Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Acharya creates the Tradition !

Mathias Sabji

“Every acarya has a specific means of propagating his spiritual movement
with the aim of bringing men to Krishna consciousness. Therefore, the
method of one acarya may be different from that of another, but the
ultimate goal is never neglected.”
( Caitanya-caritamrta purports Adi 7.37)

“Except for God, no one can establish the principles of religion. Either
He or a suitable person empowered by Him can dictate the codes of religion.”
(purport, Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.3.43)

Myth: "It cannot be the case that Srila Prabhupada intended to operate a
representational system of initiation within ISKCON, in which he
remained the diksa guru indefinitely, since it goes completely against

"Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, “Both the Supreme Personality of Godhead
and My spiritual master, Isvara Puri, are completely independent.
Therefore neither the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead nor
that of Isvara Puri is subject to any Vedic rules or regulations."
(CC Madhya 10.137)

BUSTED: Srila Prabhupada most certainly did set up a representative of
acarya system, even the GBC admit as much, and there is no evidence he
ever ordered it to stop. Srila Prabhupada never taught that a disciple
can stop following one of his orders just because he thinks it may not
be 'traditional'. In relation to the Spiritual Master, the 'tradition'
we follow is to accept him as Krishna's representative and then do
whatever he says:

"According to the Vaisnava tradition, we arrive at the truth through the
guru, the spiritual master, who is accepted as the representative of the
Absolute Truth, the Personality of Godhead."
(TQE = The Quest for Enlightenment 6)

"Disciple means there is no argument. Whatever the guru will say, you
have to accept. That is disciple. That is final. There is no argument."
(Srila Prabhupada conversation 28.6.76)

By definition, such orders from the bona fide guru are always in
accordance with sastric (scriptural) injunctions, though not necessarily
with the traditional way in which such injunctions have been exemplified
or practised previously.

Therefore it is quite 'traditional' to follow the representative of
acarya ( ritvik-priest) and siksa-guru system since this is what Srila
Prabhupada ordered us to do:

"Now you have got a very good field. Now organize it and it will be a
great credit. No one will disturb you there. Make your own field and
continue to be ritvik and act on my behalf."
(Tamal Krishna Goswami on Srila Prabhupada's behalf to Hansadutta, July
31st, 1977, Vrindaban)

“The GBC should all be the instructor(siksa)gurus. I am the initiator
(diksa) guru, and you should be the instructor guru by teaching what I
am teaching and doing what I am doing. This is not a title, but you must
actually come to this platform. This I want.”
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, August 4th, 1975)

Following initiation, it is accepted that the diksa Guru may also not be
physically present:

“Sometimes a diksa-guru is not present always. Therefore one can take
learning, instruction, from an advanced devotee. That is called the
(SP Lecture, 4/7/74)

Representative of acarya system is not in sastra ?? NO!! It is in
sastra! Here:

It is argued that before initiation can be granted to a prospective
disciple, the Guru must be physically present on the planet so that he
can personally meet the disciple and examine him. Indeed, this is the
traditional method, whereby the Guru and disciple would associate for an
extended period, so they could check each other’s qualifications.
However, in ISKCON the system for fulfilling this requirement was
different, as explained by Srila Prabhupada below:

“Similarly, a disciple’s qualifications must be observed by the
spiritual master before he is accepted as a disciple.
In our Krsna consciousness movement, the requirement is that one must be
prepared to give up the four pillars of sinful life—illicit sex,
meat-eating, intoxication and gambling. In Western countries especially,
we first observe whether a potential disciple is prepared to follow the
regulative principles. Then he is given the name of a Vaisnava servant
and initiated to chant the Hare Krsna maha-mantra, at least sixteen
rounds daily. In this way the disciple renders devotional service under
the guidance of the spiritual master OR his----representative----for at
least six months to a year.”
(Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya lila, 24:330, purport)

This observation, as Srila Prabhupada states above, was to see if the
prospective disciple was following the 4 regulative principles, and as
Srila Prabhupada states this observation could be done either by Srila
Prabhupada or his representative. In practise, this observation was
carried out almost exclusively by his representative ( ritviks), the
Temple President, and indeed this was the standard system in ISKCON
right from the early days of the movement.

