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Srila Prabhupada, His Movement & You

by Hansadutta das

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Correspondence #5

From Bhakta Steve
9 May 1994

Dear Hansadutta Prabhu:

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada, your spiritual master, whom you serve so nicely by preaching his correct intention.

Just got to my P.O. box after two months away. What a pleasure to receive the materials. Your position has the ring of truth and the strength of conviction of nice Vaishnavas like yourself and Yashodanandan Prabhu.

As you write, six of the eleven are "out" of ISKCON. Did Prabhupada make an error in judgment? No! Conditioned souls misinterpreted Prabhupada's desire. By Krishna's grace, a few like yourself see things as they are.

Please keep sending me stuff. I look forward to meeting you someday. All glories to the transcendental truth of Srila Prabhupada's mission.

Steve Aminoff

From Hansadutta das,
Cloverdale, California
26 May 1994

Dear Bhakta das Prabhu:

Thank you for your letter dated May 13, 1994. I thank you also for the check of $108 for the Nama Hatta publication works.

Yashodanandan Prabhu and I were on the way to Santa Rosa to purchase some computer cable when your letter came, so we both read it with great ecstasy and relish. Ananda has been filling up my computer with the various programs and customizing everything for easy use.

We have been associating since May 20th. The weekend of May 20, 21 and 22nd many devotees came here for our first Nama Hatta festival. Dhamaghosh, Rathayatra and wife, even Dristyadhumnya and Gupta made an appearance on Sunday. Gupta will purchase and donate a good copy machine for our use in the publication of the Inside Nama Hatta newsletter. I find that Gupta is very generous and also thoughtful.

I am happy to know that Gour Mohan is still with us. Please ask him to send some report and pictures of his Nama Hatta activities in Benelux.

When we were kids in New York City, the restaurants used to employ derelicts to carry a sandwich sign board to advertise their restaurant--"EAT AT JOE'S." Simply by walking up and down the city streets with their sandwich board sign, customers would come to their place and business would increase. In a similar way, Srila Prabhupada would engage us in the service of his mission to save the fallen souls. We had no personal qualifications (we still don't have any qualifications), but by having us cruise the streets dressed in dhotis, shaved head, tilak and chanting the Holy Name of Krishna and distributing his books, so many new devotees came to him. In that spirit we have to go out to meet the public--not with ambition and prestige in our hearts. It is certainly a humbling engagement. When we think that we are deserving of more and attempt to secure some rewards for our street walking, it is then that we fall into difficulty.

Another point that struck me the other day is that when the gurus were detected in their attempt to enjoy gross sense gratification, they offered a reform by making a show of renunciation in giving up vyasasans, pujas, pranams, etc. In this way the foolish ones were satisfied, but this is the bhoga-tyaga syndrome (enjoyment and renunciation).

The positive service to the spiritual master is the missing element in all this bhoga-tyaga. Therefore Srila Puri Maharaja stressed that we must emphasize the worship and glorification of Srila Prabhupada as the Sampradaya Acharya. In fact, when we were together during the festival, Yashodanandan, Dhamaghosh and I decided that we would publish a book for the centennial celebration of Srila Prabhupada, describing how great Srila Prabhupada is. This book, unlike other books written about Srila Prabhupada, will contain factual information (statistical) of his accomplishments in terms of books published and sold, magazines, works of art, temples, guest houses, farm communities and reviews of his writings by prominent scholars and religionists. It should have photos of Srila Prabhupada with famous personalities and profound quotes, including, "They never went to the moon." If you have any original photos of Srila Prabhupada, please keep them aside for future use. Your suggestions for this publication are welcome, and of course, so is your Lakshmi. This book should be made so that even karmis will like to read it and appreciate, "Here is a great personality." Everyone always says, "Swami Maharaja has done very nicely," but they never say HOW NICELY and HOW GREAT HE HAS ACTUALLY DONE.

Also we are planning to make a world tour (Nama Hatta World Sankirtan Party), stopping in the Philippines, Singapore, Bangkok, India, Europe, Russia and various cities in the USA. Perhaps you will like to come along?! If we meditate on this, I am certain that Krishna will provide all the necessary ingredients. I think this is what Srila Puri Maharaja would want us to do.

I hope this letter finds you well. Obeisances to Guru Kripa and all the devotees there with you.

