"Actually it's your zone"
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
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...
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
'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.
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
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
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
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
below are all the links to these articles/interviews
which appeared years ago on VNN
Professor Tatachar, Director Academy of Sanskrit Research,
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
Sri Tatachar: " Srila Prabhupada
himself. Only the ritvik system continues and Srila Prabhupada is the
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
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
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:
is an interview with Sri Bannanje Govindacarya, original tape available:
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
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?
Bannanje Govindacarya: You see it can be done
like this. Everybody must take diksha before the vigraha of
devotee: Prabhupada murthi's are kept everywhere in ISKCON temples.
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
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"]
devotee: That Prabhupada has said GBC is the ultimate managing
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']
devotee: In other words siksha. You can always be siksha guru.
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
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....]
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
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. /font>
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
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