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Srila Prabhupada's ritvik instruction: ritvik representative of the acharya

Srila Prabhupada: "I have selected you among eleven men as 'rittvik' or representative of the acharya, to give initiations, both first and second initiation, on my behalf. ".....Make your own field and continue to become ritvik and act on my behalf." (Letter to Hansadutta July 10th /31st 1977)

HansaduttaLetter to Kirtanananda
Singapore, 2. October 1993
Dear Kirtanananda Maharaj
Please accept my humble obeisances.

I thought now is the time to remind you of what you said to me upon meeting you at New Vrindaban after my fall from Guru and Sannyas. Seeing my condition, and anticipating the ensuing chaos and confusion amongst the new disciples, you said, "This is why I suggested so strongly that ISKCON should adopt the RITTVIK process of initiation for the new Gurus!" It has been a long time since then, but after all is said and done, I have personally realized the truth of this statement.

Rittvik representatives is all that PRABHUPADA ever sanctioned us to be -not ACHARYAS or GURUS. After years of anguish and confusion over this issue, I have by the mercy of Prabhupada, come to take shelter in his instruction: "Act as Rittvik of the Acharya". I think it is time for me to repay the debt I owe you for giving me shelter when I was so broken and lost in my spiritual life.

I humbly suggest you consider the fact that Prabhupada never authorized us to be Gurus, but restrained our ambition by designating some men to act as his deputies, or Rittvik representatives. Better late than never. Give up the false posture of Guru Acharya and consider acting as the humble servant of the Acharya, as a Rittvik representative. ,hat is the solution for you and all the ISKCON Gurus.

If you step back, resume your sadhana and service attitude towards Srila Prabhupada as his rittvik representative exactly as you used to do for him when he was still physically present, then most devotees will probably stand by you. Many will return to your guidance. You have nothing to lose by taking this humble position, except the false prestige of being a guru acharya, which is haunting you like a ghost.

New Vrindaban is a wonderful place, and it was built under your charge, but only because the devotees were empowered by Prabhupada, on account of their sincere desire to serve him (Srila Prabhupada). In other words, they enthusiastically accepted so much sacrifice, penance and austerity to help you build New Vrindaban, because they saw your sincere determination and desire to please Prabhupada.

Of all the godbrothers, you have accomplished the most monumental task by the building and development of New Vrindaban community. On the other hand, you now stand on the precipice of the total ruin of all you have accomplished, if you obstinately stick to your false -posture as the acharya and guru. The godbrothers are waiting like vultures to devour you, New Vrindaban and all the devotees, because more or less all of them are haunted by the   same ghost of false prestige, thinking, "I am the guru, and all should serve my feet." Prabhupada has remarked the fast two pitfalls of maya are to think one's self as God and the other is to think one's self as guru.

By taking your proper position as Srila Prabhupada's menial servant, no better today than the day you first met him in New York, you will save yourself and possibly your example could save the whole ISKCON movement.

You said you want to save ISKCON, but that requires saving yourself first.

As your younger godbrother, I have taken the liberty to attempt to instruct you. Please excuse my impudence. Whatever I have written is my deep, heartfelt concern for you, all the devotees with you, the wonderful creation of Prabhupada's Palace of Gold and of course, Srila Prabhuada, our beloved spiritual master, by whose mercy we have all been awakened to the highest ideal of preaching love of Krishna to the whole world. As the first and foremost of Prabhupada's disciples, be the first to demonstrate yourself as his rittvik representative. I am prepared to help you in every way, if you do the right thing.

I sincerely hope you are well. I mean you no ill will. I always admire you, but at this time I feel compelled to give you this important advice.

Your humble servant,
Hansadutta dasa


Letter to a Devotee Friend

Letter to a Devotee Friend
Hansadutta dasa,
June 17, 1993

In regards to gurus, Prabhupada left only one [written] document [letter of July 9, 1977] giving policy direction and individual names for initiation process, and it is clearly stated they will act as rittviks. Prabhupada left other policy documents, such as the BBT trust, the GBC direction of management, MVT, and he also recorded a last will and testament. But none of these formal policy documents says anything about acharyas or gurus initiating after his demise. The only document dealing with the issue of initiations is the letter of July 9, 1977.

As for tape recordings of conversations Prabhupada had with various GBCs prior to his departure, they cannot be accepted as evidence in regards to this issue, because Prabhupada would discuss a particular point with his disciples from many different angles. BUT WHEN MAKING MAJOR POLICY CHANGES OR INTRODUCTIONS, Prabhupada was very deliberate and careful to formulate such policies on paper with signatures. Prabhupada was very businesslike and did not do things whimsically or carelessly. Certainly the most IMPORTANT QUESTION in his mind and in the mind of his leading disciples at the time of his disappearance was who will initiate and under what circumstances such initiations will take place. The answer is plain and simple in his letter of July 9th, 1977. However, Prabhupada's disciples, being filled with ambition for more than merely continuing to act as his representatives (rittviks) or deputies, simply exaggerated their position and justified this ambitious fever by disregarding the letter dated 9th of July, 1977 and magnified some conversations which took place prior to the letter of July 9th, 1977.

