Where H. H. Jayadvaita Swami is Wrong Again
What follows is a response to H.H. Jayadvaita Maharaja's paper 'Where the Ritviks are Wrong Again'. His paper is a response to a letter written to him by ourselves, which in itself was a response to his previous paper 'Where the Ritvik People are Wrong'.
Before we start our analysis of His Holiness
Jayadvaita Maharaja's paper we would firstly like to apologise to the
Jayadvaita Maharaja for any offence, he felt we made towards him in our
last response. There were a couple of parts, which were perhaps
insensitively worded, and it was certainly not our intention to offend.
The remark about the BBT calendar was only meant to inject humour, but
was clearly misjudged. We also never meant to imply that Jayadvaita
Maharaja's total understanding of Srila Prabhupada's teachings on the parampara were imagined, merely those non-existent ones which his paper gave the impression contradicted post-samadhi ritvik. We had tried to remain respectful. Indeed right at the beginning we said his was the best-written attack on ritvik we had ever seen (it remains so). We also said his paper was
thoughtfully written; that out of the six arguments he made we only
disputed two; we thanked him for using the term p.s.ritvik rather than posthumous ritvik; and we ended with the following:
"We know you are a sincere follower of Srila Prabhupada, and that you really believe that p.s.ritvik is a heresy to be stamped out with papal vigour, but we implore you to
pray to Srila Prabhupada for his direction on the matter. If you pray
deeply, we are sure that he will answer you very swiftly. ISKCON
leaders may not listen to us, but they will listen to you. You could
put ISKCON back on track, and thus greatly please Srila Prabhupada."
(from our original response to Jayadvaita Swami)
When a disagreement is as serious and fundamental as
that which surrounds the issue of initiation in ISKCON there are bound
to be a few harsh words. Certainly, we have tried not to take any of
Jayadvaita Maharaja's insults and sarcasm too seriously. The most
important thing is that the truth is established. In any, case our
Below we reproduce Jayadvaita Maharaja's latest refutation as a series of boxed items. These items consist of him quoting our original letter with his responses. The quotes from our original letter are headed in the boxed items with 'QUOTE' with his responses headed 'RESPONSE'. Our replies to his responses will follow underneath the boxed items.
|QUOTE: "We shall use the term 'Multiple Acarya Successor System', or M.A.S.S., when referring to your favoured method of continuing the parampara - . . "
|RESPONSE: Straw-man argument. The focus of my paper is that the rtvik theory is bogus. The details of how the parampara should continue is a subject my paper doesn't deal with. So they are
dragging in a red herring (a fish we shall run into several times in
the course of their paper).
Surprisingly Jayadvaita Maharaja's paper opens with eight paragraphs on the nature of the guru parampara, taken from one of his excellent Back to Godhead articles. Yes the aim of the original paper was to try and show that the ritvik theory is bogus, but part of the Jayadvaita Maharaja's counter evidence
involved proposing a ‘plain vanilla’ theory for how the parampara operated. This is even admitted by the Jayadvaita Maharaja in his
current paper later on where he explains the ‘plain vanilla’ concept,
the basis of his original paper:
"plain vanilla" they're so unhappy about is merely a statement, in the
plainest possible terms, of Srila Prabhupada's basic teachings on the
subject of parampara, the teachings His Divine Grace repeated again and again and again.” (Where the Ritviks are Wrong Again)
And in his original paper Jayadvaita Maharaja refers again and again to his 'plain vanilla' concept of the Guru -parampara system, as evidence against the ritvik theory. Here we give just a couple of examples:
might argue, then, that since accepting the dictionary meaning of
"disciple" would have the unexpected result of requiring the entire
system of guru-parampara to be put aside, here an
interpretation is legitimately called for." [.......] "Anyone can join
his school of thought, or, still further, his International Society for
Krishna Consciousness. And ultimately one can become not only his
disciple in spirit but his "initiated disciple" through the guru-parampara system."(Where the Ritvik People are Wrong)
The last quote actually has Jayadvaita Maharaja
fully equating following the current M.A.S.S. system, in operation in
ISKCON, with the eternal 'guru-parampara system'. Moreover,
this completely supports our original statement. There is also the
obvious point that Jayadvaita Maharaja has himself supported and
participated in the guru system currently in operation in ISKCON,
having initiated his own disciples. Thus, his readers would naturally
assume he is defending the system he himself practised. This system we
call the 'multiple acarya successor system' or MASS.
|QUOTE: "According to your analysis we are supporters of the 'hard rtvik doctrine' with a subtle modification (underlined): "Srila Prabhupada should be the only initiating acarya for ISKCON, for as long as the society is extant. All members of ISKCON should, in our humble view, aspire to act as instructing spiritual masters, or siksa gurus."
|RESPONSE: J Swami identified only three flavors of rtvik theories. But fertile is the mind, and infinite are the possibilities
for concoction. So here we have a fourth. And other flavors could
surely be invented. Baskin-Robbins, here we come. (NOTE: After
going further down in the paper, we find that their supposedly subtly
different theory--shall we call it the "semi-hard" theory?--is really
not different from the "hard" one. But that's ok, even if you don't
have a different flavor, no harm in advertising that you do.)
Here Jayadvaita Maharaja states that there is ‘no
harm’ in advertising that one has a different flavour even if one
doesn’t. Yet, we shall see that later on Jayadvaita Maharaja berates us
for this very point, a point which does not in any event address the
issue at hand, namely the validity of the P.S. ‘ritvik doctrine’ whatever the flavour. Furthermore, we shall also show that
the Jayadvaita Maharaja's 'flavour' was indeed different from ours all
|QUOTE: "All members of ISKCON should, in our humble view, aspire to act as instructing spiritual masters, or siksa gurus."
A very humble view indeed. Here's Krishna Kant Desai, not even
initiated, and Yaduraja Dasa, a second-generation devotee, advising
Srila Prabhupada's disciples, including GBC men and sannyasis and Srila
Prabhupada's most senior devotees, how they should aspire to act. Very
humble indeed. As Srila Prabhupada said,
Krishna Consciousness movement is based on complete fellow feeling and
love, but there is a word maryada which means respect which should
always be offered to the Spiritual Master and elderly members." (Letter to Jayapataka, 17 April 1970)
As Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu explained (Chaitanya-caritamrta, Antya 4.130 -131):
tathapi bhak ta-svabhava--maryada-raksana
maryada-palana haya sadhura bhusana
"It is the characteristic of a devotee to observe and protect the Vaisnava etiquette.
Maintenance of the Vaisnava etiquette is the ornament of a devotee."
maryada-langhane loka kare upahasa
iha-loka, para-loka--dui haya nasa
"If one transgresses the laws of etiquette, people make fun of him,
and thus he is vanquished in both this world and the next."And (166):
maryada-langhana ami na paron sahite
"I cannot tolerate transgressions of the standard etiquette."
I suppose that this must be an emergency. Srila Prabhupada's philosophy
has gone to the dogs (his senior disciples--woof! woof!), and only
brave souls like Krishna Kant and Yaduraja can save it. Great. But if
you're wrong and you're really just violating etiquette and committing
aparadhas, may Lord Siva and his legion of ghosts have mercy on your
wretched and miserable souls.
Jayadvaita Maharaja answers the above himself. At
the present time the GBC are in complete disarray over what to do about
the MASS, which has become an embarrassing nightmare. At the same time,
many senior devotees such as Temple Presidents, Gurus, Sannyasis and
even the odd GBC have recognised the validity of following Srila
Prabhupada's final order on initiations. We fully understand that
Jayadvaita Maharaja might find it easier to listen to such devotees
than mere upstarts such as ourselves. Even this point is acknowledged
in 'The Final Order'
itself. Change needs to come from within ISKCON, from the top
downwards. Do not forget 'The Final Order' was originally commissioned
by the GBC just so they could look afresh at the whole issue and sort
it out. We would certainly support and follow Jayadvaita Maharaja were
he to promote Srila Prabhupada' s final order, or prove it should be
abandoned. If we are wrong at least we will not have preached that
members of the eternal disciplic succession can fall down into gross
sinful activity. We are banking on Lord Siva's ghosts having larger
fish to fry.
|QUOTE: "Anyone wishing to initiate on their own behalf should do the honourable thing and form their own institution."
Among the devotees serving as gurus in service to Srila Prabhupada, how
many have expressed a wish to initiate "on their own behalf" anyway?
