ISKCON’s leaders accept that
Lord Caitanya’s order to “become guru”
does not refer to diksa guru


His Holiness Tamala Krishna Goswami

“Instruct everyone to follow the orders of Lord Krishna as they are given in Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam. In this way, become a spiritual master and try to liberate everyone in this land.” (Madhya Lila, 7:128). These statements by Srila Prabhupada and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu certainly cannot be applied to the first meaning of acharya as given above. NEITHER CAN IT BE APPLIED TO THE THIRD MEANING (one who INITIATES), since Srila Prabhupada did in fact directly appoint 11 acharyas as will clearly be shown.”
(HH Tamal Krishna Goswami, late guru and GBC, Letter to Upananda Das, 13/12/1978) 

His Holiness Partha Sarathi Das Goswami

“Srila Prabhupada writes, “It is best not to accept any disciples.” (Cc. Madhya 7.130, purport). Based on this warning it could be assumed that the words “guru hana” means become a siksa-guru. In the first line of Cc. Madhya 7.128, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu says whomever you meet; tell them about Krishna... this also refers to siksha.”
(His Holiness Partha Sarathi Das Goswami, ISKCON GBC voted-in guru,, archived February 23rd, 2010) 

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami

Q: “Should we become a guru at some stage in order to go back to Godhead?”
Bhakti Charu Swami ("BCS"): “You may not have the stamp of a guru from ISKCON saying that you are now authorised to give diksha and accept disciples. However, a devotee is already a guru. The instruction of Lord Caitanya is to practice Krishna Consciousness and preach. Amara ajnaya guru hoiya tara ei desa. So you have to become a guru to go back to Godhead.”
(BCS Lecture, 5/10/2008)

BCS states a devotee is already a guru by virtue of Lord Caitanya’s order to “become guru”, even though he is not authorised to be a diksha (initiating) guru and accept disciples. This means that BCS accepts that Lord Caitanya’s “become guru” order is authorising a non-diksha guru, i.e. a siksha (instructing or teaching) guru.

His Holiness Hrdayananda Goswami

"What you would have to show here is that in these 4 circumstances, Srila Prabhupada states that one can or should become a siksha guru."

[Maharaja here refers back to the following statements sent in an e-mail on the same day to him by Krishnakant:

Specifically there are occasions where Srila Prabhupada can ONLY be referring to SIKSA. I will state four of these circumstances:

a.   Where the order for guruship is given in the present tense - Srila Prabhupada has clearly stated that one should not become a diksa unless he has left the planet.

b.   When the order for guruship is given to persons who are not yet initiated - Srila Prabhupada states that one would at least need to be his initiated disciple to become a diksaguru.

c.    When the order for guruship is given in conjunction with the 'amara ajnaya' verse since a relevant purport states 'It is best not accept disciples' - this is counter to the whole purpose of being a diksa guru.

d.   When the order for guruship requires a very minimal level of advancement, such as stating that even children can do it etc., since Srila Prabhupada has stated that ONLY a maha-bhagavata can become a DIKSA GURU - this quote is given in The Final Order. ]

"If he says simply "become a guru", then guru can be taken to mean a teacher, the literal sense of the word. In the case of siksha and diksha, there is a stage in which one formally accepts a guru and enters into a guru-disciple relationship. Followers of Sridhara Swami of the Gaudiya Matha used to quote Prabhupada as saying that Sridhara Swami was his "siksa guru". But as we know, Prabhupada never entered into a formal guru-disciple relationship with Sridhara Swami. There are other instances in which we can see the word guru being used to mean a teacher of Krishna consciousness. On the other hand, Bhaktivinode Thakur accepted Jagannatha Das Babaji as his sikshaguru, and his main guru. Thus the "four cases" you mentioned would not apply to such a primary guru-disciple relationship, on the level of siksha or diksha.
Hoping you are well"
(Hridayananda das Goswami, 13/8/1997)

— the full exchange can be viewed at:

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