Some of our readers may or my not be familiar with the famous July 9th Letter; which was Srila Prabhupada’s final instruction on initiation. This is also the main point of contention in the Battle over ISKCON Bangalore. ISKCON Bangalore’s position is that Srila Prabhupada is the Founder-Acarya of ISKCON, and will continue to give diksha (initition) through the process of Rittik initiation, and guide all devotees in ISKCON to the abode of Lord Sri Krishna. Whereas ISKCON Mumbai’s position is that since Srila Prabhupada is no longer physically present, one should take diksa (initiation) from one of the present ISKCON gurus.
I applaud the devotees of ISKCON Bangalore in their Struggle for Truth, and their courageous stand for honesty and justice.
July 9th Letter Text
July 9th, 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 “rittik”-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 Prabhupad, the above eleven senior devotees acting as His representative. After the Temple President receives a letter from these representatives giving the spiritual name or the thread, he can perform the fire yajna in the temple as was being done before. The name of a newly initiated disciple should be sent by the representative who has accepted him or her to Srila Prabhupada, to be included in His Divine Grace’s “Initiated Disciples” book.
Hoping this finds you all well.
Tamala Krsna Gosvami
Secretary to Srila Prabhupada
Approved: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
[Srila Prabhupada's signature appears on the original]