Challenging the Zonal Acarya System, Part Ten


Sep 09, 2017 — CANADA (SUN) —

Page twenty


Before the disappearance of His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada, he organized and planned the entire future of the Krsna Consciousness movement by delegating the responsibility of management to the GBC, and appointing eleven senior Godbrothers in the position of initiating spiritual masters. It was quite clear at that time that His Divine Grace did not appoint one successor or acarya.

Srila Prabhupada, in July of 1977, appointed eleven rttvik acaryas in different zones and areas of the world for the continuation of the practice of initiation (diksa) all over the Krsna consciousness movement. At that time, no one expected that His Divine Grace would depart so soon afterward. We maintain that Prabhupada did not put any emphasis on a conclusion that these eleven persons would be the next undisputed acaryas of the Krsna consciousness movement. The fact is, originally His Divine Grace did not make such a big issue out of it, although he definitely delegated the authority. Srila Prabhupada is perfect. His system is perfect. But it is currently being regarded imperfectly by this overemphasis. [..>]

Previous to Prabhupada's disappearance, in a letter dated July 21, 1977, the first paragraph mentions, "an important letter having Srila Prabhupada's initial list of disciples appointed to perform initiations for His Divine Grace." It is quite clear that Srila Prabhupada did not intend a privileged class of chosen ones as now advertised. The term "initial" indicates that Prabhupada wanted to make more. As a matter of fact, Prabhupada's personal secretary at the time showed one sannyasi the first copy of Prabhupada's letter. He himself mentioned that their only function would be to initiate disciples, and there would be no major changes in the structure of the Krsna consciousness movement. He also mentioned that Prabhupada would also select more persons for the future. Srila Prabhupada obviously wanted the Krsna consciousness movement to keep running as one united front with no separate categories of devotees.

It is also well-known that once, when His Divine Grace was asked the question whose disciples would the future initiates be, Prabhupada's reply was that those disciples would be the disciples of the initiating gurus. They would be considered grand-disciples of Prabhupada. And their basis of spiritual life would be Srila Prabhupada's books. It was quite clear at that time that His Divine Grace gave the initiating spiritual masters facility to increase the number of followers for the purpose of spreading the Krsna consciousness movement.

On one occasion, one ex-sannyasi, along with one of the present initiation gurus, approached Prabhupada's secretary and requested to be allowed to see Srila Prabhupada and get the situation clarified more fully. Both of them were told that Srila Prabhupada was very sick and very busy, and, as such, was not to be disturbed. On another occasion, Prabhupada specifically told one sannyasi, who is neither GBC or guru, that he could also initiate.

Prabhupada did not indicate at any time that he wanted a separation of consideration for the initiating gurus over the non-initiating guru body of ISKCON. This can be shown in the words of

Page twenty-one

"Remembering Srila Prabhupada." On page 25 it reads,

    "When asked who would succeed him as the leader of the Krsna consciousness movement, Srila Prabhupada replied: 'All of my disciples will take the legacy. If you want, you can also take it. Sacrifice everything. I, one, may soon pass away. But they are hundreds, and this movement will increase. Anyone who follows the previous leadership is a leader. All my disciples are leaders… as much as they follow purely. Leader means one who is first-class disciple… To become leader is not very difficult, provided one is prepared to follow the instructions of his bonafide guru."

This clearly indicated the spirit of His Divine Grace. Not that he created a special class of representatives on account of their grand superiority above all others. Prabhupada chose these disciples in a mood to continue the entire system of Krsna consciousness. Prabhupada chose these disciples on account of their sincere qualifications (this is our feeling, at any rate) but not because he felt that these are the best devotees and everyone else is of the lower quality.

As a matter of fact, we may remind ourselves that the Sanskrit term used by His Divine Grace is "rttvik acarya." Never the term acarya was used exclusively. The term rttvik acarya indicates one who performs sacrifice for another person, as confirmed in the Manu-samhita, "rttvik ka laksana agnistomadikanmakhan."

As such, this was the mood of Srila Prabhupada as long as he was with us. For the period between the 15th November, 1977, to the 22nd March, 1978, this mood seemed to also remain ISKCON's mood. But it is no longer, which cannot be denied by anyone.

Commentary by Sun Editors


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