Reply to Sivarama Swami's Podcast of
15th 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: 

“In terms of practical application, then Srila Prabhhupada points out that in Upadesamrta that someone who's not an uttama adhikhari, he's not so good in giving practical guidance because he hasn't fully realized the teachings that he may know, but he doesn't have full realization of them. But that still doesn't mean that he shouldn't be followed.” 

In the portion of the Upadesamrta SRS refers to here, this is what Srila Prabhupada actually states: 

"Indeed, the advanced uttama-adhikari Vaisnava devotee should be accepted as a spiritual master. […] One should not become a spiritual master unless he has attained the platform of uttama-adhikari. A neophyte Vaisnava or a Vaisnava situated on the intermediate platform can also accept disciples, but such disciples must be on the same platform, and it should be understood that they cannot advance very well toward the ultimate goal of life under his insufficient guidance. Therefore a disciple should be careful to accept an uttama-adhikari as a spiritual master."
(Upadesamrta – The Nectar of Instruction, Text 5, purport) 

Srila Prabhupada is not advising us to follow Kanisthas. On the contrary, because they offer insufficient guidance, Srila Prabhupada tells us to be careful to instead accept an Uttama-Adhikari as a spiritual master. 

“And this is what Srila Prabhupada emphasizes everywhere throughout his books, the importance of following the spiritual master, because when you're following a bona fide spiritual master at whatever his level of spiritual advancement, then you're following Krishna. And if you're following Krishna, then you're going to go back home, back to Godhead.” 

In his books, Srila Prabhupada does not state that following anyone, “whatever his level of spiritual advancement”, will lead one to go back to Godhead. Rather, in his books, Srila Prabhupada states the opposite, that the guru must be at least liberated to take us back to Godhead: 

"A conditioned soul cannot deliver another conditioned soul. Only Krishna or His bona fide representative can deliver him."
(Nectar of Devotion, Chapter 9)

“Then there is the conditioned soul, spiritual master who is not situated in the same platform, but because he's representing Krishna, because he's following the principle of the guru parampara, therefore he also acts in the capacity of spiritual master. And he may be a madhyama-adhikari, a kanistha-adhikari, a uttama adhikari.” 

Though SRS states here that the spiritual master may be a conditioned soul, Srila Prabhupada states the opposite: 

"Because one who has understood Krishna in truth, he is liberated person. Therefore he is guru. Guru cannot be a conditioned soul. Guru must be liberated. Because without complete knowledge of Krishna, without being free from the contamination of the three modes of material nature... One cannot understand Krishna on account of his being engrossed with these three material modes of nature."
(Lecture, 16/2/71)

“Once we accept a spiritual master - you have lots of time to decide who you want to accept - once you accept, you're accepting someone who you're going to follow. And if you're following a fully liberated soul, then you can be assured that the guidance that he gives you will be fully realized and will be faultless. If you're following a conditioned soul, then you still need to follow and you need to then have faith in the fact that, yoga-ksemam vahamy aham. That Krishna will then carry what you lack. If you need something further in that regard, then Krishna will make the suitable arrangement. But follow we must, because that's the essential basic principle of Krishna consciousness. Pranipatena pariprasnena sevaya, upadeksyanti te jnana.” 

SRS claims that one must follow a conditioned soul as a spiritual master, even though he is not offering “fully realised and faultless” guidance, due to two 2 reasons: 

1) That Krishna will make up for the lack in qualification of the spiritual master, and this is stated by Bhagavada Gita 9:22 – “yoga-ksemam vahamy aham”. However, this verse, nor its purport, make any reference to the fact that one may accept an unqualified spiritual master.

2) Because this is the basic principle of Krishna consciousness, and this is stated by Bhagavada Gita, 4:34 – “Pranipatena pariprasnena sevaya, upadeksyanti te jnana”. However this verse states the opposite, since it speaks specifically of following the self-realised spiritual master, rather than SRS’s non-realised spiritual master, who is not “fully realised and faultless”:

“Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized soul can impart knowledge unto you because he has seen the truth.”
(BG, 4:34)


As has been documented in detail on this website, SRS continues non-stop to spout his own “teachings”, which are not only never mentioned by Srila Prabhupada, but often are the exact opposite of what Srila Prabhupada teaches. Again and again he demonstrates that he does not have a grasp of even Srila Prabhupada’s most basic teachings.

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