Lessons in Ignorance
Masquerading as Education


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 47, Spring 2015

Official reports from this year's GBC meetings were posted by ISKCON Communications on a GBC-funded website. The report for Day 2 posted on 11/2/15 explained the "ISKCON Disciples Course":

"ISKCON Disciples Course (IDC) which shall be a mandatory pre-requisite for all devotees accepting first or second initiation by an ISKCON guru, from Janmastami, 2015 onwards. [...] was developed under the direction of the Guru Services Committee with the help of leading educators in the society is based on the teachings of Srila Prabhupada [...] an online electronic version has been made available."

Part of this online course, lesson 2.4, is called the "Posthumous Rtvik Theory", and the quotes in the shaded boxes below have been taken from this "lesson".

Lying lesson

"This posthumous rtvik theory is a fallacious theory."

By "posthumous rtvik theory", the lesson refers to Srila Prabhupada's order issued on July 9th, 1977, for initiations in ISKCON to be conducted on his behalf by his disciples acting as "rtviks". ISKCON gurus HH Bhakti Vikasa Swami and HH Jayadvaita Swami have both agreed that the official presentation of this order from Srila Prabhupada is given in a document called The Final Order ("TFO"), since they have called TFO the 'rtvik bible'. Consequently, if you were going to attempt to teach what is stated about this order by those whom ISKCON's leaders call "rtviks", you would at the very least need to present what is stated in TFO. Otherwise, it is impossible to demonstrate why TFO is "fallacious", since you are not even discussing TFO, but instead the lies one has made up about the "rtvik" position, and showing the flaws in that. And, as we shall show, this is exactly what the whole lesson does, and therefore what is actually "fallacious" is the lesson itself, based as it is on a pack of lies.

Shameless lies - 1

"This theory tells us that after Srila Prabhupada there is nobody as qualified as him, [...] Therefore it is safe for us to have Srila Prabhupada only as our diksa guru [...] rtvik theory gives rise to doctrines that don't exist, such as:
"Only a liberated soul can become guru" [...] "gurus cannot fall", or misuse of the expression "uttama-adhikari" [...] "a liberated soul cannot fall"."

Above are some of the lies presented by the lesson about the "rtvik" position. TFO does not state that we must accept Srila Prabhupada as our diksa guru because nobody else is qualified like him, and therefore it is "safe" for us to accept Srila Prabhupada. Although this may be true, TFO does not state that this is why Srila Prabhupada must be accepted as ISKCON's diksa guru through the use of rtvik priests. Similarly, guru fall-downs and the qualification of the diksa guru are not why TFO states that Srila Prabhupada is ISKCON's diksa guru. Rather, TFO states that Srila Prabhupada must be accepted as ISKCON's ?diksa guru through the use of rtvik priests because he issued an order on July 9th, 1977 stating that this should be the system of initiation in ISKCON. And we cannot disobey the order of the guru. That's the reason. However, tellingly, the lesson does not even make a reference to the existence of this July 9th order, let alone respond to it.

Shameless lies - 2

"[...] rtvik theory is fallacious is because by jumping over one's guru one commits greatest offense [...] rtvik theory gives rise to doctrines that don't exist, such as: [...] "The Acarya can change sastras" [...] "gaps in sampradaya prove ritvikism", [...] The argument that there are no qualified diksa-gurus amongst Prabhupada's disciples indicates that Prabhupada's teachings have not proven effective."

More lies from the lesson. TFO does not advocate "jump-ing over one's guru". Rather, it states that Srila Prabhupada is one's guru. Similarly, TFO never states that the "Acarya can change sastras", or that "gaps in sampradaya prove rtvikism", or that Srila Prabhupada never made any qualified disciples. Rather, the lesson continues to lie non-stop about the position it claims it is exposing as fallacious.

Shameless lies - 3

"A rtvik guru gives advice, however he does not formally accept the responsibility of delivering the disciple as a bona fide diksa-guru does. [...] The personal inspiration that a disciple has with his living siksa or diksa-guru inspires and amplifies, as he goes on associating with them, his Krishna Consciousness. [...] These are numerous benefits of having a living siksa as well as diksa-guru."

The lesson also devotes attention to demonstrating that we must have a bona fide guru, and either a "living" siksa or diksa guru. However, TFO does not dispute that we must have a bona fide diksa guru (Srila Prabhupada), rather than just a "rtvik". Nor does TFO state that "living" siksa gurus are forbidden (where by "living", the lesson means "physically present"). Therefore, the lesson devotes considerable time to rebutting ideas that are not even disputed by TFO.

Further, the lesson's attempts to argue for a "living" diksa guru are self-defeating since virtually all of the GBC "living" diksa gurus it directs us to are disciples of Srila Prabhupada, and thus also do not have a "living" (physically present) diksa guru themselves. Hence, to claim that a "living" diksa guru is so essential for one's spiritual life that one should therefore take shelter of someone who himself does not have such an essential "living" diksa guru, is contradictory.

Thus, as detailed in the last 3 sections, the bulk of the lesson is composed of lies about the "rtvik" position, followed by the unnecessary "answering" of these lies.


Unable to answer the arguments TFO actually presents, this official GBC course is therefore forced to simply lie about what the "rtvik" position is. ISKCON's leaders, by definition, are supposed to be educating ignorant persons with knowledge. Instead, they take persons who are educated enough to join ISKCON because of their attraction to Srila Prabhupada, and then "educate" them to become ignorant about Srila Prabhupada's diksa guru position.

ISKCON's leaders are only interested in continuing with their program of Profit, Adoration and Distinction (PAD) through indoctrinating new recruits to become their disciples. Hence, they have no shame about peddling such blatant lies in the name of "education" to achieve this.

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