Nonsense Corner:
HH Bhakti Brhat Bhagavata Swami


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 77, 2023, Interactive

This is a column in which we answer articles or statements that have been forwarded to us by our readers for rebutting.

The statements in the shaded boxes below were made by ISKCON leader HH Bhakti Brhat Bhagavata Swami ("BBBS"). They were made in response to being asked about "rtviks" (followers of the IRM's position) who "don't accept a spiritual master except Srila Prabhupada." (All emphases added.)

"reading of Srila Prabhupada's books and accepting Srila Prabhupada as the only, you could say, ultimate guru for everyone is fine, but also we should know that Srila Prabhupada said, ‘Studying my books is not sufficient.'"

1) As is usual with ISKCON leaders, no evidence is provided for this "Srila Prabhupada said", but rather these so-called "Prabhupada saids" are just pulled out of thin air. We do not find any recorded statement from Srila Prabhupada where he states that:

"Studying my books is not sufficient".

2) We do, however, find Srila Prabhupada stating that studying his books is sufficient:

"Whatever I have to speak, I have spoken in my books. Now you try to understand it and continue your endeavor. Whether I am present or not present doesn't matter."
(Srila Prabhupada, Arrival Speech, 17/5/77)

Srila Prabhupada states that we simply need to study what he has written in his books, since his physical presence is not relevant.

"In my books the philosophy of Krishna Consciousness is explained fully so if there is anything which you do not understand, then you simply have to read again and again. By reading daily the knowledge will be revealed to you and by this process your spiritual life will develop."
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, 22/11/74)

Srila Prabhupada states that reading his books is sufficient in order to get all necessary knowledge and to enable one's spiritual life to develop.

"the book Bhagavata cannot twist your ear [...] So we need that type of persons in our life, like a living guru, a living siksa guru and living diksa guru."

1) BBBS claims that because the "book Bhagavata" cannot twist one's ear, one needs a "living diksa guru" (in addition to a "living siksa guru"), wherein by "living" he means physically present. However, Srila Prabhupada has never taught this. Indeed, we just quoted him stating the opposite, that his physical presence is irrelevant, and one can just read his books.

2) Indeed, if Srila Prabhupada stated that a living diksa guru was necessary to twist one's ear then he would have ordered all his disciples to take another "living" diksa guru on his physical departure, as he has not been "living", as in physically present, to "twist their ears" for almost 50 years. Not only did Srila Prabhupada not order this, but he has taught that such an order would not even be possible since having more than one diksa guru is "always forbidden":

"A devotee must have only one initiating spiritual master because in the scriptures acceptance of more than one is always forbidden."
(Cc., Adi-lila, 1.35, purport)

"Out of the two, the book itself and the person who is living the books which is called the person Bhagavata, you know, the person Bhagavata is more important, who is living the books"

It is claimed that Srila Prabhupada said that the "person Bhagavata", one who is living the books, is "more important" than the book itself, which is known as the "book Bhagavata". However, Srila Prabhupada teaches the exact opposite, that the two Bhagavatas are the same, rather than one being "more important" than the other:

"There are two types of Bhagavatas, namely the book Bhagavata and the devotee Bhagavata. Both the Bhagavatas are competent remedies, and both of them or either of them can be good enough to eliminate the obstacles."
(SB, 1.2.18, purport)

"A devotee Bhagavata is as good as the book Bhagavata [...] Bhagavata book and person are identical."
(SB, 1.2.18, purport)

"Srila Prabhupada is so magnanimous that when he gave us the process of Krsna consciousness, he gave us everything. [...] within the process and his purports that we follow, you know, he has created so many pure devotees who are uttama-adhikaris, they can act as initiating gurus or instructing guru."

1) BBBS contradicts himself. He states that Srila Prabhupada "gave us everything", and that just by following what he has given and his purports in his books, so many uttama-adhikari pure devotees have been created who can become diksa gurus. Thus:

a) In order to argue for the existence of successor diksa gurus to Srila Prabhupada, BBBS states above that following Srila Prabhupada's books is sufficient.

b) However, we quoted him earlier while also arguing for the need of successor diksa gurus, stating that Srila Prabhupada's books are not sufficient.

Thus, we can easily defeat BBBS's assertions by simply quoting BBBS's assertions!

2) BBBS claims that if one is an uttama-adhikari, then "they can act as initiating gurus". Since Srila Prabhupada is an uttama-adhikari, then it would mean that he can also act as an initiating guru. And if that is true then there cannot be successor diksa gurus to Srila Prabhupada in ISKCON, since Srila Prabhupada can still act as an initiating guru. Thus, simply claiming that Srila Prabhupada has disciples who are uttama-adhikaris is not enough for them to replace Srila Prabhupada as ISKCON's diksa guru, because uttama-adhikari Srila Prabhupada would take precedence as the diksa guru.

3) Rather, in order for these uttama-adhikari disciples to succeed the uttama-adhikari Srila Prabhupada, the latter would need to have given an order whereby he stated that:

a) He renounces his position as ISKCON's diksa guru.
b) He orders his disciples to replace him as ISKCON's diksa guru.

But these orders do not exist.

Thus, without such orders, uttama-adhikari disciples of Srila Prabhupada in ISKCON would simply continue to serve the uttama-adhikari diksa guru for ISKCON, Srila Prabhupada, as his disciples, rather than as his unauthorised usurpers.


Thus, we have established that BBBS is ignorant of even the basics of Srila Prabhupada's teachings, and states the opposite of what Srila Prabhupada teaches. Yet, he is supposed to be the "Founder of The Bhaktivedanta College of Education and Culture" in South Africa, thus giving some idea of the standard of the leadership and "education" in ISKCON.

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