The Blind Advising the Blind


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 48, Summer 2015

At this year's GBC meetings, 3 GBC sannyasis made a PowerPoint presentation (henceforward referred to as "3P") to the GBC, in which they argued that females should not be allowed to become diksa gurus. The GBC accepted this presentation and passed Resolution 310, 2015, which suspended previous GBC resolutions approving female diksa gurus (please see BTP 47, QNN, "Gurus Don't Know What Gurus Should be Doing!"). In response, ISKCON guru HH Hridayananda Dasa Goswami ("HD"), has written a paper called, The Vaisnavi Guru ("TVG"), in which he attempts to show the logical flaws in 3P. However, as we shall now demonstrate, both presentations suffer equally from a fundamental flaw -- fabricating something that Srila Prabhupada never did. The quotes in the shaded boxes below are taken from TVG.

No guru appointment

""[...] His Divine Grace did not appoint VDGs [Vaisnavi Diksa Gurus] in 1977. On the occasions in 1977 that Srila Prabhupada spoke of his disciples acting as diksa gurus, he never mentioned that Vaishnavis would take up that role.""

The above is actually a statement from 3P which is quoted by TVG. This statement from 3P argues that Srila Prabhupada never appointed female diksa gurus, and uses this non-appointment to conclude that therefore Srila Prabhupada did not desire female diksa gurus in ISKCON. However, by this same argument, which the GBC accepted, the GBC would also have to accept that Srila Prabhupada did not desire any diksa gurus in ISKCON (aside from himself), since Srila Prabhupada never appointed any diksa gurus, male or female. Such a "diksa guru appointment" by Srila Prabhupada has never been produced. On the contrary, as long ago as 1990, the GBC accepted in an official GBC publication, ISKCON Journal, the following statement made by GBC member HH Tamal Krishna Goswami:

"Srila Prabhupada never appointed any gurus. He only appointed ritviks."
(Tamal Krishna Goswami, Topanga Canyon, 3/12/80, quoted in ISKCON Journal, Issue 1, 1990)

HD's appointment Myth

"Again, the only primary evidence we have here is the neutral fact that Prabhupada appointed eleven white, male, American gurus."

As just seen, in order to make its argument against female diksa gurus, 3P would need to falsely assume that Srila Prabhupada did appoint male gurus. Yet, as part of HD's "response" to 3P, as seen in the statement above, HD agrees with this false assumption! Hence, he perpetuates the same "diksa guru appointment" fabrication that the presentation he is supposed to be rebutting depends on. He also claims that this non-appointment constitutes "primary evidence". Thus, he is claiming "primary evidence" means something which is made up, for which no evidence exists! He is therefore guilty of the very thing he accuses the authors of 3P of doing:

"Unfortunately, the authors misunderstand and misapply the term primary evidence and thus give us a series of invalid and contradictory arguments."

Self-serving inference

"In 1977 Prabhupada named eleven white, male, American devotees to be rtvik gurus, and regular gurus in his absence."

It is a historical fact that the only time Srila Prabhupada specifically "named eleven white, male, American devotees" in 1977 to a position was in a directive issued to all GBCs and temple presidents on July 9th, 1977. There is no other record in 1977 where 11 such individuals are named to take up any position. Yet, in this directive it only states that the 11 individuals are being named as rtviks, or representatives of Srila Prabhupada. And that they will accept disciples on behalf of Srila Prabhupada, so that "the newly initiated devotees are disciples of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad, the above eleven senior devotees acting as His representative." There is no mention of them being named to act as "regular gurus in his absence". Therefore, HD is making an unwarranted and self-serving inference: that the naming of 11 rtviks by Srila Prabhupada somehow also meant that they were named by Srila Prabhupada as "regular gurus in his absence". HD is therefore guilty of the very thing he accuses the authors of 3P of doing:

"The authors' false primary evidence assumes an unwarranted inference: when Prabhupada did one thing, he was really doing another. [...] The authors' self-serving inference stands between, and distorts, Prabhupada's explicit statements and actions. Ironically, rather than clarify the primary evidence, they conceal it."

No explicit statement

"We do not have Prabhupada's direct, explicit statement that Vaisnavis can never be gurus. Had Prabhupada made such a statement, the authors would have quoted it. [...] Let the authors first prove that Prabhupada absolutely forbid Vaisnavi gurus"

HD offers the above rebuttal to arguments made in 3P, which he refers to as being from the "authors". But these arguments apply equally to Srila Prabhupada's diksa guru position in ISKCON. For, ‘we do not have Prabhupada's direct explicit statement that he can never be ISKCON's diksa guru following his physical departure. Let one first prove that Prabhupada absolutely forbid this.' Thus, by HD's own argument, neither he, nor anyone else, should be denying Srila Prabhupada's diksa guru position in ISKCON. Yet, this is the position of both HD and the GBC.



At the outset of his TVG paper, HD states that he feels compelled to point out the logical flaws in 3P:

"Since it is the duty of senior brahmanas to advise the GBC, and since ISKCON devotees should know how they are being governed, I will analyze the logical validity of the power points presented to the GBC members."

However, as we have demonstrated, HD's "rebuttal" is full of the same nonsense that he claims to expose. We thus have:

1) GBC-endorsed "scholars" claiming to present guru-tattva regarding females;
2) HD claiming to be a "senior brahmana" who will correct them;
3) BTP showing both of them talking nonsense.

Therefore, far from this being an example of a "senior brahmana" advising and correcting the GBC, what we actually have is an example of:

The blind advising the blind.

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