The Blind Leading the Blind


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 35, Spring 2012

This year's GBC resolutions state:

"That the Governing Body Commission recommends that all prospective disciples and aspiring initiates attend the ISKCON Disciple Course prior to their initiation, preferably before choosing an initiating spiritual master."
(GBC resolution 305, 2012)

Such a course for prospective disciples has been run every year by ISKCON UK from its HQ at Bhaktivedanta Manor. It is presented partly by GBC-elected guru His Grace Kripamoya Das, and excerpts from it are presented in the shaded boxes below.

Srila Prabhupada is the guru - 1

"The spiritual master is the via media. You do not have direct access to Krishna. That's what Rupa Goswami is saying in the 64 items (Nectar of Devotion). You need someone that will introduce you to Krishna and that's the spiritual master."

This correctly states that the spiritual master is the person who takes you to Krishna. And ISKCON guru HH Bhakti Charu Swami states that this person is Srila Prabhupada, and not the ISKCON guru:

"I cannot lead you to Krsna. […] Srila Prabhupada will take you to Krsna […] Srila Prabhupada, as the pre-eminent acarya, takes you to Krsna and engages you in His service."
(HH Bhakti Charu Swami, Istagosthi, 28/3/2006, 10/6/2007, 7/4/2006)

Indeed, course presenter Kripamoya Das himself states the same:

"And certainly we are all depending on Srila Prabhupada to intercede with Krishna so that we can attain His shelter."
(Kripamoya Das, The Vaishnava Voice, 6/5/2007)

Thus, Srila Prabhupada, and not the GBC-elected ISKCON guru, should be accepted as one's spiritual master.

Srila Prabhupada is the guru - 2

"He is a self-realised person […] 'The qualification of a bona fide guru is that he has realised the conclusions of the scriptures by deliberation and is able to convince others of these conclusions.' […] So here in the Bhagavatam it's saying that he must be able to convince others about this argument, and Prabhupada you saw throughout."

This correctly states that the spiritual master is an uttama-adhikari, for a madhyama-adhikari is one "whose conclusive knowledge of the sastras is not very strong" (Nectar of Instruction, Text 5, purport), and ISKCON UK presents Srila Prabhupada as an uttama-adhikari. Whereas we know from ISKCON guru and Sannyasa Minister, HH Prahladananda Swami, that no ISKCON guru satisfies this qualification:

"Such an uttama-adhikari Vaisnava is in perfect touch with the Supersoul and at every moment knows the Supreme Lord's desires."
('Duties of GBC and Guru in ISKCON', Prahladananda Swami, 2006)

"If the GBC Body sees someone as a self-effulgent acarya who is completely aware of the Supersoul and Srila Prabhupada's desires and instructions they can and should follow his/ her instructions. No one so far has been seen in that category."
(Prahladananda Swami, Wed, 30 Aug 2006 14:32 +0300)

Srila Prabhupada is the guru - 3

"Srila Prabhupada has a very special position. He is the pre-eminent siksa guru for all time within ISKCON. […] Normally the siksa guru becomes the diksa guru, that's what Prabhupada says."

So we are given yet another reason why Srila Prabhupada should be chosen as the diksa guru over a GBC-elected ISKCON guru.

Initiation not traditional

"the Vaisnava tradition increased over the years, through its history the process of initiation changed […] Bhaktivinoda Thakur [...] changed many, many things. And Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura […] He's the first person in line in fact who gave initiation to those that were unbrahminical families [...] Bhaktisiddhanta had two disciples in Germany - first ever Western disciples - and one lady […] and he never met this lady, nor did he meet the German disciples, never met them, but he initiated them through post and they accepted him. So he started something quite phenomenal."

We are told that the initiation system used historically was continually changing, unprecedented, and did not even require physical interaction between the guru and disciple. Given this, one cannot use tradition as a valid reason for rejecting the ritvik initiation system - and therefore Srila Prabhupada as the diksa guru.

"Living" guru not required

"the spiritual master may only meet you once a year perhaps.[…] But you're not communicating with him on a daily basis. So how will you advance in your spiritual life? So siksa is a very important principle in spiritual life, with the guide and mentor that you have is regularly in touch with you, helping you on a daily basis. [...] But in terms of direct, personal instruction - you know, I'll be lucky if I get a minute. I'll be lucky if I get a smile."

We are told that the ISKCON guru will hardly ever interact with his disciple, nor will he provide the personal guidance required for the disciple to advance spiritually. Given this, one cannot use the need for the guru to be physically present as a valid reason for rejecting Srila Prabhupada as the diksa guru.

Srila Prabhupada a valid choice

"There is no list of ISKCON gurus that you have to select a person from. […] So, it's not exactly top-down, that you have to get initiated by a person who's somewhere on a list. [...] you want to be initiated, 'but I don't want to be in ISKCON. I want it to be a guru outside ISKCON'. Obviously we recommend that it should be a guru in ISKCON, but you have your choices, you have your choices and that's fine."

It is claimed that there is no "list" of ISKCON GBC authorised gurus from which one must select a diksa guru, and that one can even select a person outside ISKCON, and whatever choice one makes is "fine". Given this blanket declaration, ISKCON should not object if a person decides to choose Srila Prabhupada as diksa guru, rather than a GBC-elected ISKCON guru.

So, having offered reasons for why Srila Prabhupada should be selected as one's guru, the course also offers several reasons for why there is no problem with such a choice, as it destroys all the main arguments that are commonly put forward in ISKCON as to why one cannot accept Srila Prabhupada as one's diksa guru. Yet, in line with its very purpose, most of the course deals with preparing ISKCON recruits to take initiation from one of the 80-odd GBC-elected ISKCON gurus. Thus, it directs the participants to take initiation from substitutes for Srila Prabhupada, while presenting reasons for why this is not actually necessary! In order to justify this contradictory advice, the course presents the usual gibberish which we regularly document coming from our supposedly spiritually realised ISKCON leaders, and this is presented overleaf.

