The Material Concoction That Infiltrated ISKCON
BY: VIDURA MAHATMA DAS
SEPTEMBER 12, 2017 — LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA
The idea that one must approach or take shelter of a “living” guru is undoubtedly one of the biggest and most damaging of lies within the Krishna consciousness movement. This lie was started by a few deviated disciples after Srila Prabhupada’s disappearance in order to support their claim that Srila Prabhupada had appointed them to begin accepting disciples of their own and thereby become full-fledged diksa gurus.
If you take away the need for a living guru lie, what is left unclouded in the minds of so many bewildered people is the July 9th 1977 Directive issued by Srila Prabhupada (via his secretary) wherein Srila Prabhupada’s ongoing acceptance of disciples even after his disappearance is expressed in legal form. Moreover, the hundreds of quotes by Srila Prabhupada which the ritviks have continually presented over the years may also become unclouded to the minds of thousands of bewildered people. As of right now, Srila Prabhupada’s ritvik order – a clear and simple issue – seems like a big gray area to most people at best, if not outright rejected as a deviant philosophy itself. Could things be any more topsy-turvy? “The intelligence of those who are irresolute is many-branched.” (Bg 2.41)
The living guru lie has become so deeply infiltrated within the society and its members that it is hard to not find traces of its influence even amongst persons apparently separate from ISKCON or in some other camp. The strange and insubstantial emphasis on the physical body (vapu) of the spiritual master over the actual instructions (vani) of the spiritual master has spread its influence far and wide.
Below we present just a few quotes from Srila Prabhupada which focus on material ideas versus actual spiritual life. This small compilation of quotes and notes may serve as a reminder of the truth and help in countering the detrimental living guru lie – a cause that any truthful devotees are humbly encouraged to contribute to.
“Although according to material vision His Divine Grace Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda passed away from this material world on the last day of December, 1936, I still consider His Divine Grace to be always present with me by his vāṇī, his words. There are two ways of association-by vāṇī and by vapu. Vāṇī means words, and vapu means physical presence. Physical presence is sometimes appreciable and sometimes not, but vāṇī continues to exist eternally. Therefore we must take advantage of the vāṇī, not the physical presence.” (Cc. 1975 Concluding Words)
“…progress in spiritual life cannot be obstructed by any material condition. This is called ahaituky apratihatā. Reception of spiritual knowledge is never checked by any material condition.” (SB 7.7.1 purport)
“This verse describes the beginning of a schism. When disciples do not stick to the principle of accepting the order of their spiritual master, immediately there are two opinions. Any opinion different from the opinion of the spiritual master is useless. One cannot infiltrate materially concocted ideas into spiritual advancement. That is deviation. There is no scope for adjusting spiritual advancement to material ideas.” (CC Adi 12.9 Purport)
“So now, by the grace of Kṛṣṇa and Caitanya Mahāprabhu and in the presence of my Guru Mahārāja, you are so nice boys and girls. So in front of Caitanya Mahāprabhu you are chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, and you are taking part in it very seriously. So my Guru Mahārāja will be very, very much pleased upon you and bless you with all benefits. So he wanted this, and he is not… It is not that he is dead and gone. That is not spiritual understanding. Even ordinary living being, he does not die. Na hanyate hanyamāne śarīre [Bg. 2.20]. And what to speak of such exalted, authorized personality like Bhaktisiddhānta. He is seeing. […] Similarly, Kṛṣṇa and Kṛṣṇa’s representative, spiritual master, if you keep always intact, in link with the words and instruction of the superior authorities, then you are always fresh. This is spiritual understanding.” (Lecture: His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Prabhupada’s Appearance Day, Lecture — Atlanta, March 2, 1975)
“So although a physical body is not present, the vibration should be accepted as the presence of the Spiritual Master, vibration. What we have heard from the Spiritual Master, that is living.” (SB Lecture, 13/01/69, Los Angeles)