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Ritvik Srila
Prabhupada's Way

 A Response to H.H. Jayapataka Swami (Rtvik Theory - Out of the Questions)

Virtually the whole of Maharaja's paper can be classified according to 3 types of statements:

a) Straw Man - Arguments, these are arguments NOT made by the Final Order' and therefore Maharaja defeating' these arguments is pointless.

b) Red herrings - These are statements with which either we agree or which are simply begging the question' and thus not directly relevant to the matter at hand, but simply diverting attention from the real issue.

c) Already Defeated arguments - Here Maharaja simply repeats old arguments that have already been defeated. Fuller rebuttals then offered here are found in the Final Order' and other papers.

We will now go through the whole of Maharaja's paper and label statements as either a), b) or c), to show the category of statement that Maharaja has made, with comments if necessary. Where Maharaja has made a few other statements that do not fall under these three categories we shall add comments there also. (Though for brevity we have omitted comments made by maharaja such as introductions, etc., where he does not seek to directly influence the debate.)

Quotes from Maharaja's paper shall be enclosed in speech marks thus " ". Our response shall be in BOLD.

"The Rtvik "Proxy-initiation" Theory proponents strongly appeal that the July 9th, 1977 letter written by Tamal Krishna Goswami and approved by Srila Prabhupada authorizing some devotees to initiate on his behalf during his presence should be accepted as Srila Prabhupada's Final Order for all time to come. There are various problems with this proposal. One problem is that specifically Srila Prabhupada didn't say that the process he was setting up was for all time."

C) The instruction is specifically devoid of ANY time considerations at all since it is a PERMANENT policy directive to be instituted by the managing officers of the institution to whom the directive is issued. Thus the applicability of the directive is tied to the institution that has the responsibility to implement the said policy. Time considerations only become relevant if the policy thus issued is to be TEMPORARY.

" The July 7th, 1977 discussion didn't discuss more than the current backlog of disciples waiting for initiation although it was in furtherance to the May 28th, 1977 discussion."

C) The author is stating that the July 7th conversation dealt with the pre-samadhi period ONLY. Yet the GBC also state in Disciple of My Disciple' that the May 28th conversation deals with POST-samadhi ONLY. So how can a pre-samadhi only' conversation be a furtherance of a POST-SAMADHI ONLY conversation?

"Srila Prabhupada also stated that the "officiating acaryas" he would recommend to give initiations when he was no longer present with us would, "on his order", otherwise be "regular gurus", "guru", and initiators of their own disciples who would be Srila Prabhupada's "grand-disciples" or disciples of his disciples. This was a direct order given for how initiations would continue after his physical departure."

C) How can the statement of the PRINCIPLE of what happens WHEN the order occurs BE the DIRECT ORDER'.

"There are many other references wherein Srila Prabhupada had generally expressed his desire, intention, request, and order that in the future all his disciples should become qualified as spiritual masters and also initiate new generations of disciples."

C) We have repeatedly asked to see these MANY references where Srila Prabhupada orders his disciples to initiate immediately upon his departure. All we have seen are no more than half a dozen statements where Srila Prabhupada simply states the principle that such initiation CAN only take place after the Guru departs, NOT an ORDER that such an activity MUST happen.

"This topic has been discussed threadbare back and forth and various interpretations have been given, but the bottom line remains that the Rtvik Theory Proponents cannot produce any proof that Srila Prabhupada actually desired to establish a Rtvik "Proxy-initiation" System to continue when he was not physically present. Nor have the Rtvik Theory Proponents demonstrated that Srila Prabhupada has given a specific order to have a Post-samadhi Rtvik "Proxy-initiation" system established in ISKCON."

C) 1) Since we are simply stating the STATUS QUO that existed in 1977, by definition we do not need to provide any proof, since we are not PROPOSING any change or alteration to substantiate. It is those who wish to institute a change to the STATUS QUO that existed in 1977 who must provide proof to substantiate their alteration.

2) The July 9th letter is the proof that a ritvik arrangement was made in ISKCON. The issue of pre- and post' samadhi is irrelevant to ISKCON, which was set up to exist for 10,000 years. The policy directive is tied to the institution that must implement it. The issue of Srila Prabhupada's pre and post' samadhi periods are only relevant to such an instruction if it can be shown that the process of diksa has relevancy to physical considerations of time and space. So far no relevancy has been demonstrated.

" To the contrary vast evidence points to His Divine Grace desiring and requesting that all his qualified disciples become siksa and direct diksa gurus and that this is Srila Prabhupada's authorized system."

C) It is significant to note that such vast evidence' is NOT provided by the author in the rest of the paper, even though he claims here that he will do so.

