'TFO' Too Hard For Mudhudvisa


Jan 17 1999

95% of Madhudvisa prabhu's latest article 'Problems With The Final Order' is perfect and sublime, since it consists of nothing but quotes from Srila Prabhupada. The problem is with the remaining five percent, namely Madhudvisa's comments, for they bare little relation to what Srila Prabhupada says in the given quotes. For example the author emphatically states:

'. There are so many direct orders from Srila Prabhupada to his disciples to become QUALIFIED diksa gurus...'

Madhudvisa (henceforward the 'author') then offers pages of quotes from Srila Prabhupada which do not mention the word 'diksa', nor the word 'initiate' even once. Where are these many direct orders to all his disciples to become DIKSA gurus? Why can the author not even produce one? In the examples given, Srila Prabhupada invariably quotes the 'amara' verse which can only refer to instructing gurus, not diksa gurus- 'it is best not to accept any disciples'. (I have placed Krishnakanta's explanation for this again at the end of this article in case the author wishes to challenge our conclusion).

As an advocate of his own special brand of 'soft ritvik' the author is correct to point out that 'The Final Order' breaks with some previous ritvik writings. Previous versions of 'soft ritvik' had it that the ritvik system was only meant to run until one or more of the ritvik acarya's became qualified diksa gurus. At this point, it is alleged, the order ceases to apply. In 'The Final Order' (point 25 pages 46-47) we pointed out that this was speculation since the order mentions no such thing, and for as long as ISKCON exists (up to ten thousand years) there can be no change to the system of management (see Srila Prabhupada's final Will). Therefore we concluded that the final July 9th order only supports a 'hard ritvik' interpretation. The system` shall apply for as long as ISKCON exists.

The author argues that Srila Prabhupada wanted all his disciples to initiate their own disciples once they were qualified. He then states:

'Of course if one was a qualified guru and wanted to take his own disciples it is very unlikely he would do it in his spiritual masters organization. He would start his own branch, open his own temples and preach among the conditioned souls and attract his own students.' 

So in other words Srila Prabhupada's real order was for everyone to become guru and then immediately leave ISKCON. Srila Prabhupada went to all that trouble just set up a mere springboard for millions of other competing organisations run by self governing initiators. It would only take one new diksa guru to emerge, and ISKCON would become defunct. It is a sastric injunction that one must approach the current link, and those new current links would not be in ISKCON. According to the author it would be untenable for a bona fide diksa guru to remain in ISKCON: 

' What bona fide guru would ever put himself under the authority of a "governing board" based more on the Roman Catholic concept than anything from the Vaishnava disciplic succession?'

Thus the most qualified devotees (or those that felt themselves to be so) would constantly leave ISKCON, which will be obsolete with the first departing current link, to up their own rival institutions. It is at this point the author's thesis falls apart with self-contradiction:

'There's nothing wrong with qualified disciples starting their own branches of ISKCON and preaching and making disciples and initiating them as a diksa guru'.

But the definition of ISKCON is that a governing body commission governs it. The whole point of these gurus leaving was so they would not be under a governing body, but instead act independently. Thus the author has completely contradicted himself. Our position has always been that anyone wanting to initiate their own disciples should do it outside ISKCON; but their new organisation could not, by definition, be new branches of ISKCON.

And how will the author's proposed system guard against unqualified persons initiating disciples? Apparently it will not since the author chirpily informs us:

'Of course they (the new gurus) have to be qualified, but they will not be successful if they are not qualified, so what's the harm?' (Madhudvisa 'problems with 'The Final Order').

Oh well that's all right then. But wait a minute, some ISKCON gurus have never visibly fallen down, and at least one has initiated nearly as many disciples as Srila Prabhupada did. How will the author measure success we wonder? Also this splintering off into different tiny competing organisations is almost exactly what happened to the Gaudiya Matha, and was something Srila Prabhupada roundly condemned. The author's position is further undermined by the fact that in many of the quotes he offers Srila Prabhupada stresses how anyone can be guru without any qualification other than to simply repeat what he has heard. According to the following quotes offered by the author a diksa guru should not even travel, but just stay wherever he is living and preach to his friends and family:

''This country' means wherever you are living, you can become guru and deliver them. And one may say that 'You are asking me to become guru but I have no qualification.' A sincere man will say like that, 'How can I become guru, and how can I deliver this country?' Chaitanya Mahaprabhu says it is not difficult...''

