It is essential for devotees to understand that all ISKCON members are first and foremost followers of Srila Prabhupada and that it is by his blessings that we advance in Krishna consciousness. The eternal spiritual master is a resident of Vaikuntha and is our ever well-wisher. It is he who is preparing a place for us in the spiritual world.
Nearly Everyone Is Ritvik Bhaktisiddhanta Dasa – Vrndavan:
Has everyone forgotten what happened in the past? In the early ‘70’s Srila Prabhupada started his own ritvik system, surprise! At some point it became too much to chant on everyone’s beads and give the new spiritual names so what to do? He appointed some of his senior men to cover these details so he could go on with his writing and management of a world organization.
My wife and I were initiated in 1975 in Los Angeles, Srila Prabhupada had left the day before to go to San Francisco, by this time he deputed his personal secretary and Sanskrit scholar to look up the names; and then he would approve or disapprove.
During the fire sacrifice it was Hridayananda Maharaja that was standing next to the Vyasasana and handed out the beads and asked for the four regulative principles. Each time a new name was given there was a loud HARIBOL and everyone applauded.
This is a little History on the purchasing of the Bhaktivedanta Manor in 1973 by George Harrison who was working with Dhananjaya Prabhu to secure a preaching center in Watford, just outside of London England.
Dhananjaya Dasa: By the end of 1972, nothing had happened. Prabhupada wrote to me, “Better to take the upper hand and begin very energetically attempting to get some place. Expending energy for Krishna, that is appreciated and not the actual result of our energy. But if there is lack of energy being devoted for some purpose, then everything will be delayed and possibly stopped. Better to seize the iron while the fire is hot, that my Guru Maharaj used to tell me.”
Prabhupada presumed that the iron was getting a little cold. Then in January of 1973, in a freezing cold, miserable British winter, we got information about a property called Piggot’s Manor in Letchmore Heath, 17 miles from central London. This was the one and only time I didn’t go as a devotee, with a shaved head, dhoti, tilak and kurta, but went disguised with trousers, coat and hat. The previous property George and I had looked at was an amazing health spa outside of the city of Oxford with an indoor heated swimming pool, a beautiful conservatory, saunas and mud baths and more than a hundred acres of land. The asking price was 330,000 pounds. After George saw that property he said, This is a bit rich for you people, isn’t it? You’re supposed to be renunciates. Even I would have a hard time remaining Krishna conscious in this environment.”
Then we got the details on the Manor, which was being sold for 220,000 pounds,10,000 pounds cheaper than the previous property.
Today marks the disappearance day of my dear friend and God Brother, Jayananda das Thakur.
My Dear Jayānanda
Please accept my blessings.
I am feeling very intensely your separation. In 1967 you joined me in San Francisco. You were driving my car and chanting Hare Krishna. You were the first man to give me some contribution ($5000) for printing my Bhagavad-gītā. After that, you have rendered very favorable service to Krishna in different ways. I so hope at the time of your death you were remembering Krishna and as such, you have been promoted to the eternal association of Krishna. If not, if you had any tinge of material desire, you have gone to the celestial kingdom to live with the demigods for many thousands of years and enjoy the most opulent life of material existence. From there you can promote yourself to the spiritual world. But even if one fails to promote himself to the spiritual world, at that time he comes down again on the surface of this globe and takes birth in a big family like a yogis’ or a brāhmaṇas’ or an aristocratic family, where there is again chance of reviving Krishna Consciousness. But as you were hearing Krishna-kirtana, I am sure that you were directly promoted to Kṛṣṇa-loka .(Srila Prabhupada Letter to: Jayānanda — Bombay 5 May, 1977)
Years ago I remember reading this article in Back to Godhead Magazine, and thinking what a brave young man this was. Years later I meet Dhruva das and was very impressed with him, he was very genuine and devote. For some reason, I always remembered this article and planed to revisit again someday.
A young Krsna devotee sets off on a dangerous journey to ancient temples of his lifelong deity.
by Dhruva Dasa
In 1980 I was born to devotee parents in the large Hare Krsna community of New Vrindavan, West Virginia. From my infancy my parents brought me to the temple each day. Gradually, as a young child I grew attached to the large, fierce-looking deity of Krsna’s form as Lord Nrsimhadeva (Narasimha) and His foremost devotee, the boy-saint Prahlada. When I was six, Prahlada’s age, the priest allowed me to assist him in the temple worship of Lord Nrsimhadeva. Although the Lord looked frightening, I always felt protected when I stood before Him.
When I was sixteen my family visited India. I fell in love with the spiritual atmosphere there and decided to return as soon as possible. By the time I turned eighteen I had decided to make the journey on my own. I worked hard to save for the trip and agonized over my itinerary. India is so big—where should I go?
One day I visited the Hare Krsna temple in Miami. As I glanced over a large stack of old issues of Back to Godhead, a stray breeze blew open the top one to a full-page photo of Lord Nrsimhadeva. The picture seemed to beckon me. Reading the accompanying article, I was amazed to learn about a young sannyasi, Indradyumna Swami, who had made an incredible journey to Ahovalam, a remote South Indian holy place said to be the very spot where Lord Nrsimhadeva dispatched the evil Hiranyakasipu. His article inspired me so much that I set my mind then and there on making the difficult pilgrimage to Ahovalam.
