How is the diksa guru authorised?


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 24, Summer 2009

The IRM has successfully proven that the requirement for being a diksa, or initiating, guru in ISKCON is not simply that one thinks they have acquired the requisite qualifications to act as guru, but that in addition Srila Prabhupada must also authorize such persons to specifically act in that capacity:

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

This has put the GBC on the back foot, realizing that it’s not enough just to “assume” they were supposed to become gurus to “continue the parampara”, but that they also need to demonstrate authorization for the same. We here will review the shifting and contradictory attempts made by the GBC over the years to demonstrate that Srila Prabhupada authorized gurus, illustrated using a recent discussion on the subject between two ISKCON guru hoaxers, HH Jayadvaita Swami and HH Trivikrama Swami, archived on April 5th, 2009, excerpts from which will be in the tinted panels below.

1978 – Direct order

Following the disappearance of Srila Prabhupada, there was never any doubt in anyone’s mind that authorization meant receiving a direct order from Srila Prabhupada for the same, and indeed this was the basis of ISKCON’s guru system with the first Great Guru Hoax:

“The argument that after the departure of the spiritu­al master any one of his disciples can give initiation, cannot be applied in the case of Srila Prabhupada who specifically
named 11 persons only at first to fulfill this function.”
(Tamala Krishna Letter to Upananda, December 13th, 1978)

1987 – No authorization - It’s automatic

Following The Great Guru Hoax, Part 1, to satisfy the clamour from many other ambi­tious persons also wishing to be guru, the requirement that Srila Prabhupada needs to authorize gurus had to be ditched, since at best he had only named 11 persons (as ritviks in reality, but the GBC still accepted they were named as gurus). Therefore, a 180­degree flip-flop was done where­by it was accepted that no authorization is needed since by the “law of disciplic succession” everyone is automatically authorized (“The Great Guru Hoax, Part 2”):

Trivikrama: “Then again, Prabhupada says in a letter to Tusta Krishna about it is the law of disciplic succession, when your spiritual master is present the etiquette is you should bring aspiring disciples to him. But when he’s no longer present then he can accept disciples.”
Jayadvaita: “Unlimitedly. So it’s a point of etiquette. Otherwise everyone’s authorized, but even the authorized person waits, following the etiquette.”

1987 – But GBC authorization required!

However, having got around the inconvenient point that Srila Prabhupada’s authorization was required to become guru by dispensing with the need for authorization at all, the GBC contradictorily claimed that though no authorization is needed from Srila Prabhupada himself to become guru, it is nonetheless needed from them:

Jayadvaita: “Well, what you’re saying is that it’s not irrelevant that they are approved, or not objected to, or whatever, and that’s accepted on the grounds that the GBC has been appointed by Prabhupada as the ultimate managing authority. So in terms of the management for the society, it’s relevant. If you want to abide by the managerial set-up of the society then their stamp of whatever is relevant.”

Everyone authorized – Just by following

Trivikrama: “Sometimes they say ‘Well, Lord Chaitanya told everyone to be a spiritual master.’” Jayadvaita:  “He did.”
Trivikrama: “So then everyone is authorized.”
Jayadvaita: “True. Except one just has to follow and then he’s authorized.”

In addition, the argument is also used that Lord Chaitanya’s order for everyone to “become guru” (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya­lila 7:128) means again that everyone is automatically authorized by dint of this order. However, Srila Prabhupada makes clear in the purports to this verse that this order only refers to becoming siksa (instructing), not diksa (initiating) guru: “It is best not to accept any disciples” (Cc, Madhya­lila 7:130). In addition, we have already noted that this argument is defeated by the GBC’s requirement that one still needs to be au­thorized by them first.

Actual situation – Direct order

Though in 1978 Srila Prabhupada’s direct order for ritviks (officiating priests) was misinterpreted as being an order for diksa gurus, one cannot dispense with the need for an order itself:

“A Guru can be Guru when he is ordered by his Guru. That’s all. Otherwise nobody can become Guru.”
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, october 28th, 1975)

Indeed, even the guru hoaxers refer to this obvious point:

Jayadvaita: “Although it’s supposed to be that if one is authorized by the spiritual master, there must be a letter or it must be on file in the Vedabase.”

Srila Prabhupada clearly stated in his final days 3 times that “everything” which was needed for running ISKCON, he gave in writing:

"I have given in writing everything, whatever you wanted—my will, my executive (?) power, everything. Disaster will happen if you cannot manage it. […] I have already given everything in writing."
(Srila Prabhupada Room Conversation, october 2nd and 3rd, 1977)

In Srila Prabhupada’s Last Will and the July 9th, 1977 directive, it is established that for ISKCON Srila Prabhupada is its initiating Guru. And hence if Srila Prabhupada had wanted to authorize any successor gurus or a system by which successor gurus could emerge in the future, he would also have given this in writing.

In ISKCON, every single activity, no matter how minor, is considered authorized only because we can support it with a direct re­corded instruction to that effect from Srila Prabhupada. Yet for the most momentous and significant order, that of how the parampara should continue for the next 10,000 years, we are to believe that this one most important activity does not require any direct order from Srila Prabhupada. The GBC have to say this since Srila Prabhupada did not authorise any successor diksa gurus.

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