Monday, 27 August 2012

Did Srila Prabhupada break tradition?Contradicting Sastra? MAYBE NOT!

by Yashoda nandana dasa
Hare Krishna, Prabhus, obeisances, all glories to Srila Prabhupada. Please permit me to recommend some articles of interest, pertaining to these topics: --


More Vaishnava Acharyas Accept Ritvik   - Madhu Pandit das
"There are several such instances in Sri Vaishnava Parampara (tradition). Take the example of Sri Ramanujacharya himself, who was the foremost amongst the Srivaishnavacharyas. He was initiated into the Srivaishnava texts and secrets by five great acharyas who are the disciples of Acharya Yamuna. That is why is called Panchacharya Pradarshita. Though he was a disciple of these five Acharyas, just like the Ritviks appointed by HH Srila Prabhupada ji, these ritviks never claimed that they were the Acharyas of Ramanujacharya."

Srila Prabhupada is Shastra - Praghosa das

What are the Shastras? - Hansadutta das
"In one essay [Thakur Bhaktivinode] Srila Bhaktisiddhanta says, 'What are the shastras? They are nothing but the words of the devotees (pure devotees) or sadhus.'"

Formalities - Mahesh Raja
"ALL Srila Prabhupada did was change FORMALITIES in the way initiation was to be conducted in first and second initiations: 'The formalities may be slightly changed here and there to make them Vaisnavas.'"

Last Minute Thoughts - Hansadutta das
"If Srila Prabhupada is shaktavesha avatar (which we do recognise 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.

'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

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."


Living Guru - Hansadutta das
"What is your idea of living? A moving body? A warm body? The body is never living. It is the soul, the spirit within the body. ... 'You need a living guru.' What do they mean by 'living'? Do they mean to say that Srila Prabhupada is dead? Do they mean to say that Krishna is dead? Lord Chaitanya is dead? Vyasadeva is dead?

"If you say we need to have someone physically present giving instructions, that also is not a fact. That is helpful, but it is not a fact. It is not a fact. Because there are many examples of boys and girls who received Srila Prabhupada's books, and although he was not physically present, by reading and capturing the spirit, they became awakened to Krishna consciousness. It is not true that I need a living body through which this message, this spirit will come. It will come through the book, or it may come through the sincere servant..."


Last Minute Thoughts - Hansadutta das
"First of all, neither Srila Prabhupada nor we say guru parampara should be abandoned. Rather, Srila Prabhupada has given specific instructions how it should be continued and its integrity preserved.

"Secondly, should we think that Srila Prabhupada has thrown aside volumes of evidence to contradict his spiritual master and the disciplic succession? Tamal's argument in ISKCON Journal (Vol. 1, No. 1) leads to that logical conclusion. It is Srila Prabhupada himself who has given the directive "Act as rittvik representative of the Acharya." Not anyone else has concocted this system of rittvik representation. Certainly Srila Prabhupada did not leave it to anyone to concoct or speculate what should be done. He gave the clear, specific order in his letter of July 9, 1977. Those who have concocted are the very persons who have set his order aside and gone ahead to become guru-acharyas.

"The guru parampara is broken not by following the acharya's order, but by disobeying and neglecting it. Having totally disregarded Srila Prabhupada's express wishes, ISKCON GBCs and guru-acharyas have effectively cut off ISKCON from its Founder-Acharya, Srila Prabhupada."

And of course, for those who have not already perused it, "Srila Prabhupada, His Movement and You" (

Please read - Thank-you very much:

Since many of us support the  July 9th 1977  that Srila Prabhupada himself set-up AND NEVER RECINDED, I wish to respond to the above.
The Ritvik System is just FORMALITIES, so as per Srila Prabhupada's instructions: "The formalities may be slightly changed here and there to make them Vaisnavas."
It is being misconstrued as "introduce a new system", BUT--FACTUALLY--it is ONLY FORMALITIES.
Lets study the following in terms of FORMALITIES:

