There always seems to be a lot of discussion in cyberspace about the rtvik "system."
I don't meet too many "rtvk" proponents in real life. It seems they (rtvk wallahs) abound on the internet only. Some of their like minded proponents in India may have "control" of the ISKCON Bangalore temple, but otherwise we don't feel their influence much anywhere. This "so called rtvk system" of post samadhi diksa from the departed acarya. through a living representative or a rtvk is a relatively new idea. It reared its head only in recent years post the samadhi of our beloved diksa gurudeva, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhuapda, the founder-acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness.
Rtvk has appeared in the wake of our gurudeva's maha samadhi and so many confusions that have resulted. This is not surprising at all. We read in the Fourth Canto of the Srimad Bhagavatam:
bibhyatim patum arhasi
uttistha--please get up; uttistha--please get up; raja-rse--O saintly king; imam--this earth; udadhi--by the ocean; mekhalam--surrounded; dasyubhyah--from the rogues; ksatra-bandhubhyah--from the unclean kings; bibhyatim--very much afraid; patum--to protect; arhasi--you ought.
O best of kings, please get up! Get up! Just see this world surrounded by water and infested with rogues and so-called kings. This world is very much afraid, and it is your duty to protect her.
Whenever an acarya comes, following the superior orders of the Supreme Personality of Godhead or His representative, he establishes the principles of religion, as enunciated in Bhagavad-gita. Religion means abiding by the orders of the Supreme personality of Godhead. Religious principles begin from the time one surrenders to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is the acarya's duty to spread a bona fide religious system and induce everyone to bow down before the Supreme Lord. One executes the religious principles by rendering devotional service, specifically the nine items like hearing, chanting and remembering. Unfortunately, when the acarya disappears, rogues and nondevotees take advantage and immediately begin to introduce unauthorized principles in the name of so-called svamis, yogis, philanthropists, welfare workers and so on. Actually, human life is meant for executing the orders of the Supreme Lord, and this is stated in Bhagavad-gita (9.34):
man-mana bhava mad-bhakto
mad-yaji mam namaskuru
mam evaisyasi yuktvaivam
"Engage your mind always in thinking of Me and become My devotee. Offer obeisances and worship Me. Being completely absorbed in Me, surely you will come to Me."
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 acarya, the authorized representative of the Supreme Lord, establishes these principles, but when he disappears, things once again become disordered. The perfect disciples of the acarya try to relieve the situation by sincerely following the instructions of the spiritual master. At the present moment practically the entire world is afraid of rogues and nondevotees; therefore this Krsna consciousness movement is started to save the world from irreligious principles. Everyone should cooperate with this movement in order to bring about actual peace and happiness in the world.
Why is rtvk considered atheistic? One reason is that the rtvk advocates are teaching inexperienced new devotees that the disciplic succession ended with His Divine Grace and that he is still initiating disciples,even after his samadhi. They are denying new devotees the opportunity to follow the second anga of bhakti Sri Krsna-diksa-siksadi (Receiving initiation and spiritual instructions)." The rtvks believe that Srila Prabhupada was and is the only qualified guru for ISKCON members, and he must function as an acarya eternally.This is an incorrect understanding of our guru parampara. After his departure we address the acarya as nitya-lila pravistha. What does nitya lila man? He has rejoined the divine couple in his eternal relationship of loving service to Them from whence he came before his earthly pastimes manifested.
The rtvk idea of one guru for all time only is fallacious. Disciplic succession means exactly that. There will be a succession. The rtvk viewpoint and attitude belies the fact that Srila Gour Govinda Maharaj was perfectly capable of offering diksa to ISKCON members. The fact is that diksa does not necessarily even need to come from within the walls of any one institution. Srila Sridahr Mahraj has said in this regard:
"Krsna consciousness, the spiritual conception of the highest level, descends by flowing down from one level to the next, just as from the peak of a mountain, the Ganges flows in a zigzag way, from one peak to another. Sometimes the water of the Ganges mixes with the current of the river Saraswati. That water is not to be considered Ganges water. When the water of the Saraswati joins the current of the Ganges, it is considered to be Ganges water. When the two rivers meet, the water that flows away from the Ganges is not the Ganges; but when the Saraswati's waters enter into the current of the Ganges, it becomes the Ganges. That water will purify us, whatever its point of origin may have been. There is a saying that whatever water is deep within the current of the Ganges riverbed, is the real Ganges water. That water will purify us, whatever its point of origin may have been.
