An Honest moment
  • June 2004

    Tamla Krsna Maharaja: "I've had a certain realization a few days ago.(...) There are obviously so many statements by Srila Prabhupada that his Guru Maharaja did not appoint any successors.(...) Even in Srila Prabhupada's books he says guru means by qualification.(...)

    The inspiration came because there was a questioning on my part, so Krishna spoke. 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 interpreted the appointment of ritviks as the appointment of gurus.

    What actually happened I'll explain. I explained it but the interpretation is wrong. What actually happened was that Prabhupada mentioned he might be appointing some ritviks, so the GBC met for various reasons, and they went to Prabhupada, five or six of us. (This refers to the meeting of May 1977,). We asked him, 'Srila Prabhupada, after your departure, if we accept disciples, whose disciples will they be, your disciples or mine?'

    Later on there was a piled up list of people to get initiated, and it was jammed up. I said, 'Srila Prabhupada, you once mentioned about ritviks. I don't know what to do. We don't want to approach you, but there's hundreds of devotees named, and I'm just holding all the letters. I don't know what you want to do'.

    Srila Prabhupada said, 'All right, I will appoint so many...' and he started to name them. He made it very clear that they are his disciples. At that point it was very clear in my mind that they were his disciples. Later on I asked him two questions, one: 'What about Brahmananda Swami?'. I asked him this because I happened to have an affection for Brahmananda Swami.(...) So Srila Prabhupada said, 'No, not unless he is qualified'. Before I got ready to type the letter, I asked him, two: 'Srila Prabhupada is this all or do you want to add more?'. He said, 'As is necessary, others may be added.'

    Now I understand that what he did was very clear. He was physically incapable of performing the function of initiation; therefore he appointed officiating priests to initiate on his behalf. He appointed eleven, and he said very clearly, 'Whoever is nearest can initiate'. This is very important because when it comes to initiating, it isn't whoever is nearest, it's wherever your heart goes. Who (you) repose your faith on, you take initiation from him. But when it's officiating, it's whoever is nearest, and he was very clear. He named them. They were spread out all over the world, and he said, 'Whoever your nearest, you just approach that person, and they'll check you out. Then, on my behalf, they'll initiate.' It is not a question that you repose your faith in that person - nothing. That's a function for the guru.

    'In order for me to manage this movement', Prabhupada said, 'i have to form a GBC and I will appoint the following people. In order to continue the process of people joining our movement and getting initiated, I have to appoint some priests to help me because(...) I cannot physically manage everyone myself.'

    And that's all it was, and it was never any more than that, you can bet your bottom dollar that Prabhupada would have spoken for days and hours and weeks on end about how to set up this thing with the gurus, because he had already said it a million times. He said: My Guru Maharaja did not appoint anyone. It's by qualification.' We made a great mistake. After Prabhupada's departure what is the position of these eleven people?(...)

    Prabhupada showed that it is not just sannyasis. He named two people who were grihastas, who could at least be ritviks, showing that they were equal to any sannyasi. So anyone who is spiritually qualified - it's always been understood that you cannot accept disciples in the presence of your guru, but when the guru disappears, you can accept disciples if you are qualified and someone can repose their faith. Of course, they (prospective disciples) should be fully appraised at how to distinguish who is a proper guru. But if you are a proper guru, and your guru is no longer present, that is your right. It's like a man can procreate(...) Unfortunately the GBC did not recognise this point. They immediately (assumed, decided) that these eleven people are the selected gurus. I can definitely say for myself, and for which I humbly beg forgiveness from everybody, that there was definitely some degree of trying to control(...) This is the conditioned nature, and it came out in the highest position of all, 'Guru, oh wonderful! Now I am guru, and there is only eleven of us'(...).

