Param Gati's 'Half-Guru' Status


In BTP 34, Winter 2011/2012 issue, we wrote an article entitled “Creating a deviant parampara”. The first part of the article states:

Creating a deviant parampara

The high-profile fall from grace of guru hoaxer Prabhavishnu  Das (“PV”), who has removed himself from all positions of ISKCON leadership, including both as an ISKCON guru and sannyasi, brings into focus the GBC’s philosophical position regarding the parampara (disciplic succession of self-realised acaryas beginning with God, or Krishna, Himself). All quotations in the shaded boxes are from current official GBC position papers as presented in the GBC paper Gurus and Initiation in ISKCON.

The fallen parampara -1

We have documented previously that it seems an ISKCON guru and sannyasi can engage in all sorts of deviation and still con-tinue acting as a guru.

For example:
a) Satsvarupa admitted to having an affair with a married female disciple.
b) Umapati was determined by the GBC to have behaved sexually with a number of male disciples over many years.
c) Param Gati was determined by the GBC to have made sexual advances to a male devotee.

Yet, despite all these transgressions by supposed sannyasis, all of them were still given “half-guru” status, which means they could still carry on functioning as bona fide diksa gurus in the parampara for their current disciples and were only prohibited from taking new disciples. (Umapati was later removed as guru completely only because he did not accept his “half-guru” status, and not because of his sexual deviations). Thus, the GBC permit a fallen standard of behaviour from those who are required to display the highest standard of behaviour – the members of the parampara. The reason for this can be found in the GBC’s position regarding parampara gurus, which officially permits them to deviate.

This states:

“If one’s guru performs some wrongful act, breaking Vaisnava regulative principles […] one should not give him up. [...] even if the guru has a lack of knowledge, […] is unable to give adequate Krsna conscious instructions [...] one should not reject the guru”.

Thus, the GBC’s position is that, even when their gurus are fallen, they can still function as bona fide members of the parampara.

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One of the examples given above of a fallen guru having the blessings of the GBC to continue as a link to the parampara for his disciples is Param Gati. The evidence for this is presented below from official GBC documents:

GBC Executive Committee Decision 2009 Param Gati Swami

The Governing Body Commission of ISKCON wishes to announce that Param Gati Swami has resigned from the GBC and will no longer accept disciples for initiation. The GBC has determined, following a careful investigation, that Param Gati Swami recently made sexual advances to a male devotee. The man did not welcome these advances and matters advanced no further. In pursuance of GBC direction, Param Gati Swami will be staying in Mayapur for the next year for a directed course of counseling and spiritual restoration under GBC supervision. Those who are his initiated disciples should approach their local temple or regional authorities, as well as other trusted senior devotees, for personal guidance and direction. By virtue of strong association with good devotees and a deep relationship with our Founder-acarya Srila Prabhupada, they will be able to overcome any impediment and continue to advance on the path of devotional

GBC Resolution 2010 Param Gati Das

305. Param Gati Das
Param Gati Swami has decided in consultation with the Sannyasa Ministry that
it would be in his best interest to step down indefinitely as a sannyasi. This was
seen as being favorable for rectifying problems he faced in the sannyasa asrama in the past. The GBC Body has accepted this decision. The Sannyas Committee  will monitor his service and his situation will be reviewed after three
years. He will hereby revert to his brahmacari name, Param Gati Das.

GBC Resolutions 2010 Paramgati Swami - Clarification

On March 22, 2010 14:23, Communication | CGB, ISKCON Brazil
<> wrote:

Obeisances.All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
Please see below the official statement of the GBC Executive Committee on Paramgati Swami. The Executive Committee of ISKCON Brazil is placed at the disposal of students for further guidance and take the opportunity to - in response to the recurring question of some - to inform those who so wish can continue to grow their guru-disciple relationships with Paramgati Prabhu
- including reciting his pranama and maintaining his photo on the altar.
your servants,
Executive Committee / CGB, ISKCON Brazil
Yamunacarya Das / Das Giridhari / Matura Natha Das / Gaura Hari Das / Mayapur Candra Das.

Those who are initiated disciples can approach the regional or temples authorities to which they belong, as well as other senior devotees trusted, for guidance. Through a strong association with good devotees and a deep relationship with our Founder-acarya Srila Prabhupada, the disciples of Paramgati will be able to overcome any obstacles and continue to advance along the path of devotional service. Paramgati agrees that the he will not initiate disciples for an indefinite period. These restrictions apply to both students and aspiring candidates for the second initiation. He also agrees that his disciples may seek shelter in other gurus, if they wish. Other decisions on this matter will be taken by the GBC Body, the Executive Committee of the GBC and Guru Services Committee, in line with Paramgati Swami.

The GBC Executive Committee clarifies that the statement made in the second paragraph of the resolution, "his disciples can seek shelter in other gurus, if they will," which basically means they can take shelter in other gurus through siksa. However, if a disciple feels it is absolutely essential to his/her progress in Krishna Consciousness  been reinitiated  by another ISKCON guru, must seek the advice of the authorities in their region. If the authorities agree, the student may be reinitiated.
GBC Body
Department of Communication

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