Editorial: “GBC Suppressed The Truth” Officiating Acaryas

The following is an older article but one of great importance, with perhaps the only remaining document of the GBC summary report of the meeting that took place between May 27-29, 1977.

Officiating Acaryas

Editorial: “GBC Suppressed The Truth”
by Locanananda dasa

EDITORIAL, Dec 13 [1999] (VNN)

New evidence has just been discovered that suggests a GBC conspiracy to suppress instructions given by Śrīla Prabhupāda concerning how he wanted initiations to be performed after his departure.

In May of 1977, the members of the GBC were summoned to Vrndavana, India to meet with Śrīla Prabhupāda when His Divine Grace thought his departure from this world was imminent. His Divine Grace revealed to a committee of GBC members that he was going to recommend some of his disciples to act as officiating ācāryas to perform first and second initiations when he would no longer be with us. As evidenced by the following document, the GBC decided at the time that devotees throughout the world should not be informed of this most important revelation made by their beloved spiritual master.

The repercussions of the decision to suppress the truth and the subsequent deviation from Śrīla Prabhupāda’s instructions have left devoted followers of His Divine Grace deadlocked over the issue of guru succession and initiations in ISKCON for more than two decades.

The document in question is a summary report of the GBC meetings held during the three days from May 27-29, 1977. The report was sent out to all ISKCON temple presidents and begins with a list of names of the GBC members in attendance. The first point mentioned in the report is that a list of trustees of all ISKCON properties was submitted to Śrīla Prabhupāda. The second point states that committees were formed to improve the original charter and expand the Bureau of Management in India. Point number three deals with the questions posed by the GBC committee concerning how Śrīla Prabhupāda’s mission was to be continued under the direction of the GBC after his departure. It is this third item that is of great significance.

A review of the document shows quite clearly that the GBC deliberately omitted from the report Śrīla Prabhupāda’s answer to the question concerning initiations. This intentional omission was apparently made to conceal Śrīla Prabhupāda’s wishes from his disciples worldwide concerning the initiation procedures he wanted followed after his departure. Had this been an honest presentation of the facts, the report would have stated:

“When asked how first and second initiations would be performed after he was no longer with us, Śrīla Prabhupāda said that he was going to recommend some of his disciples to act as officiating ācāryas.”

The text of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s conversation with the GBC committee was not disclosed for many years, which has created a credibility gap between the leaders of ISKCON and ISKCON’s general membership.

Six weeks later, a letter issued on July 9th, 1977 bearing Śrīla Prabhupāda’s signature was sent to all temple presidents to explain changes that were being made in initiation procedures. It was the outcome of a discussion that had taken place two days earlier between Śrīla Prabhupāda and his secretary. In that conversation, to resolve the problem of an initiation backlog, Śrīla Prabhupāda first recommended that senior sannyāsīs could again perform initiation ceremonies as had been done before his illness. However, when the secretary reminded Śrīla Prabhupāda of the May 28th meeting with the GBC, this historic conversation evolved into the naming of the officiating ācāryas, referred to in the letter as “ritvik representatives.”

Śrīla Prabhupāda had said he was going to recommend some of his disciples to perform initiations on his behalf after his disappearance, and the July 9th letter was the fulfillment of that promise. According to the May 28th announcement to the GBC, those initiated during his physical presence by representatives of the ācārya would be considered his direct disciples, while those initiated after his disappearance by officiating ācāryas would be considered his second generation of disciples, or granddisciples. The difference was considered to be one of formalities, since all members of ISKCON throughout the course of its history would perpetually serve, worship and follow the teachings of their great preceptor ācārya, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda. That is the principle that unifies the International Society for Kṛṣṇa Consciousness.

The document presented below was transcribed exactly from the original which accounts for any spelling or grammatical errors. Because the only remaining copy may be the one in my possession, I recommend that devotees save copies in their files for future reference.

