Published on April 6th, 2001 | by Madhudvisa dasa3
ISKCON Accepts One Ritvik Temple and IRM Disintegrates
At least one ISKCON temple already accepts Srila Prabhupada as the guru. If one visits ISKCON Bangalore there will be no doubt that Srila Prabhupada is living still in sound and still very actively spreading the holy name around!
ISKCON Bangalore has created a positive example showing how nicely things can run if Prabhupada’s orders are followed and Prabhupada is the guru in ISKCON. They don’t want to attack ISKCON and it’s leaders. Rather they welcome devotees and leaders from other temples to visit so they can see first-hand how nicely a temple can run with Prabhupada in the centre.
Recently ISKCON Bangalore has withdrawn from the ISKCON Reform Movement (IRM). They are disappointed with the leadership of IRM and the new direction their preaching has taken. They are also not happy with the result of the IRM’s war with ISKCON in Calcutta. At least for the time being the preaching field in Calcutta has been spoiled. It is now very difficult to preach and distribute books there, the public don’t really understand what’s going on, just that there is an enormous fight within ISKCON and they don’t want any part of it.
Madhu Pundit Prabhu, the ISKCON Bangalore Temple President, says IRM are simply good when it comes to writing papers but they have no ability to work with people. He says, “Ultimately, if you want to preach, you need to work with people.”
Currently the Bangalore temple has a first-class reputation in South India and the public give a great deal of respect to the devotees and very much appreciate the ISKCON temple. Bangalore was once famous as the garden city, but now it’s famous for the ISKCON temple. Almost all the tourists to Bangalore now go to see the ISKCON temple… Considering this the Bangalore devotees don’t want to start a war with ISKCON which would destroy the good name of ISKCON in South India.
The GBC have given Madhu Pandit the guarantee they will not interfere with his preaching in South India but have not yet gone so far as appointing a ritvik representative of Srila Prabhupada to perform the initiations in Bangalore. This means that ISKCON now has its first official ritvik temple.
In the meantime the devotees in Bangalore are being initiated by Srila Prabhupada personally. When the Temple President considers a devotee to be ready for initiation he writes a letter recommending the devotee to Srila Prabhupada. Then the devotee goes before Srila Prabhupada and prays: “Dear Srila Prabhupada currently your ritvik representatives are not doing their service so I am asking you to please accept me as your disciple and inspire me to select a spiritual name.” So in this way the ISKCON Bangalore devotees are being initiated by Srila Prabhupada.
ISKCON Bangalore plans to increase the number of devotees waiting for formal initiation from Srila Prabhupada to one thousand. Then every year they will go to the Mayapur festival and have a grand kirtan and request the GBC to appoint a ritvik representative of Srila Prabhupada as Srila Prabhupada outlines in his July 9th, 1977 letter so the devotees can be formally initiated.
Due to serious leadership problems the IRM has lost most of its support from the worldwide community of devotees however we are all greatly indebted to Krishna Kanta Prabhu and the other IRM devotees for writing and putting so much energy into distributing and preaching about, “The Final Order.” While it contains nothing new [it's basically a summary of what many other devotees had written previously] the devotees distributing “The Final Order” were able to break through the barriers of ISKCON. The “Final Order” convinced Madhu Pundit and many other leaders and general devotees in ISKCON that Prabhupada did establish a system to enable him to continue to accept disciples in ISKCON after his disappearance from our mundane vision.
Previously many devotees outside ISKCON knew Srila Prabhupada established a ritvik system to continue the initiations after his physical departure, but now, thanks to “The Final Order” many devotees living in ISKCON temples also agree, although they may not be able to come out and say it yet publicly. We shall see how things develop in the future…
Chant Hare Krishna and be happy! All glories to jagat guru, saviour of the whole world, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada!