Prabhupada's Initiation System
by Gauridasa Pandita dasa
arrived in Sri Vrindavan Dhama on May
17th 1977 to prepare to 'leave his body.' He made
all of the arrangements for the future of his movement. He
formed his Will, the
Temple Property Trusts, he gave instructions for the Bhaktivedanta
Book Trust and the GBC and he established his initiation system
for the future of ISKCON.
Due to some
unseen good fortune I got the opportunity to serve Srila Prabhupada,
at that time. Actually, I began to personally serve him in
Bombay as one of his guards and then went with him to Hrsikesh
to 'regain his failing health' on the advice of one of the
life members, Mahadevia Kartikeya.
like heaven in Hrsikesh serving Srila Prabhupada.
We were staying
in a two story house right on the bank of the Holy Ganges
River. We had the best Jalebi maker (Vedic sweets) in the
world, according to Srila Prabhupada, right across the street.
We used to have fruit, yogurt and hot Jalebis for breakfast.
Srila Prabhupada said that hot Jalebis could cure the common
I used to enjoy
taking Japa Walks in the Himalayan Mountains. The forests
are lush, filled with singing birds, and wandering devotees.
Some Shivite's live in the cave's and only leave to bath in
the Ganga. They eat only what is offered to them.
I used to also
enjoy taking walks up along the Ganges Bank and then jump
in the rushing Holy River and ride a log back to Srila Prabhupada's
house chanting all the way.
me of when Visnujana Swami was pulled by a rope in the water
by the boat in Bengal as he chanted the Holy names of the
Lord ~ Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevia…etc.
We used to
Perform Hari Nama Sankirtan in the Market Place just down
from our house on the Ganga. We would chant until about 5pm
then take the kirtan back to the rooftop of our house. Then
at about 5:30pm Srila Prabhupada would give his darshan to
the general public.
did not advertise the darshan; the room was always full of
interested guests every night. Srila Prabhupada preached to
them in his unique and charming way. He used his great Vaisnava
wit to charm the crowds and inspire them to take to Krishna
Consciousness. Most everyone left convinced, a few maybe not,
but everyone who saw Srila Prabhupada felt that he was a perfect
gentleman and a great and loving host. He always paid attention
to everyone and made sure all guests received Prasadam. Srila
Prabhupada also taught us each how to cook a basic meal of
rice, dahl, and chapatis. The mercy of Srila Prabhupada was
flowing like the Ganges at this time. And actually, it still
were ecstatic in Hrisikesh, until that night when Srila Prabhupada
first told us that he was going to leave his body.
All of the
sudden the great weather turned stormy with thunder and lightening
and the power was going off all night long. At about 2:30am
Upendra Prabhu came downstairs and told us that Srila Prabhupada
had been sitting up all night, and had just said that he was
going to leave the planet! Srila Prabhupada said:
will go to Vrindavan; better to die in Vrindavan."
We were shocked!
We knew Srila Prabhupada was sick but didn't think it was
that serious; we thought he would recover.
and I were sent ahead to Vrindavan to make arrangements for
Srila Prabhupada's arrival.
I arrived in Vrindavan from Hrishikesh at about 4am.
We alerted the temple President, Akshayananda Maharaja, of
Srila Prabhupada’s statement that he was coming to Vrindavan
to ‘leave his body’.
didn’t tell the devotees right away why he was coming,
just that he was coming soon and he asked the devotees to
clean Srila Prabhupada's quarters. The Holy dust of Vrindavan
had blown about everywhere and there was a lot of mercy to
arrived at the temple at about 7am. At this point Srila Prabhupada’s
health had deteriorated so much that he could no longer walk
on his own. The devotees in Vrindavan, and around the world,
were unaware of this. We brought a rocking chair out to the
car to carry Srila Prabhupada. He asked, as usual, to see
the Deities first. We carried him into the temple and placed
him before Sri Sri Gaura–Nitai.
stood up offering his respectful obeisance's to Their Lordships.
At that point someone took the chair away. Srila Prabhupada
stood there gazing at Sri Sri Goura-Nitai for a few moments
as tears gliding down his face. Then he moved to sit in the
chair that wasn’t there and we had to catch him. The
devotees looked at each other with surprise. We brought the
chair back and carried Srila Prabhupada over to Sri Sri Krishna
and Balarama. Again Srila Prabhupada stood up with tears in
his eyes as he gazed at Their Lordships for quite some time.
