Exchange With Hari Sauri Prabhu

INDIA, Mar 3 1999 - The following is an exchange between Hari Sauri Prabhu & (Adri & Madhu Pandit Prabhus) in response to the proposal put forward by Adri & Madhu Pandit Prabhus to the IMM during their meeting in Mayapur. Bold lettering is Adri & Madhu Pandit Prabhus, other is Hari Sauri.

Letter COM
From: Hari Sauri (das) ACBSP
Subject: To The Respected Members of IMM, EC, GBC

Sorry for the lateness of this reply. I was out on parikrama and just got back day before yesterday.

  1. " The GBC is yet to produce a final paper on the guru siddhanta especially in the matter of who is giving divya jnana connected to the process of diksa & absorption of sinful reactions of the initiated.

    Without such a final paper specially when reforms are underway, we do not even have a reference to think as to see how far it accommodates at least partly our stance."

The part of the stance of the ritviks that cannot be accommodated is the idea of post-samadhi diksa initiations. As long as they insist on this concoction there is little grounds for discussion, what to speak of agreement.

Although it is claimed that the siddhanta on guru parampara is not yet settled, this is a specious claim. The siddhanta in its essence is this: after the departure of a spiritual master his disciples have the mandate and the right to accept disciples of their own. Tradition and Srila Prabhupada's own statements make this principle of succession abundantly clear.

What has not been made clear is exactly how this siddhanta is applied, especially within the context of a large international organization such as ISKCON. On this point of application there is plenty of scope for discussion. However there is no scope in terms of the principle.

  1. "We would like to request that the GBC kindly withdraw the resolution of this year connected to seven of us."

The GBC have been discussing this since 1990 and their conclusions are the same. Because of the open defiance of the GBC's authority (and consequently Srila Prabhupda's instruction that the GBC body be accepted by all ISKCON members as the final authority on ISKCON affairs), on this it was felt necessary to draw the line.

If the ritviks want to kindly withdraw their defiance of the GBC and continue to work within the guidelines the GBC sets there is provision within this resolution for it to be withdrawn.

  1. "We would in return assure the GBC that we will discuss philosophical stand within forums approved by the GBC in consultation with us."

There is little reason to believe at this stage that this is a sincere offer. So far the ritviks have proved to be incapable of doing this.

Why should anyone believe them now? And even if they could control themselves sufficiently to not discuss their ideas in any forum except that provided by the GBC, what would be the gain since they are hell bent on one thing and one thing only -- the prevention of any of Srila Prabhupada's disciples or future generations from ever becoming spiritual masters in disciplic succession?

  1. "This understanding shall be maintained till the time when the GBC's final paper on guru siddhanta is produced. After studying the paper we are willing to sit & discuss the future course."

As I point out above the guru siddhanta has not changed. It is the same as it has been for countless generations of Vaisnavas -- each successive generation of Vaisnavas becomes guru after the physical departure of their guru. This is the real "no change" paradigm. Why not study this and then talk about a future based on this? I don't think anyone will object if this is the basis of the discussion. If the ritviks remain fanatically attached to their concocted idea however then there is no point to such discussion.

  1. "Since our presentation 'No Change in ISKCON Paradigm' has been the main basis of the disciplinary action it is fully appropriate for the GBC to provide a reply to that paper before disciplinary action is taken showing us our wrong premises, conjecture, logic, etc. if any that you find in the presentation."

The "No Change in ISKCON Paradigm" was not the main basis of the disciplinary action. The "No Change" idea is simply old wine in yet another new bottle -- "ritvikism", "final order", "no change" -- and the ritviks are singing the same old tune. Their premise is that Prabhupada established post-samadhi diksa; this is exhibited by the seven named persons in pushing their false philosophy; abrogation of GBC authority which clearly states that exhibited by the seven named persons in pushing their false philosophy; abrogation of GBC authority which clearly states that this must not be done anywhere in ISKCON; and gross interference in existing guru/ disciple relationships.

Many attempts have already been made at dialogue but it is very difficult to talk to people who twist and bend everything they hear both from Srila Prabhupada and his representatives to their own purposes and who adopt political means for establishing their case.

