History re-construction - page #2
5. Srila Prabhupada expected both to happen
6. Regular gurus after 1977?
7. First honesty, then pure devotion
8. Paradigm for redemption
Srila Prabhupada expected both to happen
Devotee_1: We are making this humble observation. Some of us believe that Srila Prabhupada expected both plans, both ritvik representative and regular gurus, to happen in the future.
Devotee_2: How so?
Devotee_1: Some believe that Srila Prabhupada expected the ritvik representative plan to go on in the future, and we can surmise this from the HH BV Puri Maharaja conversation, which has already been discussed. We can tell from the last will and testament, that Srila Prabhupada expected ritvik representatives to continue. We can tell from the 7/9 letter, and many witnesses, that he expected it to continue, and TKG said in another letter that it was for the “future,” and told Yasodanandana the same, as well as confessed as such in the Topanga Canyon confession.
Srila Prabhupada may have also expected some regular gurus to be ordered by him some time in the future, and this is surmised by him saying “disciple of disciple” and “regular gurus” and “on my order” in the 5/28 conversation, but only on his order. Srila Prabhupada expected, or wanted that some or many of his disciples to become pure devotees, even if it took most of our lifetime to do so. So naturally he would expect that some of us would be ordered to be regular gurus, after becoming uttama. He did not expect us to give up and settle for a mediocre level of devotional service. [more discussion on this]
For both plans to happen simultaneously is not a breach of any Vedic injunction. Some devotees make some arbitrary assumption that this is wrong, but who is being violated by such a simultaneous occurrence? For both processes to happen will cause no contravention to any devotee, and both are happening right now in the present times, and the ritvik plan is not hurting anyone, rather it is giving new Bhaktas a direct connection with Lord Krishna’s pure devotee, Srila Prabhupada, and the success of their connection is seen in their lives.
In fact, such an acceptance of both would bring great peace to the devotees of Iskcon. Devotees and gurus would not have to burn up so much energy in the constant conflicts of resisting what is inevitable, what is already happening, and could channel that energy into preaching and becoming Krsna consciousness. Older devotees could work together again, and could repair relationships. Devotees would become much happier if we all just accept the reality of both ideas happening. Srila Prabhupada expected both, and to please Lord Krishna’s pure devotee, Srila Prabhupada, is the key to all happiness. Not pleasing Srila Prabhupada is the reason for all miseries, and we are experiencing this in Iskcon today. Actually, there are 3 guru systems in consideration, and we will discuss this later. So the idea of both happening is something that we believe that Srila Prabhupada expected.
Devotee_2: Any specific examples of this idea?
Devotee_1: Srila Prabhupada whispered in HH Gour Govinda Maharaja’s ear, to take disciples, [more discussion of this controversy]. Srila Prabhupada whispered because he didn’t want the others to hear and get envious. This is because Srila Prabhupada wanted them to be ritviks, and knew they would be envious that he ordered HH Gour Govinda Maharaja to be a regular guru. He also gave permission to Radha-Govinda Maharaja to take disciples. Srila Prabhupada expected both HH Gour Govinda Maharaja and Radha-Govinda Swami to be regular gurus, and at the same time he expected the 11 to be ritvik representatives, on his behalf. This is an example of how he expected both processes to go on at the same time. They were always envious of HH Gour Govinda Maharaja, they did not recognize him as a zonal, or regular guru, even though they jumped and promoted themselves to this position. So, there is good reason to believe that Srila Prabhupada wanted both to happen, and there is good common sense for this.
Devotee_2: What is this good common sense?