We then moved over to Sri Sri Radha Symasundara and Sri Lalita
and Sri Visaka's alter. Again Srila Prabhupada rose up and
gazed lovingly at the Deities. After a few moments he turned
to us and said that he wanted to see all of the devotees in
Srila Prabhupada to his room and he took his seat at his desk.
The devotees filled the room quickly and were crowded around
the doors and windows trying to see and hear our divine master.
When all the devotees settled in as much as possible Srila
Prabhupada, looking very serious, began to speak:
"So I cannot
speak. I am feeling weak. I was to go to other places like
Chandigarh, but I canceled the program because the condition
of my health is very deteriorating. So I preferred to come
to Vrindavan. If death takes place, let it take here. So there
is nothing new to be said. Whatever I have to speak, I
have spoken in my books. Now you try to understand it
and continue your endeavor. Whether I am present or not present,
it doesn't matter. As Krsna is living eternally, similarly,
the living being also lives eternally. But kirtiryasya sa
jivah: 'One who has done service for the Lord lives forever.'
So you have been taught to serve Krsna, and with Krsna we'll
live eternally. Our life is eternal. Na hanyate hanyamane
sarire. A temporary disappearance of this body, it doesn't
matter. Body is meant for disappearance. Tatha dehantara-praptih.
So live forever by serving Krsna. Thank you very much."
At this point
most of the devotees were crying. To me it still hadn't sunk
in that Srila Prabhupada was about to leave us physically.
told us to discuss amongst ourselves and we talked about the
future of ISKCON.
we understood that Srila Prabhupada would live with us in
his books etc. but we would so miss his physical presence.
The devotees began to wonder how the movement would go on
without Srila Prabhupada to personally direct it.
On May 27th
1977 Srila Prabhupada talked about his mission with some of
Just now everything is going on, but after my demise it may
be taken away from your hand…I understood it long ago.
It has been stayed, (?) Bombay, Vrindavan. So how are you
going to guard yourself? That is the problem.
Your order that it be a trust property with lifetime trustees…
now you are all here. Very cautiously and everything
will protect it. At least the property will be protected.
Srila Prabhupada: You
should be very much determined, strong-minded. Otherwise it
will slip. Such huge property…
these properties are the envy of all of India. They're the
best properties in each place.
Srila Prabhupada: Not
only property. Our prestige, our position… Everything
is envied. Everywhere we are first class.
there is no rival.
There will be men, I know. There will be men who want
to try to pose themselves as guru.
That was going on many years ago. Your Godbrothers were thinking
Oh, yes. Oh, ready to jump.
Srila Prabhupada: Very
strong management is required and vigilant observation.
(Background whispering, T.K.G. & Bhavananda)
putting Srila Prabhupada's translating materials on his desk
and that was my service for the day. I retreated to my room
in the guesthouse where I could see Srila Prabhupada translating
all night long on his rooftop. It was amazing what Srila Prabhupada
accomplished in just one day!
On May 28th
a committee of the GBC met in Srila Prabhupada's room and
asked various questions for the future of ISKCON.
Satsvarupa Maharaja asked Srila Prabhupada:
"Our next question
concerns initiations in the future, particularly at that time
when you're no longer with us. We want to know how first and
second initiations would be conducted."
answered: "Yes; I shall recommend some of you. After this
is settled up, I shall recommend some of you to act as officiating
"Is that called ritvik-acharya?"
replied: "Ritvik yes."
Then what is the relationship of that person who gives the
initiation and the...
He's guru. He's guru.
But he does it on your behalf.
Yes. That is formality. Because in my presence one should
not become guru, so on my behalf, on my order... Amara ajnaya
guru haia. Be actually guru, but by my order.
So they may also be considered your disciples.
Yes, they are disciples. Why consider? Who?
No, he's asking that these ritvik-acaryas, they're officiating,
giving diksa. Their... The people who they give diksa to,
whose disciple are they?
They're his disciple.
They're his disciple.
Who is initiating. He is grand disciple.
Then we have a question concer...
When I order, "You become guru," he becomes regular guru.
That's all. He becomes disciple of my disciple. That's it.
