Defending Srila Prabhupada's Purports


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 63, Vol 3, 2019

Hari Parsada Dasa ("HPD") is a "core member" of the "Sastric Advisory Council" ("SAC"), the latter whose paper we analysed in the article on page 13. The quotes in shaded boxes are from an interview he gave, which was published on 20/4/19. All emphases added.

Purports not fully realised

"Prabhupada wanted us to study from different angles of vision. Not simply be satisfied with what is given in the purports. A certain part of the realisation is given in the purports".

HPD refers here to Srila Prabhupada's purports, and attacks them as being unrealised, claiming they only give "a certain part of the realisation". However, Srila Prabhupada does not agree that his purports are incomplete in this way:

"A realized soul, must be. Otherwise, simply by imitating A-B-C-D will not help. My purports are liked by people because it is presented as practical experience."
(Srila Prabhupada, Conversation, 28/5/77)

"We have presented the complete philosophy of Krsna Consciousness in our books Bhagavad Gita as it is, Srimad Bhagawatam, Teachings of Lord, Chaitanya, Krsna, and others being printed".
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, 13/2/70)

Denying the parampara system

"some devotees would often say that you need to stick only to Prabhupada's books. Everything is given there [...] but my siksa guru, Gour Govinda Maharaja, used to say that everything is there in a seed form and it can be expanded upon, you can fluff it out like a cotton. So, in order to fluff it out like a cotton, you need to go to the previous acaryas".

HPD then claims that Srila Prabhupada's books only contain things in a "seed form" and they must therefore be "expanded" by consulting the previous acaryas. HPD claims this idea is coming from HH Gour Govinda Swami ("GGS"), who is a deceased GBC-elected diksa guru. HPD is forced to quote GGS to support this idea, because this idea is not given by Srila Prabhupada. HPD has thus forgotten that it is Srila Prabhupada, and not GGS, who is the Acarya of ISKCON, and thus it is only Srila Prabhupada's teachings that should be followed in ISKCON. Indeed, Srila Prabhupada rejects the idea that one should jump over him to directly consult the previous acaryas:

"Suppose I have heard something from my spiritual master, so I speak to you the same thing. So this is parampara system. You cannot imagine what my spiritual master said. Or even if you read some books, you cannot understand unless you understand it from me. This is called parampara system. You cannot jump over to the superior guru, neglecting the next acarya, immediate next acarya."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, 8/12/73)

Thus, the teachings of the previous acaryas are not consulted directly, but rather are understood through Srila Prabhupada. Hence, these works must be received in parampara from Srila Prabhupada. Otherwise, if we could just independently find and study these works, then the whole parampara system, as explained above by Srila Prabhupada, would become meaningless.

Different angles of vision

"Prabhupada wanted us to study from different angles of vision [...] And the commentaries of the previous acaryas, they help us explore some more angles."

However, Srila Prabhupada explains that to study from different angles of vision means only that his purports should be discussed:

"Therefore I advise you to read our books daily as far as possible and try to understand the subject matter from different angles of vision by discussing it frequently with the devotees at the New York temple."
(Perfect Questions, Perfect Answers, Ch. 8)

It does not mean, as documented in the previous section, that one can jump over him and consult the previous acaryas.

Hypocritical double standard

This idea that Srila Prabhupada's teachings are not sufficient or complete in some way, and therefore must be "expanded", was also promoted previously by the late Narayana Maharaja ("NM") of the Gaudiya Matha. At that time, the GBC correctly and firmly rejected this idea:

"In [Narayana] Maharaja's version, Prabhupada confessed that his own training of his disciples was inadequate or incomplete [...] "I could not teach them in full." [...] Where does Prabhupada say, "I could not train them so much"? Or: "Due to their lack of qualification I did not have time to teach them all tattva (established philosophical truths) and siddhanta (philosophical conclusions)." [...] We must reject those assertions."
(The Last Conversation, Issued by the GBC, 24/3/10)

Yet, the GBC's own advisors are now promoting these same ideas. This shocking, hypocritical double standard is due to the fact that, in the case of NM, he was promoting these ideas to attract people away from the GBC gurus to himself. Thus, having a lack of faith in, and going outside of, Srila Prabhupada's teachings is only objected to by the GBC if it results in competition and loss of recruits for their gurus – otherwise it is promoted.

Describes himself

"those who are doing this seva of Sanskrit and scholarship sometimes are looked upon with suspicion. [...] That is he really faithful to Srila Prabhupada? Or does he think that he knows more than Srila Prabhupada? [...] some devotees would often say that you need to stick only to Prabhupada's books. Everything is given there [...] which is true".

HPD provides a very good criticism of himself. He admits it is "true" that Srila Prabhupada's books contain everything. But he still wishes to deviate from only focusing on reading Srila Prabhupada's books. Thus, he is suspected of thinking he knows more than Srila Prabhupada and not having faith in him.


Accepting Srila Prabhupada as the Acarya of ISKCON requires that we have full faith in his teachings, rather than constantly trying to find ways to undermine, surpass and circumvent them. When the latter consciousness is held by those whom the GBC has chosen to guide it, it is no wonder that the whole of ISKCON's leadership has a lack of fidelity to Srila Prabhupada's teachings.

Return to SAC 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!