Srila Prabhupada, His Movement & You

Whatever we know of Vaishnava tradition, we know it only because Srila Prabhupada taught us.

Queries and Replies

A Christian Idea?

Singapore, 4 November 1993

Dear Rahugana Prabhu:

Please accept my humble obeisances.

I faxed you a number of pages, mostly regarding Srila Prabhupada as the Sampradaya Acharya and his rittvik representatives directive for continuing the disciplic succession. I shall also forward you by mail Srila Prabhupada, His Movement and You, plus another publication consisting of a collection of letters.

The primary purpose of publicizing these two controversial issues is not to convert or contend with my god-brothers and others; rather, for the purification and confirmation of my own heart. I was compelled to formulate these realizations as I have done. The second reason for publishing the above-mentioned material is to address all the devotees who were unfortunate enough to have come into my orbit of egocentric madness, thereby having suffered the devastating pain, frustration and loss of faith that comes with the betrayal of responsibility and confidence.

I beg you to forgive me for all the disappointments, insensitive, harsh, arrogant, disgraceful and deceitful behavior I heaped upon you and Nada. Till now I could not understand how grievous and destructive my activities have been. I am too proud, arrogant and foolish, so it has taken so many years to come out of the long, dark tunnel of lust, envy and greedy desires. Especially the desire to “BE THE GURU.” But by the mercy of Srila Prabhupada, Krishna and many well-wishing devotees, this long, dark journey into night has come to an end. Where is that end? At the lotus feet of Srila Prabhupada (where else?!), as his insignificant, menial servant, nothing more today than the day I was accepted by Srila Prabhupada at my initiation ceremony in 1967 in New York. “Simply add ‘Dutta,'” Srila Prabhupada said. I was disappointed. I thought I would (should) have received a more noble, high-sounding name like Hanuman or Haridas.

Thinking back now to 1977, when I received the July 9th, 1977 letter of Srila Prabhupada’s rittvik appointments, I was enlivened to read my name there, but disappointed to note that we were only to “be rittvik representatives of the Acharya.” We were simply to continue to initiate on Srila Prabhupada’s behalf. Srila Prabhupada had written and spoken so many times about the simplicity of being guru. “Simply repeat what your guru said, simply follow, the perfect follower becomes the leader.” But now the moment of truth had arrived, and we were not going to be full gurus with our own disciples, we were being restricted. Srila Prabhupada said, “Act as my representative, continue to become rittvik of the Acharya.” It was disappointing. We expected more.

Therefore, when Srila Prabhupada actually left the planet, this desire to be a guru like Srila Prabhupada, the ambition and hankering for more than merely acting as an official rittvik priest, accepting disciples on his behalf, burst forth like a tidal wave, which swept over the whole ISKCON and caused devastation everywhere. And it has not yet stopped its destruction. That wave continues to roll. Presently it is rolling through New Vrindaban.

Somehow or other, I have survived this devastation, although I thought I would not survive. Indeed, I wanted to die, commit suicide. But intelligence told me of the futility of such an act. Many years have rolled past me. But Srila Prabhupada mercifully has opened my eyes. The solution to all this chaos and confusion is simple. Srila Prabhupada is the Acharya for everyone, and everyone can act as his representative, thus keeping “a house the whole world can live in” peaceful, happy and in perfect harmony.

For a long time I wanted to write you or speak with you, but not till now have the words and conclusions been forthcoming. Everything has its time and place.

Sometimes devotees think rittvik representative is something like the Christian system of priests or apostles and find this repulsive and vehemently object to it (although in fact ordered by Srila Prabhupada). In fact, the rittvik representative arrangement is exactly like the system the original apostles (disciples) of Lord Jesus followed, especially Paul, who personally never had any physical connection with Jesus. It was in fact the other apostles, like Peter, who fell into the trap of assuming titles and postures of divinity and holiness, much like Srila Prabhupada’s so-called guru-acharyas have after his disappearance.

The reason our devotees recoil at the thought of being compared to the Christian system of worshipping Christ as the central figure is not because there is anything wrong with this arrangement, but because the so-called priests, popes, bishops and worshippers actually do not worship or represent Jesus Christ and those precepts and examples he taught.

