Why 16108 ?
Because Lord Sri Krishna married 16,108 wives!
NOTICE : I havn't had the time to complete this yet.
I am postng this as a work in progress. It is incomplete, check every day or so and when this notice is gone, then the document will be completed - (for now).
The "Guru" issue in ISKCON has been very disruptive. It has torn apart the mission and stalled it's ability to effectively preach by alienating a large number of Srila Prabhupad's disciples. The acceptance of an on-going rtvik process is not an issue that is not going to go away.
For decades the GBC has propounded the idea that an on-going rtvik system is just outright bogus. They have labeled it as a serious deviation. Virtually demonizing it and those who support it.
But, for all their strong harsh and stringent words and actions attacking the system and those who support it, we find very little in the way of any actual scriptural support for their heavy and negative view toward the on-going rtvik process. Since many of the GBC are GBC-sanctioned gurus their strong negative rhetoric inspires many of their disciples to hold complete disprespect for those who support the rtvik position. In fact, many of the 'gurus' disciples have developed such an unVaishnav hatred for 'the rtviks' that they openly, on the internet, have stated that the rtviks should be shot (killed, murdered). They promote violence toward them. So far, I have not seen the GBC take any public action against this behavior to stop it.
A number of years ago ( ~ 2001 - 2003 ) a devotee informed me that the GBC had commissioned a sub-commitee (of which this devotee was a member) whose purpose was to research the Vedic scriptures to try and find shastric support for the GBC view that an on-going rtvik process was bogus. The result of their extensive research? Nothing. They came up empty handed. This devotee told that they had not found one single statement that the GBC can refer to that backs up and supports their position..
Nevertheless, they reported to the GBC that simply because the Vedas did not contain a direct reference did not mean that it was bonafide. It was this devotee's strongly biased view that an on-going rtvik process was so obviously bogus that the past acharyas and Vedic literatures had no reason to write about it. One thing was clearly evident, all of their research was blinded by their admitted prejudice. They had not set out with an unbiased and open mind to find support for either side of the issue. It is their own admitted prior conviction that this was bogus so even after finding no scriptural support for their claim, they still hung on to their negative conclusion.
The GBC often say that an on-going Rtvik system has no past 'tradition' and that no Vaishnav in good standing can support such a bogus system. Yet, other leading Vaishnav's of other sects have given their explicit support to such a system. The same devotee who informed us that their in depth study of shastra resulted in finding nothing to support the GBC position also told us that the GBC approved a meeting held with leaders of other Vaishnav sampradaya's and sects to discuss the Rtvik issue. He claimed that the consensus of that conference was that the other leaders supported the GBC view. However, the way in which the Rtvik side was presented to these scholars is highly questionable due to the following. One leader who was quoted in the report to the GBC was Sri Bannaje Govindacharya, a Madhva scholar in Bangalore. The Rtvik devotees in Bangalor took the published report to GovindAcharya and GovindAcharya said that report was partial and did not completely represent his views. The Bangalore devotees then tape recorded their meeting with him, presenting to him in detail about the rtvik process. After this meeting they transcribed the tape and took the transcription back to him and after reading it he was satisfied with it. See to the side an excerpt where he fully supports an on-going Rtvik process.
The rtvik devotees in Bangalore had originally objected to the idea of seeking outside opinions on the subject, as this was not something Srila Prabhupad did. However, since the process was started by the GBC the rtvik devotees also met with several other leading Vaishnav scholars and after presenting to them the rtvik issues they also supported. (see to the right)
The fact that the GBC sub-committe had researched the Vedas diligently and found no support of their harshly negative view is actually significant. The sub-committee was bent on trying to find shastric support, yet even with that strong bias they found nothing. What their work did do is prove that the process is not condemned by the Vedas. Now, as to their logic that it is simply so obviously bogus that the Vedas simply had no need to mention this, such conclusion is blindly biased. Analysis can find no support for this at all. When I learned that there is not one verse that directly condenms the on-going Rtvik process it forced me to question and contemplate just what was it about the process that causes it to be seen as so dangerously bogus (according to the current GBC)? What really does the GBC base their harsh stand on? If it is not shastra, then what is the basis for their views?
