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1. Follow the Latest Order | 2. The July 9th Letter | 3. Tamala Krsna Testifies | 4. Hamsaduta Testifies | 5. Srila Prabhupada’s Will | 6. Christian Example | 7. Ramakrishna Mission Example | 8. Mistake in Our ISKCON Camp | 9. Rtvik Yes | 10. Unprecedented Technology | 11. Unprecedented Policies | 12. Witness Testimony | 13. It’s Offensive to Discipline a Real Guru | 14. It’s Offensive to Say that Prabhupada Left Things Unclear | 15. I Shall Never Die | 16. Self Motivation and Bad Association | Conclusion

Editorial: Sixteen Points to Consider
Regarding the Rtvik Issue

By Pratyatosa Dasa (ACBSP), August 30, 1998 (Appearance Day of Srimati Radharani) (Updated: March 2, 2014)


Dear Prabhus, please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

Concerning the “rtvik issue” (initiation on Srila Prabhupada’s behalf by a rtvik representative of the Acarya), please consider the following sixteen points:

1. Follow the Latest Order

From a lecture by Srila Prabhupada on the Srimad-Bhagavatam, Hyderabad, India, April 15, 1975:

I may say many things to you, but when I say something directly, "Do it", your first duty is to do that. You cannot argue, "Sir, you said me like this before." No, that is not your duty. What I say now, you do it. That is obedience.

If the captain of the ship says “5° starboard” and the first mate replies, “But captain, before you told me ‘10° port,’” then it can be understood that the first mate has gone insane.

2. The July 9th Letter (http://pratyatosa.com/?P=25)

Letter by Tamala Krsna Gosvami to all GBC’s and temple presidents, Vrndavana, India, July 9, 1977:

To All G.B.C. and Temple Presidents

Dear Maharajas and Prabhus,

Please accept my humble obeisances at your feet. 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. His Divine Grace has so far given a list of eleven disciples who will act in that capacity:

His Holiness Kirtanananda Swami

His Holiness Satsvarupa dasa Gosvami

His Holiness Jayapataka Swami

His Holiness Tamala Krsna Gosvami

His Holiness Hrdayananda Gosvami

His Holiness Bhavananda Gosvami

His Holiness Hamsaduta Swami

His Holiness Ramesvara Swami

His Holiness Harikesa Swami

His Grace Bhagavan dasa Adhikari

His Grace Jayatirtha dasa Adhikari

In the past Temple Presidents have written to Srila Prabhupada recommending a particular devotee's initiation. Now that Srila Prabhupada has named these representatives, temple presidents may henceforward send recommendation for first and second initiation to whichever of these eleven representatives are nearest their temple. After considering the recommendation, these representatives may accept the devotee as an initiated disciple of Srila Prabhupada by giving a spiritual name, or in the case of second initiation, by chanting on the Gayatri thread, just as Srila Prabhupada has done. The newly initiated devotees are disciples of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, 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: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami [signed]

Please note that the above is the last formal instruction that Srila Prabhupada gave on initiations within his beloved ISKCON before his physical departure on November 14, 1977. If someone quotes Srila Prabhupada as having said, “My disciples should become gurus.,” then this obviously does not mean diksha (initiating) gurus within ISKCON, because his last instruction (See point #1 above) for ISKCON was to have rtviks (priests) initiate on his behalf “henceforward.” If you search the Vedabase for “henceforward,” you will see that Srila Prabhupada always meant “from this time forth; from now on,” which, according to the dictionary, is the only literal meaning that the word “henceforward” can have.

3. Tamala Krsna Testifies

Tamala Krsna Gosvami, one of the 11 original, rtvik - representatives of the acarya (See point #2 above) said on December 3, 1980 (Transcribed from a tape recording of the actual conversation):

Actually Prabhupada never appointed any gurus. He appointed eleven ritviks. He never appointed them gurus. Myself and the other GBC have done the greatest disservice to this movement the last three years because we [falsely] interpreted the appointment of ritviks as the appointment of gurus.

4. Hamsaduta Testifies

Srila Prabhupada wrote in signed letters to Hamsaduta Dasa, one of the 11 original, rtvik - representatives of the acarya (See point #2 above):

July 10, 1977:

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 "Ritvik" representative of the Acharya, to give initiations, both first and second initiation, on my behalf.

July 31, 1977:

Make your own field and continue to be ritvik and act on my behalf.

