From His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
The Right Of Discipline
I was born in the darkest ignorance, and my spiritual master opened my eyes with the torch of knowledge. I offer my respectful obeisance’s unto him. When will Srila Rupa Gosvami Prabhupada, who has established within this material world the mission to fulfill the desire of Lord Caitanya, give me shelter under his lotus feet?
From the Introduction to the 1972 edition of The Bhagavad Gita As It Is by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
The word discipline comes from disciple, or disciple comes from discipline. So unless there is discipline, there is no question of disciple.
The definition of truth by Srila Prabhupada.
“Satyam, truthfulness, means that the facts should be presented as they are for the benefit of others. Facts should not be misrepresented. According to social conventions, it is said that one can speak the truth only when it is palatable to others. But that is not truthfulness. The truth should be spoken in a straight and forward way, so that others will understand actually what the facts are. If a man is a thief and if people are warned that he is a thief, that is truth. Although sometimes the truth is unpalatable, one should not refrain from speaking it. Truthfulness demands that the facts be presented as they are for the benefit of others. That is the definition of truth.”
Bhagavad Gita As It Is 1972 edition Chapter ten texts 4-5 from purport
Welcome To The Hare Krishna Movement
Hare Krsna is Non-sectarian
His Divine Grace A. C.
Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
..."ISKCON (the International Society of Krishna Consciousness) is a non-lucrative organization whose purpose is to promote the well-being of human society by drawing its attention to God. We are a non-sectarian society, and our members include people from Christian, Jewish, Muslim, as well as Hindu faiths. The aim of ISKCON is not to found a new religious sect but to invoke the living entity’s dormant love of God, and thus provide the human society of all faiths with a common platform of clear theistic knowledge and practice. Members of ISKCON may retain their own respective religious faiths, as ISKCON is meant to establish a clear, practical common formulation of the common ideal of all theists, and to defeat the unnecessary dogmatic wrangling that now divides and invalidates the theistic camp. This common theism is to develop love of God.—
Letter to Roland Michener, Governor-General of Canada. 24
The whole world has the right to take Srila Prabhupada as their Diksa guru, if they follow his teachings, just like Srila Prabhupada said anyone can also be a follower of Jesus if he follows his teachings. It’s all based upon acceptance.
Everyone has the Right of Discipline in direct relation to His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. If you have decided to become a disciple of Srila Prabhupada you must follow the four regulative principles strictly and chant 16 rounds of the maha mantra every day on your beads. Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.
A list of representatives will be presented at the end of this paper. You may contact them personally via their web sites or by regular mail.
The purpose of this paper is to present the historical events regarding the original final directive given by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada regarding how first and second initiations were to take place after his physical departure. We present supporting understandings from authoritative sources and from the works of two of Srila Prabhupadas disciples to reinforce the understanding that taking formal Diksa from Srila Prabhupada is authorized by him and is directed by him. Those formal initiations as directed by Srila Prabhupada are still going on today.
My comments will be indicated with the letters HGD. Hasti Gopala Dasa in relation to any part of this paper. In the May 28th 1977 conversation below the Arial Black Bold are additions of mine.
First we present here the May 28th 1977 Conversation that took place in Vrndavana India between Srila Prabhupada and some of his GBC representatives.
Locanananda dasa: That day, there were nineteen full GBC members present in Vrndavana. Also in attendance at the meetings were one acting GBC man and two non-GBC members. To ask the most delicate questions, a six-man committee consisting of those GBC members who were on the original GBC formed in 1970 went before Srila Prabhupada.
The May 28th 1977 conversation:
Satsvarupa: By the votes of the present GBC. Then our next question concerns initiations in the future, particularly at that time when you’re no longer with us. We want to know how first and second initiation would be conducted.
It is more than obvious that Satsvarupa is asking as are the GBC how first and second initiations will take place after Srila Prabhupada will no longer be physically present.
Prabhupada: Yes. I shall recommend some of you. After this is settled up, I shall recommend some of you to act as officiating acaryas.
Tamal Krsna: Is that called Ritvik-acarya?
Prabhupada: Ritvik, yes.
Here we see for the first time the word “ritvik”. Tamal Krsna says the word “ritvik”.It is obvious that he understands what the word means in the context of the conversation. Srila Prabhupada agrees with his understanding.
Satsvarupa: Then what is the relationship of that person who gives the initiation and the…
The initiation is being given by Srila Prabhupada, directly as the ritvik acarya quoted above has been confirmed by Srila Prabhupada who will be the officiator.
Prabhupada: He’s guru. He’s guru.
(Srila Prabhupada is guru )
Satsvarupa: But he does it on your behalf.
Prabhupada. Yes, that is formality. Because in my presence one should not become guru, so on my behalf on my order…amara ajanaya guru hana Cc Madya 7.128 Be actually guru, but by my order. No order was ever given.
Satsvarupa: So they may also be considered your disciples?
Srila Prabhupada’s disciples.
Prabhupada: Yes, they are disciples. Why consider? Who?
Confirmed. Prabhupada’s disciples.
Srila Prabhupada is asking Satsvarupa why he is asking if they are Srila Prabhupada’s disciples. It is obvious they are from the understanding of the conversation.
Tamal Krsna: No, he’s asking that these ritvik-acaryas, they’re officiating, giving diksa. Their…The people who they give diksa to, whose disciples are they?
Prabhupada: They are his disciple.
MEANS THEY ARE THE DISCIPLES OF THE PERSON THEY ARE OFFICATING FOR, OTHERWISE WHY ARE THEY CALLED TO OFFICIATE..FOR WHO? SRILA PRABHUPADA.
Tamala Krsna: They are his disciples.
THE ONE BEING OFFICATED FOR
Prabhupada: Who is initiating he is grand disciple.
SRILA PRABHUPADAS IS INITIATING THEREFORE THE NEXT GENERATION ARE HIS DISCIPLES, GRAND DISCIPLES.
Tamala Krsna: That’s clear. Clear.
So Tamal Krsna agrees to the direct understanding of the directive given to him by Srila Prabhupada. He and the GBC as we will see fully agree to and accept Srila Prabhupadas post samadhic directive. The word “ritvik” is basically a sanskrit word which means rtu or season, it is basically a vedic priest to assist the performer of vedic sacrifice or ceremony. Srila Prabhupada used it with the meaning of representative of the acarya. HGD
Now we will present the July 9th 1977 letter approved of by the whole of the GBC and Srila Prabhupada himself. You will read that ALL of the GBC members were in Vrndavna when Srila Prabhupada indicated that he would appoint some of his senior disciples to ACT AS ‘RITVIK-REPRESENTATIVES..
9 July, 1977
To All G.B.C., and Temple Presidents
Dear Maharajas and Prabhus,
Please accept my humble obeisance’s at your feet. Recently when all of the GBC members were with His Divine Grace in Vrndavana, Srila Prabhupada indicated that soon He would appoint some of His senior disciples to act as “ritvik–representative of the acarya, for the purpose of performing initiations, both first initiation and second initiation. His Divine Grace has so far given a list of eleven disciples who will act in that capacity:
- His Holiness Kirtanananda Swami
- His Holiness Satsvarupa dasa Gosvami
- His Holiness Jayapataka Swami
- His Holiness Tamala Krsna Gosvami
- His Holiness Hrdayananda Gosvami
- His Holiness Bhavananda Gosvami
- His Holiness Hamsaduta Swami
- His Holiness Ramesvara Swami
- His Holiness Harikesa Swami
- His Grace Bhagavan dasa Adhikari
- His Grace Jayatirtha dasa Adhikari
In the past Temple Presidents have written to Srila Prabhupada recommending a particular devotee’s initiation. Now that Srila Prabhupada has named these representatives, Temple Presidents may henceforward send recommendation for first and second initiation to whichever of these eleven representatives are nearest their temple.
