August 11, 2012 in Articles, Damaghosa Dasa, Dravinaksha Dasa, other Prabhupada anugas, Yasoda nandana Dasa by Nityananda Rama dasa

from Damaghosa dasa, Yasoda nandana dasa,  Dravinaksha dasa and other Prabhupada anugas
Srila Prabhupada re Acarya may make little changes.
They are mahājanas. So we have to follow Prahlāda Mahārāja. He is our guru, pūrva-ācārya. Nārada is pūrva-ācārya.He is disciple of Nārada. Therefore he is ācārya, and his disciplic succession… There are sampradāyas: Brahma-sampradāya, Kaumāra-sampradāya… Anyone who is bona fide ācārya, he can create his own disciplic succession, but one disciplic succession and the other disciplic—they are not different. They are of the same conclusion. The Vaiṣṇava ācāryas, just like our Rāmānujācārya, Madhvācārya, and Nimbārka, and who that? Rudra-sampradāya?Viṣṇu Svāmī. They are all of the same movement. Ārādhyo-bhagavān vrajeśa-tanayaḥ, kṛṣṇas tu bhagavān svayam [SB 1.3.28].That is their conclusion. There is no different conclusion. Although they have got varieties of methods—śuddhādvaita, dvaitādvaita, vaśiṣṭādvaita, like that—they present the same philosophy in clear way. And Caitanya Mahāprabhu presented the same philosophy, that acintya-bhedābheda. That is ācārya. Ācārya gives some way for simple understanding. The same conclusion, but according to the time, circumstances, they give a very easy method to understand. That is ācārya.Ācārya is following strictly the previous ācārya, but according to the circumstances, he may make little changes. That is… That change is not change from the original idea. No.
Lectures : Srimad-Bhagavatam Lectures : Canto 7: Lectures : SB 7.9: Lectures : Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.9.12 — Mayapur, February 19, 1976
Sp re the ācārya knows how to adjust things, at the same time keep pace with the spiritual interest(?)
Lectures : Srimad-Bhagavatam Lectures : Canto 1: Lectures : SB 1.1: Lectures : Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.1.9 — Auckland, February 20, 1973 : 730220sb.auc :
Prabhupāda: But the directions should be taken from scriptures. But there are many scriptures. So ācārya means, just like Gosvāmīs, they would read all the scriptures and take the essence of it and give it to his disciples that, “You act like this.” Because he knows what to give, how to manipulate, so that his ekāntataḥśreyas will be achieved. Ultimate goal. That is ācārya. Therefore the ācārya knows how to adjust things, at the same time keep pace with the spiritual interest(?). It is not that the same thing to be applied everywhere. He is eager to engage actually the people in the real benefit of life, but the means may be different. Just like my Guru Mahārāja. He is the first time that he allowed the sannyāsīs to drive in a motorcar. A sannyāsī never drives in a motorcar, you see? But not for sense gratification. Suppose we are going by aeroplane. A sannyāsīshould walk. The Jain sannyāsīs they never ride on a car, you know that. You know that. They will never ride on a car. But now they are also riding. But suppose we are preaching now. I came from India. If I were to say, “I am a sannyāsī, I will not ride in a car or aeroplane, I must walk.” Then what kind of preaching there would have been? You see? So therefore it depends on the ācārya how to adjust things. So, my Guru Mahārāja, “Alright go on preaching on a motorcar, it doesn’t matter.” These Gosvāmīs, they went to Vṛndāvana, severest type of austerities. They used to life underneath a tree. Now if in this age I advise you that you also live underneath a tree, then it will be difficult to preach. You see? Nobody is accustomed in that way, such severe type of austerity. They must be given, as far as possible, comfortable accommodation otherwise they will not come. They will not take. Now this…. This is adjustment. The ācārya knows how to adjust things. The real purpose is how one will take to spiritual consciousness, or Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Keeping one’s aim to that point some concession may be given. As far as possible, keeping pace with the time, circumstances. Then? “The sages, therefore, inquired…” Huh.
Lectures : Srimad-Bhagavatam Lectures : Canto 1: Lectures : SB 1.1: Lectures : Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.1.9 — Auckland, February 20, 1973 : 730220sb.auc
Srila Prabhupada re   Vaiṣṇava who is preaching, it may be in a different way, according to time and place and the party—they have to change something, deśa-kāla-pātra—but we have to see the essence.
So misunderstanding of God… There is no misunderstanding of the authorities. The misunderstanding, the common man… Just like in Australia, when I spoke, there was no misunderstanding. There was agreement by the priests and myself. There was complete agreement. (aside:) You were with me? Or… No. You were not. They, after hearing my lecture for one hour, they agreed and clapped for ten minutes. So there cannot be any misun… Those who are actually… They questioned, “What is your opinion of Lord Jesus Christ?” and I said, “He preached God consciousness. He’s our guru. Anyone who preaches the message of God, he is guru.” So they very much appreciated, and actually it is so. Vaiṣṇava who is preaching, it may be in a different way, according to time and place and the party—they have to change something, deśa-kāla-pātra—but we have to see the essence. Wherever there is God consciousness, wherever is there understanding.
Lectures : Srimad-Bhagavatam Lectures : Canto 1: Lectures : SB 1.8: Lectures : Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.8.28 — Mayapura, October 8, 1974
Position of the pure devotee acarya, acarya is a good as Krsna
– One should never be envious of the acarya
– For preaching work, acarya may do something which is not consistent.
