by Krishnakant

Mar 15 1999 - Perhaps we should not be surprised that in - 'Prabhupada's Standing Order - Ritvik Nonsense' (posted on CHAKRA) H. H. Vipramukhya Swami speaks out strongly against returning Srila Prabhupada back to his rightful position as ISKCON's sole diksa guru. Maharaja is after all a diksa guru himself and naturally needs to defend his position. Needless to say his effort is nothing more than the usual collection of recycled 'straw man' arguments and already defeated assertions that have become the standard stock in trade of those who attempt to 'answer' the 'Final Order' paper. We put 'answer' in speech marks, since such papers do not usually deal with what the FO actually states. It has of course become tedious to point out for the umpteenth time all these 'straw man' arguments and already answered assertions, but maybe if we do it enough, even CHAKRA may finally understand that simply spewing out what has already been defeated, and what we do not say, is not only dishonest, but extremely easy to respond to.

So here we go again. Maharaja will be referred to from now on as the author.

"Prabhupada's Standing Order - Ritvik Nonsense By Vipramukhya Swami"

Had Maharaja placed a full stop after the word ritvik above, he would have...

a) properly defined Srila Prabhupada's instructions on initiation, and

b) warned the reader of what was to follow.

Perhaps we can be of assistance and give his essay its more accurate title:

'Nonsense By Vipramukhya Swami'

"Ritvik theorists are cheating through word jugglery, and innocent devotees are being convinced by false logic."

As usual a statement is made without any supporting evidence, in the lame hope that simply stating something will make it factual. This problem is endemic with ISKCON guru authors. Now whatever they say must be the truth, no matter how illogical or ludicrously self-contradictory. Nowhere in the rest of his article does the author present one single quote from us, what to speak of any specific examples of our alleged 'word-jugglery' or 'false logic'. An ounce of example is worth a ton of unsupported generalisation.

"On face value, the "Final Order" looks good from several points of view. It seems to present a catchall solution to ISKCON's problems. It is a somewhat unsuccessful and intellectually dissatisfying attempt to "prove" that Srila Prabhupada established a system, before his departure, where all future initiated disciples would be his disciples and proposes that the reason ISKCON has had so much difficulty is because of not following this so-called "Final Order.""

We do not need to prove Srila Prabhupada set up such a system since that is exactly what the July 9th letter states - that from July 9th onwards those initiated would be disciples of Srila Prabhupada. It is accepted even by the GBC that this letter was to apply for the future - at least beyond July 9th. That much is indisputable. Maybe the author needs to read the letter again more carefully. The difficulty comes where the GBC claim the letter was only meant to remain applicable for four months, or during Srila Prabhupada's physical presence only.

That is what WE seek the PROOF for. It is evidence supporting the termination of a system everyone agrees Srila Prabhupada set in place that 'The Final Order' asks for. Indeed we have been asking for this evidence for some years now.

We do not say anywhere in 'The Final Order' that ISKCON has had difficulty because this system was not followed. This may or may not be the case, but we do not but we do not even ADDRESS this issue in the FO.

"Srila Prabhupada consistently gave this Standing Order: His disciples may initiate disciples, but only after Srila Prabhupada's physical departure from the world. The etiquette, he said, was that a disciple should not initiate disciples in the presence of the spiritual master but only after his physical departure. This was part of the Standing Order."

As proof for this 'consistent' 'standing order', the author quotes the following:

  1. A private letter to Tusta Krishna in 1975.
  2. A conversation with a one-off visitor that was only discovered just over a year ago. 
  3. A letter to John Milner telling him that he cannot get initiated by Brahmananda.
  4. A letter to Hamsadutta telling him that maybe by 1975 all his disciples can initiate.
  5. Many 'amara ajnaya - become guru' quotes from Lord Caitanya.

Now we have responded to these quotes again and again, and as usual the author offers no challenge to our replies. He just hopes that by continually re-presenting the same evidence to CHAKRA readers who he hopes have not seen our responses, they will continue to be convinced. The author presents the above pieces of evidence to support the idea that one should not initiate disciples in Srila Prabhupada's presence, but after Srila Prabhupada's departure one can initiate unlimitedly- this is the so-called 'standing order'. Thus he obviously feels that all the above pieces of evidence are speaking of diksa guru. But on closer inspection we see the author actually presents evidence that speaks of the opposite happening - No 4. Above (Srila Prabhupada was still physically present in 1975). He also then presents 'amara-ajnaya' quotes that make no time restriction on 'becoming guru', but actually encourage everyone to do it immediately, and that 'it is best not to accept any disciples' - No. 5 above.