"His Divine Grace Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada explained that his "secret of success" was the fact that he strictly followed the instructions of his spiritual master Om Visnupada Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur. "· we took up the mission of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura and Bhaktivinoda Thakura to preach the cult of Caitanya Mahaprabhu all over the world, under the protection of all the predecessor acaryas, and we find that our humble attempt has been successful. We followed the principles especially explained by Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura in his commentary on the Bhagavad-gita verse vyavasayatmika buddhir ekeha kuru-nandana. According to this instruction of Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, it is the duty of a disciple to follow strictly the orders of his spiritual master. The secret of success in advancement in spiritual life is the firm faith of the disciple in the orders of his spiritual master." { CC-Adi-lila: 12:8P} Srila Prabhupada diligently protected the purity of ISKCON by always insuring that ISKCON's activities remained in accordance with sadhu, sastra and guru. It is inconceivable to consider that Srila Prabhupada would ever do anything which wasn't in accordance with sadhu, sastra and guru principles and references. Moreover Srila Prabhupada taught that a fundamental principle of Krishna consciousness was that the spiritual master and all vaisnavas must always follow sastra as the basis for all Krishna conscious activities. Srila Prabhupada has instructed that throughout his transcendental literatures which are the maximum authority for the Krishna consciousness Movement. "Srila Narottama dasa Thakura advises, sadhu-sastra-guru-vakya, hrdaye kariya aikya. The meaning of this instruction is that one must consider the instructions of the sadhu, the revealed scriptures and the spiritual master in order to understand the real purpose of spiritual life. Neither a sadhu (saintly person or Vaisnava) nor a bona fide spiritual master says anything that is beyond the scope of the sanction of the revealed scriptures. Thus the statements of the revealed scriptures correspond to those of the bona fide spiritual master and saintly persons. One must therefore act with reference to these three important sources of understanding." {CC Adi-7:48 Purport} Srila Prabhupada again emphasizes that spiritual matters must always be tested according to sadhu, sastra and guru. "As stated by Narottama dasa Thakura, sadhu-sastra-guru: one has to test all spiritual matters according to the instructions of saintly persons, scriptures and the spiritual master. The spiritual master is one who follows the instructions of his predecessors, namely the sadhus, or saintly persons. A bona fide spiritual master does not mention anything not mentioned in the authorized scriptures. Ordinary people have to follow the instructions of sadhu, sastra and guru. Those statements made in the sastras and those made by the bona fide sadhu or guru cannot differ from one another." {SB- 4:16:1 Purport}" "

B) Here Maharaja simply states something that is not in dispute, just to set up a straw man' argument, as we will see next.

"The Rtvik proponents usually say that whatever quotation is given later is more important. So they might say that Srila Prabhupada had a different idea in the latter days of his pastimes from July 9th, 1977 and on. However a quick search of Srila Prabhupada conversations during the last days of his pastimes shows that he is still having the same ideas. Srila Prabhupada's ideas don't change since they are based on following sadhu, sastra and guru and not on speculation or material ideas. Here are some of Srila Prabhupada's final conversations in which he mentions the essential aspect of following sadhu, sastra and guru: Prabhupada: And we are following what Krsna says. Then our life, success· Prabhupada: According to our sastra, mind is meant for speculation. It does not give us any definite knowledge. My mind is working in one way; your mind is working another way. There is no conclu... Manorathenasati dhavato bahih. This is the result of mental speculation. And Gita also says that manah sasthanindriyani prakrti-sthani karsati. This spiritual spark, being bound up by the mind and the senses, is struggling hard on the material nature. And he's simply struggling. No fixed up condition. Everyone will say, "I think this is right." What is right, he does not know. That is struggle. Is it not? { Room Conversation. Vrindaban, October 13, 1977} Prabhupada: Viraraghavacarya, Sanatana Gosvami, Visvanatha Cakravarti. We are just trying to explain their ideas. We are teeny. Pradyumna: I think your commentary on Srimad-Bhagavatam will go down in history as one of the most..., one of the best commentaries. It will go down. Prabhupada: Let us try for that. {Room Conversation. Vrindaban, Oct. 16, 1977}

Prabhupada: And Dr. Ghosh has his scheme, but actually the scheme is there inthe Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam. We want to introduce that scheme to our Gurukula. We haven't got to manufacture scheme. Is that correct? Giriraja: Yes. {Room Conversation Vrindaban, October 18, 1977}

Prabhupada: Sruta-grhitaya. And sruta-grhitaya is Vedanta knowledge, notsentimental. Sruta-grhitaya. That is sound knowledge. Discuss Bhagavatam daily, as much as possible. Everything will be clarified. Because Bhagavata is the essence. Nigama-kalpa-taror galitam phalam idam. And vyasadeva-krta. Kim anyaih sastraih. When he's self-realized, he made this. Maha-muni-krte. So the more we read Srimad-Bhagavatam, the knowledge becomes clarified. Each and every verse--transcendental. Is this clear? {Room Conversation Vrindaban, October 21, 1977} Prabhupada: And all the acaryas say. We have to follow the acaryas. Very good. { Prabhupada Vigil: Vrindaban, November 1, 1977} Therefore it is amply clear that Srila Prabhupada right to the very end of his visible pastimes was totally committed to not changing any principle of sadhu, sastra and guru, but rather to preserve these principles at all costs."

A), B) All the above is based on the following two notions falsely ascribed to the Final Order':

1) Srila Prabhupada changed something at the last minute. 2) That such a change would have been against Guru, Sdahu and Sastra'.

As well as the above being a straw man' argument it simply begs the question' since Maharaja is simply stating the very point he actually needs to PROVE i.e. that ritvik is indeed against Guru, Sadhu and Sastra'.

"Had Srila Prabhupada wanted to make such a drastic change in everything he had instructed to do in his books, lectures, conversations, and letters he certainly had plenty of time to do so. He didn't because he had no idea of anything other then his own disciples becoming "regular gurus" and initiating their own disciples after his departure since nothing else is given in sastra."

