IRG - Mar 26 1999 - This is in response to H.G. Jahnu prabhu's recently posted paper, optimistically entitled 'Point For Point Rebuttal of TFO'. We would firstly like to offer the author our sincerest commiseration's over the recent departure of his initiating guru Harikesa das. We can only imagine what effect such a thing would have on a devotee's faith and ability to continue in spiritual life. We hope what follows will help Jahnu prabhu to reconsider his aversion to Srila Prabhupada's continued diksa status. Srila Prabhupada will never let him down since he is an authorised member of the disciplic succession. We would also like to commend the author for actually quoting 'The Final Order' verbatim, rather than just making up what we say, as is common practice.
Jahnu's 'Rebuttal' makes a total of 344 points. Some 40% of these points either directly or indirectly rely on appeals to the May 28th tape as irrefutable evidence overriding our modifications A & B from 'The Final Order' (T.F.O). The justification for this heavy reliance on the tape as principal evidence is said by Jahnu (henceforward the 'author') to have been proven in the paper 'Disciple of My Disciple' (DOMD). However, this paper was itself comprehensively refuted in our counter response- 'The Final Order Still Stands'- which was itself a post-script at the back of 'The Final Order'. Throughout the author's 'Rebuttal' paper it is asserted that the ending of the ritvik system and the ordering of diksa gurus is proven on the conversation segment from the famous May 28th tape, and yet this very assertion is demonstrated as false in 'The Final Order Still Stands'. Not once does the author actually rebut any of the points made in our response to DOMD. Thus, at least 40 % of the author's so-called 'Rebuttal' paper is based on a paper which has itself been refuted for nearly three years, and is thus quite pointless.
20% of the 'Rebuttal' paper is spent denouncing some of the 40 objections answered within T.F.O. (pages 6-20 and 27-50) as being 'straw man' arguments, since it is claimed the GBC have never collectively raised them as objections to the re-implementation of the final July 9th order. Two points are to be made here:
A further 20% of the 'Rebuttal' paper comprises of points that ignore the substance of what we say in T.F.O. The author will argue that we are using 'half-truths' and 'red herrings', or he attacks what he perceives as 'implied' or 'suggested' by our statements. We shall demonstrate that the actual validity of our points in such cases remains intact. Thus before we even commence our analysis we can see that at least 80 % of the paper is completely irrelevant and dare we say, pointless.
The remainder of the paper comprises of the author himself using 'straw man' arguments or making claims which are either demonstrably false or are contradicted by other GBC papers (*3* of which he refers to in this very 'Rebuttal').
We have not felt it necessary therefore to answer all 344 points raised in the 'Rebuttal' paper, (no doubt a relief to the reader), since by establishing -from a reasonably sized sample- that all the points in the paper fall into one or other of the above pointless percentage groups, we will have effectively destroyed its credibility.
The central issue in 'TFO' was the need to be given evidence for Modifications A & B. In the author's 'point for point' reply to TFO the author has attempted to answer these modifications by stating that they do not actually exist, but are already pre-empted by what occurred in the May 28th tape (from now on all extracts from the author's 'Rebuttal' paper shall be boxed followed by our comments:
As we have pointed out previously the GBC have:
Thus it is some cold comfort to be told that this taped evidence gives 'clear' and 'explicit' support to the GBC's disbanding of the ritvik system and the resultant M.A.S.S. Indeed this is now the only evidence on offer, which apparently allows the GBC to blithely disregard the conclusions of T.F.O. If this evidence so clearly supports the M.A.S.S. one might ask how it was that the entire GBC operated the bogus zonal acarya system for so many years, driving away many dissenters in the process? 'Clear' and 'explicit' are not adjectives, which immediately spring to mind when reading the following extract from H.G. Ravindra Svarupa's paper:
('Under My Order, H.G. Ravindra Svarupa prabhu, 1985)
It is ironic that in his role as chairman of the ISKCON protection ministry (if he still is), Ravindra Svarupa is contradicted by a paper that should be supporting him.
It should also be pointed out that the author of the 'Rebuttal' paper later uses a transcript of the tape that differs in two key places from the one used by Ravindra Svarupa in his above mentioned paper. In 'Under My Order' H.G Ravindra Svarupa uses a transcript which he claims was 'checked and corrected by Jayadvaita Swami', and was never challenged at the time or subsequently. We noticed that later on the GBC simply changed the transcript to better serve the distorted interpretation they wanted to squeeze out of this brief exchange of words.