So even before we begin our response we see the author himself has presented evidence that not only does not support what he is saying, but by his own reasoning actually contradicts his assertion. This is a good example of the author's nonsense as promised in our modified title to his paper.

Thus we are now down to 3 pieces of evidence for this 'Consistent' teaching of a 'standing order'. We do not need to repeat our answers to these quotes - they are given many times and in-depth on our website. There we demonstrate that the quotes do not constitute the 'standing order' that the author claims. Instead we will just highlight some more of the author's ineptitude and foolishness here.

  1. If these are 'standing orders', to whom are they applicable? They were only ever spoken to two uninitiated persons, and a deviant disciple. How come these 'standing orders' are never spoken to those who might theoretically be able to act on them - i.e. his disciples who were strictly following?
  2. Why did Srila Prabhupada make no attempt to have these 'standing orders' heard by the rest of his movement - we are dealing with 2 unpublished letters (only subsequently published against the GBC's wishes), and a room conversation that we only knew about recently.
  3. In light of the above two points, what relationship do the author's evidential items 1, 2 and 3 above have in relation to following/terminating a directive sent to the whole movement?
  4. If the author seriously believes that the words spoken in these 3 quotes are orders for everyone to become a diksa guru in Srila Prabhupada's absence, maybe he can answer the following:

a) In the room conversation with Mohsin Hassan, Srila Prabhupada states that anyone simply by being initiated, everyone is 'competent' to be a diksa guru even then in 1971:

'NOW they're competent'.

Srila Prabhupada has never taught that simply by getting initiated one is automatically qualified to be a diksa guru. In fact he has stated that one must undergo much more purification - be able to control all the 6 urges, remove all anarthas etc. etc.

  • Thus is the author saying that this conversation with student Mr. Hassan overturns all of Srila Prabhupada's subsequent and previous teachings on the qualification of guru?

Just before the extract quoted above by the author, the author has omitted to mention the following sentence also spoken by Srila Prabhupada:

"Just like I have got many Godbrothers, they are all acting."

Yet in 1973 Srila Prabhupada states that all his godbrother's are 'dead men', and in 1974 that none of them are 'qualified to be acharya', and later on that they had disobeyed the order of the guru etc. etc.

  • Yet here, if we are to believe the author's interpretation, they are held up as perfect examples of how one should behave as diksa guru?
  • Again does this statement to student Mr. Hassan overturn everything else Srila Prabhupada subsequently preached about his godbrothers?

b) In the letter to Tusta, Srila Prabhupada advises that he should:

"Keep trained up very rigidly and then you are bona fide Guru, and you can accept disciples on the same principle."

Not, 'become trained up', but 'keep'. Thus by the author's reckoning, that would mean that even in 1975, Tusta was qualified to be a diksa guru. He simply had to maintain or 'keep' up the standard he had already attained and everything would be fine. Virtually no one in ISKCON at the time thought this was the case, and in fact most devotees would condemn Tusta for his loyalty to Siddha Svarupa. Yet now we are expected to believe that even in 1975 Tusta had already reached the level appropriate to diksa guruhood, but he just had to wait and not slip up. Even in the face of all the other letters Srila Prabhupada had written previously to Tusta trying to correct his deviancy and keep him in line.

  • Does the author seriously believe that Tusta was qualified to be a diksa guru in 1975, and that the only bar was that he had to wait until Srila Prabhupada left the planet?

c) Just 6 months before the letter to John Milner, which has enthusiastically been presented as being evidence of Srila Prabhupada endorsing Brahmananda's 'sum total of all the demi-gods' status, Srila Prabhupada severely rebuked Brahmananda for 'spreading contamination in our society', being a 'rascal', doing 'nonsense' etc., since he was one of the '4 sannyasis' that was spreading mayavadi philosophy throughout the society. Later on Srila Prabhupada did not even consider him to be fit to be a ritvik, according to His Holiness Tamala Krishna Maharaja's 'Pyramid House Talks'.

If the author answers yes to the above questions he will be stating the following that:

If the author answers 'NO', then he will simply be agreeing with us that Srila Prabhupada is merely emphasising that his disciples should not initiate when he is present. And that he was not giving them all specific standing orders to initiate as soon as he departed.

"It is the theory of the ritvik proponents that Srila Prabhupada overturned this "Standing Order" and established a "New Order" on July 9, 1977. Amazingly, they call this theory the "No Change in ISKCON Paradigm" (NCIP), even though it amounts to a fundamental change in ISKCON and Srila Prabhupada's Standing Order. In other words, by dubious word jugglery, ritvik proponents advocate that changing Srila Prabhupada's Standing Order is really no change in ISKCON. Change means no change, they argue.

