The Unbreakable Disciplic Succession


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 47, Spring 2015

As we are seeing, every BTP issue is fast turning into a "Beginner's guide to Krishna consciousness" -- not actually for the "beginners", but rather for the supposed "leaders" and "scholars" in today's ISKCON! Here, we examine the basics regarding the disciplic succession misunderstood by a supposed Ieading ISKCON "scholar".

The last Acarya

Let us start with a concept so basic that even the GBC accept it: the fact that Srila Prabhupada alone will remain the Founder and Acarya of ISKCON (Founder-Acarya). As their "foundational" document, Srila Prabhupada: The Founder-Acarya of ISKCON ("SPFAI"), states:

"As Founder-Acarya Srila Prabhupada holds a unique position in ISKCON. We need to understand it deeply. As acarya, his exemplary personal behavior is the model and norm for all ISKCON devotees."
(SPFAI, p. 30, emphases added)

Thus, the GBC agrees with the ob-vious fact that by establishing himself as the Founder-Acarya of ISKCON, Srila Prabhupada will be the only Acarya (and Founder) in ISKCON. Thus, Srila Prabhupada will never be replaced as the Acarya of ISKCON. Consequently, by definition, as the only Acarya for ISKCON, he will also be the last Acarya for ISKCON (as well as being the first).

ISKCON "scholar's" confusion

Having got that 'ABC' explanation out of the way, we now turn to the understanding displayed by HH Jayadvaita Swami ("JAS"), who is considered scholarly enough to have been allowed to make thousands of "edits" to Srila Prabhupada's Bhagavad-gita. In regards to Srila Prabhupada's position as ISKCON's Acarya, JAS states:

"Why is Srila Prabhupada not the last acarya in ISKCON "Due to the unbreakable system of disciplic succession." (Srila Prabhupada, Los Angeles, December 28,1968)"
(JAS, Text PAMHO: 8183012, 11/5/04)

JAS makes 2 elementary errors:

1) He claims that Srila Prabhupada is not the "last Acarya" in ISKCON, though, as we have seen, even the GBC has accepted this. We have presented exhaustive evidence from both the GBC and Srila Prabhupada confirming that Srila Prabhupada will always be the Founder and Acarya (Founder–Acarya) of ISKCON in our book Srila Prabhupada: The Founder-Acarya of ISKCON -- Presenting the Conclusions of the GBC Foundational Document. And if he is not succeeded as the Acarya for ISKCON, then by definition he is also the last Acarya for ISKCON.

2) He claims that the reason why Srila Prabhupada is not the last Acarya for ISKCON is "due to the unbreakable disciplic succession". The next section elaborates on why this is another elementary error in understanding the basics of the disciplic succession.

Unbreakable disciplic succession

1) The only way that the "unbreakable disciplic succession" can be the reason for Srila Prabhu-pada ceasing to be the Acarya of ISKCON is if his existence as the Acarya of ISKCON (which, as we have seen, also means he is the last Acarya of ISKCON) would somehow lead to a "break" in the disciplic succession. But Srila Prabhupada has never taught this -- that his position as ISKCON's Acarya will cause the disciplic succession to break. Nor does he teach that the disciplic succession breaks if the spiritual master is not replaced with a successor the second he physically departs. Therefore, JAS's assertion that Srila ?Prabhupada is prevented from remaining as ISKCON's Acarya "due to the unbreakable disciplic succession" is not taught by Srila Prabhupada, but rather has been manufactured by JAS.

2) Rather, Srila Prabhupada teaches that a break in the disciplic succession is caused by the presence of false spiritual masters who speak something manufactured:

Lokanatha: "...five thousand years back, until now, there's only thirty acaryas..."
Srila Prabhupada: "Chain is broken when there are false spiritual masters. Otherwise it is not broken. Chain is broken if a so-called spiritual master speaks something manufactured. Then the chain is broken. Otherwise, chain is not broken."
(Morning Walk, 2/9/76, emphases added)

GBC disciplic succession broken

Therefore, it is not that a disciplic succession containing Srila Prabhupada as the current, only and last Acarya for ISKCON is broken. Rather, as per the quote from Srila Prabhupada just presented, it is the disciplic succession currently constructed in ISKCON by the GBC that is "broken", because as documented by BTP:

1) The GBC gurus are false spiritual masters, having not been authorised by Srila Prabhupada to succeed him as ISKCON's diksa guru.

2) These false so-called spiritual masters continually speak "something manufactured". The proof is the IRM being able to produce so many BTP issues, papers and books exposing such manufactured nonsense! Indeed, JAS's very statement about Srila Prabhupada "breaking" the disciplic succession quoted in the last section is itself an example of "a so-called spiritual master" speaking "something manufactured".

Unbroken disciplic succession

1) Srila Prabhupada also states that with no false spiritual master speaking something manufactured -- which would be the case with Srila Prabhupada as ISKCON's Acarya -- the chain is not broken.

2) Srila Prabhupada teaches:

"Parampara means to hear the truth from the spiritual master."
(Srila Prabhupada Room Conversation, 20/12/76)

"Parampara means they do not change the word of Krsna."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, 11/8/74)

3) Srila Prabhupada has not taught that the disciplic succession is broken if he remains as ISKCON's Acarya, or if he is not replaced by another physical spiritual master the second he departs.

Therefore, since Srila Prabhupada continues to act as the spiritual master from whom we hear the truth, which is the unchanging word of Krishna, his establishing himself as the Acarya (and Founder) of ISKCON does not cause any break in the disciplic succession.


1) The disciplic succession is broken when we have unauthorised, false spiritual masters speaking manufactured nonsense, as we currently do in ISKCON.

2) The disciplic succession continues without a break when it is represented by the spiritually perfect Acarya of ISKCON, Srila Prabhupada.

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