In any discussion of this topic we have to actually refer to guru, sadhu and shastra and not hide behind or misrepresent them. . Conspicuous by its absence in Jayapataka's recent article is any discussion of the actual qualifications of a bona fide spiritual master, the actual responsibility of the GBC in such matters and the reality of what actual is going on in the institution that Srila Prabhupada founded in 1965.
Tit for tat discussions of guru tattva are useless. The GBC and the ritvik camp have been arguing for over twenty years and are likely to continue the useless ping pong match for another twenty. They will never come to any solution because guru tattva is actually understood by guru krpa and not by speculation or legislated word jugglery, or self proclaimed rubber stamp acaryas.
In the Bhagavad-gita Arjuna asks "What are the symptoms of one whose consciousness is thus merged in transcendence? How does he speak, and what is his language? How does he sit, and how does he walk.? (Bg. Ch.2.54) In the purport His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada remarks ". . .so a man in transcendental consciousness of Krsna has specific symptoms in various dealings. One can know his specific symptoms from the Bhagavad-gita. Most important is how the man in Krsna consciousness speaks, for speech is the most important quality of any man. It is said that a fool is undiscovered as long as he does not speak, and certainly a well-dressed fool cannot be identified unless he speaks, but as soon as he speaks, he reveals himself at once. The immediate symptom of a Krsna conscious man is that he speaks only of Krsna and of matters relating to Him. Other symptoms then automatically follow as stated below." The Blessed Lord said: O Partha, when a man gives up all varieties of sense desires which arise form mental concoction, and when his mind finds satisfaction in the self alone, then he is said to be in pure transcendental consciousness.
One who is not disturbed in spite of the threefold miseries, who is not elated when there is happiness, and who is free from attachment, fear and anger, is called sage of steady mind.
He who is without attachment, who does not rejoice when he obtains good, nor lament when he obtains evil, is firmly fixed in perfect knowledge.
One who is able to withdraw his senses from sense objects, as the tortoise draws his limbs within the shell, is to be understood as truly situated in knowledge. (Bg. 2.55-58)
Finally later in the eighteenth chapter of the Gita Lord Krsna gives the final conclusion in this matter when He says:
brahmabhutah pasannatmaNow if we want more information on the qualifications of a bona fide spiritual master, who Krsna says in the Bg. 4.34 that we should surrender to and render service to we can also consult the Upadesamrta of Srila Rupa Goswami.
na socati na kanksati
samah sarvesu bhutesu
mad bhaktim labhate param
"One who is thus transcendentally situated at once realized the Supreme Brahman. He never laments nor desires to have anything;he is equally disposed to every living entity. In that state he attains pure devotional service unto Me."
vaco vegam manasah krodha-vegamI might add that a real gosvami is also not the master of his matha, his disciples and his godbrothers. He cannot imitate the symptoms of a self realized soul, a bona fide spiritual master, and he cannot be apppointed by an ecclesiastical committee to this position. He is self effulgent and must re realized by his sincere followers and he must meet all the qualifications of the shastra.
etan vegan yo vbisaheta dhirah
sarvan apimam prthivim s sisyat
"A sober person who can tolerate the urge to speak, the inds demands, the actions of anger and the urges of the tongue, belly and genitals is qualified to make disciples all over the world."(NOI Text 1). Again in the purport Srila Prabhupada gives us the conclusion to this verse: "The conclusion is that one who can control these six items-speech, mind anger, tongue belly genitals-is to be called a svami or goswami. Svami means master, and gosvami means master of the go or senses. When one accepts the renounced order of life, he automatically assumes the title of svami. This does not mean that his is the master of his family, community or society;he must be the master of his senses. Unless one is master of his senses, he should not be called gosvami, bu go-dasa, servant of the senses. Following in the footsteps of the six Goswami of Vrndavana, all swamis and goswamis should be fully engaged in transcendental loving service of the Lord. . . They have no other engagement."
So now we come to the real point of discussion which is who is qualified to initiate disciples and does the GBC have anything to say about it at all? The real answer is that the GBC is the final managerial authority of ISKCON according to Srila Prabhupada's will. Where in the will, anywhere in the shastra, anywhere in Srila Prabhupada's books ore instructions does he say that the GBC should appoint any of his disciples to be bona fide spiritual masters? Nowhere! When did he ever instruct that we should make up a list of so called qualified devotees and tell the devotee population to pick from this list? Nowhere, never and no how did this ever happen. Perhaps to function as ritviks for some time but the false assumption that the same men were to automatically assume the role of guru is their speculation and not the order of our spiritual master. The GBC has been lying and deceiving the new devotees on this issue since 1977. We can simply refer to a wonderful letter by Pradyumna Prabhu, which was systematically suppressed and ignored. . Here is the letter for your examination:
*Note All words that were underlined are in UPPER CASE letters for lack of other facility in my email program.