The system of keeping the Founder-Acharya in the center as the worshipable servant (Acharya) of the Lord is practiced by all religious schools. The Buddha is worshipped as the Founder-Acharya, Jesus is worshipped as the Founder-Acharya, Mohammed is worshipped as the Founder-Acharya and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is worshipped as the Founder-Acharya. But in each case we find that the worship is hypocrisy, or in name only, without real inquiry, submission and service—without which the whole show is a farce. “Faith without works is dead.”

But on the other hand, unqualified (not liberated) men posing as guru-acharyas is simply pretension or misrepresentation—so how is it better? At least in the former system (rittvik), the neophyte follower has a standard (the Acharya and his commentaries) by which to judge the actual spiritual substance of his spiritual leader or representative of the Acharya. In the pretentious guru-acharya system, the disciple is intimidated to think of the so-called guru as infallible and perfect, as good as God and therefore not subject to examination or doubt, for fear of committing Vaishnava aparadha.

Anyway, the bottom line is what the Acharya actually ordered or prescribed, not what we foolishly speculate or concoct in our attempt to satisfy our imperfect mind and intellect.

I doubt that my god-brothers will find much use for the ideas expressed in my publication, but they were not written to please them; they were written to please Srila Prabhupada, whom I have so displeased for so, so long a time. If he is pleased with my attempt to correct my mistakes and offenses at his lotus feet, then my life is whole, healthy and spiritually successful.

With this in mind, I humbly request you to go through the enclosures with an open mind and heart and give me your blessings and most of all forgive me for all my offenses. I look forward to seeing and speaking with you in Vrindaban. Yes! Two-way conversation, not one way, like “one hand clapping.” Hari bol.

With your blessings, I remain your humble servant,

Hansadutta das

P.S. The guru is the representative of Krishna (or Krishna is manifested as the guru), so no one ever becomes “The guru.” But one can become the surrendered SERVANT of the guru. In that way, Krishna makes use of such a 100% transparent, surrendered soul to TEACH the conditioned (rebellious) souls how to surrender to him by performance of pure devotional service.

Only a pure devotee can act as a guru, or that is to say, Krishna reveals Himself through the pure devotee. Others are pure in that degree that they act under the direction of such a pure devotee guru.

I think it is for this reason Prabhupada indicated his disciples “act as rittvik,” expecting if they would do so, in due course of time the ambition to be “guru” would be dissolved and thereby be fit instruments for Krishna and the parampara as “full gurus” or pure devotees.

The important difference between the Christian tradition and the Brahma-Gaudiya-Vaishnava Sampradaya is that we have an unbroken chain of disciplic succession, whereas Christians have no such unbroken line of Acharyas whose commentaries on the Bible are all in agreement. Therefore, when Srila Prabhupada ordered, “Act as rittvik of the Acharya,” it will work for us, where it has failed for Christians. This is an important point.

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22 Responses to Srila Prabhupada, His Movement & You

