H.H. Sivarama Swami and H.H.Bhakti Bhallaba Puri Goswami/Balabhadra Prabhu


Back to Prabhupada, Issue 18, Winter 2007/8

By Krishnakant

GBC voted-in guru hoaxer HH Sivarama Swami ("SRS") conveys how disciples of the fallen Balabhadra Das must be feeling:

"…devotees are often a little stumped thinking, 'well, if someone who has been practicing Krishna consciousness for such a long time can become so misled then what of me?'"
(SRS podcast, September 27th, 2007)

The answer, he says, is to not be a guru at all!:

"One aspect of the answer, it is quite fortunate that devotees who ask those questions aren't in a position of guruship, or leadership, or sannyasa; in other words, being a humble simple Vaishnava is a very safe position to be in and although there may be what some call perks in taking leadership roles, but there are also very high stakes. So if we just stay as humble Vaishnavas [...] being able to hear from other devotees and accept the guidance and direction, they will certainly advance in Krishna consciousness."
(SRS podcast, September 27th, 2007)

So, having trumpeted for years that it was Srila Prabhupada's order that actually "everyone be guru", a GBC member and ISKCON guru is now saying that actually the best and safest thing is that one not be a guru at all, but rather one just continue being a humble, non-guru Vaishnava if one wants to be sure of advancing! What is particularly amusing is that he says that part of this humble, non-guru Vaishnava program is:

"being able to hear from other devotees and accept the guidance and direction"

which is rich coming from SRS, since he is partly responsible for the mess in the first place, having continually sponsored and promoted Balabhadra Das as being a bona fide guru all throughout the latter's 25 years of deviation, having given him sannyasa and feted him as a regular guest of honour at his farm in Hungary. And earlier, SRS promoted Jayatirtha and then Bhagavan (two more fallen gurus), and then Narayana Maharaja of the Gaudiya Matha, before being forced to retract his support for him. Given this track record, SRS should be the last person a disciple with a fallen guru should be taking advice from!

However, on the contrary, SRS has decided to come to the "rescue" of Balabhadra's hapless disciples, offering his "shelter" to them as their new "guru", by allowing them to take an initiation ceremony from him again. Or maybe not; since SRS himself is not sure what exactly he is doing whilst he is "initiating" them:

"I'm thinking of a name to give it because I didn't want to call it a reinitiation, […] we had a ceremony in which those devotees who wanted a new name, they received a new name and all the brahmanas received the gayatri mantra again and we had a fire ceremony. […] I'm not calling it a reinitiation ceremony […] and I am going to propose that even that terminology, sort of, is dropped at least in official ISKCON circles. The reason I say that the word 'reinitiation' is not so suitable is because these devotees they didn't do anything that required them to be reinitiated […] I emphasized the difference between the situation of these devotees and a devotee who is newly initiated, and although I chanted on their beads, gave them new beads, and those who requested new names […] I discussed it earlier with Niranjana Maharaja and the conclusion was that they already took vows, their vows were intact by dint of their service.."
(SRS podcast, September 27th, 2007)

Ever since gurus started falling in ISKCON since the guru hoax program was instituted in 1978, hapless disciples of these fallen devotees have been "reinitiated" by new gurus, so that some disciples today are on their 3rd or even 4th gurus. Indeed, SRS himself has taken a leading role in conducting such "reinitiations". Now he claims that reinitiation is not necessary at all, since the disciples of the fallen guru were innocent. Which obviously means he has been misleading all the many devotees he previously initiated. Instead, all these devotees go through the same ceremony again, except their vows, but it's not reinitiation, and it's not first initiation either; indeed SRS admits it needs a new name! With a wave of his wizard wand, SRS has invented a brand new "semi-initiation", a half-way house between the first initiation he himself gives to new devotees, and the reinitiation he also gave to so many devotees in the past. Such confusing concoctions are the natural result when one tries to deal with a hoax that has begun to fall apart. Having tried "re-initiation" for so many years as the way to deal with all their fallen gurus, will the GBC now adopt wizard SRS's new "semi-initiation" as the latest way to patch up their broken guru system?

Please chant: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna, Krishna, Hare, Hare,
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama, Rama, Hare, Hare.
And be Happy!