A Challenge to the ICC


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 70, Vol 3, 2021

As mentioned in the previous article, Basu Ghosh Dasa ("BGD") is a person who has taken the lead on behalf of the ICC (Indian Continental Committee, a body that represents ISKCON India), in fighting for the closure of the GBC's case against HH Lokanath Swami ("LOK"). As well as being a leading member of the ICC, BGD is also the Vice Chairman of the ISKCON Bureau, which is the legal entity that controls all of ISKCON India. On 9/7/21, the ICC held a meeting, at which BGD referred to the July 9th, 1977 directive, in which Srila Prabhupada authorised rtviks to initiate on his behalf, and BGD claimed:

"there's just one letter, which those old timers, you know, like us, Prabhupada disciples, we know that was because Prabhupada was ill, and he couldn't give initiations"

BGD is therefore claiming that due to being a "Prabhupada disciple", he knows that the July 9th, 1977 directive was issued only because, due to illness, Srila Prabhupada "couldn't give initiations". (The directive was not "just one letter", as in written to one person, but well over a hundred letters, as it was sent to every GBC and temple president in the movement). All emphases added below.

What directive states

1) There is no mention anywhere in the directive that it was being issued because Srila Prabhupada "couldn't give initiations".

2) Rather, the directive was issued:

"for the purpose of performing initiations, both first initiation and second initiation" with those initiated becoming: "disciples of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad".

3) The directive also states:

"After the Temple President receives a letter from these representatives giving the spiritual name or the thread, he can perform the fire yajna in the temple as was being done before."

a) Thus, the previous system of someone else conducting the initiation ceremony was supposed to be continued in the same way. Hence, Srila Prabhupada did not introduce the directive because he was supposedly unable to perform the initiation ceremony and thus was now setting up a new substitute system for someone else to perform it.

b) Therefore, the fact that Srila Prabhupada's illness could have prevented him from physically conducting initiation ceremonies did not mean that Srila Prabhupada "couldn't give initiations", nor was the directive written to address this situation.

Thus, the directive does not support BGD's allegation that it was written because Srila Prabhupada "couldn't give initiations".

Srila Prabhupada's rejection

In a July 7th, 1977 conversation, just 2 days before the July 9th, 1977 directive was issued, HH Tamala Krsna Goswami ("TKG") asked Srila Prabhupada:

"the spiritual master takes on the... You know, he takes on the... He has to cleanse the disciple by... So we don't want that you should have to... Your health is not so good, so that should not be... That's why we've been asking everybody to wait. I just want to know if we should continue to wait some more time."
Srila Prabhupada: "No, the senior sannyasis"

TKG specifically asks Srila Prabhupada if, due to this illness, they should stop the process of Srila Prabhupada accepting disciples. Srila Prabhupada states, "No", adding that it should continue via the use of "senior sannyasis", who are the rtviks named in the July 9th, 1977 directive. The conversation continues:

TKG: "Some devotees are writing you now for second initiation, and I'm writing them to wait a while because you're not well. So can I continue to tell them that?"
Srila Prabhupada: "They can do second initiation."
TKG: "By writing you."
Srila Prabhupada: "No. These men."

Therefore, Srila Prabhupada here is giving a double rejection:

1) He not only rejects the proposal that initiations should be stopped due to his ill health.
2) But he also rejects TKG's reasoning for such a stoppage – that the process of taking disciples would cause an additional burden on Srila Prabhupada's health.

Thus, the claim that Srila Prabhupada could not give initiations because of his health is rejected by Srila Prabhupada, since he wanted to continue giving initiations despite his health.

BGD states opposite

Hence, from every possible angle, BGD's argument that the July 9th, 1977 directive was issued because Srila Prabhupada "couldn't give initiations" is conclusively proven false by Srila Prabhupada's own statements, orders and action, and BGD is actually claiming the exact opposite of what the directive states. Thus, the directive was actually written so that Srila Prabhupada could continue to give initiations just as he was already doing, since other than giving a name and dictating a standard acceptance letter (which he could still do since he had not lost the power of speech), his involvement was in any case minimal. The only change now was that the initiations could continue without Srila Prabhupada needing to be involved at all, and thus continue after Srila Prabhupada physically departed.

BGD has a habit of claiming the exact opposite of what is stated in the July 9th, 1977 directive. For, as we documented in BTP 65, "Female Diksa Guru Confusion Continues", BGD claimed that "as per" the July 9th, 1977 directive, it was actually appointing "guru", though the directive states the opposite, that only rtviks, rather than gurus, were appointed, with those initiated being:

"disciples of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad, the above eleven senior devotees acting as His representative."


The directive and Srila Prabhupada's statements prove that there is no aspect of Srila Prabhupada's health which prevented him from giving initiations – whether performing initiation ceremonies, or actually accepting disciples. Thus, the directive was not written because Srila Prabhupada couldn't give initiations due to being ill. Therefore, we ask if there are any honest persons in the ICC who are willing to read the July 9th, 1977 directive and Srila Prabhupada's instructions for themselves, and are thus willing to accept that at least on this point, BGD has clearly made a false statement – despite his being a "Prabhupada disciple".

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