Srila Giri Maharaja “Rtvik, Initiation, Disciplic Succession: Confusion Abounds”

From: David
To: Srila Giri Maharaja
Date: April 8, 2021

All glories to Guru and Gouranga

What was the opinion of Srila Sridhar Maharaja and Govinda Maharaja regarding ritvik initiation in ISKCON? Do they believe that initiation from a Guru in ISKCON means that the devotee becomes a disciple of Srila Prabhupada ? . Also how is the initiation process in Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math ? Does Nirmala Acharya initiate on behalf of Govinda Maharaja. So all the initiated devotees becomes disciple of Govinda Maharaja and Srila Sridhar Maharaja?

David

From: Srila Giri Maharaja
To: David
Date: April 9, 2021

Dear David,

What was the opinion of Srila Sridhar Maharaja and Govinda Maharaja regarding ritvik initiation in ISKCON?

Whether ISKCON or any other place, rtvik initiation is rtvik initiation.

Rtvik means “one who acts on behalf of another.” A rtvik guru in our sampradaya is a devotee who is designated and authorized by a guru to perform initiations on his behalf. Those whom he initiates are disciples of the guru that designated the rtvik to act on his behalf for the purpose of initiating disciples. Usually this is done when the initiating guru is unable to be personally present to perform the initiation. For example: a guru in India may designate one or more devotees in the USA to initiate disciples on his behalf as a matter of convenience so that the prospective disciple does not have to travel to India or the guru travel to the USA.

I acted as rtvik for both Srila Sridhara Maharaja and Srila Govinda Maharaja during their lifetimes to facilitate the initiation of sincere seekers of Krishna Consciousness who desired initiation from these two Acharyas. Those whom I initiated at those times did not become my disciples, they are disciples of the gurus just mentioned.

Do they believe that initiation from a Guru in ISKCON means that the devotee becomes a disciple of Srila Prabhupada?

No.

A guru does not initiate disciples after his disappearance from this world. Spiritual initiation is a very simple matter to understand. It has been made complicated by those who wish to cheat less intelligent people or those with a poor fund of knowledge.

Think of guru like a father and his disciples like children. A father produces children during his lifetime. Does he produce any children after his death? Of course not, although his children can produce their own children. To spread Krishna Consciousness a guru initiates disciples during his lifetime. After his disappearance he can no longer initiate disciples. However, his disciples can become guru and produce their own disciples. That is the way the sampradaya continues, just as the line of a particular family continues from one generation to another.

Rtvik initiations, in the manner you must be questioning, where you have been told a guru, such as Srila Prabhupada, has passed away and his disciples are initiating on his behalf so that those they initiate become the disciples of Srila Prabhupada is a complete hoax. It is akin to the Christian conception that Jesus is the only son of God, the only guru, and no other person is deserving of one’s faith, only he can offer salvation and deliver one to heaven. These are faithless persons or, at least men of little faith, who believe God is so impotent He can have only one son. It is utter foolishness. God is not impotent. He can have unlimited sons who may serve as gurus to save the fallen souls of this world and deliver them beyond heaven to the spiritual world.

Also how is the initiation process in Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math?

In order to disassociate our mission with that currently going by the name Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math (SCSM) I have changed our name from Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math to Sri Gaura Vinoda Saraswat Sanga. Unfortunately, after Srila Govinda Maharaja’s disappearance Nirmala Acharya Maharaja and others associated with him deviated from the sampradaya and, thereby, became unfit to continue the line. Therefore, the question of how initiations take place within the current SCSM is irrelevant to me.

Does Nirmala Acharya initiate on behalf of Govinda Maharaja?

No. He initiates on his own behalf.

So all the initiated devotees becomes disciple of Govinda Maharaja and Srila Sridhar Maharaja?

No, as already explained.

We are not Christians who believe there was only one savior who appeared thousands of years ago and died, leaving all those before and after him bereft of a living savior. However, even if you should think there is no one currently qualified to serve as a living Acharya, one who’s instructions are non-different from Krishna’s, it is better to continue your search for a true guru rather than half heartedly accept as a guru one about whom you doubt is truly a self realized soul (jñāninas tattva-darśinaḥ). That is Krishna’ instruction for our benefit.

tad viddhi praṇipātena
paripraśnena sevayā
upadekṣyanti te jñānaṁ
jñāninas tattva-darśinaḥ

Translation

Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized souls can impart knowledge unto you because they have seen the truth.

