The death of the “magic wand” theory


Back to Prabhupada, Issue 27, Spring 2010

By Krishnakant

In the article on page 7, we documented the attempt to change Srila Prabhupada’s purports due to their contents contradicting the guru hoax. Cheating tactics have also been used to avoid dealing with the contents of the July 9th, 1977 directive, which Srila Prabhupada signed, setting up the ritvik (representative) system of initiation for ISKCON.

Srila Prabhupada’s letter

An attempt has been made to show that the July 9th directive is not really “Srila Prabhupada’s letter”, but a letter from Tamal Krishna Goswami (“TKG”):

“But let’s get back to this supposed final order by Prabhupada. Actually, if it is a final order it is a final order by Tamal Krishna Goswami, because he wrote and signed the July 9 letter.”
(Drutakarma Das, ISKCON GBC apologist, November 17th, 1998)

And, that since the letter began and ended with TKG, only he can understand what the letter could possibly mean:

“The July 9th letter was not authored by Srila Prabhupada but by his secretary Tamal Krishna Goswami […] we thought it pertinent to allow him to explain what he actually meant by the letter,”
(Prabhupada’s Order, GBC, 1998)

However, such a tactic is demolished by TKG himself, because he admitted at the outset that Srila Prabhupada originated and initiated the letter, telling him exactly what to write:

“These 11 persons were named by Srila Prabhupada in the beginning of July, 1977, in Vrindaban in the backgarden of his house. These names were dictated to me as I was serving as his Secretary, and he had me write a letter to all the GBC and Temple Presidents which he also signed as approved on the 9th of July, listing their names and defining their function.”
(TKG Letter to Upananda Das, December 13th, 1978, emphases added)

And their functions are listed clearly – to accept disciples on behalf of Srila Prabhupada. There is no mention that their function is stop doing this on Srila Prabhuapda’s departure, or to turn into diksha gurus at this time. Therefore, consulting TKG can not result in a changing of the literal written content of the letter.

180-degree flip-flop

The next trick to avoid dealing with the actual contents of the letter is to argue that at the time “everyone knew” that the letter had no relevance for what would happen after Srila Prabhupada’s departure. However, in 1978 it was fully accepted that the July 9th directive was a document addressing ISKCON’s future, and what was specifically to happen regarding initiations for when Srila Prabhupada departed:

“The argument that after the departure of the spiritual master any one of his disciples can give initiation, cannot be applied in the case of Srila Prabhupada who specifically named 11 persons only at first to fulfill this function.”
(TKG Letter to Upananda Das, December 13th, 1978)

There was never any doubt at the time that the directive was the document outlining how initiations were to be conducted for the future, for it was the only place where the 11 persons were named. Only their role was supposedly to change from ritvik to guru on departure.

Subsequently, after realising that the very document on which they had founded their whole guru system would now actually discredit them, the GBC did a 180-degree turn. Although the GBC stated earlier that the July 9th directive was the document setting out ISKCON’s initiation future and the document that anointed 11 initiating guru successors, they were now trying to downgrade it to an insignificant temporary document. Meanwhile, the issue of guru succession - the most important question for any institution - was now supposedly conducted via a “nod and a wink”:

“this is the selection that never was. I shall select some of you, that’s what he did, was he both selected and didn’t select, very cleverly or obliquely, and at arm’s length. He appointed 11 ritvik gurus, and also said you cannot become guru, unless you are qualified, now this to me, this was a nod, these are my best people. This was a nod in their direction.”
(Ravindra Svarupa Das, ex-GBC chairman, San Diego Ritvik Debate, 1990)

So the most important decision was communicated via a mystical nod, but the unimportant issue of how initiations were to be conducted for only 4 months was communicated via an official directive sent out to every single temple president and GBC member!
Thus, with the utmost irony, the July 9th directive has changed from being the founding document of the ISKCON guru system to the founding document of the ritvik system – a state of affairs which could exist precisely because its applicability for the future of initiations in ISKCON was never initially questioned.

Defeated by themselves

This flip-flop, however, has laid bare a fatal flaw in the current ISKCON guru system. As part of the “deal” which allowed the first group of guru hoaxers (“The Great Guru Hoax, Part 1”) to allow the expansion of the second wave of gurus (“The Great Guru Hoax, Part 2”), the legitimacy of the first 11 gurus was still accepted by the newer guru hoaxers. The GBC downgraded the July 9th directive from being a guru appointment letter into, now, nothing but a ritvik appointment letter. Then the obvious question is “where is the ‘magic wand’ which transforms these 11 ritviks into diksha gurus of any kind?” The May 28th conversation tape does not provide this transformation, for as we proved in the last issue (please see “Zonal acharya revival!”), such a misguided use of this conversation can only support the already discarded “zonal acharya guru appointment” argument. Indeed, the GBC have already realised this, for they no longer make any attempt to explain how the gurus were authorized. They simply assume that it is “implicit” that this was what Srila Prabhupada “intended” (please see BTP 17, “GBC bombshell”).


In their eagerness to thwart the July 9th directive’s permanent applicability for initiations in ISKCON, the GBC are also now left without any “magic wand” order to transmogrify the 11 ritviks (officiating priests) Srila Prabhupada appointed, into automatic diksha guru successors on his departure.

Please chant: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna, Krishna, Hare, Hare,
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama, Rama, Hare, Hare.
And be Happy!