This tape has
been proven to have been doctored, but the fact remains that
Srila Prabhupada says, "On my order" and "But by my order"
and "When I order. 'You become guru'." The only order given
so far was to be officiating or ritvik representatives of
the acharya. This will be clarified in the next conversations
and the July 9th 1977 Newsletter to all GBC's and
temple presidents. Since the last part of this tape is so
controversial we should remember that Srila Prabhupada never
made changes by tape recording. Therefore the July 9th
newsletter is the most important piece of evidence we have.
verifies what I heard and reported even before I ever heard
the tapes or saw the letters after the 1990 San Deigo GBC
the fact that Srila Prabhupada ordered ritvik acharyas to
initiate after his departure to Yasodanandan Prabhu, who entered
the information into his diary at that time. I'm using that
diary to help compile this report.
Prabhu had a conversation with Bhavananda Maharaja on May
31st where he asked:
I heard from Gauridasa about [the] nomination of ritvik acharyas?"
said, "It just means on behalf of Prabhupada. That's all.
I can't wait until we start to do this."
One of my services
for Srila Prabhupada was to take care
of his garden
and fan him with the camara while he was there every morning
from about sunrise until about 9am. At these times he would
chant japa or listen to devotees chant bhajans or read the
books to him. Sometimes the secretary, Tamal K.G., would read
letters from the devotees. Srila Prabhupada would dictate
a response, then the secretary would type it and bring it
back later to read it again to Srila Prabhupada who would
approve and sign it.
On July 5th
Tamal asked Srila Prabhupada about some devotees who wanted
to get initiated as he was getting many requests from the
Temple presidents. This conversation occurred in the garden
as I fanned him.
said: "Tomorrow I will I will announce some ritvik acharyas
who will initiate disciples on my behalf when I leave the
It was actually
two days later on July 7th when Srila Prabhupada
named the first eleven ritvik acharyas.
Here is the
transcription of the tape:
We're receiving a number of letters now, and these are people
who want to get initiated. So up until now, since your becoming
ill, we asked them to wait.
The local senior sanyasis can do that.
what we were doing…I mean, formerly we were…the
local GBC, sanyasis, were chanting on their beads, and they
were writing to your Divine Grace, and you were giving a spiritual
name. So should that process be resumed, or should we…?
I mean one thing is that it's said that the spiritual master
takes on the…you know, he takes on the…He has
to cleanse the disciple by…So we don't want that you
should have to…Your health is not so good, so that should
not be…That's why we've been asking everyone to wait.
I just want to know if we should continue to wait for some
No, the senior sanyasis…
they should continue to…
You can give me a list of sanyasi's. I will mark who will…
You can do. Kirtananada can do, and our Satsvarupa can do.
So these three, you can give, begin.
T.K.G. : So
supposing someone is in America; should they simply write
to directly to Kirtananda or Satsvarupa?
Nearby, Jayatirtha can give.
Bhagavan…Bhagavan and he can also do. Harikesa.
And, five six men, you divide who is nearest.
is nearest. So persons wouldn't have to write to your Divine
Grace. They could write directly to that person?
they are initiating the person on your Divine Grace's behalf.
Those persons who are initiated are still your…
Second initiation we shall think over; second initiation.
is for first initiation, okay. And for second initiation,
for the time being they should…
No, they have to wait. Second initiation, that should be given…
Should…Some devotees are writing you now for second
initiation, and I'm writing them to wait a while because you're
So can I continue to tell them that?
They can do second initiation.
No; these men.
men, they can also do second initiation. So there's no need
for the devotees to write to you for first and second initiation.
They can write to the man nearest them. But all these persons
are still your disciples. Anybody who gives initiation
is doing so on your behalf.
know that book I'm maintaining of all of your disciples names?
Should I continue that?
if someone gives initiation, like Harikesa Maharaja, he should
send the person's name to us here and I'll enter it in the
book. Okay. Is there anybody else in India that you want to
India, I am here, we shall see. In India, Jayapataka.
You are also in India.
You can note down these names.
I have them.
Who are they?
Maharaja, Satsvarupa Maharaja, Jayatirtha Prabhu, Bhagavan
Prabhu, Harikesa Maharaja, Jayapataka Maharaja, and Tamal
That's nice. Now you distribute.
There's seven names.
For the time being, seven names, sufficient. You can
yeah. South America.
So without waiting for me, wherever you consider it
is right…That will depend on discretion.
for first and second initiations.
Shall I send a kirtana party, Srila Prabhupada?
