Srila Prabhupada’s Orders and ISKCON Leadership
By Damaghosa dasa
The concept of diksa in ISKCON is an interesting one indeed. It is very hard to believe that Srila Prabhupada, did not make absolutely sure that the system of initiation for his own ISKCON Society was precisely delineated before he entered into Samadhi. The fact that there is no substantial documentation of Srila Prabhupada’s instruction of this speaks to me of corruption by people who stood to gain materially from his passing.
There are many stories by the devotees who were there at the time and they have given their testimonies.
Puranjana,.Sudama , Yasodnandan, Hansadutta,Gauridas to name a few.and then there is the case of the approx 100 tapes missing during Prabhupadas last days. The murder of Sulocana, etc…
What we do know is that His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada made sure that he was the absolute authority, Acharya, for his ISKCON, both when he was manifest and after he entered into Samadhi. This puts to rest the “Next Acharya Myth”.
Yes after him, he said on Nov 2 in Hindi only Caitanya mahaprabhu can take his place
“He shall be the supreme power with respect to all matters of the Society, and that status shall not be occupied by or shared with any other individual, either during his lifetime, OR AFTER HIS DEATH.”
Kind of says it all, doesn’t it?
(Certificate of Incorporation: Jan 12 1976)
What we know for a fact is that the “Zonal Guru System” and its sequel “The Franchised Rubber Stamped Guru System” are absolutely unauthorized.
It is also our collective experience and history as a Society, that the above mentioned peer appointed Gurus are not pure devotees. The fall down and recidivist rate of these individuals is stark testimony of their ‘real’ level of realization.
What to speak of the fact that to assume such an exalted position when they were and still are not qualified speaks very accurately of their understanding of the philosophy as exposed be His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada and ultimately their loyalty/chastity to him.
The so called Gurus themselves know that they are not self realized. Don’t you…
Here this is a given for most-they know now what NOT to do, but what to DO, that they still dont know…
We also know as an absolute that Srila Prabhupada was very clear that he wanted all of his disciples to become pure devotees and once they did, he was more than happy that they initiate disciples all over the world. As would any self actualized or realized Guru / Teacher / Father or Mentor.
But the training must be complete-which it wasn’t, obviously..
770422r3.bom 482675/530501 Tamala Krsna: Well, I have studied myself and all of your disciples, and it’s clear fact that we are all conditioned souls, so we cannot be guru. Maybe one day it may be possible… Prabhupada: Hm. Tamala Krsna: …but not now. Prabhupada: Yes. I shall choose some guru. I shall say, “Now you become acarya. You become authorized.” I am waiting for that. You become all acarya. I retire completely. But the training must be complete. Tamala Krsna: The process of purification must be there. Prabhupada: Oh, yes, must be there. Caitanya Mahaprabhu wants that. Amara ajnaya guru hana. “You become guru.” (laughs) But be qualified. Little thing, strictly follower… Tamala Krsna: Not rubber stamp. Prabhupada: Then you’ll not be effective. You can cheat, but it will not be effective. Just see our Gaudiya Matha. Everyone wanted to become guru, and a small temple and “guru.” What kind of guru? No publication, no preaching, simply bring some foodstuff… My Guru Maharaja used to say, “Joint mess,” a place for eating and sleeping. Amar amar ara takana (?)(Bengali): “Joint mess.” He said this.
What this means is very simple. First become a pure Vaisnava. Which is not such an easy thing…?
I have penned many papers explaining how this is to be done all from quotes from the books.
But Srila Prabhupada established himself as the Acharya of ISKCON and he wants us to take shelter of his instructions and live in the house he built for us.
I am the initiator guru, and you should be the instructor guru by teaching what I am teaching and doing what I am doing. This is not a title, but you must actually come to this platform. This I want. (letter August 4, 1975)
So then one may ask what is the solution to initiation if all the above are problematic?
Devotees ask if I am a Ritvik…
I really don’t know what that means? Am I a Ritvik? What I am is a follower of Srila Prabhupada, I am not this or I am not that.
Yes this is the correct answer
They say that the Ritvik System is the only solution. Is it? Why so?
When I am asked these questions I wonder about the Systems Theory that states ‘The part does not operate separately from the whole’.
To me the term or position of a Ritvik is a Brahmin Priest who initiates on behalf of a Guru. It is a part of a System and subsequently not a ‘whole’.
The ritvik “system” is the system set up by Srila Prabhupada for the continuation of his movement.. Ironically, for those who dont understand this, this ” ritvik system” was already operating by 1972 when Prabhupada authorized Kirtananda to initiate on his behalf. Nobody knew this to be ritvik until July 9th, 1977 when the letter came out.
So NO – I am not a Ritvik.
Similar to if someone asks if I am a vegetarian. I say no I only eat what Lord Krishna has authorized. If He wanted me to eat meat I would. But he didn’t.
Therefore by this logic, to be a follower of Srila Prabhupada one must follow his instructions in this matter.There are simply no other instructions on how to continue initiations into the future but by this way.
