M O V I N G   F O R W A R D

With a Case for the Reconstitution of Srila Prabhupada’s “Mission”.

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Segment 09
ISKCON’S Current Guru System.

ISKCON’s current guru system, is a heartbreaking concoction that is not supported by any Gaudiya-Vaisnava Siddhanta, nor is it based on the principle of “GSS”.  Never in the whole history of the Gaudiya Vaisnava Sampradaya, has there ever been such system.

What is needed is the elimination of this objectionable guru system, and the adoption of one that is in accordance with Srila Prabhupada’s orders, and instructions, and also Gaudiya-Vaisnava Shastra, and Siddhanta that is based on the principle of “GSS.”

This rectification will surely start the healing of all the other cancers, like “personal ambition”, that has also infected ISKCON throughout its history.  Unbelievable as it may be, personal ambition was actually present when Srila Prabhupada was physically present, and then has gone viral after his departure.  This healing will turn a “Ruined ISKCON”, into the, “Real ISKCON”, that Srila Prabhupada envisioned.

If the current ruined ISKCON cannot be healed, for whatever reason, the only alternative is for Srila Prabhupada disciples, and his followers, to do as he did. It is an undeniable fact that Srila Prabhupada said many times,

 “Do as I do”.

Srila Prabhupada did not try to fix or heal his spiritual master’s ruined Gaudiya Matha. He understood that it was not possible, and he just wanted to fulfill the orders of his spiritual master, and go and preach in the west, and print and distribute books.  He understood well that he could not do this within the Gaudiya Matha Institution.  So much so, that the GBC of the Gaudiya Matha, more or less, kicked Srila Prabhupada out.  They wrote him a letter, telling him, more or less that “your ideas and plans are not within the scope of our Gaudiya Matha agenda; therefore, it would be better if you go out on your own.”  To our good fortune, he did.

In order to fulfill his guru’s instructions, he more or less reconstituted his spiritual master’s ruined Gaudiya Matha.  Srila Prabhupada fashioned an institution that his spiritual master wanted his Gaudiya Matha to be. The only difference is that Srila Prabhupada called it ISKCON.

Since, it would be easier to change the course of a Battle Ship with a wooden canoe paddle, than to change the course of ISKCON; reconstitution maybe the best option.

If this reconstitution does not manifest, now or in the future, ISKCON, will continue to dry up like a prune, until it has no more juice at all.  This has already happened to the Gaudiya Matha.  Hence, both institutions are categorically “Ruined”, and “Useless”.

This unauthorized, guru system was adopted by the GBC, just months after Srila Prabhupada departed. and it still functions to this day.   Keep in mind that it is not the lone opinion of this Treatise that ISKCON has such an unauthorized guru system.  It is originally the opinion of Srila Prabhupada, Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami, and Srila Jiva Gosvami.

Sri Caitanya-caritamrita, Adi-lila 1.31 Purport:

“It is imperative that a serious person accept a bona fide spiritual master in terms of the sastric injunctions. Sri Jiva Gosvami advises that one not accept a spiritual master in terms of hereditary or customary social and ecclesiastical conventions. One should simply try to find a genuinely qualified spiritual master for actual advancement in spiritual understanding.”

Srila Prabhupada, citing Srila Jiva Gosvami, writes in Caitanya-caritamrita, Adi.1.35. Purport:

“It is imperative that a serious person accept a bona fide spiritual master in terms of the sastric injunction.”

 Sri Jiva Gosvami advises that one not accept a spiritual master in terms of hereditary or customary social and ecclesiastical conventions.

One should simply try to find a genuinely qualified spiritual master for actual advancement in spiritual understanding.

Srila Prabhupada and Sri Jiva Gosvami advises that one not accept a spiritual master in terms of hereditary or customary social and ecclesiastical conventions.  Yet the ISKCON GBC has done exactly this; so, are they not guilty of not following the orders of one’s spiritual master?  Of course, they are guilty of not following the orders of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Jiva Goswami.  One could say that they are “guilty as sin”, i.e., “completely or very guilty.”

The cure and ratification of the two cancers of not following Srila Prabhupada’s orders and instructions on how to select a guru, and how to manage ISKCON, will in themselves, heal ISKCON, so much so, that the Krishna consciousness Movement will again head in the right direction, and take off like a rocket, and Srila Prabhupada’s Krishna consciousness Movement will again make an impact on all the nations of this Earth, as it once did when Srila Prabhupada was present.  Moreover, this healing will contribute to, and once again accelerate, the manifestation of Lord Caitanya’s Golden Age of Kali Yuga.

