Reply to Sivarama Swami's Podcast
of 28th June, 2010


By Krishnakant

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

 “From Bhakta Nimai in London he asks, "We are told that guru takes us to Krsna. Sometimes we hear literal examples of this. How do we understand this in our tradition? Does Srila Prabhupada or his disciple – whom we have taken shelter of as our guru – take us?”

 SRS: Briefly the answer is “yes”.  Our whole principle is that Krishna says, " tad viddhi pranipatena pariprasnena sevaya”, "You approach a spiritual master," and " upadeksyanti te jnanam jnaninas tattva-darsinah"  He will ‘tattva-darsi’, he will show you the truth. When he's showing you truth he will take you to Krishna.”

SRS answers that the Diksa Guru we must accept, as mentioned in BG 4:34, is the person who will “take you to Krishna”. In stating this, SRS immediately traps himself by contradicting his GBC and guru colleague His Holiness Bhakti Caru Swami (BCS), who SRS accepts as a bona fida spiritual master. Putting SRS’s statements together with the statements of BCS, we get:

SRS: The Diksa guru will take you to Krishna (above)

BCS: “I cannot lead you to Krsna. “ (BCS Istagosthi, March 28th, 2006)

BCS:  “Srila Prabhupada will take you to Krsna.”  (BCS, Durban disciples meeting, reported on April 7th, 2006)

This means, according to SRS and BCS:

BCS is not a Diksa Guru.

Srila Prabhupada is the Diksa Guru

“The spiritual master's main responsibility is, "tasmad gurum prapadyeta jijnasuh sreya uttamam", “samit-panih srotriyam brahma-nistham” is to transfer, to transmit the knowledge he teaches you. He's a teacher.”

According to the GBC, and hence SRS, since he is himself a GBC member, the Guru, who teaches us and transfers to us the most knowledge, is Srila Prabhupada:

"b. Srila Prabhupada's instructions are the essential teachings for every ISKCON devotee."
(Resolution 35, Founder-Acarya Statement, 1994)

“This pure transcendental knowledge, delivered without alteration, uplifts the conditioned souls to the platform of devotional service and cleanses sinful desires from their hearts. Such uplifting knowledge is called divya jnana, and its transmission is called siksa. This divya jnana is the principle active ingredient of diksa."
404 [ Vision and Goal] Definitions of Guru and Divya Jnana (1999 GBC Resolutions)

"ISKCON's founder-acarya, Srila Prabhupada, is the preeminent and compulsory siksa-guru for all vaisnavas (gurus and disciples) in the Society, who may directly receive empowerment from him through allegiance to his teachings.
409. [Vision and Goal] Principles concerning various kinds of gurus (1999, GBC Resolutions)

So again SRS has unwittingly, ended up claiming that Srila Prabhupada is actually the Diksa Guru we have to accept and surrender to, as advised by Krishna in the Bhagavada Gita, who takes us to Krishna. 

“… those personalities who are no longer physically manifest but who are spiritually accessible by spiritual or near spiritual vision, particularly in the stages of bhava and prema  But all of these personalities act only when one has actually accepted a spiritual master.  That is more or less the overall ticket.  If you don't have that ticket then you don't get the benefit of the siksa gurus and the diksa guru, the vartma-pradarsaka guru and other personalities like Rupa Goswami, Srila Prabhupada, Bhaktivinode Thakura, they will not direct you on that path back home, back to Godhead.”

 SRS now states that the spiritual master that he was asked about, the Diksa Guru who takes us to Krishna, is actually himself (and his guru colleagues in ISKCON), and not Srila Prabhupada. So desperate is SRS to ensure he promotes himself, he will happily contradict the actual description of the Guru he is speaking of, which he has just given!

 “And we need to have as much faith in the system of accepting guru as we have in accepting the guru himself.  Because it's Krishna's system, therefore even if we may think that there is some kind of lacking, then "yoga-ksemam vahamy aham." Krishna will cover that type of lack.”

1) SRS refers here to the Bhagavad Gita verse “But those who worship Me with devotion, meditating on My transcendental form-to them I carry what they lack and preserve what they have.” (9:22). This verse, nor its purport, speaks of there being any lack in “Krishna’s system” of accepting a bona fide spiritual master. Rather, Srila Prabhupada states, in the same Bhagavad Gita, that a bona fide guru in the eternal disciplic succession never deviates at all:

"A bona fide spiritual master is in the disciplic succession from time eternal and he does not deviate at all from the instructions of the Supreme Lord."  
(Bhagavad-gita 4.42, purport)

2) Rather the purport to BG 9:22, does state that:

“The Lord helps the devotee to achieve Krsna consciousness by yoga, and when he becomes fully Krsna conscious the Lord protects him from falling down to a miserable conditioned life.”

Clearly, therefore, this verse cannot be referring at all to the ISKCON guru system, since SRS himself has confessed that its members have continually fallen down to a miserable conditioned life: 

 “deviations in ISKCON […] Fallen sannyasis, drugs-induced ecstasy, illicit sex and fallible gurus.”
(SRS, Podcast, October 3rd, 2006) 

“But it requires real sraddha and determination on the part of the aspiring devotees.” 

Given what we quoted SRS stating about his own fallen ISKCON guru system, it certainly does require “real sraddha and determination on the part of the aspiring devotees” to accept that such a fallen and unauthorized system could actually be “Krishna’s system”!

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