Purport

The path of spiritual realization is undoubtedly difficult. The Lord therefore advises us to approach a bona fide spiritual master in the line of disciplic succession from the Lord Himself. No one can be a bona fide spiritual master without following this principle of disciplic succession. The Lord is the original spiritual master, and a person in the disciplic succession can convey the message of the Lord as it is to his disciple. No one can be spiritually realized by manufacturing his own process, as is the fashion of the foolish pretenders. The Bhāgavatam (6.3.19) says, dharmaṁ tu sākṣād bhagavat-praṇītam: the path of religion is directly enunciated by the Lord. Therefore, mental speculation or dry arguments cannot help lead one to the right path. Nor by independent study of books of knowledge can one progress in spiritual life. One has to approach a bona fide spiritual master to receive the knowledge. Such a spiritual master should be accepted in full surrender, and one should serve the spiritual master like a menial servant, without false prestige. Satisfaction of the self-realized spiritual master is the secret of advancement in spiritual life. Inquiries and submission constitute the proper combination for spiritual understanding. Unless there is submission and service, inquiries from the learned spiritual master will not be effective. One must be able to pass the test of the spiritual master, and when he sees the genuine desire of the disciple, he automatically blesses the disciple with genuine spiritual understanding. In this verse, both blind following and absurd inquiries are condemned. Not only should one hear submissively from the spiritual master, but one must also get a clear understanding from him, in submission and service and inquiries. A bona fide spiritual master is by nature very kind toward the disciple. Therefore when the student is submissive and is always ready to render service, the reciprocation of knowledge and inquiries becomes perfect.

— Bg. 4.34

I thank you for your questions and pray this finds you well in health and spirits.

Sincerely,

Swami B.K. Giri

 

From: David
To: Srila Giri Maharaja
Date: April 9, 2021

Hare Krishna Swami B.K. Giri

Thank you for your mail.

Can you expand on the text below? I read your recent post abandonment. From what I have understood, Srila Govinda Maharaja gave the post of successor Acharya to Nirmala Maharaja. Just like Srila Sridhar Maharaja gave the seat to Govinda Maharaja. How has Nirmala Acharya deviated from the sampradaya when he was following the orders of Srila Govinda Maharaja ?

In order to disassociate our mission with that currently going by the name Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math (SCSM) I have changed our name from Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math to Sri Gaura Vinoda Saraswat Sanga. Unfortunately, after Srila Govinda Maharaja’s disappearance Nirmala Acharya Maharaja and others associated with him deviated from the sampradaya and, thereby, became unfit to continue the line. Therefore, the question of how initiations take place within the current SCSM is irrelevant to me

David

 

To: David
From: Srila Giri Maharaja
Date: April 10, 2021

Can you expand on the text below.

In order to disassociate our mission with that currently going by the name Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math (SCSM) I have changed our name from Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math to Sri Gaura Vinoda Saraswat Sanga. Unfortunately, after Srila Govinda Maharaja’s disappearance Nirmala Acharya Maharaja and others associated with him deviated from the sampradaya and, thereby, became unfit to continue the line. Therefore, the question of how initiations take place within the current SCSM is irrelevant to me

CC Ādi 12.9

keha ta’ ācārya ājñāya, keha ta’ svatantra
sva-mata kalpanā kare daiva-paratantra

Synonyms: 

keha ta’ — some; ācārya — the spiritual master; ājñāya — upon His order; keha ta’ — some; svatantra — independently; svamata — their own opinions; kalpanā kare — they concoct; daivaparatantra — under the spell of māyā.

Translation:

Some of the disciples strictly accepted the orders of the ācārya, and others deviated, independently concocting their own opinions under the spell of daivī-māyā.

Purport:

This verse describes the beginning of a schism. When disciples do not stick to the principle of accepting the order of their spiritual master, immediately there are two opinions. Any opinion different from the opinion of the spiritual master is useless. One cannot infiltrate materially concocted ideas into spiritual advancement. That is deviation. There is no scope for adjusting spiritual advancement to material ideas.

CC Ādi 12.10

ācāryera mata yei, sei mata sāra
ra ājñā laghi’ cale, sei ta’ asāra

Synonyms:

ācāryera — of the spiritual master (Advaita Prabhu); mata — opinion; yei — what is; sei — that; mata — opinion; sāra — active principle; ra — his; ājñā — order; laghi’ — transgressing; cale — becomes; sei — that; ta’ — however; asāra — useless.

Translation: 

The order of the spiritual master is the active principle in spiritual life. Anyone who disobeys the order of the spiritual master immediately becomes useless.

Purport:

Here is the opinion of Śrīla Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī. Persons who strictly follow the orders of the spiritual master are useful in executing the will of the Supreme, whereas persons who deviate from the strict order of the spiritual master are useless.