Your humble servant,
Hansadutta das

From Rasamanjari devi dasi
1 June 1994

Dear Hansadutta Prabhu:

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada. I am not a very good disciple of Srila Prabhupada. My life-style, practices and realizations are not of a very high standard, and I have only a minimal desire to improve. So what I have to say is not anything that any respectable devotee will take note of, because of who I am. At best, I hope to be included as a speck of sand in the association of those who specifically desire a society of devotees with Srila Prabhupada in the centre and all others radiating out from him.

Unfortunately, to be an advocate of this is seen as quite controversial by even the most liberal, gentle and fixed-up bhaktas . Speaking of putting Srila Prabhupada back in the centre brings accusations of: sectarian ideas where there were none before, removing the chance for personal guidance from new initiates, becoming like the Christians, offending other pure devotees (especially in regards to Indian-born), neglecting to see that some of the new ISKCON gurus are quite pure, etc., etc.

My grateful appreciation to Yashodanandan, Bhakta das, Puranjana, Pradyumna, Gauridas Pandita, Sulochan, Nityananda, Krishna-Balarama Swami and so many others.

It is wonderful that you have come to the conclusion that rittvik is what you were supposed to have been performing all along. That you now acknowledge it is a huge step in the right direction for us all. Thank you for producing and distributing two very attractive literatures which present your conclusions nicely for the glory of Srila Prabhupada and the education of society.

I left a box of your literature with the gurukulis in New Dwaraka. One of them just had a dream where Srila Prabhupada held out his hands to her, clasped her hands and she began to cry--so hard that when she woke up she was crying. When I asked her what he was communicating to her, she said she thought he was thanking her and the small group of gurukulis who are regularly chanting and hearing; asking for more surrender and impressing that they are his movement's future (as he is their future).

My partner Amrita, whom you met, says that what you are promoting makes "perfect sense," and I think of our perfect process for attaining the perfection of life and know that your current direction is non-different from Srila Prabhupada. I feel like I'm getting Srila Prabhupada back through your group's endeavors, and I cry long and deeply. I can't thank you enough. My centennial plan is to assist you. I feel a permanent celebration coming on for the whole universe. His Divine Grace belongs right smack-dab in the centre of us all. How could we have lost this vision?

Thank you and others for being so friendly and encouraging. But most of all, thank you again for caring to put Srila Prabhupada back in the centre.

I feel as if I am receiving a dear relative back from the dead or like the "one" has placed in front of all my zeros. I feel like the sun has begun to shine after years of cloudy, cold weather. When you wrote in your "Apology to the Devotees" in Srila Prabhupada, His Movement and You, "Being completely overwhelmed with the fever of pratistha, " I felt very sad because of my fever, too. My humble apologies firstly to Srila Prabhupada, and secondly to all his followers.

Once I had a dream about Srila Prabhupada. A good friend was considering joining the Sridhar group. I was bewildered. That night, in a dream, I asked Srila Prabhupada what he thought about his disciples who had accepted Sridhar. He said, "They have replaced me." I said, "I don't think I need anyone but you, Srila Prabhupada," and he said, "You don't need anyone but me."

I shared the dream, and I never accepted anyone but Prabhupada directly, but I've accepted their reasons for replacing him. Thus I've been ill.

I found a copy of the much-used photo of Srila Prabhupada standing with Sridhar. I decided I'd cut it and just keep the photo of Prabhupada. Then I looked at the look on his face and compared it to the relaxed, joyful photo of him with his disciples dancing at San Francisco Rathayatra, 1972 or '73. I couldn't even keep just Prabhupada's photo--he looked so uncomfortable. It amazes me to think that he prefers the association of his mleccha disciples to others with various qualifications. He really loves us--fools that we are.

The Prabhupada party in Los Angeles was nice, but without establishing Srila Prabhupada as the only acharya of ISKCON, such parties are reminiscent of diseased persons going to a feast and believing themselves well while they partake of the delicious foodstuffs. Unfortunately, after the party is over, the party-goers still find themselves in an unhealthy state. The root cause of our sickness must be understood and rectified for us to be truly healthy.

You call yourselves Nama Hatta to differentiate from the society which disobeys our guru's instruction, but you are the real ISKCON. Several suggestions: if they agree, publish the names, addresses and phone numbers of supporters for questions, encouragement and sharing feelings of ecstasy as the bliss emanating from the lotus feet of Srila Prabhupada sweeps over us due to our pleasing him.

How can I serve this most glorious endeavor?


Your humble servant and friend,
Rasamanjari devi dasi

From Dhanvantari Prabhu

All glories to the Nama Hatta devotees of the Lord. Please accept my fallen obeisances.