But Prabhupada never gave instructions to his worldwide ISKCON movement through vague, hissing tapes. Prabhupada wrote letters (7,000 at least) and recorded trust documents, and ultimately he left a last will and testament. Why should we focus on a vague, hissing tape?

In 1979 or 1980, Topanga Canyon, California, I was present with Tamal Krishna Goswami when he admitted publicly before a large assembly of devotees:

Prabhupada never appointed any gurus. He did not appoint eleven gurus. He appointed eleven rittvik [officiating priests]. He never appointed them as gurus. Myself and the other GBC have done the greatest disservice to this movement for the last three years, because we interpreted the appointment of rittviks as the appointment of gurus....

Even in a court of law such evidence as tapes would not hold any weight in the presence of written documents. Prabhupada used to say, "You can say anything, but don't put it in writing."

So the conclusion is simple, if we simply agree to accept it. Prabhupada appointed 11 rittviks for initiating on his behalf. If anyone can produce a document or a letter stating otherwise, let it be seen. But putting so much merit on vague, hissing tape recordings in regards to such a serious issue as guru and acharya is completely out of order. Because rank and file devotees are innocent, they have unquestioningly accepted the overblown, exaggerated proposal made by their senior godbrothers, but judging a thing by its result, we can understand now after 16 years that it was the fever of pratistha which induced the senior godbrothers to overestimate and overstep the actual role that Prabhupada ordered them to play—namely as deputies, representatives, rittviks, or in other words monitors in the class in the absence of the teacher.

Any sane, humble devotee can see this, and all devotees can live and serve Prabhupada harmoniously under this management. But to have dozens of so-called acharya-gurus, each with their small band of fanatic, neophyte followers will result only in chaos, confusion and ULTIMATELY DISINTEGRATION of Prabhupada's preaching mission worldwide.

Actually, that has already happened in the USA. That has been demonstrated full-blown. It is a matter of time only before the same disintegration of the unified ISKCON preaching mission will take its toll in all the countries of the world.


Hansadutta Letter to Veda Guhya

Dear Veda Guhya Das Prabhu,
Please accept my most humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Because you asked me to write VNN about the Rittvik matter, I thought I would first pen you my thoughts on the issue along the lines of our discussion a few days ago.

The discussions that took place on 28th May 1977 between Srila Prabhupada and some GBC regarding initiations in the future were not known to me till years after his disappearance. Srila Prabhupada would say many things on many subjects, but unless a particular policy was written in letter form, or some other legal document, such discussions on different matters were not accepted as final. Prabhupada often said you can say anything, but do not put it in writing. Writing makes it legal.

A number of questions come to my mind when the controversy over the rittvik-Guru issue comes up.

1) The system of rittvik initiations was an ongoing practice for years before Srila Prabhupada named eleven “Rittvik representatives of the Acharya” in his letter of July 9, 1977. Why would Srila Prabhupada make a special effort to write a letter appointing eleven of his senior disciples as “Rittvik representatives of the Acharya” when such rittvik initiations were already being performed on his behalf -- not only by the persons named in his July 9th Letter but by sannyasis, GBCs, Temple Presidents, and others who happened to be at hand on the occasion of such initiation ceremonies?

2) Why did Srila Prabhupada decline the suggestion Of Tamal Krishna Goswami to include Brahmananda Swami on the rittvik list? He was a leading devotee and sannyasi.

3) Why did Srila Prabhupada not simply say “All sannyasis, GBCs, and Temple Presidents of ISKCON in good standing everywhere” could act as “Rittvik representatives of the Acharya” and initiate new disciples on his behalf whenever the need presented itself ?

4) How would creating “Rittvik representatives of the Acharya” relieve Srila Prabhupada from the burden of taking on the Karma of newly initiated disciples if the disciples thus initiated would still be Srila Prabhupada’s disciples?

5) Why did Srila Prabhupada reiterate the July 9th Letter appointing “Rittvik representative of the Acharya” in three separate letters (two to myself, and one to Kirtanananda Swami) and in several conversations, but never once mention anything about appointing Gurus or about rittviks becoming Gurus upon his anticipated disappearance from the world?

I distinctly remember when I received the July 9, 1977, letter in Sri Lanka that it was clear to me that this letter was Srila Prabhupada’s arrangement for initiations for the future. I also remember feeling some disappointment with the obvious conditional authority that the “Rittvik representative of the Acharya” designation implied, because I actually had a great desire to be a Guru like Srila Prabhupada, and I think many of the leaders did have similar desires. Still, I understood it was a very responsible and authoritative appointment. On July 10th I received another letter from Srila Prabhupada written in response to a letter I had sent him describing the preaching activities in Sri Lanka at that time. In this letter he wrote as follows:

“You are a suitable person and you can give initiation to those that are ready for it. I have selected you among eleven men as “Rittvik” representative of the Acharya, to give initiations, both first and second initiation, on my behalf.” A newsletter is being sent to all temple presidents and GBC in this regard, listing the eleven representatives selected by His Divine Grace. Those who are initiated are the disciples of Srila Prabhupada, and anyone who you deem fit and initiate in this way, you should send their names to be included in Srila Prabhupada’s “Initiated disciples” book.

