Letter on Initiation

Letter to Hansadutta

I read this letter today, by Srila Prabhupada to Hamsadutta Prabhu, written in 1973, putting in practice, the process of ritvik initiation (although we did not have a name for it then, it was simply how it was done); “…Please accept my blessings. I am in due receipt of your letter dated April 7, 1973 and am pleased to accept the following boys and girls as my initiated disciples.

I am also enclosing Gayatri Mantras for the 14 disciples and 10 sacred threads duly chanted upon by me for the men disciples. You show them how to count on the fingers, and let them hear the mantra chanted by me on the tape through the right ear.”

What I find interesting is how devotees today will decry and belittle the Ritvik Process of initiation, but this was how the initiations were performed in the early days of our movement. The majority of disciples, initiated by Srila Prabhupada when he was personally present, received initiation exactly as it was described in above letter. We almost all recieved Ritvik initiation from Srila Prabhupada. I know I did.

Anyway, food for thought.

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The Secret of Success in Spiritual Life

Srila Prabhupada, Secret of Success in Spiritual Life

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“The Words of the Spiritual Master”
by Ananda devi dasi

“Believing in the words of His Spiritual Master, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu introduced the Sankirtana movement, just as the present Krishna Consciousness movement was started with belief in the words of our Spiritual Master. He wanted to preach, we believed in his words and tried somehow or other to fulfill them, and now this movement has become successful all over the world. Therefore faith in the words of the Spiritual Master and the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the secret of success. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu never disobeyed the orders of His Spiritual Master and stopped propagating the Sankirtana movement.

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami, at the time of his passing away, ordered all his disciples to work conjointly to preach the message of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu all over the world. Later, however, some self-interested, foolish disciples disobeyed his orders. Each one wanted to become head of the mission, and they fought in the courts, neglecting the orders of their Spiritual Master, and the entire mission was defeated. We are not proud of this, however the truth must be explained. We believed in the words of our Spiritual Master and started in a humble way-in a helpless way – but due to the spiritual force of the Supreme Authority, this movement has become successful.” (From the Chaitanya Charitamrita written and presented by Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, Srila Prabhupada Cc Adi 7.95-96)

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Hare Krishna!

Lord Sri Krishna with Cows

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We will be away for a couple of weeks, but leave you with this beautiful image of Lord Sri Krishna and a short book entitled “Prabhupada”

click on link to veiw or save Prabhupada

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Because He Has Got A Little Independence

Srila Prabhupada

The following is a very famous room conversation that took place in 1976. It contains some very important lessons.

Acyutānanda: What prompts the soul to misuse his independence or improperly use…?

Prabhupāda: Because he has got little independence. Yathecchasi tathā, he has got this.

Acyutānanda: Why do some misuse it and some never misuse it?

Prabhupāda: That depends on him. If one is determined that “I shall only act according to the advice of my Guru Mahārāja,” then he’s perfect. One has to submit like Arjuna said, śiṣyas te ‘haṁ śādhi māṁ prapannam [Bg. 2.7]. Otherwise he’ll argue….

Devotee: Even nitya-siddha has guru.

Yaśomatīnandana: Even the liberated soul, nitya-siddha.

