GBC Founder-Acarya Seminar Defeats Itself


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 49, Autumn 2015

A "Founder-Acarya" seminar authorised by the Srila Prabhupada Position Committee ("SPPC"), which is part of the ISKCON GBC Strategic Planning Network, is currently being conducted throughout ISKCON. The quotes in the shaded boxes below present extracts from this seminar. Emphases below have been added.

Founder-Acarya title

"we want to take a look at the last sentimental misconception about Srila Prabhupada. I call it "Diksa-Guru-Forever". Ironically, when we apa-siddhantically coronate our Founder-Acarya as the perpetual diksa guru in ISKCON, forever, for all generations, we actually minimise his position, because when Srila Prabhupada for example would introduce himself to people or groups, he would identify himself as the Founder-Acarya of ISKCON. He would never say, "My name is Bhaktivedanta Swami, I'm the diksa guru of ISKCON.""

This statement reveals the actual purpose of this seminar -- to ensure that devotees do not accept Srila Prabhupada as their diksa guru, stating this would be an apasiddhanta or philosophical deviation. It is claimed that Srila Prabhupada only used his "Founder-Acarya", rather than his diksa guru, title to convey his position in ISKCON. But his position included being ISKCON's diksa guru:

"Yes, I am the spiritual master of this institution, and all the members of the Society, they're supposed to be my disciples. They follow the rules and regulations which I ask them to follow, and they are initiated by me spiritually."
(Radio Interview, 12/3/68)

Therefore, if the Founder-Acarya title alone was used to convey Srila Prabhupada's position in ISKCON, then it would have to include his diksa guru role, as that was (and is) also his position in ISKCON. And the SPPC's own booklet, Srila Prabhupada: The Founder-Acarya of ISKCON, accepts that Srila Prabhupada's position as Founder-Acarya includes him acting as diksa guru. Please see here:

Therefore, Srila Prabhupada would also remain diksa guru as long as he was Founder-Acarya, which was for all time in ISKCON. Thus, this argument for the prominent use of the Founder-Acarya title actually establishes, rather than defeats, Srila Prabhupada's diksa guru position!

Collapse contradiction

"as glorious as it was that Srila Prabhupada initiated some 4800 of us back in the day, way back when, it's more significant that he is the Founder-Acarya of ISKCON for all time, for all generations. [...] So we always have to remember that he is our foundation. [...] if that foundation isn't kept nicely, everything collapses. And we've seen that historically with disastrous results."

The statement above continues on immediately after the extract just quoted. It claims that accepting Srila Prabhupada as ISKCON's diksa guru would somehow not maintain the "foundation" that Srila Prabhupada is the Founder-Acarya. And that when this foundation is not maintained, we have seen "historically with disastrous results" how everything "collapses". But these "disastrous results" from history happened not because Srila Prabhupada was kept as ISKCON's diksa guru, but because he was not, and instead replaced by a whole bunch of substitute gurus who actually perpetrated these "disastrous results" .

Therefore, the exact opposite of what actually happened is claimed!

Quote contradiction

"And now Prabhu­pada ends by making an extraordinary statement, because he didn't say he's going to be gone by then, but he says: "Maybe by 1975", and perhaps he's still going to be on the planet -- it's 1969 he's saying this -- "Maybe by 1975 all of my disciples will be allowed to initiate and increase the numbers of the generations."

The section in bold is taken verbatim from a letter written by Srila Prabhu­pada, and is quoted to support the "No Srila Prabhu­pada as diksa guru" thesis quoted in the previous sections. However, the SPPC's own "Founder-Acarya" booklet mentioned earlier, quotes on page 99 another letter from Srila Prabhu­pada in 1975 itself, which states that it is the "law of disciplic succession" that a disciple cannot initiate in the physical presence of his guru (Letter to Tusta Krsna, 2/12/75). Therefore, the SPPC itself accepts that the above quote about allowing Srila Prabhu­pada's disciples to "initiate by 1975", can only have been referring to initiating on Srila Prabhu­pada's behalf as representatives. And history shows this is exactly what happened, with Srila Prabhu­pada empowering his disciples to conduct initiations on his behalf by chanting on beads, performing the initiation ceremony and later also formally accepting disciples for Srila Prabhu­pada and giving spiritual names. While not one disciple was authorised to accept any disciples for himself.


Srila Prabhupada's position

"from the Sri Sastra [...] we have these symptoms of a Founder-Acarya, [...] that he's the deliverer of everyone. [...] And he's assisted by those who succeed him in time by upakaraka. [...] they're benefactor gurus."

The above symptoms of a Founder-Acarya as the "deliverer" are also the symptoms of a bona fide diksa guru:

"The spiritual master initiates the disciple to deliver him, and if the disciple executes the order of the spiritual master and does not offend other Vaisnavas, his path is clear."
(Cc., Madhya-lila, 1.218)

Therefore, Srila Prabhu­pada as the Founder-Acarya delivering everyone also supports him acting as the diksa guru.

And the seminar is forced to quote the teachings of a completely different sampradaya (Sri sastra) because if it actually quoted Srila Prabhu­pada, it would be forced to accept the actual system of "gurus" that Srila Prabhu­pada set up to assist him:

"The GBC should all be the instructor gurus. I am the initiator guru, and you should be the instructor guru by teaching what I am teaching and doing what I am doing. "
(Srila Prabhu­pada Letter, 4/8/75)

Thus, Srila Prabhupada remains the initiating (diksa) guru, with others acting as instructing (siksa) gurus.


The continued attempts by the GBC to "educate" devotees that Srila Prabhu­pada is not, and cannot be, their diksa guru, are defeated by the statements of Srila Prabhu­pada and the GBC itself.

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