Friday, May 10, 2019

Are ISKCON Devotees Following Ritvik Philosophy? (Anuttama DD)

Anuttama Devi Dasi

Are ISKCON Devotees Following Ritvik Philosophy?

I recently had a long phone conversation, catching up with a devotee whom I hadn’t talked to for over 30 years. He's one of the people with whom I feel a natural connection, but we’d lost touch when I moved away from New Dvarka in the mid 80s. Although I’d occasionally noticed him on social media over the years, I had refrained from picking up our friendship because it was obvious that he was an ISKCON policy supporter. I am a ritvik.

Our conversation touched many of the important milestones in both our shared and separate lives: we happened to both be staying in the same hotel in New Delhi when Indira Gandhi was assassinated (an alarming experience in which it seemed like the whole city was on fire), I didn’t know that he had been married, he didn’t know that I was doing a simple living, high thinking project in Washington.

We had a heart-warming conversation and as we were about to hang up, I mentioned in an off-hand way that I’m a ritvik. “But you can’t hate me”, I assured him, “because you are my friend.” And indeed, we both know the other well enough to understand that we are both trying, in our own ways to be devotees and loyal to Srila Prabhupada.

I’ve noticed lately that the philosophy followed by devotees who are gurus within ISKCON has evolved to the point that it is almost identical to the philosophy of devotees who accept Srila Prabhupada’s instructions regarding future initiations in the July 9th letter.

Here is a brief list of the philosophical agreements between the two camps of devotees:

We accept that Srila Prabhupada is the acarya who can take a disciple back to Godhead regardless of the behavior or consciousness of the individual who performed the initiation.

We accept Srila Prabhupada as the highest spiritual authority, higher than the GBC or the devotee who performed the initiation.

We accept that Srila Prabhupada’s words are sacred, dictated by Krsna and that to set the precedent of changing the acarya’s words is wrong and evil.

We try to follow Srila Prabhupada’s personal example in our behavior.

Pleasing Srila Prabhupada is the goal of our lives.

Srila Prabhupada is the sum total of the demigods, but the conditioned initiator is simply a conditioned soul trying to make spiritual advancement.

There is really only one major point of disagreement between the two camps of devotees: The ritviks call the person performing the initiation a ritvik (priest) or siksa guru and the other camp calls the person performing the initiation a diksa guru. To me it is not worth ruining a valuable friendship over someone’s misunderstanding of two words: siksa / diksa.

The Demons: a separate camp

Of course there is another camp within ISKCON: the demon infiltrators. These are people who are dressed as devotees, know the jargon and philosophy, but have the desire within their hearts to lord it over everything. They want to control the devotees, control the money, control the philosophy by changing Srila Prabhupada’s words, control their disciples, control the goals and control, control, control. These demons can easily be known by their behavior.

While the devotees who accept disciples within ISKCON will admit that they are not pure devotees and that the Samsara Prayers are sung to the pure devotee, Srila Prabhupada, the demons angrily insist that the song is for them, too. While the demons may now refrain from claiming to be pure devotees due to the fact that at least 40 of them have exhibited gross fallen behavior, demons behave in such a way as to pretend to be more advanced than they are.

New Book by Dhanesvara Prabhu Examines the History of Two Spiritual Movements.

Dhanesvara Prabhu has recently released a powerful book that examines the eerie parallels between Jesus’ movement in Palestine and Srila Prabhupada’s Hare Krsna movement. The thesis of the book is the on-going battle between the demigods and the demons and it does a great job of shining light on the deviousness of the demons. In the inaugural speech launching the book, Dhanesvara talks about the 6 ways the demons control the narrative from the grossest (physical weapons) to the most subtle (framing the worldview by materialism). 

He points out that Srila Prabhupada attacked the demons’ control by offering a spiritual alternative to the materialistic lifestyle and in doing so seriously eroded the 5 subtler ways that the demons control our consciousness. It would be naive to think that the demons wouldn’t infiltrate a mission that has the power to destroy everything that they are working to achieve.

Divine or Demoniac: Spiritual Movements and the Enemies Within, while it does examine the alarming policies that have resulted in alienating the next generation of devotees and many women, has a positive, uplifting message: we have the power and knowledge to rebuild ISKCON as Srila Prabhupada instructed. Srila Prabhupada intended his society to be run as a spiritual organization, rather than the controlling institution it has become and the book analyzes how and why ISKCON, the institution has gone astray.

When our beliefs wall off the truth

I've noticed that whenever someone has a belief, he/she is unable to see or hear any truth that contradicts that belief. It is almost like the belief erects a wall around itself that is almost impenetrable. Recently I needed a favor from one of my ritvik friends, but he declined because I am doing some service for Srila Prabhupada in association with non-ritviks. This attitude is actually a result of the demon's tactic to divide and conquer the opposition. The infiltrator demons created policies that resulted in many/most devotees leaving the ISKCON institution and then banned any devotee who promoted an understanding of Srila Prabhupada's wishes that were contrary to the demons' plans. Any devotee who wished to remain within the ISKCON structure quickly learned that if he/she wanted to keep his service, he'd better accept the status quo.