Somebody would join a temple, a few months later the Temple President
would send a recommendation for initiation, and the devotee would be
initiated via the mail, having never met Srila Prabhupada.

And of course this has been the case in practise also, since none of
Srila Prabhupada’s disciples have had his personal association for the
last 35 years, and many of them never met him at all even when Srila
Prabhupada was physically present on the planet.

NOTE: Ritvik-Representative of acarya-system are Sastra confirmed but
our Iskcon GBC rubber stamped 2/3 hand-vote in guru system is NOT!

The word "ritvik" (meaning "priest") and its derivatives actually have
31 separate references in Srila Prabhupada's  books, only slightly less
than the word "diksa" and its derivatives, which has 41 separate
references in Srila Prabhupada books. Certainly, the use of ritvik
priests to assist in ceremonies is a concept fully sanctioned in Srila
Prabhupada's books:

Ritvik :      
4.6.1 / 4.7.16 / 5.3.2 / 5.3.3 / 5.4.17 / 7.3.30 / 8.20.22 / 9.1.15 .

Rtvijah :      
4.5.7 / 4.5.18 / 4.7.27 / 4.7.45 / 4.13.26 / 4.19.27 / 4.19.29 / 5.3.4 /
5.3.15 / 5.3.18 / 5.7.5 / 8.16.53 / 8.18.21 /8.18.22 / 9.4.23 / 9.6.35

Rtvijam :      
4.6.52 / 4.21.5 / 8.23.13 / 9.13.1 .

Rtvigbhyah :  
8.16.55 .

Rtvigbhih :    
4.7.56 / 9.13.3 .
(all these references are from the Srimad-Bhagavatam)

Although spiritual principles were covered extensively by Srila
Prabhupada in his books, the specifics concerning those principles would
often not be given (for example in the area of Deity worship).  These
specific details would usually be communicated by other means such as
letters, and practical demonstration. Thus, one needs to distinguish
between the principle of diksa or initiation, and the details of its
formalisation. Srila Prabhupada never defined diksa in terms of any
ritualistic ceremony, but as the receipt of transcendental knowledge
that leads to liberation:

 "In other words, the spiritual master awakens the sleeping living
entity to his original consciousness so that he can worship Lord Visnu.
This is the purpose of diksa, or initiation. Initiation means receiving
the pure knowledge of spiritual consciousness."
(C.c. Madhya, 9.61, purport)

 "Diksa actually means initiating a disciple with transcendental
knowledge by which he becomes freed from all material contamination."
(C.c. Madhya, 4.111, purport)

In addition to ISKCON’s current guru system not having any order from
Srila Prabhupada to justify its existence, the GBC’s official “brain”,
the “Sastric Advisory Council” (SAC), has said that the process by which
it does authorise gurus, via voting them in, is not based on “guru,
sadhu and sastra”:

“Our present system has institutionalized a process of senior devotees
voting or offering no-objection to prospective gurus. But we do not find
that this institutionalized blessingseeking process is mentioned by
guru, sadhu or sastra as the way that one is authorized to become a guru.”
(Balancing the roles of the GBC and the disciple in Guru selection, SAC)

We see.....ritviks are authorized in Sastra and from guru,But we do not
find that this institutionalized rubber stamped GBC 2/3 hand-vote in
bogus gurusystem is authorized in sastra !

Opponents of the representative of acarya ( ritvik-system) and
siksa-guru system need to show which specific sastric injunction ritvik
violates, not simply mutter the word 'tradition' as though it
encapsulated some sort of profound argument.

2) MYTH:But such a ritvik system has never been used before.

BUSTED: Anyone making this assertion is simply bluffing, since they
cannot possibly know what every single Acarya in every single previous
age has done. Even if they did it would still be an irrelevant argument
since nowhere did Srila Prabhupada say an Acarya cannot change various
formalities and details according to time, place and circumstance,
indeed he taught the very opposite with specific reference to initiation:

"Srimad Viraraghava Acarya, an acarya in the disciplic succession of the
Ramanuja-sampradaya, has remarked in his commentary that candelas
(people of low birth), or conditioned souls who are born in lower than
sudra families, can also be initiated according to circumstances. The
formalities may be slightly changed here and there to make them Vaisnavas."
(Srimad Bhagavatam 4.8.54 purport)

The use of priests to perform formal initiations in the physical absence
of a guru is certainly nothing more that a change of 'formality'. The
onus is on those who insist it is a change of principle to state what
that principle is and where it is stated by Srila Prabhupada.

