Srila Prabhupada, His Movement & You


From Kelilalita devi dasi,
Port Angeles, Washington
23 March 1994

Dear Hansadutta das:

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

Thank you for your letter. I was happy to read how enthusiastic you are for purely distributing the holy name and glorifying Srila Prabhupada. Your ideas for preaching seem practical, and I’m sure Krishna will give you all intelligence to carry out your plans.

As far as my mailing list goes, I promised everyone that I wouldn’t give out their names. In the past, several others had also requested my list, so I wrote my subscribers to see if they minded. A large enough majority said no, so I just decided not to give any out. It’s not so hard to understand why. I’m sorry I can’t help you in this way.

I’m doing fine. I feel Krishna has something planned for me up here in the far Pacific Northwest. It’s exciting and scary at the same time to see how things are all going to come out.

Last weekend I went to Victoria to visit the devotees. They have a big house close to the university. There are 7-8 people who live there. They go on hari-nama every Saturday and have a Sunday feast with about 40 guests. It’s a homey, personal atmosphere—nice preaching.

I hope this finds you and your family happy in KC and always at the lotus feet of our beloved spiritual master, father, friend and guide, Srila Prabhupada! I wish you well in your efforts.

Kelilalita devi dasi

From Dhanesvara das
5 May 1994

Dear Hansadutta:

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada. Thanks for your participation in the Directory. I am happy to run your personal listing, but I cannot run your ads. I am keeping the editorial content to that which is in keeping with the “official” ISKCON. Sorry, I know you won’t agree, but although I like you as a friend, I disagree with the tactic you are taking on all this. I also do not subscribe to the rittvik philosophy. I hope that you will reconsider what you are doing.

I offered some advice to you several years back when we talked in LA sitting in your car. Remember? Why not just try pursuing a low profile and simple sadhana? Stop crying “poor me.” After all, you’re the one who has created the whole situation! Try to re-read Srimad-Bhagavatam Fourth Canto about Lord Shiva’s rift with Daksha—maybe some lesson in there that you can appreciate.

Your friend,
Dhanesvara das

From Hansadutta das,
3 September 1994

Dear Dhanesvara Prabhu:

Please accept my most humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Thank you for including our personal listing. I did not think you could publish my two advertisements for Srila Prabhupada, His Movement & You and Excommunicated, Uncommunicated, Incommunicado, because of your official ISKCON editorial policy.

I also think of you as a good friend and well-wisher. You are correct when you say, “After all—you are the one who has created the whole situation.” Therefore I am trying to rectify that unfortunate creation by publishing Srila Prabhupada, His movement and You.

To accept Srila Prabhupada’s last written doctrine to his leading disciples—”Act as rittvik of the Acharya”—means to be on the safe side, following the order of the spiritual master verbatim, without interpretation, speculation or doubt. But to interpret and presume to know better than the spiritual master is dangerous. In other words, it is safer to be foolish before the spiritual master than to think one’s self over-intelligent. Even Lord Chaitanya posed Himself as foolish and accepted the order of His spiritual master to simply chant Hare Krishna as if He were a neophyte devotee, unfit for study of Vedanta. What harm can there be in being humble and accepting Srila Prabhupada’s order to act as rittvik of the acharya?

It worked well while Srila Prabhupada was with us, and now that everyone has assumed the role of guru-acharya. everything is in chaos and confusion. I hope you are well.

Your friend,
Hansadutta das

P.S. Yes! I did read, as you suggested, the incident of Lord Shiva and Daksha, and it has reinforced my conclusions and convictions.

From Basu Ghosh das, Bombay, India
8 May 1994

Dear Veda Guhya Prabhu:

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

It has been many months since we met at Vrindaban on the occasion of the annual observance of Srila Prabhupada’s disappearance. Since then, I honestly had meant to write to you many times, but it didn’t happen. I hope you will pardon me for that. Not only did I want to send you the enclosed pictures of yourself that I took at the temple, but I wanted to express my “humble” (I know I’m a puffed-up rascal) opinions on the “rittvik idea.”

I continue to hesitate to accept the idea, not based only on my own reflection on the issue, but also from discussions that I have had with learned scholars (some of whom are not in ISKCON and not in our Sampradaya) and devotees.

Of course, it is a fact that Srila Prabhupada never appointed a successor. It is also an unfortunate fact that many unqualified persons became “guru” in ISKCON and created havoc for their “disciples” as well as themselves.

I know that there are logical points on both sides of the issue. But from my philosophical inquiries and “investigation” into this, the conclusion seems to point to some kind of “living guru,” one who is present or “prakat” before our vision (although it may be material vision). The reasoning is that:

1. It is the accepted tradition to accept both “diksha” and “shiksha” from a “prakat” guru. It is accepted not only in Gaudiya Sampradaya, but in all of the other three Vaishnava Sampradayas. We have no example of a “rittvik” guru in Vaishnava history.

2. Srila Prabhupada’s writings “taken on a whole,” quite clearly indicate the need of a “prakat” guru. It is therefore that he has written in the Upadeshamrita that a kanishta or a madhyama devotee can also initiate. Otherwise, he would have, in all his wisdom, clearly indicated that a “rittvik guru” would have been the most acceptable alternative.

3. A great, powerful acharya adapts Krishna bhakti and Krishna consciousness to desh, kal and patra (time, place and circumstances). Agreed. However, the basic tenets (viddhis or methods) are not changed. There are many examples in history of this.

Srila Prabhupada was quite clear on how a disciple should “surrender” to the guru and how he must “follow his instructions.” To the best of my very limited understanding, the problems (that have created a doubt about the position of the guru) have arisen from a violation of the “position” and/or “responsibilities” that go along with being a guru. Sorry to use this corny cliché, the rittvik guru answer to this problem seems to be the case of “throwing away the baby with the bath water.”

How, then, to stop the abuse of the position of guru? This would seem to be the question. Of course, the GBC is charged with the responsibility of “monitoring” the ISKCON institution. The ultimate responsibility seems to rest with them. On a subjective level, we must be able, by “composite” understanding of Vaishnava Siddhanta, to distinguish between someone who is sincerely guiding innocent and ignorant souls on the path of Krishna bhakti and a cheater who is only after name, fame and sense gratification and makes a show of being a guru to obtain these material objects.

The “cheating guru” profession seems to be as old as any other profession. Hence Srila Prabhupada’s pointing out that a sincere person is sent to a sincere guru (by Krishna within the heart as Paramatma), and one who wants to be cheated will be sent to a “cheating guru.” But why eliminate the guru? There may be different levels of teachers in the educational system—but teachers are required nonetheless for all types of students. The function of the guru is like that, is it not?

Anyway, Prabhu, I very much enjoyed visiting with you last year—especially the nice prasad. Once again I am coming to the USA. I am leaving tomorrow from Bombay to the Middle East, London and then Washington D.C. is my first destination in the US around the end of June. Maybe I can visit you at that time, and then you can really give me the sauce!

I hope this meets you and your family in the best of health and jolly spirits.

Your servant,
Basu Ghosh das

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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,

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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…… 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, 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

  8. Pingback: Disappearance day of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada « Srila Prabhupada

  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)

      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.

  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..


    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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