First Conversation With Srila Sridhara Maharaja, Part 6
First Conversation with Sridhara Maharaja (Continued…)
BY: SUN EDITORS
Nov 30, 2017 CANADA (SUN)
This segment of the first Sridhara Maharaja conversation focuses on the role of the officiating ritvik representatives of Srila Prabhupada. Hearing from Bhakti Caru Swami and Dhira Krsna Swami about how initiations were handled during the final months of Srila Prabhupada's manifest physical presence, and hearing an excerpt of the May 28th Room Conversation transcript, Srila Sridhara Maharaja offers his opinion on what Srila Prabhupada was apparently doing, and whose disciples the initiated devotees were.
Unfortunately, this conversation with Srila Sridhara will not likely help to dispel the already significant confusion that results from the various interpretations of Srila Prabhupada's May 28th Conversation.
As we documented in great detail in Defeat of Ritvik-vada (p. 105), there are four known "official" versions of the May 28th Conversation transcript, and four additional versions that are widely quoted. In order to draw a fair conclusion as to what Srila Prabhupada actually said, and meant, one should carefully study all these versions while listening to the audio tape (linked in the appendices of DOR).
The Ritvik-vadis will take Sridhara Maharaja's utterance of the words "final order" as evidence in support of their post-samadhi diksa ritvik theory. But at the same time they will reject his conclusion on the matter, which is diametrically opposed to their Ritvik-vada conclusion: that the disciples initiated by the ritviks were their disciples and Srila Prabhupada's grand disciples, and that the ritviks were actually functioning as such diksa gurus during Prabhupada's physical presence. Of course, that conclusion has not been adopted by any camp over the last 20 years, nor are we personally aware of anyone who has ever promoted that understanding.
In the next segment, we will see that Bhakti Caru and Dhira Krsna Swamis are primarily concerned not with whether or not the 11 ritviks were officiating representatives or actually diksa gurus during Srila Prabhupada's presence. They are more concerned with whether or not there is any fair reason for the 11 ritvik "acaryas" to proclaim themselves as good as God, taking high position on big vyasasanas, accepting undue worship, etc. This is really what they hoped to have Srila Sridhara affirm for them. But instead, in this part of the conversation, Sridhara Maharaja is recognizing the 11 ritviks as diksa gurus from even before Srila Prabhupada accepted maha-samadhi, and saying that those they initiated were their own direct diksa disciples.
So this is a discussion. Satsvarupa Maharaja is asking some questions to Srila Prabhupada on behalf of the GBC and Tamal Krsna Maharaja is also there. So I'll just read from here.
Satsvarupa Maharaja is asking, "Then our next question concerns initiations in the future, particularly at that time when you are no longer with us. We want to know how first and second initiation would be conducted."
Srila Prabhupada: "Yes, I shall recommend some of you. After this is settled up, I shall recommend some of you to act as officiating acarya."
Tamal Krsna Maharaja: "Is that called rttvik acarya?"
Srila Prabhupada: "Rttvik, yes."
Satsvarupa Maharaja: "What is the relationship of that person who gives the initiation and the…"
Srila Prabhupada: "He's guru. He's guru."
Satsvarupa Maharaja: "But he does it on your behalf."
Srila Prabhupada: "That is formality, because in my presence one should not become guru. So on my behalf, on my order, amar ajnaya guru hainya. He is actually guru, but by my order."
Satsvarupa: So they may also be considered your disciples.
Prabhupada: "Yes, their disciples, but consider who…"
Tamala Krsna: "No, he is asking that these ritvik acaryas, they are officiating giving diksa. The people who they give diksa to, whose disciple are they?"
Prabhupada: "They are his disciple."
Tamala Krsna: "They are his disciple."
Prabhupada: "Who is initiating… his grand disciple."
Satsvarupa: "Then we have a question conce…"
Prabhupada: "When I order you become guru, he becomes regular guru, that's all. He becomes disciple of my disciple, just see."
