| Home | About Us | Srila Prabhupada | Krishna Consciousness | Deity Darshan | Our Festivals & Events |
| Articles | Our Temples | Our Activities | Links | Contact Us |

"Actually it's your zone"

Hare Krsna to all
All glories to Srila Prabhupada
Below you will find a detailed explanation from the Maadhva and  Ramanuja Sampradayas represented by a few of their scholars/sadhus. One will also find a very interesting parallel between the problems facing iskcon and these other sampradayas over the past centuries and how they dealt with managerial problems. 
The interviewed persons (Sri Tatachar-Ramanuja sampradaya, and Sri Bannanje Govindacarya-Maadhva sampradaya) clearly explain the difference between the material aspects of a Matha and the spiritual qualities reserved for only a Siddha purusha or Uttama Adhikari, such as Maadhva, Ramanuja and Srila Prabhupada.
But first we start with something I pulled out recently from reading the conversations books regarding the obvious material motivations of  Ramesvara das in talking with Srila Prabhupada. He is just one such disciple, we all have material ambitions, but the so called iskcon "leaders" were highly infested with the desire to control and manipulate a spiritual institution that was to be guided by the ritvik system for initiations in the future.
Srila Prabhupada set up his GBC to control the material assets, and he was to remain the sole guiding light with his Vani thru his books,  conversations, murtis, letters, etc for as long as his iskcon existed.
Please read below these scholars explanations of how these other sampradayas have developed over time. First a little side trip with Ramesvara...to set the tone of the discussion...
Hare Krsna
Damaghosa das

Ramesvara: [talking to Srila Prabhupada] Originally we told him [ a lawyer ] that all the GBC are executors, and he said, "But out of them, just pick a few. It is a technical thing."
'Cause the GBC are already mentioned as the heirs or the managers of what you are giving.
Here we see Ramesvara with a Freudian slip of his tongue referring to him and his GBC sidekicks as
"Heirs" to Srila Prabhupadas property. Nobody owns the guru's property. Especially neophytes!  Why isn't he in "his temples and zones" today-if he is the "Heir"?  Krsna simply kicked his butt out, thats all.

Ramesvara: Number two was Los Angeles with $87,000. Number three was Berkeley with $85,000.... zones for the month. Number one is Tamala Krsna, with $200,000. Number two was my zone. Actually it's your zone, but you've made me manage it a little. $182,000, very close to beating... West Coast was not divided this year into two zones... Formerly it was just one zone. All Berkeley, it was one zone. Now it is two zones.
So I noticed that if it had not been divided...

So in this above conversation with Srila Prabhupada, Ramesvara is giving his spiritual master a sankirtan report-but again another slip of his tongue and refers to Prabhupadas temples as "my zone"

