Whose Disciples Are They?


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 77, 2023

Recently, GBC voted-in guru HG Kripamoya Dasa ("KMD") performed an initiation ceremony wherein he accumulated some more disciples for himself. In the initiation lecture he gave to accompany the initiation ceremony, he posed the following question regarding the persons he was initiating at the ceremony:

"Sometimes people say, ‘Who's accepting disciples? Are they your disciples? Or are they Srila Prabhupada's disciples?'"
(KMD, Initiation Lecture, 14/5/23)

In the lecture, KMD answers this question by establishing that they should actually be Srila Prabhupada's disciples, even though the whole purpose of the ceremony was to take the disciples for himself! All quotes in the shaded boxes are from this lecture. (All emphases added.)

Srila Prabhupada delivers

"a parting of the ways in the Sri-sampradaya, and they disagreed over 18 points, [...] one of the 18 points of philosophy is that some thought that it's the contemporary living guru that accepts the disciple, and the other persons thought that it's the historic Acarya who takes, who gives deliverance to the disciple."

After KMD posed the question that we quoted at the outset, about whose disciples the initiates should be, this is what he then stated immediately next as part of his answer. That is, he explains that in the Sri-sampradaya they also had this disagreement over whose disciples the initiates should be – whether they should be disciples of the physically departed Acarya or disciples of the "living" person who performs the initiation ceremony. Our position in ISKCON will obviously be dictated by what Srila Prabhupada teaches, and he states that the disciples will belong to the person who delivers them:

"The spiritual master initiates the disciple to deliver him"
(Cc., Madhya-lila, 1.218, purport)

And KMD has already kindly explained that it is Srila Prabhupada who delivers everyone in ISKCON:

"And certainly we are all depending on Srila Prabhupada to intercede with Krsna so that we can attain His shelter. [...] He is surely our guarantee of salvation if we follow his instructions and personal example in our daily life."
(KMD, The Vaisnava Voice, 6/5/07)

Therefore, by KMD's own statements, the persons for whom he is performing the initiation ceremony should be initiated disciples of Srila Prabhupada. Which would mean that Srila Prabhupada is the diksa guru, with KMD acting only as the "rtvik" ceremonial priest.

guru gives the knowledge

"So those who have elected to become devotees like our candidates today, pretty much they have said that, from today, the philosophy is going to be that ‘I'm searching for knowledge which comes from one source. [...] I'm going to take the teachings from A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada'. Not from me, by the way. It's from Srila Prabhupada."

KMD accepts that all the knowledge received by the initiates will come only from Srila Prabhupada and not from KMD. However, KMD previously acknowledged that the person whose instructions the disciple primarily follows is the diksa (initiating) guru:

"After initiation the disciple is meant to honour the instructions of his guru above all others"
(KMD, "Post-modern Perspectives on the Guru-disciple Relationship", 6/4/16)

Thus, again by KMD's own statements, the initiates should be initiated disciples of Srila Prabhupada rather than KMD. Because they are acting as Srila Prabhupada's disciples by virtue of the fact that they will be following the teachings of Srila Prabhupada rather than those of KMD.

Directly from Srila Prabhupada

"Prabhupada [...] he said, ‘Guru is pair of spectacles, transparent via media'. So if you have a telescope, for instance, and there's lots of lenses, the fact that you have one more lens doesn't decrease your ability to see a great distance, it increases."

KMD had made the statement above as a continuation of his direct answer to the question he posed regarding whose disciples the initiates would be – his or Srila Prabhupada's – which we quoted at the outset of this article. KMD states that the diksa guru of the initiates is like a lens that aids, rather than hinders, one's ability to see. Hence, KMD's answer regarding to whom the initiates will belong – whether Srila Prabhupada or himself – will depend on who the "lens" in this situation will be. We just quoted KMD stating that the initiates will be getting all their knowledge from Srila Prabhupada rather than KMD:

"‘I'm going to take the teachings from A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada'. Not from me, by the way. It's from Srila Prabhupada."

Hence, KMD cannot be the "lens" when he is basically not supplying anything and thus not even there! Therefore, the "lens" must be Srila Prabhupada, and KMD's own answer for whose disciples the initiates should be, is again Srila Prabhupada.

Srila Prabhupada ISKCON disciples

IRM's No Change position

"We are just his representatives, his vehicle, his mouthpiece, or as we were in our early days, his hands and legs, to take his teachings everywhere."

KMD explains his position in relation to Srila Prabhupada, and how it is unchanged from "the early days" when Srila Prabhupada was physically present and was the diksa guru of ISKCON. This is the "No Change" position espoused by the IRM and Srila Prabhupada, wherein ISKCON was meant to continue functioning today just as Srila Prabhupada set it up to function when he founded ISKCON. Please see here for the evidence. Which would automatically mean that Srila Prabhupada would remain ISKCON's diksa guru, and KMD would remain his representative, just as he was before. Thus, KMD is yet again establishing that the initiates at his initiation ceremony should be initiated disciples of Srila Prabhupada, rather than himself.


Thus, KMD has correctly and conclusively answered, in four different ways, that those he is initiating should be initiated disciples of Srila Prabhupada, with himself therefore acting only as the "rtvik" ceremonial priest. One may wonder why KMD has ended up giving such answers at the very ceremony he is performing to specifically take the initiates as his disciples? Well, that is the power of the truth. Even if one is deviating, if one is attempting to explain Srila Prabhupada's teachings, then one may be forced to ‘unwittingly' speak the truth. Satyam Vijayate! The Truth is always victorious.

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