I am writing at this time to attempt to begin the process of "networking" with other devotees in Nama Hatta's field of activity. If this results in any type of response in return, then my desire for association will be fulfilled.

Very recently, after reading Srila Prabhupada, His Movement and You, my mind seems to have cleared regarding many unresolved question that, until now, remained as unseen stumbling blocks haunting my mind. It seems a case of something blatantly obvious and essentially very simple remaining elusive to those not wanting to accept something that would upset a predetermined conclusion, upon which had been based other conclusions and situations advantageous for whatever reason to that person.

In my case, the lack of a bona fide authority meant easy justification of all types of sense gratification. As an example of just how very simple this fact (the fact of eleven rittviks initiating on Prabhupada's behalf) is, just read the translation of "Sri Guru Parampara" in Songs of the Acharyas song book.

In every verse we are told who SERVED which guru, beginning from Lord Brahma. As each link in the parampara is given, we are told who is the DISCIPLE, who SERVED, who RECEIVED the devotional science, who RENDERED SERVICE, who FOLLOWED. In verse after verse, each link in the chain is added by submitting to the previous acharya, not by self-proclamation, but by serving, following and accepting instruction from the previous link.

Where is the loss? For myself, I am glad to accept Prabhupada as my guru. I feel unworthy, and unfortunate to have never been in his physical presence. But where else to begin but to hear from those more fortunate? What else to do but to try and practice what Prabhupada has clearly laid out for us in his books?

Your fallen servant,
Dhanvantari das

From Bhakta das,
Bangkok, Thailand

5 July 1994

Dear Trivikram Maharaja:

Please accept my most humble obeisances at your feet. All glories to His Divine Grace, Srila Prabhupada. I have just received your welcome letter, dated June 23, 1994, in reply to my letter of April 26, 1994. Thank you very much for taking the time to further enlighten me.

It seems that everyone who hears from guru, sadhu and shastra gets some difference in realization. I am not going to argue with you or spend time referencing quotations with which you are obviously vastly familiar with. Nor did I ever intend to act or even think that I was your teacher. I am very, very sorry to have given you that impression, even accidentally.

Obviously I made innumerable mistakes, sins, offences over the years, and by the mercy of Srila Prabhupada and other Vaishnavas, slowly I am being allowed to see more clearly.

I think both Srila Prabhupada and Lord Chaitanya have big enough hearts for all of us, in spite of all our inadequacies, so Maharaja, I wish only good fortune and success in your continuing efforts to propagate the chanting of Hare Krishna to every corner of the globe.

I have one question: you have quoted that "The bona fide spiritual master is he who has received the mercy of his guru." (SB 8.16.24, purport) This is certainly right.

In another place, in Nigeria, Prabhupada said, "No one can be a guru unless he is ordered by his guru. Don't go quickly." Did you receive such an order or mercy? Or is it just a "blanket order" that everyone should become guru? In lectures I have heard Prabhupada state that in the famous Chaitanya-charitamritashloka "Upon My order, become guru," that the words "Upon My order" are very important. So yes, the shastras do say that a madhyam or second-class devotee may become a guru, but they also say that his guidance is insufficient.

This morning, I listened to a 1969 Bhagavad-gita class in which Srila Prabhupada talks about how the scriptures ( Vedas/Puranas ) do not reject anyone, but have divisions for those in tamas, raja, sattva gunas, etc. They are the desire tree. So you want to be guru, and that is your service, the shastras are supporting you. But there are others who also have shastric support.

You may not know that after 1980 I never spoke with Hansadutta Prabhu for 13 years! He is a special soul, and at least now he is trying to preach again. I find his current mood rather blissful. Puri Maharaja has told me that Hansadutta is qualified to preach. Puri Maharaja has not had much complimentary to say about the ISKCON acharya system as it currently exists. For myself, he has encouraged me to chant Hare Krishna, go out on Hari Nama regularly and to hear Srimad-Bhagavatam every day, etc. He has told me to not think about the past or the future, and to simply focus all my attention learning to chant the Hare Krishna mantra without making offences. He is not "my Puri Maharaja." He is a wonderful senior Vaishnava, a real god-brother of Srila Prabhupada, and he has helped me to become a more obedient son of Srila Prabhupada after many years of neglect. I am, of course, grateful for his help.

In your letter, you reference Prabhupada's conversation in Vol. 22, p. 82-83, about a guru being the one who does not cheat. This is a very nice quote. So if all of you "initiating gurus" are presenting yourselves as peon messengers of Srila Prabhupada only and have not added or subtracted anything, and are not at all ambitious to collect disciples, have money, have temples, etc., then indeed you are doing a wonderful service.