(Retyped for clarity)
Sri Sri Guru Gauranga Vayatah 7 August, l978
Dear Satsvarupa Maharaj,
Please accept my most humble obeisances. Maharaj, I am writing you this letter with GREAT anxiety in my heart and after days and days and long nights of thought and careful consideration.
I have been staying in Vrndavan for some time and have not visited any other center recently except Delhi. Therefore, my information I have about what is happening at our other centers comes only from devotees visiting here, occasional letters, newsletters and our society's magazine and other publications. But the news I hear from these sources is very alarming and therefore I am writing you in some anxiety.
The matter concerns the Godbrother who were selected by Srila Prabhupada to accept disciples. At the time of Srila Prabhupada's disappearance, it was most clearly understood by all of us present that Srila Prabhupada MADE NO SUCCESSOR. Everyone admitted that fact and understood it clearly. Instead, the GBC was to jointly manage ALL affairs of ISKCON just had been the case previously. This was the same solution as desired by Om Visnupada Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, who also had not made any successor, although his wishes were NOT followed. In addition to the GBC management, Srila Prabhupada also selected 11 somewhat advanced disciples to grand initiation to newcomers. However if was never mentioned at any time by His Divine Grace that these 11 were to be known as ACARYAS. He simply instructed that they may now accept disciples. Otherwise, as it was understood and practiced at that time, there was NO SPECIAL POSITION given to these 11, either in the society as a whole or in relation to their Godbrothers. Management would depend on the joint GBC, and among Godbrothers and sisters all are on the same level, with the exception of some special regard and respect shown to older (senior) disciples by these Godbrothers and Godsisters who are junior.
Now at present, I understand that the 11 GURUS are all 1)adopting the title of ACARYA, 2)sitting on high Vyasasanas in front of Srila Prabhupada's Vyasasana and their own Godbrothers, 3)accepting worship and great respect normally reserved for a GURU from the rest of their Godbrothers and 4)that the previous GBC zones have all been given by mutual agreement or by invitation among the different acaryas.
First of all, the word ACARYA may be taken in 3 senses. Etymologically the word means "one who practices" or "one who practices what he preaches." This is the general meaning and may be used in relation to any pure devotee period. Secondly. The word means "one who grants initiation to a disciples." This is specifically indicating one who is a GURU. Anyone who grants initiation or is a guru may be called as "acaryadeva," etc.-by his disciples only! Whoever has accepted him as guru must give all respects to him in every way, but this does not apply to those who are not his disciples.
Thirdly, the word acarya indicates "the spiritual head of an institution or pitha." This meaning is very specific. It does not mean just anyone. It means only one who has been specifically declared by the previous acarya to be his successor above all others to the seat of the spiritual institution which he heads. He alone, among all of his Godbrothers, is given a raised set and special honor. No other Godbrother may receive such respect and he is the authority in all spiritual and material matters. This is the strict tradition in all of the Gaudiya Sampradayas. Now Srila Prabhupada, it is clear, did not appoint any such successor because no one of his disciples at present is advanced to the level of Krishna Consciousness necessary to assume such a position. Nor did Srila Prabhupada make 11 such ACARYAS. This was never mentioned by Him. They were only given permission to make disciples and the GBC was to jointly mange, materially and SPIRITUALLY.
There was never any distinctions made by Srila Prabhupada between material management and spiritual management. Both are the concern of the GBC. The 11 gurus may be known as acaryas only in the second sense of the word-to their disciples as mantra-giving gurus, not in the third sense, as "the" spiritual successors of Srila Prabhupada. That was never meant to be by His Divine Grace.
Secondly, among Godbrothers it is not correct that any one of them sit above the others, especially in the presence of Gurudeva. If Gurudeva is not present, sometimes the sannyasi Godbrothers may be given an asana, but that asana does not mean a huge gigantic seat. It simply means a square piece of cloth or wool not more than 1/8" or 1/4" thick.
This is asana. If any one Godbrother or many Godbrothers sit above the others it is not at all proper.
