The Lies of Vijaya Kumar  

by Bhakta Deepak

13th March 2006

A certain Vijaya Kumar has advertised on the 'Hare Krishna Cultural Journal' that he has done a "point for point" rebuttal of “The Final Order” (TFO). I was curious to read it, since it is well-known that all previous attempts to rebut this paper have failed spectacularly, usually due to the papers not answering what TFO actually states, but instead answering phantom ‘straw man’ arguments. A quick perusal at the matrix of defeated challengers to the IRM on the IRM home-page will make this clear: The use of ‘straw man’ arguments, is a commonly used technique when one is singularly unable to answer the actual arguments of an adversary. One instead answers arguments NOT stated by one’s adversary, because they CAN be answered, and then incorrectly attributes these answered arguments to one’s adversary. This is what the ‘straw man’ technique is. So I was naturally curious to see whether Mr Kumar’s attempt actually does rebut TFO point by point, or if it is too full of ‘straw man’ arguments. I wish to point out that I am no scholar or official representative of the IRM, just as Mr Kumar is no representative or scholar for the GBC. But I CAN read, and I do possess a copy of TFO, and this is the only skill one needs, in order to check if someone is using ‘straw man’ arguments. I shall present all quotes from Mr Kumar’s paper enclosed in parenthesis thus [ ].

Mr Kumar’s paper begins in section 1 with him outlining what he thinks “The Final Order advocates”. I say ‘thinks,’ because he does not actually quote TFO itself to show what it is TFO states. On reading further one understands why this is the case, because he states his first ‘straw-man’ argument when he claims the following:

[The ritivk-vadis say that this kind of system will solve the problems that are now present in the guru-parampara system, and when this is followed by all devotees the whole ISKCON will become problem-free (as far as problems concerning the present guru-system).]
(“What the Final Order Advocates”, Mr Kumar’s reply to TFO)

The above of course is not stated anywhere in TFO. Not surprisingly, Mr Kumar then goes onto ‘defeat’ the above ‘straw-man’ argument, not stated in TFO, which is of course par for the course when using the ‘straw-man’ technique. And if Mr Kumar tries to argue that he did not mean to state that the above is explicitly stated in TFO, then why write it in a section titled “What The TFO Advocates”?

Next one comes to section 2 of the paper, and one finds bizarrely that Mr Kumar analyses the appendices used in TFO, rather than the actual use TFO makes of these appendices in the main text, which of course is what is relevant to a piece purporting to be a ‘point by point’ rebuttal of TFO. For this we actually need to jump to section 3 of Mr Kumar’s paper, which I did. Even here, bizarrely, Mr Kumar tries to rebut the foreword to the book by an academic scholar!

Next he begins on TFO’s Introduction, and in response to this Mr Kumar states:

[Let us keep in mind that "one wrong action" (fall down of gurus) is not the support for "another wrong action" (ritvik-vada).]
(Reply To TFO Introduction, Mr Kumar)

Again another ‘straw-man’ argument, since TFO does not state anywhere that “one wrong action” (fall down of Gurus),” supports its conclusion. So let’s keep that in mind!

Next in response to the following statement from TFO:

“It is our strong conviction that the present guru system within ISKCON should be brought fully in line with Srila Prabhupada's last signed directive on the matter;”
(“The Final Order”, Introduction)

Mr Kumar states:

[The author admits his "STRONG CONVICTION", that the WHOLE parampara-SYSTEM, has to be based ON ONE LETTER OF PRABHUPADA.]
(Reply to TFO Introduction, Mr Kumar)

Notice the huge ‘straw-man’ difference. TFO states that the present ISKCON Guru system should be ‘brought in line’ with Srila Prabhupada’s directive; whilst Mr Kumar claims TFO states that the “whole parampara-system, has to be based on one letter of Srila Prabhupada”, which of course is not stated in TFO.

Next in responding to TFO quoting the GBC stating:

"In logic, later statements supersede earlier ones in importance." (GII, p.25)”
(“The Final Order, Introduction)

Mr Kumar responds:

[Of course the science of soul, Supreme Soul, material nature, etc are all explained by Prabhupada in logical way, that does not mean LOGIC has super-seeded the SASTRA.]
(Reply to TFO Introduction, Mr Kumar)

Firstly since TFO is quoting the GBC, he is attempting to rebut them primarily. And secondly, the GBC do not state that ‘logic has super-seeded the SASTRA”. The GBC only states that later statements supersede earlier ones. So yet again Mr Kumar responds to something not stated by TFO, i.e. it is another ‘straw-man’ argument, while at the same time he also unwittingly attacks something the GBC never stated!

