Below is the executive summary of our paper, which is a short, initial response to Sriman Madana Mohana Prabhu’s paper “Guru: The Principle, Not the Body” (2020), which is a response to our book Vaisnava-diksa according to Narada-Pancaratra (2019).

Click here for our full paper.

Your servants,

Krishna-kirti Dasa (BVKS)
Damodara Dasa (BVKS)

Executive Summary

  1. FDGs in Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s (BVT’s) diksa line, siddha-pranali and Caste Gosvamis
  • BVT made a chart of his own diksa-line coming through Bipin Bihari Gosvami and mentions it is siddha-pranali
  • In NoD 16, SP rejects siddha-pranali as a concoction[1]
    • However, even if siddha-pranali is bona fide, it is not meant for ISKCON because:
    • It is not established and propagated by BVT, SBSST, and SP
    • Siddha-pranali is for raganuga sadhakas while candidates for initiation in ISKCON are on the vaidhi bhakti platform; giving them siddha-pranali will create havoc
    • Thus, ISKCON’s initiation process is pancaratriki not siddha-pranali
    • ISKCON’s initiation process (as established by BVT, SBSST, & SP) is sufficient to take one from sraddha level to prema level; artificial svarupa-siddhi and meditation not needed; Holy Name form etc. automatically reveals when time comes
    • FDGs in BVT’s diksa-line may be justified because a guru in siddha-pranali (if bona fide) needs to be on prema platform; he has to realize siddha-svarupa even of his disciple to tell him about it.
  • Articles in Gaudiya suggest that BVT rejected his diksa-line. For instance Gaudiya 4.1, 15 Aug 1925, p.27[2]
  1. SB 4.12.32, The Suniti verse and Purport
  • MM contends that SPs statement as to why Suniti not become a diksa-guru is ambiguous. Thus it is descriptive, not prescriptive, (i.e. it doesn’t say “no women can initiate.”)
  • The primary meaning of SP’s statement for Suniti not being diksa-guru is: “being a woman” and “specifically his mother.” There is no doubt that Sunti’s being a woman is not ambiguous.
  • “Sastric injunctions” are the source of reasons SP mentions. Sastras enjoin two vidhis: Vaidika & Pancaratrika
    • According to Vaidika vidhi women cannot become diksa-guru (SB 1.4.25)
    • According to Pancaratrika-vidhi women cannot become diksa-guru (BS 1.42-43)
    • Thus, according to any vidhi, women could not become diksa-guru
    • Thus, Suniti could not become Dhruva Maharaja’s diksa-guru.
  • Thus, you don’t need to speculate that there are any other reasons.
  • Still if you say that the description of Suniti’s not becoming diksa-guru is not prescription that “no women can initiate,” this is an argument of the karma-mimamsakas, whose argument was defeated by Baladeva Vidyabhusana (Govinda Bhasya, 1.1.1.3).
    • Baladeva’s Argument: if a poor man is told of a hidden treasure in his house and its location, he is greatly benefited by that description alone. The description itself is motivation for action.
  1. Bhāradvāja-saṁhitā (BS) 1.42 prohibits diksa-gurus who are born śūdra, so ISKCON’s gurus are not bona fide
  • MM’s objection to BS as an authority is that, based on a literal reading, he says BS judges varna by birth.
  • However, SP says (SB 4.31.10, purport) that BS judges varna by quality, not birth.
  • Scriptures like BS and Manu-smriti appear to judge a person’s varna by birth, but it is actually by quality.
    • SBSST in his famous “Brahmana O Vaisnava”, Prakritijana Kanda, explains how this is so:
    • When shastras mention varna by birth, it is taken for granted that the samskaras are in place.
    • When the samskaras are in place, starting with garbhādhāna samskara, birth reflects actual quality
    • But when the samskaras are not in place, like in Kali-yuga, then birth does not reflect actual quality.
    • Whether samskaras are in place or not, quality alone is always the criterion for judging varna.
  • MM’s idea seems to be that any scripture that mentions varna based on birth is to be rejected
  • But by MM’s procedure, SB, BG and many other scriptures are also rejected.
    • For instance, SB 7.11.13 mentions varna by birth (janma-karma-avadatanam…)
  • Thus, conclusion is that BS prohibition is applicable on those who have quality of sudras and lower, not ISKCON gurus who may have born in less-than-sudra families but who have qualities of brahmana
  1. MM’s word Jugglery on “Not So Many”
  • MM spends 25 pages giving creative explanations for the phrases “not so many”, “very special case” and “very rare.”
  1. Are we accusing SP of being Inconsistent?
  • MM accuses that we “have accused Srila Prabhupada of inconsistency just as Vallabhacharya accused Sridhara Svami of inconsistency.”
  • Contrary to what MM claims, we say in our book that “Bhāradvāja-saṁhitā in fact enhances the position of Śrīla Prabhupāda as a staunch representative of the śāstras.”
  • Vallabhacharya’s criticism of Sridhara Svami was to show how he was not in line with shastra.
  • Our harmonization shows how all of Srila Prabhupada’s differing statements on FDG are actually consistent and strictly in accordance with shastra.
  1. Are we calling ourselves Acharyas?
  • MM says, “you in effect attempt to establish yourself as an ācārya in the matter of initiations — on par with Śrīla Prabhupāda, Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura and Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura.”
  • MM’s argument applies to any book in ISKCON that explains sastra:
    • No one in ISKCON is on the level of SP, SBSST and BVT.
    • This means all books that explain shastra published by ISKCON devotees are not bona fide.
    • All SB purports that were written after SP’s departure are not bona fide.
  • Truth is that one should not write books and explanations of sastras by one’s own accord without the order and permission of one’s gurus, and without strictly following their instructions
  • We have researched and written this book on the order of senior leader disciples of SP, like HH Bhakti Vikasa Swami, HG Basughosa Prabhu, etc. and by their blessings.
  • Whatever conclusion the GBC reaches on this matter, it is SP’s instruction that it must be corroborated not only with his words but also with sadhu and shastra.
  • SAC failed to do so in its 2005 and 2013 papers and resorted to speculation.

[1] “The siddha-pranali process is followed by a class of men … who have manufactured their own way of devotional service.”

[2] Following the above scriptural injunction … that one should give up a guru who is inimical to Vaiṣṇavas… Śrīmad Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura became indifferent to bad association (asat-saṅga) with a sense gratifier and took shelter of Śrī Jagannātha Dāsa Bābājī, a great personality, the leader among paramahaṁsas.

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