1) ORIGNAL AUTHORTY by Sridhara Maharaja TO PROMOTE FALSE GURUS?
2) FOLLOWERS OF SRILA PRABHUPDA SUPERIOR TO FOLLOWERS OF FALSE GURUS.
3) IS SRILA PRABHUPADA A CONDITIONED SOUL?
4) NOT FIT FOR SANNYASA:
Thanks very much for offering to moderate a discussion between me and Tripurari swami Alberto prabhu. These questions have never been answered 35 years and are at the root of all the "troubles" we have had. I think we should perhaps call this: Tripurari swami v Puranjana Q and A. Without further ado, here are the (first set of) questions:
1) Dear Tripurari swami. Thanks for your writing us in an attempt to resolve our mutual negative issues against one another. I'd like to start by saying, I do appreciate that you feel that we have not been fair with you, and I'd like to rectify that since we probably have not been fair. At the same time, I hope you can appreciate we feel that your program has also not been fair with us.
In an attempt to resolve some of these issue between us, we are going to write some questions to you and allow you to respond however you like, in as much detail as you like, and taking as much time as you like. We will eventually print your final replies with no editing. Its our attempt to present some of our views and have you try to see some of our complaints from perhaps a new angle. Your response will allow us to see things more from your angle. Hopefully this will help us both appreciate each others respective positions.
ORIGNAL AUTHORTY by Sridhara Maharaja TO PROMOTE FALSE GURUS?
First of all, the followers of Sridhara Maharaja (as well as the GBC and Narayana et al.) keep saying for the past 35 years that "the ritvik idea is bogus." The "ritvik idea" can be summed up thus: Some of us follwers of Srila Prabhupada are chosing NOT to act as his "guru successors," rather we want to act as his representatives, agents or proxies -- which might also be called "layman preachers." At best, we might come up to the standard of being a brahmana priest, which in sanskrit is called "a ritvik."
Of course Tamal is the person who branded us as "the ritviks." In the early 1980s we originally called ourselves "the Prabhupadanugas" and would appreciate if you would use the title we used for ourselves and not the title Tamal used for our group. He is not our leader or representative, and the title he used for us is not the title we wanted or used originally.
Anyway, if some of us disciples and followers of Srila Prabhupada are choosing to act as his agents, at best priests, what is the harm of that? The GBC in 1979 offered to make me their guru of Ireland, I did not accept that role because I did not think either myself nor the 11 "gurus" were qualified to do so. And time has shown that I was factually correct, most of my "guru" God brothers have not only proven unqualified for that role, their dramatic fall-downs have made ISKCON into a public media scandal, and the GBC leaders officially have now declared the entire ISKCON society as fiscally bankrupt. And in case you have not noticed there has been all kinds of negative public media about these gurus.
This is the result of avoiding Srila Prabhupada's constant warnings about his followers artificially posing as gurus, and avoiding my reminding these leaders about this false guru issue after 1977 as well. And Sridhara maharaja backed the false gurus instead of us, to our peril. So it seems he aided and abetted the downfall of ISKCON, as he similarly aided and abetted the downfall of the Gaudiya Matha by promoting such false gurus. Now this poses the question, was it "fair" for Sridhara Maharaja to back the GBC's 11 gurus and for him to say "none (of us) should protest"? Sridhara's policy of suppressing us dissenters made me a "marked man" in ISKCON and caused my being excommunicated in 1979 and so forth. Was it fair for Sridhara Maharaja to back the people who were creating this mass exodus, and these "gurus" were saying things like (as Jayatirtha told me in 1979) "watch your back" (you could be treated with violence)?
And if we cannot act as our own guru's layman representatives, and we do not wish to act as his successors, what are we supposed to do intead? It seems we are being forced into a corner by the Sridhara Maharaja -- GBC -- Narayana Maharaja allied policy and ideology, they all say our idea of operating as layman agents is wrong (ritvik idea). And worse, that we are not allowed to protest the worship of our God brothers as gurus since "none should protest." So the result of this policy is: thousands of us were and still are being forced away from ISKCON, which is what has happened and still is occuring. Right now for example the GBC is spending $12 million dollars suing us to drive even more of us out. Why was this policy inaugurated by Sridhara Maharaja in the first place?