As a result animosity was created between devotees who were able to see that Srila Prabhupada is still with us in the form of his unchanged books and devotees who choose to stay within the structure of ISKCON. In my own life, this artificial animosity, created by demonic policies has destroyed many friendships unnecessarily.

Other Vaisnava Camps

I am initiated by Srila Prabhupada and I owe my life to him. He is the only authority that I accept regarding spiritual matters. If other "camps" of devotees accept someone else as their ultimate spiritual authority, of course they have the freedom to do that. It has nothing to do with me. If someone is following an authority who is offensive to Srila Prabhupada, I want nothing to do with such a person and would actually rather associate with karmis than someone who worships someone who is offensive to Srila Prabhupada.

Bhakti Yoga is about Love

As I've become more serious about chanting, I've been coming to realize that all of the events in my life are really just opportunities to help me chant better rounds.

Vidura Mahatma Das: Haribol Anuttama mataji. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the differences between Iskcon devotees and ritviks. The way I see it, there are more serious differences between the two.

1. Iskcon members believe the spiritual master can be a conditioned soul to begin with, while ritviks strongly contest that idea. In my research of Srila Prabhupada's books, Srila Prabhupada also strongly contests it.

2. Iskcon members insist that we need a "living" guru. Ritviks say the guru is never a question of living or not living, because the genuine spiritual master is eternal, and that the bona fide spiritual master actually lives through sound vibration, his instructions. Srila Prabhupada also confirms this.

3. Iskcon members are willing to worship (deviants and / or) child molestors and / or men who have supported these child molestors, as siksa gurus and diksa gurus. Ritviks will never do so.

4. Iskcon members offer bhoga through conditioned souls first. Ritviks will never do this.

5. Iskcon members deny the fact that Srila Prabhupada set up a ritvik system of initiations and ordered for its continuation in 1977. Ritviks uphold this order.

These are just a few.

I'm afraid you may have severely downplayed the contrast between iskcon members and ritviks by way of overgeneralization. The differences are very serious. It's not that I don't want peace; I want peace on the basis of truth. There can be no real peace on the basis of untruth. I am not willing to compromise the truth of Srila Prabhupada's instructions and philosophy in order to fit in more with the iskcon crowd. This would be an injustice to myself and to Srila Prabhupada.

By the way, the ritviks are named so due to their following Srila Prabhupada's ritvik system of initiations (his words). We refer to ourselves as Prabhupadanugas, because really we are following Srila Prabhupada while iskcon has not been doing so for decades now.


[PADA: Yes, divide and conquer. This also happened in the 1936 Gaudiya Matha, the devotees divided into supporting different factions and the united preaching was dismantled. The GBC has also cut up ISKCON into bogus guru's "zones" or mini-fiefdoms and broke down the unity as well.  

Unfortunately even some persons posing as Prabhupadanugas have also tried to compromise with the GBC's guru process, and this has undermined the unity of the reform effort. For example, Krishna Kanta's IRM wanted PADA to stop writing and take a vacation in the Caribbean. And our alleged vacation was going to paid for by the GBC. And how long would we have lived after moving to the Caribbean, hee hee? 

The IRM folks said the GBC and they were negotiating a deal, and part of the deal was to have no more PADA. OK so they were negotiating with the GBC's gurus, and they wanted to halt PADA -- and Krishna Kanta partook in aiding their side. We need to silence PADA, and de facto give the GBC guru's program the entire exclusive and only rights to rule over the speaking platform?

OK so they wanted a compromise with the GBC, and that immediately divided things because we do not want to work with the GBC by "making them ritviks."
Its way past "working with them as ritviks" at this point. 

Same type problem we had with the HKC Jaipur folks. They attacked all the other Prabhupadanugas groups including us. And they insisted that us and our people to listen to the GBC's worst case groupies like Bhakta dasa. In fact these guys took all the time and trouble to personally interview Bhakta das and post his speaking video for him, giving the GBC guru's defender's side free public advertising. Of course they never advertise those of us promoting Srila Prabhupada as the guru, that is verboten!

Do they ever think they should interview PADA about anything? Well nope, they think the GBC guru's defenders are the only source of real information. Hee hee! Of course this discredited these people so badly, which is why we barely hear any news from the IRM and these others nowadays, they compromised themselves into a corner. So they make an external show they are going to make a Prabhupadanuga program, but they are then attacking anyone who worships Prabhupada, and promoting the GBC's defenders. 

So there are those who claim to be Prabhupadanugas, but are still tethered to the GBC's apron strings in various ways. All this makes a divide and conquer process. In any case, we are making good progress with many nice folks writing significant inquiries and such, so progress will go on regardless. Dhansevara's book is a good platform to reform the GBC's guru process either direct or indirect. Since we all admit now that the GBC's guru process is contaminated with demoniac elements, then they are not gurus from square one. That is de facto our platform. ys pd]

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