This document is a reply to the pamphlet entitled: "Continuing The Parampara", by Sivarama Swami.
The aim of the following presentation is to demonstrate point by point, how virtually every argument used by the author is incorrect. Even if the original pamphlet has not been read, since we will quote in full, word for word, the conclusion that the author proposes, and then comprehensively answer it, this presentation will also serve as a stand alone document. In effect, it acts as a handbook to highlight the errors in the main conclusions on guru-tattva that are currently being presented by both the author and the Governing Body Commission.
Continuing The Parampara is divided into five sections, making the following main points:
For ease of reference, this document will be structured in a format similar to the original presentation, since it is our intention to answer it section by section. Thus our section headings correspond exactly with those used in "Continuing The Parampara ", and all the quotes taken from 'Continuing' will be separated from the main text by being presented in boxed sections.
In addition, the author has referred to the proponents of the idea that Srila Prabhupada continued to remain a diksa guru through the use of ritviks, or priests, themselves as 'ritviks'. This is incorrect since we are not all priests. We wish to put Srila Prabhupada rightly back in the centre of our movement. Thus we are Prabhupada-Anugas, or followers of Srila Prabhupada, and this is how we shall refer to ourselves herein.
It is clear that a measure of progress has only been achieved because the leadership has been pressured into acknowledging these questions. It is worthy of comment that they have failed to do so voluntarily.
One might reasonably question why those who have begun to deal with these matters, matters that the author himself admits needs to be addressed, have been the victims of many reprehensible actions:
Srila Prabhupada indicates that behaviour of this nature is unacceptable:
Narottama das, our policy should be to keep members as much
as possible. We should not flatly say 'You must leave'. That
is not our policy. "
This ban is also extremely hypocritical, considering the following sentiments expressed in the Preface to the paper:
How can there be open discussion when we are not even allowed to enter the Temple!
Book distribution is extremely important, a point repeatedly emphasised by Srila Prabhupada:
is no doubt about it, to distribute books is our most
One can only observe that there are disturbing parallels with the violent sequence of events that befell another devotee who also attempted to bring these matters out in the open - Sulocana Dasa, who was later assassinated.
Unfortunately just recently (October), whilst describing the Ritvik philosophy, the author repeated comments very similar to those contained in the report mentioned above:
Why issue an apology if you intend to repeat the same personal and accusatory remarks?
This is an incomplete presentation of our position. We actually state that uttama-adhikari is the required level of qualification for a diksa guru, or a guru in the parampara. The qualification to be a siksa, or instructing guru, is simply to preach.
This distinction is important, especially as the author himself later utilises quotes that encourage everyone to be a siksa guru, a fact with which we concur.
Again this is an incorrect presentation of our position. We state that a successor mahabhagavata diksa guru in the parampara would not be 'self proclaimed', but self effulgent, as was the case with Srila Prabhupada.
A bona fide diksa guru does not indicate his existence by proclamation, but by demonstrating his potency, just as Srila Prabhupada did.
This is confirmed by sastra:
who is situated in the disciplic succession can be understood by the
result of his activities.
This is always true as far as the activities of the Lord and His
devotees are concerned."
Yet again we have another incorrect presentation of our position. We state that if he so wishes, Srila Prabhupada can authorise anyone to become a guru. We pursue this question in Section 2.6 when the author repeats this point.
The author later, is able to give only one example of what he claims to be 'incomplete evidence'. Even this one example, as we shall see, is not justified. Neither does he provide evidence of where we 'exaggerate and concoct' facts. Why doesn't he substantiate his claims with proof, instead of just engaging in sweeping generalisations? Until he does so, it is very difficult to take seriously his allegations.
(The quote in question is the line, "You become guru. But be qualified. Little thing, strictly follower...").
Although certain quotes in The Betrayal are indeed abridged, this particular reference is actually reproduced in full in Become Srila Prabhupada's Disciple.
That this fact is not mentioned is all the more remarkable as Become Srila Prabhupada's Disciple is the document that the author claims to be dealing with:
The author rather surprisingly omits to inform the reader that Become Srila Prabhupada's Disciple does indeed provide the complete quotation. As Become Srila Prabhupada's Disciple was published a year before The Betrayal, one is consequently tempted to enquire upon whose part the alleged dishonesty actually lies.
The Betrayal serves solely to highlight what Srila Prabhupada stated about his disciples qualifications at that particular point in time. 'Little thing, strictly follower' is a general instruction relating to how one can become a guru. For legitimate reasons of brevity, other less pertinent parts of the morning walk are also omitted.
In fact 'Hmm' is not the only thing Srila Prabhupada says. He makes a series of instructive comments:
yes. [...] I am waiting for that [...] But the
training must be complete [...] (The process of purification)
O yes must be there [...] But be qualified
[...] You can cheat, but it will not be effective [...] Don't go
At least on April 22nd 1977, it is very clear what Srila Prabhupada thought of his disciple's level of qualification to be guru at that particular moment in time. They could not possibly have been qualified on April 22nd, otherwise:
How quickly they can become Guru is another matter entirely. However, it is indisputable that on April 22nd 1977, they were certainly not qualified.
It is also interesting to note how the author uses the phrase:
This offensive phrase can be added to 'posthumous ritvik', and 'write Srila Prabhupada a letter and see if he replies', used by other G.B.C.'s, as examples revealing a lack of spiritual vision.
The Prabhupada-Anugas are the original advocates of the principle that everyone is Srila Prabhupada's siksa disciple. This is admitted by the author:
For the author to assert that this point has been overlooked is therefore a surprising error, as he has already accepted that this principle is both widely understood and extensively preached by his opponents.
The document Become Srila Prabhupada's Disciple deals exclusively with becoming Srila Prabhupada's diksa disciple. That, everyone still has to accept. Thus, many may yet become his diksa disciples. The title is therefore quite justified and reflects the purpose the document is trying to fulfill.
Complete retirement does not necessarily imply that Srila Prabhupada could not continue to act as diksa guru, since after July 9th 1977, Srila Prabhupada did effectively retire completely from all activities connected with initiation: Recommendation, acceptance, name giving, entering the name in the initiated disciples book, and the fire sacrifice. In fact, everything was managed by the ritviks that he appointed. Yet all the persons initiated through such a process, wherein Srila Prabhupada had effectively retired from all activities connected with initiation, were still the disciples of Srila Prabhupada.
In any case we will examine later whether or not Srila Prabhupada did actually proceed to select diksa gurus, as the author claims.
On this point there is no disagreement. In fact, we argue strongly that the main reason that the so-called 'chosen 11' were not Diksa Gurus, is because Srila Prabhupada had not so authorised them. Our point is that the spiritual master can only give this authorisation. We will show later that such an authorisation was never given. However, it can not be given by some ecclesiastical voting committee, as presently occurs in our movement :
[...] for guru candidate
[...] who will be established by the voting members.
Voting for guru process
[...] by a two third vote of the GBC [...] all GBCs
are candidates for appointment as guru.
GBC is the highest ecclesiastical body guiding
This is explicitly condemned in sastra:
votes have no jurisdiction to elect a Vaisnava acarya.
A Vaisnava acarya is self
effulgent, and there is no need for any court judgement. A false acarya
may try to override a Vaisnava by a High Court decision, but
Bhaktivinode Thakura says that he is nothing but a disciple of Kali-yuga.