The meaning of “henceforward”.
“From this time forward; henceforth” HGD
After considering the recommendation, these representatives may accept the devotee as an initiated disciple of Srila Prabhupada by giving a spiritual name, or in the case of second initiation, by chanting on the Gayatri thread, just as Srila Prabhupada has done.
The newly initiated devotees are disciples of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the above eleven senior devotees acting as His representative. After the Temple President receives a letter from these representatives giving the spiritual name or the thread, he can perform the fire yajna in the temple as was being done before.
So we see above that the system of “ritvik” as presented in Srila Prabhupadas July 9th 1977 letter ( directly connected to the May 28th 1977 conversation ) and approved by the GBC went into affect officially as of July 9th 1977. That is understood by the sentence: “After the Temple President receives a letter from these representatives giving the spiritual name or the thread, he can perform the fire yajna in the temple as was being done before.” Therefore the previous initiations were done as ritvik initiations. Srila Prabhupada deputed the temple presidents as the representative of the acharya for the time of the initiations. HGD
The name of a newly initiated disciple should be sent by the representative who has accepted him or her to Srila Prabhupada, to be included in His Divine Grace’s “Initiated Disciples” book.
Hoping this finds you all well.
Tamala Krsna Gosvami
Approved: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
[Srila Prabhupada's signature appears on the original]
So there is a direct connection of the July 9th 1977 letter to the May 28th 1977 conversation between Srila Prabhupada and the GBC. The GBC want to know how initiations will take place in the future…”particularly at that time when you are no longer with us”
Srila Prabhupada answers…”Yes. I shall recommend some of you. After this is settled up, I shall recommend some of you to act as officiating acaryas.”
Then the logical question arises that since the July 9th 1977 directive was not followed as Srila Prabhupada wished by the 11 officiating acharyas….Were they the only one’s allowed to officiate? If so, then has the directive been null and void since Srila Prabhupada’s physical departure? No it is not. This is confirmed below.
Excerpt from the Topanaga Canyon Conversations Dec. 3 1980
Before I got ready to type the letter, I asked him 2) “Srila Prabhupada, is this all or do you want to add more? He said, “As is necessary, others may be added”
What is referred to as the Topanga Canyon Conversation took place on December 3, 1980. It has been recorded and was transcribed many years ago. Those in the conversation section that we are referring to are Dhira-Krsna Swami, Tamal Krsna Swami and Hanasadutta Swami. It is very relevant at this point as it covers the above question and the point that one must be qualified to be an initiating guru.
Qualification comes from the information in Srila Prabhupada’s original books. Not by unauthorized and arbitrary appointment.
Arial Black used for emphasis below.
Topanaga canyon Conversation Dec. 3, 1980
Tamala Krsna Swami: Actually, Prabhupada never appointed any gurus. He didn’t appoint eleven gurus. He appointed eleven ritviks. He never appointed them gurus. Myself and the GBC have done the greatest disservice to this movement the last three years because we interpreted the appointment of the ritviks as the appointment of gurus.
Tamala Krsna Swami: What actually happened, I’ll explain. I explained it, but the interpretation is wrong. What actually happened was that Prabhupada mentioned that he might be appointing some ritviks, so the GBC met for various reasons and they went to Srila Prabhupada-five or six of us. We asked him, “Srila Prabhupada, after your departure, if we accept disciples, whose disciples will they be, your disciples or mine?”
Later on there was piled-up list for people to get initiated, and it was jammed-up.
I said, “Srila Prabhupada, you once mentioned about ritviks. I don’t know what to do. We don’t want to approach you, but there’s hundreds of devotees named, and I’m just holding all these letters. I don’t know what you want to do.”
So Prabhupada said, “All right. I will appoint so many…,” and he started to name them and he did name them. He made it very clear that they’re his disciples. At that point it was very clear in my mind that they were his disciples. Later on I asked him two questions: 1) What about Brahmananda Swami? I asked him this because I happened to have an affection for Brahmananda Swami. I don’t know, I asked him because somehow he’s…I asked him, whatever.
So Prabhupada said, “No, not unless he is qualified.” Before I got ready to type the letter, I asked him 2) “Srila Prabhupada, is this all or do you want to add more? He said, “As is necessary, others may be added” Now I understand that what he did was very clear. He was physically incapable of performing the function of initiation physically; therefore he appointed officiating priests to initiate on his behalf.
He appointed eleven and he said very clearly, “Whoever is nearest, he can initiate.” This is a very important point, because when it comes to initiating it isn’t whoever is nearest, and he was very clear. He named them. They were spread out all over the world, and he said “Who ever you’re nearest, you just approach that person, and they’ll check you out. Then on my behalf, they’ll initiate” It’s not a question that you repose your faith in that person – nothing.
That’s a function for the guru. “In order for me to manage this movement,” Prabhupada said, “I have to form a GBC, and I will appoint the following people. In order to continue the process of people joining our movement and getting initiated, I have to appoint some priests to help because just like I cannot physically manage everyone myself.” And that’s all that it was, and it was never any more than that. If it had been more than that, you can bet your bottom dollar that Prabhupada would have spoken for days and hours and weeks on end about how to set up this thing with the gurus, but he didn’t because he already had said it a million times. He said, “My guru maharaja did not appoint anyone. It is by qualification”
“According to sastra, the duty of the guru is to take the disciple back home, back to Godhead. If he is unable to do so and instead hinders the disciple in going back to Godhead, he should not be a guru.”
(Srimad Bhagavatam 8.20.1, purport)
Obvious and simply understood is the logical progression of events and the answers themselves. The GBC ask how initiations will go on after Srila Prabhupada is no longer physically present and he says he will recommend some to act as officiating acharyas. Then on July 9th 1977 he fulfills his promise.
“One should not multiply entities unnecessarily, or make further assumptions than are needed, and in general that one should pursue the simplest hypothesis. The principle states that one should not make more assumptions than the minimum needed. This principle is often called the principle of parsimony. Also called Ockham’s Razor”
Below is part of an article by Mahesh Raja Prabhu. We thank him for his kind contribution to this paper. HGD
Ritvik - **Representative**
BY: MAHESH RAJA
Oct 5, 2009 UK (SUN) — Ritvik - **representative** of the acarya, for the purpose of performing initiations, both first initiation and second initiation.
This is for the benefit of those who have ears to hear.
This July 9th 1977 letter was never revoked by Srila Prabhupada. This being the case, all the newly initiated devotees are disciples of his Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada for as long as ISKCON exists.
