Blinded by the Night

Rittviks Their Own Worst Enemies

by Kailäsa Candra däsa

When the ambitious and audacious leaders of what was still considered by most to be the Hare Kåñëa movement instituted something entirely new just months after Çréla Prabhupäda departed, a somewhat covert, liberal element underlying that change was an integral part of it. Since all eleven pretender mahäbhägavats had been radicals and/or hippies during the Sixties, their innate tendency to try something unprecedented–and their intrinsic attraction to new experiences–was then put on full display. What remained of the movement went into unknown territory, convenient only for the misleaders.

It was advertised as opening a path to unbounded possibilities, culminating in a devotional manifestation of utopian bliss. Although there are a few differences between the current leaders of “ISKCON” and those from that (thankfully brief) zonal äcärya era, deeper psychological distinctions between all of these men are minimal—if there are any at all.

All Emphases Added for Your Edification and Realization

The Second Transformation of “ISKCON” in the mid-Eighties did not actually affect the zonal mindset in any meaningful way. Rittvik leaders, all originally coming from the precincts of that same “ISKCON” mentality, also share the quasi-liberal psychology possessed by “ISKCON,” but, of course, Rittvik pushes a different belief system, ideology, hierarchy, and process.

Rittvik rejects the idea that madhyama-adhikärés can initiate, and that is flat out wrong. They can do so, if they receive the order to do it from Çréla Prabhupäda. Indeed, a dékñä-guru who remains on the madhyama plane can be surpassed by his own disciple, who, having been initiated by his madhyam guru, takes advantage of the bhakti-latä béja and attains siddha. Such a disciple can even deliver his spiritual master, as confirmed in the Bhägavatam:

“The conclusion is that a disciple or an offspring who is a very strong devotee can carry with him to Vaikuëöhaloka either his father, mother or çikñä- or dékñä-guru.”
Çrémad-Bhägavatam, 4.12.33, purport

By accepting what is stated here—even if it appears almost inconceivable (it is not inconceivable)–we remain standing on transcendental terra-firma. We can realize the science in the right way via this conservative attitude of accepting the jïäna–and then putting the pieces of the puzzle together correctly, with this piece firmly part of the pantheon.

The actual attitude of devotional service, particularly applicable in this age and at this time, is a conservative psychology, not a liberal one. The advanced brähmin possesses within himself a liberal intelligence, but that remains personal, i.e., it is not applicable to being transferred into any institutional arrangement, particularly in the West. That the uttama-adhikäré sees all other devotees serving the Lord better than himself does not translate into his formulating a Kåñëa movement based upon such an inconceivable, personal psychology. Bhaktas and bhaktins, in terms of practical preaching, interaction, and proselytizing efforts, are not merely conservative–they are ultra-conservative. As such, they do not experiment with new attitudes, ideas, lifestyles, and belief systems that are contrary to çästra, logic, and paramparä precedent, and they have no attraction to doing so.

Rittvik does this, however, and its results thus far have proven highly centrifugal. The dumbing down is going to get worse as time goes on. The ramifications and repercussions of Rittvik—on both an institutional and a personal level—will be discussed here in the last triad of articles exposing Rittvik for what it is—and for what it is not.

Rittvik overreach mimics that of the “ISKCON” zonal äcärya debacle, despite all denials to the contrary. That His Divine Grace never specifically forbade a rittvik-in-absentia paradigm is an extremely foolish argument for its implementation. You cannot prove a negative. Such a new, unprecedented, and, as aforementioned, liberal proposition requires specific authorization from the Äcärya before it can even be considered. Nevertheless, arguments alone have not prevailed against Rittvik at this time, because “ISKCON” has already set the standard, thus paving the way for Rittvik.

Guru Through the Back Door

The insidious method of becoming guru through the side door is practiced in “ISKCON” priestcraft, but rittviks become covert gurus through the back door, not even claiming to be initiating spiritual masters. Yet, in many if not most cases, they are looked at in that way, as dékñä-gurus, because their new people make vows in front of a fire sacrifice conducted by these men, in the name of them being initiated as Prabhupäda çiñyas.

