Last Minute Thoughts
These are some last minute thoughts in continuing the first edition of Srila Prabhupada, His Movement and You.
During Tamal’s conversation at Topanga Canyon, Tamal Krishna Goswami admitted that “you cannot show me anywhere where Srila Prabhupada appointed gurus. He only appointed rittviks…. This appointment is a myth….”
Certainly Prabhupada made gurus! But seeing their immaturity, he qualified them as rittvik representatives of the Acharya. One certainly must have a guru, but to understand the calibre of one’s guru, the standard for judgment of measure is there in the person of the Acharya, Srila Prabhupada. Otherwise, why did Prabhupada say, “Ramanuja Acharya is there, Madhva Acharya is there, and their commentaries are there. You follow the Acharya; don’t follow any rascal”?
Tamal then said the rittvik-vadis (his phrase in the ISKCON Journal, Vol. 1, No. 1) throw aside volumes of evidence on the bona fide order of the disciplic succession in the Vaishnava Sampradaya and take to the Christian’s blind faith in direct communication with the Founder-Acharya throughout all history, thinking that anyone “who believes” will be personally accepted by Srila Prabhupada and therefore the regular system of guru parampara after Srila Prabhupada should be abandoned.
First of all, neither Srila Prabhupada nor we say guru parampara should be abandoned. Rather, Srila Prabhupada has given specific instructions how it should be continued and its integrity preserved.
Secondly, should we think that Srila Prabhupada has thrown aside volumes of evidence to contradict his spiritual master and the disciplic succession? Tamal’s argument in ISKCON Journal (Vol. 1, No. 1) leads to that logical conclusion. It is Srila Prabhupada himself who has given the directive “Act as rittvik representative of the Acharya.” Not anyone else has concocted this system of rittvik representation. Certainly Srila Prabhupada did not leave it to anyone to concoct or speculate what should be done. He gave the clear, specific order in his letter of July 9, 1977. Those who have concocted are the very persons who have set his order aside and gone ahead to become guru-acharyas.
The guru parampara is broken not by following the acharya’s order, but by disobeying and neglecting it. Having totally disregarded Srila Prabhupada’s express wishes, ISKCON GBCs and guru-acharyas have effectively cut off ISKCON from its Founder-Acharya, Srila Prabhupada.
Srila Prabhupada pointed out in a lecture in Seattle, “One who follows the instructions of Jesus Christ under the guidance of some priest—he is a disciple of Jesus Christ.” Direct communication is possible with the Acharya by following the guidance of his empowered representative, the rittvik acharya (he is the link to the disciplic succession) or simply by reading Srila Prabhupada’s books. In the Bhagavatam Srila Prabhupada writes:
There are two types of Bhagavatas, namely the book Bhagavata and the devotee Bhagavata. Both the Bhagavatas are competent remedies, and both or them or either of them can be good enough to eliminate the obstacles.
Rittvik does not mean abandonment of guru parampara; it means continuance, but under his specific prescription—not under our erroneous, ambitious assumption.