GBC Guru Explains How Books Get Changed


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 49, Autumn 2015

Below we present a GBC member and guru, HH Sivarama Swami ("SRS"), explaining how books such as the Bhagavad-gita can get changed. His explanation also proves that ISKCON's gurus cannot be trusted to represent the disciplic succession (parampara). Emphases added.

Perfect parampara needed

SRS: "[...] we have a line of disciplic succession who also goes back to when Bhagavad-gita was written down, and the people who wrote it down are trustworthy people, [...]"
"Atheist": "How can you be sure that your so-called line of trustworthy people didn't make a few slip-ups here and there, and changed a few bits here and there, so what you've got now as Bhagavad-gita may be something which is very different to what was actually said by your "God". "
SRS: "Because these people don't make mistakes, they're above making mistakes. [...] And that's the qualification, that you're above illusion, and you're above making mistakes. Otherwise you're right, otherwise there could be changes. But they don't make mistakes because they're perfect representatives of God."
(SRS Debate, 19/6/15)

The above exchange is from a mock debate SRS had with an "atheist". In order to win this debate, SRS was forced to concede:

a) Members of the disciplic succession must be perfect, above making mistakes.
b) If the members are not such perfect representatives, then the Bhagavad-gita can get changed.
SRS is correct in these statements as Srila Prabhu­pada states in a purport to the Bhagavad-gita:

"A bona fide spiritual master is in the disciplic succession from time eternal, and he does not deviate at all from the instructions of the Supreme Lord as they were imparted millions of years ago to the sun-god, from whom the instructions of Bhagavad-gita have come down to the earthly kingdom."
(Bg., 4.42)

Having established these facts, let us now examine SRS explaining how they apply to the GBC gurus in ISKCON -- the supposed current members of the disciplic succession who "replaced" Srila Prabhu­pada as the parampara's current link.

ISKCON's imperfect parampara

SRS had to make these correct statements in order to win a debate with a role-playing atheist. However, when the context is ISKCON's gurus, many of whom have proven themselves to be less than perfect, SRS has to give a different story in order to rationalise their less than perfect behaviour:

"And we can see that our present day gurus are not necessarily self-realized souls, otherwise we wouldn't be falling down, what to speak of even leaving the path of Krishna Consciousness. And particularly that deviation takes place when you're talking about such conditioned souls -- conditioned souls who make mistakes, have imperfect senses, a tendency to be illusioned and when they don't follow strictly their parampara, then there will be deviation. How can you guard against it? You can't. This is Kali-yuga."
(SRS Podcast, 13/12/09)

"in terms of disciple-spiritual master relationship some level of material compatibility is there because we're using the modes of nature in our advancement in Krsna consciousness."
(SRS Podcast, 26/4/15)

"Then there is the conditioned soul, spiritual master".
(SRS Podcast, 15/12/10)

SRS accepts the ISKCON gurus are conditioned souls, under the material modes of nature, who make mistakes. For that is the characteristic of a conditioned soul:

"Sastra is without the four principal defects that are visible in the conditioned soul: imperfect senses, the propensity for cheating, certainty of committing mistakes, and certainty of being illusioned."
(Bg., 16.24)

Therefore, given SRS's own statements in the last section:

a) We should not accept presentations of sastra that are given by the conditioned soul gurus in ISKCON.
b) We should stick with the presentation of sastra given only by the perfect guru, Srila Prabhu­pada.

SRS gives own Bhagavatam

One sastra that Srila Prabhu­pada has translated and presented via his purports, is the Srimad-Bhagavatam. SRS has written a book Sadhavo Hrdyam Mahyam ("SHM"), in which he gives his own explanation for the part of the 4th Chapter, 9th Canto, of the Srimad-Bhagavatam, that describes the meeting between Lord Narayana and Durvasa Muni and the events leading up to it. He does this by admitting that he has invented conversations to ‘explain' what happens. So, for example, after Durvasa Muni arrives in Vaikuntha-dhama (the spiritual kingdom), and before Lord Narayana instructs him, SRS makes up what he imagines that the Supreme Personality of Godhead must have been thinking:

"the Lord thought, ‘'Brahmanas and Vaisnavas! And so continues the age-old misunderstanding of those brahmanas who are devoid of devotion to Me. [...] the Lord of Vaikuntha mused, "By disclosing My mind to Durvasa Muni, people will know that Vaisnavas like Ambarisa are so great that they do not strive for liberation."
(SHM, Introduction)


The above is just a small sample, for SRS's whole book consists of such fabricated "conversations" that are made up by SRS. To justify this, SRS claims that the previous acaryas also explained things in this way. But since SRS is not an acarya, he is admitting that he is imitating the acaryas. The actual acarya is Srila Prabhu­pada, and he has already perfectly explained the Srimad-Bhagavatam for us in his purports, free from mistakes, as he is a perfect member of the parampara. Thus, there is no need for SRS to give his own version of the Srimad-Bhagavatam, not to speak of in the form of such imagined "conversations" that did not actually take place. This reveals that SRS himself has the tendency to "change" the sastra given to us by the acarya in order to present his own version.


It is confirmed that we need perfect gurus so we get a perfect parampara free from mistakes. Otherwise the situation becomes so pathetic that we do not even have the basis to defeat atheism! But it is also confirmed that ISKCON does not provide such a perfect parampara. Therefore, we must take shelter only in the direct words of the perfect guru, Srila Prabhu­pada.

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