Flaws of Iskcon’s “law book”

May 19, 2021 in Articles by Laksman dasa

Flaws of Iskcon’s “law book”

Hare Krsna, all glories to Srila Prabhupada, and all Vaishnavas.

A full pdf of this can be found here: https://ia600205.us.archive.org/15/items/IskconLawBook/IskconLawBook.pdfFull text link:  https://archive.org/stream/IskconLawBook/IskconLawBook_djvu.txt
This so-called law book tends to deviate a lot from the transcendental non-adulterated teachings of Srila Prabhupada and some of their nonsense rules and regulations contrary to the teachings will be shown below.
Before that, an excellent prediction by Srila Prabhupada is presented below just a few months prior to his physical departure.

Srila Prabhupada April 1977 prediction – “Not that you take the place of the guru. That is nonsense, very dangerous. Then everything will be spoiled. As soon as you become ambitious to take the place of guru—guruṣu nara-matiḥ . . . that is the material disease.  “
Key predictions:

  • This is our position. That is very easy for us. We haven’t got to manufacture. To manufacture idea is troublesome.
  • What our guru has said, that is our life and soul. We do not want . . .” āra nā kariha mane āśā. 
  • As soon as this poison will come—”Suppress guru and I become prominent”—everything finished. Spiritual life is finished.  Gauḍīya Maṭha finished, that . . . violated the orders of Guru Mahārāja.
  • Whatever little success is there for me, I did not manufacture any idea.
  • Our mission is to serve bhakta-viśeṣa and live with devotees.
  • Not that you take the place of the guru. That is nonsense, very dangerous. 
  • As soon as you become ambitious to take the place of guru—guruṣu nara-matiḥ . . .that is the material disease. 

Taken from :Conversation,Bombay, April 20, 1977

Now some deviations are presented below.
1.  Bogus laws regarding guru rejectionFor example, this law shown below from the book says that one must not reject a fallen guru even if he slightly or extensively deviates if there’s a rectification hope.Firstly, how can he be a guru if he is “fallen”?

“ When Not to Reject a Fallen Guru 
If a guru is engaged in sense gratification, violating one or more of the regulative principles, but there is hope that he can be rectified, then his disciples should not reject him but should allow time for such rectification to take place, and they should take shelter of Srila Prabhupāda and senior Vaisnavas as siksa gurus.”

Let’s understand what Srila Prabhupada states regarding such so called Gurus:
So Kṛṣṇa’s present by His words, by His representative. Why don’t you take? You have to take guru. Why do you go to the pseudo guru who will mislead you? Why don’t you take to the real guru? That is your mistake. Therefore you are now disappointed. Now you are in doubt whether guru is needed. Yes, guru is needed, but you go to the real guru. That is instruction in the Bhagavad-gītā. Just find out this verse:

tad viddhi praṇipātenaparipraśnena sevayāupadekṣyanti tad-jñānaṁjñāninas tattva-darśinaḥ(BG 4.34)

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: “Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized soul can impart knowledge unto you because he has seen the truth.”

Prabhupāda: So this is guru. What is that? One who has seen the truth.[Conversation B – New Vrindaban, USA, June 30, 1976]

Srila Prabhupada: If you want to learn about that, then you must find out a guru. What kind of guru? Just like Kapiladeva, Kṛṣṇa, or His representative. Not a bogus guru. Then you will be cheated. Andhā yathāndair upanīyamānāḥ (SB 7.5.31). The so-called rascal guru, he does not know also what is the aim of life, and if he makes some disciples, then śāstra says, andhā yathāndair upanīyamānāḥ: one blind man is trying to guide many other blind men. So what is the benefit? There is no benefit.

So if you want to be guided by somebody, he must have opened eyes. Tattva-darśinaḥ. Upadekṣyanti tad jñānaṁ tad jñānīnas tattva-darśinaḥ (BG 4.34). Darśi. Darśi means who has got eyes to see what is the Absolute Truth. Don’t go to a blind man, who has no knowledge about the Absolute Truth. The Absolute Truth is there, Kṛṣṇa. The sun is there, everyone can see. Sun is not hiding, but I am hiding. I am closing my door—how can I see sun? Come to the field, open to the sun, and you will see sun. There is sun, there is light. Similarly, God is there: Kṛṣṇa. You come to Kṛṣṇa, take His lesson from Bhagavad-gītā, you will learn what is God.
[Lecture SB 03.25.28 – Bombay-November 28,1974]
2.  Demonizing the “Ritvik System”Just to always promote their self appointed guru worship, they always try to put down those who accept Srila Prabhupada as eternal living spiritual master.