Conjecture. For all the harsh and stringent rhetoric from the GBC, their strongest reference they can quote is themselves. The highest authority they can give is themselves. Because they say it is bogus - it is bogus. Thats it. End of discussion.
They have even stated that this topic is now a closed topic, it is even forbidden to discuss it further or to put forth any further argument in favor of it. They have ruled that even to do this, it is to be taken as a deviation and fall down on the part of the one who does so. This is the stand of a total fanatic. Someone whose only stand is based on emotional sentiments. They cannot provide strong basis for why the Rtvik process is to be considered bogus, so they now say it is bogus to even ask or discuss it further.
Srila Prabhupad never took such a harsh stand on any other ideology. Yes, if someone espoused an impersonal or opposing view they were not welcome to live in his ashrams. But, it was always welcome for someone to come forward and discuss and debate the philosophy. Questions, discussion, debate was always welcome. Srila Prabhupad had nothing to fear in the way of being humiliated by defeat. Yet the current GBC obviously fear such humiliation and defeat.
Yet, for all their harsh strong words, they can quote no one other then themselves that the process is against the teachings of the Vedas and past acharyas.
Lets examine, however, the extreneous reaons they give for justifying their view that it is bogus:
I am sure there are others, but most follow the above basic reasons. If you find I missed something basic, send it in, we will add it and address that also.
Lets address each of these.
To recognize that the on-going rtvik system is authorized and allow it to go on, side by side with a system of recognized Regular Gurus does not produce the negative objections put forward by the GBC. It is not bogus simply because no past acharya has done this before, as no past acharya had ever set up such a system at all before, regardless if it was before or after their disappearance. The argument is baseless if you say it is bogus after departure of the guru while being valid before his departure without providing any shastric evidence otherwise supporting that claim. The GBC could produce no such shastric evidence, yet, in the next section we shall provide shastric evidence to show it is bona-fide. It's acceptance and practice will not negate, but it will better faciliate the process of those who want to become Regular Guru. It will allow them the full freedom to become a real master of their own ashrams, rather then remaining under so many restrictions imposed by the GBC while they funciton as so-called guru in the ISKCON ashrams.
Despite the GBC not finding shastric evidence to support their view is correct, I will give shastric evidence to support our view is authorized.
What Empowers The Rtvik Process?
I have asked this question to a number of people who uphold the current GBC position (opposing the on-going Rtvik position) and not once has anyone even attempted to answer it.
Just recently I had an email discussion with one Indian devotee who presented point after point to try and support the GBC view and condemn our view. I would reply to and address each and every one of his points. After a few emails like this, I put this question to him. I asked him what was it that empowered the rtvik process while Srila Prabhupad was still present that is missing now that transformed what was once a bona-fide system into a seriously deviant and bogus system? His response was classic. It is the same every time I have asked. Simply ignore the question as if I had never asked it and go on and present some other, totally different points. Again, I respond to all of the new points he made. But, again, I asked him, a second time, not to ignore or sidestep the above question. I reminded him that I had replied to each and every of his points, and discussion means both parties discuss each other's points. I always address each point he made, now please address mine. Answer the question. Again, he ignored it and tried to hit me with more, new points. That was it, for the 3rd and last time I told him there was no need to continue a one-sided so-called discussion if he refused to discuss my points. I told him either answer the quesiton or end the discussion. He sent back his reply, he was ending the discussion - restating that he had his view and I had mine, and he wasn't changing. As with everyone else, he would not, because he could not, answer the above question.
No one from the GBC side has answered this. The same thing happened when I had an email discussion with several senior devotees who support the GBC side. Not one has even attempted to try and answer or address this question. When I make it a point that they must answer, they call off the discussion.
The simple question is: What empowered that system prior to Srila Prabhupad's disappearance? What was the authorizing element that made this process effective and bona-fide?
After Srila Prabhupad's disappearance the GBC halted this rtvik process, declaring it no longer valid, no longer authorized.
Other then the GBC self-declaring it unauthorized, what other shastric factors can the GBC point to that now rendered that process invalid?