Letter from Hamsaduta to Veda Guhya Das:

…It was clear that Srila Prabhupada had officially introduced the concept of "Ritvik 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 ritvik representative of the Acharya."…

5. Srila Prabhupada’s Will (http://pratyatosa.com/?P=3v)

From Srila Prabhupada’s “DECLARATION OF WILL,” June 5, 1977:

…The Governing Body Commission (GBC) will be the ultimate managing authority of the entire International Society for Krishna Consciousness…

…The system of management will continue as it is now and there is no need of any change

…Each new executive director for the ISKCON properties must be my initiated disciple

A person’s “will” is a legal document which goes into effect after the person “dies.” What is to prevent a lawsuit from being filed the second an attempt is made to make someone such as a “grand disciple” a “new executive director for the ISKCON properties” because he is not Srila Prabhupada’s “initiated disciple?”

6. Christian Example

The following morning walk conversation, recorded in Seattle on 10 February 1968, shows that Srila Prabhupada approved of the highly successful Christian system of encouraging their followers to accept Lord Jesus Christ as their spiritual authority through the agency of a rtvik representative (priest or minister):

Madhudvisa: Is there any way for a Christian to, without the help of a spiritual master, to reach the spiritual sky through believing in the words of Jesus Christ and trying to follow his teachings?

Prabhupada: I don’t follow.

Tamala Krsna: Can a Christian in this age, without a spiritual master, but by reading the Bible and following Jesus’s words, reach the…

Prabhupada: When you read Bible, you follow spiritual master. How can you say without? As soon as you read Bible, that means you are following the instruction of Lord Jesus Christ, that means you are following spiritual master. So where is the opportunity of being without spiritual master?

Madhudvisa: I was referring to a living spiritual master.

Prabhupada: Spiritual master is not the question of… Spiritual master is eternal. Spiritual master is eternal. So your question is without spiritual master. Without spiritual master you cannot be, at any stage of your life. You may accept this spiritual master or that spiritual master. That is a different thing. But you have to accept. As you say that “by reading Bible,” when you read Bible that means you are following the spiritual master represented by some priest or some clergyman in the line of Lord Jesus Christ.

7. Ramakrishna Mission Example

Srila Prabhupada’s letter to Kirtanananda, February 11, 1967:

I wish that each and every Branch shall keep their independent identity and cooperate keeping the Acarya in the centre. On this principle we can open any number of Branches all over the world. The Ramakrishna mission works on this principle and thus as organization they have done wonderfully.
The Ramakrishna mission achieves “this principle” that Srila Prabhupada wants to be followed in ISKCON through a rtvik system.

8. Mistake in Our ISKCON Camp

Letter by Srila Prabhupada to Rupanuga Dasa, April 28, 1974:

[Srila Bhaktisiddhanta] never recommended anyone to be acarya of the Gaudiya Math. … If Guru Maharaja could have seen someone who was qualified at that time to be acarya he would have mentioned. Because on the night before he passed away he talked of so many things, but never mentioned an acarya. … Therefore we may not commit the same mistake in our ISKCON camp. … [The members of the Gaudiya Mat;ha] cannot help us in our movement, but they are very competent to harm our natural progress. So we must be very careful about them.

9. “Rtvik. Yes.”

May, 1977: Srila Prabhupada Begins Discussing Rtvik Initiations:

From: Gauridas <Gauridas@*******.com>

Date: Thu, 14 May 1998 05:12:15 EDT

To: Pratyatosa Dasa

Subject: Re: Usenet Ritvik Discussion

In a message dated 98-05-14 02:29:27 EDT, Pratyatosa Dasa writes:

> ROOM CONVERSATION. Vrindavana, May 28, 1977:


> Satsvarupa Maharaja: "Then our next question concerns

> initiations in the future, particularly at that time when you

> are no longer with us. We want to know how first and second

> initiations will be conducted."


> Srila Prabhupada: "Yes. I shall recommend some of you. After

> this is settled up. I shall recommend some of you to act as

> officiating acarya."


> Tamala Krishna Maharaja: "Is that called ritvik-acarya?"


> Srila Prabhupada: "Ritvik. Yes."



> "Ritvik" is not a word which was part of the devotee lexicon

> at that time. Therefore, it is obvious that Srila Prabhupada

> had been talking about "ritviks" on previous occasions which

> were never recorded, or the recordings were hidden or

> destroyed, otherwise how would Tamal Krishna Goswami think to

> ask this question?