Exactly! There was never any official document from the GBC or from Srila Prabhupada revoking or amending the July 9th 1977 directive in any manner. Legally and morally the original July 9th 1977 directive still stands. HGD
Nor was there any change in the letters content or any objection from the GBC for the intervening 42 days until July 9th 1977. After some time the GBC decided to impose Resolution 304. Resolution 304 does not have any legal authority and is not backed up by Guru, Sadhu or Sastra. It is a denial of Srila Prabhupada as founder of ISKCON and it denies his final directive. HGD
July 9th, 1977 - "Now that Srila Prabhupada has named these representatives, Temple Presidents may henceforward send recommendation for first and second initiation to whichever of these eleven representatives are nearest their temple. After considering the recommendation, these representatives may accept the devotee as an initiated disciple of Srila Prabhupada by giving a spiritual name, or in the case of second initiation, by chanting on the Gayatri thread, just as Srila Prabhupada has done. The newly initiated devotees are disciples of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the above eleven senior devotees acting as His representative."
(Srila Prabhupada’s final signed Directive describing the initiation system to be followed in ISKCON, sent to all GBC's and Temple Presidents)
July 11th, 1977 - "A letter has been sent to all the Temple Presidents and GBC which you should be receiving soon describing the process for initiation to be followed in the future. Srila Prabhupada has appointed thus far eleven representatives who will initiate new devotees on His behalf."
(Letter from Tamala Krishna Goswami to Kirtananda describing the above system) July 19th, 1977 - "Make your own field and continue to be Ritvik and act on my charge." (Room Conversation, above dictated by Srila Prabhupada to his secretary Tamala Krishna Goswami)
July 31st, 1977 - "Make your own field and continue to become ritvik and act on my behalf."
(Above dictation sent out to Hamsaduta Swami by Tamala Krishna Goswami in a letter) Nov 1977 - "The system of management will continue as it is now and there is no need of any change."
(Srila Prabhupada's Last Will and Testament, which now comes into force for the lifetime of ISKCON)
Nov 1977 - "In the event of death or failure to act for any reason of any of the said directors, a successor director or directors may be appointed by the remaining directors, provided the new director is my initiated disciple ..."
(Srila Prabhupada's Last Will and Testament, which now comes into force for the lifetime of ISKCON. The above system of selecting directors can only work if Srila Prabhupada's initiated disciples exist throughout ISKCON's lifetime.)
Mahesh Raja Dasa
ISKCON has been and is now most certainly being managed by interlopers. “One that interferes with the affairs of others, often for selfish reasons; a meddler”. Sometime after Srila Prabhupada’s leaving his body the GBC decided that it was time to bring forth their infamous Resolution 304. It is a complete denial of their spiritual master as well as a denial for anyone in the future of the world to ever take the shelter as disciples of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Of course this is not possible but the GBC ISKCON mind set is like that.
GBC Resolution 304.
Long Island Trustees
1. Whereas the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, Inc., a New York religious corporation, was established by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami (Srila Prabhupada) in New York City in 1966 as the first corporation of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON); and
2. Whereas the doctrine that Srila Prabhupada desired to continue to act as diksa-guru after his departure from this world, and did not desire any of his disciples to give diksa, or initiation, in succession after him is an errant philosophical deviation (known as ritvikism); and
3. Whereas ritvikism directly contradicts the principle of parampara itself (of successive diksa and siksa-gurus), which sustains the pure teachings and practices of Krsna consciousness; and 4. Whereas this principle has been established by Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself, and is upheld by all of the bona fide acaryas (teachers) in the Gaudiya Vaishnava religious tradition, as well as all followers of Vedic culture; and...
The above GBC Resolution 304 is a clear understanding by the GBC that the July 9th letter which is directly connected to their request for post samadhic instructions from Srila Prabhupada on May 28th 1977 is post samadhic. If the so called “errant philosophical deviation“ ( Resolution 304 ) from Srila Prabhupada regarding post samadhic initiations was such then why did the GBC not discuss this immeadiately with the members of ISKCON and Srila Prabhupada? HGD
The GBC Resolution 304 declares Srila Prabhupada’s own authorization of the July 9th 1977 letter as being an “errant philosophical deviation”. Section 2.
So the GBC directly defame Srila Prabhupada without directly naming him in their Resolution 304 by referring to the July 9th 1977 directive which they agreed to and actually followed.
Resolution 304 calls Srila Prabhupada’s directive an “errant philosophical deviation” The order being called as such means that the author is being called an “errant philosophical deviant”
See Errant: Deviation.
That declaration itself as well as its’ presence as a so called legal document has no basis in guru, sadhu, sastra.
In fact the GBC Resolution 304 reveals a prestuplyeniye, a transgression, a stepping---over deliberately, with open yeyes, with forthought, planning and conscious will---of lines that should never have been crossed!
Errant: straying from the right course or from accepted standards;
Deviation: The act of deviating; a wandering from the way; variation from the common way, from an established rule, etc.; departure, as from the right course or the path of duty.
So we see the GBC directly accusing Srila Prabhupada of disobeying Krsna and all previous bona fide acharyas as well as breaking Vaisnava tradition and going against Vedic culture itself. That also is directed at his disciples and future disciples who would, did and do accept his final directive. If the GBC disagreed about this truth then why did they not let Srila Prabhupada in on their concerns as soon as they received the instructions? Because they understood the instructions in toto, disagreed in secret and waited until he left his body to act independently on their own.
Devotee Mark McLaughlin writes.
For those who still claim Srila Prabhupada could not possibly have authorized his ritvik initiation system to continue after his departure, on account that it is not a sastricly bona-fide activity, they need to read the following statement by Srila Prabhupada's acarya. Devotee Mark Mclaughlin writes.
Excerpt from Bhakti Vikasa's 3 volume "Sri Bhaktisiddhanta Vaibhava"
"He said, 'Bhaktivinoda Thakura is Kamala Manjari, a personal associate of Radharani. He ordered me to establish daiva-varnasrama. I must obey his order. The acarya is not under the sastra. The acarya can make sastra. Bhaktivinoda Thakura, the acarya, has inspired me in various ways.
By his mercy and that of Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji Maharaja and the previous acaryas we are going on, not caring for the precise technicalities of smartas.”
Therefore whatever additions HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada made to the formalities within Lord Caitanya's Sankirtana movement ARE SASTRA.
Below I will reprint the full context of the above quote from Srila Bhaktisiddhanta.
"In 1932 Visvambharananda dasa Babaji, on behalf of many babajis and caste Goswamis in Vrndavana, published a book opposing Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati and his Mission, citing extensively from sastra to support his arguments. He challenged that the line of parampara traced from Jagannatha dasa Babaji through Bhaktivinoda Thakura to Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji and then to Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati was unauthorized.
Visvambharananda claimed that although Sarasvati Thakura was supposed to be the disciple of Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji, he was disqualified in several ways. First, Sarasvati Thakura did not accept as bona fide the recognized lineage of Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji, whose guru was in the Advaita-parivara.
Furthermore, since Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji had never used a japa-mala, and had not given one to Sarasvati Thakura at the time of initiation but
had simply placed some Navadvipa dust into his hand, Visvambharananda
argued that such an initiation was not bona fide.
The implication was that Sarasvati Thakura had not actually received
pancaratrika-diksa from Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji, so how could he confer
it upon others? Nor had Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji worn a brahmana thread, so on what authority did Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati wear one?
"Moreover, Visvambharananda argued, Sarasvati Thakura claimed to be a follower of Bhaktivinoda Thakura, who was initiated by the caste Goswami Bipina Bihari. Why then did Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati not accept guru-parampara by seminal descent? Bhaktivinoda Thakura had given him a Nrsimha mantra for worshiping the Deity, yet Sarasvati Thakura was giving a Radha-Krsna mantra for this purpose.