Again, here our friends have defeated only their own straw man.
The Maharaja really knows better than to make the above assertion. It is very clear that the term ‘on their own behalf’ refers to the practice of initiating disciples in a manner opposed to the ritvik practice, which even according to him is done on ‘Srila Prabhupada’s behalf’:
|Acting as rtviks
ON HIS BEHALF, certain disciples may initiate new devotees, who then
become not their disciples but his. ISKCON shall follow this system,
and only this system, forever. (‘Where the Ritvik People are Wrong’)
If Jayadvaita Maharaja is thus insisting that the current guru system in ISKCON involves the gurus not initiating on their own behalf, it raises the following questions:
1) On whose behalf are they initiating?
2) If the answer to 1) is Srila Prabhupada, then how is it different to the ritvik system?
3) If the answer to 1) is Srila Prabhupada, then why are the initiated disciples not his?
4) If the answer to 1) is Srila Prabhupada, then why is the guru daksina not his?
Jayadvaita Maharaja knows very well that the term
‘on their own behalf’ was used to convey the obvious point that those
disciples initiated will become their own initiated disciples and not Srila Prabhupada’s, as would be the case in the ritvik system.
|QUOTE: "The type of 'spiritual master' Srila Prabhupada constantly encouraged all his disciples to become, was siksa, not diksa."
|RESPONSE: An authoritative statement from the Krishna Kant Samhita.
A silly and unnecessary comment since the authority
for this statement as given in the very next line, comes from Srila
Prabhupada, and is quoted unchallenged immediately by Jayadvaita
Maharaja himself. (See next item)
|QUOTE: "This is clear from the purports to the 'amara ajnaya guru hana' section of the CC: 'It is best not to accept any disciples'. (CC. Madhya Lila 7:130)"
RESPONSE: They chose a great purport but the wrong quote. This one would have been better:
“There is a class of sahajiyas who think that these
activities [making disciples and writing books] are opposed to the
principles of devotional service. Indeed, they consider such activities
simply another phase of materialism. Thus opposing the principles of
Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, they commit offenses at His lotus feet. They
should better consider His instructions and, instead of seeking to be
considered humble and meek, should refrain from criticizing the
followers of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu who engage in preaching.”
Apart from that: It's best not to accept any disciples. That's why Srila Prabhupada accepted 5,000 of them, right?
1)The section of the purport
Jayadvaita Maharaja quotes is of course also wonderful. However, that
does not deflect from the fact that Jayadvaita Maharaja has no answer
for the section we quoted.
2)To say Srila
Prabhupada had disciples does not change the simple fact that the
‘become guru’ verse, as applied in ISKCON, means ‘best not to accept
disciples’. Its right there in the purport as part of the explanation
of what the verse means.
3)We have never
said that preaching, book distribution and bona fide initiations are
against the principals of devotional service.
"To kick off there are two basic assumptions in your paper which we
feel are seriously flawed. The first of these is that p.s. rtvik, by definition, means the end of the disciplic succession, or guru parampara. This is a false assumption."
|RESPONSE: My paper doesn't assume this at all. In fact, it makes clear that according to the "soft" rtvik doctrine, the parampara system is supposed to continue, as soon as one or more "self-effulgent acaryas" appear on the scene. It would be nice if our friends would argue against the assumptions I made, not the ones I didn't.
With respect Jayadvaita Maharaja really needs to
re-read his own paper. We appreciate that he is maybe very busy
preaching and chanting Hare Krishna, but if he seriously wishes to
enter the fray again and defend his paper, then appraising himself of
what he originally wrote would surely help:
|By this "hard" version of the doctrine, even should an uttama-adhikari someday appear, he will never initiate disciples of his own. At most, he will serve merely as a rttvik. For according to this hard version of the doctrine, Srila Prabhupada is the final member of the disciplic succession. The succession has come to an end. Srila Prabhupada is the only guru forever after. But for those who subscribe to the "hard" version of the ritvik doctrine, such questions no longer matter. For it's Srila Prabhupada forever. The disciplic succession is finished. For the advocates of the "hard/soft" version, too, the questions hardly ought to matter. For Srila Prabhupada will initiate eternally through his rttviks.
And even if new gurus come along, they will merely be needless
appendages. After all, who could be a greater guru than Srila
Prabhupada? And why be initiated by anyone else? For the "hard/soft"
people, too, "the eternal system of disciplic succession" is essentially over. (Where the Ritvik People Are Wrong)
Obviously since we are 'hard' ritviks, only
that scenario is relevant. And Jayadvaita Maharaja's pronouncements on
that scenario DO assume that the disciplic succession ends.
"ISKCON will only last for 9,500 more years. Compared with eternity
9,500 years is nothing, a mere blip. That is the time period in which
Srila Prabhupada shall remain the current link within ISKCON."
RESPONSE: So their doctrine is now clear. It's not the "hard" rtvik doctrine "with a subtle modification." It's simply the unmodified hard rtvik doctrine, as defined in my paper: Srila
Prabhupada is the only initiating spiritual master for all ISKCON
devotees, and he shall continue to be so forever. Acting as rtviks on
his behalf, certain disciples may initiate new devotees, who then
become not their disciples but his. ISKCON shall follow this system,
and only this system, forever.
Ok, "ISKCON shall follow this system forever" means "as long as ISKCON
exists." But that's obvious, isn't it? Well, I guess for guys who need
to be told that "henceforward" need not mean "for all eternity,"
figuring ought that in this context "forever" means "as long as ISKCON
exists" might come as something of an intellectual breakthrough.
Congratulations on your satori, men.
Firstly we were just trying to offer clarity. The
way Jayadvaita Maharaja has written it above could be taken ambiguously
since the word 'forever' as in:
|" … and he shall be so forever […] ISKCON shall follow this system, and only this system, forever"
Can imply that ISKCON itself will exist forever,
which is not what we say. Thus, we thought there was no harm in
removing potential confusion. The following statements from Jayadvaita
Maharaja later confirmed our suspicions of confusion:
|By this "hard" version of the doctrine, even should an uttama-adhikari someday appear, he will never initiate disciples of his own. At most, he will serve merely as a rttvik.
For according to this hard version of the doctrine, Srila Prabhupada is
the final member of the disciplic succession. The succession has come
to an end. Srila Prabhupada is the only guru forever after. But for those who subscribe to the "hard" version of the ritvik doctrine, such questions no longer matter. For it's Srila Prabhupada forever.
The disciplic succession is finished. For the advocates of the
"hard/soft" version, too, the questions hardly ought to matter. For
Srila Prabhupada will initiate eternally through his rttviks. (Where the Ritvik People Are Wrong)
Thus based on the above statements, we were correct in pointing out the 'subtle modification', and Jayadvaita Maharaja's sarcasm is exposed as all the more redundant.
|BY THE WAY: Nearly all the rtvik people I've met have tried to sell me on the "soft" rtvik theory (or the "hard/soft" one), in which pure devotees sooner or later reappear and the disciplic succession continues. Those rtvik people get no help from Krishna Kant. In fact, he's their opponent. As
our previous paper showed, the "hard" and "soft" brands of rtvikism are mutually exclusive. If one is true, the other must be false.
So even if Krishna Kant's arguments were strong enough (which they're not) to prove that his "hard" rtvik theory is right, they'd also prove that the "soft" rtvik theory is wrong. So either Krishna Kant is right and the soft people
are wrong, or I'm right and both he and they are wrong. Either way, the
"soft" rtvik theory is wrong. (The "hard" one, of course, is wrong too.)