So some may think this is trivial and not important, but the so called leaders of the Hare Krsna movement were control and power mongers , and Ramesvara was at the top of the heap along with TKG and others.
They never really understood correctly that all that they ever  "had" was  the blessings and mercy of Srila Prabhupada. Nobody owns anything in the Ashram of the Guru. They were allowed to become transformed from a mouse to a cat to a dog and then to a tiger--all on behalf of Srila Prabhupada and Krsna's mercy.
But when they decided they wanted his assets, namely the bricks and stones (temple properties), then again punar musiko bhava--once again return to your mouse like consciousness. So where are they all today? Just see ! Again mouse like  and ordinary joe on the street-people . Judge by the result !!
Another interesting development-I was re-reading the three letters posted  about ten years ago on VNN about when  Madhu pandit and some other ritviks approached  some leading Vaisnava Acaryas of the Ramanuja/Maadhva sampradayas in India regarding clarifiying the instructions which  Srila Prabhupada gave to us for the future of his movement.
They repeatedly make the point that Srila Prabhupada was not violating any sastric injunctions by  deputing ritviks to perform initiation on his behalf-both while present and after his disappearance. They gave as evidence how Sri Ramanujacarya did the same thing and it is still going on in  that Acaryas mathas up to the present.
below are all the links to these articles/interviews which appeared  years ago on VNN
Professor Tatachar, Director Academy of Sanskrit Research, Karnataka.says:
Iskcon devotee: You are saying that in spite of being some sort of guru, you are the disciple of Sri Ramanuja only?
Professor Tatachar: "Yes definitely. That is why we say that we Sri Ramanuja dasan only. I have to say, adiyen madhura kavi Laxshmi Tatacharya Ramanuja dasan, when I prostrate before anyone. Sri Ramanuja das is the common thing found in all the Sri Vaisnavas, though we have been initiated by one of the simhasana-adhipatis appointed by Sri Ramanuja himself who were considered to be gurus. In spite of this we are expected to state that we are disciples of Sri Ramanuja only." 
[so here we find a present day , and highly respected Vaisnava who has accepted Ramanujacarya, who physically disappeared long ago, as his diksa guru.] 
Iskcon devotee: In the Bhagavad Gita Srila Prabhupada gives the guru parampara-Brahma, Narada, Vyas and so on till Srila Prabhupada. In the ritvik system, who comes after Srila Prabhupada?
Sri Tatachar: " Srila Prabhupada himself. Only the ritvik system continues and Srila Prabhupada is the guru."
Iskcon devotee: When that happens, is the parampara not stopping?
Sri Tatachar: "No, What can be done? Srila Prabhupada has not appointed an acarya. The param para continues through a chain of ritviks." 
[Some will accept this, some will not-thats the material world for you]
Iskcon devotee: Can the absence of a physical body limit the functioning of the acarya, in terms of Srila Prabhupada  being able to impart knowledge and take karma of the disciples? Can Srila Prabhupada do this now?
Sri Tatachar: " Just because somebody has a physical body, can he take your karma? Is he competent to do it? The presence or the absence of the physical body is not the criteria to take away the karma of a particular person. On the other hand, it depends on the devotion of the disciple and the grace of the acarya. Say for instance, Srila Prabhupadas guru was not there when Srila Prabhupada was present. Do you mean to say that they are not capable of taking the karma of their disciple?
The interesting thing (quotes a verse in sanskrit from Yatindra vimsati composed by Sri Manavala Mamuni of Sri Vaisnava sampradaya, who appeared nearly 200 years after Sri Ramanuja) 
Iskcon devotee: So what is the import of this statement?
Sri Tatachar: " That means though the guru is not physically present, he can take away all the karmas of the disciple. That is the potency of the acarya.  In that way, it is not important whether the acarya is alive with a physical body or not. that is not important."

Interview With Sri Bannanje Govindacharya

BANGALORE, INDIA, Jan 28 (VNN) — It may be recalled that HG Vidvan Gauranga Dasa posted a report of his meeting two eminent vaishnavas in Bangalore, namely Vidyavacaspati Sri Bannaje Govindacharya (a grhasta madhva scholar). When devotees of ISKCON Bangalore showed the report to Sri Bananje Govindacharya, he said that the reporting was partial and did not completely represent his views. The devotees continued their discussion with him and it was recorded. Later the interview was transcribed, taken back to him for review so that he is satisfied that we represent his views properly this time. We provide the same here:

Below is an interview with Sri Bannanje Govindacarya, original tape available:

Sri Bannanje Govindacarya: Meaning of diksha is to give adhikara in a mantra or any system or in a faith. Who can give initiation? In fact if I want to initiate somebody into gayatri, I must be a realised person. Gayatri sakshatkara is the first requirement for a diksha guru. Siddhi or perfection. Mantra siddhi. Otherwise one cannot give mantra diksha to others, according to shastra.

[So here how do the people in iskcon explain all the falldowns of their so called gurus when this Vaisnava scholar is showing that diksa mantra must be given by a siddhi guru-one who is perfect?]

So simply giving Diksha and canceling and taking again another diksha - that is all ashastric, not according to shastra... So this is the problem when we institutionalize a faith. We have to face all these problems, because when you institutionalize faith then all the institutional and organizational problems enter and all the organizational problems will come. Actually according to shastra, none of these swamis can initiate… No swami unless he has attained sakshatkar or mantra siddhi he cannot initiate. That is what….told was correct. Unless he has that power to take the sishya into that height, that elevation, initiation becomes a mere mechanical procedure. It has no meaning. If I want to initiate you I must be able to bring you to that plane and you must be able to meditate upon that mantra and that power should be given. Initiation is not mere mechanical procedure. That is a transformation of a power, mantric and spiritual power and a person who has actually no spiritual power how can he give spiritual power to a sisya. It cannot be claimed by a mere post or institutional powers. Initiation is totally different.

ISKCON devotee: This ritvik system, where Prabhupada in his absence where they act, you know these ritviks as his representatives, and giving, conducting this ceremony while still Prabhupada as the diksha guru, if this process if we continue, is it violating any vedic sastra?