''...Chaitanya Mahaprabhu encourages. He says that amara ajnaya hana tara ei desa: 'Wherever you are staying,' ei desa, 'in that country... You may not go outside, but wherever you are staying,' amara ajnaya, 'by My order,' guru hana, 'you must become a guru''--

If we actually want to become guru, there is necessity of many thousands of gurus to teach this cheated public. But how to become guru? That is... Chaitanya Mahaprabhu says, amara ajnaya: 'By My order.' 'What is Your order, Sir?' Yare dekha, tare kaha 'krsna'-upadesa. Then you become guru. You simply advise people to follow Krishna's instruction. Then you become guru." (741202SB.BOM Lectures)

According to the author's interpretation of the above there is no reason why every one of Srila Prabhupada's ten thousand followers should not have immediately left ISKCON to set up shop as initiating founder acaryas on November 14th 1977. And if the author insists that the qualification for diksa guru is indeed highly stringent, then he will have to find different quotes than the ones he has offered as evidence. Either way his argument collapses.

Everyone already agrees that Srila Prabhupada wanted his disciples to become guru, acarya, spiritual master, preacher, teacher, ritvik. We have absolutely no problem with this. It's what Srila Prabhupada asked for over and over again. But nowhere above is Srila Prabhupada referring to the guru needing to first be a mahabhagavat (qualifications for diksa) before he acts, or traveling the world initiating his own disciples, writing his own books and forming his own organisation. The quotes offered by the author are clearly referring to instructing, not initiating gurus.

The author seems to be obsessed with the idea of becoming qualified and starting one's own organisation. Maybe this is because he himself started his own organisation many years ago, called 'Shelter', of which he titled himself the 'Founder-Acarya'. As the author himself says, if one is not qualified he will not be successful.  


Srila Prabhupada's system was simple - one movement, and one Diksa Guru - bas; and all devotees united within ISKCON under a GBC (which followed his instructions)- a real unified world preaching mission. Our position is that there should be NO CHANGE to the system Srila Prabhupada established. What the author proposes would lead to a worse shambles than we have now. His whole thesis is speculative since nowhere does Srila Prabhupada ever describe anything like what the author is proposing. It is good that the author has drawn attention to himself and others with similar beliefs. We certainly do not want ISKCON's much needed reforms derailed by such a speculative, subjectively based, time-delayed, GBC-less M.A.S.S. system.

Your servant Bhaja hari das

There follows Krishnakant's explanation of the 'Amara' verse based on Srila Prabhupada's teachings:   


3. The 'amara ajnaya' Verse

Evidence supporting the conclusion that the 'amara ajnaya' verse (C:C Madhya 7:128) as used by Srila Prabhupada, refers to instructing guru, is based on two considerations:

a) The explanation of the verse itself by Srila Prabhupada.

b) The usage of the verse by Srila Prabhupada in relation to his disciples.

Let us look at these in turn:  

a. The Verse Itself

The actual verse is as follows:

yare dekha, tare kaha 'krsna'-upadesa  
amara ajnaya guru hana tara' ei desa


"Instruct everyone to follow the orders of Lord Sri Krishna as they are given in the Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam. In this way become a spiritual master and try to liberate everyone in this land." (C:C, Madhya, 7:128)

Let us look directly before and after this verse; and also at the surrounding purports generally.

