System of Management

Posted : January 22, 2006 | Last Update: January 16, 2007

In Srila Prabhupad's will he stated, “The system of management will continue as it is now. There is no need of any change.” It has changed. It must be restored to its original state.

Many years ago I wrote the first article on ISKCON Management, I sent emails to the GBC requesting them to discuss the points of that article. Not one replied to discuss a single point with me.

January of 2006 I made a second attempt to get the GBC to debate (or at least discuss) the logic behind the article below. If you have not read the article below yet, read this full page first as the same basic arguments are given again. I sent out 3 emails to the GBC and other senior so-called leaders of ISKCON over a 6 week period. As of May 6th, 2006 Not One Single So-Called Leader took up the debate or replied to discuss even one of the issues with me . Not Even One of them would try to answer my questions - not one of them tried to defend their position or try to defeat my conclusion. Not One. I and many others have no recourse but to interpret their lack of response as a total defeat, by default. The article I sent and asked them to debate - or at least openly discuss - can be found at SoM-Debate. To read my short conclusion, at least until the so-called GBC make a formal reply and discuss the points I have made, see the Failure of the SO-CALLED GBC . (and find out why I call them the "so-called" GBC and "so-called" leaders of ISKCON)

Srila Prabhupad had put into place the GBC to act as the on-going authority in his absence. For many years, decades, I tried my best to accept and follow this in my earnest effort to be submissive to and follow the desire of Srila Prabhupad.

However, from the very beginning there were always many obstacles to doing this. Mainly there were so many failings and mistakes made by so many individual GBC. There was the very trying and difficult 'Zonal Acharya' period in which the GBC, as a body, made many decisions which I knew were, at their core, totally off and incorrect. Decisions that were very destructive to my spiritual master's movment. And dealings with my direct individual GBC that forced me to flatly reject his leadership (ie: Ramesvar told me, in 1984, that by quoting from SP's letter I was quoting from something that was "outdated and no longer relavent" to the management of ISKCON. He reminded me that there were now (then) 11 'new' acharyas and that my duty was now to accept one of them and follow their instructions. Basically he was instructing me to abandon following Srila Prabhupad, my own direct guru, and instead follow him or one of the other 11. That was it. I knew this whole 'new' guru and 'zonal acharya' system was 'off', and this was the final straw for me. I blew up in a fit of anger. And I also realized that I could no longer blindly accept a so-called leadership (the GBC) who were so far 'off' and themselves no longer representing or following Srila Prabhupad.

Yet, even after this time I still tried to be supportive of the GBC in many other ways. But, the failings of the past, the failings of the present, taught me that I could no longer simply accept the decisions made by the GBC blindly. I could see that there was one test that must be met, one basic critereon that must be firmly in place before I could accept the GBC authority, and that is that their own duty collectively and individually must be firmly fixed in upholding and implementing Srila Prabhupad's instructions and his will. Although I did not have access to the Direction of Management at the time, I later found my conclusion was fully supported by Srila Prabhupad in the follow quote from the Direction Of Management:

...the function of the GBC will be as follows, with particulars:


"The purpose of the Governing Body Commission is to act as the instrument for the execution of the Will of His Divine Grace..."

There cannot be any difference between what the GBC say and what Srila Prabhupad has said. When there are differences then we are left in a most difficult dilemna. We are then forced to either accept the GBC position while rejecting that of Srila Prabhupad, who is our own spiritual master and the Founder-Acharya of ISKCON, OR, we must reject the GBC, whom Srila Prabhupad set up as the authority for ISKCON in his absence, while remaining faithful to the instructions and will of our guru maharaj and Founder-Acharya. Thus, without following the above 'particular' foundation of the duty of the GBC, ie: to act as the instrument for the execution of the Will of HDG (ACBSPrabhupad) then the whole GBC system is a farce and should not be followed or accepted as having any authority in Srila Prabhupad's mission.

Obviously my being instructed to reject SP's instructions and only follow the new 11 gurus failed the above order of SP. Such maddness had to be flatly rejected. But, later on upon learning more of the whole 'guru' issue and how the letters of SP clearly show the 11 as being named only Rtviks, and how the GBC decided they should now be seen (along with the 80-100 additional 'gurus' since then) as 'regular gurus' forced me to question, and finally reject the foundational decisions made by the GBC in this regard.

The questions i have possed to the GBC question the very foundation of their decisions in this regard. And, they have failed to defeat my logic and views as they have failed to even respond to one of my many requests to discuss these points.

The "so-called" GBC and "so-called" leaders of ISKCON did not respond to my request for debate or discussion at all. (except for the non-reponse of Jayadwaita and Indradyumna Maharaj's - see below). Thus, I have writen a conclusion (May of 2006), entitled "The Failure of the So-Called GBC". It simply deals with their failure to openly debate or discusss my article with them.

Aslo, note: The basics premise of the article below is that today ISKCON no longer adheres to the System of Management that was in place in the 1970's under Srila Prabhupad's direct direction. Specifically in regards to how devotees previously took all guidance from the GBC, per Srila Prabhupad's instructions, and not from their diksha guru. The basis of my arguments below is that Srila Prabhupad did not want that system of management or those duties of the GBC to be changed, yet they have been. So, I am arguing that they must be revived.

The GBC or other so-called senior men have not made any effort, to date, to discuss any of the points with me. NOTHING. Even though i sent them many emails over a 2 year period. Nothing. This can only be seen as their complete failure. It is a fact that in my articles I have concluded that if we do revive the system as it was, then it would promote the acceptance of a rtvik system, but, regardless of acceptance of that conclusion or not, at least they should have discussed the merits of the basic premisses of my articles. Their lack of interest and their lack of willingness to discuss clearly shows us just how complacent in their delusion the current leaders have become. Logic, however, defies them. Simple Vaishnav etiquitte, or actually even just common civilized human courtesy, dictates that at least I should have gotten some sort of reply from everyone I sent this to. And, spirited members who are armed with full realizations and firmly fixed in the philosophical science of our mission should have been most eager to enter the battlefield of open discussion to prove their intellectual prowess. For the sake of intellectual chivalry, or compelled by their desire to defend their positions, or to uphold their philosophic conclusions, they should have jumped at the opportunity to take me on in an open philosophic debate, or at least open discussion. Again, their failure to do so can only be seen as a lack of all the above. They lack intellectual prowess, they lack confidence in their own position. They fear being publicly humiliated. The list can go on. I see no other reasons for their failure to answer my requests. Since they refuse to discuss with me, obviously they have also chosen to remain silent in even defending themselves from the conclusions that i have now reached as to why they have remained silent.

By default, they have accepted defeat. Otherwise, the invitation to them to discuss the points i have made remains open.

On January 22, 2006 I emailed out to a number of GBC members, Sannyasis, senior devotees, and a number of devotees in general a new article on the topic of Restoring ISKCON's System of Management back to it's function as of mid 1977. At that time Srila Prabhupad wrote that the system of managment was not to change, it was to continue on as it was - no need of any change.

One and a half years ago I wrote a similar article showing that the system of management has changed since then, and it has changed substantionally. On writing that first article, which remains posted on this website No Need Of Any Change, I sent an email to many GBC and senior devotees giving the web address and asking them to please read and comment on it. Unfortunately I did not get any notable response at all from the GBC members. No senior managing devotee took my article serious enough to debate the issue with me. That is most unfortunate. Yet, I really only asked them to read it and reply with their comments. I had not asked them to publicly debate the issue.

Although the GBC members did not deem it important enough to comment on, I did get an immediate response from devotees in general. And the response was all positive (except for a reply from IRM which criticised the article for not being rtvik enough, in their view). Over the 1 1/2 years since posting it I have received a number of positive emails from people who found the article via website searches.

But, the ones who manage ISKCON and who can make the changes neccessary to restore ISKCON's System of Management, I get only cold silence.

After 1 1/2 years I decided to try and engage the GBC and senior managers a second time. In doing so I wound up rewriting the basic arguments in a new article / email. Bascially the new article contains the same arguments as the original. The side bar to the right is the second email that I sent out on January 22th, 2006.

In this 2nd attempt to debate the issue I have made a number of pleas to the leaders to please read it and to reply to the points and debate the points.

The respectable GBC leaders must reply and discuss the issues publicly.

The debate is to be open and public. Thus I am posting the debate on this site so that the devotees will have the opportuity to see the outcome. They will also see if no GBC or current guru replies at all. No reply at all can be taken as defeat. Either it will be seen that they do not consider this argument a significant challenge to their status-quo (a grave mistake) or they fear they cannot strongly defeat the logic and analysis given, thus not wanting to look weak or be defeated in a public forum, out of fear driven by doubt and lack of confidence in their own position, they refuse to debate this openly and publicly.

As leading men, or other general devotees reply I will post their relavant responses as well as my rebutals. (I could have used a blogging script, or a forum script to allow immediate postings, but I have decided to manually post the relevant emails so as to avoid flaming and inappropriate posts – also if I get many of the same replies, for sake of brevity I can limit the number of posts to have to wade through – IF there is a significant response to this)

Update 2/17/06 - it is now nearly 1 month and we sent out a second request 2 weeks ago for response by the GBC. Again - No Response from the GBC side.

The only senior GBC supporter to have replied has been Jayadwaita Maharaj - and basically all he had to say was that he completely refuses to discuss this issue via email. We have not seen each other for 10 years, he resides in India, and I in America. The only way he will discuss it is in a private meeting face to face meeting. When would that be???? Why not discuss this via email where it will be openly published for all to see???? The only conclusion I can surmise is as I stated above, he and the others fear being publicly defeated. They do not have the strong confidence in their position to stand up publicly in the open and discuss the questions I have raised. The fear public humiliation. I have no such fears - I am have no doubts as to where i stand. I am inviting open and public and friendly discussion of the questions i have asked in my article. See below for the 2/17 update, for my response to Jayadwaita. BTW, in Jayadwaita's emails to me he also CC'd Indradyumna Maharaj. So, I emailed Indradyumna who was coming to Florida, Alachua and Orlando. I asked that when he comes if we could sit, even in private, and disucss the points of my article. We could meet either in Alachua or Orlando. He wrote back saying that he was sorry, that his schedule was too full, he didn't have even an hour of free time. NO - The topic is serious, and if he realy wanted to, he could have made room for at least one hour to met with me personally. He could have squeezed out at least 30 min. He refused for the same reason Jayadwaita and the whole GBC refused, out of fear of being defeated.

An open invitation stands, especially to any senior god-brother or GBC to discuss these issues with me. ()

Below is (or will be) a list of responses to the article -

Reponses to Article -

From:Sunil M.
Hare Krishna Prabhu ! your opinion about your letter to all is very very good. Haribol.
From: Gauridas

Dear Prabhus,
Please accept my respectful obeisances. All glories to our jagat guru Srila Prabhupada!!!

I wish you good luck trying to get the GBC to debate this issue. I am a witness to the events concerning this matter and I have been trying for 32 years now to get them to hear me but my attempts keep falling on deaf ears.

I was standing in the garden in Sri Vrindavan Dham, fanning Srila Prabhupada when he talked about the future of his movement after his physical departure.
I was there when he said he wanted ritvik representatives to initiate on his behalf after he left the planet. I was there listening when he dictated the July 9th 1977 newsletter to the secretary T.K.G., and appointed the first official ritvik representatives of the acharya.

They were supposed to be 'ritvik representatives of the acharya' but they made themselves 'zonal acharyas'. This has been the root problem in ISKCON since 1978. All other mismanagement stems from this original sin.

Have you all seen the one and only GBC ritvik debate that was held in the San Diego temple room in January of 1990? The north American GBC and over 200 hundred devotees voted at the end for another international debate in Mayapur But that resolution was denied and an anti-ritvik resolution was passed by the GBC that if any devotees even mention the ritvik word they are to be 'banned from ISKCON'. Ravindra Swarupa who used to be on our side was given guruship and changed to their side and sent out a pack of lies about me around the whole world. He could not defeat the orders of Srila Prabhupada although he tries, but he can only assassinate my character. I told him he is lucky I did not sue him and he siad "Thank you very much".

Anyway, if we can get an open debate or discussion going it would be better late than never. Our movement could return to it's haydays and even movie stars would join if Srila Prabhupada were properly presented as all of our guru as he is.

I joined with and totally respected Visnujana Swami but would never worship him like Srila Prabhupada. We can respect all senior devotees but should draw the line at a point. Otherwise the ego takes over.

The devotees initiated by the direct disciples should only worship Srila Prabhupada and up the parampara. Then after doing aratik to the Deities before offering the articles to the devotees can offer within their minds to their ritvik initiators; but never before Srila Prabhupada and the Deities. This is a big mistake still going on in ISKCON. Thus most of the devotees are eating bhoga and not making good spiritual advancement. All pranams should be Srila Prabhupada's. All offerings should be directly to Srila Prabhupada. If any deovtees have a problem with it they can do as they like in their own temples or homes. ISKCON is for Srila Prabhupada.

Hoping this meets you all well and advancing in Krsna Consciousness!
Your servant,
Gauridasa Pandita Dasa

From:. Locanananda das

Dear Amyatma, Gauridasa and all of the assembled prabhus,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

In response to Amyatma prabhu's proposal I must say that, personally, I am not inclined to debate with the GBC because they are, for the most part, great offenders of Srila Prabhupada. I do not want to contaminate this discussion with the specifics of their deviations, but I would like to warn devotees that ISKCON devotees are capable of committing the most violent actions against those who oppose their guru system. A number of us have already been the object of their violent behavior and, under the circumstances, it may be better to avoid direct confrontation with them.

I think what we all agree on is that guru worship is meant for Srila Prabhupada. Those who live according to Srila Prabhupada's teachings are meant to worship Srila Prabhupada. However you interpret the May 28, 1977 conversation and the July 9th letter, everyone accepts that there is no order to worship those
who were to perform initiations after Srila Prabhupada's disappearance. "New guru" worship was imposed on the society by the eleven ritvik representatives themselves, not by Srila Prabhupada. As soon as you require the initiates to perform worship, the initiator becomes their spiritual authority. This imitative worship is the root of all managerial deviation because it undermines the authority structure set up within ISKCON by Srila Prabhupada.

The ISKCON GBC introduced this new guru worship based on vaisnava tradition and on Srila Prabhupada's instruction to "just do as I am doing." But Srila Prabhupada never authorized the GBC to introduce
any new practices based on vaisnava tradition, especially in the area of worship, and particularly
within the domain of his temples. He called this compulsion to change things the "American disease."
The simple fact is that IF Srila Prabhupada had wanted the devotees performing initiations to be worshipped in any way, he would have said so, and he would have explained how, and in precise detail.
The GBC's disobedience to the will of the spiritual master is simply that they arrogantly introduced the mandatory worship of themselves as if they were maha-bhagavatas, or residents of the spiritual world. And even when ISKCON gurus are censured for various types of misconduct and falldown, their worship continues. This would be considered heretical in any bonafide religious tradition.