Prabhupāda: Liberated soul never says that “I am liberated.” As soon as he says “liberated,” he’s a rascal. A liberated soul will never say that “I am liberated.” That is liberated. Caitanya Mahāprabhu, He is God—guru more mūrkha dekhi’ karila śāsan [Cc. Ādi 7.71]. “My Guru Mahārāja saw Me a fool number one, and he has chastised Me.” He’s God. This is the example. If one remains always a servant ever-lastingly of guru, then he is liberated. And as soon as he thinks that he is liberated, he’s a rascal. That is the teaching of Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Guru more mūrkha dekhi’. Caitanya Mahāprabhu is mūrkha? Why He’s posing Himself that mūrkha? “I am fool number one.” That means that is liberation. You must be ready always to be chastised by guru. Then he’s liberated. And as soon as he thinks that “I am beyond this chastisement, I am liberated,” he’s a rascal. Why Caitanya Mahāprabhu says guru more mūrkha dekhi’ karila śāsan? This is sahajiyā-vāda. He is thinking, “Oh I have become liberated. I don’t require any direction of my guru. I’m liberated.” Then he’s rascal. Why this Gauḍīya Maṭha failed? Because they tried to become more than guru. He, before passing away, he gave all direction and never said that “This man should be the next ācārya.” But these people, just after his passing away they began to fight, who shall be ācārya. That is the failure. They never thought, “Why Guru Mahārāja gave us instruction so many things, why he did not say that this man should be ācārya?” They wanted to create artificially somebody ācārya and everything failed. They did not consider even with common sense that if Guru Mahārāja wanted to appoint somebody as ācārya, why did he not say? He said so many things, and this point he missed? The real point? And they insist upon it. They declared some unfit person to become ācārya. Then another man came, then another, ācārya, another ācārya. So better remain a foolish person perpetually to be directed by Guru Mahārāja. That is perfection. And as soon as he learns the Guru Mahārāja is dead, “Now I am so advanced that I can kill my guru and I become guru.” Then he’s finished. (from room conversation August 16, 1976)

Full Conversation More

The Guru Issue

Hansadutta

My good friend and Godbrother Hansadutta Prabhu, has asked me to post this nice paper written by H.H. Bhakti Charu Swami on “Correcting ISKCON’s Guru System”, and his reply. Both the article and response have been alive in cyberspace for some time now, but the the Truth bears repeating.

Response to Bhakti Caru Swami
by Hansadutta das
[Hansadutta’s response was also posted at ISKCON Bangalore’s website]

Dear Bhakti Caru Maharaja,

Please accept my most humble obeisances, all glories to Srila Prabhupada. It’s been some years since we met and associated in person (Mayapur 2003, later in Berkeley, California temple). I think of you often with fond memories. Sometimes you asked me how “The Guru problem might be solved.” We would discuss, but nothing came of it. Now you have publicly posed the issue, so I feel I should make some comments that might shed some light on the matter. Please allow me to go thru your presentation and make some comments.

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Harinama Dikska Written Test Question Paper

BackTo-Godhead-ISKCON-Initiation

Harinama Dikska Question Paper

Sometime back, we published the “Harinama Diksha Reference Material and Study Guide“. Today we share with you the “Harinama Dikska Question Paper”. This was put out by the devotees at ISKCON Bangalore, and is very interesting. I won’t say anymore about it now, other than to say it is worth taking a few minutes to ‘take the test’, by answering the few basic questions.

click on following link

Harinam_Diksha_Question_Paper

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Letters by Srila Prabhupada

Srila Prabhupada letters

In this letter to Mukunda dasa, Srila Prabhupada answers many relevant questions about the qualifications of a bona fide spiritual master.

My Dear Mukunda,

Please accept my blessings. I thank you very much for your letter of June 3, 1969, and I have noted the contents carefully.

…The answer to your Istagosthi questions are as follows: Unless one is a resident of Krishna Loka, one cannot be a Spiritual Master. That is the first proposition. A layman cannot be a Spiritual Master, and if he becomes so then he will simply create disturbance. And who is a liberated person? One who knows Krishna.

…Your next question, whether the Spiritual Master was formerly a conditioned soul, actually a bona fide Spiritual Master is never a conditioned soul. There are three kinds of liberated persons. They are called 1) sadhan siddha, 2) kripa siddha, and 3) nitya siddha. Sadhan siddha means one who has attained perfection by executing the regulative principles of devotional service. Kripa siddha means one who has attained perfection by the special mercy of Krishna and the Spiritual Master, and nitya siddha means one who was never contaminated. The symptoms of nitya siddha is that from the beginning of his life he is attached to Krishna, and he is never tired of rendering service to Krishna. So we have to know what is what by these symptoms.

