Srila Prabhupada: The Only Link

 

IRM REPLIES TO DHIRA GOVINDA DAS

 

Dhira Govinda Prabhu, a prominent member of ISKCON, has written a booklet entitled "Srila Prabhupada: The Prominent Link" (henceforward PL), which is ostensibly aimed at promoting a deeper understanding of the issue of  ‘guru’ in ISKCON. We are herein presenting an analysis of his booklet for 3 reasons:

 

1) Because the booklet was forwarded to us with a note that Dhira Govinda prabhu requests that we give our feedback on the booklet.

 

2) Because it has been circulated amongst some IRM members and they have requested that we give them guidance regarding the booklet.

 

3) Because the Author himself at the conclusion of his booklet invites all readers to:

 

"to consider the philosophy and recommendations herein, to instruct us where our understanding is incomplete or faulty ... ,"

(PL, Page 52)

 

So with this in mind we shall present the following analysis. Comments from the booklet will be referred to as coming from the 'Author', and be enclosed in speech marks " " thus, with our comments in bold.

 

Introduction

 

An important admission is made by the Author very early on; this being that his Prominent Link (PL) thesis does not directly deal with the initiation controversy that currently rages within ISKCON. This controversy particularly centres around the issue of whom Srila Prabhupada authorised to perform initiations within his movement:

 

Ritvik priests who would merely act as agents, initiating newcomers on Srila Prabhupada's behalf; or Srila Prabhupada's disciples, who would initiate newcomers as their own disciples.

 

The Author clearly wishes to side-step this pivotal issue since he states:

 

"Some devotees may choose to worship a disciple of Srila Prabhupada, such as the Vaisnava who performed the initiation ceremony, as the link to Srila Prabhupada, or in some other philosophical capacity. The PL framework does not directly address this, ..."

(PL, Page 19-20)

 

"While not minimizing the importance of the relationship between the devotee who conducts the initiation ceremony and the initiate, this paper does not primarily address that topic."

(PL, Page 49) 

 

Of course, precisely what relationship exists between the current coterie of around 80 GBC appointed 'Gurus', and those to whom they give 'initiation', is the main issue causing the current polarisation within ISKCON.  Thus immediately the reader is left wondering what real value can come from a thesis that deliberately avoids the very issue that needs most urgent attention. Nevertheless, let us examine what the booklet does address.

 

Central Premise

 

Srila Prabhupada many times stated that if an initial calculation is wrong, such as saying that 2+2 =5, then no matter how accurate the rest of the calculation is, the conclusion will always be wrong.

 

“But if you miss one point, if you commit mistake in calculation in one point, the more you make calculation, add and subtract, it is all mistake.”

(Srila Prabhupada Room Conversation, June 22, 1974)

 

So what is the central premise at the heart of this Booklet? The Author's thesis rests on the idea that there are two types of Diksa - Transcendental Diksa and formal Diksa:

 

"In this transcendental sense, Srila Prabhupada is initiating sincere followers."

(Page 11)

 

"From the viewpoint of the PL model, devotee B is not yet initiated in the essential, transcendental sense."

(Page 35)

 

"Srila Prabhupada is directly giving transcendental knowledge to members of his movement, regardless of when they joined or who performed their initiation ceremony. Therefore, it may be asserted that he is giving diksa, in the transcendental sense of the term."

(PL, Page 40)

 

But what other sense of the term is there? If Srila Prabhupada is giving diksa, then clearly those performing the ceremony are not, since one is only allowed one diksa guru according to sastra:

 

"A devotee must have only one initiating spiritual master because in the scriptures acceptance of more than one is always forbidden."

(C.C, Adi Lila 1:35)

 

The Author however is unclear on this point, and posits the existence of another possible ‘ambiguous’, ceremonial Diksa Guru:

 

"The Vaishnava who conducts the initiation ceremony gives the spiritual name, and at the ceremony the initiate declares vows. These are important aspects of the initiation process, though they are by no means the entire process, and therefore in many instances it is questionable whether the devotee performing the initiation ceremony can unambiguously be termed the "diksa guru''.