Devotee_1: Before Srila Prabhupada, Krsna consciousness was limited to the land of India. Then Srila Prabhupada spread Krsna consciousness all over the world, as was predicted by several great Vaisnavas. Before this happened, the potential base of new devotees was limited to one section of the world, and then the “customer base” became greatly expanded after Srila Prabhupada spread Krsna consciousness all over the world. This is the first time that Vaisnava philosophy had been made available all over the world. Therefore, there was a potential of many new devotees being made, and Srila Prabhupada knew that since his disciples were not ready for being regular gurus at the time when he was about to depart, so he compensated for this lack by introducing the officiating acharya representative plan. There may be some disciples who become regular gurus, but this would not accommodate the entire world potential for new devotees, and thus the ritvik representative plan would effectively take care of the expanded “customer base” until there were some pure devotees who could be ordered to be regular gurus. Yet, some will still prefer to choose the officiating acharya system when given a choice. Even one or two, or several pure devotees cannot serve the whole world like Srila Prabhupada did. No devotee can do what he did. A new regular guru can only take so many disciples, only a small portion of the world, therefore there is always a need for the officiating acharya plan. The inception of new regular gurus does not have to terminate the officiating acharya plan, and visa versa. The latter could naturally fade out, if there were a sufficient amount of pure devotees to accommodate the world population, and many of us expect this will not happen. We see that this did not happen in the Ramanuja and Madhva lines either, due to the effects of Kali-yuga, so we can expect the ritvik plan of Srila Prabhupada to continue in the future, even though there may be some pure devotees. So, both happening is something that some of us expect, as do some of us think that Srila Prabhupada expected this to happen.
Devotee_2: Many Iskcon devotees think there are pure devotees right now.
Devotee_1: Many are skeptical of this, due to our long experience of the history of Iskcon. It is not that we don’t want that pure devotees to happen, and it is not that we are envious that some may be pure devotees. We have seen that one guru was touted to be the next parampara guru after Srila Prabhupada, and after a long career, he fell badly. So, there is a natural skepticism amongst older devotees on this subject.
Devotee_2: How can we tell when some disciple becomes a pure devotee?
Devotee_1: This may be a subject for another time. Also, any devotee can counter these points, if he or she wants, by going to the website.
Devotee_2: How can Srila Prabhupada order a new guru after 1977? Srila Prabhupada said, “when I order,” but some devotees claim that since he has left our mundane vision, that possibility does not exist anymore. They think that he could only order regular gurus before, and not after his departure.
Devotee_1: And why would they think that?
Devotee_2: Perhaps because of the remoteness, the distance from here to the spiritual world. We are under the assumption that he has joined the eternal lila in Goloka, and he is finished with his earthly service. Some have even foolishly suggested that he’s deceased.
Devotee_1: Krsna consciousness is simple, bhakti 101, we’re not these bodies. Srila Prabhupada’s earthly body was sacred and pure, but it wasn’t really him. The real Srila Prabhupada is actually a very powerful spiritual being, and time and space and distances have no meaning to him. Leaving his earthly form is not a great deterrent. He can transverse great distances in mere seconds. He does not have to travel; he is both here and there. He is in Krishna’s eternal lila, and he is also here. The previous acharyas are still involved in Lord Caitanya’s movement, here on earth, while also being in the spiritual world.
Devotee_2: And you know this, how?
Devotee_1: Srila Prabhupada’s godbrother, O.B.L. Kapoor has said that the siddha souls, or perfected souls, the great devotees of Lord Krishna, they have a double personality, in one form they live in Goloka, in another form they live in this world. Specifically, they are still present in earthly Vrndavan. They still give darshan to other pure devotees. They still give blessings to sincere devotees. He said that Srila Rupa Gosvami appeared to Srila Prabhupada in Vrndavan, and spoke to him, encouraging him to preach in the west, and said that he would always be with Srila Prabhupada. [more on this]
Devotee_2: Is this double personality concept found in sastra?
Devotee_1: Yes, it’s in the literature of the Gosvamis.
Devotee_2: But, Srila Prabhupada hasn’t mentioned it, it doesn’t seem to be in his books.
Devotee_1: Indirectly, it is in his books.
Devotee_2: How is that?
