No Change for Srila Prabhupada in ISKCON


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 67, Vol 3, 2020

Below we shall see ISKCON leaders attesting to how Srila Prabhupada's position and availability in ISKCON remain unchanged. All emphases added.

Presence unchanged

"the reality is Prabhupada and Krishna, and they're still here, just like they always were. [...] Prabhupada once wrote [...] ‘you're not seeing the actual form of the guru. The guru is not an external form.' [...] you are not seeing the real movements of the guru.' "
(Hridayananda Dasa Goswami ("HD") talk, 7/8/20)

ISKCON guru HD makes it clear that Srila Prabhupada's physical disappearance is completely irrelevant. Rather, he is present in exactly the same way as he was present even when he was physically present. HD therefore adds that –

"I mean nothing serious has changed, the external form is not there but Prabhupada is there [...] I'm going to serve Prabhupada, because he is present"

– again emphasising the message of "no change" in regards to Srila Prabhupada's actual presence, even though he may not be present physically. HD is thus making the very important point that Srila Prabhupada's spiritual presence is not impacted by his lack of physical presence, and the latter is of no relevance in terms of anyone in ISKCON being able to interact with and serve Srila Prabhupada in the same way as when he was physically present.

Availability not changed

GBC member Anuttama Dasa has gone even further and stated in an interview published on 17/10/20:

1) We can listen better to Srila Prabhupada now:

"anybody can go back and listen to those same lectures the same way I was able to listen to those lectures. They can probably listen to them better than we did because I can remember sitting in a very crowded room and looking around and you know half the people were struggling to stay awake, even though Srila Prabhupada was right there".

2) There's more opportunity for Srila Prabhupada's association now:

"there's more opportunity for you to have Prabhupada's association than there was for us. Because even, let's say I was a devotee in the early days [...] Prabhupada would come through once in a while and you could hear stories, but there were no, the lectures weren't all recorded and distributed everywhere in the world as they are now, the videos hadn't been resourced as they have now [...] So you have a better chance of really going deep and studying Prabhupada [...] the opportunity to associate with Prabhupada is really, it's increasing, it's not decreasing. It's increasing."

Thus, there is no change to Srila Prabhupada's availability, accessibility and association now, even though he may not be physically present (if anything, it has only increased!).

Position unchanged

"immanent in the life of each and every ISKCON devotee – a perpetual, indwelling active guiding and directing presence. He is thus the soul of ISKCON. As such, Srila Prabhupada himself continues to act effectively in this world so long as ISKCON continues as the coherent expression and unified instrument of his will. In this way Srila Prabhupada remains the soul of ISKCON, and ISKCON his body."
(Srila Prabhupada: The Founder-Acarya of ISKCON, p. 47)

The above statement comes from a document issued by the GBC, which they called a "foundational document" for ISKCON. The statement makes clear that Srila Prabhupada will continue to act in ISKCON always in the same way. Thus, his position in ISKCON, as its soul, acting fully in the life of every ISKCON devotee, will never change.

No change position

The IRM has a position paper titled The No Change in ISKCON Paradigm (NCIP), published by Columbia University Press, (and available here:, which states ISKCON was meant to run unchanged from how it was run when Srila Prabhupada was physically present. It was a presentation made to the GBC in 1999 based on this NCIP paper that caused the GBC to immediately issue a resolution in which they again rejected Srila Prabhupada's position as ISKCON's diksa guru, which they said was being proposed: "under the name of 'tradition' and 'no change'" (GBC Resolution, 303, 1999).

Yet, the above ISKCON leader statements echo the same "no change" position, and if Srila Prabhupada's accessibility, function and position in ISKCON remain unchanged, then so of course does his position as ISKCON's diksa guru.

Spiritually authorised

1) Since Srila Prabhupada is always present in ISKCON in the same way, then there obviously is no spiritual reason why Srila Prabhupada cannot remain ISKCON's diksa guru. Especially since ISKCON leaders preach that not only did nothing change on Srila Prabhupada's departure, but we are actually now better situated to connect to him. And Srila Prabhupada teaches that the process of diksa depends on receiving knowledge rather than the physical presence of the diksa guru:

"This is the purpose of diksa, or initiation. Initiation means receiving the pure knowledge of spiritual consciousness."
(Cc., Madhya-lila, 9.61, purport)

Thus, one cannot argue that Srila Prabhupada physically disappearing means he cannot possibly be ISKCON's diksa guru, or that he can only be the siksa guru.

2) It is argued that even Rupa Goswami is "spiritually present", but this does not mean that he can be our diksa guru, because that would mean "jumping over". Yes, this is correct, but that is because we would be jumping over Srila Prabhupada, who is the current link in the disciplic succession! Srila Prabhupada acted as the current link for ISKCON in 1977, and it has been admitted that Srila Prabhupada's spiritual position, part of which is being the current link in the disciplic succession, has not changed since his physical disappearance. Thus, his position as the current link also does not change.


1) ISKCON's leaders continue to insist that Srila Prabhupada is fully available to everyone in ISKCON in the same way as he was when he was physically present.
2) Thus, Srila Prabhupada is also available to everyone in ISKCON as the diksa guru just as he was when he was physically present.

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