(Page 8)

 

As we know from the directive issued to the movement by Srila Prabhupada on July 9th, 1977, Srila Prabhupada had a term for those who merely perform the initiation ceremony: Temple President. Srila Prabhupada certainly never called them Diksa gurus.

 

This confusion on the part of the Author is itself confusing since the Author also establishes, using the same quotes used in "The Final Order" (the IRM's position paper) that diksa is never defined in terms of the formal ceremony, but only ever in terms of transmitting divya jnana, itself a transcendental process:

 

"Diksa actually means initiating a disciple with transcendental knowledge by which he becomes freed from all material contamination."
(C.c. Madhya, 4.111, purport)

 

"Diksa is the process by which one can awaken his transcendental knowledge and vanquish all reactions caused by sinful activity. A person expert in the study of the revealed scriptures knows this process as diksa."
(C.c. Madhya, 15.108, purport)

 

The above is how Srila Prabhupada defines Diksa, never in terms of someone who merely performs some type of ceremony on behalf of someone else.  But as already seen, the Author contradicts this clear position by inventing the 'two types of diksa' philosophy:

 

 "Still, the PL framework accommodates definitions of "diksa" that rely on the formal component of the initiation process."

(Page 40)

 

This errant '2 Diksa Gurus' philosophy leads to more confusing and contradictory notions such as the 'primarily' initiated disciple:

 

"In the essential sense of the term "initiated'', Srila Prabhupada is initiating the devotee by directly delivering to him transcendental knowledge. The initiate is primarily a student and disciple of Srila Prabhupada, in that he is embracing and assisting to spread the teachings of Srila Prabhupada."

(Page 11)

 

Within the entire cannon of Srila Prabhupada’s teachings there is no mention anywhere of being only 'primarily' a disciple of the Guru who initiates you, just as there is no mention of 'primary' and 'secondary' Diksa Gurus.

 

Thus from the outset we can see that the Author's central premise is not in line with Srila Prabhupada's teachings. And as we will now see, this initial mis-calculation leads to many more mistakes, just as Srila Prabhupada predicts.

 

Author Puts Forward GBC Position

 

In July 1998, a meeting was held in Mumbai, India between leading members of the IRM such as Madhu Pandit Das (current Chairman of the IRM), Adridharan Das (current Treasurer of the IRM), Krishnakant (Author of "The Final Order"), and leading members of the GBC such as Ravindra Svarupa Das, Badrinarayana Das (both former GBC chairmen), Gopal Krishna Maharaja, Radhanatha Swami etc. The purpose of the meeting was to appease the IRM by offering some compromise proposals regarding Srila Prabhupada's position. These proposals came to be known later as the 'Bombay Proposals'. They were rejected by the IRM because they were not in line with what Srila Prabhupada himself ordered.

 

However a comparison between some of these GBC proposals and the ideas of the Author, will show that they are almost identical:

 

"For all generations of ISKCON, Srila Prabhupada is the pre-eminent and perpetual link to the Brahma-Madhva-Gaudiya sampradaya."

(GBC Bombay Proposals, 1998)

 

The Author states:

 

"The central idea is that Srila Prabhupada is the prominent link to the parampara by virtue of being the prime deliverer of transcendental knowledge."

(Page 4)

 

In fact the word 'pre-eminent' is slightly stronger than the word ‘prominent’, so one could argue that the GBC went a little but further in their promotion of Srila Prabhupada than the Author was willing to do! The IRM's position of course, in line with Srila Prabhupada's orders, is that he is the only authorised link for ISKCON members to the parampara. Not that he is merely a 'prominent' link amongst other less prominent ones.

 

The GBC state:

 

"Any initiated devotee in ISKCON who is sincerely following the teachings of Srila Prabhupada should be understood and respected as having a relationship with His Divine Grace as a direct and indirect disciple."

