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October 15, 2019

Whereas in 2009 the GBC Resolved:

  1. The GBC accepts the philosophical conclusion presented in the SAC’s Female Diksa Guru Paper that a mature, qualified, female devotee may accept the role of an initiating spiritual master.

  1. The GBC Body authorizes local area committees to put forward for approval as initiating guru any devotee in their area, male or female, who is qualified according to existing GBC Law.

Whereas, since then, the GBC has worked to achieve consensus and implementation of this resolution;

After much study, dialogue, and research, the GBC has come to the following conclusion.

Resolved that:

1. Vaisnavis are eligible to give diksa in ISKCON provided that they:

  • a. Meet all the qualifications listed for ISKCON diksa-guru applicants;
  • b. Are at least 55 years of age and in a stable family situation, living under the protection of a husband, elder son or son-in-law, qualified householder couple or senior Vaisnava or Vaisnavi sanga;
  • c. Receive written permission from the appropriate regional body or its equivalent, or national council, to give diksa in that particular part of the world.

2. After five years the GBC shall review this resolution to determine if the number of Vaisnavis initiating in any region or as a total for the world is in keeping with Srila Prabhupada’s indication of “…not so many”.

 

  • Statement on the Resolution Allowing Vaisnavis

    to Serve as Diksa-gurus in ISKCON

    ISKCON Governing Body Commission

    October 17, 2019

    Just adhere yourself to the lotus feet of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Then you become spiritual master. That’s all. So I hope that all of you, men, women, boys and girls, become spiritual master and follow this principle. Spiritual master — simply, sincerely, follow the principles and speak to the general public. Then Krsna immediately becomes your favorite. Krsna does not become your favorite; you become Krsna’s favorite. (…) So if you want to become recognized by Krsna very quickly, you take up this process of becoming spiritual master, present the Bhagavad-gita as it is, your life is perfect.” (Sri Vyasa-puja Lecture — August 22, 1973, London)

    … as far as Krsna consciousness is concerned, everyone is capable of becoming a spiritual master because knowledge in Krsna consciousness is on the platform of the spirit soul. (…) The word guru is equally applicable to the vartma-pradarsaka-guru , siksa-guru and diksa-guru . Unless we accept the principle enunciated by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, this Krsna consciousness movement cannot spread all over the world”. (Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila 8.128 purport)

    On October 15, 2019, the Governing Body Commission of the International Society for Krsna Consciousness (GBC) at their mid-term general meeting passed a resolution allowing, under certain conditions, mature and qualified Vaisnavis to serve as diksa-gurus in ISKCON.

    The primary bases for this decision are the expressed desires and instructions on guru qualifications of ISKCON’s Founder-acarya His Divine Grace Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.

    This resolution concludes over 15 years of the GBC’s thorough research and in-depth discussions of:

        • the letter and spirit of Srila Prabhupada’s numerous instructions on the subject of the importance and qualifications of various types of spiritual masters for ISKCON as a worldwide movement;

        • Srila Prabhupada’s expressed desire that all his “sons and daughters” become spiritual masters;

        • Srila Prabhupada’s well-documented personal dealings with and engagement of his female disciples in various roles of spiritual responsibility;

        • Srila Prabhupada’s approach to the balance between spiritual and societal roles of Vaisnavas and Vaisnavis in the context of pure devotional service;

        • as appropriate, the broader historical and sastic evidence in regards to diksa in Lord Caitanya’s Gaudiya-Vaisnava sampradaya .

    While Srila Prabhupada indicated that Vaisnavi spiritual masters had been historically “not so many”, he also taught that the service of diksa-guru required an equally advanced level of Krsna consciousness for both genders that is achievable by strictly following the authorized devotional practices he prescribed.

    Srila Prabhupada also taught that the service of diksa-guru naturally stems from fidelity to one’s spiritual master and guru-parampara , from one’s mature preaching of Krsna consciousness (siksa ) empowered by such fidelity, and from the sense of selfless responsibility for those souls who become inspired to serve Lord Krsna by such preaching.

    At the same time, Srila Prabhupada severely criticized and warned against bodily and mundane considerations in regard to the role and eligibility of diksa-guru — whether in the form of casteism, selfish motives for profit, adoration or distinction, or as conformity to social, cultural or modern trends and artificial “equality”:

    …Generally a spiritual master who constantly instructs a disciple in spiritual science becomes his initiating spiritual master later on. (…) Sri Jiva Gosvami 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”. (Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi-lila 1.35 purport)

    We, the GBC, are convinced that Srila Prabhupada by his devotional potency and perfect guidance continues to empower many devotees, men and women alike, to properly follow and represent his teachings in the mission of spreading Krsna Consciousness; and that some of them thus become competent to solidify their siksa by giving diksa as faithful representatives of Srila Prabhupada.

