Applying Spiritual Principles


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 52, Summer 2016

Welcome to Issue 52 of Back To Prabhupada (BTP).

Whilst arguing against the IRM's position that Srila Prabhupada is ISKCON's diksa guru, a person offered the following quote:

"Therefore, in the Hari-bhakti-vilasa by Sanatana Gosvami it is directed that the spiritual master and the disciple must meet together at least for one year so that the disciple may also understand that "Here is a person whom I can accept as my guru," and the guru also can see that "Here is a person who is fit for becoming my disciple." "
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, 21/1/74)

It was claimed that as this quote states that the guru and disciple must "meet together at least for one year", it must refer to the GBC guru system of almost 80 GBC-elected "diksa gurus" that ISKCON offers to new recruits, since such a "meeting" is only possible if the guru is physically present. However, what this "argument" actually demonstrates is the foolishness that occurs when one is motivated to try to use a quote to "prove" that Srila Prabhupada is not the diksa guru. Let us examine the facts:

a) At the time Srila Prabhupada made this statement, as the Founder and Acarya (Founder-Acarya) of ISKCON, whatever he was doing was clearly the bona fide application of the above teaching. For, as the Acarya, he "teaches by example" (Cc., Introduction).

b) And the standard system of initiation that Srila Prabhupada established for ISKCON was recommendation by representatives:

"For six months, a candidate for initiation must first attend arati and classes in the sastras, practice the regulative principles and associate with other devotees. When one is actually advanced in the purascarya-vidhi, he is recommended by the local temple president for initiation".
(Cc., Madhya-lila, 15.108)

"In this way the disciple renders devotional service under the guidance of the spiritual master or his representative for at least six months to a year. He is then recommended for a second initiation".
(Cc., Madhya-lila, 24.330)

Therefore, for first initiation, everything is done on the basis of a recommendation by a Temple President. One joins a temple and is initiated solely on the basis of being observed and recommended by the Temple President. There is no ‘meeting with the guru for one year' required, with Srila Prabhupada having delegated the examination of a prospective disciple to the Temple President. This was the standard system in ISKCON, and consequently many disciples of Srila Prabhupada never even met him. And for second initiation, Srila Prabhupada states here that a representative can also recommend. And, in practice, as evidenced by many initiation letters, the standard system in ISKCON was that the Temple President would recommend second initiation, just as he did first initiation. Therefore, both through example and the orders given for ISKCON, we can see how Srila Prabhupada applied spiritual principles.

Therefore, if one attempts to take a statement in isolation, divorced from its transcendental application by the Acarya, Srila Prabhupada, one could end up with a ridiculous conclusion. Such as that Srila Prabhupada was deviating from his own teachings by not meeting with all prospective disciples for one year! This is the consequence of attempting to try to "defeat" Srila Prabhupada's diksa guru position, rather than understand it.

Thus, Srila Prabhupada's application of principles regarding initiation, through both practice and teaching, is that initiation does not require any physical contact, and can be done simply via recommendation. Therefore, Srila Prabhupada continuing his application of these principles, by making this standard "recommendation through a representative" system of initiation, the permanent system for ISKCON via the July 9th, 1977 directive, is not an issue for those who are happy to obey Srila Prabhupada's application of spiritual principles.

Thank you and Hare Krishna.

In Srila Prabhupada's service,


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