Jiva Gosvami advises that one not accept a spiritual master in terms of
hereditary or customary social, and ecclesiastical conventions.
Thus the GBC has become an ecclesiastical conference that elects new members by means of a voting system. This system is strikingly similar to that adopted by the College of Cardinals within the Roman Catholic church.
It is therefore clear that the prevailing guru system functions and sustains itself by means of practices that cannot possibly be described as authorised.
In order to prove that becoming qualified is a 'little thing', the author provides quotes in which it is stated how simple it is to become a guru. However, it is not explained that these quotes refer to the 'amara ajanana guru hana' verse, wherein Lord Caitanya encourages everyone to become a guru by simply repeating what he knows. We will conclusively show in section 4, that here Lord Caitanya is simply encouraging everyone to become a siksa guru or preacher. This is a position which all members of the sankirtan movement of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu are obliged to assume.
Ultimately the key question is whether or not Srila Prabhupada did actually select individuals to become Diksa Gurus. We will see in the next section that he only selected Ritviks, and not Diksa Gurus.
Finally the much heralded 'evidence' for the selection of 11 Diksa Gurus is presented. Unfortunately if one anticipates conclusive evidence in the form of many recorded conversations and confirmatory written documents, one is immediately disappointed. Infact the only 'evidence' put forward by the author is the so-called 'Appointment Tape', which in any case, as we will show, points to a rather different claim.
Before proceeding further, one is immediately confronted by a number of pressing questions:
Srila Prabhupada invariably confirmed any major decision in writing. It is not unreasonable to consider a decision of this nature to be of considerable importance. One may therefore enquire why, if Srila Prabhupada had in fact appointed eleven diksa gurus, he never confirmed the decision in writing, or indeed, made any further reference to the appointments. It is impertinent to suggest that he acted in such a cavalier manner.
As Srila Prabhupada states, this is not the first time such a major decision has been proclaimed without any recorded proof:
wanted to create artificially somebody acarya,
and everything failed. They did not consider even with common sense:
that if guru Maharaja wanted to appoint
somebody as acarya, why did he
not say? He said so many things, and this point He missed?
The real point? And they insist upon it. They declared some unfit
person to become. "
have also read specifically your articles on the matter of acaryas,
wherein on the 14th paragraph I see the acarya
shall be entitled to nominate in writing his successive acarya.
But we do not find any record where our Srila Prabhupada
nominated any acarya after Him.
Different persons have interpreted on this point, and everyone of our
Godbrothers are acting as acarya,
so this is a controversial point which I do not wish to enter into
while we are proposing for co-operation. "
One may also justifiably wonder why such supposedly conclusive evidence for the appointment of diksa gurus was concealed until 1983. If the 'appointment tape' does indeed clearly indicate the appointment of diksa gurus, then one may reasonably question why it was not immediately presented as evidence in 1977. Why such secretive behaviour if the evidence actually indicated the appointment of Diksa Gurus?
It is clear that Srila Prabhupada anticipated problems:
Sridhar Maharaja and his two associate gentlemen unauthorised selected
one acarya and later it proved a
failure. The result is now everyone is claiming to be acarya
even though they may be kanistha adhikari with no
ability to preach. In some of the camps the acarya
is being changed three times a year. Therefore we may not commit the
same mistake in our ISKCON camp. "
The following conversation, held the day before the alleged appointment of eleven diksa gurus was made, is also worthy of consideration:
The words 'Very strong management required and vigilant observation' are unlikely to be those of someone about appoint eleven diksa gurus. On the contrary, Srila Prabhupada indicates quite clearly that unqualified persons should be prevented from occupying the post of guru.
Rather surprisingly, the author requires that the reader accept that less than twenty-four hours later, Srila Prabhupada appointed eleven such individuals.
Reflecting on the minimal qualifications necessary for assuming the position of diksa guru, the author assures the reader that Srila Prabhupada appointed eleven diksa gurus who were qualified, and yet immediately concedes their lack of qualifications:
(This presumably explains the current fashion for 'transcendental' discussions with representatives of the Gaudiya Math, an activity not recommended by Srila Prabhupada :
shall be very careful about them and not mix with them. This is my
instruction to you all.
They cannot help us in our movement, but they are very competent to
harm our natural progress. So we must be very careful about them. "
is nothing new to be said. Whatever I had to say, I have already said
in my books. "
It is worth repeating that after 11 years, as his remarks on April 22nd 1977 demonstrate (quoted in Section 2.3), Srila Prabhupada still did not perceive anyone qualified to be a Diksa Guru. Yet, thirty-six days later, eleven of them simultaneously became 'qualified'. One might reasonably wonder how, that if no one could achieve this qualification in eleven years, they managed to do so in such a short period.
A transcript of the most common version of the tape, and that utilised by the author, is given below:
Here the author lists what he claims are 10 alleged defects in the explanation of the appointment tape given in 'Become Srila Prabhupada's Disciple'. Rather than deal with every one of these points separately, in the next section we will use the same analysis as used in Become to refute the author's interpretation of the appointment tape. We will therefore simultaneously highlight the errors that the author makes and defend the original analysis given in Become.
The author asserts that the evidence for the appointment of the eleven-diksa gurus is contained in the opening lines. However, upon closer examination, one finds that the only functionaries that Srila Prabhupada appoints are not diksa gurus, but officiating acaryas, a term highlighted and approved by the author. It is significant that the author concedes that they were selected on the understanding that they would continue to function in this capacity after Srila Prabhupada's apparent departure.
At this point it is clear that there is an admission that Srila Prabhupada selected officiating acaryas to act on his behalf, both before and after his departure. In making this startling admission, the author has chosen to diverge from the official GBC position that Srila Prabhupada did not select officiating acaryas for after his departure, but only for the duration of his physical presence.
Until this point, argument has revolved around whether or not Srila Prabhupada appointed ritviks or diksa gurus. However, choosing to approach the problem from a rather novel perspective, the author casually asserts that the officiating acarya and diksa guru are one and the same. It would appear that the author, unable to sustain an otherwise untenable position, has decided, by dint of some remarkable semantic manoeuvres, to evade the issue by redefining the question. Indeed, he provides for his unfortunate reader an entire section (section 3.4) in which the term ritvik is exhaustively redefined.
The rationale for this amazing claim is as follows: 'Srila Prabhupada used the word acarya, which means guru, in conjunction with the word officiating, so he was really appointing diksa gurus'. However, the author omits to mention that in Vedic culture it is conventional to give any priest the honorific title of acarya.
The following excerpts from sastra demonstrate this quite clearly:
Raghunatha das was the son of Govardhana Majumdara. Their
family priest was Balarama acarya. "
is just east of the house of the two brothers Hiranya and Govardhana,
the father and uncle of Raghunatha das Goswami. In Candapura lived
Balarama Acarya and Yadunandana Acarya, the priests of these two
It is the custom that any person expert in a particular field is honoured by the title acarya. For example, Dronacarya was given this title for his expertise in military science. Thus the priest is also considered a type of guru, or teacher, The ritviks, being expert priests, would naturally be called acarya. For example, in the Krishna Book, a ritvik is described as a 'learned performer of sacrifices'.
There are similar references to ritviks in the Srimad Bhagavatam:
with all the priests and members of the sacrificial
- priests conducting the ceremony.
- the priests.
- the priests.
