“ISKCON” Gurus, Initiations, and Party Men Part 4

By Kailasa Candra dasa

Roots of the Rittvik Deviation

“It is a fact, however, that the great sinister movement is within our Society.”
Letter to Hansadutta on
Sept. 2, 1970 in Calcutta

In early 1970, one of Srila Prabhupada’s original disciples was deputed by him to go to India alone and try to resolve many shipping problems that had arisen there. These problems involved significant payments made for devotional paraphernalia to Indian persons or firms that were refusing to ship the goods, in effect stealing these monies from the movement. While in this foreign land, this devotee came into contact with Prabhupada’s godbrothers, and this contact was not at all helpful to his devotional creeper.

He became infected with the familiarity that Prabhupada’s godbrothers had in relation to His Divine Grace, and he became poisoned by the contempt these many godbrothers felt for Prabhupada. They heavily criticized him for using the term “Prabhupada,” which they considered was reserved for Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Prabhupada. They did not consider our Srila Prabhupada to be one of the advanced devotees initiated into the line by his Acharya. They did not consider that what A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami was doing in the West was actually bona fide. Later, Prabhupada would indicate that they were envious of him.

Although this original American disciple of Srila Prabhupada was considered a big man in the movement--and both physically and officially he was a very big man--he was but a pup in relation to the psychic powers and influences of all these Indian godbrothers of Prabhupada. Compounding that fact, he was experiencing a very foreign culture for the first time, and, as every initiated disciple of Srila Prabhupada knows, you almost always undergo some kind of culture shock (mine was quite pronounced) when you first go to India.

This disciple returned from India and, along with three other devotees (one being his blood brother), almost immediately received the order of sannyasa from Prabhupada. These four charismatic devotees were all original disciples, all had opened early temples and brought people into the movement, and all were powerful and influential in their own right. The sannyasa experiment did not at all go well with the first disciple that Prabhupada bestowed it upon in the late Sixties, as he immediately deviated from him, causing tremendous turmoil (“He has given me a great shock”). Similarly, this second wave of sannyasis--who were meant to complement the twelve governing commissioners just appointed to that board (and who, with the exception of one brahmacari, were all householders)--also deviated almost immediately after having received sannyasa.

Such is the checkered history of sannyasa power in the Krishna Consciousness movement of His Divine Grace, but you can’t pin any of the deviations on Srila Prabhupada. They aren’t on him; instead, they must all be attributed to the eternally present individual option to misuse free will on the part of his disciples. This aforementioned devotee who went alone to India was put to a big test there, and he flunked it. He came back to find that Prabhupada was now trying to solidify the management and preaching strata of his movement in a very organized way. This devotee was selected to be one of the traveling preachers as a sannyasi; he would no longer be in a strong managerial role. But what this new renunciate preached in the beginning was effected by the great sinister movement. The other three sannyasis came under his influence, and, in a previous section of this treatise, we briefly pointed to this episode.

But the details of how it transpired and how it played out are not nearly as important as the lasting effect the great sinister movement had once it got its foot in the door of Prabhupada’s Krishna Consciousness movement. It entered through the weakest point of Prabhupada’s movement; it entered through the leaders and managers.

Its nefarious influence was beaten back in 1970, but it gained a measure of comeuppance a mere eight years later via Navadvipa. Although the aforementioned first schism transpired in the early Eighties, apparently ending the connection with that Gaudiya Math mentality and all that accompanied it, there was a big parting kick still to come. And that brings us to a concise description of the rittvik deviation.

At this point you may be flabbergasted, asking: “What?! They were behind rittvik? The neo-Gaudiya Math is utterly contemptuous of rittvik! How can this possibly be so?” Spiritual life is both difficult to understand and, just as undoubtedly, it is very subtle. There is a very subtle cause and effect relationship to rittvik’s emergence from the ocean of nescience and the great sinister movement. The first rittvik movement did not manifest until 1989; that timing is interesting.

Because in the summer of 1988, Swami B. R. Sridhar died. He left a will. Swami B. R. Sridhar, in his will, referenced Srila Prabhupada, but he did so in a context that was both unexpected and unique. In effect, Swami B. R. Sridhar, in his will, now opined that Prabhupada had actually set up a rittvik system of initiation for his movement. Swami B. R. Sridhar, in his will, informed his followers that his chief disciple would carry on his line in the same way that “Swami Maharaj” had (allegedly) carried on his movement, i.e., rittvik.

In Polynesia, there was an interesting phenomena observed by some anthropologists over time. One monkey, on one of the many hundreds of small islands scattered there, had found a unique way of solving an existential problem. This solution had never existed in any of the monkey societies throughout all of their previous histories (which would have been for thousands of years). Then, some time after this, another monkey on a different island came up with the same solution. Then, on another island, a different monkey discovered, a little later, this material amelioration to an existential problem. In effect, although these monkeys had no form of communication between and amongst themselves, they all came up with this virtually identical solution to the difficulty, and it spread to all of the monkeys on every island in the region. It became part of their culture everywhere in Polynesia.

