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"The Humble Guru":
What Proof?

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]

"Your Servant,

"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, Introduction)

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 your paper,Back Home

(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 aspirations..."

(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 problem—the 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 diksha gurus?

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 have identified.

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 know.

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.

Your Servant,

Prabhupadacarya Dasa

© CHAKRA 28-Nov-98

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