Back To Prabhupada, Issue 52, Summer 2016
n egregious use of the PFP (Prabhupada-Free Paradigm) is ISKCON's "gurus" trying to justify their right to become diksa guru successors to Srila Prabhupada. For example, in the last issue we profiled GBC-elected guru HG Sankarshan Dasa Adhikari ("SAD") claiming that he was justified in acting as a diksa guru successor to Srila Prabhupada because Srila Prabhupada gave an order stating that "after my departure, initiate disciples". And consistent with the PFP, SAD offered no quotes from Srila Prabhupada to substantiate his allegation.
However, sometimes ISKCON leaders will produce quotes from Srila Prabhupada which they claim authorise them to act as diksa guru successors to Srila Prabhupada. In order to determine whether or not such quotes actually authorise diksa guru succession to Srila Prabhupada, a very simple test can be applied to any quote so offered.
In order for diksa guru succession to take place:
1) Srila Prabhupada must first give up acting as the diksa guru;
2) A successor will then take over, and act as the diksa guru.
That is, a vacancy for a diksa guru needs to be first created in order for there to be a diksa guru succession.
Hence, an order for someone to become a diksa guru successor must include or involve Srila Prabhupada first renouncing his position as the diksa guru. That is, it must be a replacement order. Otherwise, the order for gurus would just be for additional siksa or instructing gurus alongside Srila
Prabhupada, for which there is no limit. This order for additional gurus Srila Prabhupada did give:
"The GBC should all be the instructor gurus. I am in the initiator guru, and you should be the instructor guru by teaching what I am teaching and doing what I am doing."
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, 4/8/75)
Hence, when examining any "guru order" from Srila Prabhupada to his disciples, we can apply a simple test:
"Is this speaking about Srila Prabhupada definitely giving up his position as ISKCON's diksa guru?"
Unless the answer is a clear "yes", then the possibility that we could be dealing with a diksa guru succession order does not even arise. So, armed with this test, we can examine any quote and see if it passes the test.
Here is a typical example of a quote which has been put forward as Srila Prabhupada ordering diksa guru succession:
"I give you order. You, every one of you become a spiritual master." ‘Oh, I have no qualification. How can I become spiritual master? It requires high knowledge, Sanskrit understanding.' "No, you don't require anything. [...] You simply go door to door and say, "Please surrender to Krsna." Then you are spiritual master."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, 4/11/73)
This order was meant to be followed when it was given. And yet Srila Prabhupada did not give up acting as the diksa guru after giving this order, but rather carried on initiating. Therefore, Srila Prabhupada was not giving a diksa guru succession order ("DGSO"). Indeed, this simple fact holds true for every single quote wherein Srila Prabhupada orders his disciples to "become guru". In every case, Srila Prabhupada states the order needs to be acted on in his physical presence, and yet he neither gave up acting as the diksa guru, nor did he state that he would do so.
Thus, for a "guru order" to even theoretically be a DGSO, we need to recognise that such an order must only be for after Srila Prabhupada physically departed. Therefore, such "guru orders" as mentioned in the previous section, would first need to undergo a convoluted process of fabrication to allow them to even be theoretically possible DGSOs:
a) The order would have to be "held back", rather than followed, until Srila Prabhupada physically departed, so that it could become at least a theoretically possible DGSO. However, the orders do not state such a "delay" function. Thus, one would need to fabricate a special "delay function" that is not actually stated in the order.
b) Or, it is accepted that the order was meant to be followed when given, and therefore is not a DGSO. But, as soon as Srila Prabhupada physically departs, the same order would magically "transmogrify" to take on the properties of becoming an order that was also only meant to be followed after Srila Prabhupada physically departed, and thus could become at least a theoretically possible DGSO. But, Srila Prabhupada does not state such a "transmogrification" amendment to the orders, nor does he teach that all his orders automatically contain this special hidden transmogrification amendment. Thus, again one would need to fabricate such a special transmogrification amendment that is not actually stated in the orders, or given elsewhere by Srila Prabhupada.
Even after fabricating the orders into becoming at least theoretically possible DGSOs, one still needs evidence that Srila Prabhupada was going to be giving up acting as a diksa guru, and was therefore specifically authorising a replacement diksa guru, rather than an additional siksa guru.
Hence, we are then left with just a handful of "orders", where Srila Prabhupada specifically mentions something happening only after his physical departure, that one could claim are even theoretically possible DGSOs. For example:
"[...] it is the custom that during the lifetime of your spiritual master you bring the prospective disciples to him, and in his absence or disappearance you can accept disciples without any limitation. This is the law of disciplic succession."
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, 2/12/75)
1) However, by allowing disciples of ISKCON's gurus to initiate in their guru's physical presence, the GBC has already rejected this "law" and therefore do not claim that it is a "law" to be followed!
2) This quote, and the other few similar quotes, only state when diksa guru succession can happen. In order for such succession to actually take place, you would still first need there to be a vacancy, i.e., Srila Prabhupada gives up initiating to enable his disciples to succeed him. But this did not happen. Instead, just 4 months before he physically departed, rather than give up initiating, Srila Prabhupada specifically set up an initiation system that would enable him to continue initiating in ISKCON without his physical presence, through the use of representatives (rtviks). Nor does Srila Prabhupada automatically give up initiating due to his physical departure (please see comprehensive evidence for this in BTP 46, in the many articles on "The Departure Deception").
One can apply the simple test given to see if any "order" is actually a DGSO. And by doing so it will be found that Srila Prabhupada actually issued no such DGSO.
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