Devotee_1: Srila Prabhupada recommends in Caitanya-caritamrta for devotees to read the Gosvami books for further enlightenment in Krsna consciousness. Of course, they should have read his books several times and have assimilated them properly before taking up his recommendation for the literatures of the Gosvamis. He specifically mentions Lalita-madhava, which touches on the double personality aspect of pure devotees. So, if Srila Prabhupada can accept new disciples through his officiating acharya program, what keeps him from ordering regular gurus? If one of his disciples becomes uttama, and Srila Prabhupada orders him, what is the problem? There can be a regular guru, and also there can be officiating acharyas, and reluctantly there will be madhyma and kanistha gurus.
Regular gurus are not to be confused with madhyma and kanistha gurus, or with gurus who fall down, or have the propensity to fall down, or gurus who deviate from Srila Prabhupada and his teachings. Srila Prabhupada does not recommend madhyma and kanistha gurus, but strongly recommends that one accept an uttama guru, this is in his NOI, which means that he would order an uttama disciple, and not order madhyma and kanistha disciples, although he did mention there can be such madhyma and kanistha gurus in NOI, but he does not recommend them.
Devotee_2: But devotees give this story that Rohini-kumara asked Srila Prabhupada if there would be more acharyas in the future, and Srila Prabhupada said no.
Devotee_1: Rohini-kumara prabhu later clarified his story, saying that Srila Prabhupada simply smiled at his question. What his smile meant, we don’t know for sure. Since then, we have reason to believe that Srila Prabhupada gave permission to at least 2 disciples to accept disciples, we have already discussed this, [more discussion of this controversy]. We have discussed that Srila Prabhupada expected both to happen, at least 2 regular gurus after he left us, and the officiating acharyas to happen. We also can tell from his conversation with HH BV Puri Maharaja, that he reluctantly expected madhyma and kanistha gurus to happen, when he said, “"What can I do...,” even though he did not like it, he resigned to the strong possibility that it would happen. In this way he expected all 3 concepts to happen.
Devotee_2: Many devotees in Iskcon do not accept that Srila Prabhupada accepts new disciples through this officiating acharya program.
Devotee_1: Don’t all the devotees in Iskcon have daily guru puja for Srila Prabhupada? Do they think that Srila Prabhupada is present at these pujas? Of course they do, they know that we are not worshipping a statue. Don’t the Iskcon devotees offer bhoga to Srila Prabhupada on the altar? If Srila Prabhupada accepts these offerings of puja and bhoga, then what prevents him from accepting disciples through his officiating acharya program? If he can take disciples, what stops him from ordering a new regular guru, if he wants to? It is his decision, not ours. Since there seems to be many madhyma and kanistha gurus, and few, if any, uttama gurus, then it seems perfectly common sense for Srila Prabhupada to establish his officiating acharya program to fill the void of qualified gurus, and also leaves the option for disciples to rise to uttama, as he always wanted his disciples to come up to pure devotional service.
The double personality concept of the acharyas being here on earth and simultaneously in the spiritual world is inconceivable to our minds. But we can accept it through the sastra of the Gosvamis. The physics of the spiritual world is different from the material world physics. Our three dimensional concept of physics does not apply to the reality of the spiritual world. Srila Prabhupada and the previous acharyas are still actively involved in Lord Caitanya’s sankirtan movement, and Srila Prabhupada is still guiding his sincere disciples within their hearts, through his books and vani, sometimes in dreams, and he also speaks through the words of his sincere disciples. Hare Krishna.
Re-construction of Iskcon history #7
How do we know when a disciple becomes a pure devotee?
Devotee_2: With many gurus falling down, and displaying less than pure devotional activities, how can we be certain when a disciple actually achieves pure devotional service?
Devotee_1: First of all, he has to be completely honest. He has to be honest about the instructions of Srila Prabhupada, and not interpret such instructions for the sake of some party policy.