- with all the priests, acaryas
and members of the holy assembly.
- by the rtvik priest.
Infact, the term ritvik appears on many further occasions in the Srimad Bhagavatam:
Each time it is always translated as a priest. From this it is quite clear that ritvik means a priest only, a definition confirmed by standard works dealing with Sanskrit grammar:
Priest. (Literally, Sacrificing in season).
There is no mention of such a functionaries being diksa gurus or themselves accepting disciples. Thus, the use of the word acarya after the terms officiating or ritvik does not mean diksa guru, but refers only to a qualified priest. Indeed, as the author himself explains, officiating means to discharge priestly or divine service.
So Acarya yes, but the key is what kind of Acarya ? As we have conclusively demonstrated, the acarya in question is he who discharges priestly service, not he who accepts disciples. The word officiating or ritvik, gives this meaning only to the word Acarya, as has been admitted by the author himself.
It is clear that Srila Prabhupada himself never made any such distinction between ritvik acarya and ritvik. A brief selection of examples will suffice:
One may therefore conclude that since Srila Prabhupada used the word officiating acarya once, ritvik acarya never, but ritvik at least three times, the terms are therefore interchangeable, and any assertion by the author to the contrary is nonsense.
The author asserts that not only does officiating acarya mean acting on behalf of the acarya, but that the officiating acarya has his own disciples. However absolutely no evidence to substantiate this assertion is presented.
Srila Prabhupada however, does provide clear evidence, but not, unfortunately, for the claim made by the author:
considering the recommendation, these representatives may accept the
devotee as an initiated disciple of Srila Prabhupada by giving a
spiritual name, or in the case of second initiation, by chanting on the
gayatri thread, just as Srila Prabhupada has done. The newly
initiated devotees are disciples of AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
The above eleven senior devotees are acting as his
Also interesting, is what his secretary, Tamal Krishna Goswami, says when he communicates this information over the next few days:
divine grace said: 'You are a suitable person and you can give
initiation to those who are ready for it. I have selected you among
eleven men as 'ritvik
or representative of the acarya,
to give initiations, both first and second initiations, on my behalf'
(A newsletter is being sent to all Temple Presidents and GBC in this
regard, listing the eleven representatives selected by His Divine
Grace. Those who are initiated are the disciples of Srila
Prabhupada, and anyone who you deem fit and initiated in this
way, you should send their names to be included in Srila Prabhupada's
'initiated disciples book'."
This proves conclusively that Srila Prabhupada selected ritviks and that those disciples so initiated belonged to Srila Prabhupada. Although the author might respond that this arrangement was of a 'temporary nature', and only intended whilst Srila Prabhupada was physically present. He would be extremely unwise to do so, as he has already admitted that on the appointment tape the selection of Ritvik-Acaryas was made for after Srila Prabhupada's departure.
The author is accordingly caught in a logistical trap of his own creation.
It is abundantly clear that ritviks were selected to act for after Srila Prabhupada's departure. It is equally clear that the disciples so created are Srila Prabhupada's. There is no mention of the disciples belonging to the ritviks.
The remarkable simultaneous Ritvik/Diksa Guru hybrid entity proposed by the author may therefore be discarded.
The author concedes that Srila Prabhupada selected officiating acaryas to function after his departure, and then seeks to evade the consequences of this admission by contriving his own novel definition of officiating acarya.
As we have seen however, Srila Prabhupada directly contradicts this. It has been shown that the officiating acarya is non-different from the ritvik, and such ritviks were directly instructed to act in such a manner that all the disciples initiated would belong to Srila Prabhupada.
This is the central issue:
We have used the authors own words to demonstrate that Srila Prabhupada selected ritviks to initiate disciples for himself only, after his physical departure.
However, for completeness let us return to the appointment tape and examine what else the author has to say.
Before proceeding further, it is worth noting that when referring to 'grand disciple' the author has reproduced the transcript as 'he is grand disciple'. In fact the tape clearly states 'his grand disciple'. We will send a copy of the tape to interested devotees, so that they can decide for themselves what is said. There is a clearly recognisable difference between 'he is' and 'his' - two words as opposed to one. This alteration in the transcript has considerable implications, as we shall see later.
The author states that 'Yes, they are disciples' is not conclusive evidence for the fact that those initiated would be disciples of Srila Prabhupada, since Srila Prabhupada goes on to say:
· Srila Prabhupada: Yes, they are disciples, but consider ... who ...
Whoever, the initial statement still holds.
One cannot construct an argument based on what Srila Prabhupada may have gone on to say. It is sufficient to examine what actually was said.
The author proposes that the phrase 'they are his disciples' proves that they are the disciples of the ritvik. It is suggested that this must be so 'since there is no need for Srila Prabhupada to speak in the third person'.
It is perhaps appropriate to examine the text a little further. Discarding repetition, we find: 'they are his disciples - who is initiating - his grand disciple'.
One can only observe that Srila Prabhupada speaks in the third person. It is significant that he did not say 'my grand disciples'.
This demonstrates why the alteration in the transcript is so significant. There is an immense difference in meaning between 'he is' and 'his'.
The answer is given by what he says next:
Srila Prabhupada: His grand disciple [...] When I order you become guru, he becomes regular guru. That's all. He becomes disciple of my disciple. Just see.
Srila Prabhupada simply describes the normal process for 'becoming guru', and this will result in Grand Disciples being created. However, this process of 'becoming Guru' is only 'when' he gives the 'order'. The use of 'when' means something that has not yet happened, and that therefore that order had yet to be given.
This confirms what is said earlier in the tape:
my order, amara ajnaya guru hana, be actually guru.
But by my order.
All the other evidence clearly shows that this order to be diksa guru was never given, but simply reconfirms the appointment of ritviks. It is unfortunate that the author is unable to produce any documentary evidence to substantiate his claim.
Srila Prabhupada has discussed the topic of 'ordering gurus', but at the beginning of the tape when he mentions whom he may be selecting, he uses only the terms officiating acarya and ritvik. Thus the situation of 'grand disciples' would only occur if, and when, Srila Prabhupada was to give the order for someone to become diksa guru.
As we know, this instruction was never given.
Many of the written documents issued after the appointment tape reiterate these points. These documents have been circulated as part of the paper "What Srila Prabhupada Really Wanted - The Facts", and are summarised below:
"A letter has been sent to all Temple Presidents and GBC which you should be receiving soon describing the process for initiation to be followed in the future. Srila Prabhupada has appointed thus far eleven representatives who will initiate new devotees on his behalf."
"And nobody is going to disturb you there. Make your own field and continue to become Ritvik and act on my charge."
The author has admitted that:
(In fact, only nine were chosen on July 8th 1977, two more being added on July 9th 1977.)
As the quote from July 8th 1977 shows, and as both the appointment tape and every other piece of evidence shows, it is very clear what they were chosen for - to make disciples for Srila Prabhupada.
The author states that this is the central question, and indeed it is. We would however suggest that it has been conclusively answered.
The final Will was drawn up on June 4th 1977, with a codicil added November 5th 1977. In this document, Srila Prabhupada instructed that future executive directors for the 'permanent properties' in India were to be his 'initiated disciples'. Therefore future disciples must have been perceived as belonging to Srila Prabhupada, otherwise the pool of potential directors would inevitably become exhausted.
It was also indicated quite clearly that there should be no change to the system of management and that it should continue in its current form.
