Srila Prabhupada v. Kanistha-adhikari


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 53, Autumn 2016

1) There are 3 grades of devotees, and the devotee of the lowest grade is a beginner or neophyte known as a kanistha-adhikari:

"Those who have faith are divided into three categories – uttama, madhyama and kanistha (first-class, second-class and neophyte)."
(Cc., Madhya-lila, 22.71)

The characteristics of such a neophyte kanistha-adhikari are:

a) Lacking in faith:

"The neophyte devotee does not yet have firm faith."
(Cc., Madhya-lila, 22.71)

b) Prone to fall down:

"A neophyte may fall down by associating with nondevotees because he is not firmly convinced and strongly situated."
(Cc., Madhya-lila, 22.71)

c) Ignorant:

"the neophyte kanistha-adhikari does not know much about sastra".
(SB, 4.22.16)

2) In response to a question about ISKCON's diksa gurus, GBC-elected diksa guru HH Sivarama Swami ("SRS") stated in a podcast on 30/9/16:

"gurus are not necessarily all on the same spiritual platform. Some may be more advanced, some may be prone to making mistakes. Others may not be actually necessarily learned in the philosophy if they are kanistha-adhikaris or madhya-adhikaris".

SRS thus states that some of ISKCON's gurus may be kanistha-adhikaris.

3) Therefore, by the qualities of a kanistha-adhikari given in paragraph 1, if one wants a guru who is –

a) Lacking in faith;
b) Prone to falling down;
c) Ignorant in sastra;

– then one is welcome to take one's chances in the GBC guru lottery, and get oneself such a kanistha-adhikari guru! A guru who is also a neophyte like the disciple. The alternative to this lottery, is to surrender to and accept only the perfect guru, Srila Prabhupada, as one's diksa guru – as advocated by Srila Prabhupada himself (please see BTP Special Summary Issue 1 or The Final Order for evidence).

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