Rupanuga Vada Khandana
A refutation of the Rupanuga dasa interpretation of October 18, 1977 conversation with Srila Prabhupada
by Damaghosa dasa
Dear Rupanuga prabhu
All glories to Srila Prabhupada
Thank you for putting up this website about Prabhupada's position and his books.
I had a few comments below I wanted to make…if I may
Damaghosa das…my reply is in italic for clarity sake…
"In the article, this last sentence was paraphrased from memory, but the meaning is still the same as Srila Prabhupada's statement, which now becomes enhanced when taken in the context of his speech. He is obviously referring to his present disciples as the next in the disciplic succession he has just named and numbered, all of whom are directly initiating their own disciples.
This is a very contentious point, as you well know. Many of our Godbrothers ARE initiating disciples, but where is the actual order for them to do that?
To my knowledge, there is no order. The only order he gave just prior to leaving his body was for the GBC (and others in the future) to become officiating acaryas. To initiate on his behalf. That's all. This order was never amended or stopped. This lecture given in 1972 could also mean he wanted us, his disciples to continue as siksa gurus and not diksa gurus, especially after seeing what happened in his Gaudiya matha. And you were the recipient of that famous letter in 1974.
74-04-28.Rup Letter: Rupanuga
His idea was acarya was not to be nominated amongst the governing body. He said openly you make a GBC and conduct the mission. So his idea was amongst the members of GBC who would come out successful and self-effulgent acarya would be automatically selected. So Sridhara Maharaja and his two associate gentlemen unauthorizedly selected one acarya and later it proved a failure. The result is now everyone is claiming to be acarya even though they may be kanistha adhikari with no ability to preach. In some of the camps the acarya is being changed three times a year. Therefore we may not commit the same mistake in our ISKCON camp. Actually amongst my Godbrothers no one is qualified to become acarya. So it is better not to mix with my Godbrothers very intimately because instead of inspiring our students and disciples they may sometimes pollute them. This attempt was made previously by them, especially Madhava Maharaja and Tirtha Maharaja and Bon Maharaja but somehow or other I saved the situation. This is going on. We shall be very careful about them and not mix with them. This is my instruction to you all. They cannot help us in our movement, but they are very competent to harm our natural progress. So we must be very careful about them.
Srila Prabhupada also told us he was the initiating spiritual master and all of us were the instructing spiritual masters. There is a huge difference between the two. Both are supposed to say the same thing, but one has the spiritual power to take on sins whereas the other (siksa guru) only needs to give instruction to pass on the parampara knowledge. And then there is the massive qualifications needed to take on that function of giving diksa. Two things, be ordered, and be qualified. So neither element is there in iskcon gurus. They were not ordered, specifically, nor are they qualified. Just being a good "boy" for some years by following the 4 reg's and chanting Hare Krishna is not the only qualification, nor is opening temples and preaching at various places.
Just for starters, here are some of the qualifications Srila Prabhupada mentions one MUST have if he is to initiate others.
1.) 761003SB.VRN Lectures 214022/530501
guru… Sisyas te ‘ham sadhi mam prapannam: “Now, Krishna, I accept You as my guru. Not as friend.” Because friendly talking is useless waste of time. He accepted Him as guru. When guru speaks, you cannot argue. That is not the process. You should accept a guru who is infallible. Otherwise it is useless. He accepted guru Krishna because Krishna is infallible. If we accept guru, a bogus guru, then it is no benefit. Guru means Krishna’s representative. Not that everyone can be guru.
2.) 61101SB.VRN Lectures 225162/530501
This is religion. Adau gurvasrayam. If you do not get a qualified guru, then everything is bogus. If you, by good fortune, if you get the association of a guru, qualified hamsa, paramahamsa… Paramahamsa guru means sannyasi’s last stage is paramahamsa. Kuticaka, bahudaka, parivrajakacarya, and paramahamsa, these are the different stages. When one takes sannyasa, he lives outside the village in a kuti, in a cottage, and the family members goes and delivers him the food, because he is not practiced. So in the beginning, he keeps up this association of neighborhood or family, but he is not practiced. He therefore lives outside the village, and if somebody gives some food, he eats. Then when he becomes experienced, then he does not accept food from one, either his own home or one home. He takes foodstuff from many homes: “Give me a little piece of capati.” So somebody gives half, because they are also not overburdened. If they have to deliver, so many sannyasis come, and sumptuous food, then how the grhastha will provide? Therefore though… They do not overburden. There may be other sannyasis, therefore little only. Madhupuri. The Gosvamis practiced this madhupuri in Vrndavana. They lived, but they would take little only from the house. This is called bahudaka. Then when he has practiced more, he travels all over the world, parivrajakacarya. And when he is fully experienced, then, in spiritual life and everything, then he is paramahamsa. So one must find out a guru who is paramahamsa. Neither kuticaka, nor bahudaka, nor parivrajakacarya. Paramahamsa. …. Then our strong desire to enjoy this material world in different way, that will be slackened. That is wanted. Thank you very much.
