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Go to the “Ritvik Page

by Adridharana dasa

Ajamila’s introduction presents 3 main lines of argument: the May 28th Tape, The 'law of disciplic succession' and the 'Vaisnava tradition'. However in presenting these arguments Ajamila only succeeds in: - Contradicting Himself; Contradicting the GBC & eliminating his own evidence.

May 28th Tape - Ajamila Contradicts Himself and the GBC

Ajamila says:

"Srila Prabhupada added acarya to the word ritvik because during his presence they are ritviks and after his departure they are acaryas." (Ajamila's Introduction)

But 'Prabhupada's Order', which Ajamila was a contributor to, states:

"The significant point here is that terms such as .rtvig-guru and rtvig-acarya simply do not exist. There is no such term in any Sanskrit dictionary, nor in any recognized Vedic literature, to my knowledge. There is no such term because there is no such concept. In other words, our friends are proposing something that does not exist in Vedic culture." (Prabhupada's Order, GBC Paper, Contributor Ajamila)

Thus according to Ajamila (and the GBC) his own argument rests on a concept and word ('ritvik-acarya) that 'does not exist in vedic culture'. Thus he has defeated himself, and further he accuses Srila Prabhupada of propounding this non-existent word and concept by stating that Srila Prabhupada 'added acarya to the word ritvik'.

To round of his contradiction, Ajamila further glorifies the very paper that has just destroyed his key argument:

"Subsequently the GBC unanimously concluded in a definitive paper entitled Prabhupadas Order (downloadable from CHAKRA) that ritvikism is a dangerous and devious concoction." (Ajamila's Introduction)

Also Ajamila's scholarship is so sloppy that even to make the above point that he then himself defeats, he has to fabricate what Srila Prabhupada stated, since it was HH Tamala Krishna who used the word 'Ritvik-acharya' - not Srila Prabhupada:

Prabhupada: Yes.I shall recommend some of you. After this is settled up, I shall recommend some of you to act as officiating acharyas.
Tamal Krsna: Is that called ritvik-acharya? Prabhupada: Ritvik, yes. (May 28th Conversation)

Not content with contradicting himself, Ajamila now picks on the GBC. Ajamila states in reference to the May 28th tape:

"There is absolutely no doubt here that the topic of this entire conversation was future initiations after Srila Prabhupadas departure. This is the clear direct meaning." (Ajamila's Introduction)

However the GBC, when explaining the topic of the May 28th conversation, do not agree with Ajamila's 'clear and direct meaning':

"When Srila Prabhupada was asked who would initiate after his physical departure he stated he would "recommend" and give his "order" to some of his disciples who would initiate on his behalf during his lifetime and afterwards as "regular gurus," whose disciples would be Srila Prabhupada's grand-disciples." (On My Order Understood, GBC 1995)

Here we see that the GBC disagree with Ajamila that 'future initiations' after Srila Prabhupada's 'departure' was the 'topic' of the 'entire' conversation, since they state the conversation discusses initiations during Srila Prabhupada's 'life-time'. Thus Ajamila contradicts the GBC on the basic point of just what the conversation is about. And to complete Ajamila's embarrassment, this is what the GBC had to say about the above quoted paper:

"The GBC approves of the paper entitled "'On My Order'Understood" which establishes as ISKCON law the final siddhanta on Srila Prabhupada's desire for continuing the disciplic succession after the departure of His Divine Grace."
('Gurus and Initiation in SKCON', GBC 1995, Contributors HH Jayapataka Swami, HG Ravindra Svarupa prabhu, et. al.)

So take your pick - either the 'final siddhanta' of the GBC is wrong, or Ajamila's 'clear and direct meaning' is wrong.

The 'Law of Disciplic Succession & 'Vaisnava Tradition' - Ajamila Eliminates His Own Evidence

Ajamila presents as his main proof, the history of what has happened in the past:

"The rock solid proof that nobody takes diksa posthumously from a departed guru is Vaisnava tradition." (Ajamila's Introduction)

He then presents as his other main piece of evidence the 'law of disciplic succession':

"The fact that no other bona fide Vaisnava acarya has ever broken the law of disciplic succession is the example we MUST follow. We cannot break that law because it is a principle of sastra " (Ajamila's Introduction)

Yet this 'law' as stated by Srila Prabhupada, contains the restriction in initiating in the Guru's presence:

