The Chairman and Executive Committee Members and GBC members,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
Further to our offer of a peace proposal (attached separately) sent thru HH Bhakti Charu Swami on February 4th 2009, we present before you the following explanatory note on the same:
The court case between ISKCON-Bangalore and ISKCON-Mumbai is coming to a close as the trial is over and case is posted for th judgement on 28 February. Regardless of which side wins, the loser will appeal to the next court level. This will go on until it reaches the Supreme Court of India. Who knows how long this whole process will take, how much resources will be drained and how much time wasted. With this in mind, and with the supreme objective of continuing successful preaching for the satisfaction of HDG Srila Prabhupada, the Elected Governing Body of ISKCON Bangalore group of institutions has brought a peace proposal to the table.
This proposal was sent to HH Bhakti Charu Swami for delivery to the rest of the GBC. So far we have only received silence from HH Bhakti Charu Swami and the GBC to our offer. And the GBC meetings are getting over in few days. Under these circumstances we are making this offer public along with this Explanatory Note to Chakra, VNN, Sampradaya Sun, Dandavats and other
Vaishnava sites hoping it would attract the attention of the GBC members and other Vaishnavas who are closely watching this war between ISKCON Mumbai and ISKCON Bangalore.
Our dispute with the GBC began in 1998 when we came across Srila Prabhupada’s last written directive on initiation in ISKCON, famously known as the July 9th directive.
Year after year, from the early 80s we have heard from the dais of every Annual Ratha Yatra inauguration at Bangalore and every other public program, HH Jayapataka Swami being introduced as one of the eleven successor Acharyas appointed by Srila Prabhupada. Prior to 1998, being isolated in Bangalore and hardly exposed to international issues and being busy with building the temple at Bangalore, we all blindly believed the propaganda that the eleven persons had the sacrosanct appointment by Srila Prabhupada as the successor Acharyas. In fact the title of HH Jayapataka Swami was, Present Acharya.
However we were shocked each time one of the eleven Acharyas fell down from grace, and this posed a big disturbing question as to why these persons, if they have been appointed by the pure devotee, Srila Prabhupada, are falling th down? But the July 9 Directive answered our perpetual doubt about gurus fall down. They were never appointed by Srila Prabhupada but we re appoint ed only as rtviks or Representative of the Acharya. More than anything was the deep pain in us for having become victims of this betrayal of trust.
It is a matter of undisputed evidence that several of the GBC members approached Srila Prabhupada on May 28th 1977 with a set of questions to be asked to him. One such question was, how first and second initiation would go on particularly when he was no longer with us. Srila Prabhupada’s immediate reply was, “I will appoint some of you to act as Officiating Acharya.” And to this HH Tamal Krishna Maharaj said, “Rtvik Acharya?” and Srila Prabhupada said, “Yes rtvik”. This is Guru Mukha Padma Vakya.
A great misunderstanding has been perpetrated in ISKCON that the parampara will be lost if we had a rtvik system and in order to maintain parampara we must have living initiating gurus. But Srila Prabhupada says differently on when parampara is lost or stopped:
Devotee: Srila Prabhupada, if the knowledge was handed down by the saintly kings, evam parampara-praptam, how is it that the knowledge was lost?
Prabhupada: “When it was not handed down. Simply understood by speculation. Or if it is not handed down as it is. They might have made some changes. Or they did not hand it down. Suppose I handed it down to you, but if you do not do that, then it is lost. Now the Krishna consciousness movement is going on in my presence. Now after my departure, if you do not do this, then it is lost. If you go on as you are doing now, then it will go on.” (Room conversations, May 9th , 1975, Perth)
Now, here also it is stated, sa kalaneha mahata yogo nasto parantapa: “My dear Arjuna, oh, you are the great hero. Now, that Bhagavad-gita, the instruction which I imparted to the sun-god, was coming by disciplic succession. Now it is lost.” Now, we have to note down this point. Why it is lost? Why it is lost? Do you think that there was no learned man during that time? During Krishna’s time? Oh, there were many learned sages. Not only one, two, there were dozens of learned sages. But still, the Lord said, Krishna said, that “They… That knowledge which I exactly imparted to sun-god is now lost.” How it is lost? There were many scholars, and
still, how it is lost? The lost means that the purport of Bhagavad-gita is lost. (Gita lecture New York, July 13th , 1966)
We have dozens of quotes on this subject that shows how and when parampara is lost, which
requires a careful study. This is not the parampara of physical arts and crafts like music or massage therapy or wrestling – which requires a physical link of teacher and disciple to keep it going. We are talking of spiritual knowledge whose transmission, as repeatedly taught by Srila Prabhupada, does not depend on physical presence. Srila Prabhupada has set up an institution of preachers who, if they continue to speak what ever Srila Prabhupada has taught as it is, will continue the parampara.
Another standard objection about rtvik system is that it is historically unprecedented. We have prepared a list of over a dozen things that Srila Prabhupada did that are historically unprecedented and would be considered unacceptable even by other Indian Vaishnava traditions. And Srila Prabhupada has said this about an Acharya:
“Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu wanted to invent a way to capture the Mayavadis and
others who did not take interest in the Krishna consciousness movement. This is the symptom of an Acharya. An Acharya who comes for the service of the Lord cannot be expected to conform to a stereotype, for he must find the ways and means by which Krishna consciousness may be spread.” (CC Adi 7.33)
“So therefore it depends on the Acharya how to adjust things. So, my Guru Maharaja, ‘Alright go on preaching on a motorcar, it doesn’t matter.’… This is adjustment. The Acharya knows how to adjust things.” (SB class, Auckland, Feb. 20th , 1973)