Historical Account of Srila Prabhupada’s Last Days BY Gauridasa Pandita Dasa, gauridas@aol.com Homepage: http://members.aol.com/gauridasSrila Prabhupada Disappearance Pastimes 

Historical Account of Srila Prabhupada’s Last Days

BY Gauridasa Pandita Dasa, gauridas@aol.com Homepage: http://members.aol.com/gauridas

                                                   Pujari Gauridasa Pandita Dasa Vrindavan India 1975

Srila Prabhupada’s Pastimes Suhotra Swami’s Psychology
On My Behalf Ravindra’s “Enemies of ISKCON”?
Forming The Property Trusts Response To Bhakti Tirtha Swami
DO NOT CHANGE MY WORDS GBG Mismanagement
Request To The GBC A Challenge To ‘The Ritvik Heresy’
No Response From The GBC Goura Pournima Ritvik Initiations
Open Letter to TKG Sridhara Maharaja’s ‘Final Ritvik Order’
CLEARING THE AIR Narayana Maharaja Meets An L.A. Ritvik

 

Srila Prabhupada Disappearance Pastimes
VNN Editorial 10/25/1998 – 2409

USA (VNN) — by Gauridasa Pandita Dasa

Dear Prabhus, please accept my respectful obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada! Srila Prabhupada always said that the appearance and disappearance of the great devotees are both reasons to celebrate. We like the appearance pastimes more of course, but in the disappearance pastimes our faith and determination can be tested and strengthened. Srila Prabhupada followed the instructions of his Guru Maharaja and performed the miracle of spreading Krsna Consciousness all over the world. Srila Prabhupada always felt the presence of his Guru Maharaja and we can also feel the presence of Srila Prabhupada; if we want and try. It is not that he is dead and gone. His disappearance is our chance to realize his eternal presence. As he himself said, he will live on in his books and we should utilize them and perfect our lives and go back home, back to Godhead.

The following stories about Srila Prabhupada’s disappearance are taken from my website the Haribol Home Page, and will be part of an upcoming book about Srila Prabhupada called, “Memories Of A Pure Devotee“. May Srila Prabhupada’s mercy flood the world with love of God!

Better To Die In Vrindavan!”
(May 15th 1977 Hrishikesh India)
Srila Prabhupada was staying in a nice two story house, donated by a life member, on the bank of the Holy Ganges in the Holy town of Hrishikesh, India. He had come there to try to regain his failing health on the advise of Mahadevia Kartikeya, one of the leading life members of Bombay. I had arrived in Hrishikesh a day after Srila Prabhupada. He was giving darshan. I was told to stand at the door and give the guests a piece of sweet prasadam when they left. Srila Prabhupada noticed someone waiting outside the screen door and told me to let him in. I opened the door and as he entered another guest went out. Srila Prabhupada asked me if I had given the guest prasadam. I replied that I hadn’t and Srila Prabhupada turned to his secretary, Tamal Krishna Maharaja and said, “This boy is incompetent”.

Tamal K.G. then sent me out saying that he would talk to me later. I was crushed. I had given my life to Srila Prabhupada and now I had displeased him. Heartbroken and embarrassed I left the room. I waded out into the Ganges River and thought of committing suicide. I thought of my first mentor Visnujana Swami. Tamal.K.G. came down a little later half laughing and told me not to take it so seriously. He told me to go up and clean Srila Prabhupada’s room. I was surprised to get another chance. I pulled myself together and marched up to Srila Prabhupada’s room. Upendra Prabhu handed me a broom and I began to sweep. I glanced shamefully over at His Divine Grace and to my surprise he smiled very nicely. All of my anxiety disappeared instantly like I entered Vaikuntha.

Things were ecstatic in Hrishikesh until that stormy night when Srila Prabhupada sat up all night. At about 2:30am we were awoken by Upendra Prabhu who told us that Srila Prabhupada had said, “Tomorrow we will go to Vrindavan. Better to die in Vrndavan.” We were shocked to hear this statement from Srila Prabhupada. It was the first time Srila Prabhupada said he was going to leave the planet. Pradyumna Prabhu and I headed out to make arrangements for the arrival of His Divine Grace in Vrindavan.