'Srila Prabhupada is the cause of all deviations'

"but when you really get into it, you really, really get into it, when you analyse everything that Prabhupada said… and this is the difficulty, that Prabhupada said so many things that whatever you want to believe there's a quote from Srila Prabhupada to back you up."

This statement by Kripamoya Das blames Srila Prabhupada for being the cause of whatever deviant nonsense anyone wishes to believe, since he claims that "whatever you want to believe" is facilitated by Srila Prabhupada's teachings. As well as attacking Srila Prabhupada, the statement is manifestly untrue, since we have documented so many nonsense statements made by ISKCON leaders which are not supported at all by
Srila Prabhupada. Indeed, this is the very reason for why they are forced to go outside Srila Prabhupada's teachings to prop up their false theories.

Siksa parampara

"Our parampara is actually a siksa parampara"

And here is a case in point proving the point just made - for there is no quote from Srila Prabhupada where he states that "our parampara is a siksa parampara", as Kripamoya Das claims, despite his ridiculous belief that one can get a quote from Srila Prabhupada to state "whatever you want to believe".

No idea what is diksa

"diksha is really just a subservient function. It only happens once. It only happens on one day"

But diksa is not a one-time event, but actually a lifelong process:

"Diksa is the process by which one can awaken his transcendental knowledge and vanquish all reactions caused by sinful activity. A person expert in the study of the revealed scriptures knows this process as diksa."
(Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila, 15.108)

This reveals a gross ignorance of even basic Vaisnava philosophy, with a course specifically on diksa having no idea what diksa is - confusing the initiation ceremony with the process of diksa!

Bogus Vaisnava history

"Madhvacarya who comes in our line of course, […] he gave initiation in a large area. As we moved on into history, the next great Vaisnava acarya who came in line - Ramanuja."

Ramanujacarya did not come after Madhavacarya, but hundreds of years before:

"they are coming from very old time. […] Similarly, Ramanujacarya about eleven hundred years; Madhvacarya about seven hundred years."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, 14/4/72)

So the ignorance of fundamental Vaisnava philosophy just seen, is compounded with ignorance of even basic vaisnava history.

Guru is relative

"So when you accept someone as a spiritual master, for you he's a pure devotee. He may not be for the rest of us in the room."

This relativisation of the spiritual master, whereby he is only considered a pure devotee for some persons, is condemned, for he has to be considered a pure devotee by everyone, if he is a bona fide spiritual master:

"That person is a resident of hell who considers the Deity worshiped in the temple to be stone or wood, who considers the spiritual master an ordinary man, and who thinks that the body of a Vaisnava fully dedicated to the service of the Lord belongs to the material modes of nature."
(Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Antya-lila, 4:191)

And if he is not a pure devotee, then he should not be considered so:

"The Lord herein confirms that if one is overestimated, glorification is just another form of blasphemy. In this way He protests this so-called offensive statement."
(Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila,10.182)

Hence, this relativisation of the spiritual master will mean that some party will be engaging in a serious offence, depending on whether the person in question is actually pure or not.

Increasing non-existent list!

"So there is no rubber-stamped, certified persons who are ISKCON gurus. […] There is no list actually. And these days the list is increasing and increasing and increasing, as the concept of diksa guru changes slightly to fit in with really what it's always been in Vedic culture."

a) This statement by Kripamoya Das claims that there are no persons who are authorised ISKCON gurus. Yet, Kripamoya Das himself is one of a limited number of certified ISKCON gurus:

"HG Kripamoya prabhu is authorized to give diksa initiation in ISKCON."
(Prahladananda Swami, 5/4/2011)

b) Kripamoya Das also contradictorily claims that there is no list of ISKCON gurus, but that it is also increasing. How can something which does not exist, be increasing!?

Guru is not a post

"So within ISKCON right now there are probably 80 gurus, and it's not a post."

Srila Prabhupada states the position of guru is a post:

"guru is not a, so cheap post that everyone can become guru."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, 19/12/1970)

Gopi imagination

"Now it is pure imagination that each and every one of us, when we go back to the spiritual world will be gopis."

This statement by Kripamoya Das cautions us that it is "imagination" to think that one may be a gopi even in the spiritual world. Yet, ISKCON promotes the fictional novel Suddha-bhakti Cintamani, which required ISKCON guru HH Sivarama Swami to imagine being a gopi even while he was still present in the material world!


This "Guru-disciple" course is delivered by those proclaiming themselves to be experts on guru-tattva for those who are ignorant on the subject.

a) Yet, it directs participants to prepare for initiation from a GBC-elected guru hoaxer as a substitute for Srila Prabhupada, even though its own reasoning shows this is a false course of action.

b) In attempting to reconcile this contradictory stance, it displays shocking ignorance of the very basics of guru-tattva.

Srila Prabhupada describes such a scenario as the blind leading the blind:

"suffering persons sometimes pose themselves as leaders of the people, and the unfortunate followers are put into further disadvantages under such so-called leadership. This is like a blind man's leading another blind man to fall into a ditch."
(Srimad Bhagavatam, 3.9.8, purport)

The course also graphically illustrates two points which we have been demonstrating consistently in our publications:

1) That the evidence for Srila Prabhupada being ISKCON's diksa guru is so overwhelming, that even a course designed specifically to teach the opposite, cannot help but present this evidence!

2) Other than when it is presenting the IRM's arguments and conclusions, ISKCON's leadership talks nonsensical gibberish.

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