Changing the Regulative Principles - 2


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 54, Winter 2016/17

The previous article showed how ISKCON's gurus are not teaching the same as what Srila Prabhupada teaches regarding "illicit sex", which relates to one of the most basic practices of Krishna Consciousness -- the regulative principles. Now, another ISKCON guru is teaching something different to Srila Prabhupada regarding another regulative principle.

Smoking + tilaka = OK

ISKCON diksa guru Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami ("SDG") produced a painting, as shown above, about which he states:

"The man is muscular and is smoking a pipe. The woman faces him in profile. They both wear bright white Vaisnava tilaka, which saves the picture from not being Krishna conscious."
(SDG, 6/1/17)

As quoted in the previous article, one of the regulative principles is avoiding "intoxication", which includes even drinking tea, never mind smoking:

"four regulative principles: [...] No intoxication, up to smoking and drinking tea."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, 29/1/73)

Indeed Srila Prabhupada used the example of smoking to amusingly illustrate how the conditioned soul is entrapped by maya:

"They think that "I am smoking..." How it can be cool? But they purchase Kool. This is called maya. [chuckles] He's smoking fire, and he's becoming cool. [laughter] And the advertisement is going on, and the rascals are captivated by these advertisement, and they smoke, become cool."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, 18/8/72)

SDG even recognises that smoking is not a Krishna conscious activity, because he states that he needs to add tilaka to transform the painting into being "Krishna conscious". But Srila Prabhupada has never taught that simply wearing tilaka while smoking will make it Krishna conscious!

Promoted in ISKCON

"An untrained artist, Satsvarupa Maharaja's paintings are, by his own admission, "primitive and childlike" compared to the "polished realism" of the BBT artists who illustrated Srila Prabhupada's books."
(ISKCON news, 16/2/17)

Not only does SDG's painting depict sense gratification (smoking), but the non-BBT style of the painting is also declared to be sense gratification:

"This is not a good style of painting. It is an artistic style for sense gratification only. I cannot encourage this style -- it should be stopped immediately. Paintings should be like the Deities, formal and worshipful. This type of painting is sentimental and not authorised. Paintings should be as our artists in New York are doing. Do not introduce any new styles."
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, 8/12/73)

Therefore, sense gratification paintings about sense gratification, a double whammy if you like, are considered Krishna conscious by an official ISKCON diksa guru. Indeed, SDG's paintings are promoted in ISKCON, for the same ISKCON news report mentioned above states that they were promoted in a solo exhibition at the Museum of Sacred Art in Radhadesh, which is an ISKCON temple in Belgium. The exhibition was attended by many devotees, such as fellow ISKCON guru HH Sacinandana Swami.

Still ‘as good as God'

It should be noted that this "smoking" painting from SDG is the latest in a long line of non-Krishna conscious activities by SDG. These have ranged from him having an affair with a married woman, to writing pornographic literature, and to declaring that a Coltrane jazz composition was to be seen as "bhajana as pure and even superior to most bhajana music." Yet, despite all this, the GBC still regards him as being a ‘good as God' diksa guru. His 2016 Vyasa-puja festival showed he is still worshipped with the same pomp, grandeur, awe and reverence as any other diksa guru in ISKCON. Even after his affair, he was still allowed to remain as a sannyasi despite "Goswami" meaning "master of the senses"! His affair merely meant that he was not allowed to take any more disciples, but this has not made any difference, since he has found a back-door method to continue accumulating disciples. He stated at his 2016 Vyasa-puja festival:

"Those who are siksa disciples may have joined me more recently. But in either case, it's important that we keep alive the spiritual connection. [...] Some devotees are approaching me for a siksa relationship -- they're doing this mainly by reading my books. In fact some of the siksa disciples read my books more than the diksa disciples. What I have said about the promises the diksa disciples make, applies to siksa disciples. For the relationship to be real, they should give up the four sinful activities, chant 16 rounds, read my writings, correspond with me, visit me individually, and form an intimate relationship. And all disciples should render service to the guru."

Thus, he has set up the same guru-disciple relationship with lots more "siksa" disciples.


The pornographic literature SDG wrote was first exposed in BTP 15 (please see "Guru Hoax Founder's Sex Literature Shocker"), and our expose then led to the book in question being banned by the GBC. But it is still being sold by large online retailers, links to which are given on SDG's website. Thus, as with the "ban" on taking new disciples, SDG is still able to continue his activities. He also declared at his 2016 Vyasa-puja festival that:

"I gave you the Hare Krishna mantra on behalf of Srila Prabhupada and that binds us permanently as guru and disciple".

Thus, he is claiming that he will always be the diksa guru for his disciples, regardless of what he may do. However, as the history of ISKCON has shown, no ISKCON diksa guru can be said to be bound "permanently" to a disciple following initiation, since they may later be found to be deviating. In which case the GBC system is that the deviant is supposed to be removed as a diksa guru and the disciple is "re-initiated" by another "diksa guru", as has happened in many cases. Thus, SDG's statement reveals that he believes he can do anything and still remain the diksa guru -- and as we have seen, he basically does do anything! One cannot be surprised by such confidence when we have already seen that even his affair with a married woman did not lead to the GBC removing him as a diksa guru or sannyasi.


Thus, with SDG anything goes, and instead of being censured, he continues to be promoted. This is how low the standards have now dropped in ISKCON. Which has resulted in yet another regulative principle, "no intoxication", being undermined by an official ISKCON authorised diksa guru.

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Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama, Rama, Hare, Hare.
And be Happy!