"The purifying potency of the water has nothing to do with the water we can feel and see. What can we see with our physical eyes? The current of the Ganges is pure. When the spirit and sanction is there, it is a living thing, and can purify everyone."
Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Maharaja
Sri Guru and His Grace
Descent of the Revealed Truth
Devotees should be able to work together to serve the desires of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, regardless of who their diksa guru is, and from what institutions he heralded. A diksa guru in our line simply must be a bona fide and qualified representative of the guru parampara we follow from Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, and his son Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur.
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura has said:
"This line of guru-parampara is existing up to today without any break and it will continue to exist like this in the future also. To say, 'There is no sad-guru living in the world at present and neither will there be any in the future,' is an atheistic opinion."
True Conception of Sri Guru Tattva, page 2
In his vyas puja offering " Pastimes and Instructions"
Srila Promode Puri Gosvami wrote in the same connection:
"Our most worshipable spiritual master Sri Srila Prabhupada has bestowed his affectionate blessings not only to his disciples, but to his grand-disciples and all those who will in the future come to this line of disciplic succession. There is no cause for loss of hope or fear, for Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura's line will never cease. This is the assurance of Sri Srila Prabhupada, the world teacher. He is eternally present among us. He is my Lord birth after birth, he is my only source of strength and those following in his footsteps should take his merciful instructions on their heads by mutually cooperating with each other, with Jagat Guru Sri Srila Prabhupada as the center, and try to fulfill his desires in serving the mission of Srila Rupa Goswami. All perfection will be attained on pleasing Sri Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura Prabhupada."
(published February 16, 1998 in the special issue on the 124th Advent of His Divine Grace Sri Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Prabhupada)
The rtvk camp, while giving lip service to the idea of sad guru, does not really accept that Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura had more than one pure devotee disciple. They falsely assume that their diksa guru was the only valid disciple of his gurudeva, and that only he preached Krsna Consciousness above all others. Of course His Divine Grace has said different himself in many places. Just to quote two:
1) "In the beginning, during the presence of Om Visnupada Paramahamsa Parivrajakacarya Astottara-sata Sri Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada, all the disciples worked in agreement; but just after his disappearance, they disagreed. One party strictly followed the instructions of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, but another group created their own concoction about executing his desires. Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, at the time of his departure, requested all his disciples to form a governing body and conduct missionary activities co-operatively. He did not instruct a particular man to become the next acarya. But just after his passing away, *his leading secretaries* made plans, without authority, to occupy the post of acarya, and *they* split in two factions over who the next acarya would be. Consequently, both factions were asara, or useless, because they had no authority, having disobeyed the order of the spiritual master. Despite the spiritual master's order to form a governing body and execute the missionary activities of the Gaudiya Matha, the two unauthorized factions began litigation that is still going on after forty years with no decision."
(Adi-lila Chapter Twelve, Text 8)
So Srila Prabhupada (HDGACBSP) clearly says that it was the "leading secretaries" who disobeyed Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, and who ultimately "split in two factions over who the next acarya would be", beginning "litigation that is still going on after forty years with no decision." Elsewhere Srila Prabhupada has explained who the leaders of these two factions were, namely Bhakti Vilas Tirtha Maharaja of Sri Chaitanya Math, and Ananta Vasudeva of Bagh Bazaar Math. So much for the leading secretaries. But what about everyone else? Srila Prabhupada plainly says that they: "strictly followed the instructions of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura".
Sridam Sakha Prahu
Srila Prabhupada and His Godbrothers.
In the same article, Sridam sakha prabhu quotes another statement by His Divine Grace concerning his godbrothers, which the rtvk camp conveniently ignores whenever they address this aspect of Srila Prabhupada's life and relationships.
