Winter 2006/7

As dissatisfaction with ISKCON's unauthorised guru system has grown over the years, the Movement's guru hoaxers and others have felt compelled to develop and espouse new myths to either prop up a failing guru system, or provide a non-ritvik alternative to it. These myths utilise the fact that Srila Prabhupada taught there are two types of spiritual master, siksa (the guru who instructs) and diksa (the guru who initiates). Here is the myth being legislated by the Governing Body Commission (GBC) for ISKCON:

"Whereas in their overemphasis on diksa gurus, Srila Prabhupada's disciples and followers failed in various ways to properly establish and sustain Srila Prabhupada's unique role and personal relationship with all ISKCON devotees as the Founder-Acarya and pre-eminent siksa guru in ISKCON; ISKCON leaders failed to also properly establish the importance and role of siksa gurus in ISKCON;"
(GBC resolutions 1999)

And below we paraphrase this in more blunt terms:

"There is no need to challenge our Great Guru Hoax and adopt the crazy idea that Srila Prabhupada is the sole diksa Guru for ISKCON, since the only justifiable complaint is that we may have given too much prominence to the diksa guru (the guru who initiates - namely us, the GBC gurus) over and above the siksa guru (the guru who instructs - namely Srila Prabhupada). Since Srila Prabhupada is everyone's siksa Guru, all devotees should be happy in the knowledge that while we (the guru hoaxers) carry on initiating everyone and receiving good-as-God worship as diksa gurus, our disciples can still have a nice siksa relationship with Srila Prabhupada."

In this article we shall finally put to rest the great siksa/diksa myth, along with all its offshoots, by defeating the arguments used in its defence.

What did Srila Prabhupada order?

Obviously the most crucial point that should first be considered is what type of guru did Srila Prabhupada establish himself as. Since it is just plain, historical fact that he left himself in place as the sole diksa Guru for ISKCON, as per his final directive on initiation sent to all GBCs and Temple Presidents on July 9th 1977, then what right or authority does the GBC have to in any way change, redefine or limit his Guru status? Since Srila Prabhupada left himself in place as ISKCON's sole diksa Guru and gave no authority to the GBC to ever change this, then clearly anyone claiming to be his follower must accept this. Anyone who teaches anything different from this is no type of guru at all. Thus, from the outset the myth is defeated, since Srila Prabhupada's position remains unchanged from that occupied before his departure.

"Either is sufficient"

The following verse is also sometimes used to argue that a siksa guru is equal to a diksa guru, and therefore we can just take shelter of Srila Prabhupada as a siksa guru, and this is enough:

"…on the absolute platform siksa and diksa gurus are identical, and it is offensive to try and discriminate between them".
(Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi -lila1:47, purport).

But by the same verse, since Srila Prabhupada is the diksa Guru of ISKCON, then to try and de-emphasise this on the plea of promoting his role as a siksa guru would be offensive, since one would be trying to discriminate between Srila Prabhupada's role as the diksa Guru, and Srila Prabhupada's role as the siksa Guru.

"Srila Prabhupada can only give siksa to newcomers, but not diksa"

If Srila Prabhupada can still give siksa to everyone as the GBC concede, and if "on the absolute platform siksa and diksa gurus are identical", then why can he not give diksa to everyone too? According to Srila Prabhupada, the siksa guru normally goes on to become the diksa guru anyway:

sp "Generally a spiritual master who constantly instructs a disciple in spiritual science becomes his initiating spiritual master later on."
(Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi-lila, 1.35, purport)

"It is the duty of the siksa guru or diksa guru to instruct the disciple in the right way, and it depends on the disciple to execute the process. According to sastric injunctions, there is no difference between siksa guru and diksa guru, and generally the siksa guru later on becomes the diksa guru."
(Srimad-Bhagavatam 4.12.32, purport)

The GBC have violated the above principle every day of every year since 1977 since on the one hand they promote Srila Prabhupada as the main siksa Guru for anyone who joins ISKCON, but on the other they flatly deny that it is even possible that he "later on becomes the diksa guru". What happens normally "later on" in ISKCON is that all Srila Prabhupada's disciples are stolen by the guru hoaxers.

Srila Prabhupada taught that we are permitted just one diksa Guru, who must be completely liberated, and unlimited siksa gurus who may or may not be liberated. The confusion between diksa and siksa gurus occurs because their titles are confused with their function. Thus it is sometimes assumed that only the siksa guru gives siksa, but not the diksa guru. However, as the last quote above clearly demonstrates, the diksa guru also instructs. This should be obvious, otherwise how else will he transmit divya-jnana (transcendental knowledge)?:

Pradyumna: "Guru-padasrayah. "First one must take shelter of the lotus feet of a spiritual master." Tasmat Krsna- diksadi-siksanam. Tasmat, "from him", Krsna-diksadi-siksanam, "one should take Krsna- diksa, initiation, and siksa.""
Srila Prabhupada: "Diksa means divya-jnanam ksapayati iti diksa. Which explains the divya-jnana, transcendental, that is diksa. Di, divya, diksanam. diksa. So divya-jnana, transcendental knowledge(...)"
Pradyumna: "Krsna- diksadi-siksanam."
Srila Prabhupada: "Siksanam. We have to learn.
If you don't learn, how you'll make progress?"
(Srila Prabhupada Room Conversation, 27/1/77)

That siksa is included in diksa is evident from the most well known verse on the guru-disciple relationship:

"Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized soul can impart knowledge unto you because he has seen the truth."
(Bhagavad-gita, 4:34 [1972 ed.])