'Under My Order' has the lines:
"So on my behalf. On My Order, amara ajnaya guru hana, he is actually guru. But by my order."
The GBC approved author has now changed this to:
"So on my behalf, on my order... Amara ajnaya guru hana. Be actually guru, but by my order."
Above we see significant changes to words and punctuation.
'Under My Order' has the lines:
"Who is initiating. His grand-disciples."
The GBC approved author has changed this to:
"Who is initiating. He is grand-disciple."
This is highly significant. It demonstrates that deliberate cheating is being perpetrated by some of the most senior devotees in the movement, even as we write. How such persons think they can get away with this flagrant mendacity beggars belief, especially given the enormous spotlight currently illuminating this entire issue. It also shows that Ravindra Svarupa prabhu, at least at one time, accepted that Srila Prabhupada was speaking in the 3rd person, since how is it possible for a ritvik to initiate his own grand-disciple- 'Who is initiating. His grand-disciples'. When we asserted that Srila Prabhupada was doing this in T.F.O. the GBC ridiculed us in DOMD, and yet how else can the conversation be made sense of? Of course it can not, and that is why the GBC's sympathisers are dishonestly presenting falsified transcripts to back up their allegedly falsified (according to their own report) tape. What a mess!
If the reader were looking to the author's 'Rebuttal' paper for new information, arguments or answers they will certainly be disappointed since it merely repeats what was presented in the first GBC reply to the TFO - 'Disciple of My Disciple' (DOMD), which the author asks us to refer to for further information. As mentioned DOMD has already been defeated by the 'Final Order Still Stands' and readers are therefore advised to refer to that. In the 'Rebuttal' paper the author repeatedly assumes and claims that the tape 'ordered gurus' and that the tape 'stops the ritvik system' etc. and yet we have already clearly shown that this is not the case.
We shall herein show that the 'Rebuttal' paper not only contradicts DOMD, the very paper it relies on to support its central thesis, but also seriously contradicts itself. As if that were not bad enough it also contradicts the GBC paper 'Gurus and Initiation in ISKCON' (GII), a paper the author also endorses in this very 'Rebuttal'. The author also contradicts other relevant sources such as H.G. Ravindra Svarupa Prabhu. Thus as well as not assisting in defeating the central thesis of TFO, this reply also manages to make the GBC position look even more ridiculous than it did before (if that is possible).
It is now a long-standing tradition that we commence our rebuttal papers with how the latest GBC sponsored offering contradicts previous GBC positions. Sometimes GBC members and apologists argue along the lines of 'so what if there are contradictions, at least we are getting it right now, everybody makes mistakes' etc. The problem is that the contradictions we point out relate to GBC positions that are still accepted as current GBC siddhanta. In such circumstances this lame excuse just does not wash. And when the contradictions are in relation to GBC papers that are mentioned as reference for further guidance within the very same papers the contradictions appear, and when these farcical positions are then promoted with fanatical zeal, with dissenters being banned and ostracised, one ends up with a very sick society indeed. Welcome to ISKCON.
As mentioned this current GBC friendly reply is a continuation of a partial response to TFO given earlier called 'Disciple of My Disciple' (DOMD, 1997). TFO itself was written partially in response to the 'final siddhanta' of the GBC called 'Gurus and Initiation in ISKCON' (GII-1995) mentioned previously.
We will start by showing how the current 'Rebuttal' paper contradicts both DOMD and GII, even though the current paper actually underpins its assertions by asking readers to refer back to DOMD. (All quotes from the 'Rebuttal' paper shall be boxed, from now on our comments shall follow):
It also accepts we should follow GII. This is only to be expected since GII was put out by H.G. Ravindra Svarupa Prabhu, the principal architect of the MASS, former EC Committee member and (we believe still) Chairman of the Ministry for the Defence of ISKCON (a body that will have plenty to occupy it in the coming months):
How could Srila Prabhupada have 'accepted' a term that does 'not exist', moreover accept it to 'denote someone who would be initiating his grand-disciples?' Why is Srila Prabhupada accepting bogus non-existent terms to describe how his disciples would initiate? And since this was the first and last time he was to do so, how would Srila Prabhupada have expected anyone to understand what he meant?