The initiation process has been so muddled and corrupted by
the ISKCON leadership that it has become a foul concept. Even the term ‘Ritvik’ evokes an emotive reaction that far outweighs it intended meaning.
Yes the bogus gurus know the ways to “demonize their opponents, just like corrupt politicians.
Of course we know the answer to that. The GBC fear any system / mentality or attitude that shows them up to be the cheaters that they are. This is a well established fact. They know this and so do we.
Acaryopasanam–this is the time honored system that works
It is only natural for them to embark on a smear campaign to vilify and deny that there is any validity to any opposition that they face. They do this no matter how stupid and unintelligent their response is, they know that simply because they are in positions of power the general follower of ISKCON will believe them without question because they said it. Similar to the billions of people who believe anything they see on the one eyed guru called the Television.
That is why Prabhupada wrote his books–HE is telling us all WHO is guru, not any of us.
No matter how unauthorized the Ritvik System for diksa initiation is to anyone who walks this earth or who has walked this earth or whoever will walk this earth – Srila Prabhupada did establish this system in ISKCON when he was manifest. Hence to me it is an absolutely bonafide system.
Now the question remains is the Ritvik System the initiation system for ISKCON today…
Yes–and if you look, you will find several interviews with acaryas from the Madhva sampradaya and Ramanuja sampradays and they accept this principle as well, telling the devotees that new initiates today accept their sampradaya acarya as their primary diksa guru, while having several siksa gurus.
Before I discuss this I would like to go back a step to the Franchised Rubber Stamped Guru System. This system has had a very insidious influence on our spiritual society. It has introduced and acculturated the Guru Fan Club mentality into ISKCON.
Once you accept the real thing, all bogus things fall away
Due to this embarrassing process both the concept of a guru and disciple has been degraded commercialized and cheapened to the point that it has become an embarrassment to any sincere and intelligent seeker of the absolute truth. This is the pure sentimental idolatry of the Rock Band Groupie or Oscar winning Actor, nothing more and nothing less. It is an absolute embarrassment to our ISKCON Society.
Back to the Ritvik question and the part does not operate separately to the whole. Now in ISKCON the whole has been changed. This is no longer the ISKCON of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada. It was changed when the GBC and gurus changed the incorporation papers of both ISKCON and the BBT.
It started way before this prabhu–way before this
Without rehabilitating ISKCON, if we were to appoint individuals as Ritvik Priests, what will stop them from again abusing their position and recreating the Fan-club mentality?
Good point-even if GBC appointed ritviks, which they wont do, still the GBC are corrupt. A entire house cleaning is necessary.
The Ritvik System may be the way to go but are we ready for it now?
Not until critical mass has been achieved and most devotees understand the true Siddhanta-that’s why we published our book
It is my opinion that we must first boil the milk and get educated on what needs to be changed within ISKCON first. Make those changes. No one is going to die if they are not initiated and no one will die if they realized their Rubber Stamped Guru is cheating them.
Exactly-too much emphasis on getting a name and throwing a banana
This is a scientific process in the absolute sense. We need to find out the causes of our problems and systematically deal with that first. Everyone has a duty to find out what is the right thing to do and then be part of doing the right thing.
So here is your chance prabhu–dive into it whole heartedly and read what is already out there.
If that means that disciples of the unauthorized Rubber Stamped Gurus need to leave them then so be it. They will not die if they take shelter of Srila Prabhupada will they?
Ironically if you look at some of the back pages in the new paperback books put out by iskcon BBT-they tell the readers that to first offer their bhoga to a picture of Prabhuapda and chant Hare Krsna, then its offered prasadam. Then when they get their new “guru” they stop this process, offer to the iskcon guru, until he falls down, then are advised to once again offer bhoga to a picture of Prabhupada. So if in the beginning and the end, its ok to offer to picture of Prabhupada , and get prasadam,who need the in between bogus gurus???
The truth be known only Srila Prabhupada can give shelter and these Rubber Stamped Gurus know this very well. Don’t you…
Krsna will not kick a sincere soul out if they wake up and take shelter of Srila Prabhupada.
When the general devotee is freed from the misconception of the Rubber Stamped Guru we can finally begin to develop this movement the way in which His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada wanted us to develop it.
For me, diksa initiation is secondary and not the cause of the disease of our ISKCON Society.
The cause is a lack of spiritual and emotional maturity of the ISKCON leadership.
When one disobeys the orders of the acarya, he disconnects his relationship with guru. Therefore he is finished. This is where it all starts. When you add 2 plus 2 and get 5, even if you do all the math right after that, its all wrong. First thing is to obey God and guru.
Their intentions to not only degrade our Society but to thwart any intelligent criticism of their ploys must be understood to indicate that they are not being truthful.
As long as devotees are in ignorance they will be cheated -so the real problem is destroying ignorance thru proper siddhanta.
The fact that they have acted in such a manner for the last 33 years or so means that they need to be replaced and until they are, we will never have peace and we will never be able to mature and grow as both individuals and as a devotional society.
If anyone has hard evidence of the initiation process such as tapes / letters or personal testimonies then please send them to us using the contact us page.
Yours in the service of Srila Prabhupada