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Sealing the Relationship

By Padyavali Devi Dasi

Further to my posting "ISKCON is our Home"

He lives forever in the hearts of his followers / Sealing the Relationship

This paper will focus on Srila Prabhupada as the Founder Acarya and Siksa Guru Acarya for everyone in ISKCON. The diksha initiations are already going on in ISKCON since Srila Prabhupada's departure and are accepted as the correct parampara system for ISKCON. This reform paper focuses on Srila Prabhupada's position as the recognized Siksa Guru Acarya of his ISKCON in the line of disciplic succession .

The position taken here is that Srila Prabhupada's books would be the law books for ISKCON for the next ten thousand years and that Srila Prabhupada has stated that "I live forever in my purports."

Srila Prabhupada's qualification was that he changed nothing but presented everything "as it is" and he establishes that through his books he would act as the SIKSA GURU ACARYA for ISKCON down through time.

This paper will address the need to formalize this Siksa Guru Acarya initiation. The understanding of Srila Prabhupada as the Siksa Guru Acarya for everyone in ISKCON for all of time was enshrined in ISKCON by GBC Resolutions. This paper will examine why these resolutions must be followed and why the siksa initiation whereby the new disciple accepts Srila Prabhupada as his siksa guru must be formalized. Therefore all persons in ISKCON will have a direct connection to the Founder Acarya. This initiation will not usurp the diksha initiation (disciple of my disciple) as we can see below by the GBC resolution. It will secure the disciple at the lotus feet of Srila Prabhupada and allow his diksa guru to guide him through Srila Prabhupada's teachings and train him to carry on ISKCON's mission as set down by Srila Prabhupada.

GBC Resolution 1992.71 (Correspondence Resolution effective December 18,1991)

It is Resolved: that a new devotee who follows the four regulative principles and chants sixteen rounds for the first six months should chant Srila Prabhupada's param mantra as Founder-Acarya of ISKCON and his siksa guru.

At any time after the initial six month period, and after passing the required examination, the candidate may choose his future diksa guru, with the permission of the guru, and after notifying the local Temple President, begin to worship him as spiritual master and chant his pranam mantra. (end of resolution)

What has happened in ISKCON and why there is need to reform is:

When the diksha initiation is given, the siksa initiation by the Founder Acarya (which was never formalized) is more or less de-emphasized.

At temple level this has caused a lot of difficulties for temple presidents and managers who have to cope with disciples who will only hear from guru, meaning diksha and will not hear from those representing Srila Prabhupada as managers in the temples. This has caused much strife at the grass roots level among the Godbrothers and Godsisters and the grand disciples as they attempt to manage the temples and the affairs of the movement, preaching and the making of new devotees has also been affected.

The managers and preachers have become very discouraged by the behavior of some of the initiating diksha gurus and their disciples. The principle that this is "my" disciple is emphasized and a proper balance is not struck regarding the institution and its functioning with other devotees.

We have many camps of disciples but we do not have a united ISKCON.

GBC Resolution 1994:35 That the following statement be accepted as ISKCON'S statement about the Founder Acarya:

To fulfill the previous acarya's desire for a united worldwide preaching organization to expand Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's mission. Srila Prabhupada founded the International Society for Krishna Consciousness as a distinct branch of the Brahma Gaudiya Vaisnava Sampradaya Therefore he is the Founder Acarya of ISKCON.

Srila Prabhupada is the foundational siksa guru for all of ISKCON devotees because he has realized the teachings of the previous acaryas of the Brahma Madhva Gaudiya sampradaya appropriately for the modern age.

Srila Prabhupada's instructions are the essential teachings for every ISKCON devotee.

Srila Prabhupada's books are the embodiment of his teachings and should be accepted as the standard by all future generations of ISKCON.

Srila Prabhupada should be worshipped daily by every ISKCON member.

Every ISKCON spiritual master is responsible to guide his disciples to follow Srila Prabhupada's instructions.

As Founder-acarya, Srila Prabhupada gave directions for management, principles of cooperation, and other practical guidelines which form the basis and inspiration for ISKCON's policies.

Srila Prabhupada established the Governing Body Commission to execute his will, following the order of the previous acaryas.

