|TIME OUT FOR HARI SAURI'S MINUTES
This is a response to:
'The Minutes of the Timeless Order.' by Hari-sauri dasa,
which was a reply to Krishna Kant's paper "Hari-sauri's Minutes Turn Back the Clock"
Firstly we would like to thank H.G. Hari Sauri prabhu (henceforward 'the author') for his time and trouble in attempting to answer our various concerns. It is obvious he has put a lot of thought into his paper, and it does indeed incorporate some
insights which we feel make a valuable contribution (though perhaps not to the authors intended conclusion) deserving serious consideration. We would also like to apologise for the length of this reply; this is because we have carefully answered the author's entire paper 'point for point' which
itself was quite substantial.
Below we shall reproduce sections of the author's paper with our comments in response following. We shall also state the page number of the author's paper in bold above each relevant section for ease of reference.
We shall start by exposing some serious contradictions, which appear in the author's paper, between his position and that of the GBC as expressed in the paper 'Disciple of My Disciple' (DOMD). This is particularly damaging since the author quotes
DOMD within his own paper as an authoritative and accurate explanation for how Srila Prabhupada authorised
diksa gurus for after his departure. First we quote the author:
|'We should note that even after giving this letter, which says that the people those 11 men would accept would be his disciples, Prabhupada indicated that the 11 were in fact to all intents and purposes performing the full-fledged function of
gurus in his own presence, for on October 18 he was approached for initiation by an Indian man who flew in all the way from New York'...
'Thus the July 9 letter was not, as falsely claimed by the author, a "final order," a "policy statement on how he wanted initiations to run within ISKCON," but merely an interim order which got the named persons functioning
as gurus even in his own presence yet while still observing the etiquette'.
'The salient point is that after saying on May 28 he would select some of his disciples to be gurus and give initiations and their disciples would be his grand-disciples, and then in July actually naming those men, he activated them in their
service as full-fledged gurus with the one proviso stated on May 28 and many times before, that the etiquette should be observed'.
In the above the author clearly states that the eleven nominees were
'to all intents and purposes' full-fledged diksa gurus even in Srila Prabhupada's presence. Contrast this with the position of DOMD:
|"the July 9th letter can only be the recommendation of proxies who would later start the process of post-samadhi initiation by Srila Prabhupada's disciples." [DOMD]
So our question for the author is - how can the recommendation of 'proxies
ONLY' be the same as activating their service as 'functioning as full-fledged gurus' even in Srila Prabhupada's presence? How can the act of giving a name on Srila
Prabhupada's behalf ONLY, be identical to the function of fully-fledged
diksa gurus? No divya-jnana is given by the ritvik. He is not responsible for annihilating the sinful reactions of the initiate. No sacrifice is performed by them and no physical contact is made between the 'disciple' and
these so-called gurus. If someone functions as a 'guru' simply by giving a name, then that would mean that Pradyumna, or anyone else who helped Srila Prabhupada pick a name, was also acting as a type of
diksa guru. Where is this theory stated that someone, who
does nothing more than give a name on someone else's behalf, is the same as a full-fledged
diksa guru? Surely he is nothing more than a
ritvik, or proxy 'to all intents and purposes.' Thus the author seriously contradicts the very body he is supposedly
We shall now go through the author's paper systematically, page by page:
One sentence from the Minutes is pivotal to the GBC's entire position:
According to the author, one sentence from the GBC Minutes is pivotal to the GBC's entire position:
"2) Srila Prabhupada said he will appoint several devotees who shall perform initiation in the future, even after his disappearance."
(From the Minutes)
Actually we never said that 'one sentence' is pivotal to the
'GBC's entire position', this is a 'straw man' argument. It is certainly pivotal to the author's original article however.
|There are a couple of points to observe in the above; a) the omission of the second sentence of the Minute; b) the stress on the word "appoint"; and c) the author's immediate attempt to link what became known as the
zonal acarya system as being identical with the naming of disciples who would become diksa gurus after Prabhupada's disappearance.
The author significantly misses out the second sentence of the above quoted GBC Minute, which is: "The disciples they accept shall be their disciples and Srila Prabhupada will be their grand spiritual master."
The second sentence of minute 2 IS quoted in full on page 2 of our reply. Even the author quotes us quoting the second sentence in his very same paper later on. We did not quote it right at the beginning since we were merely dealing with the
'appointment' issue. The second sentence does not in any way change the fact that the first sentence was incorrect, since Srila Prabhupada did not
'appoint' diksa gurus, as is accepted by the GBC. This is ALL we claimed. We did not try and use the first sentence to
'defeat the GBC's entire
position' or anything of such magnitude.
|This is a rather slick attempt by selective quoting to isolate one section of a statement, claim that the GBC's entire position depends on it, and then defeat it. It's called the "straw man" argument and the author's papers are replete
with them. But to a discerning reader, it doesn't work.
As we have shown above this itself is a 'straw man' argument. The author has thus invented a straw man argument which we never used, falsely attributed it to us, just so he could defeat it.
|His whole paper simply hammers on this one central theme of "appointment" again and again thinking that the GBC's position is defeated by this. But as it happens, the GBC's entire position is not pivotal on the first sentence, but on the
Minute as a whole, and especially the second sentence.
We only use the first sentence to show that the minutes were not an entirely accurate rendition of the conversation, as is conceded by the author and the GBC themselves. The second sentence only follows as a consequence of the first. It is not
independent. The second sentence merely describes the relationships of the initiated to the initiator (on what basis does the author speculate that the second sentence is somehow
'especially' pivotal?) Such relationships could only ever exist IF an order for
diksa gurus had FIRST been given. How
this order was given - whether by 'appointment', 'selection' a 'nod and a wink' or whatever, is central and crucial to the whole debate. We can not just dismiss the question of how
EXACTLY diksa gurus were authorised into existence simply because the GBC are currently united in their overwhelming
belief that somehow or another they were. Without there first being authorised
diksa gurus the second sentence is meaningless. As we have pointed out over and over again, at the end of the day the only entities Srila Prabhupada actually specifically authorised into existence were
ritviks, who were
only meant to initiate on his behalf (please see July 9th policy directive)
|The essence of Srila Prabhupada's answer to the question put to him on May 28 1977 was not the business of "appointment" but that he said he would select some men who would give initiations after his disappearance AND whosoever took
initiation from them would be their disciples and Srila Prabhupada's grand-disciples.
The above 'essence' theory has yet to be established. It may or may not have validity. Our paper, which the author is responding to above,
ONLY dealt with the 'minutes' the author presented. If the author now wants to present another paper wherein
he will modify the minutes in line with his dubious sounding 'essence' theory then we will deal with that instead. We can only deal with what he presented. He never conceded in his original paper that the minutes were not totally accurate and that instead the real 'essence' was such and
such. Our original point in response to the author's original paper thus remains intact- the minutes, by the GBC's own admission, are not totally accurate. And that's all we claimed. Not that therefore on the strength of this alone the whole GBC's entire stance is debunked. The full debunking is
carried out in detail in a separate paper - 'The Final Order'
While it is a fact that among ISKCON leaders there is a difference of opinion on whether Srila Prabhupada "appointed" anyone or not, (there are different understandings of what "appoint" means within our ISKCON context) the
fact remains that all of them agree that he wanted his disciples to initiate after his departure.
That the above is a point of agreement amongst all the gurus and GBC's in ISKCON was never challenged by us, only the fact that no
'appointment' took place, which the author admits here anyway. The remainder of this section is designed to answer a
claim that we never made, namely- 'that the GBC do NOT agree that Srila Prabhupada wanted his disciples to initiate after his departure'. Thus the rest of this section does not alter the actual point we made - that the GBC now agree that no 'appointment' took place, and thus to hold these minutes
up as some sort of irrefutable evidence is perhaps unwise.
Jayadvaita Swami's clarification:
||What is your understanding of Prabhupada's instructions to the first 11?
||I get my first understanding from the paper that names them. There he explicitly appoints them as rtviks, to initiate disciples during his presence who would be his disciples, not theirs.
The paper that names them is the July 9th letter which says nothing about the eleven's duties being restricted
ONLY to 'during his presence'. Thus H.H. is clearly speculating here, with all due respect.
||By reference to other instructions, given many times over, I understand that after his departure his disciples would initiate disciples of their own.
We have never seen these repeated instructions to the entire movement for Srila Prabhupada's disciples to all become
diksa gurus immediately on his departure, in spite of repeated requests (we look at the author's 'evidence' later).
||By reference to the context, and especially the instructions of May 28, I surmise that he wanted the 11 rtviks to be the first to do this.
We could very easily replace the word
'surmise' above with the word 'speculate' with no discernible change of meaning.
||Doesn't the May 28 conversation say clearly that the persons he would name will give diksa after his disappearance?
|| "Clearly" might be overstating the case.
We would agree with H.H. on this point
||But I think that 'the persons he would name will give diksa after his disappearance' is the most reasonable understanding of what he said.
Reasonable understanding must be based on clear irrefutable evidence. Since it is agreed the May 28 conversation does not fully or
'clearly' provide this, could the author please tell us where we might locate it? We
are not very interested in wispy 'essence' theories to be honest, and as we said before we are certainly unwilling to accept minutes which everyone agrees contain inaccuracy, and do not clearly state that which is being proposed.
H.H. just said that in the May conversation it was
not 'clear' that the eleven were to give diksa after Srila Prabhupada's departure. How can he now say it was
'eminently clear (...) that Srila Prabhupada expected his disciples to initiate
disciples of their own'? The famous eleven are the only disciples who were alluded to in the May 28th conversation; if it was not clear that they should initiate, how could it be 'eminently clear' that anyone else should?
|Next we can look at Ravindra Svarupa prabhu's statement:
"And it's a fact that Srila Prabhupada never said 'alright here is the next acarya, or the next eleven acaryas and they are authorised gurus for the movement, for the world.' He did not do that." (His Grace Ravindra
Svarupa prabhu. San Diego 1990)
Ravindra Svarupa prabhu's comments on this quote:
||This seems to be something I said during the San Diego debate, for which I have no transcript. I don't remember the specific context.
Perhaps because the video of the debate was outlawed by the GBC in unpublished minutes.
||What I meant by that statement is what I have always held:
First, that Srila Prabhupada did not appoint select men to be his successor acaryas. Acarya, in the sense of the head of an institution, is an office, and it is possible to appoint someone to that office, and Prabhupada did not do that.
Where does Srila Prabhupada ever teach that there are two forms of initiating
acarya, one who is allowed to head up an institution, and one who must not? This would appear to be a Gaudiya Matha type interpolation.
||Rather, in the first line of his will, where an acarya traditionally names his successor at the head of the institution, Srila Prabhupada named the GBC.
Where does Srila Prabhupada teach this so-called tradition? Also, it should be pointed out that the GBC were only authorised to manage existing systems of management, not disband them and begin unauthorisedly initiating their own disciples.
||Then, did Prabhupada appoint some people as gurus? Since guru is not an office, like acarya, the idea of appointment is not appropriate.