  1. I shall be including sections of this very intelligent, but flawed, commentary in an upcoming article that will be posted on one of our websites. As I told you in 1988, I would read the book that you gave me. I have read, more than once, both of your books, as well as this article. You are close. The quote from Vaikunthanatha, as potent as it appears to be, is still evidence not conclusive proof. Indeed, and somewhat ironically, you have prominently posted in another section of your website, that famous letter you received from His Divine Grace wherein he said that his movement may have gurus given the title of Bhaktivedanta (for their advanced learning and realization in the supreme science) by 1975. This was not realized, however, as we all know. Instead, eleven men–yourself one of them–went, in your own words to me back in the Eighties “way too far.” Nevertheless, misuse of a great science does not render it useless. The rittvik process (and I spell this word exactly as you do, so we have something in common there) in relation to Srila Prabhupada ended on November 15, 1977; the last genuinely initiated disciple of Prabhupada was Mahapurana das, an African-American devotee, at (again, somewhat ironically, although Nityananda prabhu was already in Mississippi by that time) the New Orleans yatra just hours before Prabhupada departed us in manifest form. The real issue here is not rittvik; the real issue is “regular guru, that’s all.” What did that mean? I ask this rhetorically, as I am confident that I know what it means. Similarly, as was revealed in your presence at Topanga Canyon in early December of 1980, the eleven men named on July 9-10, 1977 where not to create any kind of exclusive monopoly based upon their having been given the renewal of the service of rittvik, which had been suspended for a period of time before that summer. I think that you would agree that close is not good enough here. We may put together the pieces of the puzzle in a different chronological order–and that is to be expected–but, when it is finished, all the pieces fit together in one way and one way only. There is one perfect way, and we both agree that the vitiated GBC has not established, nor does it represent, that way. Yet, there arguments have some power to them, especially in terms of pragmatic considerations–Western pragmatism, that is. Indeed, I pick up no dearth of pragmatism in your presentations both in your books and on your website. The issue is not pragmatism itself, as Prabhupada was very results oriented. The issue is the difference between Western pragmatism and Vedic or Vaishnava pragmatism. There is one essential difference between them, and a hint of what that is can be found in Nityananda prabhu’s favorite slogan: Satyam eva jayate.
    One other thing to keep in mind. Kindly do not misread anything personal into this, because it is not intended for any specific initiated devotee (1966-1977) of Prabhupada. We both agree that the GBCs of Prabhupada and his guru deviated in egregious ways. What was the ultimate result thirty years after the first such deviation? Or, rather, how did Lord Chaitanya choose to rectify that situation? It wasn’t via any kind of rittvik arrangement, was it.
    So, I am being stimulated to some extent by what I am reading on your website and in reviewing your books (I have both of them) once again. In due course, it should produce an article that goes into detail on all of these spiritual raw nerve topics. Obviously, I had very little association with His Divine Grace in comparison to your good self; I was only alone with him once for about four minutes. So, you are very blessed, and I admire your spiritual good fortune. It empowers you to carry on, no doubt. Still, you and I have another thing in common that is certainly rare amongst Prabhupada’s actually initiated disciples, viz., neither of us was preached to before coming to the temple and deciding to surrender. I have read your historical account, it was impressive, and I could relate to it. Mine was different, obviously, but the principle was the same. As such, we each stand for something and push something independent of mass opinion and negativity of the enforced conformity. Your version of rittvik–and there are quite a number of them–is different from the others, and that is to be expected, also.
    Once I produce the above-mentioned article (for the first time, I am seriously considering employing the A & A format in doing so), would you like me to notify you of its posting along with a hyperlink? I shall not be offended if you answer this specific query in the negative nor shall I be offended if I do not hear from you at all. We are all meant to reach the stage of sthita-prajna, in which it is certain that His Divine Grace would order us to become diksa-guru, not rittvik. Until then, we are meant to preach to newcomers, stress Prabhupada as their siksa-guru, and keep them in the process at the level of sadhu-sanga. It is an impetus to get very sincere and serious and reach the stage of mahimni sve mahiyate, i.e., drsta evatmanisvare. If we could not or cannot reach even this stage, which is prior to bhava, then what was the meaning of Srila Prabhupada coming here in the first place and training us to become gurus? And he certainly wanted this, as you well know, and as evidenced, if not indeed proved, by his letter to you in 1975.
    Hoping that this meets you and your good wife in good health and cheerful mood, I beg to remain . . .
    Your eternal servant,
    KAILASA CANDRA DASA

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  3. Suvarna says:

    Thank you for this book Hansadutta Prabhu. Very wonderful writing. I am very grateful. Thank you. Your servant Suvarna

  4. Suvarna says:

    is this book available to purchase?

  5. I have no motre copies for saler, you can download the whole text from Nama Hatta, or write to daschan@streamyx.com…… perhaps they have a copy,
    Thank you nfor appriociating my realizations. I do not write for money, or noteriety. I have written according to my experience and heart felt love for Prabhupada

    Your humble servant,
    I shaould have done better,
    But I fell. failed and am very repentant about that, and still working to get up and do the right thing.

    • tarunkrishna das says:

      Haribol ji, may i say Hansdutta ji at least you have said you made mistakes , been open about what went wrong for you, not many from that time have or ever will,..so bless you ji ,..haribol

    • Nilesh Dalal says:

      Hare Krishna prabhuji,
      Please consider to reprint your book not for fame or for glory but to help other innocent jivas from following the bogus gurus. I just discovered your website. But there are others where this message has to be reached. Please help to redirect Prabhupada’s vision in it’s true direction. Senior true devotees like yourself is our only link to the truth.
      Hari Bol.