3.) Madhya 24.330
When one has attained the topmost position of maha-bhagavata, he is to be accepted as a guru and worshiped exactly like Hari, the Personality of Godhead. Only such a person is eligible to occupy the post of a guru.
4.) SSR 2 Choosing a Spiritual Master 182103/530501
Reporter: I wondered how many people you think might have been taken in by fake gurus.
Srila Prabhupada: Practically everyone. [Laughter.] There is no question of counting. Everyone.
Reporter: This would mean thousands of people, wouldn’t it?
Srila Prabhupada: Millions. Millions have been cheated, because they want to be cheated. God is omniscient. He can understand your desires. He is within your heart, and if you want to be cheated, God sends you a cheater.
He is speaking about distributing the knowledge of the parampara by his disciples, whether they distribute the (same) knowledge as vartma-pradarsaka, siksa or diksa gurus, depending on the capacity and qualifications of the individual disciple. The point is to expand on the principle that guru is one, not two. As Srila Prabhupada remarked elsewhere, if two gurus disagree, either one is not a bona fide guru or both are not bona fide. He means that because guru is one, all real gurus teach the same thing, Krishna consciousness.
So if guru is one and these gurus supposedly all teach all the same thing, why do we have so many different siddhantas within the iskcon camp? For starters, why have they totally changed the process of offering bhoga? Prabhupada told us, and you are well aware of this, that everything is first offered to guru, then up the parampara until one reaches Krishna. Iskcon now does it totally opposite. So how is this parampara gurus?
When somebody teaches opposite the Acarya, Srila Prabhupada, he calls them demons, not even devotees!. Here is the proof.
Prabhupada: Then so siksa and diksa-guru… A siksa-guru who instructs against the instruction of spiritual, he is not a siksa guru. He is a demon. Siksa-guru, diksa-guru means… Sometimes a diksa-guru is not present always. Therefore, one can take learning, instruction, from an advanced devotee. That is called the siksa-guru. Siksa-guru does not mean he is speaking something against the teachings of the diksa-guru. He is not a siksa-guru. He is a rascal.
73-01-04.Din Letter: Dhruvananda
The greatest danger to our movement will come when we manufacture and create our own process for worshiping the deities. So don't ask any more new questions, whatever is going on, follow it just to the exact standard as I have given you, that's all.
So not only are these so called leaders in iskcon changing the very fundamentals of how to worship the Lord, Srila Prabhupada calls them demons and are the GREATEST DANGER to this movement !! And you think they are spiritual masters??
How do you explain this massive discrepancy prabhu? I would be very grateful if you could supply me your answer prabhu.
That is what it means to be a guru as defined by Lord Krishna Himself. In the Gita, He tells Arjuna one must surrender to a guru humbly and render service to him, with inquiries; then that guru "will impart knowledge unto you…" That knowledge is defined in the next verse: "And when you have thus learned the truth, you will know that all living beings are but part of Me – and that they are in Me, and are Mine." (4.35) In other words, Lord Krishna clearly defines the bona fide guru in terms of what he or she teaches: Krishna consciousness. God is one, guru is one, although teaching according to time and circumstances.
So Srila Prabhupada is notifying his disciples that they are the next authorized gurus to distribute the knowledge, as he has done. Of course, he expected they would practice what they preached, that is the qualification and character. Only now, instead of one big guru, Srila Prabhupada, he envisioned many smaller gurus to continue distributing the (same) knowledge all over the world. Once before, he called it "old wine in a new bottle." How else will Lord Chaitanya's Name be known in every town and village? Srila Prabhupada's followers have the assignment.
Again, where is the actual order in Prabhupada's final days, other than the one where he authorizes officiating acaryas?? There is no such order prabhu!!
All these quotes you supply can also be taken to mean that all the disciples of Srila Prabhupada should become gurus, spiritual masters, but as SIKSA GURUS, that's all. It is only personal ambition that makes one think, yes I AM qualified to become an initiating spiritual master. No bona fide guru ever wants to be an acarya.
