|Chakra Torpedoes Main GBC Evidence!
Another anti-ritvik paper appeared
recently on CHAKRA called "Basics
First", in which the author
-Akhilesvara das - directly contradicts the GBC over the credibility of
their principal evidence, the famous May 28th tape. He states:
|"because of its ambiguity,
that very exchange cannot be referred to as a document for proof."
The GBC, of course, consider this
'exchange' such excellent 'proof' that they have rested their entire
position upon it for over twenty years, (only to currently find it
rendered inadmissible by their own investigation). According to
Akhilesvara prabhu, even if the May 28th exchange was authentic, it
could not be used as any type of proof. Thus we have yet another act of
sabotage (see 'GBC Hit
by Friendly Fire') by someone ostensibly claiming to support the
GBC, placed on a web site whose stated editorial policy is to only
print material which is accurate and philosophically correct. The GBC
should be very concerned when their only direct evidence for stopping
the ritvik system is dismissed out of hand by a so-called supporter on
a website that is supposed to support their position.
Aside from inadvertently
contradicting the GBC, Akhilesvara prabhu, in common with all previous
makes no attempt to address the arguments contained within
'The Final Order', the definitive ritvik position paper, nor offers any
evidence in support of 'Modifications A
& B' as set out on page 2 of that paper;
does not quote ONCE from that definitive position
indulges in large amounts of irrelevancy and 'ad hominem'
attacks that make no attempt to deal with the actual philosophy and
evidence of the ritvik position;
When he does make some attempt to deal with the philosophy
he simply offers 'Straw Man' arguments, i.e., he attacks points which
we never made in 'The Final Order';
and contradicts himself.
To be fair the author does admit
that his intention is not to deal with substantial issues, but rather
the way in which such issues are being presented:
|"The bone of contention is
no longer on philosophical differences, because an objective exchange
is now impossible, but in the way the issue is pushed." (Page 3)
Just because a devotee may present
something poorly, does not in itself mean he is wrong. Over the years
the philosophy of Krishna Consciousness has been 'pushed' in all sorts
of strange ways, but that does not make it wrong.
|"This is an intuitive
conclusion from my years of being acquainted with Prabhupada'
teachings; I don't have a database, neither the will for such
researches." (Page 6)
Here Akhilesvara prabhu
makes a virtue out of laziness. If he cannot trouble himself to check
Srila Prabhupada's teachings in a scientific systematic manner, how can
he properly judge the ritvik conclusion?
All the extracts from Akhilesvara
prabhu's article shall be numbered, our comments lettered.
|1) One piece of evidence
the ritviks are using for their arguments is the July letter. Taken
literally and placed in context, we don't find anything other than a
functional order to the GBC to initiate the huge growing number of
disciples, in his name, of course, since Srila Prabhupada was still
with us but did not want to do anything any more personally; his health
was seriously deteriorating. That's all. (Page 1)
- The author claims his
understanding of the July 9th letter is based on taking it "literally"
and placing it in "context".
From a literal perspective there is
nothing in the letter stating that initiations were ONLY to be carried
out "since Srila Prabhupada was still
with us", or that the ritvik
system was set up only because "his health was seriously
deteriorating". There is also no 'literal' instruction that the system
was only to operate in his presence. We can only conclude that the
author is offering his own speculative assumptions rather than any
'literal' instruction which was ever given by Srila Prabhupada. If the
author has evidence in support of the above we suggest he urgently
passes it on to the GBC. Thus immediately the author, in common
with all other papers on this issues, merely assumes that which needs
to be proven, offering not one tiny drop of supporting evidence.
|2) At that time, if Srila
Prabhupada had desired to fix a particular system of initiation for
after his departure, what could have been more simple than using words
like "Krishna is calling me back" or "during my physical absence" or "for
the next thousand years" and the like. Not a single indication is
there. (Page 1)
- Firstly the system was not
fixed ONLY for after Srila
Prabhupada's departure. It was fixed from
that moment onwards, and was thus also to operate whilst Srila
Prabhupada was still on the planet. Rather than speculate about what
Srila Prabhupada SHOULD have said, the author would be better off
following what Srila Prabhupada DID
say, viz. that the managing
officers for ISKCON should implement the ritvik system as the system
for ISKCON from that moment onwards. When and where did Srila
Prabhupada issue any other instruction to the society's managing
officers that could possibly displace this system (i.e.- 'Modifications
A & B' as given in 'The Final Order')
? Until such evidence is produced the system remains in place. We
cannot stop following an order given by Srila Prabhupada simply because
we do not deem it 'clear'
enough for our taste. We must simply execute
the order of the spiritual master.