This is an older conversation that took place many years ago at the Pyramid House with some of the senior devotees to discuss Srila Prabhupada’s finial instructions on initiation. Very interesting!
Topanga Canyon Pyramid House Talks Tamal Krishna talks about Srila Prabhupadas Ritvik instruction
“In late 1980 Tamal Krishna Goswami and Hansadutta Swami were travelling around ISKCON, having been suspended as gurus and GBC’s by the GBC body for activities unacceptable to them, such as demanding that his godbrothers must approach Srila Prabhupada through him. They had been relieved of their zones. TKG called for an open discussion at Nrsinghananda’s Pyramid House in Topanga Canyon, CA. on December 3, 1980. Hansadutta, Dhira Krishna, Kirtiraja, Jayadwaita and others were present, and the talk was recorded. Below are some of the interesting statements made therein, where Tamal Krishna frankly admits, that Srila Prabhupada never appointed any gurus.”
Tamal Krsna Goswami: Actually, Prabhupada never appointed any gurus. He didn’t appoint eleven gurus. He appointed eleven ritviks. He never appointed them gurus. Myself and the other GBC have done the greatest disservice to this movement the last three years (32 now) because we interpreted the appointment of ritviks as the appointment of gurus.
The specific word “henceforward” has only one meaning, viz. “from now onwards” or “from this time forward”. This is both according to Srila Prabhupada’s own previous usage of the word and the meaning ascribed to it by the English Language. Unlike other words, the word henceforward is unambiguous since it only possesses one dictionary definition.
The following is an article, I have wanted to include for some time now, which was written by Krsnacandra Prabhu and posted on his page Prabhupadavision,com. In light of our recent post entitled Sri Madhu Pandit’s Official Reply to the EC we feel it is timely, and of utmost importance to our society that we understand the issues. Although our page is not intended as a political forum, it is a tool in the mission of our spiritual master, for the propagation of The Hare Krishna Movement or Krishna Consciousness.
Now that Śrīla Prabhupāda has named these representatives Temple Presidents may henceforward send recommendations for first and second initiation to whichever of these eleven representatives are nearest their Temple. After considering the recommendation, these representatives many accept the devotee as an initiated disciple of Śrīla Prabhupāda by giving a spiritual name, or in the case of a second initiation, by chanting on the Gāyatrī thread just as Śrīla Prabhupāda had done.
The name of a newly initiated disciple should be sent by the representative who has accepted him or her to Śrīla Prabhupāda, to be included in Divine Grace’s “Initiated Disciples” book. (from July 9th letter)
The Rtvik Representative Of The Acharya by Kṛṣṇacandra Dāsa – Vṛndāvan:
Shortly after His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Śrīla Prabhupāda entered into his Samādhi līlā in 1977; 11 of his senior disciples and members of the GBC who held the official position of representatives of His Divine Grace in 1st and 2nd spiritual initiations [as per July 9th Document], without authority and without an order by His Divine Grace announced themselves to be pure devotees of the Lord and forcibly seized the titles, roles and functions of acharyas and Initiating Spiritual Masters of ISKCON.
Several months prior to Śrīla Prabhupāda’s departure he signed a document to formalize the initiation process and granted some of his disciples to act on his behalf as representatives in the initiation process for his ISKCON society. This document is known as the July 9th Document.
I always enjoy going back through our collection of Back to Godhead Magazines and re-reading some of the old articles. We share with you the original article with photos just as it appeared in BTG in 1974.
Vrndavana, Krsna’s Transcendental Abode
by Visakha-devi dasi
Ninety miles southeast of New Delhi, India, is a railway station known as Mathura. From Mathura, a bumpy seven-mile ride by horse-cart brings one to a unique town called Vrndavana. This simple village is unlike all other places in the world, for when Lord Krsna, the Supreme Godhead, comes to earth with His associates to display His pastimes, He comes only to Vrndavana. Indeed, Krsna never leaves Vrndavana-and, by His grace, pure devotees can appreciate the Lord’s presence in Vrndavana even today.
In Chaitanya-charitamrita, Madhya-lila, Chapter Seven, Lord Chaitanya’s method of preaching and Prabhupada’s comments regarding the process of preaching Lord Chaitanya practiced while traveling throughout South India (a period of about two years) are very necessary for all devotees to study and understand clearly.
Because of the circumstances under which most of Prabhupada’s early disciples joined the movement, a widespread misunderstanding has become a great obstacle for people in general to accept and practice Krishna consciousness in a realistic and progressive way under all circumstances. That misunderstanding is that a serious candidate for accepting and advancing in Krishna consciousness must abandon his worldly environment and responsibilities to join a temple ashram and live a communal or communistic life style under the rigid authority of an ISKCON GBC or guru. Nothing could be further from the truth, as we can plainly understand from the following descriptions of Lord Chaitanya’s preaching method and Prabhupada’s purports, which clearly support and obviously encourage the process introduced by Lord Chaitanya in His dealing with the Kurma brahmana and everyone He encountered throughout His two years of traveling and preaching in South India.