More lies.

  1. 'The Final Order' never states that any 'standing order' was overturned. We state that such a generally applicable order for all his disciples to become diksa gurus was never given to the society by Srila Prabhupada. This is a fact otherwise why would the author only present such poor evidence. Thus it was the July 9th directive that was 'overturned' by the GBC.
  2. 'The Final Order' never states that the July 9th order was a 'new order'. That phrase, put in speech marks incidentally, is the fabrication of the author, and has never been used by us. We state the opposite - that it was the formalisation of the only order ever known in ISKCON - bring everyone to be initiated by Srila Prabhupada.
  3. Thus nothing is changed by accepting Srila Prabhupada as the Diksa Guru for ISKCON. It is the GBC who have changed both the July 9th directive, and the tradition and only 'standing order' known in ISKCON - that when anyone joins, get them initiated by Srila Prabhupada.
"It is sad that some devotees, disappointed by failing authorities but yet experienced in philosophy, have not seen through this jungle of words."

What is not sad is that even devotees with little experience in philosophy can very easily see through the fabricated, contradictory nonsense presented by the author. Even the GBC can in their heart of hearts. That is why after 22 years, they still cannot all agree on exactly WHY, WHEN and HOW they were authorised to take up the role of guru. The only thing they can agree on is that they want to keep on doing it.

"In this letter, Tamal Krishna Goswami uses the word "henceforward." Ritvik theorists claim that Prabhupada's approval signature at the bottom of Tamal Krishna Goswami's letter means that Srila Prabhupada has overturned his Standing Order for his disciples to accept disciples after his physical departure, even though Srila Prabhupada never specifically mentions it."

Another lie. 'The Final Order' never states this. See point above.

"They claim that Prabhupada's approval to Tamal Krishna Goswami's letter means Srila Prabhupada has set up a new system where only he will be the guru from this point forward, forever."

For Srila Prabhupada to be the spiritual master for ISKCON is nothing new. It is the system he instituted from day 1, and published in BTG:

"The founder and spiritual master of The International Society for Krishna Consciousness, His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada." (BTG NO. 40) sp

There is no mention of 'current' spiritual master, or until 'he departs'. Only that he is the Guru for ISKCON. Period. This is all we say. There is nothing new in this. We never state 'forever', only for as long as ISKCON exists.

"But was this Tamal Krishna Goswami's intention when using the word "henceforward?" In the paper called "Prabhupada's Order" we find the following interview with Tamal Krsna Goswami, who is the author of the above July 9th letter. "Prabhupada's Order" states:"

We have already demonstrated in our reply to 'Prabhupada's Order' -'GBC Fails To Answer Final Order'- that H.H. Tamala Krishna Maharaja changed his mind at least 10 times over what he thought Srila Prabhupada wanted in regards to the guru succession. Thus it is less than convincing and somewhat risky for the author to use H. H. Tamala Krishna Maharaja's current opinion about the letter, since who knows when he may have changed his story yet again.

"Ritvik theorists claim Prabhupada's intention, by approving Tamal Krishna's letter, was to overturn his Standing Order, even though neither Tamal Krishna Goswami nor Srila Prabhupada ever mentions anything about it.

More lies. 'The Final Order' does not claim this. See above. It was the July 9th directive that was overturned.

"Crucial here is to understand Srila Prabhupada's own use of the word "henceforward." This can be understood from actual statements made by him. [..'] It is clear that Srila Prabhupada's use of the word "henceforward" does not indicate "from this point forward, eternally," as ritvik theorists would have us believe.

More lies. This false assertion that 'The Final Order' claims that 'henceforward' means 'from this point forward, eternally' has been answered at least a half dozen times by us. The author knows this so he is deliberately cheating his hapless CHAKRA readership. We have never claimed this. We state 'henceforward' means exactly what Srila Prabhupada uses it to mean - 'from this point onward'. If our detractors insist on lying and using 'straw man' arguments, at least they could come up with some new ones.

"Therefore we have proved:
1) Tamal Krishna Goswami wrote the letter. He says the use of the word was meant to imply "in the foreseeable future.

What H.H. Tamala Krishna Maharaja thinks is not relevant. The letter was not Maharaja's idea. He was just the menial secretary doing whatever he was told to do. Secretaries act on behalf of their masters. It is what the master signed that counts. Srila Prabhupada signed a letter that sets up a system of initiations for ISKCON.

Not what some former secretary thinks or wishes the letter meant, and whose account of things changes with every gust of political wind.

"2) Accepting that Srila Prabhupada approved the letter, we have proved Srila Prabhupada's use of the word "henceforward" means something very different from the interpretation of ritviks theorists.