We have already established the nature and function of that current form:
It has been suggested that the ritvik system in place was not an 'area of management' and therefore does not fall under the terms of Srila Prabhupada's Will. One can however show conclusively that Srila Prabhupada did consider the ritvik system to be an area of management and therefore he most certainly did not wish to see it changed:
order to receive first initiation, one must have been a full time
member for six months. For second initiation there should be at least
another one year after the initiation. "
of initiating Sannyasis. "
These resolutions are important since they demonstrate conclusively that the methodology for conducting initiations was deemed a system of management. And a method for conducting initiations is all the ritvik system is. These resolutions were all checked and approved by Srila Prabhupada. Thus initiation methodology was definitely considered by Srila Prabhupada as a system of management, and thus the ritvik system does fall under the terms of Srila Prabhupada's Will.
This shows conclusively that 'management' refers to the ritvik system that was already in place by 1977.
And the Will clearly states that such management systems should "continue" and that there should be "no change" enacted.
It is unfortunate that the author chooses to adhere so tenaciously to the notion that Srila Prabhupada appointed eleven diksa gurus.
It is surprising, not only since it has been conclusively shown in the preceding section that such an assertion is manifestly untrue, but also because the appointed diksa guru theory is directly contradicted by other leading 'gurus'.
This presentation by the author is the latest in an elaborate sequence of 'definitive' responses to the ritvik issue that has been attempted over preceding years. Unfortunately, many of these responses contradict not only the authors presentation, but each other.
A selection of examples will suffice:
These attempts to settle the ritvik question 'once and for all' have led to several bizarre contradictions between the author and other members of the GBC:
This conflicts directly with statements made by other senior figures within the Society:
evidence is incontrovertible, its thorough, its exhaustive, its
accepted by just about everyone, we do not need to argue that. Srila
Prabhupada did not appoint anyone to be guru for
the future, he appointed ritviks
to continue in his presence. That much is accepted by
This point was again repeated by Jayadvaita Swami in the 1993 South London discussion.
Ravindra Svarupa das also made a similar observation:
Bhakti Caru Swami also commented on this matter, making no reference to diksa gurus being appointed, or to the ritvik acaryas automatically becoming diksa gurus:
One then finds, in the same publication, Jayapataka Swami contradicting the others, but supporting the author:
Further contradictions are found when considering another spurious claim by the author, already refuted in the previous section:
This is contradicted by Bhakti Caru Swami:
It is significant that Bhakti Caru Swami makes no distinction between ritvik and ritvik acarya, neither does he give any indication that a ritvik acarya is actually the same as a guru and possesses disciples in his own right.
Also in the same magazine:
These ineptly handled attempts to 'deal with', or perhaps conceal, the ritvik issue have merely resulted in further confusion, and are indicative of the level of philosophical turpitude that pervades the GBC.
Most importantly a significant proportion of the eleven alleged appointees themselves have subsequently admitted that the guru appointment was a hoax and that they were originally appointed as ritviks. This a fact that is never mentioned by the GBC.
In this instance, it would perhaps be appropriate to leave the final word to Tamal Krishna Goswami, who in 1980 admitted the sweeping nature of the fraud:
Prabhupada never appointed any gurus, he appointed eleven ritviks.
He never appointed them gurus. Myself and the other GBC have done the
greatest disservice to this movement for the last three years because
we interpreted the appointment of ritviks as the
appointment of gurus.
[...] Srila Prabhupada said: 'All right. I will appoint so many ...'
and he started to name them. He made it very clear that they are his
disciples. At that point it was very clear in my mind that he were his
disciples. [...] You cannot show me anything on tape or in
writing were Prabhupada says: 'I appoint these eleven as
gurus' it does not exist. Because he never appointed any
gurus. This a myth. "
This is a devastatingly frank admission and indicates quite clearly the scale and monstrous nature of the hoax perpetrated by the original eleven.
It is perhaps appropriate at this point to observe that the Pyramid House document is common knowledge amongst currently initiating gurus, and that therefore one can only conclude that they too, are tainted with this duplicity.
Again this is an incorrect presentation of our position. What we actually state is that the next Acarya will emerge through self-effulgence not self-proclamation.
Vaisnava acarya is self
effulgent, and there is no need for any court judgement. "
As far as ISKCON is concerned Srila Prabhupada only left authority for himself to remain in place as the sole diksa guru. So whenever the next acharya emerges, and however qualified he may be, he will not be initiating within ISKCON since there is no authority for anyone other than Srila Prabhupada to do this. At some point a new acharya will certainly come, and when he does he will be self-effulgent, and will not be approved or rubber stamped by any type of committee or 'court judgement' as the GBC currently do. Such activity is wholly condemned by Srila Prabhupada.
We do not necessarily advocate, as the author states, that no other qualified individuals will emerge:
Whether or not another qualified pure devotee emerges is totally in the hands of Krishna. It is Krishna, and not an ecclesiastical voting body that maintains the Parampara.
This adds to the many other spurious claims made by the author throughout the whole document, where he has continually miss-stated our position.
It is surprising that in order to reinforce his point, the author quotes the following from the Science of Self Realisation:
One can only observe that the appalling 'practical results' of the self appointed gurus are a matter of public record.
To support this idea of "contradiction" regarding the qualification of a guru, the author supplies quotes, which apparently seem to indicate only minimal qualifications, are required to take up the post of guru. However, the quotes supplied fall into two categories, and are actually stating a different conclusion to that alleged by the author.
Firstly a significant proportion of the quotes indicate that simply one should "strictly follow" and then he will become a guru. In other words they are simply stating a process, which if followed will lead to the state of guru being attained. This is what the word become means - something, which will occur if the process is strictly followed. Eg. If I state that:
'Strictly follow your medical professor and you will become a doctor'
No one would interpret this statement as implying either that you are a doctor now, or that simply by attending a medical course, you are a qualified doctor. Similarly, these quotes from Srila Prabhupada are not "contradictory", but simply state the obvious: Follow the instructions of your Guru, and in due course of time you will also become qualified as a Guru. In fact the following line on which the author has based the theme of his whole paper, also includes the all important word - become.:
Ajnana guru hana. You become guru. But be
Qualified. Little Thing, strictly follower.
This in no way states that once you are a qualified Guru, you do not need to be liberated.
Secondly, the quotes also state that many persons are required to take up the role of Guru, in order to expand the preaching. These quotes make reference to Lord Caitanya's famous instruction in the Caitanya Caritamrita, whereby he encourages everyone to take up the role of Guru simply by repeating what they have heard. In fact this is the context to the line quoted above, around which the author bases the theme of his whole paper :
ajnaya guru hana.
You become guru. But be Qualified. Little Thing,
(Amara ajnana guru hana is the Bengali for Lord Caitanya's instruction to become guru).
However to understand how Lord Caitanya wishes us to become Guru, we must actually study the purports following this verse :
everyone to follow the orders of Sri Krishna as they are
given in Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam. In this way become a
Spiritual Master and try to liberate everyone in this land.
is one should stay at home, chant the
Hare Krishna mantra and preach the instructions of
Krishna as they are given in Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam.
"One may remain a householder, a medical practitioner, an engineer or whatever. It doesn't matter. One only has to follow the instruction of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, chant the Hare Krishna maha-mantra and instruct friends and relatives in the teachings of Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam [...]
is best not to accept any disciples.