So, on some very subtle plane of communication, something helpful to their struggle for existence spread in a way that cannot be rationalized through any gross explanations. These monkeys did not take advantage of “monkey see, monkey do,” because they had no contact with one another. But one learned a method, another eventually learned that method, then another, then another, until critical mass was achieved. Then the knowledge exploded, and all the monkeys engaged themselves in this way as an intrinsic part of their coping with material existence.

Similarly, in 1989 in southern Mississippi, three influential brahmins proficient in writing, under the subconscious influence of the Navadvipa seed, came up with what was the original rittvik proposal. They did so with the input and assistance of a former personal servant of TKG. This personal servant claimed, through anecdotal evidence only, that Prabhupada had instructed TKG in a rittvik system for the continuation of his line after his disappearance.

But the real influence of this rittvik germ came from the will of Swami B. R. Sridhar. Remember the old sitcom My Three Sons? Well, the rittvik movement became his third son, warring with the older brothers of the family, viz., “ISKCON” and the Neo-Gaudiya Math. “ISKCON” is the elder son, as it took birth in 1978. Its two kid brothers share a connection to “ISKCON”: they are rooted in the same soil, even though they are opposed to “ISKCON” in many ways and on many planes. All three deviations are part of the same dynamic, but the Neo-Gaudiyas and the rittviks are not Party Men.

The initial rittvik proposal of 1989 put a great emphasis on the “GBC” as being the vanguards for its implementation. Due to this, for all practical purposes, that proposal has now faded into oblivion. Indeed, two of the original three founders in Mississippi almost certainly no longer adhere to it--if they did, their writings on other devotional topics, currently included in the Bhaktivedanta Vedabase, would certainly not be allowed there. Your author was adamantly opposed to this rittvik proposal from the moment of my first hearing of it, and I produced a well-circulated Position Paper against it in early 1990.

But, unlike many other critics of this deviation, I shall readily admit that ultimately its acceptance or rejection is based upon some very subtle and potent truths regarding Vaishnava philosophy and process. There are any number of aggressive and degraded “devotees” who use rittvik for their own purposes, all of which are in the mode of ignorance. Their style, their character, their motives, their mood, and their “preaching” are all cent-per-cent rejected by the Vaishnava Foundation. However, there are also many rittviks who push it with sincerity (up to a point). Their character is quite good on the whole, and they actually have a motive to preach and spread the mission of Srila Prabhupada and Krishna Consciousness far and wide. They should all know that, although we are adamantly opposed to rittvik and consider it a heresy, we do not look down upon them. Instead, we agree with them that it all boils down to a very, very subtle point of philosophy and process in relation to the teachings of the Vaishnava parampara; that point centers around sraddha or faith.

We have revealed to you the actual subtle cause of the rittvik germ, how it was injected it into the group consciousness at the end of the Eighties. But we are under no compulsion to fully delineate and explain all the intricacies of initiation in terms of the rittvik proposals. If you join the Vaishnava Foundation and become a member in good standing, you may one day have access to this knowledge. This article is not created for the purpose of circumventing the yogic process of obtaining knowledge; good questions requiring deeply spiritual and complicated scientific answers must be accompanied by both respect and seva. What we shall do for you in this treatise, however, is expose each of the current or former rittvik proposals or movements and show the irreconcilable contradiction(s) that are present in each of them.

Remember, had the GBC remained bona fide, had it not so egregiously deviated in the spring of 1978, there would never have been an influential Neo-Gaudiya breakaway faction. Similarly, had the commission remained authorized--and, as such, had the movement remained thoroughly bona fide--there would have never been any influential rittvik cults. There would have been no reason for any of these factions to come into existence in the first place; even if they did, a pure GBC would have crushed them right from the gate. It would have relegated them as meaningless movements very quickly, and they would have been completely rejected by the devotees at large. They would have very soon merged into oblivion. But a bona fide GBC is something we have almost never had the benefit of, certainly not since the disappearance of the most recent Sampradaya Acharya, Srila Prabhupada.

By 1988, the Party Men were feeling better. Two major adversaries were no longer alive, the opportunity to become “guru” was expanding, two rebellious former Zonal Acharyas had been ostracized, and at least three other flagrant and flamboyant so-called Acharyas had been marginalized. Nothing but blue skies appeared to be in the cards. But scheduled reactions are stubborn things, and they seem to always find a way of entering into the mix.

After the period of belligerence, martial spirit, and aggressive preaching, the Mars dasha of the “ISKCON” movement changed; the Collegiate Reformation did not exactly coincide with this, but there was a relationship between the two. The Mars dasha ended, giving way to a period of mild engagement, mental speculation, and no small measure of lunacy. The advent of the INTERNET in the Nineties would both supplement and complement this development, as did the Collegiate Reform to a lesser extent. Superficially, devotee interaction was more measured, more respectful, and more liberal than the mood of intolerance and force that was present in the previous ethic (that culminated in an assassination).

Oh, but then rittvik had to come along and gum up the works!

