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

News From ISKCON Bangalore

Iskcon Bangalore Temple

Apex Court Dismisses ISKCON Mumbai’s Appeal

By: Bharatarshabha Dasa, Bangalore.
Jan 9, 2012, Monday

The Supreme Court of India today dismissed an appeal filed by ISKCON Mumbai, seeking to initiate contempt of court proceedings against Sri Madhu Pandit Dasa, President of ISKCON Bangalore. The Supreme Court Bench consisting of Honorable Justice HL Dattu and Honorable Justice Chandramouli KR Prasad today gave this judgment on the appeal filed by ISKCON Mumbai challenging the verdict of the High Court which had opined that no contempt was committed by Sri Madhu Pandit Dasa. While pronouncing the verdict one of the Honorable Judges said that Supreme Court is not a forum meant of settling scores and ISKCON Mumbai’s petition attempts to settle some scores with Madhu Pandit Dasa.

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Srila Prabhupada is the Diksa Guru for ISKCON

Vani Seva
By Ananda devi dasi
May 12 2009, UK

“In the absence of physical presentation of the Spiritual Master, the vaniseva is more important. My Spiritual Master Saraswati Goswami, may appear to be physically not present but still I try to serve His Instruction, I never feel separated from Him” (Srila Prabhupada Lecture, August 22, 1970)

After the disappearance of Srila Prabhupada His instructions remained the same, they didn’t change. Therefore Srila Prabhupada is the Diksa Guru and His ISKCON-specific instructions and the process of Diksa remains the same. A disciple who has had no chance of serving the Spiritual Master, Srila Prabhupada, when He was in His Vapuh, can still follow His Vani, instructions, and fully benefit from this association and advance in devotional service.

The Officiating Acarya process is not a replacement system for the Disciplic Succession, nor is it an initiating system, either. Srila Prabhupada is the Initiator Guru whether there is an Officiating Acarya system in place or not, whether or not the July 9th Letter is implemented or not. Devotees that join ISKCON can only be initiated by Srila Prabhupada because He is the Diksa Guru for ISKCON, period.

In Srimad Bhagavatam 4.28.47 we read:

“The disciple and spiritual master are never separated because the spiritual master always keeps company with the disciple as long as the disciple follows strictly the instructions of the spiritual master. This is called the association of Vani. Physical presence is called Vapuh. As long as the spiritual master is physically present, the disciple should serve the physical body of the spiritual master, and when the spiritual master is no longer physically existing, the disciple should serve the instructions of the spiritual master.”

Srila Prabhupada makes it crystal clear that after the disappearance of the Spiritual Master, the disciple follows the instructions of the Spiritual Master. The Spiritual Master left His instructions in the form of Books, verbal instructions, letters, tapes, videos, all these are instructions from the Spiritual Master,Vani.

After the disappearance of Srila Prabhupada His instructions remained the same, they didn’t change. Therefore Srila Prabhupada is the Diksa Guru and His ISKCON-specific instructions and the process of Diksa remains the same. A disciple who has had no chance of serving the Spiritual Master, Srila Prabhupada, when He was in His Vapuh, can still follow His Vani, instructions, and fully benefit from this association and advance in devotional service.

In Caitanya-caritamrta Adi 1.35 we read:

“It is imperative that one accepts a spiritual master if he at all desires to gain the favor of the Lord. The service of the Spiritual Master is essential. If there is no chance to serve the spiritual master directly, a devotee should serve Him by remembering His instructions. There is no difference between the spiritual masters instructions and the spiritual master Himself. In His absence,therefore,His words of direction should be the pride of the disciple.”

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