    • dhaval moradiya says:

      hare krishna
      i want to purchasse of this book …

  6. Martin says:

    Hare Krishna. Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

    For many years I have been searching for the audio of the so-called appointment tape of May 28, 1977. Do you have the audio file, and if so, could you please email it to me or post it to YouTube? I have read the transcript and understand that Srila Prabhupada appointed ritviks, but I would like to hear the audio for myself.

  7. William Regular says:

    Hare Krishna!!
    Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada!!

    Thank you very much for your profound realizations. i really felt indebted.. it gives me more light since you personally advice me to read first before i come to visit any ISKCON temple. i will write you someday in regards of this book.
    Again, thank you very much Hansadutta Prabhu

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  9. Lou says:

    Dear Hansadutta Das,
    I remember you in Berkely in 1976 or so. I used to frequent the temple there often. I have not been to an ISKCON temple since then although I occasionally try to keep up on ISKCON news. I am a devotee of Avatar Meher Baba. I have no qualifications to judge but the letter you’ve shared seems to clearly spell out Srila Prabhupada’s wishes. It makes it very clear: “The newly initiated devotees are disciples of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada …” It is truly a shame that ISKCON has been divided all these years and I pray your efforts are helpful. Congratulations on your honesty and sincere work.

  10. Probir saha says:

    Jay radha!! I love “krishna” but i love you too.,’prabhupada’

  11. Vishnujana says:

    Hansadutta please accept my humble obeisances as a older Godbrother. I would like to talk to you about the ritvik system and where do you stand with post 1977 ISKCON. I would also like to know if you yourself know about the poisoning of our Spiritual Master A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada by your Godbrothers (perhaps you were aware but did not do anything) as well as your Godbrothers and the heinous acts they have done such as kirtananda and bhakti thirtha and many others. Please write back to me as soon as possible. If you truly following Srila Prabhupada you would allow for us to start a conversation to help this poor lost soul find some happiness. You are one of the last Ritvik Representative of Srila Prabhupada who was chosen by HIM. do not let this go to waste. Rise up Hansadutta and fight for Srila Prabhupada if you are sincere. Do not become clouded by illusion like arjuna at the battle of kurusetra with his family members. Just because they are your Godbrothers does not make it right to let them destroy Prabhupada ISKCON and take so many to hell with them. there are many scattered sects of the ritvik camp around the world with some truly devoted to Prabhupada and others for some materialistic purposes. Are we to let our faith become like the christian faith which is scattered from protestant to catholic to coptic orthodox to Pentecostal? Why do you sit and do nothing? Become a true ritvik and defend Prabhupada order and stop this second poisoning which is being done to Prabhupada Books. They are new devotees that are coming in this movement and many are lost because of the so many ritvik camps as well that they do not want to associate with ISKCON example my self and few friends. All I ask of you from my self is to write back to me so we may talk with my friends on your place and what we can do. Hare Krsna Jai Prabhupada.

    • Vishnujana says:

      Srila Prabhupada: Keu bole je keu poison kore diyeche. Hoy to tai.
      Translation: Someone says that I’ve been poisoned. It’s possible.

      Balaram Mishra (?): Hmm?

      Kaviraja: Kya farma rahe hain?
      Translation: What is he saying?

      Srila Prabhupada: Koi bolta hai je koi mujhko poison kiya gaya hai.
      Translation: Someone says that someone has given poison.

      Kaviraja: Kisko?
      Translation: To whom?

      Srila Prabhupada: Mujhko.
      Translation: To me.

      Kaviraja: Kaun bolta hai?
      Translation: Who said?

      Srila Prabhupada: Ye sab friends.
      Translation: These all friends.

      Bhakticharu: Ke boleche, Srila Prabhupada?
      Translation: Who said, Srila Prabhupada?

      Srila Prabhupada: Ke boleche.
      Translation: They all say.

      Tamal Krishna: Krishna das?