Why? Where is it stated that an acarya can appoint 'acaryas' but not 'gurus' ?
||It is not that by appointment I can suddenly 'become' a guru. I think Prabhupada made this clear in the May 28th conversation:
||And Caitanya Mahaprabhu says, amara ajnaya guru hana. One can understand the order of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, he can become guru. Or one who understands his guru's order, the same parampara, he can become guru. And therefore I shall
select some of you." (Srila Prabhupada May 28 1977)
"The condition for being guru is that one understands his guru's order. And Prabhupada said that he would select those he thought the most qualified.
Where does Srila Prabhupada say 'I will select those of you I feel most qualified?' We can not see this sentence above.
|RS: He indicated this 'selection' by the appointment of ritviks.
How did Srila Prabhupada 'indicate' anything about the selection of
diksa gurus merely by 'appointing' name-giving ritvik priests? This is complete speculation. We have already shown that the order from Lord Chaitanya, as conveyed to us by Srila
Prabhupada, is for instructing gurus who follow the orders of their spiritual master, not a blanket endorsement for anyone to become a
diksa guru (please see 'Best Not to Accept Any Disciples').
||This did not magically turn them into qualified gurus. (This is the danger of the 'appointment' idea.) They had that capacity, but whether they fulfilled it or not was up to them. They were not the exclusive, hand-picked, chosen
few. Prabhupada didn't want that. Yet people were expecting him to give some indication of who would initiate after his departure. So he did so when he appointed ritviks, who mistakenly thought of themselves as appointed successor acaryas.
They WERE initially an hand-picked chosen few. They were specially selected to act as
ritviks, the question is who told them they could stop, and then become diksa gurus?
|Clearly Tamal Krishna Maharaja did not reject the essence as stated in the GBC Minutes - that Prabhupada said he wanted his disciples to accept disciples - he only rejected the idea that Prabhupada "appointed" the first 11 men to be
gurus and no one else.
This appointment theory arose because of the inaccurate GBC minutes which the author is still stubbornly promoting as solid evidence. His new 'essence' theory has yet to be established.
As far as the GBC paper DOMD goes, even in the quote the author supplies, his point is not supported:
|"There is no appointment of gurus or successors, only a recommendation that certain disciples start the natural process."
(The entire GBC, in 'Disciple of my Disciple' page 4 which was released only last year)
Whether the word "appointment" or the word "recommendation" is used, the essential understanding recorded in the Minutes is obviously upheld in DOMD, that Prabhupada's disciples were authorized by His Divine Grace to become
diksa gurus - "the natural process."
If the so-called 'Appointment Tape' is so
'eminently clear' why is it the GBC and their supporters are unable to agree on the important detail of exactly
HOW the 'gurus' came into existence - this is
the issue - HOW the end product came into being - not the fact that they all agree that the end product must somehow exist. Also where does this
'natural process' concept come from? Where is it stated that to act as
ritviks first is the 'natural process' by which one goes on to become
How long has this 'process' been 'naturally' going on for, and where does Srila Prabhupada teach about this 'natural process'?
|As we see above the different interpretations or even rejection of the idea of "appointment" did not and does not alter the acceptance of the central understanding, as the GBC Minutes record, that on May 28 1977 Prabhupada did state that
he would select some of his disciples who would give diksa after the time of his departure.
We all agree that the GBC all believe that
diksa gurus were authorised. It is the specifics and EVIDENCE for this supposed authorisation we would like to see.
The GBC and senior devotees who brought about the "guru reforms" in 1987 all agreed that this was his actual intent, even if they didn't agree on the idea of "appointment."
Call it what you will - "selected" "appointed" "recommended" - the simple fact is that Prabhupada categorically confirmed that he wanted his disciples to give initiations and that the persons who they initiate would
be their disciples. This is the actual "understanding" of what Srila Prabhupada said on May 28. It was recorded in the Minutes to that meeting, it was recorded on tape, it is confirmed by the persons who directly participated in that meeting and this has never at any point been
rejected by the GBC.
If it cannot be decided HOW exactly Srila Prabhupada
'categorically confirmed' that his disciples were to be diksa gurus, then how can we jump to the next step and be sure that this
DID actually occur. The only 'selection' that was made was for ritviks. This much is accepted by everyone. The author still has not made it clear how exactly the selection of the
ritviks was the same as the selection of diksa gurus as well. To first 'categorically' decide whether they were 'appointed', 'selected', 'ordered', 'expected' or 'understood' to
become diksa gurus and HOW this was done, would be a good start on the way to convincing us that the entire ISKCON guru edifice is not one massive deviation.
||And it's a fact that Srila Prabhupada never said 'alright here is the next acarya, or the next eleven acaryas and they are authorised gurus for the movement, for the world'. He did not do that." (San Diego 1990)
I'll give the final word to Ravindra Svarupa prabhu:
||It was clear to everybody that Prabhupada wanted diksa gurus after him.
How was it clear? Where is it stated in Srila Prabhupada's books or in policy directives to the movement or in GBC resolutions approved by Srila Prabhupada that this was what he wanted?
||But a diksa guru and an appointed successor acarya are hardly the same thing.
Where does Srila Prabhupada mention these different types of
diksa guru? All initiating gurus must be authorised or 'appointed' by their
predecessor acarya, this principle is stated in the Srimad Bhagavatam (4.8.54); whether they head up an
institution or not is completely irrelevant.
||All I'm saying is that Prabhupada didn't appoint one or many successor acaryas. That's quite different from saying that he didn't want anyone to be diksa gurus. Can the distinction between successor acarya and diksa guru be so
subtle that Krishna Kant Desai cannot grasp it?"
In the quote above from the San Diego debate H.G. Ravindra Svarupa prabhu says that Srila Prabhupada never said the eleven were
'authorised gurus for the movement'. Again if these eleven, who are the only disciples alluded to on May 28th, were not
'authorised gurus' then how could anyone else be? And if they were not 'authorised gurus' why did they act as such, why are they still acting as such (those who are left) and why did they allow others to do the same in the mid eighties? Also there are serious questions surrounding H.G. Ravindra
Svarupa's triple acarya theory which are addressed on pages 40-42 of 'The Final Order'
|Now we'll see why "appoint" is controversial.
c) Linkage of the Minutes with the Zonal Acarya system
By trying to link the Minutes with the discredited so-called zonal acarya system, the author obviously hopes to discredit the Minutes by association. But we should bear in mind that when the Minutes were written the zonal acarya system did not
exist nor had even been conceived of. The Minutes stated in simple terms the answers to straight forward questions put directly to Srila Prabhupada. What was given at that time was the PRINCIPLE - that disciples Prabhupada would recommend would give initiations. Much later on, in trying to APPLY
that principle, the zonal acarya system developed (and it wasn't called that either until well into the mid-80s). As Ravindra Svarupa and Tamal Krishna Goswami point out above, the term "appoint" had connotations that lead to a misunderstanding of applying the order.
The principle, as it is now understood and taught by the GBC, is not that
ONLY those selected by Srila Prabhupada could be guru, or the ones who are selected by those who were selected could become gurus. The current GBC understanding is that
everyone - every man, woman and child who is an initiated disciple automatically has the right to be a
diksa guru on the departure of Srila Prabhupada. Thus the word 'appointed' led to both a mistake in the application
AND principle, since for so many years devotees were held back from initiating,
and not allowed to properly follow the 'law of disciplic succession'. The author eagerly supported this deviation from principle, just as he today enthusiastically endorses the concocted M.A.S.S.
Further H.H. Jayadawaita Maharaja, whom the author has quoted above, also agrees that the actvities of the GBC between 1977-86 constituted a deviation from both application
AND spiritual principles:
4. The GBC instituted, encouraged, and for many years belligerently and obstinately defended symbols, rituals, practices, teachings, and structures subversive to the unique importance of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
Prabhupada, Founder-Acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness.
13. After Srila Prabhupada's disappearance, for many years the GBC systematically misrepresented Srila Prabhupada's teachings and instructions about carrying on the disciplic succession.
14. The GBC instituted, encouraged, and for many years belligerently and obstinately defended symbols, rituals, practices, teachings, and structures meant to create and perpetuate for a small group an elite status to which they were never
(Several Grievances Against the Members of the GBC, H.H. Jayadwaita Swami, March 5, 1987)
Thus here Maharaja admits that there was more than just the
'application' which went astray.
|In 1987 when the GBC and reformists dismantled the zonal acarya system, they were rejecting a bad application and thus the "appoint" concept took a beating. But they did not reject the principle or the central "understanding",
that Prabhupada's disciples should initiate others into Krsna consciousness because the knew it to be the actual desire of Srila Prabhupada, confirmed on May 28. The author has tried establish his case by smudging the line between principle and application and this is a mistake.
NO. As we have explained above, the activities between 1977-1986 also led to the wrong
PRINCIPLE being applied since only those who were 'appointed' by Srila Prabhupada or 'appointed' by those who were 'appointed' by Srila Prabhupada were allowed
to initiate. This directly violates the GBC's much heralded principle, the 'law of disciplic succession'.
|To recap the author's claim:
"Thus the 'understanding' of what Srila Prabhupada supposedly said on May 28th 1977, as recorded in these hand written minutes, has already been rejected long ago by the GBC, the very body the author is using these minutes to defend."
As we see from the above, the GBC has never rejected the "understanding" of what Prabhupada said as recorded in the Minutes and it is misleading to claim otherwise.
The 'understanding' which was inspired by the author's cherished GBC minutes, led to a massive deviation from principal and application, as explained above, and the idea of an appointment was the foundation of that 'understanding', which has since
May 29 - July 9 axis:
Since the GBC, along with it's staunchest defenders, no longer accept the GBC's hand written minutes as accurate, we do not see why we should either, particularly since they contradict Srila Prabhupada's signed policy statement on how he wanted
initiations to run within ISKCON (the July 9th order).
As I have just pointed out, the Minutes do accurately reflect the "understanding" of Srila Prabhupada's stated desire on May 28.
How can they when they are based on the idea that Srila Prabhupada had only appointed eleven successor
acaryas, an idea which has since been completely rejected? The author is continuing to confuse two separate issues - the fact that Srila
Prabhupada's disciples were supposedly meant to initiate after Srila Prabhupada leaves; and HOW this was to occur. It is the latter issue which concerns us, and which lies at the very heart of the controversy. Though the minutes may sanction the former idea, they definitely state that the latter
comes about only through appointment. This is the idea which was rejected by the GBC. The simple fact therefore remains that the minutes may well support the notion of
diksa gurus coming into being. No one has challenged the fact that the GBC has always believed that
SOMEHOW diksa gurus must
arise. Further since Ravindra Svarupa, H.H. Jayadvaita Swami and H.H. Tamal Krishna Goswami have clearly said that no appointment took place, (Ravindra Svarupa even said the very idea was not
'appropriate') how did this erroneous idea enter into the minds of the GBC in the first place? In Topanga Canyon H.H. Tamal Krishna Goswami said that even thinking that they were
'selected' was a mistake.
|Nor, as the author claims here, do they contradict the subsequent letter of July 9.