The ritviks clearly have to become reasonable if dialogue is to go on. They have however, since the last six or seven months, set themselves quite deliberately on a course of extreme confrontation and seem quite prepared to follow through with this to the bitter end. This is most unfortunate and I pray that they still have the wherewithal to look into their own hearts and try to understand that no matter what their philosophical differences may be, Srila Prabhupada does not want his ISKCON rent asunder by legal machinations aimed at establishing a view point that is shastrically unsupportable and which none in ISKCON wants or accepts.

I say this with genuine regret since I consider all of them to be friends despite the differences of philosophical outlook: if they cannot live within ISKCON peacefully they are quite at liberty to peacefully separate like gentlemen and go their own way. But it should be clearly understood that ISKCON is Srila Prabhupada's body and that which is ISKCON's remains ISKCON's. These are the only honest options available if they serious to avoid offending Srila Prabhupada and the general body of Vaisnavas.

Your humble servant, Hari-sauri dasa (Text COM:2119026)


The following is the reply to Hari Sauri Prabhu: 
Hari Sauri's comments are boxed with Adri & Madhu Pandit's comments following.

Dear Hari Sauri Prabhu, 
Hare Krsna! 
Please accept my humble obeisances.

All Glories to Srila Prabhupada.

"Although it is claimed that the siddhanta on guru parampara is not yet settled, this is a specious claim. The siddhanta in its essence is this: after the departure of a spiritual master his disciples have the mandate and the right to accept disciples of their own. Tradition and Srila Prabhupda's own statements make this principle of succession abundantly clear.

What has not been made clear is exactly how this siddhanta is applied, especially within the context of a large international organization such as ISKCON. On this point of application there is plenty of scope for discussion."

It seems that you have missed out on two different points here :

What the GBC believe and WHY they believe this.

We have never doubted that the GBC has always insisted that someone or other should become a Diksa Guru. Their desire to take disciples has never wavered. What is NOT at all clear is their JUSTIFICATION for this belief.

This obviously is important if they even want to begin to ATTEMPT to convince anyone else as to why their stance is based on instructions from Srila Prabhupada. They have tried many contradictory approaches over the years as to WHY they believe what they believe. They have presented different evidences and given many different interpretations for this evidence. (Infact even WHAT they believed has changed, in that originally ONLY 11 persons were assumed to have being given the mandate to become guru - this is NOT the same as the 'siddhanta' you have given above, which is meant to be applicable to ALL the disciples of the Guru. Though I do admit that the above 'siddhanta' has remained unchanged for many years now).

So the issue is straight forward - tell us DEFINITIVELY and FINALLY what is the justification for your belief. This is a simple request. To simply say to the world that we all agree that we want to take disciples is not enough.

Simply produce a statement, with the signatures of the current 35 GBC 's that sets out the following:

The evidence for the above 'siddhanta'; and HOW and WHY the evidence presented supports the 'siddhanta'.

To refresh the memory of our readers, we will remind them of the many different philosophies they have used over the years, and we would simply like them now to pick one FINAL one, in terms of what exactly the PHILOSOPHY is behind their belief, and what the supporting evidence is.


  1. The qualification of the Diksa Guru - liberated/ uttama - yes or no?
  2. The function of the Diksa Guru - does he fully deliver his disciples IN THE SAME WAY that Srila Prabhupada delivered his?
  3. The position of Srila Prabhupada viz a viz the Diksa Guru - Is he a link in the parampara as suggested by Badri in the Bombay proposals; or is he the PRESENT acharya as suggested by Hari Vilasa, or is his position in the parampara more remote?
  4. Please note that the above are not issues of application - they are matters of philosophy - it makes a big PHILOSOPHICAL difference if the diska guru is a realised entity capable of delivering his disciples back to godhead, than if he is a 'does not matter if he falls, not very important, de-emphasised' diksa guru.


Once you have decided these PHILOSOPHICAL issues with 35 (or whatever) GBC signatures, we then come to the hard bit. Why are you correct?