In the first quote the author is clearly stating that the May 28th conversation speaks of the ritviks not accepting their own disciples, and that the employment of ritviks was only for whilst Srila Prabhupada was still present i.e. - 'proxy initiations'. We then see that DOMD states the precise opposite. Absurdly in the second quote from the 'Rebuttal' we see the author changes his mind and contradicts himself by stating that the tape makes no mention of a 'proxy' system.
Both the author of the 'Rebuttal' paper and DOMD clearly state that the order for becoming guru came from the May 28th tape, which alludes only to the '11' who were soon to be named. Or are they arguing that on the tape everyone was ordered to initiate, which then begs the question as to why only 11 did so. Or had the order for everyone to initiate already been given, in which case again it begs the question why Srila Prabhupada now made a point of re-ordering only a potential '11' on the tape?
The author is making it clear that the July 9th letter only arose as a result of an 'emergency' to 'relieve' Srila Prabhupada because he had become too sick. That the letter was simply a general announcement as a result of Srila Prabhupada's illness. This line of reasoning is interesting since in DOMD the GBC did not state this at all. Rather DOMD argues that the July 9th letter flows naturally from the May 28th conversation, which DOMD claims speaks only of Srila Prabhupada's disciples initiating after Srila Prabhupada has left:
Here we see the July 9th arrangement is for certain disciples to start the 'natural process'. There is no mention whatsoever in DOMD of the ritviks filling-in in an 'emergency'. There is nothing 'natural' about an emergency.
Here we see the July 9th letter is a 'follow-up' to the order to be guru not an 'emergency' communiqué as a result of Srila Prabhupada's illness.
Here the July 9th letter comes out of a promise made in the May 28th conversation. Yet there is no mention in the May 28th conversation about setting up some group to specifically 'relieve' Srila Prabhupada in an 'emergency'.
Here we see the July 9th letter as the confirmation of the order to become gurus, and the persons who are named in the July 9th letter are those who will begin this process. Yet the author of the 'Rebuttal' paper has us believe that those named in the July 9th letter were actually just some sort of 'emergency sickness cover'!
Not only does the letter in question state that it is a 'law' but so does GII, which was produced by the Protection Ministry Chairman (if that he still be) H.G. Ravindra Svarupa Prabhu:
"We must assume that as founder-acarya, Srila Prabhupada had the vision to set down a law--a law suitable for that unique institution, a law we would transgress at our peril." ('Devotees Initiating Before their Guru's Physical Departure', GBC in GII)
Again it is stated in the illustrious GBC members own work - GII:
Please note here that the GBC paper GII agrees with us that there could only be two possibilities - that either Srila Prabhupada was going to depart before 1975, or that he was planning to create ritviks who would initiate on his behalf by 1975. GII is still official GBC siddhanta. Thus the author is directly contradicting the GBC's siddhanta. Maybe he should be disciplined in the same way ritviks are for going against the GBC.
The author of the 'Rebuttal' paper wishes to make it very clear that the word ritvik has no connection with 'proxy-initiations' or initiating whilst Srila Prabhupada is still present:
Yet H.G.Ravindra Svarupa prabhu insists that the word ritvik only has full relevance when Srila Prabhupada is present i.e. as a proxy-guru:
Please note that the above paper is what helped dismantle the zonal acharya system and launch the current M.A.S.S. in all its forms, and thus is considered still very much valid today.
Here the author again contradicts the ministry chairman, this time on the issue of the '11' being authorised as gurus.
In some places, the author is sure that Srila Prabhupada did not order any such thing as a 'ritvik system'. In others he hedges his bets and says Srila Prabhupada may have done so, but the word ritvik is to somehow be understood differently from the way we do in TFO. In another place the author accepts that the 'ritvik system' does exist, with Srila Prabhupada allegedly stating that it should 'continue until his departure' (though no such quote is ever produced).
Also in stating the above the author as well as contradicting himself, is also contradicting H.H. Jayadvaita Swami:
The above contradiction is all the more bizarre since the author quotes the above phrase himself on another point. So to be fair, H.H. Jayadvaita Swami had 'baptised' it a 'ritvik system' even before we did in TFO!