The letter is diametrically opposed to the minutes, since the entities described therein were only authorised as
ritviks to officiate on Srila Prabhupada's behalf. The minutes wrongly reported that Srila Prabhupada had appointed successor
who would initiate their own disciples. This is all very obvious stuff, surely beneath the author to have to have it pointed out.
|Rather the opposite: the exchange of May 28 in which Prabhupada said his disciples would initiate after his departure and have disciples of their own set the scene into which the July 9 letter fits.
Where on the tape does Srila Prabhupada say "my disciples will initiate after my departure and have disciples of their own"? Let us see what he
- He will soon name ritviks/officiating
- His disciples will initiate and have disciples of their own
IF he orders.
When was the order ever given? DOMD claims it is the words
'On My Order' on the tape which issues the order. The author claims it is the order to be
ritviks on July 9th. Others have claimed the order is timeless and was merely re-confirmed on May
28th. Will the GBC and their apologists please make up their minds.
In none of the official transcripts of the May 28th conversation does Srila Prabhupada ever once link the emergence of
diksa gurus with his departure. He clearly states that such entities could only exist when he 'ordered' ('on my order' 'when I
order' 'but by my order') It is becoming increasingly clear that this specific order for
DIKSA gurus was never issued. The only order was for ritviks and instructing gurus.
|Without understanding the May 28 directives the July 9 letter cannot be properly understood. It does not stand alone.
The May 28 conversation does not issue anyone with any specific directives, it merely has Srila Prabhupada making known his intention to appoint
ritviks at some future time, and that diksa gurus would be dependent on his ordering them. A specific
'directive' was only issued later on, in the July 9th statement of initiation policy. Over one hundred identical 'directives' were sent all over the world indicating the initiation system which was to operate within ISKCON. Once more, why was it stopped?
|As I pointed out in brief in my original comments on the GBC Minutes, on May 28 Prabhupada, with phrases such as "grand-disciple" and "disciple of my disciple", and by stating his intention to recommend some of his disciples to
act as "officiating acaryas" who he confirmed when asked would give diksa, and by saying he would select some "of you" to be "gurus", unequivocally answered the question as to what would happen after his departure.
The above is patent falsehood. Terms such as
"grand-disciple" and "disciple of my disciple" are
only spoken in connection with the phrases 'on my order' 'when I order'
and 'but by my order'. To suggest otherwise is tantamount to
lying. Once again, where was this order ever issued? The only order we have seen was for
ritviks. Does the author possess some other directive from Srila Prabhupada that has remained hitherto hidden? If so it would be opportune for him to produce it.
|The July 9 letter was born out of another consideration (i.e. not the question of post departure initiations), yet unresolved.
The enquiry put by Tamal Krishna Goswami on July 7 was as to how initiations would go on while Prabhupada was still present but not willing to accept new disciples himself.
When did Srila Prabhupada ever say he was unwilling to accept new disciples?
||Srila Prabhupada? We're receiving a number of letters now, and these are people who want to get initiated. So up until now, since your becoming ill, we asked them to wait.
||The local, mean, senior sannyasis can do that.
Prabhupada had stated 5 weeks previously on May 28 he would select some men to be gurus, and so to solve the current dilemma of July 7, he gave the actual names.
Here we see the author claiming that the selection of the
ritviks was the selection of gurus. But this is a contradiction. Srila Prabhupada stated in May that he was going to name some
ritviks. Now the author claims that the naming occurred to
resolve the 'dilemma' in July. Yet in May he clearly indicated that he was going to name individuals in order to solve the problem of what to do 'particularly when he was no longer with us'. Now we are told that the naming only occurred because he wanted to resolve a
'dilemma' that had nothing to
do with when he was 'no longer with us', but to solve an alleged problem which was only relevant during his presence. Srila Prabhupada never said in May that the appointment or naming of individuals would be done in order to solve an upcoming 'dilemma'.
Where is the evidence for this?
|However since he had also said several times before, and repeated on May 28, that it was the etiquette that in the presence of one's own guru one could not be guru, he confirmed that the people that were to be accepted by these "ritviks"
would still be his own disciples.
He does not mention anything about etiquette in the
July 7th conversation, thus the author is speculating when he links it to the selection of
|There was no need to restate what would be the status of the new initiates AFTER his departure; he had already established that just five weeks before in response to a direct enquiry on the subject by the whole GBC - "disciple of my
Srila Prabhupada only stated that he was going to name
ritviks. He never said that the ritviks he was soon to name were to be
diksa gurus. He clearly states two things:
I shall recommend some of you. (as ritviks)
Be actually guru, but by my order.
When I order, "You become guru," he becomes regular guru
- Something he is definitely going to do - the appointment of
- Gurus arising only when he ORDERS them.
The two things are not the same - the definite naming of
RITVIKS; The CONDITIONAL creation of GURUS through an
Srila Prabhupada never linked the emergence of diksa gurus
AUTOMATICALLY with his DEPARTURE in the May 28th conversation, as anyone who reads it can see.
|Thus the July 9 letter was not, as falsely claimed by the author, a "final order," a "policy statement on how he wanted initiations to run within ISKCON," but merely an interim order which got the named persons functioning as
gurus even in his own presence yet while still observing the etiquette.
The above is total nonsense. If this was not a 'final order' then presumably the author has one which was issued after July 9th. Could we see it please? Where is it stated by Srila Prabhupada that the
ritvik system would only be an 'interim order'?
How did this order for ritviks somehow get those named functioning as gurus even in Srila Prabhupada's presence? All they did was accept persons they had most likely never met, as disciples of Srila Prabhupada, and issue them a name. What has this got to do with being a
diksa guru who, by
definition, accepts and instructs (through his teachings) his own disciples. The author is clearly very confused here about what the
ritvik system actually entails.
|We should note that even after giving this letter, which says that the people those 11 men would accept would be his disciples, Prabhupada indicated that the 11 were in fact to all intents and purposes performing the full-fledged function of gurus
in his own presence,
This is complete nonsense. Within the
ritvik system new disciples all belonged to Srila Prabhupada alone. The author should really sit down and read the final order on initiation instead of trying to speculate around it.
|for on October 18 he was approached for initiation by an Indian man who flew in all the way from New York:
||Hare Krsna. One Bengali gentleman has come from New York?
||Yes. Mr. Sukamal Roy Chowdury.
||So I have deputed some of you to initiate. Hm?
||Yes. Actually... Yes, Srila Prabhupada.
||So I think Jayapataka can do that if he likes. I have already deputed. Tell him.
||So, deputies, Jayapataka's name was there?
||It is already on there, Srila Prabhupada. His name was on that list.
||So I depute him to do this at Mayapura, and you may go with him. I stop for the time being. Is that all right?
||Stopped doing what, Srila Prabhupada?
||This initiation. I have deputed the, my disciples. Is it clear or not?
||You have got the list of the names?
||Yes, Srila Prabhupada.
||And if by Krsna's grace I recover from this condition, then I shall begin again, or I may not be pressed in this condition to initiate. It is not good.
||We will explain to him so that he will understand properly.
||I said we will explain to the Bengali gentleman just as you have described to us, so that he'll be satisfied with this arrangement..
From the above conversation it is clear that Prabhupada was not willing to accept the new initiate because of his condition - he didn't want his karma.
Thus we now have a brand new theory - that by giving a name the
ritviks were also taking the karma in Srila Prabhupada's presence!
This new theory is so unbelievably silly we can hardly conceive of how the author could have written it. Anyone
initiated within the ritvik system was automatically accepted as Srila Prabhupada's
directly initiated disciple, and hence would be having his sinful reactions directly annihilated by Srila Prabhupada. The fact that above Srila Prabhupada indicated that he may or may not continue personally
participating in the system is completely irrelevant. When he says 'I shall begin again, or I may not' he could not be referring to the acceptance of
karma as he would be doing this anyway since anyone initiated by his 'deputies' or
ritviks would be his direct disciples. Clearly Srila Prabhupada
is simply referring to his sitting in on local initiations.
|This had already been pointed out by Tamal Krishna Goswami on July 7
Maybe, but not by Srila Prabhupada.
|- the reason for stopping initiations was so that Prabhupada would not be burdened by the new initiates' karma. Therefore he handed the duty of giving initiation to the men he named. He "deputed" Jayapataka Swami to do the initiation and
stated "I stop... I may not be pressed in this condition to initiate." Yet as a matter of etiquette the persons the first 11 initiated were still to be considered Prabhupada's disciples during his presence; and afterwards, as he stated on May 28, they would be his grand-disciples.
That means that Srila Prabhupada would accept their
karma, so why does the author suggest above that Srila Prabhupada did not want to do this? In fact the
ritvik system allowed him to accept karma in vast quantities from all over the world on a
greater scale than ever before. How does this demonstrate an unwillingness to accept
|This etiquette was clearly expressed by Srila Prabhupada on a number of occasions:
"Please accept my blessings. I have received so many letters from both of you and I am replying today summarily, especially your joint letter dated July 27, 1968, and Jaya Govinda's letter dated August 19, 1968. The first thing, I warn
Acyutananda, do not try to initiate. You are not in a proper position now to initiate anyone. Besides that, the etiquette is that so long the Spiritual Master is present, all prospective disciples should be brought to him. Therefore if anyone is anxious to be initiated, he should first of all
hear our philosophy and join chanting at least for three months,
-- Letter to Acyutananda and Jaya Govinda -- 68-08-21
and then if required, I shall send chanted beads for him if you recommend. As we are doing here. Don't be allured by such maya. I am training you all to become future Spiritual Masters, but do not be in a hurry."
Above we see Srila Prabhupada's standard method for dealing with ambitious deviants who were allured by the
MAYA of becoming unauthorised initiators - they are 'warned' and told the etiquette that
PREVENTS them from initiating NOW.
||Yeah, the tenth. After you, is it any decision has been made who will take over?
||Yes. All of them will take over. These students, who are initiated from me, all of them will act as I am doing. Just like I have got many Godbrothers, they are all acting. Similarly, all these disciples which I am
making, initiating, they are being trained to become future spiritual masters.
||How many swamis do you initiated, American? I'm speaking just on...
You have ten swamis. And outside of swamis, what's the lower...
Now, they're competent. They can, not only the swamis, even the grhasthas, they are called dasa adhikari, and brahmacaris, everyone can, whoever is initiated, he is competent to make disciples. But as a matter of etiquette they do not do
so in the presence of their spiritual master. This is the etiquette. Otherwise, they are competent. They can make disciples and spread. They can recruit more members in this. They do, but they are being trained up. Just like here in this meeting, one of my disciples, he is acting as priest. It
is not myself; he is acting. So some of my students, they are acting as priests, some of them are swamis, so they are competent to make disciples."
-- Conversation Detroit July 18, 1971
We address this quote later.
|"So far as your taking
initiation from Brahmananda Maharaja, I have no objection, but it is
the etiquette that in the presence of one's Spiritual Master, one
does not accept disciples. In this connection, Swami Brahmananda may
write me and I will instruct him."