– Acarya may sometimes transgress the law
– Vaishnava acarya’s activities are not understood even by the wisest man
– Acarya has finished all business of material satisfaction
“…But in devotion, there is no karma-bandha. As Kṛṣṇa is free from all reaction, similarly Kṛṣṇa’s devotee who wants to satisfy Kṛṣṇa only, he is also free from all reaction. Therefore Kṛṣṇa says, ācārya vijānīyān nāva-manyeta karhicit [SB 11.17.27]. “The ācārya is as good as I am,” Kṛṣṇa says. Nāva-manyeta karhicit, “Never neglect him.” Na martya-buddhyāsūyeta,“Never be envious of the ācārya, thinking him as anything of this material world.Ācārya vijānīyān[SB 11.17.27]. Therefore, ācārya’s position is as good as Kṛṣṇa. Sākād-dharitvena samasta-śāstrair **. Ācārya is always cautious that he may not be subject to criticism. But who criticizes ācārya,he becomes immediately offender. Because he is playing the part of ācārya,he plays as far as possible. But sometimes for preaching work, he might have to do something which is not consistent. But if he is criticized, then that man who criticizes, he becomes... Of course, he must be ācārya, not a bogus. Ordinary man cannot transgress the laws, but Kṛṣṇa and His representative, ācārya, might be sometimes seen that he has transgressed. Therefore Kṛṣṇa says, ācārya vijānīyān[SB 11.17.27]. Vaiṣṇavera kriyā, mudrā vijñeha nā bujhaya. In the Caitanya-caritāmta, Vaiṣṇava ācārya, his activities is not understood even by the wisest man. Vaiṣṇavera kriyā, mudrā vijñeha nā bujhaya. Brahmay upaśamāśrayam. Ācārya, guru, he is completely surrendered to Kṛṣṇa. He has taken the shelter of Kṛṣṇa, being completely freed from all material affection. Brahmay upaśamāśrayam. Everything… Everyone has got some material desire to fulfill, but a guru or ācārya has no such business. That is the symptom of ācārya. He has no more any material business.Brahmay upaśamāśrayam. He has finished all business of material satisfaction. That is the symptom of ācārya. And śābde pare ca niṣṇātam. And he has taken full bath in the ocean of transcendental (indistinct). Śābde pare ca niṣṇāta brahmay upaśamāśrayam. Tasmād guru prapadyeta [SB 11.3.21], one should surrender to such spiritual master. Jijñāsu śreya uttamam,when he is actually serious about inquiring the transcendental subject matter. Otherwise there is no need of accepting guru or ācārya. He has no business. If one is not interested in the transcendental subject matter…”    Conversations : 1972 Conversations : March, 1972 : Room Conversation with John Griesser (later initiated as Yadubara Dasa) — March 10, 1972, Vrndavana
From: Date: Fri, 19 Oct 2007 14:40:14 EDT Subject: Direct instruction more important than book instruction To:
750327rc.may               Conversations                376438/530501 Atreya Rsi: …I am degraded. “Very seriously, or may be given to me from time to time directly, these directions, by my aforesaid Guru Maharaja, or through his books, or…” In other words, direction given, instruction given, directly by him or through his… Prabhupada: Better directly. Atreya Rsi: No “His books”? Prabhupada: No. Atreya Rsi: Not necessary. Prabhupada: Because I may give direction according to the time. Atreya Rsi: “Or” means both. Prabhupada: Hm? Atreya Rsi: “Or” can mean… All right. “Or through his commissioners…”(?) Prabhupada: Direct, direct instruction is important. Just like Krsna. In the books He has given many instructions, but then He says, sarva-dharman parityaja. If one says that “You gave me instruction before like this. How can I give up this?” so that is not important. The direct instruction is important.
This conversation with Srila Prabhupada and the GBCshows us how important he considered his Direct Instruction over his book instructions. Therefore his last instructions to us are more important than ALL previous ones. He said to appoint ritvik priests and never rescinded this order. Therefore it stands for as long as iskcon does.
Guru must be authorized by the bona fide Guru.Self-made guru cannot be guru. He must be authorized by the bona fide guru. Then he’s guru. This is the fact…Similarly, bona fide guru meanshe must be authorized by the superior guru.” (SP NOD Lecture, October 31. 1972)
Guru must be authorized by his predecessor spiritual master. “One should take initiation from a bona fide spiritual master coming in the disciplic succession, who isauthorised by his predecessor spiritual master. This is called diksa-vidhana.” (S.B. 4.8.54, purport)
Srila Prabhupada explains how he became the leader of the KC movement. Guru must be ordered by His guru. “Indian man: When did you become spiritual the leader of Krsna Consciousness? Srila Prabhupada: What is that? Brahmananda: He is asking when did you become the spiritual leader of Krsna Consciousness? Srila Prabhupada:When my Guru Maharaja ordered me. This is the guru parampara. Indian man: Did it… Srila Prabhupada: Try to understand. Don’t go very speedily. A guru can become guru when he is ordered by his guru. That’s all. Otherwise nobody can become guru. ”     (SP Bg. Lecture, 28/10/75
The Supreme Personality of=20 Godhead said to the brahmana: I am completely under the control of My devote=s. Indeed, I am not at all independent. Because My devotees are completely devo=d of material desires, I sit only within the cores of their hearts. What to sp=ak of My devotee, even those who are devotees of My devotee are very dear to Me.
