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Srila Prabhupada, His Movement & You

by Hansadutta das

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Letters and Replies

Prabhupada . . . synthesised the whole VEDIC CULTURE by writing, speaking and demonstrating all the VAISHNAVA CONCLUSIONS so PERFECTLY that all the people of the world are able to assimilate them and practice them in daily life almost instantly. There is no history of any Vaishnava acharya who in so short a time was able to BROADCAST and convert so many people to the worship of Krishna throughout the whole world community.

There is no preacher today who would have any standing had the door not been opened up for him by Srila Prabhupada, just as no one would have any access to Vedic knowledge had Vyasadeva not recorded them 5,000 years ago.

Srila Prabhupada
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Sampradaya Acharya, ISKCON Founder-Acharya

A Christian Idea?

Dear Rahugana Prabhu: Singapore, 4 November 1993

Please accept my humble obeisances.

I faxed you a number of pages, mostly regarding Srila Prabhupada as the Sampradaya Acharya and his rittvik representatives directive for continuing the disciplic succession. I shall also forward you by mail Srila Prabhupada, His Movement and You, plus another publication consisting of a collection of letters.

The primary purpose of publicising these two controversial issues is not to convert or contend with my god-brothers and others; rather, for the purification and confirmation of my own heart. I was compelled to formulate these realisations as I have done. The second reason for publishing the above-mentioned material is to address all the devotees who were unfortunate enough to have come into my orbit of egocentric madness, thereby having suffered the devastating pain, frustration and loss of faith that comes with the betrayal of responsibility and confidence.

I beg you to forgive me for all the disappointments, insensitive, harsh, arrogant, disgraceful and deceitful behaviour I heaped upon you and Nada. Till now I could not understand how grievous and destructive my activities have been. I am too proud, arrogant and foolish, so it has taken so many years to come out of the long, dark tunnel of lust, envy and greedy desires. Especially the desire to "BE THE GURU." But by the mercy of Srila Prabhupada, Krishna and many well-wishing devotees, this long, dark journey into night has come to an end. Where is that end? At the lotus feet of Srila Prabhupada (where else?!), as his insignificant, menial servant, nothing more today than the day I was accepted by Srila Prabhupada at my initiation ceremony in 1967 in New York. "Simply add 'Dutta,'" Srila Prabhupada said. I was disappointed. I thought I would (should) have received a more noble, high-sounding name like Hanuman or Haridas.

Thinking back now to 1977, when I received the July 9th, 1977 letter of Srila Prabhupada's rittvik appointments, I was enlivened to read my name there, but disappointed to note that we were only to "be rittvik representatives of the Acharya." We were simply to continue to initiate on Srila Prabhupada's behalf. Srila Prabhupada had written and spoken so many times about the simplicity of being guru . "Simply repeat what your guru said, simply follow, the perfect follower becomes the leader." But now the moment of truth had arrived, and we were not going to be full gurus with our own disciples, we were being restricted. Srila Prabhupada said, "Act as my representative, continue to become rittvik of the Acharya."It was disappointing. We expected more.

Therefore, when Srila Prabhupada actually left the planet, this desire to be a guru like Srila Prabhupada, the ambition and hankering for more than merely acting as an official rittvik priest, accepting disciples on his behalf, burst forth like a tidal wave, which swept over the whole ISKCON and caused devastation everywhere. And it has not yet stopped its destruction. That wave continues to roll. Presently it is rolling through New Vrindaban.

Somehow or other, I have survived this devastation, although I thought I would not survive. Indeed, I wanted to die, commit suicide. But intelligence told me of the futility of such an act. Many years have rolled past me. But Srila Prabhupada mercifully has opened my eyes. The solution to all this chaos and confusion is simple. Srila Prabhupada is the Acharya for everyone, and everyone can act as his representative, thus keeping "a house the whole world can live in" peaceful, happy and in perfect harmony.

For a long time I wanted to write you or speak with you, but not till now have the words and conclusions been forthcoming. Everything has its time and place.

Sometimes devotees think rittvik representative is something like the Christian system of priests or apostles and find this repulsive and vehemently object to it (although in fact ordered by Srila Prabhupada). In fact, the rittvik representative arrangement is exactly like the system the original apostles (disciples) of Lord Jesus followed, especially Paul, who personally never had any physical connection with Jesus. It was in fact the other apostles, like Peter, who fell into the trap of assuming titles and postures of divinity and holiness, much like Srila Prabhupada's so-called guru-acharyas have after his disappearance.

The reason our devotees recoil at the thought of being compared to the Christian system of worshipping Christ as the central figure is not because there is anything wrong with this arrangement, but because the so-called priests, popes, bishops and worshippers actually do not worship or represent Jesus Christ and those precepts and examples he taught.