In this verse the word "upadeksyanti" is translated in the word-for-word translation as meaning to "initiate"; however, in the full translation this to "initiate" is rendered as requiring the Guru to "impart" (knowledge). Consequently the "Prabhupada is siksa not diksa" advocates are caught in a logistical trap of their own making. If Srila Prabhupada is capable of "imparting knowledge" or "divya-jnana" to newcomers, which the GBC concede in advocating him as the pre-eminent siksa Guru for ISKCON, then he must by definition be able to initiate or give diksa too. Transcendental knowledge is, after all, the main constituent of diksa:

"Diksa actually means initiating a disciple with transcendental knowledge by which he becomes freed from all material contamination."
(Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila, 4:112, purport, emphasis added)

"Diksa is the process by which one can awaken his transcendental knowledge and vanquish all reactions caused by sinful activity. A person expert in the study of the revealed scriptures knows this process as diksa."
(Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila, 15.108, purport, emphasis added)

It is obviously ludicrous to argue that Srila Prabhupada can impart transcendental knowledge when not on the planet if we call him a siksa Guru, but not do so if we call him a diksa Guru. Therefore, if Srila Prabhupada can impart transcendental knowledge to newcomers whilst not on this planet, and he is the latest or current link in the chain of disciplic succession, what prevents him from being their diksa Guru?
Thus since the GBC accept that Srila Prabhupada can impart "transcendental knowledge" to everyone via his "pre-eminent siksa", and since Srila Prabhupada has already agreed to accept as a disciple anyone who follows his teachings for a minimum of six months (via representational priests or ritviks), the GBC and others should stop inventing baseless myths and start following his pre-eminent instructions, beginning with the one issued on July 9th 1977, which continued his position as the sole diksa Guru of ISKCON.

"Ours is a siksa parampara (disciplic succession)"

This argument is used to comfort those who may find it hard to have absolute faith in the current ISKCON guru system, given its appalling track record, yet wish for whatever reason to remain within the institution. By teaching that our guru-disciple lineage has been primarily based on siksa, rather than diksa, the GBC clearly hopes to dupe doubtful newcomers into believing they can get all they need in the form of siksa from Srila Prabhupada, whilst still fully participating in, contributing towards and promoting the great diksa guru hoax. This is nothing more than another example of bait-and-switch: "Join our great lineage which is primarily based on siksa, wherein you can take full shelter of Srila Prabhupada as your pre-eminent siksa Guru without limitation, but please don't mind if we just humbly initiate everyone since we are just lowly, insignificant diksa gurus."

Yet Srila Prabhupada never taught anywhere that "ours is a siksa parampara". Surely he would have mentioned this at least once somewhere, if it was to be such an integral part of ISKCON preaching. Even if ours was "a siksa lineage", that would still not justify removing Srila Prabhupada as ISKCON's diksa Guru without authority. Indeed, it makes no sense to argue that Srila Prabhupada is everyone's instructing Guru, and then at the same time ruthlessly hound from the society anyone who wishes to follow Srila Prabhupada's instruction on how initiation was meant to proceed, which is precisely what the GBC now do.

"Diksa guru does not matter"

By extending the previous argument, it is argued that since it is siksa alone which matters, then who gives you diksa is not important. However, this begs the obvious question, that if who the diksa guru is so insignificant, why are the GBC and their supporters fighting tooth and nail to ensure that Srila Prabhupada is NOT the diksa Guru? As soon as Srila Prabhupada's name is in the frame for being diksa Guru, all of a sudden, who the diksa Guru is becomes a life and death question, to be resolved via violence, banning and suppression, as we have reported in detail in previous issues. So this alone exposes the hypocrisy and double standard of this argument. In addition, the very fact that some of these "unimportant diksa gurus" fell down proves none of ISKCON's gurus were ever properly authorised members of the infallible chain of spiritual masters descending sequentially from Lord Sri Krishna (see BTP Special Issue, page 10); and hence unimportant or not, ISKCON post-'77 has has never had any bona fide, authorised diksa gurus.

"Diksa formality over-emphasised"

A related objection is that not only who is the diksa Guru not important, but that diksa itself is only a formality for connecting to the disciplic succession (and thus who you get this formality from does not matter), and therefore the IRM is unnecessarily over-occupied with these diksa formalities. Ironically, this complaint is made just as equally by others who are also opposed to the GBC, but at the same time wish to evolve some alternative to the IRM. Thus it will be argued that the only thing which matters is that we "put Srila Prabhupada in the centre", either as "Founder-Acarya", "Prominent Guru", "Sampradaya Acarya" etc.; anything, as long we can avoid the dreaded "D" word ("diksa" Guru).
Firstly, the objection is immediately rendered ludicrous when it is noted that the IRM does not as yet even grant diksa formalities (initiation ceremonies) - so it can hardly be something we are over-emphasising! And secondly, how about this for a novel suggestion - instead of everyone just inventing a "solution" that allows us to still "connect" to Srila Prabhupada - why not just connect to Srila Prabhupada IN THE WAY HE WANTED AND ORDERED?!

Thus the IRM's position is not about diksa v siksa, or over-emphasising this or that. It is simply about doing what Srila Prabhupada ordered; he set up ISKCON to run in a certain way, with him as the diksa Guru from whom everyone who joined ISKCON took initiation, with his disciples simply being preachers to spread Srila Prabhupada's teachings and bring all people to become his disciples. Shortly before his departure, Srila Prabhupada ordered this set-up to be continued unchanged, and we must honour this if we consider ourselves followers of Srila Prabhupada.


Let us follow Srila Prabhupada how HE wanted, and assign to him all the roles which HE ordered, and stop speculating.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada - ISKCON's diksa Guru!