The Evidence Continues:
What Do the Books Say? (Part 2)


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 5, Autumn 2004

In the last issue we showed how the quotes from Srila Prabhupada's books shown here prove that the ritvik system which was in place during Srila Prabhupada's physical presence, with Srila Prabhupada alone as ISKCON's only diksa Guru, should continue for ISKCON's lifetime. We will now also demonstrate conclusively that the same quotes also prove that ISKCON's current multiple Guru system was never meant to be followed in ISKCON.

In dissecting ISKCON's current multiple Guru system we find a two stage, multi-step process that differs radically from the system Srila Prabhupada sanctioned for ISKCON in his books:

Stage 1

1. New bhaktas first accept Srila Prabhupada as their principal siksa Guru for the first 6 months.

2. Srila Prabhupada's pranama mantra will be by chanted during this initial induction period.

3. During this trial period the bhakta must demonstrate his ability to follow the 4 regulative principles, chant 16 rounds and attend the morning programme.

4. By the end of these 6 months he must pass an examination.

5. Having passed these hurdles satisfactorily, the local temple authority will give a recommendation to that effect.

6. The candidate is now qualified to enter stage 2.

Stage 2

1. Entry to stage 2 signifies that one is ready and qualified to choose a Guru.

2. However, the selection can only be made from a list generated through the GBC's elaborate majority vote "no objection" procedures.

3. When ready, the candidate will make his choice and inform his local authority.

4. The candidate then requires the formal acceptance of his chosen Guru.

5. Once this approval is obtained, the candidate will change the pranama mantra of Srila Prabhupada being chanted to that of his newly chosen Guru.

6. The purpose of stage 2 is for mutual testing between Guru and disciple to determine each other's qualifications.

7. One will then have to follow strictly for at least another 6 months.

8. At any time during stage 2, both the prospective disciple and Guru can reject each other.

9. At the end of the second 6 month period, the local authority must give his formal approval for the initiation to take place.

10. Even at this stage the Guru, if he so wishes, can reject this recommendation and not proceed with the initiation.

(All the above details are taken from official GBC papers on the subject).

"In our Krsna consciousness movement, the requirement is that one must be prepared to give up the four pillars of sinful life: illicit sex, meat-eating, intoxication and gambling. In Western countries especially, we first observe whether a potential disciple is prepared to follow the regulative principles. Then he is given the name of a Vaisnava servant and initiated to chant the Hare Krsna, at least sixteen rounds daily. In this way the disciple renders devotional service under the guidance of the spiritual master or his representative for at least six months to a year. He is then recommended for a second initiation, during which a sacred thread is offered and the disciple is accepted as a bona fide brahmana."
(Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya 24:330)

"Due to the necessity of these activities, we do not immediately initiate disciples in the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. For six months, a candidate for initiation must first attend arati and classes in the sastras, practice the regulative principles and associate with other devotees. When one is actually advanced in the purascarya-vidhi, he is recommended by the local temple president for initiation. It is not that anyone can be suddenly initiated without meeting the requirements. When one is further advanced by chanting the Hare Krsna mantra sixteen rounds daily, following the regulative principles and attending classes, he receives the sacred thread (brahminical recognition) after the second six months."
(Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya 15:108)

"Thus in the beginning the students of our Krsna consciousness movement agree to live with devotees, and gradually, having given up four prohibited activities-illicit sex, gambling, meat-eating and intoxication - they become advanced in the activities of spiritual life. When one is found to be regularly following these principles, he is given the first initiation (hari-nama), and he regularly chants at least sixteen rounds a day. Then, after six months or a year, he is initiated for the second time and given the sacred thread with the regular sacrifice and ritual."
(Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi 17:265)

Given a multiple-Guru system as present in ISKCON, the elaborate procedural arrangements of stage 1 and stage 2 are absolutely essential. The far more streamlined system alluded to by Srila Prabhupada in the above quotes can only be applicable within a single-guru system, where there is just one Guru in the movement who is known to everyone, and who will automatically initiate anyone who is willing to follow strictly. This is why Srila Prabhupada makes no mention of the disciple needing to choose a Guru and then obtaining permission from the chosen Guru before aspiring to him, or of the disciple needing a period to "test" the Guru; steps which would be essential in a new multi-Guru system, and without which the system could not function. These stages could only be omitted if there was only one initiating Guru, who was always the same person, and who was already known to be bona fide. It should be obvious that since such a singular system is described in Srila Prabhupada's books, which perfectly describes the system in place when Srila Prabhupada was on the planet (and meant to be continued throughout ISKCON's lifetime), that Guru being referred to must be Srila Prabhupada. Thus Srila Prabhupada's prescribed system differs completely from the current GBC Guru system in both essence and detail.

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