Maharaja, I am always hankering for the association of sincere devotees. That association is my life and soul. I do feel that I am part of Prabhupada's society now and always have been. I certainly have no friends who are not engaged in devotional service.

If, by chance, you happen to come through S.E. Asia, please know that you are most welcome to camp at my house for a day or two or more. I will be much honored to try and serve you in any menial manner. If, by chance, there is any service I may do from here for your Polish devotees, please let me know. Thailand is a good place to buy rice!

Hope this greets you in perfect health and very ecstatic spirits. I remain,

Your obedient servant,
Bhakta das

From Bhakta das, Bangkok, Thailand
6 July 1994

Dear Srila Trivikram Maharaja:

Please accept my most humble obeisances at your feet. All glories to His Divine Grace, Srila Prabhupada!

After thinking a bit about the content of your holiness's letter a bit longer I thought to share a few excerpts from Srila Prabhupada's books with you also.

When Srila Prabhupada writes (Nectar of Instruction ): "THEREFORE A DISCIPLE SHOULD BE CAREFUL TO ACCEPT AN UTTAMA-ADHIKARI AS A SPIRITUAL MASTER," those words are about as clear and direct as I can find.

Similarly, in the Chaitanya-charitamrita Madhya-lila, wherein Lord Chaitanya specifically orders Sanatana Goswami to explain the qualities of the bona fide spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada has quoted from the Padma Purana: "THE GURU MUST BE SITUATED ON THE TOPMOST PLATFORM OF DEVOTIONAL SERVICE."

So it would seem that only referring to the quotes in your letter and the other numerous quotes wherein it is deemed that one should serve and surrender to an uttama devotee, there is contradiction? Is it meant to be confusing?

In Easy Journey to Other Planets, Srila Prabhupada mentions a type of "monitor guru," which is how I relate to the concept of rittvik guru, or madhyam adhikari guru, whatever you might like to call it, the point is honesty with all regarding the factual level of one's own realizations.

In the Phalgun Krishna Panchami (Verse 23) of Srila Prabhupada, written in 1961 as an offering to Thakur Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati, Srila Prabhupada clearly states: "If everyone just initiates, then there will only be a contradictory result. As long as it goes on, there will be only failure."

There is no doubt that Srila Prabhupada desires for each and every one of his children to become perfectly realized souls and thus actually be empowered with the mercy of Lord Chaitanya to distribute the pure name of Krishna. But since he disappeared, there was so much concoction. Instead of worshipping the acharya and preaching how he was omnipresent in sound and serving his divine orders, we all tried to become initiating spiritual masters, and now we have 70 or 80 or 90 families of gurus and their children, all of whom seem to think, "My guru is better than your guru" and will come to physical blows over this subject from time to time. Not only that, but their beloved "gurus " seem to encourage this type of thinking in their children.

Your holiness is undoubtedly a very sincere devotee and is dear to Srila Prabhupada. But please do not think that Srila Prabhupada has given up his relationship with those of us who are living without the umbrella of the GBC over us. I can only speak for myself, but I can assure you that I do not feel any separation from his Divine Grace any longer, because I am trying with every ounce of my being to be his obedient son. I realize that it may take many, many more lifetimes of practice, but I know that I am rightly situated under the dust of his divine feet again.

Undoubtedly, Srila Prabhupada's pleasure is seeing the mutual respect and co-operation of his children to distribute the holy name of Krishna to every home on this planet. So I continue to pray that the day will come when all of us will fully surrender to our beloved spiritual master and will give up all the desires which are keeping us from mutually glorifying him.

I beg you to mercifully tolerate and forgive any offence I might commit knowingly or unknowingly at your lotus feet.

Your humble servant,
Bhakta das

From Shyamasundar das,
Cebu, Philippines

Dear Hansadutta:

Hare Krishna! It's nice to hear again from you through your most enlightening magazine I received from Bhima das, Srila Prabhupada, His Movement and You. I was so happy to know about your realization of this guru thing. I just hope that everything will go fine, especially that not everyone is into this rittvik scene, which even is the truth, I know for sure that Krishna knows and He wants the rittvik system for all the devotees all over the ISKCON world. As you have said "ISKCON is the flow of Prabhupada's instructions." Like the Ganges River. So shall it be. Sometimes I share these realizations of yours with my god-brothers, and they are happy to know this. Most likely they are waiting for the time when you can come here to meet us again in person.