Later on Hansadutta
Maharaja was added and Tamal Krishna Maharaja drafted the
To All G.B.C.,
and Temple Presidents
accept my humble obeisances at your feet. Recently when all
of the GBC members were with His Divine Grace in Vrndavana,
Srila Prabhupada indicated that soon He would appoint some
of His senior disciples to act as "ritvik-representative"
of the acarya, for the purpose of performing initiations,
both first initiation and second initiation. His Divine Grace
has so far given a list
of eleven disciples who will act in that capacity:
His Holiness Satsvarupa dasa Gosvami
His Holiness Jayapataka Swami
His Holiness Tamala Krsna Gosvami
His Holiness Hrdayananda Gosvami
His Holiness Bhavananda Gosvami
His Holiness Hamsaduta Swami
His Holiness Ramesvara Swami
His Holiness Harikesa Swami
His Grace Bhagavan dasa Adhikari
His Grace Jayatirtha dasa Adhikari
past Temple Presidents have written to Srila Prabhupada recommending
a particular devotee's initiation. Now that Srila Prabhupada
has named these representatives, Temple Presidents may henceforward
send recommendation for first and second initiation to whichever
of these eleven representatives are nearest their temple.
After considering the recommendation, these representatives
may accept the devotee as an initiated disciple of Srila Prabhupada
by giving a spiritual name, or in the
case of second initiation, by chanting on the Gayatri thread,
just as Srila Prabhupada has done. The newly initiated devotees
are disciples of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
Prabhupad, the above eleven senior devotees acting as his
representative. After the Temple President receives a letter
from these representatives giving the spiritual name or
the thread, he can perform the
fire yajna in the temple as was being done before. The name
of a newly initiated disciple should be sent by the representative
who has accepted him or her to Srila Prabhupada, to be included
in His Divine Grace's "Initiated Disciples" book.
finds you all well.
Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
by Srila Prabhupada)
On July 8th
Yasodanandan Prabhu wrote:
Maharaja was talking about [with Prabhupada] rtvik gurus to
initiate on behalf of Prabhupada after he leaves the planet."
On July 9th
Yasodanandan wrote, "I heard from Tamal Krishna Maharaja in
the afternoon that Srila Prabhupada had told him to send a
letter to 'all the temples' to explain the ritvik initiation
system for the future."
On July 10th
Maharaja comes out of Prabhupada's room.
Yasoda, did you see this?"
what is it?"
is signed by Prabhupada."
does all this mean?" TKG: "Devotees have been writing to Prabhupada
asking for initiations and now Prabhupada has named eleven
ritviks who can initiate on his behalf. Prabhupada said others
can be added."
"And when Prabhupada departs?"TKG: "They'll be ritviks. That’s
what Prabhupada said. It's all on tape." (R.C.5-28-77 &
were for the future of ISKCON after Srila Prabhupada's departure.
The next few
days after the ritvik appointments I heard more instructions
from Srila Prabhupada. Tamal K.G. asked him the next morning,
July 8th, if there should be vyasasana's for the
ritviks representatives in the temples.
immediately said, "No; that would create enmity among my disciples."
also asked Srila Prabhupada if there could be more ritviks
in the future. Srila Prabhupada said that more could be appointed
by the GBC at Mayapura.
asked Srila Prabhupada what to do if a ritvik falls down and
Srila Prabhupada replied that the GBC could remove them. These
conversations were recorded but the tapes are not available
from the archives.
The new devotees
are junior God-brothers and God-sisters and if we become a
pure devotee, diksa guru, those initiates would be 'grand
disciples' of Srila Prabhupada. But this must be ordered by
Srila Prabhupada and would be done outside of ISKCON.
wanted one big happy family built on love and trust. That's
why he established the ritvik system with him in the center.
That's why he spent days and nights writing the lawbooks for
the next ten thousand years. After I informed Yasodanandan
about Srila Prabhupada's instructions Tamal K.G. called me
into his office and said:
"I told you
never to say anything about what Prabhupada says to anybody
without clearing it through me first! You'll never do anything
for Prabhupada again!" He told me to 'get out.'
I was devastated!
He had the authority to 'fire me' and he did. I went to my
room and lamented. Upendra Prabhu came to see me and tried
to encourage me. He said he was working on Tamal K.G. to try
to get me back.
