Surrendering to Srila Prabhupada


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 51, Spring 2016

At the end of the Bhagavad-gita, Lord Krishna states its conclusion:

"sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja"
"Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me."

(Bhagavad-gita As It Is, 18.66)

The words "mam" and "ekam" translated as "unto me" and "only" respectively, make it clear that it is directly to Lord Krishna that one should be surrendering, and not anyone else. Yet there are mayavadis (a type of impersonalist philosopher), and others, who, through using word-jugglery, try to avoid this obvious conclusion. Srila Prabhupada refers to such persons earlier in his Bhagavad-gita As It Is, when he states:

"And yet foolish mundane scholars explain that one need not submit to Krsna as a person, but to "the unborn within Krsna" ".
(Bhagavad-gita As It Is, 2.7)

Thus, such persons amazingly try to claim that to surrender unto Krishna does not actually mean one that has to surrender to Krishna directly, but rather it means that one has to surrender to something else. ISKCON leaders will rightly lambast such cheating word-jugglery. Yet, as we shall show, their guru system is based on the same mayavadi word-jugglery! All emphases below added.

Surrendering to a guru

Srila Prabhupada explains:

"Hari-bhakti-vilasa (2.10) further quotes: [...] "‘It is the duty of every human being to surrender to a bona fide spiritual master. Giving him everything -- body, mind and intelligence -- one must take Vaisnava initiation from him.'" "
(Cc., Madhya-lila, 15.108)

Similarly, in the verse from the Bhagavad-gita dealing with accepting a spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada also explains:

"One has to approach a bona fide spiritual master to receive the knowledge. Such a spiritual master should be accepted in full surrender [...] One must be able to pass the test of the spiritual master, and when he sees the genuine desire of the disciple, he automatically blesses the disciple with genuine spiritual understanding."
(Bhagavad-gita As It Is, 4.34)

Therefore, the guru one surrenders to is the one from whom one takes initiation and thus accepts as one's diksa guru.

Taking shelter

The first two key steps in discharging devotional service are given in the sixth chapter of The Nectar of Devotion as:

"1) accepting the shelter of the lotus feet of a bona fide spiritual master, 2) becoming initiated by the spiritual master and learning how to discharge devotional service from him".

Thus, the one whose spiritual shelter a person takes is the one who should be accepted as the diksa guru.

Surrendering to Srila Prabhupada

It should be abundantly clear from the above that the guru unto whom one surrenders and takes shelter of is definitely the guru one takes initiation from and accepts as one's diksa guru.

On the official website of HH Bhakti Charu Swami ("BCS"), his conducting an initiation ceremony is described as follows:

"On the 10th January 2016, Maharaja gave Harinama Diksha (first initiation) to twenty seven devotees, helping them surrender to the shelter of the lotus feet of Srila Prabhupada."
("Bhakti Charu Swami's Visit To Singapore And Malaysia")

The above account talks about the initiate's "surrender" and "shelter" at the lotus feet of Srila
Prabhupada. Indeed, BCS has repeatedly made the same point:

"Always try to remember that Srila Prabhupada is your main spiritual shelter."
(BCS, Initiation Lecture, 22/7/11)

"why do we hesitate to tell a newcomer who is searching for a guru that Srila Prabhupada, the best guru the world has ever seen, is still here, and one can surrender unto him and go back to Godhead very easily?"
(BCS Offering on Srila Prabhupada's Disappearance Day, October 2000)

Hence, from the above account and the quotes we presented in the previous section, one would conclude that at these ceremonies BCS conducts, the initiate is accepting Srila Prabhupada as his diksa guru. And that BCS is acting as a rtvik -- an officiating priest who initiates disciples on behalf of Srila Prabhupada -- since the purpose of such a rtvik initiation ceremony is that one "surrenders to the shelter of the lotus feet of Srila Prabhupada".


Mayavadi shuffle

However, shockingly, we find that the result of such ceremonies, where one is supposedly surrendering to, and taking shelter of, Srila Prabhupada, is that one does not accept Srila Prabhupada as one's diksa guru. Rather, the end result is that one accepts BCS as one's diksa guru! And this is followed with the chanting of BCS's pranam mantra, offering food to BCS's picture, and lavish worship and glorification of BCS as one's diksa guru. For this is the GBC guru system in place in ISKCON. This system is therefore saying, as exemplified by BCS, that:

1) To surrender to and take shelter of Srila Prabhupada, i.e. accepting him as one's diksa guru, means that actually one should not accept Srila Prabhupada as one's diksa guru.

2) Instead the way to surrender to and take shelter of Srila Prabhupada, i.e. accepting him as one's diksa guru, is to accept BCS (or one of his GBC guru colleagues) as one's diksa guru!

BCS himself supposedly surrendered to and took shelter of Srila Prabhupada, i.e. became his disciple and accepted him as his diksa guru. Thus, applying the logic of the philosophy above regarding how one surrenders to, and takes shelter of, Srila Prabhupada, BCS should actually have accepted himself as his own diksa guru, i.e. initiated himself! For, according to him, that's how one is supposed to surrender to and take shelter of Srila Prabhupada.

ISKCON leaders like to use the term "offensive" when referring to the IRM stating that Srila Prabhupada is ISKCON's diksa guru. Yet, it is this unmitigated, ludicrous mayavadi nonsense being peddled as "Gaudiya Vaisnava philosophy" and "Srila Prabhupada's teachings" that is actually offensive to Srila Prabhupada and the entire disciplic succession.


When Krishna tells us to surrender to Him, it means to surrender to Him, not someone or something else, such as the ‘unborn within Him', or the impersonal Brahman. Similarly, surrendering to Srila Prabhupada means to surrender to and accept Srila Prabhupada as our diksa guru, not someone else!


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