Srila Prabhupada is not second-best


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 32, Summer 2011

The guru hoax is based on the notion that Srila Prabhupada must be succeeded as the guru of ISKCON. We detail here how even initially keeping Srila Prabhupada as the guru can merely be another means to achieve the same end.

The stop-gap

We have two possibilities. Either Srila Prabhupada established ISKCON with himself as the guru for as long as ISKCON exists (the position supported by the evidence and the IRM), or he was to be succeeded as guru. How and when this succession takes place are merely details, since the outcome is still the same. The GBC’s position is that Srila Prabhupada was to be succeeded as guru in 2 phases:

1) Immediately on his departure by those he appointed as ritviks becoming gurus (“The Great Guru Hoax, Part 1”).

2) Subsequently by anyone the GBC deems receives the necessary number of votes (“The Great Guru Hoax, Part 2”).

To this list we can add a third position:

3) By whoever becomes “qualified” to take up this post in the future, rather than being rubber-stamped by the GBC. In the meantime, one simply takes shelter of Srila Prabhupada as either a siksa (instructing) or diksa (initiating) guru.

As can be seen, all three positions only differ on the details of how and when Srila Prabhupada gets replaced. The last position usually even offers that until such qualified persons come along, Srila Prabhupada can remain the diksa guru, and the ritvik system can remain in place. Thus, even though initially the correct system is in place, it is actually only a stop-gap measure until a guru successor emerges. Thus Srila Prabhupada is always the second-best option, a “holding” option, up until he can be succeeded. The GBC refers to this theory as “soft ritvik”. For the purpose of clarity we will refer to it as “Qualification Succession” (“QS”).

Qualification Succession

The QS theory is based on the fabrication that Srila Prabhupada did not authorise any guru successor on his departure and instead set up a ritvik system, only because he deemed no one qualified to become a successor. We say fabrication because, though there are statements whereby Srila Prabhupada may have spoken about the lack of qualification of his disciples, there is no statement whereby Srila Prabhupada states that this is the reason why he is not authorising a successor, or why he established a ritvik system. An example of this QS theory is represented by the following recently circulated statement:

“While the growth of the organization was impressive, in 1977, just prior to Srila Prabhupada’s leaving this world, it was still a young organization and most of the members and devotees, mainly westerners, had not developed the required spiritual stature, knowledge, realization, immense purity and gravity that is required to occupy the post of his spiritual successor, as an “Acharya”. Keeping this in mind, Srila Prabhupada appointed 11 disciples to act as Representatives of Acharya (and not as Acharyas) or ritviks. […] Srila Prabhupada found his disciples to be young, inexperienced, immature spiritual novices. Consequently he did not appoint anyone his spiritual successor, to ascend the Acharya-peetha.”

We are told that the only reason Srila Prabhupada did not appoint any successors is because, at the time, his disciples were not qualified. Indeed, it is even claimed that this was what was in Srila Prabhupada’s “mind” as the reason for establishing the ritvik system. Since Srila Prabhupada has never stated this, unless one can prove that they possess retrospective mind-reading powers, we can dismiss it as simply being a fabrication.

GBC logical fallacy

The QS, as well as being based on fabricating what Srila Prabhupada had in his “mind” for undertaking a particular action, is also based on the logical fallacy of “correlation equals causation”. In other words, though it may be a fact that Srila Prabhupada’s disciples were immature, ambitious and unqualified, and it is also a fact that at the same time he did not appoint them as successors, this does not mean one is the result of the other. Indeed, this line of reasoning is no different to the GBC argument that Srila Prabhupada only issued the July 9th directive because he was “sick” and could not travel. In both cases, two events which may both be true, and occur at the same time, are claimed to be cause and effect. And in both cases such assumptions can be rejected on the simple basis that Srila Prabhupada did not say this was the case. Just as the July 9th directive does not state that the ritviks were being appointed because Srila Prabhupada was sick, it also does not say that they were being appointed only because they are not qualified to be guru successors.

Succession follows

Having claimed that the reason Srila Prabhupada did not appoint successors was due to a lack of qualified candidates, one has to accept that, if and when such qualified candidates emerge, Srila Prabhupada must be succeeded. One cannot claim that Srila Prabhupada appointed no successors only because there were no qualified successors and then argue that Srila Prabhupada wanted no qualified successors. This would be imposing a contradiction on Srila Prabhupada, on top of the fabrication already imposed on him by the idea that he did not appoint a successor only because no one was qualified. QS therefore allows one to object to guruship being taken up by the current GBC rubber-stamped group, while at the same time keeping the guru door open for oneself or others one approves of. Hence, ultimately it is merely a device for attempting to shift the balance of power.


Though Srila Prabhupada does state many times that anyone qualified is eligible to become guru, he also states that they need to be authorised by their guru. Srila Prabhupada did not give this authorisation, nor did he state how and when, or that he would, give such an authorisation in the future. Rather, he only authorised procedures and systems that would keep him alone as the diksa guru for ISKCON. Thus, as the evidence only shows that Srila Prabhupada established himself as the diksa guru for ISKCON for as long as ISKCON exists, any other position is simply an attempt to relegate Srila Prabhupada to “second-best” status. But neither do we need anyone else, nor did Srila Prabhupada authorise this.

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