Nectar of Devotion Misused for Guru Ambition


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 44, Summer 2014

The Nectar of Devotion ("NOD") is a summary study of Srila Rupa Goswami's Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu. Chapter 6 of this book is titled "How to Discharge Devotional Service", and it speaks about the process of surrendering to a bona fide spiritual master. This section has been misused by ISKCON gurus to claim that it sanctions diksa guru successors to Srila Prabhupada. Here, we will reveal in detail what NOD actually states, and contrast that with what is claimed by those misusing the NOD to usurp Srila Prabhupada's position.

NOD, Chapters 6 and 7

In Chapter 6 of NOD, there is a list of basic principles in regards to accepting a spiritual master:

"But the basic principle of acceptance of a spiritual master is good everywhere, although the details may be different. Srila Rupa Gosvami does not wish to enter into details here, but wants to place before us only the principles. He mentions the basic principles as follows: 1) accepting the shelter of the lotus feet of a bona fide spiritual master, 2) becoming initiated by the spiritual master and learning how to discharge devotional service from him, 3) obeying the orders of the spiritual master with faith and devotion, 4) following in the footsteps of great acaryas (teachers) under the direction of the spiritual master, [...] and 10) worshiping sacred trees like the banyan tree."
(NOD, Ch. 6)

As Srila Prabhupada notes, Srila Rupa Goswami does not wish to provide details here, but simply wishes to list these principles. However, in the next chapter, Srila Prabhupada again lists these same principles (though with slightly different wording for the titles, with some of them having been combined), but this time with an explanation for each one. For example, the fourth item on the list in Chapter 6, "following in the footsteps of great acaryas (teachers) under the direction of the spiritual master", which comes after "obeying the orders of the spiritual master with faith and devotion", is listed in Chapter 7 as "To Follow in the Footsteps of Saintly Persons", and comes after "To Serve the Spiritual Master with Faith and Confidence". And in Chapter 7 this principle is explained as meaning the following:

"In the Skanda Purana it is advised that a devotee follow the past acaryas and saintly persons because by such following one can achieve the desired results, with no chance of lamenting or being baffled in his progress."

Therefore, the principle of "following in the footsteps of great acaryas (teachers)" listed in Chapter 6, refers to following the previous acaryas.

Guru hoax misuse

Having seen what Chapter 6 of NOD actually refers to, let us now see what is falsely claimed about it. Having first claimed that "my service as a guru is to train my disciples to serve Prabhupada's mission", ISKCON guru HH Hridayananda Dasa Goswami ("HD"), goes on to claim:

"In the NOD, Chapter 6, Rupa Goswami and Srila Prabhupada make a clear distinction between a great Acarya and a bona fide guru. The bona fide guru trains and encourages the disciples to serve the great Acarya."
(HD, "Istagosthi", 8/1/14)

HD is trying to link what NOD Chapter 6 states about "great acaryas" with his claim to be a bona fide diksa guru who is serving Srila Prabhupada.

However, as we just saw, NOD only states that one's guru will help one follow the previous acaryas (great acaryas). Thus, the only "distinction" made is that between the previous acaryas and the current guru (acarya). And the current acarya, current link and diksa guru who helps us follow the previous acaryas -- as we have seen in the previous articles about the "Founder-Acarya" and the "current link" -- is Srila Prabhupada. So the NOD is simply stating that the current acarya and guru (Srila Prabhupada) will help us follow the previous acaryas.

Similarly, another ISKCON guru Mahatma Dasa ("MAD") claims on his website:

"The Nectar of Devotion says that one should follow the acarya under the guidance of the spiritual master. The guru's service, therefore, is to help you better understand and follow Srila Prabhupada, ISKCON's founder-acarya, and to effectively serve his mission."

MAD also tries to imply that NOD supports his activity as a successor diksa guru to Srila Prabhupada. But, as we saw, NOD does not state that one follows "the acarya". It simply states that one follows the previous acaryas (great acaryas) under the guidance of one's spiritual master, and this spiritual master for ISKCON -- the current acarya, current link and diksa guru -- is Srila Prabhupada.

Guru hoax not needed

HD also states:

"Prabhupada is a pure devotee who can take us all back to Krishna. My service as a guru is to train my disciples to serve Prabhupada's mission so that Prabhupada is pleased. If Prabhupada is pleased with my disciples, they will be liberated. Very simple. During Prabhupada's presence in this world, somehow he was pleased with my service and he trusted me to train and engage his followers. I continue to train and engage his followers."
(HD, "Istagosthi", 8/1/14)

HD states that Srila Prabhupada is a pure devotee who takes us all back to Godhead; that during Srila Prabhupada's presence HD would train and engage Srila Prabhupada's followers; and that he is continuing to do so. So why doesn't he actually simply continue in this service, wherein, during Srila Prabhupada's presence, he would train everyone to become Srila Prabhupada's disciple? Why, instead, has he usurped Srila Prabhupada's position and taken these disciples for himself? Srila Prabhupada has not asked him to do this (as shown on page 3 of this issue), nor is it necessary, since if Srila Prabhupada is a pure devotee who takes us all back to Godhead, he can continue to do so in the same way today as when he was physically present. Thus, the only reason for HD changing his service from training devotees to be Srila Prabhupada's disciples, to now accepting them as his disciples, is HD's personal desire to be a guru. And how can Srila Prabhupada be pleased with HD when he was not asked by Srila Prabhupada to change his service from disciple to usurper?


The guru hoaxers continue to make false claims about Srila Prabhupada's teachings. Thus, devotees must always verify these claims by reading Srila Prabhupada's books for themselves.

Return to IRM Homepage

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