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Concluding Statements from the Moderator of the Ritvik Debate
by Madhusudani Radha devi dasi

Dear Vaisnavis and Vaisnavas,

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

We have now completed 6 rounds of the Chakra "ritvik debate" and all that remains is for our two debaters Adridharan prabhu and Ajamila prabhu to present their conclusions. As you all know, the debate rules called for a re-evaluation of the debate process following 6 rounds. We examined reader response and found that the number of Chakra visited increased during the debate and leveled off somewhere half way through. However, it did not decline. Based on this, we could either have continued or finished. Next, the participants were surveyed regarding their preferences. Adridharan prabhu stated that he would prefer to continue debating until readership actually dropped. However, Ajamila prabhu was equally clear that he did not have the time to continue this debate, primarily due to the fact that his son was returning home from gurukula and he wanted to spend time with him. We then assessed whether others would be interested in continuing arguing Ajamila's position instead. However, none of those approached were interested. So the debate is now officially over and all that remains are the concluding statements. These will be no more than 1200 words including quotes and should be posted tomorrow.

After the last statements have been posted, we will post some of our reader letters. If anyone wants to share their thoughts about the debate, please submit them right away to <news@oldchakra.com>. Your opinions about the debate, who "won" and about the "ritvik issue" are all welcome. However, we will not post any texts with offensive language or any anonymous submissions.

Apart from the philosophical aspects, this debate has been important in at least two ways: First of all, it is the sign of a secure and intellectually honest culture that issues are determined by reason and argument and not by censure and information control. From the perspective of freedom of speech, it has thus been encouraging that this debate could even take place. This process has demonstrated that the community of Vaisnavas can tolerate the expression of differences of opinion. This was a milestone. Secondly, by allowing this debate, we hope that Chakra has shown its readers that we respect your intelligence as well as your ability to digest different views and to come to your own conclusions. The community of Vaisnavas do not need predigested opinions shoved down their throats. They need to hear all sides of each issue, presented in a thoughtful and rational manner.

Finally, I want to thank both Ajamila and Adridharan prabhus for agreeing to participate in this debate and for continuing to submit texts even though it got tense at times, and in spite of leading very busy lives away from their computer keyboards. And a very special thank you is also due Anadi Krsna Prabhu, who worked tirelessly to post all the texts in a timely manner, often after midnight and with virtually impossible timelines.

Your servant,
Madhusudani dasi

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