All the above having been said, many devotees still feel that the grand disciples are still not sufficiently connected to Srila Prabhupada as their siksa guru. The following is being offered as a possible solution to this problem which is dividing ISKCON.

Srila Prabhupada, a very kind father to us, saw our needs and shortcomings, and he compensated for them with his own mercy and love upon us, especially by assisting with the burden of future initiations himself. He, as the Founder Acarya would help all future generations for the next ten thousand years as the direct siksa guru of the new disciples who came.

These grand disciples, down through time, would all have a direct siksa relationship with Srila Prabhupada but the diksa guru would still be required to initiate the disciple, take the karma and perform all rights of passage of our disciplic succession to the new disciples.

In other words the diksa guru, whether a Srila Prabhupada disciple at present or in the future a grand disciple, would carry on the business of initiating disciples as diksa gurus but Srila Prabhupada would be the direct siksa guru to these disciples, also. This will fulfill Srila Prabhupada's desire to live forever in his teachings and to live forever in the hearts of his followers as their ever well wisher.

Thus Srila Prabhupada's mission would continue down through time with Srila Prabhupada always as the Founder Acarya and direct Siksa guru for the next ten thousand years even though the ISKCON diksa gurus change with the generations.

Srila Prabhupada and ISKCON will remain intact and continue our line without difficulty.

If all of this is in place is there still a problem in ISKCON? My feeling is that the guru problem still dogs us because we have failed to formalize or somehow enshrine the Siksa Guru Acarya initiation in the minds of the grand disciples and the Srila Prabhupada disciples. We talk about it and refer to it but the disciples only receive the diksa guru's initiation and are never "confirmed" by an initiation as a siksa disciple of Srila Prabhupada. The grand disciples say things like: "I came too late, I missed the opportunity of having Srila Prabhupada as my guru. You don't know what it is like to be a grand disciple and have to choose from so many. What if they fall. Both of my gurus have fallen what am I suppose to do now".

If this process of initiation by the Guru Acarya as their siksa guru is emphasized they will feel much more grounded and still fixed even if there is a fall.

I feel the grand disciples are tied by one string when they were meant to be tied by two to our disciplic succession. What would the normalization or the formalization of the siksa relationship with Srila Prabhupada do for ISKCON as a society and the grand disciples in particular:

Quote: GBC Resolution 1992.71:

"A new disciple who follows the four regulative principles and chants sixteen rounds for the first six months should chant Srila Prabhupada's pranam mantra and worship him as Founder-Acarya of ISKCON and his siksa guru."

My proposal is that this should be a recognized and formalized initiation in ISKCON for the grand disciple. Why? Because the relationship should be sealed in the mind of all. Then the grand disciples can feel directly connected to Srila Prabhupada as their siksa guru. Now they are distanced. "Johnny's come lately" who missed Srila Prabhupada. We as Srila Prabhupada's diksa disciples are referred to as "a Srila Prabhupada disciple," but they, the new disciples, are just grand disciples. This does not work as we are seeing not for them and not for us and the ISKCON society. What my proposal will accomplish:

It will unite all the disciples by giving the grand disciples a direct relationship with Srila Prabhupada .Their relationship will not be through their diksa guru to Srila Prabhupada, or through one of us as a spiritual aunt or uncle it will be a direct siksa relationship in which they will inherit all that ISKCON* has* and *is* directly from the Founder Acarya himself as we did. They are going to inherit it all anyway as we grow older and leave the planet. And they will have to hand it down to their disciples as they grow older and leave the planet. They must be groomed and properly prepared to carry on this great mission of the Founder Acarya to insure that Srila Prabhupada always remains as the siksa guru of the future generations.
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How are they to be made ready

(Quote GBC Resolution) "At any time after the initial six month period, and after passing the required examination, the candidate may choose his future diksha guru, with the permission of the guru, and, after notifying the local Temple President, begin to worship him as spiritual master and chant his pranam mantra .

What is missing from this statement is the word "also". Meaning the disciple keeps Srila Prabhupada's pranam mantra and worships Srila Prabhupada with it but also worship the diksa with his diksa guru's pranam mantra. He would not use his diksa's pranam mantra to worship Srila Prabhupada because he has his own direct siksa relationship with Srila Prabhupada as Founder Acarya. All offerings of food could be made to the diksa guru as this is his work with the disciple.