PURPORT All the great stalwart personalities in the universe, including Lord Brahma and Lord Siva, are fully under the control of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but the Supreme Personality of Godhead is fully under the control of His devotee. Why is this? Because the devotee is anyabhilasita-sunya; in other words, he has no material desires in his heart. His only desire is to think always of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and how to serve Him best. Because of this transcendental qualification, the Supreme Lord is extremely favorable to the devotees—indeed, not only the devotees, but also the devotees of the devotees. Srila Narottama dasa Thakura says, chadiya vaisnava-seva nistara payeche keba: without being a devotee of a devotee, one cannot be released from material entanglement. Therefore Caitanya Mahaprabhu identified Himself as gopi-bhartuh pada-kamalayor dasa-dasanudasah. Thus he instructed us to become not directly servants of Krsna but servants of the servant of Krsna. Devotees like Brahma, Narada, Vyasadeva and Sukadeva Gosvami are directly servants of Krsna, and one who becomes a servant of Narada, Vyasadeva and Sukadeva, like the six Gosvamis, is still more devoted. Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura therefore says, yasya prasadad bhagavat-prasadah: ** if one very sincerely serves the spiritual master, Krsna certainly become favorable to such a devotee.FOLLOWING THE INSTRUCTIONS OF A DEVOTEE IS MORE VALUABLE THAN FOLLOWING THE INSTRUCTIONS OF THE SUPREME PERSONALITY OF GODHEAD DIRECTLY.
SB 9/4/63 TEXT 63
Nalinī-kānta:Whatever the spiritual master says, that is also perfect?
Prabhupāda:Yes. Because he says nothing concocted. Whatever he says, he says from śāstra, and guru Conversations : 1975 Conversations : April, 1975 : Morning Walk — April 8, 1975, Mayapur.

Bringing prior instructions given by Prabhupada to contradict a later direct order – such as the letter of July 9, 1977, the formal directive designating ritvik representatives – is crazy,insanity,madness.

SRILA PRABHUPADA: “I may say many things to you, but when I say something directly, “Do it”, your first duty is to do that. You cannot argue, “Sir, you said me like this before.” No, that is not your duty. What I say now, you do it. That is obedience. If the captain of the ship says “Five degrees starboard” and the first mate replies, “But captain, before you told me‘Ten degrees port’,” then it can be understood that the first mate has gone insane.” — lecture by Srila Prabhupada on the Srimad-Bhagavatam, Hyderabad, India, April 15, 1975” <> To:; Sent: Thursday, August 9, 2012 7:35 AM Subject: Fwd: pass it on!

Date: Wed, 8 Aug 2012 17:52:30 -0400 Subject: A nice post from “Mathius Sabji” on Facebook From: To:
Every acarya has a specific means of propagating his spiritual movement with the aim of bringing men to Krishna consciousness. Therefore, the method of one acarya may be different from that of another, but the ultimate goal is never neglected.”
( Caitanya-caritamrta purports Adi 7.37)
Except for God, no one can establish the principles of religion. Either He or a suitable person empowered by Him can dictate the codes of religion.”
(purport, Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.3.43)
Myth: “It cannot be the case that Srila Prabhupada intended to operate a representational system of initiation within ISKCON, in which he remained the diksa guru indefinitely, since it goes completely against tradition.”
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, “Both the Supreme Personality of Godhead and My spiritual master, Isvara Puri, are completely independent. Therefore neither the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead nor that of Isvara Puri is subject to any Vedic rules or regulations.”
(CC Madhya 10.137)
BUSTED: Srila Prabhupada most certainly did set up a representative of acarya system, even the GBC admit as much, and there is no evidence he ever ordered it to stop. Srila Prabhupada never taught that a disciple can stop following one of his orders just because he thinks it may not be ‘traditional’. In relation to the Spiritual Master, the ‘tradition’ we follow is to accept him as Krishna’s representative and then do whatever he says:
According to the Vaisnava tradition, we arrive at the truth through the guru, the spiritual master, who is accepted as the representative of the Absolute Truth, the Personality of Godhead.”
(TQE = The Quest for Enlightenment 6)
Disciple means there is no argument. Whatever the guru will say, you have to accept. That is disciple. That is final. There is no argument.”
(Srila Prabhupada conversation 28.6.76)
By definition, such orders from the bona fide guru are always in
accordance with sastric (scriptural) injunctions, though not necessarily with the traditional way in which such injunctions have been exemplified or practised previously.
Therefore it is quite ‘traditional’ to follow the representative of
acarya ( ritvik-priest) and siksa-guru system since this is what Srila
Prabhupada ordered us to do:
Now you have got a very good field. Now organize it and it will be a great credit. No one will disturb you there. Make your own field and continue to be ritvik and act on my behalf.”
(Srila Prabhupada to Hansadutta, July 31st, 1977, Vrindaban)
“The GBC should all be the instructor(siksa)gurus. I am the initiator (diksa) guru, and you should be the instructor guru by teaching what I am teaching and doing what I am doing. This is not a title, but you must actually come to this platform. This I want.”
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, August 4th, 1975)
Following initiation, it is accepted that the diksa Guru may also not be physically present:
Sometimes a diksa-guru is not present always. Therefore one can take learning, instruction, from an advanced devotee. That is called the siksa-guru.”
(SP Lecture, 4/7/74)
Representative of acarya system is not in sastra ?? NO!! It is in sastra! Here:
It is argued that before initiation can be granted to a prospective disciple, the Guru must be physically present on the planet so that he can personally meet the disciple and examine him. Indeed, this is the traditional method, whereby the Guru and disciple would associate for an extended period, so they could check each other’s qualifications.
