By Krishnakant

May 11 1999

The title of Jahnu's latest article 'The Consequences Of Ritvikism' betrays the root of his, and many others, misconception that merely following Srila Prabhupada's final institutional directive on initiation, in and of itself, implies some new ism or vada. There is no separate vada concerning the deployment of ceremonial priests to oversee initiation ceremonies, so the term ritvikism is quite meaningless. The supposition that some new philosophy is implied by such deployment has never been substantiated. As shown in The Final Order', following the order neither violates nor changes any philosophical point of Vaisnava siddhanta. For Srila Prabhupada to continue to transmit diksa to disciples without physical contact is absolutely in line with Bhagavata philosophy.

Starting with the title Jahnu's article goes down hill rapidly as we shall demonstrate. We will quote his entire paper boxed, offering our brief comments after his.

Where is the co-operation?

Ritvikism is a deadly weapon of Kali.
Kali spreads its influence by creating dissension among devotees. The meaning of Kali is "quarrel". Srila Prabhupada wanted that we expressed our love for him through unity and cooperation. He also said that this movement cannot be stopped by any external agency, but it can be broken from within. Irresponsibly spreading Ritvikism instead of Srila Prabhupada's bona-fide teaching creates confusion and dissension among Vaisnavas.

Above Jahnu merely assumes that which needs to be proven, that following Srila Prabhupada's order on initiation is against bona fide teachings. He has never substantiated this, and the fact is that the GBC are banning and intimidating anyone who does not agree with them. Where is the co-operation in that?

Guru as God-brother
A disciple of an ISKCON guru might accept ritvikism and start considering himself a God-brother of his own spiritual master.

Here Jahnu already assumes that Srila Prabhupada's disciples were meant to act as diksa gurus. This is the very point under debate, yet Jahnu argues as though the GBC had already presented clear evidence countermanding the July 9th policy directive.

Accepting such absurd propositions is one of the gravest forms of the offense called maryada-vyatikrama.

In reality we are all Godbrother's and sisters

Only if the guru is actually an authorised initiating member of the disciplic succession. That is what Jahnu has never established. The following quote would only be relevant if Jahnu had already established his case.

"Although one may be well versed in the transcendental science, one should be careful about the offense of maryada-vyatikrama, or impertinently surpassing a greater personality. According to scriptural injunction one should be very careful of transgressing the law of maryada-vyatikrama because by so doing one loses his duration of life, his opulence, fame and piety and the blessings of all the world. ...The Lord never tolerates the impertinence of maryada-vyatikrama."
Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.4.26, purport

"Our Krishna Consciousness movement is based on complete fellow feeling and love, but there is a word maryada which means respect which should always be offered to the Spiritual Master and elderly members."
Srila Prabhupada's letter, 17 April, 1970

So considering oneself as the God-brother of one's diksa-guru is certainly a great and self-destructive offense.

But according to Srila Prabhupada's final directive on initiations he was to remain ISKCON's sole diksa guru. So in reality we are all Godbrother's and sisters. What is so bad about that?

It turns Srila Prabhupada into a zonal-acarya
Ritvikists stress that Srila Prabhupada was the only diksa-guru in ISKCON and that he should remain so. Actually, that Srila Prabhupada was the only guru was something circumstantial, not based on some unchangeable principle or injunction. Srila Prabhupada repeatedly invited his God-brothers to preach in the West. Are we to think that, once in the West, Srila Prabhupada would not allow them to be regular diksa-gurus and initiate? Are we supposed to think that they would only act as proxies on behalf of their God-brother, Srila Prabhupada?

Here Jahnu layers speculation upon speculation. Srila Prabhupada was not the diksa guru by some mere circumstance, he was so since that was how he set things up. Did anyone complain that he was a zonal guru in the 12 years he was the diksa guru? Then why should anyone say that if he continued?

Ritvikism implies that Srila Prabhupada was and should remain the zonal-acarya of the planet Earth, but where did Srila Prabhupada ever say that he wanted to be the only guru in ISKCON during his presence? What to speak of remaining the only guru after his departure.

Srila Prabhupada set up ISKCON so he was the only diksa guru. How can Jahnu now speculate that that was not really how he had wanted it? What is his evidence for such speculation. He never invited his Godbrothers to come and initiate his own followers, far from it.

It fosters the idea that one can take diksa from any previous acarya
This thought itself is an offense. Srila Prabhupada has repeatedly warned us against jumping over present acaryas. Jayagopala, a kayastha from the village Kandra in Bengal was ostracized from the Vaisnava society by Sri Virabhadra Gosvami (an incarnation of Lord Visnu), when he tried to jump over his spiritual master.

