01/05/98 - 1462

Clearing The Air

USA (VNN) - by Gauridasa Pandita Dasa

Recently the Chakra 'news' website printed an article called, Who Plotted the "Great Ritvic Cover-up?" The article was prepared by Vipramukhya Swami using an article from Suhotra Swami from the 1990 ISKCON Journal. Since 'Chakra' has printed this 'mis-information' it's my duty to respond to the points made.

Firstly, I must point out that I have already received an apology from Suhotra Swami for his 'article'. I asked him how he could have written such a piece when he had not been there during the time I was serving Srila Prabhupada. He wrote back that he was pressured by Tamal Krishna Maharaja to write something so he did. This was years ago.
The first bit of 'mis-information' in the 'Chakra' article is that I was present to a 'secret meeting' with Srila Prabhupada and Tamal Krishna Maharaja. There were no 'secret meetings'. Srila Prabhupada met with a committee of the GBC, on May 28, 1977. Satsvarupa Swami asked Srila Prabhupada: "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 initiations would be conducted." Srila Prabhupada said, "Yes, I shall recommend some of you to act as officiating acharyas." Then Tamal K.G. asked, "Is that called ritvic acharya?" Srila Prabhupada said, "Ritvic, yes." That was not a secret meeting. Later on July 7, 1977 Srila Prabhupada did appoint the ritvics to initiate the devotees after his physical departure. He dictated a letter to this effect to Tamal K.G. who typed it, dating it July 9th 1977, and reread it to Srila Prabhupada, who then signed it and said to send it to all of the temples. This was not a 'secret' at that time. I was fanning Srila Prabhupada in his garden during this most important conversation and others. I had told Yasodanandan Maharaja, the headmaster of the Gurukul, about the ritvic appointments and he noted it in his diary which he still has available today. It is also on the tape of July 7th 1977 and documented in Srila Prabhupada's letter of July 9th 1977.

Suhotra Swami then asks why I didn't speak up sooner about this information. It's hard to speak when the leaders don't want to listen! I've have been speaking up since I saw the first 'vyasasana' appear in an ISKCON Temple. After hearing Srila Prabhupada say specifically not to put them in his temples I was shocked to see this happen. I returned to Vrindavan just after Srila Prabhupada's departure and met with Tamal K.G. in his room. I asked him why there were vyasasana's appearing in the temples when we both heard Srila Prabhupada say not to put them in. He said in an angry tone, "Gauridasa, don't you think Srila Prabhupada could have said anything else after you left?" (I left at the end of July 77 because my visa had expired) I said that I'm sure he could have but I don't know why he would of when he was so clear about it for months before I left. He said, "Well he did, and if you don't believe me you can ask Kirtanananda Maharaja." I asked if there was a tape or letter to that effect and hitting his hand down on his desk, he proclaimed that he didn't want to hear another word about this. I left the room, disappointed.

I also sent this initiation information etc. to Satsvarupa Swami for his book,who later said that it 'burned up'. I've been speaking up all along. It's the GBC members that have tried to suppress this discussion. The resolution of the GBC meeting on the guru issue in San Diego in Jan. 1990 was to continue with another meeting in Mayapur of 1990. Instead of allowing the meeting they printed 'The ISKCON Journal' declaring it to be the final response to the debate and even made it 'ISKCON Law' that any devotee who even discusses it, in a temple is to be 'banned'. So much for free speech and the house where the whole world can live.

I continue to plea to the GBC to open up and allow a cordial meeting on the guru issue again. What harm could it do?

Suhotra Swami then quotes 'letters' from devotees who allege that I was only T.K.G.'s servant. Most of the stories were fabricated. I'm sure if you ask many others they'd remember my service to Srila Prabhupada. Even if I were, only 'Tamal's' servant, as they like to allege, would that change anything? I heard what I heard, and it is backed up by tapes and letters signed by His Divine Grace. What more do you want?

Suhotra S. then mentions my apparent 'contradictions' on dates I heard things. I didn't keep a daily diary with dates but I know what I heard which is supported by tapes and Yasodanandan's diary. Let's take a quick look at Tamal K.G.'s contradictions. Even in the ISKCON JOURNAL he says that he never heard Srila Prabhupada mention the word 'ritvic' until the May 28th GBC meeting. In another story, in the same Journal, he said he heard Pradyumna mention it earlier than May 28th and that's why he asked Srila Prabhupada if an officiating acharya was a 'ritvic' at the meeting.

