Using Authorisation for Deviation - 2


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 67, Vol 3, 2020

In the previous article, we saw how a bona fide instruction from Srila Prabhupada can be used through unauthorised expansion to lead to deviation. Below, we present another example of this, whereby the deviation leads to directly competing with Srila Prabhupada. All quotes in the shaded boxes are from an interview with GBC voted-in guru and "Book Changer" HH Jayadvaita Swami ("JAS") published on 28/5/20. All emphases added.

Authorised writing

JAS states that Srila Prabhupada wanted everyone to write, and this was to be done through writing articles for Back To Godhead (BTG), ISKCON's official magazine:

"And Prabhupada wanted it. He said, ‘All of my, just my students, I want all of my students to write.' He said, ‘What is this Back To Godhead for? That's one of the purposes, so that the devotees will write.' And he said, ‘Write your realization'. He said, ‘It doesn't matter, two lines, four lines, every day write something.'"

JAS is correct in stating this as we see from Srila Prabhupada's statement below:

"you should write, every one of you, what is your realization. What for this Back To Godhead is? You write your realization"
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, 14/8/72)

Not competing books

However, Srila Prabhupada did not authorise us to write books which would just end up competing with Srila Prabhupada's books for the time and attention of devotees. Srila Prabhupada did not give any such order for book writing. Rather, as stated above, Srila Prabhupada directs devotees to simply channel their desire for writing via writing articles for BTG, rather than writing books:

"Regarding your proposal of writing a book [...] better you should utilize this God given talent for writing articles for our Back to Godhead."
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, 15/7/69)

"Regarding your writing, this is very much wanted, but I think that it is better if you write articles, not books. Write articles that can be printed in our Back to Godhead magazine. That will be very nice."
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, 26/5/75)

In regards to book writing, we may also note the following:

"Unless one is fully qualified in Vaisnava behavior and authorized by superior authority (the Supreme Personality of Godhead), one cannot write Vaisnava literatures or purports and commentaries on Srimad-Bhagavatam and Bhagavad-gita."
(Cc., Madhya-lila, 24.326, purport)

JAS expands into deviation

However, JAS then goes on to unauthorisedly expand this general order to write only for BTG, into a general order to write books:

"And he encouraged his followers to write books."

However, JAS does not produce any such order from Srila Prabhupada where he generally asks his disciples "to write books". Indeed, we saw above Srila Prabhupada stating the contrary.

"Satsvarupa Maharaja, he published that book, Readings in Vedic Literature, Prabhupada encouraged that. Svarupa Damodara Maharaja, Krishna the Supreme Scientist, Prabhupada encouraged that. And so he wanted it to go on."

Consistent with the instructions above, Srila Prabhupada appreciated this one book from Satsvarupa by stating that his ability in this regard was to be channelled by working for BTG:

"I beg to thank you for your letter dated March 25, 1977 along with the copy of "Readings in Vedic Literature.'' [...] Everyone has appreciated the substance of your book. [...] Therefore I have sent you to Los Angeles for being the editor of Back To Godhead."
(Srila Prabhupada Letter to Satsvarupa, 17/4/77)

And Srila Prabhupada had already separately authorised Svarupa Damodara Maharaja and others in the scientific Bhaktivedanta Institute (BI) to specifically write literature that presents Krsna consciousness from a scientific angle.

But there is no recorded statement from Srila Prabhupada stating he wanted Vaisnava book writing "to go on" as JAS claims.

Thus, JAS has deviated by jumping from specific, authorised examples to claiming they constitute a general Vaisnava book writing order for ISKCON.

No such order

The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust (BBT) was established as a vehicle for generally publishing Srila Prabhupada's books:

"Directing and managing all publicity and distribution of my books;
Processing all copyrights and legal rights to my books;
Allocating funds as they see fit to ISKCON Press and directing the operation of the activities of ISKCON Press in the printing and reprinting of said books."

(BBT Agreement, 29/5/72)

JAS states that Srila Prabhupada directed the BBT to publish the two books mentioned in the previous section:

"It published Satsvarupa's Readings in Vedic Literature, it published Svarupa Damodara Maharaja's Krishna the Supreme Scientist, at Prabhupada's request [...] in terms of Prabhupada's direction, he wanted his disciples to write and he wanted BBT to publish writings by others."

However, JAS has again deviated by jumping from the publication of specific books, personally approved by Srila Prabhupada, to claiming there exists a general order from Srila Prabhupada directing the BBT to "publish writings by others". But JAS does not produce such an order. And JAS's statements reveal that such a general order would not even be necessary by claiming:

"he wanted his disciples to write and he wanted BBT to publish writings by others."

Because, as we saw above, Srila Prabhupada did not generally authorise his disciples to write Vaisnava books, and thus the need for the BBT to publish these non-existent books does not even arise!


JAS has not produced any orders from Srila Prabhupada either directing his disciples to write Vaisnava books or for the BBT to publish them. Nor does Srila Prabhupada approving specific books constitute such orders. We cannot expand Srila Prabhupada authorising one thing to deviate into claiming he authorised something else entirely.

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