I happened to talk to Vasista, and he asked me about you. I suggested it would be better if he wrote to you, and I gave him your address. He said deep in his mind he knows you are coming here soon. Could you please send him a Prabhupada, His Movement and You?

Hari bol,
Shyamasundar das

From Krishna-Balarama Swami
21 August 1994

Dear Hansadutta das:

Please accept my humble obeisances in the dust of your lotus feet. All glories to Srila Prabhupada and the chanting of Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

Thank you so much for publishing your two magazines, Srila Prabhupada, His Movement and You, and Excommunicated, Uncommunicated, Incommunicado. These magazines point the way to real and therefore lasting reconciliation among all of Srila Prabhupada's disciples.

In the society of Vaishnavas, humility will always be met with forgiveness. Humility is the string on which the other pearl-like Vaishnava qualities are strung, and without which they will scatter in an instant. Forgiveness, according to Srila Vishvanatha Chakravarti Thakura, is the symptom that one has progressed to the stage of "bhava," in which the heart begins to melt. Humility is the first step in the path out of the material entanglement (BG 13.8-12) And when Parasara Muni, taking the advice of Vasistha Muni, cancelled his fire sacrifice, which was intended to kill all the demons of the world and forgave the demon who had devoured his (Parasara Muni's) father, understanding this to be the natural activity of demons, he was blessed by Pulastya Muni, the father of the demons, to be a great speaker of the Puranas. (SB 3.8.9) In Bhagavad-gita (10.4-5), Srila Prabhupada writes: "Forgiveness should be practiced, and one should forgive the minor offences of others." If Parasara Muni, who is in the Sampradaya coming down from Lord Shankarshan to Sanat Kumar to Shankyayana Muni to Parasara Muni and Brihaspati to Maitreya Muni to Mahatma Vidura and who gave us the definition of Bhagavan, can forgive the devouring of his father by a demon, then should we not also be prepared to forgive?

In Bhagavad-gita (13.8-12), Srila Prabhupada writes:

Humility means that one should not be anxious to have the satisfaction of being honored by others.

Lord Brahma exactly followed these principles without any superiority complex, and thus he attained the highest perfectional stage of experiencing the abode of the Lord.... The word manisita is very significant. Everyone is falsely or factually proud of his so-called knowledge. But the Lord says that the highest perfectional stage of learning is to know Him and His abode, devoid of illusion. (SB 2.9.22)

And at the gates of Vaikuntha, in the midst of a blissful exchange of humility, involving Lord Vishnu, Jaya and Vijaya and themselves, the four saintly Kumaras addressed Lord Vishnu thus: "Therefore Your potency is not reduced by Your submissive behavior. Rather, by submission You exhibit Your transcendental pastimes." (SB 3.16.24) If Lord Brahma, despite his factual accomplishments, and Lord Vishnu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, can act and speak without superiority complex, then can the leaders of our Hare Krishna movement and all of its sub-sects refuse to return Srila Prabhupada's disciples to him, put aside their titles, asanas and pranams and admit that they and all of us are simply children playing at Srila Prabhupada's lotus feet?

"Whatever actions a great man performs, common men follow in his footsteps, and whatever standards he sets by exemplary acts, all the world pursues." (BG 3.21) For the unity and progress of the Hare Krishna movement and for the general welfare of all the living entities of this world, this is a very small request.

I believe you, that you are free of the ambition to be "the guru." I pray that the Lord will keep me free of it. I thank you for throwing light on this aberration within our Sampradaya and for identifying the disease of pratistha as its cause. I pray that all honest devotees will try to eradicate this disease, without hating its victims, for as Srila Vishvanath Chakravarti Thakur has written, "No Vaishnava should ever entertain the thought, `I have done no wrong.'" ( Madhurya Kadambini )

May Lord Jagannath, Lord Baladev and Lady Subhadra smile upon you always.

Krishna-Balarama Swami

From Dharmatma das, Alachua, Florida
26 August 1994

Dear Hansadutta Prabhu:

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

Shyamakunda Prabhu just brought me a copy of your Excommunicated, Uncommunicated, Incommunicado booklet. I was quite amazed, but not so surprised at the actions of some of the ISKCON "big devotees and leaders." Having experienced the same type of ostracization at the community here, I can sympathize with you. It never ceases to amaze me how they can be so unkind, uncompassionate and intolerant, the exact opposite qualities that real devotees should exhibit. Here at New Raman Reti in Florida, we have our share of so-called big devotees: current GBCs, ex GBCs, sannyasis , ex-sannyasis and want-to-be's. There is no shortage of false egos and holier-than-thou attitudes. My way of dealing with the situation is just that--not dealing with them at all. My family and I go to Mangal Arotika, Tulasi and japa, then come home and start our own home-schooling with the kids. We stay away from the social scenes and different trips. It's lonely, but healthier as we stay away from conflicts and fault-finding.

