The Divinity Delusion: Case study of His Holiness Bhakti Vikash Swami


Back to Prabhupada, Issue 24, Summer 2009

We continue here our series of exposés on the delusions of grandeur which have gripped those who are trying to take over Srila Prabhupada’s position as the diksa (initiating) Guru of ISKCON. All quotations in the tinted pan­els, unless otherwise specified, are from a lecture given by His Holiness Bhakti Vikash Swami (“BVKS”) on February 9th, 2009 ti­tled “A Reply to Ritvikism”.

The Divinity Delusion

“[...] ‘through the parampara. I’ll take you to my guru and then he takes you to his guru’ and like this the mercy comes down, and we bring people in and offer them up. […] And the guru is the sum and substance of all the demigods and actually the guru is…the Vaisnava guru is even more important than the demigods in as much as they both accept worship. […] And I’m saying that and I am a Vaisnava guru. […] So theacarya that Krishna is speaking about when he’s instructing Uddhava, that “the acarya is as good as Me”, not be disrespected in any way, is the forest rishi guru. And of course this applies to all those, all Vaisnava gurus.”

BVKS makes it clear that he considers himself the next guru in the parampara (disciplic succes­sion) after Srila Prabhupada, who should be worshipped and treat­ed just like every other member in the parampara. And consequent­ly he has attained the position of being more powerful than the sum total of the demigods, to be treated as being good as Krishna.

The Divinity Delusion - 2

“My Vyasa-puja... [...] So you may think, well, what is my qualification to accept the honour and affection that you are offering to me [...] Well, that is my qualification, that if I can glorify Prabhupada then that’s the qualification ...actually, the er... I’m not qualified, intrinsically, but qualified because I can point, “here is Prabhupada, and follow his instructions, and ask you to have faith in what Srila Prabhupada has given.”
(BVKS, “Vyasa-Puja” Lecture, Tirupati, January 5th, 2008)

BVKS claims that neophyte bhaktas (devotees) should worship him as a full-fledged successor parampara diksa guru because he has only attained the same quali­fications as they have – being able to glorify Srila Prabhupada and telling others to do the same!

I am a joke!

This declaration of his ac­quired divinity is rendered con­tradictory by the boasts he made before he was allowed to join the GBC’s guru club:

“Monitor guru” seems to be the most suitable position for me
— an older student guiding a younger one, who may well surpass the monitor as he grows older but will always remain faithful and respectful to him; the teacher of both is the same. ‘Nikunja-yuno’ etc. in relation to me? Not even a joke; it’s ridiculous. Do I have to pretend to have attained manjari-hood? What are those initiated by our Godbrothers supposed to think when they sing ‘nikunja-yuno‘ and ‘romanca kalpa’, etc. when the guru can’t even get up for mangala-arati? These matters need careful looking into.”
(BVKS, Vedic Village Review, Issue 14, September, 1990)

BVKS initially ridiculed the idea of himself becoming a regular successor parampara diksa guru, claiming instead that he is at best a monitor guru, who is simply an elder student guiding a younger one. And the younger student may well surpass the monitor guru with time, with the teacher of both being the same. Whilst the idea of being a guru like all the other GBC gurus, whose disciples sing “Nikunja-yuno” and “roman­ca kalpa” to them every morning at mangala-arati, was not “even a joke”, but “ridiculous”. Yet this is exactly the “ridiculous” position BVKS is now agreeing with, fully supporting the disciples singing these prayers to him and the other ISKCON GBC gurus every morn­ing during mangala-arati. So the only “matter” that needs “careful looking into” is why, by his own estimation, BVKS is such a hypocritical ridiculous joke!

IRM convinced many people!

“a misconception which is quite prominent in the ISKCON world at the present time […] ritvikism has convinced many people. […] this magazine called Back to Prabhupada. You’ve probably all seen it because it’s widely circulated. […] this Final Order which is the ‘Bible’ of ritvikism, ‘TFO’, that was written by Krishnakant Desai, […] he’s quite expert in debate, in vitanda, chala, nigraha, all these kind of things. He has good intelligence, no doubt.”

BVKS admits that our work is so successful that it is “quite prominent” and has “convinced many people” in the ISKCON world! And this is based on my being “quite expert in debate” and having “good intelligence”. So BVKS admits there is substance to our work.

BTP very logical

“And you’ll find in that Back To Prabhupada magazine it all appears very logical. But we don’t find any bhakti there. There’s nothing which appeals to our heart.”

BVKS’s admissions would imply that the GBC’s many positions are all illogical, since BTP which exposes them is “very logical”! And he offers a nonsensical justification to try and explain away our accurate logic – that it does not appeal to his heart. But we need to determine if our logic is correct, not whether or not it makes BVKS feel good inside! And hence in not challenging our logic, he has merely confirmed that we are right.

IRM point out contradictions

“They claim that the GBC speaks contradictorily. Well, it may be like that apparently. You can say that about Prabhupada also. Prabhupada sometimes said one thing and sometimes he said something else.”

