Thursday, April 24, 2014

How My Guru Became A Guru

From ***** Many times I think why do I not spend a lot of times glorifying my gurudeva like many other grand disciples of Srila Prabhupada do. Yesterday I was going through old magazines and I found a copy of my guru's address to his disciples at his 1999 vyasa puja and I would like to share a few words from it that will explain why I don't and he would I think prefer that I don't glorify him as a "pure devotee"

He speaks quite a bit about "guru reform" and the change it made to ISKCON in 1986 and that as a leader, the personal change it made to his role in ISKCON. From now on this will exact quotes from his address to us his disciples, He says, "At any rate our policy was that the GBC should make the process of authorizing people to initiate much more liberal. So, we had an emergency meeting of the GBC and also an istha ghosti of Prabhupada disciples at New Vrndavan. During this emergency meeting, the GBC agreed to our new proposal, and they said that any Prabhupada disciple who got the approval of three GBC members could become an initiating guru. That, in effect, eliminated the "property requirement." (zonal guru). Before this, I think, you had to have a two thirds vote of the whole GBC body -- so very few people were becoming initiating gurus.

After the GBC passed this resolution, there was a meeting of our Prabhupada's disciples' group and the North Amerian Temple Presidents and they said, "They've done it. They've opened it up. Now some people have to immediately take advantage of this and become initiating guru." Then everybody looked at me, as if to say "you have to do it" because I was the leader.

I hadn't really thought about this very much. I said, "Well, you know I have to think about this" The -- this is one of those things where you just "open a book" -- I opened to a purport in Bhagavatam, Fourth Canto, in which Prabhupada said, in essence that the qualification for being a guru is that one has to be a strict follower:

"This Krishna consciousness movement directly receves instructions from the Supreme Personality of Godhead via persons who are strictly following His instructions. Although a follower may not be a liberated person, if he follows the Supreme, liberated Personality of Godheard, his actions are naturally liberated from the contamination of the material nature. Lord Caitanya therefore says: "By My order you may become a spirtual master." (Bhag. 4.18.5 purport)

I realized, first of all, that I did not have to go around thinking of myself as some big, maha-bhagavat or something like that, but I had to be a strict follower. The other thing was, as long as I could understand that guru means a teacher, I was comfortable with that. I knew didn't have what it takes to do something like write Prabhupada's books, but I could teach them.I'd already ben doing that, and I knew I could teach Prabhupada's books.

So I said, ok.

This is how my guru became a guru. 


  1. This is an vyasa puja address by Ravindra Svarupa. I know this because I was actually there when he spoke this. Pretty amazing to see this Ravindra drama come full circle: he got kicked out of the Philadelphia Temple, was forced to resign from the GBC and has subsequently lost 99% of his disciples and ALL respect from the Vaishnava community. But still the GBC won't directly condemn him and has actually officially "thanked" him. This is a total insult to the the Philadelphia Temple community still recovering form this petty tyrants reign, what to speak of any followers of his he cheated. He had like 150-200 disciples I believe.

    Hearing this self congratulating birthday sermon again shows how Ravindra is so proud of his "guru reform" and his role in allowing grossly unqualified people to exploit the position of guru, including himself. He really ran ISKCON Philadelphia to the ground (physically, spiritually, financially) and hurt a substantial amount of people. I am glad this lecture of his is documented as it shows how false intellectualism can damage the mission of the sampradaya. I am so thankful and glad that Ravindra Svarupa has finally been knocked down from his false pedestal of academic prestige. Maybe if he wasn't so personally mean and nasty to so many devotees throughout the years I would feel more sympathy. Still to this day, he has NEVER publicly apologized for anything. This shows clearly what type of person he really is...

    1. Ravindra was rude crude and obnoxious. He used to give out heavy duty porn to the new devotees who came to the Philadelphia temple so they could masterbate and stay longer at the temple instead of leaving. Of course how long would that make someone happy instead of teaching them about real celibacy? How could he teach it if he didn't know how to do it himself? What was he really doing in his part of the temple with his wife and girlfriend? And Philadelphia wasn't the only place he hurt. He has other places he was in charge of too before they were taken away. His big big contributions don't amount to a hill of beans. GBC Emeritus. What a shame. :(

  2. Satsvarupa das goswami!


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