We totally agree with Jayadvaita Maharaja that the
'soft' theory, which is merely another flavour of the M.A.S.S. system,
is wrong. We have written papers demonstrating this very point. The IRM
stand is hard ritvik (with our subtle modification of course). In other words we believe there should be no change. Things should go on within ISKCON just as Srila Prabhupada had left them.
|QUOTE: "Previous acaryas have remained 'current' within the parampara for hundreds or even thousands of years. For example Srila Vyasadeva."
|RESPONSE: You picked a great example, didn't you guys?
to a well-known verse, Vyasadeva is among several ancient persons still
alive even today. "Some of the sages, saintly persons, are still
living. Still living. They are tri-kala-jna. They have no
past, present, future. When this whole universe will be annihilated,
then they will go to Vaikuntha or spiritual world personally. So
Parasurama, Vyasadeva, and many others, they are supposed to be still
living." (Srimad-Bhagavatam lecture, Los Angeles, 25 September 1972)
Even more to the point:
|Regarding parampara system: there is nothing to wonder for big gaps. Just like we belong to
the Brahma Sampradaya, so we accept it from Krishna to Brahma, Brahma
to Narada, Narada to Vyasadeva, Vyasadeva to Madhva, and between
Vyasadeva and Madhva there is a big gap. But it is sometimes said that
Vyasadeva is still living, and Madhva was fortunate enough to meet him
directly. In a similar way, we find in the Bhagavad-gita that the Gita
was taught to the sungod, some millions of years ago, but Krishna has
mentioned only three names in this parampara system--namely, Vivasvan, Manu, and Iksvaku; and so these gaps do not hamper from understanding the parampara system. We have to pick up the prominent acaryas, and follow from him. There are many branches also from the parampara system, and it is not possible to record all the branches and
sub-branches in the disciplic succession. We have to pick up from the
authority of the acharya in whatever sampradaya we belong to." (letter to Dayananda, 4 December 1968)
That does a lot to support the posthumous rtvik doctrine, doesn't it?
We never claim that the above quote supports the p.s. ritvik arrangement. Rather, as Jayadvaita Maharaja has, himself quoted above; we simply use it to prove that acaryas
can remain 'current' for a long time. The above quote certainly
supports our point. We never say that the quote supports anything else.
The issue was duration that is all. The issue of physicality is
addressed separately in our original paper.
"The second point we need to urgently address is your 'regular vanilla'
concept. If there is one feature which most distinguishes diksa transmission in our guru parampara,
it is that it is almost entirely devoid of regularity . . . .We feel
the 'regular vanilla' frame is drastically incomplete, and hence
The "plain vanilla" they're so unhappy about is merely a statement, in
the plainest possible terms, of Srila Prabhupada's basic teachings on
the subject of parampara, the teachings His Divine Grace
repeated again and again and again. In the rest of their paper, our
friends will devote an inordinate amount of effort to trying to pierce
holes in those teachings, by coming up with "exceptions,"
"irregularities," and whatever else they can scrape up. In this way,
they will take Prabhupada's teachings--clear, simple, and standard--and
try to turn them into something equivocal, complicated, and full of
ifs, ands and buts. "Potentially misleading" indeed!
By the way, I
said "plain vanilla," not "regular vanilla." "Plain" as in "simple,"
"clear," "unadorned," "easily understood." They change it to "regular
vanilla" so that they can play their little word game of contrasting
"regular" with "irregular." Ho hum. Are we having fun yet?
Yet as we will see Jayadvaita Maharaja is unable to
give any evidence or examples of how we are trying to 'pierce holes' in
the 'teachings of His Divine Grace'. Certainly, he would have been
better employed finding such examples rather than threatening us with
Lord Siva's ghosts and giving us a lecture on the merits of humility.
We do apologise for using the word 'regular' instead
of 'plain', yet this is hardly an argumentative or philosophical
breakthrough for the Jayadvaita Maharaja. Since the word 'regular' can
also means 'unadorned' and 'standard', we do not see how the meaning
has been significantly changed, if at all. We fail to see how making an
issue of this mistake enhances Jayadvaita Maharaja's case. Indeed
Jayadvaita Maharaja uses the example of 'ice cream' to illustrate the
difference between the plain and flavoured variations. Yet the same
'fast food outlets' also use the term 'regular' to convey exactly the
same understanding, as in 'fries and lemonade' - 'Regular, Medium or
Large'. Still we did misquote him and that was careless; if we
possessed the paper on disk then it would not have occurred, so once
more we apologise.
|QUOTE: "According to you the regular form of diksa involves a guru teaching his disciple everything he needs to know about
Krishna Consciousness. The disciple cannot just enquire philosophically
from the guru, he must personally approach and serve him as well - (we
are not sure if you mean this service and approach must be to his
physical body, one to one. If so that was certainly not Srila
Prabhupada's modus operandi - many of his disciples never met him
physically at all). After the guru leaves the planet, the disciple is
connected to him largely through his indebtedness and is immediately
free to act as a diksa guru, initiating his own disciples."
RESPONSE: Step one in attacking what JS said: Change it. Step two: Attack the changed version. "According to you the regular form of diksa involves a guru teaching his disciple everything he needs to know about KC."
Well, that's not quite how I put it, is it? Where are you getting this from?
"The disciple cannot just enquire philosophically from the guru, he must personally approach and serve him as well."
Is that also supposed to be "according to Jayadvaita Swami"? (Hmm.
One must surrender to the guru, enquire from him and serve him--those
of us who've been at least through the new bhakta program probably
recognize the verse that idea comes from.)
"(we are not sure if you mean this service and approach must
be to his physical body, one to one. If so that was certainly not Srila
Prabhupada's modus operandi - many of his disciples never met him
physically at all)."
Of course, you're not sure, because,
it seems, you're looking for some sort of hidden meaning in what JS
wrote. JS meant what he said, that's all. Why are you unsure whether JS
means that the service "must be to his physical body"? Because that is
not a topic, the JS paper is talking about.
"After the guru leaves the planet, the disciple is connected to him largely through his indebtedness.. . ."
you're replacing what JS actually said with something of your own
concoction. Or reading into his words something he never intended.
Well, that's not surprising, is it? For our friends, this seems to be
the regular stock in trade: Take an author's words, screw your own
meaning from them, and then misrepresent your screwed-up version as
being what the author intended.
Well, maybe they can get away with that with Srila Prabhupada,
because he's no longer physically present to protest. But,
unfortunately for them, this time the author is still physically on the
scene, and here's what he says: "Krishna Kant and Yaduraja, you've
misrepresented me. What I really said and what you say I said --what I
intended and what you say I intended--are entirely different. You're
full of prunes." Free advice: Next time you want to misrepresent an
author's intended meaning, do it the way you did with Srila Prabhupada:
Wait till he's no longer physically around to say you're wrong.
What JS actually said: The genuine disciple feels everlastingly
indebted to the spiritual master and continues to serve him forever. In
this way, even when the master leaves this world, the master and
disciple are connected.. The author's own explanation: "Yes, the
spiritual master and disciple are connected by that feeling of
indebtedness. But, more important, they're connected by service. The disciple who sincerely serves the spiritual master is always connected. If you have a problem with that, tough beans."
"After the guru leaves the planet, the disciple is . . . immediately free to act as a diksa guru, initiating his own disciples."
Well, look in the essay again: JS didn't say that either. Again, the strategy: Modify what the author said, then attack the modified version.
It will be noted that the quote from our paper is
not enclosed in quotation marks, and thus it is clear that it is only
meant to be a paraphrasing. Thus the issue is to see if we are falsely
giving a different meaning to that which was intended by the author;
not that it is repeated verbatim. The author claims that we falsely
attribute the following statements to him. We will reproduce them, and
what he actually said in his original article that was the basis for
"According to you the regular form of diksa involves a guru teaching his disciple everything he needs to know about KC."
This is one of the secrets of the parampara system: to be a
genuine master, one must be a genuine servant. The student, therefore,
surrenders to the spiritual master as a disciple and serves him, and
the master responds by answering the disciple's questions, enlightening him with transcendental knowledge. For the sincere disciple who has full faith in Krishna and equal faith in the bona fide spiritual master, all the truths of spiritual realization are factually revealed. ('Where The Ritvik People Are Wrong)
"The disciple cannot just enquire philosophically from the guru, he must personally approach and serve him as well."
The method of accepting the spiritual master is explained in
Bhagavad-gita: one must surrender to him, inquire from him, and serve
him. Inquiry alone is not enough. One must humbly submit oneself before
the spiritual master, accepting him as the representative of God. ('Where The Ritvik People Are Wrong)
"After the guru leaves the planet, the disciple is connected to him largely through his indebtedness. . . ."
The genuine disciple feels everlastingly indebted to the spiritual master and continues to serve him forever. ('Where The Ritvik People Are Wrong)
(Note the words 'largely' and 'everlasting'. We are not precluding a connection via service as well.)
"After the guru leaves the planet, the disciple is . . . immediately free to act as a diksa guru, initiating his own disciples."
