GBC States Srila Prabhupada Can Be Disobeyed


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 62, Vol 2, 2019

In previous articles about POP, the Prabhupada-Only Paradigm, we have demonstrated that, in order to truly follow Srila Prabhupada, we must only accept recorded orders from him. And that accepting sources other than Srila Prabhupada (Prabhupada-Free Paradigm or PFP) cannot guarantee that one will actually be following Srila Prabhupada's orders. These articles warned of the dangers of accepting PFP as a substitute for the lack of a recorded order from Srila Prabhupada (POP). However, the dangers of not sticking with POP have now escalated, with the GBC announcing that non-Srila Prabhupada sources (PFP) can be used to actually override and disobey Srila Prabhupada's orders. All emphases added.

Srila Prabhupada overruled

The GBC issued the following resolution:

"303: Sastric Advisory Committee's Rama-navami Paper (originally passed by Correspondence Vote in March) Resolved: That the GBC accepts the recommendations and conclusion as found on pages 34-36 of the SAC paper on Rama-navami fasting."
(GBC, Midterm General Meeting, 15-21/10/18)

The Sastric Advisory Committee ("SAC"), is an advisory body to the GBC, and its paper referred to here is titled "Rama-navami Observance & Fasting". The paper accepts that in regards to Lord Ramacandra's appearance day:

"There is ample evidence" that "Srila Prabhupada instructed to fast until evening or moonrise in letters, and in lectures".
(p. 4)

We can note that Srila Prabhupada further ordered that the fast be broken in the same way as on Lord Caitanya's appearance day — with non-grain Ekadasi prasadam:

"Our next ceremony is Lord Ramacandra's birthday, on the 7th of April. It should be observed in the same way as Lord Caitanya's Appearance Day".
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, 26/3/68)

"You shall observe Lord Caitanya's birthday as follows [...] In the evening the devotees should take food as in the Ekadasi days."
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, 14/3/67)

However, the paper's conclusion, which the aforementioned GBC resolution accepts, states that these orders of Srila Prabhupada are not to be followed, and that instead:

"Specifically for Rama-navami: "fasting until worship of the Lord is completed at the time of his appearance at noon [...]" The type of prasadam served to complete the fasting vow may be grains".
(p. 34-35)

Anything can be overruled

The reasons the paper presents for overturning these orders of Srila Prabhupada are:

• "adherence solely to his written and transcribed instructions would deprive us of fidelity to what he actually did" (p. 33) (and "what he actually did" is based entirely on some old "memories" — see next article).
• Fasts and how they are broken "should follow Srila Prabhupada's mood" (p. 34).
• "Srila Prabhupada's general orders to preach and the local leaders' considerations of time, place, and circumstances" (p. 34).

Thus, this disobedience is based on that which is objective – Srila Prabhupada's recorded orders – being overruled with what is subjective: memories combined with an interpretation of what Srila Prabhupada's "mood" is, and "local leaders' considerations" of what should be done according to "time, place and circumstances". Therefore, this is not only about disobeying Srila Prabhupada's orders for fasting on Lord Ramacandra's appearance day. Rather, the real significance of this change is that the GBC has now accepted a methodology by which any order Srila Prabhupada gave can be overturned. Indeed, the GBC also accepts the SAC's general recommendation that the "length of the fast" and "prasadam served" to break fasts even for other "Visnu-tattva appearance days [...] should follow Srila Prabhupada's mood" (p. 34), rather than just following Srila Prabhupada's recorded orders. In essence, the GBC has established a principle that as long as they can find some devotees to "remember" something different to the orders Srila Prabhupada gave, and the GBC claims that Srila Prabhupada's "mood" somehow contradicts his own orders, then these orders can be overturned.

Disobedience as a principle

Thus, the GBC can no longer claim that the ISKCON which they manage is a society that is based on Srila Prabhupada's authority, as the GBC has agreed that such authority can be overturned based on the authority of his disciples (their "memories" and interpretations). This is a violation of the GBC's own purpose:

"The GBC accepts as its life and soul His divine instructions [...] The GBC has no other function or purpose other than to execute the instructions so kindly given by His Divine Grace".
(Definition of GBC, GBC Resolution 1, 1975)

No authority is given to the GBC above to override these "divine instructions" based on their subjective considerations of Srila Prabhupada's "mood" and what they think "happened" based on "memories". Thus, it does not matter how "correct" these other "considerations" — such as memories, interpretations by local leaders based on "time, place and circumstances", what is best for the "preaching", etc. — may appear. Because Srila Prabhupada has not stated that such considerations are authorised by him as being superior to his own orders, and thereby authorised to overturn his authority and his orders. Therefore, the GBC accepting this overturning of Srila Prabhupada's orders means that, in today's ISKCON, Srila Prabhupada's actual orders can be overturned and disobeyed as a principle.


It is now official that there are two diametrically opposed visions for how Srila Prabhupada must be accepted.

1) The vision of the IRM, accepts that —

"The order of the spiritual master is the active principle in spiritual life. Anyone who disobeys the order of the spiritual master immediately becomes useless."
(Cc., Adi-lila, 12.10)

— and that, therefore, these actual orders which Srila Prabhupada gave (POP), should be followed.

2) The vision of the GBC is that these orders can be disobeyed — something which is now an official fact since it is documented in writing in the GBC's resolution.


Return to GBC Index

Return to "SAC" Index

Return to "Prabhupada-Free Paradigm (PFP)" Index

Return to IRM Homepage


Please chant: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna, Krishna, Hare, Hare,
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama, Rama, Hare, Hare.
And be Happy!