The author continues to show more confusion in regards to whether or not a ritvik system was ever set up:
The above contention is again quite peculiar since we stated the above assertion based on the esteemed advice of H.H. Jayadvaita Swami who had earlier, in his above mentioned paper, explained his understanding of the July 9th letter thus:
The same letter, he goes on to say later, clearly 'establishes a ritvik-guru system'. We think that H.H Jayadvaita Swami is eminently capable of representing the GBC view on this issue. Further, this paper by H.H. Jayadvaita Swami Maharaja is extremely relevant since it was referred to by H.G. Ravindra Svarupa prabhu for 'in depth study' in 'Srila Prabhupada's Guru System vs. ritvikvada: The Facts Plain And Simple' (H.G. Ravindra Svarupa prabhu, 1998).
Thus, in claiming that we are telling 'lies' the author is also calling H.H. Jayadvaita Maharaja and H.G. Ravindra Svarupa liars too! We think they should be informed so that the author can be appropriately disciplined.
The author accuses us of lying on numerous occasions throughout his pathetically pointless tome. So far, with all the external and internal contradictions we have shown, it seems the author and the GBC are the ones who have been lying to themselves and each other. At this point it would seem merciful to stop. This current 'reply' serves no purpose other than to drag the GBC's reputation further into disrepute. We would suggest that the author of this current GBC friendly reply, the authors of DOMD and the current members of the 'Ministry for the Protection for ISKCON', all get together to figure out their story, and then come back with a consistent position that actually offers some evidence.
The author's paper is over 100 pages long and does indeed attempt to answer 'point for point' TFO. In total the author makes some 344 points. Sadly, virtually all of these points are pointless and invalid since they fall into one of the following 5 categories:
Simply dismissing a point by suggesting a regurgitation of the already defeated arguments in DOMD regarding the May 28th tape.
Arguments that defeat propositions that are not actually stated in TFO.
Here the author attacks what he claims is 'implied' by our statements, or what else he claims we should have added - a 'half-truth'- as he calls it, or simply misrepresents what is actually said. The actual validity of exactly what is stated is not challenged.
Here the author dismisses our points by claiming that the GBC never made them. However, we never claimed that the GBC necessarily did make all these points, the 'objections' posed in TFO are all drawn from various devotees around the world who we have discussed this issue with, including H.H. Jayadvaita Swami Maharaja. Thus they are not 'Straw Man' arguments since we never attributed them to any specific source - the whole point of a 'straw man' argument.
A miscellaneous category that mops up all the other points that the author makes.
Although we have highlighted the overall ineptitude of the author's 'Rebuttal' paper, stating the fact that we do not need to reply in full since it does not offer any new arguments or evidence, and is hopelessly inconsistent and contradictory; still some devotees may want to see a complete refutation. To do this would probably take well over 200 pages and would be over-kill given the flaws already revealed. However, just to demonstrate that the entire paper is of a consistently poor quality we will now answer all the first 35 or so rebuttal points made by the author.
The points from TFO that the author attempts to rebut are reproduced first and enclosed in " ", and denoted by [TFO]. The supposed refutation will follow underneath, with the whole thing enclosed thus boxed; once more our comments will follow.
This is an example of category 2 error - 'Straw Man'- since we never state in TFO that 'Srila Prabhupada changed his own teachings on Gaudiya Vaisnava siddhanta with one word - henceforward'. Also how can this statement be 'ignoring' anything since TFO later devotes a whole separate section to the May 28th conversation, pages 21-26.
This is an example of category 3 error - Ignoring the Substance - since the fact still remains that it was an unauthorised guru system - which is all we state. We offer no comment on the nature of the deviation since that does not affect the actual point we are making.
This falls into the category of miscellaneous. All we can say is that if the GBC does not accept the above account, then it should immediately withdraw the various position papers and resolutions from which we gathered the above. See for instance 'Under My Order', H.G. Ravindra Svarupa prabhu, 1985. Also useful source material is 'Several Grievances Against the GBC', 1986, and 'Where the ritviks Are Right', 1996, both by H.H. Jayadvaita Swami.
This is a category 3 error - 'Ignoring the Substance' - what we state above is simply a fact. Mentioning the fact that it is 'signed' merely confirms its authenticity since many GBC's have argued that it was simply a letter from H.H. Tamala Krishna Goswami only. We never state that non-signed instructions from the Guru can be ignored. Also how can it be an attempt to 'negate' the May 28 conversation since we examine the May 28th tape in depth in TFO, and are more than happy to accept any orders which are issued on it? When we examine the May 28th conversation we see that ritviks were ordered 'particularly' for that time when Srila Prabhupada was no longer with us. That is fine by us.
