Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Case study of H. H. Janananda Goswami

H. H. Janananda Goswami
H. H. Janananda Goswami
One of the most recently added gurus to the ISKCON GBC (Governing Body Commission's) list of 80+ voted-in gurus is HH Janananda Goswami (henceforward referred to as "Maharaja"). Being a new kid on the block, to try and establish himself, Maharaja has attempted to do something which very few gurus in ISKCON dare to do anymore: attack the IRM's position philosophically in writing. However, in attempting to do so, he has simply recycled the same old discredited arguments, already defeated many years ago. So, in addition to being a "new" guru, he also shows himself to be very new to the debate as well. As usual, we shall enclose his quotes in a box, with our responses following underneath. All his comments are taken from two letters he wrote on the subject, which have been forwarded on to us.

No guru succession

“The conversation with Tamal was referring to the assumption that the 11 rtviks chosen to initiate on Prabhupada’s behalf during his presences did not automatically become the next acaryas or initiating spiritual masters. Mostly everyone agrees with this. At the same time that doesn’t in any way justify thertvik philosophy. […] 
Mistakes may have been made in how we went about it - jumping in like a bull at the gate. Overwhelmed with the position etc.”
1) The 11 ritviks DID automatically become the next initiating spiritual masters, and they are still accepted as such today. None of the 11 ritviks who unauthorisedly automatically became initiating spiritual masters were ever removed for committing this “mistake”, but rather were allowed to authorise new gurus via the GBC’s voting system, of which Maharaja himself is a beneficiary. Rather, apart from those of the 11 ritviks who fell down, the others are still regarded today as bona fide gurus whose guru positions were correctly acquired.

2) If the 11 ritviks were not automatically meant to become initiating spiritual masters, then obviously they would have to stay as ritviks, since there is no authority for them to change their position.  
The law – Part 1

“ “But as a matter of etiquette it is the custom that during the lifetime of your Spiritual master you bring the prospective disciples to him, and in his absence or disappearance you can accept disciples without any limitation. This is the law of disciplic succession”(Letter to Tusta Krishna, 2/12/75) […] 
The law of disciplic succession refers to the second part – after the spiritual master’s departure one can initiate without restriction. It seems quite simple – maybe too simple for some. Prabhupada once said Krishna consciousness is so simple you may miss it.”
Yes, Maharaja does miss a very simple point, that the first and second part of the first sentence in the quote are linked by the simple word “and”, and then Srila Prabhupada refers to the whole sentence by saying “THIS” is the “law”. And ISKCON definitely have missed this “simple” point since they do not follow this “law”, by allowing disciples to initiate in the presence of their gurus. And the “law” only states the time period when it is, and is not, permissible to initiate. What we require is Srila Prabhupada exercising this law by authorising his disciples to initiate, something which Maharaja has just admitted was never done, since the 11 ritviks automatically becoming initiating spiritual masters was actually a “mistake”.  
The law – Part 2

“Now here are a few other quotes for consideration at least. […] 
“Those possessing the title of Bhaktivedanta will be allowed to initiate disciples. Maybe by 1975, all of my disciples will be allowed to initiate and increase the numbers of the generations. That is my program.” (Letter to Hamsaduta, 3/12/68) 
Having just quoted a letter from 1975 wherein Srila Prabhupada states it is part of the “law” to NOTinitiate in the presence of the Guru, Maharaja then contradicts himself by offering a quote where Srila Prabhupada speaks of initiations happening in 1975 as evidence that diksa (initiating) gurus were authorised! Obviously to stay consistent, the above quote can only be speaking of his disciples being authorised to initiate others on his behalf as ritviks, since they would initiating in his presence. And, of course, that is exactly what came to pass in 1977.  
Go home!

Caitanya Mahaprabhu says, amara ajnaya guru hana tara ‘sarva-desa: “O My dear disciples, I tell you that you, all of you, become spiritual master. Simply you carry out My order. That’s all.” “And what is Your order?” “The order is the same: yare dekha, tare kaha ‘krsna’-upadesa [Cc. Madhya 7.128]. (Lecture, 5/9/69)
Prabhupada quoted this verse more than 350 times in the books and recordings alone.”
Yes, that is correct. However, it does not help Maharaja justify his position of taking disciples, since Srila Prabhupada also explained how one is supposed to execute the above order in the purports to the above verse:
“Many people come and inquire whether they have to give up family life to join the Society, but that is not our mission. […] 
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. […] 
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.”
(Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila 7:128, 130, purport, emphasis added)
Thus, to act as spiritual master means to stay at home, chant Hare Krishna to become purified, and not accept any disciples. So let Maharaja and all the other 80 unauthorised gurus go back to their family homes and not move from there, simply chant Hare Krishna, and not take any disciples, and we will all be happy.  
The Will

