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Summer 2006

In the United States, the President is subject to an electoral rule known as “term limits”. This states that he must be removed from office after 2 terms (8 years), and the voters are not given the choice of deciding whether or not they wish for him to continue. As we will now show, it seems that our largely American GBC have also decided to apply this political device to the parampara (disciplic succession of bona fide Gurus).

The GBC’s chief argument as to why Srila Prabhupada must be replaced as the diksa Guru of ISKCON, is that to keep him as the Guru for ISKCON would “end the parampara”. Let us examine if this statement is supported by Srila Prabhupada.

  1. No one is disputing that when Srila Prabhupada established ISKCON and became its diksa Guru in 1966, this act of Srila Prabhupada initiating disciples was seen as the parampara CONTINUING with Srila Prabhupada. Nobody is arguing that Srila Prabhupada acting as the Guru of ISKCON from 1966 onwards, was an act which caused the parampara to end. Thus Srila Prabhupada acting as the Guru of ISKCON is not seen as ending the parampara, but continuing it.
  2. So how then does the idea of Srila Prabhupada continuing to act as the diksa Guru of ISKCON, which itself CONTINUED the parampara, now paradoxically END the parampara? How can that which hitherto was the very cause of the parampara continuing, now be the source of its very end? That’s where “term limits” come into play. For it is argued that no Guru can exceed his term limit of acting as Guru – this term limit being as long as he has a physical body. We thus have another paradox, in that a SPIRITUAL master’s ability to act as a spiritual master, is now defined via the availability of his PHYSICAL body. That is, to use the political analogy, a spiritual master is “constitutionally” forbidden from accepting disciples as soon as he loses the use of his PHYSICAL body.

But there is one problem with this “term limit” argument. Srila Prabhupada never stated this “term limit” for a spiritual master’s operation. Therefore, in the absence of an explicit statement from Srila Prabhupada confirming the above argument, the argument remains simply speculative, and we need not consider it any further since it lacks authority.
There are, however, two statements from Srila Prabhupada which are mistakenly used to support this “physical absence term limit” argument. One is the following:

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“But as a matter of etiquette 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 To Tusta Krishna, 2nd December, 1975)

However, this does not state a term LIMIT for when the Guru can act. On the contrary, it actually states a term limit in which the Guru can NOT be replaced. To again use the political analogy, the GBC’s argument is akin to saying that after 4 years in office a President must be removed. The letter above, however, is akin to saying that a President must rule for at least 4 years before it is even possible to remove him.
Stating the time period for when someone can NOT be replaced is not the same as giving a time period in which he MUST be replaced!
The other statement erroneously used to support the “term limit” argument is:

“One who is now the disciple is the next spiritual master.”
(Srimad-Bhagavatam, 2.9.43)

However, this does not even imply the GBC’s “physical absence term limit” argument, as it does not give a mandatory time period within which a disciple must become a spiritual master; or further, that such a time period is explicitly linked to the spiritual master’s physical ABSENCE. On the contrary, the above quote is used in the context of the parampara involving Brahma, Narada and Vyasa, all of whom are still said to be physically PRESENT.
Thus, in conclusion, there is no statement supporting this “physical absence term limit” argument. Hence, Srila Prabhupada acting as the diksa Guru of ISKCON does not end the parampara, but actually CONTINUES the parampara, since as a bona fide member and the current link of the parampara, Srila Prabhupada, continues to connect devotees to the parampara.

However, the guru hoax system currently practised by ISKCON does END the parampara, since it has replaced the genuine, authorised and current link in the parampara – Srila Prabhupada – with numerous unauthorised false gurus, who are unable to represent or connect anyone to the parampara. Further, even by their own false “physical absence term limit” argument, the GBC’s guru hoax program can be seen as ending certain branches of the ISKCON parampara, since as soon as one of their unauthorised gurus leaves his body, immediately a disciple would need to succeed him, lest the “parampara stop”; and yet the following GBC gurus are all physically absent and NO “living guru” has replaced them to become the next GBC authorised “living link” in the parampara:

It is ironic that on the one hand the GBC have argued that in the case of Srila Prabhupada the “law” of disciplic succession means that all his disciples immediately are supposed to become guru on his departure, and indeed in this case we had 11 immediate replacements; yet as seen from the cases above, the GBC are unable to find even one person to continue the “living parampara” and “succeed” the guru after many years.

Srila Prabhupada acting as the diksa Guru for ISKCON continues the parampara, whilst ISKCON’s unauthorised guru system has ended the parampara.