I immediately wrote a letter to Srila Prabhupada asking him why he had been so merciful towards me by appointing me as his “Rittvik representative of the Acharya” which I understood to be a very confidential and responsible position. In other words, it was clear to me that this letter appointing “Rittvik Representatives” to initiate new disciples on Srila Prabhupada’s behalf was Srila Prabhupada’s final instructions in anticipation of his disappearance from the world.

Srila Prabhupada replied my letter by paraphrasing my question and answering in a letter dated July 31st 1977 as follows:

“You have written to Srila Prabhupada saying you do not know why he has chosen you to be a recipient of his Mercy. His Divine Grace immediately replied, “It is because you are my sincere servant. You have given up attachment to a beautiful and qualified wife and that is a great benediction. You are a real preacher. Therefore I like you. (Then Laughing). Sometimes you become obstinate, but that is true of any intelligent man. Now you have got a very good field. Now organize it and it will be a great credit. No one will disturb you there. MAKE YOUR OWN FIELD AND CONTINUE TO BE RITTVIK AND ACT ON MY BEHALF”.

It was clear that Srila Prabhupada had officially introduced the concept of “Rittvik representative of the Acharya” as the arrangement for initiations by his disciples for the future of ISKCON. Had there been anything more to clarify certainly Srila Prabhupada would have written another letter to amend what was already so clear. But he never did, other than reinforce what he had already written: “Continue to act as rittvik representative of the Acharya.”

These eleven men and many others had been initiating devotees on Srila Prabhupada’s behalf for years, so there was no need to make a formal declaration and name disciples who could initiate on Srila Prabhupada’s behalf simply to relieve Srila Prabhupada from the burden of initiating due to his illness as it was already going on all over the world for years.

However, the July 9th letter gave authority and responsibility that was not allowed previously. The eleven men selected as “Rittvik Representatives of the Acharya” were given the freedom to initiate (first and second) and give the spiritual name without first having to consult Srila Prabhupada by letter and have an appropriate name sent by Srila Prabhupada. This was new. This system, in effect, gave these eleven “Rittvik representative of the Acharya” all the responsibilities and authority of a GURU, but at the same time it was clear by their “Job Description” as “Rittvik representative of the Acharya” that their authority was CONDITIONAL -- it was not a blank check
- as they were not mature full qualified Spiritual Masters. They were apprentices of the Spiritual Master -- “Rittvik representatives of the Acharya” -- and, the disciples they would initiate would be the disciples of their Spiritual Master, Srila Prabhupada, the Sampradaya Acharya, The Founder-Acarya of ISKCON.

The Emperor or King delegates power to a Viceroy who thus has all the power of a King to rule over a colony or state, yet it is understood that the Viceroy is not the King, but is ruling as the King’s representative. Such a Viceroy would not automatically become a King upon the death of the King, rather he would continue to act as the Viceroy until the next Emperor or King was installed on the throne. Similarly the “Rittvik representative” does not automatically become a Guru or Acharya (as we assumed when Srila Prabhupada disappeared), but the Rittvik continues to act as the representative of the Acharya, Srila Prabhupada.

Although Srila Prabhupada spoke of all his disciples becoming Gurus, he never once ordered any disciple “To be a Guru”, rather he gave conditional authority and responsibility to some leading disciples to “Act as Rittvik representatives of the Acharya”. Having failed to carry out this responsibility by assuming that automatically upon Srila Prabhupada’s disappearance the rittviks would become Gurus we find everything has gone off track, and the whole ISKCON movement is in shambles. Still, it is better late than never. Everything can be brought back into focus if we simply come back to the order of the Spiritual Master and act as “Rittvik representative of the Acharya.”

I don’t think that my words will make any difference -- but for my own clarification and purification I have written down these thoughts. Perhaps they will be of some help to you.

I have one last concern and it is this idea I get from Krishna Kant’s paper “The Final Order” that the “Rittvik Representative” is nothing more than a priest who performs a ritual initiation, and then is no more significant in the spiritual life of a disciple than a clerk at an army recruiting station.

Yet, the fact is that Srila Prabhupada was very careful and deliberate about choosing his “Rittvik representatives” and we will notice all of them were distinguished by their enthusiasm and success in the preaching field. So if there is going to be a reform and actual adherence to the order of Srila Prabhupada to act as “Rittvik Representatives of the Acharya,” then I think that anyone who is going to be designated as such should first of all go out and show their capacity to represent Srila Prabhupada as his “Rittvik Representative” by opening some centers and recruiting 100 or 200 devotees (or families) and train them up properly to preach and worship Srila Prabhupada as his disciples. Otherwise, what is the meaning of “Rittvik representative of the Acharya?” Without this it will simply be another office job.

I hope you and Janaki are well. Thanks for your hospitality. I hope we can meet again soon.

Your humble servant,
Hansadutta das


Tamal Krishna's admission

"YOU CAN BET YOUR BOTTOM DOLLAR ..."