Thus, you can understand that this is also an inspiration to write this Treatise. It is the hope of this Treatise to describe, and elucidate, these two issues. In other words,

“To distinguish truth from illusion for the welfare of all.”

Additionally, we should pray to Lord Sri Krishna that the aphorism “better late than never”, will apply to this cause.

In regards to the “Guru” issue, it is very important to have faith in Srila Prabhupada’s owns words,

“Everything is in my  books”.

This Treatise will give you references regarding guru-tattva, (guru-truth).  There is no lack of such information, instructions, and orders, which all have the quality of “personal verifiable criteria”.  Thus, any sincere person will be able to verify the reference or instruction.

Srila Prabhupada wrote in Quest for Enlightenment, 2f, The Mercy of Lord Caitanya:

As Naratama Dasa Thakura says,

“Make the orders of the spiritual master your life and soul.”

And then,

“Do not think otherwise. Simply accept what he says.”

Of course,

“First of all, you must select who will be your spiritual master”.

You must know his qualifications. If you want to purchase gold, you must at least know where gold is available. If you are so foolish that you go to a butcher shop to buy diamonds or gold, then you’ll be cheated. Similarly, if out of ignorance, you approach the wrong person for spiritual guidance, you’ll be cheated.

So, finding a bona fide guru requires intelligence and sincerity. If you are serious about understanding the goal of life, spiritual knowledge, then Krishna will help you. He is situated in everyone’s heart, and he understands when you are sincerely seeking the Absolute Truth. Then He gives direction: “Go to this person.”  Krishna is already giving direction in every respect. We want to do so many things, and Krishna is giving us the facility. As He says in the Bhagavad-gita 18.61,

“The Supreme Lord is situated in everyone’s heart, O Arjuna, and is directing the wanderings of all living entities, who are seated as on a machine, made of the material energy.”

As the Supersoul in the heart, Krishna is giving facilities to all living entities in their wanderings throughout the various species. But when one becomes very eager to understand Krishna, or God, He is glad to give instruction:

“Go to such-and-such person and submissively inquire from him. You’ll be enlightened.”

Caitanya-caritamrta-Madhya-lila 19.15,

“According to their karma, all living entities are wandering throughout the entire universe. Some of them are being elevated to the upper planetary systems, and some are going down into the lower planetary systems. Out of many millions of wandering living entities, one who is very fortunate gets an opportunity to associate with a bona fide spiritual master by the grace of Krishna. By the mercy of both Krishna and the spiritual master, such a person receives the seed of the creeper of devotional service.”

By the mercy of the spiritual master and Krishna one can make spiritual advancement. One must simply be sincere.

Krishna did not say that someone else will select for you by providing a list of GBC approved gurus, which Srila Prabhupada called “Rubber-Stamping”, and which he disapproved of.  This has been confirmed by Srila Jiva Gosvami when he advises that one not accept a spiritual master in terms of hereditary or customary social and ecclesiastical conventions.

Srila Prabhupada also said,

“You must know his qualifications”.

There is a White Paper with the title of,

“Guru & Disciple Tattva, (White Paper on Guru & Disciple Truths). According to Srila Prabhupada.”

This White Paper contains a large quantity of references, from Srila Prabhupada’s works, regarding Guru & Disciple Tattva.  This Primer, can assist you with what Srila Prabhupada said about Guru & Disciple Relationship.  It will guide an aspiring disciple, in their quest, to finding a guru, who is qualified to be a Siksa or Diksa-guru.  In addition, it will guide them with what it means to be a disciple.

Sri Caitanya-caritamrita-Madhya-lila 19.151,

“By the mercy of the spiritual master and Krishna one can make spiritual advancement. One must simply be sincere.”

Sincere” means,

“Free from ‘pretense’, or ‘deceit’.”

Pretense”, means,

“An attempt to make something that is not the case appear true; a false display of feelings, attitudes, or intentions.”

Deceit”, means,

“The action or practice of deceiving someone by concealing or misrepresenting the truth.”

ISKCON leaders are not sincere, because they are not free from pretense or deceit.  They make things that are not the case, appear to be true.  They display false feelings, attitudes, and intention.  They deceive their disciples and followers, by concealing and misrepresenting the “Truth” regarding the selection of a guru and what it means to be a disciple.

ISKCON’s Guru selection system violates the advice given by Srila Prabhupada and Sri Jiva Gosvami when they say that one should not accept a spiritual master in terms of hereditary or customary social and ecclesiastical conventions.  ISKCON’s Guru selection system that is offered to its members is absolutely a “customary social, and ecclesiastical convention”; or in simpler terms, it is “Rubberstamping”, par- excellence[1].