For instance, we have these quotes from Srila Prabhupada about officiating acharyas and ritviks, and we have the history of discussion and debate on such issues. Not once, do we ever hear an Iskcon guru say, “gee prabhu, that’s a good point.” Not once does an Iskcon guru concede some truth being stated by the so-called ritviks. For experienced devotees who have been following these debates, such absence of any recognition of the validity of the points and positions of the so-called ritviks, is just plain dishonest. Less than honest means the voluntary acceptance of illusion. It’s like giving the illusory energy full license to ensnare the devotees and disciples into illusion. It’s a great offence to Srila Prabhupada, and the grand-disciples by putting them in harm’s way, subjecting them to the dark well of illusion, especially in the beginning of their devotional career. So pure devotional service begins with being straightforward and honest in one’s dealings and conversations with other prabhus, whether you consider them to be friends or adversaries.
This was recently illustrated in the BTP magazine, with the excellent article, “GBC bombshell: we have no guru order.” Therein Jayadvaita Swami brings up in an email, the subject of honesty, as he says, “oh bull” and “don’t try to jive me,” in response to some claims of the gurus that Srila Prabhupada authorized them to be diksa gurus. The conclusion of this revelation from JAS is that they have no such evidence, and they withdrew their position paper on the subject, admitting defeat. This is the beginning of real honesty, which is a step towards becoming a real devotee and disciple, or follower of Srila Prabhupada. When such devotees are voluntarily living a lie, and knowing it, how can there be any real pure devotional service? Who are they trying to fool? Lord Krishna and Srila Prabhupada knows every thought in their head. How can one claim to be a follower of Srila Prabhupada when he distorts the message of Srila Prabhupada for the sake of some political faction?
It’s like Srila Prabhupada and Lord Krishna are waiting patiently, saying, “Once you stop the bull, and quit trying to fool yourselves and the innocent devotees, then we can get around to real advancement and pure devotional service.” Until there is complete honesty and humility, there is no question of pure devotional service.
Devotee_2: What are other ways to recognize a pure devotee?
Devotee_1: When we look at the list of parampara acharyas in the intro of Bhagavad-gita, we see that none of these gurus have fallen down, after guru and Krishna have accepted them into the parampara. But in Iskcon, we see numerous gurus falling down, and being on the verge of falldown. What can we discern from this? We can safely conclude that Lord Krishna and Srila Prabhupada have not fully accepted them into the parampara, that Srila Prabhupada has not ordered them to be regular gurus, and that they have taken the position of guru “on his own initiative.” Here it says that their devotional service “becomes slackened.”
“The spiritual master must never be carried away by an accumulation of wealth or a large number of followers. A bona fide spiritual master will never become like that. But sometimes, if a spiritual master is not properly authorized and only on his own initiative becomes a spiritual master, he may be carried away by an accumulation of wealth and large numbers of disciples. His is not a very high grade of devotional service. If a person is carried away by such achievements, then his devotional service becomes slackened. One should therefore strictly adhere to the principles of disciplic succession.” >>> Ref. VedaBase => NoD 14
When the disciple actually becomes qualified, becomes uttama, then he is eligible for Srila Prabhupada to order him to be regular guru, and Lord Krishna will empower him to achieve success. But when a disciple jumps the gun, and gets votes from other conditioned souls to be a regular guru, then Lord Krishna and Srila Prabhupada do not guarantee his success. Srila Prabhupada is not giving his full blessing, obviously, because he has not ordered this disciple to be guru. Lord Krishna is not giving His full blessings because Srila Prabhupada did not order him. Therefore we will see a lacking, or slacking in his devotional service, and eventually there will be falldown, because when a neophyte devotee is imitating the maha-bhagavata, then sastra says there will be a guaranteed falldown.