However, in ISKCON the system for fulfilling this requirement was
different, as explained by Srila Prabhupada below:
Similarly, a disciple’s qualifications must be observed by the spiritual master before he is accepted as a disciple. In our Krsna consciousness movement, the requirement is that one must be prepared to give up the four pillars of sinful life-illicit sex, meat-eating, intoxication and gambling. In Western countries especially, we first observe whether a potential disciple is prepared to follow the regulative principles. Then he is given the name of a Vaisnava servant and initiated to chant the Hare Krsna maha-mantra, at least sixteen rounds daily. In this way the disciple renders devotional service under the guidance of the spiritual master OR his—-representative—( RITVIK-PRIEST)-for at least six months to a year.”
(Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya lila, 24:330, purport)
This observation, as Srila Prabhupada states above, was to see if the prospective disciple was following the 4 regulative principles, and as Srila Prabhupada states this observation could be done either by Srila Prabhupada or his representative. In practise, this observation was carried out almost exclusively by his representative ( ritviks), the Temple President, and indeed this was the standard system in ISKCON right from the early days of the movement.
Somebody would join a temple, a few months later the Temple President would send a recommendation for initiation, and the devotee would be initiated via the mail, having never met Srila Prabhupada.
And of course this has been the case in practise also, since none of
Srila Prabhupada’s disciples have had his personal association for the last 35 years, and many of them never met him at all even when Srila Prabhupada was physically present on the planet.
NOTE: Ritvik-Representative of acarya-system are Sastra confirmed but our Iskcon GBC rubber stamped GBC 2/3 hand-vote in guru system is NOT!
The word “ritvik” (meaning “priest”) and its derivatives actually have 31 separate references in Srila Prabhupada’s books, only slightly less than the word “diksa” and its derivatives, which has 41 separate references in Srila Prabhupada books. Certainly, the use of ritvik priests to assist in ceremonies is a concept fully sanctioned in Srila Prabhupada’s books:
Ritvik :
4.6.1 / 4.7.16 / 5.3.2 / 5.3.3 / 5.4.17 / 7.3.30 / 8.20.22 / 9.1.15 .
Rtvijah :
4.5.7 / 4.5.18 / 4.7.27 / 4.7.45 / 4.13.26 / 4.19.27 / 4.19.29 / 5.3.4 / 5.3.15 / 5.3.18 / 5.7.5 / 8.16.53 / 8.18.21 /8.18.22 / 9.4.23 / 9.6.35
Rtvijam :
4.6.52 / 4.21.5 / 8.23.13 / 9.13.1 .
Rtvigbhyah :
8.16.55 .
Rtvigbhih :
4.7.56 / 9.13.3 .
(all these references are from the Srimad-Bhagavatam)
Although spiritual principles were covered extensively by Srila
Prabhupada in his books, the specifics concerning those principles would often not be given (for example in the area of Deity worship). These specific details would usually be communicated by other means such as letters, and practical demonstration. Thus, one needs to distinguish between the principle of diksa or initiation, and the details of its formalisation. Srila Prabhupada never defined diksa in terms of any ritualistic ceremony, but as the receipt of transcendental knowledge that leads to liberation:
In other words, the spiritual master awakens the sleeping living entity to his original consciousness so that he can worship Lord Visnu. This is the purpose of diksa, or initiation. Initiation means receiving the pure knowledge of spiritual consciousness.”
(C.c. Madhya, 9.61, purport)
Diksa actually means initiating a disciple with transcendental
knowledge by which he becomes freed from all material contamination.”
(C.c. Madhya, 4.111, purport)
In addition to ISKCON’s current guru system not having any order from Srila Prabhupada to justify its existence, the GBC’s official “brain”, the “Sastric Advisory Council” (SAC), has said that the process by which it does authorise gurus, via voting them in, is not based on “guru, sadhu and sastra”:
“Our present system has institutionalized a process of senior devotees voting or offering no-objection to prospective gurus. But we do not find that this institutionalized blessingseeking process is mentioned by guru, sadhu or sastra as the way that one is authorized to become a guru.”
(Balancing the roles of the GBC and the disciple in Guru selection, SAC)
We see…..ritviks are authorized in Sastra and from guru like Srila Prabhupada ,But we do not find that this institutionalized rubber stamped GBC 2/3 hand-vote in bogus gurusystem is authorized by sastra ,Guru or sadhu !
Opponents of the representative of acarya ( ritvik-system) and
siksa-guru system need to show which specific sastric injunction ritvik violates, not simply mutter the word ‘tradition’ as though it
encapsulated some sort of profound argument.
2) MYTH:But such a ritvik system has never been used before.
BUSTED: Anyone making this assertion is simply bluffing, since they cannot possibly know what every single Acarya in every single previous age has done. Even if they did it would still be an irrelevant argument since nowhere did Srila Prabhupada say an Acarya cannot change various formalities and details according to time, place and circumstance, indeed he taught the very opposite with specific reference to initiation:
“Srimad Viraraghava Acarya, an acarya in the disciplic succession of the Ramanuja-sampradaya, has remarked in his commentary that candelas (people of low birth), or conditioned souls who are born in lower than sudra families, can also be initiated according to circumstances. The formalities may be slightly changed here and there to make them Vaisnavas.”