-- Letter to John Milner March 24 1971
Again see how Srila Prabhupada
PREVENTS an initiation by stating that it cannot happen now.
|"Keep trained up very
rigidly and then you are bonafide Guru, and you can accept disciples on
the same principle. But as a matter of etiquette it is the custom that
during the lifetime of your Spiritual master you bring the prospective
disciples to him, and in his absence or disappearance you can accept
disciples without any limitation. This is the law of disciplic
succession. I want to see my disciples become bonafide Spiritual Master
and spread Krishna consciousness very widely, that will make me and
Krishna very happy."
--- Letter to Tusta Krishna,
December 2, 1975
Once more we see an example of Srila
Prabhupada endeavouring to
PREVENT initiations in his presence. Clearly PRIVATE letters
like this can not be applied universally. Besides, as mentioned many times
previously, none of this evidence was available till long after Srila
Prabhupada's departure, and thus cannot be legitimately used to modify the
July 9th order.
|"So we have to follow
the acarya. Then, when we are completely, cent per cent follower of
acarya, then you can also act as acarya. This is the process. Don't
become premature acarya. First of all follow the orders of acarya,
and you become mature. Then it is better to become acarya. Because
we are interested in preparing acarya, but the etiquette is, at
least for the period the guru is present, one should not become
acarya. Even if he is complete he should not, because the etiquette
is, if somebody comes for becoming initiated, it is the duty of such
person to bring that prospective candidate to his acarya. Not that
"Now people are coming to me, so I can become acarya." That is
avamanya. Navamanyeta karhicit. Don't transgress this etiquette.
Navamanyeta. That will be falldown. Just like during the lifetime of
our Guru Maharaja, all our Godbrothers now who are acting as acarya,
they did not do so. That is not etiquette. Acaryam mam vijaniyat na
avaman... That is insult. So if you insult your acarya, then you are
Lecture Adi Lila 1.13, Mayapur April 6 1975
A good warning to any other disciples
who might be getting unauthorised ideas to initiate in the presence of Srila
Prabhupada. And of course it is not just a question of the
acarya leaving the planet before the disciples may initiate their own
disciples. They must first have attained the level of mahabhagavat
personally authorised to initiate by their predecessor acarya
as is stated in Srila Prabhupada's books.
|To recap then: The salient
point is that after saying on May 28 he would select some of his
disciples to be gurus and give initiations and their disciples would
be his grand-disciples, and then in July actually naming those men,
he activated them in their service as full-fledged gurus with the
one proviso stated on May 28 and many times before, that the
etiquette should be observed. Having done that, as he indicated on
May 28, it was perfectly natural, and according to his desire that
they simply carry on as gurus after his departure.
Firstly Srila Prabhupada NEVER
'he will select some of his disciples to be gurus and give initiations',
this is a
blatant falsehood. At the end of the May 28 tape segment (ignoring
the fact that the tape is currently inadmissible as evidence) in a section
unrelated to H. H. Satsvarupa Maharaja's first question, Srila Prabhupada
simply repeats what is found in the purports surrounding Lord Caitanya's
order for everyone to be guru - that one who understands the order of Lord
Caitanya or his representative is qualified to be a guru. Srila Prabhupada
then says he will 'select' some disciples who are qualified to understand
the order of Lord Caitanya and his representative.
THIS in itself makes one a guru, as described in the purports to Lord
Caitanya's instructions on this subject. But the order
ITSELF given by the guru was to be ritvik only.
Therefore to understand THIS order the recipients should have continued
ritviks. Srila Prabhupada never 'activated them' as 'full-fledged
gurus', and so the whole argument falls down. If this did occur the author
should tell us where and how. Srila Prabhupada had 'activated' eleven of
them to give names without consulting him. Furthermore, how could they have
any role as
diksa guru since Srila Prabhupada simply said 'whoever is nearest'.
As His Holiness Tamal Krishna Goswami Maharaja has so nicely explained:
'Now I understand that what he
did was very clear. He was physically incapable of performing the
function of initiation; therefore he appointed officiating priests to
initiate on his behalf. He appointed eleven, and he said very clearly,
'Whoever is nearest can initiate'. This is very important because
when it comes to initiating, it isn't whoever is nearest, it's wherever
your heart goes. Who (you) repose your faith on, you take initiation
from him. But when it's officiating, it's whoever is nearest, and he was
very clear. He named them. They were spread out all over the world, and
he said, 'Whoever you're nearest, you just approach that person, and
they'll check you out. Then, on my behalf, they'll initiate.' It is not
a question that you repose your faith in that person - nothing. That's a
function for the guru. 'In order for me to manage this movement',
Prabhupada said, 'I have to form a GBC and I will appoint the following
people. In order to continue the process of people joining our movement
and getting initiated, I have to appoint some priests to help me
because(...) I cannot physically manage everyone myself.'
'And that's all it was, and it
was never any more than that, you can bet your bottom dollar that
Prabhupada would have spoken for days and hours and weeks on end about
how to set up this thing with the gurus, because he had already said it
a million times'.
(Topanga Canyon Confessions, 3/12/80)
The ritviks clearly WERE
appointed. The Gurus were
NOT. How then is the appointment of ritviks the creation of
diksa gurus? Neither were the gurus
'Unfortunately the GBC did
not recognise this point. They immediately (assumed, decided) that
these eleven people are the selected gurus. (Topanga
Canyon Confessions, 3/12/80)
3) No talk of appointments on May
It should also be pointed out that
nowhere in the controversial May 28th tape does Srila Prabhupada say
anything about appointing diksa gurus for after his departure.
This is quite an amazing statement
to say the least. Here's the relevant parts of that conversation again which
speak for themselves:
Here the author reproduces the May
28th conversation. We have already covered this extensively in such papers
as 'The Final Order' and
'The Final Order Still Stands'. The author does not even attempt a point
for point rebuttal of these papers, but instead offers his own speculative
|We see here that Tamal
Krishna Goswami specifically states that the ritvik acaryas,
officiating, give diksa and asks whose disciples will the new
initiates be. Srila Prabhupada does not correct him and say, "No,
the ritviks don't give diksa."
There was no need for any correction
since the word 'officiating' is there, which makes it clear that H.H. Tamal
Krishna Goswami is not talking in an 'initiating' sense, as he explained in
'He was physically incapable of
performing the function of initiation; therefore he appointed
officiating priests to initiate on his behalf. He appointed eleven,
and he said very clearly, 'Whoever is nearest can initiate'. This is very
important because when it comes to initiating, it isn't whoever is
nearest, it's wherever your heart goes. Who (you) repose your faith on, you
take initiation from him. But when it's
officiating, it's whoever is nearest, and he was very clear'.
|Rather he confirms that they do
by answering that the new initiates are "his disciple" meaning the
disciples of the person "who is initiating." And just to make sure the
relationships are clearly understood, after a short pause he states that
in relationship to himself they are "grand disciple."
Using H.H. Tamal Krishna Goswami's
above explanation the who 'who is initiating' is Srila
ritviks were only to be assigned as officiators.
|We should note this
clearly: that in a single response to Tamal Krishna Goswami's
rejoinder, "They are his disciple" Prabhupada in two sentences
establishes the new initiates' relationship in two ways showing
their link with two separate entities.
They're his disciple.
is initiating. (Short pause) He is grand-disciple.
a) In the first sentence he
indicates their relationship with the initiator - ("They are his disciple")
"Who is initiating."
b) After a short pause indicative of
a change in subject, in the second sentence he establishes the relationship
of the new initiate to himself - "He is grand disciple."
Now, as is admitted, there is a
SUBJECT CHANGE. The disciples are his; grand-disciples will only arise
'orders' - "his grand-disciple ... when I order 'you become guru', he
becomes regular guru, he becomes disciple of my disciple"
|He does this specifically
because Satsvarupa dasa Goswami got a little confused about the
relationships between the three parties - the initiator, the
initiated, and Srila Prabhupada.
Having noted that, we then see
Prabhupada immediately repeat exactly the same thing again in his next
remarks. Although the GBC are now clear on the point and are ready to move
on, he continues on the same subject just to make sure and says:
"When I order, "You become guru," he
becomes regular guru. That's all. He becomes disciple of my disciple.
So then, where is the order?
Without it the author's case collapses like a house of cards.
He repeats the technique: he states
the position of the initiator by saying "he becomes regular guru," which in
the context of the discussion about initiations clearly means the initiated
person is the disciple of the initiator (because if it were otherwise there
would be no question of them being a "regular guru"); and again he makes his
own relationship with the new initiate clear: "he becomes disciple of my
This is the way that all the persons
present understood it, Srila Prabhupada saw that they understood it in this
way and was satisfied they had understood properly and thus this is the way
we should understand it.
But where and when was this 'order'
that leads to regular gurus and disciples? This is the crux of the whole
debate. You cannot skate over the
VERY point that is at the centre of the entire issue.
|The whole question is
simply about what will happen regarding initiations particularly
after his departure; it begins with Prabhupada immediately
responding "Yes. I shall recommend some of you," And ends with "And
therefore I shall select some of you."
But only as ritviks. Also he is
talking here of making a selection for after his departure. Then we are told
by the author that he only makes a selection to handle a
'dilemma' that was only relevant before departure. How are the two
|So how the author can state
"nowhere in the controversial May 28th tape does Srila Prabhupada
say anything about appointing diksa gurus for after his departure"
is a mystery to me; we have already discussed the use of the word
"appoint" and we saw that it does not affect the essential
understanding that Prabhupada clearly wanted his disciples to be
diksa gurus after his departure.
Where did Srila Prabhupada ever issue
such a blanket authorisation for
diksa guruhood? It could not be in the May
28 conversation because there Srila Prabhupada only alludes to persons
he will personally appoint. Those eleven persons were personally appointed
as ritviks, not diksa gurus. Even H.H. Jayadvaita Goswami
Maharaja does not think it is clear the eleven were selected to act as
diksa gurus, so why on earth should we?
|Perhaps the author thinks
that by making such a bald statement the sheer blatancy of it will
establish the point and no one will bother to read Srila
Prabhupada's actual words.
When we read the 'words' in the
conversation we do not see any
clear statement from Srila Prabhupada that 'his disciples were to be
diksa gurus' on his departure. We only see a desire to name
at some point in the future; and the emergence of 'regular gurus'
WHEN the SPECIFIC order is given. And a desire to select some
disciples who can
'understand the order of Lord Caitanya' and Srila Prabhupada, and
become gurus in that sense.
|*Note*: In another paper by
the author entitled "The Real Appointment Tape" (TRAP), he points
out that there are differences in some transcripts, notably in the
statement made by Srila Prabhupada: "Who is initiating. (He's) (He
is) (His) grand-disciples."
Since "He's" and "He is" are the
same in meaning, the choice lies between "He's" and "His". The author makes
the following claim:
5) Also there is no reason to
suppose that Srila Prabhupada did say 'He's as opposed to 'His', since such
an interpretation would not make any sense. The pronoun 'He' (from He's)
before the term 'grand-disciple' refers to the person BEING initiated, the
initiate, or the 'grand-disciple'. However in straight-forward standard
English the pronoun usually refers to the immediate ante-cedent (the term
that the pronoun follows). In this case that term is 'who is initiating'. It
is obvious therefore that in this case the pronoun CANNOT be 'HE' because
how can the INITIATE, the person being INITIATED, or 'grand-disciple',
simultaneously be the person 'who is initiating'!
