Thinking the Spiritual Master to be an Ordinary Man

by Vidura Mahatma das —

         I have recently encountered some rather offensive ideas and statements online about Srila Prabhupada, made by an individual who is supposed to be a disciple of Srila Prabhupada. This individual is named Pratyatosa. He has made some nice arguments in support of Srila Prabhupada’s ritvik order and has done some nice website work as well. But as much as I have tried to ignore his statements in light of some of the more positive ideas of his, it has come to a point where I now feel obligated to publicly address these statements of his, so as to set the record straight as far as respect and faith for Srila Prabhupada go.

To start, Pratyatosa das seems quite comfortable openly disagreeing with Srila Prabhupada. This in itself is not a symptom of a faithful disciple of Srila Prabhupada.

Pratyatosa:I admit it. I do not agree with Srila Prabhupada that the moon is further away than the sun. To say that Prabhupada never makes a mistake is to say that he’s God. This is Mayavadi nonsense.” (Social media – October 2 at 10:15 am)

Despite clear statements by Srila Prabhupada referring to Srimad-Bhagavatam that the moon is further from the sun, Pratyatosa believes he holds a greater or at least equally valid opinion on the matter. Pratyatosa also insists that Srila Prabhupada makes mistakes. Again, not a great sign…

Please see this recent article I put together about the moon hoax, consisting entirely of quotes by Srila Prabhupada.

Srila Prabhupada says:

“Unless you cent percent agree with the spiritual master’s opinion or philosophy, there is no need of accepting a spiritual master. There is no need. (Lecture: Bhagavad-gita 2.8-12 — Los Angeles, November 27, 1968)

Disciple(1): …Śrīla Prabhupāda, what are the qualifications of a perfect leader?

Prabhupāda: No mistake, no illusion, no cheating, no imperfection. Anyone who commits mistake, he’s illusioned, he’s a cheater and imperfect—he cannot lead.

[…]Prabhupāda: If you think your leader is mistaken, then you are mistaken. (laughter)

(Morning Walk — March 16, 1976, Mayapura)

“God is omniscient, so a pure devotee can become omniscient by the grace of God.” (Morning Walk — June 8, 1976, Los Angeles)

Srila Prabhupada didn’t have his facts straight?

Pratyatosa: “Srila Prabhupada, over a period of several years, repeatedly stated the maximum weight of a woman’s brain. Sometimes he would say it was 34 ounces. Sometimes he would say it was 36 ounces. Both figures are not even close. Why didn’t the ISKCON “biggies,” who were always surrounding him, do a little research and inform Srila Prabhupada that those figures are incorrect? Could it be that they were more concerned with keeping their own positions than whether or not Srila Prabhupada got his facts straight?”

Of course, Pratyatosa rests his faith on the words of mundane scientist’s when it comes to this women’s brain ounce subject, rather than Srila Prabhupada.

More recently, Pratyatosa remarked:

Prabhupada knows everything” is what the devotees told me when I first joined ISKCON by moving into the Detroit temple in 1970. But then, in 1971, when I finally got a chance to ask him a question in person, I was, needless to say, a little taken aback when his immediate reply was, “I do not know….” (October 20)

It seems that Pratyatosa is always out trying to spread the word that Srila Prabhupada is not perfect, makes mistakes, didn’t have his facts straight, etc. Pratyatosa goes out of his way to do this.

Srila Prabhupada says:

Although a devotee may apparently express himself to be ignorant, he is full of knowledge in every intricate matter.” (SB 3.7.8 purport)


         At this point in this article it is becoming clear that Pratyatosa’s mentality has degraded into every devotee’s worst nightmare: thinking the spiritual master to be an ordinary man. This is perhaps one of the most frequent warnings Srila Prabhupada and sastra give, in order to protect our devotional life. Unfortunately, what follows leaves little doubt that Pratyatosa does indeed feel this way.

Pratyatosa: “Hindsight is 20-20.” Therefore, I can now see that the first Hare Krishna devotees that I met, in Washington DC in late 1969, didn’t have this sentimental “Prabhupada knows everything” idea. They all had actually lived with him for several months, if not years, at 26 Second Avenue in NYC, so they not only knew his shortcomings, but they also loved him very dearly. In other words, they knew Srila Prabhupada as their ever well-wisher and as the most deeply lovable human being that they had ever met! I was so, so fortunate to have their association.”

