Diksa Denial - 2:
Denying Srila Prabhupada is a Living Guru


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 38, Winter 2012/13

Another ridiculous example of Srila Prabhupada being denied his status as diksa guru is the claim that he is no longer “living”. Over the next two pages, we will demonstrate how this “diksa denial” is so irrational, that it is not even accepted by the very persons who put it forward!

Srila Prabhupada lives!

It is claimed that Srila Prabhupada must be denied giving diksa because “one needs” to accept it from a “living spiritual master” — where “living” is defined as “physically present”:

“One needs to accept diksa from a living spiritual master and therefore one cannot accept initiation from Srila Prabhupada.”
(HH Sivarama Swami, 6/12/2012)

The first obvious point that can be used to very easily refute this belief is the fact that Srila Prabhupada has never taught such a belief!

However, as we have demonstrated repeatedly in BTP, the teachings of Srila Prabhupada appear to be of no importance to those who currently run ISKCON. Thus, we will simply defeat this belief by presenting their own teachings! In the diagram on the facing page, we list every conceivable “need” that Srila Prabhupada could possibly be “required” to fulfil in order to provide diksa as a “living” guru. And in the quotes that follow in the rest of this article, we document how ISKCON’s leaders themselves have said Srila Prabhupada fulfils every one of these “living diksa guru” needs!

In particular, the first four interactions listed — approaching, inquiring, rendering service and imparting knowledge — correspond with the functions required for accepting a bona fide spiritual master in Bhagavad-gétä, 4.34 — which is used by ISKCON as the standard verse to demonstrate the absolute necessity for new recruits to surrender to an ISKCON guru:

“Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized soul can impart knowledge unto you because he has seen the truth.”
(Bhagavad-gita As It Is, 4.34, original edition)

Approach the spiritual master

“Let us broadcast all over the world that Srila Prabhupada is still with us and that anyone who wants to receive his mercy can approach him and establish his eternal relationship with him.”
(HH Bhakti Charu Swami, 31/10/2000)

Inquire/impart knowledge/answer questions

“This also can be found when you enter the samadhi of Srila Prabhupada in Vrndavana and in Sridhama Mayapura. You have the distinct feeling which you had when you entered into his personal presence […] and often received answers to questions […] we ask the question “What would Prabhupada do?” how will we find the answer? […] The easy answer is Prabhupada gave many instructions and we can find them in his recorded books.”
(HH Sacinandana Swami, Lecture 20/8/2012)

Allows us to render direct service

“If for some unfortunate reason gurus leave ISKCON, at least the institutional empowerment doesn’t go with them, it stays here, and devotees should be wise enough and selective enough in that case to stay in Srila Prabhupada’s line, and Srila Prabhupada’s direct service is going on.”
(HH Sivarama Swami, Initiation Lecture, 7/1/2007)

Not limited to his body

“Prabhupada says that that same principle of expansion applies to the spiritual master. He is not limited to his body […] he’s not limited in the way that the body, the vapuh that he inhabits, is limited […]”
(HH Sivarama Swami, Podcast, 4/8/2009)

Life based on his teachings

“[…] one’s life is based upon Srila Prabhupada’s siksa and Srila Prabhupada’s books”.
(HH Sivarama Swami, Podcast, 6/12/2012)

Guides, directs and encourages us

“Srila Prabhupada is the unquestionable source of all knowledge and guidance, direction and encouragement […]”
(HG Kripamoya Däsa, “Thoughts on Back To Prabhupada magazine”, 8/2/2007)

Contacts, talks to and instructs us

“This is one letter, from one girl who came in contact with you. How many millions of such souls are there who have yet to write, who are directly experiencing your mercy daily, who read your books with implicit faith, whom you talk to in dreams and pictures, whose lives you change abruptly and reward with tears when chanting the holy names?”
(HH Sivarama Swami, Vyasa-puja Offering to Srila Prabhupada, 1994)

“Prabhupada’s rooms as they are kept in the temples and also in the samadhi mandirs where Srila Prabhupada is still present in this present time and where he speaks to you and where he instructs you.”
(HH Sacinandana Swami, Lecture, 20/8/2012)

“So when we are reading his books we should think that at this moment Srila Prabhupada is speaking personally to me.”
(HH Radhanath Swami, “Radhanath Swami Yatras”, posted 7/11/2012)

Associates with us

“So on this day of disappearance of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, we should know how we can become an intimate associate of Srila Prabhupada. How we can live within our hearts in his personal presence, heart full of surrender of the true association of the great souls.”
(HH Radhanath Swami, ‘Disappearance of Srila Prabhupada’, 1991)

Watches us

“Let us recognize that Srila Prabhupada has not gone away. Rather, he has simply disappeared from our vision. Although we are not able to see him any more with our mundane vision, he is very much there, watching us from the spiritual sky.”
(HH Bhakti Charu Swami, 31/10/2000)

