The Policy is Kill Guru


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 64, Vol 4, 2019

In regards to his disciples trying to learn Sanskrit, Srila Prabhupada warned:

"I am practically seeing that as soon as they begin to learn a little sanskrit immediately they feel that they have become more than their guru and then the policy is kill guru and be killed himself."
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, 18/9/76)

And thus Srila Prabhupada stopped it:

"they have become scholar, Sanskrit scholar. [...] So I have stopped it. Unnecessary."
(Srila Prabhupada, Room Conversation, 19/4/77)

Below we present an example of Srila Prabhupada's warning being vindicated. All emphases added.

Correcting Srila Prabhupada - 1

ISKCON guru HH Hridayananda Dasa Goswami ("HD") is one such person who made a point to learn Sanskrit. However, the result is that HD's consciousness is that he is superior in Sanskrit translation to Srila Prabhupada. Thus, he claims that Srila Prabhupada does not translate correctly, and therefore he is required to ‘correct' Srila Prabhupada's translations. For example, Srila Prabhupada's translation of SB, 5.18.12 states:

"a person devoid of devotional service and engaged in material activities has no good qualities. [...] How can there be any good qualities in such a man?"

However, HD claims that Srila Prabhupada has "mistranslated" this quote —

"there's that, frankly that mistranslated quote from the Bhagavatam that a devotee has all good qualities and non-devotees have no good qualities."
(HD, Vyasa-puja Celebration, 13/9/19)

— and thus HD goes on to re-translate it himself, claiming he is required to tell us "what the Sanskrit actually says":

"I'll tell you what the Sanskrit actually says. [...] [SB 5.18.12] [...] Does not say they have no good qualities [...] Doesn't say any of that."
(HD, Vyasa-puja Celebration, 13/9/19)

Correcting Srila Prabhupada - 2

This tendency of HD to demonstrate that he is required to ‘correct' Srila Prabhupada's translations due to his supposedly superior translation ability is widespread. In the following exchange, we see a devotee reading from Srila Prabhupada's Srimad-Bhagavatam being interrupted by HD, just so that HD can again ‘correct' Srila Prabhupada's translation and tell us what the Sanskrit "actually" says:

Devotee: "First canto, first chapter, text number 14, Prabhupada translates: "[...] by even unconsciously chanting the holy name of Krsna, which is feared by fear personified." In the purport, Prabhupada says?–"
HD: "Okay, first of all, first let me see the verse. Bring it here. I want to see the Sanskrit itself. Before we go to the purport, let's just see what the Sanskrit actually says. [...] I know this verse [...] Doesn't actually say "unconsciously". What it actually says is chanting the Lord's name, vivaso, which actually means involuntarily."
(HD "Darshan", 15/9/19)

And, in a similar vein, HD also broadcasts weekly Srimad-Bhagavatam lectures wherein he makes a point of giving his own translations, rather than always sticking to the translations already given by Srila Prabhupada. Srila Prabhupada blasted such "correcting" of his translations as being "dangerous" and "nonsense" done by "rascals", causing "havoc":

"The nonsense, they are correcting my translations. Rascal. [...] The rascal editors, they are doing havoc [...] So on the whole, these dangerous things are going on."
(Srila Prabhupada, Conversation, 22/6/77)

More than guru

Thus, just as Srila Prabhupada warned, HD's Sanskrit learning has led him to think he is ‘more than guru', since he believes he must "correct" Srila Prabhupada's Sanskrit translations. Indeed, it would appear that Srila Prabhupada detected that HD had this tendency, since as soon as Srila Prabhupada learned from HD that he was learning Sanskrit, Srila Prabhupada stopped him — but HD admits he still defied Srila Prabhupada's order as soon as Srila Prabhupada physically departed:

"fascinated by Sanskrit, I began to study it. And I wrote a letter to Prabhupada telling him what I was doing. And Prabhupada said, "Oh, don't waste your time learning Sanskrit." [...] in Brazil in 1978 [...] I just heard Krsna telling me, "Okay, you passed the test. Now you need to learn Sanskrit and finish the Bhagavatam.""
(HD Talk, 18/8/17)

HD's defiance of Srila Prabhupada was specifically in order to "finish the Bhagavatam".

Kill guru

HD justifies supposedly "accurately" reading sastra — and thus being able to ‘correct' Srila Prabhupada — by claiming:

"I know how to read sastra [...] and Prabhupada wants me to be a spiritual adult, not an eternal little child that, you know, cannot do anything to help."
(HD "Darshan", 15/9/19)

But Srila Prabhupada states that, rather than thinking one is such a superior "spiritual adult", one should always remain a humble "foolish person" in front of one's guru:

"So better remain a foolish person perpetually to be directed by Guru Maharaja. That is perfection. And as soon as he learns the Guru Maharaja is dead, "Now I am so advanced that I can kill my guru and I become." Then he's finished."
(Srila Prabhupada, Room Conversation, 16/8/76)

This quote states that such a lack of humility results in one thinking that "I am so advanced that I can kill my guru" and become a guru oneself. This echoes Srila Prabhupada's warning in the quote given at the outset that learning Sanskrit will also lead to such a lack of humility, resulting in: "the policy is kill guru". And, HD is guilty on both counts: he is a guru hoaxer, having claimed that he has replaced Srila Prabhupada as ISKCON's diksa guru, and he thinks he is superior in Sanskrit translation to Srila Prabhupada.


Therefore, it is not that simply by learning Sanskrit HD automatically became authorised and qualified to complete the final cantos of the Srimad-Bhagavatam. Rather, Srila Prabhupada warned that such learning can simply lead one to become ‘more than guru and kill guru', instead of always remaining devoted to and humble before Srila Prabhupada. And due to his tendency to "correct" Srila Prabhupada, HD has perfectly demonstrated the truth of Srila Prabhupada's warning.

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