A), B) As already stated, there was nothing to change. Rather the July 9th letter simply KEEPS THINGS THE SAME' or UNCHANGED Srila Prabhupada as the Guru for ISKCON. THIS was what Srila Prabhupada had always taught.

The idea of regular' guru was never taught by Srila Prabhupada how could it be he only ever even used the term once on May 28th, 1977. THIS is what would have been a drastic change' since the concept of regular' guru had never ever been mentioned by Srila Prabhupada before. Also even just the very idea that Srila Prabhupada's disciples must initiate their own disciples upon his departure is only alluded to half a dozen times what to speak of there being any order to actually do it.

"The importance of sastra as the center is illustrated in the following quotation:

Srila Narottama dasa Thakura says, sadhu-sastra-guru-vakya, cittete kariya aikya. One should accept a thing as genuine by studying the words of saintly people, the spiritual master and sastra. The actual center is sastra, the revealed scripture. If a spiritual master does not speak according to revealed scripture, he is not to be accepted. Similarly, if a saintly person does not speak according to the sastra, he is not a saintly person. Sastra is the center for all." {CC M 20:352 Purport}"

B) Another statement that is not in dispute again used simply to set up some more false straw man' arguments, as we shall now see. "Yet sometimes the pro-rtvik camp propose that Srila Prabhupada as the "Acarya" can do anything. They say Srila Prabhupada can set new "precedences" and make changes in sastra. In other words they are accepting that the concept of a system for giving initiations after the spiritual master has physically left the planet by "proxy" or Rtvik initiators is not authorized anywhere according to sastric evidences. If it is authorized anywhere by sastra then they should show it, but so far nothing has been demonstrated.

Actually Srila Prabhupada always followed the sastra and didn't change any principle of sadhu, sastra and guru. In the details of how to apply the sadhu, sastra and guru injunctions Srila Prabhupada may have set precedences, but that is not creating something new which wasn't in sastra. In order to demonstrate that kindly consider the points the rtvik proponents cite as examples of Srila Prabhupada setting a new precedence not in sastra.

1. Reducing the number of rounds from 64 to 16: This doesn't change the principle of chanting and counting rounds every day. It merely changes the number of rounds. Actually Srila Damodar Maharaj, Srila Prabhupada's Godbrother, informed us that 64 rounds was for those who didn't go out and preach, but for those who were actively preaching in the Gaudiya Math 16 rounds was allowed by Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Sarasvati Thakur. So actually Srila Prabhupada didn't change anything, but applied the preachers standard to ISKCON and engaged us in preaching. 2. Performing marriages: This is also not against sastra and Srila Prabhupada explained this specific point in BG Ch 18 on Vivaha Yajna. "The yogis should perform acts for the advancement of human society. There are many purificatory processes for advancing a human being to spiritual life. The marriage ceremony, for example, is considered to be one of these sacrifices. It is called vivaha-yajna. Should a sannyasi, who is in the renounced order of life and who has given up his family relations, encourage the marriage ceremony? The Lord says here that any sacrifice which is meant for human welfare should never be given up. Vivaha-yajna, the marriage ceremony, is meant to regulate the human mind so that it may become peaceful for spiritual advancement. For most men, this vivaha-yajna should be encouraged even by persons in the renounced order of life. Sannyasis should never associate with women, but that does not mean that one who is in the lower stages of life, a young man, should not accept a wife in the marriage ceremony. All prescribed sacrifices are meant for achieving the Supreme Lord." (Bhagavad-gita 18.5 Purport) 3. Allowing women to live in temples: Srila Prabhupada explained that the word "Math" in Gaudiya math meant monastery and in a "Math" only renounced asramas and elderly widows lived. Srila Prabhupada explained that he therefore didn't create Gaudiya Math and instead made temples. Srila Prabhupada explained that there is no absolute restriction for women or householders living in a temple. Just as in the Srirangam Temple complex families and women live. Therefore, Srila Prabhupada preserved the sastric principle. 4. Giving Gayatri by tape: This is simply "utility is the principle"! The sastra states that the disciple should hear from the spiritual master. Srila Prabhupada instructed that only those approved for receiving second initiation could listen to the tape. So Srila Prabhupada didn't change a principle, but merely applied it using modern facilities. Nevertheless, this is a detail and doesn't establish that Srila Prabhupada did or would do something against sadhu, sastra and guru. 5. Srila Prabhupada giving initiation to women & foreigners: Rtvik Proponents sometimes also state that Srila Prabhupada's giving vedic and pancaratrika initiation to women and foreigners is an example of making a sastric changing precedent. Actually Srila Prabhupada simply followed Om Visnupada Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur's pancaratrika initiation system. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur didn't change principles but actually applied the principles after understanding their purpose. Srila Prabhupada not only taught how we must preserve the pancaratrika initiation system given by his spiritual master, but that they didn't break the principles of sastra, but actually preserved them:

"Regarding the validity of the brahminical status as we accept it, because in the present age there is no observance of the Garbhadhana ceremony, even a person born in brahmana family is not considered a brahmana, he is called dvijabandhu or unqualified son of a brahmana. Under the circumstances, the conclusion is that the whole population is now sudra, as it is stated kalau sudra sambhava. So for sudras there is no initiation according to the Vedic system, but according to the Pancaratrika system initiation is offered to a person who is inclined to take Krsna consciousness. "During my Guru Maharaja's time, even a person was coming from a brahmana family, he was initiated according to the pancaratrika system taking him to be a sudra. So the birthright brahmanism is not applicable at the present moment. The sacred thread inaugurated by my Guru Maharaja according to pancaratrika system and Hari-bhakti-vilasa by Srila Sanatana Goswami must continue. It does not matter whether the priestly class accepts it or not. When my Guru Maharaja Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Goswami Prabhupada introduced this system, it was protested even by His inner circle of Godbrothers or friends. Of course He had actually no Godbrothers, but there were many disciples of Bhaktivinode Thakura who were considered as Godbrothers who protested against this action of my Guru Maharaja, but He didn't care for it.

