Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Following Srila Prabhupada's Actual Teachings

ISKCON IRM: Back To Prabhupada, Issue 45, Autumn 2014

In the article on page 4, we highlighted how HH Bhakti Charu Swami ("BCS") had undertaken a series of seminars to promote the idea that "Founder-acarya" means that:
1) Srila Prabhupada is not the diksa guru.
2) Srila Prabhupada is the siksa guru of all devotees in ISKCON.
Point 1) has been defeated in the article on page 4. Point 2) however, is correct, but in order for it to be a reality, ISKCON devotees have to at the very least study and accept the teachings of Srila Prabhupada. Yet, as we shall show, in many cases it is difficult for them to do this when they have to instead accept the siksa of gurus such as BCS and others. All emphases have been added.

Basic parampara history

"Our line is not a diksa succession. Bhaktivinoda Thakura did not get diksa initiation from Srila Jagannatha Babaji Maharaja. [...] This line is a siksa line. [...] So it is purely a siksa."
(BCS Seminar, 17/7/14, "Srila Prabhupada-The Founder-acarya of ISKCON")
Here BCS quotes a common ISKCON teaching about the "siksa parampara" (we quoted another ISKCON guru preaching the same in BTP 35). Now let us see what Srila Prabhupada states:
"Viswanath Chakrabarty accepted Jagannath Das Babajee from whom Srila Bhaktivinode Thakore was initiated".
(Back To Godhead, Volume 3, Part 16, 20/3/60)
"Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura accepted Srila Jagannatha dasa Babaji, whoinitiated Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura".
(Cc., Adi-lila, 1, Spiritual Masters, Original 1975 Edition)
"Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura accepted Srila Jagannatha dasa Babaji, whoinitiated Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura"
(Cc., Adi-lila, 1, Spiritual Masters, Current "edited" edition)
Note, that, in contradiction to what BCS claims here, even the latest BBT "changed" edition of Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (in which they made the change we mention on page 3) states that Bhaktivinoda Thakura was initiated by Srila Jagannatha dasa Babaji.
Also, BCS claims that our parampara is purely a siksa line. Yet, at the very least, the recent links in the parampara are diksa links:
Srila Gaura-kisora dasa Babaji -> diksa -> Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura -> diksa -> Srila Prabhupada
(And even the GBC also add yet another diksa link to "their" parampara: Srila Prabhupada -> diksa -> GBC gurus.)
Thus, we clearly do not have purely a siksa line, and actually, Srila Prabhupada has never even taught that we have a "siksa parampara".

Basic GBC facts

"He (Srila Prabhupada) identified himself as a member of the GBC, member of the Government Body Commission. This is how he did it."
(BCS Seminar, 17/7/14, "Srila Prabhupada-The Founder-acarya of ISKCON")
"To give further importance, Prabhupada also appointed himself as a member of the GBC."
(BCS Lecture, 23/7/14)
If Srila Prabhupada had formally "appointed" himself as a member of the GBC, this should be stated in the GBC Resolutions. But such an act is not mentioned anywhere by Srila Prabhupada. Similarly, there is no record of Srila Prabhupada "identifying" himself as a member of the GBC. On the contrary, every time he mentioned "how he did it", he always identified himself as being distinct from the GBC:
"Just like in our institution, International Society for Krishna Consciousness, although I am the head, still, I have got so many assistants, the GBC members."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, 17/8/71)
"Just like in each temple we elect a president. Then we get GBC. Then above all, I am."
(Morning walk, 16/12/73)
"We have got about twenty GBCs for looking after the whole world affair, and above the GBC, I am there".
(Room Conversation, 28/6/76)

Basic diksa facts

"You see, in many ways you know, what the ritviks are saying the GBC is also saying. The only conflict, the only factor is that 'While the GBC is saying or ISKCON is saying that Srila Prabhupada is the most important, pre-eminent siksa-guru of all the devotees in ISKCON, they are saying that Prabhupada is the diksa-guru. The problem actually is that the consideration of diksa requires a person giving it. That's why there is the need for somebody to give the mantra and guide the individual on a daily basis [Unclear]. That's the only difference."
(BCS Seminar, 17/7/14, "Srila Prabhupada-The Founder-acarya of ISKCON")
BCS claims that Srila Prabhu-pada cannot give diksa because the diksa guru must:
1) Give the mantra.
2) Guide the individual on a daily basis.
Point 1) is still possible for Srila Prabhupada because Srila Prabhupada was not in any case physically present at many of his initiations. Rather, they were conducted on his behalf by representatives, and Srila Prabhupada was also able, in the case of brahmana initiations, to give the mantra via the use of a recorded tape, which can continue today:
"I also accept the following as twice-born brahmanas and their threads and mantra sheets are enclosed: [...] You should have a fire sacrifice and the second initiates should hear through the right ear the mantra on my recorded tape."
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, 13/11/75)
Similarly in the case of guiding an individual on a daily basis, Srila Prabhupada never met most of his disciples, and thus guided them via his teachings, as well as via his senior disciples such as temple presidents -- a process that can continue today. For Srila Prabhupada states that:
"Sometimes a diksa guru is not present always. Therefore one can take learning, instruction, from an advanced devotee. That is called the siksa guru." 
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, 4/7/74)
Thus, Srila Prabhupada neither taught nor practised what BCS claims regarding diksa.


Though the GBC claims that they are at least happy for Srila Prabhupada to be the siksa guru of ISKCON, even if they will not allow him to be diksa guru, they are not even facilitating this. For their leaders frequently give their own teachings which deviate from Srila Prabhupada's teachings, and thus ISKCON members are being led away from Srila Prabhupada's teachings.

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