It is my contention that if devotees who are not satisfied with the ISKCON guru system apply pressure on this one point, that the worship of those performing initiations today is not authorized, i.e., was never
approved by Srila Prabhupada, a condition of normal vaisnava interactions could eventually be restored within ISKCON. In the meantime, vaisnavas who choose (or who are forced) to not participate in the programs of the official ISKCON institution should maintain their Krishna consciousness on the highest possible level by regularly chanting japa, reading Srila Prabhupada's books, performing sankirtana, following the regulative principles and by associating with like-minded devotees as much as possible.

It is hoped that soon centers will open in every town and village where Srila Prabhupada is the sole worshipable guru (along with the previous acaryas, of course) and where initiations are performed according to his direct instruction. This is the best way to set the correct standard, rather than by trying to reshape a corrupt system based on deviation from the order of the guru. The contamination in ISKCON is so deep-rooted that its leaders may never become sufficiently transparent to function as initiators under the new order, and that may be what they fear most. Besides being intoxicated by the power they derive from being worshipped as guru, many of them have been carried away by material gain and the attraction to their female admirers. Their impersonal dealings with godbrothers and their harsh treatment of the "loyal opposition" disqualify ISKCON's new breed of gurus from performing initiations in a ritvi! k system wherein one must be transparent to the founder acarya. Rather than debate with them, I would prefer, at least for the time being, to part ways and work separately.

Hoping this finds you all in the best of health and spirits.

Your servant,
Locanananda dasa
New York City

Via Gadadhar das

Reply by ameyatma das
Date: 1/26

NOTE - May 2006 I have revised the followng page.

My response to the topic NaraNarayan was long, and since making my original post back in January, i have revised my respnse, and i have included his topic in the new article on Failure of the So-Called GBC. Nara Narayan brought up the topic he refers to as DOM, which is based on the Direction Of Management - a formal document that Srila Prabhupad had executed in 1970 which outlined the management structure for the GBC. I have created a separate page for this topc here > DOM - which also gives links for viewing the original DOM documents - as I have aquired from emails from Nara Narayan prabhu.

From: ameyatma das
Date: 1/31

It has now been a week since I made my latest request that the GBC and senior men debate this issue. Again, as with last year, there is silence.

Silence on their part serves no good purpose.

Again, today, I have sent email to a more limited number (about 40) of GBC / gurus / Sannyasis and senior leaders again requesting that they debate this issue with me. This was a more personal request as most of them personally know me.

- Continued silence or unwillingness to debate is a sign of weakness, defeat, on their part. There is no other reason for them not to try and discuss or debate the valid points that i have made. They are simply too complacent in their current situations.

Gadadhar das

 Dear Hasti Gopala Dasa,
All Glories to Srila Prabhupada! Please accept my humble obesance.

Thank you for writing me.

I was listing to a morning walk in my car the other day and came across this:

Satsvarupa: One of our men spoke up and said that, the president of Toronto temple, Uttamasloka, he said, "So far we've just discussed different religions from a relative point of view. Why don't we discuss what is the Absolute Truth?" And they all became... They didn't like that. They said, "We feel defensive when you speak like this."
Brahmananda: And Swami Bon said that "You don't know so much."
Satsvarupa: Yeah, he criticized our Uttamasloka. And then he said, "Gaudiya Vaisnavas, they don't engage in argumentation and debate." So Uttamasloka said, "Yes, Lord Caitanya argued with Prakasananda."
Prabhupada: Oh, yes, very good.
Satsvarupa: But Swami Bon said, "No, He didn't convert him by argument, He converted him by the effulgence."
Prabhupada: (To Bon:) "But there was argument, rascal." (laughter)
Satsvarupa: And as a result of that...
Prabhupada: He is a rascal, rascal.
[Morning Walk--June 30, 1975, Denver]

Gadadhara dasa

Hansadutta (via Gadadhar)

Dear Gadadhara Prabhu, obeisances, all glories to Srila Prabhupaqda.
Debate means between equals, debate means there must be some consequences of loss or win,, like in a prize fight. In vedic times the looser would become the disciple of the winner, along with all his disciples. there must be an authority to judge the result of the debate, and he is to be accepted by both parties. Debate means on the basis of Standard scriptures, not whimsically arguing late into the night, day after day.
I doubt that anyone will be prepared to accept these conditions of debate. So it is useless, but the reasons are ,memtioned above, these are the standard conditions.
Your humble servant,
Hansadutta das

From: ameyatma das
Date: 2/17

I apologize to those who were coming here to see the latest updates. The past 2 weeks I have been neglectful, too many things going on, mundane deadlines to make, etc.

There have been a few updates, the ones that came 2/3 and onward are just being posted today. As well as the no-where correspondence with Jayadwaita and myself see below

From: Jayadwaita Maharaj

Originally sent:

Dear Ameyatma Prabhu,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

The reason I didn't answer your previous mail is that I didn't receive it. PAMHO likely filtered it out as spam.

The topics you raise don't lend themselves well to e-mail, at least not for me. I would be happy to discuss them with you face to face.
(Note, that's a discussion, not a "debate.") Best would be Mayapur.
Are you coming for the festival? That would be good, from all points of view.

If you're not, where are you living these days?

Hoping this finds you in good health,

Your servant,
Jayadvaita Swami

From: ameyatma das
Date: 2/10 
 Jai, Maharaj

Accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupad.

First, I was traveling and did not get opportunity to reply right away.

Thus far you are the only senior sannyasi / GBC / diksha-guru to send any sort of reply or response, and since it has been now a number of weeks, your reply may be the only one.

You wrote:
> The topics you raise don't lend themselves well to e-mail, at least
> not for me. I would be happy to discuss them with you face to face.
> (Note, that's a discussion, not a "debate.") Best would be Mayapur.
> Are you coming for the festival? That would be good, from all points
> of view.

I agree, I would love to come, but, no, I am not able to come at this time.

My view is that the subject is important enough that it be 'discussed' - 'debated' (whatever the real difference between the two?) in any media that is available, and email is readily available. Better that it be discussed even via email then we not discuss at all.

And, as far as making the discussion public, as opposed to private discussion, I see as important. An open discussion allows not only the participating parties to hear opposing views, it allows others to hear all sides openly as well.

Also, the current lack of response from the GBC becomes a very poignant public response in itself. It leaves a lot to be guessed at and assumed - which is not good - but that is simply the result of the total lack of any real response.

> Hoping this finds you in good health,
> Your servant,
> Jayadvaita Swami

Same to you Maharaj, but what about discussing this further?

> PS: Meanwhile, you might be interested in the articles post at
> <>.

Okay, I admit that I have not read your anti-rtvik articles. But, please understand that my views regarding the system of management changes is where I want the discussion to actually begin. The reason for this is that this was a pivotal process in my analysis that lead me to accept the on-going Rtvik process as being the most obvious path Srila Prabhupad intended us to follow. It is a fact that I am arguing in favor of an on-going Rtvik process, but, I would like any discussion to start with the System Of Management and the way it has drastically changed because this is what finally pushed me over to accept the on-going Rtvik process. If we restore the system that Srila Prabhupad set up, the results will be that the current diksha gurus will wind up performing no more duties in the society then a Rtvik priest would. It is this fact that leads us to the Ritvik discussion.

However, since I already have given arguments on the Rtvik issue and the only relevant subject mater in your reply was to refer me to your anti-rtvik articles, what I have decided to do is to write a second email in which I will debate (discuss, if you prefer) both the SOM idea along with my analysis and commentary on selected points from your articles. BTW, as you will find in my next email, I am not at all opposed to the idea of devotees becoming full diksha gurus. That is the traditional system of the sampradaya. Obviously I support that, and my conclusion is that both should exist in full harmony side-by-side.

I will try to complete the second email soon. I hope it will be soon, as I began writing it yesterday on Lord Varaha's appearance day, taking hours and not completing it. And today is the auspicious day of Lord Sri Nityananda's appearance day, I will be pressed to get this completed. If I do not get sufficient time, as we have a full schedule today, then I hope to complete it the following day.

Aspiring to become your worthy and humble servant, the most unworthy and fallen ameyatma das

On the auspicious appearance of Lord Nityananda Prabhu

 From: ameyatma das
Date: 2/10 

NOTE: The first part of this email is again another brief overview of the full article to the right - the second part is a rebuttal to Jayadwaita's article "Ritviks are Wrong"

Dear His Holiness Jayadwaita Maharaj, Prabhu

As promised, this email will discuss some further points regarding my System Of Management analysis and then I will also discuss selected points from you anti-Rtvik articles.

Let me begin by again briefly explaining the System Of Management analysis and the inherent conflict that arises with the current system of initiations (diksha system) ISKCON has followed for past 3 decades.

I joined ISKCON formally in the summer of 1973, in Los Angeles. At that time Srila Prabhupad had already put in place a System Of Management by which all the newer and the majority of the senior devotees as well, no longer sought direct guidance from their diksha guru, who was Srila Prabhupad. Rather, he had put into place a System Of Management for his ISKCON ashrams which included the local TP and local temple authorities, the local GBC, the entire GBC body, and also included all senior devotees in good standing and the sannyasis. The process was widely in place and followed by the summer of 1973, in that devotees would seek and take their guidance not from their diksha guru directly, but via the above mentioned members within the System Of Management.

In his letter to Madhuvisa Srila Prabhupad delineated three areas of guidance which cover all aspects of guidance in the society. These were Managerial Guidance, Philosophical Guidance and Individual's Personal Problems, Personal Issues Guidance.

It is to be noted that this system was put into place by Srila Prabhupad as one of the prime duties of the GBC and was implemented upon forming and establishing the social duties of the GBC system. In otherwords it is not that the GBC had long been set up to perform completely other functions for the society and that Srila Prabhupad only temporarily wanted to add the above duties to their services, but rather these were the primary duties for which the GBC was set up to carry out. To give managerial guidance to the temples, to keep the philosophical guidance and up to standard, and to give personal guidance, handling the person issues of the devotees. These were not "add-on" duties of the new GBC system of management, these were the primary duties for which the GBC was formed and put into action.

Thus, we cannot accept the argument that later, on the physical disappearance of ISKCON's Founder-Acharya that he wanted that automatically these duties would be taken away from the GBC System Of Management. We cannot entertain any such pre-sumption and must reject it as absolute speculation in the absence of any substantial and direct - explicit instructions by Srila Prabhupad that this was to take place.

Therefore, the System for giving and receiving guidance concerning management, philosophy and personal issues (which is all encompassing social guidance for the society) is that all devotees, new and senior alike, are to abide by that process taking such guidance from the GBC system. Not from their respective Diksha gurus, just as we, the majority of Srila Prabhupad's disciples did.

That is the basis of my SOM argument.

And, it is obvious that this system has been seriously disrupted and is not longer promoted or followed by either the current GBC nor the temple managers nor the devotees in general. This, in effect, has totally weakened the authority and social respect that the GBC system once held. It has weakened the head of ISKCON, in that the head can be said to the GBC. With a weakened and dysfunctional head (GBC), this has allowed so many other problems to take hold and further weaken the society and mission that Srila Prabhupad set up.

How has the system changed? Simple. Today who follows that system of management that Srila Prabhupad set up? At least in my observation I have seen that most of the 'grand-disciples' do not. Especially as it concerns personal guidance. They will seek this only from their diksha guru, who is very often not their local GBC, not their local TP or temple authority. Thus the local aspects of the system of management are clearly undermined. And this is itself a powerful disruptive force plaguing the system Srila Prabhupad set up.

What is needed is that we restore the original system of management by restoring the original and fundamental duties of that system. ie: all devotees are again directed to take all guidance not from their diksha gurus, but from the GBC system that Srila Prabhupad set up and instructed us to follow. Thus we restore the social duties of the GBC system.

While this sounds simple and direct enough, there is one problem. When this is properly implemented and the grand-disciples no longer approach their diksha gurus for such guidance, what then becomes the real function and duties of the current diksha gurus? Prior to giving initiation all such guidance and training of the new devotee is handled by the System of Management, Temple authorities, senior devotees, sannyasis, GBC. And after the initiation the new devotee still takes all guidance and training from that system. That is the ISKCON system that Srila Prabhupad set up. So, then, what other duties would the diksha guru perform. In my analysis there would be no further duties to the ISKCON society. Those diksha gurus would, at that point, in essence simply carry out the formalities of performing the initiation ceremony on behalf of the GBC authorities and basically that would be it. They would not give any on-going guidance to the initiate.

The glaring problem with this is that these are the same duties and functions a rtvik priest or representative-acharya would perform.

Then, we are left with 2 choices. We accept that Srila Prabhupad actually did want us to continue with the Rtvik system as he had set up and that it actually is bonafied and thus we restore the SOM as it originally was set up and restore the duties to that system of giving of personal guidance.
- OR - we absolutely reject the on-going rtvik system as being bogus, and are left to have to justify the changes to the System Of Management that Srila Prabhupad had set up. At that point we will be forced to have to act outside of his instructions and change the system against his will and instructions to do so (as we have been doing for the past 3 decades). In doing this we have several choices. We can simply take away the duties of giving of personal guidance from the GBC/Temple Authority system that Srila Prabhupad set up, and give those duties to the diksha gurus - but only for their disciples (as we are doing now) - OR we can go back to a type of Zonal-Acharya system that has already proven disastrous by making all gurus GBC, or all GBC gurus, so that devotees will seek their initiation and personal guidance from the same person. However, as I outline below, this is inherently disruptive to ISKCON and is inherently in conflict with a GBC system of management as Srila Prabhupad had set up.

As you see, to follow the current diksha system by which their disciples take personal guidance from them stands inherently in conflict with the system that Srila Prabhupad had set up. It becomes confrontational. You either give the duty back to the GBC system to give personal guidance, or you take that duty away. And, in all of Srila Prabhupad's teachings that I have seen, I have not seen one single mention how this was to be changed with the introduction of many diksha gurus in the mission.

Lacking any direct and explicit instruction we can only accept that this system was not to be changed. That those duties were not to be taken away.

But, that reduced the diksha gurus to no more then rtviks who simply perform the ceremonial function of initiation, and really have no other social duty or practical relation with their disciple. If they give their disciple some personal guidance then they are performing the duties meant for others. They will be undermining that devotee's local authorities. This is inherently disruptive to the management of the society. This is not the iskcon SP set up.

But, if we are convinced the rtvik system is bogus, how can we restore the SOM to what it was originally set up by SP?

Up to this point I am not arguing in support of the on-going rtvik process. Rather, my personal analysis took this route. I had observed years ago that the post of GBC was no longer respected and no longer held the authority in the society as it did in the mid 1970's. That is when I analyzed this and slowly came to realize the underlying reason for this lay in the above understanding. That the duty to give guidance had been taken away, and thus the authority that follows that social duty had become lost and disrupted. I then formulated different ideas how to restore the original authority of the GBC by restoring those duties and how to retain the authority of the diksha guru over his disciple. But, I was left scratching my head because if you take the duty away to give guidance, then what other duty do the current diksha gurus perform, other then to take on the karma of the initiate.
Other then this, their on-going social function and relationship to their disciple becomes no more then that of rtvik. So, I was left with no other alternative then to re-asses my views on the on-going Rtvik process, as it clearly appears that they only way to restore ISKCON's SOM and restoring the previous glory and authority of the GBC post was to accept an on-going rtvik process.