|3) To give weight to
their speculation, an innocent word- henceforward - has to be
interpreted meaning "after my departure." (Page 1)
- This is a gross
misrepresentation of our position. We have never stated the above, and
challenge the author to show where we ever said such a thing. We do not
'interpret' this word. We simply accept the meaning ascribed to it by
any English dictionary, and indeed by Srila Prabhupada's previous
usages of the word i.e., - 'from now
onwards'. As we have also said in 'The Final Order'
(page 3), one could take this word OUT of the letter and nothing would
change. It is a curious phenomenon that every paper purporting to
tackle the ritvik issue merely invents non-existent propositions to
attack, rather than deal with what we actually say. Could it be that
these devotees are actually unable to defeat the ritivk position
through legitimate means, and hence feel compelled to try and cheat
their readers? It is a sorry state of affairs if that is so since
truthfulness is the last remaining pillar of religiosity in Kali yuga.
|4) The truth is that for
illumination, I must read certain transcripts of a tape, which I did a
few times. One thing is sure about them: because of its ambiguity, that
very exchange cannot be referred to as a document for proof. (Page
- In making this statement the
author must be referring to the so-called 'Appt Tape', since this is
the main tape transcript related to this issue. Unfortunately, as we
pointed out at the beginning, in stating that this transcript has
'ambiguity' and thus cannot be used as 'proof',
the author has directly
contradicted the GBC who use it as their ONLY document of proof. In
making this statement the author has also contradicted himself quite
severely, since he also says that the very 'conclusion' of his entire
thesis is that we must accept the GBC.
|"Conclusion. If I say no
and you say yes, who will decide? The modern judge is the GBC or an
authorised board of brahmanas. We had better go with it." (Page 7)
Why then has the author decided
right at the outset of his article to say 'no' to the GBC and not 'go
with it', and instead give his own diametrically opposed
|5) That is why I said
previously, that to have a personal stand on the issue, we must be
inclined toward a specific type of study, which only intellectuals
dwell on. Ironically, they cannot even agree with this simple
deduction. (Page 1)
- We would love to know where
Srila Prabhupada ever stated this. Surely our stand on any 'issue'
should simply be what Srila Prabhupada taught us. Until the author
proves that Srila Prabhupada actually instead wanted us 'to be inclined
toward a specific type of study which only intellectuals dwell on', we
shall certainly NOT be
agreeing with the above.
|6) Why would he have made
a critical change, in a mysterious language, in a "last order," with no
absolute clear mention of its specific and crucial intention? (Page
- What is it a change to? It can
only be a 'change' if Srila Prabhupada had taught that after his
departure he would cease to be the diksa guru for ISKCON. Unfortunately
neither the author nor the GBC have ever produced this evidence.
- Can the author also please
enlighten us as to why the July 9th letter is neither 'absolute',
'clear' nor 'specific'
|7) If the ritvik system
was what Prabhupada wanted, why did he not write it in detail in his
books? A great quality in Prabhupada is that he created, from scratch,
we may say, a wonderful international organisation that he wanted to go
on almost forever. He was an excellent administrator. Only
varnashram-dharma was lacking, so he informed us: Only 50% is
accomplished. (Page 2)
- Firstly the
author contradicts himself - having insisted that the ritvik system
MUST be detailed in
his books (he earlier stated everything is
there in his books) - he then goes on to give us an example of
Srila Prabhupada's instruction - that 'only 50% is accomplished' that
is to be found neither in his books nor any recorded format!
- In any case the system by which
initiations are to be performed in ISKCON is mentioned in any detail
only 3 times in all of Srila Prabhupada's books (C:C, Adi 17:265;
Madhya 15:108; 24:330 - in a few other places Srila Prabhupada simply
mentions that one should first follow the Four regulative principles).