Let us look at the meaning of the words used by Srila Jiva Goswami:

  • Customary:  According to or depending on custom; usual; habitual. Of or established by custom rather than law. Defined by long-continued practices.
  • Social:  Relating to, devoted to, or characterized by friendly companionship or relations. Living or disposed to live in companionship with others or in a community, rather than in isolation.
  • Ecclesiastical: Of or relating to the church or the clergy; churchly; clerical; not secular.
  • Convention:  A meeting or formal assembly, as of representatives or delegates, for discussion of and action on particular matters of common concern.  A representative Party assembly to nominate candidates and adopt platforms and assembly protocols.

 

ISKCON’s guru system was established by custom and not by sastra.  It certainly requires a society that is disposed to living in companionship with others or in a community, and is clerical, and not secular.  This guru system was established with meetings, and formal assembly; with discussions regarding actions to be taken, that were of common interest and concern, to the power, and financial vested interests of GBCs, Gurus, Sannaysis, and Temple Presidents.

After Srila Prabhupada’s departure, there was much confusion amongst his disciples; you cannot imagine how stunned we were.  One could surmise that in general we were weak and extreamly vulnerable. The following is a brief History of ISKCON GBC Resolutions: so, you can see what has been previously written it true.

The GBC, in 1978, in consultation with other leaders in ISKCON, compiled a paper by the title “Future Initiations”; for the purpose of delineating, what they wanted you to believe were Srila Prabhupada’s desires. This paper had a few references to sastra, and gives a general outline of the way in which the process of initiation would go on in ISKCON. It is more a summary of GBC policies than it is a scholarly paper. Some aspects of it, such as saying that disciples have a choice as to whom they take as guru, were not instituted. It explains that new gurus will be chosen by the group of existing gurus, in order for the process to have “spiritual characteristics.”

Pradyumna dasa, Prabhupada’s Sanskrit editor and constant companion and servant, writes a letter to the GBC explaining how there were many discrepancies in ISKCON’s guru system in relation to sastra and tradition, (he did not reference very much sastra—mostly tradition and sadhus).

Result: Pradyumna dasa was removed from translating the Bhagavatam, and his letter ignored.  He was ostracized from ISKCON.

On March 19th, a resolution was passed stating that starting in 1979, gurus would need a 3/4 vote of GBC.

On March 21st, an amendment to this resolution stated that a GBC committee of existing gurus would select new gurus once a year.

Zonal acharya system resolutions were passed.  For each zone, guru would be like Srila Prabhupada was to the world.   Srila Prabhupada disciples should treat the eleven gurus almost like their own spiritual master.  Gurus who fall or leave ISKCON lose their post and can come back as regular devotees.

The GBC then passed the resolution that appointed 11 Srila Prabhupada disciples as Gurus (Comments in parentheses are mine based on personal knowledge):

  1. Hansadutta Swami.(Heroine Edict & Fire Arms)
  2. Harikesa Swami.
  3. Jayapataka Swami. (Kept his mouth-shut about Bhavananda)
  4. Kirtanananda Swami. (Practicing Pedophile & Criminal Racketeer)
  5. Hridayananda Das Goswami. (Playboy Womanizer)
  6.  Satsvarupa Das Goswami. (Mental Health Issues)
  7.  Tamala Krishna Goswami. (Machiavellian Disciple)
  8.  Ramesvara Dasa Bramachari. (Had a Underage  Girlfriend)
  9.  Bhavananda Dasa> (Practicing homosexual)
  10. y Bhagavan Dasa. (Playboy & Womanizer)
  11.   Jayatirtha Dasa. (Was using LSD & Womanizer)

Note:  The corruption, wicket, evil, and unscrupulous acts by these men, are extensive and well documented on the Internet, and personal experience by Srila Prabhupada disciples who knew these men.  It is not the intention of the Treatise to present or prosecute this activity.

Other resolutions were passed that stated that disciples had to take initiation from the guru of his or her zone; those who wanted a different guru had to relocate. Each guru had his own seat in temples in his zone, and there was another seat for visiting gurus, and another for Bhagavatam speakers (sometimes a fourth seat was used for Bhagavatam speakers who were Prabhupada’s grand-disciples).

The local guru’s picture was permanently on the altar, and his pranam mantra was chanted in every kirtana (in the temple, on harinama, etc.) before Prabhupada’s pramana mantra, the name of the local guru was added to the premadvani prayers, each guru was given an honorific title which had to be used by everyone when addressing him, and all temple residents had to attend a simultaneous guru-puja daily to Prabhupada and the local guru.