…You are correct when you say that when the Spiritual Master speaks it should be taken that Krishna is speaking. That is a fact. A Spiritual Master must be liberated. It does not matter if he has come from Krishna Loka or he is liberated from here. But he must be liberated. The science of how one is liberated is explained above, but when one is liberated, there is no need of distinction whether he has come directly from Krishna Loka or from the material world. But in the broader sense everyone comes from Krishna Loka. When one forgets Krishna he is conditioned, when one remembers Krishna he is liberated. I hope this will clear up these points. I hope this will meet you in good health.

Full Letter More

The Rtvik Representative Of The Acharya

Hencefoward poster 1

The following is an article, I have wanted to include for some time now, which was written by Krsnacandra Prabhu and posted on his page Prabhupadvision.com. In light of our recent post entitled Sri Madhu Pandit’s Official Reply to the EC we feel it is timely, and of utmost importance to our society that we understand the issues. Although our page is not intended as a political forum, it is a tool in the mission of our spiritual master, for the propagation of The Hare Krishna Movement or Krishna Consciousness.

Now that Śrīla Prabhupāda has named these representatives Temple Presidents may henceforward send recommendations for first and second initiation to whichever of these eleven representatives are nearest their Temple.

After considering the recommendation, these representatives many accept the devotee as an initiated disciple of Śrīla Prabhupāda by giving a spiritual name, or in the case of a second initiation, by chanting on the Gāyatrī thread just as Śrīla Prabhupāda had done.

The name of a newly initiated disciple should be sent by the representative who has accepted him or her to Śrīla Prabhupāda, to be included in Divine Grace’s “Initiated Disciples” book. (from July 9th letter)

The Rtvik Representative Of The Acharya
by Kṛṣṇacandra Dāsa – Vṛndāvan:

Shortly after His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Śrīla Prabhupāda entered into his Samādhi līlā in 1977; 11 of his senior disciples and members of the GBC who held the official position of representatives of His Divine Grace in 1st and 2nd spiritual initiations [as per July 9th Document], without authority and without an order by His Divine Grace announced themselves to be pure devotees of the Lord and forcibly seized the titles, roles and functions of acharyas and Initiating Spiritual Masters of ISKCON.

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Sri Madhu Pandit Dasa’s Official Reply to EC

Madhu Pandit das

This is the ongoing dispute between ISKCON Bangalore and ISKCON Mumbai with Sri Madhu Pandit Dasa’s official reply to EC, followed by the EC Letter to Madhu Pandit Dasa. Hopefully all this will be settleded up someday, and devotees can go back to serving the mission of Srila Prabhupada and Lord Caitanya, and work together again in the spirit of cooperation.

Sri Madhu Pandit Dasa’s official reply to EC
By: Madhu Pandit Dasa, Bangalore.

Dear Tamohara prabhu, Anuttama prabhu, and Praghosa prabhu,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

We beg to acknowledge your letter dated 27th Oct 2013 addressed to three of us. I had immediately replied to your above letter on 28th October stating that we will respond to it soon. I noticed several discrepancies vis-a-vis what transpired in the meeting as you have stated. There were many things in the your letter which did not represent accurately and completely what transpired in our discussion in Chennai with HH Jayapataka Swami, HH Bhanu Swami and Dayaram Das. Probably it is due to miscommunication and partial communication from the source where you got the information (from one of the bureau members). It is understandable considering that it is second hand information and those who presented it also probably wanted to dilute it hoping against hope for some serious reforms in ISKCON and was shooting off our shoulders to achieve the same.

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Approaching a Bona Fide Guru

Srila Prabhupada with books

The following is chapter four in our series on the Teaching of Lord Kapila entitled “Approaching a Bona Fide Guru”. This is a nice chapter for anyone who is serious about receiving spiritual knowledge, and interested to know the process. We are fortunate in this age to have the books of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada to guide us. Human knowledge was originally preserved through oral tradition, but today we have this knowledge preserved in the books of His Divine Grace.

Any person who seriously desires to achieve real happiness must seek out a bona fide spiritual master… (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 11.3.21)

…A bona fide guru does not impart some self-styled, concocted knowledge; his knowledge is standard and received from the paramparā system. He is also firmly fixed in the service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead (brahma-niṣṭham). These are his two qualifications: he must have heard the Vedic knowledge through the disciplic succession, and he must be established in service to the Supreme Lord.

