Prabhupada-Only Paradigm


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 31, Spring 2011

1) Evidence
2) Jumping over
3) Authorisation
4) Innovation

1) Evidence

The conclusions we reach will depend on what statements we accept as constituting authoritative evidence.

Only Srila Prabhupada

The IRM follows the maxim that only orders coming directly from Srila Prabhupada are relevant in determining how ISKCON should be run. Indeed, the Governing Body Commission (GBC) of ISKCON was set up specifically with this mandate:

“The GBC accepts as its life and soul His divine instructions and recognizes that it is completely dependent on His mercy in all respects. The GBC has no other function or purpose other than to execute the instructions so kindly given by His Divine Grace and preserve and spread his Teachings to the world in their pure form.”
(Definition of GBC, first ever GBC Resolution, 1975)

However, as we shall now show, this has not stopped the GBC and others from deviating from this fundamental maxim in a variety of ways.

No evidence needed

Many of the pillars of the guru hoax are based on simply dispensing with the need for Srila Prabhupada’s authority altogether. For example it is claimed:

• “The guru must be ‘living’”.
• “Ritvik is wrong because it has never happened before.”

But Srila Prabhupada has never stated that the guru must be “living” in the sense of physically present (rather he says the guru is always living), or that he will never issue unprecedented orders. Rather, such statements are made simply assuming that it is “obvious” they are correct. One can state any number of allegations and assumptions, but only a direct quote from Srila Prabhupada will make them true.

Outside Srila Prabhupada

Sources outside of Srila Prabhupada are also put forward as evidence. One example is “jumping over” Srila Prabhupada and attempting to directly consult previous acaryas (see article on next page for more detail). Or one will simply consult other sampradayas, other organisations, or “senior” devotees, to try to garner support for conclusions which are not given by Srila Prabhupada. The GBC has relied on all of these different variations at different times. But, if a particular conclusion was actually supported by Srila Prabhupada, one could simply quote Srila Prabhupada, and that would be that. It’s only if one is unable to find evidence from Srila Prabhupada supporting a particular conclusion, that one will need to resort to looking outside Srila Prabhupada’s words.

Sometimes the “guru, sadhu and sastra” principle is invoked as an excuse to try to go outside Srila Prabhupada’s words. But this makes no sense, since all three, guru, sadhu and sastra, are always in line, and, therefore, one does not need to independently verify Srila Prabhupada’s statements with any other source:

“Sadhu, sastra and guru. Guru means who follows the sastra and sadhu. So there are three, the same.”
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, 30/11/1976).

Thus, there is never any need to directly quote any source other than Srila Prabhupada to establish a conclusion regarding what Srila Prabhupada ordered.

"Prabhupada said"

In order to verify that a statement actually comes from Srila Prabhupada, one would need to have it available as a primary source; through his writings or directly recorded via tape or film. However, the GBC routinely relies on the “testimony” of secondary “Prabhupada said” statements, from those claiming that Srila Prabhupada told them something. For example, in the GBC’s position paper Prabhupada’s Order, we find the following quote presented as being one of a list of “quotes from Srila Prabhupada”:

“You each be guru,” he said. “As I have five thousand disciples or ten thousand, so you have ten thousand each. In this way, create branches and branches of the Chaitanya tree. (Mayapur GBC meetings 1976).”
(Prabhupada’s Order, GBC)

But further investigation reveals that the above quote does not actually come directly from Srila Prabhupada in 1976, but from the personal diary of GBC apologist, Hari Sauri Das, published in 1992. Indeed, due to such “Prabhupada saids” abounding even when Srila Prabhupada was on the planet, Srila Prabhupada issued instructions such as the following:

“...just like in our ISKCON there are so many false things: “Prabhupada said this, Prabhupada said that.” ”
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, 7/11/1972)

“They misunderstand me. Unless it is there from me in writing, there are so many things that “Prabhupada said.””
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, 2/9/1975)

Therefore, to be certain that an order is actually from Srila Prabhupada, we can rely only on evidence which can be authenticated as directly coming from Srila Prabhupada.


Finally, even once we get to the stage of accepting only Srila Prabhupada’s verified orders as constituting evidence, it becomes meaningless if one deliberately claims Srila Prabhupada said something which he did not! For example, in the GBC paper Disciple of My Disciple, they quote the following exchange from the May 28th, 1977 Room Conversation:

Satsvarupa: “So they may also be considered your disciples.”
Prabhupada: Yes, they are disciples.Why consider? Who?”