Similarly the following quote shows, that since every acarya may employ
different specific methods to bring persons to Krishna consciousness,
there cannot be a set tradition that every acarya must adhere to:

"Every acarya has a specific means of propagating his spiritual movement
with the aim of bringing men to Krsna consciousness. Therefore, the
method of one acarya may be different from that of another, but the
ultimate goal is never neglected.
(Caitanya Caritamrta, Adi 7:37)

3) MYTH: We follow historical precedent, and therefore since we have no
evidence that it has been done, we cannot do it.

BUSTED: Everyone agrees that Srila Prabhupada set up a representative or
ritvik acarya system to be operated prior to his departure, yet this
system was also completely unique so far as we know. So by this logic
the system should never have been implemented at all since it is not
mentioned previously; yet even the GBC accept that Srila Prabhupada
implemented it.

There is no historical precedent for a disciple to reject an order of
his guru purely on the basis that it has no historical precedent,
therefore the whole argument suffers from self-referential incoherence.

4)Myth :The Acarya always follows past tradition in all respects and
never deviates from it.

BUSTED: Srila Prabhupada never taught this axiom in any of his books,
nor did he follow it since he did many things that were not traditional
(such as give gayatri mantra by magnetic tape, setting up a ritvik
system, only 16 Rounds chanting on beats (64) etc.)

The very introduction of formal initiation ceremonies within our
disciplic succession was an innovation introduced only relatively
recently by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati. Srila Prabhupada never said
that we should reject Srila Bhaktisiddhanta just because he broke with

By this logic Acaryas could only do and say exactly what had been done
and said before. Clearly this is ludicrous.

To even sensibly discuss this 'tradition' argument one would first need
to do a comparative study showing exactly what initiation system all
previous world acaryas, who appeared just after the Golden Avatar in
previous kali-yugas during the mini-golden age, left in place for their
missions just prior to their departure. Yet we have no authorised
information to even begin such a study.

"No. Tradition, religion, they are all material. They are also all
(Srila Prabhupada conversation 13.3.75)

"Our only tradition is how to satisfy Vishnu."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture 30.7.73)

However, as soon as Srila Prabhupada departed the GBC immediately
exceeded their brief, kicked Srila Prabhupada out from his position as
diksa-Guru, and became diksa-gurus themselves instead siksa-gurus an
representative of acarya. Here we see some instructions from Srila
Prabhupada prophetically warning of these deviant tendencies in the GBC.

“The GBC should all be the instructor( siksa ) gurus. I am the initiator
( diksa) guru, and you should be the instructor guru by teaching what I
am teaching and doing what I am doing. This is not a title, but you must
actually come to this platform. This I want.”
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, August 4th, 1975)

GBC dictatorship condemned

“GBC members are simply to see that things are going on. Other centers
have got president, secretary, etc. and they are managing separately.
That is the formula. So how is it that the GBC are the final authority?
They are simply to examine that things are going on nicely, that is all.”
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, July 9th, 1971)

If Srila Prabhupada is shaktavesha avatar (which we do recognize that he
factually is), he can do anything, and it becomes LAW. Because the fully
liberated soul is always in touch with Krishna, whatever he does or says
is shastra, law, absolute, non-different from Krishna. Because we do not
understand does not mean it is incorrect.

Many things were never done before. Ramanujacharya engaged dacoits for
collection, then had them killed. Madhvacharya pummeled his opponents.
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu sang and danced in public—never done before by
sannyasis. Buddha rejected the Vedas. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Prabhupada
created a GBC to manage his preaching mission, leaving no successor
acharya, as was traditionally done. Srila Prabhupada made the same
arrangement. In both instances, the order was disobeyed, and in both
instances the result was the same—chaos, confusion and disintegration of
the Acharya’s mission. Great acharyas like Srila Prabhupada do establish
the principles of religion according to time, place and circumstances.