(Srimad Bhagavatam 4.8.54 purport)
The use of priests to perform formal initiations in the physical absence of a guru is certainly nothing more that a change of ‘formality’. The onus is on those who insist it is a change of principle to state what that principle is and where it is stated by Srila Prabhupada.
Similarly the following quote shows, that since every acarya may employ different specific methods to bring persons to Krishna consciousness, there cannot be a set tradition that every acarya must adhere to:
“Every acarya has a specific means of propagating his spiritual movement with the aim of bringing men to Krsna consciousness. Therefore, the method of one acarya may be different from that of another, but the ultimate goal is never neglected.
(Caitanya Caritamrta, Adi 7:37)
3) MYTH: We follow historical precedent, and therefore since we have no evidence that it has been done, we cannot do it.
BUSTED: Everyone agrees that Srila Prabhupada set up a representative or ritvik acarya system to be operated prior to his departure, yet this system was also completely unique so far as we know. So by this logic the system should never have been implemented at all since it is not mentioned previously; yet even the GBC accept that Srila Prabhupada implemented it.
There is no historical precedent for a disciple to reject an order of
his guru purely on the basis that it has no historical precedent,
therefore the whole argument suffers from self-referential incoherence.
4)Myth :The Acarya always follows past tradition in all respects and never deviates from it.
BUSTED: Srila Prabhupada never taught this axiom in any of his books, nor did he follow it since he did many things that were not traditional (such as give gayatri mantra by magnetic tape, setting up a ritvik system, only 16 Rounds chanting on beats (64) etc.)
The very introduction of formal initiation ceremonies within our disciplic succession was an innovation introduced only relatively recently by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati. Srila Prabhupada never said that we should reject Srila Bhaktisiddhanta just because he broke with tradition.
By this logic Acaryas could only do and say exactly what had been done and said before. Clearly this is ludicrous.
To even sensibly discuss this ‘tradition’ argument one would first need to do a comparative study showing exactly what initiation system all previous world acaryas, who appeared just after the Golden Avatar in previous kali-yugas during the mini-golden age, left in place for their missions just prior to their departure. Yet we have no authorised information to even begin such a study.
No. Tradition, religion, they are all material. They are also all designation.”
(Srila Prabhupada conversation 13.3.75)
Our only tradition is how to satisfy Vishnu.”
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture 30.7.73)
However, as soon as Srila Prabhupada departed the GBC immediately exceeded their brief, kicked Srila Prabhupada out from his position as diksa-Guru, and became diksa-gurus themselves instead siksa-gurus and representative of acarya. Here we see some instructions from Srila Prabhupada prophetically warning of these deviant tendencies in the GBC.
The GBC should all be the instructor( siksa ) gurus. I am the initiator (diksa) guru, and you should be the instructor guru by teaching what I am teaching and doing what I am doing. This is not a title, but you must actually come to this platform. This I want.”
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, August 4th, 1975)
GBC dictatorship condemned
GBC members are simply to see that things are going on. Other centers have got president, secretary, etc. and they are managing separately. That is the formula. So how is it that the GBC are the final authority? They are simply to examine that things are going on nicely, that is all.”
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, July 9th, 1971)
If Srila Prabhupada is shaktavesha avatar (which we do recognize that he factually is), he can do anything, and it becomes LAW. Because the fully liberated soul is always in touch with Krishna, whatever he does or says is shastra, law, absolute, non-different from Krishna. Because we do not understand does not mean it is incorrect.
Many things were never done before. Ramanujacharya engaged dacoits for collection, then had them killed. Madhvacharya pummeled his opponents. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu sang and danced in public-never done before by sannyasis. Buddha rejected the Vedas. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Prabhupada created a GBC to manage his preaching mission, leaving no successor acharya, as was traditionally done. Srila Prabhupada made the same arrangement. In both instances, the order was disobeyed, and in both instances the result was the same-chaos, confusion and disintegration of the Acharya’s mission. Great acharyas like Srila Prabhupada do establish the principles of religion according to time, place and circumstances.
GBC does not mean to control a center. GBC means to see that the activities of a center go on nicely. I do not know why Tamala is exercising his absolute authority. That is not the business of GBC. [.] GBC is to see that things are going nicely but not to exert absolute authority. That is not in the power of GBC. Tamala should not do like that [.] A GBC member cannot go beyond the jurisdiction of his power.”
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, August 12th, 1971)
Hansaduta Prabhu wrote this:
In Ravindra Svarupa’s “Cleaning House and Cleaning Hearts, Reform and Renewal in ISKCON,” he admits that both Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur and Srila Prabhupada broke the Vedic tradition of appointing a successor acharya to take charge of their missions after their disappearance in favour of a modern institution of management known as the GBC (Governing Body Commission), a term and concept borrowed directly from the British management of the Indian railway system.
Ravindra writes, “With its corporate form of organization, ISKCON thus represents a modernization of a religious tradition.” Ravindra then writes:
Upon the demise of his predecessor, the successor acharya would take the seat at the head of the institute. That successor acharya would be ritually elevated over all other disciples of his guru (his god-brothers), and all of them would bring new members to him for initiation.
ISKCON, however, represents a departure from this archaic form of organization. Srila Prabhupada repeatedly stressed his intention that ISKCON would not, after his departure, be managed by a single acharya, but rather by the board of directors, the Governing Body Commission that he formed and began to train in 1970. Srila Prabhupada’s intention and his departure from the tradition of the institutional acharya is shown in a striking way in his will.
