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"Srila Prabhupada: Nitya-siddha"

"My Sampradaya Acarya thesis philosophically rests upon the basic assumption that AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada is a bona fide Sampradaya Acarya representing the disciplic succession of the Brahma Madhva Gaudiya Vaisnava lineage. As such, Srila Prabhupada is a Nitya-siddha, Shaktyavesa-avatar, an eternal associate of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. The philosophical comprehension of this truth is of the utmost significance for the Vaisnava population concerned with spreading the Sankirtan Movement." Read full article.

Replies: 27 Comments

Posted by Alex @ 01/25/2006 10:16 AM PST

Dear Prabhus,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

I'm still not clear on is what is the difference between "ritviks" ("officiating acaryas") chanting on beads, performing fire sacrifices and giving names, and "siksa gurus" performing these same functions.

It seems to me that these are different technical terms to describe more or less the same functional role. The role seems to be that of a devotee who is acting in a guru/brahmin capacity of sorts, and who is not necessarily also the "initiate's" point of absolute surrender.

I think that's fine. Also, even though I think that the terms are important, I don't think that simply using this or that term changes the underlying reality of what's going on.

Hare Krsna. Your servant, Alex

Posted by Alex @ 01/07/2006 04:25 PM PST

Dear Ray Prabhu,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

I thank you for sharing with me some of your thoughts on siksa. I was glad to read them. Thank you also for the quote from Srila Prabhupada.

I think that the question that I asked in my previous email is still valid.

Hare Krsna. Your servant, Alex

Posted by Bhakta Ray @ 01/07/2006 03:09 PM PST

Alex prabhu,
You said: "I guess one of the things I'm not clear on is what then is the difference between "ritviks" or "officiating acaryas" chanting on beads, performing fire sacrifices and giving names...and "siksa gurus" performing these same functions? "

I can't pretend speak on behalf of Rocana prabhu, but as a dedicated and serious disciple of his spiritual master, he is playing the role of siksa in my case. I think a better question than what is the difference between siksa, diksa, and ritvik is to ask 'what is siksa guru?'.
A siksa is a guru who teaches, which presupposes that he has knowledge. There is a Catch-22 here about who decides who is siksa as in the case of diksa. One has to be in knowledge to determine who is in knowledge. Let's take Prabhupada as an example. How do we know he is uttama-adhikari siksa/diska guru of the highest calibre? Because he says so? No. Because he is self-effulgent. His authority, his knowledge is as obvious as the light of the sun when it rises. Given that authority we have a standard to determine who is bonafide siksa by whether they transmit Prabhupada's siddhanta without adulteration. It has nothing to do with the administrative decisions of the GBC. I don't need a governing body to tell me that. A diksa guru, however, takes on an additional burden, which is the awesome ETERNAL responsibility of taking the disciple back to Godhead. This necessitates that he be uttama-adhkari. Not so with the siksa. He may fall down, but the knowledge, the siddhanta is still intact, as well as our 'membership' with Prabhupada's society. Unlike with diksa, we can legitimately acquire another siksa and this is quite Vedic. There are outstanding examples in the Gaudiya history where the siksa relationship has outshone or at least equaled the diksa in importance.

"Devotee: "His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati accepted both Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Srila Gaurakisora as his spiritual master.

"Prabhupada: Gaurakisora dasa... Bhaktivinoda Thakura was his father, and Gaurakisora dasa Babaji was treating Bhaktivinoda Thakura... Although he was householder and Gaurakisora dasa Babaji was renounced order, still he used to offer great respect to Bhaktivinoda Thakura, and Bhaktivinoda Thakura saw him a pure devotee; therefore he recommended his son, Bimala Prasada. His former name was Bimala Prasada, and he got this title Siddhanta Sarasvati by writing one thesis on astronomy, astrology, astrological calculation according to solar system. So he got this title Siddhanta Sarasvati. So this Siddhanta Sarasvati, Sarasvati title also accepted by sannyasa. Sarasvati, Bharati, Puri, Aranya, Bon, Parvat--there are ten names of sannyasa according to Mayavadi school, and according to Vaisnava school there are 108 names. So this "svami" and "gosvami," they're also included within that 108 names. So he accepted Gaurakisora dasa Babaji Maharaja his spiritual master. Yes?

"Devotee: Does our line of succession go directly to Gaurakisora dasa Babaji or to Bhaktivinoda Thakura?

"Prabhupada: No. Because he was treating Bhaktivinoda Thakura as his siksa guru, preceptor guru, so it is in the line.

"Devotee: But is Bhaktivinoda Thakura directly in succession from Lord Caitanya?

"Prabhupada: Yes.

"Devotee: And Gaurakisora dasa Babaji also?

"Prabhupada: Yes...."


So siksa can be at once more important in linking us to the Brahma sampradaya and less important in that there is no serious repercusion to the disciple based on a particular siksa's falling down. Diksa-sadhana initiation must take a back seat to siksa-knowledge-siddhanta initiation. Otherwise how do we know the goal(sadhya) of sadhana? How do we know if we are successful? This is my understanding, which keeps me out of confusion. I hope it does the same for you.

Posted by Alex @ 01/07/2006 01:44 PM PST

Dear Ray Prabhu,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Thanks for your post. You wrote:

"If ISKCON in spite of its total lack of credibility on the subject of guru-tattva, had adpoted ritviks it would be exactly like the Catholic Church with its claim of 'apostolic succession'. It would certainly have deteriorated into a mundane religion."

In connection to this, I wanted to quote an excerpt from Rocana Prabhu's article 'Abracadabra', which I appreciated very much. In it I read the following statement:

"In my view of a reformed ISKCON, siksa gurus can and should choose spiritual names, perform agni-hotra, chant upon sanctified beads, bestow brahminical initiation/gayatri, and engage in ceremonies such as marriage and/or sannyasa. Students of Bhakti who embrace Srila Prabhupada as the Sampradaya Acarya on account of a thorough understanding are officially "members of ISKCON". Henceforth, they identify themselves as such, which implies their dedication to following the original program set down by Srila Prabhupada."

I guess one of the things I'm not clear on is what then is the difference between "ritviks" or "officiating acaryas" chanting on beads, performing fire sacrifices and giving names...and "siksa gurus" performing these same functions?

How does one scenario necessarily turn KC into a mundane religion while the other does not? Might we not simply be dealing with three different technical terms to describe more or less the same functional role?...the role of a devotee who is acting in a guru/brahmin capacity of sorts, but who is not necessarily also the "initiate's" point of absolute surrender?

It seems to me that whichever of these technical terms we choose or prefer, the option of having Srila Prabhupada as the point of absolute surrender remains. I value this option.

Hare Krsna. Your servant, Alex

Posted by mark @ 01/07/2006 06:46 AM PST

Dear Rocana Dasa,

Thank you again for maintaining this space for discussion. It is priceless to me and, well, I guess that says it all.

We are of a similar mind regarding the siddhantic deviations. It does take one of a generally brahminical broad mindedness in order to appreciate and comprehend the entirety of concepts making up a philosophy. Each word has its true meaning in relation to the absolute truth. Each word may also be used incorrectly to divert attention from the truth.

I have been fostering a relationship with a very purified soul. He is very simple although not simple minded. He is very dedicated to Srila Prabhupada’s instructions. He focuses strongly on re-establishing brahminical culture through cow-protection, and maintaining a library of unadulterated books, lectures, and letters of Srila Prabhupada.

He has been quite wounded (literally) and disgusted by the master sophists who have used each and every term in the Gaudiya Philosophy in a perverted way to further their self-aggrandising agendas. So much so that he has strong defense mechanisms built up around many terms such as guru, initiation, disiple, etc. He cringes at their mention actually. He knows what they mean if called upon to explain, but just to get him to speak with me philosophically, it has taken my sincere and genuine recognition of his condition of distaste coupled with a gentle insistence that I mean to use the concepts with integrity.

This has been a test for me from Lord Krishna, because he holds me to task and forces me to be clear about why I use those words and what context I hope to create and reminds me of Who’s agenda was behind me coming to understand these concepts anyway.

There is a small group of devotees who are presently taking great care to practically manifest the concepts of Guru-tattva in a meaningful way. I have interacted with them in the past and more recently just observing. There are a couple who are naturally Brahmins. They go through great pain to present each term within our philosophy accurately and are strong debators. I put their public relations representative to the test and he showed me that their conservatism is real and rightly situated.

I have struggled within my mind to understand the Glories of Diksa. There are so many fine points. I used to ask myself, at what point would a person strictly following Srila Prabhupada’s instructions as a Ritvik priest and Siksa Guru become actually qualified to be a Diksa Guru in their own right? What would that look like? I speculated that such a person would most likely just continue to act as Ritvik priest to Srila Prabhupada’s Acharyaship in a glorious and spontaneous manner displaying the pastime of following the last known order of his spiritual master regarding inititiations. I also speculated that depending on the circumstance, such a pure devotee may break off and start their own institution.

