Personal Criticism or Personal Qualification?


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 24, Summer 2009

Welcome to Issue 24 of Back to Prabhupada (BTP).

The most common criticism levelled against the IRM is that we are being offensive and thereby committing "Vaisnava aparadha". This has now become an almost automatic knee-jerk reaction to anything we say, regardless of what we say, even when most of the time we are simply repeating Srila Prabhupada's words verbatim. We are told to stop "fault-finding" and instead just glorify Krishna. Why are we always focusing on the shortcomings of ISKCON gurus? Why is it necessary to only point out what someone has done wrong? This sounds reasonable enough on first hearing, but when we consider the nature of the beast we are dealing with, as I will now show, it actually becomes an absurd objection.

ISKCON's gurus are claiming to be transparent via media in the parampara (disciplic succession of bona fide gurus). They are worshipped as good-as-God. While singing the mangala-arati prayers, their disciples are supposed to consider them as assisting the gopis (Krishna's confidential associates in the spiritual world). They are supposed to represent Srila Prabhupada's teachings purely without the slightest change. In short, they are supposed to be fulfilling the same function that Srila Prabhupada fulfilled for his disciples. Hence they are claiming via their actions (if not their weasel words – please see BTP 19 Editorial, "The Great Guru Hoax, Part 3") that the very basis of their position is their personal qualification to represent the parampara as faultless successor diksa (initiating) gurus. Consequently, it is absurd to demand that such persons cannot be subject to scrutiny, and further when they are found to be wanting, frauds and impostors, that this should not be pointed out. Further, in BTP we concentrate primarily on demonstrating how what these gurus preach differs from Srila Prabhupada, and hence that they are not representing his teachings. Falldowns and scandals constitute but a minor part of our reporting, since the most dangerous "gurus" are those who appear to be "fixed-up" externally. Even fools can see that fallen gurus should not be followed (we hope!). Even on ISKCON "guru-disciple" courses, prospective disciples are taught that it is their duty to carefully study and examine prospective gurus. This they are told with the confident belief that they will of course have to pick at least one of the GBC's 80 gurus on offer. However, we are not allowed to apply the same scrutiny because when we do, we are able to prove that all of them are found wanting. So for persons whose position depends on their personal qualifications, to examine their words and actions and to see if they measure up to what they are claiming is not only required, but should be the main focus of everyone who is concerned for the welfare of ISKCON – whether prospective disciples, the GBC, life members, etc.

Now let us contrast this with the attitude that is taken towards the IRM and myself in particular. In this case, having absolutely no philosophy with which to answer our documented evidence and arguments, personal attacks are again an automatic knee-jerk response (please see page 15 of this issue). Not only is this a logical fallacy known as argumentum ad hominem (you cannot disprove a philosophical argument by discrediting the person presenting it), but it is not relevant, since we are neither claiming, nor do we require to be, spotless transparent via media to the parampara. Hence our position does not depend completely on the level of our personal qualification. Indeed, it does not depend on it at all. For the one and only qualification we claim to possess is this: to be able to read. That's right – not associating with the gopis, being advanced or any other such thing, but simply being able to read (and to repeat accurately what we read). That is BTP's qualification. We can read what Srila Prabhupada said, and we can read what others are saying he said, and see the difference. So to summarise, not for nothing is Kali-yuga, this current age of hypocrisy, known as being "topsy-turvy":

"Therefore, by the influence of the age of Kali, everywhere, politically, socially or religiously, everything is topsy-turvy, and therefore for the sane man it is all regrettable."
(Srimad-Bhagavatam, 1:16:22 purport, emphasis added)

Because in cases where someone's personal qualifications are the very basis of their existence, we are told the one thing we can not do is to examine these qualifications, since this would be fault-finding. However, in the case where one's personal qualification has zero bearing on what is being read and presented, personal attacks are usually the only thing we are offered.

We can only "fault-find" if there is fault to find, and in the case of those claiming to faultlessly represent Srila Prabhupada as the current links of the parampara, there should not be any fault at all!

Please feel free to write to me at the following address with any comments whatsoever:

Thank you and Hare Krishna.
Yours in the service of Srila Prabhupada,


Return to IRM Homepage


Please chant: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna, Krishna, Hare, Hare,
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama, Rama, Hare, Hare.
And be Happy!