In 1979-1980, one of the living gurus, Tamal Krishna Goswami, [now a dead guru] had incensed the others by claiming that he possessed Prabhupada's exclusive "guru shakti" or potency. The other gurus were thus considering how to excommunicate this deviant guru brother. But in December 1980, at the Topanga Canyon Pyramid House Talks, California, Tamal made a dramatic turnabout. He admitted that Srila Prabhupada had never appointed any "living successor" gurus:

Tamal Krishna: "Actually, Prabhupada never appointed any gurus. He did not appoint eleven gurus. He appointed eleven ritvik (officiating priests). He never appointed them as gurus. Myself and the other G.B.C. have done the greatest disservice to this movement for the last three years, [29 years now, still not rectified] because we interpreted the appointment of ritviks as the appointment of gurus....

"(What Srila Prabhupada said was), "All right, I will appoint so many,' and he named them. He made it very clear that they (new members) were still to be his disciples. At that point it was very clear in my mind that they were his disciples....

"Now I understand that what he did was very clear. He was physically incapable of performing the function of initiating physically; therefore he appointed officiating priests to initiate on his behalf. He appointed eleven and he said very clearly, 'Whoever is nearest, he can initiate.'

"This is a very important point, because when it comes to initiating, it is not 'whoever is nearest.' It is wherever your heart goes_to whom you can repose your faith in.

"But when it is officiating, it's 'whoever is nearest,' and he was very clear.... 'Whoever is nearest will check you out. Then, on my behalf, they will initiate....'"

"If it had been more than that (officiating priests), 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.... But he did not, because he already said it a million times. He said, 'My guru maharaja did not appoint anyone. It is by qualification.' We made a great mistake...."

"You cannot show me anything on tape or in writing where Prabhupada says, 'I appoint these eleven as gurus.' It does not exist, because He never appointed any gurus. This is a myth."

So here Tamal Krishna admits that there never was an appointment of regular gurus; Srila Prabhupada only appointed rtviks (officiating priests). However, he assumes that after Srila Prabhupada left, that it was "only natural" for those eleven rtviks and then more that would be added later, to become regular gurus, even though Srila Prabhupada never instructed such a thing.

Although there was no appointment of anything but ritviks, at Topanga Canyon Tamal thinks that regular gurus can be self-appointed. Of course, his future statements and writings contradict this thesis and themselves in a maze of confusing mumbo-jumbo.

Srila Prabhupada: "I am practically seeing that as soon as they, our students, begin to learn a little Sanskrit, they immediately feel they have become more than their guru. Then the policy is to kill their guru and become guru themselves". "As soon as he learns that Guru Maharaj is dead, now I am so advanced I can kill guru and become guru. Then he is finished." (Srila Prabhupada 1976).

Srila Prabhupada: "This is the function of the GBC, to see that one may not be taken away by maya. The GBC should all be the instructor gurus. I am the initiator guru, and you should be the instructor guru by teaching what I am teaching and doing what I am doing. This is not a title, but you must actually come to this platform. This is what I want." (to Madhudvisa 4 Aug, 1975)


Letter to Hansadutta from Tamal Krishna Goswami,
dated July 10th, 1977

My dear Hamsadutta Maharaja

Please accept my humble obeisances at your feet. Srila Prabhupada has received your letters dated July 4th and July 5th, 1977 respectively, and has instructed me to reply them.

Srila Prabhupada was very pleased to hear how you have organized everything in Ceylon, and that so many people are now taking interest seriously is proof of the effectiveness of your preaching. His Divine Grace said, "You are a suitable person and you can give initiation to those who are ready for it. I have selected you among eleven men as "rittvik" or representative of the acharya, to give initiations, both first and second initiation, on my behalf." (A newsletter is being sent to all Temple Presidents and GBC in this regard, listing the eleven representatives selected by His Divine Grace. Those who are initiated are the disciples of Srila Prabhupada, and anyone who you deem fit and initiate in this way, you should send their names to be included in Srila Prabhupada's " Initiated Disciples" book. In this way the Temple Presidents will send their recommendations for initiation direct to the nearest representative who will give a spiritual name or chant on the Gayatri thread just as Srila Prabhupada has been doing.

Srila Prabhupada smiled very broadly when he heard of the successful program organized by the local people in which 2000 persons attended. When he heard that you have introduced a full feasting program on Sundays, he said, "You are a good cook, so teach others now how to cook just as I taught you."

Regarding the printing going slowly, His Divine Grace stated, "Never mind. Go surely. It doesn't matter slowly." I inquired from Pradyumna Prabhu about the Sinhalese translation which you mentioned. He said that "On Chanting Hare Krishna Mantra" was translated into Sinhalese, and that translation is in his trunk in Bombay. We will try to get it to you as soon as possible. I do not know if Gopal Krishna has any Tamil manuscript, but if he does, when I see him in about ten days, I will tell him to send it to you. You may also write him directly. Pradyumna says it will be faster just to get a new translation - it is only one page.

Srila Prabhupada was very glad to know that you would try to bring some Ceylonese devotees to Mayapur and said, "Oh, that is very good!" He did not know whether the story about Bhaktisiddhanta 's disciples seeing a man eating a rat was true or not. Regarding the exact position of Sri Lanka, this is the opinion of some people. Srila Prabhupada advised that we not discuss this matter publicly at this time. Prabhupada also recommended that from Hari Sauri you take ghee.. He said that you could have one fifth of whatever Hari Sari sends to India. Regarding whether you should use the name Swami or Goswami, Srila Prabhupada said, "Stick to one. Swami is better."