Traditionally, it was in the first article of his will that an acharya named his successor, passing on his institution to his heir, as if it were his personal property. The first article of Srila
Prabhupada’s will reads: “The Governing Body Commission (GBC) will be the ultimate managing authority for the entire International Society for Krishna Consciousness.”
Ravindra next writes the various suggestions and proposals for “Guru Reform” made in 1986. By that time it had become abundantly clear that the guru-acharyas and GBCs simply could not resolve the two conflicting concepts of absolute authority to which each felt they were entitled.
The GBC, as ultimate managing authority of ISKCON, felt they should be the authority, and the guru-acharyas felt they were the absolute, divine authorities over not only their own disciples, but even over the god-brothers, including the GBC. The institution was disintegrating over the clash of absolute power each group claimed as its right.
Ravindra writes:
It was my conviction that we could retain in ISKCON the full-fledged position of guru as delineated by the scriptures, a position that did not essentially involve being the autonomous, autocratic head of an institution, did not essentially disallow discussion, consultation, revision and adjustment and did not forbid collegial decision-making as a kind of lese majeste.
Does anyone know what lese majeste means? My guess is it means “to have your cake and eat it too.” I’m open for reader response.
The zonal acharya position had asserted it was intrinsic to the position of guru to be absolute, and it professed that the gurus would voluntarily sacrifice that position for the sake of the movement. This implied that by working with a GBC the gurus were doing something unnatural or artificial, and of course their “voluntary sacrifice” seemed increasingly pro forma. To counter this conception of the guru I argued that there was a significant way in which it was essential for the bona fide guru to be relative. After all, that there was a significant way in which it was the essential qualifying characteristic of a guru is that he strictly follow the order of Srila Prabhupada, who had decreed that all of us must serve co-operatively under the authority of the GBC. Accepting the authority of the GBC board was not a voluntary
option. Because it was Srila Prabhupada’s order, it was necessary to guru-hood itself.
What is guru-hood? Is it something like Robin Hood? Steal from the rich and give to the poor? Reader response requested. Help!
If Srila Prabhupada broke the traditional arrangement of appointing a successor acharya (as Ravindra Svarupa Prabhu has so clearly pointed out) by establishing a board of management (GBC) as the ultimate management authority of ISKCON, then it just stands to reason and is plain common sense that Srila Prabhupada would not create a competitive authority to clash with his ultimate managerial authority, the GBC, by appointing eleven guru-acharyas. If he did not want a single acharya, why would he appoint eleven acharyas? Rather, he again broke with tradition and appointed eleven rittvik representatives of the Acharya, who would continue initiating new disciples after his departure under
the authority of the GBC (ultimate managing authority of ISKCON), just as they did for years in the presence of Srila Prabhupada and the GBC.
Instead of accepting this completely self-evident, logical and authorized arrangement, Ravindra Svarupa Prabhu and other ambitious devotees continue to juggle words like “reform” and “renewal” in an attempt to maintain their mistakenly assumed postures and prestigious titles of “guru-hood”.
In other words, the fact that Srila Prabhupada so strongly stressed the GBC as the ultimate managing authority of ISKCON proves that Srila Prabhupada intended his rittvik arrangement to continue functioning after his departure exactly as it functioned so successfully under himself and the GBC while he was present.
This formula-Srila Prabhupada as the Sampradaya Acharya, the GBC as the ultimate managing authority of ISKCON and the rittvik representatives as initiators on behalf of Srila Prabhupada (Sampradaya Acharya)-is clear and perfect. It can be confusing only to those who have mistakenly assumed that after Srila Prabhupada’s disappearance ISKCON leaders must automatically become guru-acharyas in imitation of Srila Prabhupada (which is exactly what happened). Seventeen years later, everyone admits that this assumption was a colossal mistake. Instead of seeing the simple truth in Srila Prabhupada’s personal letter of July 9th, 1977,
wherein he appoints eleven rittviks to initiate on his behalf, Ravindra Svarupa et al are still trying to find a way to “have their cake and eat it too”.
Ravindra Svarupa plainly admits Srila Prabhupada departed from the Vedic tradition. Why not simply surrender to the order of the spiritual master and stop all this wrangling, speculation, reform and renewal, which aims at nothing more than maintaining the mistakenly assumed posture of guru-acharya by men whom Srila Prabhupada authorized to act as rittvik acharyas? The Vedic tradition is created by the acharyas, and therefore
Srila Prabhupada’s (the Sampradaya Acharya’s) arrangement for the GBC to act as head of the institution and consequently rittvik representatives of the Acharya for continuing the disciplic succession is perfectly in keeping with Vedic tradition. It is the acharyas who set the precedents which become the tradition, or it is the acharya who creates the Sampradaya; not the Sampradaya which creates the acharya. Just as the king creates the kingdom; not the kingdom creates the king. And the king can do no wrong.
The conclusion is if we accept Srila Prabhupada as the Sampradaya Acharya, pure devotee, shakti-avesa avatar and his writings as the law books for the next 10,000 years, then we should have no difficulty in accepting his arrangement of ritvik representatives, initiating on behalf of the Acharya, Srila Prabhupada !!
“Actually Prabhupada never appointed any gurus, he appointed eleven ritviks. He never appointed them gurus. Myself and the other GBC have done the greatest disservice to this movement for the last three years because we interpreted the appointment of ritviks as the appointment of gurus. […] Srila Prabhupada said: ‘All right. I will appoint so many …’ and he started to name them. He made it very clear that they are his disciples. At that point it was very clear in my mind that he were his disciples. […] You cannot show me anything on tape or in writing were Prabhupada says: ‘I appoint these eleven as gurus’ it does not exist. Because he never appointed any gurus. This a myth.