The so-called initiating spiritual masters in “ISKCON” are all institutional gurus. This has been the case since the spring of 1978, i.e., even the high profile eleven pretender mahäbhägavats were, nevertheless, all institutional gurus. The only (brief) exception to this was Kértanänanda Swämé, who began initiating disciples (and accepting worship as an uttama-adhikäré from his own godbrothers and godsisters) in the last week of 1977. Still, in the spring of 1978, he capitulated and cooperated with the zonal äcärya scheme, thus relegating himself also to the status of an institutional guru.

An institutional guru can be brought down by the institution’s governing body, and that’s what transpired in the mid-Eighties. The initial Rittvik proposal (by the Mississippi crew) put forth the proposal that rittviks required institutional approval. That would have made the rittviks institutional back door gurus, but the G.B.C. at that time (late 1989 and early 1990) wanted no part of the concoction. Thus, Rittvik had to find and take another route.

“ISKCON” does it one way, and the rittviks do it another. Both are bogus, of course, but at least the “ISKCON” gurus outwardly accept the role of being dékñä-gurus. They are thus going to pick up some of the karma (good karma, mixed, and bad karma) from their disciples. The rittviks want to avoid having to take on any of that saïcita-karma, so they enter the precincts of de facto (but not de jure) initiating guru via the back door, i.e., they falsely claim that the new disciples—who receive their Vaiñëava-däs and devé-däsé names from these rittviks—are actually the initiated disciples of Prabhupäda.

It’s the same scheme, in essence, as practiced by the priests of Christianity. It is complete nonsense. When His Divine Grace came to America in the mid-Sixties, he brought a God-centered system of devotional knowledge and service, known as bhakti-yoga or buddhi-yoga, and it transcended that kind of institutional cheating. You were initiated, while he was physically manifest, by a dékñä-guru, who you accepted personally as your spiritual master. This was cent-per-cent opposed to the prevailing “religious” systems of the West, which, by that time, had been mostly rejected by the youth of America.

Now, such “religion” makes a tenuous comeback in the form of groups like the I.R.M., and it is such an obnoxious development. Some rittviks take control of the disciples they initiate (in the name of the Father), and those chelas are psychologically programmed to always want to please their particular “rittvik-äcärya.” Other “officiating äcäryas” take an opposite tack, and they directly preach to the newly initiated fool that he or she is now equal to the rittvik who performed the fire sacrifice. Then again, the rest of the factions fall somewhere within the spectrum of these two extremes.

It really doesn’t matter, because all of today’s rittviks have no business performing any of those ceremonies. They are all gurus coming into the guru-dumb precinct (dominated by “ISKCON” institutional gurus and Neo-Mutt wild cards) through an unauthorized and entirely bogus concoction. They have all wanted to have their cake and eat it too—without having to pay the price. The price to be paid is in the form of true initiation, tapasya, study, sevä, sädhana, and an intense desire to please—or, better yet, impress—the Äcärya in the true sense of the term, His Divine Grace Çréla Prabhupäda.

To actually believe that any of the Rittvik factions are going to ultimately prevail is to be living in a quasi-Utopian dream. The teachings and processes brought to the West by the gurus from India—and we shall include the heavy-duty Mäyävädés here, simply for argument’s sake—all emphasized something entirely different from the paradigm pushed by Christianity. The Vedic system nowhere authorizes someone to become guru through the back door. The Çaìkara line nowhere authorizes any such thing. None of the four sampradäyas of Vaiñëavism authorize an initiated disciple, after his spiritual master departs, to perform initiation ceremonies, in his manifest absence, on his behalf as if he, the departed master, is still an active dékñä-guru.