Teachings of Lord Kapila, the Son of Devahūti
By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda
Chapter Four

Approaching a Bona Fide Guru

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With All the Humility at My Command

Srila Prabhupada

Personally, I have no hope for any direct service for the coming crores of births of the sojourn of my life, but I am confident that some day or other I shall be delivered from this mire of delusion in which I am at present so deeply sunk. Therefore let me with all my earnestness pray at the lotus feet of my divine master to allow me to suffer the lot for which I am destined due to my past misdoings, but to let me have this power of recollection: that I am nothing but a tiny servant of the Almighty Absolute Godhead, realized through the unflinching mercy of my divine master. Let me therefore bow down at his lotus feet with all the humility at my command. -Abhay Charan Das 1936

The following speech was delivered in 1936 Bombay by the pure devotee who three decades later will become the world-renowned spiritual master of The Hare Krishna Movement. Abhay Charan das who latter becomes His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada glorifies his own spiritual master Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Goswami Maharaja with this Appearance day (Vyasa-puja) homage. Thus we learn the time-honored meaning of spiritual master, disciple and their relationship.

With All the Humility at My Command
His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

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A Perfect Guru

Srila Prabhupada speaking

This is a very nice lecture given by Srila Prabhupada in Bombay April, 1976 and is a very good description of what is a guru. We have also included a link to the audio file so that you can listen to the lecture at the same time you are reading it. This is our first audio link that we have posted from this site, as an experiment.

In this lecture Srila Prabhupada begins “So the first training, how to create a brahmacari… This is human civilization…So we must come to the platform of varnasrama-dharma, not “Hindu dharma”. As he’s stated many times, the term “Hindu” is not a name that you find in the Vedas or in Sanskrit. Rather, it was a name given by the Muslims, who were referring to the people of the Indus region. The religion of the Vaisnavas is Sanatana-dharma, not Hinduism.

Also a very nice definition of what it means to be a guru is described; “A perfect guru is one who is speaking on behalf of Krsna – not on his own behalf.” “If you want to have a perfect guru, then you have to see whether he is speaking on behalf of Krsna or on his own behalf. One who speaks on his own behalf, manufactures, he is not guru. He’s a rascal. One who speaks on behalf of Krsna, he is guru.”

Class on the Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.12.02
Bombay, April 13, 1976
By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

to Listen to Lecture

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The Guru Issue Continued

Prabhupada

As always in our ISKCON Society, since the departure of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, there is an ongoing discussion, debate, and, or, argument on the guru issue. No doubt finding a qualified spiritual master is of utmost importance as is outlined in Easy Journey to Other Planets:

1. The serious candidate must accept a bona fide spiritual master in order to be trained scientifically. Because the senses are material, it is not at all possible to realize the Transcendence by them. Therefore the senses have to be spiritualized by the prescribed method under the direction of the spiritual master.

2. When the student has chosen a bona fide spiritual master, he must take the proper initiation from him. This marks the beginning of spiritual training.

3. The candidate must be prepared to satisfy the spiritual master in every way. A bona fide spiritual master who is fully cognizant of the methods of spiritual science, learned in the spiritual scriptures such as the Bhagavad-gītā, Vedānta, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and Upaniṣads, and who is also a realized soul who has made a tangible connection with the Supreme Lord, is the transparent medium by which the willing candidate is led to the path of the Vaikuṇṭhas. The spiritual master must be satisfied in all respects, because simply by his good wishes a candidate can make wonderful progress along the path.