The next day
Upendra returned and said Tamal K.G. didn't realize how much
service I was actually doing, and they needed me back. I was
going to get another chance. It was the one of the happiest
days of my life! I relished my service even more after almost
On July 10th
Srila Prabhupada wrote to Hansadutta Prabhu:
"You are a
suitable person and you can give initiation to those that
are ready for it. I have selected you among eleven men as
'Rittvik representative of the Acharya, to give initiations,
both first and second initiation, on my behalf.' A newsletter
is being sent to all temple presidents and GBC in this regard,
listing the eleven representatives selected by His Divine
Grace. Those who are initiated are the disciples of Srila
Prabhupada, and anyone whom you deem fit and initiate in this
way, you should send their names to be included in Srila Prabhupada's
'Initiated disciples' book."
sent a letter to Kirtanananda Swami dated July 11th
1977 in the same way:
"A letter has
been sent to all temple presidents and GBC which you should
be receiving soon, describing the process of Initiation to
be followed in the future. Srila Prabhupada has appointed
thus far eleven representatives who will initiate new devotees
on his behalf. You can wait for the letter to arrive ( The
original has been sent to Rameswara Maharaja for duplicating
) and then all of the persons whom you recommended in your
previous letters can be initiated ."
sent another letter to Hansadutta dated July 31st 1977 by
paraphrasing my question and answering as follows:
"You have written
to Srila Prabhupada saying you do not know why he has chosen
you to be a recipient of his Mercy. His Divine Grace immediately
replied, 'It is because you are my sincere servant. You have
given up attachment to a beautiful and qualified wife and
that is a great benediction. You are a real preacher. Therefore
I like you. (Then laughing) Sometimes you become obstinate,
but that is true of any intelligent man. Now you have got
a very good field. Now organize it and it will be a great
credit. No one will disturb you there. MAKE YOUR OWN FIELD
AND CONTINUE TO BE RITTVIK AND ACT ON MY BEHALF.'"
On July 17th
Srila Prabhupada said: "Now I have given my program. You tackle,
GBC men. At least, don't make me Alexander the Great in my
lifetime. (laughs) They say, "You are great, great, great."
But don't make me small while I am living.
Or after. We will never make you that way. We should never
That's my request.
always said to us, at least whatever we have, maintain it.
And people have recognized I am great. Don't make me small.
on July 19th Srila Prabhupada continues in the
is always there, but we spoil Krsna's grace. That is our business.
'But Krsna is giving us so much grace. Let us spoil it.' That
is our proposal. If there was no Krsna's grace, how this institution
would have come into existence? It was not possible, such
a big institution, all by one man's endeavor, starting with
forty rupees. Simply Krsna's grace. So don't spoil that. That's
not good. Then Krsna will not help. Just like the father gives
you money; if you squander that, he'll be very sorry. Tat
te…'Oh Krsna is so kind by giving me this opportunity.'
You should take things like that, not that 'For nothing the
father has given me so much money. Let me squander it.'"
was very concerned that the institution he worked so hard
to develope might not be maintained properly after his departure.
There are no
tapes available from the archives from August 18 1977 to October
1 1977. Srila Prabhupada went to London during this time even
though he was too sick to travel.
18 1977 Srila Prabhupada said:
One Bengali gentleman has come from New York?
Tamal KG: Yes;
Mr Sukamal Roy Chowdury.
So I have deputed some of you to initiate. Hmm?
TKG: Yes. Actually…Yes,
So I think Jayapataka can do that if he likes. I have already
deputed. Tell him.
So, deputies, Jayapataka's name was there?
is already on there, Srila Prabhupada. His name was on that
So I depute him to do this at Mayapura, and you may go with
him. I stop for the time being. Is that alright?
doing what, Srila Prabhupada?
This initiation. I have deputed the, my disciples. Is it clear
You have got the list of names?
TKG: Yes, Srila
And if by Krsna's grace I recover from this condition, then
I shall begin again, or I may not be pressed in this condition
to initiate. It is not good.
will explain to him so that he will understand properly.
said we will explain to the Bengali gentleman just as you
have described to us, so that he'll be satisfied with this
26th 1977 the following conversation occurs:
have to apprise that if your Divine Grace leaves us, what
will be the result both to ISKCON society, to each of your
disciples individually, and to the entire planet.
That I am thinking, that such a big society, the aims and
object may be dismantled. I am thinking from that vision.
Last May, when everyone assembled here in Vrindavan, then
that…What was his name? Goswami came? Atula-Krsna Goswami.