The whole thing is completely bogus, and, even using common sense and normal intelligence (lower than prajïä), the Rittvik proposition is presumptuous. The motive underlying it—for all of those who have had the audacity to pretend to be rittviks after Prabhupäda departed—is not at all difficult to discern. We are endowed with the power of discrimination, and we are all responsible for our influence. By acting as perfect foils for the “ISKCON” leaders to legitimately criticize, these men are going to be held accountable for the massive disruption that they have caused and especially for delaying the deconstruction of “ISKCON.”

In other words, although he is not eligible to do so (he does not possess the necessary adhikära), a bogus guru who enters the arena of initiations through the side door is higher than one who comes in through the back door. None of these pseudo-devotees can help anyone in the long run, but at least the principle of guru, however imperfectly (and it is very imperfect, to say the least) maintained, is still somewhat intact when a guru ostensibly takes responsibility for initiating new disciples. Rittvik does not maintain this, thus allowing the “ISKCON” arrangement a new lease on life, and that has turned out to be a highly malefic development.

Faux Initiations: Taking the Easy Way Out

“One who is not properly initiated may present himself as a great devotee, but in fact he is sure to encounter many stumbling blocks on his path of progress toward spiritual realization, with the result that he must continue his term of material existence without relief. Such a helpless person is compared to a ship without a rudder, for such a ship can never reach its destination.”
Caitanya-caritämåta, Ädi 1.35, purport

“Other seeds, called anyäbhiläña-béja, include karma-béja and jïäna-béja. If one is not fortunate enough to receive the bhakti-latä-béja from the spiritual master, he instead cultivates such seeds as karma-béja, jïäna-béja, or political, social or philanthropic béjas. However, the bhakti-latä-béja is different from these other béjas. . . This bhakti-latä-béja is received when one is initiated by the bona fide spiritual master.
Caitanya-caritämåta, Madhya 19.152, purport

Bogus gurus give bogus initiations, and such newly-initiated disciples are often found to be spontaneously competitive whenever they come into contact with genuinely initiated disciples of a bona fide spiritual master. Since the disappearance of Çréla Prabhupäda, there have been countless faux initiations, first by the eleven pretender mahäbhägavats, then by the next waves of institutional gurus. Added to the mix are all the initiated followers of the various Rittvik factions. It is a big problem, and the foundation for it was laid by the pretenders, leaders, and enforcers of “ISKCON.”

Institutional guru means bogus guru, and a bogus guru, when he injects some kind of béja into the subtle quantum of a disciple, simultaneously enthuses that disciple to carry out the plan embedded in that seed. Someone claiming to be a rittvik-äcärya on behalf of his spiritual master—after that spiritual master has departed physical manifestation—is also in the category of bogus guru. Like the institutional gurus of “ISKCON” (and that is all they have ever been), the pseudo-rittvik-äcärya injects a béja into an unfortunate person, bamboozled by Rittvik, who has submitted to being initiated by him.

That béja will have constitutional similarities to the “ISKCON” béja. When the eleven pretender mahäbhägavats imposed their scheme throughout various zones of the world back in the late Seventies and early Eighties, they soon populated the temples under their control with their own disciples. These disciples were injected with envy of their so-called guru’s godbrothers, and they often competed with them. The bogus gurus were naturally more inclined to their own disciples for many reasons, and those should be obvious. Certainly all, or almost all, of Prabhupäda’s genuinely initiated devotees experienced this syndrome up close and personal, as long as they could endure it and remain in any of those temples.

This is one of the symptoms of faux bhakti initiations, and it is just as present in the various Rittvik camps as it is in the fabricated “ISKCON” confederation. How could it be otherwise? The guru in “ISKCON” evades the responsibility of becoming a fully self-realized bhakta by instead waiting for his “No Objection Certificate,” and then he becomes an institutional dékñä-guru. That was not exactly the method during the heady days of the zonals, but those men also were institutional gurus in principle.

None of them came through the front door, because none of them paid the price, i.e., the so-called dékñä-gurus of “ISKCON” achieved their status and power by coming through the side door of institutional recognition. The so-called rittvik-äcäryas, however, come through the back door, and all of these pseudo-gurus are engaged in transmitting non-spiritual béjas to their disciples, seeds of envy, competition, and similar qualities.

