The Cruellest Trick of All


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 10, Winter 2005/6, Editorial

Welcome to our 10th issue of Back to Prabhupada (BTP) magazine. We must confess to feeling enormous pressure, since a number of readers have commented that each issue of BTP is better than the one before. We humbly pray that issue 10 carries on that challenging tradition. The response from our readers has also continued to both increase and overwhelm. As a testament to this, we have had to carry an extra page of letters just to try and “catch up” with the back-log. Even then, we will only have reached the correspondence resulting from BTP issue 8!

Maya, or Krishna’s illusory energy, is very powerful and has many tricks up her sleeve to bewilder and confuse the conditioned jivas (souls) in this material world. For those few, rare individuals who desire to go back to Godhead there are still many potential pitfalls since, without the mercy of the bona fide spiritual master, it is not possible to directly serve Krishna. Maya’s job is to do everything within her power to prevent us from approaching Krishna’s authorised representative. In that way she ensures that only the most sincere souls can return back to the spiritual world.

When Srila Prabhupada formed ISKCON, and began attracting followers all over the world, Maya’s plans were somewhat thwarted. Obviously she did her best to attack, but anyone who came to ISKCON knew for certain who it was they were meant to accept as their eternal guide and master. It was Srila Prabhupada.

The moment Srila Prabhupada physically departed, Maya saw her chance. Immediately, the GBC removed Srila Prabhupada from his position as the diksa (initiating) Guru for ISKCON and illegally took his place, declaring that direct surrender to him was no longer possible. This was indeed a cruel trick of Maya since many souls, originally attracted by Srila Prabhupada’s books to join ISKCON, would now be systematically cheated by unauthorised usurpers posing as pure devotees:

“…an unauthorised devotee should never be recognised as a pure devotee.”
(Srimad-Bhagavatam, 1.2.12, purport)

Thankfully, many members of ISKCON who had been conned by the GBC into serving and supporting unauthorised gurus have now properly understood the situation through the bold preaching efforts of the IRM around the world. Such devotees now have the opportunity to understand Srila Prabhupada’s true position as ISKCON’s sole diksa Guru. However, having been convinced that they should abandon their unauthorised “guru” and accept Srila Prabhupada, some of these devotees are succumbing to what is possibly Maya’s cruellest trick of all. After slavishly serving a bogus guru for many years, now, when they finally understand the truth, they suddenly decide they’ve had enough: “I’m fried, prabhu! they sometimes say, “I gave the best years of my life in service to a bogus guru, so now I’m just going to live my own life and look after number one.”

It is understandable that we might feel cheated, angry and upset when we discover we have been duped; but these negative emotions are also a means by which Maya can intervene to bewilder us further.

It is bad enough to have wasted time serving the wrong person, but it is even more tragic to back off from devotional service just when we find out who the correct person is. It is like being confronted with hundreds of doors knowing that the truth is behind just one of them, opening every door till we finally come to that last one, and then saying “I can’t be bothered to open this last door even though I know it will take me to the truth.” If you’ve wasted ten or twenty years serving or supporting a false guru then that’s all the more reason to spend the few remaining decades of your life serving the true Guru. Our advice to those who discover they have been so cheated by the GBC is as follows:

• Accept that you have actively shared in and promoted a huge offence to Srila Prabhupada, and so your devotional service is only just beginning today.
• See the whole fiasco as a learning experience, not as an excuse to do nothing.
• Start studying The Final Order and other papers on the IRM website.
• Go back to every single person you can find whom you misled or ostracised in your promotion of the Great Guru Hoax and tell them the truth.
• Join the IRM today and help restore Srila Prabhupada to his rightful position so that nobody else gets cheated the way you were.
• Endeavour even harder and yet more selflessly than you did for the bogus gurus to help rectify matters.

If we follow these simple steps, then it may be possible to turn a disaster into something spiritually meaningful and positive. In this way, we may gain Srila Prabhupada’s forgiveness, and hopefully his mercy. It is through this mercy alone that any of our lives can be truly successful:

“This attitude of serving first the spiritual master is the correct one, for only by the mercy of the spiritual master can one obtain the mercy of Krsna.”
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, 29/1/73)

Please feel free to write to me at the following address if you have any questions, criticisms or comments: We welcome all correspondence. Thank you very much for taking the time to read our magazine. Hare Krishna.

Yours in the service of Srila Prabhupada,


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