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his leadership (ie: Ramesvar told me, in 1984, that by quoting from SP's letter I was quoting from something that was "outdated and no longer relavent" to the management of ISKCON.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 PARTICULARS OF THE GOVERNING BODY COMMISSION
"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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
respectable GBC leaders must reply and discuss the issues publicly.
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.
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)
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
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. ()
is (or will be) a list of responses to the article -
to Article -
Krishna Prabhu ! your opinion about your letter to all is very
very good. Haribol.
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!
Gauridasa Pandita Dasa
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
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.
New York City
Via Gadadhar das
THE DIRECTION OF MANAGEMENT, NO PLAN WILL CHANGE THE SCENE.
by ameyatma das
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
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.
on their part serves no good purpose.
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.
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.
Hasti Gopala Dasa,
All Glories to Srila Prabhupada! Please accept my humble obesance.
you for writing me.
listing to a morning walk in my car the other day and came
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
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."
Satsvarupa: And as a result of that...
Prabhupada: He is a rascal, rascal.
[Morning Walk--June 30, 1975, Denver]
Hansadutta (via Gadadhar)
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,
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.
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
Dear Ameyatma Prabhu,
accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
I didn't answer your previous mail is that I didn't receive
it. PAMHO likely filtered it out as spam.
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
(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.
not, where are you living these days?
this finds you in good health,
my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupad.
I was traveling and did not get opportunity to reply right
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.
> The topics you raise don't lend themselves well to e-mail,
> 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 would love to come, but, no, I am not able to come at this
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
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.
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
you Maharaj, but what about discussing this further?
> PS: Meanwhile, you might be interested in the articles
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.
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
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.
to become your worthy and humble servant, the most unworthy
and fallen ameyatma das
auspicious appearance of Lord Nityananda Prabhu
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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:
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
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
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
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
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.
Therefore, the argument continues, since no one else is fit,
the only person of whom we can safely take shelter is Srila
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Again, a simple argument.
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
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
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
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
Your servant, in
the service of Srila Prabhupad, ameyatma das
accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
your two letters. The first I read, the second I skimmed.
topics you raise don't lend themselves well to e-mail, at
I didn't make myself clear enough. What I meant was this:
Under no circumstances will I discuss this matter with you
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.
this finds you in good health,
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?
> > >
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
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
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
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.
of Management Debate - Article II
of the Whole World
Ki Jai !!!
Om Visnupad paramahamsa parivrajakacharya asto-tara-sata 
Sri-Srimad – His Divine Grace – Abhaya Charan
– Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad
accept my prostrate obeisances – All Glories to our
life and soul - ISKCON’s Founder-Acharya: Srila Prabhupad.
those who do not know me, I am Prabhupad disciple, initiated
in 1973 in New Dwaraka.
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.
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 www.16108.com/SoM-Debate. 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]
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.
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.
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.
is the essay's contents (outline structure):
ISKCON’s System of Management – and Srila Prabhupad’s
instruction that it Not Be Changed
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
d) Position of Social Authority Follows the Social Duties
e) The '70's - Respecting the Senior or Advanced Godbrothers
Today Old and New Devotees Alike Do Not Seek Personal Guidance
From the GBC
Since it was not to be changed, the changes must be undone.
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
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.
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.
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 @: www.16108.com/SoM-Debate
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
ISKCON’s System of Management – and Srila Prabhupad’s
instruction that it Not Be Changed
June 5th, 1977 Srila Prabhupad executed his last Declaration
of Will. Here are the first 2 items in that will:
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
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".
contend that the "System of Management" for ISKCON
has dramatically changed since that time, June of 1977.
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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... ...you senior members, can
manage everything there very nicely and relieve me
of such questions.
==== Letter to Madhuvisa -- Los Angeles 12 June, 1972
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".
Philosophy. Personal Problems (personal issues).
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.
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.
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 -
Prabhupad, himself, delineated what that system of management
entailed. It has 3 key aspects - management, philosophical
guidance and dealing with personal issues (problems).
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
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.
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.
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
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. <--/
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
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.
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.
and "personal issues".
d) Position of Social Authority Follows the Social
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.
had the duty to manage, preserve the philosophic standards,
And to give guidance regarding the personal issues of
respected their position due to the duties they held.
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.
