Tamal Krsna Goswami’s Confession
TAMAL KRISHNA GOSWAMI : …Actually, Prabhupada never appointed any gurus. He did not appoint eleven gurus. He appointed eleven rittviks [officiating priests]. He never appointed them as gurus. Myself and the other GBCs have done the greatest disservice to this movement for the last three years, because we interpreted the appointment of rittviks as the appointment of gurus….
[What Srila Prabhupada said was], “All right, I will appoint so many,” and he named them. He made it very clear that they [new members] were still to be his disciples. At that point it was very clear in my mind that they were his disciples….
Now I understand that what he did was very clear. He was physically incapable of performing the function of initiating physically; therefore he appointed officiating priests to initiate on his behalf. He appointed eleven and he said very clearly, “Whoever is nearest, he can initiate.”
This is a very important point, because when it comes to initiating, it is not “whoever is nearest.” It is wherever your heart goes—to whom you can repose your faith in.
But when it is officiating, it’s “whoever is nearest,” and he was very clear… “Whoever is nearest will check you out. Then, on my behalf, they will initiate….”
If it had been more than that [officiating priests], you can bet your bottom dollar that Prabhupada would have spoken for days and hours and weeks on end about how to set up this thing with the gurus…. But he did not, because he already said it a million times. He said, “My Guru Maharaja did not appoint anyone. It is by qualification.” We made a great mistake….
You cannot show me anything on tape or in writing where Prabhupada says, “I appoint these eleven as gurus.” It does not exist, because he never appointed any gurus. This is a myth.—1979-1980, Topanga Canyon, California, (Spoken in Topanga Canyon and subsequently published in ISKCON Journal, Vol. I, No. 1)