> Here is a quote on this subject from "The Betrayal" by Puranjana

> Prabhu:


> "MYSTERIOUS GAPS? There are still mysterious and unaccounted for

> 'time gaps' (missing tapes?) in these conversations. There is no

> small amount of suspicion that some of the 'new gurus' are

> responsible for this. Additionally, GBC’s such as Tamal Krishna

> Swami, Jayadvaita Swami and others sometimes refer to the 'pre-

> May 28th ritvik guru discussions.' However, no public record or

> indeed an existing scrap or trace of these conversations is

> currently available. Where are they?"

I would like to answer this question to the best of my ability.

When Srila Prabhupada said we should be officiating acharyas, Tamal mentioned it because he heard Srila Prabhupada talk about it in the garden days before. I stood before Srila Prabhupada, serving him with the chamara [fan] during this time.

Tamal also admitted to me in a letter that the guru issue was "fraught with errors". (TKG letter to GPD)

If the "Final Order" is too intellectual for some of your readers, then I recommend that they read my historical account of the facts in chronological order. I compiled it recently, and I call it "On My Behalf".

Your servant, Gauridasa Pandita Dasa

10. Unprecedented Technology

One thing that sets Srila Prabhupada apart from all of the other great saints of history is the fact that he left us not only his books, but also, audio and video recordings of his exact words. All of these recordings have been carefully transcribed into digital form. All of Srila Prabhupada’s books, lectures, conversations, letters, etc. can be digitally copied in a few minutes with no possibility of changes being made. This is certainly a great boon for this planet for the next 10,000 years, which, Srila Prabhupada said, will be a “golden age.”

11. Unprecedented Policies

If authorizing rtvik initiations on his behalf, after his physical departure, is unprecedented in our line of Vaisnavas and cannot be supported by quotes from shastra (scriptures), so what? Srila Prabhupada also did many other things that are unprecedented in our Brahma-Gaudiya Vaisnava line of disciplic succession:

a. Crossing over the ocean as a sannyasi.

b. Allowing his disciples to chant only 16 rounds a day instead of 64.

c. Authorizing rtvik initiations on his behalf before his physical departure.

d. Performing marriage ceremonies as a sannyasi.

e. Giving Gayatri mantra initiation to women.

f. Traveling by air as a sannyasi.

g. Allowing men and women to live together in the temple building.

h. Allowing women to lead kirtanas.

i. Allowing women to give the Bhagavatam class.

j. Allowing women to hold responsible positions of leadership within the movement.

12. Witness Testimony


Date: 02/08/2000

Author: harinam <harinam@********.net

Hare Krishna Pratyatosh,

One more important piece of evidence that recently became public is Srila Puri Maharaja's video taped interview in which he confirms that Srila Prabhupada did explain to him his plan for ritvik representatives initiating on his behalf after his physical disappearance.

The video is available for $19.95 at 1-800-310-video.

Thanks for taking the time to explain to all the anti-ritvik vadis in the land of oz. I have done it on this board, VNN, and elsewhere many times. Now there is a respectable witness (SP's godbrother) to Srila Prabhupada's ritvik plan and we will see the deviants in ISKCON looking more and more stupid. No one can say we did not warn them as far back as 1978.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

13. It’s Offensive to Discipline a Real Guru

Posted on www.hindu-religion.net, September 17, 2003, by “Guest”:

The bottom line of the [ISKCON guru] issue is whether or not any guru is subjected to the dictates and discipline of the GBC. The fact that Prabhupada established the GBC as the Governing Authority for ISKCON rules out the possibility of any diksha gurus in ISKCON except him. Prabhupada ruled out the diksha guru system in ISKCON by saying that a bona-fide spiritual master is never subjected to the discipline or restrictions of a GBC or anyone else. The fact that the GBC is in the position of having to regulate and restrict the activities of the ISKCON gurus shows that indeed there can be no gurus in ISKCON except Prabhupada. A real guru is never subjected to the control and discipline of any committee, Godbrother, disciple or anyone else. Sri Guru is a free agent independent of committee regulation or control. ISKCON clearly has a whole set of rules and laws that regulate, discipline and restrict all the diksha gurus in ISKCON. This situation is clearly in violation of the teachings of Srila Prabhupada. We find his instructions in the matter in the Nectar of Instruction text 6 purport:

"It is also an offense to consider an empowered Vaishnava an object of disciplinary action. It is offensive to try to give him advice or to correct him…The spiritual master must not be subjected to the advice of a disciple, nor should a spiritual master be obliged to take instructions from those who are not his disciples. This is the sum and substance of Srila Rupa Goswami's advice in this sixth verse."