And then claim, regarding this exchange above:

“Satsvarupa Maharaja again suggests the possibility of proxy initiation. Srila Prabhupada could say yes, but he does not.”
(Disciple of My Disciple, GBC)

So Srila Prabhupada clearly says “yes” (bold underlined), and the GBC pretends he does not! Another example of misrepresentation is to claim that Srila Prabhupada’s repeating Lord Caitanya’s order to “become guru” refers to diksa gurus, by simply ignoring Srila Prabhupada’s accompanying statement to this order - that “it is best not to accept any disciples” (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila, 7:128-130, purport).


If we return to a world where
a) only the directly recorded orders of Srila Prabhupada count
b) all claims must be backed directly by Srila Prabhupada’s directly recorded orders
c) we accept the direct meaning of Srila Prabhupada’s words, without any change or omission
-then everything becomes simple, clear and easy to follow. Indeed, anyone who reads IRM publications will see that we take apart the papers we are rebutting, simply by following these three simple techniques.

And applying these three techniques leads us to certain indisputable conclusions, such as:
1) Srila Prabhupada is the diksa guru of ISKCON.
2) Srila Prabhupada ordered that people joining ISKCON will become initiated by him via the use of ritviks (officiating priests).
3) There are no orders from Srila Prabhupada which will lead to 1) and 2) changing.

2) Jumping over

In the previous article, one instance given of not relying solely on the authority of Srila Prabhupada’s words is going outside Srila Prabhupada’s books to directly approach the teachings of the previous acaryas (spiritual masters).

No "jumping over"

In his books Srila Prabhupada states that the books of the previous acaryas should be read. However, separately, Srila Prabhupada also tells us how these books should be accessed and read. Srila Prabhupada states that the teach­ings of the previous acaryas must be accessed only through the current acarya, and any other access is forbidden and known as “jumping over”:

“Suppose I have heard something from my spiritual master, so I speak to you the same thing. So this is parampara system. You cannot imagine what my spiritual master said. Or even if you read some books, you cannot understand unless you understand it from me. This is called parampara system. You cannot jump over to the superior guru, neglecting the next acarya, immediate next acarya.”
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, 8/12/1973)

“You cannot jump over. You must go through the parampara system. You have to approach through your spiritual master to the Gosvamis.”
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, 28/3/1975)

in order to receive the real message of Srimad-Bhagavatam one should approach the current link, or spiritual master, in the chain of disciplic succession.
(Srimad-Bhagavatam, 2.9.7, purport)

And the current acarya, which as the IRM has proven consistently beyond doubt (see The Final Order, every BTP issue and all IRM papers on our website), is Srila Prabhupada.

No going outside

Consequently, in line with this current-link principle, Srila Prabhupada insisted that in ISKCON only his books are read:

“There is no need by any of my disciples to read any books besides my books - in fact, such reading may be detrimental to their advancement in Krishna Consciousness.”
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, 20/1/1972)

“Regarding the Gaudiya Math books being circulated there, who is distributing? […] These books should not at all be circulated in our Society. [...] You say that you would read only one book if that was all that I had written, so you teach others to do like that. You have very good determination.”
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, 14/11/1973)

“Brahmananda Swami has read me your letter regarding the students there reading other books. I request you to stop this practice.” (Srila Prabhupada Letter, 13/10//1973)

“It is good to hold more classes with the bhaktas, but they should all be on the basis of our books. You should not go beyond the jurisdiction of our teaching.” (Srila Prabhupada Letter, 26/1/1977)

Authorised source

Srila Prabhupada gave us access to the books of the previous acaryas through his own writings. His aim was:

“to give you so many nice literatures like the Vedas, Upanisads, Puranas, Ramayana, Mahabharata, and other books in our own Gaudiya line,like Rupa Goswami, Sanatana Goswami, Visvanatha Cakravarti and others. So if the GBC which I have appointed for this task will kindly now assist me in this way, by handling very expertly and with all good consideration all matters of managing, I shall devote my full time to giving you further nice books.”
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, 16/2/1972)

And he gave us Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (Nectar of Devotion) and Sri Upadesamrta (Nectar of Instruction) by Rupa Goswami, Sri Caitanya-caritamrta by Srila Krsnadasa Kaviraja Goswami, and so on.

