Kṛṣṇacandra Dāsa – Śrī Vṛndāvan Dhama: Śrīla Prabhupāda established ISKCON to provide spiritual leadership and guidance for humanity as a whole not only for those who came to take shelter of the society. This means brahminical leadership by brahminical minded and qualified devotees. The Brahmin is a first class person who knows the truth and acts in truth and the first class Brahmin is an uttama devotee of the Lord or a Vaiṣṇava Brahmin. They know that the absolute truth is Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa and that consciousness of Him is realized in various stages and so depending on their role in a Kṛṣṇa consciousness society they may take on the role of a diska guru and begin to initiate devotees into bhagavata dharma. Not all uttama adhikāra or maha bhagavata devotees of the Lord perform in the role of an initiating spiritual master and take disciples.
The Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava tradition believe that the previous Ācāryas such as Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Saraswati and Śrīla Prabhupāda were maha bhagavat devotees who have descended from the spiritual world under the direct order of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa to perform the role of diska gurus and to take on disciples. Others teach by example and help instruct or preach to others to take up and develop their Kṛṣṇa consciousness depending on their qualification or adhikara and natural propensities.
The lies and deceit of the original GBC who ambitiously seized the most powerful positions within Śrīla Prabhupāda’s ISKCON society and created their own positions as Ācāryas/Initiating gurus soon after he entered into Samādhi, acted as if they were Śrīla Prabhupāda’s Heirs and Successors cum Ācāryas cum Initiating Spiritual Masters and subsequently imposed their own concoctive ideas upon Śrīla Prabhupāda’s ISKCON society which we are all expected to bend our knees in total subjugation to if we are to be considered by them to be ISKCON devotees.
They preach unity in diversity, liberalism and pluralism as if these ‘ism’ are divinely inspired and therefore necessary for the proper prosecution of devotional service in the kali yuga. They welcome and praise Jews, Christians New Agers and Academics yet they are heavy handed and ruthless to any devotee who exposes their treachery, criminality, philosophical deviations or sensual weakness; up to the point of murder, physical and verbal assault, vilification, censure and forced alienation in order to suppress or cover up their sinful ways.
There are two specific gross deviations that they have imposed upon our Vaiṣṇava society that have no basis in śāstra given by the Vaiṣṇava Ācāryas and Śrīla Prabhupāda’s specific instructions. The first one is they ignored Śrīla Prabhupāda’s Direction of Management [DOM] and imposed their own management system that they are constantly reinforcing and changing to get more and more control of the Society. Then there is the Rubber Stamped Guru system that goes against Śrīla Prabhupāda’s Representative of the Ācārya system as given in the July 9th Document changing it to an appointment by peer vote system that allows for less than kaniṣṭha and kaniṣṭha adhikāra devotees to be institutionally appointed, by a voting system, into the position of an initiating spiritual master giving them the right to take their own disciples and be treated as a maha bhagavata devotee. This guru by vote system is not supported by śāstra and it is specifically denounced by Śrīla Prabhupāda himself.
The GBC and the Rubber Stamped Gurus of ISKCON have failed to appreciate His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda and are acting on the kaniṣṭha platform of God consciousness. This is why they are introducing mundane secular academics, Interfaith based on religious syncretism and modern business stratagem and training into our Vaiṣṇava society. They promote kaniṣṭha adhikāra devotees with their kaniṣṭha level of realizations and ideologies presenting them to the Vaiṣṇava community as if they are Kṛṣṇa conscious and sastrically based. He also explains that a kaniṣṭha level devotee does not have to be a Vaiṣṇava but can be a Christian Muslim or a Jew as well. So in this way we, as aspiring Vaiṣṇavas, must understand the rationale of the GBC and Rubber Stamped Gurus and their disciples who are attempting to govern our Vaiṣṇava society and are forcing Śrīla Prabhupāda and his loyal followers out of the very society that Śrīla Prabhupāda established.
