BTP’s Influence Spreads to BTG


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 48, Summer 2015


Back To Godhead ("BTG") is the official magazine of ISKCON. Though founded in 1944 by Srila Prabhupada, it is today run by ISKCON's leadership. However, two recent issues have seen BTG present editorials that preach Srila Prabhupada's position in ISKCON as being akin to that of ISKCON's diksa guru. In other words, those editorials could easily have appeared in BTP!

Srila Prabhupada's books = Transcendental sound

"For nearly fifty years now, Hare Krsna devotees have been distributing the books of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada all over the world. Why? Because those books -- mostly translations, with commentary, of Vedic texts -- are equivalent to the transcendental sound Brahma heard. Brahma accepted that sound as coming from God, took its guidance, and realized God, himself, and his purpose."
(Editorial, BTG, March/April 2015)

This describes the transcendental sound that Lord Brahma heard from Lord Krishna. BTG's editor states that Srila Prabhupada's books are equivalent to this sound that was heard by Lord Brahma. And Srila Prabhupada states that Lord Brahma was initiated by this transcendental sound:

"Thus by being influenced by the sound vibration of Krsna's flute, Brahma, the supreme creature and first living entity of this material world, was initiated as a brahmana. That Brahma was initiated as a brahmana by the flute of Krsna is confirmed by Srila Jiva Gosvami."
(Teachings of Lord Caitanya, Ch. 31)

Consequently, BTG is accepting that the transcendental knowledge coming from Srila Prabhupada's books has the power akin to initiating those who receive this knowledge. Srila Prabhupada explains this as follows:

"As such, vedanta-vadis, or the followers of the Vedanta, indicate the pure devotees of the Personality of Godhead. Such vedanta-vadis, or the bhakti-vedantas, are impartial in distributing the transcendental knowledge of devotional service. [...] By such endeavor, even the most forgotten soul is roused up to the sense of spiritual life, and thus being initiated by the bhakti-vedantas, the people in general gradually progress on the path of transcendental realization."
(SB, 1.5.24)

In ISKCON, the transcendental knowledge being distributed by the pure devotee "bhakti-vedanta" is that distributed by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada via his books.

Further diksa confirmation

As way of further confirmation that Srila Prabhupada is initiating everyone in ISKCON through his distributing transcendental knowledge via his books, in the very same issue BTG carried the following lecture:

"The Sanskrit word for initiation is diksa. As stated in an authoritative Vedic dictionary, divya jnanam ksapayati iti diksa: "Diksa means to expand or reveal transcendental knowledge." There are two kinds of knowledge: transcendental (divya) and mundane. [...] Diksa means the beginning of transcendental knowledge. [...] The Bhagavad-gita is the summary of all Vedic knowledge. If we pass through the process of divya-jnana, by diksa, then we rightly understand what is Bhagavad-gita".
("Founder's Lecture", Srila Prabhupada initiation lecture, 18/6/76, BTG, March/April 2015, emphases added)

And Srila Prabhupada is the person who is giving this diksa through divya-jnana to everyone in ISKCON:

"Divya-jnana hrde prokasito. What is that divya-jnana? [...] This is divya-jnana. Diksa. Diksa means from this divya-jnana."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, 11/7/76)

"In a song we sing every day, Narottama dasa Thakura says, caksu-dana dila yei, janme janme prabhu sei: the guru gives spiritual insight to the disciple, and therefore the guru should be considered his master, life after life."
(SB, 6.7.21)

This song verse, "cakhu-dan dilo jei, janme janme prabhu sei, divya jnan hrde prokasito" (Translation: "He opens my darkened eyes and fills my heart with transcendental knowledge. He is my Lord birth after birth"), is sung every day by ISKCON devotees as "Guru-puja" to Srila Prabhupada.

Defined as diksa guru

"the greatest danger lies in the area of spiritual guidance. [...] But what's to protect us from phony spiritual guides? [...] The Bhagavatam can protect us from imitators who lead people far from the Truth and keep them bound to endless suffering in the material world. Srila Prabhupada, by presenting the Bhagavatam, has shown himself to be a genuine spiritual doctor guided by a genuine reference book. He can cure our ailing souls."
(Editorial, BTG, May/June 2015)

In the following issue BTG states that Srila Prabhupada protects us from those who may cheat us spiritually, through his presenting Srimad-Bhagavatam, and that he is a "spiritual doctor" who can "cure our ailing souls". And the "spiritual doctor" who cures us from the material sickness "ailing our souls", in contrast to a regular doctor who only cures the physical sickness affecting the body, is the very definition of the diksa guru:

"Diksa actually means initiating a disciple with transcendental knowledge by which he becomes freed from all material contamination."
(Cc., Madhya-lila, 4.111)


From many different angles, BTG is presenting descriptions of Srila Prabhupada and his transcendental books that identify him as ISKCON's diksa guru. Srila Prabhupada:

a) Initiates us through transcendental knowledge;
b) Provides us diksa through divya-jnana;
c) Frees us from all material contamination, which is the definition of a diksa guru.

These same descriptions of Srila Prabhupada have been presented in BTP for a long time now, and it is good that BTG is also now presenting the same. It directly describes Srila Prabhupada as acting as the "diksa" guru, even if it does not call him that! Thus, ISKCON's official publications continue to present Srila Prabhupada as functioning in every way as ISKCON's diksa guru. And by giving these descriptions of Srila Prabhupada and his books, it then becomes absurd to conclude, as the GBC does, that Srila Prabhupada is not the diksa guru, and instead someone else -- who is not doing any of the above -- is!

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