Wherefrom did he derive this mantra, and on whose authority did he
distribute it? Visvambharananda further objected that since Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati was a sannyasi without a sannyasa guru, how could he give sannyasa to others?
"Sarasvati Thakura responded by explaining the concept of bhagavata-parampara, or siksa-parampara. He maintained that the essence of parampara lies in the transmission of transcendental knowledge, not merely in a list of
contiguous names. The life of the parampara is maintained by the
maha-bhagavatas, who embody the essence of scriptural knowledge.
Therefore, to trace the parampara through such maha-bhagavatas truly
"He said, 'Bhaktivinoda Thakura is Kamala Manjari, a personal associate of
Radharani. He ordered me to establish daiva-varnasrama. I must obey his
order. The acarya is not under the sastra. The acarya can make sastra.
Bhaktivinoda Thakura, the acarya, has inspired me in various ways. By
his mercy and that of Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji Maharaja and the previous
acaryas we are going on, not caring for the precise technicalities of
"'Although this concept of bhagavata-parampara appears to be new, it is based on the essential understanding of the scriptures. Something new given by an acarya but based on sastra is called vaisistya (a special
characteristic). Acaryas Ramanuja and Madhva both apparently introduced
something new, but because their teachings were based on sastra they
came to be accepted. Phalena pariciyate: "
An action should be understood by its result." My commitment to devotional service and my preaching activities speak for themselves. Owl-like persons cannot see this, but those who are honest will accept it.'" End.
Collectively at the time and until now the GBC have rejected Srila Prabhupada as having anymore authority in their own lives and that of ISKCON. By their own admission the GBC did not recognize the July 9th letter as being valid at anytime AFTER it’s signing on July 9th 1977.
For 4 months and 8 days at least they did not divulge their sentiments to anyone in ISKCON accept themselves. That is more than obvious. Therefore they are guilty of complicity.
The GBC were speaking directly to the obvious understanding of the July 9th 1977 directive as directed by Srila Prabhupada their spiritual master at the time. Which means again that they understood exactly what Srila Prabhupada directed.
“The agreement cannot be broken but with mutual consent”
No mutual consent was ever discussed with all of Srila Prabhupada’s disciples regarding the GBC’s decision to ignore posthumously Srila Prabhupada’s July 9th 1977 letter which came about directly as a request from the GBC itself on May 28th 1977.
Mutual consent is achieved by all those who have been included in the July 9th 1977 letter within ISKCON at the time. Removing consent from those mentioned as in the future and present context re the July 9th 1977 letter declares the GBC’s Resolution 304 as invalid.
Resolution means: a formal expression by a meeting; agreed to by a vote.
That the GBC took it upon themselves to vote against Srila Prabhupada’s legal directive signed by him is a criminal act as long as the ISKCON membership were not included or informed or allowed representation of this pending decision. Formal expression in this case means to include all members.
The GBC never had the right to declare the July 9th 1977 “an errant philosophical deviation” . They still do not. There are no legal precedents from Srila Prabhupada the founder of ISKCON giving the GBC the right to independently abrogate instructions approved by and signed by him pre or post samadhi.
The original July 9th 1977 letter composed by Tamala Krsna Swami and approved by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and signed by him is a bona fide legal document. The letter itself is directed to the world as a whole and not only to the disciples in his society. It involves the direct contact of everyone on the planet “henceforward” in relation to the person who signed it and directed its’ instructions, namely His Divine Grace A. C. Baktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
The GBC and ISKCON have been in legal contempt of the order of the founding acharya since Nov. 14th 1977
The GBC in Resolution 304 use the term “ritvikism”. That is their invention. No new "ism" was or has ever been established by the founding acharya. That suffix was never used by Srila Prabhupada to describe the Hare Krishna Movement or the Krishna Consciousness Movement or ISKCON. It was invented by the GBC as an attempt to separate Srila Prabhupadas present and future disciples as an opposing sect. We do not oppose as much as we expose. Those not following the July 9th 1977 directive are the opposing sect according to ISKCON. A suffix can be labeled on them....ISKCONism.
However, the GBC did follow the letters instructions by allowing initiations to take place as instructed by the July 9th 1977 letter thereby agreeing to its content instructions while Srila Prabhupada was physically present until November 14th 1977. More indication of simple duplicity.
Duplicity: Deliberate deceptiveness in behavior or speech.
An instance of deliberate deceptiveness; double-dealing.
The quality or state of being twofold or double.
“The discovery of truth is prevented more effectively, not by the false appearance things present and which mislead into error, not directly by weakness of the reasoning powers, but by preconceived opinion, by prejudice.”
The entire ritvik truth does not rely on one word only (Henceforward) but on actual documented historical chronology given by the GBC itself. All in context from the May 28th 1977 conversation. Most importantly that the July 9th letter was approved by Srila Prabhupada.
Ritvikism as coined by the GBC does not "directly contradict the principle of parampara itself (of successive diksa and siksa-gurus), " It follows the principle of paramapara itself. By obeying the direct orders of the founding acharya, does not reject the understanding that a pure devotee may appear in the future and does not reject the understanding of siksa gurus. That is a fabrication by the GBC to again further separate Srila Prabhupada his disciples, present and future followers from his ISKCON.
The GBC did not inform the ISKCON members of their rejection of the July 9th 1977 directive until well after Srila Prabhupada's leaving of his body.
By directly and totally rejecting his final directive, they have so far discribed themselves collectively and individually using their very own opinion of Srila Prabhupada from their own Resolution 304.
"The GBC and ISKCON have directly contradicted the principle of parampara itself which sustains the pure teachings and practices of Krsna consciousness this principle has been established by Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself, and is upheld by all of the bona fide acaryas (teachers) in the Gaudiya Vaishnava religious tradition, as well as all followers of Vedic culture;
The re-written section 304 GBC Resolution mine. HGD
The GBC accepted the July 9th 1977 directive in toto that is a fact. After Srila Prabhupada left his body they invented the idea that the directive was only for the time when Srila Prabhupada was present.
That is a concotion. We have shown that. Any directive from anyone especially Srila Prabhupada will state specifically any time line. If it was only a specific directive until Srila Prabhupada left his body then where is that detail in this most specific directive? It does not exist.
Again, there were never any written notices sent out by Srila Prabhupada or the GBC that the July 9th 1977 directive was only to be in affect until Srila Prabhupada left his body. Therefore any inference from GBC that the letter is a temporary directive is unfounded. Selective recognition of reality by the GBC indicates severe comprehension disability.
The instructions in the July 9th letter come DIRECTLY from Srila Prabhupada who is DIRECTLY CONNECTED TO GOD, KRSNA.The July 9th 1977 directive is APPROVED BY GOD, KRSNA. To call the understanding in the letter “an errant devitation“ shows contempt for the founding acharya Srila Prabhupada and God Himself, Krsna. That contempt is still on going in ISKCON after 34 years.
To approve of the GBC argument regarding the GBC Resolution 304 is to have contempt for God, Krsna and the founding acharya His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Not accepting the letter as is in its original never edited form means to not accept the order of the spiritual master.