Śrīla Madhvācārya states, arcāyām eva saṁsthitam/ viṣṇum jñātvā tad-anyatra naiva jānāti yaḥ pumān. A kaniṣṭha-adhikārī has no idea that the Supreme Lord has the power to exist outside a church or temple. Furthermore, being puffed up by his own ceremonial worship (ātmano bhakti-darpataḥ), a kaniṣṭha-adhikārī cannot imagine that anyone is more pious or religious than he, and he is not even aware that other devotees are more advanced. Thus he cannot understand the madhyama or uttama standard of devotional service, and sometimes, because of his false pride, he criticizes the more advanced devotees of the Lord, neglects them or simply has no understanding of their exalted position as preachers or completely self-realized souls.
Another symptom of the kaniṣṭha-adhikārī is that he is infatuated by the material qualifications of so-called great materialistic persons. Having a bodily concept of life himself, he is attracted by material opulence and thus minimizes the position of the Supreme Lord, Viṣṇu. Such a kaniṣṭha-adhikārī, therefore, is disturbed if a second-class devotee criticizes the nondevotees of the Lord. In the name of compassion or kindness, a kaniṣṭha-adhikārī approves of the nondevotional activities of such materialistic men. Because the kaniṣṭha-adhikārī is ignorant of the higher realms of devotional service and the unlimited transcendental bliss of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, he sees devotional service merely as the religious aspect of life but thinks that life has many enjoyable and worthwhile nondevotional aspects. Therefore he becomes angry when second-class devotees, who are experiencing that Kṛṣṇa is everything, criticize the nondevotees. Madhvācārya says that such a person, because of his rudimentary faith in Kṛṣṇa, is considered a devotee, but he is bhaktādhama, a devotee on the lowest standard. If such materialistic devotees follow the rules and regulations of Deity worship, they will gradually be elevated to a higher standard and eventually become pure devotees of the Lord, unless they commit offenses against other devotees, in which case their advancement will be checked.
Below is a quote from Prahladananda Swami’s recent article where he is attempting to give validity to the ‘idea’ that a spiritual master can be a second or even a third class devotee and implies that such a guru should be able to initiate other neophytes making them their disciples in ISKCON and that is why the GBC opted to ignore Śrīla Prabhupāda’s system and concoct their own.
“Although sastra recommends that the spiritual master generally should be chosen from among uttama-adhikari Vaishnavas, one may sometimes choose a spiritual master from the second- or even third-class level. Although disciples think of the spiritual master as their guru, no bona fide spiritual master thinks he is a “guru;” he thinks of himself only as the servant of his spiritual master and Lord Krishna.”
The Swami makes it sound very nice and smooth as if śāstra supports his conclusion however the swami’s ‘one may “sometimes” choose a spiritual master from the second or “even” third class level’ is a speculative concoction which has no support in Śrīla Prabhupāda’s instructions and teachings and no support in śāstra. It is a statement of fact that in human society spiritualists ignorant of spiritual truths, regarding bhagavata dharma and pure devotional service, take shelter of less than and kaniṣṭha adhikāra gurus [Priests, Rabbis, New Age Gurus, FISKCON Rubber Stamped Gurus etc] who ‘cheat’ them but this is by no means the purpose of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement established by His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda.
There are three kinds of devotee: kaniṣṭha-adhikārī, madhyama-adhikārī and uttama-adhikārī. The uttama-adhikārī is the most advanced; the madhyama-adhikārī is in the middle stage; and the kaniṣṭha-adhikārī is the neophyte. It is recommended that the neophyte meditate on the Deity daily. He should begin by meditating on the lotus feet, and then when he is practiced, he should turn his gaze toward Kṛṣṇa’s smiling face. The neophyte should also read and hear Bhagavad-gītā and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. If we simply try to see and don’t listen, the results will not be permanent. In some temples there are Deities but no discussion about Kṛṣṇa. People attend for some time, but after a while they lose interest. Thus there must be two activities. The Deities must be worshiped, and this is called pāñcarātrikī-vidhi. There must also be bhāgavata-vidhi, reading Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. pāñcarātrikī-vidhi and bhāgavata-vidhi go hand in hand. By participating in these two processes, the neophyte can gradually attain the intermediate stage. [Teachings of Lord Kapila]
The spiritual master is supposed to be in the most advanced stage, but for preaching purposes he descends to the intermediate stage. The uttama-adhikārī, the most advanced devotee, does not discriminate between devotees and nondevotees. He sees everyone but himself as a devotee. The truly advanced devotee sees that he is not a devotee but that everyone else is a devotee. The kaniṣṭha-adhikārī, the neophyte, simply concentrates on the Deity, and that is required in the beginning.