Prabhupada told us several time when Srila Bhaktisiddhanta maharaj appeared to him at least twice in dreams to take up sannyasa, he was "horrified". Why was he horrified? Because he knew what was involved and really did not want to do it. Jesus Christ said the same thing, "let this cup pass from me if possible, Lord." But because these great souls are totally surrendered to the Lord, they do what He asks of them. Unlike others who WANT this position because of name and fame.
In the C.C. it is mentioned NOT to accept disciples. Why? Because of the difficulty of taking on the karma.
If it was so easy to take on the disciples karma, then why do we have the ugly and embarrassing stories of so many failures of so called stalwart leaders in iskcon?
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 Krishna maha-mantra and preaching the principles enunciated by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Thus one can become a spiritual master and be freed from the contamination of material life.
So in the above quote, he tells us to remain at home, don’t take disciples but become a spiritual master.
This seems contradictory, doesn't it? So how can one become a spiritual master without disciples?
Be siksa guru. Bas…
Arjuna was told by Lord Krishna that the battle was already won, but Krishna wanted him to help make it happen and get credit for success. Similarly, Lord Chaitanya said His Name would be known in every town and village. What God predicts comes true. Srila Prabhupada has given the chance – a matchless opportunity – for his followers to help the Lord execute His will. In whatever capacity, one can join with Srila Prabhupada in saying, "And we are trying our bit to distribute this knowledge." That is, trying to pass it on as it is. All glories to Srila Prabhupada…
In conclusion I will say this, that the final instructions of the guru are the most important ones. All the others he gives along the way may be applicable to individuals or the group, according to time place and circumstances. But the most important of all of them is what he says in his final days. These final instructions supersede all other instructions. And they are the final ones. Here is the proof…
1.) SRILA PRABHUPADA: “I may say many things to you, but when I say something directly, “Do it”, your first duty is to do that. You cannot argue, “Sir, you said me like this before.” No, that is not your duty. What I say now, you do it. That is obedience. If the captain of the ship says “Five degrees starboard” and the first mate replies, “But captain, before you told me ‘Ten degrees port’,” then it can be understood that the first mate has gone insane.”
(Lecture by Srila Prabhupada on the Srimad-Bhagavatam, Hyderabad, India, April 15, 1975)
2.) 750327rc.may Conversations 376438/530501
Atreya Rsi: …I am degraded. "Very seriously, or may be given to me from time to time directly, these directions, by my aforesaid Guru Maharaja, or through his books, or…" In other words, direction given, instruction given, directly by him or through his…
Prabhupada: Better directly.
Atreya Rsi: No "His books"?
Atreya Rsi: Not necessary.
Prabhupada: Because I may give direction according to the time.
Atreya Rsi: "Or" means both.
Atreya Rsi: "Or" can mean… All right. "Or through his commissioners…"(?)
Prabhupada: Direct, direct instruction is important. Just like Krishna. In the books He has given many instructions, but then He says, sarva-dharman parityaja. If one says that "You gave me instruction before like this. How can I give up this?" so that is not important. The direct instruction is important.
3.) Devotee: …then why is any one activity of Krishna consciousness better than another one? Why is any one way of serving Krishna better than another? For example, with chanting of the sixteen rounds. Suppose that you've gone 23 hours of the day serving Krishna in one way or another, and the last hour there is opportunity to finish your rounds and also opportunity to make a life member. So instead of chanting your sixteen rounds…
Prabhupada: But you cannot create your concoction! You have to abide by the orders of Krishna.
Devotee: Then why…
Prabhupada: There is no question of why. It is the order of Krishna's representative. You have to abide by that. You cannot say, "Why?" Then you are not fully surrendered, as soon as you say, "Why?" Surrender means there is no [surrender]"Why?" It is ordered; it has to be done. That's all. As soon as there is "Why?", there is no surrender. The basic principle is misguided. We have to follow. Just like we have got tilaka. If you say, "Why this tilaka?" There is no question of "Why?" Mahajano yena gatah sa pantha. We have been instructed by the acaryas; we have to follow that. That is surrender. You cannot say, "Why?" Is that clear? As soon as there is "Why?", there is no surrender.
Thank you again for posting your new website. I asked you once a couple years back when do you think the book changes will stop? Your reply (in snail mail) to me was when critical mass amongst the devotees was reached. I agree, and similarly with the issue of guru tattva.
All the problems we see in iskcon today are all due to guru aparadha starting with the sin of wanting to BE guru. Once guru tattva is properly understood, and we all understand our respective positions, and places not to go, then Srila Prabhupada will be properly worshipped, and the full blessings of him, the parampara, the Goswamis, and the Panca Tattva will be realized.
Param vijayate Sri Krishna Sankirtan