(GBC Bombay Proposals, 1998)

 

The Author states:

 

""Suppose devotee B is a disciple of Srila Prabhupada who received formal initiation from him. Devotee A, who didn't receive formal initiation from Srila Prabhupada, takes shelter of and serves under the guidance of devotee B. [...] Devotee A certainly can be said to be a disciple, or student, of devotee B. [...] Devotee A is a student, or disciple, of devotee B, and thus devotee A is the disciple of the disciple of Srila Prabhupada. Devotee A is also a disciple, directly, of Srila Prabhupada, by dint of the fact that Srila Prabhupada is the Vaisnava who is giving devotee A more direct transcendental knowledge than any other Vaisnava, including devotee B. Without contradiction, devotee A is a direct disciple of Srila Prabhupada, and a disciple of the disciple of Srila Prabhupada."

(PL, Page 48)

 

Here the Author concurs with the GBC in putting forward the theory that a devotee in ISKCON is both a direct disciple and grand-disciple (indirect disciple) of Srila Prabhupada. 

 

The GBC state:

 

"As the spiritual life of the candidate develops, he becomes further and further incorporated into the body of ISKCON. An essential element in this process is the acceptance of a diksa guru. This acceptance is enjoined by Srila Prabhupada and by sastra as essential for further spiritual development. This diksa strengthens, enriches, and enlarges the direct connection with Srila Prabhupada."

(GBC Bombay Proposals, 1998)

 

The Author states:

 

"What about the relationship between the Vaisnava who performs the initiation ceremony and the initiate?

[...] The PL framework supports a wide latitude of relationships, the litmus test being whether the relationship assists the initiate to strengthen his direct link with Srila Prabhupada."

(PL, Page 49)

 

Again the Author is in concurrence with the GBC, in that he supports a 'wide latitude of relationships' between the current coterie of 80 GBC appointed 'Diksa Gurus' in ISKCON and their 'disciples'. The Author states that such a relationship must strengthen the direct link with Srila Prabhupada, and the GBC agree that the relationship between the GBC 'Diksa Guru's and their 'disciples' 'strengthens the direct connection with Srila Prabhupada'. In this way the Author has made 'room' for the current Guru set-up in ISKCON to continue, at least in principle.

 

Having concurred with the essence of the GBC's proposals, the Author goes on to make more statements which are again completely in line with the current GBC Guru system in ISKCON.

 

The Author states:

 

"though the PL model does not maintain that worship of others as the connection to Srila Prabhupada should be prohibited in the movement."

(Page 22)

 

The Author agrees that worship of the current GBC Gurus by their disciples can go on. He also agrees that the current GBC Gurus are also Diksa Gurus, at least in the 'formal' sense:

 

 "With regards to the formal element of the initiation process, it might be said that Srila Prabhupada is not giving diksa."

(Page 40)

 

And the Author also agrees that these 'Diksa Gurus' should continue to specifically be selected by the initiate to receive initiation:

 

"A similar mentality should exist in the temple president, the senior congregation member who preached to the newcomer at the Sunday Feast, and the Vaisnava selected by the new initiate to conduct the initiation ceremony."

(Page 31)

 

Contrast this with Srila Prabhupada's order given in the July 9th directive that the initiation ceremony should simply be conducted by whoever is the temple president. No special vaisnava is specifically 'selected' by the initiate for this. Only the Diksa Guru is 'selected' by the initiate.

 

So to summarise so far. We can see the Author agrees with the GBC on the following:

 

1. The GBC Guru can also be a link to the parampara, since Srila Prabhupada is only a 'prominent' link.

 

2. That those who get initiated by the GBC Gurus can be seen as their disciples and grand-disciples of Srila Prabhupada.

 

3. That current relationships between the GBC Gurus and their 'disciples' are fine in principle because the GBC agree that such a relationship helps strengthen the 'direct connection with Srila Prabhupada'.

