08/20/98 - 2043
IRG Reply to Sri Rama Das
USA (VNN) - by Mandapa Das - Chair, ISKCON Reform Group (IRG)
Sri Rama Das recently posted an article called 'Questions about the Bangalore, Bombay meetings'. As the chair of the ISKCON Reform Group (IRG) that was set up as a result of these meetings please allow me to respond. Sri Rama prabhu's comments shall be reproduced in speech marks thus "", followed by my comments enclosed in < >.
"1) I chaired the 1990? San Diego debate between both parties. I believe everyone felt I did a fair job and all had time to express their points of view. Gauridas Pandit das complains no one has ever been interested in what he heard from Srila Prabhupada. He certainly had his chance. After careful listening to both sides, I heard no scriptural, historic, or "Prabhupada said" that supported the ritvik point of view."
<This was definitely not the view of virtually all the devotees at the meeting who felt that issue warranted enough interest for them to vote unanimously that the process of investigation into the issue continue. This would hardly have happened if there was nothing that 'supported the ritvik point of view'. Further the debate has moved on greatly since San Diego. Please see the Final Order, which was the document which has brought all this support for the ritvik view-point. The current final 'reply' to the Final Order from the GBC is riddled with the usual contradictions, 'straw man ' arguments etc. which have been present in all the GBC papers on this issue. If you do not believe me please see the IRG website - on www.webcom.com/btp, where we have over 30 papers demonstrating how the GBC and its supporters have been unable to answer the Final Order. We hope to have a comprehensive 'point for point' rebutalling of the latest reply to the Final Order, just as we have done with all the previous GBC attempts, ready in about a week. It will be posted on VNN so look out for it then.>
"2) How many times in a century or millenium can we expect the earthly presence of a self-effulgent acharya. Is it any surprise that ISKCON gurus can't come up the standard of Srila Prabhupada? It's just something we're going to have to deal with. And it could be dealt with by more regularizing the initiation process and emphasizing Srila Prabhupada as siksa guru. Just because the normal parampara is not working as well as when Prabhupada was physicallypresent doesn't give ISKCON devotees the right to go against thousands or millions of years of sastra and Vaishnava sampradaya tradition."
<The only way to deal with is to institute what Srila Prabhupada wanted, not to apply some more patchwork to the ISKCON Guru system. Further this myth that ritvik is against the sastra has never been proven by the GBC, as an examination of the above mentioned papers will demonstrate.>
"3) You are Christianizing Lord Caitanya's parampara."
<This point has also been conclusively answered in "The Final Order".>
"4) These are difficult times, and the only solution is personal improvement by our leadership. The Ritvik program is attractive because it provides an easy way out from our dilemma.But Krishna will send us help before every speculative group tears its teeth into and chews another piece away from Prabhupada's ISKCON-- for what appears to be good reason, but just turns out to beanother castle in the air."
<Many devotees are seeing that the 'help from Krishna' has already been provided, as the recent events in Bangalore show. The only 'speculative' group in operation here is the GBC who have tried a variety of philosophies and Guru systems since 1978, and who are currently planning more 'reforms' in view of the Hariksa Swami crisis.
And by the way, the ritvik program DOES offer us an easy way out from our dilemma because it was what Srila Prabhupada ordered, as documented in the 'Final Order'.>
Chair, ISKCON Reform Group (IRG)
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