Guru in ISKCON

Published on April 17th, 2003 | by


Conversations With Prabhupada in 2002!

Amoghalila Prabhu had some converstaions with Srila Prabhupada last year. Prabhupada suggested ISKCON Temple Presidents should take matters into their own hands in regards to the guru issue as the GBC is now no longer able to hear him. He also says the ritviks are 90% right. These are amazing conversations.

October 5, 2002:

namah om visnu-padaya krsna-presthaya bhutale
srimate bhaktivedanta-swamin iti namine
namaste sarasvati-deve gaura-vani-pracarine

Alright, Amoghalila, I am telling you clearly now, it is time the temple presidents and senior devotees take this in their own hands again. They did in 1986. Now again they must do. The GBC cannot implement my clear desires in this regard. They will need some assistance from who is less committed to a position that is untenable.

But, Srila Prabhupada, how can we go against the even clearer decision of the GBC?

Do not worry, I will explain everything. First, you must explain I have made this very much clear to you. In every way, external and internal. I am most disturbed my so-called representative, the GBC, cannot understand. I am telling you again and again, Amoghalila, for years, the ritviks are 90% right. Now you must explain to all the temple presidents and other devotees, even the GBC, what this means and what they must do.

But they won’t listen to me.

In 1979 they did not listen to you. But in ten years they implemented the instructions I gave you–or that I gave them through you. So now you must take it is your solemn duty to explain clearly, and you publicize widely, my desires in this regard, even as you did in 1979. I assure you these instructions of mine will also be implemented. So you do not worry, just write as I am telling you.

Yes, Srila Prabhupada.

First, everyone must understand the temple presidents decide who is to be initiated, not the so-called gurus. Even in my presence, this was the system. So why should that be changed? So any devotee who wants initiation, approach the temple president in that area and explain I want this.

I see.

Yes, this is the first point everyone must understand. Is there any difficulty?

Well, they will say that the guru should decide, not the temple president.

No, I am telling you, the temple president should decide. Then, once the temple president recommends him, the person who the devotee wants as guru may accept or reject. That the so-called guru can do. As for me, I always accept whatever the temple president will recommend. So, why the so-called gurus cannot do that?

Yes, this makes good sense, Srila Prabhupada.

Alright, that is clear. Then we must understand no guru can canvass for disciples. Any so-called guru who does is immediately recognized, not guru. The GBC must be very strict.

I see. Then what should be done with such persons who may canvass for disciples?

They are not guru. That is all. It should be clear. Such persons can never be considered guru.

You mean they should not be allowed to initiate?

Yes, exactly correct, Amoghalila. The GBC has this authority. So I repeat the GBC must be very strict about this.

I see. This is clear. The GBC has the authority, or rather the responsibility, to see that no so-called guru who canvasses disciples is allowed to initiate.

Yes. I am explaining to you who is guru so the GBC can understand who can initiate. Of course, anyone who is not following the four regulative principles cannot be guru.

Yes, of course, the guru must at least be on that platform.

So, to prevent the faith of disciples being disturbed by falldown of so-called gurus, the honest gurus would decline to initiate until they are certain “I cannot fall down.”

But the argument all along has been, Srila Prabhupada, that in that case perhaps no one, if they are honest, would initiate. How would the disciplic succession go on?

I remember Tamal Krishna Maharaja asked you once, in 1977, about this. He said that actually none of your disciples were qualified to be guru.

Yes, guru is not a cheap thing. Actually, guru means as good as God. Only when one is perfect in Krsna consciousness, then he can be guru.

But you also said a less than fully Krsna conscious person can be guru.

Can be guru, but should not. Because the disciples cannot make so much good advancement in Krsna consciousness. The guru must be perfect, that is, must be able to give perfect guidance. Otherwise, how the disciple can make proper advancement?

Yes, this makes sense, Srila Prabhupada. But still, the question is, if there is no one who is able to give such perfect guidance, then how is the disciplic succession to go on?

