinner is devastating. After Jim Bakker had been exposed as a fallen
man, he wrongly declared publicly that the all-merciful Lord Jesus Christ
had already forgiven him on a ABC "Nightline" interview with Ted Koppel.
But such a forgiven session with Lord Jesus Christ was only the manufactered
idea of a man suffering from the Swaggart Syndrofe for later it was
announced that Bakker had felt as if he could die.
Again, the Swaggart Syndrome is a warning that no one should boldly
advertise himself as representative for God without being able to rise above
the lusty desires for sex and prestige. Sex life is not denied by any
religion and is very helpful in the progressive march toward the Kingdom of
God. Sex in marriage to produce Godly children is absolutely blessed as
divine activity. But sex life in an uncontrolled fashion is the surest and
quickest door to hell. We can practically see how in modern sexual America
where there is little to no restriction, a hellish atomosphere is created by
the legalized killing of fetuses. Since the culture is being downgraded by
the propagation of Godless theories supporting the idea that life has come
from chance only, man is becoming the center of all attention rather than
God. "Never mind worshiping God. He's mythology" or "He's the creation of
a primitive and superstitious people. Let's focus our effort on Mankind and
scientific acheivements that will save the day." However free modern so-
called civilization deems itself, it can never liberate itself from its
utter fascination for sex which binds one helplessly birth after birth to
the material tabernacle. Therefore, unable to solve the sex addiction,
science must devise condoms for men and women and society must suffer again
and again without being able to take the sound path of progressive
liberation from God. God is giving the path out of lust because divine love
for God is absolutely the only cure for the fires of sexual desire. Love
for God is the only thing more powerful than lust and when one is awarded
such love of God, then he becomes the actual representative of God through
Therefore it is concluded that the Spiritual Master is that person who has
conquered over the unconquerable forces of lust and has attained the
position of love of God. He is called the Guru, the Son of God, the
Messiah, the Lord, the Spiritual Master, the Swami, the Enlightened One, the
Representative of God, the Perfected One, the Supreme Personality of
Servitor Godhead, etc. It is due to His transcendental achievements that He
was able to win the mercy of God and therefore God has blessed Him with the
crowning glory of divinity. Not with an elected Guru or a man-made Guru or
a Guru by other Godless means is this possible. As stated by Prabhupada:
"Mundane votes have no jurisdiction to elect a Vaishnava acharya. A
Vaishnava acharya is self-effulgent and there is no need for any court
The conclusion is given on how to save oneself from the Swaggart Syndrome.
The Mayadevi takes a man who has declared himself as the representative of
God and after he has become puffed-up with false pride, She then exposes him
for the miserly man he is. In actuality, no one can declare himself as
better than Swaggart. Everyone is on the level of Swaggart or less. But
the question remains: "What to do after God has taken my sins and exposed
them to the world after I have convinced everyone of my so-called Supreme
The example was shown by the prostitute Mary Magdalene during the time of
Lord Jesus about how to overcome the fatal Swagart Syndrome. When Lord
Jesus was there, the prostitute came before the pure Lord and threw herself
at His feet. Then she cried in grief, feeling the weight of her sinful
life. After having washed the feet of Lord Jesus with her genuine tears,
the Lord had assured her that her sins were then forgiven and that she
should sin no more.
Everyone who is assured of their own Divinity must become immediately
suspicious that they are suffering from the Swaggart Syndrome and
immediately adopt the method as shown by the glorious Mary Magdaline and
actually become saved. They must find out a completely pure soul and--
following in the ideal footsteps of Mary--they must take the feet of that
representative of God and make a similar heartfelt promise to avoid all
sinful life. Without taking this necessary remedy, the sufferer most
certainly ends his life in a wretched condition of life. Such is the fate
of the person who denies to accept and recognize his fallen position until
it becomes too far advanced and fatal.