Immediately following Srila Govinda Maharaja’s disappearance Sripada Acharya Maharaja deviated from the directions of Srila Govinda Maharaja. Instead of following his directions, especially those most vital to the continuance of our sampradaya as given in Srila Govinda Maharaja’s Last Will and Testament regarding his desire to establish six successor acharyas to succeed him, he took direction from a board of five sannyasis supposedly created at the direction of Srila Govinda Maharaja just 19 days before his disappearance. That board (the International Acharya Board aka “IAB”) nominated Acharya Maharaja as its head. They then proceeded to cheat all those who would hear them and follow them by spreading the lie that Srila Govinda Maharaja named only one successor (as you “understood”) and that he should be accepted in the same way (“Just like”, as you said) Srila Govinda Maharaja had previously been accepted (as you also “understood”) as the one worldwide acharya of Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math. That you would write the following to me tells me the lie propagated by Nirmala Acharya Maharaja and his cohorts persists and is still widely accepted:

From what I have understood, Srila Govinda Maharaja gave the post of successor Acharya to Nirmala Maharaja. Just like Srila Sridhar Maharaja gave the seat to Govinda Maharaja.

Srila Govinda Maharaja and our previous acharyas never lowered themselves to spreading such destructive lies to gain prominence or influence; lies that tore at the heats of faithful devotees. So, in that way also, Acharya Maharaja and those that assisted him in spreading those lies (in particular his fellow IAB members: Maharaja’s Goswami, Janardana, Ashrama and Avadhuta) deviated from the pure sampradaya or our predecessor acharyas.

The above is my finding of the facts. But I cannot be expected to do the research you must do yourself in order to be convinced of their veracity. You will have to do your own research. I have already written extensively on this subject and do not have the time or energy to do this work for you. Simply take some time to research the subject on our website.

I suggest you begin by reading these two articles:

Srila Giri Maharaja “Srila Govinda Maharaja did not choose a single Acharya”

Srila Giri Maharaja “Why silent on the current situation in the Navadwipa Math?” (Part I)

If you are still not convinced I am accurate in my portrayal of the facts, try doing a search of our site using the following key words 1) worldwide acharya, 2) IAB, 3) BSG (Bhakti Sudhira Goswami), 4) Last Will and Testament (LWT) and others that will become apparent through your research. As much as possible it will be helpful to follow the events by proceeding from the oldest posts to the more recent.

We have also posted a number of videos dealing with the matters of your interest. They may be found here: ACHARYAS DIALOGUE Again, it is probably best to start at #1 & proceed through the others from there.

I read your recent post abandonment.

I hope it was helpful to you.

From what I have understood, Srila Govinda Maharaja gave the post of successor Acharya to Nirmala Maharaja. Just like Srila Sridhar Maharaja gave the seat to Govinda Maharaja.

In his Last Will and Testament Srila Sridhara Maharaja named only one Acharya as his successor, Srila Govinda Maharaja. In Srila Govinda Maharaja’s Last Will and Testament he named six sannyasis as his successors. That alone is sufficient to dispel the “Just like” idea you presented: “Srila Govinda Maharaja gave the post of successor Acharya to Nirmala Maharaja. Just like Srila Sridhar Maharaja gave the seat to Govinda Maharaja.” Is naming multiple successors “Just like” naming one successor? No, it is not.

I doubt you have read Srila Govinda Maharaja’s Last Will and Testament. As mentioned above, it is available on our website. Please read it. However, if you still do not accept the fact Srila Govinda Maharaja named six sannyasis in the hope they would each serve as his successors, you will be disagreeing even with Acharya Maharaja who acknowledged his acceptance of that fact, but only years after the “one worldwide acharya” hoax he previously propagated had become completely discredited.

How has Nirmala Acharya deviated from the sampradaya when he was following the orders of Srila Govinda Maharaja ?

Srila Sridhara Maharaja said:

Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: Oh. You see, we have come to understand, generally we feel that Ācārya will appoint Ācārya, his successor. — 82.02.27.A_O Audio Recording:

82.02.27.A Audio Recording

Following this line of thought of his Divine Master, Srila Govinda Maharaja named six successors hoping, perhaps believing, they would carry forward the Divine Thread imbibed by him through the grace of his predecessors. Acharya Maharaja deviated from the order of Srila Govinda Maharaja who expressly directed six sannyasis he named in his Will to become acharyas after him. Ignoring these orders Acharya Maharaja, with the support and encouragement of the IAB, began immediately to subvert them by supplanting those orders with the decision of the IAB to accept only one worldwide acharya instead of the six Srila Govinda Maharaja named.

As previously explained, he did not follow Srila Govinda Maharaja’s most critical orders, those related to the sannyasis he hoped would serve as his successor acharyas. Like all the other acharyas Srila Govinda Maharaja named (excepting myself), he followed the IAB, not Govinda Maharaja.

If, during or after performing your independent research, you have any further questions I will try to answer them.

I pray this finds you well in health and spirits.

Sincerely,

Swami B.K. Giri