Using Philosophy as a Bogus Cover - 2


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 37, Autumn 2012

We now move on to another case study of how philosophy is blatantly misused to cover up one's desire to usurp Srila Prabhupada's position. The quotations in the shaded boxes below are from an arrival address given by ISKCON guru and GBC, HH Bhakti Charu Swami, on the occasion of his foot bathing and "guru-puja" ceremony at a disciple's home on 10/9/2012, in Durban, South Africa.

Diksa guru essential

"At a time like this, one naturally wonders who is being worshipped. The disciples naturally worship the spiritual master because it is their duty. It is a part of vaidhi bhakti. "adau guru-puja". The approach to the spiritual domain is through the spiritual master. […] The spiritual knowledge is flowing through the spiritual master - that is why - adau guru-puja - adau guruvasraya. [...] Then when one gets involved in spiritual activities there is the consideration of guru-puja. […] That means the spiritual master is the via medium, otherwise there is no access to the spiritual reality. It is through the spiritual master that one must approach the spiritual reality."

The above statements are made by Bhakti Charu Swami to justify the worship he has just received as the supposed diksa guru of his disciples. He therefore emphasises the absolute essentiality of his position as their diksa guru. He states that without himself, the diksa guru, one cannot get access to either the spiritual reality or the spiritual domain, and that spiritual knowledge flows through him. And, therefore, he must be worshipped!

Diksa guru not essential

"The main consideration for spiritual advancement is siksa […] That is how we have to see Srila Prabhupada. He is the guru of all the devotees of ISKCON for all times. […] The siksa guru can be many [...] So here is the problem with the rtviks. […] who is more important - diksa or siksa guru? siksa. diksa guru is also the siksa guru. But more important is the siksa guru."

Here, later on in the same address, Bhakti Charu Swami moves on to dealing with those who advocate that Srila Prabhupada, and not himself, is the diksa guru - people whom Bhakti Charu Swami calls the "rtviks". Thus, Bhakti Charu Swami now needs to deflect attention away from his having occupied Srila Prabhupada's position as diksa guru. He does this by now claiming that the siksa guru, the position he has restricted Srila Prabhupada to, is much more important than his own diksa guru position, with the "main consideration for spiritual advancement" being siksa. He therefore reverses what he had just stated on the essentiality of the position of the diksa guru.

Learning requires physical presence

"Yes, we need a guru - because he is a teacher - a living teacher is necessary because when we are studying a subject there has to be somebody who will explain it to us, and when we have questions we can ask him, and he can chastise us. If he sees that we are deviating he has the "stick" to bring us back in line. Like the example of Jesus and the shepherd. The sheep may go astray but the shepherd is there to bring the sheep back in line. So we need a guru who is present, in that sense both a diksa and siksa guru. The siksa guru can be many, and siksa guru may not be present, but the siksa remains - that person's teaching remains although he may have left the planet, but the diksa guru has to be present on the planet. So here is the problem with the rtviks."

Since Bhakti Charu Swami is speaking here about the "rtviks", he needs to justify his existence as the diksa guru. He therefore insists that spiritual learning actually requires a physically present "living" teacher in the form of the diksa guru, i.e. himself!

Physical presence not required for learning

"The main consideration for spiritual advancement is siksa - education, study, learning, practicing the process - both aspects are there - theoretical study and practical application. […] That is how we have to see Srila Prabhupada. He is the guru of all the devotees of ISKCON for all times. […] The siksa guru can be many, and siksa guru may not be present".

Here, Bhakti Charu Swami is again trying to deflect attention away from his position as diksa guru. Thus, Bhakti Charu Swami makes it clear that the main spiritual learning comes from siksa, and, having restricted Srila Prabhupada to only being a siksa guru, Bhakti Charu Swami states that the siksa guru does not even need to be physically present to impart this learning. He therefore states the opposite of the "living guru" philosophy we just quoted him stating!

He who is not there, must be there!

The following statement from Bhakti Charu Swami further contradicts his "living guru" philosophy:

"I feel very guilty that I am supposed to help you in your spiritual development, but what am I doing? I rarely come here, and am hardly in contact with you".

So, having claimed that the diksa guru has to be physically present in order to impart learning, Bhakti Charu Swami admits that actually he is hardly ever physically present in the lives of his disciples in order to impart learning! Thus, he is arguing that even though he is not there, he must be there!


So, in the same short arrival address, Bhakti Charu Swami puts forward multiple contradictory ideas depending on his need to justify occupying Srila Prabhupada's position - see summary diagram above.

In the 2 preceding pages we have presented examples of how the philosophy put forward is simultaneously not accepted by those putting it forward, depending on the outcome they seek to achieve. Thus, rather than simply being misunderstood, philosophy is actually being misused as a cheating device in the service of realising one's own desires.

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