Srila Prabhupada Teaches Guru Means Himself


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 76, Vol. 1, 2023

ll quotes below in the shaded boxes are from a discussion that took place between GBC voted-in gurus HG Kripamoya Dasa ("KMD") and HG Mahatma Dasa ("MAD") on 30/11/22, titled "Separation from the Spiritual Master - Part 8". All emphases added.

Srila Prabhupada's guru teachings

MAD: "Prabhupada said all this about the guru [...] is that just for him and the liberated souls, what about us, as gurus? Are we meant to be in that same category? You know, it was simple when Prabhupada was there, ‘the guru is this', like okay, no problem. But now you have his disciples as gurus and say, ‘the guru is this' and like, I don't think so."
KMD: "[...] before 1977, when Prabhupada told everything, anything about a guru or the guru, you know, he was talking about himself."
MAD: "Easy. No problem."
KMD: "He was talking about an absolute, you know, philosophized guru, but we understood he was talking about the guru which is him."

KMD here makes a very profound point. MAD suggests that what Srila Prabhupada taught about the diksa guru would seem to apply only to himself or other liberated souls, and that some GBC gurus have a different idea about what a guru is compared to what Srila Prabhupada taught. KMD agrees, but goes much further and states that whatever Srila Prabhupada taught about the guru, though he may have presented it as a philosophical concept, he was actually talking about himself as the guru.

Therefore, according to KMD:

1) Srila Prabhupada's teachings on guru refer to Srila Prabhupada being the diksa guru.

2) Thus, Srila Prabhupada is not teaching about others being the diksa guru.

Hence, it is not possible to conclude from his teachings that he was actually talking about others, such as the GBC gurus, rather than himself, being the diksa guru.

We are thus left with the conundrum that from where then, does the idea of the current GBC gurus come? We know it is not from Srila Prabhupada's teachings, as KMD confirms. Therefore, it must be a concoction!

Nearest guru concoction

KMD: "Prabhupada said, You get initiated by whoever is nearest. [...] what he encouraged, I feel, was that, he encouraged people to do what was practical. The guru doesn't have to be as far away as possible. A guru has to be something that is accessible."

Proving that the idea of diksa gurus other than Srila Prabhupada is indeed a concoction, KMD claims that when Srila Prabhupada spoke about getting initiated by "whoever is nearest", this was referring to a diksa guru. But Srila Prabhupada clearly stated the opposite when he spoke about getting initiated by "whoever is nearest" – one is still getting initiated by Srila Prabhupada via the nearest representative (rtvik), not diksa guru:

Srila Prabhupada: "And... Five, six men, you divide who is nearest." [...]
Tamala Krsna: "They can write to the man nearest them. But all these persons are still your disciples. Anybody who gives initiation is doing so on your behalf."
Srila Prabhupada: "Yes."
(Room Conversation, 7/7/77)

Flesh and blood materialism

KMD: "without the spiritual master's physical presence [....] coming in the form of flesh and blood and interacting with the flesh and blood disciple in bondage and liberating that disciple, [...] it's like saying, ‘I fell off the ship and I was drowning in the water, but I was saved by a picture of a life belt.'"

KMD gives a materialistic conception of the spiritual master, that he is required to engage in a "flesh and blood" interaction with his disciple in order to liberate him. KMD claims that otherwise it is "like" a drowning person claiming he was saved by a picture of a life belt rather than an actual life belt itself. With these statements, KMD reveals that he has not yet understood that the spiritual master is not the material master. Yes, KMD is correct that material activity such as staying afloat in water requires an actual "flesh and blood" life belt, rather than just a picture of a life belt. But spiritual life is completely different since it is on the absolute plane and thus pictures of the spiritual master are non-different from himself:

"There is no difference between me and my picture."
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, 4/9/72)

"I also do not feel separation from my Guru Maharaja. When I am engaged in His service His pictures give me sufficient strength."
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, 19/7/70)

Thus, the picture of the guru is not impotent like the picture of a life belt.

Breathtaking hypocrisy

Having tried to belittle the spiritual power of the physically absent spiritual master to save the disciple, by claiming that it is as ridiculous as claiming that a picture has the power of the object, in exactly the same talk, KMD informs us that he himself achieved "spiritual intimacy" with Srila Prabhupada without any "flesh and blood" contact, but instead through his picture, his instructions, bowing to him, etc.:

"I learned to interact with my spiritual master, as somewhat of a distant figurehead, although spiritual intimacy was there because I was offering my food, bowing down to him, saying his name every time I bowed down to him, I was seeing his picture on the books, I was listening to his tapes. Everything was Prabhupada, Prabhupada, Prabhupada, but it was a sort of Prabhupada of which I was the very outside of a series of concentric circles"

He further explains that his spiritual initiation by Srila Prabhupada was also not a physical "flesh and blood" initiation, but one by "extension" whereby his initiation from Srila Prabhupada:

"was not given by Prabhupada himself, so he didn't give me initiation, he didn't speak the mantra, it was all done through others, so it was Prabhupada by extension."

Hence, not only has he destroyed his "flesh and blood" materialism with his own example, but by doing so at the same time in the same talk, KMD also reveals his foolishness for not realising that his pontificating has achieved nothing other than defeating himself!


KMD's admission that whenever Srila Prabhupada said "everything, anything" about the guru, he was always only referring to himself, is a valuable addition to the arguments that prove Srila Prabhupada taught he is ISKCON's diksa guru. We thank him for it.

Subscribe for FREE to Back To Prabhupada Magazine - Click Here

Return to Kripamoya Dasa Index

Return to Mahatma Dasa Index

Return to "Diksa" Index

Return to "Guru-Tattva" Index

Return to "Initiation" Index

Return to "Physical Presence" Index

Return to "Srila Prabhupada's System" Index

Return to "Succession" 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!