Sometimes in an assembly there may be raised platform or table on which the sannyasi speakers sit, but ALL SANNYASI Godbrothers must be invited to sit in an equal place on the speaker's platform. Sometimes a grhastha or brahmacari Godbrothers may also be invited to sit there if they are deserving by their advancement. If there is an appointed acarya as mentioned before (third sense of the word) then he alone may sit higher than the other Godbrothers. Indeed in the different Gaudiya Mathas, even if one Godbrother is in the position of acarya, he usually, out of humility, takes only a thin cloth asana, not anything higher. It is the symptom of a Vaisnava to be extremely humble. He MUST always be extremely careful of putting himself in a position where he may become conceited. A guru may take a higher seat than his disciple--that is bonafide. But he cannot illegally take a higher seat than his Godbrothers. The relation between the guru and his Godbrothers and a guru and his disciples is entirely different. He should not sit higher than Godbrothers other than if he is a sannyasi, on a thin cloth as already mentioned if offered by his Godbrothers, or accept respect from them without offering respect in return. This is the general niti or etiquette. Besides this, there are, among Godbrothers, some further rules to be observed between those who are senior and those who are junior. Seniority is calculated according to the time of receiving 1st (Harinam) initiation or by his ability to perform bhajana.
If one Godbrother has disciples, the guru-puja and Vyasa-puja of That Godbrother should be conducted in a separate place or his private room--not in from of all his other Godbrothers. In an assembly of Vaisnavas, all sit on the same level together, Godbrothers along with their sisyas. No one is permitted to accept separate respect from disciples in any gathering of other Godbrothers. In Gaudiya Math, the Vyasa-puja of one Godbrother who has disciples is usually performed in the following manner. The guru takes his raised seat in his private place and invites all his Godbrothers to come to the function also. If his Godbrothers come to offer him some flowers, that Godbrother guru immediately first worships his other Godbrothers and offers them garland, candana, etc., and in some cases presents like cloth, umbrella, etc. They honor each other and are seated properly, then that guru's disciples may come forward and offer their worship. This is the system being observed. Incidentally, the words of Om Visnupada Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura found in the English book Sri Caitanya's Teachings regarding the sitting above everyone else are from a speech delivered in response to the offerings of his disciples on the occasion of his Vyasa-puja. Those words are in relation to his disciples--not to his Godbrothers, of which there weren't any. The niti in regard to Godbrothers is completely different from that to disciples.
One who is actually guru may make disciples anywhere he finds Someone who is worthy. The connection between guru and disciple is arranged by Krsna directly--and it is not subject to legislation. All the worldwide temples of ISKCON are controlled by the GBC. The temples are managed by them jointly and they decide each year which member of the GBC will manage in which place. The GBC who is appointed to be responsible for a certain zone somewhere on this planet, if a guru, will naturally make many disciples in that place--but how can he be illicitly restricted from accepting a disciple from someplace else. That is material consideration. It has another to do with transcendental order, by which guru and disciple make their meeting. It is not geographical.
Secondly, no GBC who is guru may make that zone of which he is temporarily in charge by appointment of the joint GBC, into his own private place. If some other guru visits there and some newcomer wishes to accept him as spiritual preceptor, how can he be prohibited? Furthermore, all the temples of ISKCON are to be run by the GBC. No one GBC who is a guru may use the title acarya of such and such a zone. Srila Prabhupada never appointed one acarya of the whole ISKCON nor did he appoint several acaryas for parts of ISKCON. This will only lead to an ultimate division of the one ISKCON into many different fragments and destroy our united preaching work.
If someone sets up his personal seat as acarya in different temples, how can it be removed? Who else can sit in it? Then does that temple belong to that guru or does it belong to the GBC? That means the power or control is switched from joint GBC to the 11 gurus. Srila Prabhupada never intended this arrangement. Moreover, in the future, in accordance with His Divine Grace's instructions, other qualified Godbrothers may also become gurus. Where will they go? In Srila Prabhupada's temples no raised seat should be given to any but Srila Prabhupada--all Godbrothers should sit on the same level. One exception may be made in the case of one speaking from the sastras like Srimad Bhagavatam, Bhagavad-gita, Caitanya-caritamrta, etc. during the class. But that seat is very special. It is not for the reader--it is meant for the book. After paying obeisances to that seat, he who is to read, may, after taking permission from his senior Godbrothers and sannyasis, ascend to read from Bhagavatam. After finishing, he may again pay his obeisances.
