Vidura dasa: Madhuvisa Prabhu has recently written an article on the Sampradaya Sun in an attempt to persuade readers through emotion and assumptions that the Ritvik system set up by Srila Prabhupada gives authorization for others to become Diksa Guru’s in ISKCON. Aside from the fact that Madhuvisa Prabhu failed to address the purpose behind Yashodanandana Prabhu’s two rhetorical questons, Madhuvisa once again fails to provide any proof for the bold claim that Srila Prabhupada authorized anyone to become Diksa Guru(s).
Madhuvisa Prabhu writes: “This "ritvik" preaching has been damaged a lot by fanatical devotees who, instead of simply establishing that Prabhupada established a system to accept disciples via ritvik priests and intended that same system to continue after his apparent disappearance they spend all their time and energy trying to establish that Prabhupada did not intend any of his disciples to go on to become qualified diksa gurus.”
[PADA: Wrong, Srila Prabhupada says on the May 28th tape one can become guru "on my order" we are merely saying, no such "order" was ever given up to date. Nor has Madhuvisa proven any such order was ever given.]
Either Madhuvisa Prabhu is being purposely vague here or he simply doesn't know the complete definition of the ritvik system to begin with. In the July 9th letter along with various other letters/conversations it is very clear that the Ritvik system that Srila Prabhupada set up was meant to initiate disciples via Ritvik priests on His behalf. Madhuvisa Prabhu most likely leaves that last part out in order to open a door for his assumptions that the ritvik system was set up for multiple Guru’s. Nowhere does it state that the ritvik system was intended for anyone else than Srila Prabhupada.
Excerpts from the July 9th letter:
"The newly initiated devotees are disciples of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad, the above eleven senior devotees acting as His representative."
"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."
Excerpt from the July 10th letter: "I have selected you among eleven men as “rittvik” or representative of the acharya, to give initiations, both first and second initiation, on my behalf.” (A newsletter is being sent to all Temple Presidents and GBC in this regard, listing the eleven representatives selected by His Divine Grace. Those who are initiated are the disciples of Srila Prabhupada, and anyone who you deem fit and initiate in this way, you should send their names to be included in Srila Prabhupada’s “Initiated Disciples” book. In this way the Temple Presidents will send their recommendations for initiation direct to the nearest representative who will give a spiritual name or chant on the Gayatri thread just as Srila Prabhupada has been doing.)"
Excerpt from the July 11th letter: "A letter has been sent to all the Temple Presidents and GBC which you should be receiving soon describing the process for initiation to be followed in the future. Srila Prabhupada has appointed thus far eleven representitives who will initiate new devotees on His behalf."
Plus more. So Madhuvisa Prabhu owes it to his readers to at least adequately define the ritvik system.
Madhuvisa Prabhu goes on to write: “my humble request is that if we can all come together on the simple point of establishing the fact that Srila Prabhupada established a ritvik system in his physical presence and as the years went on he gave his ritvik priests more responsibility.”
Again he has left that last part out. He continues to insufficiently define the ritvik system. Srila Prabhupada did not just establish a ritvik system for the general purpose of Guru’s all around the world to accept disciples. Such is the definition Madhuvisa will have you go by. Srila Prabhupada established a ritvik system for the specific purpose of accepting disciples to HIM and only to HIM. If you disagree with that, fine, but back your claim up with some proof. Don’t just state otherwise. At least read the July 9th letter; it clearly establishes the rightful definition.
“and as the years went on he gave his ritvik priests more responsibility.”
…AND? Is that it? They were given more responsibility so automatically they are authorized? So we are to assume that since Srila Prabhupada gave His ritvik priests more responsibility over the years (and very small ones at that), these ritvik priests were to naturally jump to such a high platform as Diksa guru? Based on what proof? What authorization? Surely you do not expect us to simply assume.
Madhuvisa Prabhu then writes: “Actually Prabhupada's very strong desire, his mission, is to create at least one and hopefully many pure devotees who can do what he has done, become acharya, initiate disciples, preach Krishna consciousness all over the world.”
“So everything is spoiled because many of the ritviks are trying to use Prabhupada's July 9th letter to "prove" that Prabhupada did not want any of his disciples to become qualified gurus…”
“if we continue to mix the truth, "Prabhupada established a ritvik initiation system to enable him to continue to accept disciples even after his physical disappearance," with lies "Prabhupada did not intend any of his disciples to go on to become qualified diksa gurus, Prabhupada did not want any more gurus for the next 10,000 years, etc", then we will continue to have no real success.”
Madhuvisa Prabhu doesn't seem to understand that words like "Guru" and "Spiritual Master" are often times used in different senses than the other. Yes, Srila Prabhupada indeed wanted as many of us to become pure devotee's as possible; many Guru's, many Spiritual Master's. These Guru's and Spiritual Masters, though, are not quite of the same significance as our previous Acarya's like Srila Rupa Gosvami and Srila Prabhupada. Srila Prabhupada is and always has been situated at the Lotus Feet of Sri Krsna.