This is like Satsvarupa’s Lilamrta all over again! What a nightmare! No wonder Pratyatosa is always quoting people like Urmila and Drutakarma, both still active in the deviant ISKCON to this day. Drutakarma is even a voted-in guru himself!

Srila Prabhupada says:

“…if one considers the spiritual master an ordinary human being, one is doomed. His study of the Vedas and his austerities and penances for enlightenment are all useless, like the bathing of an elephant.” (SB 7.15.26 purport)

“Na martya-buddhyāsūyeta: one should never think the ācārya an ordinary person. Familiarity sometimes breeds contempt, but one should be very careful in one’s dealings with the ācārya.” (SB 6.7.15 purport)

“If the spiritual master is considered an ordinary man, the disciple surely loses his chance to advance further.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 5.12.14, Purport)

“One is forbidden to regard the spiritual master as an ordinary human being (gurusu nara-matir …naraki sail). The spiritual master, or acanja, is always situated in the spiritual status of life.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.4.24, Purport)

“Intermingling the spiritual with the material causes one to look on transcendence as material and the mundane as spiritual. This is all due to a poor fund of knowledge.” (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya 16.72, Purport)

“One should understand the spiritual master to be as good as I am,” said the Blessed Lord. “Nobody should be jealous of the spiritual master or think of him as an ordinary man, because the spiritual master is the sum total of all demigods.” (The Science of Self Realization: 2: Choosing a Spiritual Master : The Absolute Necessity of a Spiritual Master)


The conversation painfully went on as follows.

Niscala Devi Dasi: It’s wonderful to see this balanced and realistic perspective on SP, which is rare these days. Most people seem polarized- either thinking SP was infallible and perfect in every sense, or thinking he was misogynistic, racist, etc. But the people closest to him knew that he was in neither of these categories.

Pratyatosa das: Yes. It seems that it’s usually one extreme or the other: The “Prabhupada knows everything” fanatics on the one hand or the “Everything Prabhupada says is subject to question” fanatics on the other!

I guess there’s someone for everyone…


Krsna made Prabhupada say “outrageous and untrue things”?

Pratyatosa: “My theory is, that since the pure devotee is always under Lord Sri Krishna’s complete control, Prabhupada would sometimes say, with a tape recorder running, outrageous, untrue things just to toy with them in order to prove to future generations what self-motivated rascals they were. This is yet another example of one of Krishna’s clever tricks!”

One can see why I felt compelled to expose Pratyatosa’s blasphemy in an article. Pratyatosa tries to rationalize every offensive statement he makes, as seen in the above quote by him. Pratyatosa is a master of rationalization.

Pratyatosa recommends initiation by gurus other than Srila Prabhupada

Last but not least, Pratyatosa – quite predictably at this point – made the following comment to me:

All that “the moon is further away than the sun” people can do is talk. They can’t do anything practical. For example, they can’t calculate the exact moment of the next lunar eclipse! Don’t you have a guru who can explain these things to you? Who initiated you?

I am left wondering, why does pratyatosa support the ritvik order on one hand, but then basically recommend initiation by one of the voted-in gurus on the other hand? Who knows. Who cares. I just wanted to set the record straight. 


Vidura Mahatma das



Thank you very much Vidura Mahatma das for your truthful account concerning Pratyatosa!

Pratyatosa publicly contradicting Srila Prabhupada on many issues, asserting that Srila Prabhupada is a conditioned soul, subject to 4 defects, that is actually not only very offencive, but quite demoniac.

Pratyatosa: “It’s not that our beloved Spiritual Master, Srila Prabhupada never made any mistakes. For example: …and chemistry was supposed to be his expertise! 🙂 But this is what makes him even more dear to his loving disciples. It shows that he is also a tiny jiva soul, subject to the 4 defects.”

