The Great Guru Switch


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 61, Vol 1, 2019

Having become attracted to ISKCON by the "bait" of Srila Prabhupada (as shown in the previous article), newcomers then need to be persuaded to "switch" to one of the GBC's own replacement gurus. This is done via a mandatory "ISKCON Disciples Course" which all recruits are expected to attend in order to "prepare" for initiation. We have mentioned this course in previous issues. The course also has an official "Students Handbook", which the course attendee will: "use as a reference throughout your devotional career." (Handbook introduction).

Below we present statements from this handbook to prove recruits are conned into rejecting Srila Prabhupada for the GBC's own voted-in gurus. Quotes from the handbook will be presented in shaded boxes.

8 false arguments

The handbook first correctly presents many quotes from Srila Prabhupada which establish the need to accept a bona fide guru. Having established this, it then needs to eliminate Srila Prabhupada as being such a bona fide guru that one can accept, thereby leaving the field clear for the GBC gurus. The handbook attempts to do this by presenting a section, just a few pages after the Introduction, titled "Arguments Refuting the Posthumous Ritvik Theory". The term "Posthumous Ritvik Theory" is used to both:

a) Emphasise that Srila Prabhupada is "dead" (posthumous), and thus try to imply that you cannot accept him;

b) Refer to the IRM's position that Srila Prabhupada remains ISKCON's diksa guru.

The handbook then proceeds to present 8 arguments which supposedly rebut this "Posthumous Ritvik Theory". Below we show how every single one of these arguments has zero relevance to rebutting Srila Prabhupada remaining as ISKCON's diksa guru.

Param guru fallacy

"• There is no example of one taking diksa from one's param-guru in any of the bona-fide Vaisnava sampradayas.
• There is no sastric evidence indicating that one may take diksa from one's param-guru.
• Virabhadra Gosvami, the son of Lord Nityananda Prabhu, in a letter to Srinivasa Acarya ostracized one Jaya-gopal from Vaisnava society for claiming himself as a disciple of his Param-guru."

The term "one's param guru" refers to the guru of one's own guru, or "grandfather" guru, if you will. Thus, it is correctly argued that if you already have a diksa guru, you should not also accept your diksa guru's diksa guru as another diksa guru for yourself. And no one, as far as we are aware, is arguing this. The IRM is certainly not. The IRM states that one should accept Srila Prabhupada as their diksa guru, not their param-guru. Thus, these "arguments" above have zero relevance to the issue.

Srila Prabhupada is simply assumed to be the param-guru without any evidence demonstrating why, how and when he stopped being ISKCON's current-link diksa guru, which he has been since he founded it in 1966. By starting with Srila Prabhupada supposedly being the param-guru, the course commits the logical fallacy of assuming that which needs to be proven – as the claim that Srila Prabhupada stopped acting as ISKCON's current diksa guru is the very claim that the handbook is supposed to be demonstrating.

Fabricated arguments

"• The argument that there are no qualified diksa-gurus amongst Prabhupada's disciples indicates that Prabhupada's teachings have not proven effective. So what would be the use of becoming Prabhupada's diksa disciple through the ritvik priest anyway?
Ritvik theory implies that only exceptionally empowered acaryas can become guru which is not supported in sastra nor Vaisnava tradition.
Ritvik theory implies that acaryas can act contrary to sastra."

• The IRM is not stating that there are definitely no qualified diksa gurus. It is stating the fact that Srila Prabhupada did not give up acting as ISKCON's diksa guru, thus making such qualified diksa gurus unnecessary anyway.

• Nor is the IRM stating that only certain "empowered acaryas" can ever become guru. We are stating the fact, as confirmed by the GBC (unwittingly, in their Srila Prabhupada: The Founder-Acarya of ISKCON booklet), that one such empowered acarya, Srila Prabhupada, is the Founder and Acarya of ISKCON, and therefore remains its diksa guru.

• Nor are we stating that acaryas can or do act contrary to sastra. For sastra does not forbid an acarya from continuing to remain as the acarya, and therefore, diksa guru, of the institution he founded.

Attack on Srila Prabhupada

"• Ritvik theory functions by undermining the natural development of faith in living Vaisnavas, which is an essential aspect of bhakti.
• A ritvik guru gives advice however he does not formally accept the responsibility of delivering the disciple as a bone-fide diksa-guru does."

• Srila Prabhupada has not taught that "development of faith in living Vaisnavas" is an "essential aspect of bhakti". This is a fabrication. And if being Srila Prabhupada's disciple ("ritvik theory" or the IRM's position) undermines bhakti, then Srila Prabhupada is being attacked as having undermined bhakti for initiating many disciples who never had physical contact with him – the same position as those becoming his disciples today.

• Yes, a bona fide diksa guru, not the ritvik, delivers the disciple. That bona fide diksa guru is Srila Prabhupada. Thus, this is simply stating the IRM's position!


We say devotees are being conned because, as can be seen from the above, they are presented with a list of nonsensical and fabricated arguments that have no relevance to whether or not they can actually accept Srila Prabhupada as their diksa guru. When speaking about false gurus, Srila Prabhupada said:

"You can cheat, but it will not be effective".
(Room Conversation, 22/4/77)

This also applies to arguments attempting to support false gurus. Hence, devotees who have been indoctrinated by ISKCON are unable to challenge our position, having been fed only lies about it, as seen above. Thus, in the long run, this GBC program of conning devotees about the IRM's position will not be effective, for sooner or later they will come across the truth, and be found wanting.


Return to "Cheating" Index

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