Tripurari's Effective Rejection of
Srila Prabhupada


22nd, November 2014

We have previously exposed Swami Tripurari (ST) speculating regarding Srila Prabhupada's order that initiations in ISKCON would be conducted via representatives known as "ritviks":


He has recently written an article called "The Ritvik House of Cards" (27/10/2014), which was posted on his website and elsewhere. Below we quote excerpts from this article, which will be enclosed with speech marks thus " ", followed by our comments underneath, enclosed in brackets [  ] thus, and in bold.


"Furthermore, recent ecclesiastical policies concerned with keeping Iskcon's Founder Acarya "in the center" of Iskcon have arguably moved the sect in the direction of what many other Gaudiya missions consider a formal covert ritvik system."


[1. ST agrees that keeping Srila Prabhupada "in the center" as ISKCON's Founder-Acarya results in a "formal covert ritvik system".


2. And Srila Prabhupada did order that he remain permanently in the centre of ISKCON as its Founder-Acarya:


"I wish that each and every Branch shall keep their independent identity and cooperate keeping the Acarya in the centre. On this principle we can

open any number of Branches all over the world."

(Srila Prabhupada Letter, 11/2/67)


3. Srila Prabhupada further taught that keeping him in the centre as ISKCON's Founder and Acarya (Founder-Acarya) results in him remaining

as ISKCON's diksa guru:


"It is declared that His Di­vine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada is the Founder-Acharya of ISKCON (In­ternational Society for Krishna Consciousness). He is the su­preme authority in all matters of the society. His position cannot be occupied by anyone else, and his name and title must appear on all documents, letterheads, publications, and buildings of the Society. […] Approved: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, Founder- Acharya".

(Topmost Urgency, Amendments to registration documents, 22/7/74, emphasis added)


"The spiritual master is also called acarya, or a transcendental professor of spiritual science. The Manu-samhita (2.140) explains the duties of an acarya, describing that a bona fide spiritual master accepts charge of disciples, teaches them the Vedic knowledge with all its intricacies, and gives them their second birth. The ceremony performed to initiate a disciple into the study of spiritual science is called upaniti, or the function that brings one nearer to the spiritual master. [...] In the Vayu Purana an acarya is defined as one who knows the import of all Vedic literature, explains the purpose of the Vedas, abides by their rules and regulations, and teaches his disciples to act in the same way." (Cc., Adi-lila, 1.46) 



ST is therefore correct that accepting Srila Prabhupada's central position as ISKCON's Founder-Acarya means that he will remain ISKCON's diksa guru ("formal covert ritvik system"), for this is actually what Srila Prabhupada ordered!]


"In this system ("ritvik") adherents designate a devotee to initiate students on behalf of the previous guru in succession with the initiates becoming disciples of the departed guru (in this case Srila Prabhupada). The problem with this novel idea is that it lacks scriptural and historical precedent. […] Born from sentiment and/or religious fanaticism and fueled by examples of unfit persons posing as gurus, this notion blinds its adherents from recognizing the qualified gurus among us, which if acknowledged, would bring the whole ritvik idea down like a house of cards."


[1. ST states that Srila Prabhupada remaining ISKCON's diksa guru is not supported by scripture (sastra), but instead born from "sentiment and/or religious fanaticism". However, we know that if Srila Prabhupada is a bona fide guru, whatever he does is already in line with scripture, and therefore bona fide:


"Sadhu, sastra. And guru? Guru means who follows the sastra and sadhu. So there are three, the same."

(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, 30/11/76)


And we have already established in the previous point that Srila Prabhupada did order he remain in the centre as ISKCON's Founder-Acarya and therefore also as its diksa guru. And ST therefore has to agree that Srila Prabhupada ordered that he remain ISKCON's diksa guru, since he accepts that keeping Srila Prabhupada in the centre as Founder-Acarya means that he remains as ISKCON's diksa guru ("formal covert ritvik system".)