ISKCON and the GBC have the historic habit of only accepting instructions from the spiritual master that they desire to accept. Mental speculation on the orders of the spiritual master limits the followers relationship with the bona fide spiritual master. Spiritual progress is slowed. This causes doubt and weakens faith that can lead to serious inconsistencies in service and blindness to reality. That particular conditional state is contagious and can spread quickly affecting the lives of others. As a result Krsna becomes limited as the bona fide Acharya and He are eternally linked together.
Those not accepting the July 9th 1977 final directive are failing their final test of faith. Better to honestly reject the notion of the truth than to try to interpret the truth as false based on one's own speculation. That is arguing with the spiritual master and is a form of very serious ignorance and offence.
ISKCON and the GBC do not dare to publicly declare that their fasely appointed gurus by word or document can remove all past karma from the initiate and take him or her personally back to Godhead. Because they cannot. Their gurus are not Maha Bhagavat pure devotees.
From time to time you will hear..“Srila Prabhupada would never have“ or that the idea of post samadhic initiations is counter to Vaisnava religious traditions.
Following directly the bona fide Maha Bhagavat pure devotee His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada is possible for anyone at anytime.
In 1972, when Prabhupada gave a series of lectures on The Nectar of Devotion for one month in Vrindavan, a thought was plaguing me. When I first joined, I'd been taught that the parampara system is like a chain, and if you're not initiated, if you're not linked up to this chain, then you can't go back to Godhead.
I thought, "We're distributing so many books, but if the people who read them are not initiated, then they can't go back to Godhead." So, one day I followed Prabhupada from Rupa
Goswami's samadhi, where he lectured, and just before Prabhupada stepped onto his courtyard, I said, "We're distributing so many books but if people aren't initiated, then they can't go back to Godhead."
Prabhupada turned, looked at me right in the eyes and said, "Just by reading my books they are initiated." I thought, "That is an incredible example of compassion."
The above statement is a fact!
To question the instructions of the spiritual master is not the real position of the disciple.
Don’t say “Why”
Damaghosa Prabhu has kindly added this section for us all to read.
710217rc.gor Conversations 325478/530501
Devotee: ...then why is any one activity of Krsna consciousness better
than another one? Why is any one way of serving Krsna better than
another? For example, with chanting of the sixteen rounds. Suppose
that you've gone 23 hours of the day serving Krsna in one way or
another, and the last hour there is opportunity to finish your rounds
and also opportunity to make a life member. So instead of chanting
your sixteen rounds...
Prabhupada: But you cannot create your concoction! You have to abide
by the orders of Krsna.
Devotee: Then why...
Prabhupada: There is no question of why. It is the order of Krsna's
representative. You have to abide by that. You cannot say, "Why?" Then you are not fully surrendered, as soon as you say, "Why?" Surrender means there is no [surrender]"Why?" It is ordered; it has to be done. That's all.
As soon as there is "Why?", there is no surrender. The basic principle
is misguided. We have to follow. Just like we have got tilaka. If you
say, "Why this tilaka?" There is no question of "Why?" Mahajano yena
gatah sa pantha.
We have been instructed by the acaryas; we have to
follow that. That is surrender. You cannot say, "Why?" Is that clear?
As soon as there is “why“ there is no surrender.
comment- When you consider all the following present day ISKCON mentalities and statements...
Why can Srila Prabhupada order in this ritvik way"---
Why he can do this or that because it is not- traditional ??
Why should we do things the same way Srila Prabhupada taught to us?
Why can’t we just change things the way WE think they should be done?
Why can’t I change your books Srila Prabhupada?
Why can’t I sit on your Vyasasana??
Why should we still worship Srila Prabhupada when he is dead and gone?
It is no wonder that everything has fallen apart ???
He said once--" I have given you Vaikuntha and You have turned it into Hell !!"
WHY WHY WHY--these are the questions of disciples- who are no longer disciples.
Hare Krsna Damaghosa Dasa
The following was contributed by Yasodanandan Prabhu.
Srimad-Bhagavatam warns of Kali-Yuga panditas
A person's spiritual position will be ascertained merely according to external symbols, and on that same basis people will change from one spiritual order to the next. A person's propriety will be seriously questioned if he does not earn a good living. And one who is very clever at juggling words will be considered a learned scholar. SB 12.2.4
Srila Prabhupada explains the potency of the pure devotee’s comments on Bhagavad Gita.
My question is: A pure devotee, when he comments Bhagavad-gītā, someone who never sees him physically, but he just comes in contact with his commentary, explanation, is this the same thing.
Srila Prabhupada Yes. You can associate with Kṛṣṇa by reading Bhagavad-gītā. And these saintly persons, they have given their explanations, comments. So where is the difficulty? Everyone is helping you.
Morning walk conversation with His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada June 11, 1974, Paris, France.
Srimad-Bhagavatam predicts the situation of greedy sannyasis in Kali Yuga: Translation:
The brahmacārīs will fail to execute their vows and become generally unclean, the householders will become beggars, the vānaprasthas will live in the villages, and the sannyāsīs will become greedy for wealth SB 12. 2. 33
The Srimd-Bhagavatam predicts the appearance of bogus gurus, swamis etc.
Uncultured men will accept charity on behalf of the Lord and will earn their livelihood by making a show of austerity and wearing a mendicant's dress. Those who know nothing about religion will mount a high seat and presume to speak on religious principles.
The epidemic of bogus gurus, swamis, priests and so forth is explicitly described here Sb 12.3.38
Srila Prabhupada explains about the position of bogus gurus.
Jayatīrtha: Yesterday Nitāi found a quote from the Purāṇas that says, “There are many gurus who will take away your money, but rare is the one who will take away your miseries.
Srila Prabhupāda: Guravo bahavaḥ santi vittāpahārakaḥ
Devotee: Yes, right.
Srila Prabhupada: guravo bahavaḥ santi vittāpahārakaḥ taṁ tu guruṁ na paśyāmi śiṣya-santā-paharakah
There are many gurus. They are very expert in plundering disciples’ money, but it is very difficult to find out a guru who can take out all the anxieties of the disciple.” Śiṣya santa-pahārakāḥ. Guru is meant for taking away the santāpa. Saṁsāra-dāvānala-līḍha-loka-trāṇāya kārunya-ghanāghanatvam **. “The śiṣya will be peaceful”—objective of life—that is the business of guru, not to take away his money.
Morning walk conversation with His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada February 4, 1975
Acyutānanda:: If a man says, “I am giving you this donation because it is a spiritual organization,” but if the money is misused, does that man benefit.
Srila Prabhupāda: If money is misused, then both of them become implicated. If it is not used for Kṛṣṇa, then both of them becomes under the laws of karma.
Srila Prabhupada warns about the so-called acharyas in the age of Kali-Yuga
Seeing the activities of the world, the Ācārya felt compassion and began to ponder how He could act for the people’s.
This sort of serious interest in the welfare of the public makes one a bona fide ācārya. An ācārya does not exploit his followers. Since the ācārya is a confidential servitor of the Lord, his heart is always full of compassion for humanity in its suffering. He knows that all suffering is due to the absence of devotional service to the Lord, and therefore he always tries to find ways to change people’s activities, making them favorable for the attainment of devotion. That is the qualification of an ācārya. Although Śrī Advaita Prabhu Himself was powerful enough to do the work, as a submissive servitor He thought that without the personal appearance of the Lord, no one could improve the fallen condition of society…
The so-called ācāryas of the Age of Kali are more concerned with exploiting the resources of their followers than mitigating their miseries; but Śrī Advaita Prabhu, as an ideal ācārya, was concerned with improving the condition of the world situation
CC Adi lilA 3.98
Srila Prabhupada describes the philosophy that the guru is dead and gone [as in post samadhi] as mayavada, materialistic philosophy.