The original rittviks appeared to be hopeful that the “GBC” would buy into their proposal, legitimizing all the previous initiations in terms of rittvik, and also legitimizing the performers of those initiations. Perhaps some of them were tempted to do so for pragmatic reasons, but the rittvik alternative did not fulfill all of the ambitions of those who had recently been vetted by the “GBC” and had been given guru status of some sort. Rittvik’s main thread and lifeblood was very different from the mood and style those Party Men were now enjoying for the first time.

Rittvik was an impediment to what they now wanted to institute, and, just as importantly, it almost entirely consisted of “outsiders.” Most of these devotees had been adversarial to “ISKCON” and its Party Men over the years; they were no friends of the confederation, especially its managerial section. Old rivalries and hatreds die hard, and this is especially the case in the context of quasi or semi-spiritual societies. In 1990, the Party Men specifically rejected the rittvik proposition as put forward by the brahmins of Mississippi, by that time joined by some other former big men in the movement (previous to the Zonal Acharya era).

Now, the original rittvik proposal hinged its legitimacy on the acceptance of the “GBC” to make the appointments of rittviks, who would only then formally perform the initiation ceremony on behalf of the departed Acharya. As such, it was pretty much a doomed cult right from its outset. It was eventually replaced by two different rittvik alternatives. In the mid-Nineties, one was called the IRM, or ISKCON Reform Movement. This rittvik group was hardcore; indeed, it was soon dubbed “hard rittvik.” It promoted the concept that Srila Prabhupada, a departed Acharya, would remain the initiating guru of all new disciples who entered into his Krishna Consciousness movement for the remainder of the Golden Age--which, by some accounts, would be another 9,500 years!

Complementing this rittvik group were a loosely affiliated contingent who opined that rittvik would remain viable as the only means of initiation until the manifestation of the next maha-bhagavat. Notice a trend here. The rittvik weltanschauung was, by its intrinsic nature, centrifugal. Since His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada never set up this system for after his disappearance, and since there are no shastras or traditions in terms of the Vaishnava faith that detail how it is to be carried out, it’s a time-place-circumstances fix-it-as-you-go movement. As such, it is very prone to have new variations pop up every few years or so--with some kind of word jugglery, convoluted logic, and intellectual rationalizations.

The IRM and the soft-rittvik devotees have never approved of one another, although they have some obvious loose affiliation in terms of their enmity with “ISKCON” and the Neo-Gaudiyas. They tried to make inroads into “ISKCON,” but there was no tangible success at all in such endeavors. As such, the IRM in particular lost its justification, but it is still the most powerful of all these groups. At its very root was the idea that “ISKCON” would eventually have to accept it, that the cult would be overwhelmed by the greatness of this rittvik cause and would re-institutionalize itself, reforming itself in terms of what Prabhupada allegedly wanted, viz., rittvik.

The soft-rittvik devotees are not as insane as the IRM, but they are nevertheless pushing a concocted process that is not bona fide in terms of parampara, Vaishnava tradition, shastra, and the statements of the most recent Sampradaya Acharya on the topic of continuance of his disciplic succession. They are also engaging counter to uncompromising logic concerning everything related to the stages of bhakti yoga, the bhakti-lata-bija, the spiritual master, the process of initiation, and the relation of a departed Acharya to uninitiated people who now read his books.

Still, as aforementioned, this all comes down to a very sanguine point in relation to sraddha or faith. It gets complicated at a certain point. But there is no proof whatsoever that Srila Prabhupada wanted a rittvik system installed after he left us. As far as that goes, there is hardly even any evidence for the rittvik argument. If the rittviks actually possessed strong evidence, the argument against that process would come down to very fine points indeed. But they have no such hard evidence, only a form of convoluted logic based on a phrase contained in a letter. Even the soft rittviks need more than that.

But rittvik, being a movement, philosophy, and process in the making, is always subject to being invigorated by a new wave of madness. In 2006, another variety of rittvik manifested, taking the name Prominent Link. The Prominent Link variety of rittvik--and, for the record, the founder of this group does not consider his philosophy or process to be actually a rittvik movement--contends that the devotees (“new gurus”) of “ISKCON,” who perform the initiation ceremonies for the new devotees, are bona fide gurus only in terms of their being officiating acharyas. Prominent Link contends that Srila Prabhupada is the actual initiating spiritual master and bestows the bhakti-lata-bija at the time the officiating acharya performs the ceremony. In other words, all the initiations in “ISKCON” have been bona fide, but they have not actually been rightly understood. This philosophy shares some of the same defects as the original rittvik proposal, because none of the gurus of “ISKCON” accepts it. How could such a divine arrangement work through an officiating acharya who does not believe that he is only an officiating acharya? Prominent Link was rebuffed and repudiated by the cult.

The next variety of rittvik consists mostly of some really hard-core, vitriolic former Party Men and older devotees. They propose a rittvik movement that creates a hybrid in relation to the rittvik-guru who performs the fire sacrifice at the time of the initiation ceremony. They say that he is both a guru and a rittvik at the same time. In some ways, they are similar to Prominent Link in their beliefs, but there are still some subtle differences. It is a different movement especially in terms of its style, which smacks of contempt and triumphalism. They opine that it’s just a matter of time before even the leaders of “ISKCON” see that their “new gurus” are really only a new kind of guru, a hybrid of an officiating acharya and a guru. Therefore, in the writings of this rittvik group, you will often find that those devotees who perform the initiation ceremony in “ISKCON” are called “gurus.”

