Did Srila Prabhupada break tradition? Contodicting Sastra? MAYBE NOT!

August 26, 2012 in Articles by Nityananda Rama dasa

Hare Krishna, Prabhus, obeisances, all glories to SrilaPrabhupada. Please permit me to recommend some articles of interest,pertaining to these topics: —



More Vaishnava Acharyas Accept Ritvik   – Madhu Pandit das

“There are several suchinstances in Sri Vaishnava Parampara (tradition). Take the example ofSri Ramanujacharya himself, who was the foremost amongst theSrivaishnavacharyas. He was initiated into the Srivaishnava texts andsecrets by five great acharyas who are the disciples of AcharyaYamuna. That is why is called Panchacharya Pradarshita. Though he wasa disciple of these five Acharyas, just like the Ritviks appointed byHH Srila Prabhupada ji, these ritviks never claimed that they were theAcharyas of Ramanujacharya.”



SrilaPrabhupada is Shastra -Praghosa das




Whatare the Shastras? – Hansaduttadas

“In one essay [ThakurBhaktivinode] Srila Bhaktisiddhanta says, ‘What are the shastras? Theyare nothing but the words of the devotees (pure devotees) orsadhus.'”



Formalities – MaheshRaja

“ALL Srila Prabhupada did waschange FORMALITIES in the way initiation was to be conducted in firstand second initiations: ‘The formalities may be slightly changed hereand there to make them Vaisnavas.'”



Last MinuteThoughts – Hansaduttadas

“If Srila Prabhupada isshaktavesha avatar (which we do recognise that he factually is), hecan do anything, and it becomes LAW. Because the fully liberated soulis always in touch with Krishna, whatever he does or says is shastra,law, absolute, non-different from Krishna. Because we do notunderstand does not mean it is incorrect.


‘Except for God, no one canestablish the principles of religion. Either He or a suitable personempowered by Him can dictate the codes of religion.’-purport,Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.3.43


Many things were never done before.Ramanujacharya engaged dacoits for collection, then had them killed.Madhvacharya pummeled his opponents. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu sang anddanced in public–never done before by sannyasis . Buddha rejected theVedas. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Prabhupada created a GBC to manage hispreaching mission, leaving no successor acharya , as was traditionallydone. Srila Prabhupada made the same arrangement. In both instances,the order was disobeyed, and in both instances the result was thesame–chaos, confusion and disintegration of the Acharya’s mission.Great acharyas like Srila Prabhupada do establish the principles ofreligion according to time, place andcircumstances.”





Living Guru – Hansaduttadas

“What is your idea of living? Amoving body? A warm body? The body is never living. It is the soul,the spirit within the body. … ‘You need a living guru.’ What do theymean by ‘living’? Do they mean to say that Srila Prabhupada is dead?Do they mean to say that Krishna is dead? Lord Chaitanya is dead?Vyasadeva is dead?

“If you say we need to have someone physically present givinginstructions, that also is not a fact. That is helpful, but it is nota fact. It is not a fact. Because there are many examples of boys andgirls who received Srila Prabhupada’s books, and although he was notphysically present, by reading and capturing the spirit, they becameawakened to Krishna consciousness. It is not true that I need a livingbody through which this message, this spirit will come. It will comethrough the book, or it may come through the sincereservant…”





LastMinute Thoughts – Hansaduttadas

“First of all, neither SrilaPrabhupada nor we say guru parampara should be abandoned. Rather,Srila Prabhupada has given specific instructions how it should becontinued and its integrity preserved.

“Secondly, should we think thatSrila Prabhupada has thrown aside volumes of evidence to contradicthis spiritual master and the disciplic succession? Tamal’s argument inISKCON Journal (Vol. 1, No. 1) leads to that logical conclusion. It isSrila Prabhupada himself who has given the directive “Act asrittvik representative of the Acharya.” Not anyone else hasconcocted this system of rittvik representation. Certainly SrilaPrabhupada did not leave it to anyone to concoct or speculate whatshould be done. He gave the clear, specific order in his letter ofJuly 9, 1977. Those who have concocted are the very persons who haveset his order aside and gone ahead to becomeguru-acharyas.


“The guru parampara is brokennot by following the acharya’s order, but by disobeying and neglectingit. Having totally disregarded Srila Prabhupada’s express wishes,ISKCON GBCs and guru-acharyas have effectively cut off ISKCON from itsFounder-Acharya, Srila Prabhupada.”



And of course, for those who have not already perused it, “SrilaPrabhupada, His Movement and You”(http://www.bhaktivedantas.com/SPMAY.html).


