BTP 73 Nonsense Corner


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 73, Vol. 2, 2022, Interactive

This is a column in which we answer articles or statements that have been forwarded to us by our readers for rebutting.

During a recent lecture given at ISKCON UK headquarters Bhaktivedanta Manor (on 21/5/22), a member of the audience asked the lecturer what "statement or quote" the "rtviks" have to justify their position. (Those who advocate the IRM's position – that we must accept Srila Prabhupada as ISKCON's diksa guru by following the rtvik system of initiation which Srila Prabhupada ordered by issuing the July 9th, 1977, directive – are called "rtviks" by those in ISKCON).

The quotes in shaded boxes are taken from the lecturer's answer to this question, with our comments interspersed beneath.

"when Srila Prabhupada was physically here, sometimes he could not physically be present to perform the actual yajna for the initiation ceremony [...] but somebody else would perform the actual yajna [...] the person who does the yajna on behalf of the spiritual master, is known as the rtvik, like they're almost like an extension, right. So, the rtvik philosophy is Srila Prabhupada didn't give anybody else authority to be a diksa guru, he just wanted us to be rtviks, so we're actually, we're just initiating on behalf of Srila Prabhupada, everybody's a Srila Prabhupada disciple and that's it."

1) The lecturer completely ignores the actual question that is asked. She explains what the rtvik system is. However, this was not the question asked, since presumably the questioner already knew what the rtvik system is, otherwise they would not be asking about what the evidence for such a system is.

2) Thus, the actual question asked – what "quote" or "statement" rtviks have to justify their position – is not answered by the lecturer. If the lecturer was honest, she could have either:

a) Stated she does not know;
b) Or offered the evidence we put forward. The lecturer could then even have tried to rebut such evidence if she wanted.

It is telling, therefore, that the lecturer makes no attempt to actually answer the question she was asked, but instead gives an irrelevant answer for a question that was not asked. Such evasion is indicative of how ISKCON attempts to "answer" the IRM's position – i.e. they cannot answer it, and hence they do not even bother to try!

"the main thing is they just go around criticising everybody, usually for human happenings and human faults, or they just make it up. That's what criticisers do, they just make stuff up most of the time. Or they'll take something really quite simple and magnify it."

Having failed to answer the question asked, the lecturer then instead offers what she claims is actually the "main thing". And proceeds to do the very thing she falsely accuses us of doing: "criticising" and "making things up" and unnecessarily fault finding. It is unclear whether she has even read The Final Order (dubbed by ISKCON's leaders as the rtvik "bible") or other IRM literature, for if she had, she would see that "the main thing" we do is simply repeat Srila Prabhupada's instructions and compare them to ISKCON leaders' statements and actions – or simply compare ISKCON leaders' own statements with each other! – and to date nobody has been able to point out a single untrue statement we have made. We invite the lecturer to attempt to actually understand our position rather than simply fabricating things.

"But you know they're also criticising Srila Prabhupada in one sense because to say that yeah, Prabhupada is the Jagat Guru, he's a pure devotee, but to say he can't, he's not qualified to make other teachers, that's like the biggest insult. Oh, you're a really amazing teacher but you're not good enough to make other teachers. You're not good enough to make other pure devotees. That's not, you know, it just doesn't make any sense."

The lecturer continues to completely "make things up" by fabricating a straw man argument since she cannot address what we actually state. We have never stated that Srila Prabhupada was incapable of creating other teachers or pure devotees. Rather, The Final Order states the complete opposite:

"all we are stating is that Srila Prabhupada did set up the ritvik system to allow initiations to continue. Whether or not Srila Prabhupada created pure devotees is not relevant to his clear and unequivocal final order. [...] Srila Prabhupada may have created many pure devotees [...] It is nowhere stated that it is mandatory for a pure devotee to become a diksa guru. Such persons would be delighted to work within the ritvik system if that was their guru's order."

"So, yeah, rather than getting upset, fighting, I think it's helpful when we have more of the proper explanations. [...] So that's the rtvik."

We agree that rather than "getting upset, fighting", it is "helpful when we have more of the proper explanations". Thus, we agree that it would have been helpful for the lecturer to have actually given "more of the proper explanations" regarding the evidence the "rtvik" position is actually based on – rather than cheating and misleading her audience – beginning with having the honesty to explain what we actually state.


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