Isa Dasa’s 10 Fabrications About Ritvik


by Krishna Kant
24th December 2007

The following is a rebuttal to a paper by Isa Das called ‘10 Reasons Why Ritviks Cannot Follow Srila Prabhupada’, issued via e-mail on 20/12/2007. Isa Das shall be referred to henceforward as the ‘author’, with all excerpts from his paper presented enclosed in speech marks “ ” thus, with my comments following directly underneath in bold.

“The following 10 statements by Srila Prabhupada clearly show that by following the Ritvik philosophy one can not fulfill the instructions of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada.”

Like virtually all others who have become before him, the author never defines what exactly he means by ‘Ritvik philosophy’. A literate presentation would have taken our position paper “The Final Order”, and directly attempted to rebut the statements made therein. Instead only an appeal to ‘the ritvik philosophy’ is made, with no attempt to substantiate exactly what it is that is supposedly being rebutted. The author can thus defeat a phantom philosophy he has invented in his own mind, rather than have to deal with the actual statements made by the IRM - statements which the author is not able to refute (otherwise he would have directly dealt with them!)

“The Ritviks say all we need are Srila Prabhupada's books! Srila Prabhupada says:
 Therefore, for a neophyte, simply by consulting scriptures, he will not be able to reach to the absolute goal.
690425LE.BOS Lectures BG Ch 9 TEXT 13 P”

We actually say we need Srila Prabhupada as our spiritual master, which of course includes all the teachings he has given. The author also agrees that ‘all’ we need is the teachings of Srila Prabhupada, since in his paper ‘all’ he has referred to is quotes from Srila Prabhupada. He does not demonstrate that he ‘needs’ anyone else’s teachings. The above quote refers to the fact that one cannot simply consult scriptures such as the Bible and the Koran, otherwise one will become confused due to the fact that the scriptures differ from one another:
“Just like in your country there is Bible or any other scripture. We have got Vedas. The Muhammadans, they have got Koran. They can help also, because that is also authority. But you will find that one scripture is differing from the average there is no difference. Just like Bible preaches, Lord Jesus Christ preaches love of God, we are also preaching the same thing, love of God. But our process is little different. That’s all. That process may be different according to time, circumstances, people. That is natural. Therefore, for a neophyte, simply by consulting scriptures, he will not be able to reach to the absolute goal.

We have never advocated trying to figure out the absolute truth by consulting the Vedas, the Bible, the Koran etc. Rather we advocate we should follow whatever Srila Prabhupada orders, since he is our authority. Again we can see because the author deliberately refuses to directly address exactly what we state, preferring instead to rebut some vague undefined ‘ritviks’, he can offer phantom arguments that have no relevance to the subject matter at hand. Thus as we will see it’s not just that the author is wrong in the arguments he makes, but that he is not even able to make them relevant to the subject at hand, which is the position of the IRM as stated in our position paper “The Final Order”.

“1. Srila Prabhupada could not have used the word grand disciple if He wanted Ritvik after His return to Radha and Krsna. 770528me.vrn Tamala Krsna: They're his disciple. Prabhupada: Who is initiating. He is grand disciple. Satsvarupa: Yes. Tamala Krsna: That's clear. Satsvarupa: Then we have a question concer... Prabhupada: When I order, "You become guru," he becomes regular guru.”

  1. The author here makes an argument using a line from a room conversation on May 28th, 1977, a conversation for which there are at least 5 different transcripts. He would first need to prove that the transcript he offers here is correct, particularly in regards to the use of the word ‘grand disciple’. The tape we heard distinctly has Srila Prabhupada stating only one word ‘his’ before grand-disciple, rather than two words, ‘he is’.

  2. In addition the transcript offered here by the author is nonsensical for how can the person who is initiating simultaneously be the grand-disciple?: Who is initiating. He is Grand-disciple”.

  3. Leaving aside the point of the correct transcript, Srila Prabhupada can use the word grand-disciple, even though he will continue to remain the Diksa Guru for ISKCON, since he qualifies that such an entity is conditional on an order for gurus being given first:

“His grand disciple…. When I order, You become guru, he becomes regular guru. That’s all. He becomes disciple of my disciple.”

The term ‘disciple of my disciple’ is an alternative term for ‘grand-disciple’. So Srila Prabhupada clearly links the emergence of a ‘grand-disciple’ to an order first being given for a ‘regular guru’ having his own disciples. Such an order for Diksa gurus was never given.

“2. At the end of the same conversation Srila Prabhupada "orders."
Prabhupada: And Caitanya Mahaprabhu says, amara ajnaya guru hana. One can understand the order of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, he can become guru. Or one who understands his guru's order, the same parampara, he can become guru. And therefore I shall select some of you.”

The author now tries to show that such an order for Diksa gurus was given by quoting the above. However Srila Prabhupada does not give any such order here. He only says he will ‘select’ some people. And later on the only people he selected were ‘ritviks’. There is no record of Diksa Gurus ever being selected or appointed, a fact which even the GBC have now admitted. Isa Das therefore stands alone in continuing to assert the discredited theory that Srila Prabhupada appointed or selected 11 zonal acharya Diksa Gurus in 1977.

“3. Ritviks only accept Srila Prabhupada, as we see below Srila Prabhupada uses the term "pure devotees." Thus, following the Ritvik view one will never seek the association of other pure devotees as Srila Prabhupada instructs.”

Our position is not that Srila Prabhupada will be the only pure devotee forever, or that we cannot associate with other devotees who are representing Srila Prabhupada. Our position is that Srila Prabhupada is the only Diksa Guru for ISKCON, and whoever we associate with, pure or not, must represent this reality. We noted earlier that the author deliberately avoids specifically addressing what we actually say so that he can instead fabricate arguments we do not put forward. In this way he can instead refute these non-existent arguments since what we actually state he is unable to refute.