"Actually one who takes to chanting Hare Krsna Mantra offenselessly immediately becomes situated transcendentally and therefore he has no need of being initiated with sacred thread, but Guru Maharaja introduced this sacred thread because a Vaisnava was being mistaken as belonging to the material caste. To accept a Vaisnava in material caste system is hellish consideration (naraki buddhi). Therefore, to save the general populace from being offender to a Vaisnava, He persistently introduced this sacred thread ceremony and we must follow His footsteps·.. "It is our duty therefore to train all kinds of men up to the standard of qualified brahmanas, initiating them as such by qualification in accordance with the above authorities, so that they may go on progressively unhindered in their march back to home, back to Godhead. This system introduced by my Guru Maharaja is a chance for all the members of the society, scientifically based and applied, apart from the exploitative sentiment of birthright

caste'' system, to become actually situated on the transcendental platform·" {SPL to Acyutananda Nov.14, 1970} The principle is that a vaisnava is automatically a brahmana due to his devotional service to Lord Krishna. Therefore the pancaratrik system of initiation practiced by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur was simply an application of the underlying principles which were already accepted by the previous acaryas."

A All the above is simply defeating statements never made by the Final Order'. We never state that ritvik' is a change to sastra', nor that the above precedents are changes to sastra.

"Actually Srila Prabhupada never mentioned anything about a system of rtvik proxy initiations after his physical absence nor is it mentioned in any sastra. So it is not a mere tradition or application, but the fundamental principle of guru parampara that after the spiritual master departs from this mortal world the next generation of disciples should take up the responsibility of continuing the guru parampara. There are countless quotations on this topic which I am sure you are all aware of."

B   It needs to actually be proven through statements from Srila Prabhupada that he continually taught that he would STOP being the Guru upon his departure, and that after his departure his disciples MUST take over' INITIATING disciples as their own. Such statements have never been produced though we do have statements re-affirming that things will CONTINUE and that there will be NO CHANGE.

"The Rtvik proponents should understand that establishing a post-samadhi initiation system is a drastic change to the guru parampara system. Trying to minimize the importance or impact of this practically total change to the parampara system through clever words is simply misleading innocent people. By avoiding the obvious requirements of some direct instructions from Srila Prabhupada it appears as if they are trying to get their system established "through the back door" without any actual sadhu, sastra and guru evidence at all that this is a valid system."

B) That ritvik is a drastic change' to the parampara and that it avoids the obvious requirements of some direct instructions from Srila Prabhupada' are the very points that need to be proven. The author has not even attempted to provide this proof in this paper, nor does he state where such proof may exist.

"I was asked "what is wrong with Rtvik post-samadhi proxy initiations?" What is obviously wrong is it contradicts the system elucidated by Srila Prabhupada known as Guru Parampara. Although this system should be well known to all, since I was asked I am providing some sastric references from Srila Prabhupada books and lectures below. "One who is now the disciple is the next spiritual master. And one cannot be a bona fide and authorized spiritual master unless one has been strictly obedient to his spiritual master. Brahmaji, as a disciple of the Supreme Lord, received the real knowledge and imparted it to his dear disciple Narada, and similarly Narada, as spiritual master, handed over this knowledge to Vyasa and so on." {SB: Canto 2: Chapter Nine, Text 43}

The perfection of the parampara system, or the path of disciplic succession, is further confirmed. In the previous chapter it has been established that Brahmaji, the firstborn living entity, received knowledge directly from the Supreme Lord, and the same knowledge was imparted to Narada, the next disciple. Narada asked to receive the knowledge, and Brahmaji imparted it upon being asked. Therefore, asking for transcendental knowledge from the right person and receiving it properly is the regulation of the disciplic succession. This process is recommended in the Bhagavad-gita (4.2). The inquisitive student must approach a qualified spiritual master to receive transcendental knowledge by surrender, submissive inquiries and service. {SB Canto 2: Chapter Five, Text 1 Purport} Srila Prabhupada describes lucidly the principle of Guru Parampara or disciplic succession. It is clear that one spiritual master passes the knowledge to his disciple through direct communication. That disciple becomes guru and in turn passes it onto the next generation. "The transcendental knowledge of the Vedas was first uttered by God to Brahma, the creator of this particular universe. From Brahma the knowledge descended to Narada, from Narada to Vyasadeva, from Vyasadeva to Madhva, and in this process of disciplic succession the transcendental knowledge was transmitted by one disciple to another till it reached Lord Gauranga, Sri Krsna Caitanya, who posed as the disciple and successor of Sri Isvara Puri. The present Acaryadeva is the tenth disciplic representative from Sri Rupa Gosvami, the original representative of Lord Caitanya who preached this transcendental tradition in its fullness. The knowledge that we receive from our Gurudeva is not different from that imparted by God Himself and the succession of the acaryas in the preceptorial line of Brahma. We adore this auspicious day as Sri Vyasa-puja-tithi, because the Acarya is the living representative of Vyasadeva, the divine compiler of the Vedas, the Puranas, the Bhagavad-gita, the Mahabharata, and the Srimad-Bhagavatam." { SSR: Ch Two :Choosing a Spiritual Master} "

B The issue is does the disciple HAVE to become the next Guru IMMEDIATELY upon the departure of his Guru, which is Modification B, from the Final Order. None of the above quotes show this. All we are stating is that Srila Prabhupada remains current for ISKCON, which in the context of the parampara is a miniscule portion of time.

