The following is a response to the above Podcast from HH Sivarama Maharaja.
As usual Maharaja's comments shall be enclosed in speech marks " " this, with our comments following underneath.

"If you read Srila Prabhupada's books you will find out everything about the philosophical, theological basis for accepting a spiritual master."

Yes, in Srila Prabhupada's books, 3 times Srila Prabhupada clearly states the system for initiation in ISKCON:

"In our Krsna consciousness movement, the requirement is that one must be prepared to give up the four pillars of sinful life: illicit sex, meat eating, intoxication and gambling. In Western countries especially, we first observe whether a potential disciple is prepared to follow the regulative principles. Then he is given the name of a Vaisnava servant and initiated to chant the Hare Krsna maha-mantra, at least sixteen rounds daily. "

(Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila 24:330, purport)

"Due to the necessity of these activities, we do not immediately initiate disciples in the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. For six months, a candidate for initiation must first attend arati and classes in the sastras, practice the regulative principles and associate with other devotees. When one is actually advanced in the purascarya-vidhi, he is recommended by the local temple president for initiation. It is not that anyone can be suddenly initiated without meeting the requirements. "

(Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila 15:108, purport)

"Thus in the beginning the students of our Krsna consciousness movement agree to live with devotees, and gradually, having given up four prohibited activities illicit sex, gambling, meat-eating and intoxication they become advanced in the activities of spiritual life. When one is found to be regularly following these principles, he is given the first initiation (Hari-nama), and he regularly chants at least sixteen rounds a day. "

(Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi-lila 17:265, purport)

Srila Prabhupada here states the system of initiation which was in practice when he was on the planet and states that this is the system of initiation for ISKCON. He does not state here or anywhere else that this is only the system for whilst he is on the planet or that this system will need to change after he departs. The system above, whereby after 6 months one gets recommended by the temple President and gets automatically initiated, is not followed currently in ISKCON, nor can it be followed, since they have a multi-guru system. This means a candidate has to first select their guru.

The above system can only work when there is only one automatic institutional diksa guru for the whole of ISKCON, and this was the system when Srila Prabhupada was on the planet, and that guru was Srila Prabhupada.

And this is the system to be followed for ISKCON stated in Srila Prabhupada's books, which are accepted as being the 'lawbooks' for ISKCON as long as ISKCON exists, or for the next 9500 years.

Hence according to Srila Prabhupada's books, the system for getting initiated by the spiritual master in ISKCON would be identical in all respects to how it was when Srila Prabhupada was on the planet, which means Srila Prabhupada would remain as ISKCON's sole Diksa guru.

"The tradition behind that and more on Shrila Prabhupada's morning conversations and walks and letters where you can find out what were Shrila Prabhupada's expectations in terms of the practical applications of these principles in the Krishna consciousness movement."

Yes in Srila Prabhupada's written directives to the society, he gives the practical application for the initiation system just quoted from in the books. On July 9th, 1977, just 17 weeks before his departure from this world, Srila Prabhupada issued a written directive, signed by him, to the whole ISKCON movement, stating that the system of initiation would continue to proceed using representatives, who would be able to accept disciples on his behalf without needing to first consult him. This system, which was now able to operate without the need for Srila Prabhupada's physical presence, was thus instituted as being the system for initiations for ISKCON:

"In the past Temple Presidents have written to Srila Prabhupada recommending a particular devotee's initiation. Now that Srila Prabhupada has named these representatives, Temple Presidents may henceforward send recommendation for first and second initiation to whichever of these eleven representatives are nearest their temple. After considering the recommendation, these representatives may accept the devotee as an initiated disciple of Srila Prabhupada by giving a spiritual name, or in the case of second initiation, by chanting on the Gayatri thread, just as Srila Prabhupada has done. The newly initiated devotees are disciples of His Divine Grace A. C.
Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the above eleven senior devotees acting as His representative."

(July 9th, 1977, written directive for the whole of ISKCON)

Again this is not the system being followed today in ISKCON, who abandoned it as soon as Srila Prabhupada departed, due to the eleven representatives mentioned above falsely claiming that they had actually been appointed as diksa guru successors to Srila Prabhupada, rather than as ritvik representatives, as stated above.

"The first step and the most important step is to find out what your relationship is with Shrila Prabhupada."

Yes this is a fact, but at the same time HH Sivarama Swami forbids devotees from reading presentations where this relationship with Srila Prabhupada is stated exclusively using Srila Prabhupada's own words. For example, 'Back To Prabhupada' magazine quotes exclusively from Srila Prabhupada and the GBC to answer this question - what is our relationship with Srila Prabhupada. But Maharaja forbids devotees from reading this information and finding out for themselves what Srila Prabhupada states is our relationship with him.

"To follow Shrila Prabhupada instructions to strictly execute those instructions to develop your relationship with Shrila Prabhupada as your siksa guru and on the basis of this relationship with Prabhupada and understanding of who Shrila Prabhupada actually is then you will be able to know what the expectations are of someone else and who you will accept as Shrila Prabhupada's representative."

Proving the point just made, having just said that one should 'find out' what one's relationship with Srila Prabhupada is, he now gives the answer without giving the person the chance to actually 'find out', because that may involve researching those instructions, and coming to one's own conclusion based on Srila Prabhupada's instructions. Rather Maharaja states that one's relationship with Srila Prabhupada is that he is only our siksa guru, and we must instead then accept someone else as 'Srila Prabhupada's representative', by which he means an ISKCON approved diksa guru. Yet in this answer Maharaja has basically contradicted himself, because generally the person who is our siksa guru also them goes on to become our diksa guru:

"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)

"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)


Whereas Maharaja is claiming that the person who he directs us to accept as our first and main siksa guru, Srila Prabhupada, NEVER becomes our diksa guru, and indeed it is not even possible for him to do so!!!

Also if Srila Prabhupada is to be our siksa guru, then why does Maharaja not allow us to read and follow his siksa, as quoted above, and as reproduced in 'Back To Prabhupada' magazine, to accept him as our Diksa guru?