Arrival In Vrindavan
(May 17, 1977)
Pradyumna Prabhu and I arrived in Sri Vrindavan Dhama at about 4am. We informed the temple President, Akshayananda Maharaja, of Srila Prabhupada’s upcoming arrival and statement that he was coming to Vrindavan to ‘leave his body’. We were all shocked at the news. The Maharaja didn’t tell the devotees right away why he was coming, just that he was coming soon and the devotees started ecstatically cleaning Srila Prabhupada’s quarters during the morning program. The Holy dust of Vrindavan had blown about everywhere and there was a lot of mercy to deal with.

Srila Prabhupada arrived at the temple at about 7am. At this point Srila Prabhupada’s health had deteriorated so much that he could no longer walk on his own. The devotees in Vrindavan, and around the world, were unaware of this. We brought a rocking chair out to the car to carry Srila Prabhupada in. He asked, as usual, to see the Deities first. We carried him into the temple and placed him before Sri Sri Gaura – Nitai. Srila Prabhupada stood up offering his respectful obeisance’s. At this point someone took the chair away. Srila Prabhupada stood there gazing at Their Lordships for a few moments with tears decorating his face. Then he moved to sit in the chair that wasn’t there. We had to catch him. The devotees looked at each other with wonder and concern. We brought the chair back and carried Srila Prabhupada over to Sri Sri Krishna and Balarama. Again Srila Prabhupada stood up with tears in his eyes. (This time the chair stayed!) We then moved over to Sri Sri Radha Symasundara and Sri Lalita and Sri Visaka’s alter. Again Srila Prabhupada rose up and gazed lovingly at the Deities. After a few moments he turned to us and said that he wanted to see all of the devotees in his room.

We carried Srila Prabhupada to his room and he took his seat at his desk. The devotees filled the room quickly and were crowded around the doors and windows trying to see and hear our divine master. When all the devotees settled in as much as possible Srila Prabhupada began to speak:

“So I cannot speak. I am feeling weak. I was to go to other places like Chandigarh, but I canceled the program because the condition of my health is very deteriorating. So I preferred to come to Vrindavan. If death takes place, let it take here. So there is nothing new to be said. Whatever I have to speak, I have spoken in my books. Now you try to understand it and continue your endeavor. Whether I am present or not present, it doesn’t matter. As Krsna is living eternally, similarly, the living being also lives eternally. But kirtiryasya sa jivah: ‘One who has done service for the Lord lives forever.’ So you have been taught to serve Krsna, and with Krsna we’ll live eternally. Our life is eternal. Na hanyate hanyamane sarire. A temporary disappearance of this body, it doesn’t matter. Body is meant for disappearance. Tatha dehantara-praptih. So live forever by serving Krsna. Thank you very much.”

At this point most of the devotees were crying. To me it still hadn’t sunk in that Srila Prabhupada was about to depart this world leaving us to grieve in his absence. Srila Prabhupada told us to discuss amongst ourselves and we talked about the future of ISKCON without Srila Prabhupada. It was unthinkable actually, but we were forced to think about it due to the time factor. Philosophically we understood that Srila Prabhupada would live with us in his books etc. but we would so miss his physical presence. The devotees began to wonder how the movement would go on without Srila Prabhupada to personally direct it. How would the BBT operate? How would the GBC act? Would someone else become the next acharya? Srila Prabhupada answered all of these questions in the next few weeks and months.

 

Leaving Vrindavan & Srila Prabhupada’s Personal Service
VNN EDITORIAL May 13, 2002 VNN7327

by Gauridasa Pandita Dasa

EDITORIAL, May 13 (VNN) — (July 15th 1977) Serving Srila Prabhupada personally in Bombay, Hrishikesh and Vrindavan were the best days of my life.


Pujari Gauridasa Pandita Dasa Vrindavan India 1975

I had entered India on a three month tourist visa. I had applied for an extension but since I was already granted one and that was the limit, so I was denied the extension. I considered just staying past my expiration date so I could remain with His Divine Grace because he said that he would be leaving the planet soon. Then I decided it would be better to go back to America and get another visa and return since Srila Prabhupada said I could. He always wanted us to follow the laws and be good upstanding exemplary citizens.

