by Krishnakant


The champions of Krishna's army have recently unleashed onto their web site yet another newly found conversation with the aim of damaging the ritvik position. Although the GBC clearly hope this new evidence will prove that Srila Prabhupada authorised all of his 10,000 disciples to be diksa gurus immediately on his departure, in actuality it hits well wide of the mark, as we shall now attempt to demonstrate.

Before we analyse the new quote's content please consider the following:

Practically every single quote offered by the GBC so far in support of their M.A.S.S. (multiple acarya successor system) are applicable only to SIKSA gurus, or teachers of Krishna Consciousness, not DIKSA gurus. This point has already been established in previous papers such as "The Final Order" and "Best Not To Accept Disciples". Instead of answering this objection the GBC instead choose to present further quotes which do nothing more than re-confirm a fact which everyone on both sides of the issue already agree on. Namely that Srila Prabhupada wanted all his followers to teach Krishna Consciousness, and in that way become instructing gurus. The GBC, or in this case their 'friends', seem to be hoping that by merely re-stating a position everyone already agrees with, they will somehow convince devotees not to follow Srila Prabhupada's final order regarding DIKSA initiation (the July 9th policy document). Thus we apologise to the reader if our arguments now appear repetitive - until the GBC answer our points, or come up with evidence which is actually relevant to the issue at hand, we are left with no other option but to expose their fallacious and misleading argumentation.

Also, as we pointed out in 'Chakra's Army Fires Blanks', since these quotes have only just been found, they are approximately 20 years too late to be considered as DIRECT evidence confirming the GBC's legitimacy in disbanding the ritvik system. Such quotes could be used SUPPORTIVELY should the GBC ever discover an instruction that was sent to the whole society prior to Srila Prabhupada's departure authorising the M.A.S.S., currently in operation within ISKCON.

If there are NO general instructions to the whole society authorising the M.A.S.S. then it is just totally unbelievable that Srila Prabhupada would only have mentioned it in passing, and then leave the statement to be discovered by chance some 26 years later, and at least twenty years too late.

This belief was obstinately defended by all of ISKCON's senior most champions, including those now writing for Chakra, for nearly an entire decade.

As with so much that appears on this particular web site, it just doesn't add up.

Let us now examine the content of the new quote. Since it is available in full on Chakra we shall only re-produce a couple of sections (once more we thank the archives for their painstaking work):

"So far designation is concerned, the spiritual master authorises every one of his disciple. But it is up to the disciple to carry out the order, able to carry out or not.
It is not that spiritual master is partial and he designates one and rejects other. He may do that. If the other is not qualified, he can do that. (...)
If you are incapable of raising yourself to the standard of becoming spiritual master, that is not your spiritual master's fault, that is your fault. He wants, just like Caitanya Mahaprabhu says, amara ajnaya guru hana, "By My order, every one of you become a guru."
If one cannot carry out the order of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, then how he can become a guru?
The first qualification is that he must be able to carry out the order of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Then he becomes guru. So that carrying out the order of Caitanya Mahaprabhu depends on one's personal capacity.
Amara ajnaya guru hana...."

(Room Conversation, 29/6/72)


In the above quote, as with many other similar ones, Srila Prabhupada clearly links the type of guru he is authorising to the famous 'amara ajnaya' verse. However this verse actually only encourages teachers/preacher, vartma-pradasaka gurus, as the following illustrates:

Srila Prabhupada: Therefore Caitanya Mahaprabhu... Yare dekha tare kaha 'krsna'-upadesa: "You become guru. No qualification required. Simply you repeat what Krishna has said." Just see how simplified. Don't talk anything nonsense. Yare dekha tare kaha 'krsna'--bas. So who cannot do it? Anyone can do it, even a child. (laughs)
Our Syamasundara's daughter. She was preaching, "Do you know Krishna?" They said, "No I have got no..." "The Supreme Personality."
This is preaching, simply if you say that "Krishna is the Supreme Personality, supreme controller. Just be obedient to Him." Where is the difficulty? Anyone can preach. Chant Hare Krishna. Bas.
Three words: Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead; surrender unto Him; and chant Hare Krishna. Your life will be successful. What is the difficulty in preaching these three words? Hm? Is there any difficulty? Even a child like Sarasvati, she can preach. Then what to speak of others?
Those who are educated, grown-up, advanced, they can put the matter more nicely, more convincingly, more philosophically. That is another thing. But these three words, that "Krishna is the Supreme Lord; you are servant; and chant Hare Krishna"--bas, preaching complete.
Very simple thing and the sublime instruction. Everyone can become guru by simply teaching these three words."
(Room Conversation, Puri, 25/1/77)

(Further evidence for Lord Caitanya's order referring to preacher/vartma-pradaksa-guru is given in "The Final Order", and "Best Not To Accept Disciples".)

