from Prabhupadacharya dasa
Dear Dhira Govinda Prabhu,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
Here is my reply to the letter you sent me dated 11/20/98 and to your paper, the Humble Guru.
"November 20, 1998
Dear Maharajas and Prabhus,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada. Regarding suggestions
in the paper entitled "The Humble Guru" concerning elements of guru worship such
as pranam mantras, Vyasa-puja celebrations, pictures of diksa gurus, and tapes of diksa
gurus, the paper does not attempt to assess the sastric validity of such suggestions.
Rather, the paper recommends that practices in the current institution of the ISKCON diksa
guru be open for discussion, with a view to strengthening the relationship between Srila
Prabhupada and all members of ISKCON. If current practices are determined, after
philosophical and historical analysis, to be the best, or perhaps the only, options
available to diksa gurus, then by all means they should be supported....
"[ideas about discussing changing the parampara system snipped]
"Dhira Govinda Dasa"
That's okay, but why question these things? We see how Srila Prabhupada honored his guru,
and how he trained his disciples to honor him. So I don't see the basis for challenging
the parampara system. You have not established a basis for the need to doubt, challenge
and modify the way things are being done.
In the introduction to your paper you establish the basis for your questioning the
parampara system by indirectly indicating that there are unqualified persons acting as
diksha gurus in ISKCON. In your own words,
"In the case of a diksha guru who still has some impurity...that the grandisciples
are protected from having their worshipful propensities misused." (The Humble Guru,
You did not establish that the parampara system your guru follows has caused us any
problems, or is in need of a fix. Rather you point out at least six times how unqualified
gurus are the root cause of the problem your paper is trying to solve.
Here are the accusations you make against some ISKCON diksha gurus in the introduction of
(1)"...worship received by some ISKCON diksha gurus is not completely transferred to
Srila Prabhupada as it is supposed to be..."
(2)"...no experienced devotee in ISKCON would agree with the position that every
ISKCON diksha guru is completely pure and transparent, and that difficulties and falldowns
amongst diksha gurus are finished...."
(3)"...not all of the worship by grandisciples is being properly utilized by the
ISKCON diksha gurus..."
(4)"...ISKCON is, to some degree, institutionalizing exploitation."
(5)"...diksha gurus must consider ISKCON first, putting aside individual benefit and
(6)"In the case of a diksha guru who still has some impurity...that the grandisciples
are protected from having their worshipful propensities misused."
A so-called diksha guru that does not "transfer" the disciples' worship to Srila
Prabhupada (as required by sastra), who is "impure" (as forbidden in sastra),
who is not a "transparent" via medium (as required in sastra), who has
"personal ambition" (as forbidden in sastra), who is overcome by "all forms
of material desires" (as forbidden in sastra), and who "misues disciples'
worshipful propensities", is not qualified to act as a diksha guru.
You make a very strong case that there are unqualified persons acting as diksha gurus in
ISKCON. Of course, you don't just come right out and say it, but that is the essence of
the basis for your paper.
For the sake of argument, let's assume that you are correct, and that there are
unqualified persons acting as diksha gurus in ISKCON.
Personally, I cannot prove this to be true or false. But let us trust that you have some
special insight into this matter and possess solid incriminating evidence that at least
some current ISKCON diksha gurus are not bona fide.
Now, what is the problemthe unqualified gurus, or the parampara system we follow?
The clear answer to your proposed dilemma is that the unqualified gurus are creating a
disturbance in society by not following sruti, smriti, the Puranas, and Pancaratras. Since
they are the undisputed cause of the problems you address, why not get them removed as
Why concoct, or suggest we discuss the idea of concocting, a new system to accommodate
unqualified persons to continue acting in a capacity that they should not be in? Why lower
the standard for guru in this way for the lowest common denominator? This seems to be
compromising the philosophy for the sake of political expediency.
Your whole proposed solution to this problem is like asking unqualified sannyasis that are
keeping women to, "Not carry a danda, don't wear saffron, don't collect alms, don't
take the service of brahmacaris, and don't accept obeisances from people." BUT
"You can still be a sannyasi." Isn't this a ridiculous proposal?
Let's all just put aside this whole idea of challenging and modifying the system to make
room for unqualified persons, and instead work on challenging and modifying the
unqualified persons themselves. That seems to me to be a saner approach to the problem you
You shouldn't be afraid to come out and say that "There are bogus gurus that must be
removed. Here they are. Here is the proof." The GBC has the responsibility to hear
your evidence and remove them if they are proven to be not qualified. If you have
information that the GBC does not possess, then it is your responsibility to present it to
the GBC so that "the grandisciples are protected from having their worshipful
propensities misued", as you say in your paper. If you have proof then it is your
duty to come forward with it to the GBC.
If the GBC fails in its duty to remove unqualified persons as gurus, then eventually they
will lose their authority and credibility with their followers. Perhaps this a major cause
of dissatisfaction for ISKCON devotees? I cannot say. What do you say on this point?
If you have already presented this information to the GBC and they failed in their duty to
remove unqualified persons, then you need to consider your options in how you are going to
hold the GBC accountable for executing their duty properly. Proposing that we tamper with
the siddhanta is simply not one of the valid options, unless your name is Sankaracarya and
you have been commissioned by Lord Krishna to mislead everyone. That, only Krishna and you
Instead of tinkering with the siddhanta, or suggesting that we do so, why not present your
supporting evidence for your six above points to the GBC and see if they will get these
unqualified persons removed?
Do you have the evidence? You did not present it in your paper. Could you please document
your six allegations above and forward to me? If you can prove to me, beyond a reasonable
doubt, that your six allegations against certain ISKCON gurus is valid, then I will
personally go with you to the GBC in Mayapur and request their removal, regardless of who
is proven to be unqualified by your good evidence. Is that fair?
Otherwise, if you have no proof, then you are simply making unfounded accusations and
unnecessarily creating doubts and disturbance in the minds of devotees. Trying to weaken
someone's faith in a bona fide guru and the parampara system is a serious offense. I hope
that you have some solid proof to defend your statements. Otherwise you owe a lot of
devotees and their gurus a serious apology. Awaiting your proof, or apology.
Thank you. Hare Krishna.
© CHAKRA 28-Nov-98