The above is based on the unproven assumption that Srila Prabhupada is no longer the current acarya.

One must approach the current link

Recently a ritvik-maya-vadi was preaching to a lady congregational devotee suggesting that she take initiation from Srila Prabhupada, to which she replied, "If I can take initiation from Srila Prabhupada directly, then-being a grihastha-I would rather feel more inspired to take initiation from Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura."

Clearly the woman's understanding was as incomplete as Jahnu's. Notice Jahnu's use of the mayavadi insult, yet all he has shown is a snippet of a conversation with a women who did not understand the principle that one must approach the current link. Had she read TFO she would understand this point.

Once the principle of taking diksa from a departed acarya is accepted, the sky is the limit. It would be surprising to start seeing people claiming to be initiated by Srila Rupa Gosvami or Srila Isvara Puri.

One must take from the current link. That person is Srila Prabhupada, at least as far as members of ISKCON are concerned.

Encourages people to take diksa outside ISKCON
Devotees in general desire a personal guidance in their lives from a living guru. If ritvikism is promulgated, many might feel prompted to go outside of ISKCON to get a living, physical guru with whom to establish a normal guru-disciple relation. Will such spiritual guides give them the pure message and standards presented by Srila Prabhupada?

Thousands of Srila Prabhupada's disciples did not have personal one on one physical contact with him. Many disciples never met him once. Personal physical guidance was given by older devotees, just as it would be today were the system is re-instituted. This flood of people leaving ISKCON started when unauthorised disciples began posing as diksa gurus.

Ritvikism Minimizes Srila Prabhupada's potency
It is said that the potency of a vaisnava is measured by his ability to convert the fallen souls into Vaisnavas. Srila Prabhupada said that his mystic potency was that he converted so many low-born Westerners into Vaisnavas. It is seen that the so-called incarnations, who gather many followers by displaying some mystic power, can't even stop their followers from smoking. According to some ritvik-maya vadis, Srila Prabhupada could not even create one bona fide spiritual master. By such propaganda ("Prabhupada was so great but all his disciples are unqualified") they are destroying the devotees' faith in Srila Prabhupada's preaching efficacy as well.

We are maximizing not minimizing. We are saying Srila Prabhupada is so potent that he can continue, through his books etc, to make Vaisnavas for up to ten thousand years. Since he is making the devotees, why should they not be his disciples?

Wasting time
Rtvikists don't seem to realize that all their points have long since been refuted, and so they keep cooking up new shades of their theories. This wastes a lot of time. How many hundreds of ISKCON-hours have been wasted in refuting their stacks of useless, speculative papers? Of course, very few devotees actually read them, being too busy serving Krishna, but it is still a disturbance.

Jahnu is a prime example of someone who wastes so much time. He constantly raises inane unsubstantiated objections, and then ignores our response to merely re-present them yet again.

Turning people away from Krishna Consciousness
Many people's faith has been affected due to rtvik-vadis' slanderous, anti-ISKCON propaganda. Someone got so affected that he threw away his neck-beads, stopped chanting and left devotional service altogether. Also, by slandering ISKCON in public-in particular on the internet-they are turning people away from the shelter of Srila Prabhupada's lotus feet.

There is no use putting forward unauthorised gurus and then blaming us when they blackmail ISKCON, engage in illicit activity and blaspheme Srila Prabhupada. If you promote such people as though they were as good as God then you only have yourself to blame when it all backfires.

Providing ammunition to the anti-cult movement
If anyone has been helped by the ritvikists' preaching, it is the anti-cult people. By creating and propagating their brand of apa-sampradayic thought, ritvikists encourage the enemies of Vaisnavism to see the Hare Krishna movement as a new cult, a dangerous sect with no connection with bona-fide Vedic teachings.

Please see above.

Offending Vaisnavas
Ritvik-vadis claim that because so many gurus have fallen the remaining gurus are also fallen, or if they are not already fallen, it is just a matter of time before they will. This is offensive to ISKCON gurus in good standing. It is also a very grave offense to try to destroy the guru-bhakti of disciples and aspiring disciples. In Sri Caitanya-caritamrita (Madhya, 15.261, purport) Srila Prabhupada cites a conversation between Markandeya and Bhagiratha from the Skanda Purana:

"My dear King, if one derides an exalted devotee, he loses the results of his pious activities, his opulence, his reputation and his sons. Vaisnavas are all great souls. Whoever blasphemes them falls down to the hell known as Maharaurava. He is also accompanied by his forefathers. Whoever kills or blasphemes a Vaisnava and whoever is envious of a Vaisnava or angry with him, or whoever does not offer him obeisances or feel joy upon seeing a Vaisnava, certainly falls into a hellish condition."