What I want to focus on here is a simple point: That a spiritual
master initiates until his departure and then his disciples initiate
next is the normal system. ('Where The Ritvik People Are Wrong)
We will leave the reader to compare the two
versions. At best the paraphrasing gives an understanding that is the
same as what is produced verbatim in the original paper, so that the
full meaning is not changed at all. At worst our paraphrasing ability
is not perfect in that the understanding given is only near enough such
that the essential meaning given is unchanged. In any case pointing it out is irrelevant to the issue at hand, namely - the validity of the p.s. ritvik system. And if this is all Jayadvaita Maharaja has to contribute to the validity of the p.s. ritvik system - that we are not perfect paraphrasers, then so be it. Meanwhile the ritvik understanding will go on flourishing unchecked. Which begs the question
as to why Jayadvaita Maharaja wrote this paper in the first place.
Making comments and jokes about our humility, flavours and our
paraphrasing ability etc., do not in any way address the validity of
what we originally stated - which as we believe was a robust case for
the p.s. ritvik system.
In the words of the great Bard, Jayadvaita Maharaja
comes 'full of vexation' (Midsummer Night's Dream) but in the end it
was all 'Much Ado About Nothing'!
|QUOTE: "Perhaps we are in deeper trouble than you thought."
Yes, we certainly are. You've now completely misrepresented what JS
described as "plain vanilla," and you're going to proceed to tear apart
the misrepresented version. And some people are going to take you very
seriously, not realizing that you are leading them into deep doo-doo.
As we have seen, Jayadvaita Maharaja has not been
able to produce any evidence for a misrepresentation in the substance
of what he has said. Only possibly in style, which is irrelevant.
|QUOTE: "The very first example you give involves interplanetary diksa, (Bhagavad Gita 4.1)."
|RESPONSE: The authors here begin to argue--seriously!--for interplanetary diksa. "We. . . know that as a Mahabhagavat Srila Prabhupada is at least as powerful as demigods like Iksvaku. So transferring or transmitting diksa to receptive disciples should present him no difficulty at all, from whichever planet he may presently reside."
my memory fail me? --is not a course of action Srila Prabhupada
recommended. But our authors are very bright and creative people. So
why not? Hold onto your hats, ladies and gentlemen! You're in for quite
As we have seen previously, Jayadvaita Maharaja
would do better to concentrate on what is actually being said, his
undoubted comedic talents not withstanding. The fact remains that it
was Jayadvaita Maharaja who gave an example involving inter-planetary diksa as evidence for 'plain vanilla'. That's all we stated, and it’s a fact.
|QUOTE: "[Interplanetary diksa] seems to be slightly more mystical than mere feelings of 'indebtedness'. . . "
|RESPONSE: The authors are to be commended for this astute observation.
|QUOTE: "If you really do believe 4.1 is an example of 'regular' diksa then maybe we are not so far apart after all. [Some people say] that off-world diksa transmission violates sastra. And yet by using 4.1 as your only sastric example of the parampara you imply it is quite the thing to do."
|RESPONSE: Huh? I start off quoting the standard verse from Bhagavad-gita, and by the time KK and YD are through with me, I'm implying that people should seek diksa from gurus on other planets. Wonderful!
Jayadvaita Maharaja's theatricals cannot disguise the following facts:
1.) He quotes 4:1 (B.g.) in support of his 'plain vanilla' concept.
2.) 4:1 (B.g.) involves inter-planetary diksa. And as mentioned earlier this is all we point out.
"We have observed that violations of 'regular vanilla' fall into five
basic categories, although we do not deny there could be many others:"
Again, the strategy is made clear: Take Srila Prabhupada's standard
teachings and shoot them down by finding diverse "violations."
Jayadvaita Maharaja is mysteriously unable to
produce any evidence of how we are 'shooting down Srila Prabhupada's
teachings'. Though he does seem to be able to find the time and energy
to repeatedly make these vacuous claims.
For our friends out there, "Gaps" affords an opportunity to get
creative. For those more sober, Srila Prabhupada's answer to Dayananda
Dasa is enough to put the matter to rest. Note also:
of "gaps"--how Srila Prabhupada dismisses it and how our friends seize
upon it--demonstrates a clear difference between what Srila Prabhupada
was doing and what our rtvik friends are up to. Srila Prabhupada was in the business of extinguishing needless doubts. Our friends are in the business of igniting them.
If Jayadvaita Maharaja had more carefully read what
we stated he would see the point we were demonstrating in this section
is that there are variations from the model of the guru initiating
until his departure, and the disciple taking over immediately at that
point. That is a fact, and that's all we were stating here.
|QUOTE: "These [gaps] are all the occasions when an acarya in the parampara leaves, and there is no next link to immediately start initiating. Or
the person who is to become the next link does not immediately receive
authorisation from his spiritual master to initiate on, or straight
after, his departure. For example there was a gap of some twenty years
between the departure of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta and the next bona fide
initiation in our sampradaya. Gaps of more than one hundred years are
not uncommon between members of the disciplic succession."
The logic here is intolerably bad. Srila Prabhupada was initiated in
1933, in the physical presence of his spiritual master. But the fact
that he himself didn't initiate until 20 years later is somehow proof
of a "gap," akin to the supposed gap between Vyasa and Madhvacarya, and evidence for the cuckoo-bird philosophy of post-samadhi rtvikism. Put in another context, the argument would go like this:
take birth from fathers and themselves become fathers. But sometimes
fathers have no sons until 20 years or more after their own fathers
have passed away. This is clearly a gap--a "violation"--and it
demonstrates that a son need not be born of a father. He can just as
well be born of his grandfather. Right.
This is a 'straw man' argument from Jayadvaita Maharaja. We do not use a 'gap' as evidence for the p.s. ritvik theory. But only as evidence against some 'standard' or 'plain' model for how the parampara must always be continued. To use Jayadvaita Maharaja's analogy (which
he misapplies )- the fact that a father does not have a son for many
years after his own father has passed away is evidence for just that:
That a father does not have to give birth to a son immediately after his own father passes away.
This was not used as evidence to promote the idea
that therefore this proves the father never has children, or that they
are born of the grandfather or any other such thing (hence Jayadvaita
The above analogy is also faulty for another reason. The 'ritviks'
do not propose that sons should be born of 'grandfathers'. They say
that sons should only be born from fathers. But that Srila Prabhupada
is that father. And that until a valid reason is given as to why he
should stop being the father in ISKCON, and be replaced by his sons, he
will remain the father. For in this spiritual analogy, the father does
not have to stop pro-creating as soon as he 'dies', or as soon as one
of his 'sons' is qualified enough to pro-create himself. No, Srila
Prabhupada set up a system so that he will continue to have sons, his
elder children assisting him in the task by acting as 'loco parentis' (siksa guru) to their younger brothers.
2) Reverse gaps. . . .
3) Siksa/diksa links. . .
4) Mode of initiation. . .
|RESPONSE: The arguments here amount to virtually nothing.
Further example of the Jayadvaita Maharaja's avoidance of philosophical substance in favour of irrelevant peripherals.
|QUOTE: "5) Successor systems.
"This refers to differing successor acarya systems within our sampradaya. For example Srila Bhaktisiddhanta
adopted a 'self-effulgent' successor system. As far as we know Srila
Prabhupada opted for an officiating acarya system with his books as the successor."
|RESPONSE: As far as you know. We're glad you said that.
Jayadvaita Maharaja has yet to demonstrate that anything 'we know' is incorrect on this issue.
|QUOTE: "With such abundant variety as this it is a challenge to identify what 'regular vanilla' actually means."
|RESPONSE: In other words: When Srila Prabhupada spoke of parampara,
"disciplic succession," he was speaking of something so complex or so
obscured by violations and exceptions that we can barely make out what
he meant. Srila Prabhupada gave no plain, standard teaching. The real
truth is "tutti fruti"--almost anything goes.
Yes indeed. Our
friends proceed to argue further along this line. The arguments are
just more of the same. No need to waste time on them.
It is interesting that Jayadvaita Maharaja justifies
his avoidance of pages of pithy arguments, in favour of the
inconsequential and vacuous, as a time saving device. More time spent
tackling the main issues, and rather less on seeing how accurately we
paraphrased him, might have been time better spent. If some devotees have been 'confused' by the arguments in our previous rebuttal, it is hard
to see how Jayadvaita Maharaja's latest effort will help them in any
"If by 'regular vanilla' you are referring to the general principle of
accepting a current link guru who is an authorised member of the
disciplic succession, then we are in total harmony."
RESPONSE: By now it's clear you haven't a clue what I'm referring to.