Some of these disciples will cut the profile of being advanced bhaktas—particularly if, by hook or by crook, they are able to secure enough results for such a recognition. In point of fact, none of them are advanced and none of them will be able to become so in this lifetime, unless they receive such a severe shock that they come to their senses and renounce their entanglement, root and branch. They are otherwise helpless individuals, because they have not engaged in the actual process of buddhi-yoga or bhakti-yoga, and their whole society-friendship-and-love network keeps them from breaking free to even the basic realizations that they so desperately require.

They instead must pay the price for having taken the easy way out, for having accepted a cheap guru in order to secure a cheap initiation. Yet, although it is both cheap and bogus, it still has potency to keep the newly-initiated disciple under its thralldom for the continuation of his material existence. Repeatedly, he will return in order to similarly compete with genuine bhaktas, try to outdo them in any and every way, and thus convince himself, by his material results, that he is the best devotee—and the godbrothers of his so-called dékñä-guru or his so-called rittvik-äcärya are offensive, because they are not surrendering to that guru of his imagination.

The “ISKCON” gurus have taken the easy way out. They are all unqualified, and they have all been so since late 1977. The Rittvik gurus have concocted an alternative that is also an easy way out. There have been no genuine initiations—none of the unfortunate followers of rittviks have actually received the bhakti-latä-béja—since the inception of Rittvik in late 1989. The disciples of the “ISKCON” äcäryas are all in a similar rudderless boat. Not being properly initiated, they cannot reach the spiritual shore. They are unable to pull free from the anchors that have been subtly attached to them by fallen disciples of Çréla Prabhupäda, who themselves jumped the gun and offered initiations when they had neither the right nor the power to do so.

Rittviks Their Own Worst Enemies

Anyone who believes that Lord Viñëu is God is to be considered a devotee of the Lord, even while at the lowest stage of devotional service. According to the traditional teachings in our line of disciplic succession—Çréla Prabhupäda’s branch of the paramparä–the previous äcärya, a departed spiritual master on the highest plane of devotion, can be considered to be a new devotee’s çikñä-guru. This is one of the concessions offered newcomers to the line, because, in general, a çikñä-guru is also manifest—just as the dékñä-guru must be physically manifest. His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedänta Swämi Prabhupäda, at the very end of his Introduction to Bhagavad-gétä As It Is, listed himself as the thirty-second and most recent paramparä-äcärya for the Madhva-Gauòéya Vaiñëava sampradäya, and he can be accepted as çikñä-guru.

After all, he has left devotees voluminous teachings in verbal and written form, such as the translations to his books, the purports he provided for most of those translations, recordings of his platform lectures, morning walks, room conversations, as well as the knowledge that was frequently delivered in his letters to disciples, inquirers, and well-wishers.

This is the actual prerogative for a newcomer, in terms of how to take advantage of a çikñä-guru, i.e., the newcomer has the choice of accepting him as the Äcärya who elucidates the Vedic and Vaiñëava teachings (çikñä-guru). In the case of Çréla Prabhupäda, he was beyond the platform of being merely conversant or well conversant; he was fully realized and expert in these teachings, due to immense, direct realization of the science of God. He was an outstanding communicator, as well. Every devotee coming into contact with him and his teachings can, and should, accept him as çikñä-guru.

There is very great value in accepting Çréla Prabhupäda as çikñä-guru, but that value is put at significant risk by then stretching the rubber-band and presuming oneself to also accept Prabhupäda as dékñä-guru. Such acceptance is not the prerogative of the newcomer to Prabhupäda’s branch of the line nor is it the prerogative of someone falsely claiming, at this time, to be a rittvik-äcärya on behalf of His Divine Grace, who left the scene in late 1977.