It is this verse upon which the exotic notion that an individual of minimal qualifications can be a diksa guru, crumbles. The text clearly advises everyone to become an instructing, or siksa guru. The 'qualification' is simply to repeat accurately what one has heard. It is also stated very clearly that one should not accept disciples. If this is the type of guru the author wishes everyone to become then there is no dispute.
In fact one of the verses the author himself quotes, makes clear the nature of this instruction :
Thus Lord Caitanya is simply urging everyone to preach what they know. But these 'millions' of Gurus, as stated earlier, are instructed not to take disciples. Someone who simply preaches but does not formally take disciples is a Siksa, not Diksa, guru, whose whole purpose is to formally accept disciples.
Srila Prabhupada confirms this point repeatedly:
dekha, tare kaha, Krishna upadesa.
You haven't got to manufacture anything. What Krishna has already said,
you repeat. Finish. Don't make addition, adulteration, then
you become guru [...] I may be fool,
rascal [...] so we have to follow this path, that you become guru,
deliver your neighbourhood men, associates, but speak the authoritative
words of Krishna then it will act [...] anyone can
do. A child can do.
The instruction to 'be guru' is meant for everyone in the world, and indeed, anyone who is preaching is such a siksa guru. Even children. Yet one would hope the author is not seriously proposing that any child who repeats what he has read in a book is automatically a diksa guru in the parampara. Any assertion that this is so is clearly nonsensical, since, as it is clearly stated above 'it is best not to accept disciples'.
Srila Prabhupada has clearly stated many times that siksa and diksa gurus are the same, since they both take one to Krishna. Also everyone is eligible to become either siksa or diksa guru However the minimum qualifications do differ. Here Lord Caitanya has stated that simply by repeating what he has heard, one is already a siksa guru. The qualification to be a Diksa or Parampara Guru, as we shall now see, is much more demanding.
Let us briefly examine what Srila Prabhupada states to be the qualifications of a parampara, or diksa guru:
one is initiated by the right person, who always carries
within his heart the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one
cannot acquire the power to carry the Supreme Godhead within the core
of ones own heart.
the whole, you may know that he is not a liberated person,
and therefore, he cannot initiate any person to Krishna
Consciousness. It requires special spiritual benediction from higher
person who seriously desires to achieve real happiness must seek out a bona
fide spiritual master and take shelter of him by initiation. The
qualification of his spiritual master is that he must have realised the
conclusion of the scriptures by deliberation and be able to convince
others of these conclusions. Such great personalities, who
have taken shelter of the supreme godhead, leaving aside all
material considerations, are to be understand as bona
fide spiritual masters.
Srila Prabhupada cites this verse in a purport to Srimad Bhagavatam 5.14.41, describing the necessity of accepting a bona fide spiritual master. In that purport he cites many of the important verses on guru tattva:. brahmanda brahmite; tad vijnanartham; tad viddhi; ta erad gurum; and yasya prasadad bhagavat-prasadah. He mentions the qualification of purity or self realisation of the guru twice: 'One cannot get from the path of material existence until one receives shelter at the lotus feet of a pure devotee'. And in commenting on all of these cited verses, he observes: 'This is essential. One must come to Krishna Consciousness, and therefore one must take shelter of a pure devotee. Thus one can become free from the clutches of matter'.
There are actually many many more similar quotes. We have actually compiled a compendium which is available to any interested reader. Please see the end of this booklet.
However we challenge the author to produce one quote which supports the conclusion that a diksa guru can ever be anything other than a self-realised pure devotee.
Furthermore, even if the author insists on arguing that there are non-liberated diksa gurus, Srila Prabhupada gives recommendations as to which grade of guru should actually take up such a post.
Furthermore, he also advises the prospective disciple what grade of guru he should accept.
should not become a spiritual master unless he has attained the
platform of uttama-adhikari.
one is a resident of Krishna-Loka, one cannot be a spiritual master.
neophyte Vaisnava or a Vaisnava situated on the intermediate platform
can also accept disciples, but such disciples must be on the same
platform, and it should be understood that they cannot advance very
well toward the ultimate goal of life under his insufficient guidance.
Therefore a disciple should be careful to accept an uttama-adhikari
as a spiritual master.
guru must be situated on the topmost platform
of devotional service. There are three classes of devotees,
and the guru must be accepted from the topmost class.
Thus whatever belief about how many grades of Diksa guru there may exist, why not follow Srila Prabhupada's recommendation as to who should actually take up such a post?
We apologise for the lengthy treatise, but it is very important to establish that Srila Prabhupada does not issue "contradictory" instructions on this or any other subject. By understanding that there are different minimum qualifications for different types of gurus, these apparently "contradictory" quotes are easily harmonised. Anyone and everyone can immediately take up the role of Siksa Guru simply by preaching, but the eternal Sad Guru who takes us back home to Godhead, is always a self-realised pure devotee - Uttama Adhikari.
Connected with this idea of the non-liberated diksa or parampara guru, the author also asserts that gurus may 'come and go' from the parampara.
This is directly contradicted by sastra:
bona fide Spiritual Master is in the
disciplic succession from time eternal, and he does not deviate at all
from the instructions of the Supreme Lord
as they were imparted millions of years ago to the sun-god, from whom
the instructions of Bhagavad-Gita have come down to
the earthly kingdom.
This shatters the ludicrous concept proffered both by the author and other members of the Governing Body Commission that members of the parampara can fall down.
According to this verse, it is quite impossible that Jayatirtha, Bhagavan, Bhavananda, et al were ever members of the parampara. This verse directly contradicts statements made by Sivarama Swami, Jayadvaita Swami, and others, that the above-mentioned personalities were Bona-Fide members of the parampara.
One finds the following comment by Srila Prabhupada equally instructive:
if he is bad, how can he become a guru?
How can iron become gold? Actually a guru
cannot be bad, for if someone is bad, he cannot be a guru.
You cannot say bad guru. That is a contradiction. A
guru cannot be bad. There is no question of a
bad guru, any more than a red guru
or white guru. Guru means
(Science of Self Realisation Ch 2)
Everyone must be a preacher or siksa guru, and indeed, this is not difficult to do. All the quotes that the author uses to support his conclusion are actually in this vein. They all state simply 'instruct and repeat'. This refers to a siksa guru, and he can be on many levels depending upon his individual spiritual progress.
However, a parampara or Diksa guru, who initiates the disciple with the transcendental knowledge that delivers one back to Godhead, is always a self realised pure devotee. Everyone is eligible to become such a guru by 'strictly following' the process of Krishna Consciousness. However, this is the method for becoming such a guru, not the level of qualification attained once one has achieved the level of becoming such a guru.
Furthermore, such a person does not fall down, and is always eternally a member of the parampara.
This is actually the understanding that totally
harmonises all of Srila Prabhupada's instructions on the qualifications
of the guru. Thus, different minimum qualifications
for different types of guru.
This assertion is entirely spurious, and results from:
a) A misinterpretation, unwitting or otherwise, of
a phrase from a letter.
The letter in question states:
is the custom that during the lifetime of your spiritual master you
bring the prospective disciples to him, and in his absence or
disappearance you can accept disciples without any limitation. This is
the law of disciplic succession.