Srila Prabhupada: So now, by the grace of Krsna and Caitanya Mahāprabhu and in the presence of my Guru Mahārāja, you are so nice boys and girls. So in front of Caitanya Mahāprabhu you are chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, and you are taking part in it very seriously. So my Guru Mahārāja will be very, very much pleased upon you and bless you with all benefits.
So he wanted this, and he is not... It is not that he is dead and gone. That is not spiritual understanding. Even ordinary living being, he does not die. Na hanyate hanyamāne śarīre [Bg. 2.20]. And what to speak of such exalted, authorized personality like Bhaktisiddhānta. He is seeing. I never feel that I am alone. Of course, when I came to your country without any friend, without any means... Practically, just like a vagabond I came. But I had full faith that "My Guru Mahārāja is with me." I never lost this faith, and that is fact. There are two words, vāṇī and vapuḥ. Vānī means words, and vapuḥ means this physical body. So vāṇī is more important than the vapuḥ. Vapuḥ will be finished. This is material body. It will be finished. That is the nature. But if we keep to the vāṇī, to the words of spiritual master, then we remain very fixed up. It doesn't matter. Just like Bhagavad-gītā. It was spoken five thousand years ago. But if you keep to the words of Kṛṣṇa, then it is always fresh and guiding. Not that because Arjuna personally listened to Kṛṣṇa about the instruction of Bhagavad-gītā, therefore he knew it.
That is not the fact. If you accept Bhagavad-gītā as it is, then you should know that Kṛṣṇa is present before you in His words in the Bhagavad-gītā. This is called spiritual realization. It is not mundane historical incidences. If we keep...
imaṁ rājarṣayo viduḥ
sa kāleneha (mahatā)
yogo naṣṭaḥ parantapa
If you don't keep in touch with the original link, then it will be lost. And if you keep touch with the original link, then you are directly hearing Kṛṣṇa. Similarly, Kṛṣṇa and Kṛṣṇa's representative, spiritual master, if you keep always intact, in link with the words and instruction of the superior authorities, then you are always fresh. This is spiritual understanding. Na jāyate na mrīyate vā kadācit nityaḥ śāśvato 'yaṁ purāṇo [Bg. 2.20]. Purāṇaḥ means very old. Just like Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Being. He must be very old because He is the original person. But the Brahma-saṁhitā says, advaita acyuta anādi ananta-rūpam ādyaṁ purāṇa-puruṣa nava-yauvanaṁ ca [Bs. 5.33]. Purāṇa-puruṣa, the oldest person, but you will find Him nava-yauvanaṁ ca, always a fresh youth. That is God. God is not a material, that it gets old. The body gets old.Lectures : Festival Lectures : His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Prabhupada's Appearance Day, Lecture -- Atlanta, March 2, 1975 : 750302BA.ATL
So spiritually, appearance and disappearance, there is no difference. Just like in material point of view, if a person takes birth... Suppose you get a son born, you become very happy. The same son, when passes away, you become very unhappy. This is material. And spiritually, there is no such difference, appearance or disappearance. So although this is the disappearance day of Oṁ Viṣṇupāda Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, so there is nothing to be lamented. Although we feel separation, that feeling is there, but spiritually, there is no difference between appearance and disappearance. There is a song, Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura's song, ye anilo prema-dhana. Do you know, any one of you? Can you sing that song anyone? Oh. Ye anilo prema-dhana, karuṇā pracura, heno prabhu kothā gelo. I don't remember exactly the whole song. That is our lamentation, that Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura brought this message to distribute all over... Of course, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu expressed His desire, that. End.
As of today, this writing, December 2010 ISKCON has instituted proxy initiations as was done when Srila Prabhupada was physically present prior to November 17th 1977. Those initiations are taking place exactly as Srila Prabhupada had ordered them to continue even before leaving his physical presence. I have it on good authority from a Toronto New Remuna board member that these initiations are going on but in their opinion they are not the “not the same” as the initiations authorized by Srila Prabhupada before he left his body in 1977.
ISKCON authorizes someone give the fire sacrifice and initiate on behalf of the ISKCON appointed guru. The temple president was given the same authority by Srila Prabhupada during Prabhupadas physical presence on the planet.
You will see in the ISKCON temples or community centers the initiations taking place in front of Srila Prabhupada while his photo or murti is on his Vyasasana. Srila Prabhupada is accepted to be non different from his murti or photo. He is there. It is not Vedic tradition and is an offence to the founding acharya for another guru to take disciples in his presence. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Prabhupadas picture was only brought out to honor his appearance day and was never intended to be present when Srila Prabhupada took disciples personally or via an appointed representative.
We see here that the present form of ISKCON follows exactly what is described in the final directive, the July 9th 1977 letter.
“After the Temple President receives a letter from these representatives giving the spiritual name or the thread, he can perform the fire yajna in the temple as was being done before”.
ISKCON is saying directly by their new system that their appointed gurus are non different from their photo. That gurus can be appointed by anyone who is not a maha bhagavat pure devotee is not at all backed by guru, sadhu, sastra.
That their appointed guru photo is a direct non different representation of the guru himself is bogus. That means that they are saying that the ISKCON guru has the same non different photo to physical presence as Srila Prabhupada and the previous acharya’s including Balarama. To have that potency one has to be a maha bhagavat self realized pure devotee. We know this via the example shown to us from Srila Prabhupada’s instructions and the previous acharyas. One must be qualified.
That one can take initiation from an ISKCON GBC approved guru
via a proxy priest and not take initiation from the founding acharya re his July 9th 1977 letter of instruction in direct relation to the May 28th 1977 conversation is a massive contradiction and is not supported by guru, sadhu, Sastra.
One must take initiation from the current link as approved via the disciplic succession unless otherwise indicated. There are no approved instructions from Srila Prabhupada for the GBC and ISKCON to initiate as they have since 1978 on into 2010.
Yet those who are taking disciples re the proxy initiation system will say that the guru accepting disciples is still physically living and that Srila Prabhupada is not therefore he cannot accept disciples. That refers to their mundane understanding as to what is meant by a “living guru“. Only the maha bhagavat pure devotee is understood to be non different from his physical presence, his words or instructions. Therefore his is living.
Taking initiation from a non Maha Bhagavat non bona fide guru photo is essentially taking intiation from a sheet of photographic paper. Non Maha Bhagavat conditioned souls appointed as gurus by ISKCON will never tell you or anyone else that they can liberate their disciples. If they actually did then they would have to write volumes to verify their position and it would have to be from original Vedic texts. That would take several generations to do. In the end the result would be inconclusive. All you would be getting is a membership in Club ISKCON.
No relief from past karma.
The following has been submitted by Damagosh Prabhu.
740806SB.VRN Lectures 212987/530501
.. Adi means the creation. So before this
creation. Bhutva bhutva praliyate. We are in this material
contamination not that in this millennium--before that. Just like
millennium after millennium.
Narada Muni was speaking his life before this millennium. So anadi. Anadi means creation. But not only one creation, several creations, we are forgotten, or we are in this material world. Krsna-bahirmukha hana bhoga vancha...