You see, there is no conflict in having a GBC SOM and a rtvik process. There is no conflict of authority. The GBC remains the authority for all devotees, and all guidance is handled by that GBC SOM. No conflict. But, when you have diksha guru authorities giving guidance and you have a GBC SOM that is supposed to give guidance, then you have inherent conflict. Re-assessing the issue I have come down on the side that an on-going rtvik system does not violate shastra, and does not violate SP's instructions, and in so many ways it is obvious that Srila Prabhupad wanted this to continue. This then forms the other half of my argument supporting the on-going rtvik system.

The conclusion of such analysis is that the rtvik system is, by default, the most practical, and the most compatible with all of SP instructions as far as the management and functioning of the ISKCON ashrams and what he wanted us to continue doing.

**** However, what about the very vivid instructions that we are all to become acharya, that we are all to become guru and make disciples - (if we qualify ourselves, via purity, humility and advancement to properly do so, as one must not become a father, king or guru unless one can take his dependents out of this material world and back home back to Godhead)? These instructions are essential to the continuation of the sampradaya. Yes, what about those instructions?

I find it very simple. You may not agree, at first, but I find the solution very logical, and very simple. ISKCON is the name of Srila Prabhupad's ashrams. In His ashrams the GBC system of management is there to give all guidance to the immediate members of the ISKCON ashram. Those who are initiated within ISKCON must follow the system by which they will take all their guidance from the GBC system of management, not from their diksha guru.

But, if one wants to take up the responsibility to initiate directly, then, yes, they should be encouraged to do so - but not within SP's ashram. Not using his facilities to make and keep their own disciples. Rather, they must open their own ashrams.

I find what Trivikram Maharaj is doing in Orlando is fully acceptable and should be followed. He has and maintains his own separate ashram from the ISKCON temple. That is fully acceptable. He may come to the ISKCON temple and give classes, etc. Let me explain what I mean, though, about being separate from the ISKCON temple...

As you know I have long studied the issue of marriage in accordance with SP's instructions. Forgive me for going off on what seems like a tangent for a while, but just follow me on this.

In a SB purport (I can look up reference if you need it) SP remarked how in the early days of ISKCON he requested that those who marry must live outside his ashram. Grhastas are to get their own separate ashram and no longer live in the ashram of the guru. However, in the early days the devotees were not strong enough, the maya in West was very strong. It was seen that too many who moved outside and got their own grha-ashrams wound up falling back into maya. Thus, Srila Prabhupad said that he began allowing grhastas to remain in the ISKCON ashram. But, he said that this is not the proper system, that when a student gets married normally he takes leave of his guru's ashram and takes up his own separate grhasta ashram.

Else where he has said that grhastas are to remain always under the direction of their guru.
Even though they leave the guru's ashram and get their own ashram and living facilities they still remain under the direction and guidance of their guru.

Srila Prabhupad, himself, never lived in his guru's ashram, the Gaudiya Math, because that ashram was for the unmarried men. Srila Prabhupad was grhasta, married man, so he did not live in his guru's ashram.

Thus we find two aspects of what we call ISKCON. Technically ISKCON really applies to just Srila Prabhupad's ashrams. Then there is the greater ISKCON and greater community of followers of Srila Prabhupad. Srila Prabhupad was not directly a Gaudiya Math (ASHRAM) member, yet he was a member of SBSS's greater mission. And he was welcome to come and give classes in the math's temple, etc. He was a member of the greater mission of SBBS, but not a member of the ashram. This is the same for ISKCON grhastas who may no longer (or may never have) lived in the actual ISKCON ashrams, they live within a larger community of devotees, are followers of Srila Prabhupad and try to abide by his teachings and the system of management that he set up. They are considered ISKCON devotees, they consider themselves ISKCON devotees, yet they are not living in the ISKCON ashram.

Look at it in the traditional sense. The ashram of the guru is where the brahmacari students and the teacher lived. Some sannyasis may also reside there, generally brahmacari students who took up sannyas, but it was mostly the brahmacari students. In 1977 I was desiring to get married and I had just read in the Krsna Book that the proper system was for the brahmacari disciple to go to his guru and offer him dakshin and ask permission to take leave of his guru's ashram so that he can marry and start his own grhasta ashram. So, in 1977 I sent SP a letter along with dakshin and asked his permission to take leave of his ashram so that I could enter the grhasta ashram. SP replied, via Satsvarup, and gave his permission and thanked me for asking him properly in this way.

The proper system is that when a disciple marries he takes leave of his guru's ashram and he lives in his own ashram.

How is this related to our discussion? Srila Prabhupad's ashram is called ISKCON, but that ashram is not the entire movement nor the entire community of devotees that SP set up. ISKCON is, in the official sense, simply the brahmacari or temple ashrams, as the Gaudiya Math was for SBSS. Our SP never lived in the Gaudiya Math ashram, yet he became the most successful and prominent of SBSS's disciples. He lived outside his guru's ashram, living in his own grha-ashram. His living outside his guru's ashram was not a fallen situation for SP. It was not a lesser position. And it was not a position that SBSS considered inferior or fallen.

For grhastas to take leave of the ASRHAM of ISKCON and start their own grhasta ashrams is not a fall down. They are not blooping when they do so. They are not acting independent of their guru's instructions to live in their own ashram. The grhasta has not actually left his guru nor his guru's mission any more then SP was considered not a part of SBSS's mission even though he never lived in the Gaudiya Ashrams of his guru. To live outside of the ashram of the guru and maintain one's own ashram separately is not a fall down for the grhasta!!!

And neither is it for a DIKSHA guru!!!!!!!!!

SP wanted us to become QUALIFIED to become Guru. Yes, you can Become Guru. Yes, but just like the brahmacari who takes leave of his guru's ashram so that he can go outside and start his own grhasta ashram, those who feel they are sufficiently qualified to accept disciples they can do so, but simply they should also take leave of their guru's ashram and open their own ashram.

Has Srila Prabhupad specifically stated this? He has in regards to the grhasta. It is the same principle. A grhasta does not live in the ashram of the guru. That is the proper system. While Srila Prabhupad was physically with us, what if he had allowed some devotees to take on discples (I know, he did not, but lets look at it theoretically). It would have been very disruptive. A new bhakta comes, he is attracted to Sannyasa dasa, so he takes him as guru, but sannyasa dasa is living in Srila Prabhupad's ashram, so where does sannyasa dasa's disciples live? In SP's ashram? Hmm, then what authority do they follow? Who do they go to for guidance? Their diksha guru, or Prabhupad's ashram authorities? It would be very disruptive to the ISKCON ashram authorities to tend with this, and some system delineating who is this bhakta's authority would need to be worked out, but it would inherently be very disruptive and there would be constant conflict. Now, image 11 - 20 - 80 - 100 different sannyasa dasa's living in the same LA ISKCON Prabhupad ashram and yet they each have their own disciples. Now, where does SP's ashram authorities stand, who is the authority for these men, who do they seek guidance from, who is to engage them, who is to feed them, where does their dakshin and collections go???? On and on.
Well, those happen to be the same issues we have struggled with the past 30 years.

No, lets change the story, lets say that Srila Prabhupad told these Sannyasa dasa's - yes, become guru, yes take on disciples, but, as any respectable grhasta must do, go start your own ashram, take leave of my ISKCON ashram. Do NOT take leave of my mission, do not act independently from my instructions, do not leave our greater society, as with any grhasta who leaves the guru's ashram and starts his own grha-ashram, go start your own ashram. There you will be the guru and authority for your disciple.

Now, there is no conflict of interest, or conflict of authority. Those who take initiation from that guru will live in his ashram(s) and they can seek direct guidance from that guru. No conflict with ISKCON or SP's ashram authorities. Yet, just as the grhasta, do not leave the greater mission. Just like SP was invited to come and give class in the Gaudiya Math and he worked closely with the devotees, so too a guru must do. Come to the main ISKCON temple, and start your own ashram nearby, just as the grhastas do.

This is the simple - TRADITIONAL - solution to the argument that the instruction is there for us all, grhasta - sannyasi, doesn't matter, to become Guru... yes, become guru, take leave of ISKCON's (Prabhupad's) ashrams and start your own ashram. Not independently, but in full co-operation and with the full blessings and co-operation of the ISKCON ashram authorities. Just as the grhastas do. That is both the Traditional system, and is supported by shastric and traditional evidence.

But, then, what about the formal ISKCON ashrams? Here, the only logical recourse that is in accordance with Srila Prabhupad's instructions and is fully compatible and complements the GBC SOM is that Srila Prabhupad must remain the only acharya, and the GBC is now the only authority for which devotees will seek and obtain their guidance from.

However, only now do we come to the issue of weather the on-going rtvik system is actually bonafied and if it actually is what Srila Prabhupad wanted for us to continue to implement.

Now I will address certain points from your Rtviks Wrong articles.

(I would prefer to have sent this with html formatting, it would make it easier to differentiate your text, mine and quotes from SP, etc - but the email you sent to me was plain text, so I will play it safe and sent as plain text with plain text formatting.]

Your first article began:

If Srila Prabhupada didn’t clearly and definitely say it,
and if it first came up after 1977,
whatever it is, don’t trust it.

—Rule of Thumb Agreed.

JS wrote:
Some people seem to think that merely offering more and more evidence that Srila Prabhupada set up a rtvik-guru system somehow makes the case for a post-samadhi rtvik-guru system stronger and stronger.

I have done so in my articles to clarify for those who do not have good knowledge of the system he had set up. Several years ago I had an email based debate on the issue with a number of devotees that included "grand-disciples", including ones that were on GBC appointed committee to deal with the Rtvik issue, and during that discussion it was found that many of the grand-disciples did not have a good understanding as to the extent of the rtvik system that SP had set up. Some were in total disbelief that appointed rtviks had made the decision who was qualified for initiation, then chanted on initiate's beads, chose the names, etc., they at first rejected this as being 'bogus' and that Srila Prabhupad would never had authorized such a thing, even before SP's disappearance. Thus, the first part of my article is for the benefit of those who are ignorant about that, to establish the full extent of the rtvik system that SP set up.

JS wrote:
At a meeting in Topanga Canyon in 1980, Tamal Krishna Maharaja stated that Srila Prabhupada had never appointed the eleven rtviks to be anything more than rtviks. “If it had been more than that,” he said, “you can bet your bottom dollar that Prabhupada would have spoken for days and hours and weeks on end about about how to set up this thing with the gurus, but he didn’t. . .”

The same point about how Srila Prabhupada let us know what he wanted is relevant here. If he had wanted a rtvik-guru system to continue after his departure, would we have expected him to have said so merely once in private to his secretary, or would he have spoken about it with his leading devotees “for days and hours and weeks on end”?

I see this as an evasive tactic Prabhu, not acceptable. You did not address the other side of the argument, you attempted to evade it by assuming, in your perspective, there was 'also' just as much unspoken about a continued rtvik system. You seem to be arguing that Srila Prabhupad did not give sufficient guidance on either path. However, as I will elaborate latter on, the lack of explicit instructions stand on the side of HOW TO SET UP THIS THING WITH THE GURUS - in Tamal's words - not on how to continue an already set up and functioning system (the already well established rtvik system).

Let me elaborate:
>>> Previously there was a FULL - Complete - Tested and Functioning Rtvik system set up that included:

a) pre-initiation instruction and guidance - clearly it was to come via the System of Management as I state in my recent article.
b) there was the process of determining qualification for initiation - decided by the local GBC and TP
c) there was the process of performing the actual initiation ceremony - the rtvik system, in place
d) there was the post-initiation system of on-going guidance - given by the existing system of management that included the TP, GBC, sannyasis and senior men.

In all the above - these aspects were - by November of 1977 - well and long-time established and all needed instructions on how they were to go-on functioning had already been given - in full.

In fact, it is a well known fact that Srila Prabhupad had removed himself from the active management of ISKCON - going to Hawaii and other places to concentrate his full time and energy on his translation work. But, there was also another reason for his removing himself from active management of ISKCON, and that was to TEST OUT the GBC System Of Management that he had setup. Srila Prabhupad removed himself from active participation so that he could see that the system, as he had set it up, could go-on functions, as it was set up, without the need for his physical presence.

This alone is very valid and substantial evidence that it was Srila Prabhupad's desire that the system, as it had been set up, was to continue as it was setup, unchanged, after his disappearance.

If he had wanted any other system he would have set that system up and had removed himself from it to test it out first. But, this, the System by which the GBC-system would provide all Managerial guidance to the society, set the philosophic standards and guidance and provide all the Personal guidance to the followers, this is the system he had set up, and this is the system he had fully tested out by removing himself from active participation for some period. This system coupled with the rtvik process of giving initiations.

Therefore, we now come near to the end of his physical presence with us, and we find no further instructions how this system was to continue on in his absence. This is not at all surprising nor is it at all evidence that he did not want the system to continue as he had set it up. Simply, it had already been long-time fully established, operational, and fully tested to work sufficiently without the need for his physical presence. Simply, there was no need for any further instructions about how it should continue in the future, that had already been well established as being what he set the whole thing up for, and tested it for !!!!

Rather, the fact that we do not find any instruction on how that fully - long-time - well established fully tested out system was to be CHANGED after his disappearance is MOST Significant. How the new guru's fit into that system, what their authority will be over their disciples, how this is to be shared with the authority of the GBC system, who was to give what sort of guidance. There are NO instructions - AT ALL - on how ANY of it - NOTHING was to change. It was to remain AS IT IS, as it had been well tested and established.

To Assume anything different is pure, 100% pure speculation and mental concoction. Since there is a total lack of even one instruction detailing or even hinting at any change to that well established system, and there is the well understood evidence that Srila Prabhupad had removed himself from active participation in order to test how well the system performed in his absence, there is no other conclusion then to accept that Srila Prabhupad's desire was for the complete system, the management, the giving of guidance, and even the process of rtvik initiations, was to continue just as he had set it up. NO CHANGE. No instructions support that there was to be any change, thus to have made changes is the real deviation.

The GBC and devotees have been struggling for the past 3 decades trying to figure out exactly how to implement a system that SP had not given ANY explicit instructions on how to implement it. How the system he had set up is to be changed, how to accommodate the previous authority of the GBC, the previous duties of their giving guidance to the new diksha gurus. All of which are changes made outside of, and totally lack any direct support by Srila Prabhupad's instructions.

It all stems from the simple "assumption" that an on-going system of diksha gurus is the only right path to follow - The "assumption" that the rtvik system was to End at SP's disappearance automatically - Despite any direct instruction by Srila Prabhupad supporting this.

The "assumption", on the part of the GBC, is that the rtviks were to now become diksha gurus of their own right, yet there isn't any direct or explicit instruction by Srila Prabhupad stating this.

The lack of instructions is on the side of the path the GBC has followed, there is No Lack of instructions on to support that the system that was in place, including the rtvik system, was to continue as it had been established and fully tested out.

