Personally speaking…

Summer 2007

His Grace Kripamoya Das, who is ISKCON UK’s Congregational Preaching Director, ISKCON European Council Chairman and a Faculty Member at ISKCON’s Bhaktivedanta College in Belgium, stated recently

“The Vedic system is that the guru must personally speak the mantra (gayatri) into the ear of the disciple at the time of initiation so he obviously has to be ‘physically present’.”
(Kripamoya Das, The Vaisnava Voice, May 7th, 2007)

However, this interpretation of “the Vedic system” is not at all supported by Srila Prabhupada’s practise of the Vedic system, as Kripamoya prabhu’s own brahmana initiation letter from Srila Prabhupada clearly demon-strates

“My dear Prabhavisnu das […]
I am in due receipt of your letter undated and accept upon your recommendation the following as my initiated disciples […]
I also accept the following as twice-born brahmanas and their threads and mantra sheets are enclosed: Krpamoya das, […].
You should have a fire sacrifice and the second initiates should hear through the right ear the mantra on my recorded tape. The beads may be chanted upon by Hamsaduta.”
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, November 13th, 1975, emphasis added)

So here, as on many other occasions, Srila Prabhupada has delegated a disciple’s initiation into the chanting of the gayatri mantra to a priest, via an instruction paper and a magnetic cassette tape.
Thus, since it is not a fact that “the guru must personally speak the mantra (gayatri) into the ear of the disciple at the time of initiation”, as Kripamoya himself personally can attest, then it is also not a fact that the guru “obviously has to be ‘physically present’”, as Kripamoya prabhu claims. Indeed, Srila Prabhupada teaches the opposite

“Physical presence is immaterial.”
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, 19/1/67)

“Physical presence is not important.”
(Srila Prabhupada Room Conversation, 6/10/77)

“Such association with Krsna and the Spiritual Master should be association by vibration, not physical presence”
(Elevation to Krsna Consciousness, BBT 1973, p. 57)

“As far as my blessing is concerned, it does not require my physical presence.”
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, 30/6/74)

So Kripyamoya prabhu has two choices: He can either renounce his brahmana initiation (and thereby stop performing all the weddings etc. he does for a living) because he never had the “gayatri mantra personally spoken into his ear by his Guru at the time of initiation”; Or, he can renounce the incorrect philosophy he is speaking here, by posting an apology to Srila Prabhupada on his website, since he has effectively stated that Srila Prabhupada has deviated from the “Vedic system”.
We will wait eagerly to see which path he takes!