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
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
e) The '70's - Respecting the Senior or Advanced
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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'.
Today Old and New Devotees Alike Do Not Seek Personal Guidance
From the GBC
newer devotees only seek such guidance from their Diksha
don't the older, Prabhupad disciples, seek guidance from
the GBC system - as they used to do in the 1970's?
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.
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.
Since it was not to be changed, the changes must be undone.
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.
must undo the changes.
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.
system that Srila Prabhupad so carefully set up must be
restored as it was.
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
do this will not be easy, and doing so raises several very
a) What About On Going And Already Very Established
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?
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.
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.
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
b) If we restore the system, what becomes the duties
and functions of the diksha gurus?
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'
question. Interesting Answer.
follow a new devotee coming to such a "revived"
and "Restored" ISKCON.
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.
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
okay, but, what other duties would the 'guru' perform?
good question. I am also asking the same thing. What other
duties would they perform?
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
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?
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
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
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.
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
d) Revive the Zonal Acharya System?
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.
would also not restore the original system of management
as it was - and thus not actually achieve the goal.
it would not restore the original system of management?
e) GBC Position is a Post, not a Person
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.
is a significant difference.
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.
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.
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...
these people fell the society did suffer long reaching
is much harder to keep an individual person as diksha
guru to a high pure standard than it is the post of GBC.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
as far back as 1973 SP had already well begun the process
of rtvik initiations.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
Is it really a deviation? Let me point out a few things
on that before we proceed.
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.
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.
the GBC say is bogus is what has been artfully (and non-shastrically)
labeled “Posthumous Rtvik”.
what a fancy word. Posthumous. Literally it means After
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.
me point out that this is not a Sanskrit term or concept.
You will not find a Sanskrit equivalent of 'posthumous-rtvik'.
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
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.
is another point to argue.
We all agree that the rtvik initiations that Srila Prabhupad
held during his presence were fully bonafied.
what demarks the difference? <--
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?
better, what is the qualification for a bonafied rtvik initiation?
Empowers a rtvik initiation?
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.
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.
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.
is an unmistakable inference of the non-Vedic word and non-vedic
concept of post-humous (after DEATH) rtvik initiations.
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.
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.
/-->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. <--/
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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 ?
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.
Prabhupad set the rtvik system up to operated that way. He
set it up this way himself.
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
is the system Srila Prabhupad had FULLY put into place, based
and empowered via his Eternal Instructions.
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
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.
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.
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.
one question though, if you don’t mind.
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?
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?
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? <--/
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????????
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???????
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.
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)
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
instructions are fully conspicuous by their absence. There
are NO Such Instructions by SP.
silence speaks out loud and clear.
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.
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
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
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.”
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.
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
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.
the whole damn show has totally changed.
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
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.
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
thing you asked. There is a conversation by Srila Prabhupad
that is very revealing and which directly addresses this issue.
is the un-edited copy of text from the Vedabase, and then
a slightly edited version (you’ll see why the slightly
The Living Eternal Guru:
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.
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:
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?
I don’t follow.
Can a Christian in this age, without a spiritual master,
but by reading the Bible and following Jesus’s words,
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?
I was referring to a living spiritual master.
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?
I mean like we couldn’t understand the teachings of
the Bhagavad-gita without your help, without your presentation.
Similarly, you have to understand Bible with the help of
the priest in the church.
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.
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
lets change the name of the guru and his books (changed words
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?
I don’t follow.
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...
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
I was referring to a living spiritual master.
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?
I mean like we couldn’t understand the teachings of
the Bhagavad-gita without your help, without your presentation.
Similarly, you have to understand <<Srila
Prabhupad’s books>> with the help of
the priest <<(brahmana)>>
in the temple.
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.
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
This is very revealing.
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.
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,
one says “Living guru” that is opposed to what?
A DEAD guru?
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.
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.
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.
deny this ongoing system for new devotees to directly accept
Srila Prabhupad is very suppressive and wrong.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
response was simple silence. After presenting this argument
a number of devotees simply dropped out of the discussion.
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
you say that “by reading Bible,” when you read
Bible that means you are following the spiritual master
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.
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.
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.
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.
to the GBC - please debate these issues with me.
to become a worthy and humble servant of the followers of
Srila Prabhupad, your worthless servant, ameyatma das, das