The Path of No Philosophy


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 65, Vol 1, 2020

In the previous article, we saw how those who believe in only-male diksa guru successors ("MDG") to Srila Prabhupada offered deviant philosophy. We will now see that their opponents, who support also having female successors ("FDG"), emphasise offering no philosophy. The GBC has commissioned a group called SABHA, "Spiritual Advisors Bhagavata Assembly", to advise it, and they were instrumental in the GBC approving FDG:

"The SABHA also discussed Vaishnavi Diksa gurus, another divisive issue in ISKCON, and presented a paper in support of them to the GBC. [...] this made a strong impact on the GBC's ultimate decision to approve Vaishnavi Diksa gurus in ISKCON."
(ISKCON News, 20/12/19)

As a member of SABHA, GBC-elected guru HG Mahatma Dasa ("MAD") stated in talks delivered between 19-21/10/19 that in regards to the GBC approving FDG –

"I will do my best to explain my understanding of the discussions the GBC had"

– and some of this is presented below in the shaded boxes, with emphases added.

Unattractive women reasoning

"one of the big concerns in letting someone become initiating guru [...] that they're not gonna fall away [...] So GBC decided that no woman under 55 [...] that keeps it kosher, [...] if she has male disciples her age but, generally at that point there's not much attraction and women are not that attractive at that age. [...] the liability is much more with men falling down into illicit sex than women"

It is explained that the GBC only allowed older female gurus, and that this will help in them not falling down as they are "not that attractive at that age". Thus, this "reasoning" is based on bodily considerations rather than philosophy. A reasoning that was not even necessary since Srila Prabhupada taught that a bona fide guru does not fall down anyway:

"A bona fide spiritual master is in the disciplic succession from time eternal, and he does not deviate at all from the instructions of the Supreme Lord"
(Bg., 4.42, purport)

Trial and error reasoning

"when you don't know what to do, whether it's right or wrong, then do it and you'll find out. [...] you wont know the answer until you do it"

MAD admits that they didn't know what to do, and therefore they should try it out and see what happens. Such a wayward approach is blind trial and error, rather than philosophical.

Comfort reasoning

"Of course in the West we all feel like, no, this is going to nourish ISKCON. People find out women can be gurus, women have a place in ISKCON, a comfortable place, then that will be good."

The need to attract people by accommodating material considerations based on comfort and position is advocated. However, Srila Prabhupada condemned attracting people based on material considerations:

"But one who joins with an ulterior purpose, to get material benefit or personal gratification, will never be able to grasp the philosophy of this movement."
(Cc., Adi-lila, 9.53, purport)

Geographical reasoning

"GBC has tried to do as best they could [...] they have said that every temple can decide whether or not they will allow female diksa gurus."

Clearly, this is not a decision based on philosophy, truth or Srila Prabhupada's orders, since the principles of Krsna consciousness do not vary from temple to temple! Either FDG are bona fide or they are not. If they are, then they should be allowed in every temple. And if they are not, then they should not be allowed in any temple. But, as with all the "reasoning" given above, it is based on mundane, rather than philosophical, considerations.

Pandering reasoning

"I don't just see it as a philosophical issue, I see it as a growth issue. How is ISKCON adapting to gender roles? [...] society keeps changing and then you have to keep adjusting, [...] the kids that are growing up now [...] how are we gonna adjust to them and adapt to them and how are we gonna explain our philosophy to them?"

It is admitted that one cannot base the decision regarding FDG on just philosophy. Rather, one must instead also consider the 'need' to adapt and pander to the ever-changing trends in society. Yet, such an approach is the opposite to that taught by Srila Prabhupada:

"Our process is to show Krishna consciousness as it is, not as others want to see it. [...] It is not that we should change to accommodate the public, but that we should change the public to accommodate us."
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, 28/12/71)

We are confused

It is freely admitted, just as we have stated, that they are confused about this issue:

"of course the whole guru issue was a problem from the day Prabhupada left, there was confusion about how to do that and so the fact that there's some confusion about female diksa gurus is, I think is natural and it's to be expected."

In addition, none of the "reasoning" above is the most obvious and important "reasoning" that needs to be considered: did Srila Prabhupada actually order that he be succeeded as the diksa guru of ISKCON. Yet, that is the only reasoning that is relevant. And, if Srila Prabhupada had done this, then it would have been instantly clear whom he had ordered to succeed him. But, because Srila Prabhupada gave no such order for succession, the issue of whom he ordered to succeed him does not even arise. Hence, this is why the movement's leadership is unable to state clearly who should succeed Srila Prabhupada, and instead is confused and divided down the middle. Because there was no succession order, period.


Thus, rather than follow the deviant philosophy of the MDG group, or the largely no philosophy of the FDG group, we need to instead follow the philosophy of Srila Prabhupada. And he taught that we must keep him as ISKCON's diksa guru, since he never authorised any successors to take his position in ISKCON. Therefore, as this and the previous article have shown, those trying to replace him from either camp do not present Srila Prabhupada's orders authorising such succession.


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