"Srila Prabhupada has expressed his personal desire on many occasions to see his disciples become spiritual masters and initiate new generations of disciples. I am not mentioning all those well known quotations here, but mainly the principle of disciplic succession. Still the following verse highlights His Divine Grace's consistent mood. Regarding your question about the disciplic succession coming down from Arjuna, it is just like I have got my disciples, so in the future these many disciples may have many branches of disciplic succession." (Los Angeles, 25 January, 1969) "Every one of you should be spiritual master next." (Hamburg, September 5, 1969) "Everyone can, whoever is initiated, he is competent to make disciples. But as a matter of etiquette they do not do so in the presence of their spiritual master. This is the etiquette. Otherwise, they are competent. They can make disciples and spread they are competent to make disciples." (Detroit, July 18, 1971) "Evam parampara-praptam imam rajarsayo viduh. So we have to follow the acarya. Then, when we are completely, cent per cent follower of acarya, then you can also act as acarya. This is the process." (Mayapur, April 6, 1975)

C  These are the half a dozen or so quotes mentioned earlier where Srila Prabhupada alludes to the principle that the disciple must wait until the Guru has departed before initiating. This is the NOT the same as many occasions' where Srila Prabhupada is ordering his disciples to become diksa gurus.

"The following verse not only illustrates the system of disciple succession, but also the qualification for being a spiritual master. One must learn properly from one's own spiritual master and then transmit that knowledge intact to the next generation. "The spiritual master is the representative of the Supreme Lord. How does he become the representative? If one says that such and such an object is a pair of spectacles, and if he teaches his disciple in that way, there is no mistake as to the identity of the object. The spiritual master is he who has captured the words of a particular disciplic succession. In the case given, the key word is "spectacles"--that's all. The spiritual master does not have to say anything beyond that. This is the qualification. Krsna says, "I am the Supreme," and the spiritual master says, "Krsna is the Supreme." It is not that to be a representative of Krsna or to be a spiritual master one has to have any extraordinary qualification. He simply has to carry the message from the authority as it is without any personal interpretation. As soon as there is some personal interpretation, the message is lost and the instructions become offensive. A person who interprets the scriptures according to his own whims should be immediately rejected." { Elevation to Krsna Consciouness: Chapter Six: Taking to Krsna Consciousness} Srila Prabhupada gives an emphatic instruction in the above quotation to reject immediately any person who interprets the scriptures according to his own whims. This demonstrates how motivated whimsical interpretations of scripture is possible, but that it is a serious offense and the person doing it should be rejected immediately. Throughout Srila Prabhupada books and in all the vedic literatures the principle of disciplic succession is repeated again and again. It isn't a new or unknown topic. This principle is well known to everyone in Vedic culture. Why the Rtvik proponents still ask, "Why not Rtvik?" is amazing to anyone with even basic vedic knowledge."

B   Again Maharaja is simply stating the very point he has to prove - that ritvik does indeed break the discippplic succession. Infact by definition, ritvik, which means Srila Prabhupada is the current link in the disciplic succession, simply MAINTAINS the discipplic succesion.

"The principle of Vedic knowledge is there must be some sastra to back it. The onus is upon the proponents of Rtvik Initiation Theory to support their doctrine with direct sastric evidence. Indirect interpretations would be like Sankaracarya's indirect method of establishing his Mayavada philosophy and can't be accepted by any true follower of the Vedas. Since no such system exists in Vedic references it is a still-born concept. It won't serve any useful purpose to stubbornly insist on a theory that isn't supported by the Vedas. It is a whimsical interpretation and according to Srila Prabhupada such a person should be immediately rejected."

B   Ritvik' is simply a sanskrit word meaning priest. It is not a doctrine. We are not proposing anything. It is the GBC who have proposed something that they have no sastric support for that Srila Prabhupada MUST vacate his role as diksa guru for ISKCON immediately upon his departure.

The end result of there being no change upon Srila Prabhupada's departure is simply that a bona fide guru is the current link in the disciplic succession something that there is plenty of sastric support for indeed the disciplic succession is actually DEFINED by this principle. Bona Fide current links ARE the disciplic succession.

"GBC Authority over Gurus is Srila Prabhupada Order Sometimes a small point is made into a major issue in the Rtvik discussions. The fact that ISKCON Gurus are under the supervision of the GBC body is considered a limiting factor. However it simply enshrines the principle of Guru-parampara: "Every Guru is first a disciple."

A disciple must carry out the order of his spiritual master. Since it was the instruction of Om Visnupada Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur to establish a GBC (Governing Body Commission), and in fact Srila Prabhupada said the failure to do so was an offense against Guru which was the cause of disintegration of the Original Gaudiya Math. Similarly today for spiritual masters in ISKCON to follow Srila Prabhupada's instructions and cooperate under the supervision and coordination of a GBC (Governing Body Commission) certainly doesn't reduce their stature since it is merely carrying out the orders of their spiritual master and ISKCON's Founder-Acarya Srila Prabhupada."