The system of keeping the Founder-Acharya in the centre as the worshipable servant (Acharya) of the Lord is practiced by all religious schools. The Buddha is worshipped as the Founder-Acharya, Jesus is worshipped as the Founder-Acharya, Mohammed is worshipped as the Founder-Acharya and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is worshipped as the Founder-Acharya. But in each case we find that the worship is hypocrisy, or in name only, without real inquiry, submission and service--without which the whole show is a farce. "Faith without works is dead."

But on the other hand, unqualified (not liberated) men posing as guru-acharyas is simply pretension or misrepresentation-- so how is it better? At least in the former system (rittvik ), the neophyte follower has a standard (the Acharya and his commentaries) by which to judge the actual spiritual substance of his spiritual leader or representative of the Acharya. In the pretentious guru-acharya system, the disciple is intimidated to think of the so-called guru as infallible and perfect, as good as God and therefore not subject to examination or doubt, for fear of committing Vaishnava aparadha.

Anyway, the bottom line is what the Acharya actually ordered or prescribed, not what we foolishly speculate or concoct in our attempt to satisfy our imperfect mind and intellect.

I doubt that my god-brothers will find much use for the ideas expressed in my publication, but they were not written to please them; they were written to please Srila Prabhupada, whom I have so displeased for so, so long a time. If he is pleased with my attempt to correct my mistakes and offences at his lotus feet, then my life is whole, healthy and spiritually successful.

With this in mind, I humbly request you to go through the enclosures with an open mind and heart and give me your blessings and most of all forgive me for all my offences. I look forward to seeing and speaking with you in Vrindaban. Yes! Two-way conversation, not one way, like "one hand clapping." Hari bol.

With your blessings, I remain your humble servant,

Hansadutta das

P.S. The guru is the representative of Krishna (or Krishna is manifested as the guru), so no one ever becomes "The guru." But one can become the surrendered SERVANT of the guru . In that way, Krishna makes use of such a 100% transparent, surrendered soul to TEACH the conditioned (rebellious) souls how to surrender to him by performance of pure devotional service.

Only a pure devotee can act as a guru, or that is to say, Krishna reveals Himself through the pure devotee. Others are pure in that degree that they act under the direction of such a pure devotee guru.

I think it is for this reason Prabhupada indicated his disciples "act as rittvik," expecting if they would do so, in due course of time the ambition to be "guru" would be dissolved and thereby be fit instruments for Krishna and the parampara as "full gurus" or pure devotees.

The important difference between the Christian tradition and the Brahma-Gaudiya-Vaishnava Sampradaya is that we have an unbroken chain of disciplic succession, whereas Christians have no such unbroken line of Acharyas whose commentaries on the Bible are all in agreement. Therefore, when Srila Prabhupada ordered, "Act as rittvik of the Acharya," it will work for us, where it has failed for Christians. This is an important point.

United We Stand

Dear Hansadutta Das: San Francisco, November 4, 1993

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada and all Vaishnava Preachers.

Thank you for your letter. I have already forgiven you, if I have any forgiveness to offer. I always pray for your spiritual satisfaction and advancement, and I continue to do so. I do not completely share your opinion of how terrible you have been. Please do not throw your baby out with your bath water. While your realization that you are acting of Prabhupada's representative maybe deep and profound, I personally find that it may not be the final or complete foundation for your continued spiritual progress. In your capacity as our spiritual master you were a medium for many divine and spiritually enlightening instructions. If I may be so bold as to say your achar, or activities, did not always live up to that divinity. Most prominent, though, in impacting your spiritual life, I feel, again if I may be so bold as to say, was not thinking yourself guru but rather Vaishnava aparadha . Every spiritual teacher, guru, etc. confirms the danger of pride and offending of a Vaishnava. This is the single most dangerous thing to one's spiritual advancement.

While I believe that your current consciousness and realizations are true and significant progress for you, I strongly feel that they are only a stepping stone for some higher and broader realizations yet to manifest themselves. That fertile ground is our humility and submission. Srila Prabhupada is a shaktavesha avatar empowered to fulfill the mission of Lord Chaitanya and the desire of Thakur Bhakti Vinod and Srila Bhakti Siddhanta. There is no contention of his exalted position. However, it is dangerous for any Vaishnava to adopt a bold mood and boldly state that no other guru or acharya has the purity or is a bona fide via medium for the absolute truth, Sri Krishna. Please be careful not to adopt this dangerous assumption but rather maintain the humble posture that you may not be such a person or be qualified at this time. Please also remember that it is within the power of the Lord and Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to make you qualified. I do not feel that Srila Prabhupada wanted only that you become a rittvik . I think he very clearly wanted you to become guru . He wanted all his disciples to become guru. Of course we all know that this will not be the case. I feel that it is clear and not in contention that Prabhupada appointed rittviks; but that does not mean that he did not want one or all of his disciples to become guru . This is the challenge. I agree, of course, that no one should falsely adopt the position of guru, and that madness has created insurmountable turmoil and anxiety to the devotees and needs to be corrected. However, in the process we must protect our Vaishnava tradition and siddhanta and not, as you mention, adopt Christian ideas. The whole process of spiritual evolution and advancement depends on sadhu sanga . Based on the quality of that sanga, our opportunities to access the spiritual world and develop the qualities necessary to travel there rest. Lord Chaitanya states one should chant the holy name of the Lord in a humble state of mind, thinking oneself lower than the straw on the street, devoid of all sense of false prestige and always ready to offer all respects to others. If this is the consciousness we are trying to adopt, then surely there is association which can help guide and nurture our spiritual lives, and that should be our focus. That association will naturally reinforce, extend and broaden our faith in Srila Prabhupada. We cannot limit Chaitya Guru as he is above our boundaries. We must adopt a warm and open heart. Perhaps we can discuss this further in Vrindavan.