This is an example of a category 3 error - 'Ignoring the Substance' - What the author fails to point out is that straight after we quote H.H. Jayadvaita Maharaja we state the very same 'question' that Maharaja 'asks'. We present the 'question' in the form of two modifications to the final order; namely that the appointees should stop acting as ritviks on departure (modification a), and that they should then become diksa gurus, (modification b). We say that it is the imposition of these modifications, which lie at the heart of the controversy. Jayadvaita Maharaja chooses to present the 'question at hand' in a different way, as is his prerogative. It is strange that the author omits to mention this since the very next thing he quotes from our paper is:
Category 1 -'Appeal to the Tape' - We simply state the obvious point that statements a) and b) are modifications in relation to the letter, since there is no evidence for a) and b) given in the letter. This is something, which the author himself later admits:
We then proceed to examine if indeed these modifications are based on an order from Srila Prabhupada in the May 28th conversation. How are we implying anything at this point when the remainder of TFO is spent merely seeking to examine the basis for these modifications?
Category 1 - 'Appeal to the Tape' - We make the above point in relation to the fact that Srila Prabhupada had sent a policy directive out to the whole movement. We are asking why Srila Prabhupada would omit modifications A & B, which are crucial since they would affect the running of the movement for thousands of years to come, and instead only include details relevant for a few short months? Especially when the whole letter begins by stating that it is a record of the 'oral' instruction given on May 28th:
(July 9th Letter)
Yet the letter does not contain any mention of this supposed 'Guru order' that was allegedly given in the above meeting.
Also the author argues later that such monumental information was to be imparted by the GBC to the rest of the movement. This simply raises two further questions:
If the author can provide reasonable answers to these questions, we will concede his point.
Category 1 Error - 'Appeal to the Tape' - To move from an assumption to a fact one needs evidence. The author is foolishly proposing we begin by assuming something is a fact, and then prove that it isn't only an assumption. The onus of proof is on the person who is claiming that something is a fact. An assumption is merely what one is left with by default, due to the absence of evidence. It is the existence of such claimed evidence that TFO seeks to investigate. As we later show in both TFO and in the 'Final Order Still Stands', it is not at all clear that Srila Prabhupada 'wanted his disciples to initiate new devotees who would become his grand-disciples'. In fact, this point has never been 'clear' to the GBC itself, since they have used many different phrases, and different interpretations of these phrases from the May 28th conversation, as evidence for this 'clear' claim.
Category 2 Error - 'Straw Man' - We do not say "Srila Prabhupada's spoken words are less important than a signed document' in the section quoted, as anyone reading it can clearly ascertain. We simply state a FACT - the July 9th letter WAS the only signed policy statement on the future of initiation.
Category 3 Error - 'Ignoring the Substance' - Since we do not even suggest that this incompleteness means we should not follow Srila Prabhupada's order, it is the above assertion that is an 'example of a red herring'. We simply state that we find the omission 'puzzling' that's all. Having read the author's paper we are no less puzzled.
Category 5 Error - 'Miscellaneous' - We have already answered this point twice already. You begin with an assumption. You look for evidence. Then once you find the evidence, the assumption becomes a fact. Assumptions are established simply by default at the outset before one seeks supporting evidence. Our starting point was modifications a) and b) in relation to the letter. In relation to the letter only, a) and b) are assumptions, as even the author has admitted:
This is a repeat of an invalid point raised by DOMD, and reader might wish to refer to 'The Final Order Still Stands' where it is fully dealt with.
Category 1 Error - 'Appeal to the Tape' - How could an order to stop the system be given on May 28, when the author himself admits that the system is not even mentioned on May 28th?
Also how can you stop a system that the author claims was never even established?:
Category 5 Error - ' Miscellaneous' - So please show us where Srila Prabhupada stated that 'it should be disbanded on my departure'. Of course he said no such thing.
Category 2 - 'Straw Man' - We never state that if Srila Prabhupada had given an order that his disciples must initiate, then this instruction would be overruled by the stipulation to not change anything as given in the will. On the contrary, as the author has pointed out, such an instruction would be in harmony with the will. The problem for the author is that he fails to produce such a generally applicable instruction.