The rest of your paragraph is just rhetoric. "The p.s. rtvik
system allows unlimited numbers of people to approach, enquire and
serve Srila Prabhupada, who is just such a spiritual master. The
mechanics of how such acceptance takes place may vary according to time
place and circumstance, but the principle remains the same. This
principle is certainly not compromised in any way by p.s. rtvik."
Ok, Srila Prabhupada is the siksa-guru of everyone. That's not compromised by the p.s. rtvik doctrine, any more than it would be by the Telephone Pole doctrine (as long as you accept Srila Prabhupada as your siksa guru, you can get initiation from the telephone pole of your choice). So what? Does that mean the p.s. rtvik thing is legitimate? No.
If 'regular (plain) vanilla' does not refer to
accepting the 'current link in the chain of disciplic succession', then
whatever it does refer to must be bogus; for the above principle is
straight from the Srimad Bhagavatam (2:9:7) as originally quoted in our initial rebuttal paper.
We are not saying that ritvik is correct for ISKCON because it does not violate the principle of diksa or succession; we are merely pointing out that it does not. The whole point of Jayadvaita Maharaja's paper is that ritvik violates 'plain vanilla', but as we demonstrated (and choosing our words very carefully) 'plain vanilla' does not factually exist. Since ritvik-past-departure does not violate sastra or any principle of the parampara, why was it stopped on departure? That is the question Jayadvaita Maharaja really needs to urgently address.
If the process of 'approaching, enquiring and serving Srila Prabhupada' simply makes him our siksa-guru then verse 4:34 in the Bhagavad Gita, which recommends this process, cannot simultaneously be used as the standard example of diksa (which it commonly is by those opposed to ritvik in ISKCON). It is invariably trotted out as evidence that the diksa guru must be 'physically present'. The verse clearly is speaking of diksa since the word for 'knowledge transmission' is upadiksyanti - 'initiating with'. So our statement stands. The process of enquiring,
serving and being initiated by the current link in the chain of
disciplic succession is not in any way compromised by the ritvik system.
|QUOTE: "According to the cover of the Bhagavad Gita (1983 edition), which you yourself revised, Srila Prabhupada is the
current representative of the disciplic succession. Despite being
clearly stated on your own revised book, when we last met, you
adamantly insisted in the strongest possible terms, that Srila
Prabhupada was in fact not the current representative of the disciplic
"To justify your dramatic shift in position since '83. . . "
The sales copy on the book jacket (and did Jayadvaita Swami write it,
or edit it, or even see it?) is now supposed to be a clear statement of
his philosophical views.
If the dust jacket does present a major
philosophical deviation, and the Jayadvaita Maharaja knows about it,
then how could he allow tens of millions of copies to be distributed
all over the world? Is he not the BBT chairman as well as the editor of
the book in question? If Srila Prabhupada is not the current link then
the Jayadvaita Maharaja will have done far more than we ever have to
convince the world that he is.
"To justify your dramatic shift in position since '83 you invoked the
injunction that 'in order to be a current link the guru must be
What our friends dive into after that is an account of a discussion
they had with JS, with a batch of arguments about "current link."
Conveniently, our friends are now able to argue against points they
selectively remember from a conversation.
But we thought, from their opening words, that they were going to be responding to JS's paper. In
that paper, "current link" isn't even mentioned. We don't blame them.
If we had to argue against that paper, we'd look for a way out of it
too. Anyway, here's what their argument is leading up to. . . .
Of course, we responded to the Jayadvaita Maharaja's
paper. But as an added bonus we also cleared up an issue brought up
during a five hour meeting we held with the Jayadvaita Maharaja, which
partially led to him writing his paper in the first place- (we also
have this section of the meeting on tape). We do not see why briefly
mentioning pertinent points from that discussion is an example of
looking for a 'way out', since over 95% of the reply does respond
specifically to 'Where the Ritvik People are Wrong'.
|QUOTE: "As the current link, it is Srila Prabhupada we must approach for initiation. [emphasis
in original] "Whether Srila Prabhupada is physically present or not is
utterly irrelevant to the transcendental process of diksa, as he made amply clear in his books, in his lectures, in his conversations and letters - time and time and time again:
" 'Physical presence is immaterial', (S.P Lecture 19.1.67)" [etc.]
|RESPONSE: What this amounts to, clearly, is an attack on the idea of disciplic succession. According to the dictionary meaning, succession is "the coming of one person or thing after another in order, sequence,
or in the course of events." It's this idea of "sequence" our friends
have trouble with. Why should the succession go from Srila Prabhupada's
spiritual master, to Srila Prabhupada, to his disciples, to his
grand-disciples, and so on? Why not just directly from Srila Prabhupada
to anyone, now or 9,000 years from now?
Thus, what are friends are arguing for is not "disciplic succession" but "disciplic cessation"--an end to the parampara system. Or--to be fair to them--a 9500 year period in which the
succession is "put on hold." Followed, in their account, by the demise
of ISKCON and, in short, the utter disappearance of Krishna
You see, they're not arguing that the disciplic
succession should end. Just that it should go on hold until spiritual
life on earth becomes untenable and such niceties as "disciplic
succession" no longer matter anyway. And that, you see, is what Srila
Prabhupada "consistently taught up until 1977." Got it?
Srila Prabhupada continually taught, up until 1977,
that we must only approach a bona fide spiritual master in the
disciplic succession. He also gave examples of great acaryas in the parampara who were 'current' for long periods of time, and taught that
physicality is not a consideration for transmitting spiritual
knowledge. He never taught that the disciplic succession must involve the succession (from one link to the next) always taking place within a certain plain, unadorned time period.
Whether or not Jayadvaita Maharaja accepts it, Srila Prabhupada did teach the above. There is nothing that Srila Prabhupada taught which is compromised by the p.s. ritvik system.
|QUOTE: "Let us now go to the centre of the controversy. The final instruction.
you optimistically refer to the May 28th conversation as the 'final
instruction'; on consulting our fully authorised BBT calendar we find
that July actually follows on from May by two months."
COMMENT: Here the authors are being not only cute but insulting. "You can't even tell time."
If people ten or more years my junior in the Krishna consciousness
movement find pleasure in insulting me, I don't mind. I'm sure I
deserve to be insulted. I'm also sure they can find ways to "prove"
they're being Krishna conscious. Oh, well.
As vexing as it may be to have to explain what
ought to be obvious--and as vexing as it may be to know in advance that
for every bogus argument knocked down, two more will spring up in its
place--here goes: I refer to the May 28th conversation as "the final
instruction" for a simple reason: It's the last time in history that
Srila Prabhupada is directly asked the relevant question we're
discussing--How would initiations go on after his physical departure.
The question, placed before Srila Prabhupada by His Holiness Satsvarupa Maharaja, is as follows:
Then our next question concerns initiations in the future,
particularly at that time when you're no longer with us. We want to
know how first and second initiation would be conducted.
That's precisely the question at hand. It is asked
clearly and unambiguously. And that is the question to which Srila
Prabhupada, on May 28, is undoubtedly responding. You would like to
believe--and you would like us to believe--that the letter written on
July 9th is also a direct answer to that same question.
But why do we have to believe this? Does the letter say it? No. Then who says it? You do. Fudge! The logic goes like this:
Thesis: The "final answer" to Satsvarupa Maharaja's question comes not on May 28 but on July 9.
Q: How do we know that this is the "final answer"?
A: Because July comes after May.
Q. But how do we know that the letter written in July is truly addressed to the question asked in May?
A. Because it is.
Jayadvaita Maharaja is overlooking the obvious. Even
the GBC themselves acknowledge that the beginning of the letter alludes
back to the May conversation. It is clear from the very start of the
letter that it has arisen out of a meeting which sounds remarkably
similar to the one held on May 28th, and that it is an answer to the question at hand:
Recently when all of the GBC members were
with His Divine Grace in Vrindavana, Srila Prabhupada indicated that
soon he would appoint some of his senior disciples to act as "ritvik - representative of the acharya, for the purpose of performing
initiations, both first initiation and second initiation. His Divine
Grace has so far given a list of eleven disciples who will act in that
(July 9th, Letter)
Who says so? Jayadvaita Maharaja's own GBC EC member, His Grace Ravindra Svarupa prabhu:
when all of the GBC members were with His Divine Grace in Vrndavana..."
