September 08 2009: Dear Prabhus, all Glories to Srila Prabhupada. Please accept my humble obeisances. You put my name in this thread on facebook, so I expect that you either want my opinion or you already know what my opinion is and you want to change it.
Actually, as devotees of Sri Krishna the Superego Person who is the complete knower of everything, our opinion does not differ from the bonifide Spiritual Master or Guru. The bonifide Guru is an intimate associate of the Lord Himself, he is as good as God, and His opinion is the same; therefore we (as disciples) do not have our own opinion in matters such as these. If Srila Prabhupada, Jagat Guru, says something, orders something, writes something, then, whether we agree with it or not, it is our duty to carry it out.
“In Krsna consciousness, one comes directly into communion with Krsna, and thus all directions from Krsna may be understood in that transcendental state. One is sure to achieve results by such activities and attain conclusive knowledge. One has only to carry out the orders of Krsna or His representative, the spiritual master.”[Bg 2.53]
“Brahma knew well that Kardama Muni exactly carried out the instructions received from him and that he actually honored his spiritual master. To honor the spiritual master means to carry out his instructions word for word.”[SB 3.24.12]
As far as this Ritvik issue, it is not something made up by Srila Prabhupada’s disciples. Bhakta das says: “The ritviks have made this as a consequence of the guru system of Iskcon which is also not from SP’s teaching”. This is a completely false statement.
The final days of Srila Prabhupada’s manifest lila are well documented on tape, in personal diaries, and in legal documents written at that time.
Here are 17 highlights of very important time:
1) On May 28th 1977, Srila Prabhupada was asked about how initiations should “go on after your departure”. In short, Srila Prabhupada answered “Ritvik. yes”
2) July 5th Yasodanandana Swami writes in his daily diary:
“What’s this I heard from Gauridasa about [the] nomination of ritvik acharyas?”
Bhavananda said, “It just means on behalf of Prabhupada. That’s all. I can’t wait until we start to do this.”
3) On July 7th, 1977 (recorded conversation):
T.K.G.: These 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.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes.
— [this is the essence of the conversation but it gets more detailed and MORE clear as to the instructions of how Srila Prabhupada initiation process was to continue,... keep in mind Ritvik initiations had been going on for the past 7 years]
4) “LETTER TO ALL GBC AND TEMPLE PRESIDENTS” Srila Prabhupada created “RITVIK REPRESENTATIVE OF THE ACARYA” in the July 9th 1977 legal signed document , only 4 months before he went into Samadi.
5) On July 8th Yasodanandan Prabhu wrote in his diary:
“Tamal Krishna Maharaja was talking about [with Prabhupada] rtvik gurus to initiate on behalf of Prabhupada after he leaves the planet.”
6) 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.”
7) On July 10th Yasodanandan wrote: Tamal Krishna Maharaja comes out of Prabhupada’s room.
TKG: “Haribol, Yasoda, did you see this?”
Yasoda: “No, what is it?”
TKG: “This is signed by Prabhupada.”
Yasoda: “What 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.”
Yasodanandan: “And when Prabhupada departs?”TKG: “They’ll be ritviks. That’s what Prabhupada said. It’s all on tape.” (R.C.5-28-77 & 7-7-77etc.)
8) 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.”
9) Srila Prabhupada 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 .”
10) Srila Prabhupada sent another letter to Hansadutta dated July 31st 1977:
“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.’”
11) 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.
Tamal KG.: Or after. We will never make you that way. We should never do that.
Srila Prabhupada: That’s my request.
T.K.G.: You’ve always said to us, at least whatever we have, maintain it.
Srila Prabhupada: And people have recognized I am great. Don’t make me small.
12) no tapes between August 18 1977 to October 1 1977, Srila Prabhupada goes to London even though he is very sick.
13) The October 18th 1977 conversation: Srila Prabhupada tells Bavananda that he will no longer personally perform the ceremonies as he has been doing only a few months back and that he had “deputed” Jayapataka to perform the ceremony for him. He says,
Srila Prabhupada: So, deputies, Jayapataka’s name was there?
Bhagavan: It is already on there, Srila Prabhupada. His name was on that list.
Srila Prabhupada: So I depute him to do this at Mayapura, and you may go with him. I stop for the time being. Is that alright?
TKG: Stopped doing what, Srila Prabhupada?
Srila Prabhupada: This initiation. I have deputed the, my disciples. Is it clear or not?
Giriraja: It’s clear.
Srila Prabhupada: You have got the list of names? [JULY 9th LIST]
TKG: Yes, Srila Prabhupada.