Rejecting Srila Prabhupada’s statement, Pratyatosa certainly prooves himself not to be a faithful disciple, deviating from Srila Prabhupada’s teaching. He banned many devotees from his Forum who openly opposed his nonsense speculations, contradicting Srila Prabhupada:

Please also see:
Why Pratyatosa is criticising Srila Prabhupada?
Srila Prabhupada a conditioned soul?
Pratyatosa Dasa and his Anti-Prabhupada Ideas
The Moon Landing Hoax

From Das Devi Dasi:
You have belittled Srila Prabhupada and reduced the relationship between spiritual master and disciple to sentimental affection – “But this is what makes him even more dear to his loving disciples” and “they would joke about some of things [sic] that Srila Prabhupada said or did which were obviously mistakes, but they loved him very, very much” – when in fact he is our Lord and Savior.
So I was very much alarmed by your post. As disciples, it is our business to faithfully represent what Srila Prabhupada has taught. If you assert that you know something else or something that Srila Prabhupada didn’t, then you’ll forgive us for assigning a different value to your presentation. It cannot be equated with the absolute value of Srila Prabhupada’s words.
So Pratyatosa you think that Srila Prabhupada was an ordinary jiva soul, subject to the 4 defects? Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur says otherwise. The Guru is not an erring mortal whose activities can be understood by the fallible reason of unreclaimed humanity. There is an eternally impassable line of demarcation between the Saviour and the saved. Those who are really saved can alone know this. – Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur, “Thakur Bhaktivinode” (
Pratyatosa Prabhu, if you say that Srila Prabhupada is subject to the 4 defects, that he made mistakes, then how can you accept the Bhaktivedanta purports as authoritative after all? Pretty much everything Srila Prabhupada said or did would be thrown into doubt, if we follow your line of thought. Going down that road, we begin to question the authority of everyone in the disciplic succession… where do you draw the line, Prabhu?

From Praghosa das:
In time Pratyatosa has revealed himself to have a very confused agenda also. Under the banner of “prabhupadanuga” and the need for loyalty to and identification with the term itself – not the actual correct representation of Srila Prabhupada – but the term – he has now dug a hole and jumped in. Now all those who were previously invited by HIM to participate – are screened BY HIM and must meet HIS presumptive notions, ideas and standards for what does or does not constitute “representation’ of Srila Prabhupada and who is or is not to be assigned value as a follower of Srila Prabhupada.
Pratyatosa – no matter how well intended he may have been in the beginning with its initial purpose – has shown himself to be filled with the arrogance of presumption and fully prepared to entertain ONLY comments from an “approved” group of men and women who either agree to be mere silent observers OR individuals who share his presumptions on every and any matter.
Srila Prabhupada had his reasons for identifying the entire project as a bluff and a hoax. We just accept it – even if we cannot fully explain it to anyone’s, everyone’s or your satisfaction. When you scoff at such simple reactions to the words of Srila Prabhupada – by anyone – inside or outside of his shelter – you offer more evidence as to your own conditioning and bias than you do on the condition or motivation of others.

From Bhakta Mark:
So no matter what Srila Prabhupada tells us, we need to suspect it as falsehood until we use our blunt senses in a scientific method to verify what he has said. Great prescription. I’ll pass. Who is speculating? My Spiritual Master came to a conclusion. I accept. His statements of conclusion came many years after the second hand “Prabhupada said” you cling to from 1969. How does that fit into your hierarchy of relevance of instruction?
Pratyatosa Prabhu, with all due respect, you want to me to read but I have. Intelligence and analytical discrimination are material, made from the mahat-tattva. The use of such is subject to defect. If there is a subject where Srila Prabhupada has given a CONCLUSION, then for you to suggest we need to double check him using our blunt material senses is offensive.
Perhaps you are not satisfied with Srila Prabhupada as a spiritual master? I know there are some things he wants me to do that I am not ready to, so I am satisfied with where I am. This is safer than to decide that he must be in error because I can’t agree with his position. This way he can remain my spiritual master. Rejection is rejection. You are in great jeopardy here, please reconsider. If one is going to take such a stance, and want others to consider one a disciple, one should AT LEAST keep one’s opposition to the Spiritual Master to one’s self and not broadcast it!


