GBC's War Against Srila Prabhupada Continues


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 44, Summer 2014

Superficially, within ISKCON there appears to be a dispute over the nature of the spiritual master:

a) Since 1978, ISKCON has claimed that the spiritual master needs to be physically present, and therefore Srila Prabhupada cannot fulfil this role. Instead, one must seek out one of the "living" (physically present) gurus offered by ISKCON.

b) In contrast, the IRM states that Srila Prabhupada is "living", whether or not he is physically present, and therefore he continues to fulfil the same role as ISKCON's spiritual master that he performed when he was physically present.

However, such a dispute can only genuinely arise if ISKCON actually believes in the "physically present" guru philosophy it claims to be presenting. But, as we shall now demonstrate, ISKCON does not itself actually follow or believe in this philosophy! Rather, they have invented it only to apply in the case of Srila Prabhupada, due to their desire to occupy his position as ISKCON's diksa guru. Thus, the real issue is not that ISKCON's leaders hold a contrary philosophical position to the IRM -- it's that they simply hold a contrary personal desire, being motivated by the need for PAD (Profit, Adoration and Distinction).

A teacherless teacher

In response to a question about his position as an "initiating teacher", ISKCON guru and GBC member, HH Bhakti Charu Swami ("BCS") states:

"Okay, you see initiation is the process through which we pass the informations, the spiritual knowledge to the candidate or to the disciple. It's a process of, you know, teaching, education. [...] So that is the basic of initiation. [...] initiation is the prerequisite, the primary consideration for getting admission into the institution. Like, as you are saying like knowledge is available, so why can'[t] we get it from the books, or from the internet and so forth? [...] No, the books are not enough. To reveal the books, we need the teachers. So these are the two things, you know, must go hand in hand. Like the books must be there and the teachers must be there to reveal the books."
(BCS, Question & Answer Session, posted 27/3/14)

Thus, BCS claims that a physically present initiating teacher, such as himself, is required in order to explain the books. However, BCS himself does not follow or accept the idea that one requires a physically present diksa guru to act as a teacher, because he has had no such teacher teaching him the books for the last 37 years. Nor did his diksa guru, Srila Prabhupada, personally teach him all the books in the less than one year that Srila Prabhupada was physically present after meeting him. Thus, according to BCS:

1. You must have a physically present diksa guru teacher in order to understand the books.
2. That teacher is someone who did not have a physically present diksa guru teacher from whom he understood the books.
3. So you must understand the books from a physical teacher who himself has not understood the books from such a teacher!

What makes this position even more contradictory is that BCS also claims that Srila Prabhupada is the person who "trains" everyone:

"Yes, Prabhupda is the guru as the iks guru. [...] But iks guru is the person who is training us in spiritual life."
(BCS Lecture, 7/4/14)

Hence, BCS is promoting the following self-defeating contradictory position:

1. He, rather than Srila Prabhupada, is needed because you must have a physically present diksa guru teacher in order to understand the books.
2. However, he himself did not need such a physically present teacher.
3. Srila Prabhupada is the teacher (trainer) for everyone.

And all because BCS is desperate to somehow justify his position as a successor diksa guru to Srila Prabhupada.

One-on-one master

The March/April 2014 issue of Back To Godhead, ISKCON's official magazine, carried the following reader's letter:

"I am a devotee starting off with ISKCON and would like to know from an experienced devotee of Sri Krsna how to obtain a special one-on-one Hare Krsna master, since His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada has passed on."

Back To Godhead first replied:

"When beginning Krsna consciousness within ISKCON, it is best to develop a relationship with Srila Prabhupada. Although he is not physically present, he is available in his teachings, books, recorded classes, videos, etc. [...] Begin to practice Krsna consciousness according to Srila Prabhupada's instructions [...] By reading, hearing, associating, and following his instructions, you will develop a relationship with Srila Prabhupada."

However, they then said:

"Once that is clear and strong, then you can consider who you will have as a personal master. There are many qualified devotees who can assist in this way. You can begin by hearing their classes [...] and whenever possible meeting them in person. Eventually you will find someone whose words and example enliven you and strengthen you in your spiritual practices. It is best to be patient and take time to carefully search for this person."

However, many of Back To Godhead's editorial staff are themselves disciples of Srila Prabhupada, and did not feel the need to search for a "special one-on-one Hare Krsna master", just because "His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada has passed on." Rather, as they state in the first part of their answer above, Srila Prabhupada is still "available", and one can thereby both "associate" and develop a "clear and strong relationship" with him, which is sufficient for them. Thus, they actually believe and practise that Srila Prabhupada alone is capable of always being that "special one-on-one Hare Krsna master", regardless of his physical presence. But, in order to support the right to usurp Srila Prabhupada's position with guru successors, they will promote this physically present "one-on-one special Hare Krsna master" philosophy for others.


In the last issue, we urged that the GBC give up the "war" against accepting Srila Prabhupada as ISKCON's diksa guru ("No Need for War Against Srila Prabhupada"). Part of this war involves making up ludicrous philosophies that they themselves do not believe in or follow, simply to justify usurping Srila Prabhupada's position.

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