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
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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