In each case it simply states the process that was in use in ISKCON at
the time - the same system that we say should continue to be followed
NOW. Srila Prabhupada speaks in the present tense with regards to how
initiations are to operate, in books which were to be standard for ten
thousand years. This completely supports our contention that the GBC
had no authority to change the system Srila Prabhupada left in place.
Certainly there is absolutely no mention in Srila Prabhupada's books of
the multi-guru system currently favoured by the GBC. Nor is there any
mention that the system which IS detailed in the books, the same system
that was in place when Srila Prabhupada was on the planet, must be
changed when Srila Prabhupada leaves the planet.
|8) Srila Prabhupada was
not going to let the same mistake happen that the Gaudiya Math made
after the departure of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur, upset as
he was about it. (Page 2)
- Unfortunately the same mistake
DID happen, because we did NOT
follow the July 9th letter and instead
followed the system the author proposes:
|"Conclusion. If I say no
and you say yes, who will decide? The modern judge is the GBC or an
authorised board of brahmanas. We had better go with it." (Page 7)
(We also support the
idea that we
must follow the GBC, but only if the GBC is following Srila Prabhupada.)
|9) Why, to give
solid ground to the revolutionary system of ritviks, did Srila
Prabhupada not initiate all his disciples in the name of his own guru?
Why not? By his mercy everything would have been possible, for Krishna's
service. There would be no confusion today. Was Prabhupada attached to
having his own disciples? Well, just forget it. (Page 2)
- Srila Prabhupada did not act as
a ritvik because he was ordered to initiate by his own Guru Maharaja.
The issue is not Guru or Ritvik, but to execute whatever instruction is
given by one's guru.
|10) Why did he not comment
on this rather non-traditional system of initiation he supposedly
wanted to implement as he did for his work: they are going to be the
law books for the future 10 000 years, with "His Divine Grace A.C.
Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada" on the cover? [...] Never did
Prabhupada say that his disciples would not initiate, that the
traditional way would be abolished after his departure. (Page 2)
- As stated under quote
7, Srila Prabhupada did comment on this system in his books, and by
sending out a letter to the whole movement. He also 'commented' on this
system through practical example, by making it the standard by which
many devotees became initiated whilst he was on the planet.
- The author also proposes that
the ritvik system is 'non-traditional', yet the very body he claims
should decide all matters, the GBC, states that the ritvik system
adheres to traditional concepts!:
|"the 'zonal acarya' system
and the 'posthumous ritvik' system - rest on adherence to the
traditional idea of leadership. [...] In the event, the Gaudiya Matha
leaders disregarded this order, and instead they reverted to the
traditional single-acarya rule to which they were, after all,
culturally habituated." ("Allegiance to Guru, to ISKCON and to
Prabhupada."(1998), Explanation of GBC resolution passed on 26/2/98, By
His Grace Ravindra Svarupa Prabhu).
- There is no need for Srila
Prabhupada to state that something will NOT happen, i.e. that his
disciples should NOT initiate,
since he has not stated that it WILL
happen. We can only follow what Srila Prabhupada has
us to do, not simply anything which Srila Prabhupada has not
specifically forbade us to do. How we follow the guru must be based on
instructions which he leaves for us to follow, not simply doing
anything where specific instructions do not exist to stop us doing
them. He only told us to continue with a system that kept him as the
diksa guru for ISKCON. No other authority is given to the managing
officers of ISKCON to either change this system or introduce another
- Srila Prabhupada does suggest
that taking disciples is not a good idea in the C.c.: "It is best not
to accept any disciples". (Madhya, 7.130, purport). Perhaps we
try and do what is best.
|11) Consider this instead:
Prabhupada's books have the potency to create pure devotees, pure
representatives of Krishna, even uttama adhikaris. Can anyone deny
that? (Page 2)
- We have never denied this. We
simply say that if any such pure devotees wish to initiate they must
first receive an order from Srila Prabhupada. They will then be free to
take as many disciples as they wish providing they do it outside of
|12) Although in many
places he explained why he made changes when introducing the women's
ashrams, when reducing the numbers of rounds, conducting marriage
ceremonies, etc., he never alluded, practically, to a modification of
the external process of initiation. (Page 3)
- There is nothing to "modify"
since he is carrying on with the SAME
system he set up and practised.