6) Even if we allow for the ante-cedent
that the pronoun refers to, to not be the most immediate, there is actually
NO ante-cedent for the pronoun 'HE' to refer to in the whole conversation,
since the speaker Srila Prabhupada has never previously mentioned nor
alluded to the initiate, or the person BEING INITIATED, in the singular. Previously in the conversation the speaker or the
questioners ALWAYS mention the initiate in the plural. '(Yes,
THEY are disciples.') Thus a speaker cannot just introduce a pronoun that
has no ante-cedent. It does not make sense. In other words the 'HE' has to
REFER to something. But it can not refer to something that has not yet even
7) However the use of 'His', does
make sense, since this use CAN be consistent with the most immediate
antecedent, 'who is initiating'. In this case the 'HIS' MUST refer to Srila
Prabhupada since the 'ritvik' cannot have grand-disciples. Srila Prabhupada
would then also be the person 'who is initiating'.
This logic is flawed for at least two obvious reasons:
In order to justify his distorted
interpretation of the May conversation the author, as well as the GBC in
DOMD, goes to great trouble analysing the way in which Srila Prabhupada's
words are arranged in the conversation. Then the author states:
|Firstly, most spoken
English is rarely strictly grammatically correct and especially so
with Srila Prabhupada. Throughout this very conversation there are
numerous instances of violations of grammatical rules in his speech.
So to insist on applying strict grammatical rules in this one
instance is specious. The author resorts to this because its his
only chance to make the statement appear to fit his own theory.
If the above is true then how will we
ever know for sure if anyone's interpretation is correct? (That is leaving
aside the issue of key words being in dispute due to inaudability and
alleged falsification). How can the author assume, with absolute certainty,
that his interpretation is correct, and ours is not? Why is it that he is
allowed to interpret the tape on the basis of his understanding of Srila
Prabhupada's use of grammar, but not us?
If we have a scenario whereby:
'especially with Srila Prabhupada his speech is rarely strictly
grammatically correct', then we can read almost anything we want into the
conversation. According to the author the rules of grammar will only
strictly apply 'especially' 'rarely' on this occasion. Furthermore, who is
to decide when the rules of grammar do and when they do not apply? The
author is more than happy to invoke normal grammatical rules to support
his understanding, but happy to reject them when someone else uses them.
By his above assertion how can we ever deduce anything with any certainty
from Srila Prabhupada's speech, unless we first determine:
a) When the rules of grammar apply
b) When they do apply , just HOW 'strictly';
c) When they do not apply at all 'strictly';
d) Who will decide the above 3, and on
All the author has succeeded in doing
here is support the whole premise of 'The Final Order', that the letter is a
clear expression of Srila Prabhupad's order, and that many
interpretations (and indeed versions) of the tape have been made, and are
Neither have we only picked this
ONE instance. We have tried to apply normal grammar rules all the way
through. In the circumstances one would have thought it safer to just stick
to Srila Prabhupada's books, approved GBC resolutions and official policy
directives. Unfortunately the author would rather speculate endlessly around
a conversation which he himself, his linguistic experts, H.H. Jayadvaita,
Ravindra Svarupa prabhu, and the authors of DOMD, admit is not so clear.
This point comes up later on where the author brings in linguistic experts
who make some rather interesting observations.
|Secondly, in his insistence
on being grammatically correct about the pronoun, he renders the
subject compliment "grand-disciple" grammatically incorrect.
Obviously if the new initiates are disciples of "Who is initiating"
and that is Srila Prabhupada it would mean that he was calling his
own disciples his grand-disciples. This makes no sense whatsoever.
The term "grand-disciple" is the spiritual equivalent of "grandson"
which according to the American Heritage dictionary means literally
"A son of one's son or daughter." Thus "grand-disciple" means "A
disciple of one's disciple."
There has never been an instance
where Prabhupada has called his own disciples as his grand-disciples. The
only time he has referred to them as grand-disciples is when he was
referring to their relationship with his own guru, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta
Sarasvati Thakur. The use of the word "grand-disciple" by Srila Prabhupada
in the May 28 conversation was for clarification, not more confusion. It can
only mean one thing: that the new initiate is the disciple of his disciple,
and this he repeats for emphasis in his follow-up statement:
When I order, "You become guru," he becomes regular guru. That's all. He
becomes disciple of my disciple. That's it.
Therefore the statement "Who is
initiating" can only refer to Prabhupada's disciple, not to himself; and the
second sentence is correctly rendered as "He's (He is) grand-disciple" as is
found in the above transcript.
[There is further discussion on
this topic later in this document under 12) The real Issue?]
This is nonsense. The subject
complement has already been given -
They're his disciples. The phrase 'his grand disciple' is
connected to the next phrase as the author admits, and follows a 'change of
subject' by Srila Prabhupada.
|I will discuss this
grammatical argument in more detail in another separate response to
TRAP. However, because I want to here deal with the current issues
contained in the author's response "Hari Sauri's Minutes....." I
will not elaborately answer his mistaken claims here.
The author goes on to comment about
the questions the GBC recorded down in the Minutes to be asked to Srila
3) In the absence of Srila
Prabhupada what is the procedure for first, second, and sannyasa
4) What is the relationship of the
person who gives this initiation to the person he gives it to?
Above are two of the questions the
GBC determined should be asked of Srila Prabhupada prior to the May 28th
1977 conversation (as reproduced from the GBC minutes book by the author in
The reader might like to consider
question 3) in relation to the picture, often painted by GBC's and their
apologists, of how the M.A.S.S. was automatically 'understood' by every
devotee since it was 'what Srila Prabhupada always consistently taught for
ten long years, and was our tradition for millions of years before that'. We
are often quoted the 'law of disciplic succession' as something which was
clearly recognised and mentioned hundreds of times by Srila Prabhupada -
everyone just becomes a diksa guru on the departure of the acarya- no
question about it. Today, if a devotee even questions the above assumptions,
he is labelled an offensive moron , wholly bereft of transcendental insight.
So why did the GBC ask this question in May 1977? Note it is not asking
about the procedure for creating or selecting these 'inevitable' diksa
gurus; nor is it seeking to clarify the implementation of this well known
and customary 'law of disciplic succession', but rather how initiations
would continue AT ALL. Thus we have the most senior devotees in the entire
movement, who within a year were being worshipped as though they were as
good as Lord God Almighty, all asking the dumbest question imaginable-
(according to the current paradigm of intimidation).
There are a couple of
considerations here; a) Mood; b) Prabhupada's statements prior
to this meeting regarding 'succession'.
Srila Prabhupada had personally
requested the GBCs to come to him with questions specifically pertaining to
what would happen after his departure.
As a matter of interest is there any
evidence that it was Srila Prabhupada who called the meeting and not the
GBC. Especially since the conversation opens with H.H. Satsvarupa Maharaja
stating the following:
Prabhupada, we were all asked by the rest of the GBC to come to ask
|The GBC honestly responded
to Srila Prabhupada's request and took their duty very seriously. A
disciple should never be presumptuous before his spiritual master
and the GBC were certainly not in the mood to presume anything, even
if they already had a good idea of what their duties were after
Clearly they did not since they
operated a completely bogus zonal
acarya system for nearly an entire decade, driving away thousands of
innocent dissenters in the process.
|Prabhupada told them to
ask, and they did so.
Where is the evidence for this - see
|We can understand why such
questions were required. Considering what had happened to the
Gaudiya Matha, Prabhupada wanted his most trusted disciples to be
very clear it about what was to be done after his departure.
Then he would surely not have been
satisfied with the May 28 conversation since the author, and his linguistic
experts, admit that it is not at all clear since nothing said necessarily
obeys grammatical rules. Certainly he would have issued an official
declaration, either in the form of an approved GBC resolution, or as a
signed policy directive (which the author's linguistic experts say
DO obey grammatical rules). Such is the July 9th order.
Thus questions regarding the GBC
body, the process of initiations, some BBT work and the protection and
management of ISKCON properties were highly relevant and were all brought up
at various stages during those meetings.
It is interesting to note that the
answers to all the above questions were put in writing in official approved
documents under Srila Prabhupada's direction (such as the final
will and the July 9th order). Why does the author
not insist that the final will for instance, be superseded by all the
possible twisted interpretations of all the conversations which undoubtedly
led to its formulation?
|Actually, honest questions
to the spiritual master, even if one thinks one knows the answer
already, are never the "dumbest imaginable" for a submissive
disciple can always learn more, even if the subject is repetitive.
As Prabhupada was often fond of quoting:
"Caitanya Mahaprabhu Himself
said, 'My Guru Maharaja, My spiritual master, considered Me a great
fool.' He who remains a great fool before his guru is a guru himself.
However, if one says, 'I am so advanced that I can speak better than my
guru,' he is simply a rascal."
That is why we should accept Srila
Prabhupada's final order without thinking we know better.
|Of course, for a person who
has never experienced full surrender to a spiritual master and has
never placed submissive enquiries to a spiritual authority for
clarification or confirmation, such a process of enquiry or the
questions asked, might seem the "dumbest thing imaginable." But
spiritual life is not conducted according to one's imagination but
according to transcendental principles of submissive service and
enquiry. For those of us who had spent many years living and
breathing for the satisfaction of Srila Prabhupada, it was a
perfectly natural process.
By this same logic why did the GBC not
also ask if they should carry on chanting 16 rounds, worshipping Deities,
holding kirtan and avoiding sinful activity? Why did they only ask
about initiations if Srila Prabhupada really had clearly described the
M.A.S.S. over and over again for the 11 years previous, just as he had these
b) Prabhupada's statements prior to this meeting about 'succession.'
Its a fact that throughout the
years of his preaching in the West Srila Prabhupada talked openly about
his desire to have his disciples initiate their own disciples after his
disappearance and gave many statements about the responsibilities of the
GBC as managers of the Society. Here are a few of those statements:
Please note that not one of the
following quotes simultaneously mentions the terms 'initiate'/'diksa
guru' and departure or even
'ritvik', thus how they can be considered directly relevant
|"I want that all of my
spiritual sons and daughters will inherit this title of
Bhaktivedanta, so that the family transcendental diploma will
continue through the generations. Those possessing the title of
Bhaktivedanta will be allowed to initiate disciples. Maybe by 1975
all of my disciples will be allowed to initiate and increase the
number of generations. That is my program."
(Let. to Hansadutta, 3rd December, 1968)
"From the life of Narada Muni it is
distinct that although he was a conditioned soul in his previous life, there
was no impediment of his becoming the spiritual master. This law is
applicable not only to the spiritual master, but to every living entity."
(Let. to Tamala Krsna, 21 June, 1970)
no problem. G.B.C. means now they should travel very extensive. That is
the first principle. Not sit down in one place and pass resolution. No,
they must be active. They must act like me. As I'm old man travelling
all over the world. Now to give me relief the G.B.C. members... I shall
expand into twelve more so that they can exactly work like me. Gradually
they will be initiators. At least first initiation. You must make
advance. That is my motive. So, in that way I want to divide it in
twelve zones. And you have to make propaganda throughout the whole
world. Now if you think that the world is so big twelve members are
insufficient, then you can increase more than that and make the zone
similarly divided. It is world affair after all.... [...]
has to manage so much. So extensively touring means for the mission
expanding, that is the point. Simply touring not required. Do something
substantial to increase the interest of the society. That is the point.