By the way, Nada and my daughter are accompanying me with Gaura Nataraj and his wife and sister-in-law. We look forward to seeing you there. In the meantime I also ask you to keep an open heart and mind, and please do not directly or indirectly or accidentally commit offences to Srila Sridhar Maharaj or Srila Govinda Maharaj whom in all honesty and humility I feel to be also representing Srila Prabhupada and the Sampradaya. This is my humble request. Please forgive this letter if I have been bold or assertive. My mood is that actually I am your servant, but in all honesty my service now, may be to repay some of my previous debts to you by sharing with you some of the good fortune I have received by the mercy of Srila Prabhupada, Srila Sridhar Maharaj and Srila Govinda Maharaj. Although I am extremely fallen and unqualified, I have received a causeless mercy of their association and my path to advance in Krishna consciousness has never been so clear by their mercy.

I wish you well. May Srila Prabhupada continue to bless you.

Your servant,

Rahugana das

Disconnected Spokes of the Wheel
Some persons now say, "Srila Prabhupada just happened to be in the right place at the right time." By this, they mean to say that anyone could have done what Srila Prabhupada did. By chance, he just happened to be in the right place at the right time. But we should ask, "Why was Srila Prabhupada in the right place at the right time?" Why were you or I or anyone else, for that matter, not in the right place at the right time? The answer is because Krishna is all time, and He is in all places. Therefore, because Srila Prabhupada was qualified as the sincere, transparent, faithful, pure devotee of the Lord, Krishna put Srila Prabhupada in the right place at the right time. In other words, it was not a fluke chance happening, as some envious, ungrateful rascals suggest.

Others have said, "The hippies have made Prabhupada successful." Meaning to say, without the hippies becoming his followers, Srila Prabhupada would have remained an insignificant and unknown and therefore forgotten in the oblivion of time. But Srila Gaura Kishore dasa Babaji had no hippie followers, nor did he publish any books, and still he is remembered as a great Vaishnava devotee of the Lord. The fact is Srila Prabhupada was, is and will be worshipped as the great Acharya of the Golden Age, regardless of circumstances past, present or future.

Another set of ingrates say, "Prabhupada's last directive (July 9th, 1977) for continuing the disciplic succession by appointing rittvik representatives of the Acharya to initiate on his behalf was never done before and therefore it is not in our tradition. They dismiss Srila Prabhupada's instruction in favour of their ambition to be guru-acharyas, which has resulted in chaos, confusion and disintegration of Srila Prabhupada's ISKCON movement.

Whatever we know of Vaishnava tradition, we know it only because Srila Prabhupada taught us. However, now some ungrateful disciples have become more intelligent than Srila Prabhupada, suggesting that he was unaware of Vaishnava tradition. So we must now accept the impudent, ungrateful disciples as higher authorities than Srila Prabhupada, the Sampradaya Acharya, author of more than 150 books, founder of more than 100 temples, farm communities and guest houses and over 5,000 disciples world-wide? Srila Prabhupada needs to be corrected by his over-intelligent, ungrateful disciples?

Others point out that ISKCON is having great success over in Russia and Europe, and therefore no one should criticise. That is like a man infected with gangrene in his legs insisting that he is quite well because his hands and head are free from infection.

In 1961, Srila Prabhupada pointed out the consequence of neglecting the arrangement made by his spiritual master: "If everyone just initiates, then there will only be a contradictory result. As long as it goes on, there will be only failure." And in 1969, Srila Prabhupada wrote to one of his god-brothers:

I have also read specifically your articles on the matter of acharyas, wherein on the 14th paragraph I see the acharya shall be entitled to nominate in writing his successive acharya. But we do not find any record where our Srila Prabhupada nominated any acharya after him. Different persons have interpreted on this point, and every one of our god-brothers are acting as acharya, so this is a controversial point which I do not wish to enter into while we are proposing for co-operation.

After Srila Prabhupada's disappearance, the leading disciples attempted to enjoy the wealth and prestige of the post of guru-acharya. When their activities of gross sense gratification were detected by the rank and file devotees, the so-called acharyas adopted a show of renunciation, giving up the opulent worship, Vyasasans and personal pranams. However, on close examination, we find this renunciation to be the typical bhoga-tyaga , enjoyment and renunciation syndrome of the conditioned soul.