“ “Posthumous Rtvik” Doctrine
The doctrine that SriIa Prabhupada continues to initiate direct diksa disciples after his departure from this world through officiating priests (rtviks) is a dangerous philosophical deviation. It is totally prohibited in ISKCON. No devotee shall participate in such posthumous rtvik initiation ceremonies in any capacity including acting as rtvik, initiate, assistant, organizer, or financier. No ISKCON devotee shall advocate or support its practice.”

In the following letter, the word “prominent acarya” doesn’t limit itself to a living guru. The clouded thinking that only a guru who is physically present is fit to give initiation is simply based on the bodily concept of thinking.
If these people can believe that Krsna is present in his deity, then why can they not say that Srila Prabhupada is also present in his deity,books,instructions,letters,etc? Is this not like a half hen concept of “cutting this, taking this” which eventually degrades everything?
“Regarding parampara system: there is nothing to wonder for big gaps. Just like we belong to the Brahma Sampradaya, so we accept it from Krishna to Brahma, Brahma to Narada, Narada to Vyasadev, Vyasadev to Madhva, and between Vyasadev and Madhva there is a big gap. But it is sometimes said that Vyasadev is still living, and Madhva was fortunate enough to meet him directly. In a similar way, we find in the Bhagavad Gita that the Gita was taught to the sungod, some millions of years ago, but Krishna has mentioned only three names in this parampara system—namely, Vivaswan, Manu, and Ikswaku; and so these gaps do not hamper from understanding the parampara system. We have to pick up the prominent acharyas, and follow from him. There are many branches also from the parampara system, and it is not possible to record all the branches and sub-branches in the disciplic succession. We have to pick up from the authority of the acharya in whatever sampradaya we belong to.
Hoping you are all three well, and please keep me informed.” [12 April, 1968, Letter to Dayananda written from San Francisco]
Srila Prabhupada…”Yes. A spiritual master must have seen Kṛṣṇa. Without seeing, he cannot be spiritual master. But how Kṛṣṇa can be seen? Kṛṣṇa can be seen by love. Premāñjana-cchurita-bhakti-vilocanena [Bs. 5.38]. Premāñjana-cchurita-bhakti-vilocanena santaḥ sadaiva hṛdayeṣu vilokayanti. Just like if you are in love with somebody, you can see him constantly—he is always on your eyes, anyone you love—so similarly, Kṛṣṇa also can be seen by development of love. Otherwise how we can see Kṛṣṇa? He is so great, unlimited. Your eyes, your senses, are all limited. You cannot see the unlimited by your limited sense perception. But you can see… Not you can see, but svayam eva sphuraty adaḥ. When you are developed in the sense of love of Godhead, then He reveals unto you. Therefore you can see. “[Srila prabhupada’s Lecture : Bhagavad-gita 4.34-39 — Los Angeles, January 12, 1969]
“A bona fide spiritual master is in the disciplic succession from time eternal, and does not deviate at all from the instructions of the Supreme Lord…” (Bhagavad-gita As It Is, 4.42, Purport)
“The spiritual master is not the question of [‘living’ or ‘dead’]… The spiritual master is eternal–the spiritual master is eternal.” (Lecture, Oct. 2, 1968, Seattle, WA)

 — “I will never die. I shall live from my books, and you will utilize.” (Interview, July 16, 1975, Berkeley, CA)

— “Although a physical body is not present, the vibration should be accepted as the presence of the spiritual master. Vibration—what we have heard from the spiritual master—that is living.” (Lecture, Jan. 13, 1969, LA, CA)
 — “One should consider the Acharya to be as good as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In spite of these instructions, if one considers the spiritual master an ordinary human being, one is doomed. His study of the Vedas and his austerities and penances for enlightenment are useless, like the bathing of an elephant.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.15.26, Purport) 3. Allowing worship of “suspended gurus”

This is another example of a compromise by secretly allowing worship of their so called gurus even if fallen.

“ Guru Under Suspension Disciples Offering Obeisances 
While offering obeisances in a public place a disciple of a suspended guru should recite Srila Prabhupada’s pranama-mantra aloud and should chant the mantras to the suspended guru silently or not at all.”