In the year of our Lord 2008, the very same year that this treatise you are now reading was created, there has been but another variety of rittvik proposed. This one also employs the hybrid concept, but not in relation to the devotee who performs the initiation ceremony. Instead, the hybrid of the initiations worldwide is based upon the locale of the initiation. If that stuns you a bit, you are not alone. In this conception, there are now genuine Vaishnava Western-born gurus, and they can and do give genuine initiation to their disciples. However, the devotees who perform initiations within the temples established directly by His Divine Grace while he was here with us are not initiators; they are only rittvik-acharyas or officiating acharyas. In this hybrid scheme, rittvik and guru function in a mutually exclusive way; His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada is said to still be the initiating guru of anyone who receives initiation in one of the temples he established.

Again, like all of the rittvik proposals (and they won’t stop here), this one sounds good. But when you analyze it with some unbiased logic, why does the location of an initiation ceremony demarcate who the initiating guru actually is? Where was this verified by Srila Prabhupada? Where do we find this concept in shastra? What other genuine Vaishnava traditions are following this scheme?

All the rittvik concoctions completely lack a sound shastric basis; indeed, they really have none at all. But, due to the deviations of the Party Men over so many decades, almost nobody has faith anymore in the “ISKCON” process, philosophy, or initiation system. That is why rittvik, which is ultimately in the mode of ignorance, works like a rock to break the scissors of the “ISKCON” weltanschauung. Some rittviks even spoil the “ISKCON” Jagannatha Rath Cart parades each summer by making very noticeable propaganda against the cult during the festivities themselves. This has not gone unnoticed by the Western press.

But “ISKCON” simply will not accept any of the rittvik proposals, and there are some solid reasons for them not doing so. The Neo-Gaudiyas are utterly contemptuous of the rittviks; they act like paper to cover the rock of rittvik and keep it from becoming popular. The Neo-Gaudiyas, however, are small-time in comparison to the “ISKCON” movement, which, although it is disintegrating, is still an organized, international religion with far more influence than the disparate Neo-Gaudiya Math acharyas. “ISKCON,” mostly due to its sheer size, acts as scissors to regularly cut off the momentum of the Neo-Gaudiyas, who just cannot gain traction because they cannot match the material results of “ISKCON.”

Rock-paper-scissors. “ISKCON” will never acquiesce to any rittvik proposal, despite the fact that both movements share something very important in common. No, we are not referring to Srila Prabhupada, here. We are referring to the fact that both “ISKCON” and the rittviks, when you boil it right down to the basics, have the exact same modus operandi. In other words, both of these movements (and here, for arguments sake, we are considering the rittviks one movement) operate on the basis of time, place, and circumstantial “adjustments.”

But the majority of those “adjustments” on the part of both operations are, in actuality, compromises that disregard sampradayic traditions, the orders of the Founder-Acharya, proper Vaishnava behavior, guru, sadhu, shastra, the commentaries of Srila Prabhupada (especially in terms of his directives), and various injunctions from His Divine Grace found throughout his preaching mission. Both of these movements are spontaneously capable of disregarding virtually anything if they can produce “results” by doing so.

In other words, they are compatible deviations at root--and only incompatible when it comes to mundane causes and grosser planes of activity. “ISKCON” would never take the risk of giving the Neo-Gaudiyas a big opportunity (which it would pounce on!) to condemn it and rise above it in prominence, and that’s just what it would give the Neo-Gaudiyas if it adopted rittvik.

Earlier in this treatise, we talked about silver linings. The automatic arrangement of checks and balances in terms of Maya, i.e., the fact that “ISKCON” checks the Neo-Gaudiyas effectively, they check the rittviks, and the rittviks keep “ISKCON” from becoming dominant, must be seen as the best silver lining of all.

The Guroo-by-Birthright Deception

kiba vipra, kiba nyasi, sudra kene naya
yei krsna-tattva-vetta, sei ‘guru’ haya

“Whether one is a brahmana, a sannyasi or a shudra--regardless of what he is--he can become a spiritual master if he knows the science of Krsna.”
Caitanya-caritamrita, Madhya 8.128

This verse from the Caitanya-caritamrita is one of the most important verses in the Gaudiya Vaishnava sampradaya; no one would question this assertion. However, just as importantly, its misinterpretation or even neglect is conversely one of the most powerful aspects of deviation from the philosophy and process of the Absolute Truth, from the philosophy and process of Krishna Consciousness. You can accept good instruction from any devotee, whether he was born as a shudra or even a mleccha, but the instruction must be bona fide. Knowledge and its transmission transcends all class considerations.

In the Krishna Consciousness movement, we do not at all emphasize the varnasrama-dharma; we emphasize instead bhakti sadhana as our main engagement. When Srila Prabhupada awarded brahminical initiation to his Western disciples, he did so on the basis of their advancement in knowledge and detachment, not on the basis of their birth, which was a huge disqualification. All devotees, having received the bhakti-lata-bija from His Divine Grace, are potentially capable of becoming guru, because knowledge of the science of Krishna is not on the material platform. It is on the platform of spirit, which remains forever transcendental to race, ethnic, national, or caste considerations.