In engaging another devotee in this discussion, he told me that regardless of what might eventuate, in his opinion, our business is to manifest the spiritual institution of daivi varnashrama, that Srila Prabhupada’s exact instructions regarding Iskcon’s management, if followed strictly will see this through, and we will see what we will see.

The synthesis of what I have learned in my discussions is as follows. Each temple president is currently on their own. However to cooperate and re-form the spiritual body of Iskcon, all of the procedures and rituals can and must be followed. There has been much debate about the Holy name being self-sufficient versus the processes offered to support offenseless chanting. This is to me a bogus argument made by those who have no real faith in Srila Prabhupada. We first chant. If we find ourselves in offense at any time after that, we are not born nitya-siddha, and still have sadhana to do. Thus we follow the processes. Thus eventually a diksa ceremony can help us progress. As well as the ritual of prayers during brahma-muhurta, observing ekadashi, etc.

So through my research and understanding, the temple presidents can select a new GBC body from amongst themselves constituted of those trusted to be best suited. I have never read a synopsis of what Srila Prabhupada truly wished his GBC to do as astute as in some of your writings. Anyway, once this GBC body is created, the temple presidents could commence to choose ritvik priests to officiate in diksa ceremonies on behalf of the only Diksa Guru we know of, Srila Prabhupada. At this point we have checks and balances to assure the most accountability by those who desire to assist in the formal diksa process.

As a matter of fact, this one particular group of devotees has refused to give any formal initiation ceremony and they have been organized for almost ten years. They are still just trying to find enough independent thinkers who consider themselves presidents of their own temple, however humble, to associate on a regular basis, and maybe pick a GBC somewhere down the line. Like I said very conservative. Their spokesman reminded me that anyone can keep a murti picture of Srila Prabhupada and a picture of the Pancha Tattva, and worship and offer food without formal initiation.

Since I ended these discussions and came to accept these conclusions, about a year ago, I have just sat back and observed. So many people, in their passion, seem to be in such a hurry to mimic all the rituals, regardless of a strong philosophical basis for doing so. There are so many splinter groups. Some ritvik groups are initiating already. They may have one or two strong Siksa Guru’s who have been chosen to give Ritivik diksa inititations. I wish them the best, but prefer the caution of holding off til a greater number of older wiser souls are on the same page and can be there to impartially witness and hold accountable those who accept such potentially dangerous and corruptible positions.

I’ve said enough. I am acting in small ways, but mostly still watching and waiting for cool heads to prevail, and proceed cautiously in fulfilling Srila Prabhupada’s desires.

Hare Krishna



Posted by Bhakta Ray @ 01/07/2006 05:30 AM PST

Alex Prabhu,
Whatever Prabhupada has promoted cannot be unsastric. He did not invent the idea of 'ritvik'. It makes pratical sense that during his life as spiritual master and founder acarya that he would appoint disciples to initiate on his behalf. In fact he unquestionably appointed eleven senior disciples to do so. That is not what is at issue. What is not at all clear that this system was to be continued after his samadhi, especially as the notorious 'eleven' all fell down in their GBC-APPOINTED roles as bonafide full-blown diksa acaryas. Ok this seems to argue for the ritvik position, but does it really? Once the 'eleven' fall down and leave ISKCON, who becomes ritvik? This question is actually no less problematic than who becomes diksa guru? Diksa can only be done on the ORDERS OF THE SPIRITUAL MASTER. The Ritviks will be the first to point that out. However the same prinicple must apply to the ritvik priests. If ISKCON in spite of its total lack of credibility on the subject of guru-tattva, had adpoted ritviks it would be exactly like the Catholic Church with its claim of 'apostolic succession'. It would certainly have deteriorated into a mundane religion. As it is, it has deteriorated into a mundane multi-national corporation, complete with board of diretors, CEO's and marketing strategies, selling KC like a new kind of depilatory cream.

Posted by Alex @ 01/07/2006 01:18 AM PST

Dear Prabhus,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

We have touched on the topic of "ritviks".

Since I have his permission to do so...I wanted to share an excerpt from an exchange that I had with Dhira Govinda Prabhu. It was posted to the PL email conference in early December.

I appreciate what he writes below:


Alex: After ten years, I am still not clear on what it is that is un-sastric with 'ritvik' (at least 'ritivk' as I understand it).

Dhira Govinda Prabhu: "Ritvik" has become a sort of dirty word in certain circles and, as you know, has been used as a sort of label to prevent genuine dialogue and meaningful conversation. "Ritvik" means, basically, as I understand it, a type of priest. It's a fine word, which Srila Prabhupada uses in various circumstances. Years ago I read the main paper, The Final Order, that has become identified as the primary position paper of "ritvik philosophy". In summary, I view that paper as a valuable contribution to the discussion about guru-tattva in Srila Prabhupada's movement. While I don't find its focus, or tone, to be completely satisfying, neither do I regard its tenets as un-sastric. One of the reasons I wrote PL is for the discussion to concentrate on philosophical principles, as well as common sense and experience, all, of course, supported by sastra and historic precedent, rather than on the conversation from May, 1977 and the letter from July, 1977. Not that these documents are unimportant- As you're aware, a precept of PL is that whatever one's interpretations of those documents, the principles in PL stand and are valid, thus providing a platform for harmonious synthesis of various perspectives. With regard to the main organization, the IRM, that has developed around The Final Order, my experience of that organization is such that I wouldn't want to be a part of it or identified with it. That said, I will again state that I appreciate The Final Order.


Hare Krsna. Your servant, Alex

Posted by Rocana dasa @ 01/06/2006 04:43 PM PST

Dear Mark,

Please accept my obeisances. All Glories to Srila Prabhupada.

This blog space so far has been inspirationally nice and civil. As such, we find a sincere sharing of personal thoughts. I hope Shiva dasa re-manifests soon, and continues to share his realizations. Other incoherent, blustering, contrary types have become conspicuous by their silence. Let’s pray it remains this way.

As we read the posts, we find that most contributors have reinforced their personal convictions due to experiencing/observing the telltale symptoms that reinforce these conclusions. Of all the lessons I have learned from Srila Prabhupada, one of the most valuable is that at the root of all problems, you will find a deviation from our unalloyed siddhanta. Srila Prabhupada didn’t go on and on about all the symptoms and reactions to western materialistic culture, as some of his representatives do. Rather, he zeroed in on the primary philosophical problems, like atheistic Darwinism. He earmarked his own BBT money to be used to aggressively fight this root cause. In the same mood, I am trying to point out what I see as the philosophical deviation that lies at the root of many of the problems within our Society, namely the lack of proper philosophical recognition for our Sampradaya Acaryas.

Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the all-merciful Yuga Avatara, choose to participate in this particular Sampradaya. Four hundred years after he wound up His lila He compassionately sent, from His eternal entourage, a succession of nitya-siddha mahä-bhägavatas to rejuvenate His Sampradaya. Our Sampradaya has been given the responsibility to fulfill the Yuga Avatara's predictions of the Holy Name being chanted in every town and village on this planet. Now I ask the reader, is it such a radical, off the wall concept to propose to this succession of maha-bhagavatas came as an extension of Lord Caitanya's lila? Let’s keep in mind that today's big-time Vaisnava leaders are not preaching this idea. Why not? What is so siddhantically incorrect about this picture? What IS siddhantically off is the present exclusive diksa guru lineage program. To amplify this concoction, ISKCON has added a further nonsensical element to “initiation” by insisting that all their diksa gurus be given approval by a politically-oriented committee (GBC). I’ll refrain from elaborating here upon the other weasel clauses they inserted in the legalistic contract.

My conclusion is that on the topmost echelon of our Sampradaya we find a successive few nitya-siddha, maha-bhagavata, “bonafide” Acaryas. I choose, for lack of a better term, to call them Sampradaya Acaryas. They are truly and surely “bonafide”. Without them, our Sampradaya would simply be relegated to history, just as it was when Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura advented. Can anyone imagine how many “lineages” were created and eventually waned since the time of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s appearance just over 500 years ago? Our Sampradaya Acaryas had to aggressively denounce these impotent, Sahhijya, mis-representatives at great personal peril. Today history is repeating itself. We are told that the same deviation from siddhanta will never happen on our watch. The undeniable truth, however, is that our Society has presently re-established exclusive diksa lineages that are composed of questionably qualified, un-bonafide Gurus.

Out of fear of expulsion from the Sampradaya Acarya’s original mission, we are obliged to unquestionably embrace the belief that Srila Prabhupada wanted us to re-introduce diksa lines composed of nitya-baddha gurus. Most readers have been subjected to plenty of ISKCON jingoism on this guru-tattva subject, so there's no need to spell it out here. Judge by the results and the symptoms using the eyes of sastra.