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Initiations After 1977 Position Paper

initiation

Initiations After 1977 Position Paper

The following link is a Position Paper PDF on “Initiations After 1977” that you can open or save to your computer. This is a short 54 page booklet which describes Srila Prabhupada’s final instructions on initiations after his departure based on his instructions with śāstric and historical references. I have only had a chance to briefly preview it, but it appears to be well put together and backed up with many quotes and references.

initiations-after-1977

Excerpted from “Initiations After 1977”

The instructions of Śrīla Prabhupāda are the thread that holds the beautiful pearl necklace of our movement. If they are disobeyed, the thread would snap and the necklace would be lost. That is exactly what happened especially with regards to
initiations after Śrīla Prabhupāda’s departure.

The scope of this book is

1. To study Śrīla Prabhupāda’s final instructions on how initiations should takeplace after his departure;

2. To fortify the authenticity of his instructions with śāstric and historical references;

3. To present śāstric references that explain the root cause of all problems within our worldwide Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, its effects and how to solve it.

This book is entirely based on the official documents of Śrīla Prabhupāda and supported by scriptural quotations from Śrīla Prabhupāda’s translations of Bhagavadgītā, Śrīmad Bhāgavatam and other related literature. We have just attempted to compile it in order to serve his mission and the devotees who are true to his mission.

“The main business of human society is to think of the Supreme Personality of Godhead at all times, to become His devotees, to worship the Supreme Lord and to bow down before Him. The ācārya, the authorized representative of the Supreme Lord, establishes these principles, but when he disappears, things once again become disordered. The perfect disciples of the ācārya try to relieve the situation by sincerely following the instructions of the spiritual master.”  (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 4.28.48, Purport)

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This Movement is Srila Prabhupada’s Mercy Upon the Conditioned Souls of this World

This Movement is Srila Prabhupada’s Mercy Upon the Conditioned Souls of this World
Originally published as; Reply To Chakra Ritvik Debate, but timely today as the Battle over Bangalore continues…
By; Locanananda dasa
Editorial, Jun 30 (VNN)

Perhaps the most significant point is, that for members of ISKCON, the most important source of authoritative statements concerning the process of initiation are the words, spoken or written, of our own spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada.

After offering his association to his disciples over the years, by the time he was ready to announce his plan for future initiations after his disappearance, he could judge exactly to what extent his leading disciples would be able to follow in his footsteps by acting as gurus. Therefore, in his final instructions, he announced that he would recommend some of his disciples to serve as officiating acharyas, acting as his representatives. He did not declare anyone to be a full-fledged, fully realized, fully independent diksa guru to be worshiped by all as he himself had been worshiped. Instead, he named certain members of the GBC to occupy this post and to perform the service of accepting disciples on his behalf in addition to all of their other duties as zonal secretaries.

It was (and still is) obvious that no single individual could have been called upon to succeed him as head of the institution. This was never what Srila Prabhupada had in mind for ISKCON, even for future generations. … As a result of their misunderstanding of Srila Prabhupada’s final instructions, the GBC members who began to initiate thought that they were personally capable of delivering their disciples from birth and death because they were diksa gurus. The long-lasting effect of the illusion they created was to push Srila Prabhupada into the background by denying his second generation of followers direct access to him.

…We all need to be reminded that this movement is Srila Prabhupada’s mercy upon the conditioned souls of this world. It is Srila Prabhupada who is meant to receive the credit and glorification for whatever is achieved by his followers throughout the course of this movement. As an eternal associate of Lord Sri Krishna, Srila Prabhupada is capable of entering the heart of any sincere follower and inspiring and guiding him or her from within.And we should never think that he has abandoned us and is no longer available to us despite our most sincere prayers. His Divine Grace can be reached by whoever opens any of his books to page one and hears from him by submissive oral reception. And the role of anyone who performs initiations in ISKCON now or in the future is to simply encourage everyone to adhere themselves strictly to what has been set forth by our spiritual preceptor as the message of the disciplic succession he represents.

Full article followes;

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