DKS: So it appears in this conversation that Prabhupada is saying that they are gurus even in his presence and the people they initiated are their disciples and are his grand disciples. Is that possible?
This point has to be gone over once more. This question about grand disciple has to be clarified. The rttvik acaryas, when they initiate, their disciples become grand disciples of Srila Prabhupada. This is a question to clarify what Bhakti Cari Maharaja was reading. And if the first initiation is done by the rttvik acaryas and they come to Srila Prabhupada for the second initiation then whose actual disciples are they? This is Sridhara Maharaja's question. Here Sridhara Maharaja wants to clarify the point whether Srila Prabhupada is not available for the second initiation. And if the second initiation is also performed by the rttvik acaryas then whose disciples do they become? Do these points manifest themselves in this particular conversation? They certainly are Srila Prabhupada's grand disciples, but the question is what has Srila Prabhupada done in his lifetime? Has Srila Prabhupada allowed in his presence others to initiate the hari nama, the nari nama diksa?
BCS: Yes, during Srila Prabhupada's presence some of the rttvik acaryas actually initiated hari nama.
BCS: Here it sounds that Prabhupada is saying that actually they are Prabhupada's disciple. Who is initiating? Who is actually initiating? Prabhupada is initiating. So his grand disciple because Prabhupada is giving the order amara ajnaya guru hainya.
DKS: He says, "When I order, 'You become guru,' he is regular guru."
SM: Bengali re grand disciples When he is prakat, he's here in appearance, then he's delegated someone to give hari nama. And he took hari nama from his delegate, his delegated power, man. Then he comes to him, he comes to see Swami Maharaja, whether he will take initiation from Swami Maharaja or he will go back to take initiation from the delegated person? Any such thing occurred during Swami Maharaja…
SM: No such event.
BCS: (explaining to DKS) So Prabhupada was there but he could not initiate so somebody as Prabhupada's representative is initiating. Now when they… say later on if they have to take second initiation, will they take it from Prabhupada or will they take it from the rttvik?
DKS: In the other conversation, Prabhupada first he gives them the right to do first initiation and then he says, "Let me think about second," and then he says yes for second also.
Did the rttvik acaryas during Prabhupada's time actually initiate or give hari nama? And did Prabhupada interfere in that particular context with second diksa?
BCS: (explaining to DKS) Do you know, Dhira Krsna Swami? So once a rttvik gives hari nama initiation then did Srila Prabhupada ever interfere? Like for the second initiation.
DKS: No. In this conversation he gives them the right to give second initiation also.
SM: Second initiation, whom? Prabhupada?
DKS: The rttviks.
BCS: Prabhupada first gave them the order that you give the first initiation.
DKS: At the same time, he thought a little bit and he said both.
BCS: Then after awhile, after a short time (two minutes), he said, you can give second initiation also.
SM: He ordered. But he did not interfere, he did not give initiation himself. But we heard, we heard, we saw that some of the disciples of Prabhupada (Bhaktisiddhanta) they went away for some time almost leaving Prabhupada, and there they got some disciples and again joined the mission. And those disciples were taken to Prabhupada and Prabhupada gave them initiation.
BCS: That did not happen in our society because Srila Prabhupada appointed the rttvik…
SM: Rttvik, and that is final order then. When he has once appointed any rttvik and the rttvik has given initiation during his lifetime, initiation to any person, and when that person has again come to your Prabhupada, hmm, and he ordered the same person who gave hari nama that give second initiation, and he did not take them personally, this is the case. Then the position of the rttvik, it gets as good as an acarya.
DKS: Right. That is what he is saying. Right? That they were guru then.
BCS: He is saying that the position of the rttviks is as good as the acarya's.
DKS: Right, and the people they initiated were their disciples and Srila Prabhupada's grand disciples.
SM: Not only he gave order but in his presence he wanted them to do that function.