2) "Even amongst our God-brothers we have misunderstanding but none of us is astray from the service of Krishna. My Guru Maharaja ordered us to execute his mission combinedly. Unfortunately we are now separated. But none of us have stopped preaching Krishna Consciousness. *Even if there was misunderstanding amongst the God-brothers of my Guru Maharaja none of them deviated from the transcendental loving service of Krishna.* The idea is that provocation and misunderstanding may remain between one man and another. But our staunch faith in Krishna Consciousness may not allow any material disruption. Please therefore try to be sympathetic with any person even if they differ. The only qualification we have to scrutinize is if one is acting in Krishna Consciousness as far as one is able to do it. This personal grudge is not inhuman and as I have told many times, that individualism is the cause of personal misunderstanding. When such individualism is employed in the center of Krishna there is no harm even if there is personal misunderstanding. Personal misunderstanding exists even in the higher levels. There is competition of loving Krishna even in the party of Srimati Radharani."
Letter to: Brahmananda : 67-11-18 Calcutta
The IRM adopts a kind of "cafateria" religion. This means that as they go down the line they accept this and reject that, much in the same way a customer purchasing lunch in any cafateria points to the potatoes and says "yes I will take that," and then says , "no" to the string beans, "I don't like string beans, I won't take any, or "yes to the pie" and , "no" to the jello etc. They accept those statements that appear to prove their false premises and reject or ignore the others that are not quite so convenient for their propaganda.
The IRM is notoriously anti Gaudiya Matha, and has nothing positive to say about any of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarsavati Thakura's other disciples, Srila Prabhuapda's (HSGACBSP) godbrothers. They regularly blaspheme members of the group that His Divine Grace lauded for following SBSST strictly. Srila Sridhara Maharaj, Srila Promode Puri Gosvami and now even while he is still on the planet, Srila B.V. Narayana Maharaja of the next generation of disciples, are all their targets.. Anyone who does not accept the IRM agenda becomes a suitable candidate for ridicule and criticism in the IRM newsletter propaganda machine.
Allow me to return to the main point. Actually there is no mention of any "rtvk system for initiation" in our scriptures. Actually Srila Prabhupada did not ever "establish" such a system to continue after his departure. Neither did he ever "establish " anything contrary to the instructions of Srila Rupa Govami and the shastra, or the example of our predecessor acaryas witrh regard to any of the 64 angas (limbs) of bhakti. Rtvk initiation exist only in the minds and imagination of its adherents. Post samadhi rtvk diksa simply does not exist. The IRM newletter is a vehicle for the IRM political agenda. This newsletter is a sweltering pot of vaisnava aparadha.
I find IRM writing. (especially in cyberspace), to be largely diatribe.
Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary explains diatribe as
1) archaic, a prolonged discourse,
2) a bitter and abusive speech or writing,
3) ironic or satyrical criticism.
The "Final Order" is simply to be Krsna conscious, that is all. The rupa (form) of the Lord is revealed by the diksa guru. And His svarupa (qualities) by the siksa guru. You can read about this in the Bhakti-rasamrta sindhu-bindu of Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura.
"There is very little difference between the words rupa and svarupa. The word rupa conveys the sense of form, figure, or appearance, whereas the word svarupa conveys the sense of form, nature, or condition. For example, Sri Krsna is tribhanga-lalita. He looks very charming as He holds the flute to His lips. This is krsna-rupa. The various moods He expresses as dhiroddhata, dhira-lalita, dhira-santa, dihrodatta and so many other moods are all krsna-svarupa. There is no difference between His external form and His internal moods. Similarly, there is no difference between the diksa and siksa-gurus. The diksa-guru reveals Krsna's rupa and the siksa-guru reveals Krsna's svarupa."
Bhakti-rasamrta sindhu-bindu, pp.40
If you don't want to accept the information from the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu-bindu because it is not something you have read from within Srila Prabhupada's books, then we can point you to other source material of a similar nature. . Simply look at these four passage: (1) The first quote is from the Sri Caitanya-caritamrta. Please. try to be honest. and understand what he has written:
. "The subject matter of this book (Sri Cc.) is not a mental concoction but a factual spiritual experience that one can realize only by accepting the line of disciplic succession described above. Any deviation from that line will bewilder the reader's understanding of the mystery of Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, which is a transcendental literature meant for the postgraduate study of one who has realized all the Vedic scriptures such as the Upanisads and Vedanta-sutra and their natural commentaries such as Srimad-Bhagavatam and the Bhagavad-gita. This edition of Sri Caitanya-caritamrta is presented for the study of sincere scholars who are really seeking the Absolute Truth. It is not the arrogant scholarship of a mental speculator but a sincere effort to serve the order of a superior authority whose service is the life and soul of this humble effort. It does not deviate even slightly from the revealed scriptures, and therefore anyone who follows in the disciplic line will be able to realize the essence of this book simply by the method of aural reception".