It amazes me that the powers-to-be dictated that you shouldn't lead kirtans or give class at the temples. Recently, they made Radhanath Swami a GBC. With all due respect, as I do like him as a person, and he is a sweet devotee, but still he was involved to some degree or had knowledge of Sulochan's murder. I know this for a fact. Not only that, he supported K Swami to the end, causing many devotees much anguish and suffering. My feeling is that he, like many of the others, is motivated by profit, adoration and distinction. It's too bad, but not at all surprising. A truly advanced devotee is a rare commodity.

Anyway, keep up the good work. Go on, irregardless of them. The best revenge is your good living in Krishna consciousness. They can't keep you from Krishna or Prabhupada.

Hope this finds you well and blissfully engaged. Look forward to your association again one day. Hari bol!

Your servant,
Dharmatma das

From Tirthakara das
1 September 1994

Dear Hansadutta Prabhu:

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

Prabhu, we met briefly last year in Vrindavan, where you would give a reward of $108,000.00 to any ISKCON guru who could prove himself appointed to the position of full guru-acharya. Well, apart from Srila das, no one turned up, as expected.

Anyway, I've had a busy time here, coming back from India in February, buying an old dike house, renovating, getting settled, etc.

Yesterday, Vyasa Puja day of Srila Prabhupada, we (wife and two children) were in Radhadesh. Before leaving, I purchased a little booklet called Guru Tattva, written by Gaura Govinda Swami. Tonight I re-read your magazine, Srila Prabhupada, His Movement and You. Well, I must say I'm still puzzled by it all. Gaura Govinda put an appendix in from the life of Sri Ramanujacharya, including his initiation, and he presents two important points: 1) Ramanujacharya did not accept Yamunacharya as his initiating spiritual master, but the disciple of Yamunacharya, Mahapurna, as his spiritual master; 2) he was not requested to accept initiation from the now-departed Yamunacharya, but took direct initiation, coming in the preceptorial line from the disciple of Yamunacharya.

Good point. Can you comment on this one?

While reading your magazine, I noticed you put a lot of emphasis on the July 9th letter from Srila Prabhupada. But the thing is, Prabhupada requested the eleven disciples to act as rittviks while he was present. Not a word is mentioned that this was to be continued after his disappearance. I mean, that would really convince me, but as it is, I find it a bit vague. On the other hand, I agree with the quotations Gaura Govinda Swami gives from Srila Prabhupada's books regarding the qualifications of a guru --must be an uttama-adhikari, as otherwise the disciple of a kanistha or madhyam cannot advance very well to the ultimate goal of life under his insufficient guidance. Therefore, to me it seems they should have acted as regular gurus, as Prabhupada mentioned, not as acharyas, and without the pomp and splendor.

In other words, if they can act in a humble way, in an honest way, where the disciple knows, "My guru is not an uttama, but he acts as regular guru on Prabhupada's order," isn't that acceptable? If both disciple and guru know this, then what is the harm if he gives diksha and shiksha to a neophyte, as long as he's sincere?

On the other hand, the disciple has to see his guru as absolute, so I don't really know. Rittvik initiation from a departed Vaishnava (although Vaishnavas never die, living in transcendental sound) is also uncommon in our parampara. In other words, I'm not convinced and remain confused, because nowhere Prabhupada says, "Continue to be rittvik after my departure." Another argument I often hear is, "Well, such and such may have fallen down, but that does not mean that they are all the same! Just because he couldn't make it, we should all abandon our position?"

I just want to be frank and open. Can you shed some light on all these points I made? Some devotees say that Gaura Govinda stresses the qualifications of guru so much because he thinks himself as being qualified. What is your opinion? I'm afraid to judge anyone, because who am I? I'm most unqualified. I read some lectures of HH Gaura Govinda, and I like them. He must be an advanced soul. All I know, to reach the brahma-bhuta stage is not an easy matter, but as I say, I don't want to judge. I would actually welcome very much devotees that can come to that platform as our movement very much needs such elevated persons. Hope this meets you in good health and Krishna consciousness.

Your unworthy servant,
Tirthakara das

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