One of our Godbrothers recently accused me of being too “vested” in my own private perception. As such, he said there is no use debating with me or anyone else who has been swayed by my arguments. In fact, it’s the ISKCON diksas who are far more vested in their programs than I. I have no followers, no institution, and no ambitions. I have vested time and energy, no doubt. Still, compared to many ISKCON diksa gurus, sannyasis, GBC, and upper echelon bureaucrats, my attachment is minimal. What the future holds is anyone’s guess. What I do know for sure is that Srila Prabhupada desired that his representative Vaisnava Brahmins be free to publicly speak their “truth” and openly discuss with others without fear of recrimination. He set the example when he expressed his thoughts concerning his Godbrother’s mistakes. Unlike my writing, Srila Prabhupada's criticisms will be enshrined in sastra for a very long time.

A Vaisnava should never have to capitulate to a-siddhantic policies for any reason – not even for cooperatively preaching Krsna Consciousness. By definition, a Brahmin must stay aloof from political circumstances. Dronacarya learned the hard way and stands as a perfect example. If I weren’t independent, I wouldn’t dare to promote my Srila Prabhupada as the Sampradaya Acarya thesis internally in ISKCON. Just as in Duryodhana's court, no one risked speaking out about the Pandava brothers' rightful claim to the throne. Those who did were thrown out.

Posted by Yesu Bhaktan @ 01/05/2006 09:02 AM PST

Dear Yesu Bhaktan,

I suppose the third option is to not make a decision at all for the reasons you state,

Just to be clear, I am not suggesting not making a decision out of laziness but out of helplessness because the subject matter lies beyond the purview of our sense. It comes by revelation. If one feels it important to know then they should petition the Lord for the understanding.
This is true for all things spiritual. The idea that it is just us with our intelligence trying to figure things out through the books or by the tib bit facts we have heard of past acaryas is just not adequate.

then to say that it doesn’t matter either way because the sadhana-siddha becomes a nitya-siddha. If this were the case then why, pray tell, have the Acaryas (including our Srila Prabhupada) felt it important enough to know the difference that they explained it many places in their teachings?

I am trying to avoid adding my thinking to the motives of why the previous acaryas do anything. If it is not crystal clear or revealed I just don't know.

But I haven't notice that in the way you apparently have. Narada Muni was sadhana siddha before and now known as nitya siddha. I accept that as sadhana siddha he could reveal Krsna and as nitya siddha he can reveal Krsna. That is the whole point of approaching guru I believe.

I have already laid out the reasoning behind knowing the difference, but you have not addressed those reasons.

It's my nature to make a few points and then let it go.

Your arguments indicate to me that you don’t, at this point in time, wish to make the endeavor. It doesn’t seem important to your life. That's fine! If you don’t make up your own mind, then someone else will.

Or I may be choosing to surrender the endeavor unto Krsna's feet because it lies beyond my reasoning power. Why should I continue to endeavor with my shovel to move the Himalayas to the sea?
Yes I expect someone else will and I am waiting for the Person of Sri Krsna to bless my mind with the proper understanding.I will accept it from no one else. Until then I remain a fool on the subject no doubt.

Many of those who hold the reins of power today within the Vaisnava Community have a vested interest in maintaining the present system. Their position, power and prestige ultimately depend upon a collective vision of Srila Prabhupada’s spiritual status in relation to themselves. In other words, if their followers are made to believe that they can and will become siddha in due course, just as Srila Prabhupada did perhaps during the later part of his life, then their pretense is safe until they are exposed (or not).

Yes I understand there are various problems. But it to be expected. Maya's job is to create a false representaion of the Reality substance to give the jiva the choice between the two. Krishna's sahdow is always right next to Him. The choice is ours.

In this world the greater number will always choose religion over transcendencal surrender. Realized devotees will be in the minority speaking out in favor of the real thing and saving a few while being seen as suspect or heretics by the majority.

Bhaktivinoded opinined that we need more Martin Luther's. But we see that now Martin luther's own followers are in need of another Martin Luther. Ever it has been ever it shall be and especially in the middle planets where passion is strong.

"in due course" yes this is the bluff many use as you said. Post dated blank check. Just call it that and they are defeated. "Worship me now for the perfection I shall attain later". Only a fool would by into that but fools are plentiful in a world where everyone that takes birth is a fool.
I agree with your objective but it is my opinon that you are usaing the wrong arguement. They at best can offer a measure of siksa commenserate with their realization, which is glorious in and of itself until they m9ix it with this postdated via media to Krsna mumbo jumbo. Until they become clear of that cheating propensity no serious person should even sit in their classes as a guest.

The bill of goods we were sold at the onset of the Zonal Acarya system was that these individuals were kripa-siddha. They obviously hadn’t come close to perfecting their sadhana practices and couldn’t claim to be nitya-siddha from birth.

Yes I was around on the oputskirts of Iskcon at that time having already become quite alienated to the organization. I had a chance to ask Ramesvara when he came traveling through the area why he thought he was now guru. His answer was astounding. He said that he had proof that Prabhupada made him guru on a tape but unfortunately he had left the tape in LA. LOL I was shocked. He was just a kanistha with a strong brain no posing as a self realized vaisnava.
Guru is known by his self effulgence, not by his external appointment or mundane votes.

But to counter this nonsense by using the sadhana siddha is not good angle is a mistake IMO prabhu, because the fact is sadhana siddha is good enough. The operative word here is SIDDHA. Perfect is perfect. Not almost perfect, or perfect later on down the road (but daksina now hehe). But then that is not real sadhana siddha.

It is a fact that only an advanced devotee can absolutely declare another to have reached siddha or maha-bhagavata status but that principle applies to many other aspects of our siddhanta, as well. For this reason our scientific teachings list and describe the symptoms, qualities, offenses, and means by which we can discern what is true, using our God given intelligence.

Yes we can get indications enough to help us keep going on the path and to strengthen our faith but it is not the end product and it is always subject to some doubt. My intelligence tells me not to rely too strongly on intelligence but to shift that reliance to the Caitya-guru directly through prayerful chanting.

This already way too long which is unchacteristic for me so I will stop here.

Oh I would like to add that I have read you are opposed to the ritvik intiation scheme. Thank you for that. Anyone can directly to Prabhupada and krsna in his name just by prayer chanting and reading his books.
Don't need no appointed priest and don't need no ritvik priest.

Seems every group just wants to place themselves between the jiva and God and his rewpresentative.

Hare Krsna


Posted by Rocana dasa @ 01/04/2006 09:39 PM PST

Dear Bhakta Ray,

Srila Prabhupada explained saktyavesa avatara on a morning walk in Bombay in 1974:

    Prabhupada: Yes, there are different types of saktyavesa avatara. So when an ordinary jiva is specially empowered, he is called saktya avesa avatara, satktyavesa avatara, vibhuti. Yad yad vibhutimat sattvam. He is living entity, but especially empowered. Just like for certain business I give sometimes somebody power of attorney, that “He will do this. He will sign for me.” Like that. He is also one of the disciples, but for particular purpose, he is given the power of attorney. In this way when a living entity is empowered specifically to do something, that is called saktyavesa avatara. Avesa avatara. Krsna sakti vina nahe nama pracara. That is explained in the... These are explained in the Caitanya-caritämrta. [break] ...saktya. te jo-msa-sambhavam. So saktyavesa avatara is not visnu-tattva. He is jiva-tattva. So the Lord Jesus Christ or Lord Buddha, they come within the jiva-tattva especial power.

I concur with your observations. The prevalent use, in all sorts of circles,
of the terminology "saktyavesa avatara" when describing Srila Prabhupada can become bewildering. In fact, this category of avatara is a wide-ranging, somewhat catch-all descriptive term to delineate a Krsna-empowered Jivatma. It also applies to Buddha, Jesus, and Mohammad, who actually preached a-siddhantic concepts or were not bonafide members of any of the four Vaisnava Sampradayas.

The sastric definition applied, on it’s own without detailed philosophical qualification, remains nebulous at best. We find it most typically used is as a glorification adjective rather than as a clear philosophical definition. This suits those who use the term as an occasional, sentimental sound byte: Srila Prabhupada as a saktyavesa avatara. In the same breath, this glorification is neutralized by the addition of commonly used introductory phrases which declare that Srila Prabhupada arrived in America alone and penniless after suffering a number of heart attacks.

Individually envisioning Srila Prabhupada as a nitya-siddha, saktyavesa avatara, maha-bhagavata, or as a Sampradaya Acarya, without internally adopting a bonafide siddhantic comprehension will not take one to the desired level of realization. Only from this platform of conviction can we successfully preach/teach others about Srila Prabhupada's spiritual greatness in relation to other Vaisnavas practicing sadhana bhakti. I see a sad lack of training of disciples, even when the guru professes to accept Srila Prabhupada as being on an exalted platform.