    I feel that this realization or this understanding is essential if we are to avoid further things from happening, because, believe me, it's going to repeat. It's just a question of time until things have a little bit faded out and again another incident is going to happen, whether it's here in L.A. or somewhere else. It's going to continuously happen until you allow the actual spiritual force of Krishna to be exhibited without restriction.(...) I feel that the GBC body, if they don't adopt this point very quickly, if they don't realize this truth. 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.(...) The day you got initiated you get the right to be come a father when your father disappears, if you are qualified. No appointment. It doesn't require an appointment, because there isn't one.
  • June 2004
    I read with interest Rukmini-Devi-Dasi's post, I think it is an excellent confession,but why did Tamal Krishna not correct himself by resiging his position as guru,and as he wrote this in 1980 ,why has it taken so long to come into the public, As this is now the case that all ISKCON gurus have hoisted the biggest spiritual disception on the religious world,what shelter can sincere devotees come under now,some say you only need Prabhupada but then we might as well be christians,as how can you follow the example of Krishna who is the Absolute Truth submitted to a guru Himself, I hope I get a final answer to these problems. thank you.
  • June 2004
    The fact is that Tamala's position of guru had been taken away from him just before he confessed to this extreme deception that had been perpetrated by the self appointed unauthorized "gurus". My question is how can guru be stripped of his position? If guru is a pure devotee he can not fall nor can you "fire" him and take away his guru abilities.

    This was made public years ago but of course, iskCON is not going to put it on the temple bookselves for all to read! :D The deeper in ignorance they can keep the devotees the better for them.

    The rest of your questions are purely common sense. Prabhupada set up the system that we are to follow - the ritvik system several years before His passing and He never authorized this system to end. Sincere devotees understand this and never doubt the instructions of Srila Prabhupada nor do they second guess Him, jumping over guru to concoct their own methods to gain fame and disciples of their own.

    Don't get caught up in the word play - your questions are openly answered by Srila Prabhupada. Srila Prabhupada set up a simple system for us to follow. Unauthorized gurus make it difficult by creating doubts.

    Best to spend your time reading only Srila Prabhupada's unedited and unchanged writings and listening to Srila Prabhupada speak than sitting in chat rooms listening to speculations and concocted lectures by the unauthorized bogus gurus.

    Visit this link for more info:

    and sincerely read Prabhupada's unedited unchanged books with an open heart. Your simple questions are all answered in them by Srila Prabhupada.

    Also read this account from another thread on this forum:

    And while you are at it - reread TKG's confession. I think you missed some details.

    Until you read the evidence and Prabhupada's books with an open heart and stop depending on the Paltalk chat rooms for your info then there is nothing more that can be said.


    I read with interest Rukmini-Devi-Dasi's post, I think it is an excellent confession,but why did Tamal Krishna not correct himself by resiging his position as guru,and as he wrote this in 1980 ,why has it taken so long to come into the public, As this is now the case that all ISKCON gurus have hoisted the biggest spiritual disception on the religious world,what shelter can sincere devotees come under now,some say you only need Prabhupada but then we might as well be christians,as how can you follow the example of Krishna who is the Absolute Truth submitted to a guru Himself, I hope I get a final answer to these problems. thank you.
  • June 2004
    It’s becoming increasing clear to me that the main issue we have here, is not the particular brand of logic we embrace, or is it the particular camp we align with, but the important issue facing us in Iskcon today, is how to deconstruct the barriers we’ve built between all the various members of different camps in Iskcon. Visoka dasa (11-10-02)

    These barriers are manifest in the form of Vaisnava aparadha in various levels. The real problem is not our inability in VC [and Iskcon] to come to a unified agreement on guru tattva points, but our main task is to restore Vaisnava respect and love and acceptance for all members of Srila Prabhupada’s family, because we ALL love and worship Srila Prabhupada!

    For example, we have a certain number of Vaisnavas living in the same area of the world, like in LA for example. Yet, when certain Vaisnavas happen to meet on the street, it is often that such Vaisnavas will feel some level of contempt for the other Vaisnava, even though they may appear cordial on the outside. This is perpetual Vaisnava aparadha on some kind of level. I don’t think I can live with this kind of reality.

    When a new man or woman comes to our society, they are eventually confronted with this guru-tattva issue, and they invariably are forced to commit offenses to other Vaisnavas, who are worshipping Lord Krishna and Srila Prabhupada. This is sucking the very life out of all of us. Everyone loses, especially the Vaisnava who feels contempt for another Vaisnava, which is Vaisnava aparadha, and is drying up his/her spiritual life. So, the basic problem we have is not how we agree on logic on all these points, but how we can bring about peace in our society and stop offenses to devotees.

    So, addressing your point here. You have the logic that Srila Prabhupada is ‘only’ saying that only HE can order such gurus [and not to jump to guru]. We can see it that way. But others in Iskcon are going to see it in another way, which can be valid. This being that Srila Prabhupada is making ASSERTIVE statements, when he says, ‘granddisciple’, and ‘he becomes disciple of my disciple’ and ‘you become guru’ and so forth. They see these as assertive statements. In a way, they are being straightforward about it.