Any modifying has been done by the GBC, and apparently without any
|13) Rather, he over and
over stressed the parampara system. What an objective reader would
appreciate is a clear and unequivocal statement. Normally, such a
statement must be formulated three times to be absolute. (Page 3)
- But where does Srila Prabhupada
ever state that the parampara is restricted to spiritual masters that
are on the same planet as their disciples. Srila Prabhupada merely
states that the parampara is continued by the 'current link'. This
current link everyone agrees was Srila Prabhupada until 1977. As far as
we are concerned Srila Prabhupada remains the current link for ISKCON
members until evidence can be produced proving why, when and how Srila
Prabhupada stopped being the current link.
- What is interesting to note is
that in the July 9th letter, it is formulated that those who would be
initiated by the ritvik system must be disciples of Srila Prabhupada.
Why the need for this 'clear and unequivocal' statement to be
'formulated three times' when the ownership of disciples can ONLY be an
ISSUE if the system was to operate when Srila Prabhupada was to
The author then spends the next
few pages attacking the ritviks in Montreal and the people who are
behind the 'The Final Order'
paper. Nowhere does he try and defeat the
ACTUAL philosophy that is
being propounded by these persons. This is
known as 'argumentum ad hominem'
whereby one simply attacks the
persons who hold a viewpoint, and not the actual viewpoints held. We
readily admit that we are not perfected devotees.
|14) Who decided that it
was the Final order. (Page 4)
- Since no other instruction to
the whole society on the subject of initiations was sent after July 9th
letter, it WAS an order that
was FINAL on this subject.
Can the author
locate a more final one?
|15) We must
stress it: to be connected to
him -particularly when we understand Srila Prabhupada better than
others and imposing our antagonist views- we ought to be pure: not only
following the four regulative principles, but completely... anyway, we
must be paka brahmanas. (Page 4)
- To present some instructions
from Srila Prabhupada which can not be countered is neither
'antagonistic' or 'imposing' one's own views.
|16) We must get down from
the sentimental platform; the matter is just getting absurd.(Page
- The only thing which is
'sentimental' and 'absurd' is continuing to reject an
order from Srila
Prabhupada even though one has no authority to do so. The only thing
that this article from the author has proven is that he also has no
such authority or evidence with which to counter the July 9th order
given by Srila Prabhupada. The author readily admits that he has not
even bothered to properly research the issue, so how can he be sure his
views are not merely uncorroborated sentiment?
|17) If you recognise
Prabhupada's presence, then leave him the last word. A little humility,
please. (Page 4)
- We have left Srila Prabhupada
the 'last' word, since on the
subject of initiations to be conducted in
ISKCON the July 9th letter is his 'last' word, indeed his final order.
|18) Now. Who is your
authority? (Page 4)
- The July 9th letter was issued
by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Whom, may we
ask, authorised the M.A.S.S.?
|19) If they don't want to
co-operate within the framework of ISKCON, then "Bye bye." (Page
- We DO want to work within the
framework of ISKCON. This is why 'The
Final Order' was requested by and
presented to the GBC. Not a single copy of this document was released
until the GBC had been given 6 months to answer the paper. We only then
released this paper once the GBC had released their reply.
|20) I mean to say, if they
are concerned with preaching the message of Caitanya Mahaprabhu and
desire to take advantage of the movement then they should join it, and
by their sincere effort reform it. We need it! We will worship them for
that, but ISKCON must be the authority. (Page 5)
- In terms of working within
ISKCON to reform it please see above. Also ISKCON can only have proper
authority itself if it is strictly following all of Srila Prabhupada's
instructions. In our own humble way we are trying to assist the society
to this end .
|21) Why can't you also
settle the matter with our many devotees in ISKCON? Like, for example,
Hari Sauri: he was with Srila Prabhupada for years. Haven't we
authoritative impartial devotees with whom we can all agree? Haven't we
hundreds of sages and pundits; haven't we friends and advisers, Srila
Prabhupada's personal servants, secretaries, cooks, translators, and
dedicated devotees, who can honestly testify? (Page 5)
- Unfortunately this line of
argument was also used to justify and support the 'zonal acarya' system
of which Hari Sauri Prabhu, incidentally, was a willing and active
participant. To avoid such mistakes happening again we prefer to follow
coming directly from Srila Prabhupada, and from those
strictly following in that line.
|22) They are joining
because of frustration, because of this and that, but not on
philosophical or ideological grounds first. (Page 6)
- This may or may not be true.