In 1980 Tamal K.G. was banned from 'guruship' for saying that even his Godbrothers had to 'go through him' to get to Prabhupada. He went to the Pyramid House in Topanga Canyon, California and made the following statements:"Actually , Prabhupada never appointed any gurus. He didn't appoint eleven gurus. He appointed eleven ritvics. He never appointed them gurus. Myself and the other GBC have done the greatest dis-service to this movement the last three years (20 now!) because we interpreted the appointment of ritvics as the appointment of gurus" T.K.G. quoting Srila Prabhupada, continued, "In order to continue the process of people joining our movement and getting initiated, I have to appoint some priests to help me because just like I cannot physically manage everyone myself, I physically cannot initiate everyone myself." T.K.G. cont. : "And that's all it was, and it was never any more than that. If it had been more than that, you can bet your bottom dollar that Srila Prabhupada would have spoken for days and hours and weeks on end about how to set up this thing with the gurus, but he didn't because he already said it a million times. He said, 'My guru maharaja did not appoint anyone. It's by qualification.' We made a great mistake!" Ö"You can't show me anything on tape or in writing where Srila Prabhupada says, 'I appoint these eleven as guru.' It doesn't exist because he never appointed any gurus. This is a myth." Concluding his talk T.K.G. says, "There's one thing I have to say, that in this discussion there should be no fear of repercussions. I have no fear of anything and that's why I can say anything because everything that could of happened has happened." After hearing of these words from Tamal K.G. the GBC didn't want to lose their 'guruships' so they reinstalled Tamal as a 'guru' and tried to hide the tape recording from the Pyramid House. Talk about contradictions!

Suhotra says that I am pretending that I was Srila Prabhupada's servant and I was just tagging along as a 'mercy case'. I'll accept that. I hope I can continue to be his 'mercy case'! Without his mercy my life is useless.

As far as the statement by Pradyumna that he didn't hear Srila Prabhupada talk about ritvic much, that was because Pradyumna would only come periodically with questions about the editing work he was doing. He spent most of the time in his room. I was his roommate in a room that overlooked Srila Prabhupada's rooftop. He was absorbed in his Shalagram worship and editing.

Suhotra S. says, 'Explain Gauridasa, Explain' three times in his article. I've been trying to! Thanks for giving me a chance! He asks why didn't Srila Prabhupada let anyone else know about this matter. He did! The letter of July 9th, 1977 'to all temples and GBC's' is the evidence. He set up the ritvic initiation system for the last three years before his disappearance and for the last six months that's all he talked about. A little research into the last six months would be fruitful to clarify this most important issue. Suhotra S. asks why I'm so nice to Tamal K.G. regarding the circumstances. I think regardless of one's opinions we should always show respect to others, especially our senior Godbrothers and Godsisters. Srila Prabhupada had some differences with some of his Godbrothers but always treated them very respectfully. This is needed now more than ever.

I agree that Srila Prabhupada wants us all to be shiksa gurus and ritvics within the walls of ISKCON. Srila Prabhupada said that if you want to be a diksa guru you should do so in your own temples. He said these things the days after the ritvic appointments to Tamal K.G. in the garden. Recordings were made of these talks but the tapes have mysteriously disappeared. Srila Prabhupada didn't return to the Gaudiya Math and claim 'guruship'. He showed it like Bhaktisidhanta Sarasvati said. The self-effulgent acharya would come out and he would 'do everything' in time. And with that pure potency he attracted so many followers and the rest is history.

Suhotra S. mentions my ritvic initiation for my wife back in 1987 when I was the head pujari at the Seattle temple. Jagadish Maharaja, our GBC, came along and said that her initiation could not be accepted. That if she wanted to do Deity worship, as she did, she would have to have an ISKCON initiation. I knew it was wrong but saw a higher purpose and allowed her to be initiated by Jagadish M. He promised me that he would keep her name, Goura-Nitai DD, and performed a fire sacrifice at the Sunday feast. A month later he called her into his private room and told her he wanted to change her name to Gourangi and she should leave me because my 'ritvic' philosophy was off! Later I came home to find her gone with my 1 year old son, Damodar! This was one of the sadest days of my life! He was seen alone with her many times after that and I believe he had a special interest in her. Where's he now? Suhotra S. wraps up his story by calling me a 'chronic liar'. No, I have told the truth all of the way through and will do so to my dying day. Why do you have to resort to the character assassination and name calling that you, Ravindra Swarupa and others have done up to this date? When will we become gentlemen and women and deal with each other in a respectful way? Where is the love and trust?

I'm sorry for the long reply but the mis-information that Vipramukhya Swami's Chakra is putting out is dividing the movement even more. He has pretty much declared 'war' on the 'ritvics' because he might not get his socks worshipped anymore, if the truth comes to light. (true story from Seattle) V.S. says that they are Krishna's army. We have Krishna! We have Srila Prabhupada, the general. Chakra people say Srila Prabhupada is 'not available'. I say he is. Prabhupada said he is. For those who follow him; he's there. As my letter of 1989 resulted in the 1990 GBC guru debate; I hope and pray that this writing may result in some positive communication's and hopefully another GBC meeting for fulfillment of Srila Prabhupada's instructions and a better ISKCON where the whole world can live again.

Thank You, your servant,
Gauridasa Pandita Dasa


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