Much of the knowledge written here is not found in sastra, but Is called sistacara--that which has been taught by the conduct of the past guru parampara. It has not been specifically mentioned in any sastra, but still it is accepted as authoritative because of being seen to be the conduct of previous acaryas and their disciples.
Maharaja, after very much consideration and consultation and Also confirmation by older members of our sampradaya, I am writing to you to see if you can rectify the present situation. Many of us here, older Godbrothers, are very concerned in two ways-- 1) that the 11 gurus not having been appointed to the position of acarya and for which they are unqualified both by a. the insufficient knowledge of sastra and b. the incomplete realization of Krsna consciousness, are accepting worship on that level--and this may lead to anomalies in the society and personally, because of lack of complete detachment in atmajnana, to a buildup of pride and subsequent falldown, and 2) that the united society ISKCON, because of illegal division and control by a few members instead of the joint GBC will become broken up in separate societies and the unified preaching effort very much hindered.
Hoping for your immediate attention and kind reply,
Pradyumna das Adhikari
P.S. These are not good signs for our society. Older Godbrothers and sannyasis here are very concerned that if the present trend is not checked immediately, it will have passed beyond that point and ISKCON will be in chaos in the near future. I hereby formally request that all these points be immediately brought to the attention of the GBC so that a very tactful solution for all concerned may be decided and amicably implemented in our society. Please note that there is nothing personal in this letter. It is some pertinent spiritual knowledge meant for the good of all. If anyone takes offense, I very humbly beg pardon at his feet.
I would like to request your kind acknowledgment of the receipt of this letter and information on what action you intend to take as soon as possible, preferably before this coming Janmastami (Aug. 26).
Hoping that this meets you in the best of health,
In the service of Srila Prabhupada,
Pradyumna das Adhikari
Now shortly after this letter was written Pradyumna Prabhu was the victim of GBC political maneuvering and the service that Srila Prabhupada gave him ( to translate the rest of the Srimad Bhagavatam) was ripped out of his hands and turned over to Hrydayananda. Ask yourself why this happened? My understanding is that if he had been the person to present the rest of the Bhagavatam (which Srila Prabhupada instructed him to do) then his credibility would have been seen by the devotee population all the more and his clear understanding about guru, godbrother relations would have been taken much more seriously. This would have been inconvenient to the zonal acarya system being put in place by the GBC. Similarly the tapes that were made of questions and answers about guru tattva when certain GBC men went to Srila Sridhar Maharaj for advice on the matter were suppressed. Fortunately they were not lost, despite the efforts of certain of my so called god brothers, and are printed in a wonderful book about guru tattva, called "Sri Guru and His Grace." Anyone who wants to read this book can contact me for more information. It is being re printed and will be available very soon. Krsna has made continual efforts to reveal guru tattva to sincere devotees ever since Srila Prabhupada departed from our physical association in l977. No one on the GBC can legislate guru, sadhu and shastra or hide behind a saffron curtain of GBC law and pretend that they have the last word in this matter, when it actually lies with the individual devotee his sraddha and the actual qualification of the person he places his faith in. Devotees must read Srila Prabhupada's books, and in particular the Cc. Adi lila 1, to understand how rare is a bona fide spiritual master and not be cheated by taking diksa from someone who is less, or simply apppointed to the position because of institutional loyalty.
Abraham Lincoln, to quote a materialist politician, if you will indulge me said,"You can fool some of the people some of the time,but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time." There have been unfortunately enough fall downs, logistical problems, alienation of sincere god brothers and a general decay of management in ISKCON since 1977 so that disciples who joined it during Srila Prabhupada's presence can't even recognize the institution they joined. What world does Jayapataka live in prabhus? His article, though clearly a thorough scriptural and historical rejection of ritvik, blatantly ignores the reality of what has happened to Srila Prabhupada's Movement since 1977. Let us not be fooled by rhetoric and GBC word juggelry please. Guru is self effulgent. Guru is realized by the disciple. Guru is one. Here is what Srila Prabhupada said about guru in 1936 in an address to the Bombay Gaudiya Math:
"Gentelemen, the offering of such an homage as has been arranged this evening to the acaryadeva is not a sectarian concern, for when we speak of the fundamental principle of gurudeva or acaryadeva, we speak of something that is on universal application. There does not arise any question of discriminating my guru from yours or anyone else's. There is only one guru, who appears in an infinity of forms to teach you., me and all others.