Sri Bannanje Govindacarya: You see it can be done like this. Everybody must take diksha before the vigraha of Prabhupada

ISKCON devotee: Prabhupada murthi's are kept everywhere in ISKCON temples.

Sri Bannanje Govindacarya: You have a temple of Prabhupada, and before Prabhupada himself, no others can give diksha and these people provide name and mala. The diksha should be in the presence of Prabhupada's vigraha. That will be better. That would be better. There will be no problem. Just to avoid problems, see so many gurus, they will leave peeta (the sacred seat), they are falling down. Just to avoid this, you take initiation before Prabhupada's vigraha.

ISKCON devotee: We are actually not saying that this should be practiced because of a reaction for the fall down of gurus. Even if the gurus are not falling down we are saying you should still follow this because it is the acharya's ajna

Sri Bannanje Govindacarya: Yes, I have simply told… This can also be avoided. No, that is not the only reason because in fact that is my concept. People ask me who is your guru. I have been taught by so many swamji's . I have not been initiated into sanyasa. That is different. People ask me, "You are being an eminent scholar, who is your guru." Then I used to say, "Madhvacharya is my guru. None else." I don't accept anybody else as my direct guru. Even now if I have got any doubt, I put the question before Madhvacharya and he must send the message, the answer to my mind and I don't ask anybody! So this is a very powerful practice. Taking initiation from mula guru. See these people are instruments, to provide this and that, what ever is required.
[Or as Srila Prabhupada would say...."you read my books and all your questions will be answered and in this way your spiritual life will develop"]

ISKCON devotee: That Prabhupada has said GBC is the ultimate managing authority…

Sri Bannanje Govindacarya: And this should not be mixed up with the spiritual practices. It is different

[Srila Prabhupada said "I am the initiating guru and you (GBC) are the instructing gurus']

ISKCON devotee: In other words siksha. You can always be siksha guru.

Sri Bannanje Govindacarya: I can teach others. But diksha guru….well, unless I have that power I cannot give diksha to others. So again how can I claim that I have that power. "You don't have that power. I will give you that power…" It is all again a controversy. There is no end to this controversy

[You can say that again]

Devotee: Do you agree that one can become guru only on the order of his guru? Or can he just become guru? How can he become guru? - giving diksha. Prabhupada says that it is a rule that he has to get an order to continue the parampara. What do you say?

Sri Bannanje Govindacarya: Through guru parampara giving initiation is in practice in so many systems. In Madhva system it is there, in Shankara and Ramanuja system. In all the systems now the person who is authorised to give initiation comes in the peeta (sacred seat of the institutional head). Whoever comes in the peeta is authorised to give. That tradition is there now. And in fact, this is just a managerial system, administrative system. Just to solve the administrative problem, they have adopted this method. Strictly speaking, in the spiritual field anybody can initiate who is siddha purusha and even if not entitled by guru. Traditionally this is not accepted. [compliments of the smarta brahmanas] If I am a mantra siddha, I need not have a sanction from my guru or any tradition. I can initiate anybody. This is sastric. But there are two things - institutional systems is that only the peeta-adhipati (the person presiding over the peeta) guru can initiate. That is the system in the Madhva mutts. In fact only siddha purusa can initiate and he need not be a siddha purusa who has come in the traditional way in the peeta.

[And also in iskcon only Srila Prabhupada-the siddha purusha- can initiate, since that is his order]

ISKCON devotee: If he is a siddha purusa, automatically the authorisation will be there for him.

Sri Bannanje Govindacarya: Yes, yes. That's what I am saying. If he is not siddha purusa, though he is there in the peeta, lineage, according to sastra he is not authorised. But the present system accepts that he is guru! [And here we have the divisions in their matha also] But according to the sastra, he need not come in the peeta, if he is a siddha purusa and he is realised, he can give diksha to anyone. There is no sanction of tradition that is necessary to accept him as guru. The only requirement for diksha is I must be a realised person, siddha purusa of that mantra which I am giving you. If it is Vishnu mantra, I must be siddha in that Vishnu mantra or Narayana mantra or whatever it is. This is not only giving mantra upadesa but this is accepting somebody into the fold of a certain system. Then some system must be there. Its again institutionalisation. Some system. Then whatever the tradition says that is to be accepted to accept him into this fold. So all the other sampradayas accept that there is a guru paramapara in the peetas and they are entitled to give diksha. According to sastra anybody can give mudra dharana. I can give mudra to my children. But according to the present practice in the mutts, sampradaya system, they do not accept it. They say, "Only we have the authority. Only we have the authority. We can give mudra dharana. But nobody else…" Some of our swamis say, "These people belong to Uttaradi mutt, they belong to Pejawar mutt.." and so on. Again there is division. "And you cannot take vaishnava diksha from some other swami. I am your mula vidya guru. You take diksha from me." No it has become a social right. Spirituality has nothing to do with this. This is again the present plight of the muttas. There are two things. One is the social aspect of traditional acceptance, another is spiritual practice.