Next Mr Kumar states:

[Next he goes on to say that whoever does not agree with him is A CONSPIRER AGAINST PRABHUPADA by "deliberately disobeying Prabhupada". This is just a sheer assumption, that if any one disagrees with the author, he is against Prabhupada.]
(Reply to TFO Introduction, Mr Kumar)

But TFO does not state this. It actually states the opposite:

“thus we consider it highly unlikely that anyone is deliberately disobeying, or causing others to disobey, a direct order from our Founder-acarya.”
(“The Final Order, Introduction)

It is at this point, I realised that Mr Kumar probably does not even have a full grasp of English. For how else can a simple statement that the author of TFO deems it unlikely that anyone is deliberately disobeying Srila Prabhupada, be translated to mean that the author of TFO is stating that anyone not agreeing with him is ‘a conspirer against Prabhupada by deliberately disobeying Prabhupada’?! A ‘straw-man’ argument of the highest order.

Next Mr Kumar produces an even bigger whopper by stating:

[Then he goes on to say, if any one is against "author" then, that "sin" is also committed against Prabhupada.]
(“Reply to TFO Introduction, Mr Kumar)

TFO does not state this at all. Mr Kumar even embellishes his blatant lie by enclosing the word ‘sin’ with quotation marks. But no such word or idea is used by TFO in the introduction.

Continuing with this barrage of mass fabrication, Mr Kumar next states:

[Does any one has to use "offense against Prabhupada" to preach Krishna consciousness??]
(“Reply to TFO Introduction, Mr Kumar)

I don’t know if anyone does, but I do know TFO definitely does not. The term ‘offense against Prabhupada’ or nothing remotely like it is used here in TFO despite Mr Kumar again conjuring up quotation marks to try and convince the reader that TFO is stating something which it is not.

Please note, that even before we begin Mr Kumar’s supposed rebuttal of TFO, we are almost a quarter of the way through his lengthy tome, and it is already choc-o-bloc full of ‘straw-man’ arguments!

And as we shall now see, Mr Kumar’s attempts to answer the TFO proper itself do not fare any better. Commenting on the ritvik arrangement made by Srila Prabhupada in the July 9th directive, Mr Kumar states:

[All true, Prabhuapda has appointed ritviks to do initiations on his behalf, on his order, not whimsically. And he need not be consulted for initiations. What was the reason ? If Prabhupada was healthier he could not have done that. He could have travelled and initiated everyone personally, but since he was not healthy, needed time to do preach, he had to do like that.]
(Reply to TFO Evidence, Mr Kumar)

But the arrangement made had no connection with any possible incapacity of Srila Prabhupada. It simply delegates to a ritvik the final part of the initiation process which Srila Prabhupada was still performing: acceptance of a disciple via the granting of a spiritual name, an activity which did not depend on Srila Prabhupada’s health as it did not require him to travel at all, but could easily be performed at any time by him as long as he still retained the use of his vocal chords. On the contrary, as the letter makes clear, the physical initiation ceremonies, which would have depended on Srila Prabhupada’s health and him requiring to travel, were ALREADY being conducted by the Temple President:

*In the past* Temple Presidents have written to Srila Prabhupada recommending a particular devotee's initiation. Now that Srila Prabhupada has named these representatives, Temple Presidents may henceforward send recommendation for first and second initiation to whichever of these eleven representatives are nearest their temple. After considering the recommendation, these representatives may accept the devotee as an initiated disciple of Srila Prabhupada by giving a spiritual name, or in the case of second initiation, by chanting on the Gayatri thread, just as Srila Prabhupada has done. The newly initiated devotees are disciples of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad, the above eleven senior devotees acting as His representative. *After the Temple President receives a letter from these representatives giving the spiritual name or the thread, he can perform the fire yajna in the temple as was being done before*.
(July 9th Directive, emphasis added)

So the change in arrangements made by Srila Prabhupada were to facilitate initiations continuing completely without the physical involvement of Srila Prabhupada; NOT to facilitate procedures that Srila Prabhupada could no longer carry out due to ill-health and being unable to travel, since these procedures had already been delegated. Again it seems evident that Mr Kumar’s inability to understand even simple sentences written in the July 9th directive, stem from his lack of understanding of basic English. For Mr Kumar also writes phrases such as “needed time to do preach” which make no sense in English.

The key argument of TFO revolves around the unauthorised modifications made to the July 9th directive by the GBC. These modifications are:

* Modification a) : That the appointment of representatives or ritviks was only temporary, specifically to be terminated on the departure of Srila Prabhupada.