Your servant,
Tamal Krishna Goswami
Secretary to Srila Prabhupada
[Note: Signature appears on original]

---

Letter from Tamal Krishna Goswami
(on Srila Prabhupada's behalf)
to Hansadutta, dated July 31st, 1977, Vrindaban

My dear Hamsadutta Maharaja

Please accept my most humble obeisances at your feet. I have been instructed by His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada to thank you for your letter dated July 25th, 1977.

You have written to Srila Prabhupad saying you do not know why he has chosen you to be a recipient of His mercy. His Divine Grace immediately replied, "It is because you are my sincere servant. You have given up attachment to a beautiful and qualified wife and that is a great benediction. You are a real preacher. Therefore I like you. (then laughing) Sometimes you become obstinate, but that is true of any intelligent man. Now you have got a very good field. Now organize it and it will be a great credit. No one will disturb you there. "Make your own field and continue to be rittvik and act on my behalf."

Srila Prabhupad listened with great enthusiasm as I read to him the newspaper article. His Divine Grace was very pleased: "This article will increase your prestige. It is very nice article. Therefore the newspaper has spared so much space to print it. It is very nice. It must be published in Back to Godhead. Now there is a column in the Back to Godhead called Prabhupad Speaks Out. Your article may be entitled, 'Prabhupad's Disciple Speaks Out.' Yes, we shall publish this article certainly. Let this rascal be fool before the public. I have enjoyed this article very much. I want my disciples to speak out...backed by complete reasoning. 'Brahma sutra sunisthita,' this is preaching. Be blessed. All my disciples go forward. You have given the challenge. They cannot answer. This Dr. Kovoor should be invited ... for Dr. Svarupa Damodar 's Convention on 'Life comes from Life.' He can learn something at this scientific conference."

Yes, you should certainly get some ISKCON Food Relief money. For your program American money collected and sent for food distribution. That is my proposal. Three hundred people coming is no joke. You mentioned so many nice preparations. I would like to eat, but I cannot. At simply hearing these names (of preparations) is satisfying. Just thinking this morning of you, and now you have written me.

(Last paragraph illegible)

Hoping this meet you well.

Your servant,
Tamal Krishna Gosvami
Secretary to Srila Prabhupad
[signature appears on original]


Role Of The Rittvik Representatives Of The Acharya

 BY HANSADUTTA DAS -- January 7, 1999 VNN2806

EDITORIAL, Jan 7 (VNN) — The discussions that took place on 28th May 1977 between Srila Prabhupada and some GBC regarding initiations in the future were not known to me till years after his disappearance. Srila Prabhupada would say many things on many subjects, but unless a particular policy was written in letter form, or some other legal document such discussions on different matters were not accepted as final. Prabhupada often said you can say anything, but do not put it in writing; writing makes it legal.

A number of questions come to my mind when the controversy over the Rittvik-Guru issue comes up:

1) The system of rittvik initiations was an ongoing practice for years before Srila Prabhupada named 11 "Rittvik representatives of the Acharya" in his July 9th, 1977 letter. Why would Srila Prabhupada make a special effort to write a letter appointing eleven of his senior disciples as "Rittvik representatives of the Acharya" when such rittvik initiations were already being performed on his behalf not only by the persons named in his July 9th Letter, but by sannyasis, GBCs, Temple presidents, and others who happened to be at hand on the occasion of such initiation ceremonies?

2) Why did Srila Prabhupada decline the suggestion of Tamal Krishna Goswami to include Brahmananda Swami on the rittvik list? He was a leading devotee and sannyasi.

3) Why did Srila Prabhupada not simply say that all sannyasis, GBCs and Temple presidents of ISKCON in good standing everywhere could act as "Rittvik representatives of the Acharya" and initiate new disciples on his behalf whenever the need presented itself ?

4) How would creating "Rittvik representatives of the Acharya" relieve Srila Prabhupada from the burden of taking on the karma of newly initiated disciples if the disciples thus initiated would still be Srila Prabhupada's disciples?

5) Why did Srila Prabhupada reiterate the July 9th Letter appointing "Rittvik representative of the Acharya" in three separate letters (two to myself, and one to Kirtanananda Swami) and in several conversations, but never once mention anything about appointing Gurus or about rittviks becoming Gurus upon his anticipated disappearance from the world?

I distinctly remember when I received the July 9th, 1977 letter in Sri Lanka that it was clear to me that this letter was Srila Prabhupada's arrangement for initiations for the future. I also remember feeling some disappointment with the obvious conditional authority that the "Rittvik representative of the Acharya" designation implied, because I actually had a great desire to be a Guru like Srila Prabhupada. I think many of the leaders did have such desires. Still I understood it was a very responsible and authoritative appointment. On July 10th I received another letter from Srila Prabhupada written in response to a letter I had sent him describing the preaching activities in Sri Lanka at that time. In this letter he wrote as follows:

"You are a suitable person and you can give initiation to those that are ready for it. I have selected you among eleven men as 'Rittvik representative of the Acharya, to give initiations, both first and second initiation, on my behalf.' A newsletter is being sent to all temple presidents and GBC in this regard, listing the eleven representatives selected by His Divine Grace. Those who are initiated are the disciples of Srila Prabhupada, and anyone whom you deem fit and initiate in this way, you should send their names to be included in Srila Prabhupada's 'Initiated disciples' book."