The dilemma facing all of us nitya-baddhas since time immemorial is that exalted personalities, whether they be saktyavesa jivatmas or Krsna Himself in His numerous incarnations, do not extol their own glories. They don't go into great detail as to who they actually are. Their advanced followers must mercifully provide us with the required understanding. This is particularly true in Caitanya lila, wherein Lord Caitanya refused to be declared God. The advanced maha-bhagavatas who make up the topmost level of our disciplic succession are, by definition, the personification of humility. This is stated in the Siksastakam verse spoken by Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

Srila Prabhupada primarily used the term "bonafide spiritual master" to describe the quality of guru that is mentioned in our daily Gurvastakam prayers to the Spiritual Master. Of course, the door is open for exploitation of the term "bonafide". This term is really the essence of all our present day controversy. What is your definition of "bonafide"? One of the reasons I keep referring to the list of 32 is because Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati said these personalities are bonafide. Others may also be bonafide in their own right, but not all are on the same level, i.e., born nitya-siddhas. Not all are qualified to be included amongst the transcendental association of those on the list. Other have earn their bonafieds by first and foremost recognizing who qualifies to as nitya-siddha and Sampradaya Acarya.

Srila Prabhupada gave us everything in terms of philosophical understanding of the truth, but we can't forget that the pre-qualification for full understanding is completely relative to how pure we are. One of the greatest tests of our purity is how much we are non-envious of the mahajnanas. In other words, the degree to which we can properly glorify them and present them to the world depends on how much we hanker to be placed in that position ourselves. If one is contaminated by the modes, by definition that means one wants to be God. We have enough knowledge given to us by the pure devotees to know that we can never be God, but we are also told that these maha-bhagavatas, these pure devotees, are as good as God and should be treated as if they're God. So the tendency that is inherent and still needs to be purified out of our consciousness is our wanting to be seen as if we're on a spiritual platform that in reality, we aren't qualified to be on. We want that glorification. This is a very huge obstacle that all those who enter into a bonafide Sampradaya have to deal with at some stage of their Krsna Consciousness.

That is why I'm so fixated on the Zonal Acarya era. It was so blatant, it was even documented in position papers. These personalities pretended that they were maha-bhagavatas, and we all know the results. Unfortunately, it appears to me that no one is learning a lesson. There's been no admission based on an understanding of the siddhanta – no recognition that they could never, ever have hoped to come to the position of Srila Prabhupada in this lifetime. They weren't born nitya-siddha. They weren't empowered and sent by Krsna for the mission. Only collectively could we possibly make the significant strides necessary to fulfill the mission, but that collective consciousness depended on the degree of our own humility – especially from those at the very top. When that's not there, there's little chance for the kind of collective effort that the Sampradaya Acaryas were hoping to achieve.

That doesn't mean that individually, we don't have an opportunity to cooperate with other individuals, or to come to a level of realization as to who Srila Prabhupada and the other Sampradaya Acaryas actually are. Only if enough individuals reach that stage of realization can there be any hope of holding back the tide of material life. All the lip service that is given is hollow, it has no meaning. So often the lofty names used to describe Srila Prabhupada are mainly used by the speakers as a form of self-glorification, rather than due to their actually having the vision to see Srila Prabhupada on that level. There must be concrete application of this realization, which means that you become very humble yourself, and you make sure that anyone who accepts you as an authority is not falsely seeing you in a position that in reality, you're not on. Unfortunately, this is not what we're finding today.

Historical memory tells us that this has been going on since time immemorial. Anytime a Visnu incarnation or a saktyavesa-avatar appears, the purity wanes and the message is watered down due to the influence of time. This is especially true in the age of Kali. Fortunately at this particular point in history, we have a very golden opportunity due to the mercy that is made available by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

Posted by Mark @ 01/04/2006 07:11 AM PST

Dear Devotees,

Please accept my obeisances.

All Glories to Srila Prabhupada.

This discussion is so nice and civil, I am inspired to participate.

The last post I read was #16 from Bhakta Ray. I feel he raised some excellent points regarding "leaders" in "today's" Iskcon. And the inevitability of his last 2 predictions seems all but certain.

There is one area that I believe I have some insight on regarding Diksa that I'd like to share, because I have not seen it touched on here.

Any siddha, or pure uttama adhikari devotee, by definition, has the ability to be a Diksa Guru.

Diksa is considered to be the act of transferring pure transcendental knowledge, in its fullness, from one person to another.

The word Diksa thus represents a process which begins at the moment when a pure devotee is speaking a basic instruction meant to awaken an awareness of the Lord's existence. Simultaneously that instruction is heard and acted upon by another. That person receives some awareness of the Lord's existence and endeavors to know more, thus in their heart they are attracted to hear more from the pure devotee who set them off.
Srila Prabhupada often called this sublime moment "initiation".

The word Diksa is often also used to refer to the ceremony whereby a person receives formal initiation into the Sampradaya.

It is also used to define the person who had the potency to re-present Sri Krishna to an ignorant soul in the first place, and that person is called a Diksa Guru.

A Diksa guru can only be called such when they have the ability to give Siksa (instructions) to an aspiring bhakta which will instruct them so adeptly that by following those instructions, that aspirant can consummate the process of sadhana and reach the goal.

It could also be the case that an aspirant might leave the company of their Diksa Guru, who had already provided some level of Siksa, and take instruction from some other Pure devotee in a nice way which sees their advancement unhindered. This would not in any way diminish the original Diksa Guru's potency to give Siksa to that disciple, it was just a natural change in the lila.

If for some reason there WAS a problem with the original Diksa guru being able to continue to instruct the aspirant nicely and the aspirant was FORCED by necessity to seek shelter elsewhere, then that "Diksa" guru was never qualified to give Diksa.

How could a person offer Diksa, which is considered the transfer of transcendental knowledge, without having the ability to see that transfer through through Siksa? It is not possible, and that person misrepresented their self.

This is the reason why a true Diksa guru may authorize representatives to fulfill certain roles considered essential in some of the early and middle stages in the process of Diksa, namely the instruction on some basic tenents of sadhana, and performing an initiation ceremony. These ritvik priests may be adept at performing the rituals, and offering some siksa, but are not yet qualified to give Diksa in its fullest (and only) sense.

I would hate to see the essence and meaning of Diksa lost because we overreact and throw the baby out with the bathwater due to the neglect and misuse of the term by rascals.

It seems that defining terms in their most exact manner can provide a safeguard against abuse.

Hare Krishna,



Posted by Bhakta Ray @ 01/04/2006 02:19 AM PST

Another observation. Since the terms 'nitya-siddha', 'saktyavesa avatar', 'Sampradaya Acharya' generate so much discussion (and misunderstanding) in and of themselves, I propose that these philosophical distinctions are too subtle for the ISKCON potentates at their current level of realization. I find myself stretching what little grey matter I have to grasp their meaning and their differences.
But as I meditate on this concept of a Sampradaya Acharya it necessarily includes the notion of nitya-siddha and possibly syaktavesa avatar. Once fully grasped it is obvious that insisting on a diksa-only relationship with such a guru minimizes their importance.
In fact their appearance heralds a point in time where their siksa overshadows the necessity of diksa guru preeminence, especially in their powers of liberating the conditioned , nitya-baddha, entity. It would seem, therefore, one's duty to properly understand their position and 'business', even post-samadhi.

My point is that since these distinctions are too subtle to be grasped and/or acknowledged by the ISKCON ideologues and even if they were not, the ISKCON usurpers
would not be likely to admit it, I see little hope other than

1. the eventual scandal their errors must precipitate.

2. launching a legal 'coup' to take back ISKCON which was illegally absconded from its rightful inheritors, to whit, the immediate disciples of Srila Prabhupada.

Posted by Alex @ 01/03/2006 09:21 PM PST

Dear Rocana Prabhu,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

I read the article 'The Church of Rtvik'. I very much appreciated the following excerpts:

"No institutional pressure should be exerted, nor artificial urgency imposed upon the uninitiated in the acceptance of a diksa guru."

"...the serious student should be reassured that their spiritual advancement is not being impaired due to not having taken diksa."

"A genuine, direct relationship between the aspirant and the preeminent Sampradaya Acarya is not only acceptable, it is necessary, and a via media guru is not required in order for that relationship to be consummated."

"In closing, I can honestly declare that my perspective on the initiation controversy is closer to the Rtvik position than it is to the ISKCON or Gaudiya Matha position, because the Rtvik's at least wish to put Srila Prabhupada at the center, in his rightful place as Sampradaya Acarya."