* Modification b) : Having ceased their representational function, the ritviks would automatically become diksa gurus, initiating persons as their own disciples, not Srila Prabhupada's.”
(‘The Evidence’, “The Final Order”)

Commenting on these modifications imposed by the GBC, TFO states:

“We refer to a) and b) above as modifications since neither statement appears in the July 9th letter itself, nor in any policy document issued by Srila Prabhupada subsequent to this order.”
(‘The Evidence’, “The Final Order”)

In response to this statement, Mr Kumar writes:

[This is another irrational argument that "everything should appear in one letter".]
(Reply to TFO Evidence, Mr Kumar)

Note again how Mr Kumar employs another ‘straw-man’ argument by arguing that TFO states that “everything should appear in one letter”. But of course anyone, who has the ability to read simple English, will see that TFO does not state anything of the sort. It simply states that NEITHER of these modifications appear in ANY policy document issued by Srila Prabhupada. Not that “everything” must appear in ONE letter.

Commenting on TFO presenting a dictionary definition of the word ‘henceforward’, Mr Kumar states:

[The author starts to explain the "hencefoward" to mean "from now onwards", which is perfectly true. Later he adds new meaning to say "'From now onwards' does not mean 'from now onwards until I depart'." Is the author giving new meaning to "hencefoward" ? I feel the author is trying to give new meaning to the "hencefoward" apart from "from now onwards".]
(Reply to TFO Evidence, Mr Kumar)

This is a blatant contradiction and ‘straw-man’ argument, which can only be explained again by Mr Kumar not having a basic grasp of English. To state what a word does NOT mean, cannot by definition be GIVING a new meaning to the word. E.g. If I state the word “begin” does NOT mean “to end”, I am not giving a new meaning to the word “begin”. I am simply pointing out, that once the actual meaning of a word is given, all other meanings are excluded. So by saying that TFO “adds new meaning”, when the TFO does not do this, is a ‘straw-man’ argument. And Mr Kumar stating that for TFO to say what henceforward “does NOT mean” is an example of TFO saying what it DOES mean (adding a new meaning), is a self-contradiction.

Commenting further on the fact that the July 9th directive does not state that the ritvik arrangement must end on Srila Prabhupada’s physical departure (Modification A), Mr Kumar comments:

[Just because it is not ordered to stop, after departure of Prabhupada, means to continue. This sound illogical & insane.]
(Reply to TFO Evidence, Mr Kumar)

Mr Kumar’s absurdity now moves onto even greater heights. If an instruction is not meant to be continued in the absence of an instruction to stop it, then no instruction could ever be followed. For we could arbitrarily stop it anytime we felt like it, because remember the absence of an order to stop an instruction would not mean it can continue. We could have stopped the July 9th directive on July 10th, since we cannot assume that the absence of an order to stop it on July 10th, means for it “to continue”. And for good measure, Mr Kumar claims that it is “illogical and insane” to continue an instruction simply because it has not been stopped, even though this is the very meaning of “to continue”.

Summarising his objection to the July 9th directive, Mr Kumar states:

[Prabhuapda is implying "not to disturb him" for initiations any more, continue to act as ritivks, that's all. He is not implying that ritvk initiations should continue after his departure. If that was his idea, Prabhupada would always make clear & complete statements.]
(Reply to TFO Evidence, Mr Kumar)

Again this is another self-contradiction from Mr Kumar. First he claims that Srila Prabhupada is actually “implying” something in the July 9th directive – “not to disturb him”. Then he states that Srila Prabhupada “would always make clear and complete statements”. Well if this was the case then Srila Prabhupada would not be IMPLYING “not to disturb him”, but rather he would have to state it in the form of a “clear and complete statement”, which of course Srila Prabhupada does not.

And it is true that Srila Prabhupada is “not implying” that ritvik initiations should continue after his departure. He is very clearly STATING in the July 9th directive, a system “for the purpose of performing initiations, both first initiation and second initiation” for ISKCON.

TFO is structured as follows. The first 5 pages present the evidence and supporting evidence, for Srila Prabhupada instituting the ritvik system for ISKCON. The rest of the document deals with possible objections to this evidence. However having come to the end of Mr Kumar’s supposed ‘rebuttal’ of “The Evidence” section, it is very clear that not only has Mr Kumar not rebutted the evidence presented in TFO, but he has not even understood what is being presented, presumably due to his poor grasp of the English language. Consequently he has presented a litany of ‘straw-man’ arguments, followed by self-contradiction. It is therefore not necessary to read any more of Mr Kumar’s 222 page ramblings, for he has demonstrated that he cannot even UNDERSTAND what the TFO states, let alone rebut it.

I would recommend he enrols on an English course, learns to read and understand accurately, and try to rebut the TFO again, in say, a year, when at least he will be able to understand what it is he is supposedly rebutting.

Others who have read Mr Kumar’s paper, such as Sudama prabhu and other IRM followers to whom Mr Kumar specifically sent his paper to, asking for feedback, agree with my analysis, and have asked that this be the combined feedback of us all to be conveyed to Mr Kumar.