So BVKS is not only admitting that we expose the GBC speaking contradictorily, but attempts to justify that there is nothing wrong with this by trying to claim that Srila Prabhupada also spoke contradictorily!

“Krishna contradicts Himself”

“What about Krishna in the Bhagavad-gita? […] So how are we going to understand this point that Krishna in the Bhagavad-gita -which is the book in which He explains the highest truth which we all have to understand to attain the highest spiritual platform -He contradicts Himself?”

Unfortunately, BVKS’s offensive mentality is not finished there. So desperate is he to try and cover the fact that BTP has exposed the GBC contradicting themselves left, right and centre, he now shamelessly tries to claim that Krishna also contradicts Himself! To protect the bogus guru program of which he is an integral member, BVKS is happy to accept that both Srila Prabhupada and Krishna contradict themselves and are in the same category as his beloved GBC. By engaging in such an offensive defensive justification, the fact that we have accurately pointed out the GBC continually contradicting themselves is simply established beyond any doubt!

No difference

“So, there’s actually no difference between what they say and what we say, but the only difference is that the ritvik­vadis want to bottle up the mercy and say that it stopped with Prabhupada and no one else can distribute that mercy.”

If the difference between the IRM’s position and that of the GBC is so minor that according to BVKS “there’s actually no difference”, then clearly we cannot be preaching a “dangerous philosophical deviation” as claimed by the GBC resolutions.


“So the main thing they’re doing in their magazine is… is…is just finding faults with Vaisnavas. They’re more concerned with that than in glorifying Krishna, which is what Prabhupada did. So how anyone can benefit from that I don’t know because benefit comes from glorifying Krishna and glorifying His devotees. Not from simply saying this is wrong, that is wrong. So we don’t find it very spiritual. The whole thing is just criticism.”
The actual divine Guru
Srila Prabhupada

HH Bhakti Vikash Swami:
Claiming divinity

Yet BVKS also states such “criticism” is essential for pointing out deviations:

“As the GBC cannot be expected to take needed action to stop deviations before they become disasters, it seems the only recourse for responsible members of ISKCON is to take the matter to gutter level, i.e. the internet. Painful and undignified as such public laundry-washing may be, it might at least create an awareness of deviations and warn devotees not to get sidelined into weird cults going on in the name of ISKCON.”
(HH Bhakti Vikash Swami, 23/03/03, PAMHo Text: 7160561)

The above comment was given in support of BVKS’s heavy and persistent attacks on fellow ISKCON guru His Holiness Bhakti Tirtha Swami. So if the odd guru does something wrong, then BVKS can criticize him as much as he wants. But if ALL the ISKCON gurus are doing something wrong -by unauthorizedly perpetrating the Guru Hoax -then criticising them is of no value according to BVKS! No sane person will accept such hypocrisy - but then again maybe BVKS is simply relying on the fact that it is Kali-yuga, the age of hypocrisy?

Invents our position

“So one other argument of the ritvik-vadis is they say, “Well, we have to follow sadhu, sastra and guru. And you’re saying that Prabhupada just introduced this system which is not according to sastra. And they’ll say, ‘Well Prabhupada changed so many things. He’s a great acarya. He can change so many things.’ ” In this way they demonstrate their pathetic ignorance of the principles of bhakti-tattva”.

BVKS has simply demonstrated his “pathetic ignorance” of what we say, which is not the above. Whatever Srila Prabhupada does, by definition, is automatically in line with sadhu (the saintly predecessors) and sastra (scripture), since he is the guru, and guru, sadhu and sastra are always in line. So we say the exact opposite of what BVKS claims we say here! Thus, like hundreds before him, BVKS is unable even to state what we claim, never mind be able to refute it!

No philosophy, only false personal attacks

“Some years ago, some proponents of ritvikvada brought him (BTP editor Krishnakant) to Alachua as the star but then they withdrew him because he was an embarrassment.”

So having no philosophy or evidence with which to rebut our arguments, like all others before him, BVKS is forced to resort to false personal attacks. False, because had BVKS actually attended the meetings, or watched the video recordings of the two-day event, he would see for himself that I spoke throughout, and was at no point withdrawn. And even if BVKS’s personal attacks were correct, they would simply prove that he was philosophically bankrupt, since he has to resort to personal attacks as a substitute for not having any philosophy with which to address our arguments.


So in summary, BVKS:

Admits we point out contradictions in the GBC position.

Admits our presentation is “very logical”.

States that there is “actually no difference” between our position and his.

Claims Srila Prabhupada and Krishna contradict themselves.

e) Claims he is the sum total of the demigods, fit to be worshipped like an acarya.

Offers only contradictions, hypocrisy, false arguments and personal attacks to support his position.

So in sum, BVKS offers not one piece of evidence against the IRM’s position, but rather just ends up supporting it!
The above analysis is extracted from a much larger exposé, compiled as part of our acclaimed “An error in every sentence series”, and the full version can be read here:

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