2. Hence, since -


a) ST accepts that keeping Srila Prabhupada in the centre as ISKCONs Founder-Acarya means he is ISKCON's diksa guru.

b) Srila Prabhupada did order that he remain in the centre as ISKCON's Founder-Acarya, and thus diksa guru.

c) ST rejects Srila Prabhupada remaining as ISKCON's diksa guru as unsastric nonsense.


- the only way that ST can reject Srila Prabhupada's position as ISKCON's permanent diksa guru and insist that it is not in line with scripture but borne of fanaticism, is if he rejects Srila Prabhupada himself as being a bona fide guru who could have ordered that he remain as ISKCON's diksa guru.]


"In addition, Srila Prabhupada has written some things that are somewhat ambiguous with regard to his succession. Together these factors fueled speculations that led to the implementation of the ritvik system of initiation in a number of Iskcon-related groups and temples."


[1. ST claims that Srila Prabhupada's orders regarding his succession were "somewhat ambiguous" and that this was partly responsible for a ritvik system, which he considers deviant, to have been implemented in parts of ISKCON. ST's claim about an ambigious Srila Prabhupada who fuels deviancy, follows naturally from his effective rejection of Srila Prabhupada as a bona fide guru who ordered that he remain as ISKCON's diksa guru.


2. However, Srila Prabhupada was not at all ambiguous in regards to his succession, since he never gave an order that he be succeeded as ISKCON's acarya (diksa guru).]


"ritvik initiation in the Gaudiya community is a twist on the perennial notion of guru parampara, or ongoing succession of gurus, whereby spiritual knowledge/bhakti is imparted from guru to disciple. […] Institutions come and go, but guru parampara continues; this is Sri Krishna's promise in the Bhagavad-gita: evam parampara-praptam imam rajarsayo viduh.

So within ISKCON or elsewhere, my recommendation is for students to find a vital living connection to the guru parampara and accept siksa and mantra diksa from him or her."


[1. ST quotes the following verse from the Bhagavad-gita, stating that this means the guru parampara continues:


"evam parampara-praptam imam rajarsayo viduh"

(BG, 4:2)


However, the translation for this verse is:


"This supreme science was thus received through the chain of disciplic succession, and the saintly kings understood it in that way."


Note, however, that there is no mention here of either:


a) The chain of disiciplic succession being continued *only* via a *physically present* guru.

b) Or that those who are members of the chain of disciplic succession have a *time limit* for how long they can remain members of the disciplic succession.


2) Hence:


a) Currently the notion of the guru parampara is being fulfilled through Srila Prabhupada imparting spiritual knowledge/bhakti as the guru to his disciples.

b) Thus, the parampara continues with Srila Prabhupada.


Therefore, having Srila Prabhupada as the current link in the parampara is not a "twist" on the notion of guru parampara, as ST claims. Rather, it is *ST's* recommendation that one must find a "living connection" to the guru parampara, implying "physically present" and hence someone else other than Srila Prabhupada, which is the twist, and ST's fabrication. For, Srila Prabbhupada *is* the current bona fide living connection to the parampara:


"So although a physical body is not present, the vibration should be accepted as the presence of the spiritual master, vibration. What we have heard from the spiritual master, that is living."  

(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, 13/1/1969, Los Angeles) 




1. ST accepts that keeping Srila Prabhupada in the centre as ISKCON's Founder-Acarya means that he is ISKCON's diksa guru. And Srila Prabhupada did order that he remain in the centre of ISKCON as its Founder-Acarya, and that this means he is the diksa guru.


2. ST rejects Srila Prabhupada remaining as ISKCON's diksa guru as being unsastric fanaticism, and thus he is effectively rejecting Srila Prabhupada as being a bona fide guru who ordered that he remain as ISKCON's diksa guru. Rather, ST sees Srila Prabhupada as someone whose "ambiguous" teachings fuelled deviancy.


3. ST also has no understanding of the teachings of Lord Krishna given in the Bhagavad-gita regarding the parampara.


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