(Tamala Krishna Goswami: Pyramid House Confession December 3rd 1980)
Referring to the letter to Tusta Krishna quoted above where the “law” is mentioned, Jayadvaita Swami states:
“I accept that this quotation doesn’t “prove” that a departed acarya can’t initiate. I never said that it does.”
(Jayadvaita Swami, 4th June, 2004)
Previous acaryas have remained current for long periods of time, thousands (Srila Vyasadeva) or even millions of years. We see no reason why the duration of Srila Prabhupada’s reign as “current link”, even if it extends right till the end of the Sankirtan Movement, should pose any particular problem.
Regarding parampara system: there is nothing to wonder for big gaps […] 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, Vivasvan, Manu, and Iksvaku; and so these gaps do not hamper from understanding the parampara system. We have to pick up the prominent acaryas, and follow from him […] We have to pick up from the authority of the acarya in whatever sampradaya we belong to.”
(Srila Prabhupada Letter to Dayananda, 12/4/68)
The July 9th order is significant since it means that Srila Prabhupada shall be the prominent acarya, at least for members of ISKCON, for as long as the Society exists. Only the direct intervention of Srila Prabhupada or Krishna can revoke the final order (such intervention needing to be at least as clear and unequivocal as a signed directive sent to the entire Society). Thus until some counter-instruction is given, the science of devotional service shall continue to be transmitted directly by Srila Prabhupada to successive generations of his disciples. Since this is a common phenomenon in our disciplic succession, there is no cause for alarm. The succession can only be considered “ended” if this science of devotional service is lost. On such occasions, Lord Krishna Himself usually descends to re-establish the principles of religion. As long as Srila Prabhupada’s books are in circulation, this “science” shall remain vigorously intact, and perfectly accessi ble.
“Prescription Takes Precedence Over Book Knowledge I am aware of the fact that devotees will bring so many quotations from Srila Prabhupada’s books to support conclusions contrary to the rittvik representative system prescribed by Srila Prabhupada in the July 9, 1977 letter.
To such devotees we must point out that Prabhupada’s books are the standard books for everyone in the Brahma Gaudiya Sampradaya, just as the law books or medical books are standard books in their field. Still, when the judge hands down a judgment or the physician writes a specific prescription for the patient, that takes precedence over the book knowledge. Although Prabhupada wrote so many books, his prescription for his immature disciples in the last days was “Act as rittvik representative of the ACHARYA, DEPUTIES and MONITOR of the ACHARYA.”
Having run the full course of this race, this point is very clear by realisation born of the fire of ordeal. I am not philosophising these are my realizations by the grace of Prabhupada and Krishna.”
(Hansadutta dasa, June, 1993)
As a general point, later instructions from the guru will always supersede previous instructions; the final order is the final order, and must be followed:
I may say many things to you, but when I say something directly to you, you do it. Your first duty is to do that, you cannot argue – “Sir you said to me do like this before”, no that is not your duty, what I say to you now you do it, that is obedience you cannot argue.”
(Srila Prabhupada S.B. Lecture, 14/4/75, Hyderabad)
Just as in the Bhagavad-gita Lord Krishna gave so many instructions to Arjuna, he spoke of all types of yoga from Dhyana to Jnana, but all this was superseded by the final order:
Always think of Me and become My devotee”- should be taken as the final order of the Lord and should be followed.”
(Teachings of Lord Caitanya, chapter 11)
The final order given by Sankaracarya,”bhaja Govinda”, was also meant to supersede many of his earlier statements – all of them, in fact. As mentioned in the introduction, the GBC itself recognizes this as an axiomatic principle of logic:
“In logic, later statements supersede earlier ones in importance.” (GBC
Handbook , p. 25)
It is not possible to have a “later” statement than the last one.
July 9, 1977 worldwide final order to all GBC and TP
July 9th, 1977
To All G.B.C., and Temple Presidents
Dear Maharajas and Prabhus,
Please accept my humble obeisances at your feet. Recently when all of the GBC members were with His Divine Grace in Vrndavana, Srila Prabhupada indicated that soon He would appoint some of His senior disciples to act as “ritvik”-representative of the acarya, for the purpose of performing initiations, both first initiation and second initiation. His Divine Grace has so far given a list of eleven disciples who will act in that capacity:
. His Holiness Kirtanananda Swami
. His Holiness Satsvarupa dasa Gosvami
. His Holiness Jayapataka Swami
. His Holiness Tamala Krsna Gosvami
. His Holiness Hrdayananda Gosvami
. His Holiness Bhavananda Gosvami
. His Holiness Hamsaduta Swami
. His Holiness Ramesvara Swami
. His Holiness Harikesa Swami
. His Grace Bhagavan dasa Adhikari
. His Grace Jayatirtha dasa Adhikari
In the past Temple Presidents have written to Srila Prabhupada recommending a particular devotee’s initiation. Now that Srila Prabhupada has named these representatives, Temple Presidents may henceforward send recommendation for first and second initiation to whichever of these eleven representatives are nearest their temple.