"Simply put, siksa is unquestionably authorized and emphasized by our most recent Sampradaya Acaryas."

These five statements also lead me to a query that I have about the essence and meaning of diksa...and about how it is understood in the Sampradaya Acarya thesis. But for this post, I would like keep it simple, and to go back to what triggered my original question on this thread.

This statement from your response to Ray Prabhu caught my eye:

"Even the Rtvik position can be far more easily challenged based on this principal."

Since this statement was in connection with an article about Srila Prabhupada being a born nitya-siddha, I understood the statement in the following way:

"Even the Rtvik position can be far more easily challenged based on the principal of seeing Srila Prabhupada as a born nitya-siddha."

The statement that I quopted from your response to Ray Prabhu, seems to me to perhaps link to this statement from 'The Church of Rtvik':

"Although the advocates of Rtvik-tattva appear to bestow Srila Prabhupada with Sampradaya Acarya ranking, they fail to philosophically define the qualities of the Sampradaya Acarya and distinguish them from the traditional diksa guru."

So, the way I undertand the above statement...is that you experience "Rtvik-tattva" as a thesis which does not clearly define Srila Prabhupada's position as being that of a Sampradaya Acarya...and which does not differentiate Srila Prabhupada's Sampradaya Acarya position from that of a traditional diksa guru.

The next bit may perhaps seem a bit like a tanget, but I hope to tie it back to the above paragraph at the end of the post.

If memory serves...it seems to me that in some "ritvik" writings that I have read, the author(s) presented Srila Prabhupada as being a saktyavesa avatara.

Perhaps it follows from this that these author(s) would also see Srila Prabhupada as a born nitya-siddha.

Now, the term 'saktyavesa avatara' is perhaps not identical with 'born nitya-siddha', but the terms seem compatible to me.

For example, it seems reasonable to me that a saktyavesa avatara would also be a born nitya-siddha...rather than a regular nitya-baddha jiva who becomes a saktyavesa avatara through kripa or sadhana.

This is where I get a bit fuzzy and unclear...and this is where I am hoping to deepen my understanding.

My experience is that there are at least leaders within the ISKCON organization who refer to Srila Prabhupada as a saktyavesa avatara.

By extrapolation...there might also be leaders in the ISKCON organization who view Srila Prabhupada as a born nitya-siddha.

So it seems to me that seeing Srila Prabhupada as a born nitya-siddha might be a principal that is accepted...both by certain people who approve of the "current model of guru-tattva" within the ISKCON organization...and by certain people who might be labelled by some as "ritviks".

Getting back to the last excerpt that I quoted from the article 'The Church of Rtvik'... do we then understand a born nitya-siddha as also automatically a Sampradaya Acarya?

Is that why and how the "Rtvik position" can be far more easily challenged based on the principal that Srila Prabhupada is a born nitya-siddha?

The reason that I ask, is that it seems to me that if members of diverse factions in Srila Prabhupada's movement all see him as a born-nitya siddha, then this might perhaps be one small step towards resolving some of the conflicts between them.

I hope that I have clearly communicated what I'm unclear about.

I have not yet read the paper 'Sampradaya Acarya'. This is my next project. So perhaps the questions that I have are adressed there.

Thanks for your time and attention. Hare Krsna. Your servant, Alex

Posted by Rocana dasa @ 01/03/2006 08:21 PM PST

Dear Yesu Bhaktan,

I suppose the third option is to not make a decision at all for the reasons you state, then to say that it doesn’t matter either way because the sadhana-siddha becomes a nitya-siddha. If this were the case then why, pray tell, have the Acaryas (including our Srila Prabhupada) felt it important enough to know the difference that they explained it many places in their teachings? I have already laid out the reasoning behind knowing the difference, but you have not addressed those reasons.

Your arguments indicate to me that you don’t, at this point in time, wish to make the endeavor. It doesn’t seem important to your life. That's fine! If you don’t make up your own mind, then someone else will. Many of those who hold the reins of power today within the Vaisnava Community have a vested interest in maintaining the present system. Their position, power and prestige ultimately depend upon a collective vision of Srila Prabhupada’s spiritual status in relation to themselves. In other words, if their followers are made to believe that they can and will become siddha in due course, just as Srila Prabhupada did perhaps during the later part of his life, then their pretense is safe until they are exposed (or not).

The bill of goods we were sold at the onset of the Zonal Acarya system was that these individuals were kripa-siddha. They obviously hadn’t come close to perfecting their sadhana practices and couldn’t claim to be nitya-siddha from birth.

It is a fact that only an advanced devotee can absolutely declare another to have reached siddha or maha-bhagavata status but that principle applies to many other aspects of our siddhanta, as well. For this reason our scientific teachings list and describe the symptoms, qualities, offenses, and means by which we can discern what is true, using our God given intelligence. Caitya Guru, book Bhagavata, and inquiring from serious devotees helps us nitya-baddhas to navigate through life on our spiritual journey, making as few mistakes as possible.

Our Sampradaya Acaryas go to great efforts in order to deliver absolute knowledge to conditioned souls who are willing to hear. They don’t appear to instruct the siddhas. One aspect of this absolute truth discerns the differential between a nitya-siddha and a sadhana-siddha. Type "nitya-siddha" into the Vedabase and see just how many times Srila Prabhupada speaks on this subject. A sadhana-siddha must, by definition, spend a great deal of time and effort performing sadhana before reaching perfection. Being born a nitya-siddha, by definition, means they execute their sadhana spontaneously and perform pastimes in order to show by example. They are here “on business”, just as Srila Prabhupada stated in the section I previously quoted. When Srila Prabhupada first met Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, he immediately identified him and declared that his mission was to preach in English to Westerners.

Both Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and AC Bhaktivedanta Swami spent a good portion of their lives as householders. This is not, by sastric decree, the ideal circumstance for becoming perfect through sadhana. On the other hand, for a majority of the future followers of these great maha-bhagavatas, their pastimes as householders will be invaluably inspirational and instructive – even more so if they are viewed as being born nitya-siddha, and demonstrated how to execute Krsna Consciousness under those circumstances.

Most participants in the Sankirtan Movement will find themselves having the duties of householder life while simultaneously performing sadhana and contributing to the preaching of Krsna Consciousness. I feel it was Krishna’s arrangement that these two nitya-siddha missionaries performed household pastimes, setting the standard by their examples. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati’s pastimes involved living as a life-long celibate brahmacari preacher. Gaura Kisora and Jagannatha dasa Babajis set an example of perfect Vaisnava renunciates. So, during this historical Gaudiya Vaisnava revival period, all the principal philosophical elements which distinguish the teachings of Lord Caitanya were exhibited, just as they were during the original lila. During Caitanya Mahaprabhu's original lila, personalities from all walks of life were represented.

Anyone and everyone, regardless of their temporary material circumstances, can find inspiration in the execution of their Krsna Consciousness (Yuga Dharma) by the means and manner revealed by the all-merciful Yuga Avatara (hari nama). The examples set by perfect devotees can be truly inspirational for all future footstep followers, especially if we view their entire lives as unalloyed devotees. If we view any one of them as anything other than nitya-siddha, then the mind will be wondering at what point in their lives they became “siddha”, and whether or not certain activities were, in, fact transcendental. How can we benefit from such speculation?

Posted by Bhakta Sunil @ 01/03/2006 12:22 PM PST

Response to Rocana Prabhu continued
with correction:
You agree that the movement unfolded by the will of Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu, but what was that will? Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura told his son to take initiation from Gaurakisora das Babaji. (Perhaps this had something
to do with the Thakura perceiving a
need for the learned scholar to totally submit to the illiterate
mahabhagavata guru; spirit is above
intelligence.) Whatever the reason,
all the acaryas of the sampradaya are there for a definite reason. As
such, from the adhyatmic point of view (which is the most important) they are all on the same spiritual level, no matter what they appear to do or not do. They are all absolutely important and necessary.
For this example, the sampradaya might be compared to a great chain which is only as its weakest link,
but the sampradaya doesn't have weaker or less important links. Of course, from our point of view, we may think that some are more important since they have done more
but that is not necessarily the real point of view.