Just before this verse in the purport to the last verse - 7:127, Srila Prabhupada states:

"In the next verse Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu advises everyone to become an ideal householder by offenselessly chanting the Hare Krishna mantra and teaching the same principle to everyone he meets." (Purport, 7:127)

And then immediately Srila Prabhupada states:

"This is the sublime mission of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. Many people come and inquire whether they have to give up family life to join the Society, but that is not our mission. One can remain comfortably in his residence. We simply request everyone to chant the maha-mantra: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare. Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. If one is a little literate and can read the Bhagavad-gita As It Is and Srimad-Bhagavatam, that is so much the better."
(Purport, 7:128)

Straight away we can see that the context is becoming a PREACHER or siksa guru. It should be clear just from this that "to become an ideal householder", "One can remain comfortably in his residence", "If one is a LITTLE literate", are not the phrases that are associated with becoming a diksa guru who takes disciples and has a formal guru-disciple relationship with them. Neither is teaching 'everyone to become an ideal householder' the sum and substance of acting as a diksa guru.

As we look further the nature of the guru being described becomes even clearer:

"Instead of living engrossed in material activities, people throughout the world should take advantage of this movement and chant the Hare Krishna maha-mantra at home with their families. One should also refrain from sinful activities--illicit sex, meat-eating, gambling and intoxication. Out of these four items, illicit sex is very sinful. Every person must get married. Every woman especially must get married. If the women outnumber the men, some men can accept more than one wife. In that way there will be no prostitution in society. If men can marry more than one wife, illicit sex life will be stopped. One can also produce many nice preparations to offer Krishna--grain, fruit, flowers and milk. Why should one indulge in unnecessary meat-eating and maintain horrible slaughterhouses? What is the use of smoking and drinking tea and coffee? People are already intoxicated by material enjoyment, and if they indulge in further intoxication, what chance is there for self-realization? Similarly, one should not partake in gambling and unnecessarily agitate the mind. The real purpose of human life is to attain the spiritual platform and return to Godhead. That is the summum bonum of spiritual realization. The Krishna consciousness movement is trying to elevate human society to the perfection of life by pursuing the method described by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in His advice to the brahmana Kurma. That is, one should stay at home, chant the Hare Krishna mantra and preach the instructions of Krishna as they are given in the Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam." (Madhya 7:128, Purport)

Notice how Srila Prabhupada gives the 'essence' of the verse as the last sentence in the purport:- 'pursuing the method described here by Lord Chaitanya', 'becoming Guru', involves staying at home, chanting and preaching, nothing more. In the next two purports Srila Prabhupada elaborates on this and adds:

"One only has to follow the instruction of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, chant the Hare Krishna maha-mantra and instruct relatives and friends in the teachings of the Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam."
(Madhya, 7:130)

Thus we can see that staying at home, chanting and instructing whatever little you may know to your close associates is a prescription only for preachers/siksa gurus. It is not describing taking up the formal process of diksa guru as practised in ISKCON. The whole thrust of the purport should make this clear where Srila Prabhupada speaks favourably about POLYGAMY. He speaks more of this than 'becoming guru', a phrase not even repeated in the purport. Yet we do not see how everyone taking more than one wife is the normal way to 'become a diksa guru'!

Just in case anyone has any doubts that it is PREACHERS only that are being spoken of and NOT diksa gurus, Srila Prabhupada states:

"It is best not to accept any disciples." (Madhya, 7:130, Purport)

To accept disciples is the very purpose of the diksa guru.

And then at the end of this verse Srila Prabhupada gives his conclusion to all the 3 verses:

"To protect His preachers, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has given much clear advice in these verses of Sri Chaitanya-caritamrta." (Madhya, 7:130, Purport)

One point of this 'clear advice' is that it is 'BEST not to accept ANY disciples'. Not SOME, or TOO MANY, but ANY.

To follow the order to 'become guru', according to Srila Prabhupada means:

1.  Stay in your position, and stay at home. Get married, chant, instruct your family and friends in the Bhagavad Gita.

2.  To not accept any disciples.

Further please note what is NOT said here:

3.   One must first get initiated by a spiritual master.

4.   Wait till that spiritual master leaves the planet before executing this instruction.

Item 1.  would be a very unusual way to describe the process of becoming a diksa guru. Items 2,3 and 4 make it clear that we are NOT talking about diksa gurus.

