Guru in ISKCON ISKCON Gurus at Maypur Festival in the 1990s

Published on August 6th, 2023 | by Madhudvisa dasa


“Not all ISKCON Gurus are Bad?” — from the comments

Lila Kirtana Prabhu has commented “Not all temples or gurus in ISKCON are the same at all. This lumping everyone into the same category is not honest. Iskcon bashing has become a unreasonable trend unfortunately.” on the “Help! I told the ISKCON Temple President about Prabhupada!!” article.

So my answer to Lila Kirtana is all ISKCON temples and gurus must surrender to the GBC, serve the GBC, worship the GBC, and this is not actually the teaching of, the philosophy of Krishna and Prabhupada. So all ISKCON temples and gurus are by definition the same. They are all worshipping and surrendered to the GBC, they are NOT surrendered to Srila Prabhupada [who is dead and gone, according to them] and if one rejects Krishna’s pure devotee, there is no question of any relationship with Krishna…

Yes. Of course there are many sincere devotees in ISKCON, there may even be a few sincere Temple Presidents. But the problem is the ISKCON system is bad, wrong, incorrect and in contradiction to the orders and instructions of Srila Prabhupada and Krishna.

For example the ISKCON concept of bona-fide guru. That is a very very very different concept to Krishna’s description of bona-fide guru. Krishna describes the actual guru in Bhagavad-gita:

tad viddhi pranipatena
pariprasnena sevaya
upadeksyanti te jnanam
jnaninas tattva-darsinah

Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized soul can impart knowledge unto you because he has seen the truth.” (Bhagavad-gita 4.34)

This is the principle of spiritual master, according to Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. But ISKCON disagrees with Krishna? And GBC demand that everyone in ISKCON, including their gurus, MUST accept their completely bogus concepts about spiritual master and everything else. So ISKCON disagrees with Krishna and demands all the ISKCON members also disagree with Krishna. If the ISKCON devotees refuse to disagree with Krishna they are bashed, banned from the temples and blasphemed by the ISKCON leaders and their blind followers…

If you can read English you can very clearly see in Bhagavad-gita 4.34 Krishna is telling us that we have to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master, inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. This part ISKCON like very much and agree with. Every ISKCON devotee must accept a GBC approved guru and surrender to him and serve him [as long as he is a transparent via-medium to the GBC, as long as he is a puppet in the hands of the GBC…] But… “The self-realized soul can impart knowledge unto you because he has seen the truth…” This is difficult for ISKCON, they don’t accept it, they don’t believe it, and surely it will eventually disappear from a new version of the ISKCON Bhagavad-gita [as the GBC wished it was…]

So actually, no real devotee can surrender to the GBC, because the teachings of the GBC and the teachings of Srila Prabhupada and Krishna are quite different…

Here, in Bhagavad-gita 4.34, Krishna describes the principle of guru, and guru principle is that guru is a pure devotee of Krishna who delivers the truth to his disciples. Because actually only a pure devotee of Krishna can understand Krishna, only a pure devotee of Krishna knows the truth. So only a pure devotee of Krishna is capable of delivering the truth to his disciples.

This part of the verse, “The self-realized soul can impart knowledge unto you because he has seen the truth…” , ISKCON totally rejects. The ISKCON “guru tattva” is that there are no qualifications at all for ISKCON guru except one, he must be surrendered to the GBC, he must worship the GBC, he must teach his disciples to surrender to the GBC, and he must teach his disciples to bash, ban and blaspheme those pesky devotees who are surrendered to Srila Prabhupada and Krishna.

Of course this ISKCON guru-tattva is completely bogus and there is absolutely no support for it anywhere in the Vedas or the teachings of Srila Prabhupada. Guru principle is spiritual master knows the truth, therefore spiritual master is able to explain the truth to his disciples… It is quite a fundamental point… But ISKCON totally rejects the basic fundamental principle of guru and openly say “there is no need for the guru to be self realized…” Hmm…

So the GBC has created a perverted reflection of Prabhupada’s ISKCON. In Prabhupada’s ISKCON everyone was trained to surrender to Prabhupada, who is a pure devotee of Krishna, and inquire from him about the truth, because Prabhupada is a pure devotee of Krishna and he knows the truth, so he has the power to reveal the truth to his disciples. However, in the GBC’s ISKCON, there is no question of teaching the truth. No. In GBC’s ISKCON everyone has to teach the siddhanta of the GBC… Which is quite different from the truth.