"But as a matter of etiquette it is the custom that during the lifetime of your spiritual master you bring the prospective disciples to him, and in his absence or disappearance you can accept disciples without any limitation. This is the law of disciplic succession." (Letter to Tusta Krishna Das, 2/12/75)

The GBC agreed that this restriction was integral to the 'law' since they used the 'law' as the basis for their paper that forbids devotees to initiate in the presence of the spiritual master:

"We must assume that as Founder-Acarya, Srila Prabhupada had the vision to set down a law--a law suitable for that unique institution, a law we would transgress at our peril."
(Devotees Initiating Before Their Guru's Physical Departure -An Official GBC Paper, Part of 'Gurus and Initiation in ISKCON', GBC, 1995)

Yet in the same paper, the GBC do not agree at all that this 'law' is either part of 'vaisnava tradition' or followed by every vaisnava acarya, or even sastric as claimed by Ajamila:

There are many such instances in the scriptures about disciples giving initiation in the presence of guru,… This statement proves that acceptance of disciples in the presence of one s spiritual master has been approved by the scriptures. In the scriptures there is no specific instruction about a disciple not giving initiation when his guru is present… Even though in the past spiritual masters have given disciples permission to initiate in their presence, (Devotees Initiating Before Their Guru's Physical Departure -An Official GBC Paper, Part of 'Gurus and Initiation in ISKCON', GBC, 1995)

Thus according to Ajamila's own 'rock solid proof' this 'law of disciplic succesion' must be rejected as it is not part of vaisnava tradition. And since this 'law' was stated by Srila Prabhupada that would mean rejecting Srila Prabhupada. Thus Ajamila has destroyed his whole paper, which rests on arguing for 'vaisnava tradiction'. Either we accept the 'rock solid proof' of Ajamila and reject the GBC and Srila Prabhupada. Or we reject Ajamila's 'rock solid proof'.

It should be noted that Ajamila attempts to avoid this embarrassing conclusion by a blatant act of cheating and subterfuge. When he first quotes the 'law' in his paper, he only quotes half of it as follows:

"In his absence or disappearance you can accept disciples without any limitation. This is the law of disciplic succession." (Srila Prabhupada 2 December 75)

Please compare this version to the real version of the law quoted earlier. Ajamila's cheating in using Capitals for the word 'In', and his omission of the continuity marks '…', tries to give the impression that the restriction of not initiating in the presence of the spiritual master, which he has conveniently omitted is not part of the law. But such subterfuge is easily detected.

In fact Ajamila's whole case for the 'law of disciplic succession' rests on fabricating that it states something which isn't doesn't:

"There are many MAJOR principles in bona fide Vaisnavism that can never be broken, and the law of disciplic succession that one must receive diksa from a qualified LIVING guru is one of them." ('Ajamila's Introduction', Emphasis Provided by Ajamila)

However as we have seen the 'law' does NOT state that 'one MUST receive diksa from a qualified LIVING guru', or anything of the kind. The words 'diksa', 'must', 'qualified' or 'living' are not even mentioned in the 'law'. Ajamila HIGHLIGHTING the word 'LIVING' merely emphasises the fabrication.

Another example of such mis-representation is when he quotes the following:

"As I have five thousand disciples or ten thousand, so you have ten thousand each. In this way create branches and branches of the Caitanya tree." (Srila Prabhupada, Mayapura 1976)

and attributes the above quote to SRILA PRABHUPADA. But this is another fabrication, since the above statement is from Hari Sauri prabhu's diary. Such 'hearsay' evidence can not be attributed as if it is coming directly from Srila Prabhupada.

More Cheating

Having demonstrated how Ajamila has defeated his own paper, we will now give examples of the blatant mis-representation of our position that constitutes the rest of his paper:

Ajamila states the following:

"But here is the outrageous distortion of that point we found in TFO:

"Prabhupada: (I am) initiating. (My) grand disciple."

Is this not a very desperate attempt at cognitive distortion? This is exactly what the Ritviks printed in TFO, including their parentheses and incorrect grammar. Here the Ritviks are literally putting words in Srila Prabhupadas mouth, implying that Prabhupada would initiate his grand disciple posthumously which is simply ludicrous. If Srila Prabhupada actually intended to make all future generations his direct disciples which is what the Ritviks keep bashing into everyones ears he would certainly not have used the words grand disciple would he?" (Ajamila's Introduction)

The above statement does not appear anywhere in the TFO. It is a fabrication.