Before we actually deal with what the letter states it is interesting to note the background to this letter:
Considering the magnitude of the authors claim, it is perhaps rather surprising that the he is able to advance only one document, a letter which itself was written to a follower of Siddha Svarupa, an individual who already had disciples and was initiating in Srila Prabhupada's physical presence.
If, as the author states, that there are 'many other quotes' demonstrating that diksa has to be given by a physically present guru, why can he only find a quote that relates to a person condemned by Srila Prabhupada:
far as I have studied Siddha Svarupa, he is not a bad boy, but
he has his own philosophy, from the very beginning. It is
almost inevitable that there should be enviousness amongst the
Godbrothers, just like amongst my Godbrothers.
It is unfortunate that the author fails to advise the reader of this pertinent point.
It is interesting to note that Srila Prabhupada wrote similar letters to other disciples on the frequent occasions that they manifested this unfortunate desire to accept disciples. In order to curb their seemingly boundless ambition, he would often admonish them by requesting them to wait until he had departed.
first thing, I warn you Achyutananda, do not try to initiate. You are
not in a proper position now to initiate anyone. Besides that, the
etiquette is that so long as the Spiritual Master is present, all
prospective disciples should be brought to him.
One might reasonably question why, if this letter is so important, and states such a significant 'law', then:
Why was such an important letter suppressed for so many years?
Why was the person who made the letters public ordered to return them by an ISKCON guru?
Now we shall turn to the actual content of the letter. Firstly the author has only extracted a phrase from the letter, and therefore taken it out of context. Thus to understand what the whole 'law' is, one must deal with the proceeding statements.
student is expected to become acarya.
Acarya means one who knows the scriptural
injunctions and follows them practically in life, and teaches them to
[...] Keep trained up very rigidly and then you are bona
fide guru, and you can accept disciples on the same
principle. But as a matter of etiquette it is the custom that during
the lifetime of your spiritual master you bring the prospective
disciples to him, and in his absence or disappearance you can accept
disciples without any limitation. This is the law of disciplic
Thus the letter actually states:
What we are interested in establishing are the precise instructions Srila Prabhupada left for all his followers within ISKCON, not this instruction to one ambitious disciple regarding a 'law' that is not mentioned anywhere else.
The letter in question does not deal with that situation, and one is therefore unable to argue, as the author does, that: 'if Srila Prabhupada continued to accept disciples after his disappearance the letter would be meaningless'. The letter would not be meaningless in such a situation, since the letter does not address such a situation. Even if Srila Prabhupada continued to accept disciples after his disappearance simply on the basis that there were no disciples qualified to continue the disciplic succession, that in itself would mean the above law could not even function. In that circumstance Srila Prabhupada could not be contravening a law that could not even be implemented. And since the letter only sets out a possibility, i.e. you 'can' do something, not you 'will' do something, it cannot overturn a direct order. That order was to run a system with just Srila Prabhupada as the diksa guru.
What the author does not allow for is that not only must the disciple must be qualified to take on unlimited disciples, but authorised as well. The very best the author could argue is that this one disciple was authorised, yet in the end the disciple left Srila Prabhupada's mission, and was not authorised by Srila Prabhupada to even act as a ritvik.
Thus the above 'law' is not contravened if Srila Prabhupada continues to take disciples, since the law in no way inhibits the ability of the Guru to initiate whenever he wants. It only restricts the disciple. And since there is no authority within ISKCON for anyone other than Srila Prabhupada to initiate, and since the only recipient of the letter was never even authorised to be a ritvik, what to speak of a Diksa guru, we can see how weak the Author's position is. Particularly since he himself has allowed one of his own disciples to break this very same 'law'. Thus it is clearly the Author who sees this law as 'meaningless'.
It is certainly not, as the author appears to suggest, the 'custom' that every disciple automatically takes on unlimited disciples simply because his spiritual master has left the planet. A procedure such as this is not only absurd, but a complete fabrication. Even the GBC do not accept this since they have elaborate systems for authorising diksa gurus within ISKCON. If everyone is already authorised to initiate, by dint of the above private letter, then why do the GBC feel the need to once again authorise people to initiate? Even the Author himself needed to wait for the GBC to allow him to initiate, but why if he was already authorised to do it?
It is significant that the author has chosen to show that a diksa guru must have a physical body. This is due to a misconception as to the nature of diksa. Diksa is not a fire yajna, nor is it an 'electrical discharge' from a living body. It is only if one understands diksa in these rather primitive terms that one supports the notion that diksa requires a physically present material body.
It is therefore important to establish the nature of diksa. We find sastra extremely clear on this point:
actually means initiating a disciple with transcendental knowledge
by which he becomes freed from all material contamination.
is the process by which one awakens his transcendental knowledge
and vanquish all reactions caused by sinful activity. A person expert
in the study of the revealed scriptures knows this process as diksa.
other words, the Spiritual Master awakens the sleeping living entity to
his original consciousness so that he can worship Lord Visnu. This
is the purpose of diksa, or
initiation. Initiation means receiving the pure knowledge of
This is the unequivocal verdict of sastra. At no point is there to be found mention of physical presence. Indeed, since diksa is understood to be the receipt of transcendental knowledge, sastra actually states the opposite:
of spiritual knowledge is never checked by any material
potency of transcendental sound is never minimised because the vibrator
is apparently absent.
Srila Prabhupada makes it clear that the spiritual master need not actually be physically present:
always with you never mind if I am physically absent.
the absolute world there is no distinction as me, or he, and I. Krishna
and His representative is the same. Just like Krishna can be present
simultaneously in millions of places. Similarly, the
Spiritual Master can be present wherever the disciple wants. A
Spiritual Master is the principle, not the body. Just like a
television can be seen in thousands of place by the principle of relay
This adds to the many arguments that the author uses, but is unable to substantiate with any quote from sastra. The term "current link" is used by Srila Prabhupada in the following verse from the Srimad Bhagavatam :
order to receive the real message of the Bhagavatam
one should approach the current link or spiritual master
in the chain of disciplic succession.
However in the purport in which this verse appears, Srila Prabhupada makes no mention that "current link" is synonymous with physical presence. The only rationale that the author is able to advance for the above claim is that the above quote must correspond with his interpretation of the letter quoted in the last section.
However we have just conclusively shown that the "law of disciplic succession" does not state that the Diksa Guru can only operate with a physical body. It simply states that the succession of the Guru by his qualified disciple can only occur once the Guru has departed. There is no mention that the Guru must cease to operate if there are no disciples qualified to succeed him. As we have noted earlier, the letter in question does not even deal with this scenario, but only the situation where there exist disciples qualified to be Guru.
The haste with which the author seeks to establish that Srila Prabhupada is no longer available is not only unwise but totally unsupported by sastra.
Thus it is clear that whilst there is an apparent gap, the most recent acarya remains current. It is ridiculous to assert that in the absence of a physical presence one must accept an inferior substitute. This is absurd, and is totally unnecessary since Srila Prabhupada has in any case assured us:
shall remain your personal guidance, physically
present, or not physically present, as I am getting guidance from my
All that is required is to accept Srila Prabhupada until the next qualified link in the disciplic succession emerges.
predecessors of the spiritual master are his spiritual master, his
grand spiritual master, his great grand spiritual master and so on, who
form the disciplic succession of
As indicated the disciplic succession is a chain of qualified acaryas only, and not, as is the current practice, someone who has not apparently 'fallen down' in the preceding five years, and been fortunate enough to get the required number of votes at the annual Mayapura assembly.