Therefore, we are meant to read the works of the previous acaryas only via what Srila Prabhupada has given us. And, where he felt it was suitable to read such works directly, he would specifically authorise them to be published by the BBT, such as Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura’s Sri Brahmasamhita and Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s Life and Precepts of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. But Srila Prabhupada never authorised us to go outside of what he gave us himself, nor did he nominate others to succeed him in providing us such literature. Rather, only in some very rare and specific cases did he authorise us to go outside his books:

“All reading of outside books, except in certain authorized cases such as for example to read some philosopher like Plato to make an essay comparing his philosophy with Krishna’s philosophy - but otherwise all such outside reading should be stopped immediately.”
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, 20/1/1972)

Through Srila Prabhupada

Therefore we are studying the works of the previous acaryas through Srila Prabhupada’s books:

Paramahamsa: “But there’s nothing wrong with the idea of studying the previous acaryas’ books.”
Prabhupada: “No. Who said? That is wrong. We are following previous acaryas. I never said that.”
Paramahamsa: “All of your commentaries are coming from
the previous acaryas.”

Prabhupada: “Yes.”
Jayadharma: “But that wouldn’t mean that we should keep all the previous acaryas’ books and only read them.”
Prabhupada:That is already there. You first of all assimilate what you have got. You simply pile up books and do not read— what is the use?”
Jayadharma: “First of all we must read all your books.”
Prabhupada: “Yes.”
Paramahamsa:Practically speaking, Srila Prabhupada, you are giving us the essence of all the previous acaryas’ books in your books.”
Prabhupada: Yes. Yes.”
(Morning Walk, 13/5/1975)

“Whatever is to be learned of the teachings of Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura can be learned from our books. There is no need whatsoever for any outside instruction.” (Srila Prabhupada Letter, 25/12/1973)

“I have given you TLC*, what need is there to read Caitanya Caritamrta translated by someone else. You are right to stop such reading.”
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, 20/1/1972)

* Teachings of Lord Caitanya


Though Srila Prabhupada has told us that the teachings of the previous acaryas should be studied, he has also stated that the only authorised source for such study is what he himself gave us via his ISKCON. Therefore, as Srila Prabhupada’s loyal disciples, we must be satisfied with what he has given us, and not disobey his instructions and access teachings outside of what he has given us, since, as the current acarya, he is the only authorised source for us to access spiritual knowledge.

3) Authorisation

A fundamental difference which arises due to the “Prabhupada- Only Paradigm” (“POP”) advocated by Srila Prabhupada and the IRM, relates to the issue of authorisation, in particular the authorisation of successor diksa gurus.

Srila Prabhupada must order

In regards to who can take up the position of diksa guru, the IRM’s position follows Srila Prabhupada’s standard directions regarding the need for a direct order from himself, before guruship is taken up:

“One should take initiation from a bona fide spiritual master coming in the disciplic succession, who is authorised by his predecessor spiritual master. This is called diksa-vidhana.”
(Srimad-Bhagavatam 4.8.54, purport, emphasis added)

“A Guru can be Guru when he is ordered by his Guru. That’s all. Otherwise nobody can become Guru.”
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, 28/10/1975)

Guru must order

In contrast, the system for becoming guru in ISKCON depends not on authorisation from Srila Prabhupada, but from the GBC. It is possible to become a guru if, and only if, the GBC gives authorisation via receiving the requisite votes:

“…any GBC can present a diksa guru candidate before the GBC body. […] and upon majority approval of the body, he may take up the responsibilities of an initiating guru in ISKCON.”
(GBC Resolution No. 3, 30/3/1986)

ISKCON gurus fully admit that they became gurus not due to any order from Srila Prabhupada, but due to other reasons accompanied by obtaining authorisation from the GBC. For example, HH Sivarama Swami admits he became a guru due to the prompting of a would-be girl disciple:

“At this time I also was asked to take up the role of initiating spiritual master. I didn’t consider that this would be very conducive to my personal spiritual life and I was satisfied for others to do that service and that I would stay in the role of sannyasi, a preacher, siksa guru, GBC, and probably it was at Gaurangi’s* repeated prompting that ultimately I began to think seriously of that service and took it up.”
(HH Sivarama Swami, Podcast, 4/10/ 2006)

*at the time a young female devotee, and now a disciple.