But we are required to understand this divine science as it is, to be cognizant of all the intricacies of these Absolute teachings, in order to spread Krishna consciousness in the most potent and bona fide way. As long as a disciple in the line has received initiation through the genuine process from a real spiritual master, it does not matter what varna or asrama that guru occupies in order to make ends meet.

Srila Prabhupada said that he became spiritual master when his spiritual master ordered him to become guru. This principle applies to all of Srila Prabhupada’s disciples as well (“But by my order”). If and/or when a devotee becomes free from all anarthas and understands the science of Krishna, his spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada, may order him to become guru despite the fact that this devotee took birth initially as a sinful Westerner. Not only can he become a spiritual master at that point, but he must become one--otherwise he would be disobeying the orders of the shaktyavesh-avatar Sampradaya Acharya (guror-avajna) and that would constitute an offense (nama-aparadha) in chanting the Holy Name.

Even in the Hari-bhakti-vilasa it is enjoined that a newcomer to the line can accept diksha from a spiritual master who was not born in the brahminical order--if such a seeker is unable to find a fit person, a real guru, who was born in a brahmin family and is situated as an initiated, bona fide brahmin. In reality, however, this instruction is really meant for those Hindus who are overly absorbed in mundane considerations regarding ethnicity, nationality, birth, and the caste system. As Prabhupada said in this connection:

“Therefore, we have no caste distinction, because our process is to elevate the muchi to the platform of suchi, this Krsna consciousness movement. Actually, that is the fact. We are unnecessarily becoming tannery expert. That is not the aim of life. The aim of life is to become suchi, to become brahmana or the person who is aware of brahman. Brahma janati iti brahmanah. This is the philosophy. But nobody is interested to become a brahmana. Everyone is interested to remain a muchi and tannery expert. That is not the aim of life.”
Lecture on Srimad-bhagavatam 6.1.56-57 in
Bombay on Aug. 14, 1975

Srila Prabhupada considered the Hindus to be the topmost tannery experts. The fact of the matter is that as long as a newcomer to the line of bhakti sincerely and seriously seeks out a spiritual master in terms of genuine knowledge received from Srila Prabhupada and his disciples, then such a guru can be accepted from any previous or current caste or order of life. Such a guru must be fully conversant with the sacred science. Such a spiritual master can be accepted as either a vartma-pradarshaka-guru, a siksha-guru, or a diksha-guru, because the actual qualification of the spiritual master is completely dependent upon his knowledge of the science of Krishna Consciousness. This is the injunction of Lord Chaitanya as presented in the initial quote of this section from Caitanya-caritamrita. In the Padma Purana, that injunction of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is similarly confirmed:

na sudra bhagavad-bhaktas te ’pi bhagavatottamah
sarva-varnesu te sudra ye na bhakta janardane

“One who is actually advanced in spiritual knowledge of Krishna is never a shudra, even though he may have been born in a shudra family. However, even if a vipra or brahmana is very expert in six brahminical activities and well versed in the Vedic hymns, he cannot become a spiritual master unless he is a Vaishnava.”

There are examples in the Vaishnava line where a person born as a brahmin accepted initiation from a devotee who was born in a family lower than that of a brahmin. In the West, all of Srila Prabhupada’s disciples were born even lower than shudras; they were all born in mleccha families. But even such a mleccha by birth can become purified, especially after having been awarded the sacred thread in a diksha initiation ceremony authorized, and often performed by, a bona fide spiritual master; for us, that spiritual master was Srila Prabhupada. A realized Vaishnava is in a spiritual position that is higher than that of a brahmin by birth.

Most unfortunately, deviation occurs on both sides of this issue, creating a binary that is very difficult to overcome. We have seen that eleven unfit people jumped the gun and imitated uttama-adhikari. These fellows were mlecchas for most of their previous lives, and that mleccha element re-surfaced in a most horrible way, culminating in this dreadful imitation. Eleven of them did this, and that was eleven too many. But, on the other side of the coin, there is currently a Vaishnava brahmin, born in the Holy Dhama in India, who is preaching that, on the basis of his birth, only he is qualified to be recognized as a spiritual master. He promulgates the Hindu belief (not accepted by all Hindus, of course, but by many of them) that only a person with this kind of birth can ever become guru. That he is pushing this apasiddhanta clearly shows that he is not qualified to be a spiritual master, that he does not understand the science of Krishna Consciousness.

This kind of uber-tannery expert is called a “caste guru.” The behavior of this caste guru is a deviation from Prabhupada’s teachings, but it indicates the pendulum has swung, in one case, to the exact opposite side of the deviation of 1978. This caste guru considers his birth and family ties to be not only the foremost consideration, but the only consideration. Actually, there are no hereditary considerations applicable to determining who is and is not a bona fide spiritual master, and any Hindu or misguided Westerner who holds such a bias is preaching against the principles of the Vaishnava disciplic succession given to us by Srila Prabhupada, who, technically, was not born in a brahmin family.