Srila Prabhupada is saying here that in the Rupanuga sampradaya a spiritual master should not be subjected to the discipline or regulations of any committee, individual or group of individuals. A real spiritual master is not subject to such regulation.

Therefore, by establishing the GBC as the managing authority of ISKCON, Srila Prabhupada ruled out the possibility of a multiplicity of gurus in ISKCON by making the GBC the functioning authority over all ISKCON affairs. In ISKCON today there is a class of spiritual masters who are all subjected to the regulation and discipline of the GBC. This is totally incongruent with the concept of a traditional spiritual master who is above and beyond all such committee regulation.

Prabhupada said it is an offense to try and discipline or regulate a spiritual master. Therefore either the regulating of ISKCON spiritual masters by the GBC must stop or [the ISKCON] diksha guru system must stop. Refusing to do so results in offenses which will destroy devotional service and make [devotional service] fruitless and futile.

14. It’s Offensive to Say that Prabhupada Left Things Unclear

“When Srila Prabhupada was here, if the temple president recommended you to be initiated, then you got initiated. If he didn’t, then you didn’t. It was as simple as that. This is the way it should be today.” (“Srila Prabhupada Left Things Unclear? No!!!” - http://www.pratyatosa.com/?P=t):

“…to say that Srila Prabhupada was negligent in regards to making it extremely clear how initiations were to be continued in post-samadhi ISKCON is a very great offense against my Guru Maharaja, Srila Prabhupada!” (“The GBC Can’t Have It Both Ways” - http://www.pratyatosa.com/?P=y)

15. I Shall Never Die

He reasons ill who tells that Vaisnavas die, when thou are living still in sound.

Science of Self Realization Introduction by Mukunda Dasa Gosvami:

"I shall never die.", Srila Prabhupada’s once said. "I shall live forever in my books."

Anytime one of Srila Prabhupada’s disciples would ask him for permission to initiate, Prabhupada would tell him that as a matter of etiquette, he should wait until Prabhupada was no longer present. Because Srila Prabhupada is never going to leave us, I take this as a polite way of telling him “I don’t want anyone else taking on disciples on his own behalf in my institution.”

16. Self Motivation and Bad Association

Are the above fifteen points not obvious? Even an intelligent karmi can understand, in a few minutes, that Srila Prabhupada prescribed rtvik initiations for the future of ISKCON. It’s crystal clear. It’s all there in signed, written documents (See #2 and #5 above). After reading the above fifteen points, if someone still tries to make Srila Prabhupada’s own terminology (rtvik) into a dirty word, or tries to say that Srila Prabhupada left things unclear or subject to debate, or tries to vilify the proponents of Srila Prabhupada’s own idea, the rtvik system of initiations, then he can be understood to:

a. …have the “I wanna be a guru” disease, or he is influenced by those who have the disease. In other words, he is self-motivated.

b. …have disobeyed Srila Prabhupada by hearing from members of the Gaudiya Matha (http://pratyatosa.com/?P=1z), or by associating with those who have heard from the Gaudiya Matha.

Prabhupada said in a signed, written document:

We shall be very careful about them and not mix with them. THIS IS MY INSTRUCTION TO YOU ALL. They cannot help us in our movement, but they are very competent to harm our natural progress. So we must be very careful about them.

What could be more clear than this? Prabhupada made it very clear that we should not hear from them in an way, shape, or form, for fear that we might become contaminated/bewildered. Brahmananda Prabhu, former GBC man and ISKCON’s first temple president, confirmed to me very recently that it’s very important not to hear from them.


From an initiation lecture by Srila Prabhupada in Boston, December 26, 1969:

[Krsna consciousness] is simple for the simple, but it is very hard for the crooked.

I firmly believe that the simple, straightforward logic which I have presented above will very easily stand up in any court of law in the world, what to speak of the court of public opinion.

If a disciple of Srila Prabhupada is actually qualified to be an independent diksa (initiating) guru, and he has that desire, then he can start his own institution, like Srila Prabhupada did, so what’s the problem?

Your servant, Pratyatosa Dasa (ACBSP)

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