Using Maya to Justify Self-worship - 1


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 38, Winter 2012/13

In this issue’s Editorial, it was explained how the “label hoax” used to perpetrate the guru hoax actually constitutes the very definition of maya (illusion). In this article, we shockingly reveal how the whole system of ISKCON’s guru worship is also admitted as being nothing other than maya. All emphases below have been added.

The saksad-hari system

The bona fide system for the worship of the diksa guru is stated in the Gurvastakam prayers which are sung every morning in every ISKCON temple during mangala-arati:

“The spiritual master is to be honored as much as the supreme lord (‘saksad-hari’) because he is the most confidential servitor of the Lord.”
(Gurvastakam Prayers, translation, verse 7)

However, the scriptures also state that such worship is to be restricted only to a guru who has reached the topmost platform of devotional service:

“In the Padma Purana, the characteristics of the guru, the bona fide spiritual master, have been described: […]
The guru must be situated on the topmost platform of devotional service. There are three classes of devotees, and the guru must be accepted from the topmost class. […] When one has attained the topmost position of maha-bhagavata, he is to be accepted as a guru and worshiped exactly like Hari, the Personality of Godhead. Only such a person is eligible to occupy the post of a guru.”

(Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila, 24.330)

Indeed, the same Gurvastakam prayers describe the position of the guru who is to be worshipped as “saksad-hari”, as one who is “relishing the mellows of pure devotion within his mind” (verse 2) and who is “expert in assisting the gopis” (verse 6).

Thus, it is very clear that only a person who is factually on the platform of “saksad-hari”, or the most advanced level of devotional service, is to be worshipped as saksad-hari.

The maya system

In contrast, it is openly admitted that in ISKCON the “saksad-hari” system of worshipping their guru is based upon simply “pretending” that their guru is “saksad-hari” when, in reality, he is not — as revealed here by ISKCON guru and GBC, HH Sivarama Swami:

“Yes, I can give myself to this person at whatever level of advancement he is in Krsna consciousness, and I can see him as saksad-hari, as the representative of Krsna. He may not be saksad-hari in the sense that he’s on the same transcendental platform as Lord Krsna, but if he strictly follows his eternally liberated guru Srila Prabhupada, or if he follows the example of our eternally liberated founder-acarya through his parampara, which I’ve seen him doing, then I feel that I can fully surrender myself and can give myself to him.”
(Sivarama Swami, Podcast, 18/10/2012)

As we saw in the Editorial, accepting “that which is not”, in this case a non-saksad-hari person as “saksad-hari”, is the very definition of maya, or illusion:

“The material atmosphere, in which we are now living, is called maya, or illusion. maya means ‘that which is not’”.
(The Science of Self-Realization, Chapter 5)

Thus, it is admitted that the whole system of worship of ISKCON gurus is based entirely on maya! Ironically, in a perverted way, it may seem apt that the system of worship of ISKCON gurus is based on “pretending” they are something which they are not, when, as noted in the Editorial, the position of the gurus is itself based on pretending that they are diksa gurus when they are actually only functioning as rtvik (proxy) initiators.

Everyone is saksad-hari

Another ISKCON guru, HH Bhakti Vikasa Swami, goes further and openly admits that the system of ISKCON guru worship is not only based on maya, but also actually offered by maya itself:

“Now that by default I am a little big shot in ISKCON, maya is offering me enhanced opportunities for self-infatuation, in the form of certain disciples and others seeming to regard me as something that I am not.”
(Bhakti Vikasa Swami, Srila Prabhupada Tributes, 2012)

So again, we have the definition of maya, whereby Bhakti Vikasa Swami admits that his disciples regard him “as something that I am not”. Bhakti Vikasa Swami fully admits that he is not qualified to be worshipped as “saksad-hari” due to not being on the level of saksad-hari. Rather, he claims that his only qualification is that he has reached the same level as virtually anyone else in ISKCON — be he a Life Member, bhakta, neophyte, congregational member, etc. — which is to simply be able to tell others to follow Srila Prabhupada:

“My Vyasa-puja [...] So you may think, well, what is my qualification to accept the honour and affection that you are offering to me [...] Well, that is my qualification, that if I can glorify Prabhupada then that’s the qualification ... actually, the ... I’m not qualified, intrinsically, but qualified because I can point, ‘here is Prabhupada, and follow his instructions, and ask you to have faith in what Srila Prabhupada has given.’”
(Bhakti Vikasa Swami, “Vyasa-puja” Lecture, 5/1/2008)


To illustrate this point, can everyone who is reading this article please stop momentarily, find the nearest person to you, and say to them: “Please follow Srila Prabhupada and have faith in what he has given.” Finished? So, BTP has just instantly created tens of thousands of persons, who according to ISKCON’s system, are now qualified to be worshipped as “saksad-hari” or “as good as God”! (However, please do not take disciples and start accepting such worship!)

So, Bhakti Vikasa Swami admits that he is worshipped as good as God only because he states what everyone else in ISKCON should also be stating — “follow Srila Prabhupada”. However, to claim that this stating of the obvious warrants such worship is simply pretending to be something one is not, or in other words, maya.


We had stated in the Editorial, that when one is happy to base one thing on maya, the “label hoax”, then this is merely a symptom which reveals that one is actually in maya, and therefore will act in this way in many other areas too. And here is a perfect example of this tendency, whereby it is openly accepted that the whole system for how ISKCON gurus are viewed and worshipped must itself be based on maya – or “that which is not”.

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