Winter 2005/6

Though His Holiness Jaydavaita Swami (henceforward ‘JS’), a GBC voted-in ISKCON guru, has never been a GBC member, he is however one of their most enthusiastic supporters when it comes to defending the GBC’s guru system (only to be expected, since he himself is a product of this system). Though JS will frequently criticise the GBC on other issues, this cannot mask the unbridled support he lends in trying to defend their guru system. Throughout the years he has been a constant player in acting as an apologist for the GBC’s guru system:

1) In 1990, when there was a ‘debate’ on the GBC’s guru system, he along with Ravindra Svarupa Das was chosen to represent the GBC’s side in this debate.

2) In 1993, when the ritvik idea was beginning to spread in the UK, he was called to deal with the issue, giving a lecture specifically on the topic to congregational members.

3) He also met personally with the editor of Back To Prabhupada magazine in 1995 in the UK, to try and get him to see the “error of his ways” (Back To Prabhupada magazine was actually published previously by the same editor in 1995).

4) In 1996 and 1998, he authored two papers, Where the Ritvik People are Wrong and Where the Ritvik People are Wrong Again, to again try and squash the ritvik uprising.

5) In recent years he has opposed BTP, infamously organising a group of brahmacaris at the 2004 LA Ratha Yatra Festival to go and grab back all the BTP magazines which had been distributed to the devotees. (See BTP 5, pages 6-7 for full story).

6) He also “helps out” on internet forums where the GBC supporters are often found struggling in debate against IRM members.

We now analyse these efforts of JS over the years to defend the GBC’s guru system.


In 1987, JS launched a scathing attack on the GBC as follows:

“[...] 8. The GBC has failed to maintain and protect the spiritual standards of the Society

[...] 16. The GBC members have allowed, have failed to halt, or have arranged for or demanded gross misappropriation of facilities and funds for their own self-aggrandizement [...]

18. The GBC has needlessly kept incompetent, fallen, or deviant persons as active members of the GBC body, suppressing, denying, and misrepresenting the nature of their incompetence, fall, and deviation

[...] 23. The GBC members have displayed gross, rampant impurity in their dealings with one another
[...] 28. The members of the GBC have neglected and misrepresented numerous other teachings and instructions of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

[...] 29. The GBC has failed to adequately respond to just and ongoing pleas for self-reform

[...] 32. By allowing, advocating, taking part in, perpetuating, and defending these and other forms of contamination and decay, the members of the GBC have brought the ultimate managing authority of the entire International Society for Krishna Consciousness to a state of disrepute and pollution.”
(Several Grievances Against the GBC, Jayadvaita Swami, March 5th, 1987)

For good measure, JS also adds that what he has stated pertains specifically to “all or many present GBC men”. However, these are the same GBC men from whom Jayadvaita Swami had happily lined-up to take endorsement, to be voted-in as one of their gurus, just one year earlier:

“The GBC approves of the following devotees to begin the responsibility of initiating spiritual master after 1 year period and final deliberation.

a. Kavichandra Swami
b. Jagad Guru Swami
c. Prahaladananda Swami
d.Trivrikram Swami
e. Jayadwaita Swami
f. Bhakticaru Swami”
(GBC Resolutions 19, 1986)

So having on the one hand claimed the GBC is effectively rotten to the core, JS simultaneously had absolutely no compunction in elevating the same GBC to supreme ecclesiastical status when it came to receiving his own guru certification to be worshipped as “good as God,” only a year earlier.
We will see that his subsequent career in defending the GBC’s guru system is characterized by such similarly contradictory positions.

The law is not a law

 In his 1996 paper, Where the Ritvik People Are Wrong, JS refers to the following “law”, which is extracted from a private letter sent by Srila Prabhupada to a deviant disciple:

“But as a matter of etiquette it is the custom that during the lifetime of your Spiritual master you bring the prospective disciples to him, and in his absence or disappearance you can accept disciples without any limitation. This is the law of disciplic succession.”
(Letter to Tusta Krishna, 2/12/75)

JS then claims that due to this law the ritvik system would mean that:

“Srila Prabhupada, in his last few months, reversed what he’d taught for the previous ten years”.
(Where the Ritvik People are Wrong, Jayadvaita Swami, 1996)

Again quoting this law he further goes on to say:

“That a spiritual master initiates until his departure and then his disciples initiate next is the normal system.
On this we are all in agreement. This is what Srila Prabhupada taught the entire time he was with us.”
(Where the Ritvik People are Wrong, Jayadvaita Swami, 1996, emphasis added)

However a few years later, JS became one of the first people to break this law, when he allowed his own disciple, Kadabma Kanana Swami, to accept disciples in his presence, and further JS himself stopped initiating! So according to his own words, it is not the ritvik system, but JS, who is reversing what Srila Prabhupada taught for the previous ten years. He also has gone against what he claims is the normal system, and what he claims Srila Prabhupada taught the entire time he was with us. Thus he has done a massive 180* turn in what he said previously, and by his own words is now rejecting everything Srila Prabhupada taught.

