By Krishnakant

INDIA, Feb 24 1999— Another bleak set of GBC resolutions cast a dark cloud over ISKCON's future for at least another year.

For a movement decimated by continuous guru fall downs, inevitably followed by the departure of waves of disaffected devotees, coupled with long running confusion over how exactly Srila Prabhupada ever authorized his replacement as ISKCON's diksa guru; one might have expected a more cautious approach to the system of initiation everyone agrees Srila Prabhupada personally set up. Any hope that the GBC might see the light on this issue was shattered with the following:

'THEREFORE, be it hereby resolved that

1) The GBC states that it finds the arguments for ritvikism as represented to it by Madhu Pandit dasa and other of his associates, and as preached by them around the world, to be erroneous in its conclusion as well as specious and sophistical in its conduct. The case for ritvikism is false and duplicitous in method of procedure and in its selection and use of evidence. It depends heavily on speculation and word-jugglery. It presents its radical and speculative departures from the consistent teachings of Srila Prabhupada, his predecessor acaryas, Srila Vyasadeva, and the Lord Himself, under the name of "tradition" and "no change." The effect of these arguments is only to bewilder, delude, and misguide innocent devotees from the teaching set forth by Krishna and upheld without exception by all Vaisnava acaryas.'

As readers of VNN will no doubt be aware, the GBC have consistently failed to demonstrate any of the above accusations. They have never explained where Srila Prabhupada ever authorized the dismantling of the ritvik system, or the subsequent transmogrification of ritviks into diksa gurus.

Nor have they ever produced any evidence that following Srila Prabhupada's July 9th order constitutes some sort of evil deviation from Vaisnava philosophy.

As usual the GBC give no specifics, just snide innuendo and the systematic bullying and intimidation of innocent devotees who are courageous enough to stand up for the truth.

The GBC's whole 'philosophical' stance seems to rest on the unsupportable premise that the transcendental process of diksa in some way requires the physical presence of the guru, which of course is the very antithesis of Bhagavat philosophy. Indeed it is atheism. If the process of diksa really did require physical presence, then all of Srila Prabhupada's disciples should have taken re-initiation the moment he left the planet, unless they are claiming that the process was complete before he left, and that everyone of Srila Prabhupada's disciples were already liberated. If this is their belief it does not tally well with reality.

'The Final Order' (TFO) pointed to various siddhantic anomalies in the GBC publication 'Gurus and Initiation in ISKCON' and in their partial response to TFO the GBC actually contradicted their own previously stated siddhanta. Every time an ISKCON authority writes he contradicts either 'Gurus or Initiation in ISKCON' or the GBC's partial response to TFO 'Disciple of my Disciple'! We are perfectly happy to be proved wrong, we are not in the business of promoting falsehood and do not claim perfection, but how can the GBC hope to be taken seriously when they are constantly contradicting themselves and each other? For details of these contradictions we recommend the paper 'The Final Order Still stands'. The resolutions continue:

2) The GBC reaffirms strongly its resolution of 1990 entitled "Prohibition Order Against the Posthumous Ritvik Theory."

3) ISKCON Law ( is hereby amended to read as follows: "Ritvikism" AKA "Posthumous Rtvik Theory," "Post-Samadhi-Ritvik Theory," "Proxy Initiation Theory," "No Change Theory," etc. The doctrine that Srila Prabhupada desired to continue to act as diksa guru after his departure from this world and did not desire any of his disciples to give diksa in succession after him is a dangerous philosophical deviation.

Ritvikism directly goes against the principle of parampara itself (of successive diksa and siksa gurus), which sustains the pure teachings and practices of Krishna consciousness. This principle has been established by Krishna and is upheld by all Vaisnava acaryas. Indeed, it is accepted by all followers of Vedic culture. Ritvikism is thus an extreme deviation. It is utterly erroneous to espouse it, deluding and misguiding to teach it, and blasphemous to attribute it to Srila Prabhupada.

No one who espouses, teaches supports in any way, or practices ritvikism can be a member in good standing of ISKCON."

Where have the GBC ever explained precisely, which timeless Vedic principle 'ritvikism' violates.

  • Where does Srila Prabhupada ever teach that as soon as the diksa guru leaves the planet there must or will immediately be another current link diksa guru 'physically present' to take his place?

  • Where does all this nonsense come from?

  • Could the GBC's stubborn refusal to recognise Srila Prabhupada's rightful status as ISKCON's sole diksa guru be in any way linked to the fact that the GBC is comprised almost entirely of initiating gurus?

Certainly there is no philosophical basis for their vehement objection to doing what Srila Prabhupada told them to do, so perhaps it has more to do with not wanting to lose their positions and false prestige. Though they claim to be upholding Srila Prabhupada's legacy, in truth they are exploiting it and dragging it into disrepute.

4) The GBC acknowledges that this body has since 1977 made changes in the manner in which initiations are carried out in ISKCON, is contemplating changes at present, and may well make changes in the future. However the GBC maintains that these changes concern practical adjustments according to time, place, and object undertaken in the application of absolute, unchanging principles.

Ritvikism contravenes absolute, unchanging principles.

Hence it is categorically different from the permissible adjustments within the power of the GBC. In spite of its adjustments, the GBC has held steadily to the principle of parampara and remains committed to it, for it is the teaching of Srila Prabhupada and his predecessors, and it is a necessity in the matter of sustaining a living tradition.

Above the GBC are softening everyone up for whatever 'speculative', 'specious' and 'deviant' guru system they might wish to foist on us all.

What the GBC obliquely refer to, as 'practical adjustments according to time, place, and object' is just another way of saying 'speculation'. When the GBC speculates somehow the results are mystically invested with absoluteness, but when someone else asks them to revert back to the standard system Srila Prabhupada personally authorised they are immediately condemned by the GBC, and hounded ruthlessly from the society.

The above resolution is nothing but rascality dressed in the language of officialdom, meant to lend respectability to the GBC's shameless insubordination.

The GBC need to wake up and realise that harassment and bullying, however well camouflaged in legalese, will never take the place of proper evidence and philosophical argument.