    And then we may tell them, "Well prabhu, you have to start with logical premise #1, and then you progress to logical point #2, and that connects to point #3, and that means point #4, and therefore, you cannot understand #4, our conclusion, without this line of logic from #1 to #4." Thus, we are asking them to jump through all these logic hoops and then accept our siddhanta. But all these people are set in their ways, and they aren’t going to jump through our logical hoops in order to defeat something they think is dear to them.

    So we have it with the ritviks, they are attached to their understanding. And we have the ‘regular guru’ group being attached to their understanding. Then the IRM are attached to their understanding. So on, so on. And each group is hotly arguing and insisting that all the others should and must accept their arguments, and if they don’t, they are going to cram these arguments down their throats until they surrender. And if they don’t, they’re going to hell, etc. Well, this just isn’t going to happen! We have to deal with reality here. The rank and file of Iskcon is set in their particular propaganda that the ‘living guru’ is the only way, and those ritviks are deviants, etc.

    I have considered this problem, and came up with the main reason we are forced to offend each other. I call this false premise #1.

    False premise #1- Each side is thinking that the other side’s position is the product of a wicked and demented mind. Each side thinks there’s no validity what-so-ever in the other position, and only evil can come from such a position. They think that only fools and rascals can possibly accept the other path. They think the other position is not supported by the words of Srila Prabhupada.

    When you think about it, each side of the wall is thinking in this way. Especially the Iskcon rank, they are thinking that the ritviks are deviant heretics. This is what they’ve been taught. The ritvik position has been described as a ‘very dangerous philosophy.’ And likewise, the ritvik camp thinks the devotees in Iskcon are deviant also. Somehow, we have to deconstruct this false premise. Why is the #1 premise false? Because, either side can find Srila Prabhupada’s words to support either side, and it seems that both sides are looking at those words in a straightforward manner. In other words, either side has "reasonable cause" to think and believe the way they do.

    So what is the way out of this predicament? It’s simple psychology. We need to examine how people think and why they think the way they do. Like I said above, the Iskcon rank are thinking these statements by Srila Prabhupada are assertive statements, which are saying that Srila Prabhupada is ‘going’ to order ‘regular gurus.’ And they think this is what he has done. They have become very attached to this position. All our arguments are not going to budge them from their position. The only thing we can do at this point is to see the other point of view and ask them to do the same.

    If we can establish that both sides have "reasonable cause" for their position, or the simple fact that they, Iskcon ranks, accept these statements as assertive statements, then we can somewhat accept the their position, in that their view is logically acceptable to them, and to sane and rational persons, and then start the deconstruction of the barriers. Likewise, when they use the same psychology, then they will see that the so-called ritviks ALSO have "reasonable cause" to see the 7/9 and 5/28 points in a straightforward manner, which is logically acceptable to any sane and rational person. When both sides can come to the understanding that the other side is seeing Srila Prabhupada’s words in an honest straightforward way, then the healing can begin.

    Then we can perhaps come to the point of acceptance of both positions and both live in harmony, in Srila Prabhupada’s house he made for everyone. Devotees can go to the temple without feeling contempt for other devotees.

    Also, we may do well to read and discuss Dhira Govinda’s booklet, "Srila Prabhupada: The Prominent Link." He explains in this book how Srila Prabhupada will be the ‘current link’ to the parampara for the existence of his movement, even though some will accept initiation from ‘regular gurus.’ I find it to be very logical and useful for the deconstruction of the above false premise and resultant offenses.

    So, haribol Yaduraja prabhu, I’ll try to say more later, maybe tomorrow, and meanwhile I’d like to answer Madhuvisa prabhu next,

    Ys visoka dasa
  • June 2004
    Ritvik Defined


    — Currently the term "ritvik" is used to refer to 1.) devotees of a
    particular camp, 2.) the ideas and convictions of "ritvik" devotees, and
    3.) the "officiating acarya" who initiates on behalf of the spiritual
    master. I will try to offer guidelines for understanding the word
    "ritvik" according to Srila Prabhupada and the current usage among