Another lie, since we do not interpret the word as he claims we do.

"3) There's nothing in the July 9th letter to indicate the Standing Order is hereby nullified. Prabhupada would have been clear if this was his intention.

Another irrelevant point. The author has not been able to produce anything that was sent to the society in support of this supposed 'standing order'. Nor has he been able to produce anything that the movement would even have been aware of. All he can produce are private words of encouragement given to a visitor, an uninitiated congregational member and a deviant disciple. There is no 'standing order' that the July 9th directive would have overturned. Rather it was the July 9th directive that was overturned by the GBC.

Thus the only thing that the author has succeeded in 'proving' with the above recycled nonsense is:

  1. He likes to make up things. 
  2. He likes to ignore the arguments that have already defeated the points he puts forward. 
  3. He likes to contradict himself.
"Sometimes Ritvik proponents try to confuse the issue by claiming the tape of this May 28 conversation was forensically analyzed and has start and stop signatures, indicating the tape was edited or altered. Thus they try to cover their weak arguments by throwing doubt on the origin of the tape. Although they quote the tape, because the tape makes it so clear what Prabhupada's intention is, they have to throw doubt upon it. Starting and stopping the tape was always going on in Prabhupada's presence. In order to save precious tape, the servants of Prabhupada would stop the tape recorder when nothing was being said and turn it back on when the conversation would start up again. This was standard procedure. The same start and stop signatures can be found on virtually 90% of Srila Prabhupada's conversation and morning walk tapes. It should be noted, however, that the forensic analysis of this May 28 tape admits that the part of the tape where Srila Prabhupada discusses the subject of future gurus has not been altered.

More lies and nonsense.

We have the ludicrous situation whereby a lay-person is interpreting the work of an expert; the exact opposite of what is supposed to happen in reality.

  1. Anyone who has read the report will note that only half of the 'exhibits' mention 'stop/start' signatures.
  2. And with regards the point about the relevant parts of the tape being 'cleared', this is what the investigative expert himself had to say:

"IF the copy contains signs suggestive of falsification, that copy could NOT be relied upon as a faithful and accurate rendition of the original." "If the preliminary analysis discovers ANY area that is significantly suggestive of falsification, then the ENTIRE recording is in question and a Forensic Analysis should be done."
(N. Perle, 13/10/97 & 14/10/97, in response to query asking if ANY part of a tape can be taken as being 'intact', after a preliminary analysis had discovered irregularities)

  1. We do not mind in the slightest if the tape is used. It completely supports the July 9th letter
  2. 'Is that Ritvik? Ritvik, Yes' (...) 'So they may also be considered your disciples?' 'Yes, they are disciples...'

If we were 'afraid' of the tape we would not have analysed it line by line in 'The Final Order'. Indeed we have provided more analysis and words on this tape than the GBC, who try their best to avoid explaining it any detail since they know they will contradict what they have said previously, having given us at least 5 different transcripts and 4 different interpretations for this tape already. We are merely concerned at the preliminary findings of the GBC's own forensic expert.

"The real issue is this: Srila Prabhupada's Standing Order was that after his physical departure, his disciples could accept disciples "without limitation." [...]Prabhupada's Standing Order was for his disciples to accept disciples, but only after his physical departure, and that those then initiated would be "Granddisciples" of Srila Prabhupada, or "disciple of my disciple" (Prabhupada's own words).

On the one hand the author claims that Srila Prabhupada 'consistently' gave a 'standing order' that all his disciples could be diksa gurus and accept disciples 'without limitation'.

Then the author claims that this same 'standing order' was put into motion by Srila Prabhupada only specifically 'choosing' 11 'RITVIKS'. After having told us that Srila Prabhupada gave us a 'standing order' for everyone to be a diksa guru automatically on his departure, we are then expected to believe that specifically selecting just 11 RITVIKS is somehow an example of this 'Standing Order'. Thus as well having failed to provide evidence for his hypothetical 'Standing Order', and explaining why the July 9th directive was ever overturned, the author has also contradicted himself yet again.


The above is a shameful and embarrassing catalogue of lies, straw-man arguments, recycling of previously defeated arguments, and self-contradiction. Thus we feel it has earned the modified title we gave it. One day many of CHAKRA's readers will read our responses, and see this for themselves. Until then the author can rest safe in the knowledge that his nonsense will get swallowed by many persons that the author knows will not get to see the reply. And I suppose as long as such a state of affairs continues, CHAKRA will continue to spew nonsense such as the above. However it is only a matter of time, since the truth has a habit of coming out, and more and more devotees are waking up.