Never Trust the Bluffers:
Always Check the Evidence


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 77, 2023

During a lecture he gave at ISKCON Alachua, USA, on 9/4/23, GBC voted-in guru HH Trivikrama Swami ("TKS") was confronted by IRM members Jayananda Dasa and Krsna Bhakta Dasa and others. All quotes in shaded boxes are taken from this lecture. (Emphases added.)

Bluff about Srila Prabhupada

When TKS was challenged regarding the issue of fallen gurus, of which ISKCON has had many, TKS replied:

"Prabhupada says this: if you have accepted a guru and you find out that he is bogus, [...] then you have a right to go to him and tell him that you lost faith with him and the advice is you should wait some time. Then if he doesn't rectify it, he's still having illicit sex or something, you can reject him so that you can accept a bona fide guru. That's exactly what Prabhupada says on this subject. I have all the material, I've been through this"

TKS claims very emphatically and absolutely that Srila Prabhupada taught that if one finds out that one's guru is bogus, one should not reject him. Rather, one should first "wait some time" to see if he will "rectify" himself. TKS claims:

1) This is "exactly what Prabhupada says".
2) That he knows this is a fact because he has "all the material" which he has "been through".

Consequently, due to the very precise claims made in statements 1) and 2), if it turns out that Srila Prabhupada did not say what TKS claims above Srila Prabhupada said, then it means that TKS was blatantly lying.

Srila Prabhupada truth

1) There is in fact no such statement made by Srila Prabhupada. One can search all of Srila Prabhupada's teachings, and one will not find anything even remotely close to what TKS dogmatically claimed was "exactly said" by Srila Prabhupada.

2) As proof of this fact, later in the lecture, TKS is caught accepting that Srila Prabhupada did not teach this. He admits he only has one reference for this alleged teaching, which is from a book not even mentioned by Srila Prabhupada:

Adikarta Dasa: "I can't remember the name of the book, by one devotee named Narahari*, he said if your guru falls down, you give him a chance to rectify himself, and if he doesn't rectify himself, you find another guru."
TKS: "Yeah, that's the only reference I know also."

*Sri Krsna-Bhajanamrta by Narahari Sarakara.

Thus, in order to use Srila Prabhupada's authority to defend fallen ISKCON gurus, TKS shamelessly spoke a complete lie about what Srila Prabhupada said.

Bluff about Bhagavad-gita

Jayananda Dasa: "after putting so much faith in these people, conditioned souls, that they were actually on the level of Prabhupada, what's the position after they fall down? [...] Who's the guru for that disciple?"
TKS: "That you have to find out. Read the book. Here's the Bhagavad-gita."

TKS is asked very specific questions about the many persons in ISKCON who have had their gurus fall down:

a) What is the position of such persons with fallen gurus?
b) Who is their guru?

TKS refuses to answer the questions, and instead claims that one can find the answers by reading the Bhagavad-gita.

Bhagavad-gita truth

But, when we actually consult the Bhagavad-gita, as advised by TKS:

1) There is not even a mention of bogus gurus who fall down, never mind the status of their former "disciples".

2) Rather, Bhagavad-gita makes it clear that such "gurus" who deviate are not even gurus to begin with:

"A bona fide spiritual master is in the disciplic succession from time eternal, and he does not deviate at all from the instructions of the Supreme Lord"
(Bg., 4.42, purport)

So, as before, unable or unwilling to answer a question which exposes the guru hoax of which he is a part, TKS again bluffs and gives a false answer.

Bluff about IRM

"I'll be happy to talk to the rtviks. [...] but let's come privately and we can talk. [...] if anybody wants to take the time and go threadbare with me on this issue, I'm ready to do it [...] I'm on PAMHO [...] I'm also on Gmail [...] these rtvik people they wrote, they would send out this Back To Prabhupada magazine [...] so I wrote to them and I made some good points, but they don't wanna talk seriously."

TKS claims that in regard to these various questions about the guru system in ISKCON:

a) He is willing to discuss the issue "threadbare" with anyone, including the "rtviks" (ISKCON leaders' label for the IRM);

b) This discussion should be done in private via email;

c) He already had such a talk with the ‘Back To Prabhupada people' (IRM) and made "some good points", but that we did not want to discuss seriously with him.

HH Trivikrama Swami guru ISKCON

IRM truth – 1

However, again, let us examine the reality:

1) On 12/8/17, TKS emailed us an article he had written. After BTP's editor rebutted this article with 7 separate proofs, TKS refused to respond to our rebuttal of his article.

2) Then, 1 month later, he sent us a link to a video made by someone else, which attacked the IRM's position via attacking Srila Prabhupada. We then responded to TKS stating that we would accept his continued non-response as his defeat and that we would be exposing the correspondence in a future BTP issue. Only after this "threat" was TKS coaxed into attempting to respond to our rebuttal of his article. However, in responding, TKS still made it clear he did not want to respond any more, in case we again defeated his response:

"I am not interested in debating this issue ad nausam on the interenet [sic] so kindly do not expect me to respond as I am content to allow history to reveal who is correct."
(TKS email to BTP Editor, 20/9/17)

Instead, he said that we should go and listen in a submissive, "non-challenging" mood to him giving class on non-related subjects:

"if you would like to hear more from me in a non-challenging mood I give class every evening here at Srila Prabhupada's Iskcon temple in Orlando. You are most welcome to attend."
(TKS email to BTP Editor, 20/9/17)

3) We then had to again coax TKS into replying by saying that we were not asking for an "argument", but rather were simply asking questions. But then, after we rebutted his answers, rather than replying, he simply just cut off the discussion completely by asking us to "chant Hare Krishna".