This refers back to the May 28th conversation, when Srila Prabhupada
was asked specific questions by the GBC on how initiations would be
conducted after his physical departure. (Srila Prabhupada's Guru System vs. Ritvikvada: The Facts Plain And Simple, H.G. Ravindra Svarupa Dasa)
We hope that Jayadvaita Maharaja will accept this
statement from his own authority in ISKCON. If he does not wish to
accept the GBC's authority, he may wish to note the following:
The opening phrase from the May 28th tape does correspond directly with the opening phrases from the July 9th letter:
Then our next question concerns initiations in the future, particularly at that time when you're no longer with us. We want to know how first and second initiation would be conducted. [...] Yes. I shall recommend some of you. After this is settled up, I shall recommend some of you to act as officiating acharyas. [...] Is that called ritvik-acharya? [...] Ritvik, yes. (May 28th Conversation)
Please notice the correspondence between the underlined words above and the opening sentence of the July 9th letter given earlier:
|'First and Second Initiations'
||'First and Second Initiation'
|'Recommend some of you'
||'Appoint some of his senior disciples'
|'After this is settled up'
If the July 9th letter does follow directly
from the May conversation, then the letter must be an expression of
what occurred in that earlier meeting, and be therefore ‘particularly’
applicable to when Srila Prabhupada is ‘no longer with us’. It is quite
absurd to assert that a letter which arises out of a conversation
specifically concerning post-departure diksa arrangements, ends up only spelling out what is to be done pre-departure.
Why mention in the letter a previous conversation (May 28) that deals
‘particularly’ with when Srila Prabhupada ‘is no longer with us’, when
the same letter is supposed to only be applicable to before Srila Prabhupada’s departure?
|QUOTE: "You say everyone accepts the July 9th order and the establishment of the rtvik system. In our experience most devotees have never read the July 9th
letter before we give it to them, and are quite surprised when they do."
RESPONSE: You are becoming tiresome. How many times am I going to
have to deal with statements from you beginning with "You say" and
ending with something I never said?
Here's what I actually said:
Now, let's move on to something else that everyone
agrees on. Srila Prabhupada himself, in 1977, appointed eleven
disciples to serve as rtvik gurus, or "officiating spiritual masters." He authorized these rtviks to decide which candidates to accept, and to chant on the candidates' beads and give the new disciples spiritual names. The rtviks were to do this on Srila Prabhupada's behalf, and the new disciples were to be not those of the rtviks
but of Srila Prabhupada himself. On July 9, 1977, Srila Prabhupada
signed a document that makes these facts unmistakably clear.
Do you see here--or anywhere else in my paper--"everyone accepts the July 9th order and the establishment of the rtvik system"? My point was not that everyone has read the July 9th letter, or that everyone accepts your posthumous rtvik guru system, but simply that just about everyone agrees that Srila Prabhupada appointed eleven rtviks. Yet again, you are arguing with your own straw man, not with me.
Again Jayadvaita Maharaja needs to carefully read
what we said. As before we will produce what we actually said, what
Jayadvaita Maharaja said, and let the readers decide for themselves if
there is a reasonable correspondence between the two:
"You say everyone accepts the July 9th order and the establishment of the rtvik system."
Now, let's move on to something else that everyone agrees on.
Srila Prabhupada himself, in 1977, appointed eleven disciples to
serve as rtvik gurus, or "officiating spiritual masters."(1) […] On
July 9, 1977, Srila Prabhupada signed a document that makes these facts
("Where the Ritvik People Are Wrong")
Jayadvaita Maharaja prefaces what we have labelled as (1) and (2) as being something 'everyone agrees on'. (1) is the 'ritvik system'. (2) is the July 9th order.
Again we never enclosed what we alleged Jayadvaita
Maharaja said with speech marks, and thus it is clear we were
paraphrasing. Let us see if we have changed the meaning or the understanding of what you said:
||Jayadvaita Maharaja says:
|| Everyone agrees
|Establishment of ritvik system
||Srila Prabhupada appointed
11 disciples to serve as ritvik gurus
|The July 9th Order
||On July 9th, 1977, Srila Prabhupada signed a document that makes these facts unmistakably clear
I hope we all agree so far
Thus we fail to see how us claiming the Jayadvaita Maharaja agreed that everyone accepts both the July 9th instruction, and the establishment of the ritvik system, is in any sense a 'straw man' argument. We fully agree that the
question of whether or not the system applies post-samadhi is another
matter. However, we never implied that there was any acceptance of this
point by anyone. Surely, the Jayadvaita Maharaja would not think that
we would try and pretend to everyone that he really agreed with post
samadhi ritvik all along. Thus once more the Jayadvaita
Maharaja makes a huge unjustified attack over some minor detail of
paraphrasing, whilst avoiding anything pertinent to the issue at hand -
namely the validity of the p.s. ritvik system.
"[On May 28, after some "muddled questions about disciple
relationships"] Srila Prabhupada then finishes by saying that there
would be gurus if he orders them, and should he ever do so there would
then be disciples of his disciples. Just see."
RESPONSE: Notice how faithfully our friends have reported what Srila Prabhupada said. The transcription reads:
When I order, "You become guru," he becomes regular guru. That's
all. He becomes disciple of my disciple. That's it. [or--an alternative
But in the hands of our friends, "when" becomes "if." And they have
helpfully (that is, meddlesomely) added "should he ever do so."
In sum: They are putting words in Prabhupada's mouth. They do it to
me, they do it to His Divine Grace. They do it and do it and do it. By
the way, the "muddled questions" they speak of are such as this:
Tamal Krishna Maharaja: [T]hese rtvik-acaryas, they're officiating, giving diksa. . . . The people who they give diksa to, whose disciple are they?
A muddled question indeed! But if you can't accept Srila
Prabhupada's answer, then of course you'd like to get rid of the
question. Our friends then proceed further with their interpretation of
the exchange on May 28th. No need to comment on that here. In a paper
by Giridhari Swami, Umapati Swami, and Badrinarayana Prabhu, that
interpretation has already been demolished. Only perhaps one more
point, in passing: They again assail "your M.A.S.S. doctrine," as if
they were attacking something my paper advocated. Again, clearly this
is easier than addressing what the paper actually says.
Again Jayadvaita Maharaja is purposefully pretending
that we are trying to give a verbatim analysis of the conversation
rather than just paraphrasing. When paraphrasing the issue is to see if
the meaning has been corrupted. In this case we have equated the phrase:
'When I order' with 'If if he orders them, and should he ever do so'
Do the two mean the same thing? The term 'when' is
used to express a condition that must be fulfilled. That condition is
simply expressed by us in other words such as 'if ' and 'should he ever
do so'. These phrases imply the same thing. For the action 'when I
order' can only be fulfilled if he gives the order, and
'should the order be given' then what Srila Prabhupada has stated will
happen 'when' he gives the order - will happen.
Thus, there is no question of 'putting words in Srila Prabhupada's mouth'
since we have never claimed that we were quoting verbatim. Jayadvaita
Maharaja needs to understand the basic difference between quoting
verbatim and paraphrasing. The latter is a valid technique as long as
the meaning is not changed. It was done frequently in our original
paper since as we stated right at the opening of our paper:
we only received it a few days ago this has been a bit rushed, more
something to be going along with, rather than definitive. ('Reply To Jayadvaita Maharaja')
This is why we paraphrased, which is not a crime as long as the meaning is kept intact, which we have demonstrated it was.
We also said in our reply. Right before the part quoted earlier:
shall be addressing the issues you raise in far more detail in a
forthcoming paper, to be submitted as a discussion document to the GBC. ('Reply To Jayadvaita Maharaja')
This turned out to be 'The Final Order' where we do quote relevant GBC views and the May 28th tape verbatim.
Jayadvaita Maharaja also pretends that the following exchange is not muddled:
Tamal Krishna Maharaja: No, he is asking [T]hese rtvik-acaryas, they're officiating, giving diksa. . . . The people who they give diksa to, whose disciple are they?
We say 'pretend' for the following reasons:
1) Jayadvaita Maharaja conveniently left out the
words in bold. This is the point where H. H. Tamal Krishna Maharaja
interrupted. H. H. Jayadvaita Maharaja missed out the words 'No. He is asking'.
Clearly H. H. Tamal Krishna Maharaja thought there was confusion and
the words missed out show that H. H. Tamala Krishna Maharaja was asking
the question to clear up a perceived misunderstanding that had just
2) In 1993 in South London, England, H. H. Jayadvaita Maharaja gave a class on ritvik where he himself stated that the May 28th conversation becomes 'mergy in the middle'!
