Getting It Wrong, All the Time


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 75, Vol. 4, 2022

In the Editorial, we saw that one of the reasons that ISKCON can't get things "right" is because of their refusal to accept the POP ("Prabhupada-Only Paradigm") or only Srila Prabhupada's actual verified instructions. The consequences of such an approach is that, rather than following Srila Prabhupada's actual orders, one will take shelter in "stories" about what Srila Prabhupada supposedly taught, which then actually leads to deviating from Srila Prabhupada's orders. Below we will provide proof of this.

All quotes in shaded boxes are from a lecture given by GBC voted-in guru HG Mahatma Dasa ("MAD") on 21/8/22. All emphases added.

Don't follow Prabhupada's words

"In Prabhupada's books, in Prabhupada's lectures, he's representing a line of disciplic succession, and you can see that as a teacher he's perfectly, his consciousness, his duty is to represent it, and you can see that in his books, he's always quoting some reference, right, some sloka to back it up. That's what he's doing, but [...] if you just listen to the lecture [...] it can make Prabhupada seem very conservative and narrow-minded."

MAD agrees that Srila Prabhupada's books and lectures are "perfectly" representing the disciplic succession, and backed up with sastric references. MAD claims, however, that such a presentation is a problem because it can make Srila Prabhupada seem "narrow-minded".

"when you read Lilamrta, you see how he applies instructions which sometimes are completely opposite than what you would think by hearing the class [...] So, that's why those books [authored by others about Srila Prabhupada] are so important. Otherwise, you'll misunderstand Prabhupada. [...] you'll therefore misunderstand his books and his teachings."

MAD therefore states that instead one must understand Srila Prabhupada not from his actual recorded, verified teachings (POP), but from "stories" about Srila Prabhupada told by others, such as the "Lilamrta" or the so-called "biography" of Srila Prabhupada written by Satsvarupa Dasa. Otherwise, just relying on Srila Prabhupada's own words alone will lead us to misunderstand him. Thus, MAD proposes that:

Read Srila Prabhupada = misunderstand him;
Not read Srila Prabhupada = understand him.

Such a claim is obviously ludicrous, particularly given that MAD himself and thousands of his Godbrothers took to Krsna consciousness solely on the basis of Srila Prabhupada's books – most having no physical contact with Srila Prabhupada personally and before any biographies about Srila Prabhupada were even written. And that his claim is ludicrous will now be proven by the very "evidence" MAD puts forward to try to justify his proposition.

False example - 1

"if you read Prabhupada's books it pretty much looks like if you're the wife you should do everything your husband says, even if he's crazy. It basically looks like that. As long as he follows the regulative principles, whatever he tells you to do, jump off a building and so forth, do it."

MAD claims that Srila Prabhupada's books advocate that a wife should even follow a husband who is "crazy". However:

1) MAD provides no quote from Srila Prabhupada's books stating that a wife should follow a "crazy" husband.

2) If we actually consult Srila Prabhupada's books, he states that:

"Specifically, if one is not a soul surrendered to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he is understood to be contaminated. Thus a chaste woman is advised not to agree to serve such a husband."
(SB, 7.11.28, purport)

Thus, a wife is advised to not follow a husband unless he is surrendered. Nor has Srila Prabhupada stated that only following the regulative principles alone constitutes such surrender to Krsna. Nor would there be any question of such a person, if he was actually surrendered, being "crazy":

"as soon as we are fixed up in Krsna consciousness, our craziness is vanished. Yes."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, 19/12/66)

False example - 2

"what does it say in the books? Well, ‘better remain brahmacari' [...] after 100 brahmacarya verses you'll find, ‘Well, in Kali-yuga it's safer to be married'. So it's there in the books but not always obvious."

MAD claims that one would not easily understand from Srila Prabhupada's books alone that married life is advisable in Kali-yuga (current degraded age). However, again, if we actually consult Srila Prabhupada's books, we will see that MAD's claim is untrue. In regard to his books, Srila Prabhupada makes it clear that we should first read his Bhagavad-gita As It Is, as this is the "preliminary A-B-C-D" book of spiritual life (Room Conversation, 16/1/76). And, the very first time "brahmacari" is mentioned, married life is endorsed:

"The four divisions of human life, namely the brahmacari, the grhastha, the vanaprastha, and the sannyasi, are all meant to help men become perfect yogis or transcendentalists. [...] the four orders of human life are so arranged that one may become perfect in spiritual life."
(Bg., 4.26, purport)

The next time brahmacari is mentioned, Srila Prabhupada goes further stating that married life is the same as brahmacari life:

"One who, however, follows the rules and regulations of married life, having sexual relationship only with his wife (and that also under regulation), is also called brahmacari."
(Bg., 6.13-14, purport)

And the third time brahmacari is mentioned, Srila Prabhupada also does not conclude that it is "better to remain brahmacari" in this age:

"at the moment such brahmacari (unmarried celibate) life is not at all possible."
(Bg., 8.11, purport)

Thus, Srila Prabhupada's teachings regarding the brahmacarya and married life are actually very clear from the outset.


It is conclusively proven that:

1) We can understand Srila Prabhupada from Srila Prabhupada.

2) Trying to understand Srila Prabhupada any other way actually leads to deviant conclusions about Srila Prabhupada's teachings.

And, thus, we have a perfect case study to perfectly illustrate how not following POP will continue to lead ISKCON's leaders to misunderstand and deviate from Srila Prabhupada's teachings.

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