Category 5 - 'Miscellaneous' - An identical argument was made in another GBC inspired paper. We re-produce the reply given then, which has still to be countered:
Thus we are told the line: 'The system of management will continue as it is now and there is no need of any change' is only a 'straightforward statement' that 'refers to the way temples should be organised'. But that is precisely our point. Part of the way Temples were organised was that when candidates emerged who were suitable for initiation, their names would be sent to the respective ritvik. Thus the ritvik system was part and parcel of the way temples were organised. In one sense the primary purpose for Temples even existing in the first place was to train devotees up to the standard required for initiation, not just to be able to boast 'three executive directors'.
It seems the author is making the absurd assertion that the only aspect of temple organisation that Srila Prabhupada did not want changed was the principle of having 'three executive directors'. In other words you could scrap everything else, such as having a Temple President or a Treasurer, or donating proceeds of book sales to the BBT or maintaining the Deities, just as long as you proudly keep 'three executive directors' somewhere in the temple building!
From a purely legal angle:
If the above were not the case then the following point would need careful consideration by the GBC:
The 'no change' clause only comes in section 2 of the will, not in section 1 which mentions the GBC, so unless it can be applied to the entire will the GBC could legitimately be disbanded.
However tempting the above scenario might sound to some, we could not support such an interpretation of the will since we know it is not what Srila Prabhupada wanted. We might even muster the support of the GBC itself on this point.
Category 1 Error - 'Appeal to the Tape' - We have already answered this point regarding the supposed existence of an order on the May 28th tape 'disbanding the ritvik system' above. We also have a whole section in TFO which examines whether the tape contains any information that would legitimately 'disband the ritvik system'.
Category 1 Error - 'Appeal to the Tape- As we show in TFO in the May 28th tape section and in 'The Final Order Still Stands', the May 28th tape does not change any system of initiation, but establishes one. The letter itself states that it is setting out a system of initiation that was mentioned earlier at a meeting rather like the one that occurred on May 28th:
Category 5 Error - 'Miscellaneous' - The statement in the will states that all future directors must be selected from Srila Prabhupada's initiated disciples. The letter states the '11' ritviks had been selected 'thus far' to perform the initiations. This was a system set up by Srila Prabhupada. It would need to be maintained by the GBC. The will makes specific provision about who future directors must be. The letter makes no specific restriction on whom the ritviks may be. Thus how can it be the 'same logic? This is illogical.
Category 1 Error - 'Appeal to the Tape' - This is just repeating the same point that has already been answered above.
Category 5 Error - 'Miscellaneous' - Unfortunately history shows that these 11 individuals were indeed eager to take on the role, unauthorisedly installing big vyasasanas etc. Indeed the sponsor of this very paper, H.G. Ravindra Svarupa Prabhu, very incisively wrote about what someone in the future would write about what happened:
If the author feels that 'waiting in the sidelines' is heavy, maybe he needs to have a few words with Ravindra Svarupa.
Category No 1. Error - 'Appeal to the Tape' - Again the author just keeps stating the very thing that needs to be proven - did Srila Prabhupada order the ritviks to go on and initiate their own disciples after he departed? As we show in TFO, the tape does not reveal any order for the ritviks to initiate their own disciples, or for the ritvik system to stop. Plus this statement by the author 'It has not been established that Srila Prabhupada's disciples would not initiate disciples of their own' is a 'classic argumentative blunder, a textbook fallacy', in the words of H.H. Jayadvaita Swami:
Maharaja also teaches the same point in his 'Strong Speaking, Clear Thinking' course. One does not need to establish a negative. That will always be the normal state of affairs in the absence of any evidence. Thus, the onus is on the other side to present that evidence. TFO and 'The Final Order Still Stands' have already established that such evidence does not exist on the tape.
Category 5 Error - 'Miscellaneous' - The absurdity of this statement by the author is proven by the existence of the words 'continue', 'for the future' and 'henceforward', which have all been used in conjunction with the July 9th instruction (see appendices to TFO). All these words mean a continuation. Whether or not that continuation exists past Srila Prabhupada's departure will depend on whether or not the author can provide any evidence to bring about a discontinuation of the system at departure. All the author has done is ask us to accept the already defeated arguments that were originally presented in 'Disciple of My Disciple'. A paper that he himself contradicts on several key issues, as already demonstrated. What could be more pointless than that?
Category 5 Error - Miscellaneous - DOMD stated that the ritvik system is not even mentioned on the tape:
How then can there be an order to terminate an entity that is not even mentioned? Of course DOMD argues that Srila Prabhupada established gurus for after his departure, and by implication this would SUBSTITUTE/REPLACE the ritvik system. But our original statement still remains accurate - No order to TERMINATE THE ritvik SYSTEM is given on the tape - and this is accepted by the GBC in DOMD.
