By:Yashodanandana Dasa, Los Angeles, California
From: Ameyatma das
Subject: My conclusionPAMHO, All glories to ISKCON's Founder-Acharya, ACBS - Srila Prabhupada!
The following are my conclusions from the recent ritvik email discussions. I am sending to all as Blind Carbon Copy as I do not want this to continue as another long thread. I am sending as FYI. Please accept my apologies if you are not wanting this email.
I am not interested in prolonging the discussion. Everyone has aired their views well enough, and no one is prepared to accept the view of the other side. I see no further need in more round-n-round discussions.
Background (for those who were not part of the discussion):There were two origins of the discussion. The first was that Basu Ghosh sent out a copy of Nrsinghananda's email regarding the GBC's lack of action regarding Satsvarup Gosvami’s fall down (and for the most part their seeming lack of even knowledge or awareness of his recent fall down with another devotee's wife). In response to this, I had mentioned the Direction of Management, that its implementation would solve many of these sorts of issues. And, I had put forth questions to Basu Ghosh concerning how multiple gurus (spiritual MASTERS) can function in a single ashram where that ashram (ISKCON) has a superior Master, the GBC, who is the authority over and above the Guru (master). Normally a Guru is the sole Master of his own Ashram. And I then brought in the ritvik aspects (actually pointing out that the current gurus, not being the actual master of the ISKCON ashram, were functioning more as ritviks of the GBC, rather than as regular diksha gurus). Basu Ghosh wound up deferring those questions to Gaur Keshava Prabhu, who had extensively studied agama/pancharatra shastras. GK, due to being too busy, did not respond for a month or more. During that lapse in time, Praghosh then sent out emails regarding ritvik articles he was posting on Sampradaya Sun, which sparked the main ritvik debate. It appears that Gaur Keshava was also sent questions that were posted in that email discussion. When Gaur Keshava finally responded, he did not really address my original questions (regarding multiple subordinate gurus in an ashram that has a higher ashram authority), but jumped into the ritvik discussions. It is my understanding that GK, as well as Basu Ghosh and Krishna Kirti (also part of the discussion) are often tapped by the GBC to research scripture in support of their position).
The following are my conclusions from the several months of discussion.
In my discussion with Gaur Keshava I asked him to address a number of questions, to which, in my view, he side skirted and never directly answered. Even he refused to answer at times. A most common tactic was to ignore my question and introduce new points and questions for me to answer that were aimed at defeating the basic premise, thus hoping to avoid having to answer the questions I had asked him that were difficult. I always addressed all new points and questions he would pose, but so many of my questions he simply failed or refused to address.
I am not going to detail here. In summary, I had asked him that if he accepted the ritvik process while Srila Prabhupada's body was breathing, but rejected the same process as bogus after his body stopped breathing, then was he saying that the temporarily breathing body of the guru is what empowered the process (as opposed to his living eternal instructions)? This was among my initial ritvik questions to him. He never replied because he thought he could defeat the 'ritvik' arguments by proving this was not what Srila Prabhupada wanted. However, those questions remain unanswered. If answered they would provide a basis to where he is at or to what is acceptable or not acceptable to him. He avoided addressing that issue and introduced so many arguments to try and prove that on-going ritvik was bogus and/or to prove that Srila Prabhupada had not wanted this to continue after his departure. I responded to all the new angles and arguments he came up with. I kept asking my questions and as we went I added to the number of questions for him to address. Again, just to point out, he never did reply to my original question.
He then introduced the speculation that Srila Prabhupada did not intend for the July 9th letter to apply to after he departed, that it only applied to when he was sick. I asked him to give direct and verifiable evidence to this mentally concocted speculation. The only evidence he or the GBC can give is that THEY SAY this is what it is, therefore it is. That is not an answer; it does not address the actual question because it does not provide verifiable evidence.
I asked him to address the ramifications of accepting this speculation. Again, no direct reply to my questions. The ramifications are that the letter itself says it is Prabhupada's follow-up to when he had said he would soon appoint ritviks. The letter explains this took place at a recent meeting with the GBC. This provides us with verifiable evidence, because it is verifiable fact that such a meeting had recently taken place on May 28th, and it is verifiable fact that at that meeting Srila Prabhupada had said that he would soon appoint ritviks — and — what hits this on the head is that this was Srila Prabhupada's reply to the most serious and grave, all-important question as to how initiations would go on after he departs. Since GK (Vasu Ghosh and the GBC) put forward the mental concoction that this is NOT what Srila Prabhupada intended, but rather he intended that the letter only applied to while he was sick, the ramifications are: WHY did Srila Prabhupada sign a letter which did not state what he intended, and rather makes statements and references that clearly lead us to a totally different conclusion than what he intended? THEY SAY this applied only to while he was sick. They give no other evidence than THEY SAY. How anyone can take what THEY SAY over what Srila Prabhupada signed?
My questions demand answers. Why Srila Prabhupada signed an important letter that did not state what he wanted?
I gave the following suggestions, not out of sarcasm, but simply because they were the only answers I could come up with: — Was Prabhupada absent-minded and forgot that he had said he would appoint ritviks as his answer to that question? Did he sign it unwittingly, not knowing what he was doing? Had he become senile? Befuddled and confused?
GK chose not to answer my direct questions. He kept putting forward 'other' arguments, new points for me to address, in which his attempt was to debunk the idea in a different way. I kept addressing his new points, and he kept refusing to address my questions. Yet nothing he could say after that point would dismiss those questions. They have to be addressed and answered, because no matter what 'additional' ways he tries to debunk the opposing idea, those ramifications to his speculative theory will remain. Those questions will still stand. Unless and until he addresses them, there was no use in going any further.
According to his own reasoning, silence is a clear sign of defeat.
On Oct 5th, GK wrote to Praghosh:
In so many ways GK's postulates were defeated. So many questions he kept refusing to address or directly answer. Yet to each new point he would raise I was able, by Krishna’s and Prabhupada's mercy, to address and clearly show his points were faulty, if not totally wrong.Thus, I declared — and declare here — that this mentally concocted speculation that the July 9th letter only applied to while Srila Prabhupada was sick is defeated. It lacks any evidence of support. The only verifiable evidence brings us to different conclusion. There are serious ramifications for accepting this theory, and those ramifications he refused to address. In this way the idea is defeated. It has no basis, no support and has serious consequences.