The Ongoing Minimisation of Srila Prabhupada


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 65, Vol 1, 2020

The ISKCON guru "successors" to Srila Prabhupada claim in general to promote Srila Prabhupada's books. For example, GBC-elected guru HH Sivarama Swami ("SRS") claims that Srila Prabhupada's books are "one's life":

"one's life is based upon Srila Prabhupada's siksa and Srila Prabhupada's books".
(SRS, Podcast, 6/12/12)

His books become life

However, on his website, SRS promotes an appreciation titled "His books are my life", where a devotee states it is SRS's books, rather than Srila Prabhupada's, that are her "life"!:

"What I like the most is Maharaja's books. This book is my lifesaver [...] I worship these books. [...] I feel like with these books, yeah, maybe I have a chance to go back home back to Godhead".
("His books are my life", SRS website, 30/9/19)

In addition, despite Srila Prabhupada having written his magnificent KRSNA book, SRS promotes devotees preferring SRS's sahajiya books which give fictional "pastimes" involving Krsna (which we exposed in BTP 29):

"Sivarama Maharaja released Suddha-bhakti-cintamani [...] Sometimes devotees say that they became a devotee by reading Srila Prabhupada's books. My experience is that I remained a devotee by reading Sivarama Maharaja's books. [...] it is his books that are the things that give me the most strength and the most enthusiasm."
(SRS website, 26/8/18)

"Those books are the best [...] his book is the one for me."
(SRS website, 30/9/19)

Followers prefer guru's books

Similarly, a disciple of HH Hridayananda Dasa Goswami ("HD") states about HD's own Bhagavad-gita that:

"I understand Bhagavad-gita more now from reading your book, not in any way to minimize Srila Prabhupada's Bhagavad-gita, but just somehow the way you can speak to the Western audience, I just get it more."
(Vyasa-puja offering to HD, 15/9/19)

This, despite the fact that Srila Prabhupada's Bhagavad-gita was specifically written for the "Western audience". Another HD follower states about HD's translation of the Bhagavad-gita verses that:

"he gets it as they are. [...] Prabhupada's translations vary a little bit, but Maharaja does it word to word, so it's very interesting and enlightening [...] very nice, precise explanation of Bhagavad-gita and we are hoping to use it for one of our Bhakti-Vriksha groups."
(Introduction, HD class, ISKCON Phoenix, 1/12/19)

The follower plainly contrasts HD's verses with Srila Prabhupada's, claiming HD's are "interesting and enlightening", "precise", whereas Srila Prabhupada's "vary", and thus it is actually HD who gets them "as they are" – before concluding that HD's Bhagavad-gita has been chosen for study. Similarly, a disciple of ISKCON guru HH Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami ("SDG") claims that it was from SDG's book that he obtained superior understanding:

"Prior to reading Sri Caitanya daya [SDG book], I had a poor understanding of Lord Caitanya's mercy."
(Vyasa-puja offering to SDG, 7/12/19)

Misusing quotes

An HD disciple claims:

"So Prabhupada was always emphasizing the importance of books, and of course this is true, and we have in our midst Srila Acaryadeva is writing the most incredible books."
(Vyasa-puja offering to HD, 15/9/19)

The fact that Srila Prabhupada was "always emphasizing the importance of books" is used to refer to HD's books, but Srila Prabhupada was referring to his books, not anyone else's!:

"This mission has been established simply on the publishing and distribution of my books. So get them translated and published as soon as possible."
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, 26/7/75)

Similarly, SDG claims:

"Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati told Prabhupada that printing books was more important than building temples, he told Prabhupada to print books. I have followed in the footsteps of that instruction and dedicated my life to writing Krsna conscious literature."
(SDG Legacy website)

But Srila Prabhupada stated this instruction to only mean the printing of his books:

"This engladdens me when I see our literature very widely distributed. This was the subject matter of my Guru Maharaja's satisfaction. He liked to distribute books more than constructing temples. He personally advised me to print books if I have got some money. [...] Although in the beginning we had no such opportunity, but still I brought some books from India, and that was the foundation stone of our Krsna consciousness movement."
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, 27/9/73)

He never stated that this instruction means that SDG or anyone else should print their own competing books!

Zero sum situation

There is extensive output produced by the ISKCON gurus of their own teachings, which they are always pushing. For example, SDG's tape ministry has over 700 tapes, and he states:

"I have written over a hundred books [...] All of them are valuable and of interest to the growing numbers of Krsna conscious devotees."
(SDG Legacy website)

While ISKCON guru HH Bhakti Vikasa Swami's website has over 4,000 of his lectures, and so on. Our time in life is fixed. Therefore, we have a zero sum situation – time studying the rival gurus' extensive output automatically takes away the time available for studying Srila Prabhupada's books. And since the ISKCON gurus are covering the same subject matter as Srila Prabhupada's books, their output is not even required.


Srila Prabhupada stated that:

"There is no need by any of my disciples to read any books besides my books – in fact, such reading may be detrimental to their advancement in Krishna Consciousness."
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, 20/1/72)

Yet, Srila Prabhupada's books are being minimised due to these other books one is not even supposed to read. For, more and more, the study of Srila Prabhupada's books is being supplanted by competing output from the ISKCON gurus due to it being a zero sum game. And, more and more, this is leading to Srila Prabhupada's books being seen as inferior to these other books.

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