The Relativisation of Srila Prabhupada Continues


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 46, Winter 2014/15

In BTP Issue 40 we had exposed ISKCON guru HH Hridayananda Dasa Goswami praising the misunderstanding that Srila Prabhupada's teachings are conditioned by the culture in which he appeared. And we quoted sastra (scripture) stating that such a misunderstanding of Srila Prabhupada's position is actually a hellish mentality:

""One who thinks the Deity in the temple to be made of wood or stone, who thinks of the spiritual master in the disciplic succession as an ordinary man, who thinks the Vaisnava in the Acyuta-gotra to belong to a certain caste or creed or who thinks of caranamrta or Ganges water as ordinary water is taken to be a resident of hell." (Padma Purana)."
(SB, 4.21.12)

Now, another ISKCON guru and GBC member, Bir Krishna Goswami ("BKG"), has also repeated this same hellish theory:

"Well, we have to understand that Srila Prabhupada was brought up in a certain culture in Bengal, West Bengal, and there are certain cultural things that Prabhupada was manifesting. [...] And the few comments that are there in Prabhupada's books are simply from the cultural milieu or background where Prabhupada appeared in West Bengal."
(BKG Lecture, Slovenia, 27/5/14)

This hellish theory that we can see certain statements that Srila Prabhupada makes in his books as simply being a result of Srila Prabhupada belonging to a certain culture, means that one can pick and choose whichever teachings of Srila Prabhupada one likes by simply claiming that the ones one does not like are just Srila Prabhupada "manifesting certain cultural things". In this particular case, BKG was referring to statements Srila Prabhupada made regarding women. So in the same way BKG believes that these types of statements are not spiritual but only cultural manifestations, others can also dismiss statements they do not believe to be true in the same manner.

Srila Prabhupada explains that human society is conditioned by so many different types of "isms" due to bodily conditioning:

"Unfortunately, in this fallen age, people are concerned with the body, not with the soul. They have invented so many "isms" pertaining to the body only, not to the soul."
(SB, 4.20.15)

"Therefore these isms, so-called isms, is good for the rascals, not for the intelligent man. Intelligent man will immediately ask, "Where is your equality?" And they cannot reply."
(Srila Prabhupada, Morning Walk, 29/5/74)

Thus, the irony in this attempt to "explain away" the teachings of Srila Prabhupada that one believes are only due to Srila Prabhupada being influenced by his "cultural milieu", is that it is actually our material conditioning that is making us incorrectly react to certain statements of Srila Prabhupada as being culturally conditioned rather than spiritual!

BKG then goes on to explain the qualifications of a bona fide guru:

"So before one accepts a guru one should ascertain or understand whether or not the guru is bona fide. [...] first of all he has to be a servant of his spiritual master, and act accordingly, not try to be some big, let's say, rock and roll guru or something like that. And secondly, he has to understand the philosophy, be able to present it and explain the words of his spiritual master, which is Srila Prabhupada. And thirdly he has to be fixed in Krishna consciousness, not deviating or falling down from Krishna consciousness."

We have noted in the past that the standards are so low in ISKCON, that as long as one is not caught engaging in some sexual scandal, the GBC guru is considered to be "fixed". But, as BKG correctly explains, to be bona fide, the guru must also understand the philosophy and correctly explain the words of Srila Prabhupada. Yet, BKG immediately falls down by this standard because Srila Prabhupada has never stated that some of his statements are to be dismissed as being merely "cultural manifestations of West Bengal". So, therefore, BKG is not correctly presenting and explaining the words of Srila Prabhupada, as he has applied a theory to Srila Prabhupada's words that was not given by Srila Prabhupada himself, but rather has been invented by BKG. Thus, by his own measure and statements, BKG is not a bona fide guru. Similarly, every issue of BTP details how none of ISKCON's unauthorised GBC gurus are bona fide by this measure, being exposed as unable to correctly explain Srila Prabhupada's teachings.

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