Please read – Thank-you verymuch:


Since many of us supportthe  July 9th 1977 http://www.harekrsna.com/sun/editorials/10-07/editorials2084.htm that Srila Prabhupada himself set-up AND NEVER RECINDED, I wish torespond to the above.

The Ritvik System is just FORMALITIES, soas per Srila Prabhupada’s instructions: “The formalities may beslightly changed here and there to make them Vaisnavas.”

It is being misconstrued as “introducea new system”, BUT–FACTUALLY–it is ONLY FORMALITIES.

Lets study the following in terms ofFORMALITIES:


1) Srila Prabhupada as a sannayasi gothis disciples married. There is no verification in sastra that asannyasi can do this.

Srimad Bhagavatam 5.1.24 Purport – The Activities of MaharajaPriyavrata:

“Sometimes we are criticized because although I am asannyasi, I have taken part in the marriage ceremonies of mydisciples. It must be explained, however, that since we have started aKrsna conscious society and since a human society must also have idealmarriages, to correctly establish an ideal society we must take partin marrying some of its members, although we have taken to the path ofrenunciation. This may be astonishing to persons who are not veryinterested in establishing daiva-varnasrama, the transcendental systemof four social orders and four spiritual orders. Srila BhaktisiddhantaSarasvati Thakura, however, wanted to reestablish daiva-varnasrama. Indaiva-varnasrama there cannot be acknowledgement of social statusaccording to birthright because in Bhagavad-gita it is said that thedetermining considerations are guna and karma, one’s qualities andwork. It is this daiva-varnasrama that should be established all overthe world to continue a perfect society for Krsna consciousness. Thismay be astonishing to foolish critics, but it is one of the functionsof a Krsna conscious society.”

Srila Prabhupada’s Vyasapuja Lecture, August 22, 1973,London:

“I’m sometimes criticized by my Godbrothers that Ihave become a marriage-maker, because a sannyasi does not take part ina marriage ceremony, but I get my disciples married. This is alsounique in the history. So they criticize me that I have become amarriage-maker. But they, they do not know why I take this risk. Ihave got many disciples, they are married couples, but all of them,husband and wife, they are helping this movement. Here is Bhagavandasa, he’s also married man, children.”

Srila Prabhupada’s Letter to Satsvarupa, September 20,1968:

“In your letter of the 17th instant, you have veryfrankly inquired from me about householder life, especially in thematter of sex relationship. A sannyasi is not supposed to be askedabout anything sexual. But still, because you are so much dependent onmy instruction, so I must give you information as far as possible.Married life is not for sex indulgence. The principle of marriage ison the background of getting good children. So the householder isallowed to have sex life once in a month, just after the menstrualperiod. The menstrual period prolongs at least for 5 days, so afterthis 5 days, one can have sex life provided he desires to get a child.And as soon as the wife is pregnant, no more sex life, until the childis born and is grown up at least for 6 months. After that, one mayhave sex life on the same principle. If one does not want more thanone or two children, he should voluntarily stop sex life. But oneshould not strictly use any contraceptive method and at the same timeindulge in sex life. That is very much sinful. If the husband and wifecan voluntarily restrain by powerful advancement of KrishnaConsciousness. That is the best method. It is not necessary thatbecause one has got wife, therefore you must have sex life. The wholescheme is to avoid sex life as far as possible. And if one can avoidit completely then it is a great victory for him. Married life is asort of license for sex life on condition of raising children. So youshould try to understand these principles of married life and use yourdiscretion. You should not imitate great personalities likeBhaktivinode Thakura, but you must follow His footprints. But it isnot always possible to have the same success as great personalitieslike Bhaktivinode Thakura achieved. So in all circumstances you shouldtry to follow the footprints of authorities but never to imitate them.Unless Jadurani develops a better health and strength, I do not adviseher to become pregnant. I think you will understand the instruction asI have given and try to follow it as far aspossible.”

Srila Prabhupada’s Letter to Sacisuta, July 5, 1969:

“Please accept my blessings. I thank you very muchfor your letter dated June 23, 1969, and I have carefully gone overthe contents. I am so pleased to learn that you are feeling verynicely in Buffalo temple and you are working hard and sincerely topush on this sublime movement of Krishna Consciousness. Regarding yourquestion about marriage, the thing is that as I am a sannyasi, I amnot concerned with family life, but because I want to see my disciplesvery happy in Krishna Consciousness, therefore, those who are feelingsome sexual disturbance are requested by me to get themselvesmarried.”

2) Srila Prabhupada had disciples hear the TAPE of himgiving Gayatri Mantra at brahmana initiation. There is no verificationin sastra of this.

