Srila Prabhupada, His Movement & You

Disciple’s Role to Support the Order of the Acharya

Srila Prabhupada said, “I don’t say I am liberated. I am conditioned. But because I am following the instructions of Bhaktisiddhanta, I am liberated. This is the distinction between conditioned and liberated: when one is under the direction of a liberated person.”

So Srila Prabhupada’s direction was: “Act as representative of the Acharya, act as rittvik.” We should follow that order and be liberated and thus continue the disciplic succession. The rittvik is also a living guru.

In fact, every quote ISKCON brings forth to support their claim to full guru-acharya or to deny the rittvik system we also quote to support the rittvik system and to deny their full guru-acharya system. So what is the difference? Srila Prabhupada named eleven devotees to act as rittviks of the Acharya. They (ISKCON gurus) brush this aside and present quotations from shastras to contradict the order given by Prabhupada, saying it was never done before and if that is what Srila Prabhupada intended (for these eleven rittviks to continue after his departure), then “WHY DID HE NOT SAY SO?” By this challenging remark, they imply that he either forgot to say and therefore is depending on them to correct him or ad-lib for him or that he left it to all the neophytes to speculate and interpret his intentions. But we say that he made it clear and in writing, because he designated these eleven men to act as rittviks and did not indicate that after his departure they would be immediately empowered guru-acharyas. It must be accepted that rittvik representative was all the authority he saw them fit to handle. Discipline means if the guru forgets to ask the disciple to take food, the disciple should fast and not take food. That is disciplic succession.

By quoting endless shastric injunctions (often out of context), ISKCON gurus impudently suggest that Srila Prabhupada forgot or left it open to speculation and interpretation of all his neophyte disciples. Yasya deve para bhaktir yatha deve tatha gurau, tasyaite kathita hy arthah prakasante mahatmanah: “One who has unflinching faith in the words of the spiritual master and Krishna—to him all the imports of Vedic knowledge are revealed.” His last written words were: “Act as rittvik representatives of the Acharya.” That is his order, his arrangement for the continuance of the disciplic succession. Even if it was never done before, he did it, and it will work. Those who have, without authority, taken the post of guru-acharya have failed. Six out of eleven have fallen, and the remaining five are in serious doubt, having supported and institutionalised major philosophical deviations and deviant behaviors.

“Ours is not to reason why! Ours is but to do or die!” Just follow the order, and become guru. Although Shankaracharya taught so many things, his last instruction was “Bhaja Govindam! Bhaja Govindam! Just worship Govinda!” But because it was not in line with what he taught before, his followers neglected it and continued to be Mayavadis.

Srila Prabhupada said he wanted all his students to become qualified gurus and often said it was simple: all one had to do was repeat what he had heard from his guru. When Srila Prabhupada was preparing to leave this world, he said, “Act as rittvik representative of the Acharya.” But no one follows this; therefore, how are they guru?! They do not repeat or follow this last important directive, but attempt to discredit Srila Prabhupada’s own order, saying, “There is no precedent. It was never done before.” They quote Srila Prabhupada to contradict Srila Prabhupada. They quote His Holiness Narayana Maharaja to contradict Srila Prabhupada. Why? A disciple’s duty is to find evidence to support his guru’s order—not to be over intelligent, quoting authorities to contradict his spiritual master’s orders.

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