1) Srila Prabhupada as a sannayasi got his disciples married. There is no verification in sastra that a sannyasi can do this.
  • Srimad Bhagavatam 5.1.24 Purport - The Activities of Maharaja Priyavrata:
"Sometimes we are criticized because although I am a sannyasi, I have taken part in the marriage ceremonies of my disciples. It must be explained, however, that since we have started a Krsna conscious society and since a human society must also have ideal marriages, to correctly establish an ideal society we must take part in marrying some of its members, although we have taken to the path of renunciation. This may be astonishing to persons who are not very interested in establishing daiva-varnasrama, the transcendental system of four social orders and four spiritual orders. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, however, wanted to reestablish daiva-varnasrama. In daiva-varnasrama there cannot be acknowledgement of social status according to birthright because in Bhagavad-gita it is said that the determining considerations are guna and karma, one's qualities and work. It is this daiva-varnasrama that should be established all over the world to continue a perfect society for Krsna consciousness. This may be astonishing to foolish critics, but it is one of the functions of a Krsna conscious society."

Srila Prabhupada's Vyasapuja Lecture, August 22, 1973, London:
"I'm sometimes criticized by my Godbrothers that I have become a marriage-maker, because a sannyasi does not take part in a marriage ceremony, but I get my disciples married. This is also unique in the history. So they criticize me that I have become a marriage-maker. But they, they do not know why I take this risk. I have got many disciples, they are married couples, but all of them, husband and wife, they are helping this movement. Here is Bhagavan dasa, he's also married man, children."

Srila Prabhupada's Letter to Satsvarupa, September 20, 1968:
"In your letter of the 17th instant, you have very frankly inquired from me about householder life, especially in the matter of sex relationship. A sannyasi is not supposed to be asked about anything sexual. But still, because you are so much dependent on my instruction, so I must give you information as far as possible. Married life is not for sex indulgence. The principle of marriage is on the background of getting good children. So the householder is allowed to have sex life once in a month, just after the menstrual period. The menstrual period prolongs at least for 5 days, so after this 5 days, one can have sex life provided he desires to get a child. And as soon as the wife is pregnant, no more sex life, until the child is born and is grown up at least for 6 months. After that, one may have sex life on the same principle. If one does not want more than one or two children, he should voluntarily stop sex life. But one should not strictly use any contraceptive method and at the same time indulge in sex life. That is very much sinful. If the husband and wife can voluntarily restrain by powerful advancement of Krishna Consciousness. That is the best method. It is not necessary that because one has got wife, therefore you must have sex life. The whole scheme is to avoid sex life as far as possible. And if one can avoid it completely then it is a great victory for him. Married life is a sort of license for sex life on condition of raising children. So you should try to understand these principles of married life and use your discretion. You should not imitate great personalities like Bhaktivinode Thakura, but you must follow His footprints. But it is not always possible to have the same success as great personalities like Bhaktivinode Thakura achieved. So in all circumstances you should try to follow the footprints of authorities but never to imitate them. Unless Jadurani develops a better health and strength, I do not advise her to become pregnant. I think you will understand the instruction as I have given and try to follow it as far as possible."

Srila Prabhupada's Letter to Sacisuta, July 5, 1969:
"Please accept my blessings. I thank you very much for your letter dated June 23, 1969, and I have carefully gone over the contents. I am so pleased to learn that you are feeling very nicely in Buffalo temple and you are working hard and sincerely to push on this sublime movement of Krishna Consciousness. Regarding your question about marriage, the thing is that as I am a sannyasi, I am not concerned with family life, but because I want to see my disciples very happy in Krishna Consciousness, therefore, those who are feeling some sexual disturbance are requested by me to get themselves married."
2) Srila Prabhupada had disciples hear the TAPE of him giving Gayatri Mantra at brahmana initiation. There is no verification in sastra of this.
  • Srila Prabhupada's Letter to Gaura Hari, September 24, 1971:
"At your recommendation I have gladly consented to accept Guy as my duly initiated disciple. His letter and beads are enclosed herewith. Also enclosed are three sacred threads duly chanted by me as well as four papers with Gayatri mantra for the four devotees you have recommended for second initiation. You should secure the tape of me reciting Gayatri mantra from Makhanlal in Seattle. Let each devotee hear the tape privately, one at a time, and through the right ear. They should have the paper in front of them and hear and repeat each word. Beforehand you can show them how to count on the fingers, and beforehand hold a fire yajna and get the threads on the boys' bodies."