I had packed all of my belongings and loaded onto a horse drawn cart for my trip to the Mathura train station. I went to offer my obeisance’s to Tamal Krishna Maharaja in his office before leaving. He told me I couldn’t leave without telling Srila Prabhupada. I replied that Srila Prabhupada knows everything anyway and I didn’t want to bother him. Tamal K.G. said to wait and he entered Srila Prabhupada’s room. A moment later he stuck his head out of the door and told me to come in. Now I was getting really nervous. This would turn out to be the last time I would see Srila Prabhupada before his divine departure for Goloka Vrindavan.

Upon entering Srila Prabhupada’s room I offered my full dandavat obeisances. Tamal K.G. said, “Here’s Gauridasa Pandita, Srila Prabhupada; he has to go back to America now because his visa is expiring and the government wouldn’t give him an extension.; Srila Prabhupada said, “Just see. I just train him up and the rascal government takes him away!” He was sitting behind his desk and looked at me with compassionate eyes, like my real well-wishing father, and he melted my stone-like heart. Then he said, “Thank you very much for all of your service, you’ve been very sincere. You are welcome to be my personal servant anytime. So you go worship Radha Damodara and be happy.”

I was ecstatic at the mercy of Srila Prabhupada. Not only did he acknowledge me; but he said I could return to be his personal servant anytime. I had new hope even though I was hopeless. I said, “Thank you, Srila Prabhupada” and offered my dandavats again as I slowly backed out of his room not wanting to take my eyes off of Srila Prabhupada for a second. I paused at the door one last time and Srila Prabhupada nodded his head encouraging me on. Then he looked back to his desk and continued to translate.

Tamal Krsna Maharaja writes a slightly different version of this event in his ‘TKG’s Diary’ wherein he says, Today, Gauri dasa Pandita left with Srila Prabhupada’s approval. His visa had expired, and he was going to serve Radha and Damodara in New Varsana. Srila Prabhupada was very grateful for the many months of service he personally rendered: ‘I am very pleased with you. You have served so nicely. Very sincerely. See this Indian government. I have taken so much time to train you and now you have to leave. Be happy.’ Gauri dasa, who was simply the servant of the servants of Prabhupada, was thus blessed.

It’s funny that the only time TKG mentions me in his diary was the day I left on July 15, 1977. I thought he would of at least wrote about the time I got electrocuted! Anyway, I must thank him for allowing me to serve Srila Prabhupada and taking me before him to receive His blessing before I had to leave India. TKG also gave me a donation which was unexpected and appreciated. I boarded the horse cart sitting facing the rear and began the journey from Sri Vrindavan Dhama back to America. The trip seemed to last forever as I lamenting having to leave Srila Prabhupada’s personal service. I had become more and more attached to him every day and I became overwhelmed with the thoughts of his mercy and compassion on me and couldn’t help crying most of the way to the Mathura Station.

I arrived at the Gita Nagari farm where Sri Sri Radha Damodara were and became co-head pujari with a devotee named Sasthi Prabhu. We became a good team. When we got a letter from Upendra saying that we should fast to help Srila Prabhupada get better we fasted for three days straight, then took prasadam once, then fasted again for three days and ate once and continued in this way the whole time we were at Gita Nagari.

When we got the news that Srila Prabhupada had decided to come to Gita-Nagari to establish the Varna-ashrama system, we were all ecstatic. The devotees were morose before, knowing that Srila Prabhupada was sick and maybe going to leave his body. Now we had renewed hope! The devotees were happy again and very enthusiastically preparing for Srila Prabhupada’s arrival. We painted his house and made all of the necessary arrangements. Seeing all of the renewed enthusiasm I wrote a letter to Srila Prabhupada who was in London at the time. I said the devotees were like bees who were asleep before sunrise without the presence of Srila Prabhupada; but knowing that he was now coming they became happy and as busy as bees in the warm afternoon. I also sent my vyasa-puja offering. We got a letter back from Tamal K.G., which Paramananda Prabhu, the temple president, read to all of the devotees at the morning class, “I read your letter to Srila Prabhupada as I found it very poetic and an excellent description of Gita-Nagari. When I told Srila Prabhupada you had written the letter; he remembered you very fondly.”

