Promoting Pure Devotees in ISKCON


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 63, Vol 3, 2019

The ISKCON temple in Silicon Valley posted the following advertisement:

"Even a moment's association with a pure devotee can open the doors to the spiritual world. Japa circle gives devotees the great fortune of not just a moment, but hours of personal association with H.G. Vaisesika Prabhu who is the genuine ambassador of the holy name."
(ISKCON of Silicon Valley post, archived 6/7/19)

GBC-elected guru HG Vaisesika Dasa ("VAD") is promoted as a specific type of very exalted, pure devotee. His purity is so exalted, that only a "moment's association" with him is required to clear one's path to the spiritual world. And he has also previously been promoted in this way by the temple. The above claim is made via the official social media account of the temple, and since VAD is the temple's current President, one must presume he approves of such promotion, as the claim is made by the very temple he runs!

ISKCON's "pure devotees"

ISKCON has a history of falsely promoting "successor" gurus as "pure devotees":

"But by the influence of maya, illusion, a different idea soon evolved – that Srila Prabhupada had appointed eleven "pure devotees" to serve as the only gurus after him. [...] Here, therefore, we wish to admit this mistake."
("An Apology", Back To Godhead, #25-01, 1991)

"Remember the days of the "11 pure devotees"? And the pure devotees who came next? [...] Remember how our authorized pure devotees derailed Srila Prabhupada's society [...]? Some of these pure devotees are still with us, right on the GBC."
(Jayadvaita Swami, Letter to Prthu Dasa, 1997)

As admitted above, it is now accepted that they were not "pure devotees" at all. But the movement blindly accepted them as such.

If an escapee from a lunatic asylum claimed he was the heir to a billion-dollar fortune, and therefore you should "serve" him so that he may reward you in the future, no sane person would simply accept it. Because the person making a claim needs to prove it, otherwise one could claim any ridiculous thing. And the greater the claim, the more upfront proof one would expect. Consequently, if one would expect proof just for a claim of mundane wealth, one would definitely expect it for someone claiming to possess something that is much more valuable than wealth – spiritual purity.

Therefore, one can understand that ISKCON gets conned by fake "successor" guru "pure devotees" because they do not understand that purity cannot simply be promoted and imitated, but must actually be demonstrated.

Takes Srila Prabhupada's position

Srila Prabhupada states that one must be a pure devotee to deliver others:

"if he is a pure devotee he can deliver others, he can become spiritual master. But unless he on that platform he should not attempt it. Then both of them will to go to hell, like blind men leading the blind."
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, 14/12/72)

Thus, only the pure devotee diksa guru can deliver his disciple, and VAD admits:

"consider taking very seriously making reading Prabhupada's books your life and soul, and again and again, read them, stay close to them, he'll deliver you through his instructions through all the complexities of life".

Thus, he accepts that it is Srila Prabhupada who is actually delivering everyone. Yet, VAD made this statement to a person at their initiation ceremony, right before claiming:

"I am exceedingly pleased to accept you as my disciple and therefore a grand disciple of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada".

And VAD admits to this initiate that he himself only did what every single devotee in ISKCON did during Srila Prabhupada's physical presence, which is help newcomers follow Srila Prabhupada's teachings:

"I feel fortunate to have the service of helping you on your path back to Godhead, keeping you connected to Prabhupada's teachings".

But, during Srila Prabhupada's physical presence, this same action did not make a person a diksa guru. It simply meant they were a regular devotee serving in ISKCON, that's all. No fancy position or title was necessary.

Thus, despite these clear admissions by VAD, he pretends that he is acting as the diksa guru, instead of Srila Prabhupada.


Does not understand philosophy

In the BTP 56 article "Failing to Follow Srila Prabhupada's Books" – which can be read here – we demonstrated how, by his actions and statements, VAD is not even following Srila Prabhupada's books, of which he is considered to be one of the leading distributors in ISKCON. In the initiation lecture just quoted, he claims to directly explain the teachings of the previous acaryas:

"Jiva Goswami, talks, in his sandarbha, talks about the way in which, if you take the holy..."

But, in doing this, VAD demonstrates he does not understand the parampara system Srila Prabhupada taught, in that one cannot consult the previous acaryas directly:

"You cannot jump over. You must go through the parampara system. You have to approach through your spiritual master to the Gosvamis".
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, 28/3/75)

VAD also states that:

"it's vitally important to hear from the acaryas, especially from Srila Prabhupada every day, from his books, like Bhagavad-gita, Srimad-Bhagavatam, Nectar of Devotion, Nectar of Instruction, and Sri Isopanisad, Teachings of Lord Caitanya, Krsna Book and so on. There's a finite number of books and if you keep your attention focused on these and hear from them every day, it will inform you in such a way as you'll be able to stay above the fray of the material world."

Thus, he is stating that one should keep one's "attention focused" on Srila Prabhupada's "finite number of books", as these are sufficient to "inform" one so that one can remain "above the fray of the material world". Yet, he himself is not able to keep his "attention focused" on Srila Prabhupada's books, and instead ‘jumps over' them! Thus, by not following his own advice, he contradicts himself.


VAD's temple promoting him as a very exalted "pure devotee" continues the ISKCON tradition of such pure devotee promotion. But, far from being such a "pure devotee", VAD has yet to even grasp the basics of Srila Prabhupada's teachings.

*All emphases added. VAD's quotes are from an initiation lecture dated 30/6/19.

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