This reversal from JS is understandable, since he agrees with the IRM that this “law” does not in any case provide proof that Srila Prabhupada cannot continue as the diksa Guru for ISKCON. Referring to the letter to Tusta Krishna quoted above where the “law” is mentioned, JS states:

“I accept that this quotation doesn’t “prove” that a departed acarya can’t initiate. I never said that it does.”
(Jayadvaita Swami, 4th June, 2004)

Referring to Srila Prabhupada’s Last Will and Testament, where it states that all executive directors for the ISKCON properties in India must in perpetuity always be initiated disciples of Srila Prabhupada, JS agrees with the IRM that:

“the will is signed by Srila Prabhupada, and it clearly says that each successor director should be Srila Prabhupada’s initiated disciple.”
(Where the Ritvik People are Wrong, Jayadvaita Swami, 1996)

This of course can only happen if the ritvik system is in place for all times in ISKCON, and therefore every future devotee becomes “Srila Prabhupada’s initiated disciple.” Challenging this direct evidence for the ritvik system in ISKCON, JS states the following:

“And ultimately one can become not only his disciple in spirit but his “initiated disciple” through the guru-parampara system.”
(Where the Ritvik People are Wrong, Jayadvaita Swami, 1996)

JS states that one becomes Srila Prabhupada’s initiated disciple through the guru-parampara system.
In a subsequent paper JS states the ritvik system brings:

“an end to the parampara system”
(Where the Ritvik People are Wrong Again, Jayadvaita Swami, 1998)

JS claims that one becoming Srila Prabhupada’s initiated disciple (which is the effect of the ritvik system), brings an end to the parampara system. But we have also just seen JS claim that one also becomes Srila Prabhupada’s initiated disciple through the “guru-parampara system”, and this is identical in effect to the ritvik system, and therefore according to JS’s words should also have the same result as the ritvik system, namely to bring an end to the parampara system. Therefore JS’s words lead to the conclusion that the parampara system ends the parampara system!
This is not just a 1800 reversal, but a real 3600 head-spinner.

Not clear, yet very clear

Turning to the GBC’s key piece of evidence, the May 28th, 1977 conversation (see BTP 3), JS again presents a very contradictory position. The conversation begins with Srila Prabhupada stating he will appoint ritviks when asked how initiations will continue “particularly at that time” when he is “no longer with us”. Then asked if those initiated by such a system are his disciples, Srila Prabhupada answers unequivocally, “Yes, they are disciples.” These statements clearly contradict the GBC’s position, and therefore to try and explain them away, JS offers the following gobbledygook:

“I sense a kind of merging here, because Prabhupada’s talking about ‘ritvik acaryas, I’ll appoint officiating gurus’ – it’s almost like sliding into one. Therefore it’s mergy in the middle there. […] So there’s a kind of a blending there where he’s talking about ‘regular guru’. […]
I should point out that this was fairly characteristic of conversations with Srila Prabhupada.
Things were not always clear…so this was a fairly typical, cloudy response.
“So they may also be considered your disciples.” “Yes, they are disciples.” That’s a very mystifying sort of answer. It didn’t quite clinch the question.”
(Questions and Answers, Jayadvaita Swami, ISKCON South London, 1993)

So as soon as Srila Prabhupada does not say what the GBC want, JS claims Srila Prabhupada’s speaking is “mergy”, “sliding into one”, “blending”, “not always clear”, “cloudy” and “mystifying”. And to add insult to injury, for good measure JS helpfully adds that this is “fairly characteristic of conversations with Srila Prabhupada”!

And Srila Prabhupada stating unequivocally that “Yes, they are disciples”, supposedly “didn’t quite clinch the question” – obviously not since it was not the reply the future guru hoaxers wanted to hear!

Yet truly “mystifying” is JS’s next assertion, that having just considered most of the conversation completely unclear, as soon as we get to the last sentence where Srila Prabhupada mentions the magic “guru” word – “he becomes regular guru” – JS states:

“but by the end it’s very clear”
(Questions and Answers, Jayadvaita Swami, ISKCON South London, 1993)

So from this we learn the following rule from the JS school of understanding Srila Prabhupada’s instructions. If Srila Prabhupada states something which contradicts your position, label it as being “unclear”, “cloudy”, “mergy”, “mystifying” etc., and that this is “fairly characteristic” of Srila Prabhupada’s conversations. If, however, 5 seconds later, in the same conversation, you spot something that you think may help your position, do a 1800 turn, and suddenly declare that now it is “very clear”. (Of course, it does not actually help his position, for as we have pointed out, Srila Prabhupada states that “he becomes regular guru”, only “when I order” – an order Srila Prabhupada never gave).

Openness and honesty

In his 1996 paper, Where the Ritvik People are Right, though JS states that the ritvik position is wrong philosophically, he does concede that we are right to raise certain points. He then very eloquently enumerates many of these points (so well enumerated that as BTP readers will know, we often quote him!), and ends by stating:

“The spiritual leaders of ISKCON ought to recognize the importance of these questions and deal with them honestly, openly, sincerely, and deeply.”
(Where the Ritvik People are Right, Jayadvaita Swami, 1996)

A very commendable suggestion. However, we have already noted JS’s own contribution to dealing with these same questions “honestly” and “openly”. He organises for devotees to snatch back copies of BTP from devotees who have voluntarily accepted them.


We do not want this analysis to detract from Jayadvaita Maharaja’s outspokenness on the GBC’s other positions, where we are in agreement with Maharaja, in particular his excellent attack on ISKCON’s lurch towards philanthropy, that he gives in his “Food for Death” seminar. But he needs to drop his fruitless and self-defeating attempted defence of the GBC’s guru system, and we invite Maharaja to work together with the IRM on the positions we have in common.
Due to lack of space, we have only given a glimpse here into Maharaja’s futile defence of the GBC’s guru system.