ISKCON's Founder-Acarya Confusion Continues


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 45, Autumn 2014

In the last two BTP issues we highlighted how ISKCON leader HH Hridayananda Dasa Goswami ("HD") contradicted the very GBC book, Srila Prabhupada -- The Founder-Acarya of ISKCON ("SPFAI"), that he helped commission! Indeed, to help the GBC understand their own book, we were forced to commission our own book titled Srila Prabhupada -- The Founder-Acarya of ISKCON: Presenting the Conclusions of the GBC Foundational Document. Now, the person who wrote SPFAI's Foreword, HH Bhakti Charu Swami ("BCS"), has also decided to display his stunning ignorance regarding what Srila Prabhupada's position as the Founder-Acarya of ISKCON means. This ignorance is especially ironic because BCS has been tasked with presenting seminars to ISKCON temples around the world on the specific subject of Srila Prabhupada's position as the Founder-Acarya of ISKCON, and this ignorance was exhibited during these very same seminars! All emphases below added.

Srila Prabhupada initiates

"guru krsna prasade paye bhakti lata bija. What is needed for all of us is to get bhakti and the bhakti is received by the mercy of the guru and we get the guru by the mercy of Krsna. And we all are very fortunate that we find a guru like Srila Prabhupada. Srila Prabhupada is the guru of all the devotees in ISKCON. Srila Prabhupada is not the guru of only his disciples but Prabhupada is the guru of all the devotees of ISKCON of all times generation after generation, Prabhupada will remain the spiritual master. That concept has been confirmed by Prabhupada being the founder acarya of ISKCON."
(BCS Seminar, 14/7/14, "Srila Prabhupada: The Founder-acarya of ISKCON")

Here BCS makes a very key admission that Srila Prabhupada's position as Founder-Acarya means that he is the guru who gives everyone in ISKCON the bhakti-lata-bija (seed of devotional service). However, this means that Srila Prabhupada is also ISKCON's permanent diksa (initiating) guru:

"The word guru-prasada indicates that the spiritual master is very merciful in bestowing the boon of devotional service upon the disciple. [...] Thus the spiritual master trains his disciples to render devotional service unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is called guru-krpa. It is krsna-prasada, Krsna's mercy, that He sends a bona fide spiritual master to the deserving disciple. [...] This bhakti-lata-bija is received from the spiritual master by the grace of Krsna. [...] This bhakti-lata-bija is received when one is initiated by the bona fide spiritual master."
(Cc., Madhya-lila, 19.152)

Yet, in the same lecture, BCS states the opposite, claiming Srila Prabhupada does not give diksa, but must instead be relegated to the role of siksa guru only:

"Now diksa guru has to be present but siksa guru may not be present. Like, although Srila Prabhupada is not present on the planet, Srila Prabhupada is the siksa guru of all the devotees of ISKCON."

Acarya means diksa guru

"They have eventually come up with a book called 'Srila Prabhupada the Founder-Acarya of ISKCON'. [...] the consideration was what does it actually mean 'Founder-Acarya' Srila Prabhupada is the founder of ISKCON, no one will contest that. Srila Prabhupada is the Founder and Srila Prabhupada will always remain the Founder of ISKCON but this concept of Acarya, that Acarya, he is not only the Founder; he is also the Acarya of ISKCON. So that is what we had to thoroughly research".
(BCS Seminar, 7/4/14, "Srila Prabhupada's Position in ISKCON")

BCS correctly explains that Srila Prabhupada's position as Founder-Acarya of ISKCON actually means he has two separate titles -- he is the founder of ISKCON, and he is also the acarya of ISKCON. And he refers to the GBC book which was written specifically to explain this. And this book states that Srila Prabhupada's position as the acarya of ISKCON means that he is the diksa guru:

"An acarya, or, in Prabhupada's words, 'a transcendental professor of spiritual science,' is a different breed from your modern academician. The transcendental professor takes charge of the disciples and after initiating them into their sacred studies, thoroughly schools them in Vedic knowledge and trains them in its requisite regulations and disciplines."
(SPFAI, p. 30)

Yet, in the same lecture, BCS demonstrates his ignorance of what the very book he is endorsing states, by claiming that Srila Prabhupada is not the diksa guru:

"So Prabhupada is not going to function as the diksa guru but Prabhupada is functioning as siksa guru."

Traditional contradiction

"One person cannot be the head of the institution. It is too big for anyone. [...] Rather Srila Prabhupada established himself as the Founder-Acarya indicating that he will remain the head of the institution."
(BCS Seminar, 17/7/14, "Srila Prabhupada: The Founder-Acarya of ISKCON")

Of course, no analysis of BCS can be complete without detailing a direct contradiction (please see the book 100 Contradictions). BCS states that no one person can ever be the head of an institution, and that this restriction applies to anyone. However, he also states that Srila Prabhupada can be, and is, the head of the institution! And if, as BCS accepts, Srila Prabhupada is powerful enough to head the institution of ISKCON in his physical absence, whilst no one else can do this even with their physical presence, how can BCS claim that Srila Prabhupada is simultaneously too weak to give diksa within that same institution due to that same physical absence, as we quoted BCS claiming earlier in this article ("Now diksa guru has to be present")? Thus, according to BCS, whilst heading the whole of ISKCON requires no physicality at all, giving diksa will require an extra special physicality. But Srila Prabhupada has never taught this "reverse physical" doctrine -- that though he alone will be able to head ISKCON in his physical absence, that same physical absence will simultaneously disqualify him from giving diksa within ISKCON.


Confusion and contradiction in understanding Srila Prabhupada's actual position in ISKCON will continue as long one begins with a motivated agenda -- this agenda being to somehow justify one's own position as an ISKCON diksa guru at the expense of Srila Prabhupada. Indeed, such a motivated approach will even cause one to reject one's own evidence!

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!