For example if you go to any ISKCON temple and just repeat Krishna, if you say to any good ISKCON GBC follower, “Only a self-realized soul can impart knowledge unto you because he has seen the truth therefore you have to learn the truth by approaching a pure devotee spiritual master who is self-realized and learn the truth from him.” They will immediately call the Temple Present, bash you and blaspheme you and ban you from all the ISKCON temples worldwide. Try it and see for yourself!

The fundamental Vedic principle is to become a bona-fide spiritual master one has to know the truth, he has to be self-realized, otherwise if “spiritual master” is not self-realized, if he does not know the truth, he has no power to pass on the truth to his disciples. So if such a non-liberated person poses as a spiritual master he is actually the greatest demon and Krishna keeps the worst hellish planet ready and reserved for these great demons who are in the “spiritual master” business.

“‘This supreme science of God is received through the disciplic succession.’ Instead, to mislead the people in general they themselves become so-called acaryas, but they do not even follow the principles of the acaryas.

“These rogues are the most dangerous elements in human society. Because there is no religious government, they escape punishment by the law of the state. They cannot, however, escape the law of the Supreme, who has clearly declared in the Bhagavad-gita that envious demons in the garb of religious propagandists shall be thrown into the darkest regions of hell (Bg. 16.19-20). Sri Isopanisad confirms that these pseudo religionists are heading toward the most obnoxious place in the universe after the completion of their spiritual master business, which they conduct simply for sense gratification.” (Prabhupada’s purport to Isopanisad 12)

This completely explains today’s ISKCON and their gurus. Anyone in ISKCON will tell you their gurus are not pure devotees and that there is no need to be a pure devotee or a self-realized person to become a guru… The ISKCON idea of guru is it is just a service, like pot washing is a service, anyone can wash pots, similarly, in the GBC siddhanta, anyone can be a guru, the only requirement is that the gurus must be surrendered to the GBC…

This is the reality of today’s ISKCON and every sincere devotee knows it. So I dare you, explain this simple point in any ISKCON temple, they will bash you, ban you from all the ISKCON temples world-wide and blaspheme you…

But, you know, you can fool all the people for some time, you can fool some people for all time, but you can not fool all the people for all the time…

So ISKCON focuses on the fools who can be fooled all the time, and anyone who is not a fool and somehow stumbles into ISKCON. Well… There is no place for him in ISKCON…

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About the Author

My first contact with a Hare Krishna was a most merciful Mataji in Oxford Street, London who sold me a "Higher Taste" cook book in 1984 while I was on holidays there. I started seriously reading Srila Prabhupada's books in Australia 1985 and by 1986 Srila Prabhupada had convinced me "Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead" and "we should surrender to Krishna." I joined the Hare Krishnas in Perth, Western Australia in 1986. Since then I have been chanting Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, reading and distributing Srila Prabhupada's books and preaching as much as I can. That's my life and full-time occupation now really. I like it more than anything I've ever experienced before. Srila Prabhupada's books are so amazing... Even after reading them all many times they're still fresh and new. They are truly transcendental! That's it really. Now I'm just hankering to once again see the world chant Hare Krishna, dance and feast and float away in the ecstasy of Lord Caitanya's Sankirtana movement as it did in Srila Prabhupada's physical presence. Let the whole world drown in the ecstatic flood of love of Krishna!

2 Responses to “Not all ISKCON Gurus are Bad?” — from the comments

  1. Hrishikesh says:

    Hare Krishna Prabhu,

    I would like to request you to share your view on Aindra Dasa. I have read that he had realized his true Svarupa as “His nitya-seva is playing Swara Mandalika Vina in Goloka Vrindavan”. How should we receive this statement?

  2. Aman Pandey says:

    ISKCON devotees do not want a real guru. Some will tell you guru is in your heart. Krishna is guru so you don’t need a guru.

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