Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Why is the Ritvik Debate Still Around?

Sep 16, 2010 — UK (SUN) — Dearest Ajamila Prabhu, Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada. I remember back in the 1980s at Bhaktivedanta Manor, you would argue loudly with H.H Sivarama Swami about the Rtvik issue.
In those days you were most definitely for the idea of the Rtvik. For a few years you would be confident that your arguments were not just right, but you proved it all through Guru, Sadhu and Sastra.
After Bhagavan (Goswami) had fallen from devotional service and had left his post at pretending to be an uttama-adhikari diksa guru capable of continuing the Disciplic Succession, we had many debates at Bhaktivedanta Manor in Srila Prabhupada’s rooms.
There were many visiting Sannyasis and other pretend Diksa Gurus, who have also fallen from devotional service, who brought the latest arguments against the Rtvik idea.
The debates were very well attended by the Vaisnavas and as time went by and debates subsided, some Vaisnavas decided on their own fate rather than listening any longer to the circular debates that got nowhere.
In one debate in Srila Prabhupada’s room there was one female devotee who challenged the very concept that you are trying to establish in your article. That was over 25 years ago. And now you are trying to re-establish the same concept.
From what you have said, it looks like you are saying that everything the GBC and the Diksa Gurus have established is bona fide. I can’t imagine for one minute anyone will ever accept that premise.
Then after some time you took the totally opposite view, the antithesis of what you had been so vehemently preaching for some years. For a lot of Vaisnavas your u-turn was perplexing.
How can you be so absolute on a point of philosophical understanding for so many years, and then totally against your own preaching the next years? This is not very conducive for trust and faith of the Vaisnavas who would earnestly inquire from you as an independent Vaisnava.
In those years and subsequent years, we have had a lot of concepts thrown at the members of ISKCON. We have to sift through this barrage of philosophical speculations continually.
Even senior devotees have had to suffer the onslaught of continually revamped concepts about who has been authorised, who is qualified, how Diksa Gurus always fall down, the Disciplic Succession ending, double meanings of simple English words, and whole swathes of dramatic presentation.
What is the problem with just following Srila Prabhupada’s instructions of following 4 regulative principles and chanting 16 rounds a day and reading His Books? The more ideas that the GBC/Gurus have put in the mix has only distorted the simple instructions we have received.
Over the last 30 years, the GBC have contradicted themselves so much they obviously don’t know what they are talking about, otherwise why would they keep contradicting themselves?
They have produced well over 15 papers that have been the “once and for all” conclusion concerning diksa gurus, continuing the Disciplic Succession, and Srila Prabhupada’s “clear” instructions on this matter. It’s been about as clear as mud.
Not only have the Vaisnavas listened with their rapt attention for so many years now and many have stuck with ISKCON through all this, but many senior devotees have also disagreed with the GBC/Gurus, and even though they might not be backing the Rtvik idea, they definitely see all the shortcomings with the process that is current in ISKCON, which is also not supported by Guru, Sadhu and Sastra, as explained by the GBC themselves. In fact we have never seen a united GBC with continuity, solidified in philosophy and correct.
Members of the GBC have, in fact, had opposing personal views for a considerable number of years, and the GBC have changed their minds concerning their own members bonafide-ness. The magazine called ‘Back to Prabhupada’ has listed all the contrary:
1. Papers
2. Conclusions and findings
3. Behaviour of so-called Gurus
4. Statements of intent
5. Definitions of diksa gurus and continuation of Disciplic Succession
6. Srila Prabhupada’s meanings of simple English words
7. Qualifications and Authorisations
In this present article you have produced, you have managed to be fairly inaccurate concerning the subject you are dealing with. This is a common approach by Vaisnavas trying to defeat a particular process that they don’t agree with. You have not been able to deal with the subject in hand.
If it is so easy to defeat, then why don’t you do that instead of a challenging mood as if you want to “win”. The terminology that you have surrounded yourself in to deal with this is as if you have something personal to gain from it.
We all know this has been around since the letter of July 9th 1977 and all the other letters written by Srila Prabhupada concerning the Rtvik process. Isn’t it just a matter of being able to counteract those pieces of evidence with a more superior evidence that straightforwardly defeats those documented evidences?
If it is as simple as you say, then it beggars the question: why is it still around and why do Vaisnavas the world over just want Srila Prabhupada as their Diksa Guru? And why do you have a problem with them wanting that, even if it is not sastrically strong… so what?!
The point is, are you actually concerned for their welfare or are you just doing it for some kind of fame and distinction? Why does it matter to you what other Vaisnavas do?
Haven’t we had a whole load of Vaisnavas doing all sorts of nonsense in the name of Srila Prabhupada who had positions in the GBC, and Gurus in the past, so why don’t you attack them as well? Are you sure you are purely motivated?
I also believe that a lot of your “irrefutable” evidence is just not what you say it is. I believe I could make an adequate presentation using the same evidence to prove another conclusion. This subject has been hammered out on so many websites, debates, papers, magazines for years now.
The great GBC-Rtvik debate is still on YouTube and can be seen in many installments, and it was also not a conclusive debate. Even many present GBC/Gurus talk in the same terminology as the Rtviks do. It would appear you are losing the battle and the war.
Just sitting on the fence for the last 27 years, I don’t subscribe to what the official GBC/Guru conclusion is, if any of it even makes sense, and I feel empathy to the Rtviks for putting Srila Prabhupada back in the centre of ISKCON, where he belongs.
We have to accept whether we like it or not that a lot of devotees coming to ISKCON and a lot of devotees from the past in ISKCON really only want to surrender to Srila Prabhupada. I know for me, Srila Prabhupada is my shelter and I missed seeing Him on my eyeballs by 3/4 years. I hope that’s alright with you Ajamila?
Your servant in the service of the great Vaisnava devotees of the Lord,
Dusyanta dasa

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