The positive devotional service with full submission and surrender to Srila Prabhupada as the Sampradaya Acharya remains missing from their life. Thus, without worshipping Srila Prabhupada as hub of the wheel of the Gaudiya Sampradaya, the devotees world-wide, who are like the spokes of the great wheel, remain dangling and ineffective for practical preaching work as a world-wide mission envisioned by Srila Prabhupada. Srila Prabhupada said, "I want that each and every centre should remain independent, keeping the Acharya in the centre ." In this statement, clearly he was referring to himself as that Acharya. Keep Srila Prabhupada as the Sampradaya Acharya. The wheel needs a hub, then many spokes can carry the weight. Without a hub (Sampradaya Acharya), the whole thing is useless.

Dear Rahugana das: Singapore, 5 November 1993

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

I think we agree in all respects, except perhaps there is some lingering apprehension due to my use of language and my intentions. I know that Prabhupada wanted his disciples to be gurus . He once said precisely that to me in Sweden. "I am training you to be perfect, I'm training you to be guru." But on his departing, he saw the training was incomplete, so he made some conditional gurus, " rittviks, " like apprentices or on-the-job training. In fact, I used to think of it in that way, even then. I'm sure in time all will become pure devotees and thus guru, but it will take CATHARSIS--a lot of CATHARSIS for some, less for others.

Regarding Srila Sridhar Swami and Sri Govinda Maharaja, I agree that Krishna can manifest through anyone, and he certainly does so. The real underlying point of my insistence on Srila Prabhupada being accepted as the Sampradaya Acharya is that it is necessary to have a perfect central person, Shaktavesh Avatar, if we want to organise the entire Vaishnava community world-wide into one effective preaching mission. To point out and accept Srila Prabhupada as that pre-eminent Sampradaya Acharya does not mean there will be no pure devotees or even acharyas . That is not the point. There will be gurus, acharyas and sadhus of all calibres, from the highest to the most neophyte. The Founder-Acharya is distinguished from all others inasmuch as he sets a milestone in the evolution or progress of the Sampradaya, as Vyasadeva did by compiling the Vedas, which before him were passed down by hearing and chanting. It was never done before. Similarly, Prabhupada took the essence of those Vedas, Bhagavad-gita, Srimad-Bhagavatam, Chaitanya-charitamrita and Bhaktirasamrita-sindhu outside of India, presented them in such a way that the lowest of human beings could understand and practice them in daily life. Therefore he is Acharya and for all practical purposes (preaching world-wide Vaishnava mission), we must (pure or impure devotees) rally around him, as the great commanders rally around the "Commander-in-chief," in order to give unity, harmony and direction to the preaching mission world-wide.

Perhaps in my euphoria and new-found life--spiritual life--I may sound or appear a bit fanatic. I have tried to express myself with all logic, reason and authoritative quotations. Your warning about Vaishnava aparadha is well taken. My determination is not to confront or offend. But I also think that if a devotee is actually pure, transparent and without personal ambition, he must recognise the principle of submission and service under the authority of the Sampradaya Acharya. Otherwise, why have a Sampradaya? Everyone can simply conduct their mission individually as they see fit. My impression of Prabhupada's efforts is always that he wanted a UNITED Vaishnava community, not many small, separate temples or maths without orchestrated cohesion and direction. Without uniting under the Acharya, everyone's effort remains provincial and without direction. That was how the British took over India. Each prince or king was pulling on independently, sometimes at odds with neighbouring princes or kings. So by flattery the British could easily win them over, one by one, setting one against the other. Had they been united under one EMPEROR, this could never have happened. Similarly, what the emperor is to princes and kings world-wide (like Yudhisthira), the Founder-Acharya is to gurus, sadhus and even acharyas . You say Prabhupada is Shaktavesha Avatar, so all the more reason to act under his auspices. That is my real point. I never said there are no gurus or pure devotees (some, of course, are definitely NOT gurus ), but I say they should unite. That is possible under Prabhupada, the Sampradaya Acharya--unless you have someone more qualified. Your letter inspired me. "But united we stand, divided we fall." Thank you.

Your humble servant,

Hansadutta das

P.S. I think you have to think a little deeper on what you call "the Christian ideas." The idea of following Christ under the guidance of an apostle or priest is actually Vedic in every way. In fact, in Seattle (October, 1968) Srila Prabhupada remarked, " One is the disciple of Christ, if he follows his instructions under the guidance of some priest. "

Perhaps it is my German nature, but the compulsion for world-wide harmony under one Sampradaya Acharya (Führer ) obsesses me. Prabhupada injected this vision into our blood and over and above everything else that is my concern in writing and wrangling with my god-brothers. I could stay holed up in Cloverdale if it was simply a matter of maintaining some semblance of a preaching programme. But this is not what Prabhupada wanted from us, at least not from me.

