Nonsense Corner - BTP 70


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 70, Vol 3, 2021, Interactive

This is a column in which we answer articles or statements that have been forwarded to us by our readers for rebutting. The statements in the shaded boxes are from ISKCON author Krishna Dharma Dasa ("KD"), who has been featured in previous issues for rewriting Srila Prabhupada's sacred magnum opus, Srimad-Bhagavatam.

"without a spiritual master we cannot advance in spiritual life. We sing this every morning in the gurvastakam prayers [...] The question of who to accept is more of an issue."

1) KD states that "without a spiritual master we cannot advance in spiritual life", but that it is "an issue" as to who should be accepted as that spiritual master. It is "an issue" for KD, certainly, who, as we shall see, rules out Srila Prabhupada being this spiritual master, and thus he still has not accepted any spiritual master. Therefore, by his own argument, he has made no spiritual advancement. (40 years ago, he had briefly accepted two "zonal acarya" gurus who both fell down not long after he accepted them). Which would mean that, according to his own argument, he should stop trying to write sastric literature and offering everyone spiritual advice such as whom to accept as a spiritual master, since he has no spiritual advancement.

2) However, these same Gurvastakam prayers that KD mentions, which state how we must accept a spiritual master in order to advance, are sung in ISKCON to Srila Prabhupada, which would mean that Srila Prabhupada is the spiritual master one can accept! A point which was not disputed by a GBC voted-in guru much lauded in ISKCON, HH Bhakti Charu Swami, who stated:

"Why do we sing Gurvastakam: in order to establish Srila Prabhupada as the guru of the institution."
(BCS, Istagosthi, 3/11/03)

"He [Srila Prabhupada] accepted some 5000 disciples, all of whom felt personally connected with him, and through his many books, lectures, letters, conversations and personal example, what to speak of the institution he created, he perfectly guided them. I doubt there is a single disciple who will say that his guidance and shelter were in any way insufficient."

1) KD accepts that Srila Prabhupada "perfectly guided" his disciples in such a way that his "guidance and shelter" were sufficient. And this was done via Srila Prabhupada's "many books, lectures, letters, conversations, personal example".

a) But these "many books, lectures, letters, conversations," as well as knowledge of his "personal example", are all still available today, and therefore Srila Prabhupada can still guide everyone as his disciple today in the same way.

b) Especially when we consider the fact that many of Srila Prabhupada's disciples never had any personal physical contact with him, as would also be the case today.

2) KD states that Srila Prabhupada's disciples all felt personally connected to him. However, as noted above, many of these same disciples never had any personal physical contact with Srila Prabhupada, and therefore there is no bar to anyone today also feeling personally connected to Srila Prabhupada.

3) Srila Prabhupada "accepted some 5000 disciples."

a) The July 9th, 1977 directive states that rtviks were authorised by Srila Prabhupada to accept devotees as initiated disciples of Srila Prabhupada, just on the basis of a recommendation from a temple president, without any contact with Srila Prabhupada required.

b) Therefore, this process of Srila Prabhupada accepting disciples can still continue today in the same way.

"From scripture we can understand that Srila Prabhupada was an uttama-adhikari or maha-bhagavata, a devotee on the highest level of spiritual attainment. [...] However, now he has ended his manifest pastimes and entered samadhi, what should we do? Should we search for another maha-bhagavata like him? From studying his books, it seems that we must. He often gives such an instruction, as with the following:
"The guru must be situated on the topmost platform of devotional service. There are three classes of devotees, and the guru must be accepted from the topmost class." CC, Madhya Lila, 24.330"

However, neither this quote, nor the other similar ones supplied, make any mention of "now he has ended his manifest pastimes and entered samadhi", or that "we must search for another maha-bhagavata." Therefore, if we simply follow the quotes supplied, and ignore the fabrications that have been invented and inserted by KD, we are forced to accept the following conclusion:

1) Srila Prabhupada is a maha-bhagavata.
2) We must accept a maha-bhagavata.

Therefore, we must accept Srila Prabhupada as our diksa guru.

"Sometimes he specified that he would authorise some of his disciples as guru, saying also that they should pass a Bhaktivedanta degree. It never happened, of course, unless you count the eleven ritviks he appointed in 1977."

1) It is accepted that Srila Prabhupada never authorised any of his disciples to act as diksa gurus.

2) Reference to 11 persons Srila Prabhupada appointed as "rtviks" is evidence they were appointed as rtviks, not diksa gurus. If Srila Prabhupada authorised someone to be a temple president or a GBC, no one would claim that this is somehow also a magic instruction to mean "authorised as diksa guru". Hence, "authorised as rtvik" does not mean "authorised as diksa guru". Otherwise, we may just as well claim that anyone authorised by Srila Prabhupada to be anything, even a "pot-washer", automatically means "authorised as diksa guru".

At this point, let us review. It has been accepted:

a) In at least 3 different ways, 'unwittingly', that Srila Prabhupada is the diksa guru who can be accepted by everyone in ISKCON ("Gurvastakam"; "Perfect guidance through books, etc."; "Must accept maha-bhagavata").

b) Srila Prabhupada never authorised any successor diksa gurus.

So, up to this point, KD just glorifies the IRM's position. Let us now see if he offers any­thing else that would allow this to be reversed 180 degrees.

"Nonetheless he repeatedly said throughout his preaching that all his followers should become gurus themselves. So what should we make of this? Some argue that the instructions to become guru pertain only to siksha, but sastra equates diksha and siksha: [...] There is no difference between the shelter-giving Supreme Lord and the initiating and instructing spiritual masters. If one foolishly discriminates between them, he commits an offense in the discharge of devotional service." CC, Adi, 1.47"

This means that we cannot discriminate against Srila Prabhupada either and state he is only eligible now to be the siksa guru and not the diksa guru – since he never taught this himself, or authorised any diksa guru successors as admitted above. And once we do not discriminate against Srila Prabhupada, then the issue of Srila Prabhupada's orders for everyone to "become guru" would automatically be restricted to mean siksa, because Srila Prabhupada would already still be the diksa guru in ISKCON, and he taught:

"A devotee must have only one initiating spiritual master because in the scriptures acceptance of more than one is always forbidden."
(Cc., Adi-lila, 1.35, purport)

"Another option, which I do not support, is that we say that one must somehow get diksha from Srila Prabhupada, in absentia. That according to the July 9 letter etc, this is what he wants. This also has problems. Firstly, no Vaishnavas present outside of ISKCON, many of them highly accomplished scholars, accept that this is generally possible."

There is no instruction from Srila Prabhupada telling us to go outside of his own instructions to consult "highly accomplished scholars" as to how to follow his instructions! Thus, this objection is invalid.

"Why did Prabhupada say that after his samadhi the persons initiated by his disciples would be their disciples, not his? And so on. We've all seen the arguments."

Srila Prabhupada never said:

"after my samadhi the persons initiated by my disciples would be their disciples, and not mine".

And that is why we have also "all seen the arguments" easily demolished by the various IRM papers – just as has been done here.

We are therefore left with the 3 evidences offered at the outset by which KD establishes that Srila Prabhupada is ISKCON's maha-bhagavata diksa guru whom we should accept.


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