“GBC does not mean to control a center. GBC means to see that the
activities of a center go on nicely. I do not know why Tamala is
exercising his absolute authority. That is not the business of GBC. […]
GBC is to see that things are going nicely but not to exert absolute
authority. That is not in the power of GBC. Tamala should not do like
that […]
A GBC member cannot go beyond the jurisdiction of his power.”
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, August 12th, 1971)

Hansaduta Prabhu wrote this:

In Ravindra Svarupa’s “Cleaning House and Cleaning Hearts, Reform and
Renewal in ISKCON,” he admits that both Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati
Thakur and Srila Prabhupada broke the Vedic tradition of appointing a
successor acharya to take charge of their missions after their
disappearance in favour of a modern institution of management known as
the GBC (Governing Body Commission), a term and concept borrowed
directly from the British management of the Indian railway system.
Ravindra writes, “With its corporate form of organization, ISKCON thus
represents a modernization of a religious tradition.” Ravindra then writes:

Upon the demise of his predecessor, the successor acharya would take the
seat at the head of the institute. That successor acharya would be
ritually elevated over all other disciples of his guru (his
god-brothers), and all of them would bring new members to him for

ISKCON, however, represents a departure from this archaic form of
organization. Srila Prabhupada repeatedly stressed his intention that
ISKCON would not, after his departure, be managed by a single acharya,
but rather by the board of directors, the Governing Body Commission that
he formed and began to train in 1970. Srila Prabhupada’s intention and
his departure from the tradition of the
institutional acharya is shown in a striking way in his will.
Traditionally, it was in the first article of his will that an
acharyanamed his successor, passing on his institution to his heir, as
if it were his personal property. The first article of Srila
Prabhupada’s will reads: “The Governing Body Commission (GBC) will be
the ultimate managing authority for the entire International Society for
Krishna Consciousness.”

Ravindra next writes the various suggestions and proposals for “Guru
Reform” made in 1986. By that time it had become abundantly clear that
the guru-acharyas and GBCs simply could not resolve the two conflicting
concepts of absolute authority to which each felt they were entitled.
The GBC, as ultimate managing authority of ISKCON, felt they should be
the authority, and the guru-acharyas felt they were the absolute, divine
authorities over not only their own disciples, but even over the
god-brothers, including the GBC. The institution was disintegrating over
the clash of absolute power each group claimed as its right.

Ravindra writes:

It was my conviction that we could retain in ISKCON the full-fledged
position of guru as delineated by the scriptures, a position that did
not essentially involve being the autonomous, autocratic head of an
institution, did not essentially disallow discussion, consultation,
revision and adjustment and did not forbid collegial decision-making as
a kind of lese majeste.

Does anyone know what lese majeste means? My guess is it means “to have
your cake and eat it too.” I’m open for reader response.

The zonal acharyaposition had asserted it was intrinsic to the position
of guru to be absolute, and it professed that the gurus would
voluntarily sacrifice that position for the sake of the movement. This
implied that by working with a GBC the gurus were doing something
unnatural or artificial, and of course their “voluntary sacrifice”
seemed increasingly pro forma. To counter this conception of the guru I
argued that there was a significant way in which it was essential for
the bona fide guru to be relative. After all, that there was a
significant way in which it was the essential qualifying characteristic
of a guru is that he strictly follow the order of Srila Prabhupada, who
had decreed that all of us must serve co-operatively under the authority
of the GBC. Accepting the authority of the GBC board was not a voluntary
option. Because it was Srila Prabhupada’s order, it was necessary to
guru-hood itself.

What is guru-hood? Is it something like Robin Hood? Steal from the rich
and give to the poor? Reader response requested. Help!

If Srila Prabhupada broke the traditional arrangement of appointing a
successor acharya (as Ravindra Svarupa Prabhu has so clearly pointed
out) by establishing a board of management (GBC) as the ultimate
management authority of ISKCON, then it just stands to reason and is
plain common sense that Srila Prabhupada would not create a competitive
authority to clash with his ultimate managerial authority, the GBC, by
appointing eleven guru-acharyas. If he did not want a single acharya,
why would he appoint eleven acharyas? Rather, he again broke with
tradition and appointed eleven rittvik representatives of the Acharya,
who would continue initiating new disciples after his departure under
the authority of the GBC (ultimate managing authority of ISKCON), just
as they did for years in the presence of Srila Prabhupada and the GBC.
Instead of accepting this completely self-evident, logical and
authorized arrangement, Ravindra Svarupa Prabhu and other ambitious
devotees continue to juggle words like “reform” and “renewal” in an
attempt to maintain their mistakenly assumed postures and prestigious
titles of “guru-hood”.

