Recently Krishna Kirti Dasa posted a paper entitled, “HH Hridayandanda Goswami, Krishna West, and Consequentialism” I will reply to his main points.
1. KK quotes me as follows, “Prabhupada emphatically taught that the Guru’s teachings are infallible because the Guru is simply repeating Shastra. Prabhupada made it very clear that a Guru is not infallible when not repeating Shastra.”
KK replies: “But if Srila Prabhupada is fallible in his own books, how could anything else he says in them be trusted?”
In fact my quote above gives Prabhupada’s own criteria for his statements. I suggest above not that we doubt everything Prabhupada says. I say exactly the opposite: we should take Prabhupada seriously when he sets self-limits. As we know, Jayadvaita Swami directly asked Prabhupada if a pure devotee knows everything, and Prabhupada insisted that only Krishna knows everything.
Thus KK ironically suggests that we accept all that Prabhupa says as true, even if to do so, we must reject as untrue the limits that Prabhupada places on his own statements.
2. When I state that devotees should encourage gay devotees to give up promiscuity in favor of disciplined monogamy, KK states: “…Srila Prabhupada…unequivocally condemned the very notion—even for the general public, what to speak of for his own devotees.”
In fact, Prabhupada often stated that Krishna consciousness is a gradual process for everyone. He encouraged everyone to gradually give up sense gratification. Prabhupada condemned intoxication but he stated that the alcoholic should try to see Krishna as the taste in wine.
3. KK states: “Maharaja not-so-subtly implies that Srila Prabhupada is speaking against shastra and hence has no authority.”
This statement contains two flaws:
a) I never said that Prabhupada speaks “against shastra.” Rather, in obedience to Prabhupada’s own rule, I accept as infallible a guru’s statement that is confirmed in shastra. Nothing Prabhupada said goes “against shastra.” When Prabhupada speaks on mundane history, his statements are not taken from shastra, but they are not “against shastra.”
b) Since I accept as infallible all Prabhupada’s statements that he classified as infallible, I clearly do not say that Prabhupada “has no authority,” as KK claims.
Conclusion: KK’s paper claims that I have “rendered Srila Prabhupada’s authority useless,” when in fact my views strictly follow Prabhupada’s own hermeneutical principles.
Although I continue to dedicate my life to Srila Prabhupada and his mission, KK claims that “Srila Prabhupada no longer has any standing in Maharaja’s view.”
KK claims that my project is “aimed at accommodating [my] deeply held, secular values on human sexuality, moral behavior…” In fact, Krishna West teaches that serious devotees must follow the four regulative principles. KK believes that his views are “spiritual”, and that those who disagree with him are “secular.” In fact, the Krishna West website does not say a word about “secular morality.”
KK attacks my “consequentialism” and yet I learned this view from Krishna Himself in various Shastras, as clearly documented in my paper on Vaishnava morality.
Those devotees who follow current events will easily recognize here a “Vaishnava” version of the extreme, fanatical conservatism that takes all other views as evil, irreligious, and apocalyptic.
With best wishes,
Hridayananda das Goswami