BAD History v. Real History - 1


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 43, Spring 2014

At the "ISKCON Leaders Sanga" held in Mayapur, India, during the annual GBC meetings, GBC member and newly created ISKCON sannyasi (renunciant) Badrinarayan Dasa ("BAD") gave an account of what he claims is the "historical record" of the GBC. Below we compare BAD's GBC history with what actually happened. All quotes in the shaded boxes over the next 2 pages are from a lecture given by BAD on 19/2/14.

BAD history

"And if we actually look at the history, it is the GBC that finally kicked over the zonal acarya system. It is the GBC that finally stood up to Narayana Maharaja, stood up to the rtvik presentation. [...] But the fact of the matter is that we have seen that when the movement was going off, it has generally speaking been the GBC that's brought it back on course. That's the historical record."

BAD claims that it is the GBC that has saved ISKCON from deviating, citing the zonal acarya system, Narayana Maharaja ("NM") and the rtvik presentation as evidence. Let us examine each of these in turn to test the reality against BAD's claims.

Zonal acarya

The zonal acarya system was the system whereby, following the departure of Srila Prabhupada from this world, 11 men self-appointed themselves as "gurus" and divided the world up into 11 zones. The key point about this system, which BAD does not mention, was that it was actually created and propagated by the GBC, who falsely attributed its creation to Srila Prabhupada:

"...for 1978, no new Spiritual Masters shall be appointed other than the 11 selected by Srila Prabhupada."
(GBC Resolution 16, 19/3/78)

Subsequently, as a fellow GBC member admits, the GBC merely modified this system by adding even more gurus:

"it was not actually a reform. It was kind of watering down the same misconception and continuing. Like what we did was we appointed some more gurus and opened up the world for anybody to initiate wherever he wanted. Whereas previous to that it was a kind of zonal acarya. [...] And that defective system may have been watered down to some extent but it's still prevailing."
(GBC member HH Bhakti Charu Swami, Toronto, 20/7/03)

So, the "historical record" is:

a) It was the GBC who were responsible for the movement "going off" in regard to the zonal acarya system.

The GBC then continued the original zonal acarya deviation in a different form.

Narayana Maharaja

NM, now deceased, was a teacher from the Gaudiya Matha institution. It was the GBC who were responsible for promoting and popularising NM to ISKCON members. In 1990, when NM was relatively unknown in ISKCON, a centre-piece interview was conducted with NM by GBC member Ravindra Svarupa Dasa in the GBC publication ISKCON Journal, where NM's opinions and testimony on guru-tattva were offered as authoritative. Indeed, his contribution is even recorded in a GBC resolution:

"Meanwhile, the Executive Committee of the GBC had been preparing the ISKCON Journal, [...] interviews with several of the prominent devotees that were assisting Srila Prabhupada during his last year among us, including Narayana Maharaja (a long-standing associate of Srila Prabhupada and friend of ISKCON)."
(GBC Resolution 128, 1990)

And a leading coterie of GBC members, such as HH Sivarama Swami ("SRS"), had become intimate followers of NM, as SRS confesses:

"I had maintained what I saw to be an innocent and intermittent acquaintance with a Vaisnava outside ISKCON. By the mid-nineties, though, that acquaintance became part of a controversy: should ISKCON leaders be taking guidance from a Vaisnava outside ISKCON? [...] that apparently kindly Vaisnava became ISKCON's antagonist; ISKCON's members went outside for siksa and diksa; and even now devotees abandon ISKCON for the promise of a brighter spiritual future. I am unhappy to have contributed to this scenario."
(Preface, siksa Outside ISKCON?)

Though the GBC later did ask its members to stop associating with NM, due to the latter's emphasis on "intimate Radha-Krsna lila" --

"the GBC directs that the members of ISKCON should respect all senior Gaudiya Vaishnavas outside ISKCON, but should not intimately associate with them, [...] as their presentation of Krishna consciousness often differs from that of Srila Prabhupada [...] literature focusing on "rasika-bhakti," intimate Radha-Krsna lila, and other subject matters suitable only for highly advanced souls, represents a departure from Srila Prabhupada's orders..."
(GBC Resolution 73, 1995)

-- it still continues to support its own members promoting the same type of teachings. For example, GBC member SRS is allowed to peddle sahajiya "gopi fiction", wherein he fabricates stories involving Krsna and his confidential associates, the gopis, that have been produced entirely from his own imagination (Suddha-bhakti Cintamani, Na Paraye 'Ham).

So, the "historical record" is:

a) It was the GBC who were responsible for the movement "going off" in regard to NM;

b) The GBC still allows the same type of teachings promoted by NM to continue to be propagated in ISKCON.


By "rtvik presentation", BAD means the evidence put forward by the IRM in The Final Order (TFO) that Srila Prabhupada is ISKCON's diksa (initiating) guru. (BAD actually was the person who, on behalf of the GBC, asked BTP's editor at a meeting in Los Angeles in May 1996 to prepare and submit the document which would become TFO, for the GBC's consideration). However, the historical record shows that though the GBC may have prohibited "rtvik", they have not "stood up" to TFO, but rather have been forced to accept its philosophical conclusions. For example, as we demonstrate on page 3 of this issue, the GBC's official paper on Srila Prabhupada's position -- which it calls a "GBC Foundational Document" -- ends up accepting the conclusion of TFO that Srila Prabhupada is ISKCON's diksa guru. And, in BTP 41, we revealed how the GBC-endorsed "Vision Statement" for ISKCON UK de facto declares Srila Prabhupada as the diksa guru of ISKCON (please see BTP 41, "GBC Adopts the IRM's Position").

So, the "historical record" is:

The GBC has been forced to accept TFO's conclusions and is therefore unable to philosophically defeat it.

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