In the Mundaka Upanisad (1.2.12) it is said: tad-vijnarthamn sa gurm evabhigacchet samit-panih strotiyam brahma-nistham "In order to learn the transcendental science, one must approach the bona fide spiritual master in disciplic succession, who is fixed in the Absolute Truth." So prabhu, should we as Srila Prabhupada's bona fide disciples take our own disciples? I have always defended by god brother's transcendental right and obligation and legacy to do so.
But some honesty is required on their part. If you are not a maha bhagvata, utthama adhikari then you had better be honest with your disciples and tell them what is your real position and be humble enough to accept siksa from self realized acaryas and take your disciples with you when you go to hear from them.
Don't go and listen to other higher vaisnavas and then come back to your camp and pretend that the realizations you got from someone else's' lecture are your own exclusively. Don't be such a guru bhogi.
In the Nectar of Instruction Srila Prabhupada gives a clear instruction (in one of his books, not a tape, a letter or a conversation) about who to accept as a spiritual master: "When a person realizes himself to be an eternal servitor of Krsna, he loses interest in everything but Krsna's service. Always thinking of Krsna , devising means by which to spread the holy name of Krsna, he understands that his only business is in spreading the Krsna consciousness movement all over the world. Such a person is to be recognized as an uttama-adhikari, and his association should be immediately accepted a according to the six processes (dadati pratigrhnati, etc.). Indeed, the advanced uttama-adhikari Vaisnava devotee should be accepted as a spiritual master.. . . In this verse Srila Rupa Goswami advises the devotee to be intelligent enough t distinguish between the kanistha adhikari, madhyama-adhikari adn uttama-adhikari. the devotee should also know his own position and should not try to imitate a devotee situated on a higher platform. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has given some practical hints to the effect that an uttama adhikari Vaisanva can convert many fallen souls to Vaishnavism. ONE SHOULD NOT BECOME A SPIRITUAL MASTER UNLESS HE HAS ATTAINED THE PLATFORM OF UTTAMA-ADHIKARI. A NEOPHYTE VAISNAVA OR A VISANAVA SITUATED ON THE INTERMEDIATE PLATFORM CAN ALSO ACCEPT DISCIPLES, BUT SUCH DISCIPLES MUST BE ON THE SAME PLATFORM, AND IT SHOULD BE UNDERSTOOD THAT THEY CANNOT ADVANCE VERY WELL TOWARD THE ULTIMATE GOAL OF LIFE UNDER HIS INSUFFICIENT GUIDANCE. Therefore a disciple should be careful to accept an uttama-adhikari as a spiritual master (Nectar of Instruction .57-59 Purport to verse 5)
Taking diksa, or second initiation, means in part to hear the kama gayatri mantra from the lips of the diksa guru. Many of us were fortunate to have heard it directly from His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada. Many heard it by tape, no harm, since the tape was authorized by His Divine Grace as a practical matter. Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura gives those of us who heard gayatri directly from Srila Prabhupada some advise as well. We should not think we are finished and we do not need guru any longer since some of us think we have been appointed his successors. The legacy of the param para falls on all of Srila Prabhupada's sincere followers, and not just the list rubber stamped by GBC law and political appointment:
(1)The savarupa-jnaan or instrinisic knowledge concering the sadhaka (the practitioner), sadshana (the practice) and sadhya (the object of achievement) is non different from the svarupa of suddha bhakti. When such svarupa-jnana has not yet arisen within a sadhaka but the desire to cross over the ocean of material existence has come within him, then whatever symptoms of bhakti which are visible in him in that condition are merely bhakti -abahsa. This bhakti- abhasa transforms into sudha-=bhakti when one obtains svarup-jana. EVEN FOR VAISNAVAS WHO ARE DULY INITIATED INTO THE GENUINE SAMPRADAYA THE VASTU-PRABHA, OR ILLUMINATION OF ONE'S ETERNAL IDENTITY ARISING FROM THEIR DIKSA MANTRA WHICH THEY RECEIVED FROM THEIR DIKSA GURU WON'T APPEAR UNTIL THEY RECEIVE THIS SVARUPA-JNANA BY THE MERCY OF A SIKSA GURU. Due to ignorance of svarupa-jnana, svarupa siddha-bhakti remains covered and hence only bhakti- abhasa is visible. (Bhakti Tattva Viveka of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura p.48-49)
So how many of my godbrothers who are accepting disciples have done this prabhus? How many of them have been humble enough to find and accept an uttama adhikari siksa guru and continue their education. Not many. ISKCON law says if you do this (follow Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura) then you are excommunicated from ISKCON. Can any of my godbrothers offer me this jnana? Do they have it themselves? Can they give it to their disciples? Do they know the word meanings of the kama-gayatri mantra? Have they realized the shabdha of this mantra as an incarnation of Srimati Radharani? Do they have Krsna prema? If you ain't got it prabhus you can't give it. Insufficient guidance indeed. Everyone should stop cheating themselves, their disciples and the vaisnava community and actually follow guru, sadhu and shastra and not just give cheap lip service to the idea.