In other words, the fact that Srila Prabhupada so strongly stressed the
GBC as the ultimate managing authority of ISKCON proves that Srila
Prabhupada intended his rittvik arrangement to continue functioning
after his departure exactly as it functioned so successfully under
himself and the GBC while he was present.

This formula—Srila Prabhupada as the Sampradaya Acharya, the GBC as the
ultimate managing authority of ISKCON and the rittvik representatives as
initiators on behalf of Srila Prabhupada (Sampradaya Acharya)—is clear
and perfect. It can be confusing only to those who have mistakenly
assumed that after Srila Prabhupada’s disappearance ISKCON leaders must
automatically become guru-acharyas in imitation of Srila Prabhupada
(which is exactly what happened). Seventeen years later, everyone admits
that this assumption was a colossal mistake. Instead of seeing the
simple truth in Srila Prabhupada’s personal letter of July 9th, 1977,
wherein he appoints eleven rittviks to initiate on his behalf, Ravindra
Svarupa et al are still trying to find a way to “have their cake and eat
it too”.

Ravindra Svarupa plainly admits Srila Prabhupada departed from the Vedic
tradition. Why not simply surrender to the order of the spiritual master
and stop all this wrangling, speculation, reform and renewal, which aims
at nothing more than maintaining the mistakenly assumed posture of
guru-acharya by men whom Srila Prabhupada authorized to act as rittvik
acharyas? The Vedic tradition is created by the acharyas, and therefore
Srila Prabhupada’s (the Sampradaya Acharya’s) arrangement for the GBC to
act as head of the institution and consequently rittvik representatives
of the Acharya for continuing the disciplic succession is perfectly in
keeping with Vedic tradition. It is the acharyas who set the precedents
which become the tradition, or it is the acharya who creates the
Sampradaya; not the Sampradaya which creates the acharya. Just as the
king creates the kingdom; not the kingdom creates the king. And the king
can do no wrong.

The conclusion is if we accept Srila Prabhupada as the Sampradaya
Acharya, pure devotee, shakti-avesa avatar and his writings as the law
books for the next 10,000 years, then we should have no difficulty in
accepting his arrangement of ritvik representatives, initiating on
behalf of the Acharya, Srila Prabhupada !!

 ‎"Actually Prabhupada never appointed any gurus, he appointed eleven
ritviks. He never appointed them gurus. Myself and the other GBC have
done the greatest disservice to this movement for the last three years
because we interpreted the appointment of ritviks as the appointment of
gurus. [...] Srila Prabhupada said: 'All right. I will appoint so many
...' and he started to name them. He made it very clear that they are
his disciples. At that point it was very clear in my mind that he were
his disciples. [...] You cannot show me anything on tape or in writing
were Prabhupada says: 'I appoint these eleven as gurus' it does not
exist. Because he never appointed any gurus. This a myth. "
(Tamala Krishna Goswami: Pyramid House Confession December 3rd 1980)

Referring to the letter to Tusta Krishna quoted above where the “law” is
mentioned, Jayadvaita Swami states:

“I accept that this quotation doesn’t “prove” that a departed acarya
can’t initiate. I never said that it does.”
(Jayadvaita Swami, 4th June, 2004)

Previous acaryas have remained current for long periods of time,
thousands (Srila Vyasadeva) or even millions of years. We see no reason
why the duration of Srila Prabhupada's  reign as "current link", even if
it extends right till the end of the Sankirtan Movement, should pose any
particular problem.