At GBC meetings, the gurus sat on seats higher than that of the other GBC members.

Twenty-one devotees worldwide joined to write a thirty-six-page paper similar to Pradyumna’s, which they gave to the GBC.

In 1980 Ramesvara writes a thoroughly sadhu-sastra-guru based essay on guru reform, mostly that madhyamas can be gurus (“On the Position of the Initiating Guru in the Western USA Zone”). In this paper, Ramesvara writes that he understands his behavior as offensive in terms of accepting worship equal to Srila Prabhupada.

Result: GBC affirms their 1978 paper, and thus rejects Ramesvara’s conclusions.

The GBC, in response to Ramesvara’s paper, commissions another paper, to be written by Bhagavan, Jagadisha, Satsvarupa Goswami, Jayapataka Swami, and Hrdayananda Swami. This paper establishes that all present gurus are uttama adhikaris and should receive full worship, guru titles, and so forth.

Jadurani, (ex-wife of Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami), married to Kailasa Chandra. Together they distributed a paper, “The Bona Fide Spiritual Master and the Disciple,” stating that there should not be appointments of guru, but rather “self- effulgent maha-bhagavata acaryas”, and accused the Zonal Acarya system and guru appointment systems as being bogus.

Hrdayananda dasa Goswami wrote the GBC requesting that all Prabhupada’s disciples who are in good standing should be allowed to initiate.

Moreover, resolutions were also passed that “Suspended” some of these 11 gurus, because of their illicit activities.  Suspended for one year were:

  • Hansadutta dasa Goswami.
  • Jayatirtha dasa.
  • Tamal Krishan dasa Goswami.

In addition, the GBC holds three “fully extraordinary special” meetings, to deal with guru deviations.

Ramesvara removes his vyasasana from the temple room in Los Angeles.

Talks at the “Pyramid House” in Topanga Canyon, where Tamal Krishna dasa Goswami says that Prabhupada never appointed the eleven to be the sole diksa gurus and that Prabhupada wanted many people to initiate.

At a meeting in Topanga Canyon in 1980, Tamal Krishna Maharaja stated that Srila Prabhupada had never appointed the eleven ritviks to be anything more than ritviks. “If it had been more than that,” he said, “you can bet your bottom dollar that Prabhupada would have spoken for days and hours and weeks on end about how to set up this thing with the gurus, but he did not.

The gurus issue a statement that all gurus are uttama adhikaris based on their preaching abilities.

That was then, however, now, at the present time, Gurus are approved by a system where by the guru candidate, personally petitions a selection committee, and includes a recommendation from an established guru.  Then the want-to-be guru, must wait for a probationary period.  If approved by the selection committee, they then recommend the candidate to the whole GBC.  The GBC, who on the basis of the approval of the committee, does not deliberate, and simply, automatically, and unanimously, votes the candidate, as an authorized guru.  This is “Rubber-Stamping” par excellent.  Later, you will read, where Srila Prabhupada said “No Rubber-Stamping”. Simply speaking, the GBCs are selected in this manner.  This is reminiscent of the “Politburo of the historical Communist Party of the Soviet Union”, or the Catholic Church system of Pope and Cardinals.

Yes, an aspiring disciple in ISKCON is allowed to make a personal choice of who they want their guru to be.  However, they are not allowed to determine who is a qualified guru.  They depend on the GBC to do this for them.

ISKCON basically, without saying it, proclaiming it, or advertising it, is saying:

“An aspiring disciple, who wants a guru, is not qualified to choose a guru on the basis of sastric, (scriptural), injunctions.  Therefore, an aspiring disciple can choose a guru solely on the basis of “sentimental criteria”.

Or it can be characterized in this way.

“Oh! Prabhu!  You do not have to worry about what is a bona-fide guru, or who can be guru. You do not need to be concerned about that, because we, the GBC, HAVE DECIDED FOR YOU.  Furthermore, according to your sentimental, and non-verifiable criteria; you can choose from this list of approved gurus.  You just have to choose the one that fancies your whatever sentimental reason, or reasons are.”

It has been shown, by Srila Prabhupada’s own words, that choosing a guru is absolutely and solely the responsibility of the individual.  Srila Prabhupada even informs us of the advice of Sri Jiva Gosvami, who says that one should not accept a spiritual master in terms of hereditary, or customary social and ecclesiastical conventions.

