Whose Final Order

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Whose Final Order? Discussions with IRM By Bhima das On November 14, 1977, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, ISKCON Founder-Acharya, passed away, leaving the Hare Krishna movement (International Society for Krishna Consciousness or ISKCON) in the hands of his young disciples. Five months prior to his departure, he dictated the following letter, addressed to the ISKCON leadership. This letter of July 9, 1977 has come to be called “The Final Order” because it is the last writte
  Whose FinalOrder? Discussions with IRM By Bhima das On November 14, 1977, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada ,ISKCON Founder-Acharya, passed away, leaving the Hare Krishna movement (InternationalSociety for Krishna Consciousness or ISKCON) in the hands of his young disciples. Fivemonths prior to his departure, he dictated the following letter, addressed to the ISKCONleadership. This letter of July 9, 1977 has come to be called “The Final Order” because it isthe last written directive on the matter of initiating disciples. In the letter, Srila Prabhupadanamed 11 persons and authorized them to act as “ rittvik  ’-representative of the acharya ”. Theletter is reproduced below.  Whose Final Order2  Whose Final Order3 Here is the letter, retyped. This letter was written by Tamal Krsna Goswami as dictated bySrila Prabhupada, dated July 9th, 1977. The srcinal bears Srila Prabhupada’s signature atthe bottom left corner.To All G.B.C. and Temple PresidentsJuly 9th, 1977Dear Maharajas and Prabhus:Please accept my humble obeisances at your feet. Recently, when all of theGBC members were with His Divine Grace in Vrindavana, Srila Prabhupadaindicated that soon He would appoint some of His senior disciples to act as rittvik  -representative of the acharya , for the purpose of performinginitiations, both first initiation and second initiation. HisDivine Grace has sofar given a list of eleven disciples who will act in that capacity:His Holiness Kirtanananda SwamiHis Holiness Satsvarupa das GoswamiHis Holiness Jayapataka SwamiHis Holiness Tamal Krishna GoswamiHis Holiness Hrdayananda GoswamiHis Holiness Bhavananda GoswamiHis Holiness Hamsadutta SwamiHis Holiness Ramesvara SwamiHis Holiness Harikesa SwamiHis Grace Bhagavan das AdhikariHis Grace Jayatirtha das AdhikariIn the past Temple Presidents have written to Srila Prabhupadarecommending a particular devotee's initiation. Now that Srila Prabhupadahas named these representatives, Temple Presidents may henceforwardsend recommendation for first and second initiation to whichever of theseeleven representatives are nearest their temple. After considering therecommendation, these representatives may accept the devotee as aninitiated disciple of Srila Prabhupada by giving a spiritual name, or in thecase of second initiation, by chanting on the Gayatri thread, just as SrilaPrabhupada has done. The newly initiated devotees are disciples of HisDivine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the above elevensenior devotees acting as His representative. After the Temple Presidentreceives a letter from these representatives giving the spiritual name or thethread, he can perform the fire yajna in the temple as was being done before.The name of a newly initiated disciple should be sent by the representativewho has accepted him or her to Srila Prabhupada, to be included in HisDivine Grace's Initiated Disciples book.Hoping this finds you all well.Your servant,Tamal Krishna GoswamiSecretary to Srila PrabhupadaApproved: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada  Whose Final Order4 This letter of July 9 th , 1977 is at the center of a controversy, because ISKCON has said thatSrila Prabhupada must have meant for the rittvik  initiations to go on only up until the date of his departure on November 14 th the same year, and that any and all new initiates from thattime are not the disciples of Prabhupada, but of ISKCON gurus or ISKCON the society;whereas a large contingent of devotees note that Prabhupada did not indicate that theinitiation process was to be any different after he was gone, and that this is the final writteninstruction on the matter of initiations and must be accepted as his Final Order. Theproponents of “ rittvik  ” initiations call for the new initiates to be recognized as disciples of SrilaPrabhupada.At the heart of the “ rittvik  ” supporters is the understanding that Srila Prabhupada is thespiritual master, and the new initiates are his disciples, but there are differences in ideologyamongst the “ rittvik  s”, and they have not been able to pull together to form a unifiedmovement or society.In 1993, Hansadutta das published a collection of letters and papers under the title SrilaPrabhupada, His Movement and You . This was circulated amongst ISKCON and “greater ISKCON” devotees who follow Srila Prabhupada but do not accept current ISKCONleadership. The publication is now out of print, but can be found online at Hansadutta’swebsite “ The Bhaktivedantas ”: http://www.bhaktivedantas.com . The letter of July 9 th , 1977was included in this publication, and for many devotees it was the first time they had laid eyeson it. At the same time, Hansadutta instructed all those disciples whom he had initiatedpreviously to regard Srila Prabhupada as their spiritual master, and he began to initiate newdisciples on behalf of Srila Prabhupada. Thus Hansadutta has understood the order of SrilaPrabhupada, as given to him personally in the letter of July 9 th , 1977 and in two subsequentletters addressed to him personally on July 10 th , 1977 and July 31 st , 1977 and isdemonstrating it practically.Lately a devotee in Seremban, Mr. Gunalan Krishnan, forwarded to us an email exchangebetween himself and IRM (ISKCON Reform Movement), in which Krishna Kant Desai of IRMclaimed that Hansadutta was not qualified to act as rittvik  representative of Srila Prabhupada.This is the discussion that followed. My purpose in publishing it is not to perpetuate a quarrel,but to clarify the IRM’s position and especially to bring to the attention of the devotees thatSrila Prabhupada’s letter of July 9 th , 1977 is clear and leaves no room for interpretation or second-guessing. Hansadutta is initiating disciples of Srila Prabhupada on that authority.Other “ rittvik  s” have taken it on their own heads to go ahead and initiate. It’s not my intentionto pick a quarrel with any one of them. Let everyone do as he likes. But Hansadutta wasnamed by Prabhupada personally and authorized to initiate on his behalf, and he is doing so.I hope IRM will acknowledge Hansadutta is authorized to act as rittvik  representative, but themain thing is that Prabhupada recognized him as such and gave him the order. It is not IRM’sFinal Order, but Prabhupada’s Final Order for all of us.Readers can write to KRSNA World or give me a call for more information: KRSNA WORLD 602 Taman SentosaOff Jalan Payamas84900 Tangkak, Johor MalaysiaTel: 06-9787878Email: bhima@pc.jaring.myPlease visit Hare Krishna Malaysia at www.harekrishnamalaysia.com and TheBhaktivedantas at www.bhaktivedantas.com .All glories to Srila Prabhupada!Bhima das13 January 2008
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