The aforementioned caste guru projects the “pukka” profile, of course (as do all of the Party Men), but his sannyasa initiation is questionable, particularly in terms of how he rationalizes it. Also, in the Bhaktivedanta VedaBase, we find that, when you type in the term “guru,” there are 15,433 hits. When you type in the concocted and unauthorized term “guroo,” there are zero, none, nada, or no hits. But this man spells the well-known Sanskrit for spiritual master as “guroo” in order to further accentuate some kind of special distinction. The logic of his presentation is flawed in so many ways, including the shastric quotes he uses to back his ultimately untenable position.

He and his caste conscious philosophy must be completed rejected; any sentiment towards this way of thought must be completely eschewed. He says that, if you are a Westerner and you are blessed to become his disciple, your reward for a lifetime of dedication to his service cannot be going back to Godhead. Instead, your highest possible reward is to take another material birth, sojourn through another cycle of birth and death, in India as a Brahmin--perhaps, if you are really lucky, in the Holy Dhama. There’s only one such initiated disciple pushing this apasiddhanta at the current time, but that is one too many.

Then again, we find so many examples of false discrimination creating false demarcations of authority. As Srila Prabhupada pointed out:

“Sometimes a caste guru says that yei krsna-tattva-vetta sei guru haya means that one who is not a brahmana may become a siksha-guru or a vartma-pradarshaka-guru but not an initiator guru.”
Caitanya-caritamrita, Madhya 8.128, purport

There is even at least one prominent Western disciple of Srila Prabhupada, who is not a Party Man and who legitimately criticizes “ISKCON,” but who still pushes this misconception or a variety of it. None of these people are genuine gurus in any of the three divisions of guru, because none of them is preaching the sacred science of Krishna as it is and as you, as pure spirit soul, like it. They are preaching instead their own motivated interpretations and spoiling the whole thing.

We must accept all of Srila Prabhupada’s principles, which were previously enunciated by the Supreme Personality of Godhead Lord Chaitanya five hundred years ago, as they are, without malinterpretation. Only in this way can the Krishna Consciousness movement once again re-emerge in its full glory. Do not fall victim to the “pukka” caste guru and his false claim of special glory, for he deserves no admiration or adoration whatsoever. He is but another deviant who muddles up the picture in the minds of the less intelligent section of spiritual seekers.


“Rahu Planet We Have Connection”

“There are always two kinds of men in this universe, not only on this planet but also in higher planetary systems. All the kings dominating planets like the Sun and Moon also have enemies like Rahu.”
Srimad-bhagavatam 8.10.6, purport

As you all know, we are in the age of Kali, the iron age of quarrel and hypocrisy. According to Vedic astrological teachings, all material events in this universe come under the portfolio of seven chief grahas or planets, as well as two shadow planets known as upagrahas. Sometimes, Srila Prabhupada playfully called these planets “stars,” but, with the exception of the Moon, they are different from stars. Each of these planets has a personification, a powerful personality who controls the influence of the planet and, from a practical perspective, is non-different from the planet (inasmuch as, in conditional life and consciousness, we are almost non-different from our material body).

The personality of Kali is not one of these nine planets personified. Rahu, however, is one of them. In the Eighth Canto of the Bhagavat, it is detailed that, when the Supreme Personality of Godhead understood how Rahu was cheating the demigods, He immediately cut off the demon's head. Rahu, however, had already tasted the nectar that the Lord wanted to serve the demigods, and therefore, although his head was severed, he remained alive. He was thus, by the arrangement of the Lord, empowered to take over a major portfolio of demoniac activities in the universe. He became an upagraha.

All nine of these planets are universal powerhouses. Although Rahu is a shadowy, opaque planet with little gross density (unlike the seven chief planets which can regularly be seen by telescope--and, in the case of two of them, readily seen almost every day with the naked eye), it has tremendous influence on human affairs. Rahu is a demoniac planet; its influence on human affairs, both individually and collectively, is almost always in the mode of ignorance.

“It is sometimes said that when one is influenced by evil stars like Saturn, Rahu or Ketu, he cannot make advancement in any prospective activity.”
Srimad-bhagavatam 7.4.37, purport

Ketu, as mentioned here, is the other upagraha or shadowy planet, and it is intimately related with Rahu. Both of these planets move in retrograde direction almost constantly, although once and awhile they remain stationary for a short time. Ketu is always exactly one hundred and eighty degrees opposite Rahu in the sidereal zodiac, and is similarly a demoniac planet. The post-modern Western astronomers and astrologers call these planets nodes, viz., the north node of the Moon (Rahu) and the south node of the Moon (Ketu). These astronomers, who have many profound misunderstandings about how the universe actually works--even in relation to the basics of planetary movements--consider these nodes to be mathematical points.

“ . . . below the Sun is the planet known as Rahu, which moves like one of the stars (planets). The presiding deity of that planet, who is the son of Simhika, is the most abominable of all asuras. But although he is completely unfit to assume the position of a demigod or planetary deity, he has achieved that position by the grace of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”
Srimad-bhagavatam 5.24.1, purport

The eclipses are caused by Rahu or Ketu. Indeed, that is the only time that these planets can be seen with the naked eye. The Vedic wisdom accepts Rahu or Ketu as moving in front of the Sun or the Moon during an eclipse.