Yet there is no direction from Srila Prabhupada authorising the GBC to authorise diksa guru successors -something which is not disputed by the GBC:

“That Srila Prabhupada “personally detailed the procedure for increasing the number of initiating guru[s]” is something we can only wish. Or falsely tell the Society he did.”
(HH Jayadvaita Swami, analysis of the ‘May 28th, 1977 Conversation’, 13/12/2003, accepted by GBC)

So, in line with the POP and Srila Prabhupada’s instructions, the IRM’s position rests on Srila Prabhupada’s authority being required, while the GBC dispense with the need for this direct authorisation.

Hypocritical contradiction

As documented above, in practice the GBC insist that, rather than everyone, only those whom they authorise are eligible to act as diksa guru. However, in a desperate attempt to defeat the IRM’s position that Srila Prabhupada is ISKCON’s diksa guru, they officially argue a different position. In the GBC paper Prabhupada’s Order, they present Srila Prabhupada’s repeating Lord Caitanya’s order for everyone and anyone to “become guru”, given below, and claim that this is an order to become diksa guru:

“Because as spiritual master what you have to do? Yare dekha, tare kaha ‘krsna’-upadesa. Whomever you meet you simply speak to him the instruction which Krsna gives.”
(Srila Prabhupada, Vyasa-Puja Address, London, 22/8/1973)

This order was actually given by Lord Caitanya to the brahmana Kurma, and also to anyone** else He met on His travels. By claiming that this is an order for diksa gurus, the GBC are arguing that anyone who simply has the ability to read and repeat what Krishna has said, can become a diksa guru successor -an ability which requires no other qualification, and which even a child can exhibit:

“Therefore Caitanya Mahaprabhu ... Yare dekha tare kaha ‘krsna’upadesa: “You become guru. No qualification required. Simply you repeat what Krsna has said.” [...] So who cannot do it? Anyone can do it, even a child. (laughs) Our Syamasundara’s daughter. She was preaching, ‘Do you know Krsna?’"
(Srila Prabhupada Conversation, 25/1/1977)

And the GBC do believe that virtually everyone in ISKCON satisfies the requirement of “no qualification required, simply you repeat what Krishna has said”, since everyone in ISKCON is allowed to preach. Similarly, it is also argued that due to “tradition”, after the guru’s departure, every disciple is automatically able to initiate due to the “law of disciplic succession”. But, as documented in the last section, in practice they do not actually believe or follow this, since, rather than there being at least 10,000 diksa gurus as soon as Srila Prabhupada departed (all of Srila Prabhupada’s disciples, including gurukula children), today, we have only the select few whom they have authorised - which is only around 70, with no women or children! Rather, they have had to resort to inventing this argument only for use against the IRM, since they have no arguments by which to defeat us.

**Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila 7:128 -132


Again we can see how differences in conclusion are due to a fundamental difference in regards to what constitutes authority. By adhering to the POP, the IRM’s position remains in line with that of Srila Prabhupada, and therefore no diksa gurus other than himself can exist in ISKCON. Realising this, the GBC have had to abandon the POP, and invent their own standard for authority, which is themselves!

Additionally, we can note that, having defeated the GBC -

a) via Srila Prabhupada’s words – The Final Order, BTP Special Summary Issue and various other papers and publications

b) via their own words – BTP Special Issue 2 and the 100 Contradictions book

-we can add yet another category of defeat:

c) via their own actions – since they do not actually believe or apply the argument that everyone is ordered to “become guru”. Rather they believe only the select handful of men, whom they favour and vote in, can “become guru”.

So there are at least 3 different levels of defeat!

4) Innovation

Applying the POP, we now come to a natural conclusion regarding exactly how Srila Prabhupada’s teachings must guide our every action.

Order-based model

It is stated that:

“The order of the spiritual master is the active principle in spiritual life.”
(Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi -lila 12:10)

This means whatever action we can take, must first be expressly ordered by Srila Prabhupada; hence the statement that the order of the spiritual master is the “active” principle in spiritual life. Again, though this is straightforward and clear, much of ISKCON’s mission today is based on not understanding this simple principle. Rather, ISKCON’s mission is driven by what may be called the “Innovation-based model”, as explained below.