I was ecstatic to hear this. I was glad to hear that Srila Prabhupada remembered me ‘fondly’. Of the whole four months I served him, I only talked to him shortly a few times. This was because right in the beginning of my service in Bombay, Srila Prabhupada said that the proper etiquette for the servant was not talk to the spiritual master unless the spiritual master spoke first. He complained about some of the Indian life members who were a bit too talkative and familiar with him at times. So from then on I didn’t say much, but listened as much as possible. Srila Prabhupada knows the hearts of all of his followers. Later we got the news that Srila Prabhupada had changed his plans and decided to return to Vrindavan and wouldn’t be coming to Gita-Nagari. I wrote Tamal K.G. and got his permission to return to resume my service to Srila Prabhupada.

I had to train a new pujari before leaving Gita-Nagari first though. He turned out to be Radha Damodara Dasa! It took two weeks. The day he took over completely I chanted my japa outside the curtains circumambulating Tulasi Devi and the Vyasasana. During that time we got a call from India to inform us that Srila Prabhupada had indeed made his divine departure for Krsna Loka. I sensed something special was going on during my japa, as it was. Srila Prabhupada went back to Godhead! Actually I didn’t want to see that particular pastime of his leaving us. I thank Krsna for saving me from that. I know that Srila Prabhupada is still present in his instructions and if I follow those instructions I will meet him again very soon, personally. I will be ready to fan him with the chamara and do the needful as far as possible. And with Krsna everything is possible!

He reasons ill,
Who says that Vaisnavas die
When thou art living still in sound
The Vaisnava dies to live!
And living tries
To spread the Holy Name around.

An ongoing work
your servant, Gauridasa Pandita Dasa
This story URL: http://www.vnn.org/editorials/ET0205/ET13-7327.html

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On My Behalf
VNN World 01/19/98 – 1517

USA (VNN) — Srila Prabhupada’s Initiation System
by Gauridasa Pandita Dasa

Srila Prabhupada arrived in Sri Vrindavan Dhama on May 17th 1977 to prepare to ‘leave his body.’ He started making arrangements to secure the future of his movement. He formed his will, the temple property trusts, gave instructions for the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust and GBC and established his initiation system.

Due to some unseen good fortune I got to be with Srila Prabhupada at this time. On May 28th a committee of the GBC met in Srila Prabhupada’s room and asked various questions for the future of ISKCON. Regarding initiations Satsvarupa Maharaja asked Srila Prabhupada, “Our next question concerns initiations in the future, particularly at that time when you’re no longer with us. We want to know how first and second initiations would be conducted.” Srila Prabhupada answered, “Yes; I shall recommend some of you. After this is settled up, I shall recommend some of you to act as officiating acaryas.”

Then Tamal K.G. asked, “Is that called ritvik-acarya?” Srila Prabhupada replied, “ritvik yes.” (R.C. 5-28-77) I mentioned this to Yasodanandan Prabhu, who entered into his diary at that time. I’m using that diary to help compile this information. Yasodanandan Prabhu had a conversation with Bhavananda Maharaja on May 31st where he asked, “What’s this I heard from Gauridasa about [the] nomination of ritvik acaryas?” Bhavananda said, “It just means on behalf of Prabhupada. That’s all. I can’t wait until we start to do this.”

One of my services for Srila Prabhupada was to take care of his garden and fan him with the camera while he was there. At these times he would chant japa or listen to devotees chant bhajans or read. Sometimes the secretary, Tamal K.G., would read letters from the devotees. Srila Prabhupada would dictate a response, then the secretary would type it and bring it back later to read it again to Srila Prabhupada who would approve and sign it.

On July 5th Tamal asked Srila Prabhupada about some devotees who wanted to get initiated. This was in the garden as I fanned him. Srila Prabhupada said, “Tomorrow I will I will announce some ritvik acaryas who will initiate disciples on my behalf when I leave the planet.”