Srila Prabhupada’s Letter to Gaura Hari, September 24,1971:

“At your recommendation I have gladly consented toaccept Guy as my duly initiated disciple. His letter and beads areenclosed herewith. Also enclosed are three sacred threads duly chantedby me as well as four papers with Gayatri mantra for the four devoteesyou have recommended for second initiation. You should secure the tapeof me reciting Gayatri mantra from Makhanlal in Seattle. Let eachdevotee hear the tape privately, one at a time, and through the rightear. They should have the paper in front of them and hear and repeateach word. Beforehand you can show them how to count on the fingers,and beforehand hold a fire yajna and get the threads on the boys’bodies.”


3) Srila Prabhupada had the WIFE of one disciple readGayatri mantra to a devotee. There is no verification in sastra ofthis.

Srila Prabhupada’s Letter to Vaikunthanatha, Sardia, April 4,1971:

“Even though you have had no gayatri mantra, stillyou are more than brahmana. I am enclosing herewith your sacredthread, duly chanted on by me. Gayatri mantra is as follows:


Ask your wife to chant this mantra and you hear it and ifpossible hold a fire ceremony as you have seen during your marriageand get this sacred thread on your body. Saradia, or anytwice-initiated devotee, may perform the ceremony.

What Srila Prabhupada did was unprecedented in the historyof Vaisnava sampradaya. But this did NOT mean he transgressed thesastra. On the contrary, sastra fully support Srila Prabhupada’sactions IN AS MUCH AS the Ritvik System is ALSO part and parcel ofabove FORMALITY, wherein the Ritvik Representatives are performingFORMALITIES, i.e., the fire sacrifice and name giving CEREMONIES.The formalities may be slightly changed here and there to make themVaisnavas.

Srimad Bhagavatam 4.8.54 Purport – Dhruva Maharaja Leaves Homefor the Forest:

“Those who are not actually in the line of acaryas,or who personally have no knowledge of how to act in the role ofacarya, unnecessarily criticize the activities of the ISKCON movementin countries outside of India. The fact is that such critics cannot doanything personally to spread Krsna consciousness. If someone does goand preach, taking all risks and allowing all considerations for timeand place, it might be that there are changes in the manner ofworship, but that is not at all faulty according to sastra. SrimadViraraghava Acarya, an acarya in the disciplic succession of theRamanuja-sampradaya, has remarked in his commentary that candalas, orconditioned souls who are born in lower than sudra families, can alsobe initiated according to circumstances. The formalities may beslightly changed here and there to make themVaisnavas.”

Srimad Bhagavatam 6.12.20 Purport – Vrtrasura’ s GloriousDeath:

“Therefore Sukadeva Gosvami says in Srimad-Bhagavatam(2.4.18):

kirata-hunandhra-pulinda-pulkasa abhira-sumbha yavanah khasadayah ye ‘nye ca papa yad-apasrayasrayah sudhyanti tasmai prabhavisnave namah

“Kiratas, Hunas, Andhras, Pulindas, Pulkasas,Abhiras, Sumbhas, Yavanas and members of the Khasa races, and evenothers addicted to sinful acts can be purified by taking shelter ofthe devotees of the Lord, for He is the supreme power. I beg to offermy respectful obeisances unto Him.” Anyone can be purified ifhe takes shelter of a pure devotee and molds his character accordingto the pure devotee’s direction. Then, even if one is a Kirata,Andhra, Pulinda or whatever, he can be purified and elevated to theposition of a maha-paurusya.”

Rocana Prabhu wrote:

“I don’t think you can introduce a system that has noverification in sastra.”

Yes we agree – ALL Srila Prabhupada did was changeFORMALITIES in the way initiation was to be conducted in first andsecond initiations: “The formalities may be slightly changedhere and there to make them Vaisnavas.”

BUT Diksa per say, when MADHYAMA adhikari receives isunchanged, as that is NOT formality (see Diksa Given to Madhyama-adhikari is Not a Formality  http://www.harekrsna.com/sun/editorials/11-07/editorials2223.htm

Srila Prabhupada in the July 9th, 1977 ORDER is FORMALITYof HOW 1st and 2nd initiations were to be conducted – and THAT is ALLit was. And THIS was the change in terms of FORMALITY, nothingmore.

The INITIATED disciples were to be Srila Prabhupada’sDISCIPLES. How can you have disciples belonging to anyone else?Disciples belong to one who gives discipline. FACTUALLY we are ALLtaking – DISCIPLINE – FROM Srila Prabhupada’s books, CDs, Tapes.Common sense!