And after he left, you had apprised us of the fact that there
is a movement to, if you should leave, to take the society
from us, the properties. And you told us at that time, 'You
are all children. None of you has any intelligence.' That
was only five months back. We have not grown that much in
five months. We're still children. You have always practically
directed us in every one of our activities. And where we followed
your instructions, there we have been successful. But because
we are only children, sometimes we…Whenever we follow
your instructions, Srila Prabhupada, we always meet with success.
discussed who would take on the leadership of ISKCON in the
future on November 2 1977:
…after you, who will take the leadership?' And 'Everyone
will take, all my disciples. If you want, you can take also.
But if you
follow. They are prepared to sacrifice everything, so they'll
take the leadership. I may, one, go away, but there will be
hundreds, and they'll preach. If you want, you can also become
a leader. We have no such thing, that 'here is leader.' Anyone
who follows the previous leadership, he's a leader. 'Indian'
we have no distinction. 'Indian,' 'European.'
They wanted an Indian to be the leader?
Yes. (laughs) 'Everyone, all my disciples, they are leaders.
As purely as they follow, they become leader. If you want
to follow, you can become a leader. You are Indian. But you
don't want.' I told them that.
Tamal KG: Yes,
they probably wanted to propose somebody who would take over
Yes. Leaders; all nonsense. Leader means one who has become
first class disciple. He is leader. Evam parampara-prapta…One
who is perfectly following…Our instruction is ara na
kariha mane asa…You know this? What is that? Guru-mukha-padma-vakya,
cittete kariya aikya, ara na kariha mane asa. Who is leader?
A leader, to become leader, is not very difficult, provided
one is prepared to follow the instructions of a bonafide guru.
5th 1977 Tamal KG said to Srila Prabhupada:
of your plans are perfect, Srila Prabhupada. And our perfection
is simply to carry them out without changing in any way. You
have such complete plans that we don't have to do anything
new. We have to work our whole lifetime simply to carry out
what you've planned."
7th 1977 the following conversation took place:
Tamal KG: Seems
like your activities, Srila Prabhupada, are so much pleasing
to the previous acharyas.
This is the secret you are showing, working towards satisfying
the desires of the previous acharyas.
Tandera carana-sebi-bhakta-sane bas. So you are all bhaktas.
To live with you, to serve the lotus feet of the acharyas,
We are already becoming famous as spiritual United Nations.
You've given the secret for success.
If possible, make some improvement in Bhaktivinoda Thakura's
In Malda district at Ramakeli, where Lord Chaitanya first
met with Rupa and Sanatana, there is a temple of Radha-Krsna
that…Rupa and Sanatana Goswami used to worship those
Deities. Bhaktisiddhanta Thakura Prabhupada has put a lotus
feet of Mahaprabhu there…
It is your great mercy, Srila Prabhupada, that you are allowing
us to do a little helping to you in your service to the previous
acharyas. We are completely fallen, without any spiritual
credit, but still, you are allowing us to help you in a little
Without your intervention we would have no hope.
Prabhupada actually left the planet the first Vyasasanas started
to appear in the temples. I was shocked because this was against
Srila Prabhupada's direct instructions.
to Vrindavan in early 1978 and met Tamal K.G. in his room.
I asked him why Vyasasana's were being put in the temple rooms
when we both heard Srila Prabhupada say not to do such a thing.
He asked me if I thought Srila Prabhupada could of said anything
else after I had left. (I had to leave at the end of July
77 because my visa had expired.) I said I'm sure he could
have but I don't know why he would have when he'd talked about
the ritvik system for months before his departure. Tamal K.G.
said, "Well he did, and if you don't believe me you can ask
I asked if
there was a tape or letter to that effect and he responded
by slamming his fist down on he desk and said, "I don't want
to hear another word about this Gauridasa!" I left his room
disappointed. A few years later, on Dec. 3rd 1980,
Tamal Krishna Maharaja was removed as an ISKCON guru by the
GBC so he finally told the Truth at the Pyramid House in Topanga
Canyon, California about what Srila Prabhupada did. Here are
some key quotes:
Prabhupada never appointed any gurus. He appointed eleven
ritviks. He never appointed them gurus. Myself and the other
GBC have done the greatest disservice to this movement the
last three years because we interpreted the appointment of
ritviks as the appointment of gurus."…
show me anything on tape or in writing where Prabhupada says,
'I appoint these 11 as gurus.' It doesn't exist because he
never appointed any gurus. This is a myth."
