Srila Prabhupada’s Will:
First Reply to Locanananda
30th November 2001
claim has been made that Srila Prabhupada did not read his final Will
and Testament before he signed it. That the document he signed on June
4th is not what he intended to be in His Will. Rather he signed it
blindly assuming that the Will was exactly the same as a draft of the
will he had had read to him 2 days previously. And therefore the real
Will is the draft which was read to him previously. The reason this
claim has been put forward, is to try and eliminate the rock solid
evidence present in Srila Prabhupada's Will which makes it clear
that ISKCON would only ever be populated by devotees who were
directly initiated by Srila Prabhupada. For in the final signed
written Will, Srila Prabhupada states that all future executive
directors of ISKCON properties in India would consist only of - 'my
initiated disciples'. Whereas in the version read out to him on June
2nd, this phrase was not present, and instead the phrase 'an
initiated disciple' was present.
In order to consider this claim, the following are relevant:
Whenever any CLAIM is made, the burden of proof rests on the
party making the claim. One cannot simply ASSUME that the
claim being made is true. One needs to provide evidence in order to
prove the claim. Until this is done, the claim remains simply a
The argument put forward to support the claim is that Srila
Prabhupada had a draft of the will read to him previously. That he
approved and finalised it at that point, and therefore he did not
need to read it again.
Please note this is not evidence or proof. It is a speculation. One is
speculating the following:
That the draft
read to Srila Prabhupada was FINAL - i.e. no more discussions
or amendments ever took place ever again on the subject. That
therefore the change of the phrase 'an initiated disciple' to
'my initiated disciple' was just a one-off typing error.
That at the time
of signing, Srila Prabhupada felt there was no need to check the
will again, since he was completely happy with what had already been
read to him, and thus he signed it blindly.
Please note that both a) and b) need to be true in order
for the claim to be true. Please note that the fact that a draft of the
will, which was different to the one which was signed, was read to Srila
Prabhupada, is not disputed. But this in itself merely acts as the
STARTING point for a) and b). It is not any evidence
or proof for a) and b).
Thus at the moment a) and b) are merely assumptions. To
date no evidence for a) and b) has been
put forward. Therefore until evidence for a) and b) is put
forward, that's all they will remain - speculative assumptions.
Though there is no evidence FOR the claim, there exists evidence
that the claim CANNOT be true:
The version read to Srila Prabhupada is different to what was signed
by Srila Prabhupada not just in respect of 'an' changed to 'my'
initiated disciple. There were many other changes made which were
not discussed at the reading of the 2nd June:
The very first clause in the Will states that the GBC will be
the 'ultimate managing authority authority'. However in
the draft which was read, this was not agreed. Rather
Srila Prabhupada agreed on 4 suggestions, none of which was the
final version used: 'supreme managers', 'ultimate managers',
'ultimate executives','ultimate commissioners'.
clause in the Will states that each temple will be managed by 3
EXECUTIVE DIRECTORS. The version read to Srila Prabhupada
was 3 COMMITTEE members.
In the next clause again the phrase in the Will is EXECUTIVE
DIRECTORS. The version read to Srila Prabhupada states
The next clause relates to the ability to sell properties in
India and outside of India. A whole list of properties outside
of India, with their associated GBC's is listed. In the reading
of the draft, it is simply said that this list will be drawn up
after the meeting with Srila Prabhupada.
The will then ends with 3 final clauses. The second of these
clauses has 25 words which are different to the version read out
to Srila Prabhupada in the draft.
We also know that other discussions on the Will were to take place,
since the final clause in the will deals with executors, and in the
reading of the draft, this clause is left BLANK, and Srila
So I'll give you seven names.
is to finish this will business as soon as possible.
Yes, I'll give you tomorrow. I'll think over
So the above is solid
evidence that assumption a) cannot be true. That is, the version
read to Srila Prabhupada on the 2nd June was not in any way finalised
and approved. Rather the final version differed substantially from
the draft version, with many changes and additions made, NOT just
one word from 'an' to 'my', and further discussions on the
will were still to take place to finish up the will. (Please note
that only a fraction of Srila Prabhupada's conversations were recorded,
and even less were retained by the BBT archives. Thus it is already
accepted and known, that what exists on the folio is in no way
indicative or evidence for the totality of Srila Prabhupada's
discussions on any topic).
It is also very suprising that those who are arguing for the final
signed written Will given by Srila Prabhupada to be discarded in
favour of a rationalisation which states that Srila Prabhupada's
final signed written product did not actually represent what he
really wanted, argue the exact OPPOSITE when it comes to
Srila Prabhupada's books. There they claim that the final written
output takes complete precedence over any other rationalisation
which may be made for changes, such as earlier manuscripts,
dictation tapes etc.
Further this same group is happy to pontificate at length to
everyone else that by the principle of arsha prayoga (the
unholy practice of dishonouring the acharya), that
EVEN if there appears a 'mistake' was made in the final written
product, we must consider the final written product sacrosanct,
and accept it as final.
In other words, this
group argues that all arguments which attempt to change the final
approved written output from Srila Prabhupada by trying to prove that
Srila Prabhupada's 'real intent' was something different, are to be
rejected. And the argument that Srila Prabhupada did not check the final
written product before it was published, and rather just trusted his
managers and editors, is considered almost blasphemous. Rather what was
given finally in writing must be honoured as sacred, regardless of all
Thus by the use of the group's own arguments, assumption b) can
also be rejected.
Please note that points 3-6 are simply over-kill, and are not necessary,
since the onus of proof still rests on those making the claim to offer
evidence in support of a) and b). Points 3-6 simply exist
as the icing on the cake to show just how ridiculous the notion that
Srila Prabhupada's final will should be rejected, is. It also
illustrates the hypocrisy people will engage in to keep alive the hope
that Srila Prabhupada wanted us to become diksa gurus, even
turning their own arguments on their head.
Srila Prabhupada' Last Will and Testament as signed by him on the 4th
June, is accurate in all respects, represents the wishes of His Divine
Grace, must be accepted in toto, and any attempt to change it must be
rejected as a violation of the principle of