I was essentially excommunicated in 1979, as were thousands of my other brothers and sisters. This is also what Sridhara maharaja orchestrated after 1936 in India, he made a false guru project there, and the people who rejected his false guru's project were banned, beaten and driven out, some dissenters were killed, and the temples became empty. Why is this considered as the bona fide path?
In ISKCON the results of producing these narrow options are the same as what Sridhara Maharaja created after 1936, most devotees simply quit the Krishna religion altogether just like most of the Gaudiya Matha temples became empty shells. At this point, most of my rank and file "layman" God brothers have left the society altogether, and they are never coming back because (a) they are being checked from acting as preachers or representatives of Srila Prabhupada (the ritvik idea), and (b) they do not want to pose as successors and, (c) nor do they want to support the GBC's unauthorized guru successors project. They are thus personna non grata. Hence the temples are empty, due to the same policy of making false gurus that Sridhara introduced in 1936 and which also emptied out their temples.
Me and these thousands of my brothers and sisters thus have no standing in the society, and so all of us are basically being forced to leave. As was I. Why is this mass exodus process after 1936 and 1978 authorized? Is this what Krishna wants, no samkirtana, no poojaris, no one to clean the temple, no one to sew for the deity etc.? I do not think that is what He wanted? This is why Srila Prabhupada says, Sridhara Maharaja acted witout authority, he has no authority to create this mass exodus of the citizens of the Gaudiya Matha (and now: ISKCON) by his policy of promoting false gurus.
Is that also what Srila Prabhupada wanted, to force most of the devotees out, and to have them stop acting as preachers, giving them the only options of being a successor or promoting another (perhaps deviant) God brother as a successor, and thus force them to leave and empty out the temples of manpower and bankrupt the society (as has occured)? Why shouldn't we worship our guru if we choose to? And why shouldn't our children worship Srila Prabhupada if they choose to?
And why should not our children's children worship him if they desire to? Why the vociferous opposition? And what is the actual plan then? If we are not supposed to worship Srila Prabhupada and promote same, what program are we supposed to promote instead? Why is worship of my guru a deviation, in his own society? And never mind for a moment the GBC, Sridhara Maharaja or anyone else, if I am your God brother why should you assist those who are having me forcibly ejected from my master's house and trying to force me to promote the worship someone else, i.e. those who are usually deviants? And why join these hi-jackers by calling me an offender and basically helping them drive me out of my father's house? By what authority are all of you orchestrating driving me out of my master's house? And in the process, by demonizing our idea of continued worship of our master, this is making our lives similar to an animal being hunted as "an offender." Why is our process not authorized and this process is authorized?
2) FOLLOWERS OF SRILA PRABHUPDA SUPERIOR TO FOLLOWERS OF FALSE GURUS.
Most of the ritviks (i.e. Prabhupadanugas) for example from the Bangalore program, have a much higher spiritual standard than most of the over 100 gurus promoted by the GBC and apparently, some of the bogus messiahs of the post-1936 Gaudiya Matha. Indeed Jayadvaita swami wrote a paper a few years back admitting that many of the GBC's gurus have been falling into -- illicit sex with men, women and children. Actually most of the GBC's post-1978 gurus are now gone, since they have been falling into some sort of odious scandals such as -- illicit sex, drugs, criminal deviations etc.
Meanwhile, most of our even newer devotees in the Prabhupadanuga group do not have any of these problems such as illicit sex with men, women and children. Indeed, our newer devotees in Bangalore and other programs have no known problems of illicit sex with men, women and children, and we think this is since -- they worship an actual paramahamsa Srila Prabhupada. Our new devotees in Sunnyvale are also not experiencing these extreme fall down troubles either, so why should they worship the Sridhara process which tends to have people devolve to a lower standard, a standard that is way less advanced than our folks are?