We are searching after material comfort, material comfort, sense gratification, in so many ways. So anadi karama-phale padi' bhavarnava-jale, taribare na dekhi upaya. In this way we are going.
So consciousness is there, but the dirty things contaminated life
after life, that is accumulated. We have to cleanse this. That is
called visuddha-cetasah. Visuddha-cetasah.......of Krsna's lotus feet? Because these misgivings, this garbage of different types of desires, will be finished. So how is it possible? Niskincananam mahiyasam pada-rajo-‘bhisekam. So long one does not take the dust of the lotus feet of a devotee who is niskincana, who has nothing to do with the material world…But he’s exalted in Krsna consciousness. Unless you do that there is no possibility.
. Mahiyasam pada-rajo-'bhisekam. So here Narada Muni is doing that. Mahiyasam pada-rajo-'bhisekam.
Therefore by eating the remnants of foodstuff left by them, by washing their dishes, by washing their feet... Everyone can do. Therefore this association is required. If one associates with devotee, pure devotee, and somehow or other gives service, one another, to the spiritual master, to the Vaisnava, automatically he becomes purified.
Automatically. Without any study of Vedanta, without any... Simply by
sincere service to the devotee.
The above submitted by Damaogosh Prabhu. December 20th 2010.
"All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing"
Get involved, protest the nescience and chant Hare Krishna
So we see from the real sastra sadhu and guru what is necessary-just by taking the foodstuff remnants of a niskincana devotee of the Lord we can become purified. Can any of the ISKCON gurus claim that by eating their remnants anyone can become so purified like the above?
Actually they claim that most of their disciples will leave after a few years-so where's the purification they give to them? It doesn't exist. SrilaPrabhupada is non different from his words written or still in sound via the present media implements.
Glories to Prabhupada
Sometimes devotees think that a siksa guru is something complicated--but here below are two statements by Srila Prabhupada where he explains that anybody can become guru--siksa(instructing) that is, not a diksa or initiating guru.
No qualification needed he says-so he doesn't say this person can accept disciples and take them back to Home--No, he just says for each and everyone to just repeat what we have heard from the bonafide param para or even other siksa gurus, and then we also are sisksa gurus, or instructing gurus.
Because both siksa and diksa gurus in principle, say the exact same thing means they are equal in this respect but obviously not equal in spiritual realization or purity. The famous verse by Caitanya "Yare dekhe tare kaha.." is not a blanket license to become an initiating spiritual master. Lord Caitanya never said in this statement that one should accept disciples, He only says to remain as you are, and repeat the param para message, and then our Srila Prabhupada in the purport clarifies it more by saying, its "best to not accept disciples" for those he knew would later be overly ambitious to have disciples.
Ys Damaghosa Dasa
- "...So any child can carry these words. Any foolish man can carry these words. And if you do that, Caitanya Mahaprabhu says, then you become guru, simply by carrying these words. Amara ajnaya guru hana tara' ei desa [Cc. Madhya 7.128]. Even in your village, in your home, you can say to your wife, to your children. They will accept you that "Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead." Then you become guru at home." (SP Darshan, December 3rd 1976)
2) "..Therefore Caitanya Mahaprabhu... Yare dekha tare kaha krsna-upadesa: [Cc. Madhya 7.128] "You become guru. No qualification required. Simply you repeat what Krsna has said." Just see how simplified. Don't talk anything nonsense. Yare dekha tare kaha 'krsna'-bas. So who cannot do it? Anyone can do it, even a child." (SP Conversation, January 25th 1977)
In conclusion. The whole world has the right to directly connect with Srila Prabhupada by the ritvik process of initiation if they so desire.
However it is simply by following the original teachings of Srila Prabhupada as much as sincerely possible that one makes real spiritual progress.
This paper will conclude with an excerpt from an article in VNN by J. M. Dasa from April 20 1999 titled Amara Ajnaya.
Your eternal servant Hasti Gopala Dasa
From Amara Ajnana.
10. The ‘parampara argument’ and its imperfect understanding appears to be the crux of the issue. Indeed, it has been repeatedly used to reject the officiating Acharya’s subordinate, or Ritvik position, even though Srila Prabhupada himself instituted this system. Let us try and understand it.
The faulty assumption is made that in a disciplic succession, an Acharya follows the previous Acharya exactly like the well-formed links of a chain. This is a childish and incomplete picture. Branches of various Acharys, generally known as ‘Maths’ ( like the Gaudia Math ), are a legitimate concept of the Parampara. Their numerous hierarchical structures independently coexist in the concept of the parampara.
To help understand this concept, allow me to present a familiar analogy, but with a difference. The parampara has to be seen as a nursery or greenhouse rather than a single large tree, all originating from a primary source. A seed from any tree in this nursery or greenhouse can be transplanted and it too will grow into a legitimate specie of that grove, regardless of where it grows. The branches of these trees are subservient or subordinate to the tree itself, attached to the tree, always. Thus, we have numerous trees, such as ISKCON. Gaudiya Math, etc. Each tree exists independently and functions on parameters set by the Acharya of that particular tree. In other words if Srila Prabhupada desired to appoint ritviks, it is entirely legitimate.
The hierarchy of the Acharya’s Math with subordinate branches and its own set of rules cannot be compared to the apparent structure discerned in the concept of the parampara. The parampara is a listing of previous Acharyas’ spanning a timeframe of thousands of years, tracing essentially a unique lineage, literally jumping from tree to tree. It is not an organization and does not represent any form of hierarchy in the conventional sense of the term. To use an argument of succession derived from this symbolic and subtle concept of the parampara to overturn the hierarchy established by Srila Prabhupada of his Acharya tree, is deceitful and treacherous. To use this argument to claim to be the next link and hence the next Acharya, is high treason.
11) We must take our cue from the Supreme Lord himself who lists in the BG only the prominent Acharyas of the parampara, although it spans thousands of years. Indeed, His main concern is authenticity of the teachings rather than anything else. Thus, when He detects that it appears to be lost, He downloads it afresh to Sriman Arjun, amidst two facing armies on the teeth of battle-showing scant regard for fraying nerves, flying arrows,’ current living guru links, or other bickering points of etiquette. Similarly, Caitanya Mahaprabhu also sets an example by taking initiation (sanyas) from the effulgent Kashava Bharati, showing scant regard for the parampara’s idiosyncrasies. In other words, it is a medicine we have to be concerned with, not the distribution network.
12) Unqualified disciples-turned-Acharyas merely bring it shame especially when they come crashing down. Rather than add to the illustriousness of the house, they effectively lessen the luster of the parampara and color its lofty conclusions as unattainable and misguided, thus seriously undermining its validity. In other words seeing so many Acharyas fall, the following conclusions may be reached by the general populace, “if the teachers themselves are falling what hope do we have” or that “we are inherently unqualified for this process; it was meant for elevated persons of a previous yuga”, etc. This will effectively extinguish the parampara. I really cannot see Srila Prabhupada participating in this corruption.
13) Indeed, if history of the parampara is studied, it will be seen that almost all our previous Acharyas have ‘emerged’ so to speak.
None where appointees. Thus, ‘emergence, can be considered the authentic process by which the Gaudia Sampradaya recognizes its Acharyas, in which case, appointing Acharyas would be contrary to this process.