This direct siksa relationship will satisfy everyone's desire to be a Srila Prabhupada disciple directly and Srila Prabhupada will accept them as they are proposed by the Temple Presidents for *Siksa initiation by the Founder Acarya* as he did when he was present for his diksa disciples. But this initiation by Srila Prabhupada and his formally accepting a disciple as his siksa must be in some way "sealed" by cermony and not just left in the air in some general non confirmed way. Since this is the grand disciple's right given by Srila Prabhupada and the GBC they should receive this right by proper ceremony. We as Srila Prabhupada's diksa disciples must set this system in motion for the up coming generations.

Brahminical initiation will also be given to the disciple by his diksa guru in front of Srila Prabhupada. But now there will be new meaning to "in front of Srila Prabhupada as their Siksa Guru Acarya.

Since the new disciples are also initiated by Srila Prabhupada as siksa (in a formal fire yajna) their relationship with Srila Prabhupada will be formally and lovingly established and they will feel like true members of Srila Prabhupada's ISKCON and be ready to push on Srila Prabhupada's mission in the world and read and distribute Srila Prabhupada's books

I am very often saddened as I sometimes see the grand disciples neglect Srila Prabhupada's Vyasasana for example. They don't seem to see it. True, they offer flowers and bow down but it is a *ritual* more than a *relationship* Neither cleaning the vyasanana or bowing to Srila Prabhupada as they pass him or they stand in front of him. All of these things are signs that they are not correctly connected to him. If their diksha guru were sitting there they may not behave like this. It is very difficult to instill their attachment for Srila Prabhupada from the outside (by mere instruction as written above as a GBC resolution). The resolution is fine but it does not touch the heart of the candidate in and of itself.

Initiation is needed to capture the heart and mind so that the devotee becomes a disciple. Persons might read Srila Prabhupada's biography, they may appreciate his works and deeds, they may even read his books, letters and hear his tapes as friends and admirers of Srila Prabhupada but *disciple* means a much more serious connection and commitment. It takes surrender, it obliges the disciple to act upon the guru's instructions. To make those instructions his life and soul.

Just like with Arjuna and Krsna they were friends but there was a point when Arjuna accepted Krsna as guru. This is a very internal, heartfelt surrender that begins the relationship of teacher and student. Srila Prabhupada is accepting the disciple who has been recommended. But the disciple has to also accept the guru within his heart. He has to surrender and take up his instructions.

This is what we have failed to achieve to date among the grand disciples. We must recognize this and make the necessary corrections.

They see Srila Prabhupada as *your* guru not theirs. "You are a Srila Prabhupada disciple Mother Padyavali" they tell me over the years in many places. "You are so lucky you have Srila Prabhupada as your guru".

They still feel like orphans in spite of their diksha initiations. What is missing? *Their* own connection to Srila Prabhupada as their siksa guru. Recognized, formalized and acknowledged by all.

Other benefits to ISKCON if this were done:

The reform movement regarding ISKCON gurus might become satisfied and maybe even the Ritvik Godbrothers and Sisters will be satisfied but most of all Krsna and Srila Prabhupada will be satisfied that we will have finally followed Srila Prabhupada's instruction that *he* will be the siksa guru of his ISKCON out of compassion for us all.

All present initiated grand disciples should be given their fire yajna of their Siksa Guru Acarya initiation by Srila Prabhupada and this will stabilize our movement at the lotus feet of Srila Prabhupada. This will cause the grand disciples to recognize Srila Prabhupada as the Founder Acarya (placing him in the center as a living principle in their lives) and allowing him to act as their siksa guru through his books, letters, instructions, temples, teachings etc. Srila Prabhupada will be the primary teacher of his siksa disciples assisted by the diksa gurus. Srila Prabhupada wanted also to give his assistance to his disciples and to the spreading of the Krsna Consciousness movement and he is able to do this by remaining the leader and Founder Acarya even after his departure.

Srila Prabhupada fully understood the burden that initiating disciples would be and he offered himself to assist his disciples. Recognizing this will give new life and strength to the grand disciples and the ISKCON Institution and to all of us.