Introduction to Sri Chaitanya Caritamrta, Adi lilaCh. 1
(2) The second reference also comes from the Sri Caitanya-caritamrta:
". . . Our only shelter is the Supreme Lord, and one who teaches how to approach Krsna is the functioning form of the Personality of Godhead. There is no difference between the shelter-giving Supreme Lord and the initiating and instructing spiritual masters. If one foolishly discriminates between them, he commits an offense in the discharge of devotional service. . The initiating spiritual master is a personal manifestation of Srila Madana-mohana vigraha, whereas the instructing spiritual master is a personal representative of Srila Govindadeva vigraha. Both of these Deities are worshiped at Vrndavana. Srila Gopinatha is the ultimate attraction in spiritual realization"
Cc. Adi lila 1.47 purport
Kindly read here as well:
(3) "In the Caitanya-caritamrta, Krsnadasa first offers his obeisances to Madana-mohana vigraha, the Deity who can help us progress in Krsna consciousness. In the execution of Krsna consciousness, our first business is to know Krsna and our relationship with Him. To know Krsna is to know one's self, and to know one's self is to know one's relationship with Krsna. Since this relationship can be learned by worshiping Madana-mohana vigraha, Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami first establishes his relationship with Him. When this is established, Krsnadasa begins to worship the functional Deity, Govinda. Govinda resides eternally in Vrndavana. In the spiritual world of Vrndavana the buildings are made of touchstone, the cows are known as surabhi cows, givers of abundant milk, and the trees are known as wish-fulfilling trees, for they yield whatever one desires. In Vrndavana Krsna herds the surabhi cows, and He is worshiped by hundreds and thousands of gopis, cowherd girls, who are all goddesses of fortune."
Introduction Sri Chaitanya-caritamrta
and finally this as well:
(4) "The first manifestation described is the spiritual master, who appears in two plenary parts called the initiating spiritual master and instructing spiritual master. They are identical because both of them are phenomenal manifestations of the Supreme Truth."
Sri Cc. Adi lila Chapter 1, Chapter Summary
So what difference is there in annihilating the personal manifestation of Madan-mohana or Madan mohan Himself, as the mayavadis would like to do. The same principle would apply to the representative of Govindadeva also, would it not? IRM minimization of sadhu-sanga and the vapuh association of a pure devotee seems parallel to an attempt to annihilate the form and qualities of the Supreme Lord Himself. After all we read in the Srimad Bhagavatam 11.17.27:
acaryam mam vijaniyam
na martya buddhyasuyeta
sarva-deva mayo gurum
[Krsna told Uddhava] "Know the acarya as My Self. I am the acarya . Never envy the acarya;never blaspheme him or consider him to be an ordinary man. Because the acarya channels the infinite, He is greater than the sum total of all the finite. Thus, he is more important than all the gods. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.17.27)
Sri Gaudiya Kantahara 1.28
The IRM employs a tactic of falsely assuming their own speculative conceptions as truth about guru tattva. This will simply not due, and does not hold up under the scrutiny of guru, sadhu and shastra. In the purport to the Adi-lila [Chapter 12, Text 11] His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada has written:
". . . Any opinion different from the opinion of the spiritual master is useless. One cannot infiltrate materially concocted ideas into spiritual advancement. That is deviation. There is no scope for adjusting spiritual advancement to material ideas."
Of course we know that the IRM claims to be following His Divine Grace 's instructions. However their mental concoctions are not expressions of His Divine Graces' innermost desires. That is the saliant point actually under discussion. It is highly unlikely that the IRM represents Srila Prabhupada, or what he desired for ISKCON's future. Though the IRM claims to want to "reform" ISKCON, IRM actually has very little to do with our guru parampara. IRM is actually more interested in Srila Prabhupada's assets than his vapuh (instructions). But that is another article and we don't have time to discuss this point here in depth.
Any thoughtful reader who is familiar with the actual tattva (truth) and siddhanta (conclusions) of gaudiya Vaisnavism cannot take the IRM spurious (false) presentation at all seriously. Spurious is a heavy adjective to use in anyone's regard. Webster also says it means:
"2)outwardly similar or corresponding to something without having its genuine qualities: FALSE b: superficially like but morphologically unlike 3. of falsified or erroneously attributed origin
3) a. of a deceitful nature or quality."
