Reply to Sivarama Swami's Podcast of
10th December, 2010


By Krishnakant

 The following is a response to the above Podcast from His Holiness Sivarama Swami (SRS), and as usual statements from SRS shall be enclosed in tinted panels, with our comments following underneath: 

 “So spiritual master is someone who tells you who Krsna is, who you are, what your relationship is with Krsna, how to perfect that relationship. […] So Krsna is Supreme Personality of Godhead, you’re his eternal servant, you’re meant to engage in pure devotional service, and this is how you engage in devotional service. This is what a spiritual master is. […] You have some spiritual masters who are mahabhagavatas, and you may have spiritual masters who are kanistha- or madhyama adhikaris.[…] What’s the qualification of a spiritual master?  He’s surrendered to Krsna, he’s surrendered to his spiritual master. […] He may make different errors of judgment and other things along the way, but still he’s fixed in the principles of Krsna consciousness, he’s fixed in surrender to Krsna, at the lotus feet of his own spiritual master, in serving the parampara, in spreading Krsna consciousness.”

SRS defines a spiritual master as someone who can tell a person how to perfect their relationship with Krishna and how they can engage in pure devotional service, and he will also be spreading Krishna consciousness. SRS states that such a spiritual master can also be a Kanistha Adhikari. Yet, a Kanistha Adhikari does not know how to properly execute devotional service himself, nor does he spread Krishna consciousness:

"The kanistha-adhikari is in the lowest stage of realization. He goes to a place of worship, such as a temple, church or mosque, according to his religious faith, and worships there according to scriptural injunctions. Devotees in this stage consider the Lord to be present at the place of worship and nowhere else. They cannot ascertain who is in what position in devotional service, nor can they tell who has realized the Supreme Lord. Such devotees follow the routine formulas and sometimes quarrel among themselves, considering one type of devotion better than another. These kanistha-adhikaris are actually materialistic devotees who are simply trying to transcend the material boundary to reach the spiritual plane."
[Sri Isopanisad, Mantra 6, Purport]

"Those who claim to be devotees but do not engage in Krishna's service to elevate all living creatures to Krishna consciousness are to be considered kanistha-adhikaris (people in the lowest stage of devotional service)."
(CC, Madhya Lila, 24:205)

"Of course, those who are kanistha-adhikaris do not preach"
(SB, 9:11:25)

It is not possible, therefore, for a Kanistha Adhikari to fulfil the definition of a spiritual master as given by SRS: for a Kanistha Adhikari cannot instruct others how to engage in pure devotional service so that they may perfect their relationship with Krishna, since a Kanistha Adhikari does not possess this knowledge themselves, and he also he does not preach. This means that either SRS does not know what a spiritual master is, or he is contradicting himself by claiming that the type of spiritual master he has described can possibly be a Kanistha Adhikari. Yet despite not even being able to correctly explain what a spiritual master is, SRS poses as a spiritual master himself!

“And someone may be a very advanced Vaisnava and not be in a position of guru. […] In other words, spiritual masters are Vaisnavas, and there are Vaisnavas who are not spiritual masters, we should judge the advancement of a devotee not on the basis of whether they’re a spiritual master or not, but actually on the basis of ‘yei krsna-tattva-vetta, sei guru haya’. How much do they know Krsna, how advanced are they spiritually, how much are they surrendered to Krsna?”

It is often claimed by GBC supporters that Srila Prabhupada could not possibly have established himself as the Diksa guru for ISKCON because this would imply that he was unable to create any pure devotees to succeed him. SRS answers this often used argument by correctly pointing out that it is not compulsory for an advanced Vaisnava to become a guru. Therefore, the fact that Srila Prabhupada established himself as ISKCON’s diksa guru, is not related to whether or not he created, or will create, pure devotees.

“What’s the qualification of a spiritual master?  He’s surrendered to Krsna, he’s surrendered to his spiritual master.  His perfection is in his endeavour to serve Krsna.  He may make mistake, just like you hear me make so many mistakes on this podcast. He may make mistakes in quoting a verse.”

1) SRS is correct that he makes so many mistakes on this podcast! Not just this podcast, but almost every time he opens his mouth on the key subject of the spiritual master, SRS makes mistakes, as anyone who reads all the other entries on this website will see.

2) Thus, SRS’s mistakes are not simply mistakes of memory in terms of quoting a verse, but mistakes in not knowing the teachings of Srila Prabhupada. (Or he knows them but is deliberately misrepresenting them, which is worse). Such a lack of basic knowledge would mean he is not even fit to be a disciple, never mind a spiritual master guiding others back to Godhead.

“and devotees shouldn’t make up philosophy, they shouldn’t make up unnecessary requirements, have unnecessary expectations for which later on they’ll actually be sorry for, and they cause them problems in their Krishna consciousness. […]  We should not try to see other things that aren’t necessarily there, or make up things that aren’t there.”

Yet, SRS has made many statements, where he has just made up philosophy, and where he sees and makes up things which are not there in the teachings of Srila Prabhupada. This is all documented in detail on this website.

Please chant: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna, Krishna, Hare, Hare,
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama, Rama, Hare, Hare.
And be Happy!