The Jackass and Clown Show


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

We reported in the BTP 72 article, ""Jackass" Guru-Tattva", GBC voted-in guru HH Bhakti Brnga Govinda Swami accepting that the diksa guru can be a "jackass". Not to be outdone, GBC voted-in guru HH Sivarama Swami ("SRS") claimed:

"that Saksad-dhari, you just can't get around Saksad-dhari, otherwise why are we chanting it every morning [...] And you are the representative. If someone is empowered to be the ambassador of a certain country, it doesn't matter whether he's a clown, whether he's anything, but if he's the ambassador, he's the ambassador, and he represents that country."
(SRS, International Disciple Meeting, 12/8/22)

Referring to the Sri Gurvastakam prayers which are chanted to the spiritual master every morning in ISKCON, SRS mentions that the prayers state that the guru is "Saksad-hari", or to be regarded "as good as God". And, using the analogy of an ambassador of a country, SRS goes on to claim that as the guru is the representative for God, such recognition needs to be given even if the guru or ambassador were to be a "clown".

Who is Saksad-hari?

At the same meeting quoted above, SRS also answered:

Question: "During mangala-arati time when singing Gurvastakam prayer, is our meditation meant to be for Srila Prabhupada or to our spiritual master?"
SRS: "Well, my understanding has always been to our spiritual master. So, vande guroh sri-caranaravindam, so, yasya prasadad bhagavat-prasado, sri-radhika-madhavayor apara. So, saksad-dhari, so that we're chanting"

Thus, just to re-emphasise that "Saksad-hari" refers to him and not just Srila Prabhupada, SRS states that the Gurvastakam prayers are chanted to the GBC gurus (and Srila Prabhupada only if he is one's diksa guru). SRS also quotes parts of the other verses which are chanted along with "Saksad-hari", showing that he does appear to know the full prayers and not only the phrase "Saksad-hari", which he appears to have latched on to due to a desire to be worshipped "as good as God". As we shall see, these other prayers explain who is to be worshipped as "Saksad-hari".

The Gurvastakam prayers consist of 8 verses, and "Saksad-hari" does not appear until verse 7. Thus, the first 7 verses explain in detail who the person one is asked to worship as Saksad-hari is. It would appear that in his enthusiasm to be worshipped "as good as God", SRS has forgotten this simple point. In particular, right before "Saksad-hari", it states:

"The spiritual master is very dear, because he is expert in assisting the gopis, who at different times make different tasteful arrangements for the perfection of Radha and Krsna's conjugal loving affairs within the groves of Vrndavana. I offer my most humble obeisances unto the lotus feet of such a spiritual master."
(Sri Gurvastakam Prayers, Verse 6)

And, verse 7 itself states exactly why the guru is to be worshipped as "Saksad-hari":

"The spiritual master is to be honored as much as the Supreme Lord ["Saksad-hari"], because he is the most confidential servitor of the Lord."
(Sri Gurvastakam Prayers, Verse 7)

Because he is the most confidential servitor of the Lord, i.e. the person who has just been mentioned as "assisting the gopis" in serving Krsna.

Can never be a clown

The other verses also state that the spiritual master who is to worshipped as "Saksad-hari":

a) "delivers the materially afflicted world by extinguishing the blazing fire of material existence" (Verse 1);
b) "is relishing the mellows of pure devotion" (Verse 2).

Thus, from the above, we can conclusively state:

a) The guru who is worshipped as "Saksad-hari" can definitely not be a "clown". Rather, the prayers state exactly what a most exalted spiritual personality he actually must be, and to even hint that he could be a clown or a jackass, is a most offensive claim.

b) Therefore, those like SRS, who insist on demanding and accepting such "Saksad-hari" worship every day of their lives, should first be able to deliver the material world, assist the gopis, etc., before demanding the worship that is only to be given to such a person.

c) Despite the whole of ISKCON supposedly chanting these prayers every day, one has to wonder if anyone has ever stopped to even read what they mean, given the nonsense that is being claimed on behalf of these prayers – that they could even be referring to a clown!

False ambassador logic

Hence, if we now return to SRS's "ambassador logic", we see how easily it falls apart. In the case of being an ambassador of a country, SRS is correct that if the country decided to empower a "clown" to be the ambassador, then we must still give him due respect. But Krsna does not empower a "clown" to represent Him – rather the person who will be empowered to be "Saksad-hari" is described in great detail in those same Gurvastakam prayers. SRS is thus unable to follow a line of logic that even a child would understand:

1) Children are taught that a policeman is to be respected and he can safely be trusted and followed.

2) But if a child's friend appears and claims ‘I am "Policeman", hand over your sweeties to me', even a child will know that the instruction meant a real policeman, not just one who claims he is. Now the previous article regarding GBC gurus not being real gurus suddenly takes on great significance!

So, yes, the spiritual master must be treated as "Saksad-hari", but in order to become such a spiritual master, one has to first be on that level – as the very same prayers which mention "Saksad-hari" state: "because he is the most confidential servitor of the Lord."


The current GBC gurus in ISKCON, rather than falsely claiming that they are at the exalted level required to be considered "Saksad-hari", have instead decided it is easier to just falsely claim that you can be jackasses and clowns but still be considered "Saksad-hari".

ISKCON members may be content with continuing to blindly follow such a "jackass and clown" show, where the actual authorisation and qualification for their gurus does not matter, but, as the next article shows, endowing such absolute power to the non-absolute can have horrendous consequences.

Subscribe for FREE to Back To Prabhupada Magazine - Click Here

Return to Sivarama Swami Index

Return to "Empowerment" Index

Return to "Guru-Tattva" Index

Return to "Qualification of Guru" Index

Return to IRM Homepage


Please chant: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna, Krishna, Hare, Hare,
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama, Rama, Hare, Hare.
And be Happy!