The term ritvik
acharya or officiating acharya was new to us at the time that
Srila Prabhupada first mentioned it, but the idea and practice
was there in the beginning of ISKCON. The devotees were initiating
on Srila Prabhupada's behalf for years before he left the
planet. Srila Prabhupada wanted this to continue without any
change. Here is a conversation from 1968 that confirms that
the guru lives in his teachings and the followers are his
Master Lives in His Teachings"
lecture ~ Seattle Oct. 2, 1968
Is there any way for a Christian to, without the help of a
spiritual master, to reach the spiritual sky through believing
in the words of Jesus Christ and trying to follow his teachings?
I don't follow.
Can a Christian in this age, without a spiritual master, but
by reading the Bible and following Jesus's words, reach the...
When you read Bible, you follow spiritual master. How can
you say without? As soon as you read Bible, that means you
are following the instruction of Lord Jesus Christ, that means
you are following spiritual master. So where is the opportunity
of being without spiritual master?
I was referring to a living spiritual master.
Spiritual master is not the question of... Spiritual master
is eternal. Spiritual master is eternal. So your question
is without spiritual master. Without spiritual master you
cannot be, at any stage of your life. You may accept this
spiritual master or that spiritual master. That is a different
thing. But you have to accept. As you say that "by reading
Bible," when you read Bible that means you are following the
spiritual master represented by some priest or some clergyman
in the line of Lord Jesus Christ. So any case, you have to
follow a spiritual master. There cannot be the question without
spiritual master. Is that clear?
I mean like we couldn't understand the teachings of the Bhagavad-gita
without your help, without your presentation.
Similarly you have to understand Bible with the help of the
priest in the church.
always talked about the importance of following the words
of the spiritual master. He spoke these words in Seattle in
1968. I lived there but I was only 14 and didn't get the chance
to see him then. Later in Vrindavan, in 1977, when I got the
good fortune to serve him personally, he said the same thing.
He said that when he left the planet we would follow his books
and initiate devotees on his behalf. The Christians follow
Christ by reading the bible with the help of a priest etc.
In the same way the devotees follow Srila Prabhupada by reading
his books with help from the senior devotees. Christ and Srila
Prabhupada are both sent by Krishna, sakta-vesa avatars. They
can deliver us and we should help their missions by representing
them purely. Srila Prabhupada asked us to act as ritvik acharyas,
or representatives of the acharya. That way the whole Hare
Krishna movement will be united under our common father and
we will become a dynamic preaching force again and the glories
of the Lord will flood the world with the ocean of love of
God. Thanks to Srila Prabhupada!
The last thing
Srila Prabhupada said before he left his body on November
14th 1977 was to give prasadam to all of the devotees.
Then he chanted Hare Krsna and went back to Godhead.
the enormous compassion of Srila Prabhupada.
he was leaving his body, he was always thinking of Krsna and
the welfare of his devotees.
to His Divine Grace, our fearless general, our ever well-wisher.
wanted the ritvik initiation system to continue for the duration
of ISKCON. This is what I personally heard him say many times
while I served him in Vrindavan. This is all he talked about
for the last six months before he went back to Godhead.
This is what
Srila Prabhupada ordered in the July 9th Newsletter
to all temples and GBC's. I hope that the GBC will consider
this evidence with an open mind and heart and then do the
needful. After all, it's better late than never. Srila Prabhupada
wants us all to be siksa gurus within ISKCON and if we want
to be diksa gurus we should do so when we are qualified and
have been ordered by His Divine Grace, but only in our own
temples. This is the Vaisnava etiquette that Srila Prabhupada
followed. Let us follow his example and preach cooperatively,
on his behalf.
Dear GBC Members,
my respectful obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
In that the
evidence shows that Srila Prabhupada, the Founder / Acharya
of ISKCON ordered a ritvik initiation system to continue henceforward
for ISKCON from the date of July 9th 1977, and
a Newsletter was sent to all GBC's and Temple Presidents signed
by Srila Prabhupada stating this order, the GBC body should
act immediately to implement the ritvik initiation system.
GBC resolutions condemning the Ritvik initiation system should
be retracted and an apology from the GBC members should be
sent out to any and all devotees who may have been affected
and/or offended by these resolutions.
Thanking you in advance,
Yours in Srila Prabhupada's
Gauridasa Pandita Dasa