The "Abominable Action" Verse


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 69, Vol 2, 2021, Interactive

"In the Bhagavad-gita it is clearly stated that:
"Even if one commits the most abominable actions, if he is engaged in devotional service, he is to be considered saintly because he is properly situated."
(Verse 9.30)
Thus, given this clear statement, does this not mean that "even the most abominable action", never mind a one-off "fall-down" that an ISKCON guru engages in, should be forgiven and instead they should be considered saintly and properly situated, as stated above?"
- J. Patel, London, UK

Editor replies:

This is a very common argument that has been used to defend the gross sensual "falldowns" and other similar deviant activities by the GBC successor gurus in ISKCON, and therefore we shall answer it comprehensively.

1) In regards to the position of the person this verse refers to, that is, one who commits such an "abominable action", the verse and purport state:

a) He is "unflinchingly and exclusively engaged in devotional service".
b) He is "wholeheartedly engaged in the transcendental service of the Supreme Lord".
c) Therefore, he is considered to be still "properly situated".

2) However, as proven repeatedly by statements from both Srila Prabhupada and ISKCON's leaders, and printed in our many literatures such as BTP Special Issue, BTP ISKCON Leader's Issue, The Final Order, The "Founder-Acarya" book, etc., Srila Prabhupada:

a) Established himself as the Acarya and diksa guru of ISKCON;
b) Did not subsequently give up this position and authorise a successor or successors to take his position in ISKCON.

3) Consequently, the above verse cannot refer to one who is situated permanently as a full-time unauthorised GBC successor guru to Srila Prabhupada. Because such an activity constitutes usurping the position of Srila Prabhupada, rather than the "exclusive" performance of "transcendental devotional service" to Lord Krsna.

4) Instead, the purport to the above verse from the Bhagavad-gita explains that the "abominable" action refers specifically:

a) To an "accidental" falldown.
b) To a "temporary" falldown.
c) It involves having to engage in activities of "conditional" life which are necessary for "protecting the body or abiding by rules of society and state".
d) The falldown is sometimes "abominable socially or politically".
e) This "accidental" falldown is "from the path of a saintly character".

Hence, such a falldown is very limited and specific, and does not refer to a permanent philosophical deviation, such as usurping the position of Srila Prabhupada as a GBC successor guru. For such an act is not "accidental", "temporary", necessarily "abominable socially or politically", or engaged in for "protecting the body or abiding by rules of society and state". Nor is it a falldown "from the path of a saintly character", because a person who is situated as an usurper is not on a saintly path to begin with.

5) Therefore, before we can even consider whether this verse allows one to "excuse" the gross sensual "falldowns" of ISKCON GBC gurus, one would have to first prove that acting as such a guru constitutes "transcendental devotional service", rather than unauthorisedly usurping Srila Prabhupada's position, as established in point 1) above. Only after such a thing is established would the question of then seeing if the verse could apply to such "falldowns" by such gurus even arise. Otherwise, one would have to argue that though being an unauthorised guru usurper is not considered to be "saintly" and "properly situated", if he were to then engage in gross deviation – then he would suddenly be considered to be saintly and situated properly since the above verse would apply to his gross deviant acts. In effect, one would be arguing that it was his gross sensual deviant acts that are what turned him from being not saintly and not properly situated, to now being saintly and properly situated! Such a proposition would be a completely absurd contradiction.

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