By the same token we wonder why then Maharaja is so hesitant to accept the reduction in stature' the GBC are currently proposing for himself?!

"Srila Prabhupada meticulously followed his spiritual master and the predecessor Acaryas. Since they have never advocated, nor does sastra advocate a rtvik system of initiation beyond the presence of the spiritual master there is no way that Srila Prabhupada would have wanted it to happen."

B   We would love for Maharaja to produce us the sastric reference that DOES advocate a ritvik system whilst the spiritual master IS present. If he cannot, then by his own logic, there is no way Srila Prabhupada would have wanted it to happen'!

Also as already stated we are simply stating that a Bona Fide Guru can be current link in the disciplic succession. We have plenty of sastric evidence for that. It is the GBC who have decided to limit such Bona Fide Gurus' participation in the disciplic succession by considerations of time and space. Let theM show sastra for THAT, which is the actual point of contention.

" With no disrespect meant for the sincere devotees who are trying to please Srila Prabhupada through studying his final orders, but in all honesty it is really an akasa Kusum to base a whole lifetime of devotional service on the idea that Srila Prabhupada wanted rtviks to give initiation on his behalf after his departure when he never specifically said that and rather said the opposite time and time again."

C   As we have already pointed out, Maharaja nor the GBC have ever been able to produce evidence where Srila Prabhupada said the opposite time and time again'. To understand why such evidence cannot exist, consider what it is that needs to be OPPOSED. We say that Srila Prabhupada is the Diksa Guru for ISKCON. Thus Srila Prabhupada would need to have said time and time again' either that I am NOT the Diksa Guru for ISKCON' or that I will only be the Diksa Guru for ISKCON until I depart'. No such statements exist.

As for specifically stating that he IS the Diksa Guru in and for ISKCON, this is something that Srila Prabhupada established as a fact simply by practice, and he told the GBC that they are instructor gurus' and that he is the initiator guru' (Letter to Madhudvisa, 1975). There is no need for Srila Prabhupada to SPECIFICALLY state that he will the diksa guru after his departure any more than there is a need for him to state that he will be so ONLY in his presence. Indeed if he has not stated the latter restriction, then unless such a restriction can be proven, there is no reason to assume that Srila Prabhupada's tenure as diksa guru for ISKCON was ONLY limited to his physical presence right from the outset. Indeed only if such an assumption existed could one justify even asking for a statement where Srila Prabhupada specifically clarifies that certain actvities will also pertain to after his departure.

"Srila Prabhupada's Godbrothers informed that after the departure of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur they considered having a Rtvik system for about five minutes. Then it was brought up that it isn't approved anywhere in sastra and that was it. The whole idea was dropped. That was responsible on their part."

The fact that Maharaja needs to resort to taking evidence from Srila Prabhupada's godbrothers in how they followed Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur's instructions after his departure, merely highlights the desperation with which Maharaja is trying to find evidence.

"Since it is a totally new concept, something Srila Prabhupada never discussed---rather something totally against his consistent instructions---had he wanted to institute this system he would have obviously discussed a lot about it. We find absolutely no mention of any such concept. It is only in the imagination of the post samadhi rtvik proponents possibly out of some desperation for some change from the present system. However, unless a specific order is found how can they expect any loyal follower of Srila Prabhupada to accept this proposal? How apparently intelligent devotees are maintaining their attachment to this idea is something amazing to all of us. We can only pray that since they all appear to be sincere souls they will soon have a change of heart and realize that post-samadhi Rtvik initiation system really isn't pleasing to Srila Prabhupada."

B   Again Maharaja is merely assuming that which needs to be proven. He needs to first demonstrate that the idea that Srila Prabhupada is the current link in the disciplic succession is new' and against his consistent instrutions'. Throughout ISKCON's history Srila Prabhupada was the only Diksa Guru that was known. Srila Prabhupada gave no instructions that he would stop being the diksa guru at departure. Unless such a specific order is found, how can the GBC expect any loyal follower of Srila Prabhupada to accept this proposal?'

"Srila Prabhupada as ISKCON's Founder-Acarya is considered the "Adi Guru" of our branch of the sampradaya. As such he is the Foundational siksa guru for all ISKCON devotees. In ISKCON re-evaluation of the Guru Tattva which is scheduled for this years GBC meeting establishing that every devotee in ISKCON has a unique and personal direct relationship with Srila Prabhupada is certainly on the agenda. Whether as disciple, grand-disciple, and siksa disciple everyone has a direct access to Srila Prabhupada and His Divine Grace's full mercy. There is no need of inventing some new scheme in order to be connected with Srila Prabhupada. The existing methods are adequate and rather to do something not authorized by Srila Prabhupada and sastra will simply create more distance between Srila Prabhupada and the devotee.

