GBC’s Chief Advisor Explains Guru Hoax


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 69, Vol 2, 2021

The GBC's Sastric Advisory Council ("SAC") is a body of "senior, trusted and proven brahmanas that offers input to the GBC Body according to scripture, philosophy and realization" (GBC Resolution 604, 2002). The Chair of this GBC advisory body is Urmila Devi Dasi ("UDD"), and thus she is effectively the GBC's seniormost advisor. In an interview on 27/2/21, UDD revealed that the GBC guru system in ISKCON is a hoax. All emphases added.

We have a guru hoax

"Srila Prabhupada spoke on so many things. If Srila Prabhupada wanted us to have the kind of authorization system that we have, which has changed, I think, at least 15 times since 1978 – which in itself indicates something – he would have said so, but he never did."

UDD speaks here of the GBC-authorised guru system which exists in ISKCON, stating:

1) This GBC guru system is unauthorised because Srila Prabhupada did not order it.
2) The fact that it has always been changing since Srila Prabhupada's physical departure is indicative of this lack of authorisation.

UDD states that the GBC admit they just "figured out" and created the guru system themselves because Srila Prabhupada did not give it:

"And it's like, well, we're just supposed to figure that out. [...] Why would Prabhupada have left something that crucial for us to figure out? [...] they'll say "Well, Prabhupada didn't instruct us how to do it." [...] they're thinking, "Well, it has to be centralized and bureaucratic [...] Prabhupada didn't give it, we have to create it." "

Guilty of cover-ups

UDD also points out what a failure the concocted GBC guru system has been:

"we've already had a lot of bogus gurus, you know [...] when your fallen guru is an "authorized ISKCON diksa guru" it makes the whole GBC look bad, it makes all of ISKCON look bad. It makes the GBC very reticent to correct that person or expose that person, so you'll have cover-ups going on for 10, 15 years, which is much worse than whatever falldown the person did."

UDD accuses the GBC of covering up guru falldowns for periods of over a decade, a deceit that we have covered in past BTP issues. Such deceit, she states, is worse than the falldown itself, and is caused by the need to support the GBC's unauthorised guru system.

The solution

Having exposed the current guru system in ISKCON as being unauthorised, UDD then explains what Srila Prabhupada did authorise:

"maybe the whole premise is wrong. Maybe it doesn't have to be centralized and bureaucratic at all. Prabhupada says the system is whoever is the siksa guru becomes the diksa guru generally."

Yes, this is Srila Prabhupada's statement:

"generally the siksa guru later on becomes the diksa guru."
(SB, 4.12.32, purport)

And she explains that Srila Prabhupada is this siksa guru for everyone in ISKCON as it is his instructions that sustain the movement:

"Membership in ISKCON is much, much, much, much more about whether we take Srila Prabhupada as our preeminent siksa guru [...] One of the main functions of the GBCs and the temple presidents is to preach Prabhupada's message without deviation from official ISKCON centers, to widely print and distribute Srila Prabhupada's books and lectures and conversations"

UDD states that the siksa guru for everyone in ISKCON, who is "preeminent" – which means "above all others" – is Srila Prabhupada. Thus, the siksa guru that generally becomes the diksa guru, for ISKCON, must be Srila Prabhupada – as he is the supreme or main siksa guru who is "above all other" potential siksa gurus.

No order from Srila Prabhupada

However, unfortunately, instead of concluding that Srila Prabhupada should continue to remain everyone's diksa guru, UDD then succumbs to the same thing she accuses the GBC of doing: proposing something not based on a specific order from Srila Prabhupada. She proposes a "free-for-all" succession theory:

"You just don't have any official ISKCON diksa gurus [...] Take diksa from whoever you want to take diksa. [...] let the disciple judge because scripturally that's where it should be, that's what Srila Prabhupada explains."

But UDD doesn't cite any order from Srila Prabhupada where he states he was to be succeeded as the diksa guru of his movement, and thus the system for succession becomes irrelevant. She tries to justify her free-for-all theory with the following reference from Srila Prabhupada:

"Prabhupada talks about having hundreds of thousands of gurus"

However, this does not talk about successor diksa gurus, but assistant siksa gurus operating alongside Srila Prabhupada:

"we require hundreds and thousands of gurus. But not cheaters. This is the time when required hundreds and thousands of gurus."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, 7/4/76)

Because the above order was meant to be acted on immediately whilst Srila Prabhupada was still acting as the diksa guru in ISKCON, since the order states "This is the time". Srila Prabhupada does not state that "we will require" these gurus only sometime in the future 'if I have given up acting as the diksa guru of ISKCON, and also physically departed.'

Hence, UDD is also not following the "Srila Prabhupada would have said so" standard that she accused the GBC of not following, since she does not produce a specific diksa guru succession order from Srila Prabhupada.

No order from Srila Prabhupada

Another example of UDD not producing an order from Srila Prabhupada is her claiming that a bona fide diksa guru can fall down:

"If your diksa guru has had trouble you take shelter of a siksa guru and you go on with life, according to our tradition."

She supports this fallen diksa guru system by invoking what she claims is "tradition", rather than the "Srila Prabhupada would have said so" standard that she demands from the GBC. Indeed, Srila Prabhupada actually teaches the opposite of what UDD puts forward:

"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)


UDD correctly exposes the GBC's guru system as a hoax. However, she proposes an equally unauthorised alternative.

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