Posted by Bhakta Sunil @ 01/03/2006 11:56 AM PST

In response to Rocana Prabhu's reply to my post re Gaurakisora:
Thankyou for your thoughtful and well-intentioned reply. It is good that you acknowledge that Gaurakisora dasa (and Jagannatha dasa) Babaji Prabhupada are both Sampradaya Acaryas and nityasiddha.
It is not good that you tend to disagree with the idea that the movement would not have been as successful without the appearance of Gaurakisora. Gaurakisora is the eternal spiritual master of Bhakti-
siddhanta, so how could the latter succeed in a spiritual mission without the former? You agree that the movement unforded by the will of Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu, but what was that will? Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura told his son to take initiation from Gaurakisora

Posted by Rocana dasa @ 01/02/2006 09:36 PM PST

Dear Sunil,

I appreciate your input into this discussion. You are correct when you question my seeming omission of Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji and Srila Jagannatha dasa Babaji. While I did mention them in my recent article and postings, I did in my Sampradaya Acarya Obviously, I can’t and don’t ignore the fact that they were included by Srila Bhaktisiddanta Sarasvati on his list of 32 Acaryas within our disciplic succession. Please read the following excerpts from my paper:

    "Understandably, Srila Prabhupada’s Godbrothers lacked the insight to detect his spiritual status prior to the ISKCON lila period. The unfolding of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur's true identity is quite similar, what to speak of Srila Rupa And Sanatana Goswami. The Sampradaya Acaryas' declaration of the exalted spiritual status of Jagannatha and Gaura Kishora dasa Babjis stands as yet another example. Spiritually preparing oneself to develop the empowered perception in order to precisely identify who are advanced devotees and who are imitations is essential to success.

    "Thakura Bhaktivinoda was not official Spiritual Master of Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji Maharaja. Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji Maharaja was already renounced order, Paramahamsa, but Thakura Bhaktivinoda, while He was even playing the part of a householder, was treated by Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji Maharaja as Preceptor, on account of His highly elevated spiritual understanding, and thus He was always treating Him as His Spiritual Master. The Spiritual Master is divided into two parts; namely, siksa guru and diksa guru. So officially Bhaktivinoda Thakura was like siksa guru of Gaura Kisora das Babaji Maharaja."
    Srila Prabhupada Letter to Dayananda, 05-01-69

    Over 100 years ago, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura challenged the religionists of his day, which he identified as Caste Goswamis, Smarta Brahmins, mundane intellectuals, western scholars, and even those purporting to be in direct disciplic succession to associates of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

    Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura introduced the relevance, significance and importance of the siksa guru as a bonafide initiator into our Sampradaya. His own brother, Lalita prasad, sided with the representatives of traditional diksa lines that traced their linage clear back to the Caitanya Lila. These "Goswami lineage" successions claimed that initiation through them was the only possible way to link to Lord Caitanya’s Sampradaya. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati dismissed this self-serving concept, stating that regardless of one's spiritual genealogy, the prerequisite qualifications for successfully linking up to the Sampradaya are achieved wholly and solely upon the genuine advancement in Krsna consciousness by contacting a genuine Sampradaya Acarya. As such, he included Jagannatha dasa Babaji and Gaura Kisora das Babaji as qualified members of the Sampradaya, and he excluded all the established diksa lines who traced themselves back to the Caitanya Mahaprabhu lila period. "

As a nitya-baddha, I cannot state with absolute certainty whether or not these personalities were “nitya-siddha” from birth. Very few historical facts are provided by the other three nitya-siddha ghosti-anandi Acaryas as to the correctness of this designation. Regardless, Jagannatha dasa Babaji and Gaura Kisora das Babaji are unquestionably perfect personalities, whether through sadhana or taking birth as nitya. Obviously, as bhajana-anandi, their pastimes were very much different than those of the other three Jagat-Guru, ghosti-anandi Acaryas. I have never come across any of their writings nor did Gaura Kisora das Babaji have any other disciples besides Srila Bhaktisiddanta Sarasvati. Jagannatha dasa Babaji, of course, was a siksa of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura.

All this sketchy information does tend to invite persons such as you and I to wonder as to why they appeared on the transcendental landscape in the manner they did. My assumptions are not much different than yours, except that you seem to insist that Jagannatha dasa Babaji and Gaura Kisora das Babaji also be recognized as born nitya-siddhas in order for my thesis to be complete. Of course, we have Srila Prabhupada's written evidence to support that Srila Bhaktisiddhanta and Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura were born nitya-siddha. With no direct written evidence that this is also true of Jagannatha dasa Babaji and Gaura Kisora das Babaji , however, I can't declare this to be true. If you have such sources, then please share them with us.

We should keep in mind that the last two Sampradaya Acaryas, ghosti-anandi Srila Prabhupada and Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur, discouraged their followers from following the bhajan-anandi path. Rather, they encouraged their disciples to go out and preach, and considered that a more significant role for us to play in Lord Caitanya's Sankirtana Movement.

Because of my focus on the importance of a siksa connection to the Sampradaya, I tend to view Jagannatha dasa Babaji and Gaura Kisora das Babaji as living examples of this truth. Their circumstances are particularly important, considering that back in those days there was so much controversy over the apparent significance of diksa lineages. Our Acaryas declared that the surviving successions were bogus because they were not presenting our siddhanta properly.

In terms of the importance of spreading Krishna Consciousness throughout the planet, let us agree that the three ghosti-anandi Acaryas were empowered to accomplish this mission. We may consider whether or not this pastime would have been successfully accomplished had it not been for the appearance of Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji. Personally, I tend to disagree with the idea that the movement would not have been as successful. The way it all unfolded is obviously by the desire and direction of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, however, so in that sense, the manner in which it unfolded was absolutely perfect.

Like many mysteries surrounding these transcendental goings-on, we conditioned souls are placed in the position of wondering and discussing, in the manner we are doing here. As I see it, this most recent succession of Acaryas, beginning with Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur and including the two bhajan-anandis, are part of an extended lila of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. That is the big picture. And in that big picture, the roles that the two bhajan-anandis played was obviously significant. But in comparison to the three great preachers who actually spread Krsna Consciousness throughout the world, it's hard to equate them as being on the very same level. As I recall, Srila Prabhupada said that Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur is so important because he took the teachings of the Six Goswamis onto a practical platform. Even the Six Goswamis just wrote – they did not involve themselves in preaching. So in a sense, Bhaktivinoda Thakur was more important than the Six Goswamis.

You seem to agree that these personalities appeared in succession in order to fulfill the predicted mandate of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, that this Sankirtan Movement would be spread throughout the planet. Such a phenomenon is now taking place. Many sincere Vaisnava bhaktas of all persuasions are dedicating their time and energy so as to carry on this momentum. I am simply trying to suggest a way we can look at our disciplic succession that will result in an improved degree of cooperation and participation.

Let's not forget that over the eons of time that our Sampradaya has been in existence (since Lord Brahma), innumerable disciplic lineages have sprung forth and disappeared. Apparently at the time of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s appearance, none had survived. Even those coming from the appearance of the Yuga Avatar, Sri Caitanya, just 400 years before this time had diminished and disappeared. So, the importance of seeing to it that our unalloyed siddhanta is passed forward unblemished is paramount to us at this time and place.

Recognizing that AC Bhaktivedanta Swami is the latest pure representative and ensuring that his teachings, mood and methods be preserved into the future should be of utmost importance. If we don’t emphatically declare that he is a nitya-siddha, Sampradaya Acarya, then we can be sure that the inevitable erosion due to the influence of time and the Age of Kali we happen much faster.

There's no need here to bring-up all the telltale symptoms of this contamination manifesting around us. I like to describe this covering-over by the use of the all-inclusive word, “religiosity”. Both the western institutional variety, as well as the Indian diksa lineage version, are experience a decline into religiosity. In order for this transformation to take place, our siddhanta gets watered down. Refusing to properly highlight the spiritual status of our true Sampradaya Acaryas according to siddhanta, we are inadvertently contributing to this decline.

I agree that the mention of these two exalted Babaji members must also be clarified. I have stated what I think is one of the reasons they participated in these pastimes, but I’m not an empowered pure devotee who can speak with absolute certainty. Neither are you, I assume. That leaves us to discuss. Hopefully as individuals we will come close to the truth, and Caitya Guru will give us some verification. At least we are thinking about such matters.

Posted by Alex @ 01/02/2006 04:35 PM PST

Dear Rocana Prabhu,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Thank you very much for taking the time to respond to my question. I would like to take some time to carefully consider what you've written, before I respond.

Hare Krsna. Your servant, Alex

Posted by Rocana dasa @ 01/02/2006 01:55 PM PST

Hare Krsna, Alex!

I have written an article entitled The Church of Rtvik wherein I challenge the siddhantic premise for the Rtvik theory. My arguments are based on a number of assertions, including the assumption that Srila Prabhupada is a Sampradaya Acarya.

To encapsulate my position, let me say that the Rtvik position, like ISKCON, is fixated on the idea that only through taking diksa is it possible to be initiated into the Sampradaya. I find no absolute evidence to verify this claim. If the Rtvik-vada advocates would simply abandon the post-samadhi diksa initiation idea and replace it with the need to connect to our Sampradaya via a bonafide Spiritual Master, namely a maha-bhagavata, 'born' nitya-siddha Acarya, and if they put greater focus on Srila Prabhupada's status as a Sampradaya Acarya, then I would be in agreement with their philosophy (or more accurately, they would be in agreement with my philosophy).

