Chakra Discussions

No Darkness From the Ritviks

by Shyamasundara dasa (initiated Sydney 1981)

Posted January 28, 2006

I would like to add my voice to the article just posted by Visnurata das, "In Response To Niscala Dasi".

Visnurata das correctly quotes Niscala dasi as saying, "The ritviks spread the darkness of the belief that there can be no gurus after Srila Prabhupada and they advertise the accidental falldowns of our gurus as their proof."

I publicly challenge Niscala dasi to name a single ritvik devotee who spreads the belief that there can be no gurus after Srila Prabhupada. This is not the correct understanding of the system of ritvik initiation outlined in the ISKCON-wide directive endorsed by Srila Prabhupada on July 9th '77. This directive addressed the matter of initiations, and how "Temple Presidents may henceforward send recommendation for first and second initiation to whichever of the eleven (ritvik) representatives are nearest their temple."

Clearly this July 9th directive speaks only of initiations in ISKCON. It is ISKCON Temple Presidents being spoken of here. This is not in dispute.

But even at the time this directive was issued, there was at least one initiating guru who was coming as a successor in the sampradaya after Srila Prabhupada, and indeed authorised by Srila Prabhupada - namely Siddha Svarupananda Prabhu. How can there be truth to Niscala's allegation "that there can be no gurus after Srila Prabhupada (according to the ritviks)"? The facts speak otherwise, and ritviks acknowledge that. And sometimes it happens that a devotee will be inspired from within his heart, in a bonafide way, that he is being asked by guru and Krsna to accept disciples. This is a philosophical fact - we see it in the history of vaisnavism. So if/when this may happen (if it hasn't already) to disciples of Srila Prabhupada other than Siddha Svarupananda Prabhu, then let them be free to follow that prompt - no so-called ritvik devotee will deny that this be allowed - but *outside* ISKCON. ISKCON is Srila Prabhupada's society.

Tripurari Swami, for example, has done like this. So let him, and others who may do likewise, sink or swim on their own merits. Let such devotees be branches of the Caitanya tree that bears beautiful fruits and flowers. We ritviks will always be well wishers of such devotees if they are pure vaisnavas, sincere and genuine in their pursuits, and true to the teachings of Srila Prabhupada. If this understanding is adhered to, then in the unfortunate event that a devotee such a Siddhasvarupananda Prabhu or Tripurari Swami might fall down, then there is no havoc created within ISKCON. And of course there has been a devastating amount of such havoc in ISKCON as we all know. But with this proper understanding the sampradaya can go on (assuming there are qualified devotees to do that - and why not?) and so also ISKCON can go on free from the havoc of guru falldown, under the loving watchful care of His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada. Those who initiate outside ISKCON, even though outside, if they are genuine followers of Srila Prabhupada there can still be nice co-operation with ISKCON. Why not?