 

4. The GBC Gurus can be worshipped.

 

5. The GBC Gurus are Diksa Gurus.

 

6. The GBC Gurus should be selected by the initiates to conduct their initiation ceremony.

 

Which means that, according to the Author and all who agree with him, nothing tangible on the ground regarding what currently happens in ISKCON needs to change in any way with regards gurus and initiation. At most all the author is asking for is a bit of extra verbal window dressing.

 

The Author had written to the GBC when presenting his paper that:

 

"In presenting the ideas of The Prominent Link I have no intention of disrespecting or encouraging others to disrespect the Vaisnavas who serve as initiating gurus in ISKCON."

(Letter to the GBC by the Author, March 10th, 2002)

 

From the forgoing we can concur that the Author has tried his best to not upset the current arrangements in ISKCON. His proposals above would allow the current 'self-made Guru deviation' to carry on unhindered.

 

Author Puts Forward IRM Position

 

Having concurred with the GBC's position, the Author however also makes statements which are completely in line with the IRM's position as presented in the IRM's position paper "The Final Order". The Author also states unequivocally that Srila Prabhupada alone will be the Diksa Guru for the next 10,000 years:

 

"We contend that Srila Prabhupada will continue to serve as the prominent link at least for the duration of his movement."

(Page 9)

 

"Specifically, Srila Prabhupada is, or at least, ideally, should be, the direct and current link to the parampara and the prime deliverer of divya-jnana for all devotees in his society."

(Page 38)

 

"The PL model asserts that Srila Prabhupada is qualified to be the current and prominent link to the disciplic succession for the duration of his movement."

(Page 40-something)

 

This of course is the 'hard-core' ritvik position espoused by the IRM, that Srila Prabhupada alone is the direct link to the parampara, and which logically precludes the existence of any other Diksa Gurus for ISKCON either now, or in the future. The Author states that there is no need or role for the current GBC 'gurus' masquerading in ISKCON:

 

"When someone first contacts ISKCON, at least in most parts of the organization, for a few months he is encouraged to directly accept Srila Prabhupada as his guru. We suggest that once someone has done this, as evidenced by accepting Srila Prabhupada in his heart as his spiritual master and following Srila Prabhupada's instructions, the newcomer does not need to search for another Vaisnava to connect him with Srila Prabhupada. The newcomer is already directly connected with Srila Prabhupada, who is his current link to the parampara."

(Page 9)

 

And also that the initiations conducted in ISKCON today are, or should be, Ritvik type initiation ceremonies, whereby it is understood that new initiates are connecting directly to Srila Prabhupada, just as was being done pre-1977:

 

"The formal initiation ceremony is an official acknowledgement that the devotee has established a direct link with Srila Prabhupada. The devotee does not make the link with Srila Prabhupada at the time of the ceremony. If the devotee has not already directly linked with Srila Prabhupada at the time of the formal initiation, then he shouldn't be participating in the initiation ceremony. The Vaisnava conducting the initiation ceremony does not become the connection between the initiate and Srila Prabhupada. The direct link between the initiate and Srila Prabhupada already exists. The connection does not become indirect at the time of the ceremony. [...] Again, the official initiation ceremony is a formal acknowledgement that the devotee has directly connected with Srila Prabhupada.

(Page 10- 11)

 

And the Author nicely encapsulates the whole approach by explicitly stating the 'No Change in ISKCON Paradigm' (NCIP), another IRM position paper:

 

"Consider the situation in the mid-1970s, when Srila Prabhupada was physically present. A devotee who joined at that time accepted Srila Prabhupada as his spiritual master and link to the parampara, though he did not expect to receive personal training from Srila Prabhupada. [...] In a sense they were his gurus, though he understood that Srila Prabhup¢da was his connection to the parampara and primary guru. [...]The PL model proposes that we return to the system of management that was in effect when Srila Prabhupada was physically present on the planet."

(Page 43-44)

 

The Author proposes that things today go on in ISKCON without change from the way they were going on before Srila Prabhupada's departure. We couldn't agree more.