When no such initiation took place while he was manifest, it is an offense to have the audacity to claim to be an initiate of a departed spiritual master. Offenses do not augment one’s advancement in spiritual purification and Vaiñëava knowledge. It is not at all an offense to insist that one has accepted Prabhupäda as çikñä-guru, and there can be great value for such a devotee doing so, even if he or she fails to search for, contact, recognize, and surrender to a bona fide dékñä-guru during his or her lifetime. There can be especially great value at anta-käla, the time of major transition (usually accompanied by great and painful turmoil and fear). The fully-realized, departed Äcärya—if previously served pleasingly and properly, as çikñä-guru, by his disciple—is not restricted by the Supreme Lord in helping his disciple transcend saàsära and gain entrance to the spiritual realm. He does not have to be that individual’s dékñä-guru in order to so intervene.

Having Prabhupäda as one’s çikñä-guru, for those devotees who came into contact with him post-1977, can be compared to possessing a most valuable jewel. Those devotees are very fortunate, but they should not foolishly be misled by opportunistic, fallen disciples of Prabhupäda and thus buy into Rittvik. If they are so bamboozled by an unauthorized rittvik-äcärya and his polluted propaganda, they are displeasing their çikñä-guru. If they continue on that path, they could actually lose the valuable jewel that they once possessed, trading it in for shiny glass known as a false initiation, imposed upon them by a bogus rittvik-äcärya who is not at all helping them to augment their relationship with His Divine Grace Çréla Prabhupäda. As such, these unfortunate newcomers become their own worst enemies by trading something of inestimable value for something that has no value at all.

Which Rittvik is the Right One?

There are various Rittvik factions. Any newcomer attracted to Kåñëa (but not developed in knowledge, sincerity, and seriousness), once he or she comes into contact with a Rittvik group, soon finds out that rittviks worldwide are not united. Actually, they are united, but only by two mutually-held beliefs, both of which are illusions. After that, there are many disagreements between and amongst the Rittvik camps. First, they all believe that a rittvik-in-absentia system was to be instituted in ISKCON according to the (somewhat covert) plan of His Divine Grace Çréla Prabhupäda before he departed the scene in 1977. Secondly, they all believe that every devotee initiated immediately after Prabhupäda departed must only be his initiated disciple.

The rittviks are not even unified in the idea that any initiation performed since November, 1977 is only legitimate when the devotee conducting the fire sacrifice does so as an officiating äcärya, initiating the newcomer as a disciple of Çréla Prabhupäda. Some rittviks even believe that all of the initiations in “ISKCON” have been rittvik initiations, but most devotees involved in those fire sacrifices have just not realized it yet.

As mentioned (in some detail) in one of your author’s recent articles, the first Rittvik camp was the one formed in Mississippi. What was not mentioned in that article is the fact that Mississippi Masalä actually advocated, and insisted upon, the G.B.C. approving all rittviks before they could take on the “duty” of officiating äcäryas on behalf of Prabhupäda. As could only have been surmised, the G.B.C. wanted no part of the Rittvik idea, so that first faction, although the Rittvik camel got its nose under the tent at that time, could not gain much traction, because it remained tied to a G.B.C. that rejected it.

As far as the chronology of Rittvik is concerned, your author has not kept exacting notes over the years, but few would dispute that the next major Rittvik initiative manifested in the form of the I.R.M. (that acronym standing for the ISKCON Reform Movement), which advocated initiations through rittviks. Unlike Mississippi Masalä, this incarnation, from the gate, operated outside the confines of the fabricated “ISKCON” confederation, i.e., it did not at all require any approval from the mother ship.

Various internal sub-factions have developed within the I.R.M., which had its strongest chakras in India, London, and New York. The temple in Long Island broke away from “ISKCON” in a coup engineered by its trustees and temple president. In the lawsuit which followed, this center claimed that it was the fountainhead of Prabhupäda’s mission and thus the most genuine ISKCON center in the world, because the original entity was incorporated there under the heading ISKCON, Inc. In its counter-suit, ISKCON, Inc. in effect claimed that all other ISKCON temples are its satellite centers.

