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Rocana Replies to Narasimha das

November 8, 2003

Dear Narasimha das,

Please accept my obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

In your last letter, you criticize me for making derogatory comments against you, and claim it was unwarranted because you never criticized me. If all the disparaging statements included in your first letter to me weren't meant to be taken personally by me, then why did you bother to include them? Are you saying that your third person belittling comments [rambling, insincere, disobedient, offensive, bone picking, smoke-screening, fearful, annoying, independent, uncooperative, poisoned, preoccupied, bewildered, ambitious, misrepresenting, and un-submissive] were simply impersonal and broad, and were never addressed to me? What recipient of a personal letter from you would ever conclude that your railing rhetoric against the unfaithful was only meant for others, and not for they, themselves? Why do you now pretend that you are not making derogatory comments to me?

May I suggest that we turn this bitter page and proceed toward some substantive dialogue? My papers and my first email to Sri Mukunda include plenty of meaningful material for you to respond to. All your accusatory nonsense about how I am refusing to respond to you is simply a dishonest avoidance tactic.

In your last letter, you say: "We have repeatedly asked you to reply to our "Prabhupada Book", item by item." This is a patently false statement. As I told you in my last email, I haven't as yet received a copy of your treatise "The Prabhupada Book", nor could I find it on your website. Your first email mentioned the publication, and that was the first time I'd heard of it, so please don't pretend that you or the HKS have "repeatedly asked me" to reply to it. Again: send me a copy, and I will reply. I look forward to reading your presentation of "the precise sadhana Srila Prabhupada taught us".

In my paper "The Church of Rtvik", I am challenging your HKS Mission Statement, which is posted on your website. Is that Mission Statement considered part of your "Prabhupada Book"? Is your new "Prabhupada Book" to be considered a replacement for Krishna Kant's "The Final Order", or is it an adjunct rtvik document? I'm currently working on a paper refuting TFO, and while that paper takes precedence over your book review for the time being, I do look forward to giving your book a careful read.

You seem to be having a great deal of difficulty understanding the position expressed in my recent papers, but I go into detail as to why I came to these conclusions. There is plenty of sastric verification, logic, historical fact, and solid reasoning to back these assertions up. The very physical evidence you rely upon (July 9th 77 letter) can just as easily be interpreted to substantiate my claims as to substantiate yours. Aside from presenting papers, writing emails, and having face-to-face encounters, I don't know any other way to get my message across to your group. I have formally challenged you to debate, but all I get back is a nonsensical denial claiming that I never previously articulated my position.

You take offense to my using the word 'zealot' to describe your behavior. The definition of a zealot is a "fanatically committed person". The ultimate conclusion of my "Church of Rtvik" paper is that your HKS group is in the vanguard of the transformation of the Sampradaya Acarya's spiritual movement into mundane religiosity. Your self-righteous religious attitudes are evident in your statement:

    "We accept all of Prabhupada's words and instructions absolutely".

A more accurate spiritual outlook would be to say "we are conditioned souls attempting to understand and accept Srila Prabhupada's absolute words and instructions." In our contaminated condition, it would be pure hallucination to believe we are following absolutely. A religious zealot, however, would describe themselves just as you did. You also write:

    "We feel we would rather simply accept Srila Prabhupada's actual words and examples, without speculation. Yet you take this as a great insult for some reason."

What I find insulting is the audacious nature of your religious mind-think, which presents your members as the only ones embracing the actual words and examples of Srila Prabhupada, while all his other followers are relegated as 'speculators'. You and your chosen few are following guru, sastra and sadhu, while all the others are disobeying Srila Prabhupada. The interpretative spin you put on your flimsy evidence only supports what you have chosen to view as truth. Simply because you believe it is true doesn't make it the "absolute" truth. The fact that "The Prabhupada Book" came into being due to the common effort of many sincere, senior devotees doesn't, in itself, make it any more truthful than my position. Let's not forget that all Srila Prabhupada's Godbrothers disagreed with him on many issues, yet we all agree they were wrong and he was right. Just because there was more of them and they were all in agreement doesn't mean they were to be believed.

You wrote:

    "Srila Prabhupada never taught that his disciples should settle their disagreements by public debate. Rather he advised spiritual discussions based on guru, sadhu, and sastra."

Other members of the HKS have embraced the concept of public debate in the past, particularly when they wished to influence ISKCON's thinking. Perhaps you should read Yasoda nandana's paper, "The Tradition of Debate". You will find it posted on the HareKrsna.com website. Frankly, I'm not surprised that when it suits their purpose, the rtvik pandits trumpet their willingness to debate any and all comers, yet when challenged, they revert to this sad "Prabhupada didn't want us to debate publicly" excuse.

You also wrote:

    "Over the years, the devotees in HKS have carefully and patiently written papers and have engaged in long hours of discussions, answering all doubts and arguments against Srila Prabhupada's system for initiations. We have on record literally hundreds of pages of letters and discussions. Over the years, we have consistently found that all objections to Srila Prabhupada's system for initiations are insubstantial at best, or downright offensive. Collectively, the devotees of HKS, as well as the IRG and others, have consistently and easily answered all arguments against ritvik initiations. Where have you been all these years?"

Where have I been all these years? Well, let's see.... I've been carefully and patiently writing papers and have been engaging in long hours of discussions about Srila Prabhupada's wishes for continuation of his mission. I, too, have on record hundreds of pages of written material. However, over the course of these years of discussion and written exchanges, the proponents of the rtvik system I've come into contact with have never answered my doubts and arguments. Just the opposite - they have all used the very same diversionary tactics that you and the HKS have recently used with me. I won't reiterate these tactics, as they're all duly noted throughout our thread of discussion.

One more time, for the record: If you've been so actively out in the world for years "answering all doubts and arguments", then why are you and the other HKS members so very reluctant to address my challenges? It should be a breeze for someone as expert, practiced and accomplished as your good self. All this bluff and bluster about having me go through your new Book, line by line, when I've already written a challenging paper based solely on your Mission Statement. Why not deal with that first? While I will provide a written response to your new book, I anticipate the likelihood that HKS will beg off again, as Yasoda nandana just did, and refuse to engage my challenges after I put in a great deal more effort dissecting the latest edition of Rtvik revisionism.

I have several good friends who presently believe in the concept of Rtvik. We discuss our personal positions in a congenial manner, and we agree to disagree. What disturbs me is the closed minded, holier-than-thou, man-on-a-mission mentality so evident in many of your members. Gauri dasa Pandit, Damaghosa, Jaya Narayana, Kamsa hanta, Yasoda nandana and yourself have all adopted a born again zealot's mentality, because they take this Rtvik theory far too absolutely. In reality, it isn't the "silver bullet" solution it's made out to be -- chanting Hare Krsna is. Among the many critical comments in your last letter, I most appreciated the dismissive remark portraying me as a "street corner ranter".... at least there's room to wonder if it was just a typo, and you meant to call me a "street corner chanter".

Your servant,

Rocana dasa

P.S. For those new names on Narasimha's email distribution list who missed the beginning of this thread, you'll find it under the "Rtviks" section at: http://www.harekrsna.com/philosophy/vada/schools.htm