3) Srila Prabhupada had the WIFE of one disciple read Gayatri mantra to a devotee. There is no verification in sastra of this.
  • Srila Prabhupada's Letter to Vaikunthanatha, Sardia, April 4, 1971:
"Even though you have had no gayatri mantra, still you are more than brahmana. I am enclosing herewith your sacred thread, duly chanted on by me. Gayatri mantra is as follows:
Ask your wife to chant this mantra and you hear it and if possible hold a fire ceremony as you have seen during your marriage and get this sacred thread on your body. Saradia, or any twice-initiated devotee, may perform the ceremony.
What Srila Prabhupada did was unprecedented in the history of Vaisnava sampradaya. But this did NOT mean he transgressed the sastra. On the contrary, sastra fully support Srila Prabhupada's actions IN AS MUCH AS the Ritvik System is ALSO part and parcel of above FORMALITY, wherein the Ritvik Representatives are performing FORMALITIES, i.e., the fire sacrifice and name giving CEREMONIES. The formalities may be slightly changed here and there to make them Vaisnavas.
  • Srimad Bhagavatam 4.8.54 Purport - Dhruva Maharaja Leaves Home for the Forest:
"Those who are not actually in the line of acaryas, or who personally have no knowledge of how to act in the role of acarya, unnecessarily criticize the activities of the ISKCON movement in countries outside of India. The fact is that such critics cannot do anything personally to spread Krsna consciousness. If someone does go and preach, taking all risks and allowing all considerations for time and place, it might be that there are changes in the manner of worship, but that is not at all faulty according to sastra. Srimad Viraraghava Acarya, an acarya in the disciplic succession of the Ramanuja-sampradaya, has remarked in his commentary that candalas, 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 6.12.20 Purport - Vrtrasura' s Glorious Death:
"Therefore Sukadeva Gosvami says in Srimad-Bhagavatam (2.4.18):
  • kirata-hunandhra-pulinda-pulkasa
    abhira-sumbha yavanah khasadayah
    ye 'nye ca papa yad-apasrayasrayah
    sudhyanti tasmai prabhavisnave namah
"Kiratas, Hunas, Andhras, Pulindas, Pulkasas, Abhiras, Sumbhas, Yavanas and members of the Khasa races, and even others addicted to sinful acts can be purified by taking shelter of the devotees of the Lord, for He is the supreme power. I beg to offer my respectful obeisances unto Him." Anyone can be purified if he takes shelter of a pure devotee and molds his character according to the pure devotee's direction. Then, even if one is a Kirata, Andhra, Pulinda or whatever, he can be purified and elevated to the position of a maha-paurusya."
Rocana Prabhu wrote:
"I don't think you can introduce a system that has no verification in sastra."
Yes we agree - ALL Srila Prabhupada did was change FORMALITIES in the way initiation was to be conducted in first and second initiations: "The formalities may be slightly changed here and there to make them Vaisnavas."
BUT Diksa per say, when MADHYAMA adhikari receives is unchanged, as that is NOT formality (see Diksa Given to Madhyama-adhikari is Not a Formality
Srila Prabhupada in the July 9th, 1977 ORDER is FORMALITY of HOW 1st and 2nd initiations were to be conducted - and THAT is ALL it was. And THIS was the change in terms of FORMALITY, nothing more.
The INITIATED disciples were to be Srila Prabhupada's DISCIPLES. How can you have disciples belonging to anyone else? Disciples belong to one who gives discipline. FACTUALLY we are ALL taking - DISCIPLINE - FROM Srila Prabhupada's books, CDs, Tapes. Common sense!

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