Therefore, having said my piece, I am now going forward positively and doing what I think will bring about unity in diversity, under the lotus feet of Srila Prabhupada. I am not for or against anyone, but I see my function, my service to Srila Prabhupada as our effort to draw everyone's attention to this important conclusion.

Your letter is great, inspiring, very thoughtful and also kind. Thank you. Continue to be so bold and let me know your thought. " Dhadati prati grinati." Revealing the mind, Vaishnava association. There is nothing more blissful than that. Look forward to seeing and speaking with you, Nada, Gauranataraj. Express on the way.

Counterfeits Spoil the Integrity of the Genuine, Authorised Sampradaya

Dear Rahugana das: Singapore, 1 December 1993

Please accept my most humble obeisances.

On the morning of November 21st, Sunday, when you were supposed to meet me, while I was waiting for you, I wrote down the following points which I wanted to present to you for your consideration in order to impress upon you the importance and necessity of worshipping Srila Prabhupada as the Sampradaya Acharya. Please bear with me and let me know what you think. Perhaps we can meet in the States.

Why There Must be a Sampradaya Acharya, and Why He Must be Prabhupada?
There is no history of any acharya before who has done so much in so short a time as Srila Prabhupada has done.

The original acharya was Brahma, next Narada, then Vyasadeva, who recorded all the Vedic wisdom--therefore, Vyasapuja. We worship the person (guru) who perfectly represents the written conclusions of Vyasadeva. Without Vyasa's writings, there would be no knowledge of Vedas in the present-day world. Next came Madhvacharya, then Lord Chaitanya and the six Goswamis, without whom we would have no Sankirtan movement, no science of devotional service ( Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu ). The six Goswamis excavated the places of lila in Vrindaban, so it is by their mercy we are in Vrindaban. Then came the modern-day acharya, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur, who pioneered Krishna consciousness towards the western world by publishing in English language and sending books to McGill University, Emerson and Tolstoy. His son, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta, further pioneered modern-day preaching by utilising auto, press and foreign missionaries, and at last the attempt initiated by Thakur Bhaktivinoda and Srila Bhaktisiddhanta bore fruit completely in the personality of Srila Prabhupada, who synthesised the whole VEDIC CULTURE by writing, speaking and demonstrating all the VAISHNAVA CONCLUSIONS so PERFECTLY that all the people of the world are able to assimilate them and practice them in daily life almost instantly. There is no history of any Vaishnava acharya who in so short a time was able to BROADCAST and convert so many people to the worship of Krishna throughout the whole world community.

There is no preacher today who would have any standing had the door not been opened up for him by Srila Prabhupada, just as no one would have any access to Vedic knowledge had Vyasadeva not recorded them 5,000 years ago.

The conclusion is: anyone who preaches Krishna consciousness today must present himself as the servant and representative of the SAMPRADAYA ACHARYA, Srila Prabhupada, because failing to do so, one becomes an INGRATE and makes the greatest offence, namely disregarding the Acharya, which Krishna says "is My very Self."

This one adjustment in the Sampradaya--to recognise, worship and honour Srila Prabhupada as the Sampradaya Acharya--has the potential to correct the greatest number of problems facing the Vaishnava community world-wide today. It can immediately unite all contending parties and demonstrate to the non-devotional world the power and efficacy of bhakti-yoga . Without establishing this principle of ACHARYA WORSHIP in our Sampradaya, all these so-called gurus must be seen as the worst kind of offenders, pretenders and religious charlatans, because their activities, although apparently Vaishnava, holy and pure, aim at nothing more than improving personal FAME, FORTUNE and SENSE GRATIFICATION (gross or subtle). Just as one who prints and passes counterfeit money causes the greatest damage to the economy and welfare of the society. Although counterfeit money may be very expertly produced, it has no value, because it is not backed by the authority of the government.

Unless one is a government agent, it is almost impossible for the ordinary citizen to detect counterfeit money, because it may be identical in all respects--paper, engraving, colour, printing. The only difference is in the authority behind the currency notes. It is also the case with gurus and preachers. They are either authorised by the Sampradaya Acharya or they are not. Therefore Prabhupada says, "Don't just follow any rascal. Follow the acharyas. Their commentaries are there." Then one has the YARDSTICK whereby which he can actually measure the spiritual status and substance of a person. Without this, one is sure to be misguided.

As counterfeit money introduced into the economy destroys the value of genuine money, similarly unauthorised preachers allowed to pose as bona fide devotees wreck the unity and purity of the Sampradaya. That is what is happening today. The Gaudiya Vaishnava Sampradaya is in SHAMBLES, all because we do not insist on everyone, especially the leaders, being authorised by the Sampradaya Acharya. Why do we not insist on this qualification (credential)? Because everyone is aspiring to take the post of the acharya himself. The last such aspirant, Kirtanananda, is now on the way out. The most recent aspirants, Gour Govinda and Govinda Maharaja are on the way in. So this ASPIRING and EXPIRING will go on. But if we want real shelter and progress in spiritual life, all that we require to do is either take shelter of the Sampradaya Acharya, Srila Prabhupada (tried, tested and proven, undisputable) or any sincere devotee who perfectly understands this point and thus serves the SAMPRADAYA ACHARYA as his representative.

