Saturday, 3 December 2011

“It doesn’t take an entire Book to prove Ritvik”

Dear Prabhus, Hare Krishna! Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada!
Srila Prabhupada’s prescription for future initiations within ISKCON was via “Ritvik representatives of the Acarya.” It doesn’t take an entire book to prove this. One relatively short web page is sufficient:
1. What was Srila Prabhupada’s definition of the word, “henceforward?”
2. How did Srila Prabhupada answer when asked about future initiations in ISKCON after his departure?
3. What was Srila Prabhupada’s formal, written, signed document in response to this same question?
4. Does Srila Prabhupada’s Declaration of Will give further evidence about his desire for future initiations within ISKCON?

Prabhupada: In reply to Jayadvaita’s questions, henceforward the policy for using diacritic markings is that I want them used everywhere, on large books, small books and also BTG. If there is any difficulty with the pronunciation, then after the correct diacritic spelling, in brackets the words “pronounced as _”, may be written. So even on covers the diacritic markings should be used. We should not have to reduce our standard on account of the ignorant masses. Diacritic spelling is accepted internationally, and no learned person will even care to read our books unless this system is maintained. (Letter to Jadurani, 31 December, 1971)

Here, it’s obvious that Srila Prabhupada’s definition of the word “henceforward” is the same as the dictionary definition:
henceforward – from this time forth; from now on
Obviously, the GBC and the BBT Trustees understood this directive to mean the dictionary definition, because they didn’t suddenly stop using Sanskrit diacritics in Srila Prabhupada’s books and in BTG magazine after Srila Prabhupada’s physical departure!
2. Satsvarupa Maharaja: “Then our next question concerns initiations in the future, particularly at that time when you are no longer with us. We want to know how first and second initiations will be conducted.”
Srila Prabhupada: “Yes. I shall recommend some of you. After this is settled up. I shall recommend some of you to act as officiating acarya.”
Tamala Krishna Maharaja: “Is that called ritvik-acarya?”
Srila Prabhupada: “Ritvik. Yes.”
(GBC Meets with Srila Prabhupada — May 28, 1977, Vrndavana)
The rest of the conversation is confusing, but irrelevant. Srila Prabhupada said, “You can say anything; just don’t put it in writing!” If anything, the rest of the conversation authorizes his disciples to initiate disciples of their own outside of ISKCON, but certainly not within ISKCON!
3. “I shall recommend some of you to act as officiating acarya” was done by Srila Prabhupada in the form of a formal, signed document, the letter to all GBCs and temple presidents on July 9, 1977. It is perfectly clear to anyone who is not self-motivated: Ritvik initiations, henceforward! (Paraphrased)

As disciples and followers of Srila Prabhupada, some things we follow “blindly.” Some things we do not. Written, signed, legally viable documents on Srila Prabhupada’s management decisions for ISKCON, such as the 7/9/77 letter to all GBCs and temple presidents, we follow blindly. This is our duty as disciples and followers of Srila Prabhupada. To follow blindly everything that Srila Prabhupada says in casual conversations is not what Srila Prabhupada intends for us to do. Srila Prabhupada didn’t want blind followers. He wanted followers who use their God-given intelligence in the service of God (Krishna). We have to learn some common sense discrimination.
Speaking of common sense, more than one initiating spiritual master within an organization causes disunity. This has been more than amply demonstrated within ISKCON since 1978!
Srila Prabhupada’s ingenious ritvik system of initiations will inevitably be restored within ISKCON because this is clearly what he prescribed. The only question is, “When?” The longer that the GBC puts off the inevitable, the more that they are going to have to suffer.
Your servant, Pratyatosa Dasa
Questions, comments and suggestions are welcome.
Pratyatosa Dasa (

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