In the refined concept of our guru-disciple relationships in Krishna consciousness it is understood that siksa will play the prominent role and will get the strongest acknowledgement. To this end every devotee should work. Trying to create Srila Prabhupada as the only diksa guru for the next ten thousand years is simply a deviation which is creating an obstacle in establishing what Srila Prabhupada actually wanted in the Guru-Disciple system and relationships in ISKCON. If someone is not satisfied with their relationship with their diksa guru there are options authorized in the sastra for resolving that through acceptance of a siksa guru. It would be interesting to discuss to what extent that relationship can be simply with Srila Prabhupada. That is a more viable discussion to hold as many previous acaryas have had direct siksa relationships with one of their previous acaryas and that was recognized. Since Siksa and Diksa are not to be considered different establishing that connection is reasonable. Trying to establish multi-generational diksa relationships is nowhere to be found as a Vedic authorized system and valuable time and energy is simply being wasted by attempting to do so. "

B   The above itself of course is just an unnecessary concoction. Let the GBC first show that:

a) Srila Prabhupada ordered Diksa Gurus to replace him for after his departure;

Then we will see what evidence there is for how they should function vis a vis Srila Prabhupada.

"Understanding Srila Prabhupada's intentions for Guru Systems in ISKCON Srila Prabhupada didn't want to create an Acarya nor many Acaryas of the institution in the sense the Gaudiya Math considers an Acarya as the institutional head. Srila Prabhupada had already established the GBC as the Ultimate Managing Authority for ISKCON. Srila Prabhupada did express in April 22nd, 1977 that he was going to make "gurus". On May 28th, 1977 Srila Prabhupada stated he would recommend some devotees to act as Officiating Acaryas who would be a guru, a regular guru by his order, etc. Being made a regular guru by the order of one's spiritual master is different then being a fully liberated Acarya. The role is similar in terms of caring for disciples and representing the previous acarya, but the scope would be different. A regular guru would be an acarya" only for his disciples, initiated or aspiring. A guru made "on the order" of his spiritual master should always follow the spiritual master's order and never consider himself independent or above such orders."

C   But where, when and to whom was such an order ever given? Maharaja has admitted above that such Gurus would only be made BY his order'.

"In this way, if some clear discussion and study of the topic is held it would be possible to establish exactly what perimeters an "officiating acarya" or regular guru in ISKCON should have. It lies beyond the scope of this paper to go into details of that topic. I presume that will be the main task the GBC is intending to deal with during the coming meetings. However, it would be beneficial if devotees concentrated on defining this role. We should avoid concocting something not authorized in sastra and make the correct adjustments wherever we are not applying the principles properly."

Maharaja here seems to be displaying some confusion since earlier on he said that officiating acaryas' are also known as ritviks'. So what is the point of discussing the perimeters for an entity that Maharaja has stated simply cannot exist post-samadhi? "Often many lacuna in the applications of Guru Tattva in ISKCON's history after Srila Prabhupada's departure are brought up to create an impassioned appeal for why Rtvik Theory is the only viable solution. Again that is producing a whimsical solution to a real problem. It is not acceptable. What is acceptable is discussing how to make the real Guru Parampara that Srila Prabhupada wanted work in an effective manner. "

A   We totally agree since such lacuna are not brought up by the IRG, OR Final Order proponents.

"If all devotees would assist in this effort it would be very positive. Creating a total picture of Guru Parampara and every devotees relationships with Lord Krishna, Lord Caitanya, the previous acaryas, Srila Prabhupada and siksa and diksa gurus is the most important thing that can be done at present. I hope to be able to write a separate paper on that topic. I bring up the topic here simply to invite the proponents of Rtvik Theory to be very introspective and hopefully they will understand that it is more pleasing to Srila Prabhupada to consider how to apply what he directly said he wanted in the form of regular gurus. It is certainly counter productive to try to create a new paradigm which doesn't exist any where in sadhu, sastra and guru references."

B    We totally agree. We wonder who it is that has created this new paradigm'? Maharaja has not produced any evidence that Srila Prabhupada as the diksa Guru for ISKCON is a new paradigm. Indeed it is a very old and only paradigm known to us in ISKCON.

"ISKCON and Krishna consciousness are claiming to be bona fide vedic sampradayas. Everything we do must be backed up by vedic literature in order to maintain that respect with the other religious groups and sampradayas. It is one thing that rtvik proponents can sentimentally convince Srila Prabhupada's followers about accepting their speculations, but how do the rtvik proponents intend to convince other sampradayas who only want to see Vedic evidence for anything we do? In this way the Rtvik proponents, if they have their way, will turn ISKCON into an apa-sampradaya or an unauthorized disciplic succession. The only reasonable way of proceeding is according to sadhu, sastra and guru and not according to the speculations of uninitiated and untrained persons."

Maharaja is skating on thin ice here since there are many things about ISKCON and its foreign Gurus that other samparadayas do not accept. What to speak of other samparadayas, even the Gaudiya Matha does not accept so much coming from the GBC, with the origin of the soul being just one of them. Indeed it is for this very reason, to protect' us from ridicule' from the other samapradayas, that Satyanarayan and co. have suggested so many adjustments' to the teachings of Srila Prabhupada. For Maharaja to suggest similar reasoning in this case only demonstrates hypocrisy.

