The Failure of the GBC’s ‘Philosophers’


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 61, Vol 1, 2019

In the previous issue's article "The Many Deviations of Sahajiyaism", we exposed the lack of philosophical understanding displayed by a member of the "Sastric Advisory Council" ("SAC"), whose members are supposed to be advising the GBC on philosophical understanding (GBC Resolution 604, 2002)! Below we examine the philosophical understanding of another member of the SAC, Narayani Dasi. The quotes in shaded boxes are from a talk she gave, which was published on 25/9/18. All emphases added.

GSS means genuine guru only

"So that's the checks and balances. Guru isn't everything. Guru is one third, sadhu is one third, sastra is one third. Otherwise, if you think guru is everything, then if your guru leaves then you have nothing. What's left?"

Narayani Dasi refers to guru, sadhu and sastra ("GSS"), and speaks of all three being required because if the guru leaves, then you will still have sadhu and sastra left. However, having all three – guru, sadhu and sastra – is not meant to accommodate a guru leaving, but to ensure that you have a genuine, bona fide guru in the first place:

"As stated by Narottama-dasa Thakura, sadhu-sastra-guru: one has to test all spiritual matters according to the instructions of saintly persons, scriptures and the spiritual master. The spiritual master is one who follows the instructions of his predecessors, namely the sadhus, or saintly persons. A bona fide spiritual master does not mention anything not mentioned in the authorized scriptures."
(SB, 4.16.1)

Thus, having a threefold "guru, sadhu and sastra" system is not to provide a compensatory "back-up" for after the guru leaves, but to provide corroboration to ensure you select a guru who will not leave:

"Sadhu sastra guru vakya tinete koriya aikya. [...] The scripture should be consulted, and we should have to see whether it is corroborated. So we should not accept any man as spiritual master or holy man if he does not corroborate with the statement of the scripture. He's at once rejected."
(Srila Prabhupada, Room Conversation, 11/5/69)

Thus, using GSS, the bogus guru is himself rejected first, thus ensuring he does not have a chance to cheat the disciple by leaving!

Real sadhu makes no mistakes

"if the sadhus say some mistakes to you, you have guru and sastra. If you can't understand the sastra then you have guru and sadhu."

But a sadhu is always in line with guru and sastra:

"Therefore sadhu and guru and sastra, they are identical."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, 13/11/72)

"Neither a sadhu (saintly person or Vaisnava) nor a bona fide spiritual master says anything that is beyond the scope of the sanction of the revealed scriptures."
(Cc., Adi-lila, 7.48)

Thus, guru and sastra can be used to eliminate someone claiming to be a "sadhu" if he makes mistakes by speaking something which is not in line with guru and sastra. But such a person was not a "sadhu". Because sadhus as mentioned in "GSS", which Narayani Dasi specifically refers to above, are by definition only those who do not make a mistake, but rather always speak in line with sastra and guru. So, again, it is not that we have three – guru, sadhu and sastra – in order to help accommodate the situation where the actual sadhus who are part of GSS end up talking nonsense, as Narayani Dasi mistakenly claims, because they will never do so.

Guru means diksa guru

"so for you, Srila Prabhupada would be in the category of guru and sadhu. [...] You can go to him. Yes, as guru also, siksa guru. Siksa guru, sadhu, and sastra, his books".

Narayani Dasi refers to "guru" in GSS as meaning "siksa" guru. However, Srila Prabhupada explains it refers to diksa (initiating) guru:

"There are three things, sadhu-sastra-guru. So to accept one, you have to take the opinion of the other two. Then you'll get the right way. Just like who is a guru? That is stated in the sastras. Srotriyam brahma-nistham. Sastra says, tad-vijnanartham sa gurum evabhigacchet: "One must approach a guru.""
(Room Conversation, 18/7/73)

"Tad-vijnanartham sa gurum evabhigacchet: when one is interested in the transcendental subject matter of the Absolute Truth, he should be initiated. Such a person should approach a spiritual master in order to take diksa."
(Nectar of Instruction, Verse 5)

And Srila Prabhupada has never stated that "guru" in GSS refers to a siksa guru, especially since one may have many of them with varying qualifications.

However, having accepted that "guru" in GSS does refer to Srila Prabhupada for persons in ISKCON today, Narayani Dasi is then forced by Srila Prabhupada's teaching above to accept that he is thus the diksa guru for ISKCON today!

Prejudice, not philosophy

Due to being a leader in ISKCON and a supporter of its guru hoax, Narayani Dasi has completely subverted the philosophy behind GSS so that it "matches" the situation in today's ISKCON:

a) Narayani Dasi claims that "guru" in GSS can refer to false gurus who leave, whereas Srila Prabhupada states it refers to bona fide gurus.

b) Narayani Dasi claims that "sadhu" in GSS can refer to sadhus who make incorrect statements, whereas Srila Prabhupada states that it refers only to persons who speak exactly what is in sastra, and therefore can not be mistaken.

c) Narayani Dasi claims that "guru" in GSS refers to siksa guru, but Srila Prabhupada states it refers to diksa guru.

Thus, it is her prejudice in favour of the status quo in ISKCON – where "gurus" leave, "sadhus" make mistakes, and Srila Prabhupada can only be the siksa guru for newcomers – rather than Srila Prabhupada's teachings, that has created her "philosophy".


As an SAC member, Narayani Dasi is supposed to be a learned philosopher and brahmana who will always speak the truth. However, rather than just presenting Srila Prabhupada's instructions as we have done, she has instead discarded them and concocted a philosophy to prop up ISKCON's status quo.

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