Let me reiterate this again. The path the GBC has followed for the past 3 decades is founded not on explicit instructions given by Srila Prabhupad, but, rather, on the mental and speculative "Assumptions" of the GBC that the changes they were making were needed. They "assumed" that the rtvik system must come to an end on his disappearance, and due to this proceeded to make so many changes to the system of management to accommodate this.

In contrast, those who uphold an on-going rtvik system are not 'assuming' or speculating about anything. They are not "assuming" that this is what Srila Prabhupad wanted, rather, this IS the system that Srila Prabhupad had already set up, fully, and had already fully tested it out. There is no speculating or assuming on this point.

It is the GBC who have "assumed" that he wanted something totally different after his disappearance then what he had set up and tested out. And the lack of instructions lending support to this lay on the path the GBC have been following. Not on the path of continuing an on-going rtvik and GBC management system that worked seamlessly together and complemented one-another.

View the above items in this light:
a) pre-initiation instruction and guidance -
if someone joins in guru A's temple or zone, is guru A responsible for that devotee's pre-intiation training, or said other wise, is that person to automatically accept as guru who ever is initiating in that temple. If more then one guru, is he/she to decide on basis of what established ISKCON policy? Thus the need for the GBC to establish some clear policy, as SP never gave any instructions at all prior how these new changes were to be made. Thus the need over the past 3 decades for the GBC to pass and revamp and rescind ruling after ruling on this matter - all without any support of any direct instruction by Srila Prabhupad to guide them in making all these changes. From the rigid Zonal-Acharya days to the more relaxed present system - the GBC has passed and rescinded and modified so many rules, all in areas where SP had Not Given ANY explicit instructions on how this was to Change in his absence. In contrast, if No Changes had been made, then we find that ALL needed instructions on how to carry forward were ALREADY given, in Full, prior to SP's disappearance.
b) there was the process of determining qualification for initiation - decided by the local GBC and TP - that also has changed - a TP may still be involved, and optionally a GBC, but mostly this is today decided by the diskha guru himself or the Diksha and TP. Another CHANGE to the system SP had established.
c) there was the process of performing the actual initiation ceremony - It was 'assumed' that the rtvik system was to end, so a new and different process was established. Again, there was no EXPLICIT instruction by SP that this was to change.
d) there is the post-initiation system of on-going guidance - Previously this was given by the then existing system of management that included the TP, GBC, sannyasis and senior men. The GBC was seen as the ultimate authority of that system, in SP's absence. Today, most 'grand-disciples do not approach their GBC for such guidance, but only look to their diksha guru, unless their guru is also their GBC. But, again, these are major changes to the system of management that SP had set up, changes made by the GBC over the past 3 decades that were made without any basis or support from any explicit instructions by SP that any such change were to be made - At ALL. Rather, ALL these changes defy his last will that THERE IS NO NEED OF ANY CHANGE in the system of ISKCON's management.

The great deviation in ISKCON has been the GBC's path of changing what Srila Prabhupad had set up. Of making the "assumptions" on their own that such changes were needed in order to fulfill Srila Prabhupad's instruction that we should all qualify ourselves and become guru.

Yes, do that, you are fully encouraged to do that. But do so as any responsible grhasta would do, take leave of your guru's ashram and start your own ashram, in full co-operation and with the fully blessings of the ISKCON ashram authorities. Just as a grhasta starts his own ashram with the blessings and co-operation of Prabhupad's ashram and temple authorities. And as with the grhastas, the temple authorities should welcome your participation in the temple functions, giving classes, etc.

The logic is clear: We say that there were NO explicit instructions by SP on how the Guru system of initiations and giving of guidance was to Change and how it was to be implemented side-by-side with the established GBC system.

And, you did not refute this, but rather you made an attempt to discredit it by arguing that there were also no direction instructions asking that the rtvik system that was setup and operational be continued without change. Your argument is not accepted, as there was no need for Srila Prabhupad to have given any further instruction on the matter, it was already long established.

-- Thus, I do not accept your conclusion on this point. It is a very pivotal point.

JS wrote:
Therefore, the argument continues, since no one else is fit, the only person of whom we can safely take shelter is Srila Prabhupada himself.

Srila Prabhupada knew the limitations of his disciples, and he must have known what would happen. Therefore, the argument concludes, he must have set up the rtvik-guru system.

The response to this argument is simple: It is speculative and should therefore be rejected. A speculation may be reasonable or unreasonable, but Srila Prabhupada taught us to rely on authority, not on speculation.

Prabhu, the Assumptions and speculations are on the side of the GBC, as I have noted above. We are not "assuming" Srila Prabhupad wanted the system to continue as he had set it up. This is obviously WHY he set it up in the first place, and why he fully tested THAT system. There is no assumption on our part, the unsupported assumption to change that system lies on the path the GBC has been following.

JS continued:
Moreover, this speculation is logically defective. To dispose of it, we need not decide whether Srila Prabhupada’s disciples are fit or unfit, or whether they “received the order” to become guru or not. Nor do we need to discuss what the credentials of a bona fide spiritual master should be. (These are important topics, but they are not the topic at hand.)

Suppose for the moment that Srila Prabhupada’s disciples are all indeed unfit. It does not therefore logically follow that Srila Prabhupada must have (note the speculative language) set up a post-samadhi rtvik-guru system.

Instead, if he found his disciples all unfit he could have blessed one or more to quickly attain spiritual perfection. Or he could have declared that henceforward Krsna Himself, or the Bhagavatam itself, or the holy name itself would be the spiritual master. Or he could have simply left everything up to Krsna.

The point is that it’s not enough to talk about what Srila Prabhupada could have done or must have done. We have to see what Srila Prabhupada actually did.

To argue that Srila Prabhupada must have set up a rtvik-guru system and that the evidence for this is so scanty only because it must have been suppressed and covered up is merely to take the speculation one step further.

Your (the GBC) Speculative Assumptions are that SP did NOT want the system that he had set up to continue after his disappearance. Then why the hell did he set up such a system and then go to the bother of fully testing it out without his active participation if he wanted it to be completely changed after his disappearance??? And on top of that - he gave not one instruction on what changes were to be made, or where to make them, etc., etc. The presumptive speculations lay with the GBC's assumptions that they system HAD to changed. They "assumed" that it was not bonafied for the rtvik process to continue, and they "assumed" that those who were appointed rtvik were now to assume the position of actual acharya and diksha guru all while still using the facilities of their guru's ashram.

JS wrote:
And speculating is not the way Srila Prabhupada told us to do things. One who wants to take shelter of Srila Prabhupada, therefore, should avoid taking shelter of speculations.

Jai - JayaAdwaita Prabhu!! All Glories to your intelligence. I am glad to see that we at least agree on this point. Now if we can agree which side has actually been the one engaged in the dangerous and devious speculations and making all the unsupported assumptions, then we will be getting somewhere.

JS wrote:
But we must follow Srila Prabhupada as he himself instructed us to follow. We must follow Srila Prabhupada and those who follow Srila Prabhupada, not the speculations of others.

Then FOLLOW the system that He personally Set Up, follow the instructions pertaining to how that system was to function, follow the system that he personally tested to see that it operated fully without the need of his physical participation. And stop speculating that he wanted us to change the whole system into something totally different in regards to initiations and giving of guidance to the devotees. Stop speculating how the new guru system is to work within the system that SP set up, stop speculating which duties to usurp and take away from the GBC system of giving of guidance to the devotees by speculating which of those duties are to be given to the new gurus, and restore the system that SP had worked hard to set up.

I am not assuming or speculating what system SP had set up, nor am I speculating or assuming that he wanted that system to be changed after his disappearance. Those are the speculations and assumptions of the GBC.

JS wrote:
5. Argument from a lack of counter-evidence.

We now come to another argument we can deal with quickly.

Where, it is demanded, has the sastra or Srila Prabhupada said that one can’t approach an acarya for initiation merely because he has physically departed? Where do the authorities tell us that a post-samadhi rtvik system is no good? Can you show me a verse? Can you point to a purport? How then can you say it’s not valid?

You 'quickly' dealt with this... way too quickly. Your way of dealing with a serious point was to try to turn it into a tasteless joke.

The fact remains that there is no shastric evidence that supports the speculative assumption that when the temporary form of the guru disappears from our presence that a rtvik system of initiations becomes automatically bogus, and that anyone who claims differently is to be seen as the worse sort of Deviant, and should be kicked unceremoniously out of Prabhupad's temples and ashrams (which has been rhetoric and action called for by a number of fanatic anti-rtvik devotees).

The point I make in my article pertains to what Empowers the rtvik process. What empowers the rtivk process is the Eternal Vani of the Guru, not the temporary vapu. When the form of the guru disappears from our presence his Vani lives on Eternally. The fact that there is no explicit shastric reference explaining how and on what basis an on-going rtvik process is only empowered when the physical form of the guru is present is a serious one, for in the absence of such direct shastric explanation one can only assume and speculate WHY an on-going process is to be assumed to bogus.

Lacking any direct supportive shastric evidence, then lets analyze why you would "assume" that the rtvik process becomes bogus after the physical disappearance of the guru?

During SP's physical presence, even his physical presence was not required for the rtvik process to be performed. He had delineated all aspects of the process - from making the decision who was qualified, to chanting on the beads, to selecting the name, to performing the fire yajna. All of this he set up so that it could be performed without his active participation, without the need for his physical presence. Then, if we "assume" that this process automatically becomes invalid and bogus on the demise of his physical presence - excuse me, more correctly stated his physical presence somewhere on the planet - then we must examine what then really empowered the rtvik process to begin with. Lacking any direct instruction from the spiritual master that the process was to end at his disappearance, then we must assume that it was not his instructions that empowered the process, for if that were accepted, then we are left to deal with the fact that his instructions live on eternally, and that would mean that the rtvik process that he had instructed to be set up would in fact still be empowered. So, we must assume that the process was not empowered by his eternal instructions. Since we are assuming that the process becomes bogus after his demise, then the only logical deduction is that his physical presence is what empowered the process, for as soon as you remove that physical presence, we assume the process has become un-empowered. Prabhu, think about it, there is no other conclusion. Don't sidestep this by trying to throw it off with some other argument. Deal with this, what empowered the rtvik process, past, present and future. And, even we are assuming that it is not the physical presence of the guru at the place of the initiation that empowered the rtvik process, since SP was often no where physically present, so we must assume that it is the presence of his physical vapu-body somewhere on the same planet. Well, even that has to be further defined, since Prabhupad's physical vapu still remains in the Samadhi in Vrndaban, then we must further define that what empowered the rtvik process was his WARM physical bodily form that was present somewhere on the planet. The real point is that to support the idea that the rtvik process automatically becomes bogus after the disappearance of the guru's warm physical form, we have to totally reject the idea that the process was empowered via the Eternal Living Instructions of the guru.

If you think my logic above is faulty, then please explain, with some shastric evidence, what empowered the rtvik process before, and why it is no longer empowered now. What is that which empowered the process?

The above logic DEFIES scriptural support. Whereas shastra does support the basic idea that a process can be empowered by the eternal living instructions of the guru and that such instructions carry on fully even after the disappearance of the warm physical vapu-body of the guru.

This is not a point to simply sluff (slough?) off by trying to associate such logic with off-color jokes about taking somebodies mother's ghost as guru or trying to disprove someone beats their wife. This is a serious point that commands serious discussion.

JS wrote:
Again, a simple argument.

Srila Prabhupada usually did what was done by the predecessor acaryas. And never in the history of Gaudiya Vaisnavism, nor any other form of Vaisnavism, have we found any instance of a post-samadhi rtvik-guru system.

Yes, Srila Prabhupada could have put in place an unprecedented system. He could have done anything. But the lack of precedent gives a good reason to doubt that he did.

I dispute several points made here. He 'usually' did what was done by predecessor acharyas does hold much value, but there are many things Srila Prabhupad did that were "unique" or "different". My understanding is that very few acharyas ever accepted women as direct disciples in which they performed fire sacrifices for. Yet, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta did have some directly initiated female disciples, it is also my understanding that these matajis were of 3 main types. 1) elderly mataji's whose family life was over, their husbands had died, and they were now dedicating their lives to live practically as that as a sannyasi. 2), they were wives of his male disciples 3) they were daughters of initiated disciples. This can be examined further, but if he did take on unwed girls who were not daughters of his disciples I would think it was a very rare exception. HH Bhakti Vikash maharaj should be aware of this point.

Yet, Srila Prabhupad did this very widely, taking on 100's, even 1,000's of unwed girls. Something no past acharya has done. And he even went so far as to give 1,000's of unwed girls shelter even in his ashrams by setting up "brahmacarini" ashrams, which he told us was 'artificial'. He, as a sannyasi, arranged and performed marriage ceremonies. He gave women "Brahmin" initiation [NOTE: he was not going to originally, but on the weeping request of his early female disciples, he came up with a solution - actually shastra forbids women from taking Brahmin initiation - so Srila Prabhupad agreed to give the women second initiation, but with one exception, he would not give them the thread. One day Shyamasundar (the astrologer) sent me a quote from some Vedic text that states that unless one receives an actual thread from his guru, he is not considered to actually have received the gayatri initiation. Such initiations are not empowered - just see how Srila Prabhupad did this].

And, one of the biggest differences that we do not have any evidence that other past acharyas have done (other then maybe Madhva) is that Srila Prabhupad set up a GBC system of management for his many ashrams so that that system would function after his disappearance. This is not Traditional, and we do not find Mahaprabhu or any other acharya in our line doing this, not on a world-wide basis. Yet we accept as bonafied SP's doing this.

And, as for we do not see any other past precendence for an on-going rtvik system, I beg to differ. Evidence that an on going rtvik system is bonafied is given by Srila Prabhupad himself, and I quoted this in my full article, in regards to accepting Jesus as one's guru, even now, 2,000 years after his disappearance. Srila Prabhupad clearly states that by taking shelter of the instructions and books of the guru one is accepting that guru, and that one does not need any other guru. One may take help from a "representative priest", but the actual guru will be Jesus. Please see my article for full explanation.

Maharaj, it is late, I have run out of time, it is today the Auspicious day of Nityananda's Appearance day, Feb. 9, 2006, and I must stop to attend to our home programs, then off to Orlando center for their programs. I will be busy for some days, but will try to read the rest of your articles and if needed make other comments on them. But, for now I will send this as it is.

I invite participative response on your side, and it may take days for replies, that is alright.

Your servant, in the service of Srila Prabhupad, ameyatma das

From: Jayadwaita Maharaj

Originally sent:



D ear Ameyatma Prabhu,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

I've received your two letters. The first I read, the second I skimmed.

I wrote you before:

>The topics you raise don't lend themselves well to e-mail, at least not
>for me.

Perhaps I didn't make myself clear enough. What I meant was this:
Under no circumstances will I discuss this matter with you by e-mail.

I'm sorry you won't be coming to Mayapur. I hope things are going well for you in Ocala. The more we can have the association of devotees, the better off we will be.

