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.
Krishna-kirti Dasa (BVKS)
Damodara Dasa (BVKS)
- 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
- 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
- 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, 126.96.36.199).
- 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.
- 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
- 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.”
- 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.
- 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.
 “The siddha-pranali process is followed by a class of men … who have manufactured their own way of devotional service.”
 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.
“Try to understand. Don’t go very speedily. A GURU CAN BECOME GURU WHEN HE’S ORDERED BY HIS GURU. That’s all. Otherwise nobody can become guru. (Srila Prabhupada Lecture on Bhagavad-gita 7.2, Nairobi, October 28, 1975) ……Do not go very speedily means nistha level minimum which means no anartas at all.Or corresponding level from point of BG view is 18.54. brahma buta level minimum which means na socati na kanksati and samah sarvesu bhutesu and for shure mad bhaktim labhate param.If that is not attained and on top of that, if order from His Guru to serve as Spiritual Master is not received there is no ? of being bonafide Guru.Wear uniform and become- soldier does not fly in this case!ys
From what I see in this Executive Summary, Madan Mohan’s book is completely, thoroughly and entirely REFUTED without a doubt. I would like to see how he responds to this now.