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

Bypassing Srila Prabhupada

During a discussion titled "Relationship with Srila Prabhupada" dated 13/6/22, a very pertinent question was asked of GBC voted-in guru HH Niranjana Swami ("NRS"):

"What is the proper way for a disciple to develop his/her relationship with Srila Prabhupada and with a spiritual master? We have heard that one should give one's heart to his/her spiritual master, but it is hard to relate how to give your heart to both, Srila Prabhupada and spiritual master. Kindly explain."

It is a fact that one must give one's heart to one's spiritual master and accept him as one's life and soul. And, thus, immediately this question reveals the reality of how the GBC guru system is by its very nature designed to take us away from Srila Prabhupada, rather than bring us closer to him. In the article on page 4, we gave further evidence of how the GBC guru system disconnects rather than connects us to Srila Prabhupada. This question refers to the obstacles disciples of GBC gurus face in having to choose between Srila Prabhupada and their GBC guru, rather than GBC gurus enhancing the disciple's relationship with Srila Prabhupada. This is only to be expected given that the GBC gurus are posing as direct "good as God" successors to Srila Prabhupada for their disciples, to whom the disciples must offer their devotion, food, daksina, etc., rather than to Srila Prabhupada. We documented this subject in detail in BTP 73 article "Srila Prabhupada v. GBC Gurus". NRS's answer to the above question is given in the shaded boxes below. All emphases added.

Non-sastric answer

"I've been studying very intensely Brhad-bhagavatamrta for almost two years now [...] Laghu-Bhagavatamrta, especially Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakur's Saratha Darshani, Srila Jiva Goswami in the Sandarbhas, Laghu Vaisnava Tosani [...] I found that I wasn't really reading Srila Prabhupada's books so much as I had been previously"

Thus, in response, NRS explained how he has sidelined Srila Prabhupada by jumping over him and focusing on reading the previous acaryas' works for the past two years, so that he ended up reading Srila Prabhupada's books less. He admits that this could be seen as "bypassing Srila Prabhupada":

"hearing the words of the previous acaryas [...] may have been seen as listening to them directly and bypassing Srila Prabhupada. [...] I'm just reading all these other acaryas"

But he then says that such reading was bona fide because Srila Prabhupada "always represented the parampara". However, NRS provided no sastric references which prove his claim that such reading was bona fide. Rather, NRS admitted:

"I'm not sure I can give that much sastric reference in answer to this, to this question."

Sastric answer

NRS is correct that what he did can be seen as "bypassing" Srila Prabhupada, because it is. Srila Prabhupada taught that him "representing the parampara" means the exact opposite of what NRS claims:

"Suppose I have heard something from my spiritual master, so I speak to you the same thing. So this is parampara system. You cannot imagine what my spiritual master said. Or even if you read some books, you cannot understand unless you understand it from me. [...] You cannot jump over to the superior guru, I mean to say, neglecting the next acarya, immediate next acarya. [...] This is the process."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, 8/12/73)

That is, Srila Prabhupada representing the parampara means we understand the previous acaryas only through him, and do not "bypass" him to directly consult the previous acaryas' teachings ourselves! The last issue's article "Srila Prabhupada: The Giver of Sastra" proved this in detail. It is apt, therefore, that in answering a question about the unauthorised GBC guru system, which is based on bypassing Srila Prabhupada, NRS's answer is to talk about bypassing Srila Prabhupada!

Cheating Double Standard

A prominent proponent of FDGs (Female Diksa Gurus) is GBC voted-in guru HG Kalakantha Dasa ("KAL"). In an interview dated 30/1/23, when KAL felt that the interviewer was trying to explain away what KAL believed Srila Prabhupada had said in support of FDG, he responded very strongly that:

"You know, this is a very dangerous chain of thought, ‘Well, Prabhupada said this, but he meant that'. Where does it stop?"

However, in the same interview, when it came to the subject of Srila Prabhupada remaining ISKCON's diksa guru via permanently using senior disciples to accept disciples on his behalf, KAL claimed:

"He [Srila Prabhupada] just indicated a few senior disciples to act on his behalf while he was too ill to perform the initiations himself."

1) However, here is what is actually stated in the July 9th, 1977, directive, counter-signed by Srila Prabhupada, about these "few senior disciples" who would act on Srila Prabhupada's behalf:

"He would appoint some of His senior disciples to act as "rittik" – representative of the acarya, for the purpose of performing initiations, both first initiation and second initiation."

Thus, it states only that they are to perform initiations, period. Not perform them only whilst Srila Prabhupada is "too ill". Such a thing is not mentioned at all. Nor is there any mention that they would stop performing such initiations after Srila Prabhupada was not "too ill".

2) The directive also states that:

"The newly initiated devotees are disciples of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad [...] After the Temple President receives a letter from these representatives giving the spiritual name or the thread, he can perform the fire yajna in the temple as was being done before."

a) Thus, under this arrangement, Srila Prabhupada would still be performing initiations as he would still be initiating new disciples just as he had always done.

b) In terms of physically performing initiations via personally conducting the fire yajna, it states that these yajnas were anyway "being done before" by the Temple President rather than Srila Prabhupada.

Thus, from every angle, it can be seen that this arrangement could definitely not have been a substitute for Srila Prabhupada now being "too ill" to "perform initiations".

KAL is thus guilty of engaging in the same practice he condemned when he believed it served to promote his FDG agenda: though one thing is actually said, to then claim it means something else. KAL is forced to engage in this cheating double standard because if Srila Prabhupada remains ISKCON's diksa guru, then the need for FDGs (and male diksa gurus such as himself) is automatically eliminated anyway!

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