    We recognize that some members and friends of ISKCON may object to this resolution based on their own reading of sastra, their own social experiences, or deeply held Vaisnava convictions. At the same time, and on the same basis, others will think this resolution does not go far enough or that the additional requirements are unfair. To assuage these concerns, we will further describe the milestones leading to this decision and the philosophical underpinnings of this resolution in an upcoming document.

    In the meantime, we humbly request ISKCON devotees to see this resolution in the light of the inclusiveness of Lord Chaitanya and our previous acaryas, and as facilitating senior, mature and exemplary followers of Srila Prabhupada in their dedicated service to him and his ISKCON. Please bless them in this new important spiritual responsibility.

    So one who is spreading krsna-upadesa , simply repeat what is said by Krsna, then you become acarya. (…) Suppose you have got now ten thousand. We shall expand to hundred thousand. That is required. Then hundred thousand to million, and million to ten million. So there will be no scarcity of acarya, and people will understand Krsna consciousness very easily”. (Lecture on Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi-lila 1.13 – April 6, 1975, Mayapur)

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  1. There is absolutely no way to prove from shastra that a woman can never be qualified to serve as diksa-guru at age 54, but can only become qualified at age 55. With this resolution, the GBC is admitting either that there are qualified diksa-gurus whom ISKCON will prohibit from service, or that all the ISKCON gurus are unqualified and the post-menopausal 55+ requirement for women is a cynical method of “damage control.”

  2. Now that the GBC has revealed that elderly female diksha-gurus are bona fide, maybe the women of ISKCON will do better by taking further guidance from a Gaudiya Vaishnava institution that has provided for devotee women for decades:

    Gurumata Shrimati Jayshree Devi Goswamini is 65 years old, so according to the GBC she is the right age for a female diksha-guru. Furthermore, she has been serving without falldown for 25 years, something ISKCON’s new female diksha-gurus won’t be able to claim until 2044.

    https://shreeguruprapannaashram.wordpress.com/shrimati-jayshree-devi/

  3. I guess it’s the “zonal acharya” moment of our generation when something seems to be clearly wrong and it tests our loyalty and devotion to Srila Prabhupada and his ISKCON. Many of those who left then are still bitter about it so we can see what the result of rebellion is. All we are asked, after all, is to see this resolution in the light of inclusiveness and as facilitating senior devotees service. Even that last desire to serve as gurus seems to be off, but who am I to say “no” when they really really want it? Even Srila Prabhupada decided to give out brahmanical initiations when the “girls” were upset about being left out.

  4. The onerous resolution from Leftists disguised as Vaisnava
    By Mayesa dasa ACBSP

    We can take not that in the first sentence of the GBC’s announcement of its radical adoption of Female Diksa Guru policy we find two errors.

    Two errors in the first sentence.

    1) The GBC has referred to the SAC report as its basis.

    When we read the SAC report though we find a modern Leftist bias and painful contortions of language necessary to present a view supporting Female Diksa Guru.

    As an example at one point in the SAC report a non Vaisnava sastra is presented and worse is provided a unique interpretation.

    The verse in question states that ” any mantra given by a woman is dead “.

    Yet the anonymous SAC commentator gives his own interpretation that this statement is an indication that in the past women were giving mantras.

    That would not be the direct meaning we should derive.

    The direct meaning is ” Whether in the past or in the future it may be women are sometimes taking the position to initiate with mantra but such initiation is bogus due to the inferior quality of the initiator. ”

    2) In the first sentence of the resolution we find a second error.

    The sentence informs us that “mature, qualified female devotee may accept the role of initiating spiritual master. ”

    The important word here is ” qualified. ”
    It is a given that a qualified person can act as a link in the parampara.

    We find though that when we consult the SAC paper we find the ONLY qualification discussed is that of being a spirit soul.

    Being a spirit soul is never in all of sastra taken as a qualification for being a guru.

    We have Arjuna’s glaring example.
    Though Arjuna is a spirit soul he surrenders himself to Lord Krsna for instruction.

    What we find in the SAC paper is a reliance on innuendo that men and women are equal in all respects other than the obvious difference of variation in the outward gross body.

    The differences in the subtle bodies of men and women is given scant attention.

    The SAC paper cleverly ignores all questions of qualification in order to indoctrinate the reader that qualification is not a consideration worth discussing.

    Qualification disappears from both the SAC paper and the 2019 GBC resolution regarding Female Diksa Guru.

    It ( qualification ) is replaced in the SAC paper by a modern social construct of Equality.

    In the GBC resolution it ( qualification ) is replaced with rules of age ( at least 55 years of age ) and social protections ( strong family ), etc.–all of which we have no sastric support for nor can we expect adherence to going forward.

    Similarly we can find grave faults in each and every sentence of the GBC resolution as well as the SAC report, its basis.

    Moreover it is evident that those who have produced both do not care that their work is asastric and will reap profound problems in ISKCON.

    That is the problem with maya. One under the influence of maya loses the factor of discrimination.


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