Nonsense Corner: Basu Ghosh Dasa


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 72, Vol 1, 2022, Interactive

This is a column in which we answer articles or statements that have been forwarded to us by our readers for rebutting.

In a recent interview on 13/2/22, ISKCON India leader Basu Ghosh Dasa ("BGD") presented the following quote from Srila Prabhupada:

"The disciples of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja are all Godbrothers, and although there are some differences of opinion, and although we are not acting conjointly, still every one of us is spreading this Krsna consciousness movement according to his own capacity and producing many disciples to spread it all over the world."
(SB, 4.28.31, purport)

And then BGD claimed about this quote:

"So, Prabhupada in the purport recognised that his Godbrothers were making disciples, that means he recognised them as bona fide, and that's an arrow in the heart of a bogus concoction called the rtvik system of initiation. A bogus concoction because Prabhupada 1600+ times used the words "disciplic succession". Succession means somebody succeeds"

1) Srila Prabhupada makes it clear at the beginning of the quote that "there are some differences of opinion" between the disciples of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja (SBST). Just a couple of these differences that Srila Prabhupada had with his Godbrothers are that:

"Actually amongst my Godbrothers no one is qualified to become acarya."
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, 18/4/74)

"But just after his [SBST's] passing away, his leading secretaries made plans, without authority, to occupy the post of acarya, and they split in two factions over who the next acarya would be. Consequently, both factions were asara, or useless, because they had no authority, having disobeyed the order of the spiritual master."
(Cc., Adi-lila, 12.8)

2) Srila Prabhupada then states that each Godbrother is "spreading this Krsna consciousness movement according to his own capacity". And Srila Prabhupada has commented directly about this "capacity" of his Godbrothers, using the example of a "cockroach":

"Not that three dozen acaryas in Mayapur; each one has a temple and a few dozen... Not few dozen – one dozen disciples; bring some rice and eat; they are acarya. [...] Collecting some money, taking to the holy place [...] In this way they are making livelihood, acaryas. They say, "Whatever is in our capacity, we are doing." The capacity means when they are speaking that the cockroach is as good a bird as the Garuda. Cockroach is also a bird and Garuda is also a bird."
(Srila Prabhupada, Room Conversation, 10/4/77)

3) Thus, even if Srila Prabhupada recognises that his Godbrothers were doing some sort of "preaching" and making disciples according "to their own capacity", this alone is not a direct comment on exactly how "bona fide" this activity was. To find out the answer to that question, we would need to read where Srila Prabhupada does directly comment on that, and we have given some of those quotes above.

4) Even if one wishes to argue that Srila Prabhupada's Godbrothers were bona fide, it does not in any case mean that it would be an "arrow" in the "rtvik system of initiation", because there is no connection between the two things. Even if his Gaudiya Matha Godbrothers were all bona fide, Srila Prabhupada could still also establish himself as the Founder and permanent Acarya for his own Society, ISKCON, which he did. Which means he is also the diksa guru, as established both by Srila Prabhupada and the GBC, as documented in the book: Srila Prabhupada: The Founder-Acarya of ISKCON – Presenting the Conclusions of the GBC Foundational Document. One does not preclude the other.

5) BGD also claims that Srila Prabhupada mentioning "1600+ times" the term "disciplic succession" means that Srila Prabhupada must be succeeded. However, Srila Prabhupada mentioned that succession must take place on the physical departure of the guru exactly "0" times. Srila Prabhupada mentioned that succession must take place within a certain time limit (as decreed by BGD or anyone else) also exactly "0" times. Hence, there is no evidence that Srila Prabhupada must be succeeded within a certain time period. Thus, the principle of the disciplic succession is still maintained by Srila Prabhupada having succeeded SBST and then remaining the Acarya of his own Society which exists for a limited time period. Ironically, as we show in the articles on pages 6 and 7, it is actually the GBC guru system that is violating the principle of disciplic succession.

GBC-elected guru HH Bhakti Vikasa Swami ("BVKS") also tries to use the Gaudiya Matha to attack Srila Prabhupada's rtvik initiation system:

"in Gaudiya Matha, the first attempt at guruship after Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, it resulted in turmoil, but no one thought, ‘OK, we'll all just take initiation from Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur'."
(BVKS Lecture, 3/1/22)

But in the Gaudiya Matha, SBST had not established a permanent rtvik initiation system, but rather ordered that:

"His (SBST) idea was "Let them manage; then whoever will be actual qualified for becoming acarya, they will elect.""
(Room Conversation, 21/9/1973)

Whereas, for ISKCON, Srila Prabhupada did institute a permanent rtvik initiation system.

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