Letter to my elder godbrother
From Hansadutta das, Singapore
2 October 1993
Dear Kirtanananda Maharaja:
Please accept my humble obeisances.
I thought now is the time to remind you of what you said to me upon meeting you at New Vrindaban after my fall from Guru and Sannyas. Seeing my condition, and anticipating the ensuing chaos and confusion amongst the new disciples, you said, “This is why I suggested so strongly that ISKCON should adopt the RITTVIK process of initiation for the new Gurus!!” It has been a long time since then, but after all is said and done, I have personally realized the truth of this statement. Rittvik representatives is all that PRABHUPADA ever sanctioned us to be—not ACHARYAS or GURUS. After years of anguish and confusion over this issue, I have by the mercy of Prabhupada, come to take shelter in his instruction: “Act as Rittvik of the Acharya.” I think it is time for me to repay the debt I owe you for giving me shelter when I was so broken and lost in my spiritual life.
I humbly suggest you consider the fact that Prabhupada never authorized us to be gurus, but restrained our ambition by designating some men to act as his deputies, or rittvik representatives. Better late than never. Give up the false posture of guru-acharya and consider acting as the humble servant of the Acharya, as a rittvik representative. That is the solution for you and all the ISKCON gurus.
If you step back, resume your sadhana and service attitude towards Srila Prabhupada as his rittvik representative exactly as you used to do for him when he was still physically present, then most devotees will probably stand by you. Many will return to your guidance. You have nothing to lose by taking this humble position, except the false prestige of being a guru-acharya, which is haunting you like a ghost.
New Vrindaban is a wonderful place, and it was built under your charge, but only because the devotees were empowered by Prabhupada, on account of their sincere desire to serve him (Srila Prabhupada). In other words, they enthusiastically accepted so much sacrifice, penance and austerity to help you build New Vrindaban, because they saw your sincere determination and desire to please Prabhupada.
Of all the god-brothers, you have accomplished the most monumental task by the building and development of New Vrindaban community. On the other hand, you now stand on the precipice of the total ruin of all you have accomplished, if you obstinately stick to your false posture as the acharya and guru. The god-brothers are waiting like vultures to devour you, New Vrindaban and all the devotees, because more or less all of them are haunted by the same ghost of false prestige, thinking, “I am the guru, and all should serve my feet.” Prabhupada has remarked the last two pitfalls of maya are to think one’s self as God and the other is to think one’s self as guru.
By taking your proper position as Srila Prabhupada’s menial servant, no better today than the day you first met him in New York, you will save yourself and possibly your example could save the whole ISKCON movement.
You said you want to save ISKCON, but that requires saving yourself first.
As your younger god-brother, I have taken the liberty to attempt to instruct you. Please excuse my impudence. Whatever I have written is my deep, heartfelt concern for you, all the devotees with you, the wonderful creation of Prabhupada’s Palace of Gold and of course, Srila Prabhupada, our beloved spiritual master, by whose mercy we have all been awakened to the highest ideal of preaching love of Krishna to the whole world. As the first and foremost of Prabhupada’s disciples, be the first to demonstrate yourself as his rittvik representative. I am prepared to help you in every way, if you do the right thing.
I sincerely hope you are well. I mean you no ill will. I always admire you, but at this time I feel compelled to give you this important advice.
Your humble servant,