They say that it goes against tradition, but the Rtvik system Srila Prabhupad set up is not supported by tradition either before or after his disappearance. They say it will mean the end to the Sampradaya, that is totally untrue. Neither of those speculations can be upheld by Shastra.
Neither will they answer the question as to what empowered the process in the first place.
That answer is simple. The process was established and empowered by the eternally living instructions of the spiritual master.
His instructions are what empowered the process. His instructions establishing the system did not violate any Vedic injunction, thus his instructions and the process as he set it up are authorized. They were empowered by his words and everyone, including the GBC, accept this fact - at least up to his disappearance. What the GBC have failed to do is to provide any viable, verifiable shastric evidence that the process automatically becomes bogus at the disappearance of the body of the acharya. There is no such limitation because there is no such limitation on the instructions of the bona-fide spiritual master. His instructions never contained any such restriction or limitation. His instruction are living and eternal. There are no other shastric injunctions that limit or restrict this process, thus his words stand. His instructions empowered the Rtvik process before his departure, and they continue to empower the process.
The words and instructions of the spiritual master live eternally, and those who follow his instructions live with him.
The force that empowered the process on Nov 13th, 1977 remained in force, without any change or restriction, on Nov 15ht, 1977.
But, the GBC declare differently yet fail to provide valid shastric evidence to support their speculative position. Simply their own conjecture. Their own opinion, their own assumption or speculation.
The GBC simply say it is bogus - they argue it will mean the end of the sampradaya. That is not true.
Let's analyze the GBC view. The GBC say that on Nov 13th, 1977 the full and complete Rtvik process that Srila Prabhupad had set up was fully authorized. The process was empowered. (What empowered it?). But, the GBC say that on Nov 15th, 1977 that same process became invalid. It was not only no longer empowered. Not only do they say that the process became invalid, but they have gone so far to pass into ISKCON law that to even suggest that the process remains empowered by the eternal instructions of the our Founder-Acharya is a very serious deviation and offense toward Srila Prabhupad. On what shastric foundation do they base this extremely harsh view? What changed on the day of Nov 14th, 1977 that caused the process to turn from that of a fully authorized process, fully empowered, to that of a seriously deviant, invalid and bogus process? The only change was that the temporary body of the spiritual master stopped breathing. His body became cold. There was no other change.
On Nov 14th, 1977 Srila Prabhupad physically departed. Thus, by analysis of the GBC position we can only conclude that the GBC do not agree with us that what empowered the Rtvik process was the Eternally Living Instructions of our Founder-Acharya, Srila Prabhupad, but, instead by deduction we can only decern that they believe that it was his temporary vapu. No, not just his temporary vapu, since that was still present, and to this day sits in Samadhi in Vrndaban. No, it was not just his vapu, but the fact that his body was warm and breathing. It appears that the foundation of their argument is that the Rtvik process is dependent upon the warm breathing body of the guru. As soon as the body become breathless, then the process becomes invalid and anyone who says different is to be seen as a fallen deviant.
The point is the only difference between Nov 13th and Nov 15th, 1977, was that Srila Prabhupad's body was no longer warm and breathing. And, on that basis the GBC declared the Rtvik process was no longer valid and empowered. Thus, the GBC base their view that the process is and was only ever empowered by the warm body of the guru, and never by his eternal instructions.
This is obviously scriptually Wrong. It may sound unfair that I attribute such a shastricly wrong conclusion upon the GBC, however, the GBC have refused to discuss these things with me and refuse to state the basis themselves what they say empowered the process and what is now missing that caused it to become bogus. Since they refuse to discuss, I am left to show their view by means of logic deduction.
I raised this same argument about 4-5 years ago with some godbrothers who support the GBC position. One was a member of the GBC commissioned sub-committe to research the Vedas and the GBC have many times turned to him to help support their view. After some days of discussion we landed on this point and I asked that he provide an alternative explanation or answer. He gave a rather emotional response. He replied (paraphrasing, since the original email is long lost) that he didn't care what philosophic argument I gave, he simply would never - ever - accept that an on-going rtvik process is bona-fide. And that was then end of the discussion. He could not counter my logic. He refused to give any other alternative explanation as to what they say once made the process bonafide that changed and made it deviously bogus. Even though he and others used the word 'fanatic' to describe the rtvik supporters, his actions spoke loudly of that of a fanatic. Rather then continue a sober philosophical debate, rather then counter my logic with sound logic, he instead declared he didn't care what philosophic and logical argument was presented, he simply would not accept it. That is the action of a fanatic. Someone whose ideas are based on strong sentiment and emotion, not upon strong logic, philosophy or shastric evidence. It shows that he reached the end where he could any longer support his view by logic and could not defeat me by logic, thus he called off the discussion.