All the other guru designations, diksa, siksa, vartma-pradarsaka gurus, and other teachers/preachers, are legitimate so long as they recognize, glorify, follow, and promote the teachings, and mood of the most recent Sampradaya Acarya. That truth becomes the litmus test for all newcomers wishing to be included/initiated into our eternal disciplic succession.

We find ourselves in a particular circumstance due to the appearance of His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami, Srila Prabhupada. The reality of his presence through an unusual abundance of preaching/teaching content; books, lectures, conversations, and letters, with the added facility of audio and some video, makes his appearance on this earth even more extraordinary. On account of his potency, the teachings of many other Vaisnava Sampradaya Acaryas have been made available in many languages, especially English. This “book bhagavata” connection to our Sampradaya’s siddhanta is the real mercy of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

What is needed is a de-mystification of diksa as being the one and only via media to gain entrance to the transcendental secrets offered by Lord Sri Krsna, by means of His mercy incarnation Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and all the nitya-siddha participants in His ongoing lila. A diksa initiation program that bottlenecks the flow of pure devotion cannot artificially check the flooding of Love of God, which remains the hallmark of this Yuga Avatar.

I’ll refrain from commenting here upon the tendency for non-nitya-siddha, sadhana-bhaktas to introduce and stress this exclusive diksa lineage idea. The successive appearances and pastimes of the most recent three nitya-siddha Acaryas, amongst many extraordinary teachings and concepts, showed that the disciplic succession of our Sampradaya is not dependent upon material circumstances. The participation of Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji and Jagannatha dasa Babaji illustrates this principle, what to speak of the rejection of diksa lineages going back to members of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s nitya-siddha associates.

The pure unalloyed siddhanta is of the utmost importance, not the tracing of diksa lineages which in themselves do not guarantee that our siddhanta has remained uncontaminated. Connecting to the Absolute Truth, which is non different than Lord Sri Krsna, is of the utmost significance. Our only assurance that we are receiving unalloyed truth is to hear from the Sampradaya Acaryas. The most recent appearance of such nitya-siddha Acaryas is paramount. As my position clearly states, I believe that Srila Prabhupada is such a rare personality. As such, we are all very fortunate, regardless of whether we took direct diksa or not. It is far more important to recognize Srila Prabhupada as a nitya-siddha Sampradaya Acarya than it is to take diksa initiation.

Muddying up the message by introducing a non-sastric idea such as post-samadhi diksa just gives the diksa lineage advocates a strong position from which to reduce Rtviks to a position like that of cartoon-character villains. It seems that they have become successful in making the very term "Rtvik" into a horror movie slogan.

My ideas of Srila Prabhupada as a Sampradaya Acarya has been lumped into the all- encompassing Rtvik stigmatization, even by some so-called ISKCON scholars. Clearly, they do not understand my position, and label it as Rtvik out of convenience. It is easier to label than rebut.

My question is to all sincere Rtvik advocates is: why promote post-samadhi diksa? It’s simply not necessary, because no one in our disciplic succession is required to play the "diksa is the only way" game. There is a wealth of sastric evidence coming directly from Srila Prabhupada to support my concept, what to speak of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati and Bhaktivinoda Thakura. Not one big-time ISKCON pandit has been able to refute my arguments. Even the more erudite Gaudiya Matha types, with whom I have debated extensively, have not been able to punch holes in this concept despite the fact that I am a lowly nitya-baddha. I have to give credit to my opponents for correcting me on a few details, which pushed me to refine my arguments. But overall, no one can defend the argument that our Sampradaya is made-up exclusively of diksa gurus. It is simply not true. Srila Prabhupada stated this transcendental reality in the most simple of terms: don’t worry about the apparent time gaps in our official list of 32 Sampradaya Acaryas, which take us all the way back to Lord Brahma. While it's true that Srila Prabhupada did not specifically call himself either "nitya-siddha" or "Sampradaya Acarya", he most certainly made it clear that he was on that exalted platform, and he placed his name on the list of 32. Regardless of the name my opponents wish to call the exclusive members of that list, they cannot refute the fact that it exists.

More out of ideological fanaticism, personal pique and historical ignorance than out of any verifiable sastric evidence, protectionism of the "disciplic diksa guru" is less a policy than a disease. Rtviks also fall into this category. I have found that many Rtviks are "fall on your sword, blood oath loyal", and as such they will not honestly discuss their guru-tattva ideas. As always, my virtual door is open whenever they're ready to discuss.

Posted by Yesu Bhaktan @ 01/02/2006 10:18 AM PST

This question is not a problem for me nor do I think it need be for anyone else. The call for someone to make a choice here and now would be most misplaced.

Why? Because from our present status which is individual we may not be prepared to comprehend the answer. Not being prepared means we will resort to our feeble intelligence to grab hold of some philosophical basis for believing what we already believe.

But is that the way to approach this matter?

You noted Srila Prabhupada instructing that it takes one to know one so how can we *know* Srila Prabhupada is a nitya-siddha without becoming nitya-siddha ourselves?

And how can we become nitya-siddha without becoming sadhana siddha (or kripa-siddha) from our present nitya-baddha positions?

Srila Prabhupada states that a sadhana-siddha becomes again nitya-siddha. So the whole question really becomes mute IMO. It doesn't matter to me if Srila Prabhupada was sadhana-siddha because sadhana siddha then become nitya-siddha.

If someone was seeing Krishna in the womb and throughout his childhood or at some advanced age just came to see Krishna yesterday what difference is there? HE IS SEEING KRISHNA NOW and therefore can perfectly describe Him and lead others to Him.

The point is one doesnot remain sadhana-siddha. Once one is sadhana-siddha he is nitya-siddha.

Is Narada Muni a sadhana-siddha or nitya siddha? See what I mean?

I feel our contamination by the time factor is causing us to not fully grasp this point.

When you know who you are you know who you are. You may have had amnesia at some point but it is of no consequence. Even this little example is contaminated by the time conception but what can we do when speaking.

So there is no need to declare ones position on this point, sadhana or nitya. The answer comes by internal revelation when Krishna deems it appropiate.

Posted by ralph @ 01/02/2006 09:57 AM PST

in my immature undertanding i have never considered Srila Prabhupada an ordinary jiva soul.you are accepting Srila Prabhupada as nitya siddha sampradaya acarya. so i have aquestion why would want to challenge Srila Prabhupada's order to have officiatng acaryas perform initiations after his physical departure?

Posted by Bhakta Sunil @ 01/02/2006 09:36 AM PST

In response to the latest posting by Rocana dasa:
Why do you say "my thesis is based on the appearance of three successive
nitya-siddhas"? In the first place, since you wrote elsewhere that you are referring to Bhaktivinoda Thakura
Prabhupada, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati
Thakura Prabhupada and Srila Prabhupada, the three nitya-siddhas are not immediately successive due to the omission of Gaurakisora dasa
Babaji Maharaja Prabhupada. And secondly, why are you omitting Srila Gaurakisora dasa Babaji Prabhupada? Do you think he is not a nitya-siddha, from birth? If so, what is your proof of this? Srila Gaurakisora dasa Babaji Prabhupada is the guru (diksa and siksa) of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, whom you admit to be nitya-siddha from birth. So why would someone born perfect for a mission from God
(Lord Krsna) take initiation from someone who is not nitya-siddha from birth? Like attracts like. Srila Prabhupada depends eternally on Bhaktisiddhanta, and Bhaktisiddhanta depends (eternally)
on Gaurakisora. If, as you know, that viewing Srila Prabhupada as not nitya-siddha from birth detracts from his mission, then viewing Gaurakisora as not nitya-siddha from birth also detracts from the ongoing mission of the (all-perfect) sampradaya. If
the mission is important and divine
then why would God leave any room for imperfection of any kind? Your omission of Srila Gaurakisora dasa Babaji Prabhupada appears to be based on the erroneous idea that a Sampradaya Acarya has to appear
'to do' much in the world, but actually
there is no spiritual difference in
the sampradaya between a ghosti-anandi and a bhajana-anandi,
because they are both perfectly in
line with Krsna's highest divine will. Srila Gaurakisora dasa Babaji
Maharaja Prabhupada is both a Sampradaya Acarya and a nitya-siddha from birth, and your non-acknowledgement of this fact is
a defect in your thesis which should be corrected.

Posted by Alex @ 01/01/2006 11:43 PM PST

Dear Rocana Prabhu,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

I read your article, and your response to Bhakta Ray with interest.

In your respose to Ray Prabhu, you wrote:

"Even the Rtvik position can be far more easily challenged based on this principal."

Would you be willing to tell me more about this?

