Sunday, February 24, 2013

Conditioned soul gurus? An Indefensible Position

Conditioned Souls as Diksha Gurus?
An Indefensible Position


There are instructions by Srila Prabhupada giving a mandate to act as guru, as HH Bhakti Vikasa Swami quoted in his article, "Qualification for Being Acarya/Diksa-guru". There are also instructions given by Srila Prabhupada in which he restricts the qualification for initiating disciples. Yet again, we shall quote some of them.

"When one has attained the topmost position of maha-bhagavata, he is to be accepted as a guru and worshiped exactly like Hari, the Personality of Godhead. Only such a person is eligible to occupy the post of a guru." (Sri Caitanya-caritamtra, Madhya-lila, 24.330, purport)

"… You are correct when you say that when the Spiritual Master speaks it should be taken that Krishna is speaking. That is a fact. A SPIRITUAL MASTER MUST BE LIBERATED…"
(Srila Prabhupada letter to Mukunda, June 10, 1969)

"One should not become a Spiritual Master unless he has attained the platform of uttama-adhikari."
(Nectar of Instruction, Text 5, purport)

"Therefore, the conclusion is that a spiritual master who is one hundred percent Krsna conscious is the bona fide spiritual master, for he can solve the problems of life."
(Bhagavad-gita 2:8)

"The pure devotee is always free from the clutches of Maya and her influence."
(Srimad Bhagavatam 5.3.14)

"There is no possibility that a first class devotee will fall down."
(Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya, 22.71)

"Unless one is a resident of Krishna Loka, one cannot be a Spiritual Master. That is the first proposition. A layman cannot be a Spiritual Master, and if he becomes so then he will simply create disturbance [...] So to summarize the whole thing, it is to be understood that a bona fide Spiritual Master is a resident of Krishna Loka." (Srila Prabhupada Letter, June 10, 1969)

Taking into account the specific and direct orders of Srila Prabhupada that only a liberated maha-bhagavata is qualified to initiate disciples, and taking into account the destructive results of neglecting such strict parameters, it is unadvisable to keep defending the position that conditioned souls can be diksha gurus.

There are many quotes by Srila Prabhupada instructing us that initiation can only be given by liberated souls who are free from the defects of human nature. How can HH Bhakti Vikasa Maharaja continue to defend the position that conditioned souls can be diksha gurus?

That conditioned souls can act as guru is not in dispute. They can act as vartma-pradarshaka guru by introducing someone to the path of Krishna consciousness. They can act as a siksha guru by instructing devotees according to their level of spiritual advancement, or they can just be teachers, instructing people about the glories of Krishna from whatever position they are in.

However, the position of diksha guru is reserved for someone who is fully liberated from the clutches of the material nature. A maha-bhagavata devotee, an uttama-adikari who, for the purpose of preaching, comes down to the 2nd class platform in order to distinguish devotees from non-devotees. Only such a person is glorified in all the Sastras as the sad-guru to whom we owe our allegiance and devotion and who we must accept and serve as our link to Sri Krishna.

We have seen with horror the nature of conditioned souls who want to play the role of guru, thereby destroying the spiritual life of uncountable souls. (And their own).

A person who has insufficient knowledge and spiritual realization must bring aspiring devotees to the lotus feet of the maha-bhagavata. One cannot act on his own initiative and become a diksha guru without having attained the platform of uttama-adhikari. Even if a person has attained such an exalted position, he must be authorized. There is no blanket instruction that all Srila Prabhupada's disciples must become diksha gurus.

In my questions to HH Bhakti Vikasa Maharaja I quote HH Tamal Krishna Maharaja:

Room Conversation , April 22, 1977:
Prabhupada: People complained against [a GBC for trying to appear as a guru]. ...You become guru, but you must be QUALIFIED FIRST of all. THEN you become. ...What is the use of producing some RASCAL GURU?

Tamala Krishna: Well, I have studied myself and all of your disciples, and it's clear fact that we are ALL CONDITIONED SOULS, so we CANNOT BE gurus. MAYBE someday it may be possible....

Prabhupada: Hm. [agrees]

Tamala Krishna: ...but not now.

Prabhupada: Yes. I shall produce some gurus. I shall say who is guru, 'Now you become acharya. You become authorized.' I retire completely. But the training must be COMPLETE.

Tamala Krishna: The process of purification must be there. ...No rubber stamp.

Prabhupada: You can cheat, but it will not be effective. Just see our Gaudiya Matha. Everyone wanted to be guru. A small temple and "guru." What kind of guru?

I would like to remind Maharaja that this conversation took place on the 22nd of April, 1977. Srila Prabhupada states that He will produce some gurus but the training must be completed. He had not asked any of his disciples to initiate by that time nor did he ask any of them to initiate before his physical departure. How they have become initiating gurus immediately after his departure and how this is still going on 36 years later remains a mystery that needs to be solved. What we have witnessed is what Tamal Krishna Maharaja observed: a rubber-stamping process by the Governing Body Commission in which they authorize devotees to act as initiating spiritual master without taking the responsibility to certify that they are qualified to act as such.


A madhyam-adikary can act as guru but cannot act as a diksha guru, since the prospective disciple cannot advance under his insufficient guidance. Only the liberated maha-bhagavata uttama-adikari can initiate disciples and perform the function of a diksha guru by dispensing divya jnana and removing the sinful reactions from the heart of the disciple. Begging for the mercy of Srila Prabhupada and the blessings of the Vaisnavas.

Always remaining your humble servant,
Sattvic dasa

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