I immediately wrote a letter to Srila Prabhupada asking him why he had been so merciful towards me by appointing me as his "Rittvik representative of the Acharya," which I understood to be a very confidential and responsible position. In other words it was clear to me that this letter appointing "Rittvik Representatives" to initiate new disciples on Srila Prabhupada's behalf was Srila Prabhupada's final instructions in anticipation of his disappearance from the world. Srila Prabhupada replied in a letter dated July 31st 1977 by paraphrasing my question and answering as follows:

"You have written to Srila Prabhupada saying you do not know why he has chosen you to be a recipient of his Mercy. His Divine Grace immediately replied, 'It is because you are my sincere servant. You have given up attachment to a beautiful and qualified wife and that is a great benediction. You are a real preacher. Therefore I like you. (Then laughing) Sometimes you become obstinate, but that is true of any intelligent man. Now you have got a very good field. Now organize it and it will be a great credit. No one will disturb you there. MAKE YOUR OWN FIELD AND CONTINUE TO BE RITTVIK AND ACT ON MY BEHALF.'"

It was clear that Srila Prabhupada had officially introduced the concept of "Rittvik representative of the Acharya" as the arrangement for initiations by his disciples for the future of ISKCON. Had there been anything more to clarify certainly Srila Prabhupada would have written another letter to amend what was already so clear. But he never did, other than to reinforce what he had already written: "Continue to act as rittvik representative of the Acharya."

These eleven men and many others had been initiating devotees on Srila Prabhupada's behalf for years, so there was no need to make a formal declaration and name disciples who could initiate on Srila Prabhupada's behalf simply to relieve Srila Prabhupada from the burden of initiating due to his illness. It was already going on all over the world, for years.

However the July 9th letter gave authority and responsibility that was not allowed previously. The eleven men selected as "Rittvik Representatives of the Acharya" were given the freedom to initiate (first and second) and give the spiritual name without first having to consult Srila Prabhupada by letter and have an appropriate name sent by Srila Prabhupada. This was new. This in effect gave these eleven "Rittvik representative of the Acharya" all the responsibilities and authority of a GURU, but at the same time it was clear by their "Job Description" as "Rittvik representative of the Acharya" that their authority was CONDITIONAL-it was not a blank check-and that they were not mature, fully qualified spiritual masters. They were apprentices of the spiritual master, "Rittvik representatives of the Acharya," and the disciples they would initiate would be the disciples of their spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada, the Sampradaya Acharya and Founder of ISKCON.

The emperor or king delegates power to a viceroy who thus has all the power of a king to rule over a colony or state, yet it is understood that the viceroy is not the king, but ruling as the king's representative. Such a viceroy would not automatically become a king upon the death of the king; rather, he would continue to act as the viceroy until the next emperor or king was installed on the throne. Similarly the "Rittvik representative" does not automatically become a Guru or Acharya (as we assumed when Srila Prabhupada disappeared), but the Rittvik continues to act as the representative of the Acharya, Srila Prabhupada.

Although Srila Prabhupada spoke of all his disciples becoming Gurus, he never once ordered any disciple to be a Guru; rather, he gave conditional authority and responsibility to some leading disciples to "act as Rittvik representatives of the Acharya." Having failed to carry out this responsibility and having assumed that automatically upon Srila Prabhupada's disappearance the rittviks would become Gurus, we find everything has gone off track, and the whole ISKCON movement is in shambles. Still it is better late than never. Everything can be brought back into focus if we simply come back to the order of the spiritual master and act as "Rittvik representative of the Acharya."

I don't think that my words will make any difference, but for my own clarification, and purification I have written down these thoughts. Perhaps they will be of some help to others.

I have one last concern, and it is this idea I get from Krishna Kant's paper "The Final Order" that the "Rittvik representative" is nothing more than a priest who performs a ritual initiation, and afterwards is no more significant in the spiritual life of a disciple than a clerk at an army recruiting station. The fact is that Srila Prabhupada was very careful and deliberate about choosing his "Rittvik representatives." We notice that all of them were distinguished by their enthusiasm and success in the preaching field. So if there is going to be a reform and actual adherence to the order of Srila Prabhupada to act as "Rittvik representatives of the Acharya," then I think that anyone who is going to be designated as such should first of all go out and show his capacity to represent Srila Prabhupada as his "Rittvik representative" by opening some centers and recruiting 100 or 200 men (or families ) and training them up properly to preach and worship Srila Prabhupada as his disciples. Otherwise what is the meaning of "Rittvik representative of the Acharya"? Without this it will simply be another office job.

Rittvik is not a quick fix.

Just buying a telephone is not enough. One must actually open an account with the telephone company and be connected to the telephone central; otherwise the telephone is nothing but a dead weight. Similarly, to declare or accept the Rittvik conclusions physically, mentally or intellectually is not enough. The Rittvik representative must actually be connected to the Acharya; otherwise, he will be as much of a dead weight as the unconnected telephone.