Srila Prabhupada: 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.
Giriraja: We will explain to him so that he will understand properly.
Srila Prabhupada: Hm? Hm?
Giriraja: I said we will explain to the Bengali gentleman just as you have described to us, so that he’ll be satisfied with this arrangement.
14) On October 26th 1977 the following conversation occurs:
Bhavananda:.”We 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.
Srila Prabhupada: That I am thinking, that such a big society, the aims and object may be dismantled.. I am thinking from that vision.
Bhavananda: 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.
15) Srila Prabhupada discussed who would take on the leadership of ISKCON in the future on November 2 1977:
Srila Prabhupada: .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.’
Brahmananda: They wanted an Indian to be the leader?
Srila Prabhupada: 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 our movement.
Srila Prabhupada: 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.
16) On November 5th 1977 Tamal KG said to Srila Prabhupada:
Tamal KG: “All 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.”
17) On November 7th 1977 the following conversation took place:
Tamal KG: Seems like your activities, Srila Prabhupada, are so much pleasing to the previous acharyas.
Jayapataka: This is the secret you are showing, working towards satisfying the desires of the previous acharyas.
Srila Prabhupada: Tandera carana-sebi-bhakta-sane bas. So you are all bhaktas. To live with you, to serve the lotus feet of the acharyas, that’s good.
Svarupa Damodara: We are already becoming famous as spiritual United Nations.
Jayapataka: You’ve given the secret for success.
Srila Prabhupada: If possible, make some improvement in Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s birthplace.
Jayapataka: 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.
Srila Prabhupada: Purchase it.
TKG: 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 way.
Jayapataka: Without your intervention we would have no hope
So whether you choose to accept these instructions or not, they are there and they are for ALL HIS DISCIPLES to see.
Yes, Srila Prabhupada wanted EVERYONE to become guru and continue Lord Caitayaya’s order that “EVERYONE BECOME GURU”. But, first Srila Prabhupada wanted His disciples to become qualified. “RITVIK REPRESENTATIVE OF THE ACARYA” is His personal instruction on the matter of initiation. For WHAT EVER REASON he decided, these are His instructions and His disciples MUST follow or they are not His disciples. Disciple means discipline. To take discipline from their Guru. If He says something, immediately it should be carried out with out any question.
“Whatever guru will say he will accept, that is called sisya. Sisya means ruling, who accept disciple, means disciplinary measure. Whatever guru says, one who accepts he becomes disciple. He, “I don’t care for my guru’s order and still I am disciple”, that is not accepting guru. Of course it has become a fashion like that, to have a guru but don’t care for guru. That is not, that will not help”[Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.25.28 -- Bombay, November 28, 1974]
“Perception of the disagreeable arises from attachment. A devotee has no personal attachment to anything; therefore for him there is no question of agreeable or disagreeable. For the service of the Lord he can accept anything, even though it may be disagreeable to his personal interest. In fact, he is completely free from personal interest, and thus anything agreeable to the Lord is agreeable to him.” [SB 3.32.25 : PURPORT]
“The Lord is said to be the sun, and ignorance is called darkness. Where the sun is present, there is no question of darkness. Therefore, whenever devotional service is present under the proper guidance of a bona fide spiritual master, there is no question of ignorance.”[Bg 15.20 : PURPORT]
As disciples of Srila Prabhupada, you should take His orders seriously. Your senior Godbrothers Hansadutta Prabhu (one of the 11 personally named “RITVIK REPRESENTATIVE OF THE ACARYA), Yasodanandana Prabhu, Nara Narayan Prabhu, are coming forward with Srila Prabhupada’s orders. You also should stick up for Srila Prabhupada’s orders. Like a chaste woman is faithful to her husband orders, you should be faithful to your guru’s orders.
It is not a question of any philosophical argument, it is just a question of obedience to the bon ifide Spiritual Master who is directly in contact with the Supreme Personality of Godhead Lord Sri Krishna. The bonifide Spiritual Master is “as good as God”.
“In conclusion, the cause of all causes, the Absolute Truth, or Supreme Brahman, cannot be understood by philosophical speculation, but He reveals Himself to His devotee because the devotee fully surrenders unto His lotus feet. Bhagavad-gita is therefore to be accepted as a revealed scripture spoken by the Absolute Truth Himself when He descended to this planet. If any intelligent man wants to know what God is, he should study this transcendental literature under the guidance of a bona fide spiritual master.”[SB 4.11.23 : PURPORT]
I hope this meets you well.
YourEternalServant, Gadadhara das