Recently I have been following on the Sampradaya Sun a slew of posts by Vraja Vilasa Prabhu:
Which were in response to the article by Rakshana Prabhu (which we also posted here):

The Transmission of Transcendental Sound

Followed by his reply:

Surround Sound and the Big Mrdanga

Then of course there was a rebuttal post by Vidura Prabhu in response to Vraja Vilasa Prabhu’s; “Two Wrongs Don’t Make a Right”, which was not posted on the Sampradaya Sun, but rather by the Prabhupanuga pages and which we (for the sake of disclosure) will post here. This is a very nice assortment of quotes, for instance…

“Krishna and his representative are the same. Similarly, the spiritual master can be present wherever the disciple wants. A spiritual master is the principle, not the body.” (Letter to Malati, 28/5/68)

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Creating the Post of Officiating Acarya

Officiating Acarya Initiation

Creating the Post of Officiating Acarya

In the ensuing struggle between the Devotees of ISKCON Bangalore and ISKCON Mumbi, it is this authors hope that both sides will try to work towards a brotherly reconciliation. Wherein both sides can find the common ground, which is faith in, and obedience to the teachings of Srila Prabhupada.

Srila Prabhupada’s intentions with regard to how initiations should be conducted in his physical absence was clearly stated in the May 28th, 1977 discussion with the GBC:

Satsvarūpa: …Then our next question concerns initiations in the future, particularly at that time when you’re no longer with us. We want to know how first and second initiation would be conducted.

Prabhupāda: Yes. I shall recommend some of you. After this is settled up, I shall recommend some of you to act as officiating ācāryas.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Is that called ṛtvik-ācārya?

Prabhupāda: Ṛtvik, yes.

Satsvarūpa: Then what is the relationship of that person who gives the initiation and the…

Prabhupāda: He’s guru. He’s guru.

Satsvarūpa: But he does it on your behalf.

Prabhupāda: Yes. That is formality. Because in my presence one should not become guru, so on my behalf, on my order… Āmāra ājñāya guru hañā [Cc. Madhya 7.128]. Be actually guru, but by my order.

Satsvarūpa: So they may also be considered your disciples.

Prabhupāda: Yes, they are disciples. Why consider? Who?

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: No, he’s asking that these ṛtvik-ācāryas, they’re officiating, giving dīkṣā. Their… The people who they give dīkṣā to, whose disciple are they?

Prabhupāda: They’re his disciple.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: They’re his disciple.

Prabhupāda: Who is initiating. He is grand-disciple.

Satsvarūpa: Yes.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: That’s clear.

So it is plain to see that those giving diksa would be acting as officiating acaryas, and those receiving diksa from them would be their disciples. It is the duty of the GBC to create the post of Officiating Acarya so that we may all be properly connected to the disciplic succession.

“Who is Initiating” refers to the Officiating Acarya who is giving diksa, and those who receive diksa are his initiated disciples and Srila Prabhupada’s grand-disciples.

That’s clear. (However that instruction was never followed).

The GBC must create the post of “Officiating Acarya”, and all the ISKCON gurus would be considered as such, as it should have been since the time of the famous July 9th Letter. This I think, would be the beginning of the much needed reconcililation, and cure many of the ills of our society.

The following is the Synopsis of the System of Initiation as applicable to the ISKCON Bangalore group of temples and could be incorporated into mainstream ISKCON very easily.

The Post of Officiating Acarya More

Lord Nityananda’s Appearance Day Lecture

Lord Nityananda

click on image to enlarge

…Balarāma means guru-tattva. Balarāma represents guru. Yasya prasādād bhagavat-prasādaḥ. If we want to understand Caitanya Mahāprabhu, if we want to understand Kṛṣṇa, then we must take shelter of Balarāma. Nāyam ātmā bala-hinena labhyaḥ. This bala-hinena labhyaḥ, this Vedic injunction, means “Without the mercy of Balarāma you cannot understand, you cannot realize your spiritual identification. So that Balarāma comes as Nityānanda Prabhu.”

…So if we want actually peace of mind, if we actually want to be free from this material fatiguement, then we must take the shelter of Nityānanda Prabhu. Nityānanda Prabhu is the strength, spiritual strength. And without spiritual strength you cannot approach Kṛṣṇa.

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Bhagavad-gita As It Is 1972 Edition “Online”

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Important Slokas from the Brahma-samhita

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Slokas from the Sri Isopanisad

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Prayers By Queen Kunti (Slokas)

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July 9th Letter

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Reference Material/Study Guide

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