So for the record, this is the kind of Guru we are: “This is Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Every one of you become guru and deliver the residents of your neighborhood. Ei deśa. Wherever you are living, just deliver them. Become their guru. How to become guru? It is not difficult. Yāre dekha tāre kaha 'kṛṣṇa'-upadeśa [Cc. Madhya 7.128]. What Kṛṣṇa has said instruct them. You simply repeat it, that's all. You become guru.” - Room Conversation -- August 2, 1976, New Mayapur
“Anyone following the order of Lord Caitanya under the guidance of His bona fide representative, can become a spiritual master and I wish that in my absence all my disciples become the bona fide spiritual master to spread Krishna Consciousness throughout the whole world.” Letter to: Madhusudana -- Navadvipa 2 November, 1967
“You simply repeat what Kṛṣṇa has said in the Bhagavad-gītā, you become guru.”
Lectures : Bhagavad-gita 9.3 -- Toronto, June 20, 1976
“So our request is that every one of you become a guru. That is Caitanya Mahāprabhu's order. He wants that everyone must become a guru. How? That He says:yāre dekha tāre kaha 'kṛṣṇa'-upadeśaāmāra ājñāya guru hañā tāra' ei deśa[Cc. Madhya 7.128]This is guru. Suppose you are family member. So many living entities, you sons, your daughters, your daughter-in-law, or children, you can become their guru. Exactly like this you can sit down in the evening and talk about the Bhagavad-gītā, yāre dekha tāre kaha kṛṣṇa-upadeśa [Cc. Madhya 7.128]. You haven't got to manufacture something. The instruction is there; you simply repeat and let them hear—you become guru. It is not difficult at all. So that is our preaching. We do not want to become alone guru, but we want to preach in such a way that every, the chief man, or any man, he can become guru in his surroundings. Anyone can do that. Even a coolie, he can also…” Bhagavad-gita 7.1 -- Bombay, December 20, 1975
This is the kind of Guru Srila Prabhupada is: “When one has attained the topmost position of mahā-bhāgavata, he is to be accepted as a guru and worshiped exactly like Hari, the Personality of Godhead. Only such a person is eligible to occupy the post of a guru.” Cc. Madhya-lila 24.330 : Purport
“Your next question, whether the Spiritual Master was formerly a conditioned soul, actually a bona fide Spiritual Master is never a conditioned soul. There are three kinds of liberated persons. They are called 1) sadhan siddha, 2) kripa siddha, and 3) nitya siddha. Sadhan siddha means one who has attained perfection by executing the regulative principles of devotional service. Kripa siddha means one who has attained perfection by the special mercy of Krishna and the Spiritual Master, and nitya siddha means one who was never contaminated. The symptoms of nitya siddha is that from the beginning of his life he is attached to Krishna, and he is never tired of rendering service to Krishna. So we have to know what is what by these symptoms.” Letter to: Mukunda -- New Vrindaban 10 June, 1969
“That is the difference between jīva and śiva, or Lord, that we are minute part and particle of the Supreme; therefore we may forget. But Kṛṣṇa does not forget. That is the difference. So nitya-siddha. Prahlāda Mahārāja is to be understood as nitya, mahā-bhāgavata, nitya-siddha. They appear to complete the līlā of Kṛṣṇa. So we should not try to imitate Prahlāda Mahārāja. That is not good. Mahājano yena gataḥ sa panthāḥ. I have already explained yesterday. Prahlāda Mahārāja is one of the mahājanas, authorized persons, authorized devotee. We should try to follow him.” Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.9.7 -- Mayapur, February 27, 1977
Finally: “One should take initiation from a bona fide spiritual master coming in the disciplic succession, who is authorized by his predecessor spiritual master. This is called dīkṣā-vidhāna.”
SB 4.8.54 : Purport
“Try to understand. Don't go very speedily. A guru can become guru when he's ordered by his guru. That's all. Otherwise nobody can become guru.”
“You should be curious within your limit. You should know that one can become guru when he is ordered by his guru, this much.” Bhagavad-gita 7.2 -- Nairobi, October 28, 1975
“Yes. I shall choose some guru. I shall say, "Now you become ācārya. You become authorized." I am waiting for that. You become all ācārya. I retire completely. But the training must be complete.”
Room Conversation -- April 22, 1977, Bombay
So this is the correct sense of the word “Guru” and the Spiritual Master Prabhu. It should not be concluded that just because Srila Prabhupada says we become regular guru, regular sense, that means authorized. No. If you were to use that argument, "He said we all become Guru", to justify one person's position, then it would also have to be applicable to every single Iskcon devotee. Where is the logic here? We are all like Srila Prabhupada? We are all on His level? We are all Diksa Guru's? This is nonsense. Such thinking is very offensive. One should not try imitate Srila Prabhupada. One should not want to take such a position. One should simply try to follow in His footsteps. Do not try to minimize Srila Prabhupada’s extremely rare and exalted position by mixing these senses up. That would be very offensive. It takes some maturity to understand but it is very simple.
Hare Krsna, All Glories to Srila Prabhupada!