Srila Prabhupada did not ask us to worship and accept Srila Bhaktisiddhanta as our siska guru in this same way as he has asked the future generations to accept him. This is Srila Prabhupada's unique gift to the world after his departure.

I asked one grand disciple of eighteen years, a scholarly, cultured and dedicated ISKCON grand disciple (married with two children but living as a full time preacher in ISKCON, supported by the temple) how he would feel if he would be given initiation by the Founder Acarya .(He has been following all the guru issues very carefully)

He said "I would love this more then anything else in my life. To be recognized and accepted as a student of His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada and to formally be accepted by him as my siksa guru this would give me my greatest happiness. I know I could double my preaching efforts if this happened."

What I found interesting about his reply that even though he reads and studies Srila Prabhupada's books and can recite verse and sloka and is carrying on Srila Prabhupada's mission he, within his heart, immediately recognized that he was not connected through the heart to Srila Prabhupada and was hankering for this.

Looking at the situation with the Gurukulis.

Listening to how they feel. They also "feel" like they have missed the boat and are not really citizens of ISKCON. This movement is a feeling of the heart and if that is not satisfied then rules and regulations won't help us. He lives forever in the hearts of his followers as their ever well wisher Everyone must be directly connected by their own initiation to the Founder Acarya as they accept him as their teacher and guide. Then they will be obliged to follow his instructions and they will have the sense of belonging that all are hankering for.

Once they (the gurukulis) are connected and recognized as students of his Divine Grace their status as devotees of ISKCON will be forever established. Many were born in the movement when Srila Prabhupada was on the planet to inherit this movement and to carry it on also yet they feel so unrecognized and unappreciated. Every gurukuli I talk to hankers after just this very feeling of belonging, being part of and being accepted not only by one of us but by Srila Prabhupada whom they love and have worshipped since their birth on this planet.

Women in ISKCON

Starting with Srila Prabhupada's own disciples who have a "feeling" also of not being fully accepted and must set up Women's ministries etc to try and correct some of the problems of non acceptance they face. But what is not recognized is that Srila Prabhupada accepted them as his disciples as he accepted the Godbrothers why does this not settle the issue? What else is there to say? If Srila Prabhupada's own disciples are feeling non-acceptance what then of the future generations that come after them. Again the Founder Acarya's initiation of these women is being minimized.

Srila Prabhupada gave them everything he gave everyone else who are we to say they cannot have what he gave?

Mangal Maharaja of the Gaudiya math told me that he felt that the reason that ISKCON and Srila Prabhupada are so successful is because he initiated women and utilized grhastas to spread Krsna Consciousness. He said the Gaudiya Math was only brahmacaris and sannyasis, an all men's movement, which did not fare well in the west. He thought it was a brilliant move on the part of Srila Prabhupada to initiate women and said he felt it accounted for the success of the movement spreading in the western countries.

Devotees all over the world from many walks of life get this feeling that Srila Prabhupada is being minimized in ISKCON to the point where outsiders feel that they should come in and try to take his place. Even some of Srila Prabhupada's own disciples have tried to introduce this idea and when it was not accepted then some left and joined the Gaudiya Math.

This is what this oversight of not formalizing Srila Prabhupada's siksa initiation and connecting everyone to the Founder Acarya has cost us. This is what is meant by the world wide cry to "Keep Srila Prabhupada at the center"

The first step in correcting a problem is to recognize the problem. Even Srila Prabhupada's disciples have left ISKCON looking for an older, wiser, Indian bodied saint to lead them. They felt that there was no one in ISKCON for them to take shelter of and they felt and feel more comfortable with the Gaudiya math Godbrothers of Srila Prabhupada than with their own Godbrothers. Somehow they did not feel they were still in Srila Prabhupada's ISKCON. It really felt like Srila Prabhupada was gone for some. The imbalance of the diksha initiation taking so much prominence and the siksa initiation not being recognized caused this dilemma in my opinion in the minds and hearts of the disciples.