Here there are two main thrusts:

  1. Did Srila Prabhupada give us the authority to be gurus on the tape;
  2. Did he give it to us in the letter to Tusta Krishna and other places, with the tape simply CONFIRMING this authority, not actually ISSUING it.
  3. Now be careful here - if you pick 2), you will need to explain HOW and WHY the mandate for everyone to take unlimited disciples and be DIKSA GURU is confirmed by specifically selecting only 11 ritviks? After you have picked 1) or 2) (or some variant of this), please figure out what the tape means:

    a) Choose the transcript - at least 5 GBC versions.

    b) Choose what it means:
Satsvarupa: Then our next question concerns initiations in the future, particularly at that time when you're no longer with us. We want to know how first and second initiation would be conducted. 
Prabhupada: Yes. I shall recommend some of you. After this is settled up, I shall recommend some of you to act as officiating acaryas.
Tamala Krsna: Is that called rtvik-acarya?
Prabhupada: Rtvik, yes.  

It is claimed that exchanges in the tape relate to BOTH what should be done whilst Srila Prabhupada is present and also what should be done after he departs. ('Under My order, 1985, Ravindra Svarupa) (GII, 1995, Ravindra Svarupa, Jayapataka Maharaja and others)

Another view is that he is speaking throughout the whole tape ONLY about what to do once he departs. ('Disciple of My Disciple, 1997, Badri, Giridhari & Umapati)

One view is that the word ritvik refers to proxies (GII & Under My Order)

Another completely opposite view is that ritvik means Diksa guru (DOMD, Drutakarama prabhu)

Satsvarupa: But he does it on your behalf.
Prabhupada: Yes. That is formality. Because in my presence one should not become guru, so on my behalf, on my order... Amara ajnaya guru hana. Be actually guru, but by my order.
  1. One view states that the expression 'so on my behalf' means that one should act as a proxy or ritvik for Srila Prabhupada while he is physically present (GII, 'Under My Order')
  2. The other view states that the phrase 'on my behalf' means acting as diksa guru after Srila Prabhupada leaves, NOT as a proxy BEFORE he leaves. ('Disciple Of My Disciple')
Prabhupada: When I order, "You become guru," he becomes regular guru. That's all. He becomes disciple of my disciple. That's it.

'When I Order', has been given at least 4 different interpretations to try and explain this phrase, so as to not compromise their evidence:

  1. That the order was subsequently given in July. (GII, 1995)
  2. That the order was given on the tape itself. ('Disciple of My Disciple, 1997)
  3. That the order was given personally by Srila Prabhupada specifically to various individuals. (Drutakarma Dasa, 1998)
  4. That the order was given generally and continually to everyone many times by Srila Prabhupada previously. (Hari Sauri Dasa, 1998)

Please note we are not even discussing the APPLICATION of your siddhanta - how the guru is worshipped etc. etc. We are simply asking EXACTLY what is your PHILOSOPHY on the Diksa Guru, and WHY this is so. This is not an unreasonable request.

If there is already a paper that satisfies all the above please state its name, get all GBC to sign up for it, and withdraw all other papers.

Neither are we saying that you are necessarily wrong. If you put together a cogent position paper, we may even be convinced. At the moment it is easy for us to carry on as we are since you have NO POSITION except - 'We want to disciples, because Srila Prabhupada said so.'

Yes but WHAT did he say, and WHAT does it mean?

Thus until you can even TELL us WHY we are wrong, never mind PROVE we are wrong, what is the basis for expelling us? It is nice to have your liberal views on the above but what the society really needs now is an official final unanimous GBC view.

And it is also judicious to ask ALL the GBC to agree, not that a majority is enough. If the issue is as clear as you say it is, then why cannot everyone see it the same? And if it is not as clear-cut as you say, why be so harsh and quick to expel a large and growing number in ISKCON, who may differ even more in how they see it. Surely before you kicked us out, you should FIRST try and work on getting consensus amongst yourself PHILOSOPHICALLY, with supporting evidence.

Before we move to answer the rest of the e-mail we will first wait to get an answer to this bit.

Ys, Adri & Madhu Pandit