"Regarding parampara system: there is nothing to wonder for big gaps
[...] we find in the Bhagavad-gita that the Gita was taught to the
sungod, some millions of years ago, but Krishna has mentioned only three
names in this parampara system - namely, Vivasvan, Manu, and Iksvaku;
and so these gaps do not hamper from understanding the parampara system.
We have to pick up the prominent acaryas, and follow from him [...] We
have to pick up from the authority of the acarya in whatever sampradaya
we belong to."
(Srila Prabhupada Letter to Dayananda, 12/4/68)

The July 9th order is significant since it means that Srila Prabhupada
shall be the prominent acarya, at least for members of ISKCON, for as
long as the Society exists. Only the direct intervention of Srila
Prabhupada or Krishna can revoke the final order (such intervention
needing to be at least as clear and unequivocal as a signed directive
sent to the entire Society). Thus until some counter-instruction is
given, the science of devotional service shall continue to be
transmitted directly by Srila Prabhupada to successive generations of
his disciples. Since this is a common phenomenon in our disciplic
succession, there is no cause for alarm. The succession can only be
considered "ended" if this science of devotional service is lost. On
such occasions, Lord Krishna Himself usually descends to re-establish
the principles of religion. As long as Srila Prabhupada's  books are in
circulation, this "science" shall remain vigorously intact, and
perfectly accessible.

"Prescription Takes Precedence Over Book Knowledge
I am aware of the fact that devotees will bring so many quotations from
Srila Prabhupada's books to support conclusions contrary to the rittvik
representative system prescribed by Srila Prabhupada in the July 9, 1977

To such devotees we must point out that Prabhupada's books are the
standard books for everyone in the Brahma Gaudiya Sampradaya, just as
the law books or medical books are standard books in their field. Still,
when the judge hands down a judgment or the physician writes a specific
prescription for the patient, that takes precedence over the book
knowledge. Although Prabhupada wrote so many books, his prescription for
his immature disciples in the last days was "Act as rittvik
representative of the ACHARYA, DEPUTIES and MONITOR of the ACHARYA."

Having run the full course of this race, this point is very clear by
realisation born of the fire of ordeal. I am not philosophising these
are my realisations by the grace of Prabhupada and Krishna."
(Hansadutta dasa, June, 1993)

As a general point, later instructions from the guru will always
supersede previous instructions; the final order is the final order, and
must be followed:

"I may say many things to you, but when I say something directly to you,
you do it. Your first duty is to do that, you cannot argue - "Sir you
said to me do like this before", no that is not your duty, what I say to
you now you do it, that is obedience you cannot argue."
(Srila Prabhupada S.B. Lecture, 14/4/75, Hyderabad)

Just as in the Bhagavad-gita Lord Krishna gave so many instructions to
Arjuna, he spoke of all types of yoga from Dhyana to Jnana, but all this
was superseded by the final order:

"Always think of Me and become My devotee"- should be taken as the final
order of the Lord and should be followed."
(Teachings of Lord Caitanya, chapter 11)

The final order given by Sankaracarya,"bhaja Govinda", was also meant to
supersede many of his earlier statements - all of them, in fact. As
mentioned in the introduction, the GBC itself recognises this as an
axiomatic principle of logic:

"In logic, later statements supersede earlier ones in importance." (GBC
Handbook , p. 25)

It is not possible to have a "later" statement than the last one.

July 9, 1977 worldwide final order to all GBC and TP

July 9th, 1977

To All G.B.C., and Temple Presidents

Dear Maharajas and Prabhus,

Please accept my humble obeisances 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 "rittik"-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.

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
Prabhupad, 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. 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.
Your servant, Tamala Krsna Gosvami
Secretary to Srila Prabhupada
Approved: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
[Srila Prabhupada's signature appears on the original]

(Note: There is a reference to the May 28, 1977 meeting in Vrindavan in
which Srila Prabhupada replied to a specific question from the GBC on
what to do for iniitiations after his physical disappearance.

"Now you have a very good field. Now organize it and it will be a great
credit. No one will disturb you there. Make your own field and continue
to become ritvik and act on my behalf."
(Śrīla Prabhupāda to Hansadutta : July 31, 1977)

The July 9, 1977 worldwide final order to all GBC and Tempelpresidents
and this Letter to Hansadutta Prabhu July 31, 1977 are the last and
final orders/instructions from Prabhupada for Iskcon !!!!!!

