The Failure of the GBC’s ‘Philosophers’ – 2


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 61, Vol 1, 2019

Continuing with our analysis of those who are supposed to be advising the GBC on philosophy, we turn to the understanding of Chaitanya Charan Dasa ("CCD"), who is another member of the Sastric Advisory Council ("SAC"). The quotes in shaded boxes are taken from a broadcast he put out on 23/11/18, which was in response to the question:

"Are the rtviks who reject the pure devotees of Krishna better or worse than the Mayavadis who reject the form of Krishna?"

Dogmatism, not philosophy

"there is often serious offense being committed towards great devotees by people who are of rtvik orientation."

The initial question assumed that by rejecting ISKCON gurus, rtviks are rejecting "pure devotees". And CCD responds by agreeing that rejecting these "great devotees" leads to the commission of "serious offense" against them. However, CCD also claims that "rtvikism" arose due to correctly rejecting ISKCON gurus who were assumed to be pure devotees:

"recognize that rtvikism has arisen from certain complex situations which involved devotees losing faith. So that happened because many of the leaders, who people at that time believed they're pure devotees, turned out to be far from that standard."

Hence, CCD claims that "rtvikism" is based on having correctly rejected ISKCON leaders who were alleged to be pure, but that rtvikism is also offensive and thus wrong because it rejects ISKCON leaders who are alleged to be pure! This is not a philosophical argument but just a dogmatic belief that ISKCON's gurus are great, pure devotees, and thus must automatically be accepted as such, otherwise one is committing a "serious offense". CCD needs to first prove, not just assume, that all current ISKCON gurus are pure. And even then, unless he can prove that Srila Prabhupada ordered all these current ISKCON gurus to replace him as ISKCON's diksa guru, then no offenses are being committed in rejecting them for not being authorised gurus.

Avoiding the actual order

"rtvikism as an idea it has arisen primarily from hurt hearts, and from betrayed faith."

The idea that Srila Prabhupada issued a directive to ISKCON, in which he sets out a rtvik initiation system, which will continue his position as ISKCON's diksa guru ("rtvikism"), has actually "arisen" because: Srila Prabhupada issued a directive to ISKCON, in which he sets out a rtvik initiation system, which will continue his position as ISKCON's diksa guru (July 9th, 1977, directive)! One can try to argue that such a system was to be terminated on Srila Prabhupada's physical departure due to the rtviks turning into diksa gurus – which is what actually ended up happening, and thus gave rise to ISKCON's guru system. But one cannot argue that the "rtvik" idea is not derived from a certain understanding of Srila Prabhupada's orders. Now, it is certainly possible that this idea has gained acceptance by some devotees because of having hurt hearts due to guru betrayals, but the idea itself is based on Srila Prabhupada's orders. CCD thus uses a common technique to try to avoid dealing with Srila Prabhupada's orders, by discussing why some people may accept those orders, rather than the orders themselves.

Current leaders not rebuilding

"unfortunately some of the rtviks don't realize is that the current leaders of our movement, at least many of the current leaders, that they were not the betrayers, they were also among the people who were betrayed [...] many of the leaders in ISKCON now are rebuilding the movement from within".

Unfortunately CCD does not realise that the current leaders of the movement all support the current ISKCON guru system, under which many gurus have become "betrayers" by "falling", and they also supported those gurus who fell as being bona fide before they fell. CCD also accepts that only "many", rather than all, of the current leaders were not betrayers! Further, the first section showed that both the questioner and CCD still accept that today's ISKCON gurus are pure and great devotees. And anyone who does not accept them is committing "serious offense", on a par with Mayavadis:

"in our spiritual life it could well be that the association of the Mayavadis as well as the association of rtviks can be injurious to our bhakti."

Thus, there is no "rebuilding" going on since the unquestioned acceptance of the GBC gurus remains the same as before, and gurus still turn out to be far from the standard required to be a guru.

Guru hoax is the change

"there are others ["rtviks"] who [...] want to make some foundational change which has no precedence in our tradition."

There is no "change" that we are proposing. Our position is "no change" to the ISKCON Srila Prabhupada gave us, with himself as its Acarya and diksa guru. The change to this was made by the GBC, a change for which there is no order from Srila Prabhupada – whereby a GBC body would vote in multiple successor gurus. And this change has no precedence in our tradition, as the GBC themselves admit:

"ISKCON's ethos of multiple diksa- and siksa-gurus serving under the auspices of a global managerial board is unique in the history of Vaisnavism".
(GBC Resolution 318, 2014, emphasis added)

"you're doing something that had never been done; when you're going to have a single institution with many different spiritual masters and there are many different disciples who are going to have to work together in a cooperative and unified way. Just hadn't been done."
(HG Ravindra Svarupa Dasa, ‘Issues in ISKCON Reform' Lecture, 29/6/99-3/7/99, emphases added)

Thus, in actuality, it is CCD who is proposing a foundational change to what was given by Srila Prabhupada, which has no precedence in our tradition!


The above arguments offer nothing to demonstrate that Srila Prabhupada should be replaced as ISKCON's diksa guru by alleged "pure great devotees". And these are arguments that are put forward by supposedly one of the best ‘philosophers' and ‘scholars' the GBC have to offer, via their SAC. Hence, when even their "best" are unable to make a dent in the IRM's position, it is a clear sign that the IRM's position is irrefutable.

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