|Vitiated G.B.C. Not Prabhupada’s Successor
Following in the footsteps of our previous äcäryas, this article, along with its authors, stands in complete opposition to, and in uncompromising defiance of, the vitiated GBC and the fabricated so-called “ISKCON” it controls. Çréla Prabhupäda came to the West to spread Kåñëa consciousness on the order of his guru mahäräja; he did not come here with the approval of, or being monitored by, any commission of conditioned souls. He was Çréla Bhaktisiddhänta’s authorized successor. All spiritual masters are individuals, not governing bodies.
“We simply follow the predecessor’s instruction. That’s all. Our movement is
very easy, because we haven’t got to manufacture something. We simply repeat the
words and the instruction given by the predecessor. . . Very simple thing. We
are receiving the transcendental knowledge through guru-paramparä succession.”
Is there anyone who can, with çästric authority, explain where and how the GBC is directly integral to this line of disciplic succession? According to a recent Wikipedia entry (for his Divine Grace), it allegedly is. Wikipedia is considered by many researchers to be a (relatively) reliable source of information. Let us see what is now found there, when searching, by typing in Çréla Prabhupäda’s name:
Title: Founder-acharya of the International Society for
Outrageous! Çréla Prabhupäda never affirmed this. He wanted one (or more) of his disciples to become the next qualified successor: “I shall say who is guru: ‘Now, you become Äcärya. You become authorized.’ I am waiting for that.”
Receiving transcendental knowledge through the self-serving concoctions of a commission of conditioned souls–in this case, the vitiated GBC–not only sounds ridiculous, it is also directly at odds with how the guru-paramparä actually functions:
“One should become submissive, jnane pryasam udapasya eva . . . very submissive to hear from the right person. Therefore, all of our Vedic literature is called sruti, the subject matter which is beyond our sense perception–avan manasa gocara, that cannot be understood by using our imperfect senses. Now the question is: From whom to hear? So, in the çästra, it is said, san-mukharitam: ‘You have to hear from realized saintly person.’ It is said in the Bhagavad-gétä: tad viddhi pranipatena sevaya upadeksyanti tad jnaninas tattva-darsinah. You have to hear from a person who has seen or who has understood the Absolute Truth . . .” — Lecture, S.B. 6.1.15 on January 8, 1976 (emphasis added)
“The Lord therefore advises us to approach a bona fide spiritual master in
the line of disciplic succession from the Lord Himself. No one can be
a bona fide spiritual master without following this principle
of disciplic succession. The Lord is the original spiritual master, and
in the disciplic succession can convey the message of
the Lord as it is to his disciple. No one can be spiritually realized by
manufacturing his own process, as is the fashion of the foolish
Furthermore, in relation to the GBC (linked to the above-mentioned Wikipedia entry), it is also asserted:
“The GBC is entrusted with both spiritual and secular leadership of the ISKCON communities, as well as the power to appoint new gurus. According to a GBC confidence survey, ‘those holding critical views of the GBC were far less committed to ISKCON.’”
His Divine Grace has never instructed us that we must subjugate ourselves to the “absolute authority” of the GBC in order to receive transcendental knowledge, make spiritual advancement, or to be committed to his movement. The above-cited statement contends that the GBC has absolute status over ISKCON, over its members and assets, and, most shockingly, can appoint spiritual masters. This is completely erroneous:
“GBC does not mean to control a center. GBC means to see that the activities
of a center go on nicely. I do not know why Tamal is exercising his ‘absolute
authority.’ That is not the
business of GBC. The president, treasurer, and
secretary are responsible for managing the center. GBC is to see that things are
going nicely but not
absolute authority. That
in the power
of GBC. Tamal should not do
like that. The GBC men cannot impose anything on the men of a center without
consulting all of the GBC members first. A GBC member cannot go beyond the
This concoction of the GBC appointing gurus is another “fashion of the foolish pretenders,” quoted previously. Recently, we were asked about our view in relation to a document on a new GBC website presented by the entity with the acronym SAC, Sastric Advisory Council. They are approved by the GBC to submit new reform ideas, etc. However, they just seem to be a part of the odious policy of showcasing a better public profile and presenting (falsely) the GBC as more democratic. They do this rather than enable or broadcast the bona fide viewpoints of other devotees. In other words, SAC seems to be nothing more than an extension of the fix-it-as-you-go process in which “ISKCON” continuously indulges. It also seems that this new SAC document is but a reform knocking on the door, one that will simply lead to another disillusionment, in due course of time.
SAC sees, however, faults in the current GBC guru-appointment system. It even gives a hint that this system may be condemnable, and it cites the purport to Caitanya-caritämåta, Adi 1.35:
“Jéva Gosvämé advises that one not accept a spiritual master in terms of hereditary or customary social and ecclesiastical conventions. One should simply try to find a genuinely qualified spiritual master for actual advancement in spiritual understanding.”
SAC says, “. . . the above condemnation of the acceptance of a spiritual master in terms of ecclesiastical convention casts a negative light on our present system.” Despite this, the vitiated GBC still has no problem misleading people on Wikipedia: “The GBC is entrusted with . . . the power to appoint new gurus.”
It is painful to realize how so many foolish people simply swallow whatever comes easily in order to justify the “ISKCON” modus operandi. Let us give an example. Often, while lecturing or in conversations, Çréla Prabhupäda would state how easy the process of Krishna Consciousness is, e.g., “Just try to elevate to the spiritual world, back to home, back to Godhead. That is the mission of your human life. Don’t lose this opportunity. Chant Hare Kåñëa. It is easy thing, Hare Kåñëa, only sixteen names. Anyone can chant. Even the child can chant.” — Room Conversation, May 3, 1969 in Boston
One could extract and interpret this quote and then come to the conclusion that all Çréla Prabhupäda wanted from his disciples is a little chanting, nothing more. However, we all know that there is much more. Everything starts with chanting and the four regulative principles, but then the devotee needs to get free from the anarthas, etc. If somebody says that all of that is not required, pointing to the above-mentioned quote or one like it, then it should be obvious that such a person is nonsense; he may eventually degrade into a sahajiyä, one who takes the process of spiritual life cheaply. A little chanting and, simultaneously, engagement in all kinds of nonsense, is not the path to spiritual realization; it will not do.
