Process of Purification v. Result of Purification


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 39, Spring 2013

The preceding article documented that one is able to take up Lord Caitanya's order to "become guru" without needing any qualification other than the ability to repeat three basic truths – Krsna is God, you are His servant and chant Hare Krsna. Indeed, this order to "become guru" is actually nothing more than an order to take up the very basics of Krsna consciousness; chanting Hare Krsna and preaching:

"One has to become purified at home by chanting the Hare Krsna maha-mantra and preaching the principles enunciated by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Thus one can become a spiritual master and be freed from the contamination of material life."
(Cc, Madhya-lila, 7:130, purport)

Thus, it is no surprise that Lord Caitanya orders everyone to "become guru", since everyone is supposed to chant Hare Krsna and take up Krsna consciousness! This act of "becoming guru" is, therefore, actually a process of purification – "one has to become purified at home" – which will lead to one becoming "freed from the contamination of material life." Hence, it can not be an order to act as if one is already purified and thus be worshipped "as good as God" (saksad-hari), or as a diksa guru. Being a process of purification, the "become guru" order is followed to progress in Krsna consciousness and achieve the liberated stage of chanting offenselessly:

"In the next verse Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu advises everyone to become an ideal householder by offenselessly chanting the Hare Krsna mantra".
(Cc, Madhya-lila, 7:127)

A GBC statement issued on 9/3/2013 confuses the non-liberated status of a person undergoing the process of purification with the liberated results of that purification. Thus, it falsely claims that the 2 quotes analysed below state that diksa gurus can be "strictly following" but "not yet be liberated", in a vain hope to justify their non-liberated diksa guru program.

Liberated soul's direction

"Consequently we have to take direction from liberated persons. (1) This Krsna consciousness movement directly receives instructions from the Supreme Personality of Godhead via persons who are strictly following His instructions. (2) Although a follower may not be a liberated person, if he follows the supreme, liberated Personality of Godhead, his actions are naturally liberated (3) from the contamination of the material nature. Lord Caitanya therefore says: "By My order you may become a spiritual master." One can immediately become a spiritual master by having full faith in the transcendental words of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and by following His instructions (4). Materialistic men are not interested in taking directions from a liberated person [...] Because the entire world is now following the imperfect directions of conditioned souls, humanity is completely bewildered (5)."
(Srimad Bhagavatam, 4:18:5)

In the quote above, for reference we have numbered and underlined the key sections. Both the beginning and end of the quote, statements (1) and (5), state that the whole purpose of the quote is to emphasise that direction must only be received from liberated, rather than conditioned souls. Consequently, the persons whom statement (2) states ISKCON is receiving directions from, must be liberated, in order for statement (2) to be consistent with the very statement that just preceded it, statement (1). These liberated persons are said to be "strictly following" the instructions of Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore, "strictly following" must be a characteristic of those who are liberated. Statement (3) then gives the process of purification that leads a non-liberated person to transition to becoming liberated. Thus, by following Krsna, a non-liberated person's actions will become liberated from the "contamination of material nature". And from statement (2), we already know that when this following becomes "strict", then all the actions will be liberated, since such a person is liberated. Statement (4) follows on from (3), by giving such a process of purification – following Lord Caitanya's order to "become guru", which, as we saw in the last section, allows a person to also be freed from the "contamination of material life".

Hence, this quote emphasises the importance of only taking direction from those who are liberated (statements 1, 2 and 5), and gives the process by which non-liberated persons can become purified to become liberated (statements 3 and 4).

Sadhana-siddha gurus

"On the whole, you may know that he is not a liberated person, and therefore, he cannot initiate any person to Krishna Consciousness (1). [...] Generally the spiritual master comes from the group of such eternal associates (2) of the Lord; but anyone who follows the principles of such ever liberated persons is as good as one in the above mentioned group (3). [...] A person who is liberated acharya and guru cannot commit any mistake, but there are persons who are less qualified or not liberated (4), but still can act as guru and acharya by strictly following the disciplic succession (5)."
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, 26/4/1968)

In this quote, again the key sections have been underlined and numbered for reference. The first statement (1), makes it clear that a diksa guru must be a liberated soul. Statement (2) refers to a nitya-siddha ("there are many devotees who are eternal servants of the Lord. They are specifically known as nitya-siddha, eternally perfect"Cc, Madhya-lila, 5:113). Statements (4) and (5) speak of a person who is not yet liberated, but can become liberated by "strictly following" – called a sadhana-siddha ("sadhana-siddha, perfection attained by executing devotional service according to the rules and regulations"Cc, Adi-lila, 8:5). Thus, statements (4) and (5) repeat what is stated in (3), that those who follow the liberated souls (sadhana-siddha) can become as good as those who are already liberated (nitya-siddha).

Thus, this quote repeats one of the conclusions seen in the previous quote: that a non-liberated person transitions to becoming liberated by "strictly following". Hence, with the first statement (1) of the quote having established that a diksa guru must be liberated, the rest of the quote can not possibly be stating the completely contradictory non-liberated diksa guru conclusion. Rather, it merely states that diksa gurus will be liberated, whether they are nitya-siddha or sadhana-siddha.


In contradiction to the GBC's claims, neither of these two quotes promotes the idea that a diksa guru who is "following strictly" is non-liberated. Rather, both quotes explicitly emphasise the opposite – the need to only follow, take direction from, and be initiated by a liberated person. Though non-liberated diksa gurus are not sanctioned by Srila Prabhupada, as we have documented repeatedly elsewhere, Srila Prabhupada did not authorise any successor diksa gurus, even if liberated.

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