The Initiation Tree


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 51, Spring 2016

Upon Srila Prabhupada's physical departure, certain parameters for how ISKCON should operate were already in place. These parameters allow us to utilise a simple process of elimination in order to determine who would act as ISKCON's diksa guru on Srila Prabhupada's physical departure.

‘No diksa guru' ruled out

a) Srila Prabhupada states:

"By serving both the spiritual master and Krsna he gets the seed of devotional service (bhakti-lata-bija) [...] The Krishna consciousness movement is started for this purpose, so that hundreds of ISKCON centers may give people a chance to hear and chant, to accept the spiritual master and to disassociate themselves from persons who are materially interested"
(SB., 4.22.23, emphasis added)

Thus, Srila Prabhupada had established ISKCON so that there would always be an opportunity for a person to accept the diksa guru (the reference to the "bhakti-lata-bija"means that the "spiritual master" referred to here is the diksa guru).

b) The system in ISKCON was that anyone joining could get initiated after 6 months:

"For six months, a candidate for initiation must first attend arati and classes [...] When one is actually advanced in the purascarya-vidhi, he is recommended by the local temple president for initiation."
(Cc., Madhya-lila, 15.108)

a) and b) mean that at the time of Srila Prabhupada's physical departure, Srila Prabhupada had already left in place a system which allowed anyone joining ISKCON the opportunity to accept the diksa guru and get initiated by him after 6 months. Thus, the option of there being no diksa guru in place and initiations "suspended" in ISKCON on Srila Prabhupada's physical departure, whilst "waiting" for an indefinite time period for a guru to emerge via "self effulgence" or some other method, is ruled out.

Successors ruled out

This, therefore, only leaves one of two options for ISKCON as soon as Srila Prabhupada departed -- either Srila Prabhupada remains ISKCON's diksa guru, or he had authorised one or more of his disciples to take his place as ISKCON's diksa guru. If we consider the latter, it would mean that Srila Prabhupada had already instructed ISKCON who these successors were and given a corresponding initiation system. However, Srila Prabhupada did neither. Hence, the GBC was forced to concoct a system by taking the order Srila Prabhupada did give and applying it to something else entirely. As the previous article showed, in the July 9th, 1977 directive:

a) Srila Prabhupada had authorised 11 individuals to be representatives (rtviks) who would initiate persons to become Srila Prabhupada's disciples.

b) Whichever representative was "nearest" to a particular temple would do this for an initiate.

Instead, the GBC did a 180 degree turn and claimed that the individuals appointed as representatives to initiate disciples for Srila Prabhupada would do so for themselves. And the direction for the representative to be the "nearest" to a particular temple was turned into a "zonal acarya" system where the 11 divided the world up into mutually exclusive fiefdoms. The whole system of 11 appointed zonal acaryas was so clearly fabricated that even the GBC dismantled it around 10 years after it was introduced (see previous article). Thus, this "appointed successors" system has already been proven false.

GBC voting ruled out

The GBC system that is being tried now in ISKCON is where anyone can become a "diksa guru" as long as the GBC approves of them via voting. Yet, there is no record of Srila Prabhupada having instructed the GBC to "make" diksa gurus in this way, or given the system for how this should be done. Hence, the GBC never mentioned this ‘GBC gurus by voting' system after Srila Prabhupada physically departed. Rather, as history has shown, this system was invented a decade later purely as a mechanism to allow others to become diksa gurus, in reaction to the failed zonal-acarya system. Consequently, the GBC then simply made up a whole set of procedures to construct this system:

a) The exact voting procedure to approve gurus.
b) The "qualifications" required for guru candidates.
c) How guru candidates may be proposed.
d) Who can become a candidate.
e) How such "gurus" can be regulated, disciplined and removed.

And so on.
And these procedures are continually being revised as the GBC make them up as they go along, e.g. now "grand-disciples" are allowed to initiate, whereas previously it was strictly forbidden.


By a process of elimination we are therefore left with only one option -- an option which has to be in place, and which was the only option in place in ISKCON at the time of Srila Prabhupada's physical departure: the July 9th 1977, directive. Srila Prabhupada had already enforced this directive -- which ensures that he remains ISKCON's diksa guru -- throughout ISKCON shortly before his departure, and it fulfils the requirements that:

a) ISKCON will always have "the spiritual master" one can accept;

b) Anyone joining can become initiated after 6 months.

Please see diagram above.


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