From this perspective, let us reflect on the guru issue. On their website, as part of their mission statement apparently, SAC presents some generic quotes by Çréla Prabhupäda wherein he supposedly authorizes his initiated disciples to begin accepting disciples (to give dékñä) whenever they decide so. Accordingly, “ISKCON” fanatics take these quotes and interpret them as they like. For example:
“Lord Caitanya says that, ‘Everyone of you become the spiritual master, every
one of you. Why one, two? Everyone of you.’ ‘Oh, spiritual master is very
difficult job.’ No. Not difficult job. Amara ajnaya: ‘Just try to carry
out My order. That’s all. Then you become spiritual master.’”
Ironically, SAC also presents quotes that clearly prove the opposite. These quotes have also been presented by devotees outside “ISKCON,” but SAC explains them as if they actually support contrary interpretations. Let us look at some of these. The SAC people write:
“The actual order or empowerment to initiate disciples comes from the order of one’s spiritual master:
Leading Secretary: [The professor asked me] how do you know
that guru is qualified, spiritual master is qualified? Then I said [answered]
everything is written in the çästras, so we have to follow according to the
injunctions written in the çästras. So all the qualifications of a pure devotee,
of a bona fide guru, is written there. Just like you are a professor of physics
in the university. Before you came, you had some qualification, degree of
Notice what the leading secretary says, viz., that there is a committee that decides if one is qualified to become a professor. Prabhupäda agrees with this part of it, but, much more importantly, he goes on to say that, in spiritual life, the committee is one’s spiritual master: He orders that you do this (that you become spiritual master). So where is the generic order to become spiritual master?
If a father, as a recognized professor himself, gives a generic order to his sons, “You become professors,” does that instantly make them professors? Or are they automatically professors after merely reading some books? Of course not. They must still go to the university, pass so many exams, and eventually earn the approval and certification from the university. Some may pass the final exam, some will not.
Similarly, there is generic order from Caitanya Mahäprabhu that everybody should become guru. Does this mean that—according to my will–I can decide to begin initiating? First deserve, then desire. Trying for something is different from achieving it. Prabhupäda says, “Committee is his spiritual master, he orders that you do this.” The generic order is that one should try to qualify himself for becoming a guru.
A little later in the document, the SAC people write:
So our request is that every one of you become a guru. That is Caitanya
Mahapräbhu’s order. He wants that everyone must become a guru. How? That He
says: yare dekha tare kaha ‘krsna’-upadesa amara ajnaya guru hana tara’ ei
First, they present the quote wherein Çréla Prabhupäda clearly confirms that one’s spiritual master is the committee, that he examines the disciple and, if the disciple is qualified, the spiritual master (not a committee) orders the disciple to become spiritual master. A little later, SAC contends that Çréla Prabhupäda gave a generic order and that is all one needs to become initiating spiritual master. How much intelligence and logic is really needed here to see the contradiction?
Here is another relevant quote:
I shall produce some gurus. I shall
say who is guru: ‘Now, you become Äcärya. You become
am waiting for that.
You become–all–äcärya. I retire completely, but
training must be
When Prabhupada says, “I shall say who is guru: ‘Now, you become Äcärya,‘” that is not a generic order. He is not saying everyone of his disciples is automatically guru, if he merely chants, follows four regulative principles—and, of course, now secures a No Objection Certificate from the vitiated GBC. However, SAC contends just that: “Since the order to become spiritual master has been amply given by Çré Caitanya Mahäprabhu and Çréla Prabhupäda, strict disciples of Çréla Prabhupäda are already authorized to accept disciples.” This is nonsense, Prabhupäda says that “the training must be complete,” and then he may give the order.
Or he may not give it.
Here is another example that the guru’s order to his disciple (to become dékñä-guru) is not merely a generic one:
Leading Secretary: He’s asking when did you become the
spiritual leader of Krsna consciousness?
This exchange does not give any credence to a generic order being integral to the formula. If so, Prabhupäda could easily say that his guru gave a generic order to all of his disciples to become initiating guru—and, as such, he was a bona fide initiating spiritual master. All these examples show that the SAC and GBC are nothing more than either sahajiyäs themselves or representing the sahajiyä mentality. The vitiated GBC is not Çréla Prabhupäda’s successor, despite what is claimed in Wikipedia. The GBC is also not absolute, as affirmed below:
“Under these circumstances, I AUTHORIZE
YOU TO DISREGARD FOR
THE TIME BEING ANY
DECISION FROM THE
G.B.C. MEN UNTIL MY
FURTHER INSTRUCTION. . . Finally, I beg to
repeat that ALL G.B.C. ORDERS
ARE SUSPENDED HEREWITH
BY ME UNTIL FURTHER
If the GBC were absolute, then it could never have been suspended. Nine years
later, in 1981, it was discovered that the “appointment tape” of May 28, 1977
was no such thing. Word of that spread amongst the devotees, and very soon the
idea that Prabhupäda appointed eleven gurus was rejected en masse. The GBC then
disavowed the concoction but claimed that he appointed the GBC (as absolute),
i.e., they appointed the eleven. This also was quickly
rejected, and the vitiated GBC had to backtrack.
OM TAT SAT