Category 5 Error - Miscellaneous - We have already answered this point in our 'contradictions' section above by quoting from H.H. Jayadvaita Swami's paper. The very paper that the chairman of the protection ministry responsible for dealing with this issue on behalf of the GBC (who was also a GBC executive committee member) has said we should refer to for evidence on this issue. Thus both ourselves and the GBC accept this point. Maybe the author is representing some 3rd organisation like the Gaudiya Matha, in which case we would have to withdraw our statement.
Category 1 Error - 'Appeal To The Tape' - The author has tied himself in knots here:
So the author is admitting that in presenting the tape as evidence for change the onus is on him not us. Whether or not the evidence is valid is another issue, but the author has tacitly agreed that the onus of proof is on him, since he is the one who is seeking to justify the change to the order of Srila Prabhupada given in the letter.We are not seeking to institute anything. Srila Prabhupada already instituted the system in the July 9th letter. We are simply seeking to follow it till we have evidence that we should stop. If the author is arguing that following the system past departure is against 'guru, sadhu and sastra' then let him demonstrate this, and that also will be enough to persuade us to stop. But that's the whole point. The reason why the ritvik idea is now taking over ISKCON is because for many years we have simply been told that either 'it was terminated on the tape' or that it was 'against guru, sadhu and sastra', but these points have never been demonstrated, just re-stated. TFO has simply called the GBC's bluff, and they have been found wanting.
Category 1 Error - 'Appeal To The Tape' - The author is now sounding like a broken record. He is following the maxim that if you repeat something enough times people may believe it, his two main responses being- 'It's a lie' and 'It's on the tape'. Unfortunately for the author, we are no longer in the zonal acarya days when such pronouncements might have been accepted as gospel. Nowadays devotees wish to see evidence for such claims - evidence, which is sadly lacking in the author's paper.
Further, it is strange that the author is stating that his version of events on the tape is a 'traditional vedic system of initiation'. DOMD states that on the tape Srila Prabhupada is appointing 'ritviks' who double up as diksa gurus on Srila Prabhupada's departure - that a ritvik is non-different to a diksa guru. Yet the GBC themselves, along with the original MASS architect H.G. Ravindra Svarupa Prabhu told us in their official 'ISKCON Journal' that there 'is no such word as ritvik in the Vaisnava dictionary'! In fact so desperate were they to get this statement they went to H.H. Narayana Maharaja who is now regarded as an arch-enemy by the GBC. Now the very word, which does not exist in the 'Vaisnava dictionary', has become the very basis for a 'traditional vedic system of initiation'! How much longer will the GBC and their apologists go on spouting garbage like this?
Category 1 Error - 'Appeal To The Tape' - But the letter does not just 'refer' to the tape. If it is referring to the May 28th conversation, then it states that what follows in the letter is what happened on the tape:
(July 9th Letter)
There is no mention here that the letter will then proceed to omit whatever information the author claims is on the tape to support his case.
Thus by using this argument the author has foolishly invalidated his central argument, that the tape modifies the letter and 'terminates the ritvik system'. Since the letter is simply the record of the tape, how then can the letter be modified by itself?
Category 5 - 'Miscellaneous' - Why would anyone think that Srila Prabhupada's disciples would accept disciples whilst Srila Prabhupada was present? Especially when the 'law' of disciplic succession is supposed to have been preached continuously by Srila Prabhupada from the very beginning.
Category 1 Error - 'Appeal to the Tape - Finally, rather than keep referring us to DOMD, the author himself ventures to offer some evidence for the first time in his paper. We will now examine each of these 6 'orders' to see if an 'order' is indeed given, and what precisely is being ordered:
Srila Prabhupada here states that 'the person who gives the initiation' is the 'guru'. There is nothing new here.
Neither is there any 'order' here. If there is, we would like to know how the phrase 'He's Guru', is an 'order'. It is an answer
to a question about 'who gives the initiation'. To whom is this 'order' supposedly, being directed at? It can not be to the ritviks, since they do not yet exist - Srila Prabhupada has only indicated that he will name some in the future. Also, so far at this point there is no evidence that the
ritvik 'will give the initiation', for Srila Prabhupada up to this point has only defined a 'ritvik' as a priest not a diksa Guru (see TFO page 27 for all 32 separate references).