Guru parampara is a strict hierarchy, even more precise than the chain of command in a military organisation. No one can preach Krishna consciousness and simultaneously keep himself and his followers aloof from submission and service to the SAMPRADAYA ACHARYA (like a loose cannon on deck), however erudite he may be.

But this is precisely the situation that exists in the world today. Dozens of so-called gurus all rounding up disciples, like cowboys rustling wild horses on the range. "If everyone just initiates, then there will only be a contradictory result. As long as it goes on, there will only be failure."--Srila Prabhupada, Phalgun Krishna Panchami

This is not what Srila Prabhupada wanted. Nor is it Vedic culture. Nor will it awaken Krishna consciousness. We take it as our personal service to Srila Prabhupada to address this problem and to preach on the basis of this vision and understanding. We have spoken with senior devotees, especially Puri Maharaja, and he has confirmed this essential point and encouraged us to broadcast it to the best of our ability, within and without ISKCON.

The rittvik question is automatically addressed and resolved by establishing this all-embracing Sampradaya Acharya conception.

The heart's function is the most fundamental of all organs in that it pumps blood to all parts of the body, thereby keeping it strong and healthy. Similarly, the SAMPRADAYA ACHARYA is the heart of the Vaishnava community. His commentaries on the standard Vaishnava texts ( siddhanta ) are the life blood of the devotees of the Sampradaya. Thus all must worship and represent the Acharya in their preaching.

Those who neglect the SAMPRADAYA ACHARYA are in a diseased condition of spiritual life, just as any part or organ of the body not receiving regular circulation of fresh blood supply from the heart must inevitably become diseased and lose its power to function.

We must not simply take from the Sampradaya Acharya. We must also give, just as blood gives life and nourishment to all parts of the body but it also must be served by infusion of prana, as it circulates through the lungs. In this way the whole body remains fit and strong. Those who take advantage of the Sampradaya Acharya but do not give proper respect and worship to the Acharya are committing guru avajña and sadhu ninda, the two most dangerous kinds of Vaishnava aparadha . In other words, unauthorised preachers--those utilising the assets and gifts of the Sampradaya Acharya but failing to honour and worship him--are just like PIRATES or DACOITS. Such persons, although exhibiting a wealth of Vedic knowledge and culture, cannot help us, because their assets are all like stolen treasures, illegally obtained.

Jumping Over the Sampradaya Acharya
Regarding rasatattva, raganuga and other highly esoteric subject matters fashionably discussed now in some circles, it is meaningless to speak of rasatattva, raganuga when the speaker and hearers have failed to perfect even the most basic and preliminary stages of SADHANA BHAKTI. Adau shraddha sadhu sangha . They do not even exhibit faith in their spiritual master. Thus they commit guru avajña and sadhu ninda, which renders them adrift from the shelter of the spiritual master, on the sea of endless mental speculation. Thus they concoct a patchwork or smorgasbord of contradictory philosophical speculations and offer these concoctions as RAGANUGA BHAKTI, daring to say that their spiritual master (the SAMPRADAYA ACHARYA) had little time and could not teach the higher truths of bhakti. Self conceited, impudent and ungrateful, they create a mockery of the science of devotional service as it was taught by Lord Chaitanya and the six Goswamis. The Lord never discussed RAGANUGA BHAKTI, save and except for Swarup Damodar, Ramananda Raya and a select one or two other devotees. Even with Raghunath das Goswami he would not discuss rasatattva or raganuga . Raganuga is never discussed by any Acharya, because unless one has actually attained the platform of bhava bhakti (preliminary to PREMA), there can be no question of RAGANUGA. We can talk of honey, but by that process we cannot get the taste. We can see the honey through the glass, but we cannot get the taste.

We find that the so-called RAGANUGA BHAKTI enthusiasts cannot or have not even come to the platform of anartha nivritti . They have no taste for namam. They have therefore not realised yet the absolute nature of the Holy Name of Krishna, form, qualities, pastimes. They give hari nama initiation, but they personally have not realised what is the Holy Name and thus have no name to give. The sign of a devotee who is actually situated in the Holy Name is he has an exclusive taste for chanting and is always absorbed and eager to chant such name uninterruptedly.

To TALK of RAGANUGA has no value, because unless one has performed the preliminary renunciation, austerity and rigid purification by perfecting his practice of sadhana bhakti up to the stage of bhava, he cannot possibly enter into the TASTE of raganuga bhakti. It will, of course, have some charm and attraction, because it appears like the male and female matters of the material world, but he will get no spiritual taste and after some time such immature dabblers in raganuga rasatattva will reject everything as worthless and waste of time and leave the spiritual endeavour altogether, like the FOX who could not reach the GRAPES by jumping and declared, "THE GRAPES WERE SOUR ANYWAY." One may have the bottle of honey in his hand, and one may see the honey through the glass, but seeing the honey and tasting the honey are worlds apart. So hearing and speaking about raganuga rasatattva is exactly like that.