It was actually two days later on July 7th when Srila Prabhupada named the first eleven ritvik acharyas. Again this occurred in the garden as I fanned Srila Prabhupada. Here is the transcription of the tape:

Tamal K.G.: We’re receiving a number of letters now, and these are people who want to get initiated. So up until now, since your becoming ill, we asked them to wait.
Prabhupada: The local senior sanyasis can do that.
T.K.G.: That’s what we were doing… I mean, formerly we were… the local GBC, sanyasis, were chanting on their beads, and they were writing to your Divine Grace, and you were giving a spiritual name. So should that process be resumed, or should we…? I mean one thing is that it’s said that the spiritual master takes on the… you know, he takes on the… He has to cleanse the disciple by… So we don’t want that you should have to… Your health is not so good, so that should not be… That’s why we’ve been asking everyone to wait. I just want to know if we should continue to wait for some more time?
Prabhupada: No, the senior sanyasis…
T.K.G.: So they should continue to…
Prabhupada: You can give me a list of sanyasi’s. I will mark who will…
T.K.G.: Okay.
Prabhupada: You can do. Kirtanananda can do, and our Satsvarupa can do. So these three, you can give, begin.
T.K.G. : So supposing someone is in America; should they simply write to directly to Kirtananda or Satsvarupa?
Prabhupada: Nearby, Jayatirtha can give.
T.K.G.: Jayatirtha.
Prabhupada: Bhagavan… Bhagavan and he can also do. Harikesa.
T.K.G.: Harikesa Maharaja.
Prabhupada: And, five six men, you divide who is nearest.
T.K.G.: Who is nearest. So persons wouldn’t have to write to your Divine Grace. They could write directly to that person?
Prabhupada: Hm.[yes]
T.K.G.: Actually they are initiating the person on your Divine Grace’s behalf. Those persons who are initiated are still your…
Prabhupada: Second initiation we shall think over; second initiation.
T.K.G.: This is for first initiation, okay. And for second initiation, for the time being they should…
Prabhupada: No, they have to wait. Second initiation, that should be given…
T.K.G.: Should… Some devotees are writing you now for second initiation, and I’m writing them to wait a while because you’re not well. So can I continue to tell them that?
Prabhupada: They can do second initiation.
T.K.G.: By writing you?
Prabhupada: No; these men.
T.K.G.: These men, they can also do second initiation. So there’s no need for the devotees to write to you for first and second initiation. They can write to the man nearest them. But all these persons are still your disciples. Anybody who gives initiation is doing so on your behalf.
Prabhupada: Yes.
T.K.G.: You know that book I’m maintaining of all of your disciples names? Should I continue that?
Prabhupada: Hm..[yes]
T.K.G.: So if someone gives initiation, like Harikesa Maharaja, he should send the person’s name to us here and I’ll enter it in the book. Okay. Is there anybody else in India that you want to do this?
Prabhupada: India, I am here, we shall see. In India, Jayapataka.
T.K.G.: Jayapataka Maharaja.
Prabhupada: You are also in India.
T.K.G.: Yes.
Prabhupada: You can note down these names.
T.K.G. Yes, I have them.
Prabhupada: Who are they?
T.K.G.: Kirtanananda Maharaja, Satsvarupa Maharaja, Jayatirtha Prabhu, Bhagavan Prabhu, Harikesa Maharaja, Jayapataka Maharaja, and Tamal Krishna Maharaja.
Prabhupada: That’s nice. Now you distribute.
T.K.G.: Seven. There’s seven names.
Prabhupada: For the time being, seven names, sufficient. You can make Ramesvara.
T.K.G.: Ramesvara Maharaja.
Prabhupada: And Hrdayananda.
T.K.G. Oh, yeah. South America.
Prabhupada: So without waiting for me, wherever you consider it is right… That will depend on discretion.
T.K.G.: On discretion.
Prabhupada: Yes.
T.K.G.: That’s for first and second initiations.
Prabhupada: Hm [yes]
T.K.G.: Okay. Shall I send a kirtana party, Srila Prabhupada? (break)

