Srila Prabhupada, His Movement & You

Srila Prabhupada, the Brahma Sampradaya Acharya

Dubious Tapes Vs. Clear Documents

The endless controversy over whether Prabhupada appointed gurus, acharyas or rittvik deputies can be satisfactorily concluded by pointing out that Prabhupada left written instructions.
Srila Prabhupada left a last will and testament. He left a BBT document regarding the continued publication of his books. He left a GBC document outlining how the movement is to be managed. And he wrote a letter on July 9, 1977, appointing eleven senior devotees as rittvik gurus, officiating deputies, to continue the process of initiating new members on behalf of “the Founder-Acharya ” Srila Prabhupada. All the men named in that letter already had been doing these rittvik initiations on Prabhupada’s behalf for a number of years. Therefore, there was no need for Prabhupada to write an official letter in this regard, save and except to make it clear that these senior disciples should perpetuate the rittvik responsibilities they were already performing in the future, as in the absence of Srila Prabhupada, which at that time was apparently very near at hand.

In a court of law, doubtful, barely audible, hissing tape recordings regarding the last will and testament of a deceased party would never be accepted as substantial evidence to contradict a clearly written document with appropriate signatures of the deceased and a leading family member (Tamal Krishna Goswami). Therefore, the questionable “appointment tapes” should be dismissed as entirely irrelevant in the presence of Srila Prabhupada’s clearly-worded letter regarding initiation and the position of those performing the initiation function.

The letter dated July 9, 1977 is all the EVIDENCE that exists from Prabhupada’s hand, establishing his policy with regard to this all-important question as to who will continue initiations and how they should be conducted in Prabhupada’s absence.

Why not accept Prabhupada’s last word in his July 9th, 1977 letter as final? Why not have faith in Prabhupada? Why entertain endless arguments from so many doubtful sources? Why not accept the final dictation and order as per the July 9, 1977 letter sent by Prabhupada to his senior disciples, stating his desire for them to act as rittviks? Do we have to accept the word of irreputible authorities, some of whom have long ago proven their disqualifications by obvious disgraceful behavior, and others who are strong supporters of the now fallen gurus? What is the harm if we place full and unflinching faith in the words of Srila Prabhupada? Who but a fool would dare to dismiss or argue against the order of the Founder-Acharya, Srila Prabhupada?

On the other hand, to accept the dictation of Prabhupada’s letter of July 9, 1977 as final and conclusive would be poison for those persons who entertain the ambition to take the post of guru. Such persons will forever present vague and contradictory arguments to keep alive their ambitious fever for being the successor guru-acharya! But those who harbor no such ambition can understand the order of Prabhupada plain and simple, as he wrote it down in the July 9th, 1977 letter, ordering his disciples to function as deputies or rittviks on behalf of the Founder-Acharya of the community of Vaishnavas worldwide within and without ISKCON, and that order is like a breath of fresh air for the drowning man.

July 9th letter
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Letter to all GBC and Temple Presidents, dated July 9th, 1977

To All G.B.C. and Temple Presidents

July 9th, 1977

Dear Maharajas and Prabhus:

Please accept my humble obeisances at your feet. Recently, when all of the GBC members were with His Divine Grace in Vrindavana, Srila Prabhupada indicated that soon He would appoint some of His senior disciples to act as “rittvik”-representative of the acharya, for the purpose of performing initiations, both first initiation and second initiation. His Divine Grace has so far given a list of eleven disciples who will act in that capacity:

His Holiness Kirtanananda Swami
His Holiness Satsvarupa das Goswami
His Holiness Jayapataka Swami
His Holiness Tamal Krishna Goswami
His Holiness Hrdayananda Goswami
His Holiness Bhavananda Goswami
His Holiness Hamsadutta Swami
His Holiness Ramesvara Swami
His Holiness Harikesa Swami
His Grace Bhagavan das Adhikari
His Grace Jayatirtha das Adhikari

In the past Temple Presidents have written to Srila Prabhupada recommending a particular devotee’s initiation. Now that Srila Prabhupada has named these representatives, Temple Presidents may henceforward send recommendation for first and second initiation to whichever of these eleven representatives are nearest their temple. After considering the recommendation, these representatives may accept the devotee as an initiated disciple of Srila Prabhupada by giving a spiritual name, or in the case of second initiation, by chanting on the Gayatri thread, just as Srila Prabhupada has done. The newly initiated devotees are disciples of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the above eleven senior devotees acting as His representative. After the Temple President receives a letter from these representatives giving the spiritual name or the thread, he can perform the fire yajna in the temple as was being done before. The name of a newly initiated disciple should be sent by the representative who has accepted him or her to Srila Prabhupada, to be included in His Divine Grace’s “Initiated Disciples” book.

Hoping this finds you all well.

Your servant,
Tamal Krishna Goswami
Secretary to Srila Prabhupada

Approved: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
[Srila Prabhupada’s signature appears on the original.]

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