Srila Prabhupada's Orders v. Dreams


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 39, Spring 2013

As we saw on the previous page, the lack of authorisation for diksa guru successors cannot be circumvented by claiming no authorisation at all is required. Hence, another "fix" is proposed.

Receiving orders through dreams

Acknowledging both that authorisation from Srila Prabhupada for diksa guru succession is required, and that no such authorisation exists, it has been proposed that Srila Prabhupada may directly appear to a guru aspirant in a dream and "order" him to become his guru successor. And again, historical precedence is claimed to support this theory, in that there have been instances in scripture of the acaryas receiving instructions through dreams.

There is a great irony in this proposal. Srila Prabhupada's physical absence is normally used as the very reason for why guru succession needs to occur in the first place, due to the guru needing to be "living" so that pariksa (mutual examination between guru and disciple), and pariprasna (inquiry from the disciple), can take place. But, amazingly, when Srila Prabhupada is required to give guru succession orders, his physical absence magically becomes no impediment at all! Clearly, if Srila Prabhupada is deemed able to communicate personal orders in his physical absence, there is also no bar to him performing all the functions of diksa — thus eliminating the reason put forward for why we need a successor diksa guru!

Authorisation requires authorised method!

However, we face the same fundamental flaws with this "orders by dreams" system as in the proposal in the previous article:

1) We must follow the orders of the acarya — POP — and they may or may not be exactly the same as those issued historically. Thus, the fact that an acarya may have used a certain "dream system" in the past, does not mean that the current acarya will do so. We would need to examine his orders to see if he actually authorised such a system.

2) Srila Prabhupada has not ordered that "dreams" will be an authorised medium via which he will issue orders in the future.

In theory, Srila Prabhupada could have established any number of systems for giving orders. He could give these orders through dreams; through "channelling" them via certain devotees; or through appearing in visions, and so on. There is no limit imposed on Srila Prabhupada for ordering such systems. But he never ordered that he would be guiding ISKCON through any of these methods. Rather, the only method Srila Prabhupada has authorised for issuing orders to ISKCON, is his recorded instructions (books, letters, etc), which is the basis of POP, and they do not sanction any other method outside his own recorded instructions for receiving orders.

Just as a guru successor needs to be authorised, how he is authorised also needs to be authorised, otherwise it defeats the whole purpose of a guru successor needing to be authorised, if this authorisation can come via a method which itself has not been authorised! Just as we need an order to come from Srila Prabhupada, we also need an order from Srila Prabhupada that he will be issuing these orders in the future via dreams, or whichever method one claims is an authorised channel. Otherwise, if authorisation can come via a channel which is itself not authorised, then any channel could be deemed potent for transmitting the orders of Srila Prabhupada, whether it is the "votes of the GBC", the "wisdom of the Gaudiya Matha sadhus", "what Krsna told me in my heart", and so on. Which would effectively obviate the need for authorisation from Srila Prabhupada completely, since, in this scenario, any and every channel could be considered automatically authorised for receiving Srila Prabhupada's orders.

Not authorised

The absence of an order from Srila Prabhupada directing that "dreams" will be a method through which he will issue instructions in the future is itself enough to establish that this is not a method authorised by Srila Prabhupada. Additionally, we can also note that he actually condemned such a method as the means for his disciples to receive orders:

"So far dreaming is concerned, we regard dreaming condition as another form of illusion or maya, only more subtle, that's all. But just like we may be serving Krsna in our waking state and thinking about Him then, so also it is possible to dream about Krsna and the Spiritual Master and so many things. But generally we should not take such dreaming very seriously, these are not very important matters. But if we occasionally dream of Krsna, that is nice, that means you are making advancement in Krsna Consciousness. But do not take such things very seriously, important business is to become conscious of Krsna all the time by absorbing the mind, body, and words in pleasing Krsna, [...] In this way, you will become too much busy serving Krsna and there will be not time for feeling emotions or dreaming, that is advanced stage of spiritual perfection."
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, 9/1977, emphases added)

"Not that one acarya will say, "I have seen" — so-called acarya, not real acarya — "I have seen in dream." The other day the letter came? He has seen, realized in dream, nitai-gaura radhe-syama. This is not the process. Process is the sastra, authority. That is ... We have to ... Not that jugglery: "I have seen in dream. I have to become guru." No."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, 30/11/1976)


Both these proposals — no order required and "order through dreams" — arise because it is argued that it is not possible for Srila Prabhupada to have personally authorised all possible gurus before his departure. Thus, either such sanction is not required, or it must be done via dreams. But, Srila Prabhupada could easily have allowed for such a situation by listing any number of systems or methods to enable him to provide such future sanction, if he so desired. He could have said that no authorisation is required and anyone who decides himself to become a diksa guru successor can do so. Or that he authorises the GBC to certify such guru successors. Or that he will order through dreams. And so on. But he never did any of this. Which means he did not sanction any guru successors at all.

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