GBC Agrees Its Guru System Is Unauthorised


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 77, 2023

In 2017, the GBC adopted a position paper titled "Principles for Creating a Diksa-guru System for ISKCON". We rebutted this paper in BTP 55 (see "GBC Explains Its Guru System Is Unauthorised"), showing that it:

a) Admitted the GBC's guru system is not supported by sastra;
b) Simply ended up establishing the evidence for why its diksa guru system is not authorised.

In the GBC's recently published 2022 resolutions, via GBC resolution 702:03, 2022, the GBC has now agreed with the points made by us in the rebuttal of their 2017 paper. Quotes in the shaded boxes are taken from the aforementioned resolution. (All emphases added.)

Useless paper

"Whereas in 2017, the GBC adopted the position paper 702.03 Principles for creating a diksa-guru system for ISKCON – 2017. As this paper itself describes, it "explains the authority of ISKCON's Governing Body Commission (GBC) to create a system for devotees to take up the service of diksa-guru within the society [...] the paper did not justify guru approvals as the only means to regulate the diksa process"

The GBC admits that its 2017 paper did not provide evidence to justify the GBC program for making successor diksa gurus in ISKCON. Even though it admits that this was the whole purpose of the paper – to explain "the authority of ISKCON's Governing Body Commission (GBC) to create a system for devotees to take up the service of diksa-guru".

This admission concedes the points made by us in our article rebutting this GBC paper.

Not sastric

"the direction of sastra – which only calls for mutual testing in a diksa process and does not mention a GBC managerial system of oversight of the diksa process [...] the GBC system has two mandatory interventions in guru-disciple relationships, when there is no direction in sastra to accept such third-party approvals."

Thus, it is fully accepted by the GBC that its diksa guru system is not authorised by sastra. This admission again concedes the same points made by us in our article which rebutted this 2017 GBC paper.

"the GBC does not vet and approve siksa-gurus, even though sastra equates them with diksa-gurus. [...] the current process clearly distinguishes between siksa- and diksa-gurus"

The GBC admits that its diksa guru system is also not sastric in another way – it explicitly discriminates between siksa and diksa gurus. Such an activity, in addition to not being sastric, is also an offense in the discharge of devotional service:

"There is no difference between the shelter-giving Supreme Lord and the initiating [diksa] and instructing [siksa] spiritual masters. If one foolishly discriminates between them, he commits an offense in the discharge of devotional service."
(Cc., Adi-lila, 1.47, purport)

Not from Srila Prabhupada

"Srila Prabhupada expects the GBC to govern and lead according to the direction of sastra"

1) This is the only mention in the resolution regarding the authority for the GBC creating a diksa guru system – that the GBC will need to rely on sastra. There is no mention made that Srila Prabhupada also "expects" the GBC to govern according to the orders he has given it for creating a diksa guru system. Thus, the GBC accepts that Srila Prabhupada did not give it any orders to authorise diksa gurus.

2) That Srila Prabhupada did not authorise the GBC to create its diksa guru system can in any case be the only possible conclusion. Because in the last section we quoted the GBC admitting that its diksa guru system is not sastric, and Srila Prabhupada would only give orders which are sastric:

"Guru means he'll always enlighten the disciples with the light of sastra."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, 20/7/73)

3) A previous GBC paper, "On My Order Understood" (1995), had claimed that Srila Prabhupada had "personally detailed the procedure for increasing the number of initiating guru[s]" for the GBC. About this claim, HH Jayadvaita Swami ("JAS") stated that it was effectively an "outright fabrication". He did this in a submission he made on 13/12/03 for the GBC to consider, and this submission led to the GBC abandoning this 1995 paper.

Thus, the GBC accepts that it will need to make its own guru system by relying only on "sastra" rather than any instructions from Srila Prabhupada. Which, as we saw in the previous section, it does not do either!

Thus, from every angle, the GBC accepts that its successor diksa guru system is completely unauthorised, having not been authorised either by Srila Prabhupada or sastra.

Naturally deviant

"The natural system of siksa-gurus becoming diksa-gurus, mentioned by Srila Prabhupada"

The resolution here refers to the following instruction from Srila Prabhupada:

"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."
(SB, 4.12.32, purport)

The GBC also promotes Srila Prabhupada as the natural siksa guru for everyone in ISKCON (GBC Resolution 409, 1999). Yet, ISKCON's natural siksa guru who should naturally become the diksa guru – Srila Prabhupada – naturally does not – since the GBC forbids Srila Prabhupada to naturally become the diksa guru in ISKCON. Hence, this is yet another way that the GBC's diksa guru system is just naturally deviant, as well as being unsastric and unauthorised.


1) In 1995, the GBC released a paper regarding its diksa guru system, "On My Order Understood", which it claimed was the "final siddhanta" on the issue of establishing the authority of the GBC's diksa guru system.

2) In 2004, that paper was withdrawn due to the GBC admitting that the paper did "not match" in "numerous places" the "available evidence from the statements of Srila Prabhupada" (GBC Resolution 409, 2004).

3) Then, as explained in this article, in 2017 the GBC issued another paper which it claimed would finally "explain the authority" of the GBC's diksa guru system.

4) Now the GBC has admitted that this paper also does no such thing.

Thus, after over 45 years, the only thing the GBC has been able to conclude is that its guru system is both not authorised by sastra nor by Srila Prabhupada!

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