Hoping this finds you in good health,

Your servant,
Jayadvaita Swami

 From: ameyatma das
Date: 2/16

NOTE: The lack of sufficient interest on the part of the GBC and existing diksha gurus is very disappointing. We can only speculate as to why they refuse to discuss or debate this publicly. Are they affraid of being defeated in public? Do they lack confidence in thier own views and opinions? Do they view this issue with a grain of salt? > > >



Pamho agtSrila Prabhupad

I have no choice but to cease discussing the issue with you, as you refuse to do so via email, and at the present, that is the only practical means to do so. I will note my disappointment, however.

- Most Unfortunate:

1) that so far, no GBC has responded - it has been weeks, your non-participation responses are the ONLY responses I have got from any level of authority.

2) that, as you said, the more we can associate with devotees the better off we become. Of course, I have physical devotee association both in Orlando and Alachua temples, but I also associate with many devotees via email. It affords the ability to associate world wide. Unfortunate, because you will not discuss this via email, then we cannot discuss it period - at least for who knows how long... That is most unfortunate, as no GBC will discuss this either. It is not due to my lack of trying. I find the topic more then important enough to overlook any personal inconvenience or botheration.

3) most unfortunate it is that there is no response on the part of the GBC as it appears that either they take this with a grain of salt. Or they do not feel confidence in their own understanding to discuss it with me. I? can only assume it may be due to their not wanting to appear weak in the public eye. Unfortunately - no response on their side leaves only speculation as to why.

I do understand, and sympathize with the need to curtail email and not be dragged into email discussions that wind up becoming mud-slinging (or much worse). I've had my time with that as well. But, that is why I set this up so that I can moderate it to keep it clean and focused. ....

One last thing, since you will not discuss this with me via email, and you are in India, can you find a member of the GBC who will???? Otherwise, I have no other way of discussing it. And, if no one does, then what is the reason????

Aspiring to become your worthy and humble servant, the insignificant and fallen ameyatma das

PS - since Indradyumna Maharaj has been included in these posts, and he is coming to Alachua and possibly Orlando next month, would you be willing to discuss this in person with me when you come???? If not, I still look forward to associating with you and Sri Prahlad (if he comes, I heard he has some back injury and may not make it???) in kirtan, class, etc. I do not consider myself a fanatic rtvik, Trivikram M. and I are good friends in Orlando, and I feel that I am not even worthy to take the dust of your (Indradyumna M's) feet, as I am humbled and inspired by your long-time steady and effective preaching work.



System of Management Debate - Article II

Savior of the Whole World
Srila Prabhupad
Ki Jai !!!

Jai Om Visnupad paramahamsa parivrajakacharya asto-tara-sata [108]
Sri-Srimad – His Divine Grace – Abhaya Charan – Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad

Please accept my prostrate obeisances – All Glories to our life and soul - ISKCON’s Founder-Acharya: Srila Prabhupad.

Respected Prabhuji’s, Mataji's

For those who do not know me, I am Prabhupad disciple, initiated in 1973 in New Dwaraka.

I would like this email to be sent to all the GBC, sannyasis and senior devotees, however, I do not have all their email addresses. If you can, please forward this to others so that it can be read by all concerned parties. I would like it posted on the GBC conference if someone could do that.

The goal is to generate a constructive debate, exchange and serious contemplation of the views and logic given here, and ultimately to come to a workable conclusion based on this exchange. Unless you email me you will not get another email on this subject. If you want to follow the debate you may do so as I will post updates on my website at To participate, simply reply to this email address ( ) and of course follow the updates on the web page [I stopped updating this long ago as there has been no more significant respnse to it - but would update again if there were respone by the GBC]


Yes, the topic involves the 'guru' issue. I am not arguing rtvik directly - but I do argue that indirectly it appears to be the only compatible option when we view the issue from the perspective I will be presenting here. Some of these issues I have not seen discussed before by the GBC formally and need to be addressed and resolved. For the sake of our spiritual master’s movement, please take this email and my requests seriously and please set aside enough time to deal with it. I not only invite the leaders and senior devotees to debate the logic and conclusions, but I am begging you to please spare your valuable time to do so.

I intended to have written this in an Outline format to make it easier to digest - but due to time constraints I am forced to send it as it is.

Years ago I was also opposed to what has been labeled the “posthumous rtvik” idea. At that time I also wrote essays to defeat the ‘rtviks’. Yet, over the years as I analyzed the sub-topics I will present in this essay, over time I found myself forced to accept that an on-going rtvik process is the most logical and sensible system - it is fully compatible with the system of management that Srila Prabhupad had worked so hard to set up, while the current diksha system, inherently, conflicts with and is incompatible with that system of management.

Below is the essay's contents (outline structure):

I) ISKCON’s System of Management – and Srila Prabhupad’s instruction that it Not Be Changed

a) Defining key aspects of the system of management that Srila Prabhupad had set up
b) How that system has changed - dramatically
c) Dramatic Changes Create Disruptive Consequences for the Society
d) Position of Social Authority Follows the Social Duties
e) The '70's - Respecting the Senior or Advanced Godbrothers

II Today Old and New Devotees Alike Do Not Seek Personal Guidance From the GBC

III Since it was not to be changed, the changes must be undone.

a) What About On Going And Already Very Established Relations?
b) If we restore the system, what becomes the duties and functions of the diksha gurus?
c) We agree the system has changed, and we agree it needs to be restored. But, we are forced to reject the idea at the same time
d) Revive the Zonal Acharya System?
e) GBC Position is a Post, not a Person

IV) Analyzing the Initiation process

[ NOTE - as noted, I had originally intended this to be formatted into an outline structure to allow it to be more easily read, but I simply have run out of time to finish reformatting it. After the above sections, the rest of the article has no outline structure. Rather then spend more time completing the reformatting, I am sending it out as is, without the final outline format. ]

In a number of places in the essay I directly ask for discussion of specific points - please take the time to read this and respond to those points and the overall issue. I marked these points with /--> ... <--/ marks.

I will be sending this email to a number of GBC and senior devotees. The emails are send individually to each person, not cc'd or made public (or blind-cc'd - but sent individually). This means that those who do not reply will no longer get any further emails on this topic, either from me or from others who do reply. All are invited to stay up to date on the debate (IF there is one) by going to the Sys of Management debate on my website @:

To participate, simply reply to this email. I will post the relevant responses on the website. If you do not want your name published on my site, just ask me to post it anonymously.

This will not be an instant debate on my side. As many of you may have limited time to participate, my personal schedule is also very hectic and I may not respond to a reply for some days. But, I will respond.

The logic I am presenting is clear. The questions I raise are serious and demand a serious response from the senior members and leaders of ISKCON. Either my logic and analysis and conclusions are wrong, and thus it is the duty of my god brothers to correct me; Or the logic and analysis and conclusions are correct and our leaders need to be aware of it and take the needed steps to correct the situation.

Please participate. Personally I see myself as a very logical and analytical person. I am not fanatical. My conclusions and views are not based on sentiment. As much as it is possible for me to say, I am not envious. I am not fanatically accusing the GBC of 1977 of having conspired or poisoned, etc. (the points I make in this article are separate from those issues).

For many years I tried to tow the GBC accepted line. I argued against the rtvik system because I tried to accept the GBC position that it was wrong. But, the more I have analyzed these issues, the more I have reached the conclusion that the current system is simply wrong by way of it conflicting with and being completely in-compatible with the system of management that Srila Prabhupad had set up for ISKCON. So, I am asking that if you find fault with my reasoning and views please debate and discuss your perceived faults with me. You can do so openly, publicly, or privately, or anonymously.

End of Preface.

I) ISKCON’s System of Management – and Srila Prabhupad’s instruction that it Not Be Changed

On June 5th, 1977 Srila Prabhupad executed his last Declaration of Will. Here are the first 2 items in that will:

1. The Governing Body Commission (GBC) will be the ultimate managing authority of the entire International Society for Krishna Consciousness.
2. Each temple will be an ISKCON property and will be managed by three executive directors. The system of management will continue as it is now and there is no need of any change.

Srila Prabhupad's Declaration of Will clearly states that "The System of Management will continue as it is" And, "There is No Need of ANY Change".

I contend that the "System of Management" for ISKCON has dramatically changed since that time, June of 1977.

To show how it has changed lets first define what that system of management was at that time.

a) Defining key aspects of the system of management that Srila Prabhupad had set up

The overall system of management in place in the mid 1970's consisted of both local and global members. On the local temple level there was the formal temple management (which included the temple president, board, ashram commander, etc.).

Added to the above was the guidance given by the sannyasis. In the 1970's not all sannyasis held a formal managerial post, yet, they were generally very astute and knowledgeable and devotees would and could seek out their guidance as well. And then there was the local GBC man. He was, more or less, the top authority in terms of what was acceptable or unacceptable in terms of guidance and advice for the temples in that zone. And, he was the conduit to the Global system of management that was the entire GBC body who managed the society on a global basis.

For the purpose of this essay we need not go into any further in-depth study of the overall system. Rather, we will narrow our focus on several key aspects that are relevant to this essay.

Those aspects that are relevant have to do with several of the duties of the system of management regarding the giving of advice and providing guidance to the general devotees.

Prior to the establishment of the GBC system, in the first years of ISKCON, the early ISKCON devotees had the greatest fortune to have direct and intimate association with Srila Prabhupad. They were able to approach him more readily and easily, directly, for any and all of their personal needs and inquiries. However, by 1973, (when I took initiation) it was no longer possible for the vast majority of his many new disciples to obtain much, if any, direct association or direct guidance and instruction. By that time Srila Prabhupad had set up a very well organized "system of management" for his ashrams and temples. The newer devotees, like myself, could not take our guidance directly from our initiating guru, who was Srila Prabhupad. By the early 1970's Srila Prabhupad had thousands of disciples and the Krsna Consciousness movement was expanding exponentially.

In 1972 Srila Prabhupad wrote in a letter to Madhuvisa:

I very much approve of your traveling widely throughout South Pacific, Australia, New Zealand zone, now you give all of the temple presidents your expert instructions and train them to become very responsible for saving the whole mankind from gliding gradually down to hell.
Now I am feeling more and more inclined for philosophy, so I want to sit down here in Los Angeles and translate my Srimad Bhagavatam without much interruption. So I am requesting my good disciples as much as possible to consult the senior disciples in matter of management, philosophy, and personal problems. Of course, I always welcome to get letters from my beloved disciples, but unless there is some urgent matter it is better if all students will address their questions from South Pacific and Australia zone to you. ... ...I think, cooperatively... senior members, can manage everything there very nicely and relieve me of such questions.
==== Letter to Madhuvisa -- Los Angeles 12 June, 1972

And later after I joined in summer of 1973 we heard of additional similar requests by Srila Prabhupad that were directed not to any one zone, but to all temples and devotees world-wide. But the above letter was the most clear I could find in my short search of the Vedabase that depicts Srila Prabhupad's request. Clearly Srila Prabhupad requested that the devotees consult the "Senior Disciples" in the matter of "management, philosophy and personal problems".

Management. Philosophy. Personal Problems (personal issues).

This was quickly and most thoroughly adopted world-wide and this became the most practical aspect of the System of Management that was well established and in place even by 1973 when I was initiated and on up to mid 1977.

Srila Prabhupad was directly my initiating spiritual master, yet, I never got to sit with him personally in his room and ask him even one question regarding my personal guidance. I never got to ask him any philosophical questions, or discuss with him my personal issues. We honored his request as far as possible to seek such guidance from our senior god-brothers. From the day I joined ISKCON we sought all such personal guidance and advice, spiritual and material, from the System of Management that Srila Prabhupad had set up.

For the sake of brevity in this essay when I refer to the "System of Management" I am referring to the full system of management which includes the local temple authorities, sannyasis, senior vaishnavas, local GBC authority and the global GBC body. All in total, was the overall system of management for ISKCON.

b) How the System of Management has changed - dramatically

Srila Prabhupad, himself, delineated what that system of management entailed. It has 3 key aspects - management, philosophical guidance and dealing with personal issues (problems).

These are, without doubt, the most fundamental and comprehensive duties of such a system of management. Managing the society, giving philosophic direction and guidance, and attending to the personal issues of the devotee ashram-members.

Yet, today these very core and fundamental functions and duties of the system of management that Srila Prabhupad had set up have changed and weakened so much, it is practically a totally changed system. Today new devotees do not, in most places and in most cases throughout ISKCON, follow the system of management that Srila Prabhupad had set up. The leaders also do not encourage that the general devotees follow that system.

Today most of the newer devotees seek the majority of such guidance from their initiating guru and not from the 'complete' system of management that Srila Prabhupad had set up. In practical essence this has gutted out the authority and potency of the system of management that once existed.

Today it is instilled in many devotee's minds that the giving of advice, both philosophic direction and especially attending to personal issues, these are the unique and unalienable duties and responsibilities of the 'Diksha' Guru toward his disciple. That is, to give direct and personal guidance to their disciples. It is often argued that you cannot take these duties away from the diksha guru and give them back to the GBC and temple authorities. That, in the view of those who argue this way, is simply not negotiable since these are the duties of a 'traditional' diksha guru. They make up the heart of the guru/disciple relationship.

/--> If this is your belief, that the diksha guru must give the personal guidance to their disciples, then I ask that you debate this point with me. <--/

But, here is the core basis of my argument: Srila Prabhupad is my direct diksha guru, yet we did not, could not, directly approach him for 'any' such guidance. He delegated those duties by written and oral requests to the GBC / TP / Sannyasis and senior devotee system of management that he had set up. The system that Srila Prabhupad set up for ISKCON was that the Diksha Guru did 'not' perform these duties directly - at all, but all such guidance became the duty of the senior devotee management system. -- Thus, how is it that one can argue that these duties of the diksha guru cannot be taken away and given back to the managers of the system of management that Srila Prabhupad had established?

/--> Please debate this point with me if you do not agree because it is a pivotal point to additional arguments in this essay. <--/

c) Dramatic Changes Create Disruptive Consequences for the Society

It is essential to understand that the system that Srila Prabhupad set up for himself, as the sole diksha guru at the time, is no longer operational and functioning as it was established in the mid 1970's. The system of management has changed – the changes have been dramatic - and the resultant consequences of those changes is very far-reaching and socially disruptive to the future of the whole society and mission.

Day to day managing, philosophic training and giving of personal guidance, these were the Duties and Responsibilities of the senior men within the system of management that Srila Prabhupad had established. These were 'not/ the duties of ISKCON's diksha guru - Srila Prabhupad - but he assigned those duties to the senior men of the system of management. The giving of advice and tending to the personal issues and needs of the devotees, new and old alike, is that of the senior men, GBC, temple authorities, sannyasis in general, and not to just a select few who have the title 'diksha guru'. It is the service and duty of the all the senior men of ISKCON, as instructed by Srila Prabhupad.

"philosophic direction"
and "personal issues".

d) Position of Social Authority Follows the Social Duties

In the mid 1970's the position of GBC within ISKCON, and that of sannyasi, or other senior man, commanded and earned a very high degree of respect (and subsequent position of authority) from the general devotees. It was not just the name of the post that dictated the authority and commanded the respect of the GBC position, but it was mostly due to the social duties they performed, the social responsibilities they held for the society.