After considering the recommendation, these representatives may accept the devotee as an initiated disciple of Srila Prabhupada by giving a spiritual name, or in the case of second initiation, by chanting on the Gayatri thread, just as Srila Prabhupada has done. The newly initiated devotees are disciples of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad, the above eleven senior devotees acting as His representative. After the Temple President receives a letter from these representatives giving the spiritual name or the thread, he can perform the fire yajna in the temple as was being done before. The name of a newly initiated disciple should be sent by the representative who has accepted him or her to Srila Prabhupada, to be included in His Divine Grace’s “Initiated Disciples” book.
Hoping this finds you all well.
Your servant, Tamala Krsna Gosvami
Secretary to Srila Prabhupada
Approved: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
[Srila Prabhupada’s signature appears on the original]
(Note: There is a reference to the May 28, 1977 meeting in Vrindavan in which Srila Prabhupada replied to a specific question from the GBC on what to do for iniitiations after his physical disappearance.
“Now you have a very good field. Now organize it and it will be a great credit. No one will disturb you there. Make your own field and continue to become ritvik and act on my behalf.”
(Srïla Prabhupàda to Hansadutta : July 31, 1977)
The July 9, 1977 worldwide final order to all GBC and Temple presidents and this Letter to Hansadutta Prabhu July 31, 1977 are the last and final orders/instructions from Prabhupada for Iskcon !!!!!!
“I may say many things to you, but when I say something directly to you, you do it. Your first duty is to do that, you cannot argue – “Sir you said to me do like this before”, no that is not your duty, what I say to you now you do it, that is obedience you cannot argue.”
(Srila Prabhupada S.B. Lecture, 14/4/75, Hyderabad)
Excerpt from Srila Prabhupada’s Declaration of last Will :
“The executive directors who have herein been designated are appointed for life. In the event of death or failure to act for any reason of any of the said directors, a successor director or directors may be appointed by the remaining directors, provided the new director IS MY initiated disciple following strictly all the rules and regulations of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness as detailed in my books, and provided that there are never less than three (3) or more than five (5) exeutive directors acting at one time.”
Especially this point: ….” provided the new director is MY initiated
“the will is signed by Srila Prabhupada, and it clearly says that each successor director should be Srila Prabhupada’s initiated disciple.”
(Where the Ritvik People are Wrong, Jayadvaita Swami, 1996)
This of course can only happen if the ritvik system is in place for all times in ISKCON, and therefore every future devotee becomes “Srila Prabhupada’s initiated disciple.”
Challenging this direct evidence for the ritvik system in
ISKCON, Jayadvaita Swami Maharaja states the following:
“And ultimately one can become not only his disciple in spirit but his “initiated disciple” through the guru-parampara system.”
(Where the Ritvik People are Wrong, Jayadvaita Swami, 1996)
Jayadvaita Swami Maharaja states that one becomes Srila Prabhupada’s initiated disciple through the guru-parampara system.
In a subsequent paper Jayadvaita Swami Maharaja states the ritvik system brings:
“an end to the parampara system”
(Where the Ritvik People are Wrong Again, Jayadvaita Swami, 1998)
confusing …….
This Prabhupada’s final will can only work in the future after Prabhupada’s physical departure, if these Ritvik-system instruction are followed and this instruction also:
“The GBC should all be the instructor gurus. I am the initiator guru,
and you should be the instructor guru by teaching what I am teaching and doing what I am doing. This is not a title, but you must actually come to this platform. This I want.”
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, August 4th, 1975)
Consequently, for a disciple to stop following this order, with any
degree of legitimacy, demands he provide some solid grounds for doing so. The only thing that Srila Prabhupada actually told us to do was to follow the ritvik system. He never told us to stop following it, or that one could only follow it in his physical presence. The onus of proof will naturally fall on those who wish to terminate any system put in place by our acarya, and left to run henceforward. This is an obvious point; one can not just stop following the order of the guru whimsically:
“…the process is that you cannot change the order of the spiritual master.”
(C.c. Adi 7.76-81, Lecture, 2/2/67, San Francisco)
A disciple does not need to justify continuing to follow a direct order from the guru, especially when he has been told to continue following it. That is axiomatic – this is what the word “disciple” means:
When one becomes disciple, he cannot disobey the order of the spiritual master.”
(Srila Prabhupada Bg. Lecture, 11/2/75, Mexico)
Supporting Instructions
There were other statements made by Srila Prabhupada, and his secretary, in the days following the July 9th letter, which clearly indicate that the ritvik system was intended to continue without cessation:
“…the process for initiation to be followed in the future.”
(July 11th , 1977)
“…continue to become ritvik and act on my charge.”
(July 19th, 1977)
“…continue to become ritvik and act on my behalf.”
(July 31st, 1977)
In these documents we find words such as “continue” and “future” which along with the word “henceforward” all point to the permanency of the ritvik system. There is no statement from Srila Prabhupada that even hints that this system was to terminate on his departure.
Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja Prabhupada:
“Therefore having a bona fide spiritual master and serving him and
pleasing him and getting his mercy is essential. Otherwise there can be no advancement in Krishna consciousness. And unless the spiritual master is a pure devotee of Krishna then he has no potency to give you Krishna. He is simply a cheating rascal.
So in fact above all the rules and regulations and offenses I have mentioned the most important thing, the essential thing, which is required if you want to come to the stage of purely chanting the Hare Krishna mantra is you must have a bona fide spiritual master who is a pure devotee of Krishna. Without having a bona fide spiritual master you can chant Hare Krishna forever but you will not be able to advance because Krishna does not reveal Himself in this way. He only reveals Himself to those devotees who surrender to and serve and please His pure devotees.”.
( SP Letter to his London disciples, July, 1969)