The Bogus Bona Fide Guru Paradox - 2


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 63, Vol 3, 2019

In the previous article, we covered the nonsensical paradox of the supposedly bona fide guru actually being simultaneously non-bona fide! To anyone with even a modicum of common sense, this will immediately be seen as absurd, but it is actually put forward by ISKCON's topmost philosophers as being a "scholarly" understanding. HH Hanumatpresaka Swami ("HPS"), one of the GBC's "to be worshipped as good as God" elected diksa gurus, also puts forward a similar contradictory and nonsensical "philosophy". The statements in the shaded boxes are taken from a website set up by HPS in which he explains "Guru Tattva". All emphases added.

Absolutely fallen

"Question: Guru is described as good as God, an absolute authority, but we see in ISKCON that many of our Gurus fall-down. How can we understand that? How can he be Absolute if he falls down?
HPS: As far as we understand he's absolute because he told you that he might fall down."

1) HPS has simply invented the qualification for a guru. Srila Prabhupada actually states:

"A bona fide spiritual master is in the disciplic succession from time eternal, and he does not deviate at all from the instructions of the Supreme Lord".
(Bg., 4.42)

In order for HPS's claim to be correct, the above statement from Srila Prabhupada would need to be changed to:

"A bona fide spiritual master is in the disciplic succession from time eternal, and he knows he may deviate from the instructions of the Supreme Lord".

2) To appreciate the lunacy of HPS's "absolute fallen guru" claim, one can note that according to HPS's twisted "logic", the following type of statement would also apply:

Question: Guru is described as good as God, an absolute authority, but if he falls down and engages in child abuse, how can he be absolute?
HPS: As far as we understand he's absolute because he told you that he has paedophilia tendencies and thus may engage in child abuse.

Thus, HPS's "guru-tattva" leads to such absurdities.

3) HPS is claiming that the qualification of a bona fide guru is not the qualifications he actually possesses, but simply the fact that he knows that he may not possess the qualifications. Thus, a guru is absolute not because he is absolute but simply because he knows that he may not be absolute! But Srila Prabhupada has never taught such a screwball philosophy.

Who am I?

Continuing with this loony philosophy, HPS first claims that he is an uttama-adhikari:

"as an Uttama adhikari Spiritual Master I will accept you as a disciple".

An uttama-adhikari is defined as one for whom there is no possibility of falling down:

"There is no possibility that a first-class devotee will fall down, even though he may mix with nondevotees to preach. Conviction and faith gradually increase to make one an uttama-adhikari, a first-class devotee."
(Cc., Madhya-lila, 22.71)

However, just a little later, HPS claims that he is actually a madhyama-adhikari who likely will fall down:

"Personally we understand ourselves at this time to be Madhyama-adhikaris. [...] I am a Madhayama-adhikari [...] considering the history of our Western God-brothers it's not a question of if I will fall-down, it seems more likely that I will fall-down."

So, is HPS an uttama-adhikari, and thus someone who will never fall down? Or is he a madhyama-adhikari, and someone who will likely fall down? HPS does not know since he claims he is both! Welcome to the loony world of the bogus bona fide guru paradox.

Sleight of hand trickery

"If we look at the last paragraph in Text Five of Upadesamrta: Srila Prabhupada explains that a Madhyama-adhikari can accept disciples but in the perspective of an Uttama-adhikari-guru. So, that is the kind of Diksa-guru we are."

1) But if one actually reads the "last paragraph in Text Five of Upadesamrta", it does not state this at all, but actually states:

"One should not become a spiritual master unless he has attained the platform of uttama-adhikari."

Thus, rather than a madhyama-adhikari accepting disciples from any "perspective", it states that only an uttama-adhikari should become a spiritual master – and hence a madhyama-adhikari should not accept disciples at all.

2) The last paragraph also states:

"A neophyte Vaisnava or a Vaisnava situated on the intermediate platform can also accept disciples, but such disciples must be on the same platform, and it should be understood that they cannot advance very well toward the ultimate goal of life under his insufficient guidance. Therefore a disciple should be careful to accept an uttama-adhikari as a spiritual master."

Srila Prabhupada states that actually a madhyama-adhikari ("intermediate platform" Vaisnava) cannot help a disciple achieve the goal of life. And, therefore, one should accept an uttama-adhikari instead.

3) Indeed, Srila Prabhupada makes it very clear that, rather than a madhyama-adhikari trying to take on the "perspective" of an uttama-adhikari, this type of imitation of someone on a higher platform is strictly forbidden:

"one should not imitate the behavior of an advanced devotee or maha-bhagavata without being self-realized, for by such imitation one will eventually become degraded. [...] The devotee should also know his own position and should not try to imitate a devotee situated on a higher platform."

Thus, from every angle, Srila Prabhupada states the opposite of what HPS claims.


This article and the previous one highlight the ridiculous contortions that are engaged in to rationalise the GBC guru system. They also reveal that such contortions depend on hoping that either no one in ISKCON will actually bother to read what Srila Prabhupada states, or that if they do, they will be too dumb or brainwashed to spot that Srila Prabhupada does not support such obviously laughable contortions.

Return to Hanumatpresaka Swami Index

Return to IRM Homepage


Please chant: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna, Krishna, Hare, Hare,
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama, Rama, Hare, Hare.
And be Happy!