At the time of the above conversation Sarasvati was only 8 years old. Following the GBC's reasoning on the new quote, they must obviously believe that Srila Prabhupada was then and there telling a small infant to accept disciples and good as God worship - (nowhere in these quotes does he tell the prospective gurus to wait till after his departure before they act, or even to hold on till they get a bit older).

If Srila Prabhupada WAS doing this then it seems strange that he remained the only initiating guru in ISKCON right up until his departure.

Sadly, as far as we know, Sarsavati is no longer active in Krishna Consciousness. Nevertheless it is clear that at the time of this conversation she was definitely a guru according to Srila Prabhupada.

"A bona fide spiritual master is in the disciplic succession from time eternal and he does not deviate at all from the instructions of the Supreme Lord."
(BG 4:42)

"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."
(C.c. Madhya, 24.330, purport)

"When one has attained the topmost position of maha-bhagavata, he is to be accepted as a guru and worshipped exactly like Hari, the Personality of Godhead. Only such a person is eligible to occupy the post of a guru."
(C.c. Madhya, 24.330, purport)

...We think not. Thus it is shown that the term 'guru' does not always refer to DIKSA Guru. Diksa gurus are rare and exceptional, whereas anyone- man, woman or child can become an INSTRUCTING guru.

Thus it is clear that there are definitely different types of 'guru'. In addition to a Diksa Guru, Srila Prabhupada mentions two other types of 'spiritual masters': 

"There are two kinds of instructing spiritual masters. One is the liberated person fully absorbed in meditation in devotional service, and the other is he who invokes the disciple's spiritual consciousness by means of relevant instructions".
(C.C. Adi, 1:47)

Thus the kind of guru that Sarasvati was, and the one that Srila Prabhupada always speaks of, who is minimally qualified and simply repeats '3 words', who is referred to by 'amara ajnaya guru hana', is "he who invokes the disciple's spiritual consciousness by means of relevant instructions".

Since the word 'guru' or phrase 'spiritual master' does not generally refer to diksa, the following guidelines will make it clear which type of guru Srila Prabhupada can be referring to on any given occasion

Diksa Guru - Definitely being referred to:

  1. The context that the word 'guru' is used in will contain the terms 'diksa' or 'initiating'.
  2. The quote will make clear that the guru will only function in their particular capacity after Srila Prabhupada's physical departure.
  3. It will be made clear that the gurus are to initiate on their own behalf, not act as ritviks or proxies.
  4. The guru will be described as having already attained the topmost platform of devotional service.

When any of the elements below appear in a quote we know the guru in question is definitely NOT a diksa guru:

Diksa Guru Eliminators:

  1. The qualification described will be very basic - just preaching and teaching. Anyone can do it, one only need learn three words etc. (A diksa guru must be a maha-bhagavata)
  2. There will be no mention of time-constraint - this is a vital clue since the GBC accept the principle that Srila Prabhupada would not allow diksa gurus other than himself to operate whilst he was still physically present. If the guru's activity is not limited to after departure we know Srila Prabhupada was ordering him to act only in an instructing capacity.

Quotes comprising the following elements point conclusively to siksa or instructing gurus.

Siksa Guru - Evidences:

  1. The context that the word 'guru' is used in will contain the terms siksa or instructing.
  2. There will be no time constraints on when the guru can act.
  3. The 'amara ajnaya' verse will be mentioned.
  4. The qualification needed is basic, linked to preaching and following strictly, but not to any specific level of realisation (e.g. prema etc).
  5. Instruction has wide applicability - the prospective guru need not even be initiated himself. (For example whilst lecturing in India Srila Prabhupada would often order entire audiences of uninitiated people to become guru then and there).

In reality then, the general use of the word 'guru' on its own by Srila Prabhupada is simply an order to be a 'teacher'. That is actually also its basic meaning. A teacher or instructing guru simply teaches what he or she knows. Such a person does not need to be a mahabhagavat or wait till his own guru leaves the planet or any such thing. He can just tell other people that Krishna is God, bas. If the GBC would simply apply the above criteria to any future quotes they uncover they would save themselves, and everyone else, a great deal of time and embarrassment. (The handful of isolated incidents where Srila Prabhupada does specifically refer to Diksa (Tusta Krishna etc) are dealt with in 'The Final order' and 'Best Not To Accept Disciples").


When we look again at the new quote offered on Chakra we observe the following:

  1. No time constraints are mentioned.
  2. Only one qualification is needed: he is a devotee of God, that's all.
  3. The 'amara ajnaya' verse is quoted twice.

Thus the quote cannot be used to displace a system specifically set up to facilitate diksa initiation (ritvik), since the type of gurus being discussed, designated and ordered into being by Srila Prabhupada are instructing/teacher/siksa/vartma pradarsaka gurus, NOT diksa gurus.

In other words the quote is irrelevant to the issue at hand. In our humble opinion the GBC will hit their target more readily by applying the above mentioned criteria to any future evidence they might wish to present. In the meantime it would seem that the final order still stands

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.