Tamal Krishna Goswami on Rittvik Initiation

Tamal Krishna Goswami on Rittvik Initiation
In 1979-1980, Tamal Krishna Goswami (GBC guru-acharya ) confessed that Srila Prabhupada never appointed any successor guru-acharyas:

Tamal Krishna Goswami: …Actually, Prabhupada never appointed any gurus. He did not appoint eleven gurus. He appointed eleven rittviks [officiating priests]. He never appointed them as gurus . Myself and the other GBCs have done the greatest disservice to this movement for the last three years, because we interpreted the appointment of rittviks as the appointment of gurus….

[What Srila Prabhupada said was], “All right, I will appoint so many,” and he named them. He made it very clear that they [new members] were still to be his disciples. At that point it was very clear in my mind that they were his disciples….

Now I understand that what he did was very clear. He was physically incapable of performing the function of initiating physically; therefore he appointed officiating priests to initiate on his behalf. He appointed eleven and he said very clearly, “Whoever is nearest, he can initiate.”

This is a very important point, because when it comes to initiating, it is not “whoever is nearest.” It is wherever your heart goes–to whom you can repose your faith in.

But when it is officiating, it’s “whoever is nearest,” and he was very clear… “Whoever is nearest will check you out. Then, on my behalf, they will initiate….”

If it had been more than that [officiating priests], 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…. But he did not, because he already said it a million times. He said, “My Guru Maharaja did not appoint anyone. It is by qualification.” We made a great mistake….

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.–

1979-1980, Topanga Canyon, California, (Spoken in Topanga Canyon and subsequently published in ISKCON Journal, Vol. I, No. 1)

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The Real Final Order


The Real Final Order
10/25/1998 – 2410
Editorial (VNN) – by Sriman Locanananda Prabhu 
Submitted on the disappearance day of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

During what Srila Prabhupada thought might be his final days, he summoned his GBC representatives from all over the world to come to his bedside in May of 1977. He was about to pronounce his final instruction concerning how the movement should be expanded after he was no longer physically present to oversee things. When he was specifically asked how initiations would be performed in the future, he replied that he would recommend some of his GBC men to act as officiating acharyas in his absence. This was a momentous pronouncement. He was going to create the post of officiating acharya by naming some of his disciples to initiate on his behalf. They would actually be gurus, but would act as representatives of the acharya in initiating members into Srila Prabhupada’s movement after His Divine Grace had left this world. Although everyone present said that this instruction was understood, in the twenty-one years since this revelation, not a single ISKCON guru has called himself an “officiating acharya”. This has produced a contrary result.

To resolve the conflict and ongoing debate between the proponents of “ritvik” initiation and ISKCON’s official interpretation of Srila Prabhupada’s instructions, we must find a common denominator upon which both parties can agree. That one camp is ready to excommunicate or overthrow the other is causing a massive headache in the minds of peaceful devotees everywhere. With the greatest urgency, the fracture in our movement must be healed before it becomes a permanent schism. To avoid causing further embarrassment to our spiritual master, and to protect innocent devotees and well-wishers of the Krishna consciousness movement from the devastating effect of our fratricidal follies, all followers of Srila Prabhupada should stop their sabre rattling and calmly consider how to resolve their differences.

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