So, Karandhara has got many departments so he can be given to
(indistinct). So, his position is like that. Similarly Bali Mardan's
position is there. He can be also if he has got many engagements, many
departments manager. He may not tour but our only aim is that one must
take multi-responsibilities. (25 May, 1972)
"...I am very much hopeful that my
disciples who are now participating today, even if I die, my movement will
not stop. I am very much hopeful, yes. All these nice boys and girls who
have taken so seriously... You will have to become spiritual master...
you... all my disciples..."
(Vyasa-Puja address, London, 22 August, 1973)
"Every student is expected to become
acarya. Acarya means one who knows the scriptural injunctions and follows
them practically in life, and teaches them to his disciples. I have given
you sannyasa with the great hope that in my absence you will preach the cult
throughout the world and thus become recognized by Krsna as the most sincere
servant of the Lord."
"Keep trained up very rigidly and
then you are bona fide guru, and you can accept disciples on the same
principle. But as a matter of etiquette it is the custom that during the
lifetime of your spiritual master you bring the prospective disciples to
him, and in his absence or disappearance you can accept disciples without
any limitation. This is the law of disciplic succession."
(Let. to Tusta Krsna Swami, 2 December, 1975)
"...You each become guru," he said.
"As I have five thousand disciples or ten thousand, so you have ten thousand
each. In this way, create branches and branches of the Caitanya tree. But
you have to be spiritually strong. This means chanting your rounds and
following the four rules. It is not an artificial show. It is not a material
thing. Chant and follow the four rules and pray to Krsna in helplessness."
( Mayapur meeting with the GBC March 1976 - Satsvarupa Das Goswami, Lilamrta
VI, page 167)
||Do you expect to name
one person as your successor or have you already?
That I am not contemplating now. But
there is no need of one person. As other things are managed, but by
committee, so this can also be managed, and the committee may elect one
person as chief. As, just like in the democracy there are senators and
there is president, so it may be I may nominate or they can nominate.
-- June 4 1976 Room conversation with reporter
What happens when that inevitable
time comes a successor is needed.
He is asking about the future, who
will guide the Movement in the future.
They will guide, I am training them.
Will there be one spiritual leader
No. I am training GBC, 18 all over
(SP Interview, 6 June, 1976, Los Angeles)
was wondering if he had a successor to do... Do you have a successor to
take your place when you die?
yet settled up. Not yet settled up.
what process would the Hare Krsna...?
have got secretaries. They are managing.
has appointed from all the disciples a group of secretaries. Each one is
in charge of a different sector of the world.
Presently there is eighteen.
so that group of eighteen secretaries will choose another leader?
am training each one of them as leader so that they can spread
extensively. That is my idea.--
(July 14 1976 Interview with Time)
Everyone of us [is] messiah. Anyone Krsna conscious, he's the messiah.
Everyone. Why...? All of us 'Gaurangera bhakta-gane, jane jane sakti
dhari, brahmando tari saksi': 'The devotee of Lord Caitanya, everyone
has so immense power that every one, they can deliver the whole
universe.' 'Gaurangera bhakta-gane, jane jane sakti..., brahmando tari...'
That is Gauranga's men.
Only you are that powerful, Srila Prabhupada. We're like...
you are not? You are my disciples.
We're like the bugs.
'Like father, like son.' You should be. 'Gaurangera-bhakta...jane'.
Everyone. Therefore, Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, 'amara ajnaya guru hana
tara ei desa.' He asked everyone, 'Just become guru.' Follow His
instruction. You become guru. Amara ajnaya. 'What I say, you do. You
become a guru.' Where is the difficulty. --
(Morning Walk, 13 April, 1977, Bombay)
become guru, but you must be qualified first of all. Then you become.
Yes. I shall produce some gurus. I shall say who is guru, 'Now you
become acarya. You become authorized.' I am waiting for that. You
become, all, acarya. I retire completely. But the training must be
process of purification must be there.
yes, must be there. Caitanya Mahaprabhu wants. 'Amara ajnaya guru hana.'
You become guru. But be qualified. (Laughs) Little thing, strictly
(Room Conversation - 22 April, 1977, Bombay)
"That night, Srila Prabhupada asked
Aksayananda Maharaj, 'Are you ready to initiate disciples? I want to retire
now.' Aksayananda replied that with Prabhupada's order came the ability to
carry it out; therefore, he was ready." -- (From "TKG'S Diary" by Tamal
Krishna Goswami, page 41, May 20th, 1977)
From the above, we can see that
Srila Prabhupada talked about all of his disciples becoming gurus in the
full sense, of
not only giving siksa, which they
were doing anyway, but in the sense of giving diksa and accepting disciples
of their own.
The term diksa is not mentioned
once in any of the above quotes. Aside from one quote (given on page 6
'conversation Detroit July 18, 71), where
diksa could be implied, it is always in relation to ambitious
deviants, in letters which were never seen until the mid-eighties and are
thus irrelevant. All the others must only refer to
siksa. We shall reproduce below a section from our paper
'Institutional Catechism' which deals with a large proportion of this
type of evidence.
|Appendix 2: Evaluating the Evidence:
In the 'ritvik catechism'
(as in the authors paper), the GBC
present a quote from Srila Prabhupada (Detroit) where he speaks of his
disciples being qualified to take on the role of
guru. We will discuss all such statements made by Srila Prabhupada in the 11
year period that ISKCON was running during his physical presence. There are
actually only 6 examples in all. We are only listing those where the issue
of Srila Prabhupada's disciples specifically initiating is mentioned, since
only this evidence could conceivably be used to support the removal of Srila
Prabhupada as the initiating guru for ISKCON, and the subsequent
construction of the M.A.S.S. We have not been able to find any other quotes,
neither have the GBC ever presented any others, so we shall take as complete
the following list which is presented chronologically:
Letter to Acyutananda; X 2
Letter to Hamsaduta;
Letter to Tusta Krishna;
Letter to John Milner;
Detroit July '71
[(Letter to Madhusudana ) - No mention
of taking disciples just preaching. Also only spoken in relationship to
Kirtanananda's desire to become a premature spiritual master. Srila
Prabhupada simply cautions that he wants to encourage his disciples to
preach and become gurus but cautions there is no question of doing so unless
the spiritual master is pleased and followed.]
All evidence is in the form of private letters (except Detroit) which are
not necessarily universally applicable.
- In all cases the letters
were issued as a reaction to some premature attempt at being a
diksa guru, which needed to be blocked.
- All evidence exists only
because some external circumstance prompted their release. In other words
the evidence only exists because someone deviated or (in the case of
Detroit) personally asked Srila Prabhupada a question. If Srila Prabhupada
wanted something enacted by the whole movement he would either get the GBC
to pass a resolution, or send a letter to all his leaders. Thus the July 9th
letter is in an entirely different category to the GBC's so-called modifying
- None of this evidence was
available publicly at the point of Srila Prabhupada's departure. The letters
were released by accident in 1986; the Detroit tape was only available last
year (1997) in either recorded or transcript form.
- Such letters were only ever
sent to some of the most ambitious deviants in the society. Why seriously
diksa guru-hood only to those least qualified?
- Srila Prabhupada never
insisted on the letters being published - ONLY
"if time". Therefore how could their contents be considered vital appendages
to the final order?
The whole emphasis of the letters is to stop
the devotees concerned from being
diksa gurus now, and at least waiting until after his departure.
Delaying something is not the same as recommending it.
In the case of Room Conversations, they
cannot possibly be considered a guaranteed means of relaying important
policy decisions to the entire movement since:
No guarantee that any given recording would come out audibly.
- No guarantee the recording
would be transcribed.
- No guarantee that the
tapes would be listened to in time to act at the point of Srila Prabhupada's
- Even if the tapes were
listened to the right devotee would need to pick out the one or two relevant
sentences from literally hundreds of tapes in order to obtain instructions
on how to manage initiations within ISKCON.
- There is no single example
of Srila Prabhupada issuing important directives simply through some casual
chat with visitors, or private letters to problem disciples.
With such serious unpredictable
hurdles, it is unreasonable to assume that information given in private
letters or lecture/morning walk/ room conversations , and which is not then
repeated in his books or instructions to the whole society, is intended to
be used to modify an order which was issued to the entire Movement.
It is unbelievable that anyone would
direct a massive world-wide organisation by telling a few people something,
but omit to ask them to tell everyone else. Would Srila Prabhupada say
something to a one time visitor (Detroit), then rely on the tape being
audibly recorded; then rely on it being accurately transcribed; then count
on all his disciples subscribing to the BBT tape ministry, then hope against
hope they all listen to the important bit before he leaves the planet- and
as a result develop the correct initiation system. To argue this is pure
To illustrate our point, the Detroit
conversation, which is arguably the GBC's best evidence, was not available
in either a recorded or transcript form until last year (1997). How can
anyone believe it contains information crucial to the running of ISKCON, or
which was meant to somehow displace an order which was sent to the entire
movement in 1977?
So why did Srila Prabhupada make such
statements in the first place if he did not really mean them? Here are our
thoughts on the matter:
The private letters were clearly
worded in order to control ambitious, potentially deviant disciples. By
offering the guru carrot, there was at least the possibility that they would
carry on in devotional service and thus in time become purified. Such
letters always tell them to wait, and not to do it now. Hardly enthusiastic
With regards Detroit, Had Srila
Prabhupada said in 1971 that none of his disciples would ever be
diksa gurus, the neophyte devotees around him may have been
discouraged and left. At that point it is unlikely they had fully grasped
just how elevated the diksa guru actually needs to be. Even now those
that are left are having a hard time understanding. Even now, some 27 years
later, many of Srila Prabhupada's original followers still labour under the
misconception that anyone can be a
diksa guru as long as he has been following his initiation
vows for the preceding five years.
The encouragement given in Detroit was
never repeated to the entire movement, nor written into any GBC resolution
or published book. Just one mention in a conversation to a one-off visitor
to a temple in 1971, and which was not uncovered until twenty years after
Srila Prabhupada's departure.
Some may wish to reject the above as
speculation, but then they will still need to answer the above eight points.
The many other calls to become guru have been dealt with in previous papers.
In essence they refer to becoming instructing spiritual masters, not
diksa gurus. This is clear since they will incorporate one or more of
the following elements:
- No mention of Srila Prabhupada's
- No mention of qualification;
- Mention of amara ajnaya
- Word `guru' used to indicate
teacher/instructor - no mention of terms 'initiate' or 'diksa'.
|He specifically mentions a
number of times that this will be done after his disappearance or in his
absence. From 1968 through 1977 he maintained a steady consistency in
As shown above this is simply not the
|So most GBCs knew this. At
the same time, he had, as we see in the later years, sometimes
hinted at variations. He talked about all his disciples being gurus;
He most certainly did not talk about
his disciples acting as
diksa gurus. Where is the GBC resolution, approved by Srila
Prabhupada, which states any such thing? It is sheer fantasy.
|he talked about the GBC
members being his successors, each one in charge of a particular
Yes but not acting as diksa
gurus. We are all acting as successors if we are carrying on Srila
Prabhupada's mission, but only in an instructing capacity.
|he suggested they might
elect one amongst them to be the chief among them; he talked about
specifically naming some persons - "I shall say who is guru" - and
he asked a particular disciple who was not a GBC if he was ready to
Thus on May 27-29 when the GBC
were called for what could have been, and did turn out to be, a final
meeting with His Divine Grace, they were perfectly correct to not assume
anything, but to ask Srila Prabhupada for a final confirmation when he
specifically asked them to. And we see that he did in fact confirm
everything he had so consistently said before.