Why would we want to take the lesser advanced path? Our path is freeing people from illicit sex with men, women and children etc, while the GBC's guru's seem to be having an epidemic of such failures. Why should we take the path that Sridhara maharaja helped launch in 1978, which leads to mostly failures, since most of the GBC gurus have fallen? Our devotees are making good progress by dint of worship of the bona fide acharya, whereas the failures among these gurus is something like an epidemic? Why is our program the deviation, when the failure is mainly in the guru camp that Sridhara maharaja promoted? Our failure rate is way below their failure rate, why should we choose the path of mostly failures? And in sum, who is right? (A) Was Sridhara Maharaja right to promote these false gurus, leading to the whole illicit sex with men, women and children bogus messiah's debacle, or (B) were we right to promote Srila Prabhupada instead, resulting in our producing first class brahmana types of devotees?
3) IS SRILA PRABHUPADA A CONDITIONED SOUL?
The next issue is: if Srila Prabhupada had "appointed" 11 conditioned souls to be his and Krishna's guru successors, that would make him a conditioned soul himself -- for making such a serious mistake. The idea that he had appointed the 11 as successors is what we called "the big lie" which has been repeated in the media in thousands of books, newspapers articles, TV expose shows etc. Of course this is the same problem Sridhara Maharaja created in 1936, he implied that Ananta Vasudeva was the appointed guru, and this made it look like Srila Saraswati had no discrimination -- so he too had appointed the wrong person as his successor.
Incidently, Tamal said in December of 1980 there is no evidence on tape or in writing that these 11 gurus had been appointed. BV Puri agreed and he said that Srila Prabhupada PERSONALLY had told him there are only going to be ritviks (this is on a video which we have posted to our blog). Ramesvara resigned in June 1980 saying the leaders did not have the qualifications to be guru. Hansadutta has admitted that there was no guru appointment and so on, yet we see no clarification from the Sridhara Maharaja camp that there had been no guru appointment and the 11 had only been named as priests, actually at best priests?
And despite seeing these 11 kept falling into troubles even as early as 1979, Sridhara maharaja kept insisting that the 11 had been appointed by Srila Prabhupada as GURUS. And some Sridhara sites still say that (as we see in the conversations SM had with the GBC which are posted on the Gosai web site). Thus it seems the Sridhara Maharaja idea is that Srila Prabhupada did not understand that his followers are not fit for the post of acharya -- so he appointed them as acharyas anyway.
Our idea makes a lot more sense, the leaders had only been appointed as some sort of lesser level administrators, at best proxy priests (ritviks) and not as full-blown acharyas, because Srila Prabhupada could not have so badly mistaken as to think his leaders were fit to be acharyas. This issue has never been resolved, we would like this cleared up since we still see posting on various Sridhara sites including Gosai's repeating Sridhara Maharaja's idea -- that Srila Prabhupada had appointed the 11 as gurus. We still see recently you posting that the ritvik idea (that the 11 had not been appointed as gurus but only as agents) is a deviation. Where is the evidence the 11 had been appointed as gurus? Lets look at this discussion below:
Satsvarupa dasa Goswami: Then our next question concerns, uh, initiations in the future, ah, particularly at that time when you are no longer with us. We want to know how a, a first and second initiation would be conducted.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes. I shall recommend some of you. After this is settled up I shall recommend some of you to act as officiating acarya.
Tamal Krishna Goswami: Is that called ritvik acarya?
Srila Prabhupada: Ritvik. Yes.
So here we find that there are going to be some officiating acharyas to conduct initiations AFTER he departs, called ritviks. We also find on this same tape that when these ritviks deviate (meaning some of them will) they will have to be replaced. How can we say that the 11 are acharyas, and at the same time they will deviate and have to be replaced? Why are people saying acharyas deviate and have to be replaced at all? Sridhara maharaja says the guru line is a living thing of accepting and rejecting, he said acharyas will have to be added and eliminated (when they deviate). Where in the parampara do we find that acharyas are being "added and eliminated" when they fall into illicit affairs? Incidentally, you mentioned on your site that Sridhara Maharaja was the person who suggested to the GBC the idea of "adding" more people as acharyas at their annual Mayapura meeting, which they are doing now. How can people who are deviating vote in another wave of acharyas?