“4. Because Ritviks offend pure devotees and induce others to join in their fault finding, they and their followers cannot develop "love of Godhead."

The author offers no evidence who these pure devotees we offend are, and how we offend them. Such unsubstantiated statements are in keeping with the semi-literate presentation we have thus far encountered. The author obviously believes he has the status of an acarya, whereby something is a fact simply because he says so, not requiring any supporting evidence or argument.

“5. In this quote Srila Prabhupada makes a clear distinction between associating with Him through His books "sastra" and associating with another "first-class devotee." The Ritvik again " makes no progress" as Srila Prabhupada states.
“The second-class devotee, even though he cannot support his position with sastric reference, can gradually become a first-class devotee by studying the sastras and associating with a first-class devotee. However, if the second-class devotee does not advance himself by associating with a first-class devotee, he makes no progress.”
Madhya Lila 22.71

We are associating with Srila Prabhupada via his purports to the sastra, his lectures and other teachings. Clearly the teachings given by the Guru are different to sastra otherwise you could not have ‘Guru, sastra and sadhu’. In addition, unless the author can demonstrate that from November 15th, 1977 (the day after Srila Prabhupada’s physical departure) he was constantly physically associating with some ‘pure devotees’, he contradicts himself in claiming we have not made ‘progress’, since he also would have made ‘no progress’ immediately after Srila Prabhupada departed.

“6. Of course a sincere disciple of Srila Prabhupada always has His association, but those who are not 100% pure are still subject to the 4 material defects. The Ritviks cheat us by telling us that all can be instructed by Srila Prabhupada through the heart. Srila Prabhupada says if you feel that you are receiving this instruction you should have it confirmed by the Siksa and Diksa Guru. The Riviks reject the idea of Siksa Guru and there for are not following Srila Prabhupada.”

The author continues with his fabrication-fest here, which as we have noted he is able to do by deliberately referring to undefined ‘ritviks’ rather than what we actually state in our position papers. We do not say that we rely on being instructed through the heart. Neither do we reject the idea of Siksa Guru. Though we are subject to the 4 material defects, the author obviously feels that this still does not at all preclude us from fully understanding Srila Prabhupada’s instructions, since he quotes liberally from them in his paper. (Unless of course he is claiming he is 100% pure).

“7. Srila Prabhupada instructs that even a pure devotee should still be under guidance, what to speak of us. "A pure devotee under the guidance of another experienced devotee can obtain all the results, even at present.”
(SB 1.10.27 P Departure of Lord Krsna for Dvarka)

We are under the guidance of Srila Prabhupada, as this guidance does not require his physical presence:
“I shall remain your personal guidance, physically present or not physically, as I am getting personal guidance from my Guru Maharaja.”
(Room Conversation, 14th July, 1977)

“8.The Riviks reject Krsna in His form of Siksa and Diksa Guru. The Paramatma is always the caitya-guru, the spiritual master within, and He comes before one externally as the instructor and initiator. (Siksa and Diksa Guru)
SB 4.28.52 P Puranjana Becomes a Woman in the Next Life”

The fabrications continue. We accept Srila Prabhupada as the Diksa Guru. We also accept other devotees can give Siksa provided they repeat exactly what Srila Prabhupada teaches and do not deviate.

“9.The Ritviks cannot make advancement because they reject Srila Prabhupada's instructions. "The spiritual master who gives instructions for elevation is called the siksa-guru." ... in the science of Krsna he can become a spiritual master as vartma-pradarsaka-guru, diksaguru or siksa-guru. The spiritual master who first gives information about spiritual life is called the vartma-pradarsaka-guru, the spiritual master who initiates according to the regulations of the sastras is called the diksa-guru, and the spiritual master who gives instructions for elevation is called the siksa-guru.
Madhya 8.128 Talks Between Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Ramananda Raya”

The author offers no clue as to which instructions we are supposed to be rejecting, precisely because if he tries to do this, it will become clear we are not actually rejecting any! We fully accept that there are things called Siksa and Diksa Gurus, and the qualification for one to become these types of gurus is that one needs to know the science of Krishna.

“10. The Ritviks will cheat you out of the highest goal. Note that Srila Prabhupada says this in the second canto of Srimad Bagavatam.
This transcendental bliss is experienced even in the stage of devotional practice (sadhanaavastha), if properly undertaken under the guidance of a bona fide spiritual master. And in the mature stage the developed transcendental feeling culminates in realization of the particular relationship with the Lord by which a living entity is originally constituted (up to the relationship of conjugal love with the Lord, which is estimated to be the highest transcendental bliss).
SB 2.3.12 P Pure Devotional Service: The Change in Heart”

Again, acarya-like, the author makes no attempt to substantiate or explain how we are supposedly cheating people out of the highest goal. The quote he offers simply states that the highest goal can be obtained by being under the guidance of the bona fide spiritual master. That bona fide spiritual master is Srila Prabhupada, and we are under his guidance. We only wish the author was too, since he has continually offered statements which are not in line with Srila Prabhupada’s teachings.



Never mind giving 10 reasons why ritviks can’t follow Srila Prabhupada, the author has not even been able to string together 10 sentences regarding what ritvik actually is! He has instead offered 10 fabrications regarding our position, and has singularly failed therefore to show how the IRM’s position deviates from Srila Prabhupada’s position even in the slightest.

The author had written to me earlier that:

“I have also read and reread the final order”
(Isa Das e-mail, 12/12/2007)

Clearly he needs to read it again, and actually pay attention this time!