ISKCON Caught Doctoring Academic Paper


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 53, Autumn 2016

Continuing the theme of our previous two articles, below we reveal yet another example of deliberate cheating being used to advance the guru hoax.

Academic commissioned

"ISKCON50" is an official ISKCON GBC body, established to coordinate the global activities of ISKCON in their celebration of the movement's 50th anniversary. They commissioned an academic, Dr. Angela Burt, to write a paper on the history of the movement, which would be published in its 50th anniversary magazine. Dr. Burt is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies (OCHS). Dr. Burt's paper, in giving a chronological account of what happened in ISKCON, states:

"Additionally, eleven of his most senior disciples assume the role of guru in ISKCON, so that new members could have the benefit of a living guru. In the mid 1980s, after much debate about who was qualified to be a guru in ISKCON, more disciples were added to the list of those who were qualified to give spiritual guidance to new members."
(Ref: Burt, Angela R., 2016, The History of ISKCON)

The paper states:

1) 11 people did assume the role of guru;
2) The rationalisation for this act was the belief that new members needed a "living guru";
3) The number of gurus was expanded after internal debate.

Thus, the paper states that the ISKCON guru system came about due to deciding that "living gurus" are necessary and internal debate – rather than Srila Prabhupada actually authorising it.

Cheating occurs

Due to the fact that the paper correctly portrayed ISKCON's guru system as not authorised by Srila Prabhupada, it therefore got doctored. To give the appearance of ISKCON's guru system being authorised by Srila Prabhupada, a key sentence in the paper was changed with the addition of a made-up statement, as underlined below:

"This ensured that his mission would continue even in his absence. Additionally, in accordance with Prabhupada's wishes, 11 of his most senior disciples assumed the role of guru in ISKCON, so that new members could have the benefit of a living guru."

Note the massive shift from 11 disciples simply assuming the role of ISKCON guru, as originally stated in the paper, to 11 disciples assuming the role of ISKCON guru due to it now supposedly being "in accordance with Prabhupada's wishes"! The only reason to engage in such blatant doctoring is if one is specifically seeking to advance the agenda of justifying ISKCON's guru system.

We are able to expose this blatant doctoring because the paper was first uploaded by the author in its original form to, which is a website for the sharing of academic papers.

Living guru lie

Not only is part of the paper that ISKCON50 published doctored, but the statement added in the doctoring is also fabricated since the "11" did not assume the role of guru due to "Prabhupada's wishes"! The fabricated statement claims that Srila Prabhupada's "wishes" were that the "11" assume the role of guru "so that new members could have the benefit of a living guru." But there is no statement about the need for "living gurus" from Srila Prabhupada. Rather, the only time Srila Prabhupada even references the concept of a "living" guru, he condemns the idea:

Srila Prabhupada: "As soon as you read Bible, that means you are following the instruction of Lord Jesus Christ, that means you are following spiritual master. So where is the opportunity of being without spiritual master?"
Madhudvisa: "I was referring to a living spiritual master."
Srila Prabhupada: "Spiritual master is not the question of...Spiritual master is eternal. Spiritual master is eternal. So your question is without spiritual master. Without spiritual master you cannot be, at any stage of your life. You may accept this spiritual master or that spiritual master. That is a different thing. But you have to accept. As you say that "by reading Bible," when you read Bible that means you are following the spiritual master represented by some priest or some clergyman in the line of Lord Jesus Christ."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, 2/10/68, emphases added)

Srila Prabhupada counters the proposition that one requires a "living" guru by stating that just by reading and following the teachings of the guru, one always has the necessary guru. Thus, everyone in ISKCON, by reading Srila Prabhupada's books and following his instructions, would also already have a guru and therefore would not need another "living" one. Please see the article on page 4 for further quotes from Srila Prabhupada confirming this.

No order at all

Nor did Srila Prabhupada ask the "11" to become diksa gurus, for any reason, as there is no order from Srila Prabhupada asking the "11" to become diksa gurus, period. Even ISKCON's leadership agrees. In a recent book, which no less than 17 GBC members and gurus "helped write" (according to its Acknowledgements section), and which was endorsed with a Foreword by a GBC member, it states (emphases added):

"In July 1977, he (Srila Prabhupada) lists eleven names of disciples [...] The letter does not appoint the eleven as gurus, it merely appoints them as continental representatives. [...] by November the only selection that vaguely resembled anything like that was the choosing of eleven to act as continental representatives in the matter of initiation. [...] It was a simple assumption to make that Srila Prabhupada's passing automatically promoted those eleven into the role of guru."
(The Guru & Disciple Book)

Thus, the 11 were only ordered to be "continental representatives" (rtviks), but became gurus only due to "assumption" rather than authorisation.



This episode has proven that ISKCON will go to any lengths to cheat and prop up their guru hoax, even to the extent of doctoring their own paper! Two of the goals of ISKCON50 were "to close the gap between reality and perception" and "to disseminate educational material that will enhance the understanding of ISKCON". All that this episode has done is widen the gap between reality (no gurus appointed by Srila Prabhupada) and fiction (11 gurus appointed), and to disseminate misleading educational material that will confuse the understanding of ISKCON.

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