“Rahu is inimical toward both the Sun and the Moon, and therefore he always tries to cover the sunshine and moonshine on the dark-moon day and full-moon night.”
Srimad-bhagavatam 5.24.2, purport

Rahu is actually closer to the Earth than either the Sun or the Moon, or any of the five other major planets for that matter. Rahu also has a bigger circumference than either the Sun or the Moon. In other words, in Kali Yuga, Rahu has both a strengthened and heightened influence on human beings, human events, and human movements. Because of Rahu’s close proximity to Earth, especially in this age, human beings are readily subjugated under its thralldom.

Area Nyasi:"There are Siddhas and Caranas. They are also living there. And above that, there is Rahu planet. That means 80,000 miles high.
Prabhupada: That means Rahu planet we have connection."
Room conversation on
June 18, 1977 in Vrindavan (emphasis added)

Now, as to the nature of this powerhouse planet called as Rahu, we should understand what energies come under its portfolio. It is the planet of bluffing and cheating. Rahu is the planet that directs corruption of all kinds, particularly in relation to money. Rahu is the planet of lying and intoxication. It is also the planet that covers humans with material illusion; this makes them think and feel that the material nature is most attractive. As a consequence, Rahu also has in his astrological portfolio unrestricted engagement in sense gratification, leading to very great terror and suffering (which he delights in). A few humans have Rahu favorable in their sidereal charts; as aforementioned, it tends to work against humanity in the matter of attaining anything progressive. With rare exception, it particularly works against advancement in spiritual life.

As per its nature, it likes to work surreptitiously in occult or hidden ways, behind the scenes. Indeed, Ketu, its counterpart, is the planet of occult power and occult knowledge and ritual, and this kind of knowledge and power is often misused; in Kali Yuga, it is almost always misused. Rahu and Ketu cover the mind and the heart of the conditioned soul, inclining them to engage in nescience. The practically all-pervasive malefic influence of Rahu is most potent because so few human beings recognize that they are controlled by its energy. That’s the way the demigods want it, and that’s the way Rahu enjoys operating.

Rahu loves to cheat. This dreadful planet not only dominates many conditioned souls in this age, but it is also the hidden deity behind many corrupt movements. Rahu insidiously influences blockheads who think that they are advanced in spiritual life, but who, although they can be quite cogent individually, become something else in the group. Rahu makes arrangements for chaos and cheating in unauthorized or sahajiya movements. Being a planet of material power, he indeed empowers the leaders of such movements--as long as they continue to indirectly pledge allegiance to him and please him. When spiritual movements become corrupt, when they lose their connection to the Krishna planet or the spiritual powerhouse, they generally link up with the Rahu energy in order to compensate for the loss in material power.

Rahu not only takes control of pseudo-spiritual movements, in the Age of Kali (which is most compatible for him), he also empowers corrupt, mundane governments in their big bluffs or big cheating enterprises. He does not discriminate whether or not the enterprise is calling itself authorized by the government. It was Rahu who directly empowered the huge multi-billion dollar bluff of landing on the Moon. His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada on many different occasions--and I asked him a question directly about this on one of his mid-Seventies morning walks at Kailua Beach in Hawaii--verified in no uncertain terms that the American astronauts never actually went to the Moon:

“The failure of modern moon excursionists may be due to the Rahu planet. In other words, those who are supposed to be going to the Moon may actually be going to this invisible planet Rahu. Actually, they are not going to the Moon but to the planet Rahu. And after reaching this planet, they come back.”
Srimad-bhagavatam 4.29.69, purport

“We suggest that the modern expeditions attempting to reach the Moon are mistakenly going to Rahu.”
Srimad-bhagavatam 5.16.8, purport

Prabhupada: "They are not going to the Moon planet. They are going to some other planet, Rahu planet.
Devotee: Rahu?
Prabhupada: Yes. There are many planets invisible. So there is a Rahu planet, which comes in front of the Moon planet. And that is called eclipse. So there is a planet rotating. I think they are going to that Rahu planet, not to the Moon planet."
Morning walk in Vrindavan on
March 18, 1974

Secretary: Rahu planet, that's a hellish planet?
Prabhupada: Yes. They might have gone to that hellish planet.
Morning walk in
Honolulu on June 2, 1975

In this last excerpt, we see that His Divine Grace says that the astronauts “might have gone” to Rahu. This should be understood in context, as there are two possible explanations. When Srila Prabhupada says that they actually went to Rahu, he may be speaking figuratively. Since Rahu is the planet governing pretense, cheating, and bluffing, they most certainly were connected with Rahu when, with only partial success, they tried to get the public to accept the hoax (in order to keep their huge and unnecessary program both believed in and funded). Then again, they might have landed on the Rahu planet itself (it does have mass), because it is considerably closer to the Earth than the Moon, which is very, very far away. Either way, through either explanation, they went to Rahu.