The fact that the GBC has mandated such a bogus system where they appoint, promote and support kaniṣṭha adhikāra devotees and even less than kaniṣṭha devotees does not make it right. The above article by Prahladananda Swami is clutching at straws in trying to juggle words to appease the intellects of the neophyte aspiring Vaiṣṇava to accept their bogus kaniṣṭha guru and less than kaniṣṭha gurus.
At least he acknowledges that there are problems in how the GBC acts and how it delegates authority which are merely symptomatic of the indisputable fact that the GBC’s above mentioned deviations are the root cause of the major problems that face our society today.
Until the Swami as a GBC member pushes for reform in the GBC in the way of the implementation of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s Direction of Management where Śrīla Prabhupāda clearly outlines how he wanted his society managed there will always be dissention amongst the devotee community as their concoction has proven to be hugely problematic. Then they must admit that they have never implemented Śrīla Prabhupāda’s DOM and so have no experience of how a Vaiṣṇava society should be managed.
The GBC then have to admit that Śrīla Prabhupāda only appointed them to manage his society and not to govern it as Heirs or Successors. They maybe the highest level managers but the role and function of His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda are as Śrīla Prabhupāda himself has legally incorporated below.
He shall be the supreme power with respect to all matters of the Society, and that status shall not be occupied by or shared with any other individual, either during his lifetime, OR AFTER HIS DEATH…” (Certificate of Incorporation: Jan 12 1976)
Below is a excerpt from Śrīla Prabhupāda Will which the GBC have used to give validity to their role in our ISKCON society.
- The Governing Body Commission (GBC) will be the ultimate managing authority of the entire International Society for Krishna Consciousness.
Here Śrīla Prabhupāda gives the GBC the role of ‘ultimate MANAGING authority’ which does not supersede Śrīla Prabhupāda’s stated and righteous role, as given above, of the ‘supreme power with respects to all matters of the Society’. Manage means manage what they have been given to manage not to assume total governance and control of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s society bending it to their will against that of His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda’s will.
Next the GBC must admit that the ‘Guru by Vote’ is illegal and apasiddhantic and is a bogus concoction of the GBC and therefore all Rubber Stamped Gurus should renounce their guruships as being a bogus concoction not based on Śrīla Prabhupāda’s instructions and Vaiṣṇava siddhānta.
The GBC should then commence the ‘representative of the Ācārya’ system that Śrīla Prabhupāda established to use ‘henceforward’ in the July 9th Initiation Document.
Unless and until this is done the words of these people are entirely meaningless and insult the intelligence of sincere rational seekers of the absolute truth. However this is their least sinful mentality and practice. Their very existence in Śrīla Prabhupāda’s ISKCON society is offensive to the paramparā and especially His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda who did not give them or anyone the right to change anything in the society that he personally, as the maha bhagavat, established for mankind.
You are asking me so many concoctions and manufactured nonsense. Don’t bother my head in this way any more. From now on unless I order you do something change or in addition, go on with the usual standard way. You manufacture ideas and then I have to waste my time. I have given you everything already, there is no need for you to add anything or change anything. Why you are asking these things? Who has given you such freedom? Pujari should operate entirely under the supervision of temple president and GBC, not independently. The greatest danger to our movement will come when we manufacture and create our own process for worshiping the deities. So don’t ask any more new questions, whatever is going on, follow it just to the exact standard as I have given you, that’s all. [Letter to Dhurvananda Bombay 1973]