Radhanath’s Rtvik Illusion


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 49, Autumn 2015

Srila Prabhupada had largely delegated the performance of initiations to others such as temple presidents, GBCs and sannyasis. Thus, for example, in February 1973 and January 1974, current GBC-elected guru HH Radhanath Swami ("RNS") received both first and second initiation through HH Kirtanananda Swami ("KS"). And on July 9th, 1977, this situation was formalised when Srila Prabhupada appointed "rtviks" who would be responsible for conducting all aspects of initiation. But in all cases the initiate would be Srila Prabhupada's disciple and not that of the representative conducting the initiation. And Srila Prabhupada never stated that his disciples would become the disciples of the rtvik representatives as soon as he left the planet. Yet, RNS teaches the opposite. All emphases added.

Radhanath's rtvik myth

In a lecture on his website, RNS states:

"The rtvik guru has a very formal place besides being a siksa guru. That is, he is giving that formal initiation on behalf of the supreme guru of your life. Therefore, there is a formal connection with him, just as there is with your diksa guru. When and if the diksa guru leaves the planet, the rtvik guru becomes fully your guru. You become his disciple, with all formalities. [...] So the formal position of a rtvik guru must be taken very seriously."

RNS claims that after Srila Prabhupada physically departed, his disciples actually became the disciples of the "rtviks" who conducted initiations on Srila Prabhupada's behalf! This is a sheer fabrication, as Srila Prabhupada never stated this. Rather, as already established, Srila Prabhupada only stated that his disciples would be his disciples, and that's all. This concocted belief of RNS is consistent with his decision in 1986 to leave ISKCON and become a follower of KS, who founded a breakaway cult. (KS, who was later sentenced to 20 years in prison, and convicted of child abuse by ISKCON, had been expelled from ISKCON as he had been considered too deviant even for them!). RNS had decided to follow him blindly like a disciple, and, as established in the previous section, KS, though not officially as a "rtvik", was the representative who gave RNS initiation on behalf of Srila Prabhupada'.

And Radhanath Swami did accept KS as his sannyasa guru, because of which he was able to claim that he is a "Swami".

The real initiator

Srila Prabhupada states:

"If you are serious, that is real initiation. If you have understood this Krsna philosophy and if you have decided that you will take Krsna consciousness seriously and preach the philosophy to others, that is your initiation."
(Srila Prabhu­pada Conversation, Back To Godhead, Issue 49, 1972)

Thus, actual initiation occurs when there is a change in consciousness, involving a person understanding Krishna consciousness, taking it seriously and deciding to preach it to others. In the July/August 2015 issue of Back To Godhead, ISKCON's official magazine, a devotee describes how Srila Prabhu­pada was responsible for this happening to him:

"(I) set up a book table outside an Indian grocery store. Before I went I prayed to the murti (image) of Srila Prabhu­pada, feeling that His Divine Grace was listening to me and blessing me to distribute his books. [...] Never before had I felt so connected to the Lord. I felt that Lord Krishna was pleased by this service. [...] From then on I distributed Srila Prabhu­pada's books every day -- and read them too. Miraculously, I was now able to understand them and relish them in a way that had previously escaped me. I would listen to Srila Prabhu­pada's lectures and read his letters as well, [...] and had the answers to all my questions in life. [...] I was becoming Krishna conscious, awakening to ultimate reality."

After this had happened, at his first meeting with RNS, RNS told him that:

"initiation had already taken place in my heart and the remaining formalities could wait."

Thus, RNS is correctly confirming, as just established, that the initiation had already taken place, even though the "initiation formalities" had not.


Radhanath's rtvik switch

RNS later completed these "initiation formalities". RNS should then have explained:

a) Based on what had happened, Srila Prabhu­pada was responsible for the initiation that had already occurred.

b) Thus, he could only have been performing the initiation formalities on behalf of Srila Prabhu­pada, since the latter had already given initiation, and therefore he was only acting as a representative or "rtvik" for Srila Prabhupada.

c) Therefore, Srila Prabhu­pada, and not RNS, was the diksa guru.

In addition, with RNS having claimed that this initiation had taken place non-physically in the "heart", he could not then use Srila Prabhu­pada's physical absence as being a barrier to Srila Prabhu­pada having given this initiation. However, RNS claimed this devotee as a disciple for himself.

The initiate explained that what RNS told him at their first meeting:

"was the same message Srila Prabhupada had spoken to me in the first lecture I had heard so many months before".

Srila Prabhupada had stated that his senior disciples who help others in Krishna consciousness by repeating the same message Srila Prabhupada teaches, are siksa gurus, while he, Srila Prabhu­pada, is the diksa guru:

"The GBC should all be the instructor gurus. I am the initiator guru, and you should be the instructor guru by teaching what I am teaching and doing what I am doing. "
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, 4/8/75)

Therefore, at best, RNS is a rtvik and siksa guru, while Srila Prabhupada is the diksa guru. But RNS has switched labels and claimed to be the diksa guru, with Srila Prabhupada being only the siksa guru.


Thinking that the rtvik becomes the diksa guru, or that while one is actually functioning as a rtvik he is the diksa guru, is the real rtvik illusion.

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