Whether or not the Bangalore center—which also broke away from G.B.C. control in a somewhat similar fashion—is or is not a part of the I.R.M. is a subject to be determined by research. It has been, for some time, a Rittvik personality cult centering around its temple president, who, ironically, had very close ties to one of the eleven pretender mahäbhägavats. There is another major lawsuit between corporate ISKCON and that Bangalore Rittvik center, and it has dragged on for about a decade. Nothing has been decided, although reports surface, every now and then, that the Supreme Court of India will soon issue its final judgment; so far, all such reports have proven false.

There are two prominent Left Coast Rittvik chakras, led by two charismatic individuals, although it would go too far to say that either of them are personality cults. One is centered in No-Cal., and the other is in So-Cal. They are not in close contact (putting it mildly). Astoundingly, one of these is headed by a man who was one of the eleven pretender mahäbhägavats before his excommunication from “ISKCON” by the G.B.C..

In 2006, a different Rittvik sect gained some short-term traction. It was called Prominent Link and was launched by an initiated disciple of one of Ocean’s Eleven. It was all the rage for about a year, but then the intrinsic contradiction that it represented (even in its brand name) became all too obvious, and it lost steam. Its current status is unknown to your author.

There have also been one or two other bizarre Rittvik proposals that exist, more or less entirely in cyberspace, but have, unlike most of the others aforementioned, gained no noticeable traction on the practical plane. One of these pushes the idea that well-established “ISKCON” temples should all be Rittvik centers, while individual disciples of Çréla Prabhupäda (initiated during the years 1966-77) should be free to open their own satellite centers, where they can and should be dékñä-gurus for their disciples.

More than likely, your author has probably not covered all of the bases here in terms of the number of Rittvik alternatives now available, e.g., neopolitan, rich chocolate, rocky road, tutti-fruiti, and plain vanilla. The latter variety was functioning well for a moment in time in the Greenwich Village area of New York City (separate from Freeport), where a genuinely initiated disciple of Çréla Prabhupäda performed rittvik initiations. He informed the newly-initiated disciples that, upon their initiation, they were equal to him, i.e., he took no real responsibility for them. Your author, in the late Nineties, once walked into that temple, which was located a hop, skip, and a jump away from Tomkins Square Park, well-known to all early disciples of Prabhupäda. The rittvik’s center was nice and very clean, but it was empty.

Aside from all the different factions and separate hierarchies of Rittvik present throughout the world, there are also some major philosophical issues (read differences) which create problems for any newcomer attached to this so-called form of Vaiñëavism. On one hand, there are rittviks who insist that there must be no dékñä-guru except His Divine Grace Çréla Prabhupäda up to the end of the Golden Age, approximately 9,400 years from now. That philosophy is often termed “Hard Rittvik.” On the other hand, there are rittviks who believe that the officiating äcärya system is a temporary arrangement, viable only until the appearance of the next uttama-adhikäré, which could come at any time—and will come well before the Golden Age has run its course. That philosophy has been branded with the name “Soft Rittvik.”

There are other permutations to the many manifestations of Rittvik, but to explore the minutiae of all of that would be diversionary. By its very constitution and nature, Rittvik is highly centrifugal. It must be so, because neither çästra nor any God-realized Äcärya has ever established the precincts of the concoction’s philosophy and process. As such, various ambitious personalities who continue to exploit it can at any time take advantage of some convenient point of contention and thus come up with the “real way” that Rittvik is supposed to be implemented. That is what is going on, and that has been going on within that movement (straining to use the singular tense here) for the past two and one-half decades.

So, which Rittvik is the right one? The answer is that none of them are, although some factions are not as malefic as some others. Another question can be raised: Will a different permutation of Rittvik surface sometime in the near future to tantalize those bamboozled by this concoction?

The question answers itself.

