By Narasimha das
Sometimes new devotees wonder why there are various opinions on scriptural topics such as guru-tattva and krsna-tattva—even among supposed scholars. With all the Vedic literatures and the bhasyas of great acharyas, why are most Hindus, most Hindu leaders, and even persons born in exalted Vaishnava families so confused about essential Vedic conclusions? Specifically, why are there philosophical disagreements, it would seem, even in the Krishna consciousness movement? Srila Prabhupada gave us many volumes of books, purports, recorded lectures, and other instructions; so how can confusion and controversy remain in the society he created?
Srila Prabhupada explains as follows:
“I have got this personal experience in my Guru Maharaj’s institution. Different Godbrothers took the words of Guru Maharaj in different interpretations for sense gratification and the whole mission [was] disrupted. This is still going on for the last 40 years without any proper settlement. I am always afraid of this crack, but I am sure if our aim is to serve Krishna sincerely and the Spiritual Master simultaneously, that will be our success. That means serve Krishna and the Spiritual Master simultaneously with equal faith and serious vow, and then success is sure. “
Speaking to Uddhava Lord Krishna explains:
” ‘There are many types of Vedic literatures and supplementary Puranas. In each of them there are particular demigods who are spoken of as the chief demigods. This is just to create an illusion for moving and nonmoving living entities. Let them perpetually engage in such imaginations. However, when one analytically studies all these Vedic literatures collectively, he comes to the conclusion that Lord Viṣhṇu is the one and only Supreme Personality of Godhead.’…”
Similarly, for educated devotees, it is easy to conclude that Srila Prabhupada is the real acharya and jagat-guru for the golden age.This conclusion is the natural result of careful study without personal ambitions.
A.) Throughout Srila Prabhupada’s books it is clearly enjoined that only a self-realized soul who is specifically appointed by Krishna or the mahabhagavata acharya can become the bona fide spiritual master and impart diksha to new students. This was proven by the personal examples of many great devotees such as Sri Gadadhara Pandit and Srila Gaura Kishora das Babaji who did not agree to initiate without a direct order from Lord Chaitanya or Lord Krishna.
B.) When specifically asked how initiations would be continued after His disappearance, Srila Prabhupada replied, “I shall appoint some of you to act as representatives of the Acharya. Ritvik. Yes.”
C.) Srila Prabhupada gave many follow-up instructions, including an official signed document stating the same thing: ritvik initiations “henceforward.”
D.) The ritvik system was already functioning in Iskcon for many years prior. He simply sanctioned the GBC to manage it without His personal oversight. (Ritvik initiations are not a “vada” or philosophical interpretation. It is simply a system of management and sadhana.)
E.) Srila Prabhupada repeatedly insisted that nothing in Iskcon management or sadhana should be changed.
There are a few supposed instances where Srila Prabhupada seems to suggest his disciples could make their own disciples, and we find one quote from shastra that suggests even neophytes may sometimes accept students, but these references require interpretation and a rejection of essential siddhanta on guru-tattva to be construed as authorizations for self-appointed gurus. Certainly, only less-intelligent and ill-motivated posers will construe such references as authorizations for self-appointed or voted-in diksa-gurus.
Similarly, only degraded Hindus conclude that demigods are equal to Lord Krishna or Lord Vishnu and can be worshipped along with or in place of Lord Vishnu, Lord Rama or Lord Krishna. Such materialistic fools degrade themselves and their followers and create needless controversy, sectarian divisions and severe deviations that lead to destruction, as we have seen practically all over India. The Gaudiya Math and Iskcon institutions have also been decimated due to the ignorance and false ambitions of their leaders, who deliberately ignored essential scriptural conclusions and specific instructions from Srila Prabhupada and Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati.