What type of gurus did Srila Prabhupada want?


Back to Prabhupada, Issue 22, Winter 2008/9

By Krishnakant

In BTP we have explained repeatedly that Srila Prabhupada’s constant calls for everyone to “become guru”, such as-

“Because people are in darkness, we require many millions of gurus to enlighten them. Therefore Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s mission is, He said, that “Every one of you become guru. Amara ajnaya guruhaya tara ei desa.
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, 21/5/1976)

- can only refer to siksa (instructing) gurus, or additional preacher gurus who assist the diksa guru. This is evidenced by the fact that such instructions are given in conjunction with Lord Caitanya’s instruction to “become guru” from Caitanya caritamtra, Madhya-lila 7:128, as above (amara ajnaya guru). The purports to this verse states:

“one should stay at home […] it is best not to accept any disciples.”
(Sri Caitanya-caritamtra, Madhya-lila 7:128-30, purports)

In addition, these orders to “become guru” are given without Srila Prabhupada stating that he needs to leave the planet before the guru order can be acted on, which would be normal if a diksa guru was being referred to.

Thus, all this makes it clear that Srila Prabhupada is referring to everyone in ISKCON becoming only siksa, and not diksa, gurus.

Less qualified gurus

In addition, another factor which makes it abundantly clear that Srila Prabhupada’s call for gurus refers to siksa, rather than diksa, gurus, is that he states that such gurus can be less qualified, or even have no qualification:

‘“There is no need of qualification.”
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, 21/5/76)

“So who cannot do it? Anyone can do it, even a child.”
(Srila Prabhupada Conversation, 25/1/77)

Whereas the diksa or initiating guru, must possess the highest level of qualification:

“When one has attained the topmost position of maha-bhagavata, he is to be accepted as a guru and worshipped exactly like Hari, the Personality of Godhead. Only such a person is eligible to occupy the post of a guru.”
(Sri Caitanya-caritamtra, Madhya-lila, 24.330, purport)

“One should not become a Spiritual Master unless he has attained the platform of uttama-adhikari.”
(Nectar of Instruction, Text 5, purport)

ISKCON leader agrees

Now one of ISKCON’s leaders has agreed; adopting the IRM’s position that the way forward for ISKCON is for many less qualified rather than a few so-called highly qualified gurus which, as we saw in the last section, means siksa rather than diksa gurus:

“We need more gurus. Not remote, world-traveling, highly qualified gurus, but locally accessible, less qualified gurus. Thousands of them.”
(“ISKCON: More gurus needed!”, The Vaishnava Voice, September 4th, 2008).

The leader in question is His Grace Kripamoya Das (“KMD”), who is the Chairman of ISKCON’s European Council and the Congregational Preaching Director for the UK.

Local house gurus

And to leave the reader in no doubt as to what type of guru he is referring, KMD concludes that we need thousands of men and women acting in the capacity of gurus in their local neighbourhoods:

“By guru I mean someone who is prepared to personally roll up their sleeves and accept responsibility for the spiritual welfare of a number of named individuals.
No wide broadcasting of messages; no generic teaching to anonymous masses; but
teaching, guidance, support to named people in a local area. Only with thousands of men and women doing this will we be able to do what this great mission was set up to do.”
(“ISKCON: More gurus needed!”, The Vaishnava Voice, September 4th, 2008).

This, of course, is Srila Prabhupada’s formula for ISKCON – thousands of men and women who would act as local spiritual masters or siksa gurus, by staying at home and not “travelling the world”, and above all not accepting any disciples! Srila Prabhupada indeed states that this is the mission of ISKCON:

“This is the sublime mission of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. […] That is, one should stay at home, chant the Hare Krsna mantra and preach the instructions of Krsna as they are given in the Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam […] One has to learn humility and meekness at home, following the instructions of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and in that way one’s life will be spiritually successful. One should not try to be an artificially advanced devotee, thinking, “I am a first-class devotee.” Such thinking should be avoided. It is best not to accept any disciples. One has to become purified at home by chanting the Hare Krsna maha-mantra and preaching the principles enunciated by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Thus one can become a spiritual master and be freed from the contamination of material life.”
(Sri Caitanya-caritamtra, Madhya-lila, 7.130, purport)

Standing against GBC philosophy

This is a stunning announcement by an ISKCON leader as it directly contradicts ISKCON’s teaching on the matter, which is that Srila Prabhupada allegedly wanted every one of his disciples to become diksa guru, meaning thousands of such diksa, or initiating gurus, who would take thousands of disciples, as we see below:

“In your transcendental literatures you repeatedly mention how you hope for the day when all your followers will be initiating spiritual masters, initiating even 10,000 or more disciples into the guru parampara.”
(Jayapataka Swami, Vyasa-Puja offering to Srila Prabhupada, 1998)


We are therefore left with only one diksa, or initiating guru in ISKCON – Srila Prabhupada – who alone can accept disciples; whereas each member of ISKCON, right up to the GBC, is authorised by Srila Prabhupada to only act as an instructing guru or preacher:

Srila Prabhupada  “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 to GBC member, August 4th, 1975)

  Which means that we must follow the actual meaning of Lord Caitanya’s           order, as clearly explained by Srila Prabhupada in the purports cited   previously, to only become siksa gurus (instructing gurus or preachers, not   initiating gurus), and which one of ISKCON’s leaders is also now accepting is     the way forward.

  Srila Prabhupada: the only diksa Guru for ISKCON.

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