So no 'order' is found here, that's for sure.
Now if an order to be guru is supposed to have been given here, where exactly is it given? DOMD claims that the words 'on my order' are in themselves the order to be guru. But to whom is the order given? To the ritviks that do not yet exist? To Satvarupa to whom Srila Prabhupada is speaking? To everyone who happens to be listening? To all of Srila Prabhupada's disciples? Who can say?
Srila Prabhupada is simply repeating the 'on my order' phrase as used by Lord Caitanya 500 years ago. DOMD itself states that this order given by Lord Caitanya does not need to be repeated. So why does Srila Prabhupada need to repeat it here to indicate that he is
giving an order? Also Srila Prabhupada quoted this phrase from Lord Caitanya many times before. Was he also always ordering anyone who heard it then to become a diksa guru? If yes why does Srila Prabhupada need to repeat an order he has already given hundreds of times? If no, why on this occasion
do these 3 words suddenly become some magic dispensation to immediately become diksa gurus once Srila Prabhupada leaves? If he had already given it hundreds of times before how is it the GBC were so dense they had to come and ask him yet again?
All these points were made originally the first time
we read DOMD. They were unanswered then and they still remain unanswered to this very day. The author would do well therefore to answer them, instead of merely re-cycling previously defeated arguments.
Here Srila Prabhupada is stating the ownership of disciples. How again is this an 'order'? If we accept the transcript for the tape offered by Ravindra Svarupa, and not the author, this ownership of disciples becomes attributed to Srila Prabhupada. This is since in the very next phrase Srila Prabhupada states:
'Who is initiating. HIS grand-disciple.'
(Author's version - Who is initiating. He is Grand-disciple.)
The 'HIS' here definitely refers to Srila Prabhupada.
Thus before we even discuss this further the author needs to first explain why we should not accept the transcript approved by the former EC committee member, GBC and principal architect of the MASS, and which was
'checked and corrected' by H.H. Jayadvaita
Maharaja? Especially since anyone who listens to the tape will not hear the two words that are required to be spoken to render the author's version correct.
4.Prabhupada: Who is initiating. He is granddisciple.
We have already covered this above. Again regardless of the transcript, this is not an 'order'.
5.Prabhupada: When I order, "You become guru," he becomes regular guru. That's all.
There has been much arguing by DOMD that this phrase does not have to refer to an order to be given in the future.
Even if that is the case, the phrase above can not itself be an order, since it simply refers to a time 'when' such an order is given. It is
conditional. Whether that time is in the future, or has already occurred, it can not be at the precise moment the phrase is spoken.
Again, the author is jumping to the consequences were an order ever given. Whether or not that order is given somewhere else on the tape, or anywhere else, is another issue. The one thing that is clear is that this phrase in and of itself is not the illusive 'order'.
In summary we find it foolish of the author to try and claim that all of these 6 phrase were 'orders', when even DOMD only claims that phrase 2 and the words 'On My Order' are the actual order being issued, and the other phrases were simply talking about the consequences of the order having been issued. And as we have seen above, even this 'On My Order' is not evidence of Srila Prabhupada having issued an order for 11 of his disciples to become diksa gurus immediately upon his departure from the planet.
'So they can also be considered your disciples' if there was no 'proxy' relationship.
To round off we will take one more point from much further on in the paper to demonstrate that it does not get any better:
Category 5 Error - 'Miscellaneous' - Here we have the amazing claim that the fact that Srila Prabhupada did not appoint anyone as guru confirms he wanted everyone to initiate! How not doing the one thing is supposed to be confirmation of the other simply defies all logic and reason as it is known in this world. How can the fact that Srila Prabhupada does not appoint people as diksa guru be simultaneously confirming that he wanted them to initiate?
At this point we will stop. The reader will no doubt have a reasonable idea of the quality of this latest 'rebuttal' since we have covered well over 10% of it 'point for point'. As we said the issue of the evidence of the tape has been extensively covered both in TFO and in the 'Final Order Still Stands'. The arguments presented therein still to this day remained unanswered.
Careful readers will have noted that earlier we said 'virtually all' the points made by the author were invalid. We concede the paper does make one point, which the GBC should do well to imbibe. Having done so it will surely find no problem at all in adopting Srila Prabhupada's July 9th policy directive. To finish off we will leave you with this one point which is far from pointless:
Amen to that.
Thank you for your continued patience.