False Rtvik Propaganda


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 71, Vol 4, 2021

ISKCON leaders have attacked the IRM's position – that Srila Prabhupada is ISKCON's diksa guru – as being false "rtvik" propaganda. They are correct that there is false rtvik propaganda. However, as we shall see, it is being propagated by ISKCON's leaders themselves, and consists of false propaganda about the IRM's, or "rtvik", position. All quotes in shaded boxes are from a lecture by HH Bhakti Vikasa Swami ("BVKS"), recorded on 7/11/21.

BVKS hodgepodge

"I don't know why so many of my Godbrothers are reluctant to initiate. It's not me initiating. In one sense, yes, but we do it as a representative of the parampara. That's why this rtvik thing is so hodgepodge. They say ‘well, we're not gurus, but we're just representing Srila Prabhupada'. Well, any guru will say he's representing."

1) We do not claim the "rtvik" representative is in any way some sort of substitute or "surrogate" guru. The rtvik simply performs a service connected with the initiation rite, just as the temple president also does by performing the initiation fire sacrifice. Thus, there is no question of the "rtviks" needing to claim that they are "not gurus", any more than the temple president or any other devotee would need to claim this.

2) It is Srila Prabhupada who is the alternative to the GBC guru, and this is why so many of BVKS's Godbrothers are "reluctant to initiate", since they realise they are not an alternative to Srila Prabhupada. Therefore, it is BVKS who has created a "hodgepodge", by trying to draw a false equivalence between the role of the "rtvik" and that of the diksa guru.

3) Everyone in ISKCON "represents" Srila Prabhupada in that they are supposed to simply be following Srila Prabhupada's orders rather than acting on their own initiative. But they all represent in different capacities. Just because a pot-washer is also representing Srila Prabhupada, does not mean that he is the same as a liberated member of the disciplic succession.

4) Most importantly, the GBC guru is not "representing" Srila Prabhupada anyway. Because one can only represent Srila Prabhupada in a certain capacity if they have been ordered by Srila Prabhupada to represent him in that capacity. But, neither BVKS nor anyone else was authorised by Srila Prabhupada to represent him by taking over his position as ISKCON's diksa guru.

BVKS cheating

"They [rtvik representatives] do everything, they give the beads, they give the name, they exercise authority over them, they do everything except take responsibility for their spiritual advancement. Cheating process"

1) BVKS just fabricates the role of the rtvik. According to the July 9th, 1977 directive signed by Srila Prabhupada, here is what the rtvik does in order to accept a disciple on behalf of Srila Prabhupada:

They give a name. Or chant on a Gayatri thread. That's it!

They certainly do not "do everything" or "exercise authority". Nor is it their function to provide "spiritual advancement". As GBC guru Madhu Sevita Dasa correctly explained in the first article, it is Srila Prabhupada who provides this.

2) BVKS engages in this fabrication so that he can again draw a false equivalence between the role of a rtvik and that of a diksa guru, and thus try to argue that he is providing a required diksa guru "alternative" to the rtvik. But the actual comparison is between that of Srila Prabhupada, who does do everything, and the GBC guru, who simply takes the credit and worship for the work that Srila Prabhupada does by unauthorisedly taking his position. And, if BVKS provided the correct comparison, he would be exposed as a cheater since it would be clear he is not providing any alternative to Srila Prabhupada and thus is not required. So it is BVKS who is engaging in a "cheating process" by lying about the actual role of a rtvik.

Material immaterial

"There is the rtvik sampradaya [...] which imagines that Srila Prabhupada has not left in any way"
(BVKS Lecture, 8/11/21)

1) BVKS falsely claims that the IRM (whom he labels as the rtvik sampradaya) is not aware that Srila Prabhupada has physically disappeared. Yet, here is what we state after the Introduction, on the first page of The Final Order (TFO), the IRM's position paper:

"On July 9th 1977, four months before his physical departure, Srila Prabhupada..."

So, we clearly do not claim that Srila Prabhupada has "not left in any way", since we state he has left physically.

2) We do repeat Srila Prabhupada's teaching that his physical disappearance is immaterial to his ability to function spiritually:

"Physical presence is immaterial; presence of the transcendental sound received from the spiritual master should be the guidance of life."
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, 19/1/67)

"So we should associate by the vibration, and not by the physical presence. That is real association."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, 18/8/68)

Please see TFO and our other publications for many more quotes such as these.

Initiation does not stop

"rtvik-vadis, they say, ‘No, Prabhupada is still present and therefore he can go on initiating'"
(BVKS Lecture, 13/10/21)

BVKS claims we say the above in reference to Srila Prabhupada stating that it is possible for a disciple to initiate only after his spiritual master physically disappears (Letter to Tusta Krsna, 2/12/75). But we do not offer a specific reason for why Srila Prabhupada "can go on initiating" in reference to this quote. Because the quote in question does not even state that Srila Prabhupada must stop initiating once he physically disappears. Thus, there is no question of even needing to offer a reason for why Srila Prabhupada "can go on initiating" after he physically disappears, as he does not have to stop in the first place! Rather, only if Srila Prabhupada first stated that he will stop initiating on his physical departure, could the possibility for a disciple to be able to succeed him and initiate even come into play.


If anyone in ISKCON's leadership had any ability to respond to what we actually state, then they would do so, instead of just making up things that we do not state.

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