In this age where pseudo spiritual masters trying to cheat you are all too abundant, coming in contact with the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement awards one the golden opportunity to meet a bona fide spiritual master, perfect your life by following his instructions and go back home, back to Godhead. Well, at least that’s how it’s supposed to be. Unfortunately, this sanctuary that Srila Prabhupada established, giving shelter to and welcoming anyone and everyone, has been infiltrated by ambition and the desire for profit, adoration and distinction.
Coming in contact with the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is supposed to be a chance to meet a bona fide spiritual master – the bona fide spiritual master (not a roll of dice, hoping your guru doesn’t bloop).
“If the living entity by chance or fortune comes in contact with the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement and wishes to associate with that movement, Kṛṣṇa, who is situated in everyone’s heart, gives him the chance to meet a bona fide spiritual master. This is called guru-kṛṣṇa-prasāda.” (CC Madhya 19.151)
“The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is started for this purpose, so that hundreds of ISKCON centers may give people a chance to hear and chant, to accept the spiritual master and to disassociate themselves from persons who are materially interested, for in this way one can make solid advancement in going back home, back to Godhead.” (SB 4.22.23 Purport)
“Unless there is connection with a bona fide spiritual master, coming in the line of disciplic succession, there is no possibility of making progress in spiritual life. So I have established ISKCON centers for the purpose of catching up the Lotus Feet of Krishna by intimate connection with the spiritual master. These are my authorized centers for that purpose.” (Letter — Los Angeles 23 May, 1972)
Defining a bona fide spiritual master
“A bona fide spiritual master is in the disciplic succession from time eternal, and he does not deviate at all from the instructions of the Supreme Lord…” (Bg 4.42 Purport)
“The guru must be situated on the topmost platform of devotional service. There are three classes of devotees, and the guru must be accepted from the topmost class.” (Cc Madhya-lila 24.330 Purport)
“If a man who does not factually possess the attributes of a great personality engages his followers in praising him with the expectation that such attributes will develop in the future, that sort of praise is actually an insult.” (SB 4.15.23 Purport)
“A mundane person in the dress of a Vaisnava should not be respected but rejected. […] There are many jealous people in the dress of Vaisnavas in this Krsna consciousness movement, and they should be completely neglected.” (Cc Madhya-lila 1.218 Purport)
Becoming a disciple is a voluntary process on the part of the disciple. Following the instructions is the personal, reciprocal relationship between us and Srila Prabhupada.
“A disciple means who voluntarily agrees to be disciplined by the spiritual master. When one becomes disciple, he cannot disobey the order of the spiritual master. […] “I am now surrendered to You, and I agree voluntarily to accept Your ruling.” This is the relationship between the spiritual master and the disciple.” (Lecture on Bhagavad-gita 2.11 — Mexico, February 11, 1975)
Satsvarupa: Srila Prabhupada, there’s also a question of reciprocation. You have so many disciples, thousands, and one devotee was asking me yesterday, “How does… I want to please Srila Prabhupada. How does he know my progress and my service because I’m…, when I’m so far away from him and if I don’t write him?”
Prabhupada: So his representatives are there, the president, the GBC. They will see.
Madhavananda: The representatives.
Jayadvaita: The representative may be there, but what is my personal relationship?
Prabhupada: Hm? To obey your spiritual master. Whatever he has said, you follow strictly. Follow the regulative principles. Chant sixteen rounds. That’s all.
(Morning Walk — April 8, 1975, Mayapur)
The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement and Srila Prabhupada’s success are open to everyone.
Guest: What do you see as the future of your movement and are you planning to…choose a successor?
Prabhupāda: My success is always there. Yes. Just like the sun is there always. It may come before your vision or not. The sun is there. But if you are fortunate, you come before the sun. Otherwise you remain in darkness. Sun is open to everyone. Our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement—Kṛṣṇa is open to everyone. But if you are fortunate, you come to the light. If you are unfortunate, do not. That is your choice. Kṛṣṇa says, sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja [Bg. 18.66]. You do it. Now it is your choice. You surrender to Kṛṣṇa or don’t surrender. That is your business. We are canvassing everyone, “Take to Kṛṣṇa consciousness and you’ll be happy.” Now it is their business to take it or not to take it. But he can come. (Room Conversation—February 12, 1975, Mexico)
Every member of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is supposed to be following Srila Prabhupada’s discipline.
“In this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement there are four basic regulative principles, forbidding illicit sex, meat-eating, gambling and intoxication. […] In addition to these four prohibitions (yama), there are positive regulative principles (niyama), such as the daily chanting of sixteen rounds on japa-mālā beads. These regulative activities must be faithfully performed with enthusiasm.” (Nectar of Instruction 3 : Purport)
Following Srila Prabhupada’s discipline makes one a disciple of Srila Prabhupada
“A disciple means one who is always following the orders of the spiritual master. So I instruct my disciples to refrain from four prohibitions, namely no eating of meat, fish or eggs, no illicit sex life, no taking of intoxication, including tea, coffee, cigarettes, etc., and no gambling. Besides that my students must chant sixteen rounds of japa-mala of Hare Krsna mantra daily. So if you are able to follow these principles without fail, then you are as good as my disciple. And after you have practiced these things for a few months’ time, then we can see to your formal initiation.” (Letter — London 11 August, 1972)
In Other Words…
“I am the Spiritual Master of this institution, and all the members of the Society, they’re supposed to be my disciples. They follow the rules and regulations which I ask them to follow, and they are initiated by me spiritually” (Srila Prabhupada Radio Interview, 12 March 1968, San Francisco)
Where the GBC is wrong –
The GBC’s discombobulated version of diksa guru
“Those who accept the service of diksha or siksha guru within ISKCON are mandated to be strict followers of the instructions of Srila Prabhupada, and, as long as they follow, they are acting on the liberated platform. Thus they may serve, as Srila Prabhupada ordered, as bona fide representatives of the Lord and the Guru Parampara and be a via medium of Their mercy. Yet it should be clearly understood that if such diksha or siksha gurus deviate from strictly following, they may fall down from their position.” (preeminent position — Annual General Meeting, Mayapur, West Bengal – March 9, 2013)
The Proper Distinguishment
TRANSLATION: “Such pure devotees are of two types: personal associates [pāriṣats] and neophyte devotees [sādhakas].”
PURPORT: Perfect servitors of the Lord are considered His personal associates, whereas devotees endeavoring to attain perfection are called neophytes.
“…the accidental falldown of a devotee from the path of a saintly character does not make him abominable. On the other hand, one should not misunderstand that a devotee in transcendental devotional service can act in all kinds of abominable ways; this verse only refers to an accident due to the strong power of material connections. Devotional service is more or less a declaration of war against the illusory energy. As long as one is not strong enough to fight the illusory energy, there may be accidental falldowns. But when one is strong enough, he is no longer subjected to such falldowns…” (Bhagavad-gita As It Is (1972) 9.30)
“Such pure devotees are very rare. But by the Grace of Krishna, practically all the devotees and disciples who have kindly joined me, they are, their symptoms are pure devotees. Even if they have got some ulterior desire, that will be removed very soon, because they have taken to the pure process of Krishna Consciousness.” (Letter to: Janaki — Seattle 13 October, 1968)
“All of my disciples are pure devotees. Anyone sincerely serving the spiritual master is a pure devotee…” (Letter to: Tusta Krsna — Ahmedabad 14 December, 1972)
The GBC conveniently merge both types of pure devotees into one in an attempt to rationalize the fact that their voted-in gurus can fall down and certainly have fallen down. In reality, the diksa guru actually must be situated at the highest platform where there is no chance that he will ever deviate or fall down.