Thus, as obviously a difference can be discerned between the emerged Acharyas and appointed representatives, an artificially appointed Acharya, would necessarily have to be in an ‘officiating’ capacity, officiating for the last emerged Acharya. They act like ‘care-takers’ and are specifically the mercy-extensions of the previous Acharya appointed to merely fill in the gaps. Appointing ones own disciples to this illustrious chain of emerged Acharyas is akin to appointing ones own sons to positions of power through the ‘backdoor’. Again, I really can’t see Srila Prabhupada doing that.
14) If you examine the mechanics the word parampara in the specific context of delivering or handing-down spiritual knowledge, it entirely refers to an authentication process by comparison, especially with noteworthy Acharyas of the past. In other words, since there exists no other means to verify a theological conclusion, the best that can be done is to authenticate it by referring or comparing to the teachings of great teachers of the past. Thus, the parampara authentication process largely hinges on ‘renowned teachers’ and an availability of their teachings. This continual authentication process has been encoded into the system as the ‘parampara’ form of accepting instructions. The operative words are really ‘upholding the conclusions’ and ‘bringing glory’ to the sampradaya, not unbroken adjacency. Indeed, the parampara is upheld and glorified only by the likes of Srila Prabhupada. The brightest and the best bring it glory.
15) Leading disciples use the loopholes of the system, by forcing a literal translation of ‘coming down through generations’ or parampara.
They thus arrive at the convenient argument, of a continuous living link chain of gurus.
This ‘Living links’ is a forced translation, and it in fact, defeats the authentication process, by its potential corruption factor. Indeed, while the system of parampara is exclusively meant to stem corruption, how then can this forced translation be valid? The following deficiencies can be pinned on this forced ‘living link’ translation of the parampara concept.
- The primordial scramble for the next Acharya-ship by the disciples happens always. And when the Acharya gets old and incapacitated in body and mind, then his instructions are distorted, coaxed, and manipulated, at times intentionally at times inadvertently by faulty understanding, by his sevaks.
- It does not accommodate ‘extra-effulgence’ of a previous Acharya after his demise. This is of course the greatest loss. In our undue haste to get current links, we are ready to abandon an Acharya of Srila Prabhupada stature, and as Jesus Christ’s parable succinctly puts it,we are ready to ‘bushel’ our brightest star.Our own Acharyas were keenly aware of this age-old ‘disciple trap’ and with a sense of desperation declare, almost as if from beyond, “An Acharya lives in his words etc.
- Using the convenient parampara argument of adjacency, we are encumbered by weighty chains of under-qualified and artificial acharyas who creating a disturbance by themselves deviating, and by their pseudo loyal disciples, egging them on. Needles to say, they create bad politics, and spell bad days for God brothers of these so-called Acharyas.
16) Why is it that the continual falling of a living guru link, and hence the chronic breaks of this precious link, not seen as a fatal deficiency of this system. Consider the tenth generation devotees; linked with as many unstable isotopes-surely aren’t we looking at a potential nuclear chain reaction? Indeed would not one single break in this like jeopardize the subsequent thousands? And in any case, would not this highly unstable system try to correct itself by gravitating towards, say Indian gurus, who may be stable (low kinky factor) but just as unqualified?
17) Formerly, the concept of the guru had to be revised to accommodate two or more gurus by the Siksa, Diksa differentiation, as at times, a disciple was forced to split loyalties. Ideologically such a differentiation is artificial, for they are inseparable like the two sides of a coin. Now of course, it is a bona fide concession, although this ‘legs in different boats’ may have been unacceptable earlier.
This differentiation may have served us, but unfortunately, we have abused this concession. We now identify our siksa gurus as ‘aimless god-brothers of the lofty Acharyas’. Thus it is of no use to brightly declare ‘Srila Prabhupada will be our Siksa guru for all times’! Thank you very
much! The ritvik or Officiating Acharya has to be seen as a similar, bona fide adjustment, desired by Srila Prabhupada.
18) Our twenty year old experiment ( now 32 years ) with this imperfect understanding of the parampara system has indeed taught us ( some of ) us our base reality. In our hearts, we know, Srila Prabhupada alone is our ‘Golokera prema dhana’-gift of love from Goloka, perhaps for a very, very long time to come. We are tired and fed up with ‘ticking’ Acharyas ( liable to burst in our faces ), we are tired of reforms, and fearful that a whole crop of vapid ‘Indian’ Acharyas may begin to rule the roost.
At this point in time scattered temples exist that have gone ahead and adopted the ritvik system, and one may discern minor discrepancies and even a defensive or offensive mood, that may make a novice (Bhaktin Jen, of all people!!) blow hot and cold, yet these minor teething troubles will pass. Senior devotees and indeed the Officiating Acharyas will be encouraged to take up a more positive and personal role to usher in the second generation Prabhupada Disiples.
It has been done before, and has proved immensely successful. Christianity ( an organization perhaps looked upon with distain by ISKCON pundits, but much admired by Thakur Bhakivinod) has successfully transported their brightest star to the twenty-first century. Jesus is available to his disciples even after two thousand years. Imagine just how much of Srila Prabhupada will distill down through 70 odd link ( 2000 years! ) Consider, what a more potent ( than Jesus ) messiah to the whole world, Srila Prabhupada will make!
If surviving for ten thousand years has to be seriously taken, we must rise above the crippling guru-falling issue. True, we now take it in our strides, hardened as we are, like a bunch of Hollywood offspring suffering from ‘multiple parent syndrome’ and do not think twice about getting reinitiated from another guru. How has it come to pass, that the foremost religious organization suffers from this penultimate kali yuga disease? When the principles are being religiously broken, what good can come of it? Soon it will become an issue of world focus, and the world will laugh at us-and refuse to fund our extravagancies.
Then a miracle alone will take us across our 100th anniversary.
The question of whether Srila Prabhupada accepts his ritvik disciples does not arise. This is the system he put in place.
The more appropriate question to ask maybe, would the present system of Acharyas operating without sanction, have his approval or even be bona fide, or be accepted by Srila Prabhupada, if that is, (they get beyond tera firma)? We all know how Srila Prabhupada felt about the Gaudia Math splitting fiasco. He had difficulty even to consider them (the splinter groups) as bona fide.
“On my order” That is the crucial point. One does not become a spiritual master by his own whims. That is not spiritual master. He must be ordered by spiritual authority. Then he’s spiritual master.
Amara ajnana. Just like in our case. Our superior authority, our spiritual master he ordered me that “You just try to preach this gospel whatever you have learned from me, in English. So we have tried it. That’s all.”
(Srila Prabhupada, London, August 3, 1973, extract from the PO )
The last words of this paper will be from Srila Prabhupada. HGD
In a letter to Nityananda Dasa November 12th 1971 Srila Prabhupada says:
“It is the basic principle that one must accept a bona fide spiritual master
In order to achieve the highest perfection of life, love of God. I thank all of you very much for accepting me as your spiritual master, and I promise that I will take you back home, back to Godhead. I ask you all to promise me to always chant at least 16 rounds, follow the regulative principles, read our books and try to preach this Krishna Consciousness Movement all over the world. So far my qualifications are concerned, I am simply trying to carry out the order of my Guru Maharaja.
Hoping this will meet you all in good health.
Your ever well-wisher,
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We would like to thank Yasodanandan Prabhu, Damagosh Prabhu, Mahesh Raja Prabhu, devotee Mark McLaughlin and J M Dasa for their solicited and non solicited contributions.
Hasti Gopala dasa