Now we see that the so-called “ISKCON” movement is also a colossal hoax on the order of the lunar space missions. A pseudo spiritual movement, loaded with bluffers, cheaters, rascals, and fools, is engaged in taking advantage of thousands of ignorant and innocent quasi-devotees. These sentimentalists cannot actually recognize a bona fide spiritual movement from an imitation nor a genuine devotee from an imitation pretender maha-bhagavat or so-called madhyam-adhikari.

Yet, the “GBC” of this corrupt movement, which controls it, must be getting its power to do all of this on such a massive scale from some universal powerhouse. Prabhupada, privately in his room at his Los Angeles headquarters, once told an uninitiated neophyte not to donate his newly-inherited fortune to the organization, informing him that, “My movement is very corrupt.” The real maha-bhagavat is a siddha-purusa and jiva mukta; he sees perfectly what is really going on. This was evidenced in the following exchange:

Future Zonal Acharya (1): Prabhupada said they'd gone to Rahu.
Future Zonal Acharya (2): They have got that dust. They say they got that from another planet.
Prabhupada: Dust you can take it from here, from this beach.
Future Zonal Acharya (2): So then they're lying.
Prabhupada: Yes.
Future Zonal Acharya (3): That means they're deliberately cheating, knowingly. And the government is backing them.
Prabhupada: That is your business.
Morning walk in
Los Angeles on June 4, 1976 (emphasis added)


A Current Runs Through It

The strong current of the late Seventies deviation became a river that still runs through what “ISKCON” is today. This current, although it may well have started electrocuting the movement before Srila Prabhupada departed, devastated the central nervous system of the cult in the spring of 1978. Yet, despite the eleven maha-bhagavats being clearly exposed, they were allowed to remain guru in many cases and keep their so-called initiated disciples. This bluffing and cheating was never actually confronted, and it has certainly not been eradicated from “ISKCON” since that time. All of today’s “ISKCON” gurus are cent-per-cent still connected to that original current of deviation, and none of them at all likes to be reminded of this. They severely penalized anyone who spoke against their great gurus in the beginning, and you won’t last long in the “ISKCON” movement if you remind them of it now.

In 1978, the “GBC” decided to initially employ vilification and ostracism as a kind of execution, post-dating (and neglecting) the remote possibility for any objective personnel analyses for the dissidents who said the whole thing was completely wrong. “We want authority,” as a West Coast Zonal would put it. In the room of one prominent European temple, the Zonal Acharya, immediately after he returned from the alleged appointment, drew a line on the floor. He ordered that all temple inmates who accepted him as maha-bhagavat and Acharya go to one side and all others move to the other side of that line. Those who went to the other side were asked to leave the temple. The new dispensation was not meant for being explained to the devotees in the various temples throughout the world; instead, they were simply to be told that this is the way it now is.

In effect, most of Prabhupada’s disciples had their spiritual progress in devotional life impeded by the apocalypse of 1978; their only choice was which way they wanted to go down. Some capitulated (allowing themselves to stay in the temples) and worshipped men who did not at all deserve to be worshipped. By that choice, their path to enlightenment was completely bollixed up by offensive worship. On the other side of the coin, others were directly or indirectly forced to leave the temples because they did not believe in, or, in some cases, could not stomach the new dispensation. Those who spoke out against the arrangement were heavily criticized within the cult. When they were tossed back out into the material world, it was a virtual spiritual death sentence for many of these devotees. In effect, most of them were hung on the rope of their latent sex desires, which would otherwise have been controlled in a bona fide ashram (and that is why Srila Prabhupada created the organizational structure he did).

The Party Men at the turn of the century were essentially not that much different from their earlier version two decades previously. By Y2K, the situation itself, however, had changed to a considerable degree. But their basic attitude had not changed. They still didn’t want to take a really close look at what they had done to the movement; they were not willing to walk back the cat. Regarding the devotees they had figuratively executed in the beginning years--the ones who, it turned out, were pretty much right in their initial criticisms of the “GBC”--those files were ancient history and conveniently considered arcane.

As long as the Party Men still controlled the temples, and as long as they all gave continuous lip service to the “ultimate managerial authority” of the “GBC,” everything else could be ignored, like covered tracks at the beginning of winter. As long as they had an organized religion wherein there was still incoming revenue to keep them from having to work in the mundane world, and as long as they could showbottle well-dressed Deities, they remained complacent. As long as they could host colorful initiation ceremonies, as long as they had a publication house, as long as they could advertise a hierarchical structure and their unique brand of institutional dogma, then they were satisfied that they could survive the influence of all the protestors, many of whom were now getting a bit long in the tooth.

After all, history is decided by the winners, and they were still on the side that appeared to be winning.

As far as righting all the wrongs they had perpetrated was concerned, that was never allowed to even cross the minds of the Party Men. In order to right those wrongs, it would have to be done at a radical level--and that was out of the question! And as far as the devotees they had branded, well, those fellows must have gotten what they deserved, because not a blade of grass moves without the will of the Supreme. This was the attitude, and that remained unchanged from the time of the “eleven heartbeats” of pure devotional service.

End of Part Four

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Quotes from the books of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada are copyright by the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust