ISKCON Gurus are Ritvik Representatives of Srila Prabhuapda
Maharaja, were you to decide renounce your Krishna conscious activities you would discover the majority of those
whom you have initiated would not choose to follow you to Upper No-whereia and would hold fast to their ardent faith and admiration for the shelter of Srila Prabhupada.
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada!
Prabhu I neglected to offer one more thought the other day to you for your consideration.
While claiming to take a contrary stance in regards to Srila Prabhupada’s original system – ISKCON has in fact established a clear position for those men who now serve the mission as “initiators” which is essentially the position Srila Prabhupada anticipated for them as Ritvik Representatives .
These man are prohibited from placing their photos on the alters of all ISKCON temples as if they were singularly responsible as the “current link” in our spotless Parampara. They are prohibited from assuming or going by titles such as Vishnupada, Krsnapada, Prabhupada – etc. They are prohibited from allowing “their” disciples” to conduct daily Guru Puja in the temple room. Simultaneously they are instructed to teach by precept and example “their” disciples to participate in the daily GURU PUJA of Srila Prabhupada. Perhaps most importantly when any of the men who serve as gurus renounce their position and return to this or that, i.e. Vipramukya Swami, Satsvarupa Swami, Prithu Prabhu, Jagadish Prabhu, Hari Kesa Swami, Bhagavan swami etc etc etc, ISKCON does not oblige the disciples to accept reinitiation in order to continue chanting Gayatri Mantra, serving the Diety, running a center, etc, etc, etc. They take the position, and correctly so, that this is now to be determined exclusively by the individual devotees and their sense of actual “need.” If they see the need they are encouraged but if they don’t then ISKCON essentially leaves it alone.
So in effect ISKCON has already, for all intents and purposes, firmly established Srila Prabhupada’s system with a few aspects left more or less unstated but embraced.
The “Law” of Gravity, “what goes up must come down,” is experienced by everyone and everything. Whether we call it that or not.
Similarly Srila Prabhupada’s instruction regarding how the simple procedure for formalizing the mutual commitment between those who surrender to his teachings contained within his purports and himself are the manifest reality of his mission. Whether we acknowledge it or refer to it with his terminology or not.
So truth be told when you wrote to me after many many years and said “Praghosa Prabhu… I have heard from various sources that you are NOW preaching Ritivk Philosophy. Is this true?” you were asking me AS IF you and the rest of ISKCON were really acting contrary to Srila Prabhupada’s instructions in this regard. But in fact you are yourself, as an initiator or guru in ISKCON, acting fully under the authority of Srila Prabhupada and His GBC/Temple President structure and are yourself acting ON BEHALF OF SRILA PRABHUPADA AND HIS MISSION.
TKG said to Srila Prabhupada, after Srila Prabhupada described such an important post, “Is that CALLED RITVIK Srila Prabhupada?” and Srila Prabhupada answered “Yes. Ritivik”.
So your asking me this question while functioning in EXACTLY the manner described by His Divine Grace is a little out of place.
Like a man who has just fallen from the top of a garage and helplessly broken both legs now asking someone, “Hey I heard you were preaching ‘What goes up must come down?’ Is this true?”
Do you get my point? You function as an appointed representative. Your functioning as such within ISKCON at least is dependent upon certain factors. If you fail to meet those requirements then your authority can be revoked. You could then of course advertise yourself as a guru but not within ISKCON. There are some who have chosen to do this. Like Swami Ramakrishnananda here in NYC who openly declares himself to be Acharya, pure devotee and self realized sou. Or Tripurari Swami or Jagat Guru Swami or Alanath Swami or Narayana Swami. These men are prepared to stand on their own merit or demerits and claim what they claim and men are free to accept or reject them. ISKCON offers no opinion as to their position.
However WITHIN the mission of Srila Prabhupada our gurus are so posted by the GBC and their position can and has been revoked when they decided that they no longer wished to serve in this capacity or when despite their sustaining such desire the mission decided that their services as gurus were no longer in the interest of Srila Prabhupada’s mission.
That is EXACTLY what Srila Prabhupada wanted and that is what he got. Despite all our foolish missteps in the process we can never be more than HE ORDERS. It is that simple. The system he left us is the natural system that is born out of his organizing and forming or shaping his mission in the form of an INSTITUTION. His Godbrothers could neither understand or appreciate this. That was evident from their assessment AND more importantly their advice and/or their objections to his instructions upon his departure.
The beauty of Srila Prabhupada’s arrangement is that it holds us all fast to his position as our spiritual Monarch while leaving full latitude for the full use of each man’s initiative, enthusiasm and genius!!
Think about this carefully Maharaja. The way I see this is this. YOU, Umapati Swami, wrote to me as one of Srila Prabhupada’s presently ISKCON approved or sanctioned initiators now authorized to chant on the new men’s beads, give them spiritual names and instruct them both by precept and example in all the ins and outs of how to serve His Divine Grace and his own spiritual “best interest” asked me if I thought that was in fact what you were doing?
Most of you simply do not think deeply enough about the reality of what you are in fact AUTHORIZED to do. AUTHORIZATION does not imply REALIZATION. It can never be an indicator of that. You are fully free to make as significant a contribution to the spiritual life of anyone as you are actually capable of doing, including those you have been authorized to initiate on behalf of Srila Prabhupada. That is and has always been a given. But were you to decide renounce your KC activities, as you directly said in your interviews with Siddhanta Prabhu on the memory tapes that you had done more than once, you would discover that the majority of those whom you had initiated would not choose to follow you to Upper No-whereia and would hold fast to their ardent faith and admiration for the shelter of Srila Prabhupada.
The shelter that was given them from the very BEGINNING or “INITIATION” of their Krsna Consciouness. This more than anything demonstrates who is their actual GURU. Who is the very source of their spiritual life at its core. Who is the proverbial “OXYGEN” that they NEED in order to sustain themselves in Krishna consciousness.
Our association CAN be a boon to another devotee. Our association is not mandatory for anyone’s advancement. Srila Prabhupada’s guidance is however AN ABSOLUTE IMPERATIVE. Srila Prabhupada said: “If one thinks he can advance back to Godhead – outside this Krishna consciousness movement – he is living in a hallucination!”
This Krishna consciousness movement is ENTIRELY contained within Srila Prabhupada’s disclosure of Lord Krsna through his purports. And the means to return to him? Also disclosed within his purports.
Those purports are NON DIFFERENT from Srila Prabhupada. He is now LIVING FOREVER (He affirmed this) within THOSE PURPORTS. Eternally!!
So the way I see it You–a happy, humble and capable Rivik Representative of Srila Prabhupada–wrote to me and asked me “Do you consider me to be a Ritvik Representative of Srila Prabhupada?”
The very short, concise and important answer both for you and your men is “YES”.
Not just you. Everyone sharing your responsible post as well. What is more, I thank you very much for trying your best to do a good job of it as well.
Thank you for your patience
Always your friend and servant