Sri Bannanje Govindacarya on the
Note- The Iskcon devotees consulted with Sri Bannanje Govindacarya aboutguru-tattva, because they considered him to be an authority on Vedic standards. He gave some answers, and was again approached by some other devotees who explained and showed the 7/9 letter to him, and then he gave more information on the subject.
This is a condensced version of the conversation with Sri BannanjeGovindacarya on Srila Prabhupada's ritvik system plan:
1. Diksa guru must be a realized person, must have siddhi or perfection-
Sri Bannanje Govindacarya: Who can give initiation? In fact if I want toinitiate somebody into gayatri, I must be a realised person. [..] Siddhi or perfection. Mantra siddhi. Otherwise one cannot give mantra diksha to others, according to shastra. [..] Actually according to shastra, none of these swamis can initiate… No swami unless he has attained sakshatkar or mantra siddhi he cannot initiate. [..]
2. Cannot be mechanical, or claimed by post or instituional powers-
Sri Bannanje Govindacarya: Unless he has that power to take the sishyainto that height, that elevation, initiation becomes a mere mechanical procedure. It has no meaning. [..]
That is a transformation of a power, mantric and spiritual power and aperson who has actually no spiritual power how can he give spiritual power to a sisya. It cannot be claimed by a mere post or institutional powers. [..]
3. Is ritvik apasampradaya?
So Prabhupada appointed these ritviks to do the external aspects of thediksha, like gving mala, spiritual name, etc These are to be done through a living ritviks. So ritviks are living. But the roles are defined and the real aspect of the diksha, giving transcendental knowledge and taking the responsibility of delivering the disciple, Prabhupada continues to do it. In that sense is it apasampradaya?
Sri Bannanje Govindacarya: No we cannot say that. Because what issampradaya? Sampradaya is again a constitution- a spiritual institution. And it is followed by centuries and centuries by the sisyas. So any system that is in practice for more than 100 years, it becomes sampradaya!
4. Is a ritvik system against the vedic principles?
ISKCON devotee: So is the ritvik system, taking mala, name, etc fromliving ritviks and considering Srila Prabhupada as the diksha guru, violating vedic spirit?
Sri Bannanje Govindacarya: No no nothing, nothing. That is not that…
ISKCON devotee: This ritvik system, where Prabhupada in his absence wherethey act, you know these ritviks as his representatives, and giving, conducting this ceremony while still Prabhupada as the diksha guru, if this process if we continue, is it violating any vedic sastra?
Sri Bannanje Govindacarya: You see it can be done like this. Everybody must take diksha before the vigraha of Prabhupada.
ISKCON devotee: Prabhupada murthi's are kept everywhere in ISKCON temples.
Sri Bannanje Govindacarya: You have a temple of Prabhupada, and before Prabhupada himself, no others can give diksha and these people provide name and mala. The diksha should be in the presence of Prabhupada's vigraha. That will be better. That would be better. There will be no problem. Just to avoid problems, see so many gurus, they will leave peeta (the sacred seat), they are falling down. Just to avoid this, you take initiation before Prabhupada's vigraha. [..]
If that vision is created, it will be a very powerful, very good system. There will be no controversy. All the problems will be avoided.
5. Does a ritik system stop the parampara?
ISKCON devotee: Will this stop the parampara? They claim that this will stop the parampara.
Sri Bannanje Govindacarya: Why? Taking initiation from mula guru and following the parampara. How can it be stopped?
ISKCON devotee: This is one of their objections. You can't take from a departed acharya because it will stop the parampara. So who will continue the parampara? That is what they are asking.
Sri Bannanje Govindacarya: See Guru parampara means, now here is Madhvacharya, (pointing to the disciplic succession listed in Bhagavad Gita As It Is) and then this swami, and his swami, like that 31 swamis are there. So this parampara will be there. Everybody is disciple of guru, Prabhupada. Prabhupada and his disciple, his disciple, his disciple - this parampara will not be there. That is alright. [..]
ISKCON devotee: But will that not stop the parampara?
Sri Bannanje Govindacarya: No, no how. No question of stopping. Parampara does not stop. All this in an institution, all seniority, junior swamis, who is to become President, something, this and that. All those problems will arise. Managerial problems and institutional problems may be there but in spiritual practice there is no problem. [..]
ISKCON devotee: According to Madhva siddhanta, can a mahabhagavatha fall down? Uttam adhikari, mahabhagavatha?
Sri Bannanje Govindacarya: The question is irrelevant. Because if he is a mahabhagavatha, he cannot fall. If he falls down he is not a mahabhagavatha. What is the definition of mahabhagavatha? First we have to know that. According to the Bhagavata purana, a person who has practiced the vaishnava system according to Maha Srimad Bhagavatha and has reached certain level. Then if he is mahabhagavatha, he cannot come down. He cannot fall down. Sometimes it happens, even realised souls have prarabhdha karma. That is also told. Even the realised souls who have seen Narayana face to face, eye to eye, Vishnu sakshat kara is there, after realisation also due to prarabdha karma also some people may fall down. That is there in the scriptures.
Generally mahabhagavatha cannot fall down - Its very rare - some earth breaking instances - You leave it, it's only for argument sake. [..]
ISKCON devotee: In short, is the ritvik system against any vedic system?
Sri Bannanje Govindacarya: It is neither vedic nor non vedic. Just to have an international contact, Prabhupada himself created this system and he is the final authority. It is not against the preaching of the vedas.
ISKCON devotee: So Prabhupada can remain a diksha guru and these people can conduct just like the ritviks?
Sri Bannanje Govindacarya: That can be done. There is no problem in this system. Because it is an international institution it is natural that all the people may not be scholars in sastras or sanskrit. But they will be managerial heads. That is why it is inevitable to accept Prabhupada as diksha guru. It is essential thing to accept him as diksha guru and these are the instruments.
more vedic authorities will be added soon