"I may say many things to you, but when I say something directly to you,
you do it. Your first duty is to do that, you cannot argue - "Sir you
said to me do like this before", no that is not your duty, what I say to
you now you do it, that is obedience you cannot argue."
(Srila Prabhupada S.B. Lecture, 14/4/75, Hyderabad)

Excerpt from Srila Prabhupada's Declaration of last Will :

"The executive directors who have herein been designated are appointed
for life. 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 following strictly all the rules and regulations of
the International Society for Krishna Consciousness as detailed in my
books, and provided that there are never less than three (3) or more
than five (5) exeutive directors acting at one time."

Especially this point: ...." provided the new director is MY initiated

“the will is signed by Srila Prabhupada, and it clearly says that each
successor director should be Srila Prabhupada’s initiated disciple.”
(Where the Ritvik People are Wrong, Jayadvaita Swami, 1996)

This of course can only happen if the ritvik system is in place for all
times in ISKCON, and therefore every future devotee becomes “Srila
Prabhupada’s initiated disciple.”

Challenging this direct evidence for the ritvik system in
ISKCON,Jayadvaita Swami Maharaja states the following:

“And ultimately one can become not only his disciple in spirit but his
“initiated disciple” through the guru-parampara system.”
(Where the Ritvik People are Wrong, Jayadvaita Swami, 1996)

Jayadvaita Swami Maharaja states that one becomes Srila Prabhupada’s
initiated disciple through the guru-parampara system.

In a subsequent paper Jayadvaita Swami Maharaja states the ritvik system

“an end to the parampara system”
(Where the Ritvik People are Wrong Again, Jayadvaita Swami, 1998)

confusing .......

This Prabhupada's final will can only work in the future after
Prabhupada's physical departure, if these Ritvik-system instruction are
followed and this instruction also:

“The GBC should all be the instructor gurus. I am the initiator guru,
and you should be the instructor guru by teaching what I am teaching and
doing what I am doing. This is not a title, but you must actually come
to this platform. This I want.”
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, August 4th, 1975)

Consequently, for a disciple to stop following this order, with any
degree of legitimacy, demands he provide some solid grounds for doing
so. The only thing that Srila Prabhupada actually told us to do was to
follow the ritvik system. He never told us to stop following it, or that
one could only follow it in his physical presence. The onus of proof
will naturally fall on those who wish to terminate any system put in
place by our acarya, and left to run henceforward. This is an obvious
point; one can not just stop following the order of the guru whimsically:

"...the process is that you cannot change the order of the spiritual
(C.c. Adi 7.76-81, Lecture, 2/2/67, San Francisco)

A disciple does not need to justify continuing to follow a direct order
from the guru, especially when he has been told to continue following
it. That is axiomatic - this is what the word "disciple" means:

"When one becomes disciple, he cannot disobey the order of the spiritual
(Srila Prabhupada Bg. Lecture, 11/2/75, Mexico)

Supporting Instructions

There were other statements made by Srila Prabhupada, and his secretary,
in the days following the July 9th letter, which clearly indicate that
the ritvik system was intended to continue without cessation:

 "...the process for initiation to be followed in the future."
(July 11th , 1977)

 "...continue to become ritvik and act on my charge."
(July 19th, 1977)

 "...continue to become ritvik and act on my behalf."
(July 31st, 1977)

In these documents we find words such as "continue" and "future" which
along with the word "henceforward" all point to the permanency of the
ritvik system. There is no statement from Srila Prabhupada that even
hints that this system was to terminate on his departure.

Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja Prabhupada:

“Therefore having a bona fide spiritual master and serving him and
pleasing him and getting his mercy is essential. Otherwise there can be
no advancement in Krishna consciousness. And unless the spiritual master
is a pure devotee of Krishna then he has no potency to give you Krishna.
He is simply a cheating rascal.

So in fact above all the rules and regulations and offenses I have
mentioned the most important thing, the essential thing, which is
required if you want to come to the stage of purely chanting the Hare
Krishna mantra is you must have a bona fide spiritual master who is a
pure devotee of Krishna. Without having a bona fide spiritual master you
can chant Hare Krishna forever but you will not be able to advance
because Krishna does not reveal Himself in this way. He only reveals
Himself to those devotees who surrender to and serve and please His pure
( SP Letter to his London disciples, July, 1969)

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