Later on Hansadutta Maharaja was added and Tamal Krishna Maharaja drafted the following letter:

Vrindaban July 9, 1977
To All G.B.C., and Temple Presidents

Dear Maharajas and Prabhus,
Please accept my humble obeisances at your feet. Recently when all of the GBC members were with His Divine Grace in Vrndavana, Srila Prabhupada indicated that soon He would appoint some of His senior disciples to act as “ritvik-representative” of the acarya, for the purpose of performing initiations, both first initiation and second initiation. His Divine Grace has so far given a list of eleven disciples who will act in that capacity:

His Holiness Kirtanananda Swami
His Holiness Satsvarupa dasa Goswami
His Holiness Jayapataka Swami
His Holiness Tamala Krsna Gosvami
His Holiness Hrdayananda Gosvami
His Holiness Bhavananda Gosvami
His Holiness Hamsaduta Swami
His Holiness Ramesvara Swami
His Holiness Harikesa Swami
His Grace Bhagavan dasa Adhikari
His Grace Jayatirtha dasa Adhikari

In the past Temple Presidents have written to Srila Prabhupada recommending a particular devotee’s initiation. Now that Srila Prabhupada has named these representatives, Temple Presidents may henceforward send recommendation for first and second initiation to whichever of these eleven representatives are nearest their temple. After considering the recommendation, these representatives may accept the devotee as an initiated disciple of Srila Prabhupada by giving a spiritual name, or in the case of second initiation, by chanting on the Gayatri thread, just as Srila Prabhupada has done. The newly initiated devotees are disciples of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the above eleven senior devotees acting as his representative. After the Temple President receives a letter from these representatives giving the spiritual name or the thread, 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 representative who has accepted him or her to Srila Prabhupada, to be included in His Divine Grace’s “Initiated Disciples” book. Hoping this finds you all well.

Your servant,
Tamal Krsna Gosvami
Secretary to Srila Prabhupada

Approved:
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
(Letter Signed by Srila Prabhupada)

I told some of the devotees what I heard about this and Yasodanandan wrote it down in his diary. On July 8th Yasodanandan Prabhu wrote, “Tamal Krishna Maharaja was talking about [with Prabhupada] rtvik gurus to initiate on behalf of Prabhupada after he leaves the planet.” On July 9th Yasodanandan wrote, “I heard from Tamal Krishna Maharaja in the afternoon that Srila Prabhupada had told him to send a letter to ‘all the temples’ to explain the ritvik initiation system for the future.” On July 10th Yasodanandan wrote, “Tamal Krishna Maharaja comes out of Prabhupada’s room. TKG: “Haribol, Yasoda, did you see this?” Yasoda: “No, what is it?” TKG: “This is signed by Prabhupada.” Yasoda: “What does all this mean?” TKG: “Devotees have been writing to Prabhupada asking for initiations and now Prabhupada has named eleven ritviks who can initiate on his behalf. Prabhupada said others can be added.” Yasodanandan: “And when Prabhupada departs?” TKG: “They’ll be ritviks. That’s what Prabhupada said. It’s all on tape.”
(R.C.5-28-77 & 7-7-77 etc.)

These arrangements were for after Srila Prabhupada’s departure.

The next few days after the ritvik appointments I heard more instructions from Srila Prabhupada. Tamal K.G. asked him the next morning, July 8th, if there should be vyasasana’s for the ritviks in the temples. Srila Prabhupada said, “No; that would create enmity among my disciples. You can make another room for that, but not in my temples.” The way I understood it was that the ritviks could be shown respect and even worshipped privately; but the devotees guru would/will be Srila Prabhupada and they should offer their prayers and obeisances to him. The new devotees should continue to offer the prasadam to Srila Prabhupada with the standard mantras. Only Srila Prabhupada should be worshipped by all of the devotees in ISKCON.