The author is contradicting himself
quite badly when he argues on the one hand that since Srila Prabhupada had
hinted at all kinds of possibilities, or 'variations', the GBC had to ask
what was going to happen since they were unsure; and then on the other hand
argue that Srila Prabhupada's May instructions 'confirmed everything he had
so consistently said before'. How can you be simultaneously consistent and
In any event, let it never again be
argued that the M.A.S.S is unquestionably correct since it is simply
following the normal standard tradition. According to the author the
acarya can do practically what he wants, and we must simply follow.
Of course the author's great open mindedness and humility before his guru's
every wish does not seem to extend to the July 9th order.
Serious doubts on Question 4:
The author goes on:
Other serious doubts arise when we look at question 4). It is
just unbelievable that such a question could ever have been conceived of,
unless there had been some prior mention of 'ritviks' or 'officiators' by
Srila Prabhupada. It would be totally unnecessary, what to speak of plain
daft, to ask- 'what will be the relationship between those who are diksa
gurus and those who are their disciples'!! Thus the very fact that question
4) was even asked forces any rational person to conclude that the one thing
the GBCs were not expecting to be appointed was straight forward 'regular
vanilla' diksa gurus. The GBC must have had some idea that ritviks, or some
similar such entities, were on the
cards. If not, perhaps the author can enlighten us as to why such questions
were ever asked? (We raised this issue regarding question 4) on page 8 of
'The Final Order Still Stands' and have never received an explanation).
Since the author feels that he has never received an explanation I
will try to supply one now (this is not withstanding that a complete
response to the Final Order is currently being drafted and after editing
will be released by the GBC later this year).
It is not "plain daft" to ask
what would the relationships be. It was proper to be open to correction by
Srila Prabhupada rather than assume an absolute understanding. We can
consider two statements made in April and May, just prior to the GBC
formulation of their questions on May 28:
Yes. I shall produce some gurus. I shall say who is guru, 'Now you
become acarya. You become authorized.' I am waiting for that. You
become, all, acarya. I retire completely. But the training must be
complete." - April 24 conversation
"That night, Srila Prabhupada asked
Aksayananda Maharaj, 'Are you ready to initiate disciples? I want to retire
now.' Aksayananda replied that with Prabhupada's order came the ability to
carry it out; therefore, he was ready." --
(From "TKG'S Diary" by Tamal Krishna Goswami, page 41, May 20th,
These comments indicated that it was
possible that Prabhupada may start some of his disciples giving initiations
even in his own presence. Since it was known that there was an etiquette
about disciples not accepting disciples in the presence of their own guru,
the GBC therefore felt it pertinent to get a clear statement from Srila
Prabhupada just what the relationships would be.
The above paragraph does not make
sense since the
'etiquette' only applies whilst the guru is still present. The
question on May 28th was posed particularly in relation to after
departure when such etiquette was no longer applicable. Thus we ask again,
why was this question asked unless there was already some prior notion that
proxies were on the cards?
|As we see from the July 9
letter, Prabhupada, in responding to the question of how initiations
would go on while he was still with us but not willing to do it
himself, qualified the appointment of his ritviks by saying that the
persons they initiate would be his disciples.
The above is called mental
speculation. Where did Srila Prabhupada ever state he was setting up the
ritvik system only for use during his presence since he was not
willing to do it himself?
|This was to satisfy the
etiquette that he mentioned on May 28 in response to the first
"plain daft" question put to him by the GBC.
It was something different from the
previous standard, an interim arrangement that he revealed within the
context of stating that after his departure the persons the ritviks would
initiate would be their disciples and his grand-disciples.
Srila Prabhupada never ever once
stated that the
ritviks would initiate their own disciples. The above is sheer
nonsense. The only evidence the author has is a conversation which he
concedes obeys no grammatical rules and is not clear.
|As it turns out, the GBCs'
second question was quite prescient. Even though the relationships
were clearly stated by Srila Prabhupada in response to the "plain
daft" "dumb" questions, there are those that even now cannot, or
will not understand.
The questioning by the GBC on May 28
was handled as incompetently as their response to this issue. If the GBC
were so 'prescient' one might ask why, after their clever questioning, they
went on to operate a completely bogus zonal
acarya system and in the process banish, ban and intimidate many
innocent dissenters in the process, just as they do today over the M.A.S.S.
The author says
This statement highlights the
author's biggest problem. He feels that his own rational thinking and
analysis of the facts is better than simply enquiring from the GBC what they
were actually expecting and why they asked the questions they did.
"Thus the very fact that question
4) was even asked forces any rational person to conclude that the one
thing the GBCs were not expecting to be appointed was straight forward
'regular vanilla' diksa gurus."
Whenever we have enquired from the GBC
we have simply been offered a miasma of discordant testimony. This is a
problem for everyone who cares about ISKCON and desires a GBC worthy of
respect. This does not answer the question, why was question 4 ever asked?
|Of course, he has a
particular reason for making such conclusions and thus he cannot see
the facts in an objective fashion nor hear objectively from those
that were there and were directly instructed by Srila Prabhupada.
However, the GBC cannot be subjected to his mental projections
anymore than Srila Prabhupada was to ours.
Even the GBC might blush at this last
comparing the GBC to Srila Prabhupada
|As I have pointed out,
honest disciples have to assume nothing about what is in the mind of
their spiritual master, but proceed on the basis of real inquiry.
The fact was that from all the indications given by Srila Prabhupada
over nearly 11 years the GBC would have had every right to expect
Srila Prabhupada to confirm that he wanted his disciples to become
"regular vanilla diksa gurus." But because the opportunity was
given, they wanted to get a final confirmation from him that this
was so. That is the transcendental system.
As we have shown Srila Prabhupada
never once issued a general instruction for his disciples to all initiate
after his departure. Honest disciples will eventually decide to stop making
up stories and humbly follow Srila Prabhupada's final order, of that we are
Minutes Not an Accurate Record:
We appreciate the author's honest
admission on his point of inadvertent misrepresentation.
|Anyone who reads all the
materials mentioned can see that the Minute clearly states what Srila
Prabhupada clearly stated:
Srila Prabhupada said he will appoint several devotees who shall
perform initiation in the future, even after his disappearance. The
disciples they accept shall be their disciples and Srila Prabhupada will
be their grand spiritual master."
The only possible discrepancy lies
in the writing of the word "appoint" rather than "recommend" and "select"
which were the two words Srila Prabhupada used.
There is also the small matter of
Srila Prabhupada saying nothing about the
ritviks initiating their own disciples. It is certainly not clear to
H.H. Jayadvaita Maharaja that the conversation recommends or selects any
diksa gurus. It seems the author is slipping back in time once again
to those glorious zonal days of yore.
|However, none of the four
different transcriptions of the tape vary on the point about
Prabhupada saying his disciples would initiate disciples of their
own after his departure.
Srila Prabhupada never once links the
diksa gurus with his departure, but only with an order, which
he never gave.
|They only vary on small
differences which do not affect the essential understanding and
meaning. Again I remind the readers that the author's claims that
they do, with his dispute of the phrase "He's (His) grand-disciple"
and his attempt to show from this that Prabhupada was speaking about
himself in the third person, is completely specious and renders the
The author himself states that the
conversation does not follow grammatical laws. At least our interpretation
is in line with the July 9th letter which is extremely clear and
authoritative, employing excellent grammar.
A thick plot?
The author goes on:
AUTHOR'S PRINCIPAL EVIDENCE (IN
For the purpose of recording
information, Srila Prabhupada's answers to the above questions were given as
1) GBC members shall remain
permanently. If a GBC member leaves, the GBC can appoint new GBC members.
2) Srila Prabhupada said he
will appoint several devotees who shall perform initiation in the future,
even after his disappearance. The disciples they accept shall be their
disciples and Srila Prabhupada will be their grand spiritual master.
3) New translations of Vedic
works can be published in the future, even after Srila Prabhupada's
departure, but they can only be done by one who is very expert. At present,
Srila Prabhupada acknowledged, there are very few such men.
THE PLOT THICKENS:
As already stated these minutes are
not hard evidence for what Srila Prabhupada intended or stated, since they
were neither authored, checked or signed by him, (unlike the July 9th
Whatever the author means by the
phrase "hard evidence" (my dictionary says "real or unassailable" as one
possible meaning) what appears in the GBC Minutes book as a record of their
exchange with Srila Prabhupada is indeed an accurate statement of what
It most certainly is not. Srila
Prabhupada never says that
ritviks own disciples, the very suggestion is absurd. Ritviks
are by definition
not initiators, they are officiators. Is this really so hard
|(the use of "appoint" does
not change the intention, which was to select some of his disciples
to give initiations).
Srila Prabhupada never selected or
appointed disciples to be diksa gurus. We thought that had been
established. Ask H.H. Jayadvaita Maharaja. It is not clear to him from the
May 28 conversation that the eleven were specially selected to act as
diksa gurus for the future. Indeed when the final order was issued he
asked H.H. Satsvarupa Maharaja to go back and check with Srila Prabhupada
whether they had been appointed or selected as gurus. As we all know H.H.
Tamal Krishna would not allow H.H. Satsvarupa Maharaja in to see Srila
Prabhupada for confirmation - (See memoirs of 1977 by H.H. Satsvarupa
Prabhupada's duly authorized representatives the GBC were empowered
by him to run the affairs of the Society and their records are legal
and official evidence of their proceedings. And as we can observe,
the July 9th
letter, duly signed and authorized by Srila Prabhupada, states what
the Minutes state - that at the GBC meeting Prabhupada said he would
appoint some of his disciples to give initiations. Thus Prabhupada
himself confirmed the statement of the Minute.
The above is just dishonest nonsense.
Nowhere does the July 9th letter in any way corroborate the warped
understanding promoted by the GBC in their inaccurate rendering of the
meeting in their minutes book. The eleven chosen disciples were only
authorised to initiate on Srila Prabhupada's behalf. The author must know
A typed report of the meeting:
"Further we have in our possession a typed version of these very
minutes in the form of a GBC report which was allegedly distributed soon
after this meeting. This typed report of the meeting is identical in all
respects to the hand-written GBC minutes book (as above), except for one
important omission, minute 2), the very same minute the author deems pivotal
to his entire case. This minute for some reason, has been totally removed."