They had the duty to manage, preserve the philosophic standards,
And to give guidance regarding the personal issues of ISKCON's members.

Devotees respected their position due to the duties they held.

By diminishing those duties, by usurping those duties from the system of management that Srila Prabhupad had worked hard to establish, you simultaneously weaken the position and post of the members of that system of management, most specifically you diminish the position of authority of the GBC post.

Thus, the system of management as Srila Prabhupad had worked so hard to set up and fully test out and put into operation has not just been changed and altered, it has been gutted out.

The GBC men, if they are not a diksha guru, no longer command the respect and authority in the society that they held in 1977 simply because their duties in relation to the giving of personal guidance to the devotees has been taken away from them and handed over to the new diksha gurus.

e) The '70's - Respecting the Senior or Advanced Godbrothers

Lets step back to the mid 1970's. Many devotees had so much respect for the different sannyasis and leaders. For instance Vishnujan, so many devotees had genuine respect for him. Yet, he was not their diksha guru. Even the team of Guru-Kripa and Yasodanandana commanded a certain respect from many of the brahmacaris of the day. Satsvarup, Hrdayananda, they were respected due to their sannyas ashram status and the fact that they were senior men. When I was brahmacari in the 70's there were a number of brahmacaris who expressed desire to serve these and other senior sannyasis. They aspired to become the "servants" of these respected senior men. They did not desire to become their initiated disciples, however, as these men were not 'diksha gurus'. Rather, these men were their own peers, their own God-brothers. Still, many of the new devotees rightfully and properly aspired to become the 'servants' of many of these senior devotees. And, it is to be noted that some of those sannyasis were not even GBC men or temple presidents. Some didn't even hold any official managerial posts. Rather, they were preachers, senior men. They were respected due to the duties and services they offered the society's members. Due to their guidance either by example or by formal instruction, other devotees automatically respected them and held them in high esteem.

The above concept is important to discuss further. When Prthu Prabhu resigned from his duties recently I emailed him a letter based on this argument that the system of management had changed and needed to be restored. He agreed, but, he argued that as a diksha guru he had a close relation with his disciples. He felt that without his giving his direct and personal guidance to his disciples that they would not have advanced and developed in their Krsna Consciousness. He was not trying to sound puffed up about this, but said he had many letters and talks with his disciples who expressed this to him. He tried to argue that if we were to restore the duties of giving of personal guidance back to the GBC system of management that the new devotees would suffer due to the loss of direct personal guidance from their diksha gurus. He argued that many of his initiated disciples would not have become or remained devotees without his guidance.

I contest that his mistake is that he felt the respect he commanded for these newer devotees was only due to his holding the title of diksha guru. This is incorrect. It is because he gave personal guidance. He could have given the same guidance under the title TP or GBC or sannyasi or senior devotee, and they reciprocation and respect from the newer devotees would have remained the same.

I responded that we had the same relations with our senior God-brothers in the 70's, yet they were not our diksha gurus. And, personally, I was never in a position to take any direct personal guidance from my own diksha guru, even though he was the most qualified of all, Srila Prabhupad. Rather, I only took my direct guidance from GBC, TP's, sannyasis and other senior devotees. And, because of that, I also held a high respect for many of those devotees, even though they were my god-brothers, not my initiating guru.

To give an example I told Prthu that when I joined in 1973 in Los Angeles Jayatirtha was my temple president. I told Prthu that when Jayatirtha was a devotee in good standing that I very much appreciated his association and his guidance. I had a genuine respect for him and his good wife Manjuwali at that time. I also held a high respect for Karandhar when he was GBC - and so too did many other senior men themselves. We experienced a respectful relationship and cherished their association. We also respected and followed their guidance and highly respected them and appreciated them for the personal guidance and association that they had given us.

But, they were our God-brothers, not our diksha gurus. So, the special relationship that Prthu was referring to, which he argued could only be found between diksha guru and disciple, I showed him that this was a misconception and was incorrect. Such relationships do not rely on the title 'diksha guru'. There were many devotees who aspired to be servants of many of the sannyasi preachers of the '70's, but they were not their disciples. Prthu wrote back and he admitted that he too had shared a similar relation with Jayatirtha when JT was GBC of Ireland. So, he relented, that yes, we did also have such relations with those who guided us and trained us, even though they were not our diksha gurus.

The relationship and respect followed the person who executed "the duties of giving social guidance". They do not follow a title ('GBC' or 'Diksha guru') alone.

Managing, philosophic direction and guidance regarding personal issues. The social respect follows those who perform the duties of giving guidance. It is not dependent upon any specific title. It is natural.

The point is, that if we restore the system of management to it's original intended function of operation as Srila Prabhupad had established it in the 1970's, the personal relationships that the current diksha gurus share with the newer devotees can and would still be there, except in the intended roles of sannyasis, GBC's, etc, as Srila Prabhupad had original established in the 70's and not just to those few who hold the title 'diksha guru'.

II Today Old and New Devotees Alike Do Not Seek Personal Guidance From the GBC

The newer devotees only seek such guidance from their Diksha Guru.

Why don't the older, Prabhupad disciples, seek guidance from the GBC system - as they used to do in the 1970's?

That has much to do with the fallout from the Zonal Acharya system of the 80's. It would take some time to detail how this affected the senior men, but in short the GBC had let us down and the Zonal Acharya system had become a system of separate tyrannical dictators such that many senior devotees rejected the whole idea of GBC authority entirely. Also, their tyrannical advice and guidance had become so unbearable and off, many devotees were forced to wholesale reject the idea of following any other GBC authority.

However, this simply attests to the fact that the current system is a vastly weakened and changed system of management from it's former glorious past.

III Since it was not to be changed, the changes must be undone.

Srila Prabhupad's last Declaration of Will was that there was No Need of ANY Change in the system of management he had set up. Since it has changed, dramatically, then there is only one current action that we must all take.

We must undo the changes.

That means that the GBC must issue, and the gurus must lend their full support to, a statement and declaration similar to the one Srila Prabhupad sent Madhuvisa in 1972. That is that the devotees of ISKCON are to follow the system that Srila Prabhupad had set up, meaning that all devotees are to, from now on, no longer seek direction and guidance from their respective diksha guru (just as Srila Prabhupad had requested his own disciples to abide by), but rather must turn to the senior devotees (sannyasis, temple authorities and the local GBC) for purpose of management, philosophic training and guidance and all personal issues and advice.

The system that Srila Prabhupad so carefully set up must be restored as it was.

Srila Prabhupad sent a letter stating this, and we all abided by it. Now the current diksha gurus must send similar letters to their disciples and the GBC must see that this is implemented world wide.

To do this will not be easy, and doing so raises several very pressing questions.

a) What About On Going And Already Very Established Relations?

This is an important issue. The system of management as Srila Prabhupad had established has been changed now for a whole generation. Almost 30 years. Over this period of time many devotees have literally grown up or spent their entire devotee lives kindling and developing a relationship with their diksha guru, or their disciples. For many each are an inseparable part of their devotional lives. Are they supposed to just cut off such deep personal relationships?

No. Of course not. That could be very detrimental for some. Rather, most of the diksha gurus are sannyasis, many are GBC men - so it is fine even within the old - original - system for devotees to seek out relationships and seek guidance from some specific senior devotees. For those where such positive relations exist and both parties want that such relations continue, this must be encouraged. I do not suggest such existing relations be abandoned.

However, for some such relations were not positive, they need to be encouraged to seek shelter of the system of management that Srila Prabhupad had established. A newer devotee is not restricted to only seek personal guidance from his diksha guru, but, in the system that Srila Prabhupad had established, that was in place in the mid 70's, they are to seek guidance from the local GBC and other local senior devotees. That is to be encouraged.

And, for those who are new devotees, they must be encouraged to fully take up and follow the system of management that Srila Prabhupad had set up. That is, they should seek their guidance from their local TP's and GBC, sannyasis and senior devotees. Not just limit the taking of such guidance from the one person who is or will become their diksha guru.

b) If we restore the system, what becomes the duties and functions of the diksha gurus?

If we encourage devotees to now seek guidance from their local GBC and senior devotees in general, as Srila Prabhupad had requested of us, his direct disciples to do, a system he had personally established as ISKCON's System of Management, and not from their diksha guru, as Srila Prabhupad had set up, then a seeming 'problem' arises. What exactly becomes the function and duty of the current 'diksha' gurus?

Interesting question. Interesting Answer.

Lets follow a new devotee coming to such a "revived" and "Restored" ISKCON.

Someone introduces him to come to the temple and at some point he decides to join. The ashram authorities then train him in the philosophy and provide personal guidance - as is and was the system. After some time the Temple President and designated GBC man make the decision this devotee is now qualified to be initiated. He is thusly recommended to the 'guru'. At this point the 'guru' selects a name, chants on the beads and performs the initiation ceremony. After this, all further training and guidance again become the duty of the senior devotees just as it was before the initiation. Just as it was in the mid 1970's for the majority of Srila Prabhupad's own disciples.

From that point on the 'guru' really does not offer any additional training or guidance. (unless, of course, he happens to also offer those services to that initiated devotee - not due to his title of diksha, but due to his being a senior sannyasi, or GBC, or other senior devotee). These are the duties of the system of management - not of the title diksha.

Well, okay, but, what other duties would the 'guru' perform?

Again, good question. I am also asking the same thing. What other duties would they perform?

After analyzing this issue under, over, sideways-down I have reached the conclusion that such gurus in an ISKCON that was fully restored to the ORIGINAL system of management that Srila Prabhupad had established, that such gurus would really not perform any other formal duty. Not in the capacity of 'diksha' guru. If they were a GBC or TP or sannyasi, then they would perform those services and duties that are within that restored original system, but they would perform them due to their other social status, not due to the fact they held the title 'diksha'. As 'diksha guru', they would not perform any other social duties.

This was the system Srila Prabhupad set up, he requested that his own newly initiated disciples NOT approach him directly for such guidance, but they seek out such guidance from the system he had set up. This system was good enough for Srila Prabhupad and his own disciples. Why is Srila Prabhupad's system not good enough for us today?

But, the problem with this whole idea is that this would, by default, reduce the function of the 'diksha guru' to be no more or less then that of the rtvik priest? They would simply be the one who over sees the formalities of the initiation process. As I will explain shortly, those are the same limited duties that the rtvik's provided during the 1970's under Srila Prabhupad's direct system. In a Revived and Restored ISKCON System of Management the 'diksha guru' would simply officiate over and perform the initiation ceremony. All other training and guidance is the duty of the GBC system of management. Just as it was for us, the majority of Srila Prabhupad's disciples in Srila Prabhupad's system of Iskcon management.

Uh Oh.... At this point many devotees sense a real problem here.

c) We agree the system has changed, and we agree it needs to be restored. But, we are forced to reject the idea at the same time

I have presented the above logic and ideas to several senior God brothers over the past several years, those who oppose an on-going rtvik system, and this is basically the response I have got. When I explain the system as it was in the mid '70's they agree, yes that was the system. When I point out that today that system has changed dramatically, they agree, yes, it has changed. When I explain that Srila Prabhupad did not want that system changed, they agree, yes, it should not have been changed. When I suggest that we must take action, we must undo the changes, they agree, yes, yes, sign me up, I am ready to do what it takes to undo the changes and restore Srila Prabhupad's original system. But, when I point that that there is just one little thing... that doing so will mean the 'diksha' gurus will hold no more social authority then that of the rtvik priest - WHOA - they recoil faster then a scared rabbit.

No Way.

At that point they generally cease discussing or debating the topic with me and drop the whole idea of undoing the changes. OR, even worse, they try to fabricate more and more changes to try and outwardly appear to restore the system as it was, yet, keep the diksha guru system as it is. An impossible task that generally ends up going no where.

d) Revive the Zonal Acharya System?

One suggestion to keep the diksha system and restore the GBC system of authority was to re-vive the once tried and failed Zonal-Acharya system. They simply re-label it by saying that all gurus should be GBC, all GBC should be gurus, and that in this way a disciple will be able to approach their GBC as their authority, as we did, and take all personal guidance, but that person will also be their diksha guru. We tried this in the late 70's to mid 80's. The Zonal-Acharya system failed.

It would also not restore the original system of management as it was - and thus not actually achieve the goal.

Why it would not restore the original system of management?

e) GBC Position is a Post, not a Person

The GBC position is a 'post', not a person, while one's diksha guru, although in the eternal and transcendent aspect is a post, there is also the guru-vapu aspect and the person-aspect. In the area of giving personal guidance the Guru is more a person then a post as seen in relation to the position of GBC which is a post only, not a person.

This is a significant difference.

Since the GBC position is a post, that post can be held up to a very high standard. As soon as the person occupying that post falls from that high standard they can be very easily and readily replaced. But, when one's guru falls from a high standard, it is not so easily changed.

For example. In 1973 Karandhar was considered by many to be the number 2 person in ISKCON, second only to Srila Prabhupad. Karandhar's authority and opinions were respected by many of the other GBC. Even Kirtananda and other GBC, when they had some problem or question, rather then bother Srila Prabhupad they would first call Karandhar to get his expert advice and guidance. When it was learned that Karandhar was having difficulties in his Krsna Consciousness and that he may resign, several devotees became apprehensive. Several senior men worried that there would be major disruptions all over ISKCON. Some expressed a fear that the whole Hare Krsna movement may start unraveling and falling apart. Instead, his leaving was hardly felt by anyone. An un-noticeable bump in the road. The post of the GBC remained, it was simply filled by another senior man. Thus the integrity of post was preserved. The person currently occupying it may change many times. (Like the post of King Indra, the king of heaven, or Surya, the Sun-God, while a person occupies that post many of the other demigods come to them for guidance, but, if they should fall, another person occupies the post and the universe goes on). The standard can be kept intact and to a high standard.

But, diksha guru is not the same. Thus, when a diksha guru is found to be having some personal problems, it is not so easy for the disciple or the society to quickly replace them so as to keep the standards high and uncompromised. This has been an on-going problem in ISKCON since the days of Hamsadutta's fall out, then Jayatirtha and Kirtananda, then Bhavananda, Ramesvar and Bhagavan, Harikesh - and the list goes on and on of other gurus too numerous to name them all...

When these people fell the society did suffer long reaching repercussions.

It is much harder to keep an individual person as diksha guru to a high pure standard than it is the post of GBC.

There are so many details that can be discussed delineating the differences, but the essence of this essay is that the system of management that Srila Prabhupad had set up and requested us not to change has changed dramatically in that devotees no longer seek guidance from the wider spectrum of 'senior men', most notably the GBC. Rather, newer devotees almost exclusively only seek guidance from their 'diksha guru', which has dramatically altered the system of management and the whole social system of authority that Srila Prabhupad had worked hard to establish. This has gutted out the position of authority previously held by the GBC and others and has left the non-GBC, non-guru, non-sanyasi disciples of Srila Prabhupad no real authorities to turn to.

