Gour Govinda Swami - only genuine disciple?


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 68, Vol 1, 2021, Interactive

"My respectful respects, all glory to Srila Prabhupada. Srila Prabhupada is glorious indeed since he is located beyond birth and death, but he is not the only one who has come to preach. Gour Govinda M., his only genuine disciple, to my knowledge, was a genuine spiritual master. Haribol,"
- Haladhara Dasa, Paris, France

Editor replies:

You have offered your opinion regarding what you believe about HH Gour (Gaura) Govinda Swami ("GGS"). However, we only concern ourselves with facts. So let us examine the facts.

1) You claim that GGS is Srila Prabhupada's "only genuine disciple". This is a false claim, since we know from Srila Prabhupada that he considered Jayananda Prabhu a genuine disciple:

"Jayananda's death is glorious. It is very good that he had stated, what is the use of such a useless body, better to give it up. He has left his body very wonderfully, and he has been transferred to Vaikuntha. I have already sent a condolence letter for publication in Back To Godhead. Everyone should follow the example of Jayananda. I am very proud that I had such a nice disciple. If possible Jayananda's picture should be hung in the ratha of Lord Jagannatha, and in all of our temples a day may be set aside for holding a festival in his honor, just as we do on the disappearance day of the other great Vaisnavas."
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, 11/5/77)

2) If you look under "Gaura Govinda Swami" in the section titled "Replies to Gurus & GBCs" on the IRM homepage, you will see that we compare the teachings of Srila Prabhupada and GGS, and find that they are not the same in many respects. Below we give just one example, but one can find many more in the aforementioned section. GGS claimed that:

"Physical contact is required. You must hear directly, not just by listening to tapes. Sabda-brahma will never descend through a tape. One must hear from a physically present Sri Guru."
(GGS, ‘Q&A', The Worship of Sri Guru, Chapter 3)

But this directly contradicts Srila Prabhupada who gave second (Gayatri) initiations through tape recordings, as well as many of his statements such as:

"I have prepared some Tape record of my personal Kirtana. When one of this Tape record was played the audience became practically charmed by that [...] So I am confident of the statement of Srila Haridasa Thakura that the transcendental sound of Lord Caitanya's Harinama can do good even to the birds and the beasts."
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, 4/2/66)

A genuine disciple would not have teachings that differ at all from his guru, since:

"Any opinion different from the opinion of the spiritual master is useless."
(Cc., Adi-lila, 12.9, purport)

3) In regards to your claim that GGS was a genuine spiritual master, we can note that GGS only became a spiritual master by getting authorisation at the height of the bogus zonal-acarya system in 1985 from the GBC body:

"3. Gaura Govinda Swami is empowered to begin giving Diksa initiations, pending the approval of a 3-man committee appointed by the GBC Body."
(GBC Resolutions 1985)

Since you have claimed that GGS was Srila Prabhupada's only genuine disciple, then it would mean that according to you he only became a spiritual master by being authorised by GBC members who were non-genuine disciples of Srila Prabhupada. Therefore, by your own argument, GGS could not have been a genuine spiritual master, since his authority to be a spiritual master came from those who were non-genuine.

4) Further, this also proves that GGS only became a spiritual master, not because of Srila Prabhupada's order, but the order of the GBC – as clearly documented above. However, Srila Prabhupada did not order the GBC to authorise successor diksa gurus, because Srila Prabhupada did not authorise his replacement as the diksa guru of ISKCON. Therefore, GGS became a spiritual master unauthorisedly.

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