[So the above is a very clear explanation of why  the ancient system of initiations/diksa as given by great Acaryas later become an institution.Besides giving mantra upadesa its accepting someone into the fold of a tradition-therefore people create a "tradition" and later formalize it into an institution and then give everybody "their rules" for diksa.But technically, and according to the sastra, only a siddha purusha can give the mantra. But since we live in a "society", in order to "get along , we have to go along"-hence we have the present day iskcon and all its myriad of rules, bylaws, and of course dont forget the rules for when your diksa guru falls down so bad you wished you had never met him....]

ISKCON devotee:That's interesting. So we understand that the spiritual component of diksha Prabhupada retains for himself.

Sri Bannanje Govindacarya: Yes that is what I am saying. It is safe. If we accept the spiritual diksha is Prabhupada, if we accept that then so many problems will be solved.

[When will iskcon accept this simple principle?]

ISKCON devotee: According to our Governing Body themselves, they agree that they cannot deliver the souls back to Krishna. It is Prabhupada only that much they agree. The only thing is they don't want to give Prabhupada the post of diksha guru

Sri Bannanje Govindacarya: In other sampradayas they say that only living guru can give diksha. Therefore they are also claiming the same thing. In other sampradayas the diksha guru must be a living guru. He cannot give diksha with his spiritual body, non material body. He must give with his gross material body only - that tradition is there.

This is not siddhanta or apasiddhanta. Tradition is a social system. It is nothing to do with the spiritual. Society accepted this just to have a control on disciples from the peeta or matha. Swami should have certain control of the disciples. So they have accepted certain rights - they are his copyrights! So that he can have certain control over the society. This is a social system presently accepted by the spiritual priests. Philosophy and practice have nothing to do with it.

["Of all the plagues with which mankind has been cursed, eccliastical tyranny --is the worst"]

ISKCON devotee: In short, is the ritvik system against any vedic system?

Sri Bannanje Govindacarya: It is neither vedic nor non vedic. Just to have an international contact, Prabhupada himself created this system and he is the final authority. It is not against the preaching of the vedas.

ISKCON devotee: So Prabhupada can remain a diksha guru and these people can conduct just like the ritviks?

Sri Bannanje Govindacarya: That can be done. There is no problem in this system. Because it is an international institution it is natural that all the people may not be scholars in sastras or sanskrit. But they will be managerial heads. That is why it is inevitable to accept Prabhupada as diksha guru. It is essential thing to accept him as diksha guru and these are the instruments.


Concluding remarks: In the above two interviews with Sri Tatachar and Sri Bannanje Govindacarya, they both agree that the ritvik system is bonafide, will work, will deliver mantra to the new candidates, and is the system that Srila Prabhupada has outlined for the future of his iskcon institution.I find it somewhat ironic that almost the same things that are happening in iskcon have already happened in the Gaudiya matha and the other sampradayas. As the saying goes, History repeates itself is certainly true again in this case. There will always be devotees who will gravitate to "institutions", and "societies",in order to make some "sense" in their lives. But this affinity towards rules and regulations, motivated originally by the material desire to control, is in effect a detriment to ultimate spiritual culture which has no material boundaries and no material limitations. Therefore even though we all have material desires and ambitions, these desires can all be neutralized eventually by the power of pure devotional service-and that item is the sole property of the siddha purushas or pure devotees of the Lord-not some earthly institution created by fallible men.


Hare Krsna

Damaghosa das

| HOME | TOP |

This website is best viewed in resolution: 1024 x 768 or higher

ŠThe Krishna Consciousness Movement, The Nama Hatta Mission of California, 2009

Links provided are for information only, The Hare Krishna Society does not necessarily endorse all the contents and statements in those links.
Readers are encouraged to read the original unrevised versions of Srila Prabhupada's books

BBT images and written materials from Srila Prabhupada's books are copyrighted by the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust.  All rights reserved.  All such materials are published pursuant to  Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, Fair Use Exception