Diksa Guru Wars Come to a Head


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 74, Vol. 3, 2022

We have written previously about the "Diksa Guru Wars" that have engulfed ISKCON. These wars refer to a fight over just how many people in ISKCON can steal for themselves the disciples which are actually meant for Srila Prabhupada, since he is ISKCON's only authorised diksa guru. One side, led by ISKCON India, argues that only half of the population – men – can engage in such thievery. The other side, led by the GBC, however, believes in having equal-opportunity thievery, and thus argues that women should also be allowed to join in the thievery.

Until now, the war had largely been theoretical in that no female diksa guru actually existed. But this has now changed forever, since on 19/8/22, HG Narayani Devi Dasi initiated her first disciple as an official GBC voted-in diksa guru. In anticipation of this event, just 11 days earlier, the ICC (India Continental Committee, a body that represents ISKCON India) and the IIAC (ISKCON India Advisory Committee) wrote a letter to the GBC in which they vigorously opposed the GBC's implementation of female diksa gurus ("FDG"). All quotes in shaded boxes are taken from this letter which was published on 8/8/22. All emphases added.

No sastric proof

The ICC and IIAC (together, henceforward, ISKCON India's leaders, "IIL") complain that FDG is not authorised by sastra:

"There is no sanction in Vedic literature for any of this. You have made it up. [...] You have not proven – to the satisfaction of the leaders of ISKCON India – from shastras, that women diksha guru is a bona fide concept."

However, one leader of the anti-FDG campaign, HH Bhakti Vikasa Swami ("BVKS"), has accepted that the GBC diksa guru system by which males also become diksa gurus ("MDG"), with multiple diksa gurus being created via a GBC vote, is also not found anywhere in sastra:

"It may be said, where in the sastra does it say that a guru can be selected by a committee? Well, we should understand also that this idea of having an International Society of multiple gurus, it is something new"
(BVKS Lecture, "Guru Issues, Part 15", 28/2/22)

He then goes on to highlight this lack of sastric support for MDG by even offering a reason for why MDG is not supported by sastra, claiming that it is because:

"sastra doesn't cover every conceivable situation that will ever happen in eternity throughout the material world"
(BVKS Lecture, "Guru Issues, Part 15", 28/2/22)

IIL fully support and follow this GBC MDG system. Thus, IIL may argue that FDG has no "sastric" support. But neither does their own MDG system, according to one of the prominent leaders of the anti-FDG camp and someone who is also an MDG.

In addition, we can note that the very root of this multi-diksa guru system required that successor diksa gurus first came into being in ISKCON by being authorised not as diksa gurus but as rtvik priests (otherwise known as the Great Guru Hoax Part 1). And no one has even attempted to offer "sastric" proof that this magic ‘rtvik-to-diksa-guru' transmogrification system is an authorised method by which one becomes a diksa guru.

Hence, by their own standard of requiring "sastric" proof for something before it can be accepted as being bona fide, IIL should also reject the MDG which they follow. This would then mean that Srila Prabhupada would continue to remain as ISKCON's diksa guru, because then the GBC diksa guru system, whether for males or females, could not be used to replace Srila Prabhupada as ISKCON's diksa guru, as is being done currently.

Srila Prabhupada is diksa guru

IIL continue to admonish the GBC:

"In your zeal to create female diksha-gurus, you have invented a way around the actual sanction from Vedic literature, thereby falsifying Srila Prabhupada's statement [...] the GBC is not the authority to change what Srila Prabhupada wrote in the purport to SB 4.12.32"

This purport to SB 4.12.32 that IIL references to support their anti-FDG position states:

"According to sastric injunctions, there is no difference between siksa-guru and diksa-guru, and generally the siksa-guru later on becomes the diksa-guru. Suniti, however, being a woman, and specifically his mother, could not become Dhruva Maharaja's diksa-guru".

1) However, this quote states that "generally the siksa-guru later on becomes the diksa-guru". And it is not disputed by either side involved in the FDG debate that Srila Prabhupada is "the preeminent and compulsory siksa-guru" for all ISKCON members (GBC Resolution No. 409.1, 1999). Which would mean by this same quote that the standard or general system in ISKCON should be for Srila Prabhupada to be the diksa guru. And, thus, the question of FDG or MDG does not even arise.

2) But IIL (and the GBC) argue that, rather than the siksa guru generally becoming the diksa guru, "the siksa guru never becomes the diksa guru", contrary to what the quote states, unless a special qualification is first satisfied. And that qualification is that the siksa guru must be physically present. But, not only does Srila Prabhupada not teach this special siksa guru qualification, this same quote actually states that "there is no difference between siksa-guru and diksa-guru". Thus, although ILL accuse the GBC of "falsifying Srila Prabhupada's statement" and "changing what Srila Prabhupada wrote" in regard to this quote, they have also done the same!

Following in the IRM's footsteps

IIL threaten that the GBC's pushing forward with the implementation of FDG will "lead to a call for separation from the GBC", and thus take "the movement on the path of schism", and that the GBC being:

"Unable to convince our reps of the validity of women diksha gurus is obviously an unwanted and unacceptable imposition."

IIL thus state that it is a proper course of action to reject the GBC if the GBC cannot philosophically convince devotees of its philosophical position. Which is exactly what the IRM has stated for decades regarding the GBC's MDG (and potential FDG) system. Yet, because IIL follow MDG, they themselves have hypocritically attacked us for daring to reject the GBC's and IIL's authority in respect of MDG, just as they are now doing in regard to FDG!


In challenging the GBC over who has the right to steal Srila Prabhupada's disciples, IIL have clearly exposed themselves as also being no different to the GBC in regard to engaging in unauthorised, non-sastric thieving.

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