IRM truth – 2

The reason TKS was forced to cut off the discussion was because his "answers" were defeated by using his own words against him. TKS made two points:

1) That Srila Prabhupada had completely stopped initiating on October 18th, 1977.

2) Instead, the 11 rtviks named in the July 9th, 1977 directive had been ordered by Srila Prabhupada to become his diksa guru successors, in his physical presence, on October 18th, 1977.

To bolster his claim, he invoked the authority of HH Tamala Krsna Gosvami (TKG), who signed the July 9th, 1977 directive as Srila Prabhupada's secretary. TKS put forward TKG's opinion that TKG believed the directive was only written to be applicable during Srila Prabhupada's physical presence. Since TKS had fully accepted the authority of TKG, we referred him to another letter written by TKG as Srila Prabhupada's secretary. In that letter, TKG states on behalf of Srila Prabhupada that:

a) Srila Prabhupada had not stopped initiating at all.
b) But rather he was continuing to initiate via the system of 11 rtviks.

And the clincher? This letter was written on the same date, October 18th, 1977, on which, according to TKS, Srila Prabhupada had supposedly done the exact opposite, by stopping initiating and instead ordering the 11 rtviks to turn into diksa gurus! We then asked TKS if he accepts this letter communicates Srila Prabhupada's wishes via his secretary, TKG – and that was when he suddenly cut us off with his "Chant Hare Krishna" message!

Therefore, as opposed to his boast that he is happy to discuss issues "threadbare" with us on email, and that he made "some good points": the documented truth is that due to not being able to answer our points, he tried to avoid discussing the issue with us at all. And then had to drop out of the discussion completely due to being defeated.

However, one does not need to take our word for it. One can verify all the above by reading our full email exchange with TKS here.

Bluff about living guru

"you don't find one dream where the neck bead is given, the name is given, that's diksa guru. In our tradition there's always been a living guru who gives you the name and gives you the neck beads, and who chants on your beads, and so, you don't do that in a dream."

TKS makes two points:

1) He invokes "tradition" as the authority to determine the truth about the diksa guru.

2) And this truth is a "living guru" who will "always" give the initiate his name and neck beads, and will chant on his beads.

Living guru truth

1) However, TKS had already rejected the use of "tradition" as the authority to determine what should be done in ISKCON:

"What you are missing is Srila Prabhupada's unique position, and his being empowered to establish for the first time in history a Vaisnava Institution which has an ongoing central authority."
(TKS, ‘Questions & Answers', 25/1/09)

Because TKS states that ISKCON itself is completely untraditional.

2) We also know for a fact that there has not always been a "living guru" who gives an initiate his name, neck beads and chants on his beads. Chanting on beads in ISKCON was already being done by representatives, rather than the diksa guru, Srila Prabhupada, from as early as 1973. Whilst after July 9th, 1977, the giving of an initiate his name and neck beads, and also chanting on the beads, was being done by rtvik representatives and the Temple President, who between them completed all initiation procedures. Srila Prabhupada, the diksa guru, was not involved at all in the execution of the initiation formalities. All this is documented in the July 9th, 1977 directive.

No guarantee

Krsna Bhakta Dasa: "you're playing Russian roulette, because it appears to be that at least 80%, so many, of all gurus in the movement have fallen down, you know... so where's your guarantee?" [...]
TKS: "There's no guarantee."

TKS states that there is no guarantee in regard to gurus. But Srila Prabhupada states that there is a guarantee as long as the guru is bona fide. And that we must only approach such a real guaranteed guru, rather than play Russian roulette with the ISKCON gurus:

"If one gets a bona fide spiritual master [...] his perfection of life in Krsna consciousness is guaranteed."
(Bg., 18.57, purport)

"We must approach the real guru [...] Then everything guaranteed."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, 11/7/76)

And Srila Prabhupada is this guaranteed bona fide guru.

Srila Prabhupada ISKCON

IRM stops suffering

Jayananda Dasa: "when the people that we were told were gurus fell down..."
TKS: "Yeah but it's your duty also [...] Sastra says you should examine guru."
Jayananda Dasa: "But, I lived in the temple..."
"Therefore you suffer"

TKS states that it is one's duty to examine a prospective guru, rather than just accept whatever gurus are offered by ISKCON temples, otherwise one will suffer if the guru turns out not to be bona fide.

However, the best source to "examine" if a prospective guru is bona fide is BTP and the IRM's other literatures. Because examining alleged gurus is exactly what we do. As we explained in the Editorial, there is no one else that has examined the ISKCON gurus as much as we have. We examine if the alleged guru talks nonsense and deviates from Srila Prabhupada. TKS states that such examination is recommended by sastra as one's duty to avoid suffering, and thus such "examination" cannot be condemned as being "offensive" or "sadhu-ninda", fault-finding, etc. Therefore, the IRM is helping everyone to fulfil this duty of examining alleged gurus and thereby avoid suffering.


This is a perfect case study of GBC voted-in guru HH Sivarama Swami's warning mentioned in the Editorial, that we should not just believe what any ISKCON leader states will be the truth! Rather, he must be fact-checked.

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