It is amazing that Srila Prabhupada had warned us about the bogus system of selecting a guru, that ISKCON has adopted.  You have to have a question on you mind at this point.  Could it be,

“Why has the GBC of ISKCON disregarded and not follow these instructions from Srila Prabhupada and Srila Jiva Gosvami?”

This blatant disregard of Srila Prabhupada’s advice, instructions, and orders, what to speak of deliberate disregard of the advice of Srila Jiva Gosvami, is devastating.  The only reason that a member in ISKCON will select a guru by this ecclesiastical convention, is that they do not read nor study, Srila Prabhupada’s books, and lectures, carefully. Moreover, the GBC obviously has some sinister Personal Ambition agenda.  Otherwise, why they blatantly disregarded Srila Prabhupada’s and Srila Jiva Gosvami’s instructions?

The GBC, the temple presidents, sannyasis, and gurus who have been selected by ecclesiastical convention, and the ordinary members of ISKCON, who support these leaders, are all colluding in maintaining this practice.  Knowing or un-knowing, this offence is known as the mad-elephant offence that has made ISKCON, Useless and thus Ruined.

Let’s see what else Srila Prabhupada had to say about “Rubber-Stamping”.

Room Conversation — April 22, 1977, Bombay:

Prabhupada: 

“No, you become guru, but you must be qualified first of all. Then you become.”

Tamala Krishna:

“Oh, that kind of complaint was there.”

Prabhupada,

“Did you know that?”

Tamala Krishna:

“Yeah, I heard that, yeah.”

Prabhupada:

“What is the use of producing some rascal guru?”

Tamala Krishna:

“Well, I have studied myself and all of your disciples, and its clear fact that we are all conditioned souls, so we cannot be guru. Maybe one day it may be possible…”

[Comment:  Note that Tamala Krishna said about 6 months prior to the disappearance of Srila Prabhupada that he and all the other disciples, are conditioned souls and cannot be guru.  Nevertheless, he and 10 other unscrupulous persons commandeered Srila Prabhupada’s Krishna consciousness Movement. Moreover, very soon after his disappearance, in early 1978.  these 11 swindlers declared themselves as fully qualified gurus and Uttama-adhikaris. They instantly, in just 10 months went from “conditioned soul” to qualified “gurus”.  Srila Prabhupada said,

“You become guru, but you must be qualified first of all. Then you become.”

These 11 charlatans must have inferred this to mean that a GBC resolution, of conditioned souls, can make them qualified gurus.  There was a 12th CBC and sannaysi, a personal friend of mine, who personally informed me, that he was approached by two of these eleven, with the specific reason of having him join the hi-jacking of ISKCON.  He refused, and said that he would not have anything to do with such a scheme.   Asking them why they are doing this, one of them replied,

“It is because of the Money”, “Prabhu”!

[End of Comment]

Prabhupada: “Hm.”

Tamala Krishna: “…but not now.”

Prabhupada:

“Yes. I shall choose some guru. I shall say, “Now you become acharya. You become authorized.”  I am waiting for that. You become all acharya. I retire completely. But the training must be complete.

Tamala Krishna:

“The process of purification must be there.”

Prabhupada:

“Oh, yes, must be there. Caitanya Mahaprabhu wants that. [Caitanya-caritamrita-Madhya-lila 7.128: ‘You become guru.’ (laughs) But be qualified. Little thing, strictly follower…”

[CommentWhy would the disciples of Srila Prabhupada, attending this conversation, “LAUGH”?  The reason they laughed is that all of Srila Prabhupada disciples, understood that they were not qualified to be Guru like Srila Prabhupada himself.. End of Comment]

Tamala Krishna:

“Not Rubber Stamp.”

Prabhupada:

“Then you’ll not be effective. You can cheat, but it will not be effective. Just see our Gaudiya Matha. Everyone wanted to become guru, and a small temple and “guru.” What kind of guru? No publication, no preaching, simply bring some foodstuff.”

In the early years after Srila Prabhupada’s departure, many disciples organized and protested what the GBC did.  There were essays and papers written, and meetings that addressed this issue of an unauthorized Guru protocol.  What was the result of many years of such protest, and argument, you may ask?  The answer is,

“The leaders of this protesting movement, were by GBC vote; rubber-stamped gurus, as well.  Hence, without leaders, this protesting movement, dissipated like a ‘fart’ in the wind.”

It is not a hard conclusion to make that Srila Prabhupada Krishna consciousness movement is in trouble because of an unauthorized Guru protocol, and is on the verge of the same fate as Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura’s Gaudiya Matha.

_________________________

[1]  Par-excellence: better or more than all others of the same kind.

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