Innovation-based model

In BTP 30, the article “ISKCON’s New Mission”detailed how ISKCON today is engaging in activities not sanctioned by Srila Prabhupada. Much of this deviation is driven in part by the false understanding that any activity is fine as long as we are claiming to fulfil some overall, lofty, general goal such as “preaching” or “spreading Krishna consciousness” or “getting people to respect us” etc. It is underpinned with the rationale of “one can do anything for Krishna”, as long as one is “bringing people to Krishna”. But how we should preach, or how we should run a temple, or how we should induce people to become devotees - everything - Srila Prabhupada has already told us how to do and we do not need to do anything else:

“From now on unless I order you do something change or in addition, go on with the usual standard way. […] I have given you everything already, there is no need for you to add anything or change anything. […] So don’t ask any more new questions, whatever is going on, follow it just to the exact standard as I have given you, that’s all.”
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, 4/1/1973)

The hoped-for ends do not justify the means. The only justification is the order, not the perceived result. Srila Prabhupada condemned the tendency to “innovate”, stating that, even though devotees may be made, sticking to his orders is all that matters:

“So far the Road Show and this Yoga Village are concerned, these things should be stopped. Simply perform our kirtana. […] Such inventing spirit will ruin our this movement. People may come to see, some will become devotees, but such devotees will not stay because they are attracted by some show and not by the real thing or spiritual life according to the standard of Lord Caitanya. Our standard is to have kirtana, start temples. […] Gradually the Krishna Consciousness idea will evaporate: another change, another change, every day another change. Stop all this."
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, 5/11/1972)

We are not the acarya!

Sometimes quotes such as the following are used to justify the “innovation” model:

“An acarya who comes for the service of the Lord cannot be expected to conform to a stereotype, for he must find the ways and means by which Krsna consciousness may be spread.”
(Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi-lila, 7.31-32, purport)

But this is what an acarya does, not us. Rather, our “ways and means” are already given to us by the acarya! Thus, we are supposed to follow the acarya and what he has ordered - not innovate in the way an acarya may do so. And those who do innovate, instead of only following exactly what Srila Prabhupada has ordered, simply betray their own “acarya-consciousness”.

Content stays identical

Another argument used to falsely promote the “innovation” model is via using quotes such as below:

“We should tax our brains as to what is the best way to present Krsna consciousness to a particular people at a particular time and place.”
(Srila Prabhupada Letter 13/11/1970)

It is argued that quotes such as this empower us to do what we like. But the quote states we must still be presenting “Krishna consciousness”. And exactly what Krishna consciousness is, Srila Prabhupada has clearly defined. So the content of what we present cannot change one iota from that given to us by Srila Prabhupada. We have to still clearly refer to Krishna being the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and so on. We may simply use different ways to present exactly the same content in toto, without any addition or subtraction.

Therefore, every activity performed by ISKCON must be authorised via a corresponding order for that activity. Additionally, Srila Prabhupada may also give prohibitions to reinforce that certain activities should not be done. But simply the absence of a specific prohibition does not render an activity bona fide. Only a specific order authorising the activity does. Otherwise the verse quoted at the outset regarding the “active principle” of spiritual life, would have to change to:

“The ABSENCE of the order of the spiritual master (in this case, a specific prohibition) is the active principle in spiritual life.”

That would turn the actual active principle of spiritual life, the order of the spiritual master, on its head, which would be ludicrous!


The need to return to Srila Prabhupada’s “order-based model” becomes even more relevant due to the fact that ISKCON has today practically manufactured a new “mission” for itself. Indeed, the previous article, regarding the authorisation of successor diksa gurus, was simply one example showing the need to follow the “order-based model”. Additionally, ISKCON has branched out into the realms of mechanical yoga, philanthropy, mundane and secular education, commercialisation, Hinduisation, and the like; all justified on the basis of “preaching” or “PR”and soon,statingthat it is not expressly forbidden. Actually, many of the activities are expressly prohibited, but this still has not stopped anyone!

Summary of POP

In the preceding 4 pages, we presented a manifesto - the POP model -by which much of the deviation currently going on in Srila Prabhupada’s name can be relieved. In a nutshell, it can all be summarised by the following statement:

Every single activity in ISKCON should be based on a specific, directly recorded order from Srila Prabhupada authorising it. All other activities should be stopped.

In this way, only bona fide activities can be accepted, and hence we can “clean house” and root out all deviations.

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