Dumbing Down Continues Unabated

Rittvik Leads the Race to the Bottom

Prabhupäda: So, if you are sincere, then God will give you spiritual master. If He knows that now you are sincere, then He will give you a spiritual master.
O’Grady: O.K. Thank you. That I know.
Prabhupäda: Therefore, God is called caitya-guru, the spiritual master within the heart. And the physical spiritual master is God’s mercy. If God sees that you are sincere, He will give you a spiritual master who can give you protection. He will help you from within and without, without in the physical form of spiritual master, and within, as the spiritual master within the heart.
Room Conversation with poet Desmond O’Grady, 5-23-74 in Rome

Ever since the vitiated G.B.C. saw fit to rubber-stamp eleven unqualified men as mahäbhägavats, the Law of Unintended Consequences has been having a field day in what only outwardly appears to be the Hare Kåñëa movement. One of the major repercussions of that act is the manifestation of Rittvik, and, although it is an indirect development, the future shadow of its backlash emergence could have been spotted by the intelligent sector well in advance. However, due to the dumbing down of “ISKCON” devotees—a process that began even before Prabhupäda departed—the ramifications of the above-mentioned secondary deviation not only were unable to be checked, they were completely unforeseen by almost everyone.

Rittvik was, and continues to be, an outgrowth of a biased and partisan atmosphere, loaded with deception and underpinned by psychic violence (or, you may say, psychic terrorism) that has pushed faithlessness disguised as faith and opposition disguised as legitimate Vaiñëava difference. To be able to understand the ramifications of Rittvik requires a sincere transcendentalist being completely free from association with the low-information crowd. That is almost all, however, that you will find if you happen to come into contact with either “ISKCON” or Rittvik devotees.

The dumbing down will continue unabated, and it is going to get even worse. Each of the contending factions centers the alleged legitimacy of its paradigm upon shibboleths that have no real basis. Since the leaders of these two factions (Rittvik has a number of sub-factions within it) are, at least outwardly, Prabhupäda centered, their weaknesses are different from Neo-Mutt. As such, they cannot stress knowledge, i.e., all the followers must be kept at the level of being little more than bhakti blockheads. This is accomplished by character assassination of the whistle-blowers who preach against it as well as stated and/or unstated forms (or threats) of intimidation.

Instead of penetrating into a detailed description of all the ramifications of “ISKCON” and Rittvik (which would practically double the size of this article), let us simply look at one glaring example of the dumbing down technique. It is in connection to the Rittvik interpretation, or mal-interpretation, of the May 28, 1977 conversation in Våndävan, where His Divine Grace, in a concise manner, answered two crucial questions posed to him at the beginning of the exchange:

Satsvarüpa: Then our next question concerns initiations in the future, particularly at that time when you’re no longer with us. We want to know how first and second initiation would be conducted.
Prabhupäda: Yes. I shall recommend some of you. After this is settled up, I shall recommend some of you to act as officiating äcäryas.
Tamäla Kåñëa: Is that called rittvik-äcärya?
Prabhupäda: Rittvik, yes.

Most rittviks, intentionally disregarding and/or mal-interpreting what was immediately to come after this part of the conversation, interpret it with blinders tightly held in place. They thus conclude CASE CLOSED! They neglect to notice that, although Satsvarüpa poses “our next question” (in the singular), he actually asks two questions, viz., 1) How are initiations to be conducted now while you are with us, and 2) How are initiations to be particularly conducted when you are no longer with us?

His Divine Grace is not obliged to parse this double-question by clarifying that he is first answering the initial question; spiritual masters are never under any such obligation. Also, considering his physical condition and the nature of the second question, it was an uncomfortable topic, especially since no one wanted to believe that Prabhupäda would depart soon.

To use a mundane analogy, many sons, daughters, and grand-children find it difficult to even bring up the topic of creating a Will to their elderly father or grandfather, when he doesn’t want to hear about it. Granted, this analogy is both awkward and limited, but the concept remains valid. Neither Prabhupäda nor his devotees had any desire to broach this painful topic. Understanding that, we should further realize that His Divine Grace would give a terse response to the second question, and that is exactly what he did.