Meets us every day

“Srila Prabhupada is always present in his ISKCON, and that whoever wants to can come and meet him here, still today.”
(HH Bhakti Charu Swami, 31/10/2000)

Reciprocates with us

“So that means Prabhupada is reciprocating. This is his position, unique position. He’s saktyavesa-avatara. This is his saktyavesa, that he’s able to reciprocate with everybody for the next 10,000 years.”
(HH Trivikrama Swami, Lecture, 27/6/2010)

Rewards and chastises us

“He will reward us when we please him and he will chastise us if we make mistake.”
(HH Bhakti Charu Swami, 31/10/2000)

Trains us

“Prabhupada is trying to train us to become panditah sama-darsinah — have equal vision so when we look at the person we don’t see the body, we see the soul […] we see the soul’s connection to Krsna.”
(GBC member Hari Vilasa Dasa, 21/2/2012)

Allows us to surrender to him

“Why do we hesitate to tell a newcomer who is searching for a guru that Srila Prabhupada, the best guru the world has ever seen, is still here, and one can surrender unto him and go back to Godhead very easily?”
(HH Bhakti Charu Swami, 31/10/2000)

Gives his mercy directly to us

“Everybody receives Srila Prabhupada’s mercy directly through his teachings and his ISKCON society as Founder-acarya.”
(HH Bhaktivaibhava Swami, Online discussion with disciple, 27-28/9/2010)

Takes us to Krsna

“Generally, a guru establishes a link between Krsna and his disciple. […] Srila Prabhupada, as the preeminent acarya, takes you to Krsna and engages you in His service.”
(HH Bhakti Charu Swami, Istagosthi, 10/6/2007)

Initiates us

“If you take diksa-guru as that person who makes the contract with Krsna, then it is Prabhupada.”
(HH Hanumatpresaka Swami, “Guru-tattwa”, 19/4/2008)

“Otherwise, personally, I think that Prabhupada may be able to initiate people.”
(HH Trivikrama Lecture, 14/6/2008)

Liberates us

“And certainly we are all depending on Srila Prabhupada to intercede with Krsna so that we can attain His shelter. […] He is surely our guarantee of salvation if we follow his instructions and personal example in our daily life.”
(HG Kripamoya Dasa, 6/5/2007)

Traditional excuse eliminated

Thus, ISKCON’s leaders themselves accept that Srila Prabhupada fulfils all the functions of a “living” guru, and therefore cannot use this as a reason to deny ISKCON members from taking diksa from Srila Prabhupada.

In addition, in the very sentence preceding Sivarama Swami’s statement on the “need” for a “living guru” which we quoted at the outset of this article, Sivarama Swami states that one does not accept diksa from a person whose spiritual master is still physically present:

“Now generally Prabhupada says that the person from whom one most often receives siksa becomes the diksa guru. However, in the case where that siksa guru’s spiritual master, diksa guru, is still physically present then the etiquette is that one does not accept diksa from him but rather he defers or refers, he defers to his own spiritual master or refers aspiring devotees or devotees under his charge, either to his diksa guru or some other diksa gurus, since in ISKCON there are so many diksa gurus that one can accept initiation from.”
(Sivarama Swami, Podcast, 6/12/2012)

This restriction, according to Sivarama Swami, is not in line with Vaisnava tradition:

“we see that vaiñëava tradition also bears out that in the time of Mahaprabhu, thereafter, for instance in the book Jaiva Dharma, Bhaktivinoda Thakura shows how, gives the story of how a devotee takes an aspirant to his own spiritual master for blessings, and that devotee is acting as a diksa guru.”
(Sivarama Swami, Podcast, 24/8/2012)

Thus, when discussing the very considerations that are relevant to the issue of whom one should accept as one’s diksa guru, and right before concluding that Srila Prabhupada cannot be such a diksa guru due to the need to accept a “living” spiritual master (even though Srila Prabhupada is everyone’s siksa guru and the general principle is that the siksa guru becomes the diksa guru), Sivarama Swami accepts that the need to follow vaiñëava tradition cannot be one such consideration. Hence, the traditional (pun intended) excuse offered for diksa denial — that of the need to follow tradition — is herein eliminated by the diksa deniers themselves!


Thus from every angle — whether by the teachings of Srila Prabhupada or the teachings of ISKCON’s own leaders — the need for a “living” spiritual master cannot be used to deny Srila Prabhupada giving diksa. Therefore, persons who advocate such diksa denial are nothing but “Diksa Deniers” — meaning their position is simply based on denying a reality, rather than believing in any real “need”. Clearly, the very existence of such phantom “needs” and diksa “magic” (as highlighted in the previous article) demonstrates that the actual purpose of diksa denial is to usurp Srila Prabhupada’s position, driven by their actual “need” for profit, adoration and distinction (PAD).

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!