But is what they are joining CORRECT.
This is the key question, and one
which the author has so far been unable to shed any light on.
|23) When in 1985 the
movement rose against the abuse perpetrated by the institutionalized
gurus, it was under the banner of temple presidents and erudite. (Page
- The same persons who allowed a
new system that re-instituted an active homosexual, who had been
previously suspended due to gross fall-down, back into the 'parampara'.
The same persons who did very well out of this 'reform', with many also
becoming 'good as god' gurus themselves.
|24) First establish the
rules and ethics based on Srila Prabhupada's teachings on this matter
and make sure that everyone you are recruiting and implicating in this
fight against ISKCON understands the pro and cons. (Page 6)
- We are NOT fighting against ISKCON. We never have
and we never will. We are simply trying to make
sure that the institution that Srila Prabhupada left us, always adheres
strictly to his instructions. Unless the society is following Srila
Prabhupada in what sense can we call it ISKCON?
The author next offers
speculations about Christianity, but since he himself admits that it is
|"an intuitive conclusion
from my years of being acquainted with Prabhupada' teachings; I don't
have a database, neither the will for such researches." (Page 6)
will not bother pointing out
what the Srila Prabhupada database DOES say.
|25) Take a sentence of
Srila Prabhupada like "When you read the Bible that means you are
following the spiritual master represented by some priest or some
clergyman in the line of Lord Jesus Christ. When you read the Bible...
means you are following...." and let's put it out of context, for its
value. This is what you are doing with the Final order. The fact is
they are not following.
- But the fact is that the PRINCIPLE of
following Jesus and accepting him as the Spiritual Master
IS endorsed by Srila Prabhupada. That's the actual point - CAN we still
follow, and accept Jesus as the Spiritual Master. The fact that large
numbers of people are NOT following does NOT invalidate the principle
that one SHOULD and CAN still follow.
|26) Only great souls can
follow the scriptures without personal contact with masters, the
majority have to rally to a mature devotee, who generally becomes the
initiating guru. The master who transmits the knowledge is the most
important. [...] If we agree with the principle that the books cannot
be left entirely to our subjectivity but some spiritual guide has to be
there, an authority, then we have made a step forward.
- The reality in the case of
Srila Prabhupada was the OPPOSITE.
The majority of his disciples,
whilst Srila Prabhupada was present, had little or NO personal contact,
and none have had ANY contact
for the last 20 years. Srila Prabhupada
nowhere states this 'Vapuvadi' philosophy. On the contrary he states
the opposite - please see the Appendices to 'The Final
- We are also left with the
contradiction that we must seek out these 'mature devotees' for
'personal contact' from a group of devotees who themselves have had no
'personal contact' for the last 20 years.
- We also need to seek this
'spiritual guide' to understand the books, from devotees who themselves
do not currently have, and have not had for a long time (if ever), any
such face-to-face spiritual guidance to understand the books.
We have demonstrated the following
points with regards to "Basics First":
The paper makes no attempt to address the 'Final Order'
the definitive position on the ritvik position, or answer
A & B' as set out in this paper.
Does not quote ONCE from
Engages in large amounts of irrelevancy and 'ad
hominem' attacks that make no attempt to deal with the actual
philosophy or evidence of the ritvik position at all.
When it does make some attempt to deal with the philosophy
it simply offers 'Straw Man' arguments about the so-called ritvik
position, and offers no EVIDENCE,
or deal with the ACTUAL ritvik
arguments as put forward in the Final Order.
5. The paper also contradicts itself
and the GBC.
6. The paper seriously undermines
the GBC's only direct evidence which supposedly supports their
dismantling of the ritvik system, and subsequent erection of the
As we have said before, we still
sincerely await any offering on this subject that is relevant, and
actually deals with the issue in hand. We are still open to any
evidence which justifies the removal of Srila Prabhupada as the diksa
guru of ISKCON. Sadly this article, as with all the others before it,
has failed to even approach these standards. Thus 'The Final Order