Nonsense Corner


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

This is a column in which we answer articles or statements which have been forwarded to us by our readers for rebutting. Below are some statements which attack the position of the IRM, whose followers are labelled as "Rtviks", and our response to the statements is interspersed below.

"Rtviks harden devotees' hearts to such a degree that they cannot see who is a guru. A philosophy that produces so much criticism of others must be viewed with suspicion, since criticism has nothing to do with vaisnavism. If you have to base a philosophy upon criticizing devotees to win converts, obviously that philosophy is not Krsna conscious. The Back To Prabhupada magazine, the main preaching arm of the Rtvik movement, is grounded in criticism."

1) In order to make just the above short statement, one has engaged in criticism: "harden hearts"; "nothing to do with vaisnavism", "not Krsna conscious".

Therefore, engaging in criticism to try to show that criticism is wrong has simply led to being self-defeated.

2) Further, the above criticisms of Back To Prabhupada are not even correct. Srila Prabhupada was similarly criticised for engaging in criticism of false gurus:

"So this is our one of the item, to vanquish all these rascals, so-called svamis. They say that "Why you criticize others also?" Because we have to vanquish them. Now these people cannot rise."
(Srila Prabhupada, Morning walk, 1/5/74)

Therefore, criticism of false gurus is encouraged by Srila Prabhupada. Hence, what is relevant is not whether one is criticising, but if that criticism is correct. Tellingly, because one is unable to refute that BTP's criticism is correct, one has to take shelter in only complaining that one should not criticise per se.

3) Therefore, the criticism is not "produced" by Back To Prabhupada. The criticism is produced due to ISKCON leaders deviating. If they did not deviate, there would be nothing to report or criticise. If ISKCON's leaders simply followed Srila Prabhupada strictly, then BTP in its current form would cease to exist.

4) In addition, BTP is full of appreciation of Srila Prabhupada – indeed criticism of his diksa guru competitors is presented in the context of appreciating the need to stick only with Srila Prabhupada.

"despite the fact that he said that one who says that guru only means siksa guru is foolish, one should not perpetually remain a student, and what will please me most is when all my disciples become guru".

In respect of these three statements above, claimed as "evidence" that Srila Prabhupada issued a diksa guru replacement order, here is what Srila Prabhupada actually stated in each claimed case:

1) "one who says that guru only means siksa guru is foolish":

"Sometimes a caste guru says that ye krsna-tattva-vetta, sei guru haya means that one who is not a brahmana may become a siksa-guru or a vartma-pradarsaka-guru but not an initiator guru. According to such caste gurus, birth and family ties are considered foremost. However, the hereditary consideration is not acceptable to Vaisnavas. The word guru is equally applicable to the vartma-pradarsaka-guru, siksa-guru and diksa-guru".
(Cc., 8.128, purport)

There is no dispute that the word "guru" in the verse "ye krsna-tattva-vetta, sei guru haya" can also apply to diksa guru. But that is not evidence that Srila Prabhupada stated he would renounce acting as ISKCON's diksa guru.

2) "one should not perpetually remain a student":

"Yes, one should remain perpetually a student, but he has to act as guru. That is the mission of Caitanya Mahaprabhu."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, 10/12/76)

a) Displaying gross ignorance, we see that the claimed "quote" states the exact opposite of what Srila Prabhupada actually states. Srila Prabhupada states that: "Yes, one should remain perpetually a student", rather than "one should not perpetually remain a student".

b) Srila Prabhupada does state that one has to "act as guru", but since Srila Prabhupada has not also stated that such gurus will replace him as ISKCON's diksa guru, then it cannot be an order for replacement diksa gurus, and Srila Prabhupada will still continue as ISKCON's Acarya and diksa guru.

3) "what will please me most is when all my disciples become guru."

a) If one types in the phrase "all my disciples become guru", one will not find any such quote appearing in the Srila Prabhupada "Vedabase".

b) We can note that even the GBC does not accept that "all" of Srila Prabhupada's disciples should become diksa gurus. So far, 45 years after Srila Prabhupada's physical disappearance, the GBC has only allowed around 135 out of the approximately 5,000-10,000 disciples Srila Prabhupada had to become "diksa gurus". Thus, given this state of affairs, projecting forward it is likely that by the time all of these 5,000-10,000 disciples will have physically disappeared, no more than 3% of "all" of Srila Prabhupada's disciples will have been allowed by the GBC to become diksa gurus.

"Srila Prabhupada once asked the devotees, "How do you know Krsna is God?" They gave all the right sastric answers but he rejected all of them. Then a devotee said, "Because you can feel it," meaning you can feel His presence through bhakti. Prabhupada said, 'This is the real answer." This means, then, that the sastras are not the ultimate proof."

1) There is no such record of this conversation in the Srila Prabhupada Vedabase. One can "prove" anything if one simply claims "Prabhupada said". One can easily recognise when people are putting forward unsubstantiated "quotes", because no reference is provided for the quote, just as has been done continually in these statements. A reference for the quote cannot be provided because there is no record of Srila Prabhupada stating the quote.

2) Srila Prabhupada stated that sastras are the proof for whether or not one is God:

"It is not that anyone and everyone can become God without proof from sastras."
(Cc., Adi-lila, 17.109)

"Rtviks don't understand – or refuse to recognize – the subjective nature of guru/disciple relationships. They despise the affection that disciples show to present day gurus. Thus, they despise the essence of Krsna consciousness, faith in guru, and guise such feelings in so called devotion to Prabhupada."

1) If one actually reads BTP, one will see that there is no "despising" the affection for present day gurus by their disciples. Rather, we simply check if they are indeed bona fide gurus authorised by Srila Prabhupada, and if they are misleading their disciples by deviating from Srila Prabhupada's teachings. In doing this, rather than despising their disciples in any way, we are helping them from being misled.

2) It is claimed that the essence of Krsna consciousness is faith in guru, and that we try to hide our so-called "despising" via supposed "devotion to Prabhupada". But Srila Prabhupada is a guru. And we do preach faith in Srila Prabhupada. Thus, we are preaching "faith in guru". Therefore, it is a contradiction to claim that we are despising faith in guru by preaching faith in guru!

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