Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Guest guest

Troubled by this Deviant Notion - Only Iskcon

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

Guest guest

The Rtvik Conception of Guru Parampara


Q & A with Swami B.V. Tripurari


"No other Gaudiya Vaisnava mission is troubled by this deviant notion,

only Iskcon."


Q. You wrote in Sanga (Faith in Sri Guru) that candidates who had been

approved by Srila Prabhupada's rtvik representatives when he was

physically present were Srila Prabhupada's disciples, even if

initiation rites were performed after his departure. All considered it

appears to me that Srila Prabhupada evolved an entirely new system for

initiation, one that did not require his physical presence. Therefore

why would his position as initiating guru end at his physical

departure? Doesn't your statement coupled with the report that Srila

Prabhupada said that rtviks could be replaced suggest that he was

speaking of a long-term initiation system, one personally designed by

him to initiate disciples into his Iskcon organization after his

physical departure?


A. Srila Prabhupada did not evolve or create an entirely new system of

initiation. He simply adjusted some of the details of Gaudiya Vaisnava

initiation in consideration of unprecedented circumstances--those of

worldwide preaching. The essential commitment of surrender to Sri Guru,

and the central elements of initiation (vows, mantras, names) remained

the same throughout his preaching years. Neither did he intend to

personally initiate new devotees via delegated representatives

(rtviks) after his physical departure and onward into perpetuity. This

strange notion would set Srila Prabhupada and his institution apart

from every other authorized Vaisnava devotional lineage, which is

something that he would never do. In a conversation that took place on

May 28, 1977, Srila Prabhupada did say that after his departure his

governing commissioners could be replaced. Indeed, in that

conversation he said that anyone who is deviating should be replaced.

If he said the same regarding his rtvik representatives, it would

still have nothing to do with continuing his line of disciplic

succession (parampara). Why? Because rtviks are not themselves gurus

even in the presence of the guru they represent, and after the guru

departs the rtviks service of officiating on his behalf--rather than

being enhanced--is terminated. Overall, the words of the guru must be

understood in light of the scriptural conclusions (siddhanta) he or

she represents. If our guru appears to say something that is a

departure from authorized Gaudiya Vaisnava siddhanta, we must look

beneath the surface for his actual intention, one that will be in

concert with siddhanta. Bhagavad-gita says, evam parampara praptam.

Parampara means one guru after another, thus scripture tells us that

there must be another guru after the departure of Srila Prabhupada. If

at that time none of his disciples are qualified to serve as gurus,

then new devotees must look elsewhere for guidance and initiation.

When such devotees find a qualified guru, they have in effect found

Srila Prabhupada's line in a dynamic sense.


Krsna says in Srimad-Bhagavatam, acarya mam vijaniyat: "One should know

the acarya as my very self." This means that ultimately Krsna is the

guru. He is the spiritual potency in all gurus and when one guru

departs, Krsna empowers another to do the work of delivering the fallen

souls. This is the standard, scripturally correct understanding of how

guru-parampara functions. Srila Prabhupada emphasized that his

credibility rested in the fact that he did not concoct anything new but

rather that he strictly followed our guru-parampara. The concocted

rtvik idea of parampara has no precedent whatsoever in Gaudiya

Vaisnavism. It is simply the result of gurus after Srila Prabhupada

misbehaving, mixed with misplaced emotion. No other Gaudiya Vaisnava

mission is troubled by this deviant notion, only Iskcon.


Q. In 1976 I met Srila Prabhupada and surrendered my life and soul to

him, knowing in my heart that he was (and is) my eternal guru. His

inspiration enabled me to regularly chant, follow the principles of

Krsna consciousness, and work hard for the next ten years as an Iskcon

devotee. I was not able to take formal initiation from him before he

passed away but rather was initiated by an Iskcon zonal guru whom I

didn't even choose. My initiating guru later fell down from Krsna

consciousness altogether. Discouraged by the political atmosphere, I

left Iskcon feeling that I had been cheated. Now when I visit Iskcon,

if I express my feelings that Srila Prabhupada is my eternal guru I am

treated like an outcast and told to get a new guru. At this point I am

bewildered over this whole issue, have put aside regular chanting, and

am ready to just give up. Will you give me some guidance?


A. The leaders of Srila Prabhupada's Iskcon have done a great

disservice to him by promoting numerous unqualified gurus over the

last thirty years. They have also vilified a number of qualified

gurus, who while having an influence on Iskcon are not members. In

doing so they have allowed institutional sentiment to overshadow

siddhanta, and this in turn has opened the door for the newly

concocted rtvik conception of guru-parampara. Although Iskcon

officially opposes this conception, it is Iskcon guru misbehavior that

spawned it and apasiddhanta on both sides that keeps it alive. You are

one of the many casualties of this quagmire.


It is interesting to note that your particular circumstance requires

careful consideration, consideration in which, arguably, sentiment may

be given more weight than law. Yet according to you, Iskcon has only

coldly cited the law. Seeing and serving one's guru, his entering one's

heart, and then suddenly departing before granting one diksa--in my

opinion this constitutes special circumstances. Add to this the abuse

that you allege followed on the part of Srila Prabhupada's so-called

representatives and the case becomes even more extraordinary. Knowing

only what you have told me and based upon my own experience of similar

circumstances that others were placed in, I would simply encourage you

to continue your practice with your focus on Srila Prabhupada even

though he did not initiate you. Indeed, there is no harm for you to

think of yourself as Srila Prabhupada's disciple and much good could

come from that.


However, I would add one important caveat to that. My advice is that

you should be open to finding a highly qualified siksa guru to help

you in your practice--one in whom you have natural affection and

faith. The help of a siksa guru is highly recommended in scripture,

and I know that after Srila Prabhupada's departure I was benefited

immensely by the siksa and kindness of Pujyapada B.R. Sridhara Deva

Goswami. By your candor regarding the state of your practice, you have

underscored my point. It is spiritual practice that is

all-important--discipline combined with the grace of Sri Guru makes

one a disciple.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

jnanadas.jpg Sripad Bhaktivedanta Nemi Maharaja

[formerly Jnanadas Vanacari]

The Reality of Guru-Parampara and the Myth of "The Final Order"

The "Henceforward" Bluff: Admissions

This “Henceforward” Letter Does Not Propose the “Ritvik” Process

The IRM's Physical Presence Phobia

*we will fix the type o's in the introduction to some of these articles, part 1 is not second article but first of four, part two is second article, part four is fourth article, sorry just noticed anomoly.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You are posting as a guest. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

  • Create New...