  •  If a so-called spiritual master accepts a disciple for his personal benefit or for material gain, the relationship between the spiritual master and the disciple turns into a material affair, and the spiritual master becomes like a smārta-guru. 
  • There are many caste gosvāmīs who professionally create some disciples who do not care for them or their instructions. Such spiritual masters are satisfied simply to get some material benefits from their disciples. 
  • Such a relationship is condemned by Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, who calls such spiritual masters and disciples a society of cheaters and cheated. They are also called bāulas or prākṛta-sahajiyās. 
  • When one has attained the topmost position of mahā-bhāgavata, he is to be accepted as a guru and worshiped exactly like Hari, the Personality of Godhead. Only such a person is eligible to occupy the post of a guru.  [Sri Caitanya Caritamrita -1975 edition. Madhya lila 24.330]

4.  One can become an ISKCON guru if he hasn’t fallen down only for 5 years.

“6.2 Qualifications of Gurus Qualifications of Gurus in ISKCON in ISKCON 6.2.1Mandatory Qualifications
3. Must not have had a fall-down within five years. “

Let us read what Srila Prabhupada instructs:SB 10.4.20 Purport

“A person acting in the service of Krsna with his body, mind and words IS A LIBERATED PERSON, EVEN WITHIN THE MATERIAL WORLD.” (Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu 1.2.187) Therefore, one is forbidden to regard the guru as an ordinary human being (gurusu nara-matir. .. naraki sah). THE SPIRITUAL MASTER, OR ACARYA, IS ALWAYS SITUATED IN THE SPIRITUAL STATUS OF LIFE.

69-06-10. Letter: Mukunda

Your next question, whether the Spiritual Master was formerly a conditioned soul, ACTUALLY A BONAFIDE SPIRITUAL MASTER IS NEVER A CONDITIONED SOUL.

69-06-10. Letter: Mukunda

You are correct when you say that when the Spiritual Master speaks it should be taken that Krishna is speaking. That is a fact. A SPIRITUAL MASTER MUST BE LIBERATED.

Bg 4.42 P Transcendental Knowledge

A BONA FIDE SPIRITUAL MASTER IS IN THE DISCIPLIC SUCCESSION FROM TIME ETERNAL, AND HE DOES NOT DEVIATE AT ALL from the instructions of the Supreme Lord as they were imparted millions of years ago to the sun-god, from whom the instructions of Bhagavad-gita have come down to the earthly kingdom. One should, therefore, follow the path of Bhagavad-gita as it is expressed in the Gita itself and BEWARE OF SELF-INTERESTED PEOPLE AFTER PERSONAL AGGRANDIZEMENT WHO DEVIATE OTHERS FROM THE ACTUAL PATH.
There are more flaws that can be presented, but to keep the article in short, only a few main references are presented. 
This extensive endless compromise with philosophy thus degrades the entire mission that was established by Srila Prabhupada to save humanity from the darkness of the material world. But such compromised philosophies will not only have a complete negative effect, but will entangle both the so called spiritual masters and their disciples in continuous cycles of birth and death. 
Srila Prabhupada –  We can not make any compromise with anyone for cheap popularity.12-21-67 [handwritten]
518 Frederick Street, San Francisco. Calif 94117


My Dear Brahmananda,

Please accept my blessings. Your handwritten letter of 12/18/67 is a great pleasure. Your handwritten letter is more valuable than type written. Regarding Damodar’s plight, we are very sorry but we must always expect that some of the weak soldiers may fall down in a fight waged against the great Maya external energy of Krishna. The sex attraction is very great in the material world. But in the spiritual world it is different. From Srimad Bhagwatam we know that the opposite sex namely the female members of Vaikuntha are many many times more beautiful than they are in the heavenly planets. Their hips and attractive smiles cannot stimulate sex urge passion of the man or male devotees. In the Vaikuntha planets the opulence is very great and yet they are all engaged in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. It is very difficult to conquer over the influence of Maya, but who firmly fixed up in Krishna Consciousness cannot be a victim of Maya. Anyway, we cannot stop our fighting with Maya, neither we can expect that all our soldiers will remain unhurt. You know Arjuna’s son Abhimanya was killed in the battle in which Bhismadeva was a party. Fight Krishna’s cause sincerely and you will be gloried with victory. I was glad to hear from Gargamuni that you refused to set me in the N.Y. Times columns along with the other so called Swamis or yogis. We have a distinct position that we are neither cheated nor cheaters. We are the genuine representative of Krishna who is the friend of all living creatures. We must play our part independently only on faith in Krishna and His bonafide representatives.

Krishna was very kind to me when He sent you to me for cooperating. My hearty thanks for you when you write to say that “Krishna Consciousness is the full perfection of life”. Lord Chaitanya was eulogized by Rupa Goswami as the latter understood that Lord Chaitanya was there to distribute Krishna Consciousness. The only gift for the humanity at large. Lord Chaitanya wanted that the message should be distributed in every village and town of the globe. Let us do this service as far as possible in all seriousness. We can not make any compromise with anyone for cheap popularity.