3) Both Ravindra Svarupa prabhu and Hari Sauri prabhu, in
authorised GBC papers, have admitted that the tape has sections, which
are unclear. Ravindra Svarupa prabhu's contribution was highly
significant since it was written in the paper that actually brought
down the whole zonal acarya system:
|“Many Devotees have spent many hard hours studying this sometimes frustrating and baffling conversation. The parties at times seem at cross-purposes, and pronouns without clear referent abound” (‘Under My Order, H.G. Ravindra Svarupa prabhu, 1985)
After berating us for not respecting our superiors, we are sure the Maharaja will also be keen to humbly respect his authority in ISKCON.
As for Jayadvaita Maharaja endorsing the GBC paper 'Disciple of My Disciple', he seems oblivious to the fact that it contradicts his own explanation of what Srila Prabhupada did on May 28th:
|“The present paper will show that on May 28th, 1977, Srila Prabhupada ordered his disciples to become initiating spiritual masters.”
the present conversation, Srila Prabhupada does not refer to proxy
initiations at all, not even in connection with the word ‘ritvik’.”
('Disciple of My Disciple', Pages 2 and 5)
Here the paper clearly states that Gurus were set up for the future, but not ritviks acting for the present. Jayadvaita Maharaja believes the opposite happened:
|“Srila Prabhupada did not appoint anyone to be guru for the future, he appointed ritviks to continue in his presence.” (His Holiness Jayadvaita Maharaja, San Diego Debate, 1990)
We have shown how Jayadvaita Maharaja has failed to
properly read both the paper he is supposed to be replying to, as well
as his own paper that he is supposedly defending. To this we would add
that he should also read papers that he is now recommending as having
given an accurate analysis of the May 28th conversation.
We have already addressed Jayadvaita Maharaja's connection with the M.A.S.S. system (see opening point).
|QUOTE: "The final order "Moving on to the actual 'final order', . . . "
Again: Why is this 'the final order' as to initiation after Srila
Prabhupada's departure? Because Krishna Kant and Yaduraja say it is,
that's why. It is "the final order" merely by their fiat. Phooey!
The paper continues with some brief sophistical arguments not worth talking about. Then. . .
We explain clearly WHY it is the 'final order' on initiation - because it was:
a) An order
b) It was on initiation
c) It was the final communication on this subject sent to the society.
|QUOTE: "From where do you derive the notion that Srila Prabhupada wanted the system to stop at his departure?" [emphasis in original]
That's what my paper was about. But while busy jousting with straw men,
you seem to have missed it. How much time am I supposed to waste going
around in circles with you? For the answer to your question, read my
Now we have come to the real crux of the issue, and
once more Jayadvaita Maharaja dodges it completely. He would much
rather point out how our paraphrasing differs from direct quoting, or
talk about different flavours of ice cream, than where he ever got the
idea the ritvik system was meant to stop at Srila Prabhupada's departure.
The suggestion that to get the answer to the
question we should read his paper again is breathtaking, to say the
least. If his original paper contains this sort of explicit proof then
why not just have faith in it. Why did his holiness Giridhari Maharaja
ask for a new paper to be written? Why did the Maharaja feel the need
to bale out his previous writing if he had already given irrefutable
proof that the system was meant to stop at departure? Why not just
direct us to read his original paper from the beginning and leave it at
"[T]he most important issue, the one which Satsvarupa Goswami and all
the GBC had specifically asked him about, i.e the process of initiation
for after his departure and on for ten thousand years, he remained
utterly silent on. No written instructions to his temple presidents, no
orders to the GBC, no signed letter. The absurdity of this proposition
Srila Prabhupada speaks to a delegation of his GBC men, and because he
doesn't put his words into writing, according to you he is "utterly
silent." The absurdity of this proposition beggars belief.
As is clear, we made the above comment in a certain context - we were referring specifically to written instructions.
To issue a clear written directive to the whole movement for something
that is supposedly only applicable for 4 months, and at the same time
issue no written instruction for what is applicable for up to 10,000
years, is just plain unbelievable. To only supposedly speak a few words
in a conversation lasting seconds, which the GBC have previously
admitted is confused, is in contrast with a signed directive
sent all over the world- akin to silence. We must remember that for
even minor matters Srila Prabhupada would insist on putting things in
|QUOTE: "If Srila Prabhupada's teachings on how to run the parampara in his absence were as crystalline clear as you imply they were, for an
entire decade, so clear he did not even need to issue a specific
directive to the movement on the matter, why on earth did the GBC send
a special delegation to his bedside in the first place?"
|RESPONSE: Again, you are badly missing the point. My paper is not about "how to run the parampara." It's about the fact that there's supposed to be a parampara. Which--ok, ok--our friends accept. There's supposed to be a parampara,
a disciplic succession--just there aren't supposed to be any
successors. More precisely: For the next 9,500 years, no successors.
After that, no nothing.
Just as Prabhupada taught us, right?
Srila Prabhupada never taught that there are
arbitrary time restrictions for how long a member of the disciplic
succession can remain current. Yes Srila Prabhupada did teach about
disciplic succession, but Srila Prabhupada is the
current successor. The issue is about how long before there has to be
another one. We feel no compulsion to speculate about arbitrary time
periods when we have clear instructions to be going on with from the
"The only examples you can offer of Srila Prabhupada ever mentioning
his disciples initiating are extracted from letters to ambitious
deviant devotees like Tusta Krishna."
Well, I suppose I could offer more examples. But what would be the use?
Whatever words from Srila Prabhupada I might offer, you can simply wave
them away, as you do here, in this case by a character attack on Tusta
If I were trying to defend your argument, and if I were
up against such a clear, unequivocal, unambiguous statement as we find
in Srila Prabhupada's letter to Tusta Krishna, I suppose I'd be
desperate to get rid of it too. You can speculate on Srila Prabhupada's
motives. You can try to trivialize Srila Prabhupada's letter by
disparaging its recipient. But you can't get rid of it. In fact, here
it is again, this time in its entirety.
Of course we do not try and get 'rid of it'. It is
Jayadvaita Maharaja who tries to ignore and get 'rid of ' what we
actually say about the letter. Here are the points again, with a few
1)The letter was sent privately to one person, and
not discovered by the movement until 10 years later and even then only
because of the unauthorised activities of a 'ritvik'. Thus what
relevance does it have to terminating the July 9th letter in 1977, the
issue at hand?
2)The letter was an instruction directed
at its recipient. Thus, how is it also applicable as specific
authorisation for anyone else in ISKCON?
3)The letter speaks of the principle that the departure of the Guru is
the time that succession can take place. How is the instruction that
something can happen the same as authorising that it must? e.g. one can
drive a car once one is 17 years old (in the UK). But separate
qualification and then authorisation is also required. In other words
the departure of the Guru is a general hurdle that must be crossed
before the disciple can take up the role of diksa guru. But it is not
automatic. Qualification and authorisation must also be there.
4)If Jayadvaita Maharaja believes that Tusta Krishna Maharaja was
himself authorised by this letter, it still does not affect the running
of ISKCON. He left the movement soon after he received the letter, and
is not in any case qualified even now due to his association with
Siddha Svarupa, whose philosophy is not in line with Srila Prabhupada's.
5)Also why was this supposed authorisation letter only ever issued to
someone who was probably one of the least qualified to receive it, as
we have demonstrated from all the other letters Srila Prabhupada sent
Thus we never got 'rid of the letter'. We merely stated that it did not constitute authorisation for the ritviks
or general devotees in ISKCON to initiate their own disciples. The
above are the reasons why. The reasons that Jayadvaita Maharaja would
no doubt rather 'get rid of' than answer.
Of course, we're supposed to believe that this letter is just a sop
for a deviant. The rest of us can blithely disregard it, because--how
obvious!--it wasn't published to the world. And what Srila Prabhupada
told Tusta Krishna about making disciples was of course something the
rest of us had never heard about. As if we'd never read the first verse
vaco vegam manasah krodha-vagam
etan vegan yo visaheta dhirah
sarvam apimam prthivim sa sisyat
A sober person who can tolerate the urge to speak, the mind's
demands, the actions of anger and the urges of the tongue, belly and
genitals is qualified to make disciples all over the world. So long as
he does it as a rtvik, right?
