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6 years ago  ::  May 13, 2008 - 7:15PM #1
Agnes
Posts: 379
I would like your opinion on the eleven zonal gurus who took over after the death of Srila Prabhupada.  I know some of ISKCON devotees do not have a guru other than Prabhupada's writings, is this the accepted path?
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6 years ago  ::  May 14, 2008 - 9:12AM #2
Jm8
Posts: 784
Agnes,

opinion regarding what? Some of them failed as gurus and were expelled from ISKCON or left on their own. Others are still functioning as gurus. The only one who still accepts disciples is Jayapataka Swami.

If you mean so-called 'ritviks', then this is an invention (with several variations) without precedence in any genuine Vedic (not just Vaishnava) tradition.


Hope this helps. Hare Krishna

"This Krishna Consciousness is a science to understand what is the difference between a dead body and a living body". (A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada)

Your servant, bh. Jan

http://www.vrindavan-dham.com
http://www.veda.harekrsna.cz
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6 years ago  ::  May 14, 2008 - 11:26AM #3
Agnes
Posts: 379
Hi Jan,

Thanks for replying.  Yes I do mean the eleven were never meant to be gurus.  Of the eleven, six went horribly bad.  Do you think Prabhupada did not see their true character? 

The zonal guru system seemed to hurt the ISCKON movement, an estimated 90% of original devotees left during this time.

In the guru reform movement I believe that some westerners argued that a living guru was not necessary. 
Reform did decrease  the level of guru adoration, correct?
I just wanted your opinion on this.
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6 years ago  ::  May 14, 2008 - 6:10PM #4
Jm8
Posts: 784
Agnes,

> Yes I do mean the eleven were never meant to be gurus.

Do you mean the ritvik argument that they weren't appointed as gurus but only as ritviks?
The traditional idea is that a disciple automatically becomes a guru when his guru leaves his body, and with his permission can become guru even during his physical presence.

> Of the eleven, six went horribly bad. Do you think Prabhupada did not see their true character?

I can't speculate on what Prabhupada saw. I can only conclude that he chose the most able people he had at that time and whom he personally trained. Also, character can improve or degrade in time.

> The zonal guru system seemed to hurt the ISCKON movement, an estimated 90% of original devotees left during this time.

Yes but if it was 90% or another number I can't say. It was a high number for sure.

> In the guru reform movement I believe that some westerners argued that a living guru was not necessary.

Afaik, only ritviks claimed this. Ritvikism appeared only in the mid of 80'.

> Reform did decrease the level of guru adoration, correct?

Yes. The original (1978-86) level of their worship was the same as Prabhupada's.


Hope this helps. Hare Krishna

"This Krishna Consciousness is a science to understand what is the difference between a dead body and a living body". (A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada)

Your servant, bh. Jan

http://www.vrindavan-dham.com
http://www.veda.harekrsna.cz
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6 years ago  ::  May 14, 2008 - 11:50PM #5
Agnes
Posts: 379
"Do you mean the ritvik argument that they weren't appointed as gurus but only as ritviks?
The traditional idea is that a disciple automatically becomes a guru when his guru leaves his body, and with his permission can become guru even during his physical presence"

I did not know of this guru disciple tradition. 

It is my understanding that controversy ensued after the elevation of the eleven disciples to guru and some members  doubted the authenticity of the tape that was used as proof of Prabhupadas wishes. It seems ISKCON began to unravel into several seperate sects instead of remaining a cohesive religious movement after the gurus took over  Similar to the splintering of the protestant church after it broke away from the Catholic church.  I know Prabhupada was an extremely intelligent and well educated man, and so I believe he would have forseen this happening.


"I can't speculate on what Prabhupada saw. I can only conclude that he chose the most able people he had at that time and whom he personally trained. Also, character can improve or degrade in time."

Perhaps I do not understand this, but wasn't Prabhupada a representive of God on earth.  Wouldn't  this give him a deeper understanding of the people and the world around him?  And agreed, people can change over time.


"Yes but if it was 90% or another number I can't say. It was a high number for sure."

Are they now reunified? 

Afaik, only ritviks claimed this. Ritvikism appeared only in the mid of 80'.

What is your personal opinion?

Thanks
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6 years ago  ::  May 15, 2008 - 2:36AM #6
Jm8
Posts: 784
Agnes,

> I did not know of this guru disciple tradition.

my recommendation is to learn from guru, sadhu and sastra and not from those who teach perversions. From your Christian experience you should know where it leads.

> It is my understanding that controversy ensued after the elevation of the eleven disciples to guru and some members doubted the authenticity of the tape that was used as proof of Prabhupadas wishes.

Afaik, the zonal acarya system was not challenged in the beginning; it was dismantled only due to its flaws and abuse which became gradually apparent.

> It seems ISKCON began to unravel into several seperate sects instead of remaining a cohesive religious movement after the gurus took over Similar to the splintering of the protestant church after it broke away from the Catholic church. I know Prabhupada was an extremely intelligent and well educated man, and so I believe he would have forseen this happening.

The zones were more or less like separate groups, afaik.

I have no idea what he would have forseen. He had an experience from Gaudiya Math that choosing a single successor acarya is a dead end and thus chose an alternative which should maintain cohesion better.

> Perhaps I do not understand this, but wasn't Prabhupada a representive of God on earth. Wouldn't this give him a deeper understanding of the people and the world around him?

"Representative of God" can be understood differently by various people. The Vedic concept is that he transfers knowledge and mercy to his disciples, accepts their service on behalf of his predecessors up to Krishna and communicates with Paramatma/Krishna directly. But the Lord's plan rules supreme.