On the other hand, when a devotee becomes completely honest and humble, and advances in devotional service, and then becomes uttama, then he may be ordered by Srila Prabhupada to be guru, and Lord Krishna will empower him. When this happens, it becomes obvious to the society of devotees, because such devotee will display natural effulgence, and will be loved by all, due to his complete honesty and humility and devotional attributes. In time, he will be accepted by all devotees to be in pure devotional service.
Devotee_2: But isn’t it possible for some devotees to imitate such devotional qualities, and fool the general public.
Devotee_1: This is the problem. However, such a pretender cannot maintain such deception for very long. Eventually there will appear cracks in his façade, and the truth will eventually manifest. At first it will appear in little things, and the disciples will overlook these discrepancies, saying it is just his lila, and so on. But eventually it will become overwhelmingly obvious to all that he is being deceptive. This is the nature of material energy, as opposed to spiritual energy. Sometimes it’s a test of time, there must be a certain waiting period before one is known as a pure devotee. King Prthu makes this point in the Srimad Bhagavatam.
Devotee_2: But how can Srila Prabhupada order him to be guru? Some devotees think that since he left our mundane vision, well, you know…
Devotee_1: This was discussed in #6.
Redemption via co-existence, per Srila Prabhupada’s vision
Iskcon has suffered greatly from the guru issue. Older Srila Prabhupada disciples have endured untold agony over this, many are very depressed over how the movement changed from the joyful days of the 70’s to the state it is in today. It isn’t right that Lord Caitanya’s movement, Srila Prabhupada’s movement has come to this.
Srila Prabhupada didn’t want a bitter contention between guru ideologies. Our confusion and our faulty logic created this rift, and we are giving great pain to Srila Prabhupada and ruining his wonderful movement. We are in dire need of redemption from our colossal foolishness.
What if it could be turned around and made right? What if we could reach a situation in Iskcon where everyone is a winner, no one is a loser? What if there was a paradigm of redemption? What if a paradigm arises, which is validated by Srila Prabhupada’s vision?
Hypothetically, let us suggest a paradigm which follows Srila Prabhupada’s vision. In order to do that, we need to wipe the slate clean, and forget all the opinions of the disciples, and focus on Srila Prabhupada’s words, when correctly understood, creates peace and unity, while our feeble plans are recipes for disaster. Lets try to see his plan, per his vision as gleaned from his words in 1977.
Devotee_2: But aren’t we listening to your opinion?
Devotee_1: We hope that we are demonstrating Srila Prabhupada’s opinion by the simple reading the words of his conversations and documents of 1977, without some complicated interpretation, which we hope, is the simple truth of what he wanted. If a paradigm can be attained from a simple demonstration of Srila Prabhupada’s words on the subject, let us try to understand his vision and his decision on the subject.
Devotee_2: Ok, we’ll try to keep an open mind.
Devotee_1: Ok, it seems that our biggest mistake was thinking that we were required to solve the problem by our own logic, by analyzing the conversations and documents of 1977. However, Srila Prabhupada gives his own simple answer, without need for interpretation. It is very simple, Srila Prabhupada gave his answer on 5/28/77, but we confused it. In a simple reading of his answer, he said that he would select some officiating acharyas, AND, possibly in the future, he would select some regular gurus, if some disciples became qualified. His simple answer is a “both” answer, not an “either/or” answer.
He never said that the selection of regular gurus would terminate the officiating acharyas. Conversely, he never said that officiating acharyas would terminate the selection of regular gurus, if some became qualified. This is our big mistake; we think it has to be either/or. We never considered his simple answer of 5/28, that he meant both to function simultaneously in the future. This understanding would have eliminated all debate on the subject. But our misunderstanding has caused all this grief.
Devotee_2: When we read it, this is a possible implicit conclusion. But does it make sense? Is there more evidence for this conclusion?