    Regarding the third usage mentioned above, in Srimad-Bhagavatam
    (8.16.53), Srila Prabhupada defines "ritvik" (rtvijah) as "the priests
    recommended by the spiritual master". In this instance ritviks are
    defined as the deputed priests of the spiritual master. They preside
    over a Vedic ritual meant for the worship of Lord Visnu
    (visnu-aradhana). The initiation ritual observed in ISKCON is a
    standard Vedic ceremony, and it may be performed by ritviks, who
    officiate on behalf of the Acarya. This understanding and practice was
    clearly established by Srila Prabhupada personally, and there should be
    no controversy regarding the definition or function of the ritvik
    priest. The new initiates offer dakshina and service to the mission of
    the guru, and the priests may also receive some token honor or reward
    for their services, according to Vedic custom. (In ISKCON Srila
    Prabhupada would either receive the guru dakshina personally and use it
    for a global ISKCON project or for his traveling expenses, or he would
    give money to the BBT or some other important or needy branch of his
    preaching mission. He never said that priests representing ISKCON should
    receive money or expensive gifts for their services. Nor did he say they
    should assume positions of absolute authority and accept worship as
    gurus. )

    The same system of ritviks is there in the Madhva monasteries of
    Dakshina Kannada in South India. At least externally, all leaders and
    followers in ISKCON remain on the same level in the sense that everyone
    serves the common aims of the Movement and follows the rules of the
    institution. The more personal realization is that we all remain as
    menial servants of Srila Prabhupada. No one in ISKCON should be free to
    act independently or to personally control or own the assets and
    services of other devotees. An ISKCON temple president or successful
    preacher has some autonomy, and he may naturally command the respect or
    following of a congregation or community of devotees, but his authority
    over other devotees is derived from the Society and Srila Prabhupada. It
    is a relative authority, with checks and balances. No leadership role in
    ISKCON invests individuals with absolute authority in the lives of other
    devotees. Thus it should be self-evident that leading preachers who
    offer initiation on behalf of ISKCON are representatives of the guru.
    They are not the guru. They are ritviks of the guru. It was recently
    wrongly suggested on VNN by a senior devotee that ritviks are a type of
    acarya or diksa-guru who comes under the authority of the institution
    and initiates his own disciples on behalf of the institution. This idea
    is contradictory, speculative and against sastra. Srila Prabhupada
    already defined officiating acaryas as ritviks who initiate disciples on
    behalf of the spiritual master.

    Srila Prabhupada never created any special status for "officiating
    acaryas." Their function as ritivks is to assure that Srila Prabhupada
    requirements are met before a student is formally accepted for
    initiation in ISKCON. Like all senior initiated disciples, they are
    meant to be teachers by their practical example. They have accepted an
    added responsibility, an added burden on behalf of Srila Prabhupada.
    Their burden is to assure that Srila Prabhupada's standards for
    initiation are preserved in ISKCON. (Srila Prabhupada's July 9th
    directive sent to every leader in ISKCON mentions three times that all
    devotees are Srila Prabhupada's disciples and that the deputed ritviks
    offer initiation on behalf of Srila Prabhupada. This same instruction
    was repeated by Srila Prabhupada several times additionally after July
    9th in letters, documents, and instructions.) Ritviks are the priests
    authorized by the spiritual master or his institution to accept students
    on behalf of ISKCON and Srila Prabhupada. Srila Prabhupada made this
    perfectly clear. This understanding of the procedure Prabhupada
    prescribed is consistent with references to ritviks mentioned in Srila
    Prabhupada's books.

    "Ritvik" (or "ritvik-vada") is also a term used to describe the
    convictions of devotees who accept Srila Prabhupada's July 9th directive
    and insist that ISKCON leaders follow it. Often devotees opposed to
    Srila Prabhupada's system for initiations deliberately use the term
    "ritvik-vada" for the negative connotation this seems to imply. (For
    instance, the ideas of the sunyavadas, mayavadas, and advaitavadas are
    condemned by Vaisnava acaryas.) In truth, the term "vada" has no
    negative conotation. It refers to a philosophical system. There exists
    no such philosophy as "ritvik-vada". Acceptance of a specific procedure
    for conducting a Vedic ritual in no way constitutes a "vada", or
    philosophical system. If someone insists on calling ritvik a "vada", he
    could use a more fitting term, such as "Prabhupada-vada." Devotees of
    the "ritvik camp" believe that all of Srila Prabhupada's orders are
    perfect and should be accepted as such by those who claim to be his
    disciples -- particularly those who are leaders in ISKCON.