That is for the disciple. It is not for the guru to proclaim, “I am giving perfect guidance.” Rather, the disciple must have faith, “I want to follow the guidance of this person. I will accept this guru’s order as my life and soul.” If the disciple feels this faith in the heart, then let him approach the temple president and say, “I accept the order of such-and-such person as my life and soul. Please ask I may be initiated by my eternal guru.” And only after the temple president recommends, then the guru may consider.

And if the candidate approaches the guru directly?

Let the guru refer to the temple president for approval.

And if the devotee is not living in a temple?

Whatever devotee is familiar with the character and spiritual life of the aspirant. But the best person is temple president. If someone else is not temple president but is training devotees who are not in the temple, that person can also be considered like temple president. But it is best to have some period of careful examination living in the temple for some time. Then temple president has the solemn duty to see the character of this devotee. It is not a cheap thing, initiation.

Alright, this all seems clear enough, Srila Prabhupada.

So, next we see what is in the prospective disciple’s heart. This devotee must be taught “Initiation means accepting the guru as good as God.” That means accepting order of guru as order of God. It must be followed. There is no question of rejecting order of Guru. No compromise on this for the sake of quick initiations and accumulating disciples. This must be very clear.

Yes, this you have made so clear before, Srila Prabhupada.

But they are not doing it.

Yes, they are not doing it.

That is why I am telling you. The disciple must understand and accept, “Whatever the Guru tells, I must do. I must do. I cannot reject. I cannot even hesitate.” I must have such faith in my Guru I will be 100% certain whatever my Guru tells me to do, it must be right. It must be Krsna wants that I do it. I will happily do it, even it costs my life. Just like you are going to Pakistan on my order. Can any American go to Pakistan now? But because I ordered you go to Pakistan, and you know the order of Guru is perfect, it is the order of Krsna, therefore you are going.


So, now this point must be very, very clear. No devotee may take initiation until he accepts initiation means take order of Guru as order of God. It is my life and soul. I cannot refuse.

Yes. But what if there is a sincere devotee, a surrendered soul, who has full faith in you, Srila Prabhupada, perhaps by reading your books, and who truly wants to serve Krsna with his or her life and soul, but does not have faith in any ISKCON guru?

Thank you, Amoghalila. Yes, this is the point. Therefore I am telling you, they need not be told any more, “You must keep looking.” And certainly they must not be told, “Okay, you can take initiation because we need pujari or whatever, even you have not yet got full faith, your full faith will develop after you get initiation.” No. Rather, they must know that they can take initiation from me. I will give initiation to such surrendered soul.

Yes, you have told me this clearly before, Srila Prabhupada, several years ago.

So why they are still not allowing, my so-called representative?

They say it is concoction. It has not been done before.

I have explained this before. So, Amoghalila, you just tell them that also, and now you must go do your Deity worship. And remember my order, your life and soul, I want that you distribute at least 2000 books every month. Alright?

Yes, Srila Prabhupada.

Thank you very much. Now you go, and do not neglect to share this conversation, and our last one, with all the devotees who will listen. And I will tell you more, later.

September 22, 2002:

namah om visnu-padaya krsna-presthaya bhutale
srimate bhaktivedanta-swamin iti namine
namaste sarasvati-deve gaura-vani-pracarine

Alright, Amoghalila, you just write what I am saying. You ask, “Can Srila Prabhupada still initiate disciples?” Yes, why I cannot initiate? You think I am dead? No, you must know I am alive on my vyasasana. Just as when I was sitting on it in flesh. My murti is non-different from my flesh body. My murti is me, in as much as my body is me. You talk to me on the vyasasana, and I hear you. And, you become a little purified, you will also hear me reply you. So if you accept my murti is non-different from me, why you say I cannot initiate?

But, Srila Prabhupada, they will say there is no precedent for this.

No, there is precedent. How my Guru Maharaja took sannyasa? You all know this he took sannyasa from his Guru in his picture. So why I cannot give initiation from my vyasasana?