I'm sure there's a Krishna Kant purport to that verse. But here's
Srila Prabhupada speaking--secretly? to ambitious deviants?--in the Srimad-Bhagavatam class in Sridham Mayapur (March 6, 1976), 10 days before Gaura Purnima:
[P]eople in general, they cannot understand, but those who are preaching, they must be very sincere, the same way. Rupa raghunatha pade, haibe akuti. They should read the literatures, the instruction, just like Upadesamrta, The Nectar of Instruction. We should follow, strictly follow. Then prthivim sa sisyat. Then you'll be able to preach and make disciples all over the world. This is the injunction. It really is.
The quotes merely speak of the qualification required to make
disciples. These injunctions have always been there. But to act as diksa guru, Srila Prabhupada states that specifically the predecessor acarya must also authorise it:
One should take initiation from a bona fide spiritual
master coming in the disciplic succession, who is authorized by his
predecessor spiritual master. This is called diksa-vidhana.
This verse would be completely redundant if one simply needed to
follow injunctions that already existed before (in ISKCON's case) the
predecessor spiritual master even existed. Srila Prabhupada also
repeats this principle in response to a question regarding his own
A guru can become guru when he's ordered by his guru.
That's all. Otherwise nobody can become guru. […] You should know that
one can become guru when he is ordered by his guru, this much.
(B.G. Lecture, 28/10/75)
UP: I'm getting tired of this. I've been through ten pages of your
piece, full of specious arguments, and ten pages are yet to go, full of
arguments equally crummy. Am I supposed to take it all seriously? Your
paper doesn't deserve it. Anyone who hasn't figured out by now that
your paper and its theories aren't worth two turds in hell would be
unlikely to get the message even if I were to write a book as long as
the Mahabharata, as tight as the Vedanta-sutra, and with footnotes as numerous as the verses in all the Vedas.
yes. I can hear it already: "Jayadvaita Swami chickened out. Our
arguments were so powerful there was nothing he could say." Fine. You
can spend the next 9500 years preaching to the world that Srila
Prabhupada has frozen the disciplic line, from now till the year
11,500, by little more than one "henceforward" and three words about
property trustees in his will. Meanwhile, I'm getting on with my work.
As we have shown, Jayadvaita Maharaja has yet to
make any solid points relating to the issue at hand. Even where he
correctly pointed out our mistake in using the word 'regular' instead
of 'plain', the validity of our argument was not affected in the
slightest. Neither has Jayadvaita Maharaja been 'through ten pages'. He
has simply picked out a small fraction of these ten pages, and even
then only tackled perceived faults that have no relevance to the issue
Jayadvaita Maharaja has accepted the principle that acaryas
can remain 'current' for long periods of time (the example of Vyasadeva
etc.) yet curiously he does not consider these personalities as having
'frozen the disciplic line'. No, he reserves that objection for if
Srila Prabhupada might stay current, and in that way prevent his
disciples from occupying the post of initiating guru. He may argue that
in the other cases the acaryas where physically embodied, but that is a separate matter. There are two issues here:
1) Does the acarya need to be physically embodied in order to remain 'current' in the disciplic succession?
2) Can an acarya remain 'current' for long periods of time?
Jayadvaita Maharaja has already accepted that the answer to question 2 is YES.
If the answer to question 1) is NO, then the issue of time becomes
irrelevant by virtue of the answer given to question 2. If the answer
to question 1) is YES, then the issue of time is also irrelevant since
the acarya would have to cease being 'current' immediately he left his body. In order to defeat the ritvik idea Jayadvaita Maharaja would need to find the following instructions in Srila Prabhupada's teachings:
a) That the acarya can only be current if 'physically embodied'; OR
b) If the acarya is not physically embodied, he can remain 'current' only for small periods of
time, as dictated by the whim of the Jayadvaita Maharaja.
We challenge Jayadvaita Maharaja or anyone else to find these instructions in Srila Prabhupada's teachings.
Just one more thing. . .
|QUOTE: "THERE IS NO REGULAR VANILLA. . . . [capitals in original]
"In summary, you insist on the following:
a) The rtvik system must stop.
b) It must stop on Srila Prabhupada's departure.
statement a) or b) appears in the July 9th letter. They are purely your
own invention. An invention inspired by the 'regular vanilla parampara system', which, as we have clearly shown is itself another fiction
created from your own imagination, with no basis in reality."
For some reason, the July 9th letter is now supposed to be the essence
of everything, and nothing can be said without reference to it.
Nonsense cannot be called nonsense unless Srila Prabhupada explicitly
said it was nonsense in a letter on July 9, 1977. A curious restriction
We never say what Jayadvaita Maharaja has claimed
above. We have simply stated a fact. That neither statement a) or b)
appear in the July 9th letter. If Jayadvaita Maharaja has
some other place where a) and b) do appear in Srila Prabhupada's
institutional directives or books, we would also consider that as
evidence. Unfortunately Jayadvaita Maharaja's papers do not attempt to address the issue of evidence for statement a) and b), thus their location is
not even an issue. We have never claimed that statements a) and b)
cannot be found from another document besides the July 9th letter. We have simply pointed out that they do not appear in the July 9th letter. In fact they do not appear anywhere else either, and that is
why we call these statements an invention. We invite the Jayadvaita
Maharaja to prove us wrong.
anyone who might think that earlier you were merely being cute, not
insulting, this time the insult should be clear. I am supposed to be
Srila Prabhupada's disciple, a preacher of his words, yet what I
present as his plain teachings, you dismiss as a fiction, an offspring
of my imagination. As I mentioned before, I'm sure I deserve to be
insulted. But Srila Prabhupada's teachings do not.
And so I am
adding as an appendix to this paper my supposedly fictional work, this
time with footnotes. However much you say you honor Srila Prabhupada, I
don't believe you should be allowed to walk up and punch his teachings
in the face.
The quotes you offer in the appendix support a part
of your paper we did not disagree with. Everyone accepts the principle
of disciplic succession, and that one must approach the current link.
We only disagree with your interpretation that this constitutes a
'plain vanilla' version of the parampara, and that therefore the p.s. ritvik system must be bogus. That is the fiction. Your interpretation. None of the quotes in the appendix mention plain vanilla, nor do they contradict the ritvik proposition. So what point are you trying to make? We apologise again
for any offence; we fully acknowledge Jayadvaita Maharaja's seniority
and dedication to Srila Prabhupada's movement. We also respect his
extensive knowledge of Srila Prabhupada's teachings, far in excess of
our own. It is only on this one issue that there seem to be a few
discrepancies. Unfortunately these discrepancies have had serious
ramifications for thousands of 'second generation' disciples, and will
have serious effects long into the future if something is not done
about it. It is for this reason only that we speak so strongly, not out
- ayadvaita Maharaja has not answered any point from our original paper that related to the validity of the ritvik issue, and more importantly the evidence for a) and b) in the second to
last quoted section above - the key points. Thus however right
Jayadvaita Maharaja could have been on everything else he says, he
still could not possibly have achieved his main objective. That which
caused Giridhari Maharaja to request a new paper in the first place: to
dissuade those who were convinced of the ritvik argument.
- As it happens, even on the irrelevant and trivial points
Jayadvaita Maharaja has tried to concentrate on, he has still not been
able to demonstrate that we were incorrect. In fact, the only point he
has been able to make with any measure of validity, is that we should
have used the word 'plain' rather than 'regular'. But even then the
consequence of this oversight is zero since it does not alter in the
slightest any of the conclusions we reached.
Please forgive any offence, all glories to Srila Prabhupada.
----------------- THE END -----------------
Original Document on IRM
WOW - what a long discussion and argumentation.
If you have
become confused by now, than just follow Srila Prabhupada's simple instruction, which is very clear to understand:
Recently when all of the GBC members were with His Divine Grace in Vrndavana, Srila Prabhupada indicated that soon He would appoint some of His senior disciples to act as ritvik - representative of the acarya, for the purpose of performing initiations, both first initiation and second initiation.
The newly initiated devotees are disciples of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad, the above eleven senior devotees acting as His representative. After the Temple President receives a letter from these representatives giving the spiritual name or the thread, he can perform the fire yajna in the temple as was being done before.
The name of a newly initiated disciple should be sent by the representative who has accepted him or her to Srila Prabhupada, to be included in His Divine Grace's "Initiated Disciples" book.
Approved:(signed) A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
(Prabhupada signature appears on the original)