ISKCON’s Parallel World:
May 28th Conversation


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 35, Spring 2012

There is a true story of a Japanese soldier, Hiroo Onoda, who refused to surrender for 29 years after the end of World War II, remaining in the jungles of the Philippines, because he refused to accept that the war had actually ended! He was thus living in his own parallel world of false reality in which World War II was still continuing, side by side with the real world in which the war had ended. When facts have been established and accepted by all sides without dispute, this is the reality, and those who accept these facts live in the real world. However, if one either pretends these facts do not exist or chooses to remain oblivious to them, then one has created an illusory parallel world for oneself. Thus, side by side, these two worlds co-exist, one based on knowledge and facts and the other on illusion and ignorance. On the next 2 pages we present examples of such parallel worlds occurring in ISKCON.

Below are statements from Caitanya Carana Das from an article called: "Is the Ritvika claim true?", * excerpts from which are presented in the shaded box below. Caitanya Carana Das is a member of ISKCON's sastric advisory council, the GBC's official "brain", and an Associate Editor of Back To Godhead, ISKCON's official magazine.

* A full point for point refutation of this article can be read here.

The false Tamala

"In this conversation are indelibly included the words 'granddisciple', 'regular gurus' and 'disciple of my disciple', which all strongly show that he is continuing the regular way of initiation. […] he wanted his disciples to continue the parampara by becoming regular gurus, giving initiations and accepting disciples. Srila Prabhupada reconfirmed these instructions on 28 May, 1977 […] 'The authority in this case, according to Speech Act Theory, would be Tamala Krishna Goswami [to whom Prabhupada was speaking]. Srila Prabhupada meant what those in the room say he meant. Period. This is, by the way, Philosophy, not Grammar'. And Tamal Krishna Maharaja as well as all the other devotees present in the room unanimously state that they understood Srila Prabhupada to be continuing the standard guru parampara system."

Caitanya Carana Das here claims that in the May 28, 1977 conversation Srila Prabhupada is speaking of his disciples becoming successor diksa gurus. And his claimed evidence for why his explanation of the conversation above is correct is that HH Tamala Krishna Goswami and others involved in the conversation say so. So Caitanya Carana Das has constructed a version of reality supposedly based on whatever Tamala Krishna Goswami and others say it is. For the purposes of illustrating ISKCON's parallel world we do not need to even discuss whether what Tamala Krishna Goswami and others claim is actually the truth. We only need to demonstrate that even this constructed version of reality does not match its own construction!

The real Tamala

Contrary to Caitanya Carana Das' imagination, here is Tamala Krishna Goswami's detailed explanation of his understanding of the May 28th conversation:

"What actually happened was that Prabhupada mentioned that he might be appointing some ritviks, so the GBC met for various reasons and they went to Prabhupada - five or six of us. We asked him, "Srila Prabhupada, after your departure, if we accept disciples, whose disciples will they be, your disciples or mine?" Later on there was a piled-up list for people to get initiated, and it was jammed-up. I said, "Srila Prabhupada, you once mentioned about ritviks. […] So Prabhupada said, "All right, I will appoint so many..." and he started to name them and he did name them. He made it very clear that they're his disciples. At that point it was very clear in my mind that they were his disciples. […] And that's all that it was, and it was never any more than that. If it had been more than that, you can bet your bottom dollar that Prabhupada would have spoken for days and hours and weeks on end about how to set up this thing with the gurus, […] Obviously, Srila Prabhupada felt that of all the people, these people are particularly qualified. So it stands to reason that after Prabhupada's departure, they would go on, if they so desired, to initiate."
(HH Tamala Krishna Goswami, 3/12/80, quoted in ISKCON Journal (1990), GBC Executive Committee)

The underlined parts, reproduced from a transcript published by the GBC Executive Committee, highlight the key chain of events in which Tamala Krishna Goswami links the ritvik appointment spoken about in the May 28th conversation as being an appointment which was only for initiating on Srila Prabhupada's behalf, with these appointees having no order from Srila Prabhupada to take on the status of gurus who would initiate their own disciples.
Rather, if at all they were to become gurus, it would only be by virtue of their own desire to become gurus and due to being qualified for that position. Thus according to Tamala Krishna Goswami, Srila Prabhupada using the terms "grand-disciple", "regular guru" and "disciple of my disciple" does not constitute any order for the ritviks to change their status to becoming diksa gurus.

The real Satsvarupa

We noted that in addition to Tamala Krishna Goswami, Caitanya Carana Das also invoked his faith in whatever is claimed by the "other devotees" who were involved in this conversation. The only other person who speaks to Srila Prabhupada in this conversation is Satsvarupa Das. And his understanding also matches that of the "real" Tamala:

"Prabhupada had picked out eleven devotees to initiate on his behalf when he was too ill to initiate. In 1978 in a GBC meeting, they decided that those people should become the first initiating gurus in ISKCON. So I became initiating guru and suddenly had to accept disciples in big numbers"
(Satsvarupa's "Vyasa-Puja" address, 3/12/2011)

Satsvarupa Das here makes it clear that the ritviks turned into gurus, not because of any "disciple of my disciple" order from Srila Prabhupada in the May 28th conversation, but only because the "GBC decided" this should be the case.


We have previously pointed out how those who seek to defend the guru hoax have no option but to take shelter of the words "grand-disciple", "regular guru" and "disciple of my disciple" in the May 28, 1977 conversation, as being evidence that Srila Prabhupada authorised guru successors. Otherwise, they are left with no order from Srila Prabhupada authorising his succession as ISKCON's diksa guru. Yet, the 2 people whom we are told are the supreme authorities for what this conversation must mean, themselves accept that these words do not constitute any authority for the ritviks to have turned into diksa gurus. Thus, these guru hoax supporters have created a parallel world inhabited by their own false Tamala Krishna Goswami and false Satsvarupa Das. And they remain trapped in their own fantasy world because they refuse to step into the real world of documented facts which BTP and the IRM are presenting.

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