The GBC’s Aeroplane Guru-Tattva


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 71, Vol 4, 2021

In last issue's article "GBC Politics Case Study", we documented how the GBC has handled the case of voted-in guru HH Lokanath Swami ("LOK") – who was accused of having sexually abused a minor in 1990 by a statement on 8/5/21 from ISKCON's North American Leadership Council ("NAC"). We noted how the GBC's sudden decision to send a thirty-year-old case to ISKCON's Child Protection Office for re-examination was only due to pressure that arose from social media, and how this decision itself was quickly followed by action to take the case back again due to pressure from ISKCON India's leadership body, the India Continental Committee ("ICC")! We showed how the GBC's handling of this case was based on politics and pressure rather than principles or Srila Prabhupada's instructions, and below we present further developments in this case which prove our point. Emphases added.

Pressure-politics admission

In an interview dated 5/9/21, GBC member Anuttama Dasa ("AD") admitted that in regards to the LOK case, the GBC acted based on political pressure:

"it's risen up again and some people feel very strongly, now it must go back to the CPO [Child Protection Office – Ed.] [...] there's extremes on one side, extremes on the other side [...] There's a lot of pressure. I think the GBC made a wise decision to say, okay, we hear these voices [...] did the GBC act properly? [...] as a GBC member, I'll say I think all of us are, you know, getting bombarded with letters"

At the same time, AD acknowledges that one should not act based on pressure:

"We should take time [...] not rush something through just because there's pressure from the one side or the other side."

Although, as we documented in the last issue, and as we document in the next section, that is precisely how the GBC has acted.

Initiation flip-flop

We previously reported that, four days after the NAC's abovementioned 8/5/21 statement, the GBC took further action by (again) suspending LOK from initiating anywhere in the world pending another review of the case. But now, ICC member Sanak Sanatana Dasa ("SSD") reports that the GBC has already flipped back on that, and allowed LOK to continue acting as a good as God initiating diksa guru in India, again due to political pressure!:

"some of the Indian GBC members pushed the GBC in general, so Maharaja is again allowed to initiate"
(SSD Interview, 16/10/21)

And also that LOK can now again initiate anywhere in the world as long as the local management agrees:

"let's say Maharaja wants to go to Mauritius and some people want to take initiation from Maharaja, the council of Mauritius can decide [...] That is up to the national bodies"
(SSD Interview, 16/10/21)

Hence, the GBC is still allowing LOK to initiate even though his case may still end up being handed over to the Child Protection Office and he may be found guilty of having engaged in the sexual abuse of a minor. Indeed, that was the reasoning for why LOK was suspended from initiating to begin with. Thus, in some regions, LOK can now continue to act for newcomers as a good as God diksa guru – whilst simultaneously in others he cannot, and can be considered instead as a potential child sexual abuser!

Guru hoax absurdity

This crazy situation, whereby LOK's status as either a ‘good as God' diksa guru or potential sex abuser is determined entirely by where his plane happens to land, is a consequence of ISKCON's guru hoax, which is both unauthorised and supports unqualified gurus. Many on both sides of this issue appear to have no understanding of what a bona fide diksa guru, as taught by Srila Prabhupada, actually is.

1) Some who are opposed to LOK continuing to act as a diksa guru have based this opposition on LOK supposedly having engaged in sexual abuse; that is, if he had not done this, then there would not have been any objection to him acting as a diksa guru. After all, they are not wholesale objecting to anyone else in ISKCON posing as a diksa guru, as long as they have not engaged in gross deviations.

2) While, those supporting LOK have themselves claimed, in the words of another member of the ICC, Basu Ghosh Dasa ("BGD"), that LOK ‘only' might have engaged in ‘harassment' and that the incident was "unpleasant":

"you know, he might have harassed this girl, [...] It's an unpleasant story"
(BGD, ICC Meeting, 9/7/21)

Hence, as we documented in the previous article, so low is the bar to be a bona fide diksa guru in ISKCON, that as long as you do not engage in sexual abuse, or "only" engage in harassment, then you can go for it and claim to be "as good as God". Whereas, Srila Prabhupada teaches that only self-realised mahabhagavatas can become diksa gurus (see, for example, Bhagavad-gita As It Is, 2.8, purport, and Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila, 24.330, purport). Of course, Srila Prabhupada never authorised anyone to replace him as ISKCON's diksa guru to begin with, but it would help if ISKCON at least knew what a bona fide diksa guru is.

Hypocrisy over BTP

In the same SSD interview quoted above, SSD hypocritically criticises BTP for criticising:

"the sastra tells us very clearly don't gossip and don't offend Vaisnavas, [...] I mean the rtviks had whole magazines out called Back To Prabhupada, they were just offending and ripping people apart"

However, SSD's ICC has criticised others, for example accusing GBC member Malati Dasi of ‘racism', and they have also been fighting with ISKCON America. As SSD reports, the tension has gotten so bad that:

"I'm worried about the cultural and philosophical break between ISKCON India and ISKCON America [...] there's a big group in India which hopefully is looking forward to that"

Indeed, in order to defend LOK, SSD and the ICC have had to criticise others in ISKCON, but only when we do exactly the same thing to defend Srila Prabhupada does it suddenly become the offending of Vaisnavas!


Absurdities such as "Aeroplane guru-tattva", whereby one's transcendental guru status can vary depending on where one's aeroplane lands, will continue in ISKCON as long as they insist on operating their guru hoax.

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