The only sensible and Krsna Conscious thing to do - is to restore the original system of management by which all devotees, new and old, are encouraged to seek managerial decisions, philosophic issues and personal guidance from the Senior Men, including any and all sanyasis (in good standing), TP's, and ultimately the GBC men, and NOT their diksha guru - as this was Srila Prabhupad's request to us, his own disciples, not to approach him, our diksha guru, for such maters, but to seek guidance from the system of management he had set up.

The alternative to restoring the system as it was set up by Srila Prabhupad means to ignore/reject his last will that we Not Change the system.

But, that is unconscious able. We cannot ignore Srila Prabhupad's last declaration of will. The system has changed and it must be restored.

IV) Analyzing the Initiation process

There is also another duty that was performed by the ISKCON System of Management. That was the relegated duties of the rtvik initiation process.

In 1973 Srila Prabhupad presided over my initiation ceremony. Pradyumna performed the actual fire yajna and Pradyumna referred to himself as the ‘rtvik’ priest. In fact, just before our initiation we were informed by Karandhar about this, that Pradyumna and not Srila Prabhupad would be performing the fire yajna. One of the new initiates exclaimed that they did not want to become Pradyumna's disciple, so Karandhar had to explain to us some of the aspects that we came to know as the rtvik process of initiation.

In previous years Srila Prabhupad would perform the full fire yajna himself and chant all the mantras. But, in 1973 these aspects were now relegated to Panditji, Pradyumna Prabhu. What most devotees did not know, however, was that Srila Prabhupad had not chosen most of the devotees names, and he had not chanted on all of the beads even at that initiation. Rather, Karandhar had chosen most of the names and had chanted on ½ of the beads for the initiation which was held on Dec 10th, 1973, in Los Angeles. (Karandhar had told me all of this in 1975 when we had a lot of close association as he had taken up overseeing the FATE doll project which I was working on and we shared common quarters for at least 6 months or more. At that time he shared with me many wonderful stories about Srila Prabhupad and his earlier association with Srila Prabhupad). Karandhar told me that he had chosen the names of most of the new initiates (it was also the last initiation Karandhar presided over before resigning as GBC). Before the initiations Karandhar had gone to Srila Prabhupad's room with the new initiate’s japa beads and together he and Srila Prabhupad chanted on the beads. Karandhar would chant on one person’s beads and Srila Prabhupad would chant simultaneously on another person’s beads. Karandhar also selected most of the spiritual names for the devotees, as he had for several previous initiations in LA.

Thus, as far back as 1973 SP had already well begun the process of rtvik initiations.

No longer did Srila Prabhupad directly decide if someone should be accepted as a disciple. He set up a process by which the local temple presidents and GBC men would make these decisions on his behalf.

No longer did he directly perform the fire sacrifice, chant the mantras, or even choose all of the names for his many new disciples or chant on their beads and threads. More and more he introduced a system of rtvik initiations. And more and more different GBC and senior men would take on more and more of the duties in the initiation process, such as now making the decision who was qualified and who was not, select their devotee names, chant on their beads and perform the fire sacrifices.

These were very important duties of these devotees. Therefore, it can be strongly argued that these duties were also part of the overall system of management for ISKCON in June of 1977.

In later years Srila Prabhupad relegated more and more of the functions of the initiation process to the rtvik priests. In 1975 I became aware that for some of the initiations in America rather then sending the japa beads to Srila Prabhupad for him to chant on, the beads were sent to Kirtananda and others also. They selected the names as well. By 1975 the new devotees joining ISKCON received all of their training and guidance not from their diksha guru, but via the System of Management that Srila Prabhupad had well established. And, many of those devotees obtained initiations in full or part via a well established and authorized rtvik system. There were devotees who never even saw Srila Prabhupad, who were selected, given their names, beads chanted on and initiated without Srila Prabhupad's direct physical involvement or even need for him to give any additional approval.--

But, without a living guru, Rtvik is a Deviation - Isn't It??

Today we are told by the GBC that the idea of an on-going Rtvik system is a serious deviation. We are told that it is a bogus – concocted and fabricated idea that is to be flatly rejected.

Grand disciples have openly demanded that anyone who is a known rtvik should be totally and fully banned from all of Prabhupad’s temples. A "Rtvik devotee" is a fallen and poisonous deviant. Someone to be rejected. Rtvik has to be rejected at all costs, it is the mother of all deviation.

Really? Is it really a deviation? Let me point out a few things on that before we proceed.

First of all, as I pointed out above, the concept of rtvik initiations is not at all a deviation. After all, Srila Prabhupad set up a rtvik system and literally the majority of Prabhupad disciples were initiated via one form of rtvik initiation or another, from Pradyumna or someone else performing the actual fire yajna to a full rtvik initiation in which an appointed rtvik priest chose the initiating name, chanted on the beads, performed the ceremony - from beginning to end, performed a rtvik initiation.

The GBC will agree, that the actual rtvik process itself is not bogus. It was set up and fully authorized by Srila Prabhupad. That the GBC agree.

What the GBC say is bogus is what has been artfully (and non-shastrically) labeled “Posthumous Rtvik”.

Wow, what a fancy word. Posthumous. Literally it means After Death.

The posthumous works of an author are books that the author wrote but were published after his death. Posthumous rtvik would then refer to an initiation executed after the 'death' of the guru.

Let me point out that this is not a Sanskrit term or concept. You will not find a Sanskrit equivalent of 'posthumous-rtvik'.

The topic of the so-called idea of posthumous rtvik is also not dealt with directly in the Vedic scripture, at least this has been the conclusion of many scholars after many years of research. I do not know who coined the phrase ‘posthumous rtvik’, but it appears in GBC commissioned reports and papers which denounce such a thing as being a philosophic deviation.

I would like to point out that the term 'posthumous-rtivk' is, itself, a deviation of our philosophy because the genuine spiritual master does not DIE, the genuine spiritual master lives ETERNALLY in his instructions, and his followers live with him. There is no such thing as a posthumous-guru.

Here is another point to argue.
We all agree that the rtvik initiations that Srila Prabhupad held during his presence were fully bonafied.

-->Then, what demarks the difference? <--

What makes the rtvik initiations held while his physical body was physically somewhere on the planet and warm and breathing, what makes that rtvik initiation bonafied, and those held when his body was not on this planet bogus?

Or, better, what is the qualification for a bonafied rtvik initiation?

What Empowers a rtvik initiation?

Hmmm, no real direct shastric definition???

Well, according to those who uphold the concept that post-humous (after Death) rtvik is a bogus deviation, their foundation must be, by definition, that it is bogus because it is after the death of the spiritual master.

That is what the word 'post-humous' refers to - After the Death. So, to accept such a concept means that one must first accept the concept that the guru has DIED. That Srila Prabhupad is now a DEAD guru.

This means that he is no longer to be seen as living eternally in his teachings, but he is a post-humous guru - meaning he is now a Dead-Guru.

That is an unmistakable inference of the non-Vedic word and non-vedic concept of post-humous (after DEATH) rtvik initiations.

Lets go back to my question, What empowers a rtvik intiation, what makes it bonafied?
Well, the idea that the Living guru, or a Live Guru, empowers the rtvik process. A Dead guru can no longer empower the process, those the rtvik system becomes impotent.

But, What has died? The body, not the soul, thus following this "posthumous-rtvik" definition, the logic deduction is that the argument is founded on a principle that the living and warm BODY of a guru is what empowers the rtvik process to be bonafied, and when the body of the guru no longer breaths, but has turned cold and lifeless, then the rtvik process automatically become un-empowered and bogus.

Really? /-->Yes, that is the deducted logical reasoning as to the real foundation of the posthumous rtvik idea… If you do not agree, then please debate the subject openly. <--/

If this is NOT the foundation or premise of the so-called posthumous rtvik being bogus, then I ask, what IS the premise? By the words that are used, “posthumous”, the foundation is already clearly set. The premise that posthumous is bogus is because the guru’s body has died. Thus, following this reasoning and logic, rtvik is empowered by the warm body of the guru.

We find just the opposite logic is held by those who support that such rtvik initiations are still bonafied and valid. We say that the rtvik initiations were empowered in the past, and currently remain empowered, by the ETERNAL INSTRUCTIONS of the Guru. Not the temporarily living or dead Vapu, but the Eternally Living "INSTRUCTIONS" of the spiritual master are what empowers the rtvik process.

Such instructions do not become un-empowered and bogus just because the physical body has ceased to breath and has turned cold. The body never empowered such initiations, thus whether the body of the guru was in Russia or India, or no longer breathing at the time, a rtvik initiation in any other part of the globe is empowered and bonafied because it is empowered via the Eternal Instructions of the Eternally Living Spiritual Master.

What empowered the rtvik initiations of the mid 1970’s was Srila Prabhupad’s instructions, not his temporary body. Those instructions have not lost 1 percent potency when his body has gone. AS I STATED, those who uphold the idea of so-called posthumous rtvik is bogus – their idea is based solely and squarely on the BOGUS idea that the BODY of the guru empowers a rtvik initiation, thus they have concocted this bogus term Posthumous Rtvik. On the contrary, those who uphold that the rtvik process continues to be valid and bonafied base our firm belief on the fact that the INSTRUCTIONS of the bonafied guru LIVE ETERNALLY and that the rtvik process that SP set up is empowered ETERNALLY via his ETERANL instructions. This is Sat-Rtvik,, not posthumous rtvik.

WAIT, cries the uncertain one.
If we say that rtvik initiations are still bonafied for Srila Prabhupad, then what is to prevent someone from jumping over and taking initiation from Srila Bhaktisiddhanta, or Srila Bhaktivinode, or Srila Rupa Goswami, or Nityananda, or Mahaprabhu directly, or even Vyas, or Narad Muni, or Brahma, or Balaram Himself?

Actually, back in 1996 I presented this same argument myself in a letter I sent to a number of GBC in my days when I thought such rtvik was bogus. Tamal Krishna wrote and thanked me for my logic in trying to defeat the deviant rtviks and passed my article on to the GBC committee to be used to help defeat the ‘deviant’ rtviks. Yes, I had also thought that the rtvik idea was bogus as I still was trying to follow the GBC lead in this way. But, over the last 10 years I gradually realized that I and the GBC was wrong.

Yet, I still agree that to impose an on-going rtvik system upon just any guru is not bonafied in that that guru had not given any instruction or system for such a function to be performed in an on-going manor. The stark exception to this is our Srila Prabhupad. How is that ?

Srila Prabhupad had set up a fully functional rtvik system in his presence. He had set it up and had it fully functional and operational such that the system was able to handle all aspects of the initiation totally without the need for his physical presence or involvement in any form. He could be in Russia preaching, or India, or Australia and the rtvik process could be executed on his behalf anywhere else in the world – all without the need for his direct involvement in any way.

Srila Prabhupad set the rtvik system up to operated that way. He set it up this way himself.

No other past acharyas ever did such a thing before. This does not make it bogus. The premise and foundation is not bogus, the foundation lies in the stark fact that what empowers a rtvik system – regardless whether the guru’s body is warm and breathing 10,000 miles away or still and cold, is the Eternal and Living INSTRUCTIONS of the spiritual master. The Instructions of the guru empower a rtvik system. Those instructions live eternally. That is the foundation and premise that empowers the rtvik process and makes it bonafied. No other acharya has set up such an on-going system that could function fully without the need for their presence, no one except Srila Prabhupad. He had set up a full system by which TP’s and GBC’s would make the decision if someone was ready for initiation, they then chose the name, chant on the beads and perform the yajna. All on behalf of Srila Prabhupad. All without the need for Srila Prabhupad's physical involvement.

This is the system Srila Prabhupad had FULLY put into place, based and empowered via his Eternal Instructions.

No other past acharya has ever set up such an ongoing system. Thus, to attempt to thwart such a process on any other past acharya without their instructions empowering it, I agree, that would be totally bogus. It would completely lack the instructions of the guru, thus it would not be bonafied. This is not the case with the rtvik system that Srila Prabhupad had set up and had put into full operation during the mid 1970’s.

The most important point is, the empowerment for such a process does not depend on the body of the guru, it does not die with the temporary body. Once the guru has set up and authorized such a system, it is empowered by his instructions forever. Eternally.

/--> Let me pause here and ask that if you think I am wrong, debate this openly. I warn you, to defeat the idea given above would mean that you must defeat the idea that the rtvik process is empowered by the Eternal Word of the spiritual master. You must do so and somehow defend the idea that it is the temporary warm body of the guru that empowers rtvik. <--/

--- Now, before we go on, lets let me point out some other anomalies in rejecting the rtvik system.

Lets assume that Srila Prabhupad did not want the rtvik system to go-on. Lets assume that the GBC has been right all along and there should be gurus and a GBC trying to co-exist side by side. Lets assume that Srila Prabhupad even wanted that the new diksha gurus take over the duties of giving of personal guidance to their disciples.


Ah, one question though, if you don’t mind.

Where is even ONE SINGLE direct instruction by Srila Prabhupad in all of his letters, talks, classes, books, etc., specifying how the existing GBC system was to change to allow for the inclusion of the new guru’s?

Find just ONE direct and explicit instruction where SP instructed that in the future when there are new diksha gurus that their disciples will now go to them for guidance and no longer will follow the system he had set up for his own disciples where we were instructed to take all guidance from the GBC system he had set up?

This is an very serious challenge.
/--> I challenge the GBC and senior men who reject the rtvik system, I challenge that you find just ONE SINGLE instruction where Srila Prabhupad defined how the GBC system will change to accommodate the new gurus? <--/

Find just ONE single instruction where he specifically instructed how the authority of the new gurus will fit into the system of management that he had worked so hard to set up????????

Please, Mr Guru and current Mr GBC men, please find even One Single Instruction that deals directly with the new gurus and how the GBC system will have to change to accommodate their interference with that system???????

Find just one instruction where Srila Prabhupad delineated how the new diksha gurus will now usurp the duties of the then current system of management such that new devotees will seek all guidance from their diksha guru and no longer must follow the system that Srila Prabhupad had put into place.

(Or find even one single instruction where Srila Prabhupad directly instructs us that after his body dies that the Rtvik system he had set up should then be stopped)

Prabhu’s, think about it very deeply. Chant loudly the names of Gaura and Nitai – and really think about this. Think about the importance of the topic and contemplate the powerful absence of any such instructions by Srila Prabhupad. There is not One Single Instruction by Srila Prabhupad where he told us, gave even any slight idea at all, how things must be changed to accommodate the gurus. How their authority over their disciples and how their authority within the society and it’s management will interface with that of the GBC system he had set up???

Such instructions are fully conspicuous by their absence. There are NO Such Instructions by SP.




Their silence speaks out loud and clear.

