Śikṣā outside ISKCON?

<< Dobut 5 >>

PART THREE - Doubts and Answers
Doubt 5

Doubt 5: Śrīla Prabhupāda attempted to recruit other senior Vaiṣṇavas to work in or with ISKCON. How, then, could they not be qualified as śīkṣā-gurus?

Answer: The question itself contains the answer. How? Because in actuality no such Vaiṣṇava came to Prabhupāda’s side. Therefore, none could qualify as śīkṣā-guru.

Had any senior Vaiṣṇavas accepted Prabhupāda’s invitation to work in ISKCON, they would have had to accept him as founder-ācārya(22) and represent him. That would have made them regular members, fully qualified to give śīkṣā.

On the other hand, were such Vaiṣṇavas not to join ISKCON, yet work with it, Śrīla Prabhupāda envisaged that they would have authority only in proportion to their preaching.(23) That would have given Prabhupāda’s disciples considerably more authority than those instructing them on Prabhupāda’s behalf — hardly a relationship one might expect between śīkṣā-gurus and their disciples.

But this doubt is theoretical, for the reality is that, despite Śrīla Prabhupāda’s many kind overtures,(24) not one senior Vaiṣṇava took up his offer to work in or with ISKCON.


NOTES

22In response to a letter, Prabhupāda writes, “... you write to say, ‘It is clear to me that you are great powerful acarya in the Vaiṣṇava world at present.’ Sometimes S also says like that. So, actually if you are feeling like that let us work conjointly.” (Letter, Vṛndāvana, November 9, 1976)
23 In a conversation with Śrīla Prabhupāda, a devotee recalls, “I remember a letter they wrote you in Los Angeles in 1969. You replied them, ‘Yes, I will join, but since I have preached in eleven-twelfths of the world, eleven of my men will be representatives, and you can put one.’” (Conversation, Bombay, April 22, 1977)
24As late as 1976, Śrīla Prabhupāda wrote, “So, actually if you are feeling like that let us work conjointly.” (Letter, Vṛndāvana, November 9, 1976)
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