Devotee_1: It makes very good sense. We know from previous discussions that Srila Prabhupada selected at least 2 disciples to be regular gurus, [more discussion of this controversy]. There may have been more selected, we don’t know for sure. The others are madhyma and kanistha gurus, which is acceptable in some way, from our reading of NOI, but this is not recommended by Srila Prabhupada. The world is a very big place, and just a few regular gurus, even of the uttama category, are not enough to fill the demands of new disciples all over the world. So Srila Prabhupada, in his infinite wisdom, foresaw that an officiating acharya program was necessary to fill the gap of the shortcomings of only a few regular gurus, so he added this officiating acharya program. At the same time, Srila Prabhupada did not reject the natural tradition of vedic principles, that some disciples will naturally become gurus after their guru had left their mundane vision, provided that they became qualified and ordered by their guru, as was the case with at least 2 disciples, as we can know this with a reasonable certainty, [more discussion of this controversy].
Devotee_2: Well, many in Iskcon will accept the regular guru side, but they won’t accept the officiating acharya side. Where is the proof that Srila Prabhupada wanted a future officiating acharya program? Aside from what he said on 5/38, which some see implicitly in a different way, what other proof is there?
Devotee_1: This is further understood by his answer to HH BV Puri Maharaja, when HH BV Puri Maharaja said these words to Srila Prabhupada, "You should have appointed only one.....when You are gone, they will not be satisfied as Ritviks, and will declare themselves as "regular" Gurus, and they will fight," Srila Prabhupada agreed with him, saying, "What can I do....it is up to Krishna!" This means that Srila Prabhupada expected the officiating acharya program to continue in the future, and simultaneously, his selection of the 2 disciples meant that he expected both concepts to coincide in the future.
Devotee_2: But this is only one instance of such evidence.
Devotee_1: There are many more points of evidence that supports this conclusion. The purpose of this philosophy exposition is to present all these evidences, and that is what we are doing, so let’s be patient and let it all unfold.
Devotee_2: But this officiating acharya system is not in our historical line.
Devotee_1: The leaders of Iskcon consulted 3 authorities on vedic procedures, and all 3 said that such an officiating acharya system is an acceptable vedic conclusion, and if the founder acharya decides for such system, then it is valid, and they all approved Srila Prabhupada’s decision on this. Some said it has been done before. In fact, some of them were surprised that the disciples would question the decision of their founder acharya. So, from these examples, it is definite that Srila Prabhupada foresaw both the 2 regular gurus [more discussion of this controversy] and the officiating acharya system both working simultaneously after he has left our mundane vision. It is from his vision of this co-existence that we accept this paradigm; it is not concocted from our opinion.
Meanwhile, we can see that such a paradigm of co-existence will bring peace and harmony to Srila Prabhupada’s movement. The co-existence paradigm eliminates all arguments, all debates, as it satisfies all sides of the historical contention. If one set of disciples say that Srila Prabhupada wanted regular gurus, then that fits in, no argument. If one set of disciples says that Srila Prabhupada wanted the officiating acharya program, then that fits in, no problem. If some say that we can have madhyma and kanistha gurus, then ok, that’s not real first class, but it happens. Eventually we will learn from experience how that is not really what Srila Prabhupada wants. Later in these discussions we will look at the other points of evidence, which supports this co-existence paradigm.
- We encourage more lamps, dipikas, to illuminate the house that Srila
Prabhupada built. His house is perfect in itself, but we have darkened
it with our over-intelligence and speculations. Therefore we have these
issues, and by continuous discussions, we can try to illuminate the
darkness. The Dipika website has had about 14 participants so far. We
invite more devotees to enter their lamp-of-illumination comments. The
Dipika idea is a devotee site modeled after the Wikipedia site, where
there is free content, and all submissions are ego free, confrontation
free. There is no name disclosure; therefore no devotee should feel
uncomfortable in giving his or her submissions. It’s not about who
said it, it’s about what is said.
To make comments or challenge a point, click here- Comments
Hare Krishna, more later....
|The companion Dipikapedia site for Srila Prabhupada quotes|