The existence of a subsequent typed
document with Minute 2 missing does not mean it is missing from the
original, nor missing from the tape of the conversation, nor missing from
the memories of the GBCs who asked the questions. Since I haven't seen it I
can't say why the document the author has contains this discrepancy, who
typed it, nor whether it is even an official ISKCON document. Furthermore,
the author very carefully says "allegedly distributed." Was it distributed
or not? If it wasn't then it is valueless. If it was, then let the author
produce the document, in its entirety, for all to see. Perhaps we can figure
out why this is missing from it or ask the person who produced it. There again, perhaps the document
contains other information that the author does not want us to see and that
is why he has not reproduced it here. He is very keen to dice and splice
every little word and quote away ad infinitum. Why has he not produced this
mysterious document? Or perhaps this is simply a red herring, produced for
the purpose of creating suspicions in the mind of the innocent. The plot
If the author would like to see it we
can send him a copy.
Whiffs of Intrigue :
It seems that whenever the GBC or their apologists bring up the May
28th conversation as a means of modifying the final July
9th order, they simply raise more questions than they answer i.e.,-
tapes exhibiting strong signs of falsification, written minutes
which do not properly correspond with a contemporaneously typed
report, suggested appointments which have long since been rejected
etc. Thus the whiff of intrigue merely grows stronger by the day.
It seems that whenever those who seek to analyze the May 28
conversation and the July 9th letter without consulting with
those that were actually there make a presentation, they seek to conjure up
spectres of intrigue and suspicion.
The persons who were actually there
drastically misunderstood what Srila Prabhupada wanted with disastrous
results, by their own admission. We can hardly do worse than that. We can
hear the tape and read all the transcripts and signed documentation for
ourselves. Plus we now have folio which was not available then. So it
could be argued that we are better positioned now to make a judgment than at
any time since Srila Prabhupada was with us physically.
|This is of course necessary
in order to create inroads into the minds of the innocent to make
them receptive to the unlikely and convoluted explanations they put
forth; but such whispers of plots, whiffs of intrigue and
suggestions of falsifications are
merely another ploy and also show a
duplicity on the part of the author: With the above statement the author
goes against his own so-called methodology stated in the beginning of his
paper Final Order:
"We have no interest in conspiracy theories, nor do we intend to
dredge up the gory details of unfortunate individuals' spiritual
difficulties. What is done is done. We can certainly learn from previous
mistakes, but we would rather help pave the way for a positive future of
re-unification and forgiveness, than dwell too long on past scandal. As far
as the authors are concerned, the vast majority of devotees in ISKCON are
sincerely striving to please Srila Prabhupada; thus we consider it highly
unlikely that anyone is deliberately disobeying, or causing others to
disobey, a direct order from our Founder-Acarya.
In the above we hoped to wipe the
slate clean and allow everyone to look afresh at the issue. To establish
ritvik one does not need to invoke some kind of conspiracy theory. We
feel we established our case fully in 'The Final Order' without once
mentioning the word conspiracy (except once in the excepted passage).
However since writing this paper we were shocked by the sheer dishonesty of
the select committee who were supposed to answer our concerns.
Fifty percent of DOMD comprises of nothing but lies innuendo and straw
man arguments, (please see 'The
Final Order Still Stands' for details). Also since then we have had the
forensic examiner's report, etc. Even now the author has failed to answer
why the GBC asked what the relationship would be between
diksa gurus and their disciples. With these types of dealings it is
hardly surprising suspicions become aroused.
As far as the other whiff of intrigue
goes - "tapes exhibiting strong signs of falsification" -
this is worth examining in more detail, if only to exorcize the
ghost and lay it to rest.
Let's look at the introduction and
summary of the report from Norman Perle, the forensic expert who examined it
[I left out the detailed points given by Perle because of the length of them
but they are available]:
There are three considerations from
- The 'unexplained' stops
and starts on the tape Perle examined.
- Perle's examination of a
copy of the original.
- The question of
"legality" as it applies to ISKCON.
"Unexplained" stops and starts on the tape Perle examined.
|As it is, there is a simple
explanation for the starts and stops on the tape. I personally
recorded Srila Prabhupada almost every day for about 10 months. I
was the first one to use a cassette recorder rather than the old
reel-to-reel. My habit, which was emulated by my successor recordist,
Tamal Krishna Goswami, was to use a tape until it was full.
Consequently, multiple short conversations may be found on many of
the tapes, replete with the necessary stops and starts. Not only
that, if there was an extended break in a conversation we had the
habit of pausing or stopping the tape recorder and then starting up
again when the conversation restarted. Thus it is not surprising
that the tape Perle examined has many stops and starts. There are
heaps of tapes just like it in the Archives
The author now seems to feel he is
more of an expert than Mr. Perle with regards tape analysis. The report
specifically said that until a full forensic analysis was done the entire
tape was suspect. The initial analysis was quite superficial and yet even so
turned up six points of concern. Until a full forensic is carried out it is
not possible for the author to state that it is all fine, just someone
turning the tape on and off.
|Why they were "unexplained"
to Norman Perle is easy to explain. Here's what Badrinarayan prabhu,
the Chairman of the commissioning committee has to say:
"[After setting up the committee]
The question was the funding. Mrgendra contacted Kalakantha and agreed
to pay, if he could be a member of the committee. So we added him. He is
the one who found Mr. Perle and it went from there.
We found out later on that Mrgendra
had a heavy rtvic bias. He also offered poor instructions as to the
history of our taping system, and immediately jumped on the report as
soon as it came out from Mr. Perle, putting his conspiracy spin on it -
that the tape was 'edited' without any attempt to offer the full
explanation that the tape had starts, stops, and re-winds on it, because
one tape had multiple conversations on it, as you well know. He also
deliberately left out Perle's statement that the full 18+ minutes of the
famous 'appointment' conversation has no signs of editing, erasures,
starts and stops...rather it is 'virgin' and unadulterated."
In other words, Norman Perle was
never advised to expect multiple conversations and the consequent starts
and stops on the tape by the person who was dealing with him, Mrgendra
The above is full of lies and deceit.
Mrigendra prabhu writes in response:
been supplied with a draft copy of a paper by Hari Sauri Prabhu in
which he quoted: Badrinarayan Prabhu, the Chairman of the
commissioning committee has to say:
"[After setting up the
committee] The question was the funding. Mrgendra contacted
Kalakantha and agreed to pay, if he could be a member of the
committee. So we added him. He is the one who found Mr. Perle
and it went from there. I have reviewed my e-mail log of my
correspondence with the Committee and have found, as I believed
was the case, that I did not agree to try to obtain funding for
the project until many months after I was made a member of the
project. On May 23, 1997 I received the following, a copy of
which was sent to the other members of the Committee:
Thank you for
agreeing to serve as a special consultant for the Initiation
research committee. We all agree that we must get
transcripts or tape copies to you. We would like to get your
advice on how we can all properly bind ourselves to a kind
of confidentiality agreement that will invoke full
confidence in those we interview. Is there any standard
legal procedure for this? I only imparted upon the fund
raising after 5 months of the GBC and the Committee not
getting the money together for the expert tape analysis. At
the start of the Committee, the members actually wrote that
they thought had enough GBC funding for their mandated work.
Only months later did they have an idea how expensive the
tape analysis would be. If I had volunteered the funds, why
did I receive many messages from the members of the
Committee such as the following which was sent to other
members of the Committee also:
Reply to: Tape
I know that the GBC
does not have this kind of money [$850]...it just is not
there. Do we tell ... and company what we are doing... tell
him this is what we can afford....if they want better, they
can pay for it?
Surely, if I had already agreed to pay
for the project when I had joined as a "special consultant" I would have
seen something directly from the committee to that effect. All of the
Communication that I had with the Committee from the period May, 1997 to
August, 1997 was through e-mails of which I kept a record. In this age of
Kali we cannot trust the memory and that is why I keep a record. But does
Badrinarayana Prabhu have any record what he claims I wrote or said.
Obviously not, as several months ago I had to, in a different matter,
correct his misunderstanding of an exchange by sending him a verbatim copy
of the e-mail in question.
Badrinarayan prabhu, the Chairman of
the commissioning committee has to say:
The Chairperson of the Committee that I was on was Kalakantha Prabhu.
The Hari Sauri papers
also quoted Badrinarayana Prabhu as saying,
"We found out later on that Mrgendra had a heavy rtvic bias."
The dictionary defines bias as,
I think that The Final Order is strong and the GBC position on
initiations in ISKCON is very weak and I believed so in August of
1997 and I say so today but is that enough to say that I was
Badrinarayana Prabhu was also quoted
"He [Mrigendra] also
deliberately left out Perle's statement that the full 18+
minutes of the famous `appointment' conversation has no signs of
editing, erasures, starts and stops...rather it is `virgin' and
Left out where? I did not edit Mr.
Perle's report. What else would they expect the readers of the Hari Sauri
paper to think that Badrinarayana Prabhu was claiming? In the context of the
Hari Sauri paper it just looks like they are alleging something to that
effect, but what are they actually referring to? The fact is that I
distributed the Perle Report in toto and specifically did not distribute
only parts of the Report.
Badrinarayana Prabhu objected to the
Perle Report being distributed after the Report came out, but I have a
record in my e-mail log of a notice that I sent to all of the Committee
members, before we had all of the required funds raised and before Mr. Perle
was retained, in which I stated that I would be sending an e-mail to
devotees requesting funds and that I would send a copy of the report to
anyone who gave at least $50 donation toward the project. Right after I sent
out that message to the members of the Committee I received from
Badrinarayana Prabhu an e-mail in which he responded to my particular e-mail
and thanked me for the fund-raising effort.
Nonetheless, after the Report came
out, he objected to it being distributed. As the report was being
distributed widely, there was no need for me to give my report in the
matter. Anyone who wanted to know about the Perle Report simply had to read
it, and, if someone objects to what I say about the contents of the Report,
we should wonder what is the problem, for, even if I did put some ritvik
spin on the report, which I deny doing, who would care about my opinion of
what is in an expert's report when they could easily read directly from the
expert? I specifically recall a phone conversation with a GBC member who,
very soon after the Report was being circulated, asked me what my opinion
was. I told him that I did not want to get involved. He expressed some
amazement, but he then said that I was very intelligent after I explained to
him that the GBC will want to make me an issue in this tape issue, but I am
not the issue -- the expert can speak for himself.
Incidentally, Badrinarayana Prabhu's
putting quotation marks around `virgin' and `unadulterated' in his section:
"the full 18+ minutes of the famous
`appointment' conversation has no signs of editing, erasures, starts and
stops...rather it is `virgin' and unadulterated".
Only leaves the reader to think that
those two words `virgin' and `unadulterated' were used by Mr. Perle, but I
can find no point in his report where he uses those words.
Later, in fact, its seems that
Badrinaryana Prabhu contradicts himself in this regard by a quote in the
Hari Sauri paper:
Apart from this, just to
restate it again for emphasis, as we see from Mrgendra's letter
to the GBC Committee, Perle found no sign of signs "suggestive
of falsification" on the entire length of the section of
recording of the May 28 conversation "When I asked him to
confirm on the phone whether I was correct that there was no
start or stop during the disputed portion of the tape, Mr. Perle
did confirm that..."
Thank you and Hare Krishna!