Thus the only thing which is 'very desparate' and is a clear example of a 'distortion' (cognitive or otherwise) is the above blatant fabrication by Ajamila. We challenge Ajamila to state the page number of 'The Final Order' on which the above statement appears, so that we can all verify for ourselves this gross act of cheating.

There are many more such examples of this blatant mis-representation of our real position from Ajamila's introduction:

"Previously the Ritviks were claiming that the word henceforward in that letter was conclusive proof that the temporary ritvik system was to continue permanently after Srila Prabhupada's departure. But when we recently disproved that idea the Ritviks withdrew that claim and are now desperately presenting another misleading argument.| Their new goalpost is this: Nowhere in the 9 July letter does Srila Prabhupada tell us to stop the ritvik system after his departure."

This is a straight-forward lie. We stated right in the beginning of 'The Final Order', (1996) - p3 that the word 'henceforward' was not necessary; and in the same paper we also gave the argument that 'Srila Prabhupada does not tell us to stop the ritvik system'.

"They speculate that until a self-effulgent acarya comes and re-kindles the parampara the ritvik system should remain in place."

We state the opposite - see 'The Final Order' , p 46-48

And since an uttama will come down to madhyama to preach how can the Ritviks say for certain there are no uttamas in ISKCON when they hardly have any direct contact with most of them

We do not say this - see 'The Final Order', p34-35

"Ritviks proclaim there are no qualified acaryas like Srila Prabhupada to appoint more priests."

We do not say this. We say the GBC can appoint priests - see 'The Final Order', p46-48

The Ritviks illogically insist that all the above quotes only apply to Srila Prabhupada’s disciples becoming siksa-gurus, not diksa-gurus.

We state they do deal with diksa - see 'The Final Order' , p12-13

The Ritviks argument that Srila Prabhupada is independent of sastra and therefore he could break a major principle such as the law of disciplic succession is dangerously wrong.

We never 'argue' this.

"But the Ritviks assume that Srila Prabhupada wanted to contravene the rules on guru, sadhu, and sastra and that unfortunately is their great mistake."

We never 'assume' this.

"The Ritviks are trying to convince everyone that their 9 July evidence proves that Srila Prabhupada wanted to break the law of disciplic succession, he wanted to stop the parampara with him, and that he wanted to ignore the examples set by Lord Krishna, Lord Chaitanya, and all the acaryas in our line by implementing a system of posthumous initiations for himself after his departure. "

We are not trying to 'convince' anyone of these things.

"The ritvik people consider 9 July letter as their only evidence."

No we don't. We present quotes from the books, the will and other statements. See our introduction and 'The Final Order' and other papers.

"When we challenged the Ritviks to meet with some of those devotees they declined. Is this dubious behaviour from those who profess to propound the truth not contradictory?"

I nor any other member is aware of any such challenge, especially since in any case I have had recent contact with the devotees mentioned: HH Radha Govinda Maharaja & HH Jayapataka Swami.

And on and on and on. We could give many other examples. But we think you get the point. For example he devotes pages to the qualification of the Guru topic and that we use the fall-down of gurus as a justification for our position - a look at our introduction and our papers shows that this is just another false 'straw man' argument, since we never use such an argument.


We have shown conclusively that:

1) That Ajamila contradicts himself.
2) That Ajamila contradicts the GBC.
3) That Ajamila mis-represents evidence
4) That therefore the 3 main lines of argumentation presented by Ajamila - the May 28th tape, the 'law of disciplic succession', 'vaisnava tradition', are destroyed by Ajamila's own paper.
5) That he systematically mis-represents our position - the very position he is supposed to be defeating - indeed 'the Final Order' is only accurately quoted from twice.

Thus from every angle of vision, this paper from Ajamila, is useless as a contribution to this debate, since it defeats its own arguments, and in any case does not even address the actual arguments that are supposed to be the very purpose of this debate.

It is remarkable that such massive mis-representation could have occurred even before the debate has begun. It is very sloppy scholarship and Ajamila should have done his homework. Maybe now CHAKRA readers will begin to understand why the IRG are constantly stating that most ISKCON members have been kept in the dark over this issue for the last 21 years, and that they need to be given the opportunity to freely hear both sides of the debate.

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