Otoh, ritviks idealize guru as superhuman, equal with Paramatma/Krishna. This is not supported by guru, sastra and sadhu. Guru is still a jiva (even though liberated) but never equal to God. This shows how this heresy leads to advaita (mayavada), an antithesis of bhakti.

> Are they now reunified?

Only some returned. Majority not, afaik.

> What is your personal opinion?

About ritvikism? I already stated that it's a non-Vedic heresy from A to Z.


Hope this helps. Hare Krishna

"This Krishna Consciousness is a science to understand what is the difference between a dead body and a living body". (A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada)

Your servant, bh. Jan

http://www.vrindavan-dham.com
http://www.veda.harekrsna.cz
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6 years ago  ::  May 22, 2008 - 3:38PM #7
urantia6
Posts: 8
The very idea of  following a 'guru' can be dangerous unless you are a wise and well educated person. 

The authentic gurus alive on the planet at any time can be counted on one hand.  There are very few of these types around.  Most of the so-called gurus are merely social workers giving bits of trivial advice.

The best guru is inside of you.  If you are seeking truth, please follow your inner guidance.  Listen to all but follow your own star.

Most of the gurus are on an ego trip.  This is a fact.  If you don't believe this just look at what happened to the ISKCON gurus after A. C. Bhaktivedanta  left his body.

Bh. Jan is quite correct.  A person can either advance or slide backward in their spiritual development.  Many slide into the abyss...never to return.

Most people in ISKCON and the Hare Krishna movement are caught up in Indian culture and never receive any spiritual advancement at all.  For them it's all about rituals and externals.  Spiritual truths never rise to the surface of their consciousness. 

Don't misunderstand me.   I very much like Indian culture, clothes, food, etc. but do not mistake this for spirituality. 

Devak.....
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6 years ago  ::  May 23, 2008 - 2:54AM #8
Jm8
Posts: 784
Devak,

nice to see you again.

One has to be ready for a guru. That's what is always stressed.

Neither you not I have any way to say how many authentic gurus are on the planet. Therefore I also have a problem with your "most are merely social workers" idea.

Guru inside is not accessible to most. Therefore an external guru is there. They must be in agreement.
"Listen to all but follow your own star." won't really help. It's like having no guru since you'll only choose what you like.

"Most gurus on ego trip" is another general and hard to prove statement as per above. Problems stem(med) from not following properly.

"Indian culture" may be one of initial attracting factors but when such people don't get deeper, they'll soon leave. Seen that often.
"never receive any spiritual advancement at all" and "For them it's all about rituals and externals." is again unproven. One with experience in ISKCON couldn't say this.


Hope this helps. Hare Krishna

"This Krishna Consciousness is a science to understand what is the difference between a dead body and a living body". (A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada)

Your servant, bh. Jan

http://www.vrindavan-dham.com
http://www.veda.harekrsna.cz
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6 years ago  ::  May 23, 2008 - 1:40PM #9
urantia6
Posts: 8
Bh. Jan and friends:

Thank you for your kindly reply to my post.  I felt most happy to see you on this thread.

I have been busy with a move and getting into the new system here on this site.  My old computer did not work well with the new site.

Yes, I do have strong ideas and you did thoughtfully reply.  But we do have just some differences of opinion. 

The problem is attachment.  People become attached to the guru.  The guru knows this and takes advantage of the student.  I've seen this happen a lot.  People let this happen out of  fear and ignorance and then they leave and become dis-illusioned and bitter.

I was first introduced to ISKCON in 1970.  My mother was a devotee and lived in  an ashram in South India and in the USA.  I have learned a lot by my association with devotees. It has been a real blessing.  I recently found a video on YouTube of the little station in Kanhangad that she arrived at when she went to the ashram. 

I feel it is better to 'listen' to many spiritual teachers and therefore learn and make up your own mind. I feel it is mostly about discernment

Of course I cannot prove any of my statements but I can have an opinion.  Even you have ideas that you cannot prove, so to speak.

I feel it is best to be not attched to any rituals, gurus, books, food, nothing.  If one is attached you are not free.  One can enjoy all of the above but should not be dependent on such things and people.  Such is my idea and I  follow it.

I do enjoy your website in the Cz Republic.  I hope you are well and keep at your great faith and work for the love of God Consciousness.  People like you are much needed.

Hare Krishna,

Your servant , Devak

Paramount, CA  USA
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6 years ago  ::  May 23, 2008 - 3:32PM #10
Jm8
Posts: 784
Haribolo Devak,

I'm happy you're happy. :) Thanks for your kind appreciation.

I've been wondering if I should leave Bnet but since there are hardly any others representing Vaishnavism I stayed.

Difference of opinion is normal and welcome, within dharma and bhakti range. On this forum I try my best to present both a general Vaishnava and specific Gaudiya viewpoints supported by pramana. When I (rarely) present my own view, I always say so. If you present your opinion (moreover somehow critical) without pramana, you have to expect a reaction.

Attachment to such a guru as you mentioned is leading to problems. Therefore one needs a genuine guru.

> I feel it is better to 'listen' to many spiritual teachers and therefore learn and make up your own mind. I feel it is mostly about discernment

This can be also a preparatory stage before accepting a genuine guru since at one point one realizes that one can't get further on one's own. Otoh, if one is satisfied in this material world, guru is not needed.

> I feel it is best to be not attched to any rituals, gurus, books, food, nothing. If one is attached you are not free. One can enjoy all of the above but should not be dependent on such things and people. Such is my idea and I follow it.

Well, we're never free in the absolute sense - we're eternal servants of the Lord. And attachment to Him, His devotees and everything related to Him makes us free. See Bh.P. 3.25.24. A wonderful verse.


Hare Krishna,

Your servant, Jan

Prague, CZ
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