BY: GAURAGOPALA DASA
Nov 11, 2010 AUSTRALIA (SUN) Srila Prabhupada has given us initiation while he was physically here and yes, he is present in his teachings, but not to the extent one can imagine he gives them initiation after his passing. Srila Prabhupada is not physically here to also make that choice or accept any new disciples ‘he' chooses to also have. Guru disciple relationship is therefore a two way street, both have to be physically present to choose each other, it's as simple as that.
One's worship of Srila Prabhupada today in ISKCON should incorporate praying to him to be guided to a living Guru that is an example of him and who is devoid of, or who has given up, all sinful activities.
One cannot have someone who has passed from this world as an initiating Guru within ISKCON or the Gaudiya Math. If this was so, the whole Parampara would be in one big mess, I see it now, some justifying being a direct disciple of Srila Bhaktivinoda, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta, or Srila A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
The Rtvik idea is incorrect. The correct system is one must find someone living as a bona fide Guru or Spiritual Master in ISKCON or wait until they find you. Therefore the Rtvik system is a misleading and nonsense doctrine that wrongly states that Srila Prabhupada is the only initiating guru of ISKCON and that his followers may initiate new devotees only as officiating priests on his behalf.
It is also very important not to throw the baby out with the bath water. (Hate the sin not the sinner), because most ‘devotee-Gurus' who are advanced in Krsna Consciousness today in this first generation of ISKCON Gurus, have been fallen in the past. For example, many Gurus today have eaten meat, taken intoxication, had illicit sex and gambled earlier in their life before meeting Srila Prabhupada or reading his books.
Frankly, even devotees who have fallen in the past after initiation like, for example **** ***** Prabhu, who has since corrected himself very nicely, would make a wonderful inspiring Guru who represents Srila Prabhupada today because he turned his past failure into a pillar of success that he is today for Srila Prabhupada's ISKCON.
One should study Srila Prabhupada's Books to help one identify his genuine pure devotee representatives to take shelter of. One should even test one's potential Guru with relevant inquiry. This is necessary due to the falldown of past Spiritual Masters in ISKCON.
And that living Guru must not just be seen as a Guru who just initiates in his designated GBC Zone or Country, for example, just for the South Seas or the Guru for the West Coast of the U.S, no it is not meant to be that way. It is wrong for a Temple President or GBC in ISKCON to say ‘so and so' Guru is only for your country or Zone and you ‘must' take him as you Guru. The Zonal Guru system is nonsense and is what the eleven original ISKCON Guru's attempted.
Choosing a Guru is very personal and it does not have to be your local Guru recommended by the Temple President or GBC, although there is no harm in sincere recommendations. There are over 150 Gurus in ISKCON today and one can choose or test anyone of those to see if he/she suites you. The choice is yours and not anyone else's!
The preference is always the individuals however, once you choose your Guru and most importantly he chooses you, then after initiation there is no further choice. Therefore having a Guru is very serious. As Srila Prabhupada said to me 35 years ago in a letter –
Srila Prabhupada - "You have taken initiation from me, so actually you are obliged to do this. You have promised, therefore there is no choice,—you must follow strictly. Otherwise, you are carving your pathway to hell."
(Letter to Gauragopala dasa, May 26th, 1975, Honolulu)
One has to have a living Guru for first and second initiation!!
Your fallen servant,