Suggested Article: Faith In Srila Prabhupada

15 thoughts on “Thinking the Spiritual Master to be an Ordinary Man

  1. Shubham Kumar Mikku

    Hare Krishna
    Jai Srila Prabhupada prabhu ji!
    Thanks for your post. i also was doubting whether Pratyatosa Dasa ji was misleading others or just ignorant.
    here’s Srila Prabhupada’s Opinion:
    Every one of us acquiring knowledge. That is called experience, one after another. So Kåñëa says that “If you understand this science,” sa-vijïänam, “then your knowledge will be complete. You have nothing to hanker after any further knowledge. Knowledge is complete.” That is also Vedic injunction. Kasmin tu bhagavo vijïäte sarvam idaà vijïätaà bhavati. Kasmin vijïäte, if you can understand the supreme knowledge, the Supreme, then sarvam idaà vijïätaà bhavati, everything becomes known to you.(710804BG.LON)
    Therefore there are two kinds of processes to receive knowledge. The Vedic process says, avaroha-panthä, descending process. And the material process is äroha-panthä, ascending process, research. This is äroha-panthä, find out whether this, what is this, what is this, neti, neti, neti, neti, analysis, dissection, and so many. This is called äroha-panthä. Trying to ascend by dint of one’s material knowledge. Then spiritual knowledge, you cannot have perfect knowledge… Why spiritual knowledge? Even material knowledge. Now there are so many attempts to go to the moon planet. They are trying to go there by so many ascending processes, sputnik, airplanes, and so many things. Still, we do not know what is this planet.
    But you read Bhagavad-gétä or Çrémad-Bhägavatam, you understand immediately what is this moon planet. It is said in the Bhagavad-gétä nakñaträëäm ahaà çaçé. Çaçé means this moon planet. You immediately understand that this moon planet is one of the stars. Just like the constitutional position of other stars, you understand the moon is like that. And they are searching after whether in the moon planet there is life or not, there is living condition or not. But you open Çrémad-Bhägavatam, you’ll find the description of the moon planet, how they are living, what is the constitution of the living creatures there. The soma-rasa, you have heard this word. The soma-rasa is beverage in the moon planet. So everything is there. And who can go there, and how one can go there. So this is perfect knowledge, to hear from the authorities. Otherwise…
    So even for material things we have to hear from authority. Just like this moon planet or sun planet or any planet, you can understand. The Brahmaloka also. Brahmaloka, that is also described in the Bhagavad… Brahmaloka means the topmost planet within this universe. You’ll find in this Bhagavad-gétä that sahasra-yuga-paryantam ahar yad brahmaëo viduù [Bg. 8.17]. Brahmaëo viduù. Äbrahma-bhuvanäl lokäù punar ävartino ‘rjuna [Bg. 8.16]. Yad gatvä na nivartante tad dhäma paramaà mama [Bg. 15.6]. These things are there. You can understand simply by hearing. The whole process is hearing. You don’t require any education, you don’t require any scientific qualification, this or that. Simply if you kindly come here and hear this Bhagavad-gétä and Çrémad-Bhägavatam, you become completely learned and completely self-realized. Simply. Sthäne sthitäù. Caitanya Mahäprabhu recommended this process.(680610BG.MON)
    upary adhaç ca ye lokä
    bhümer miträtmajäsate
    teñäà saàsthäà pramäëaà ca
    bhür-lokasya ca varëaya
    upari—on the head; adhaù—underneath; ca—also; ye—which; lokäù—planets; bhümeù—of the earth; mitra-ätmaja—O son of Miträ (Maitreya Muni); äsate—do exist; teñäm—their; saàsthäm—situation; pramäëam ca—also their measurement; bhüù-lokasya—of the earthly planets; ca—also; varëaya—please describe.
    O son of Miträ, kindly describe how the planets are situated above the earth as well as underneath it, and also please mention their measurement as well as that of the earthly planets.
    Yasmin vijïäte sarvam evaà vijïätaà bhavati (Muëòaka Upaniñad 1.3). This Vedic hymn declares emphatically that the devotee of the Lord knows everything material and spiritual in relationship with the Lord. Devotees are not simply emotional, as is ill conceived by certain less intelligent men. Their direction is practical. They know everything that is and all the details of the Lord’s domination over the different creations.
    (Srimad Bhagavatam 3.7.26)

    Please bless me to accept Srila Prabhupada as ultimate authority on knowledge.

    Insignificant Soul
    Shubham(From India)

    Liked by 1 person


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