Srila Prabhupada – the Sastric Guru


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 77, 2023

We saw in the previous article that there is no dispute that the gurus in ISKCON are not sastric, produced as they are via an unsastric system. This then raises the question of what does sastra say regarding the diksa guru, which is explained below. (All emphases added.)

The sastric guru

In Bhagavad-gita 4.34, Lord Krsna states:

"Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized soul can impart knowledge unto you because he has seen the truth."

It states that the knowledge the guru imparts is based on having specifically "seen" that truth. Thus, whereas a temple devotee may "preach" theoretically that Krsna is God because that is what sastra says, the self-realised guru will have practically experienced and realised that knowledge. The guru will actually have seen the truth about Krsna, including having seen Krsna face to face:

[Referring specifically to Bhagavad-gita, 4.34:] "You have to approach tattva-darsi, who has seen God through spiritual eyes. So one has to approach such a person who actually knows God, seen God"
(Srila Prabhupada, Room Conversation, 13/6/76)

"When the devotee sees the Supreme Personality of Godhead by his meditation, or when he sees the Lord personally, face to face, he becomes aware of everything within this universe. Indeed, nothing is unknown to him. Everything within this material world is fully manifested to a devotee who has seen the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Bhagavad-gita (4.34) therefore advises: [...] "Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. [...] The self-realized soul can impart knowledge unto you because he has seen the truth.""
(SB, 8.6.9, purport)

Thus, this is the fully "self-realised" guru Bg. 4.34 refers to – one who has seen Krsna face to face through spiritual eyes.

Sastra supports Srila Prabhupada

Thus, sastra authorises us to accept a self-realised person who has seen the truth as the bona fide spiritual master. Clearly, Srila Prabhupada is such a person, and hence sastra supports us accepting Srila Prabhupada as our diksa guru. Which the GBC must accept since most of its members have already accepted Srila Prabhupada as such a sastric guru.

Now, only if sastra then goes on to propose some restriction would Srila Prabhupada suddenly cease to be a sastric guru one can accept. To prevent one from accepting Srila Prabhupada as one's diksa guru, one would need the following sastric restriction:

a) The guru does not need to be physically present before the disciple;
b) Rather, the guru only needs to be physically present somewhere on the planet.

Such a contradictory proposition needs to be put forward since many of Srila Prabhupada's disciples never met him, including some GBC voted-in gurus! For example, GBC voted-in guru Adikarta Dasa confessed:

"I never met Prabhupada. I just served ISKCON"
(Adikarta Dasa, during lecture by HH Trivikrama Swami, Alachua, USA, 9/4/23)

This contradictory proposition, wherein physical presence is needed only for the planet but not needed for the actual disciple, serves no purpose other than as a contrivance concocted specifically to prevent one from accepting Srila Prabhupada. But no such contradictory restriction has been put forward by sastra.

Note, one cannot even claim that Bg. 4.34 implies that the spiritual master must be physically present before the disciple, due to the need for the disciple to be able to "inquire from" the guru. Because, as stated above:

a) Srila Prabhupada initiated many disciples who never "inquired" from him;
b) Nor has any disciple been able to inquire from Srila Prabhupada for the last 46 years.

Thus, sastra supports one continuing to accept the fully God-realised and self-realised sastric guru, Srila Prabhupada, as one's diksa guru. However, sastra does not support imposing any "physical" restriction on accepting Srila Prabhupada as one's diksa guru.

Authorised by guru

Srila Prabhupada states that in order for one to be a diksa guru, one must be authorised by one's own diksa guru:

"Guru cannot be self-made. No. There is no such single instance throughout the whole Vedic literature. And nowadays, so many rascals, they are becoming guru without any authority. That is not guru. You must be authorized."
(Srila Prabhupada's Lecture, 27/2/77)

"One should take initiation from a bona fide spiritual master coming in the disciplic succession, who is authorized by his predecessor spiritual master. This is called diksa-vidhana."
(SB, 4.8.54, purport)

Therefore, every GBC guru in ISKCON must have been authorised by Srila Prabhupada ordering him to become a diksa guru to be considered a bona fide guru. Which means, either:

a) Srila Prabhupada directly ordered him to become a diksa guru;
b) Or Srila Prabhupada ordered that the GBC must make diksa gurus, and one must take the authority to be diksa guru via the GBC.

However, we have already established in the previous article that:

i) The GBC was not authorised by Srila Prabhupada to make diksa gurus;
ii) This GBC guru system is not sastric;

And in addition, we can note that the fact that gurus in ISKCON become diksa gurus via first waiting to get the necessary GBC votes proves that one cannot claim that they were ordered by Srila Prabhupada to become a diksa guru. Otherwise, if Srila Prabhupada had done so, then one would just have taken up being a diksa guru immediately, citing Srila Prabhupada's authority to do so. Or at least attempted to do so. One would not instead wait to become diksa guru only until and unless one is authorised to do so via the GBC.


Having established in the previous article that the GBC guru is not a sastric guru, we can further establish that:

1) The GBC gurus were not authorised by Srila Prabhupada;
2) The sastric guru will have seen Krsna face to face;
3) Srila Prabhupada is such a sastric guru and it is sastric to continue to accept Srila Prabhupada as our diksa guru.

Subscribe for FREE to Back To Prabhupada Magazine - Click Here

Return to "Guru-Tattva" Index

Return to "Order to Be Guru" Index

Return to "Physical Presence" Index

Return to "Qualification of Guru" Index

Return to "Sastra" Index

Return to "Succession" Index

Return to "Srila Prabhupada's System" 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!