The process for removing the lid from the bottle of honey is to "have full faith in the words of the spiritual master and the Supreme Lord--to such persons all imports of Vedic knowledge are revealed." And simply put, this means first of all do the basic preliminary TRAINING, SADHANA BHAKTI--rising early, 16 rounds minimum, four regulative principles, and one must please the spiritual master by INQUIRY, SUBMISSION and SERVICE. If he is pleased and gives blessings, everything will come, as water comes gushing out of an Artesian well.

Such raganuga, rasatattva persons have no FAITH in their GURU, Srila Prabhupada. They have abandoned their own guru and proclaim another guru is higher. Their guru, Srila Prabhupada, was inferior or incapable. So what position do such faithless ingrates hold?

As for myself, I am not independent. After a long, trying and humiliating ordeal, I have found my way back to the lotus feet of my spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada, and I intend to remain firmly fixed there, proclaiming his glories and pre-eminence over all others in the world Vaishnava community. Also, I shall do what I can to convince you and others of the ABSOLUTE necessity to surrender at the lotus feet of Srila Prabhupada, thereby having his blessings and shelter, making all into one "house the whole world can live in."

According to Srila Prabhupada, one of his god-brothers was the cause of destruction of the Gaudiya Math, and he also planted the seeds of destruction of Srila Prabhupada's movement when from the beginning the unsuspecting leaders of ISKCON went to him for advice regarding the GURU ISSUE. Instead of instructing ISKCON's leaders to follow Srila Prabhupada's explicit order, namely to act as rittviks of the Acharya (as per his July 9th, 1977 letter) and continue to INITIATE disciples on behalf of Srila Prabhupada, as they had been doing all along, Srila Prabhupada's god-brother fanned the fire of ambition in their hearts (ISKCON GBCs and gurus) to be gurus by advising them in a way contrary to Srila Prabhupada's actual instructions. Thus everything is now in chaos and confusion, and this chaos and confusion will only increase with time, except for those fortunate enough to simply come back to the lotus feet of Srila Prabhupada and ADOPT the process he outlined for his disciples and those disciples they may initiate in the future.

I hope you are well.

Your humble servant,

Hansadutta das

Worship of the Sampradaya Acharya Endorsed
Upendranatha das from Vrindaban, after reading Srila Prabhupada, His Movement and You, claimed the term "Sampradaya Acharya" is a concoction. What follows are quotes from Srila Prabhupada's books and conversations which clearly show the term and concept is very bona fide.

Madhva Sampradaya, the same, and Rudra Sampradaya and Sri Sampradaya..., Sri, Rama, Kumara Sampradaya. These are four sampradayas. So we should hear from the Sampradaya Acharya by disciplic succession. As Krishna recommends in this Bhagavad-gita .

The four Kumaras are parampara spiritual masters of the Vaishnava Sampradaya. Out of the four sampradayas, namely Brahma Sampradaya, Sri Sampradaya, Kumara Sampradaya and Rudra Sampradaya, the disciplic succession of spiritual master to disciple known as the Kumara Sampradaya is coming down from the four Kumaras. So Prithu Maharaja was very respectful to the Sampradaya Acharyas.

There are four sampradayas, parampara: the Ramanuja Sampradaya, Madhvacharya Sampradaya, Vishnusvami Sampradaya, Nimbarka Sampradaya. So we belong to the Madhvacharya Sampradaya. Fortunately, all these acharyas, even Shankaracharya, they appeared from South India. This sampradaya, acharya sampradaya, is going on all over India. So every sampradaya has got his commentary on the Brahma-sutra .

So we have to follow Prahlada Maharaja. He is our guru, purva acharya. Narada is purva acharya . He is disciple of Narada. Therefore he is acharya, and his disciplic succession.... There are sampradayas: Brahma Sampradaya, Kumara Sampradaya.... Anyone who is bona fide acharya, he can create his own disciplic succession, but one disciplic succession and the other disciplic--they are not different. They are of the same conclusion. The Vaishnava acharyas, just like our Ramanujacharya, Madhvacharya and Nimbarka and who that? Rudra Sampradaya? Vishnu Swami.

That is acharya. Acharya gives some way for simple understanding. The same conclusion, but according to the time, circumstances, they give a very easy method to understand. That is acharya. Acharya is following strictly the previous acharya, but according to the circumstances, he may make little changes. That is... That change is not change from the original idea.

PARAMAHAMSA: Sometimes people ask, though, they say, "Why is it that even among the acharyas sometimes we find there is a difference of opinion?"