They will say Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada was a 100% pure devotee, so he could take initiation from his Guru’s picture, but we cannot.

Yes, you are not 100% pure devotee, but what you think of your Spiritual Master? Is he so weak he can only speak to 100% pure devotee? I am telling you clearly, Amoghalila, even you are not 100% pure devotee I can speak to you, and I can tell you what I want.

Am I not speaking to you? And I am telling you I want to give initiation to those who want to be my disciple and are approved by temple president. So why the GBC is making endeavor to stop me?

They don’t want to make any concoction, Srila Prabhupada. They want to follow your example, and you never had your Guru Maharaja give initiations after he left the planet.

My Guru Maharaja may not have done, He may not have seen the need. But Lord Caitanya after He left the planet He gave initiation to Tukaram, so why you don’t want to follow that example?

So what should we do, Srila Prabhupada?

I have told you already, you just let anyone qualified, if he wants to be my disciple, let him be my disciple. If temple president recommends I will accept him. The initiation may be performed by temple president or any brahman and let the beads be chanted and name be given by temple president.

Why not by ritvik acaryas?

Yes, let temple president be ritvik acarya. Otherwise the GBC will have to select, but it is unfortunate the GBC is too much infected by politics to select now. So let temple president do. And let him take the serious responsibility to make sure that my new disciple is properly trained and does not fall down.

And what about devotees who want to be initiated by one of your disciples?

Yes, of course you let him if his temple president or ISKCON authority recommends. What is the problem?

But he must be qualified.

Yes, disciple must be qualified and guru must be qualified. Who will decide who is qualified disciple? Temple president. And who will decide who is qualified guru? Best the GBC can decide, but now there is too much politics the GBC cannot make proper decision. Therefore just as temple president decides disciple is qualified, let temple president decide guru is qualified. This is his serious responsibility. Let him not take it lightly.

This is my final decision now. Until the GBC is more Krsna conscious, this is the only solution. But of course guru approved by temple president may prefer to decline, and turn his disciple over to me. That is his choice. But if he does, he should accept to help temple president train and maintain that new disciple on my behalf. That will be better for everyone, disciple, temple president, and guru who declines to initiate. So, what is the difficulty?

October 9, 2002:

namah om visnu-padaya krsna-presthaya bhutale
srimate bhaktivedanta-swamin iti namine
namaste sarasvati-deve gaura-vani-pracarine

Alright, Amoghalila, now I want you send this to Hari Vilas. You tell him, “Please help me. You may ask any questions about this. I will try to reply you.” I have told you before, Hari Vilas understands this better than the GBC. So, with his help and some others I will tell you, we may try to let the devotees know I am again making my will known through you, as I did so many years ago in the zonal acarya time.

Yes, Srila Prabhupada.

So, if there is any question, Amoghalila, be sure I will answer it. You need not worry. This is most important issue facing our Society.

What exactly do you mean, Srila Prabhupada, the ritviks are 90% right?

I have told you before, this is difficult. More than one thing is true. The ritviks understand I can still give initiation. Why not? Why can I not? Who can stop me? Why the GBC is trying to stop me? Of course, I do not like to go against the GBC. That is why I have not forced this more before. Because we must have the GBC, the GBC is necessary for ISKCON, for our worldwide preaching mission to be one, united. So this is the ritviks’ first mistake: they do not understand quite the importance of the GBC. Even the GBC is wrong, still somehow we have to follow. Even I think I have to follow the GBC. But now they have gone too long, and I have to help you understand what to do. Now is the time to do it, the temple presidents must be more Krsna conscious than the GBC, they must do it.

Yes, Srila Prabhupada, I understand this.

So, somehow the temple presidents must induce the GBC to do this. The GBC we must follow. But we must somehow make the GBC understand what I want. They are refusing to listen, even I tell them. They are so fixed in their idea, they cannot hear me.

Yes. So this is the 10% the ritviks are wrong, they do not accept the GBC?