Srila Prabhupada also writes:

"The Hari-bhakti-vilasa (10.314) also gives the following quotation from Dvaraka-mahatmya: kara-patrais ca phalyante sutivrair yama-sasanaih nindam kurvanti ye papa vaisnavanam mahatmanam. In a conversation between Prahlada Maharaja and Bali Maharaja, it is said, "Those sinful people who blaspheme Vaisnavas, who are all great souls, are subjected very severely to the punishment offered by Yamaraja."

This is all very true, but the definition of Vaisnava is that he only acts under the authority of the disciplic succession. Jahnu has failed to prove that the GBC are doing that, but has merely assumed that they are.

It promotes irresponsibility
It is as if some ritvik-vadis reckon that the best way to avoid responsibility is to become a ritvik-guru and not a regular one. This is not what Srila Prabhupada taught us. Srila Prabhupada often quoted the Bhagavatam verse that says that one should not become guru unless he is able to deliver his dependents:

"One who cannot deliver his dependents from the path of repeated birth and death should never become a spiritual master, a father, a husband, a mother or a worshipable demigod."
(Srimad-Bhagavatam 5.5.18)

We can deliver our dependants by introducing them to a bona fide spiritual master such as Srila Prabhupada.

Ritvikists defy Srila Prabhupada's request to all his disciples to become qualified and make disciples all over the world. Ritvikists avoid taking responsibility and instead they want to burden Srila Prabhupada with all this obligation.

No we fully agree that everyone should make Srila Prabhupada more disciples all over the world. Where did Srila Prabhupada complain about too many practicing disciples being a burden?

It renders discipleship meaningless
Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita instructs that one should approach a spiritual master in submission, inquire from him, and serve him.

But that approach does not have to be to the physical body of the guru. Srila Prabhupada taught the exact opposite.

Ritvikism empties that relation of meaning and substance.
"Disciple means one who is regulated by higher authority. He is disciple. The higher authority is called the spiritual master, and the person who voluntarily submits to him for being regulated, he is called disciple."
Srila Prabhupada's lecture, 25 February, 1975

"A disciple means who voluntarily agrees to be disciplined by the spiritual master. When one becomes disciple, he cannot disobey the order of the spiritual master. Sisya. Sisya, this word, comes from the root sas-dhatu, means "I accept your ruling." Srila Prabhupada's lecture, 11 February, 1975

"A Spiritual Master has the right to chastise his disciple any way He likes. A sisya or a disciple means one who accepts the disciplinary action given by the Spiritual Master. Even although sometimes a Spiritual Master chastises his disciple as a fool or rascal in fatherly affection, it does not mean necessarily that the disciple is a fool or a rascal. You will find even in the statement of Lord Caitanya-He presents Himself as a fool designated by His Spiritual Master, but that does not mean that He was a fool. A sincere disciple feels it pleasurable when his Spiritual Master chastises him with calling him such names as fool and rascal. My Spiritual Master sometimes called me in that way and I remember that day always and feel transcendental pleasure."

Srila Prabhupada's letter, 27th January, 1970

Nice quotes. And bear
in mind Srila Prabhupada never met many of his disciples even once, yet still everything was fine and the above was not violated.


It breaches the law of disciplic succession
"Keep trained up very rigidly and then you are bonafide Guru, and you can accept disciples on the same principle. But as a matter of etiquette it is the custom that during the lifetime of your Spiritual Master you bring the prospective disciples to him, and in his absence or disappearance you can accept disciples without any limitation. This is the law of disciplic succession."

Srila Prabhupada's letter, 2 December, 1975

It is not breaching the above law if a guru continues to accept disciples after he leaves. The above law only deals with the disciple, not any limitations on the guru. Disciples can initiate after departure providing they are 'bona fide guru'. That means they must be mahabhagavat, and have been authorised to initiate by their spiritual master. At best Jahnu could argue that the recipient of the above letter, who was anxious for disciples even whilst Srila Prabhupada was present, could initiate once he had attained that level. But the above letter was not generally available until the mid-eighties, so how can it be used to terminate an instruction to the entire movement issued in 1977. Although Jahnu has been asked this many times, he refuses to answer, and instead simply wastes everyone's time by re-presenting the same evidence. We should call this activity

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