ISKCON leader comments further

Summer 2007

In our last issue, we highlighted the praise lavished on BTP by ISKCON leader His Grace Kripamoya Das (please see BTP15, “ISKCON leader praises Back to Prabhupada”). He has now written another article wherein he discusses the philosophical position of the IRM further. All quotes from Kripamoya prabhu appear in tinted panels, and are taken from his article “Two Ramas, Two Gurus, and a False Dilemma…”, The Vaisnava Voice, May 6th, 2007.

Srila Prabhupada is our Guru

“In our ISKCON, one who accepts Srila Prabhupada as the acarya is factually accepting him as his guru. How could it be otherwise?”

Yes, how could it be otherwise! Well spoken. Kripamoya then goes on to explain exactly the type of guru Srila Prabhupada is.

Srila Prabhupada supplies all transcendental knowledge

“It is Srila Prabhupada who has supplied all members of our Vaishnava community with knowledge and an example of pure devotion. When any of our preachers is successful in bringing a soul to spiritual life, it is through the power of Srila Prabhupada’s words which he or she has repeated.”

The guru, who has given all the transcendental knowledge by which we are liberated, is the diksa or initiating guru

“This is the purpose of diksa, or initiation. Initiation means receiving the pure knowledge of spiritual consciousness.”
(Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila, 9.61, purport)

“Diksa is the process by which one can awaken his transcendental knowledge and vanquish all reactions caused by sinful activity.”
(Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila,15.108, purport)

Srila Prabhupada is link between us and Krishna

“And certainly we are all depending on Srila Prabhupada to intercede with Krishna so that we can attain His shelter.”

Again, the guru who acts as the link between us and Krishna is the diksa guru

“And if you get a bona fide spiritual master, he will take you to Krsna.”
(The Laws of Nature, chapter 1, p. 43)

Srila Prabhupada is the one who gives salvation

“He is surely our guarantee of salvation if we follow his instructions and personal example in our daily life.”

Again, Kripamoya prabhu has summarised perfectly the description of a diksa guru, or one who is responsible for giving us salvation

“This is the process of initiation. […]
Then, the spiritual master takes care of him and elevates him to spiritual emancipation.”
(Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila, 24.256)

ISKCON “gurus” help practically

“And yet if a disciple is scripturally instructed, personally and practically guided, and sometimes corrected to reduce their tendency to commit offenses, they also have a guru in the person who is doing all that for them.”

Kripamoya prabhu was not trained personally by Srila Prabhupada, having barely met him, but rather by other devotees such as his Temple President etc., and yet he became Srila Prabhupada’s initiated disciple, since the other devotees who helped him on a day to day basis were his siksa gurus only

“It is not that after we become initiated we become perfect. No. It requires teaching. So if we take instruction from them, all senior godbrothers may be treated as guru, there is no harm.”
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, November 20th, 1971)

ISKCON “gurus” like classroom monitor

“Similarly, one who has accepted the role of guru in modern ISKCON should not take the credit for being a mere instrument in Srila Prabhupada’s hands. Although others may view him as guru, he knows that he remains a simple disciple, a ‘classroom monitor’ in Srila Prabhupada’s school.”

The class monitor never takes the place of the teacher, but assists him in his absence

“Sometimes a diksa guru is not present always. Therefore one can take learning, instruction, from an advanced devotee. That is called the siksa guru.”
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, July 4th, 1974)

Doctor Diksa – Nurse Siksa

Kripamoya prabhu summarises the difference between Srila Prabhupada and the ISKCON “gurus”, as that between a doctor and a nurse

“I have had cancer successfully treated twice over the past five months. The medical team included some highly specialised surgeons who saw me once or twice, operated, then saw me once afterwards. [...]
The surgeons could not see me every day to change my dressings, but the nurses could.”

The Guru, like the doctor or surgeon, who actually cures a person from his material sickness, is of course the diksa Guru

Diksa actually means initiating a disciple with transcendental knowledge by which he becomes freed from all material contamination.”
(Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila, 4.111, purport, emphasis added)

The devotees who assist practically by guiding us how to chant our rounds etc., like the nurses who change dressings, are also necessary, and are siksa gurus.

False dilemma

“It is therefore a false dilemma that is posed by ISKCON’s critics “Srila Prabhupada or a modern day guru? Take your choice!”

Yes, Kripamoya is correct that this is a false dilemma, and is certainly never one posed by the IRM, since we continually point out that there are two types of gurus, and both are needed

“The GBC should all be the instructor gurus. I am the initiator guru, and you should be the instructor guru by teaching what I am teaching and doing what I am doing.”
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, August 4th, 1975)

So the GBC and all other “senior” devotees were meant to work hand-in-hand with Srila Prabhupada, who is the diksa or initiator guru, by acting as instructor or siksa gurus.


Thus, again Kripamoya has offered some wise words, just as in his previous submission. He simply needs to follow these words of his, which show that ISKCON devotees who help us practically on a day to day basis, just as Kripamoya prabhu was himself helped, are only siksa gurus, and that Srila Prabhupada is the diksa Guru.