"The siksa from Srila Prabhupada's books is all you will ever need. You do not need living siksa guru." This is the GBC covered ritvik mentality. The ritviks think you don't need a living diksa guru and the GBC think you don't need a living siksa guru. They are both different sides of the same coin prabhus. A siksa guru is a threat to ISKCON. He will try to take over. He will try to kidnap my disciples. He will minimize Srila Prabhupada's importance in our hearts. Bubkis. All paranoid miskconception from attached so called god brother s calling themselves gurus who treat their fanatical disciples like chattel, and not jiva souls who need love, affection and the association of a fully self realized soul. Unfortunately ISKCON has become a society of the cheaters and the cheated.
""Unfortunately,in present day society in the name of sudha-bhakti various types of mixed devotion such as karma-misra (mixed with fruitive action), jnana-misra (mixed with speculative knowledge) and yoga-misra (mixed with various types of yoga processes) as well as various polluted and imaginary conceptions are spreading everywhere like germs of plague. People in general consider these polluted and mixed conceptions to be bhakti, respect them as such, and thus remain deprived of suddha-bhakti. These polluted and mixed concepts are our greatest enemies. Some people say that there is no value in bhakti, that God is imaginary sentiment only, that man has merely created the image of God in his imagination, and that bhakti is just a diseased state of consciousness which cannot benefit us in any ay.
These types of people, though opposed to bhakti, cannot do much harm to us because we can easily recognize them and avoid them. BUT THOSE WHO PROPAGATE THAT BHAGAVAD--BHAKTI IS THE HIGHEST DHARMA YET BEHAVE AGAINST THE PRINCIPLES OF SUDDHA-BHAKTI CAN BE ESPECIALLY HARMFUL TO US. IN THE NAME OF BHAKTI THEY INSTRUCT US AGAINST THE ACTUAL PRINCIPLES OF BHAKTI AND ULTIMATELY LEAD US ONTO A PATH WHICH IS TOTALLY OPPOSED TO BHAGVAD-BHAKTI. Therefore with great endeavor our previous acaryas have defined the savarupa or intrinsic nature of bhakti and have repeatedly cautioned us to keep ourselves away from polluted and mixed concepts. We shall deliberate on their instructions in sequence. They have compiled numerous literatuers to establish the svarupa of bhakti, and amongst them the Bhakti rasamrta-sindhu is the most beneficial. . ." (Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura's Bhakti Tattva Vivkea, p. 2-3)
One last point. The only reason that I have any understanding of any of these ideas is due to the mercy of my diska guru, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and my siksa guru, His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayan Maharaj, Srila Rupa Goswami and all the predecessor acaryas. They are not, have never been, and will never be juxtaposed to each other. They are all our ever well wishers and eternal guides on the path Back to Home. Cc. Adi lila clearly explains that diska and siksa guru are to be taken equally. No false distinctions hold water simply because my GBC so called guru godbrothers want to make them. Any really thoughtful aspiring devotee can read Srila Prabhupada's books, Srila Narayan Maharaj's books, and the books of all the other pure devotees in our line,and the predecessor acaryas (See Cc. Adi lila Ch. 5 text 203 purport) and get greater comprehension of guru tattva than by listening to the mental speculation and politics that come from official GBC documents, representatives and rhetoric.
Prabhus, just look at the result of trying to do without additional guidance from senior Vaisnavas, or ignoring it when it was offered over the last 22 years. We have a lovely GBC -ritvik war with no end in site. We have empty temples, neglected Deities, and ISKCON has become a dirty word in India in the Gaudiya Vaisnava community. In the west they have basis for comparison, but child abuse and other blatant contradictions are doing their best to discredit Srila Prabhupada's hard work to establish a real Vaisnava society.
Srila Narahari Sakara Thakura, the 4oth Branch of the Caitanya tree advises us in his book 'Sri Krsna Bhajanamrta" thus:
Verse 42 All Vaisnavas are considered as guru or spiritual master.[Originally published 01/22/99 on VNN]