TMDs in Action: A Case Study


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 41, Autumn 2013

Last issue's cover story described various Techniques of Mass Deception ("TMDs") deployed by ISKCON specifically to deceive devotees into accepting false conclusions regarding Srila Prabhupada's teachings. These TMDs were categorised under 6 separate headings:

TMD1: Senior Vaisnavas
TMD2: Tradition
TMD3: Guru, sadhu and sastra
TMD4: Phantom quote
TMD5: Half-quote
TMD6: False conclusion

As confirmation, just after our article went to press, right on cue, GBC-elected ISKCON guru HG Kripamoya Dasa ("KMD") gave a lecture on 3/8/2013, which contained the following extract:

"Prabhupada was 63 at the time, the brahmacaris were much younger. They took Prabhupada to one side and they said, 'You can't initiate. Only in our asrama, only Kesava Maharaja initiates'. So the next day Prabhupada went to Kesava Maharaja. He said, 'Is this true?' Kesava Maharaja said, 'Yes, that's the custom, each asrama has one'. And Prabhupada said, because Kesava Maharaja had given him sannyasa, he said, 'Oh, so you have got me married, but now I cannot have any children?' (1) So it's quite clear that Prabhupada saw initiation as a vital component of giving Krsna consciousness to others. (2) When he said in 1973, 'So all of you will be the spiritual master next', he actually meant it (3). So leaving aside that particular debate -- how one becomes a guru in Krsna consciousness (4) -- one essential point we can take from this is it means to bring a person, our preaching means to bring a person to the point of commitment. (5)"

And, as we demonstrate below, the above utilises multiple TMDs in just a few sentences! For ease of reference, we have labelled these sentences with numbers which we shall refer to throughout this case study.

TMD 4: Phantom quote

In (1), KMD opens with some statements Srila Prabhupada is supposed to have made when he was 63. However, there is no evidence Srila Prabhupada actually made these statements, because KMD admits when questioned over a month later that he is not relating statements from Srila Prabhupada, but a story told by Srila Prabhupada's Godbrother:

"Its a story that was told by Srila Prabhupada's godbrother Krishnadas Babaji. He found it amusing".
(KMD, personal website, 10/9/2013)

It is significant to note that in the original lecture, KMD fails to declare that he is merely relating a story from the Gaudiya Matha, rather than presenting quotes directly from Srila Prabhupada. This is an example of TMD 4: Phantom quote, since Srila Prabhupada does not accept such "stories" as authoritative:

"Unless it is there from me in writing, there are so many things that "Prabhupada said.""
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, 2/9/1975)

TMD 6: False conclusion

KMD states this supposed story about Srila Prabhupada in (1), because KMD uses it to claim in (2) that any person preaching Krsna consciousness should also initiate:

"So it's quite clear that Prabhupada saw initiation as a vital component of giving Krsna consciousness to others."

KMD then uses this to support the same overall conclusion he offers in (5):

"one essential point we can take from this is it means to bring a person, our preaching means to bring a person to the point of commitment."

However, the story states that in any asrama, only one person who is the head initiates. KMD's guru colleague, HH Bhakti Charu Swami ("BCS") agrees, and states that for ISKCON:

"ISKCON is Srila Prabhupada's asrama. [...] Generally the guru has an asrama and he hands over the authority of the asrama to one disciple. He appoints a successor. But Srila Prabhupada didn't do that in ISKCON."
(BCS, Disciples' Meeting, 1/8/2007)

Therefore, even if this story was true, it does not change the fact that in the ISKCON "asrama", only Srila Prabhupada should initiate, since he did not authorise anyone to succeed him, as BCS, whom KMD fully supports, admits above. Thus, without any succession authorisation from Srila
Prabhupada, KMD cannot claim that persons who are preaching in ISKCON, such as himself, should initiate instead of Srila Prabhupada.

TMD 4: Phantom quote

KMD goes on to state that Srila Prabhupada did authorise guru successors who would initiate, by claiming in (3):

"When he said in 1973, 'So all of you will be the spiritual master next', he actually meant it".

Only, Srila Prabhupada never stated in 1973 that "you will be the spiritual master next", as KMD claims here.

TMD 6: False conclusion

The quote KMD refers to is actually a statement made in 1969, where Srila Prabhupada says:

"Every one of you should be spiritual master next. And what is their duty? Whatever you are hearing from me, whatever you are learning from me, you have to distribute the same in toto without any addition or alteration. Then all of you become the spiritual master. That is the science of becoming spiritual master. [...] Caitanya Mahaprabhu says, amara ajnaya guru hana tara 'sarva-desa: "O My dear disciples, I tell you that you, all of you, become spiritual master. Simply you carry out My order. That's all." "And what is Your order?" "The order is the same: yare dekha, tare kaha 'krsna'-upadesa [Cc. Madhya 7.128]*."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, 5/9/1969)

*"Instruct everyone to follow the orders of Lord Sri Krsna as they are given in Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam."

The process Srila Prabhupada describes above, of becoming spiritual master by spreading his teachings unchanged, was followed by his disciples for many years after receiving the above order in 1969. It resulted in all persons in ISKCON becoming initiated by Srila Prabhupada, and not by those doing the preaching. That is, the preachers acted as instructing spiritual masters on Srila Prabhupada's behalf. And Srila Prabhupada does not state above that this process should change in the future, whereby those preaching his teachings should become a different type of spiritual master, who would replace Srila Prabhupada as the initiator of ISKCON.


Two years ago, KMD changed his position to become a GBC-elected guru, thus initiating those whom he preached to as his own disciples. In the above excerpt, KMD employs multiple TMDs to try to support his position that those preaching should initiate. However, Srila Prabhupada does not state that preaching in ISKCON means that he is to now be replaced as ISKCON's diksa guru by those doing the preaching.

This case study also demonstrates how one must scrutinise statements from ISKCON's leaders very carefully, as even a handful of sentences can be dripping with deception!

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