Yes, that is one thing.

What else, then, Srila Prabhupada, do you mean, the ritviks are 90% right?

They are right, they say the so-called gurus in ISKCON are not really Guru. Real guru means pure devotee, 100% pure.

But you also said that a less than 100% pure devotee can be guru.

Yes, but mostly the so-called gurus in ISKCON may not even be to that level. That is why I say, the ritviks are 90% right, because 90% the so-called gurus in ISKCON are not qualified to be guru, even less than 100% pure devotee guru.

But the other 10%?

10% or 5% or 1%, it doesn’t matter. Those who are qualified must be hearing what I am saying, I can give initiations. So they will prefer to turn over their disciples to me. They will be my assistants.

Yes, I understand Srila Prabhupada. Bhakti Caru Maharaja did not want to initiate years ago until this is all cleared up.

Why you say Bhakti Caru? All of them, the qualified ones, they must feel very uneasy being called guru. Guru means 100% my order is the order of Krsna. Just like I told you, Krsna is telling me what to say, what to do. That is a fact. So this is Guru–he knows exactly what to do, what to say, because Krsna tells him clear, plain. Yes. So Krsna is telling them, “Now you don’t initiate–let the GBC come to proper understanding first.” But the GBC is not coming to proper understanding, so Krsna has to tell them, I am telling them, “Okay, you obey the GBC but in your heart you know you are not Guru, you know I am Guru.” So now the time is come we must wake up the GBC. Otherwise we are simply another Gaudiya Math making unqualified person guru for political sake, “so the sampradaya can go on.” This is cheating. Let everyone turn over their disciples to me, and let the disciples feel they are my disciples, but if they want let them think “This my guru who initiated me is helping Srila Prabhupada specially, he is also my guru under the GBC.”

Monitor guru?

Yes, thank you, Amoghalila. Monitor guru. That is right. So let the so-called gurus all stop initiating as independent gurus, let them initiate as monitor gurus, and the disciples may feel they are connected to me as my disciples, and this my monitor guru is connecting me to Srila Prabhupada. They may also feel like that, freely in their heart, that “This is also my guru.” But [if] he falls down, “I will not be disturbed because that fallen so-called guru he was connecting me to Srila Prabhupada in ISKCON under the GBC, and I am still now connected to Srila Prabhupada in ISKCON under the GBC.”

I understand, Srila Prabhupada. This is very clear.

Yes, so you first please write this to Hari Vilas, and I will tell you later who else you may write. And you ask Hari Vilas please try to trust you and be honest, how we can make plan to implement this desire of Srila Prabhupada. Is that alright?

Yes, Srila Prabhupada.

Alright, you do it, Amoghalila. And try to be humble, for this is our only shelter in the Holy Name. Trnad api sunicena taror api sahisnuna / amanina manadena kirtaniyah sada harih. Do not think you are so special, I am telling you all this. Others I am also telling. If you are doing this, it is only because my mercy on you, not your qualification. Do you understand?

Yes, Srila Prabhupada.

Alright, do not delay any longer. Chant Hare Krsna and be happy!

Hare Krsna! Jai Srila Prabhupada!

Jai all the devotees of ISKCON!

namah om visnu-padaya krsna-presthaya bhutale
srimate bhaktivedanta-swamin iti namine
namaste sarasvati-deve gaura-vani-pracarine

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3 Responses to Conversations With Prabhupada in 2002!

  1. SUSAN VAN AKEN says:

    Namaskar, I am inquiring if you are the same devotee who gave transcrips of your dreams to Jayatirtha prabhu in Uk 1978/9 or there about. Your dreams were about Srila Prabhupada, their were many files of transcrips of the dreams in the sitting room at Karuna Bhavan where Jayatirtha Prabhu lived with his family and devotees. thank you

  2. Santosh says:

    Dear Amoghalila Prabhu,
    How can I(or anyone else)believe that you actually had this conversation?

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