“2. Each temple will be an ISKCON property and will be managed by three executive directors. The system of management will continue as it is now and there is no need of any change.” (Last Will and Testament of Srila Prabhupada).”
The statement that the system of management should continue without change refers to the subject in point – ownership of ISKCON properties and the position of the GBC.”
Again, this is just some more wishful thinking by Maharaja. The Will only says “THE system of management”, not “This system of management”, or “The system of management only affecting properties and the position of the GBC”, or “The system of management as given 30 years later by Janananda Goswami” etc. Therefore, “The system of management” refers to the system of management as it was during Srila Prabhupada’s physical presence, which must necessarily include how initiations would be managed, which when the Will came into effect was via the ritvik system set up a few months earlier on July 9th, 1977, and which would now “continue” without “any change”.  
July 9th, 1977 Letter

“All this letter proposes or even changes was to whom the recommendations would be sent from now on. Read it carefully. It mentions nothing about changing the system of initiation or establishing a new one.”
We could not agree more that there is no mention of changing the system of initiation or establishing a new one. And what was the only system of initiation in ISKCON that everyone had known from day one? Everyone gets initiated by Srila Prabhupada, with his disciples usually helping in the initiation rituals. Maharaja’s statement simply begs the question that when did Srila Prabhupada change THIS system of initiation or establish a new one? He has already admitted that what did occur, with the 11 ritviks becoming gurus automatically, was a “mistake”.
So where is the order from Srila Prabhupada for these 11 ritviks to:
a) give up being ritviks;
b) change into diksa gurus;
c) authorise other gurus via a voting system;
since steps a-c is actually what happened (known collectively as the “Great Guru Hoax, parts 1 and 2”)? No order from Srila Prabhupada which encompasses all these above 3 steps has ever been presented by the GBC or by Maharaja.  
Offending Srila Prabhupada

“Another thing is that quite likely the rtvik proposal would not have been present had it not been for failure on the part of the initiating gurus. It wasn’t even discussed before that and for a total change based on a very indecisive letter, to take place due to this, lacks real substance.”
The ritvik proposal was always present, from the very day Srila Prabhupada authorised it in writing onJuly 9th, 1977, and it is because the GBC did not follow it that there was “failure on the part of the initiating gurus”. That it was not discussed was due to disobedience by the Society. To call this proposal of Srila Prabhupada’s “indecisive” is very offensive to Srila Prabhupada, since it is claiming that Srila Prabhupada was confused, and did not know what he wanted to do, and therefore he had his secretary send out an indecisive order on his behalf.
In addition to being offensive to Srila Prabhupada, Maharaja’s assertion is also hypocritical, because when it suits him Maharaja is also happy to claim that the contents of the letter are actually quite clear and decisive, as quoted in the last section:
“All this letter proposes or even changes was to whom the recommendations would be sent from now on. Read it carefully.”

Straw man

“Initiation is a necessity at some point but it’s both the disciple and guru’s choice. It can’t be force on the guru.
Hey Prabhupada I am your disciple now accept me. And here is my name….”
Here Maharaja states a “straw man” argument, which is attributing something to the ritvik position which is not actually advocated by the ritvik position. We are not proposing that anything is forced on Srila Prabhupada. We are simply saying that the system which Srila Prabhupada himself established for ISKCON on July 9th, 1977 be practiced. At this time he gave full power of attorney to the ritviks to accept disciples on his behalf without consulting him:
Srila Prabhupada:“So without waiting for me, wherever you consider it is right... That will depend on discretion.”
Tamala Krishna:“On discretion.”
Tamala Krishna:“That’s for first and second initiations.”
(Room Conversation, July 7th, 1977)
So to follow this system is not “forcing” something on Srila Prabhupada, rather it is called “following the order of the spiritual master”. Obviously, since this has been an alien concept for Maharaja and his guru colleagues for the last 30 years, we can understand why he would be confused!  
Siksa guru contradiction

“How I understand the situation realistically in ISKCON is that the position of Srila Prabhupada as thesiksa guru of all must be emphasised. […] 
At least in Prabhupada’s purports he mentions that generally the siksa guru becomes the diksa guru.The siksa guru in our movement refers to all the followers of Prabhupada also and the one who inspires the devotee most to follow the instruction of Prabhupada would be the natural choice of diksa.”
Having said that Srila Prabhupada’s position as everyone’s siksa (instructing) guru must be emphasised, and that the siksa guru generally then becomes the diksa Guru, any straight-thinking person would conclude from this that Srila Prabhupada is the natural choice of diksa Guru. Not Maharaja. He concludes from this the exact opposite, that Srila Prabhupada is therefore NOT the diksa Guru!
In addition to being a case study of Maharaja, the above analysis also serves as a case study of how the ISKCON gurus are still trying to dupe innocent persons into becoming their disciples by using the false arguments which were discredited and defeated long ago. Hence, it is important for every person who comes into contact with ISKCON to read BTP so that they may be forewarned and forearmed against the lies they will hear.

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