The argument extended by the author is, in any event, not only flawed, but redundant, because as has been shown in the previous section, Srila Prabhupada appointed ritviks and not diksa gurus to continue after his disappearance.
The only thing Srila Prabhupada does indicate is that a person other than an uttama adhikari is forbidden to assume the position of diksa guru. His comments with regard to the possibility of lesser-qualified individuals accepting disciples are not a dispensation, but a warning:
should not become a Spiritual Master unless he has attained the
platform of uttama-adhikari.
[...] A neophyte Vaisnava or a Vaisnava situated on the intermediate
platform can also accept disciples, but such disciples must be on the
same platform, and it should be understood that they cannot
advance very well toward the ultimate goal of life under his
insufficient guidance. Therefore a disciple should
be careful to accept an uttama-adhikari as a
Spiritual Master. "
This is confirmed elsewhere:
guru must be situated on the topmost platform
of devotional service.
There are three classes of devotees, and the guru
must be accepted from the topmost class. "
Why not accept this advice ?
Srila Prabhupada comments:
the present moment it has become fashionable to disobey the
unimpeachable directions given by the acaryas
and liberated souls of the past.
As stated earlier, anyone can act as a siksa guru, but a diksa guru, by definition, must possess full divya-jnana. Srila Prabhupada indicates this quite clearly:
you can say 'Yes, I know everything' Diksa.
Diksa, initiation, diksa,
this Sanskrit word, diksa, means
divya-jnanam ksipayati ask from spiritual master with service
and surrender the transcendental knowledge. The more you ask, you
become a man of knowledge. Then you can challenge, and then 'Yes,
I know everything'.
explains the of divya-jnana, transcendental, that
is diksa. Di divya diksanam.
Diksa. Divya-jnana, transcendental
knowledge. [...] if you don't accept a spiritual master how you'll get
transcen...You'll be taught here and there, here and there, and waste
time. Waste time for the teacher and waste your valuable time.
Therefore you have to be guided by an expert
This Divya-Jnana is extremely advanced knowledge:
the matter if of divya-jnana - [it comprises] knowledge
of the original form [conveyed] within the divine mantra
along with which is specific knowledge of [the individuals]
relationship with the Supreme Lord.
are three classes of devotees, and the guru must be
accepted from the topmost class.
Srila Prabhupada does clearly not support the peculiar proposal that one accept a lower grade of guru and hope he becomes an uttama-adhikari.
As the quote above and the many quotes given earlier prove, it is ludicrous to suggest, as the author does, that one abandon Srila Prabhupada on the speculative principle that one of the current Gurus may make it!
Srila Prabhupada only always urges us to accept a Bona-Fide Guru. He never urges us to accept a person who may end up being Bona-Fide, given enough time, and providing he does not fall down.
As the author asserts, one may certainly become an uttama-adhikari through the practice of Krishna Consciousness, but Srila Prabhupada indicates quite clearly that one should first attain the level of uttama-adhikari, and only then occupy the post of diksa guru.
The view that we need many gurus to fulfil the preaching mission is fully achieved through everyone acting as preacher, or siksa guru. That this is so has been fully explained in the purports to the Amara ajanana guru hana verse quoted earlier.
It is nonsense to suggest that one endeavour to find an individual senior to yourself and optimistically hope that he will prove able to provide liberation. Sastra indicates quite clearly that if one wants full divya-jnana, then one must go to the person who possesses it. Srila Prabhupada is such a person.
If Srila Prabhupada provides us with the essential core of our transcendental knowledge, then we must therefore be receiving divya-Jnana from him.
This is stated in a recent GBC Resolution:
a) Srila Prabhupada is the foundational siksa guru for all ISKCON devotees because he has realised and presented the teachings of the previous acaryas of the Brahma Madhava Gaudiya sampradaya appropriately for the modern age.
b) Srila Prabhupada's instruction are the essential teachings for every ISKCON devotee.
c) Srila Prabhupada's books are the embodiment of his teachings and should be accepted as the standard by all future generations of ISKCON.
Every ISKCON spiritual master is responsible to guide his disciples
to follow Srila Prabhupada's instructions.
It is clear that the Governing Body Commission states that it is Srila Prabhupada whose instructions we are to follow. It is the instructions of Srila Prabhupada that are the foundational and essential siksa for everyone.
It is clearly not the present 'spiritual masters' who are currently giving the essential divya-jnana. They are simply advising from where it may be obtained. They are assisting but not directly transmitting. As noted earlier, this has been admitted by the GBC themselves.
If therefore, it is Srila Prabhupada who is giving us divya-jnana and thus enabling us to destroy our sinful reactions, then he cannot be none other than our diksa guru. The diksa guru is not the individual who provides the spiritual name or lights the sacrificial fire. The diksa guru is he who gives diksa, the transcendental knowledge that destroys all sinful reactions and takes us back to Godhead.
The choice is very simple:
The answer is of course quite clear.
It is unfortunate that the author appears unable to provide any example of an occasion in which the information that has been presented is composed of either 'wild accusations' or 'slanted perspectives'. Nor are examples provided of 'exaggeration' or 'dishonesty'.
We claim to present the truth regarding the history of ISKCON. Until such time as the author is able to prove otherwise, he would perhaps be wise to refrain from allegations of this nature.
It is clear that the author is both unable and unwilling to dispute any of the case histories and allegations made in documents such as The Betrayal. One can only observe that the author is entirely at liberty to present, for instance, an alternative case study of Bhavananda. One would suspect that his failure to do so is significant.
We do demonstrate very clearly that Srila Prabhupada appointed ritviks and that this order was subsequently ignored. 'Ritvik' is therefore not a reaction to the history of ISKCON. But rather the history of ISKCON is the direct reaction for ignoring Srila Prabhupada's instructions to act as Ritviks only, and instead unauthorisedly assuming the role of Diksa Guru.:
be allured by cheap disciples. Go on steadfastly to render service
first. If you immediately become guru,
then the service activities will be stopped; and as there are
so many cheap gurus and cheap disciples, without
any substantial knowledge, and manufacturing new sampradayas,
and with service activities stopped, and all spiritual
progress choked up.
Unfortunately, none of these claims are substantiated with evidence. It is significant that the author appears unable to provide the reader with precise examples of instances in which the historical information presented is either inaccurate or untrue.
Only some publications deal with the less pleasant aspects of the Society. Of these, one must concede that the exposure of serious crimes may perhaps be considered provocative. It is however, almost impossible to render revelations concerning such crimes as murder and child abuse less disagreeable.
We make however, no apology for this apparently intransigent attitude, and consider that depravity and dishonesty must be fought wherever it is found. It is outrageous to imply that one may compromise or defer to corruption of this magnitude.
Srila Prabhupada made this quite clear:
cannot make any compromise
with anyone for cheap popularity."
this Krishna Consciousness movement is a challenge to all the rascals
and fools, that's all. So those who have taken this movement very
seriously, they should be very sober and understand at least you
must expose all these rascals. That will be very much
appreciated by Krishna.
The startling silence with regard to these matters is a cause for serious concern.
In order to assess where the alleged dishonesty and deception lies, one might care to consider the following questions at some length.
And significantly, who have been the very persons who have made these documents available. Why have the authorities been so unwilling to ensure an earlier circulation of this material?