By my estimation the IRM newsletter certainly qualifies as spurious diatribe. You decide for yourself . There is ample illustration of this point in Jaduran's recent article "Iskcon Is Much Bigger Than We Think"
Our guru parampara (disciplic succession) started with Lord Brahma at the creation of this universe milleniums in the past. It is of divine origin. Therefore in writing anything that concerns guru tattva, we can only pray for the krpa of guru and Gouranga. Srila Bhakti Kumud Santa Maharaja, the founder-acarya of the Sri Caitanya Ashram is a direct disciple of nitya lila pravistha om visnupada Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. At the age of twelve Srila Hrydaya Bon Maharj and Srila Promode Puri Gosvami took him from his parent's home and brought him to Sri Mayapura dhama, to live in the Sri Caitanya Mission and be raised personally by His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. He is a naistika brahmacari ,sannyasi, and one of the most senior gaudiya vaisnavas alive today. Three years ago in Jagannatha Puri, on the occasion of the centennial vyas puja celebration of Srila Promode Puri Gosvami he remarked in one of his lectures:
"If you want to enjoy the sex life you must have the proximity of a woman, otherwise not. Similarly if you want to understand who is god, you must have the krpa of the guru, otherwise not."
Understanding guru tatva is no less than understanding the Supreme Lord Sri Krsna.. The two topics are intimately united eternally. If you don't believe me then read the Vaisnava tattva for yourself:
and then kindly examine Krnsa tattva next:
I don't presume to think for anyone else, or tell the reader what he should conclude. concerning IRM propaganda, or the so called "rtvk system." I can only pray to the guru parampara to help me and any other sincere sadhaka (practitioner) to one day realize or even get a small glimpse of guru-tattva and its depth., We can read in Jadurani's recent articlehttp://vnn.org/editorials/ET0201/ET09-7088.htm how IRM statements obscure the real meaning of the words of Srila B.V. Narayana Maharaja, our beloved siksa gurudeva.
IRM spurious diatribe, out of context quotations, and the IRM's political agenda all color their so called refutations of Srila Naryana Maharaj's statements about rtvk. It seems to me a mistake to consider their offerings seriously. It doesn't make much sense to discuss philosophy with someone who has none. The IRM newsletter is not actually worthy of even this much consideration or attention. However since they have made our siksa guru their latest target we are obligated to make some response to their uselesness and atheistic propaganda.
Srila Promode Puri Gosvami writes in "The Heart of Krsna."http://bvml.org/SBPPG/hok-intr.htm:
"THE ETYMOLOGICAL development of the word aparadha is radhat arthat aradhanat- apagatah, which means "to be distanced from worship." Offenses committed at the lotus feet of Vaishnavas, the Devotees, distance one from devotional service to the Supreme Lord. But in a higher sense it means to be removed from the service of Sri Radha. All divine service to Krishna is being conducted under her direction. To offend her servitors is to make one unfit for her divine service. The whole aim of Krishna consciousness is radha-dasyam, the divine service of Sri Radha, and offenses at the lotus feet of Vaishnavas make one unfit for such service"
The Lord is overly protective of his devotees (bhakta-vatsala ). He cannot tolerate any offenses against them. They have bhakti (devotion), and they can awaken it within us. Bhakti is the sole means to attract Krishna, who is a slave of devotion. The same is true of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. The Caitanya-Bhagavata states:
"A person can attain the shelter of Mahaprabhu only by the grace of a higher Vaishnava. Religious practices and even chanting the Holy Name without devotion is useless."
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Prabhupada writes in his commentary:
"Without developing a spirit of service, chanting the Holy Name is vain. Real devotion can only be cultivated when one receives the blessings of an unalloyed devotee."
Srila Promode Puri Goswami
The Heart of Krsna
The author of the IRM newsletter certainly appears to be a sadhu ninda or vaisnava aparadhi, of the highest order. It is a shame that someone who had contact with one pure devotee, cannot understand or appreciate the other representatives of Srimate Radharani who have and are manifesting on this planet for the benefit of all human beings.
Om tat sat
Puru das adhikari