Did He Or Didn't He?


Sep 21, 2012 — OJAI, CALIFORNIA (SUN) — Continuing the Ritvik challenge.

The Real Question

On November 22, 1977, the disciples of His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada inherited one of the biggest responsibilities ever in the history of religion. On that fateful day young men and women from a wide array of social and educational backgrounds were faced with an overwhelming task. Their duty was to preserve the most important religious teachings ever to impact the western world. Srila Prabhupada's disciples were sincere and committed to their mission but were only just beginning to understand the depth and meaning of the purports taught by His Divine Grace. Unfortunately almost every one of the disciples who were thrown into this tremendous position had little or no experience in the mechanics of establishing a revolutionary, worldwide, extremely radical, brand new religious organization.

Twenty two years ago (now 35 years ago) there was much confusion after the departure of His Divine Grace. Some devotees immediately went away. Others lurched for positions and still others dug deep into their soul and sought guidance from paramatma about what to do. Those who were committed knew it was they who were responsible for carrying on what Srila Prabhupada had started. The problem they faced was how to sort out all the details required to do that among themselves without having the loving stewardship of His Divine Grace to intervene when problems arouse. The resolutions they had to make back during those strenuous days were difficult ones and some of those decisions have led to the most controversial debates ever to threaten the sovereignty of ISKCON.

There has been a lot of scriptural research, many papers written, spontaneous sidewalk conferences, e-mails sent, and meetings held in an attempt to determine what system for initiation Srila Prabhupada wanted his disciples to follow after his departure. Points have been made, defeated, rebutted, and re-argued endlessly. After a while many who have tried to follow the play by play action get bogged down in the transcripts that are becoming more like legal documents every day. All the scriptural minutia has been worked over with microscopic accuracy and various theories, red herrings, and straw men have appeared along the way, each time obfuscating the real question that needs to be answered. That question is straightforward and can be stated very simply: "What system of initiation did Srila Prabhupada want ISKCON to follow?" After 22 years of debate most devotees agree that the proper answer is found in one of the two systems presented here.

  1. The traditional system that has been followed since Lord Krishna Spoke the imperishably science of yoga to the Sun God Visvasvana millions of years ago which is historically known as the Parampara. Or;

  2. A completely new, totally unprecedented, hybrid, state of the art, sit in proxy, Rtvik priest, methodology for initiating disciples.

This is really the question that has been placed into the court of devotee arbitration and it can be boiled down even further into the following succinct sutra; "Did he, or Didn't he?" That is the essence of the question before us…. nothing else.

The Smoking Gun Concept

In any investigation the ideal situation is to find the proverbial "Smoking Gun". If such evidence is found then the subject that is in dispute is conclusively resolved and there is no need for further debate. By definition this type of evidence is so clear and unequivocal that only a madman would dare to challenge it. An example of this type of absurd challenge would be if someone were to begin questioning whether or not Srila Prabhupada ever asked his disciples to follow the four regulative principals. Only an extra-terrestrial from Mars would question this directive in light of all the overwhelming evidence that clearly indicates that he did so all the time and always quite emphatically!

In the case of the Guru/Rtvik debate it would certainly be very nice if we could find some "Smoking gun" type of evidence. The debate would be over if we had a written statement from Srila Prabhupada that said; "After I leave this body I order my disciples to carry on as initiating, Diksa Guru, Spiritual Masters that I also order them to accept their own disciples, for the very purpose of sprouting many new branches on the tree of Disciplic Succession, exactly as it has traditionally been done by Vaishnavas for thousands of years." If such a quote could be found in a purport from the Srimad Bhagavatam,.. the original edition printed in India circa 1963,.. with a corresponding letter referring to it,.. that was written and signed by His Divine Grace,... as well as notarized and witnessed by both Jayananda Prabhu and Senator William J. Bennett,.. and preserved on a never before used brand new videotape,.. with a clear soundtrack,.. which is free from all evidence of stops, splits, or editing of any type then,.. we MAY have the type of evidence that everyone wishing to resolve the Guru/ Rtvik debate would accept thus ending this nauseous argument.

Even then, considering some of the silly things that have been said recently, I could see how some highly imaginative devotee, who got a bad break from an immature temple president in 1983, could build a campaign to suggest that all the proof was actually fraudulent. Our hero would claim that the evidence is unreliable because there was really a conspiracy to stage the whole thing by administering judgment-impairing-bad medicine to Srila Prabhupada from corrupt senior disciples,.. who were impatiently drooling at the mouth,.. although not visibly,.. to have their own feet washed in yogurt every day,.. while being served hot chapaties and coconut juice prepared by their own robot like disciples,.. at a Mid-Florida luxury resort,.. that was converted into an ashram,.. but still had the original coke-a-cola machine,.. although it was restocked to only serve Seven Up,.. which was donated by a devotee,.. who had no money but stole the stock of bubblies from his parents, to offer as guru-daksina in order to please his now current Diksa Guru!

OK. Lets get serious. Remember the question we are working on is: "Did he or Didn't he?"

Read the complete paper here:

Did He Or Didn't He?


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