"Guru list" strategy: History

With are continuing with articles about Guru list idea.

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Video summary:

  • I started of most important investigation, will look into “The guru list” strategy.
  • I you have been watching my website for some time, you could see that I collected a lot of evidence against the some “gurus” in ISKCON.
  • Question naturally arises, how the current “guru list” came into being and if it is good idea.
  • On in the first step of this investigation, I found something very strange, document which describes the logic behind the “guru list” idea is not publicly available.
  • Srila Prabhupada never established the “guru list”, and he never spoke about having some kind of body which is “approving gurus”. You can read all Srila Prabhupada’s books, letters, lectures, such idea did not came from him. He never wanted that gurus should “managed” and he never said that gurus should appointed through so called “guru list”. Srila Prabhupada wanted that all of his disciples become gurus, provided that they are qualified of course.
  • Society that Prabhupada envisioned would naturally allow any senior preacher who has good track record of following sadhana and living an exemplary life to initiate disciples.
  • Nevertheless, I wanted to read GBC’s position on this issue. In the 1981, they wrote paper called “The descending process of selecting a spiritual master”, and this is practically most important document that ISKCON has. But that document is nowhere to be found. I find that very strange, it’s like running a country without constitution.
  • So, the next best thing is paper called “The process for expanding the number of initiating gurus in ISKCON” from 1982., I was able to find that document online and I am publishing it below. This is highly speculative document which is not quoting from Prabhupada even once, and we will analyze it in detail very soon.
  • So, interesting times ahead, keep following my webpage and your life will turn into adventure.

1978 Resolution

MARCH 19,1978 2 pm

  1. A committee of Tamal Krsna Goswami, Harikesh Swami, Kirtanananda Swami,Satsvarupa Goswami, Rupanuga Prabhu, and Jayapataka Swami will report to the GBC as soon as possible regarding the six questions on the GBC agenda concerning the initiations. Definite statements on this subject will be made available to all the devotees after the GBC considers this committee’s report.

Comment by Hanuman das

Immediately after Srila Prabhupada left, in 1978, first attempt was made to “figure out” how the system of initiations should continue.

1981 Resolutions

MARCH 8,1981.

  1. That the GBC reconfirms by a 23 majority that the standing committee of initiating spiritual masters (initiating Acharyas) shall continue to function as usual and recommend to the GBC names of potential persons for initiating status. (This does not necessary have to be printed publicly) 3.That the initiating Acharyas standing committee shall recommend to the GBC names of devotees for consideration for appointment as now initiating Guru’s in ISKCON. A 23 vote of committee members present shall be required for this recommendation. This amends the previous rule.

Provisional Order:

  1. That the paper presented by the initiating spiritual masters “The descending process of selecting a spiritual master” is accepted (as it stands with corrections.)

Provisional Order:

5.That the paper “the descending process of selecting a spiritual master” shall be provided to the society as a statement of the governing body commission on the matter of the selection of initiating spiritual masters within ISKCON.

Comment by Hanuman das

“Descending process of selecting spiritual master” sounds like a speculation. Srila Prabhupada never presented such idea.

This is the paper we are missing. I am dying to find this paper. But who cares? Main justification for “guru list” idea is not there. Let’s just have fun and enjoy life, who cares that “guru list” is an imagined thing.

The process for expanding the number of initiating gurus in ISKCON

Full 6 page document you can read here.

Prabhupada selected?

This is very interesting, document claims that Prabhupada selected 11 of his disciples to continue with initiations. Prabhupada never selected anybody to continue initiations. Such claim can not be backed up by any evidence. No lecture, letter, or any kind of document exists where Prabhupada “selected” anybody to be guru. Why? Because gurus are never selected. Rather, every potential disciple has a right to select guru based on his understanding of Krishna consciousness philosophy.

What Srila Prabhupada did write, and what we can prove is:

Prabhupada: So far designation is concerned, the spiritual master authorizes every one of his disciples. But it is up to the disciple to carry out the order, able to carry out or not. It is not that spiritual master is partial, he designates one and rejects other. He may do that. If the other is not qualified, he can do that. But actually his intention is not like that. He wants that each and every one of his disciple become as powerful as he is or more than that. That is his desire. Just like father wants every son to be as qualified or more qualified than the father. But it is up to the student or the son to raise himself to that standard.

Atreya Rishi: Yes, I understand.