Just the context of the verse should have made it clear that Lord Chaitanya was simply giving an instruction as to how best one can practice Krishna Consciousness at home, and not become a guru that will take disciples. The brahmin, kurma, wants to leave home and travel with Lord Chaitanya, but Lord Chaitanya tells him not to speak like that but instead 'become a guru' and TRY and liberate everyone. He never advises the Brahmin to first take diksa from him, or that he should wait until the Lord has completed his pastime before he can take up this instruction. Nor does he make any reference to the nature of the instruction changing once Lord Chaitanya has left the planet.  


Srila Prabhupada's Usage of the Order

It may be argued that when Srila Prabhupada repeated the order to his disciples, outside of his books, he may have modified it to mean diksa for his disciples. Yet an analysis of Srila Prabhupada's use of this verse merely confirms the above principles, for when he does use it, we often find 3 characteristics:

1.   He will use it when addressing large crowds that invariably contained uninitiated persons. He makes no reference to one needing to first be initiated formally in order to execute the instruction to preach and 'be guru'.

2.  He will use it in the present tense. Further, no reference is ever made when issuing the instruction that they MUST all wait for his departure before acting on the instruction. Rather one is expected to act on the instruction immediately - this is a fatal blow to the GBC's case since they are using the 'law of disciplic succession' as principal evidence. By this very same law, all these uses of Lord Chaitanya's order are also eliminated.

The instruction is given in the context of the most minimal qualification possible, with everyone and anyone exhorted to execute the instruction, even children.

Many examples are there, since the order to 'be guru' in this context was given many times, but just a couple of examples will make this clear:

"That is Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's mission. He said, "Every one of become guru and deliver your surrounding persons, either you are in family or in neighbourhood or in society or in nation, as much as you can." Amara ajnaya guru hana tara' ei desa. So whatever limited circle, you just become guru and deliver them. [...] Very simple thing. If I say that "My father said, 'This is a bell,'" I am correct because I have learned it from my father, authority. I may be fool, rascal. It doesn't matter. But because I have learned it from the authority and presenting it that "This is a bell," this is perfect. [...] Similarly, our position is that "We have got a message from Krishna. Take it." So we have no difficulty. Anyone can say. If you study Bhagavad-gita nicely, assimilate and repeat it, it will act. Krishna says, man-mana bhava mad-bhakto mad-yaji mam namaskuru. We are teaching that "You always think of Krishna. You become a devotee. You worship Him and offer your obeisances." It doesn't require that you become very learned scholar. Anyone can do. A child can do. That's it. We are teaching. Where is the difficulty? Hm? Is there any difficulty? Why don't you do that? Why you are making so big, big program without any effect? Take the simple thing, program, and preach everywhere. That is being done."
(Room Conversation, 11/5/77, Hrisikesh)

"Therefore Chaitanya Mahaprabhu... Yare dekha tare kaha 'krsna'-upadesa: "You become guru. No qualification required. Simply you repeat what Krishna has said." Just see how simplified. Don't talk anything nonsense. Yare dekha tare kaha 'krsna'--bas. So who cannot do it? Anyone can do it, even a child. (laughs) Our Syamasundara's daughter. She was preaching, "Do you know Krishna?" They said, "No I have got no..." "The Supreme Personality." This is preaching, simply if you say that "Krishna is the Supreme Personality, supreme controller. Just be obedient to Him." Where is the difficulty? Anyone can preach. Chant Hare Krishna. Bas. Three words: Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead; surrender unto Him; and chant Hare Krishna. Your life will be successful. What is the difficulty in preaching these three words? Hm? Is there any difficulty? Even a child like Sarasvati, she can preach. Then what to speak of others? Those who are educated, grown-up, advanced, they can put the matter more nicely, more convincingly, more philosophically. That is another thing. But these three words, that "Krishna is the Supreme Lord; you are servant; and chant Hare Krishna"--bas, preaching complete. Very simple thing and the sublime instruction. Everyone can become guru by simply teaching these three words."
(Room Conversation, 25/1/77)

The above is clearly not talking about becoming a diksa guru, but simply a preacher.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.