Iskcon Guru Tattva Siddhanta

Iskcon Guru Tattva Siddhanta
By Madhavananda Das
December 27, 1998 (VNN) 2746

(The following is a series of quotes from Srila Prabhupada relevant to the ISKCON guru issue. The quotes are presented in a logical order which addresses the entire issue point by point. Let us hear the perfected words of our beloved spiritual master.)

There are two kinds of instructing spiritual masters. One is the liberated person fully absorbed in meditation in devotional service, and the other is he who invokes the disciple’s spiritual consciousness by means of relevant instructions. (Adi 1.47)

“…in order to receive the real message of Srimad Bhagavatam one should approach the current link, or spiritual master in the chain of disciplic succession.” (S.B. 2.9.7)

“…disciplic succession does not always mean that one has to be initiated officially. Disciplic succession means to accept the disciplic conclusion. (Letter Dinesh 10/31/69)

In other words, the spiritual master awakens the sleeping living entity to his original consciousness so that he can worship Lord Visnu. This is the purpose of diksa, or initiation. Initiation means receiving the pure knowledge of spiritual consciousness. (Madhya 9.61)

Diksa actually means initiating a disciple with transcendental knowledge by which he becomes freed from all material contamination. (Madhya 4.110)

Initiation or no initiation, first thing is knowledge. (break) …knowledge. Initiation is formality. Just like you go to a school for knowledge, and admission is formality. That is not very important thing. (Conv. 10/16/76)

In my books the philosophy of Krishna Consciousness is explained fully, so if there is anything which you do not understand, then you simply have to read again and again. By reading daily the knowledge will be revealed to you and by this process your spiritual life will develop.(Letter Baharupa 11/22/74)

Everyone of you must regularly read our books at least twice, in the morning and evening, and automatically all questions will be answered. (Letter Ranadhir 1/24/70)

“I shall remain your personal guidance, physically present or not physically, as I am getting personal guidance from my Guru Maharaja.” (Conv. 7/14/77)

Generally a spiritual master who constantly instructs a disciple in spiritual science becomes his initiating spiritual master later on.” (Adi 1.35)

Sometimes a diksa-guru is not present always. Therefore one can take learning, instruction, from an advanced devotee. That is called the siksa-guru. (Lec 7/4/77 Honolulu)

You simply say, “Krsna said four things: man-mana bhava mad-bhakto mad-yaji mam namaskuru. ‘Just always think of Me.’ Krsna said. ‘And just become My devotee. Just worship Me and offer obeisances.’ Kindly do these things.” So if you can induce one person to do these four things, you become guru. Is there any difficulty? (Conv. 2/8/76 Paris)



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;


Role Of The Rittvik Representatives Of The Acharya

Role Of The Rittvik Representatives Of The Acharya
By Sriman Hansadutta Prabhu — January 7, 1999 VNN2806

“You are a suitable person and you can give initiation to those that are ready for it. I have selected you among eleven men as ‘Rittvik representative of the Acharya, to give initiations, both first and second initiation, on my behalf.’ A newsletter is being sent to all temple presidents and GBC in this regard, listing the eleven representatives selected by His Divine Grace. Those who are initiated are the disciples of Srila Prabhupada, and anyone whom you deem fit and initiate in this way, you should send their names to be included in Srila Prabhupada’s ‘Initiated disciples’ book.”

EDITORIAL, Jan 7 (VNN) — The discussions that took place on 28th May 1977 between Srila Prabhupada and some GBC regarding initiations in the future were not known to me till years after his disappearance. Srila Prabhupada would say many things on many subjects, but unless a particular policy was written in letter form, or some other legal document such discussions on different matters were not accepted as final. Prabhupada often said you can say anything, but do not put it in writing; writing makes it legal.


Ritvik Defined

Ritvik Defined — By Narasimha Das
November 13, 1998 VNN2498

Srila Prabhupada never created any special status for “officiating acaryas.” Their function as ritivks is to assure that Srila Prabhupada requirements are met before a student is formally accepted for initiation in ISKCON. Like all senior initiated disciples, they are meant to be teachers by their practical example. They have accepted an added responsibility, an added burden on behalf of Srila Prabhupada. Their burden is to assure that Srila Prabhupada’s standards for initiation are preserved in ISKCON. (Srila Prabhupada’s July 9th directive sent to every leader in ISKCON mentions three times that all devotees are Srila Prabhupada’s disciples and that the deputed ritviks offer initiation on behalf of Srila Prabhupada. This same instruction was repeated by Srila Prabhupada several times additionally after July 9th in letters, documents, and instructions.) Ritviks are the priests authorized by the spiritual master or his institution to accept students on behalf of ISKCON and Srila Prabhupada. Srila Prabhupada made this perfectly clear. This understanding of the procedure Prabhupada prescribed is consistent with references to ritviks mentioned in Srila Prabhupada’s books.

EDITORIAL, Nov 13 (VNN) — Currently the term “ritvik” is used to refer to 1.) devotees of a particular camp, 2.) the ideas and convictions of “ritvik” devotees, and 3.) the “officiating acarya” who initiates on behalf of the spiritual master. I will try to offer guidelines for understanding the word “ritvik” according to Srila Prabhupada and the current usage among devotees.


Officiating Acharya’s

The War is Over
Editorial (VNN) – by Locanananda Das

There is a popular ideology that claims that Srila Prabhupad should still be considered the diksa guru in ISKCON. It is commendable that devotees who espouse this ideology want to see Krishna’s pure devotee unlimitedly and perpetually glorified. That goal can be accomplished by following the system of “officiating acharyas” that he factually authorized. An “officiating acharya” simply teaches by example how to follow in the footsteps of the great preceptor and founder acharya of ISKCON and then engages everyone in the service of expanding the sankirtan movement.

When Srila Prabhupad was asked how initiations would be performed after he was no longer physically present, his response was clear and powerful. He had been contemplating this question for ten years, and his main concern was to guarantee the continuity and future growth of his movement. His reply was “I shall recommend some of you to act as officiating acharya.” This was the term he wanted to introduce to describe the role of his disciples who would initiate new devotees as members of ISKCON after he had concluded his manifest pastimes.


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