Prabhupada: If you are incapable of raising yourself to the standard of becoming spiritual master, that is not your spiritual master’s fault; that is your fault. He wants, just like Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, amara ajnaya guru hana [Cc. Madhya 7.128], By My order, every one of you become a guru. If one cannot carry out the order of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, then how he can become a guru? The first qualification is that he must be able to carry out the order of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Then he becomes guru. So that carrying out the order of Caitanya Mahaprabhu depends on one’s personal capacity. Amara ajnaya guru hana. (Room Conversation, 29 June 1972, San Diego)

Every student is expected to become Acarya. Acarya means one who knows the scriptural injunctions and follows them practically in life, and teaches them to his disciples. Keep trained up very rigidly and then you are bona fide Guru, and you can accept disciples on the same principle. But as a matter of etiquette it is the custom that during the lifetime of your Spiritual Master you bring the prospective disciples to him, and in his absence or disappearance you can accept disciples without any limitation. This is the law of disciplic succession. I want to see my disciples become bona fide Spiritual Master and spread Krishna consciousness very widely, that will make me and Krishna very happy. (Letter to Tusta Krsna, 2 Dec. 1975)

As you can see, in this two quotes, or in any other quotes, you will not find that Prabhupada is limiting future spiritual masters and claiming that they must be “voted in”. Such system never existed anywhere.

First expansion

Those three men selected in 1982 were:

  • Gopala Krishna Goswami
  • Bhakti Swarupa Damodara Swami
  • Pancadravida Swami

Pancadravida Swami “blooped” soon after, Gopala Kishna “Goswami” eventually advanced so much that he got himself a female secretary, and Bhakti Swarupa Damodara Swami is a genuine guru.

By the way, the “gurus” who selected those new gurus also blooped after some time, and out of original 11 gurus who voted for those 3, only Jayapataka Swami remains.

Question is, are there any other devotees who are qualified to be gurus, but were not “noticed” by the GBC? Tribuvanatha maybe? Aindra anyone? I guess not, he didn’t chant enough. So, there are many qualified devotees that were not “approved”. That is my doubt. And many others were approved although maybe they shouldn’t have been approved.


This “guru list” idea is hilarious, and many of my future articles will be dedicated to the explanation of this idea.

What is the problem with GBC “approving gurus” ? Well, the opposite of “approving guru” is “suspending guru”. That also happens sometimes. So, GBC suspends gurus who are supposed to be “perfect representatives of Krishna”. How can you suspend a guru? That means “guru” is doing nonsense. That means he is not guru.

Then, members of the GBC Body, who are “approvers” and “suspenders” of pure devotees, they also often fall down, they fall down in 66% of the cases to be more precise. But pure devotee never falls down. So, that’s another mystery.

Sometimes, also the idea is present that guru doesn’t even exist. There are only devotees “Who are currently doing the service of a guru”. But tomorrow, who knows, they can go to cinema with girlfriend, and we can’t say that they have fallen down from the guru position, rather we say that “They stopped doing service of guru”. They mercifully gave that service to others 😄

We have never seen Prabhupada or an acarya before him, to leave his “service of being guru”, takes a vacation, and goes to cinema with girlfriend. And then becomes guru again. But that happens with the people on the “guru list”. Therefore, we should also have “guru on vacation list”.

Basically, what GBC has done, is that they have taken the keys of spiritual world, because nobody can’t go to spiritual world without guru, and gurus are selected by them. And 66% of those selected are fake gurus. Now I am officially scared.

If by any chance, someone doesn’t agree with their ideas, for example, I don’t agree with GBC idea that pure devotees who are gurus and sannyasis can have female secretaries. Prabhupada said:

In the name of religion you do all nonsense rascaldom, and if the leader approves, “Yes, you can do.” Vivekananda did it. Vivekananda did it. “Yes, there is no difference between eating meat and not meating eat in terms of religious system.” He preached this, and all the sannyāsīs of Ramakrishna Mission, they eat meat, they drink, they have WOMAN SECRETARY, and everything. This Chinmayananda also like that. I know his whole history. Unless one is purely Kṛṣṇa conscious, one cannot give up ALL THESE BAD HABITS. This is the test. (Morning walk — April 24, 1974, Hyderabad)

Well, sorry Hanuman das, GBC already decided that secretaries are not problem. Currently we have 6 “approved gurus with girlfriends”.

Girlfriend and female secretary are very similar words, here is a test, try to figure out which of those statements should be attributed to girlfriend and which to female secretary:

  • She serves you.
  • She smiles at you.
  • She is young.
  • She is not married.
  • She travels with you sometimes.
  • She communicates with you a lot.
  • Whole relationship with her is “service oriented”.

Well, “pure devotees” from the GBC body decided that you can have divine female secretary and be guru and sannyasi at the same time. And you are protected by being “on the guru list” and nobody can’t touch you. You are bonafide sannyasi with female secretary, and everybody else is offender.

This is one of primary reasons why “guru list” should be abolished.

But, but …

GBC will sure raise this question “If we abolish the guru list, then we will have even more nonsense gurus.”

Not correct, immediate effect will be that everything will stay as it is. Once nonsense gurus can no longer protect each other by being on the “guru list”, potential disciples will have to be much more careful in selecting guru, and gurus will have to behave properly.

If somebody decides to accept Donald Duck as his guru, that is no longer problem of the GBC, that is the problem of disciple.

In other words, once “guru list” is abolished, genuine gurus will surface more easily, and fake gurus will sink down more easily. That is the idea.

This article originally appeared on Lasting Impression website

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