 

Author Puts Forward Both Positions

 

We have seen that the Author has put forward two contradictory, mutually exclusive positions. Having done that one would at least hope the he might come down finally in favour of one or the other. Unfortunately the Author also makes statements supporting the idea that all positions can be valid and equally acceptable:

 

"While we maintain that this model should be accepted in Srila Prabhupada's movement, it is not necessarily the only model that is sastrically and philosophically valid. Many of the contentions herein, in regards to Srila Prabhupada's relationship with members of his movement, may not apply to everyone in Srila Prabhupada's society."

(Page 2)

 

"Though we suggest that these conceptualizations are the preferred model for his movement, our firm recommendation is simply that the ideas and practices be validated and accepted, perhaps alongside other systems and understandings."

(Page 2)

 

"While we claim that this is the preferred model for the movement, we do not maintain that other understandings, such as the understanding that the devotee who performs the formal initiation ceremony is automatically the primary direct link to the parampara, must be rejected. If necessary, a plurality of models may coexist."

(Page 39)

 

Here the Author is saying that whatever he says is right, and whatever the GBC, or whoever else, may say is also right!

 

The Calculation Falls Apart

 

In his desire to please everyone the Author has simultaneously put forward three contradictory positions:

 

That someone other than Srila Prabhupada can be the current link.

That Srila Prabhupada alone is the current link.

That both Srila Prabhupada and someone else can be the current link.

 

The above confirms Srila Prabhupada’s point regarding making a calculation. Having started with a faulty premise, the Author has ended up with a miscalculation. The Author’s 'Prominent Link' (PL), resting as it does on unsubstantiated speculation, leads us into the incoherence of supporting 3 contradictory positions simultaneously.

 

In addition to the inherent contradiction and confusion in putting forward mutually exclusive models, there are many other areas of the Author's booklet suffering from the same problem.

 

More Confusion and Contradiction

 

One Link Or Many Links

 

The basis of the Author's thesis is the term 'prominent link' (PL) and other similar qualifying appellations:

 

"The central idea is that srila Prabhupada is the prominent link to the parampara by virtue of being the prime deliverer of transcendental knowledge."

(Page 1)

 

"Still, herein we will philosophically support the assertion that he is the primary link to the parampara for those who contact his movement."

(Page 2)

 

Yet these qualifying terms are a source of confusion since they imply that Srila Prabhupada is merely the most pronounced link amongst many such links acting simultaneously. For he can only be a prominent link if there are other authorised links which are relatively less prominent. Yet Srila Prabhupada's actual position as the current link is a term that Srila Prabhupada only ever described unambiguously in the singular:

 

"...in order to receive the real message of Srimad-Bhagavatam one should approach the current link, or spiritual master, in the chain of disciplic succession."

(S.B. 2.9.7, purport)

 

Srila Prabhupada also ensured that his was the only name in the Bhagavad Gita as the current link. Even though the Author also cites Srila Prabhupada as the current link, by basing his thesis on terms such as 'prominent','primary' etc., he nevertheless obfuscates Srila Prabhupada's position as our singular current link to the parampara. These terms are dangerous since they open up potential 'back doors' via which other hopeful 'links' might pop up to convince us that they too can 'link' us either to Srila Prabhupada, or the parampara. The long sad history of cheating gurus in ISKCON was supported through such sloppy use of language.

 

"Sria Prabhupada's Terminology Distracting"

 

The Author states:

 

"In realizing this it is important not to become distracted by appellations such as ""diksa guru'', ""initiator'', and ""officiating acarya'', though of course for communicative purposes such designations are sometimes necessary."

(Page 2)

 

Above the Author says that defining terms such as 'diksa' may distract us, although he concedes they are useful sometimes for communication. A peculiar paragraph, since if the subject of his paper is Srila Prabhupada, who established himself as the diksa guru for ISKCON, then how will it be a 'distraction' to mention this? And surely the whole point of his paper is to communicate. So there is some confused thinking here.