How do we know that a particular person is actually a qualified representative of the Acharya? This is really the most important question. How do we know if a particular telephone is dead or alive, whether connected to the telephone central or not connected? Anyone can pick it up and by dialing the appropriate number be in communion with anyone else who has a connection with the telephone central, even the President of the United States.

The equation is "Things equal to the same thing are equal to one another." This is the litmus test. If someone claims to be a Rittvik representative of the Acharya, then "things (Rittvik representative) equal to the same thing (Srila Prabhupada, the Sampradaya Acharya) are equal to one another (Rittvik representative). So there must be actual love and trust amongst the Rittvik representatives and their supporters or followers; otherwise there is something wrong. Love and trust is possible only if there is actual love and trust for the Acharya, Srila Prabhupada, in the center. The spokes of a wheel are not connected to one another directly, but connected to the hub of the wheel. The leaves, flowers and fruits of a tree are all connected through the root of the tree. Similarly, rittvik philosophy without actually being connected to Srila Prabhupada will be nothing more than a mechanical or external adjustment, without the inner spiritual substance which we find lacking in the present ISKCON Guru system.

You can't make someone love and trust Prabhupada--not by any mechanical or tactical, logical or philosophical arrangement. Therefore, quarreling or fighting with those who are not in agreement with Srila Prabhupada's order to "act as Rittvik representative of the Acharya" is not the solution. The solution is to act as Rittvik representative of the Acharya, and by demonstrating and by example, the sincere souls will naturally gravitate towards and be truly connected to Srila Prabhupada, leaving the dead connections (dead telephones) aside. If your telephone is connected, people will use it; if your telephone is not connected, how can they use it?

So by quarreling, organizing and having meetings we may get some abstract idea of Rittvik conception, but unless there is actual practical application in the field, we will remain a dead body, like a telephone not actually connected to the telephone central.

Doctors differ, and still they are doctors. Similarly, devotees, rishis, sages, gurus, holy men and Rittviks differ, but in the person of the Sampradaya Acharya, Srila Prabhupada, all differences are resolved. When the sages, sadhus, rishis, etc. were called together by Maharaja Pariksit, who wanted to be instructed in preparation for his impending death, there were differences of opinion as to what the King should do. However, when Sukhadeva arrived there, all the rishis, sadhus, yogis and even his own father, Srila Vyasadeva, stood up to show him respect, and he was accepted as the most perfect devotee, and all deferred to him, and thus the Bhagavatam was spoken. Similarly, in the arena of differing sadhus, yogis, devotees, religionists, Srila Prabhupada appeared in this world. He spoke Srimad Bhagavatam and other essential Vaishnava literatures, and all spiritualists, at least all Vaishnavas, deferred to him, and that is why everyone, regardless of how big or small a devotee, Guru, sadhu, yogi, rishi or Rittvik, must always carry himself very deliberately, keeping Srila Prabhupada, the Sampradaya Acharya, in the center. Then real "unity in diversity" will actually work. Thus the arrangement of Rittvik representative is completely in keeping with the principles of Guru parampara and is in no way a concoction or somehow inferior arrangement for receiving initiation into Krishna consciousness. In fact, we accept Srila Vyasadeva as still living on this plane.

Therefore, every Guru, every Acharya would technically be a Rittvik representative of the Great Acharya Srila Vyasadeva. The Vyasa-puja day is the day the representative of Vyasa is honored by the disciples, and that representative, the Guru Acharya, sits on "the seat of Vyasa." So under all circumstances, every devotee is a representative of the Acharya, and thus our line is a Rittvik line. Specifically, one who accepts the responsibility of initiating new disciples is therefore referred to as the "Rittvik representative of the Acharya." He is definitely a guru, but his job description "Rittvik representative of the Acharya" helps us to remember the actual relationship and principle of the Guru parampara. Everything depends on transparency. "Things equal to the same thing are equal to one another."


Ritvik representative of the acharya

Letter to New Initiates
Dated: 8 October 1993

Dear Kaliya-Krishna dasa
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

......  My godbrothers have taken it FOR GRANTED that because they were acting as rittviks in Prabhupada's presence, that it was therefore GRANTED to them to assume the office of guru acharyas upon his disappearance. But it was NEVER GRANTED by him. The GBCs and others took it FOR GRANTED, without authority. It has caused havoc. I shall demonstrate that what Prabhupada wanted was for his deputed rittviks to continue to be rittviks in his physical absence, which he specifically mentioned to Tamal in conversation and per letter to me, dated July 10, 1977 and again in a letter to Kirtanananda, dated July 11, 1977 and in numerous conversations with his disciples during his last days.

When the rittvik matures and understands his everlasting subordination to his spiritual master, then he is seen as a full guru. But at that time more than ever he is fully conscious of his duties of initiating on behalf of his spiritual master and all the spiritual masters in the disciplic succession, all the way to Krishna.

At the present moment, everyone thinks in terms of "Is he my disciple, or is he Prabhupada's disciple?" Why this emphasis on the possession of the disciple, as opposed to emphasising the service performed for Prabhupada and the disciplic succession?? POSSESSIVENESS is the disease, the cloud covering the sun of Prabhupada' s brilliant and TRANSPARENT mercy.