    Ritvik devotees come from all backgrounds. Among them there may be
    various camps or clubs. Not all of them may be purely motivated, but at
    least they understand that Srila Prabhupada's order should remain as law
    in ISKCON. Leading ritviks devotees, many of whom hold responsible
    posts in ISKCON, share the same ideals. They are committed to reforming
    Iskcon, and all believe such reform should be on the basis of accepting
    Srila Prabhupada and all of his instructions without challenge. They do
    not accept the gbc's argument that great Vaisnavas and Vaisnava acaryas
    become deviated or fallen sometimes and that this "fact" shows how it is
    possible for iskcon "gurus" to fall down. Generally ritviks will all
    agree 1.) Vaisnava acaryas are infallible and never fallen. 2.) Fallible
    students of Krsna consciousness, sahjiyas, and immoral persons can never
    be diksa-gurus, nor could they have ever been. 3.) One needs a direct
    order from Srila Prabhupada to initiate ones own disciples. 4.) Srila
    Prabhupada's system of ritvik initiations is the best, most practical,
    and most authorized system for initiations. 5.) Everyone should be
    encouraged to accept Srila Prabhupada as their sad-guru.

    Ritviks do not accept the GBC's idea that Srila Prabhupada's
    disappearance gives the GBC a right to sanction or regulate diksa-gurus.
    Ritviks understand that according to the definitions in Srila
    Prabhupada's books, the diksa-guru must be a self-realized soul who is
    specifically ordered by Lord Caitanya or His representative to initiate.
    They understand that a great personality like Srila Prabhupada is never
    limited by formalities, by the external material energies, or by Vedic
    traditions. Ritviks understand that there is no scriptural injunction or
    truth of Vedic science that would prohibit a Vaisnava acarya from
    accepting disciples after his departure.

    It is often wrongly implied or even flatly stated by iskcon leaders that
    ritviks believe Srila Prabhupada is the last Gaudiya Vaisnava guru in
    Kali-yuga or the last pure devotee. Ritviks are even accused of wanting
    to stop the parampara system. This is a false accusation. Ritviks insist
    only that in ISKCON Srila Prabhupada's system for initiations be
    followed strictly. They say that following all instructions of Srila
    Prabhupada ensures that ISKCON will remain pure and potent. They ask,
    "Why would following Srila Prabhupada's instruction to initiate on his
    behalf cause an end to the parampara?" There is obviously no answer to
    this question. The formalities for conducting initiation ceremonies in
    ISKCON have little to do with the way transcendental knowledge is
    transmitted and received. Therefore, the term "ritvik-vada" or "ritvik
    heresy" has no meaning.

    The attempt of certain persons to degrade the transcendental Vedic term
    "rtvijah" or "ritvik" to a derogatory word is one more example of
    offenses that have entered iskcon due to our neglect of Srila
    Prabhupada's advice. In Vedic culture, a ritvik is an exalted priest.
    Such priests were often endowed with siddhis and respected as gurus, yet
    they never pretended to be as good as Lord Hari. By the order of the
    Acarya, the rtvijah recites the mantras that request the presence of
    Lord Visnu in the fire of Vedic sacrifice (agni-hotra), and he then
    makes offerings to the Supreme Lord according to Vedic sastra. The
    rtvijah performs an exalted function. He is a pure brahmin or Vaisnava
    who is never concerned about the political correctness or convenience of
    his stance.
  • June 2004
    There is also a term for the GBC and their sahajiya idea it is called "vapuh-vada," they say you need to worship a living body to go back to Godhead. This is what the sahajiyas teach, you need to worship a living person, nevermind if it is Rajneesh Desai, the local tea house manager, who is "the village guru." And as soon as we said, yes but your "living body" is taking LSD, and he is engaged in illicit sex, then the Danavir, Vipramukhya and GBC class said, "OK, you have to leave, since we exclusively worship a living deviant and place his photo on the altar, next to Krishna and we forbid worship of the pure devotee Srila Prabhupada." And Jayatirtha's last words to me was "watch your back" (we will kill you if you persist in not worship of illicit sex and drugs). That is the Danavir and Vipramukhya/ GBC policy, worship deviants and "watch your back" if you want to worship Krishna's pure devotee. This is why the Isopanisad says these false gurus are the most dangerous elements in human society, they worship deviants and watch your back if you worship Prabhupada, they are also violent against devotees. thanks pd