Srila Prabhupada, His Movement and You

The endless controversy over whether Prabhupada appointed gurus, acharyas or rittvik deputies can be satisfactorily concluded by pointing out that Prabhupada left written instructions. Srila Prabhupada left a last will and testament. He left a BBT document regarding the continued publication of his books. He left a GBC document outlining how the movement is to be managed. And he wrote a letter on July 9, l977, appointing ll senior devotees as rittvik gurus, officiating deputies, to continue the process of initiating new members on behalf of ” the Founder- acarya ” Srila Prabhupada . All the men named in that letter already had been doing these rittvik initiations on Prabhupada’s bellalf for a number of years. Therefore, there was no need for Prabhupada to write an official letter in this regard, save and except to make it clear that these senior disciples should perpetuate the rittvik responsibilities they were already performing in the future, as in the absence of Srila Prabhupada, which at that time was apparently very near at hand.

Letter to all GBC and Temple Presidents
from Srila Prabhupada, dated July 9th, 1977 (see photocopy above):

To All G.B.C. and Temple Presidents
July 9th, 1977

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 Vrindavana, Srila Prabhupada indicated that soon He would appoint some of His senior disciples to act as “rittvik”-representative of the acharya, for the purpose of performing initiations, both first initiation and second initiation. HisDivine Grace has so far given a list of eleven disciples who will act in that capacity:

His Holiness Kirtanananda Swami
His Holiness Satsvarupa das Goswami
His Holiness Jayapataka Swami
His Holiness Tamal Krishna Goswami
His Holiness Hrdayananda Goswami
His Holiness Bhavananda Goswami
His Holiness Hamsadutta Swami
His Holiness Ramesvara Swami
His Holiness Harikesa Swami
His Grace Bhagavan das Adhikari
His Grace Jayatirtha das 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.

Hoping this finds you all well.

Your servant,

Tamal Krishna Goswami
Secretary to Srila Prabhupada

Approved: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

[ Srila Prabhupada’s signature appears on the original.]

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Srila Prabhupada, His Movement and You

Srila Prabhupada, His Movement and You
By Sriman Hansadutta Prabhu

The recent proliferation of gurus, both within and without ISKCON, appears to be like the proliferation of ambitious kings who were eventually annihilated by Krishna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra 5,000 years ago.

How to Recognize the Acharya

The pioneer in any field always gets the greatest credit, because it is he only who opens the door to a new world, a new thought, a new horizon-like Columbus, who innocently chanced upon America, the New World, while searching for India. Columbus opened the door for a whole migration of humanity from Europe and all the world to eventually form the New World, or the United States of America, the most powerful nation on Earth.

So everyone after Columbus, however great he may be, owes his regards to Columbus for opening the door to the New World, and Columbus is never obliged to any late-comers or new-comers. Like Columbus, Prabhupada set out from India and opened the door to the spiritual world for the whole world, and every transcendentalist thereafter is obliged to Prabhupada. Prabhupada is never obliged to those coming after him, however great they may appear as individuals. Neither is he obliged to his contemporaries. That is the unique position of Prabhupada as the acharya of the entire Gaudiya Vaishnava Sampradaya.

With this view in mind, everyone should see their way clear for uniting harmoniously under the lotus feet of Srila Prabhupada, the acharya of the Gaudiya Vaishnava Sampradaya, for preaching the great mission of Krishna consciousness all over the world as Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati envisioned it. Any individual or group obstinately remaining stuck up in their petty, egocentric conception of preaching Krishna consciousness is surely doomed to fail.

Here we wish to present some shastric evidence in support of the afore-mentioned conclusions. The following excerpts courtesy of Atma Tattva dasa:

The Founder-acharya is distinguished from all other acharyas, and his qualities and activities are outlined in the shastras:

tabhyas sarvajana trata sarvasrestatamo dhruvan
dina abhaya pradanartham visadikritya bhutale

Among all acharyas, certainly he who is the deliverer of all people, who appears in this world for the purpose of removing the fears of the fallen souls (dina-abhaya ) is the most perfect.

gitacaryokta tatvartha caramartha prakasanam
rsiproktapramananam krtva vyakhyanamuttamam

He sheds light on the ultimate meaning of the philosophical conclusions spoken by Krishna, who is the speaker of Bhagavad-gita. He also gives perfect purports to the evidences given by the rishis.

divyaprabandhan lokebhya sarakopadibhi paryantam
arthopadesa yaryanta1n vardhayaitva ca sasvatah

He propagates everywhere the meanings and purports of the songs of the previous acharyas.

natharyadi gurunam ca satakopadi yoginam
ahrtya vyasa sutranam artham lokahitaya ca
sribhasyadi mahagrantham vidhaya karunarnaya
nirjitya sarvasamayan vadena sataso’subhan

He, the ocean of mercy, contributes great books for the welfare of the people that explain the meaning of Vedanta strictly in line with the previous Vaishnava acharyas and devotees. In this way he conquers all, defeating hundreds of different kinds of inauspicious philosophies by his arguments.

ityadibhir yatisresta karye lokahite rata
nathadidesike tebhya pradhano bhavati dhruvam

Because of engaging in the welfare of the people of the world, that perfect and topmost mendicant is certainly the most important Founder acharya (pradhana ). ( Prapannamrita Tarpana 62.47-53)

Just as Vyasadeva is recognized as acharya because he presented the Vedic literatures, so Prabhupada is recognized as acharya because of his making the Vedic literatures accessible to every man all over the world, and no one since has been able to contribute anything so significant. Rather, everyone is borrowing from him-his books are the standard.

Srila Prabhupada translated and wrote purports to the four essential Vaishnava literatures, namely to 18,000 verses of Srimad-Bhagavatam, 700 verses of Bhagavad-gita, 17 volumes of Chaitanya-charitamrita and the Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu. He not only published these books and others; he also created a monthly magazine (Back to Godhead ). He also recruited thousands of young disciples in every country of the world, whom he engaged in distributing these literatures by the millions. Prabhupada wrote 7,000 letters (printed in five volumes) and gave lectures and personal darshans, a collection of which has been published recently by the Bhaktivedanta Archives, comprising another 42 volumes of books.

Srila Prabhupada initiated a whole new movement in the field of art, producing thousands of paintings, sculptures, music and dance performances.

Srila Prabhupada built temples in Bombay, Vrindaban and Mayapur, with comfortable and stylish hotel and guest houses for each place. His disciples opened and continue to maintain hundreds of temples worldwide.

Srila Prabhupada inspired the New Vrindaban-type farm communities all over the world. He started Gurukulas for teaching Krishna consciousness to children.

Srila Prabhupada taught a whole generation a new way of life from how to eat, how to dress, how to bathe and toilet, how to live as a gentleman in this world and how ultimately to leave this world for the next world, to go back to home, back to Godhead. NO OTHER PERSON ON THIS PLANET HAS PREACHED WORLDWIDE SO EXTENSIVELY. THEREFORE HE IS THE BRAHMA SAMPRADAYA ACHARYA. What Vyasadeva is to the Vedic age, Srila Prabhupada is to the modern age and for ages to come, because everyone is taking advantage of his books, temples and devotees to preach Krishna consciousness all over the world.

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