ISKCON Guru Destroys ISKCON Guru System


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 50, Winter 2015/16

The current ISKCON GBC guru system operates on the basis of 3 key pillars:

1) The diksa guru has to be physically present to examine a prospective disciple, which Srila Prabhupada cannot do.

2) Physically present GBC gurus are therefore required to examine a prospective disciple.

3) The current system for authorising GBC gurus is itself authorised by Srila Prabhupada.

Remove these 3 pillars, and not only do the key objections to Srila Prabhupada continuing as the diksa guru disappear, but so also does the need to accept the "living" (physically present) substitutes offered by the GBC.

In the article "40 Years of Cheating" in the last BTP issue, we highlighted the publication of a new GBC-endorsed book, The Guru & Disciple Book, authored by ISKCON guru HG Kripamoya Dasa ("KMD"). In this article, we showed that in this book KMD has actually demonstrated that Srila Prabhupada only set up a ‘rtvik' (representative) system of initiation. We will see, however, that KMD did not finish there. KMD has also been forced to demolish the 3 fundamental pillars of the ISKCON GBC guru system just mentioned! Quotes in the shaded panels below are from the book, with all emphases added.

1) Physically present guru not needed

"Sometimes, the guru may delegate someone else to ascertain the qualifications of the disciple. The guru must, of course, trust that his delegate has a good sense of character and can spot a good disciple when he sees one. The delegate may then supervise the candidate for the entire year, reporting back to the guru. Equally, the aspiring disciple may choose to delegate responsibility to others to ascertain the authenticity of the guru. This sometimes happens if the disciple has no physical access to the guru or meets him only occasionally."

KMD states that the examination of a disciple by the guru need not be carried out by the guru himself; and in fact, the disciple may have no physical access to the guru at all! Indeed, such a situation existed when Srila Prabhupada was physically present on the planet: the vast majority of his disciples never met him, and thus their suitability as initiation candidates was examined by the local delegated leaders, not by Srila Prabhupada. Therefore, KMD admits that even when he was physically present, Srila Prabhupada deputised the task of examining prospective disciples:

"the culture of testing the guru in absentia has been in place since the extensive travelling of Srila Prabhupada himself and his deputising of the task."

Thus, Srila Prabhupada's physical absence becomes irrelevant to his ability to act as diksa guru, especially since even when he was physically present, he did not need to have any physical interaction with prospective disciples.

2) GBC gurus not examining disciples

"In ISKCON many of the most spiritually advanced members travel and preach, taking the Krishna consciousness movement to new countries. Because of this they are often faced with the prospect of initiating disciples they have not personally scrutinized. [...] it has proven difficult to preserve personal scrutiny within a rapidly expanding international movement".

Having admitted that Srila Prabhupada does not need to be physically present to examine prospective disciples, KMD now goes even further. He admits that the "physically present" ISKCON gurus do not always personally examine their prospective disciples anyway.

3) GBC gurus unauthorised

The system for becoming a guru in ISKCON is that he must be commissioned and approved by a committee:

"A candidate for guru in ISKCON must first receive a three-fourths majority vote of approval in a council composed of all the GBC zonal secretaries of his current preaching area and at least ten other senior devotees residing in his area of activity."
(GBC Resolution 413, 2004)

And there is no requirement that the candidate must have been commissioned and approved by his own spiritual master, which for most candidates will mean Srila Prabhupada. KMD himself became a diksa guru by this method of being approved by a committee rather than by Srila Prabhupada. However, KMD states that this method of being approved by a committee rather than directly by Srila Prabhupada is not authorised by Srila Prabhupada:

"Yet when he was asked, Srila Prabhupada insisted that the disciple must somehow test the prospective guru himself. Not only that, but the one acting as guru must have been commissioned and approved by his own spiritual master, not by a committee".

Hence, KMD strikes himself out as a diksa guru in ISKCON, since he was not "commissioned and approved" as a guru by his own spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada, but rather by a committee of GBC members -- about 35 years after the physical departure of Srila Prabhupada from this world! And, since KMD's guru colleagues were also "commissioned and approved" by the GBC rather than by Srila Prabhupada, their existence as diksa gurus is also struck out by KMD!


Conclusion: I'm out!

KMD has established that Srila Prabhupada scrutinised and initiated his disciples via his representatives (temple presidents and rtvik priests) "in absentia" even while physically present on the planet, and hence he can still perform these functions now, "in absentia".

Thus, whether he is "in absentia" on or off the planet, becomes irrelevant. Indeed, it is precisely to facilitate these activities "in absentia" that he instituted the rtvik system of initiations in his directive of July 9th, 1977. KMD has also established that GBC-elected successor diksa gurus are neither required nor authorised.

Thus, in three swift strikes, as reproduced above, KMD has eliminated the justification for usurping Srila Prabhupada's position as ISKCON's diksa guru, while also ruling himself and his GBC guru colleagues out as being authorised diksa gurus. Three strikes, as the sporting analogy goes, and you're out!

This GBC-endorsed book is yet another example of the point just made on page 13 -- that philosophical forays by ISKCON leaders on this subject lead them unwittingly to agree with the IRM's position! Because the philosophy is on the side of the IRM, not the GBC. The GBC will therefore have to content themselves with their followers and buildings.

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