Please, re-read the above, it is such a very important realization. Had there been such instruction then the whole mater would be solved. The lack of even one such instruction or even hint of instruction leaves us to doubt that Srila Prabhupad ever wanted any form of on-going inititations other then the rtvik process in his ashrams and temples. As soon as you introduce any other form of initiations then you introduce conflict with the GBC system of management. There is no escaping these facts. The facts speak for themselves. If the new Diksha gurus perform any function in our society other then to perform the formal initiation - then any other function they perform usurps those duties from the system of management he had set up. Since there are no instructions by Srila Prabhupad that the system of management should be changed to accomodate the new diksha guru's, then NO Such Change should have taken place. The fact that such changes have taken place is a clear and obvious DEVIATION from the system of management that Srila Prabhupad had set up. Yet, to restore that system means that the new diksha guru's only real duty will be to officiate the formal initiation process. Bas - Finished. That is to be their only duty. The duty to give personal guidance must be done in accordance with SP's instructions, that we his own followers obeyed, and that was to NOT approuch our diksha guru for such guidance but to take all such guidance from the system of management that SP had set up.

To Deviate from this has caused the breakdown of the authority and position of the GBC body and the break down of the society. This is the great Deviation, and not those who adhere to the rtvik process.

If you are not quite understanding the sheer importance and gravity of what I am putting forth here, please go back re-read the above very slowly and let it sink in as the above is the essence of the whole issue. Please study it carefully and understand this point before skimming it over or replying without careful consideration.

Oh, wait. No, there actually was direct instruction on how the diksha system will interface with the GBC system. That Direct and very Explicit instruction is: “The system of management will continue as it is now. There is no need of any change.”

That means that Srila Prabhupad's instructions that he gave regarding us, his own disciples to NOT approach their own diksha guru for all their philosophic and personal guidance, but instead to seek all such guidance from the system of management he had set up, that process of the management of the society and that specific instruction still stands. The fact this has been allowed to be changed, that, prabhu's, is the true and actual DEVIATION within ISKCON for nearly the past 3 decades.

In the absence of any other directive, those instructions still stand. All new devotees must no longer approach their diksha guru for any such guidance, but instead must seek all such guidance from the system Srila Prabhupad set up. Even though to do so renders the current diksha gurus to be no more then Rtvik priests.

The direct instruction in this regard is that there is to be NO CHANGE in the order and system of management. No Change in the authority structure of our society. No Change in the authority, duties and role of the GBC, sannyasis, TP’s and senior devotees in the ISKCON society. NO CHANGE, it was to continue as it WAS. No Need of ANY Change, None whatsoever, NO CHANGE. There was to be NO interference by new gurus, no usurping of the GBC authority, duties and roles. The instruction are there. It goes to the very heart of this issue. It is clear, irrefutable by any sane person. It goes right to the heart of the whole issue. There was to be NO Change. We were not to be sitting around trying to figure out how to fit a square guru system into the rounded GBC system, we were not to make guru authority and gbc authority separate, change the gbc to be ksatriya, we were not to create a zonal-acharya system, we were not to divide and usurp certain duties of the gbc, we were not to make GBC and guru one. We were Not to Make ANY Changes At ALL.

Sadly the whole damn show has totally changed.

Damn It.


Lets get ourselves busy and UNDO the blasted changes that we have allowed and perpetrated for the last 29 years. Restore the original system of management. Revive Srila Prabhupad's instruction and request that new devotees no longer seek the guidance of their diksha gurus, but, rather all guidance must be taken from the senior devotees and system of management. This will then reduce the current diksha gurus to rtvik priests - then sobeit.

Put the GBC back as the main authority and guide, not in words only, but the personal guide for the devotees, not their diksha gurus. That duty and role of the GBC should never have changed. It has, so it must be Undone, even if it means the diksha gurus become no more or no less then officiating rtvik priests who officiate over the initiation ceremony – bas.

One last thing. Someone may ask, but, is there any clear instruction by Srila Prabhupad that such an on-going rtvik system is at all bonafied? After all, the GBC has, for decades, driven so hard on the idea that any consideration of an on-going rtvik system is totally and completely bogus and is a fallen and most dangerous deviation and anyone who considers such thinking should be banned from ISKCON. How can the GBC now accept that they were wrong without some proof that Srila Prabhupad instructed that such a system is, actually, bonafied after all?

Good thing you asked. There is a conversation by Srila Prabhupad that is very revealing and which directly addresses this issue.

First is the un-edited copy of text from the Vedabase, and then a slightly edited version (you’ll see why the slightly edited version).

The Living Eternal Guru:

In the following conversation Srila Prabhupad addresses the issue (rtvik) head-on while speaking about Jesus and his teachings. It is very revealing and after I give the quote as it was spoken, unedited, I will also give the quote a second time and replace the name of Jesus with that of Srila Prabhupad, and Bible with Prabhupad’s books, and you will see, it is a very revealing message.

Before we begin, it is also interesting that in this conversation the term “living spiritual master” is used. And, it is the only reference in the whole Vedabase where I could find such a term or related term used. I searched for “living guru”, “current guru”, current acharya, present acharya, living acharya, current spiritual master, etc. The term came up only once, as "Living Spiritual Master". ByTheWay, Srila Prabhupad did not use the term, the one and only time it is found in the Vedabase it was used by a disciple. But, moreover, just read the reaction Srila Prabhupad gave on hearing the term:

Madhudvisa: Is there any way for a Christian to, without the help of a spiritual master, to reach the spiritual sky through believing in the words of Jesus Christ and trying to follow his teachings?

Prabhupada: I don’t follow.

Tamala Krsna: Can a Christian in this age, without a spiritual master, but by reading the Bible and following Jesus’s words, reach the...

Prabhupada: When you read Bible, you follow spiritual master. How can you say without? As soon as you read Bible, that means you are following the instruction of Lord Jesus Christ, that means you are following spiritual master. So where is the opportunity of being without spiritual master?

Madhudvisa: I was referring to a living spiritual master.

Prabhupada: Spiritual master is not the question of... Spiritual master is eternal. Spiritual master is eternal. So your question is without spiritual master. Without spiritual master you cannot be, at any stage of your life. You may accept this spiritual master or that spiritual master. That is a different thing. But you have to accept. As you say that “by reading Bible,” when you read Bible that means you are following the spiritual master represented by some priest or some clergyman in the line of Lord Jesus Christ. So any case, you have to follow a spiritual master. There cannot be the question without spiritual master. Is that clear?

Madhudvisa: I mean like we couldn’t understand the teachings of the Bhagavad-gita without your help, without your presentation.

Prabhupada: Similarly, you have to understand Bible with the help of the priest in the church.

Madhudvisa: Yes. But is he receiving a good interpretation from his disciplic succession or his bishop? Because there seems to be some kind of a discrepancy in the interpretation of the Bible. There’s many different sects of Christianity that interpret the Bible in different ways.

Prabhupada: Of course, there cannot be any interpretation in the Bible. Then there is no authority of Bible. If you interpret something... Just like “Call a spade a spade.” So if you call something else, that is a different thing. He’s not spiritual master.
============ REF. Lecture -- Seattle, October 2, 1968

Now, lets change the name of the guru and his books (changed words are <<bracketed>> thus):

Madhudvisa: Is there any way for a <<devotee>> to, without the help of a spiritual master, to reach the spiritual sky through believing in the words of <<Srila Prabhupad>> and trying to follow his teachings?

Prabhupada: I don’t follow.

Tamala Krsna: Can a <<Krsna devotee>> in this age, without a spiritual master, but by reading <<Srila Prabhupad’s books>> and following <<Srila Prabhupad’s>> words, reach the...

Prabhupada: When you read <<Srila Prabhupad’s books>>, you follow spiritual master. How can you say without? As soon as you read <<Srila Prabhupad’s books>>, that means you are following the instruction of <<Srila Prabhupad>>, that means you are following spiritual master. So where is the opportunity of being without spiritual master?

Madhudvisa: I was referring to a living spiritual master.

Prabhupada: Spiritual master is not the question of... Spiritual master is eternal. Spiritual master is eternal. So your question is without spiritual master. Without spiritual master you cannot be, at any stage of your life. You may accept this spiritual master or that spiritual master. That is a different thing. But you have to accept. As you say that “by reading <<Srila Prabhupad’s books>>,” when you read <<Srila Prabhupad’s books>> that means you are following the spiritual master represented by some priest or some clergyman in the line of <<Srila Prabhupad>>. So any case, you have to follow a spiritual master. There cannot be the question without spiritual master. Is that clear?

Madhudvisa: I mean like we couldn’t understand the teachings of the Bhagavad-gita without your help, without your presentation.

Prabhupada: Similarly, you have to understand <<Srila Prabhupad’s books>> with the help of the priest <<(brahmana)>> in the temple.

Madhudvisa: Yes. But is he receiving a good interpretation from his disciplic succession or his temple president? Because there seems to be some kind of a discrepancy in the interpretation of <<Srila Prabhupad’s books>>. There’s many different sects of devotees that interpret <<Srila Prabhupad’s books>> in different ways.

Prabhupada: Of course, there cannot be any interpretation in <<Srila Prabhupad’s books>>. Then there is no authority of <<Srila Prabhupad’s books>>. If you interpret something... Just like “Call a spade a spade.” So if you call something else, that is a different thing. He’s not spiritual master.

This is very revealing.

The question was, how can one go back to the spiritual world just by accepting the teaching of Jesus (or Prabhupad) without taking any “LIVING” spiritual master. Srila Prabhupad asserts that by accepting the teachings of the guru, one has guru, that is accepting the guru.

Well, we have to have a “living” guru, right? The GBC have argued this idea in many different shades for decades. Present guru, current guru, physical guru, personal guru, living guru.

When one says “Living guru” that is opposed to what? A DEAD guru?

Srila Prabhupad is now dead, you cannot accept him as your guru. Prabhupad is now Posthumous, he is After Death, he is now dead and gone so you can no longer accept him. No. Srila Prabhupad proclaims guru is ETERNAL. There is no question of… a living guru and a dead guru. But, we need some guidance. Yes, take guidance from the GBC, the sannyasis, senior devotees. The priests in the temple. That is all.

Srila Prabhupad is giving strong argument, 2000 years after guru disappears from this world, still, you can accept him as your guru and he can deliver you back to the spiritual world.

Of course, we cannot give same argument for any past Acharya. We can for Srila Prabhupad became he had set up an on-going rtvik system that did not need his physical involvement. No other past acharya had done this. So, even though Srila Bhaktivinod is still living in sound, in his eternal instructions, we should not impose upon him a rtvik initiation since he had not set up such an ongoing system. Gaur-Kishor das babaji especially did not authorize such a system at all for himself, so we cannot arbitrarily attempt to thwart such a system upon him or others. But, Srila Prabhupad and Jesus did allow for an ongoing system. Especially our Srila Prabhupad.

To deny this ongoing system for new devotees to directly accept Srila Prabhupad is very suppressive and wrong.

But, back to the above quote by Srila Prabhupad in regard to Jesus. Several times I have presented the above in online discussions with different devotees who are opposed to the rtvik position. Rather then discuss the merits of this conversation and the points that Srila Prabhupad made, instead they attacked this statement and tried to nullify these instructions by Srila Prabhupad in one way or the other. They actually tried to minimize Srila Prabhupad's words and teachings.

In an attempt to nullify these statements by Srila Prabhupad one reputable Prabhupad disciple argued that this quote was taken out of context. That I was just misusing the quote because Srila Prabhupad was not asked specifically about applying this to him in the future. They argue that the context concerned Jesus, and only Jesus, and that it cannot be applied to Srila Prabhupad.
Taken out of context? Misusing the quote? Those attacks do not hold up. The context was not about Jesus, it was about Guru. The instruction applies equally to all bonafied gurus. The context was – without a so-called Living Guru, by taking guidance of the written instructions of a guru who lived 2,000 years ago and is now, to their incorrect vision, dead and gone, how can someone go back home to the spiritual world? The context did not have to do with only Jesus, but is to be applied to all bonafied gurus.
Srila Prabhupad’s answer is clear and is applicable to all bonafied gurus.

The problem is that for the anti-rtviks this statement very clearly upholds the concept of rtvik so vividly that it totally shakes them. They cannot accept the idea that rtvik is bonafied and that Srila Prabhupad upheld it. Thus, they cannot accept the clear instructions SP gave above. Rather then discussing it’s merits, they have to attack it somehow or other, to discredit this statement, to nullify it. But, that is very dangerous. They are bordering on attacking Srila Prabhupad, they are attacking what he said, trying to discredit Srila Prabhupad, trying to nullify what he said. Or minimize what he said. And that is very dangerous position.

Another attempt to nullify this was to argue that Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati preached against Eka-Mahanta-Vada, or following one great devotee. However, I asked in what context, and the devotee presenting this argument did not respond. That cannot be taken as a blanket statement. In the Gaudiya Math or ISKCON when the great acharya was physically with us we did all follow one great personality, Bhaktisiddhanta or our Prabhupad. If we were to reject the idea of accepting one great leader, then we should have rejected Srila Prabhupad. However, in their absence they did not want us, within their math or society, to elect any other single leader. They wanted those organizations managed by a Governing Body. In that context, for management, they did not want one elected leader. But, for initiation, each occupied the post of eka-mahatma for their mission. After his disappearance Srila Prabhupad had previously set up a system of devotees who would carry on with the initiation process on his behalf. They can consider themselves gurus, that is okay, but the system of who will give direction and guidance, that he set up the GBC-system. That was not to change. It has changed. It must be changed back.

Another response was simple silence. After presenting this argument a number of devotees simply dropped out of the discussion.

It is also important to note in the reference above that Srila Prabhupad has said that one may take help from a “representative priest” (or GBC/TP/Sannyasi/Senior Vaishnav in the temple) for understanding the philosophy and teachings of the spiritual master.

As you say that “by reading Bible,” when you read Bible that means you are following the spiritual master ***represented by some priest or some clergyman*** in the line of Lord Jesus Christ. So any case, you have to follow a spiritual master. There cannot be the question without spiritual master. Is that clear?
Prabhupada: Similarly, you have to understand the Bible with the help of the priest in the temple.

The application is extremely clear to the rtvik understanding. Clearly if one comes and follows Srila Prabhupad’s books that means that person is accepting Srila Prabhupad as their spiritual master. And the fact that one may need help by a person physically present, Srila Prabhupad clearly refers to this as following the spiritual master who is “represented by some priest” in the line of Srila Prabhupad. In this way, there cannot be question that such a person is without a spiritual master.
If you need help in understanding Prabhupad’s books then you can take help of the “representative” senior devotees, sannyasis, brahmana’s, temple authorities and GBC in his temples. But, SP is to remain the actual Spiritual Master who is taking the soul back to Godhead.

I wrote a similar letter last year and it fell on deaf ears.

I am currently tied up in trying to maintain my grha ashram, and started this re-write over 3-4 months ago - just no time to finish it. I decided to wrap it up and send it out as is. I originally intended to write it in a very structured Outline format, but do not have time to fully reformat it - as I have changed it from the beginning outline. So, please accept it as it is.

I do not have many email addresses. If you can, please forward this to ALL the GBC men. Please forward this to your email lists. Thank you.

And, to the GBC - please debate these issues with me.

Aspiring to become a worthy and humble servant of the followers of Srila Prabhupad, your worthless servant, ameyatma das, das anudas