The False Ego Expansion Program


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 62, Vol 2, 2019

There is no dispute that to progress in Krsna consciousness we should be doing everything possible to give up our false ego:

"That is bhakti-marga, that you have to give up your false ego."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, 30/1/73)

"Bhakti-marga" means the path of Bhakti or devotion to Lord Krsna.

False identity = false ego

Srila Prabhupada explains that the false ego is increased by having a false identity (all emphases in article added):

"the false ego acts, and because of false identification, one takes things to be different from what they actually are. That is the basic principle of conditional life."
(SB, 3.27.16)

"First thing is that ego, if you are qualified with false ego, that ego development is dangerous for you. Suppose you are..., you are falsely thinking that you are king. Although you are a servant, you are thinking, "I am king." This is false ego."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, 9/12/72)

"If you falsely think that "I am this," so what is the use of such increasing that ego? It is psychologically wrong. Just like madman, he is thinking, "I am the king of this Ahmedabad." And if he increases that ego, what benefit he'll get? Just like the madman does also. He falls down on the street: "I am the king." [laughs]. So this kind of false ego increasing is simply suicidal."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, 9/12/72)

Hence, it is very clear that having any sort of false identity, where one is identified as being something one is not, can only help increase the false ego, rather than reduce it.

False guru identity encouraged

1) The GBC guru system accepts that its gurus may be at any level of realisation:

"When the GBC allows a devotee to take up the service of initiating, it does not thereby endorse him as an uttama-adhikari or "pure devotee" or certify his having achieved any specific state of realization. Rather, the GBC indicates that it has no objection to his initiating disciples within ISKCON."
(GBC Resolutions, No. 409, 2004)

2) However, they must all be accepted and worshipped as being at the highest possible level of spiritual realisation, "as good as God", or "saksad-hari", regardless of their actual level of advancement. For, they must be worshipped every day by their disciples with the Guruvastakam ("Samsara-dava") prayers, during the morning mangala-arati ceremony. These prayers state that the "spiritual master is very much expert in assisting the gopis" (verse 6), and that he is to be "honored as much as the Supreme Lord", "saksad-hari" (verse 7). GBC-elected guru HH Jayadvaita Swami ("JAS") made this clear in his "Kirtana Standards Seminar" for ISKCON:

""Samsara-dava" is not the Prabhupada song. It's the guru song. It's the song offering respect to the spiritual master which doesn't mean the Founder-Acarya of ISKCON. [...] Gurvastakam, that's good for your Guru Maharaja [spiritual master], his Guru Maharaja, my Guru Maharaja, their Guru Maharaja."
(JAS, Kirtana Standards Seminar, 11/14)

3) Thus, the GBC guru system institutionalises a program to help increase the false ego, whereby one who is not on the level of saksad-hari is falsely accepted and worshipped as if he possesses this identity. Srila Prabhupada states this should not be done:

"Although Prthu Maharaja was factually an incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he nonetheless rejected those praises because the qualities of the Supreme Person were not yet manifest in him. He wanted to stress that one who does not actually possess these qualities should not try to engage his followers and devotees in offering him glory for them".
(SB, 4.15.23)

As good as the U.S. president

GBC-elected guru HH Sivarama Swami ("SRS") explains this false identity GBC guru program in the following conversation with disciples on 22/1/19:

"And Prahlada Maharaja, he saw Krsna in a pillar. And then Krsna came out of the pillar. So even if the guru is like a pillar, in other words, he's not very Krsna conscious, but if you're like Prahlada Maharaja then you can see Krsna there. Saksad-hari. And Krsna will come out."

SRS uses the example of Krsna coming out of the pillar when Prahlada Maharaja saw Krsna there. But Krsna really was present in the pillar. Whereas, as SRS admits, one has to imagine that the "not very Krsna conscious" GBC guru is actually "saksad-hari", and that it is this imagination which will cause Krsna to "come out". The bizarre justification gets worse, with SRS desperately evoking the U.S. president:

"It's like you want to become an American citizen [...] then it doesn't matter who the president is, [...] He may be a great person, he may not be such a great person, but the criteria to become an American remains. [...] And the expectation of the citizen is the same. So same thing, saksad-hari. Just as good as Hari."

Thus, SRS claims that, just as the U.S. president must be accepted as the president, regardless of whether he is honest or corrupt, so must the guru be accepted "as good as Hari (God)". But any citizen over 35 can become the U.S. president, without requiring any personal qualifications. Whereas a guru is the exact opposite; he requires every spiritual qualification. Hence he is considered "as good as God", because he actually is! And yet SRS claims it is the "same thing". Thus, an apt summary of the GBC guru false ego expansion program should be:

GBC guru: Not really ‘as good as God', but at least ‘as good as the U.S. president'!


Srila Prabhupada states:

"ahankara-vimudhatma [Bg. 3.27]: by false ego they have become befooled. [...] He is not actually master, but under the influence of different modes of material nature he is feeling, "I am master. I am enjoyer. I am bhokta." This is the trouble."
(Lecture, 1/5/72)

Similarly, the GBC guru ‘is not actually master on the level of saksad-hari', but it is accepted that ‘he is master on the level of saksad-hari'. Hence, the GBC guru program, which is based on the imagination of false identities, can only help to increase the false ego, which Srila Prabhupada says is "simply suicidal" (see Srila Prabhupada Lecture, 9/12/72, given in the middle of the first column).

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