Other benefits to ISKCON by formalizing Siksa Guru Acarya initiation to Srila Prabhupada:

If we formally recognize Srila Prabhupada as the direct siksa for the coming generations we will have saved Srila Prabhupada's mission from disaster and satisfied everyone heart's desire simultaneously. No matter how many gurus are acting as dikshas and initiating in ISKCON this will not disturb Srila Prabhupada's being the leader of ISKCON and being kept in the center because everyone of their disciples will be receiving his, Srila Prabhupada.Founder Acarya Siksa initiation, and will be joining us all at the lotus feet of Srila Prabhupada as his students, as we all are, and as a member of his loving family in his ISKCON. To me this is not optional. This must be done. Better late than never.

Then we won't need two boats, we can all get back into one ISKCON boat and go on together as Godbrothers and Godsisters serving the lotus feet of Guru and Gauranga.

With Srila Prabhupada firmly established as the Founder Acarya of ISKCON and the Siksa Guru Acarya in the mind and hearts of all who come there should be a "no vacancy" sign hung on ISKCON for those who try to usurp Srila Prabhupada's position as the leader of ISKCON for all of time.

6. When Srila Prabhupada was present we used to bring everyone to him for initiation and now we can continue to do so. The diksa gurus and other teacher must make sure that the disciples are studying Srila Prabhupada's books, letters, etc. That they teach their disciples to understand how ISKCON functions both management and mission, deity worship, temples etc. and that they are now ready to push on this movement under the guidance of Srila Prabhupada and their diksa guru and teachers with the full support of ISKCON management and GBC. Then the ISKCON Institution will be unbreakable.

7. This system will build strong devotees, strong temples, and a strong ISKCON. It will possibly stop the fall down of our diksa gurus by reducing their burden, but if some do fall down the disciples will not feel so abandoned and lost as they will be strong in their love for Srila Prabhupada as their direct siksa guru. They will be Srila Prabhupada's men and women and children living in the house that he built for them.

8. Srila Prabhupada in his mercy and vision could see the coming Kali Yuga and knew that each country would have to produce diksa gurus therefore he himself would act in the same way that Krsna acted for Arjuna, as teacher and friend. He would remain as the chariot driver of ISKCON representing Krsna and bring us all back to Godhead by the mercy of Lord Caitanya and the Panca Tattva.

9. Srila Prabhupada has not left us and will never leave us or the future generations of disciples and that certainty will keep us all fixed in devotional service at his lotus feet. This is the mission that we as Srila Prabhupada's present diksha disciples have as our service to our Spiritual Master and we must not fail to get it right. So much depends on our proper understanding as we are seeing. We must recognize Srila Prabhupada's greatness and share him with the whole world as Krsna intended.

The work of the dikshas with Srila Prabhupada at the center:

10 .The initiating diksha guru must, before initiating a new disciple, make inquiries as to who is serving this disciple as his present teachers (bhakta leaders, sankirtan leaders, temple president etc.) and before initiating the disciple he must sit with his disciple and have him understand that he will continue to serve those who are training him and he must continue to honor and serve in the same capacity as he was before initiation. There should not be any disruption in his service or in his attitude toward his present teachers. The teachers should also meet with the diksa guru and give him up to date information and recommendation for this disciple. The teachers should, after the initiation, always inform the diksa guru of the progress of his disciple. This is proper etiquette. All of this should take place after the disciple has had his Siksa Guru Acarya initiation.

11. The siksa initiation by the Founder Acarya into his institution will make the society function uniformly while still allowing the disciplic succession to continue through diksha initiation as disciples of my disciples.

I prayed very hard at the lotus feet of my beautiful Nitai Gaura-Chandra deities (dancing Gaura Nitai) and at the lotus feet of Srila Prabhupada. I also prayed to Lord Jagannath, Lord Balaram and Lady Subhadra as I dress them every morning in the temple for the solution to this guru issue dilemma that we are all facing.

What you have just read are my realizations or answers to my prayers coming more as a feeling of the heart and a recognition of the feelings in the hearts of others.

Please read this paper very carefully, with deep thought and say your own prayers so that Srila Prabhupada is pleased with all of us and we are pleased with each other.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Yours in the Service of Srila Prabhupada and Lord Caitanya

By all of your mercy

Your servant

Padyavali Dasi

CHAKRA 27-Oct-98

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