Personal Attacks v. Philosophy


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 78, 2023

Those who claim to follow a philosophy may not follow it correctly or may misuse it for self-aggrandisement, even though the philosophy itself may be perfect. Thus, the behaviour of the followers of a philosophy in and of itself tells us nothing about the validity of the philosophy they claim to follow. Indeed, when one is unable to rebut a perfect philosophy, a common tactic is to instead attack the supposed errant behaviour of those who claim to be following the perfect philosophy.

In BTP 19, Editorial, we highlighted the Great Guru Hoax Part 3, wherein, just as GBC gurus misuse Srila Prabhupada's teachings to replace Srila Prabhupada as the diksa guru – the Great Guru Hoax Parts 1 and 2 – some also claim to accept that Srila Prabhupada is still ISKCON's diksa guru (labelled "rtviks" by ISKCON leaders) just as a vehicle to promote themselves. Those who accept Srila Prabhupada as the diksa guru in Bangalore, India, have been attacked by GBC voted-in guru HH Bhakti Vikasa Swami ("BVKS"), who claims that they are cheating in this way:

"they rejected their guru and said, ‘No, I'm directly Prabhupada's disciple'. You look on their website and it's all about, the Bangalore thing, it is all the pictures of them and it's them who gives all the talks. It's Animal Farm [...] they threw out the guru and became the guru themself. [...] you see they give initiation, they give the beads and the person bows down to them. So it's cheating."
(BVKS, "Guru Issues, Part 25, Why We Worship the Guru", recorded 24/9/23)

But this does not tell us anything about the validity of the philosophy they are supposedly following. Indeed, BVKS claims that they are not following the philosophy they espouse, but instead are cheating. Rather, to assess the validity of the "rtvik" philosophy in question here, BVKS would actually need to address the philosophy itself. But when he tries to actually do this, we can see why he likes to spend time attacking the supposed followers, because he is unable to deal with the philosophy. Thus, continuing, in the same lecture mentioned above, he states:

"the big acarya of the rtvik thing down in Bangalore, he says, ‘I came to Krsna Consciousness by reading Prabhupada's books, so Prabhupada is my guru.' But that's not all. You were taught, you were trained by others how to chant, all the different procedures. It's not that you understood everything in Prabhupada's books just by reading. You had to have it explained to you. Just cut that all out. So what is there going on, yasyaprasadan na gatih kuto ‘pi."
(BVKS, "Guru Issues, Part 25, Why We Worship the Guru", recorded 24/9/23)

BVKS here criticises the reasoning (given by the "rtviks") – that one became Krsna conscious by reading Srila Prabhupada's books and therefore Srila Prabhupada is one's diksa guru – as being mistaken. BVKS states that the rtviks claiming Srila Prabhupada is one's diksa guru would lead to the devotees who trained them in the practical aspects of Krsna consciousness and explained Srila Prabhupada's teachings to them being "cut out". Which can only be the case if the devotees who did the training should actually be considered to be the diksa gurus rather than Srila Prabhupada. To reinforce his point, BVKS then quotes part of the verse sung to the spiritual master every morning in ISKCON temples: "yasyaprasadan na gatih kuto ‘pi". Translated, this means: "without the grace of the spiritual master one cannot make any advancement", again implying that the devotees who were responsible for training are the real candidates to be one's diksa guru rather than Srila Prabhupada. BVKS does not allow for these devotees to be accommodated as being one's siksa guru, in which case there would be no conflict with claiming Srila Prabhupada is one's diksa guru, and his criticism of the rtviks would thus be incorrect.

However, in this same lecture, BVKS also states:

"Srila Prabhupada, he had about 5,000 disciples [...] But he didn't personally train every one of them, it's physically not possible."
(BVKS, "Guru Issues, Part 25, Why We Worship the Guru", recorded 24/9/23)

Thus, BVKS accepts that Srila Prabhupada did not personally train all his disciples. Hence, he accepts that being trained by someone else does not change the fact that Srila Prabhupada is still one's diksa guru. However, we just quoted him claiming the exact opposite in the case of the "rtviks". Hence, BVKS's "philosophical" argument against the "rtviks" consists of simply contradicting himself. Which means his "argument" against the "rtviks" is easily defeated... by himself! That one contradicts oneself is bad enough, but to do so in the same lecture just minutes apart, reveals an even greater foolishness than is usually displayed by ISKCON's leaders. And, thus, it becomes clear why they prefer personal attacks to discussing the philosophy in depth as we do here in BTP.

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