Back To Prabhupada, Issue 52, Summer 2016
rila Prabhupada explains that preaching means to simply "repeat" and "reproduce" what he has taught:
"Hear and repeat, hear and repeat. You haven't got to manufacture. Any one of us, simply if you reproduce the purport which I have given in the Bhagavata, you become a good speaker."
(Srila Prabhupada Room Conversation, 20/6/75)
In this way, we will always be able to substantiate anything we say with a directly recorded statement from Srila Prabhupada. This is known as the "Prabhupada-Only Paradigm" (POP). Conversely, in opposition to the POP, we have a phenomenon — which we shall formally declare in this issue as the "Prabhupada-Free Paradigm" (PFP) — whereby conclusions are presented without any recourse to Srila Prabhupada's teachings. In the next three articles, we shall examine the consequences of following the PFP, and why the PFP is followed. In the shaded boxes below we present excerpts from a lecture given at ISKCON's world headquarters in Mayapur, India, on 13/12/15 by ISKCON leader HH Bhakti Vidya Purna Swami ("BVPS").
All emphases below have been added.
"See the thing is like this, OK, guru has a falldown, OK? It happens, [...] So therefore you just talk about what is the ideal. Because people falling down, that's pretty standard. [...] So therefore, the guru has a falldown, OK that's not the big deal."
However, Srila Prabhupada teaches that the "standard" is that the bona fide guru never falls down:
"A bona fide spiritual master is in the disciplic succession from time eternal, and he does not deviate at all from the instructions of the Supreme Lord"
And, therefore, a person who fell down was not a "bona fide spiritual master in the disciplic succession".
"the guru has a falldown [...] Now you may say that they are in a fallen condition, so they're not giving instructions. You have to carry on with further instructions, [...] So it just carries on. It's just like if you're driving, it would be just like, let's say you take the bus from here, you get to Ranaghat, the bus breaks down. You don't say ‘Oh this bus is bogus, I'm not anywhere,' and all that, and then walk back to Mayapura and then catch another bus. That's called foolish."
Srila Prabhupada teaches that a genuine guru does not break down like a bus:
"Unless one is a resident of Krishna Loka, one cannot be a Spiritual Master. That is the first proposition. A layman cannot be a Spiritual Master, and if he becomes so then he will simply create disturbance. [...] You are correct when you say that when the Spiritual Master speaks it should be taken that Krishna is speaking. That is a fact. A Spiritual Master must be liberated."
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, 10/6/69)
"Narada Muni, Haridasa Thakura and similar acaryas especially empowered to broadcast the glories of the Lord cannot be brought down to the material platform. Therefore one is strictly forbidden to think that the acarya is an ordinary human being".
Therefore, if a person has indeed broken down like a bus, such a fallen person was not a bona fide guru to begin with.
"The whole point is we have to take this seriously. Guru is there, they've taken up to how far they can. This whole that, that ‘Oh, they were never a guru, they were never a disciple, they were never nothing'. This is the mentality of animals. And I'm saying that very loudly. Animals. And I'll repeat it again — animals. It's not human. [...] ‘The guru's fallen, you reject, he was never good' this, that, this is not a human platform."
What BVPS calls the "mentality of animals" is what Srila Prabhupada teaches. "Fallen gurus" were never bona fide gurus, as they were not authorised:
"The spiritual master must never be carried away by an accumulation of wealth or a large number of followers. A bona fide spiritual master will never become like that. But sometimes, if a spiritual master is not properly authorized and only on his own initiative becomes a spiritual master, he may be carried away by an accumulation of wealth and large numbers of disciples."
(The Nectar of Devotion, Ch. 14)
Thus, only if a guru is not authorised and thus not bona fide, can such fallen activity occur.
"So yes, people fall down, they may be in a position not worth listening to anymore, but that doesn't mean (you lose) the benefit you got up to the point you are. So this whole idea is your guru falls you go back to zero, that's nonsense. Whatever advancement you made, you stay there."
Srila Prabhupada states that there is no benefit in following persons who are not qualified to be gurus:
"As for your next question, can only a few pure devotees deliver others, anyone, if he is a pure devotee he can deliver others, he can become spiritual master. But unless he is on that platform he should not attempt it. Then both of them will to go to hell, like blind men leading the blind."
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, 14/12/72)
If one speaks and preaches without reference to Srila Prabhupada's teachings, i.e., engages in the PFP, then:
1) As demonstrated above, it results in "preaching" the opposite of what Srila Prabhupada teaches.
2) One does not accept that they need to simply and humbly repeat and reproduce exactly what Srila Prabhupada has taught. Rather, they are behaving as if they, and not Srila Prabhupada, are the authority, and that their statements are automatically authoritative just by virtue of the fact that they have stated them, as if they were the acarya! Indeed, it is not uncommon for ISKCON leaders to speak at great length without quoting Srila Prabhupada, and in some cases, without even mentioning Srila Prabhupada's name!
We therefore have a stark choice. Either follow the PFP practised by ISKCON's leaders, or the POP as practised by the IRM.
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