Tamal K.G. also asked Srila Prabhupada if there could be more ritviks in the future. Srila Prabhupada said that more could be appointed by the GBC at Mayapura. Tamal K.G. asked Srila Prabhupada what to do if a ritvik falls down and Srila Prabhupada replied that the GBC could remove them. Srila Prabhupada said that his temples were for his worship only and if we become diksa gurus we should only accept worship in our own temples. That way the movement would be united under Srila Prabhupada. The new devotees are junior God-brothers and sisters and if we become a pure devotee, diksa guru, those initiates would be ‘grand disciples’ of Srila Prabhupada. But this will be rare and must be done outside of ISKCON. For ISKCON we are all Godbrothers and sisters, junior and senior. Of course all respect is to be given to the senior and all devotees. Srila Prabhupada wanted one big happy family built on love and trust. That’s why he established the ritvik system with him in the center. That’s why he spent days and nights writing the law books for the next ten thousand years.

When I informed Yasodanandan about Srila Prabhupada’s instructions Tamal K.G. called me into his office and said, “I told you never to say anything about what Prabhupada says to anybody without clearing it through me first! You’ll never do anything for Prabhupada again!” He told me to ‘get out.’

I was thunderstruck! He had the authority to ‘fire me’ and he did. I retreated to my room and lamented like anything. Upendra Prabhu came to see me and tried to encourage me. He said he was working on Tamal K.G. to try to get me back. They had tried out a couple of other devotees to do my services. The next day Upendra returned and said that the devotees were ‘spacing out.’ He said Tamal K.G. didn’t realize how much service I was actually doing and they needed me back. I was going to get another chance. It was the one of the happiest days of my life! I relished my service even more and thought that the ritvik initiation system would be continued indefinitely.

After Srila Prabhupada actually left the planet and I noticed the first vyasasana’s appear in the temple rooms I was shocked. I returned to Vrindavan in early 1978 and met Tamal K.G. in his room. I asked him why vyasasana’s were being put in the temple rooms when we both heard Srila Prabhupada say not to. He asked me if I thought Srila Prabhupada could of said anything else after I had left. (I had to leave at the end of July 77 because my visa had expired.) I said I’m sure he could have but I don’t know why he would have when he’d talked about the ritvik system for months before his departure. Tamal K.G. said, “Well he did, and if you don’t believe me you can ask Kirtanananda Swami.” I asked if there was a tape or letter to that effect and he responded by slamming his fist down on he desk and said, “I don’t want to hear another word about this Gauridasa!” I retreated out of his room disappointed.

A few years later, on Dec. 3rd 1980, Tamal Krishna Maharaja told the real story at the Pyramid House in Topanga Canyon, California. Here are some key quotes: “Actually, Prabhupada never appointed any gurus. He appointed eleven ritviks. He never appointed them gurus. Myself and the other GBC have done the greatest disservice to this movement the last three years because we interpreted the appointment of ritviks as the appointment of gurus.”… “You can’t show me anything on tape or in writing where Prabhupada says, ‘I appoint these 11 as gurus.’ It doesn’t exist because he never appointed any gurus. This is a myth.”

My plea is to the GBC, to meet and study the final days of Srila Prabhupada in this regard. Now the movement is splintered with each of the 100+ guru’s having a little group of his own. Vaisnava etiquette is lacking in most cases. Devotees that would of joined ISKCON are joining other groups. Intelligent people are rarely coming as before. Where are all of the ‘stars’ these days? The ritvik initiation system will bring more souls to the shelter of Srila Prabhupada and his Hare Krishna Movement. The ritvik initiation system will reunite Srila Prabhupada’s family and make his temples a place where the whole world can live again!

Srila Prabhupada said we will show our love for him by how we cooperate after his departure. What can a bunch of splinter groups accomplish? If we do learn the art of cooperation and the ritvik initiation system gets reenacted it will be a great day in the history of ISKCON. The preaching mission will expand just like it did in ‘the good old days’ with Srila Prabhupada in the center as our common denominator. Sometimes it takes years and sometimes lifetimes to fulfill the order of the spiritual master. Better late than never! All glories to our Jagat Guru, the sakta-vesa avatar, Srila Prabhupada! He is still approachable through his teachings and he can and will deliver us all back to Godhead if we just take proper shelter. Let’s give real peace a chance!

Sincerely,
Gauridasa Pandita Dasa

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