Back To Prabhupada, Issue 52, Summer 2016
ne of the most recent people to join ISKCON's club of almost 80 GBC-elected "gurus" is HG Jivananda Dasa ("JD"). Although he became a GBC-elected ISKCON diksa guru just last year, he boasts of getting "many" disciples:
"I now have 7 disciples and many more are coming."
(JD Email, 2/6/16)
As part of his mission to collect disciples, he writes on his social media page:
"Just as my Guru, Srila AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, opened my eyes with the torchlight of knowledge I want to please him by doing the same for all living entities."
However, let us carefully examine who is actually doing what in regards to opening eyes with the torchlight of knowledge.
One proposition is that, just as Srila Prabhupada opened the eyes of his disciples like JD with the torchlight of knowledge, so they, his disciples, such as JD, will in turn also open the eyes of others with the torchlight of knowledge. This assumes a hierarchical process, as shown by Diagram A.
However, the GBC has agreed that the torchlight of knowledge given by Srila Prabhupada is directly opening the eyes of everyone in ISKCON equally, whether it is the "gurus" they elect like JD, or anyone else:
"ISKCON's founder-acarya, Srila Prabhupada, is the pre-eminent and compulsory siksa-guru for all vaisnavas (gurus and disciples) in the Society, who may directly receive empowerment from him through allegiance to his teachings."
(GBC Resolutions, No. 409, 1999)
"a. Srila Prabhupada is the foundational siksa guru for all ISKCON devotees because he has realized and presented the teachings of the previous acaryas of the Brahma Madhva Gaudiya sampradaya appropriately for the modern age.
b. Srila Prabhupada's instructions are the essential teachings for every ISKCON devotee."
(GBC Resolutions, 1994, ‘Founder-Acarya' statement)
And therefore Srila Prabhupada, through this siksa, is supplying divya-jnana — or transcendental knowledge — and thus, diksa, to everyone:
"Such uplifting knowledge is called divya-jnana, and its transmission is called siksa. This divya-jnana is the principle active ingredient of diksa."
(GBC Resolution No. 404, 1999)
We have quoted the GBC here so that the ISKCON "gurus", such as JD, cannot disagree, since the GBC is their authority. And it is actually a fact that Srila Prabhupada specifically established that he will indeed continue to give this transcendental knowledge in ISKCON to everyone equally through his books:
"Actually these books are the foundation stone of our movement."
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, 31/10/74, emphasis added)
"Any line he reads, he will get transcendental knowledge."
(Srila Prabhupada, Room conversation, 2/3/75)
Srila Prabhupada explains the following "axiomatic truth":
"So things equal to the same thing are equal to one another. This is axiomatic truth. If you have got one hundred dollars, and another man has got hundred dollar, and if I have got hundred dollar, then we are all equal."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, 18/10/68)
Therefore, having established the reality that everyone in ISKCON is equally having their eyes opened with the same torchlight of knowledge from Srila Prabhupada, it then also means that the recipients are equal to each other in status.
We quoted JD earlier stating: "Just as my Guru, Srila AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, opened my eyes with the torchlight of knowledge". Therefore, since Srila Prabhupada is similarly opening the eyes of all others in ISKCON in the same way with the torchlight of knowledge, they can also state the same as JD, that, "Just as my Guru, Srila AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, opened my eyes with the torchlight of knowledge". Thus, everyone's relationship to Srila Prabhupada, in terms of receiving the "principle active ingredient of diksa (transcendental knowledge)" from him, is equal. And therefore everyone is equal to each other in their disciple status.
However, in practice, JD and his GBC-elected guru colleagues will claim that these other persons in ISKCON, who are equal to themselves in their relationship with Srila Prabhupada, are actually their disciples! They will do this on the basis of doing things like, simply telling others to read Srila Prabhupada's books, and giving some classes while passing off Srila Prabhupada's teachings as their own. And in this way, they will insert themselves into the picture and steal Srila Prabhupada's disciples for themselves, even though it will actually be Srila Prabhupada who is opening everyone's eyes.
Hence, the reality is that unlike the hierarchical proposition given in Diagram A, we actually have a "Torchlight Triangle", as presented in Diagram B.
Srila Prabhupada is equally opening the eyes of everyone in ISKCON with the torchlight of knowledge as their guru. Thus, the position of those joining ISKCON today is no different to that of those who joined whilst Srila Prabhupada was physically present: they are both equally Srila Prabhupada's disciples.
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