 

What is curious is that the Author happily uses terms such as 'primary Vaishnava' and 'prominent link' none of which were ever used by Srila Prabhupada, yet claims terms such as 'diksa guru' which Srila Prabhupada did use and define, might distract us! However, as we have seen, it is the terms the Author uses which can lead to confusion as to Srila Prabhupada's actual position. So if anything it is the Author's own invented terms that may 'distract us', rather than terms Srila Prabhupada used and defined himself.

 

"Siksa Guru" Title Not Matter

 

The Author proposes that labelling Srila Prabhupada as only the 'Siksa Guru' is not a matter of 'concern', since whatever title is given to Srila Prabhupada does not detract from the essence of his thesis:

 

"Though in the following quotes Srila Prabhupada describes "diksa '', the fundamental premise of this paper is not dependent on terminologies such as "diksa'', "siksa'', and ""diksa guru ''.

(Page 4)

 

"Therefore, it cannot rightly be said that Srila Prabhupada is giving diksa. He is giving siksa. In the framework of The Prominent Link (PL), the essential focus is on the process of initiation, which is founded on the transmission of transcendental knowledge. Terminology and labeling is not a chief concern. Whomever is labeled "siksa guru'', ""initiator'', or ""diksa guru'', the heart of the PL understanding is that Srilla Prabhupada is the primary Vaisnava directly giving transcendental knowledge."

(Page 7)

 

"We are not concerned with titles and designations."

(Page 32)

 

However in other places the Author clearly states that titles involving 'siksa guru' matter very much:

 

"Using qualifying terms, such as 'preeminent siksa guru', to describe Srila Prabhupada's standing in his movement and the role he plays in the life of the members of his movement, distracts from Srila Prabhupada's status as 'the spiritual master', the guru who is referred to when we refer to the singular spiritual master. It also muddles the understanding of the direct and primary role that Srila Prabhupada plays in the life of all members of his society. There are many definitions of ""guru'' and ""spiritual master'' and, by some definitions, all members of srila Prabhupada's movement have many gurus and spiritual masters. Qualifying appellations for srila Prabhupada convey the perception of relegating him to something less than the main guru for all ISKCON members."

(Page 26-27)

 

"Thus, we can see that describing Srila Prabhupada with qualifying terms such as "preeminent siksa guru'' obfuscates his position as the primary guru and the most essential, active spiritual force for all members of his movement."

(Page 29)

 

Here the Author has contradicted himself on 2 counts:

 

1. He recognises that what title is given to Srila Prabhupada is a matter of 'concern' even though he also states the contrary.

2. The Author himself uses qualifying terms such as 'prominent', 'primary' etc., which as we have shown also obfuscates Srila Prabhupada's position as the one and only current link/Diksa Guru for the whole of ISKCON.

 

It is self-evident that the identity of ISKCON's Diksa guru is absolutely crucial to acknowledging his 'prominent link', or PL status. In not facing this point head on, the Author has fudged his position and missed out on an opportunity to use his respected status within ISKCON to help establish the system of initiation personally set out by Srila Prabhupada on July 9th 1977.

 

I'm Not A Ritvik

 

In order to gain acceptance within mainstream ISKCON the Author went to great pains to distance himself from the 'ritvik' issue, as reported in this years GBC resolutions:

 

"I would like to clarify a few points regarding the booklet Srila Prabhupada: The Prominent Link. I am not in any ritvik camp and the essay was not written to support any ritvik agenda."

(Letter to the GBC by the Author, March 10th, 2002)

 

"The GBC Body acknowledges with appreciation the clarification offered by Dhira Govinda Prabhu in a letter (March 2002) in which he states that he did not intend to teach ritvikism nor support the ritvik agenda through "The Prominent Link.""

(GBC resolutions 2002)

 

However this was all to no avail since the GBC rejected his paper completely, making similar points to us about his use of the terms diksa and siksa, and pulling him apart over the May 28th conversation:

 

"Unfortunately, the paper fails in its attempt to glorify Srila Prabhupada owing to an incomplete consideration of his teachings or, worse, a willingness to take a little from here, and little from there, and create something new."

