Śikṣā outside ISKCON?

<< Dobut 2 >>

PART THREE - Doubts and Answers
Doubt 2

Doubt 2: But, even while present, Śrīla Prabhupāda instructed devotees to seek instruction outside ISKCON.(7)

Answer: There are two kinds of circumstance in which Prabhupāda directed his followers to go outside for instruction:

  1. in the earliest days in India, when devotees had no facilities of their own;
  2. when he or they required specific information that would benefit the Society.

Earlier I presented the first kind of circumstance,(8) in which Śrīla Prabhupāda directed to a senior Vaiṣṇava a few devotees alone in India, one in especially bad association. The śīkṣā they received, however, by Prabhupāda’s own admission, proved counterproductive for the entire Society.(9)

In Prabhupāda’s estimation, even the Vaiṣṇavas he recommended were envious of his success and systematically schemed against him.(10) Therefore, Prabhupāda gave his general directive, “do not mix with them,” and never changed that instruction to the last — and so it remains as a standing order.

In the second kind of circumstance, Śrīla Prabhupāda sent disciples as messengers to acquire, on his behalf only, information or guidance on a certain subject.(11) But accepting limited guidance for a purpose authorised by Śrīla Prabhupāda is much different from accepting long-term, regular śīkṣā, a result of which would surely be personal commitment to a guru who does not have full allegiance to Prabhupāda.

Examples of Prabhupāda’s consent to outside instruction were restricted and specific.(12) Such limited endorse ment can hardly be compared to an unrestricted license to accept śīkṣā-gurus outside ISKCON.


7See Conversation, Vṛndāvana, October 8, 1977, in which Prabhupāda instructs devotees to get guidance on performing his samādhi ceremony.
8See Part One, After Prabhupāda‘s Disappearance, section 2: Complications with śīkṣā taken from outside ISKCON.
9Prabhupāda writes, “Regarding the poisonous effect in our Society, it is a fact and I know where from this poison tree has sprung up and how it affected practically the whole Society in a very dangerous form.” (Letter, Calcutta, September 2, 1970) “... and on this point they wanted to poison the whole Society — that is now clear.” (Letter, Calcutta, September 25, 1970)
10Prabhupāda said, “Just like XX... They are envious. What I have done to them? I am doing my business, trying to serve my Guru Mahārāja.” (Conversation, Bombay, January 8, 1977)
11For example, for the Māyāpura planetarium, Śrīla Prabhupāda directed devotees to gather information about the structure of the universe; and to prepare for his departure, he sought guidance about the process of performing his samādhi ceremony.
12Śrīla Prabhupāda cites the process of “how to catch the big fish without themselves [sic] getting wet.” (Letter, Bombay, December 25, 1972) This seemed to be the logic of getting help: without being influenced by, or excessively obliged to, those helping.
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