The apparent unwillingness of the author to address these issues is perhaps significant.
It is unfortunate that the author fails to mention that this alleged misdeed occurred some 18 years ago, a lapse indicative of a remarkably selective presentation of evidence, a failing that he repeatedly attributes to his opponents:
In any case the individual mentioned is responsible for only a proportion of those documents circulated. It is also worthy of comment that The Betrayal consists principally of direct quotations from Srila Prabhupada's books.
The continual need to attack the character of those presenting the message, rather than the message itself, suggests that the author is seeking to conceal the lack of his evidence by diverting the mind of the reader. This ironically is another failing that he again attributes to his opponents:
Though he states we report 'tales', the author seems to forget all the information reported is either factual histories taken from official GBC documents, or quotes from Srila Prabhupada's books. One would hardly call this information 'tales'.
Furthermore, the main difference between ourselves, and the factual histories that we report, is that we have never claimed to be self-realised pure devotees. There can be no doubt that as individuals we possess faults and are in consequence subject to error. As such, we are open to correction. We would suggest however, that such imperfections should most certainly not be found in those assuming the position of diksa guru.
The author has failed to produce any example in which it is demonstrated that any of the accusations of moral, financial and philosophical corruption are false.
However it is at once apparent that the author remains unwilling to reveal either the breadth or nature of those deviations, and the manner in which they have been concealed.
Similarly however, there is no detailed information regarding the Governing Body Commission, and the manner in which it will manage the movement in the future, nor is there any detailed mention about the nature and function of the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, to be found within Srila Prabhupada's books. But Srila Prabhupada does deal with these matters in separate documents. In the same manner the ritvik system is also dealt with in documents originating from Srila Prabhupada.
Those documents have already been listed.
Conversely we have seen that the author is unable to produce any document that indicates that Srila Prabhupada appointed eleven diksa gurus
Srila Prabhupada demonstrated over a period of several years how he need not be physically present, either for the initiation process, or to give divya-jnana to the majority of his disciples. This was conducted through the medium of the ritviks and the distribution of his transcendental teachings. To continue this process after his departure did not require a lengthy treatise but simply an instruction to continue, which as has been demonstrated, was exactly what was done. There was no need to elaborately explain, that which had been practically demonstrated for many years.
Furthermore it would appear that the author has misunderstood, unwittingly or otherwise, how ritviks function. Contrary to his assertion, such functionaries do not continue the guru succession, but simply assist newcomers to formally accept Srila Prabhupada as the bona fide acarya.
Ritvik is the title given to the person who officiates at the ceremony at which the new disciple is given a spiritual name. The provision of the spiritual name is itself only one part, or element, of the initiation ceremony, a ceremony which, according to Srila Prabhupada, is only a formality.
is a formality. If you are serious, that is real
initiation. My touch is simply a formality. It is
your determination. That is initiation."
Thus there is no need to explain only one part of a ceremony which itself is not elaborately described in Srila Prabhupada's books, and is only a formality anyway.
However Srila Prabhupada's books do clearly explain the essential principles of initiation, diksa, and how the spiritual master is able to transmit divya-jnana without the necessity of a physical body. The use of Ritviks to give a spiritual name is simply an alteration in the detail of how such principles are applied. It does not alter any principle itself.
It is surprising that the author has quoted the following to support his arguments:
"In my books the philosophy of Krishna Consciousness
is explained, so if there is anything which you do not understand, then
you simply have to read again and again. By reading daily the knowledge
will be revealed to you
and by this process your spiritual life will develop.
This clearly indicates that Srila Prabhupada's books are understood through their own potency, and that there is therefore no need for a physically present guru to understand the books. The following quote further confirms this:
This is doublethink, for it is the author himself who states his intention of redefining the word:
Srila Prabhupada did many things that had no apparent historical precedent. Indeed, most things he did, especially in regard to initiation, appear to be unprecedented. The principle of guru, sadhu, sastra would, in principle, indicate that many of Srila Prabhupada's actions were extremely unusual.
There are many examples, but one will suffice:
When giving second initiation, it is understood that the guru himself must personally whisper the mantra in the ear of the initiate. This is not only the tradition, but also how the process is described in sastra. The use of a tape recorder would certainly contravene established practice.
On one occasion, he instructed the spouse of a prospective initiate to whisper the mantra on his behalf:
am enclosing herewith your sacred thread, duly chanted on by me.
Gayatri mantra is as follows [...] Ask
your wife to chant this mantra and you hear it
and if possible hold a fire ceremony as you have seen during your
marriage and get this sacred thread on your body. Saradia, or any twice
initiated devotee, may perform the ceremony.
However, we also understand from sastra, that a pure devotee such as Srila Prabhupada is not answerable to the conditioned souls. Indeed, his actions may well be beyond their comprehension.
Sastra indicates this quite clearly:
Kaviraja Gosvami and one who follows in his footsteps do not have to
cater to the public.
Their business is simply to satisfy the previous acaryas
and describe the pastimes of the Lord.
The use of ritviks, or proxies, even when the Spiritual Master is physically present, was not apparently widely practised before the advent of Srila Prabhupada. It is however important to understand that the use of a ritvik to give a spiritual name on behalf of the spiritual master, even though the spiritual master is not physically present, does not contravene any known principle.
It must be conceded that our knowledge of the parampara is neither detailed nor extensive enough to speak conclusively about every practice that was adopted in the past. Our guide can only be Srila Prabhupada himself.
It is clear therefore, that historical precedent is in itself not sufficient reason to assert that Srila Prabhupada would not do or approve of any particular practice. The author's assertion that this must be so may be rejected.
Ultimately we must follow what Srila Prabhupada actually did, rather than what we think he should have done. In a previous section we have shown conclusively that Srila Prabhupada only appointed Ritviks to conduct initiations after his physical departure.
Unfortunately as the proceeding sections have shown, there is either an error or mistake on virtually every page of the Paper "Continuing the Parampara". The evidence presented by the author is both ineffectual and inadequate, and may be discarded. It has been demonstrated that the real conclusions that can be drawn from Srila Prabhupada's teachings are frequently diametrically opposed to those of the author.
In Section 5, the author restates the points he set out in Section 1 to prove. However, as we have shown, point by point, the author has failed to prove a single point. Rather, he has simply assisted us to prove once and for all that Srila Prabhupada did appoint ritviks for after his departure, to initiate disciples for Srila Prabhupada only. In fact, the correct conclusions that can be drawn are stated below:
Continuing The Parampara was supposed to be the definitive document on the guru issue presented by the head of our movement in the British Isles, member of the Governing Body Commission and predominant initiating guru. We would however humbly suggest that unless evidence to the contrary is forthcoming, the points presented herein must be accepted, as they have all been thoroughly substantiated.
At the very least, as this rebuttal has shown, the case against 'ritvik' is far from strong, and thus the temple and book ban against our members is a great travesty of justice. 'Innocent until proven guilty', and this document has failed to prove us guilty. Far from it. Rather the reverse has been very comprehensively proven.
We humbly offer our apologies for any offences that have been caused to HH Sivarama Swami or any of the devotees by this or any other presentation. But the truth has to be told.
Accept Srila Prabhupada as your diksa guru and go back to Godhead.
Srila Prabhupada ki jaya !
We have quoted a number of sources in this document:
1. The 1977 'Appointment Tape'.
Please enquire for copies.