      Kaviraja: Ao ko kaun poison dega? Kis liye dega?
      Translation: Who would give you poison? Why would anyone do that?

      Tamal Krishna: Who said that, Srila Prabhupada?

      Srila Prabhupada: I do not know, but it is said.

      Exchange 1 – Mixture of English, Hindi and Bengali (9/11/77)

      Jagadisha: Srila Prabhupada, can you tell us why you want to go on the parikrama? (travelling to visiting holy places)
      Prabhupada: …good paddy.
      Tamala Krsna: This seems like suicide, Srila Prabhupada, this program. It seems to some of us like it’s suicidal.
      Prabhupada: And this is also suicidal.
      Tamala Krsna: Hm. Prabhupada said, “And this is also suicide.” Now you have to choose which suicide.
      Prabhupada: The Ravana (A great demon) will kill and Rama (God) will kill. Better to be killed by Rama. Eh? That Marica–if he does not go to mislead Sita, he’ll be killed by Ravana; and if he goes to be killed by Rama, then it is better.
      [Room Con. Nov. 10, 1977, Vrndavana, India]

      Prabhupada: All right. You take Babaji Maharaja. That will be my going. (“devotees” laugh)
      Krsna dasa Babaji: Jaya. (laughter)
      Tamala Krsna: Yes, the bullock cart will go tomorrow
      Prabhupada: Yes.
      Tamala Krsna: To Govardhana.
      Prabhupada: Yes, other devotees can go. I cannot go.
      Tamala Krsna: No, they’ll go on your behalf, but you will go one day. That we promise you. (“devotees” laugh)
      “Devotee ?”: (under breath) Sati (other “devotees” laugh)
      Prabhupada: All right.
      Tamala Krsna: Our greatest pleasure will be to take you on tirtha-yatra, Srila Prabhupada. We wanted so much to go with you on that.
      Prabhupada: Thank you very much.

      (Vrindavana, India – 10th November 1977)
      http://www.prabhupada.org.uk/paul/08.mp3

      here is the conversation of his final days. You were there werent you? therefore if you knew of this publicly repent and work to fight against your “Godbrothers” and if you sincerely and honestly did not know then research and hear what they did to our Guru Maharaj and understand what you must do.
      http://www.prabhupada.org.uk/paul/prabhupada_poisoned.htm

  12. Krishna Tungal says:

    All Glories to Srila Prabhupada,
    Hare Krishna to all the devotees.

    What Vishnujana Prabhu said is 100000% true. Hansadutta Prabhu, you can do it, we all here to support you..

    HariBol….

    Your servant
    Krishna Tungal

    • Aaca says:

      Dear Jagaddharta Prabhu Thank you for your comments. I beelive that you are correct in your appraisal that we have underestimated world affairs as a causative influence. Srila Prabhupada has given us all the knowledge and perspective to understand the complexities of modern life and how we are entangled in the modes and more importantly how to get disentangled. Srila Prabhupada gives us the tools it is up to us how or when or if we employ them. He nor Krsna will do this as this is our duty to free ourselves. The Demon Kali has his agents both outside and inside of FISKCON. To have them inside ISKCON is impossible for inside ISKCON is where Srila Prabhupada’s vision lies illuminating the absolute truth. FISKCON adherents do not have this vision and so they will cheat us. It is only when we can understand this difference, that is between ISKCON and FISKCON that we can begin to free ourselves. Yes no one comes close to Srila Prabhupada! Nor are they meant to. He is the Acharya of ISKCON no one else. We have to all come together by aligning our visions to his and in order to do this we must understand our predicament within the Geopolitical sphere and to know where the Krsna Consciousness Movement is being compromised, where our own vision has been affected and obscured. Yours in the service of Srila PrabhupadaAdmin

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  16. Hansadutta Prabhu, you are in an excellent position to understand the ritvik issue because you were an ISKCON temple president, a member of the GBC body, a BBT trustee, an “appointed guru,” and a “zonal acharya.” Your booklet is what convinced me, even before “The Final Order” was published.

    Also, no ISKCON leader dares to debate with you. All that they ever do is resort to low-class name-calling!

  17. hansadutta das says:
    September 12, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    I have no motre copies for saler

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