Hare Krsna. Your servant, Alex

Posted by Bhakta Ray @ 01/01/2006 07:29 PM PST

Yes, I think I see now. If Prabhupada is not nitya-siddha, then his status is attainable through the routine practice , the sadhana of any ISKCON devotee.
That's why the zonal acaryas thought they could pose as Prabhupadas in their own right, complete with guru pujas. They didn't just have to follow him as disciples but they could actually imitate him.
It's like Christians thinking they can actually imitate Jesus, achieve his full stature.

As for ISKCON, I am very much afraid it is repeating the zonal acarya travesty, just without the guru puja. In New Dvarka, the party line sounds like an exact echo of Rameswara. An exclusive emphasis on laksmi points, making the book distributors into celebrities and diminishing sadhana. They don't actually come out and say that temple worship, chanting rounds is less important but the strong implication is there. Sadhana simply supports book distribution which in turn financially supports the temple.
There's no doubt Prabhupada made book distribution primary, but not at the expense of sadhana. My understanding is that he expected the devotees, book distributors included had to become the living embodiment of what was preached in the books for the preaching mission to be successful.

The temple president claimed that New Dwarka showed evidence of 'spiritual superiority' (my phrase, not his) to other temples because of its increased book distribution.
Then he pointed to Deity worship, the Govinda restaurant, the properties and general financial prosperity.
I guess one out of four ain't bad.
But in point of fact, the most important symptom of 'spiritual superiority' which ought to be an enthusiastic preaching mood even when receiving visitors and guests is absent. My friend who is Indian is routinely ignored when he visits and if it weren't for my having prior connections with the temple, I would be equally ignored. There are no 'celeb' credits , no accolades for engaging visitors in Krsna consciousness. It was almost the same with Ramesvara except he did have a guest program. Those who were given attention however, were usually young and attractive. At one point he didnt' want to consider anybody over thirty. His penchant for the young finally blossomed into a full sexual relationship with a minor. As I've mentioned before he didnt' chant his rounds, or often attend the morning program. Nobody really seemed to care because the sadhana was overshadowed by the glamor of book distribution.

Posted by Rocana dasa @ 01/01/2006 05:04 PM PST

Thanks for your question, Bhakta Ray. I knew it was coming, and I'm glad it came from you. This is a standard reply that I hear not only from officials in ISKCON, but also from my Godbrothers.

This question really lies at the essence of what I'm trying to say, which is that if one is born a nitya-siddha, as Srila Prabhupada explains, then by definition he comes on "business", i.e., he has a mission to perform. In our case, the mission is an extension of Lord Caitanya's Sankirtana Mission. Of course, my thesis is based on the appearance of three successive nitya-siddhas. Srila Prabhupada has stated as truth that the two previous Acaryas were nitya-siddhas, and he has told us that only a nitya-siddha can declare this to be absolute. So there's another indication of Srila Prabhupada's status.

What bewilders most readers of the "Lilamrta" is that Srila Prabhupada's early life (pastimes) contain a wealth of meaning for all of us, just as Krsna's pastimes did. Many people who consider themselves Vaisnavas, especially. those who follow Lord Ramachandra, look down upon Krsna's pastimes of dancing with the gopis because it's against dharma, which Lord Ramachandra represented. Our sampradaya explains the innermost meanings of these pastimes of Krsna, so we can appreciate that it's not a deviation from dharma. In the same way, we can hope that at some not-too-distant future date, Srila Prabhupada's early pastimes can be understood with the help of another nitya-siddha.

You ask how not understanding Srila Prabhupada's position as nitya-siddha is the cause of problems in ISKCON, and why it matters that we understand the details of his status. Not only does it matter in terms of Srila Prabhupada's pre-ISKCON pastimes, which are problematic because they're often anecdotal at best, but it also matters with regards to Srila Prabhupada's ISKCON lila pastimes, which leave a lot up to interpretation. In addition, it matters because not understanding who Srila Prabhupada was influenced the Zonal Acaryas, who seriously undermined the movement. So past, present, future -- it matters.

Many devotees who are seemingly sincere bhaktas, and who consider themselves to be dedicated followers of Srila Prabhupada, feel free to interpret certain circumstances that happened during ISKCON as being a sign of someone who is not completely nitya-siddha. Such circumstances include what happened to the children, why Srila Prabhupada kept on supporting certain GBC when he knew how far they had deviated, etc. We don't see any philosophical explanation coming from ISKCON on these matters, nor do they philosophically defend their Founder/Acarya. Of course, unless one actually sees Srila Prabhupada as being a nitya-siddha on a particular mission, then it's very hard to philosophically defend Srila Prabhupada's position.

ISKCON could also solve the problems they're having with the Gaudiya Matha in a much simpler philosophical way than how they're going about it now, which makes them look sectarian. Even the Rtvik position can be far more easily challenged based on this principal. So we're looking at major circumstances that are facing ISKCON now that they could deal with much more easily if they adopted the concept of Srila Prabhupada being born as a nitya-siddha. If you don't say he was born as a nitya-siddha, then as a nitya-baddha, you're left in a quandary trying to figure out at what point in time he became siddha.

There's a prevailing storyline in the "Lilamrta" which leads one to believe that until Srila Prabhupada came to America and actually fulfilled the order of the Spiritual Master at a very late age, that prior to that he did not achieve siddha, because he did not immediately fulfill the order of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati. This is a ridiculous idea to perpetuate. From the perspective of Srila Prabhupada being born a nitya-siddha, one has to come to the conclusion that everything about his life is ordered directly by Krsna (Lord Caitanya).

So all the events both leading up to ISKCON and during have to be presented and explained by those who advocate this perspective. Those who don't are left in a quandary. This means you'll never get any agreement because there's no absolutes, therefore the influence of Kali will just overwhelm everybody. Without explicitly defining Srila Prabhupada's status, it will just be left open like it has been for the last 20 years. And this is really the essence of the problem. There's all sort sorts of people who call themselves Srila Prabhupada followers, but who have all sorts of different visions of who Srila Prabhupada is -- most of them sentimental. Take for instance the proliferation of biographies and memoirs that are flooding the marketplace. Who's to judge whether or not they're siddhantically accurate, or give the right perspective of Srila Prabhupada? I could give many examples, but hopefully this answers your question.

Posted by Anon @ 01/01/2006 04:43 PM PST

Haribol: Rocana's das's beginning of the new year eassy about the understanding (or misunderstanding) and realization of Srila Prabhupada's exalted status as being a nitya-siddha was concise for a change and also very easy to understand as well.

As someone who read the Lilamrta many, many years ago after first coming in contact with the ISKCON movement I can only speak for myself but I never thought while reading it that Srila Prabhupada was anything less than nitya-siddha and a chosen personality as well to spread Lord Caitanya's sankirtana movement worldwide. In other words, I never took Srila Prabhupada as being ordinary.

Perhaps the dilemma rests with the fact that a nitya-bhaddha may indeed at first see Prabhupada's pastimes from their own point of view due to their immature realizations but hopefully, with time, that realization will change. Namely, that Srila Prabhupada's early pre-sannyasi days appear mundane or like an ordinary conditioned soul. This is very problematic indeed. But then, some saw Krsna Himself when He was personally present in His Vrndavana-lila as not being the Absolute Truth or so it was written in sastra or from Prabhupada's own words.

The fact that a blunder was made in Satsvarupa's books according to the "zonal-acarya era" in Rocana's words I would have to re-read the lilamrta again to reassess it.

However, for me at least, this does not minimize Prabhupada's ISKCON movement and in fact, fuels the devotee with more vigor in his/her sadhana knowing that Srila Prabhupada was not an "ordinary" human being in the traditional material sense. In other words, in my mind, Srila Prabhupada is, "the second coming" if you will. Referring to Bibical prohecy.

Thus Rocana's idea that Srila Prabhupada is a Sampradaya acarya is also correct and that Prabhupada is also the "Founder-acarya" of a modern day Krsna consciousness movement known as "ISKCON" as well which to me is still that glorious extension of the Brahma-sampradaya.

What confuses me is Rocana's other statements about ISKCON which, while many may be valid, I'm sure will iron themselves out generationally.

Posted by Bhakta Ray @ 01/01/2006 03:51 PM PST

Rocana Dasa Prabhu,
You said:
"Whether innocent or not, I declare that this philosophical maha-mistake, born of the Zonal Acarya era, is at the very root of all the problems our community has struggled with since Srila Prabhupada’s departure. At this juncture of our Sampradaya’s history, I hold little hope that this mega blunder can be quickly or easy rectified throughout the Vaisnava landscape."

I guess I'm still not clear on how not understanding Prabhupada's position as nitya-siddha is the cause of all the problems in ISKCON. Why does it matter how or when he became a pure devotee or uttama-adhikari provided he eventually was one by the time he began his preaching mission?

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