However, that response is not in the excerpt cited above, because here he is only answering the first question, viz., how to conduct initiations at that time, in the summer of 1977—and while Prabhupäda was still physically manifest. That Satsvarüpa employed the adverb “particularly,” adds further proof that he was asking two questions, although they were both embedded in the format of what appears to be a single query.

If the rest of this discussion had completely centered around discussing officiating äcäryas, then the rittviks would have a much stronger argument, but it doesn’t. Since it doesn’t, rittvik pundits are forced to employ tortured logic in order to mal-interpret the rest of the exchange. It is not our purpose to go into a detailed examination of the whole conversation, and we are not going to do so. We are simply pointing out that two questions were asked (in the form of what only seemed to be one question), that his Divine Grace was terse and did not go into painstaking detail to answer them (although he did answer each of them, separately), and that each answer was exclusive of the other.

There are interruptions, misunderstandings, and muddles characterizing the middle part of the room conversation on this topic of initiations, and we shall simply skip over them; there is little to be gained from those, anyway. We shall now proceed to the latter part, wherein His Divine Grace answers the second question, and, although terse, his answer is nevertheless clear:

Prabhupäda: Because in my presence one should not become guru. So on my behalf, on my order, Ämära äjïäya guru haïä: Be actually guru, but by my order. . . When I order, ‘You become guru,’ he becomes regular guru. That’s all. He becomes disciple of my disciple. That’s it.

This is his answer to the second question, and there is little in it that can be construed as relating to a rittvik-äcärya. A regular guru is not a rittvik, and when a regular guru or an uttama-adhikäré acts as dékñä-guru, the disciple he initiates becomes his initiated disciple (“disciple of my disciple”), not the initiated disciple of that dékñä-guru’s spiritual master.

When the spiritual master is still present (“in my presence”), then his disciples are officiating äcäryas, who initiate newcomers as their guru’s disciples. When the spiritual master is no longer physically present (“no longer with us”), then a dékñä-guru initiates newcomers as his own disciples. Both questions were asked, and both questions were answered. Yet, the rittvik leaders remain blind to this obvious fact and truth, and they cover their followers in a thick shroud of the very same blindness. They all remain blinded by the night.

That night was the product of the vitiated G.B.C. and its outrageous concoction of a worldwide zonal äcärya scheme, which has produced cataclysmic ramifications and repercussions for Çréla Prabhupäda’s branch of the Hare Kåñëa movement. The blindness was enforced upon everyone, and very few of Prabhupäda’s disciples were able to escape it, because all that there has been since his disappearance has been perpetual night. The sky remains covered by thick, black clouds, seemingly without any hope of even a partial sunrise sometime in the unknown future. It has made almost everyone blind, so much so that all of these rittviks fail to see what is right in front of them, viz., Prabhupäda’s separate answers to the two questions he was asked at the beginning of the initiation segment of the conversation.

Just before His Divine Grace Çréla Bhaktisiddhänta Sarasvaté Gosvämé Prabhupäda departed, he predicted for the Gauòéya Mutt, that, “There will be a fire.” History has repeated itself in relation to ISKCON, and this fire has either raged or smoldered for the last thirty-eight years, with no end in sight. In order to keep the flames going, its misleaders have to keep their followers dumbed down; they have, more or less, successfully been able to do that. Rittvik came just in the nick of time for “ISKCON,” which was on the verge of cratering in the late Eighties. It didn’t, in no small part because Rittvik emerged as its perfect foil. The rittviks didn’t start the fire, but they sure as the seventy-seven hells at the bottom of the universe have perpetuated it.



1 Torben Nielsen { 01.28.16 at 04:52 }

Brilliant, thanks.

2 Pratyatosa Dasa { 04.19.16 at 16:02 }

Kailasa Chandra Das doesn’t even know how to spell the word “ritvik.” But he probably thinks that he’s the only one who knows how to spell it! How can we take him seriously?

3 Bhakta Joseph { 04.22.16 at 13:51 }

Perhaps the mis-spelling is intentional due to the fact that rittvik itself can’t be taken seriously.

Leave a Comment