Editing Srila Prabhupada's Words


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 56, Summer 2017

Consider a person, let's call him Jack, who is quoted stating:

"John attacked me."

One can then claim that Jack said very clearly that John attacked him. Because those are the words Jack directly spoke, and therefore it is conclusive that Jack said John attacked him. However, if Jack's full statement was -

"I would be upset if John attacked me."

- then though it would be true that Jack did say "John attacked me", it would also be true that it is not a fact that Jack stated John did attack him. In other words, through editing a statement, by only taking part of it, even though you are "quoting" it accurately, you can make it "conclude" whatever you want it to, even the opposite of what is being stated!

We will see how the guru hoax depends on such editing of Srila Prabhupada's words.

The claim

The GBC resolution dealing with what Srila Prabhupada's system of initiation would be in ISKCON after his physical departure (Resolution 409, 2004), states:

"Srila Prabhupada said that his disciples would become "regular gurus" and that each of their disciples would thus be a "disciple of my disciple." On the strength of our Vaisnava tradition and the statements of Srila Prabhupada, the GBC concludes that Srila Prabhupada intended his disciples to become "regular gurus" after he physically departed."

Thus, the GBC's position relies on two phrases spoken by Srila Prabhupada": "regular gurus" and "disciple of my disciple". Similarly, in responding to the IRM's arguments, the then chairman of the GBC, Praghosa Dasa ("PD"), answered:

"From a broader perspective though I just cannot get beyond Srila Prabhupada's words such as; "Regular guru", "disciple of my disciple", "grand-disciple" etc."
(PD email, 17/9/15)

PD adds one other word to the two phrases quoted by the GBC resolution — "grand-disciple".

Editing - 1

The GBC resolution quoted in the previous section claimed that:

"Srila Prabhupada said that his disciples would become "regular gurus" and that each of their disciples would thus be a "disciple of my disciple"."

The only time Srila Prabhupada uses the phrases "regular guru" and "disciple of my disciple", Srila Prabhupada actually states:

"When I order, "You become guru", he becomes regular guru. That's all. He becomes disciple of my disciple."
(Room conversation, 28/5/77)

Thus, as the GBC claims, Srila Prabhupada does state "regular guru" and "disciple of my disciple", and that the latter emerges due to the existence of the former. But, Srila Prabhupada states that "regular gurus" emerge only when and if Srila Prabhupada first issues an order for the same:

"When I order, "You become guru", he becomes regular guru."

Yet, the GBC resolution has changed this to "would become":

"Srila Prabhupada said that his disciples would become "regular gurus"".

Even though "when I order" is not "would become". "Would become" means the order has already been given. "When I order" means if such an order is ever given. Thus, the GBC resolution splices together words Srila Prabhupada did say with words he did not say. And, of course, through such a splicing technique one can ‘make' Srila Prabhupada appear to state anything one wants, even the opposite of what Srila Prabhupada actually states.

Editing - 2

To determine whether or not Srila Prabhupada did give such an order for "regular gurus", we can note that just a few seconds earlier in the conversation, Srila Prabhupada states the order he is going to give:

Srila Prabhupada: "I shall recommend some of you. After this is settled up, I shall recommend some of you to act as officiating acaryas."
Tamala Krsna: "Is that called rtvik-acarya?"
Srila Prabhupada: "Rtvik, yes."
(Room conversation, 28/5/77)

Srila Prabhupada states that he intends to recommend some persons to act as "rtvik". And such an order was indeed subsequently given on July 9th, 1977, to 11 such rtviks, who would conduct initiations to only produce initiated disciples of Srila Prabhupada. There is no mention of an order for these 11 rtviks to become the diksa gurus which would cause Srila Prabhupada to have a "disciple of my disciple". Therefore, the GBC resolution should actually have said:

"Srila Prabhupada said that his disciples would become "rtvik"".

But instead, they edit out any mention of the order Srila Prabhupada did give, and state a diksa guru order — "would become regular gurus" — that he did not give.

Editing - 3

We have just seen that:

When I order > regular guru > disciple of my disciple.

The word "grand-disciple" is just another word for "disciple of my disciple", for a "disciple of my disciple" is a grand-disciple. And Srila Prabhupada actually states the word "grand-disciple" in the following way:

"His grand-disciple ... When I order, "You become guru", he becomes regular guru. That's all. He becomes disciple of my disciple."
(Room conversation, 28/5/77)

Thus, Srila Prabhupada states the same thing before and after "when I order" — the emergence of a "grand-disciple" or "disciple of my disciple". Thus, these two terms cannot be divorced from each other, as the mention of "grand-disciple" here serves the same purpose as the mention of "disciple of my disciple" — they are both stated as emerging only due to "when I order".

Thus, as with "disciple of my disciple", Srila Prabhupada does state "grand-disciple". But both a "grand-disciple" and "disciple of my disciple" only emerge when Srila Prabhupada gives an order to become a regular guru (diksa guru). Yet, this linkage is not mentioned, and instead only the word "grand-disciple" is quoted, as we saw with ex-GBC Chairman PD.


The GBC has taken what Srila Prabhupada does state and then they:

a) Change the word "his" to "he is", in "his grand-disciple" (see BTP 53, "Changing Srila Prabhupada's Words").
b) Splice in words not said.
c) Edit out words Srila Prabhupada did say.

Without doing this, their whole case for the guru hoax collapses. And, indeed, if the GBC did actually have a case, it would not need to resort to such deceptive editing techniques.

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