(GBC resolutions 2002)

 

Of course the GBC themselves are guilty of this very thing, and The Final Order defeated their self-contradictory position over the May 28th conversation in 1996. Thus to appease the GBC the Author claimed he was not a 'Ritvik' and watered-down his presentation of Srila Prabhupada's actual position by also supporting the GBC-Guru philosophy, but it achieved zero breakthrough with the GBC.

 

CONCLUSION

 

The Author had stated that the aim of his thesis was to:

 

"to gain a deeper and more precise understanding of the essence of the guru-disciple relationship ..."

(PL, Page 52)

 

However in his attempt to be all things to all men and please everyone, the Author has presented a thesis which is far from precise. In the invocation to his paper the Author honestly admits:

 

"Most of the ideas in this composition have come from others, shared with me in the course of dialogue."

(PL, Invocation)

 

As we have demonstrated this is an accurate description of his paper, for he has presented some aspects of the GBC Guru philosophy, added some points from "The Final Order", added some of his own invented terms, jumbled it all up, and then said everything can be correct. The result, as we have seen, is nothing but a mass of confusion and contradiction from start to finish.

 

The author hopes that his paper will:

 

"would serve as a platform for resolving the ongoing conflict between advocates of the GBC position and advocates of ritvik ideas."

(Letter to the GBC by the Author, March 10th, 2002)

 

But the paper has not presented any platform for resolving any conflicts for in his attempt to accommodate all philosophies the author has only ensured that he has ended up satisfying neither party:

 

The GBC has rejected his paper since it also puts forward the IRM position.

The IRM has rejected his paper since it also puts forward the GBC position.

Whilst those in the middle who were undecided and looking for a definite answer have been presented with 3 mutually exclusive positions and told that each is correct!

 

We have already pointed out that the reason for the Author's thesis being doomed from the start had its genesis in his incorrect premise that there can be 2 types of Diksa Guru acting simultaneously. However the PL has a more fundamental flaw which the Author openly states at the outset of his paper:

 

"This paper presents a framework for understanding Srila Prabhupada's position that is derived from a comprehension of Srila Prabhupada's direct and personal relationship with the members of his movement."

(Page 1)

 

In other words the Author admits that his whole thesis will be based not on a presentation of Srila Prabhupada's instructions, which is what is normally done, but on an empirical analysis of what he 'comprehends' is going on between Srila Prabhupada and the members of ISKCON. But as we have seen, trying to avoid Srila Prabhupada's signed directives leads to not only stating the philosophy of Guru-tattva incorrectly, but also opens one to rebuttal by the GBC who will attempt to use Srila Prabhupada's instructions from the May 28th conversation etc., to defeat one's ideas. Therefore there is nothing to be gained in trying to by-pass Srila Prabhupada's instructions based on our limited 'comprehension' of what we think is going on. If we simply repeat Srila Prabhupada's instructions as has been done in "The Final Order", not only will we be 100% accurate, but we will also be immune from challenge. As has been documented, the GBC and their supporters have failed 5 times in 5 years to defeat "The Final Order". The author’s booklet has already been rebutted by both the GBC and the IRM!

 

The Author tried to gain acceptability for his ideas by preaching a watered-down version of the truth, but still failed with one of his key target audiences, the GBC, to whom he submitted his booklet for review. We sincerely hope he re-considers his position in light of this since, in many ways, he is close to the truth. All he needs to do is delete the sections in his booklet that support the GBC's current deviant DDG (De-emphasised Diksa Guru) philosophy (and any other ideas not supported by Srila Prabhupada), add some instructions quoted directly from Srila Prabhupada on the subject of Guru and initiations, and the major flaws in his paper would be eliminated. And then even if it is rejected by the GBC, at least it will be100% in line with what is taught by Srila Prabhupada.

 

 

irm@ntlworld.com