Although rittvik initiation is an officiating ceremony, no one should think it is simply a show or a rubber-stamping someone to be a disciple of Prabhupada. No! When Prabhupada was present, the GBCs, temple presidents or sannyasis who initiated disciples for Prabhupada were accepted as representatives of Prabhupada, and their authority was very effective, because both the representative and newly initiated disciple had a TRANS-PARENT CONSCIOUSNESS of seeing Prabhupada as the source of spiritual life and the ultimate authority behind everything. So I am not the guru, but I am the guru's servant, his rittvik representative.

One may ask, "Then why rittvik?—It all comes down to the same principle of surrender, service and DISCIPLINE to the rittvik representative." The answer is that one is designated as rittvik because it is understood the person in question is still immature and subject to fall under the influence of the material nature. But he is being prepared or trained for perfection by giving him the office of deputy of the acharya, so he can gradually mature and become perfect. Perfect means fully PURIFIED of the tendency to enjoy wealth, woman and most of all PRESTIGE, or the lording-it-over tendency. Perfect means he perfectly understands that everything he does he does on behalf of his spiritual master and Krishna.

Thinking, "I am a guru" is the sure sign of MAYA, just as thinking "I am God" is the ultimate illusion.

If a person seen as a rittvik falls down due to losing control of his senses, there will be no RUPTURE in the life of the disciple, because he has from the beginning understood his relationship with Srila Prabhupada, the SAMPRADAYA ACHARYA. He can continue to progress in spiritual life under the guidance of another senior godbrother.

Under the present arrangement, where imperfect, conditioned souls have postured themselves as liberated, pure devotees, thereby misleading and misdirecting the delicate faith of new devotees, a DISASTER takes place when such illegitimate gurus fall down, or even if they exhibit doubtful behaviour, as it was in my case years ago.

All this can be and will be avoided if senior devotees simply follow the arrangement made by Prabhupada for initiation, namely act as rittvik representatives of the acharya, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. That is very joyful, because it is the authorised arrangement of the Sampradaya Acharya Srila Prabhupada for continuing the disciplic succession.

Even if someone is in the most exalted state of realisation, why would such a person insist on the pomp and posture of a great devotee? Even the Supreme Lord Chaitanya presented Himself as the most fallen, humble and meek servant of the servant thousands of times removed.

Actually, unless a person has been properly initiated by someone acting strictly as the rittvik representative of the SAMPRADAYA ACHARYA, Srila Prabhupada, his so-called initiation is more or less a kind of KIDNAPPING THE DISCIPLE AWAY FROM THE SHELTER OF THE LOTUS FEET OF SRILA PRABHUPADA, THE SAMPRADAYA ACHARYA, AND KRISHNA.

Such kidnapper gurus and their unfortunate disciples fall down from the devotional path in due course of time, just as a tree that receives no water loses its leaves (disciples), dries up and dies. We have seen this phenomenon repeat itself again and again in a long list of so-called gurus, myself included. However, such dead gurus and disciples can be brought back to life simply by situating themselves properly in the rittvik initiating arrangement made by Prabhupada. The current re-initiation syndrome practiced in ISKCON is trying to correct one mistake by making another mistake.

Your humble servant,
Hansadutta das

P.S. With great emphasis, I want it clearly understood by all devotees there is to be no vyasasana for me, no vyasapuja, no pranamas, no Mercedes Benz, no pictures of me on any altar, etc. All such exhibition of regard and affection should be offered to Srila Prabhupada only, the deliverer of all fallen souls, Acharya of the Brahma Gaudiya Vaishnava Sampradaya, otherwise known as ISKCON.

P.S.S. I wish to offer my most humble apologies to the following persons, whom were initiated by me in the years 1978-1982 and do humbly suggest if they are so inspired that they maybe initiated properly by a rittvik representative.

 

reward 108000 dollar

$108,000.00 cash reward money for any ISKCON guru who can show the Nam Hatta an original, signed document dated July 9, 1977 or later from Srila Prabhupada's hand, naming any person or persons specifically appointed to the position of full guru-acharya, authorized to initiate disciples as his own after the disappearance of Srila Prabhupada.

Failure on the part of any guru means he must publicly give up his unauthorized guru title and return his disciples to the lotus feet of Srila Prabhupada, the sampradaya acharya and founder of ISKCON.

Previously (August, 1977) a challenge and reward of 500,000 rupees was offered by ISKCON to Dr. Kovoor, a prominent scientist of Sri Lanka, to prove his claim that life is generated by chemical interaction. Dr. Kovoor was invited to a public meeting, where he could bring his chemicals and produce life by creating a cat, mouse, a mosquito or any other plainly visible living creature from inert chemicals. Dr. Kovoor failed to win the Rs. 500,000 prize. He died a few months later, publicly humiliated.

Now ISKCON is being challenged by Nam Hatta devotees world-wide: "Produce the written document, signed by Srila Prabhupada, ordering any devotee to act as guru-acharya of ISKCON."

Submit documented claims to any Nam Hatta centre near you.

Nam Hatta World Sankirtan Party
P.O. Box 157 * Geyserville, CA 95445 * USA
Dated: June 1993

NOTE: This REWARD is still unclaimed by the many Iskcon Gurus as of May 2013