Why would Srila Prabhupada say simultaneously: (a) After I depart I will name some officiating acharyas aka ritviks to conduct initiations on my behalf, (b) And these officiators will only be lower level kanistha priests, but also, they will be self-standing Vishnupada acharyas and have their own disciples, and (c) and despite their being acharyas -- they will be prone to deviate and fall down, and have to be replaced? None of this makes any sense? What makes sense is: that he had only appointed them as representatives, agents and proxies, to conduct the ceremonies on his behalf.
This is verified in the July 9th letter, they will act as his representatives "henceforward." Therefore, "when they deviate and have to be replaced," this only refers to the post of priest, the priest may be deviating and is then being replaced -- and not the acharyas? Yet the Sridhara Maharaja idea is: that it is the acharyas who are deviating and being replaced. Srila Prabhupada says it is a severe mad elephant idea to say acharyas are deviating?
This has not only never been resolved, saying that the ritvik idea is a deviation continues to create the illusion that the 11 were not appointed only as fallible priests, but as gurus. What we Prabhupadanugas are saying is: that is mis-representing Srila Prabhupada -- saying he did not appoint only temporary proxy priests -- aka ritviks, and he had been so much in illusion he had appointed them as gurus, that this is an attack on the character of Srila Prabhupada. It almost like saying Jesus appointed the Borgias dynasty to be his successors?
Of course Sridhara maharaja did the same thing in 1936, he implied that Ananta Vasudeva had been appointed as the successor and this discredited Srila Saraswati and his whole mission. This would also be like saying the brain surgeon had appointed the hospital janitor to be his successor, it makes no sense? It means the brain surgeon has no discrimination. This problem is not being cleared up by the Sridhara or GBC folks, it is making it look like the acharyas make mistakes and are prone to mundane defects.
If the 11 had only been appointed as temporary and replaceable agents, then they also would have been much easier to control and not so much mayhem would have occured. After the GBC and Sridhara maharaja declared that the 11 were acharyas, Dr. J. Stilson Judah told me this in person, then the -- "antinomianism" set in (lawlessness in the name of religion). And Sridhara Maharaja fueled that by saying "no law can challenge the (11) acharyas," in other words, nobody is allowed to challenge their evil doings. This created a violent cult atmosphere in the Gaudiya Matha and later in ISKCON. This cult atmosphere continues to this day, people are using aliases on Krishnacandra's web site in fear of reprisals for for speaking out. And the person who set this in motion, saying people should not criticize these gurus, is Sridhara Maharaja.
In any case, there is no evidence the 11 were appointed to be anything more than ritviks, and to say that appointing them in a lesser capacity than guru is "a deviation" makes it look like Srila Prabhupada committed the worst deviation of all, he appointed severely conditioned souls as acharyas. Can this issue be cleard up by your writing a paper explaining that it would have been impossible to have these 11 appointed as gurus, they must have been only appointed as administrators -- at best -- priests? And that Sridhara Maharaja was wrong to assist them in creating the illusion the 11 were gurus?
4) NOT FIT FOR SANNYASA:
In January of 1977 Srila Prabhupada said his followers are not fit for sannyasa, they are making a laughing stock of sannyasa, and they should get married. So therefore, suspend making more sannyasas. According to the GBC - Sridhara Maharaja - Narayana Maharaja idea, a few months later, these same unfit for sannyasa people were appointed as gurus (May 28th 1977). Does this make any sense, they are not fit for sannyasa -- so a few months later they are fit to be acharya messiahs? And in January of 1977 Sridhara Maharaja was saying they are gurus and acharyas. How can they be unfit for sannyasa in January of 1977, and fit to be acharyas exactly one year later? Why has this never been clarified?