Unfortunately this has been the position the GBC have taken now for many years. One of fanatics. They refuse to openly and publicy discuss or debate the issue based on logic, philosophical argument and shastra. Thus, they no longer defend their stand by philosophic prowess, but have turned to simply advocating total intolerence to those who support the rtvik views. Thus, they inspire physical attacks of violence against those who do not support their view rather then philosophic discussion and debate.
I sent so many letters to the GBC requesting, then begging them, to please discuss my views. They refused. Only Jayadwaita replied (and he is not a voting member of the GBC, but rather is board member of the BBT). And, his non-response reply was that he would NOT enter any public discussion, but would only discuss this privately. Why only privately? To avoid humiliation and public defeat? Still, he was in India, i was in America and we had not seen each other for nearly 10 years, so his idea that we discuss it only in private was not acceptable, and i told him this. He would not agree to discuss, rather he sent me his article in which he addressed a number of points in his attempt to defeat the rtviks. I responded to this by defeating all his points and begged further discussion. He only replied saying that he refused to be 'dragged' into a public discussion, and he did not respond to a single one of my points or entered into any further discussion at all.
The GBC will not discuss the points. They throw up smoke screens with harsh rhetoric, but they will not discuss the philosophic foundation of our opposing views.
The Current ISKCON Gurus ARE the Rtviks
This is one of the most perplexing aspects of the whole thing. The GBC have taken such a strong stand opposing the idea of an on-going Rtvik system, while advocating that their system is bonafide and the ongoing Rtvik system is bogus, yet, in reality the very system they have set up is a rtvik system. The maddness is that they don't realize it.
The GBC argue that the new gurus are "regular gurus". However, i have defined in my article Become Regular Guru what a regular guru really is. A regular guru has his own ashram where he is the highest spiritual authority leading his disciples. Current ISKCON gurus are not the highest authority in the ashrams or of the new disciples, the GBC is. In fact, the ISKCON gurus do not have their own ashram, but function as a sub-authority within the ISKCON ashram. Their authority is subject to the higher authority of the GBC. It is the GBC who has the authority to sanction (sanctify or ordain) that a person is now 'authorized' by the GBC to now initiate devotees in ISKCON. The GBC has the power to withdraw that sanctification and proclaim that a person is no longer authorized. And, just like all other devotees, including their so-called disciples, the gurus themselves are fully under the authority of the GBC and must abide by their rules. Thus, the true authority over all devotees in ISKCON is the GBC. And, further, the 'gurus' only initiate once they have been empowered or authorized by the GBC. Thus, they initiate under the higher authority of the GBC. This menas that they can be defined as rtviks or representatives of the GBC. New devotees become more initiates of ISKCON then they become initiates of the 'guru'. This is proven by the fact that if a guru falls down the GBC act as the ultimate authority and instruct the disciples to remain submissive to their authority while rejecting the authority of their initiating guru.
None of this is at all 'traditional' and none of it comes close to the definition of being a 'regular guru'. A regualr guru has their own ashram in which they function as the ultimate single authority of that ashram. The ISKCON GBC-appointed gurus do not have their own ashram and cannot function as the ultimate authority of even their own disciples, but the GBC remains the ultimate authority. Thus, the current gurus act more as that of rtvik of the GBC then they do regular gurus.
The current GBC appointed gurus are really Rtviks, yet, the GBC do not understand this and continue to poison the devotees by preaching that those who support a rtvik system are demonically devious and must be kicked out, disrespected and scorned.
- sorry, that is all the time i have, this was more a ramblng quick write then an article, but it is all the time i have for now
Last modified January 21, 2007