"Consider how our previous acaryas had worked so hard to establish the Brahma-Madhva-Gaudiya Sampradaya as a unique and bona fide Vedic Sampradaya no less valid then the existing four vaisnava sampradayas, and rather the best of all! Consider how Sanatana Goswami compiled Hari-bhakti-vilas to establish we have a bona fide system of worship. Baladeva Vidyabhusana had given the Govinda Bhasya commentary on Vedanta Sutra to establish our philosophy. Gopal Bhatta Goswami established a bona fide system of samskaras and reformatory ceremonies and sacrifices. Bhaktivinode Thakur established that our sampradaya is not simply some degraded sahajiyas, babajis or caste goswamis, but actually based on solid sadhu, sastra and guru evidence. Om Visnupada Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura established our parampara and system of applying the Vedic, Pancaratrika and Bhagavata principles. Srila Prabhupada worked so hard to have the Gaudiya Math, academic institutions, Indian and Worldwide public recognize ISKCON, its philosophy and its international devotees as bona fide members of the disciplic succession. Everything was carefully done. If the unauthorized non-vedic Rtvik post-samadhi proxy initiation system were to be established in ISKCON then all the efforts of these Acaryas would be discarded and ISKCON would be considered an apa-sampradaya or deviant succession. Certainly the GBC and devotees in general won't allow that to happen. Hopefully those who currently advocate Rtvik ideas will reconsider their stand and remain solidly with Srila Prabhupada and the previous acaryas."

Maharaja needs to wake up and realise that all of Srila Prabhupada's hard work in this respect has practically been thrown away by ISKCON's unauthorised Guru system that has run for the last 21 years. It is already considered an apa-sampradaya' by so many people due to its paedophiles can be in the parampara' and other colourful doctrines.

"The July 9th, 1977 letter does not constitute a direct order for continuing the process of initation after Srila Prabhupada's departure. Actually Srila Prabhupada clearly stated on October 18, 1977 that if his health improved he might start initiating again in the following excerpt from Folio:

Prabhupada: Hare Krsna. One Bengali gentleman has come from New York?
Tamala Krsna: Yes. Mr. Sukamal Roy Chowdury.
Prabhupada: So I have deputed some of you to initiate. Hm?
Tamala Krsna: Yes. Actually... Yes, Srila Prabhupada.
Prabhupada: So I think Jayapataka can do that if he likes. I have already deputed. Tell him.
Tamala Krsna: Yes.
Prabhupada: So, deputies, Jayapataka's name was there?
Bhagavan: It is already on there, Srila Prabhupada. His name was on that list.
Prabhupada: So I depute him to do this at Mayapura, and you may go with him. I stop for the time being. Is that all right?
Tamala Krsna: Stopped doing what, Srila Prabhupada?
Prabhupada: This initiation. I have deputed the, my disciples. Is it clear or not?
Giriraja: It's clear.
Prabhupada: You have got the list of the names?
Tamala Krsna: Yes, Srila Prabhupada.
Prabhupada: And if by Krsna's grace I recover from this condition, then I shall begin again, or I may not be pressed in this condition to initiate. It is not good.

In October, 1977, months after the July 9th letter, which according to rtvik supporters permanently established the rtvik system, Srila Prabhupada stated he may begin initiating again which would have stopped the Rtvik system. It is clear that the July 9th letter was not considered by Srila Prabhupada as a sacrosanct Final Order on initiations. It is not reasonable to consider Rtvik as a system that would continue when he wasn't present based on this letter alone."

C   The statement that Srila Prabhupada may begin initiating again which would have stopped the ritvik system', cannot possibly make sense in the manner Maharaja means:

1) Srila Prabhupada had NOT stopped initiating in the transcendental sense since he still took disciples, and the person in this example would also have been still initiated' by him. Thus Srila Prabhupada can only be referring to his actually physically performing the ceremony, which he would still do in when he was physically on hand to do so. Thus for Srila Prabhupada to simply perform the fire yajna for persons who physically approached him would not in anyway have interfered with the worldwide ritvik system that was set up. In fact Srila Prabhupada even alludes to this arrangement when in the July 7th conversation, Srila Prabhupada mentions both himself and Jayapataka Maharaja as being on hand to assist in the ritvik process for India.

2) To stop the ritvik system completely Srila Prabhupada would have had to single-handedly start conducting every initiation himself, which is absurd since he had stopped doing this many years ago, not just on July 9th. All that happened on July 9th was that the final activity in which he was involved in, the formal issuing of the name, was also devolved. There is no evidence that at this point Srila Prabhupada was so ill that he could not issue names, especially since he was still able to have lengthy conversations and translate.

"I am writing this paper in the mood of searching for some common ground and understanding. Since I feel the devotees I talked with sincerely want to please Srila Prabhupada I have taken the time and energy to write this paper. My hope is that it will make it more clear what is required to please Srila Prabhupada. Also this is a humble appeal to all sincere devotees who want to please Srila Prabhupada and the previous acaryas that the only way to do so is within the clear framework of sadhu, sastra and guru references. Rtvik Theory isn't an acceptable alternative since it isn't found any where in sadhu, sastra and guru references."

B   As mentioned many times previously, there is no such thing as ritvik theory'. The only theory' being proposed is from the GBC, and is known as the physically limited diksa guru theory' which states that Srila Prabhupada must automatically lose his ability to perform diksa once he loses the use of his physical limbs. Without this theory the status quo remians and Srila Prabhupada is the diksa guru for ISKCON. Thus it is the GBC who have both:

1) Proposed a new theory;
2) And given a theory that is against sadhu, sastra and guru' references.

The ritviks' propose nothing. They merely ASK- why was our spiritual master kicked out of his role as diksa guru for ISKCON one second after he physically departed. To this question the GBC have no answer. And until they give a satisfactory answer, the status quo remains, and Srila Prabhupada is the diksa guru for ISKCON.

(Originally posted on VNN)

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