PRABHUPADA: They are not acharyas . They are not acharyas. There is no difference of understanding between acharyas. What Madhvacharya understands, we also understand . Suppose you are present also. So there is no difference. What Ramanujacharya understands, we also understand. What Chaitanya Mahaprabhu understands, we also understand. So where is the difference? Difference should be that the fact that he is not acharya. As soon as he differs from the previous acharyas, that means he is not acharya . Otherwise there is full agreement between all the acharyas . Just like Krishna is the Supreme Person, all acharyas agree. Where is the difference? Does Ramanujacharya differ from Madhvacharya or Madhvacharya differ from Chaitanya, Chaitanya differs from--no. There is no difference. That is Vaishnava. All the Vaishnavas understand that Vishnu is the Supreme. There may be, sometimes, such as Krishna is understood as incarnation of Vishnu, and sometimes they understand Vishnu as the incarnation of Krishna. That is sampradaya . That is sampradaya. But either Krishna or Vishnu, He is Supreme. That is accepted by all.

O Lord, who resemble the shining sun, You are always ready to fulfil the desire of Your devotee, and therefore You are known as a desire tree (vancha-kalpataru). When acharyas completely take shelter under Your lotus feet in order to cross the fierce ocean of nescience, they leave behind on earth the method by which they cross , and because You are very merciful to Your other devotees, You accept this method to help them.

Thus it is the duty of theacharya to publish books that will help future candidates take up the method of service and become eligible to return home, back to Godhead, by the mercy of the Lord.

The acharya gives the suitable method for crossing the ocean of nescience by accepting the boat of the Lord's lotus feet, and if this method is strictly followed, the followers will ultimately reach the destination, by the grace of the Lord. This method is called acharya-sampradaya . It is therefore said, sampradaya-vihina ye mantras te nisphaamatah (Padma Purana) . The acharya-sampradaya is strictly bona fide. Therefore one must accept the acharya-sampradaya; otherwise one's endeavour will be futile. Srila Narottama dasa Thakura therefore sings:

tandera charana sevi bhakta sane vasa
janame janame haya, ei abhilasa

One must worship the lotus feet of the acharya and live within the society of devotees. Then one's endeavour to cross over nescience will surely be successful."

PRABHUPADA: Evam parampara-praptam .

RAMESVARA: It's clear that for the first time these scholars are understanding the difference between the Bhagavad-gita and the Mayavadi conception. It's clear that now you have saved them. Previous to this, all they knew about is this impersonal concept.

PRABHUPADA: That is the business of acharya: sampradaya-rakshana, to save the sampradaya from falling down. Sampradaya. Sampradaya rakshana.

RAMESVARA: After centuries of rascaldom, you are giving them the first clear choice.

PRABHUPADA: Yes. That was the desire of my Guru Maharaja. I am just trying.

PRABHUPADA: So a similar counterpart leaflet you should, that "International Society for Krishna Consciousness, world organisation, established by His Divine Grace, and anyone can come here and take foodstuff. We have got arrangement," like this. In suitable words you write and issue another pamphlet.


PRABHUPADA: In Bengali and in English. Which may not touch there, but we write in our own way that "by the order of his guru he went to America. Then he...." That's a fact. What is the fact, that should be written. Give the list of the books and so on, so on.

TAMAL KRISHNA: List of the temples.

PRABHUPADA: Yes, temples. And " He is the Acharya of the present Gaudiya Sampradaya."

PRABHUPADA: I don't care for them. Immediately kick out. That is, sampradaya vihina ye mantras te vi(pha)lah matah . If he is not coming by this parampara system, whatever he says, all nonsense.

TAMAL KRISHNA: What about those who are coming in these other sampradayas, like Ramanuja Sampradaya...?

PRABHUPADA: They are bona fide if they are actually following.

TAMAL KRISHNA: I was referring to them, that they are not preaching very widely.

PRABHUPADA: Then they are useless.

TAMAL KRISHNA: Yeah, because if they wanted to, Krishna would have facilitated it.

PRABHUPADA: Ramanuja preached. All the acharyas preached.

TAMAL KRISHNA: Yeah, either in writing or by travelling and preaching. You have done both, though.

PRABHUPADA: That is the duty of acharya. Otherwise he is not... Not that three dozen acharyas in Mayapura. Each one has a temple and a few dozen... Not few dozen; one dozen disciples. Bring some rice and eat. They are acharya . That day I said that, khai laya khasi bhaja (?), then everybody became angry. Collecting some money, taking to the holy place, collecting fifty rupees and keeping twenty rupees and spending thirty rupees. This is... In this way they are making livelihood, acharyas . They say, "Whatever is in our capacity, we are doing." The capacity means when they are speaking that the cockroach is as good a bird as the Garuda. Cockroach is also a bird, and Garuda is also a bird.

TAMAL KRISHNA: Quite a difference, though.

PRABHUPADA: How the cockroach can say, "I am also as good as Garuda?"


PRABHUPADA: (Laughs) So they want to say like that.

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Srila Prabhupada, His Movement & You - Letters and Replies/Inside Nam Hatta
© 2004 - Hansadutta das
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