M O V I N G   F O R W A R D

With a Case for the Reconstitution of Srila Prabhupada’s “Mission”.

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Segment 17.3
Ritvik-vadis Are Irrational.

Some ritvik vadis blame all ISKCON’s troubles on the guru issue, but I find that the guru issue is only a symptom. ISKCON’s troubles are primarily due to our failing to be more in the mode of goodness. Unfortunately, that is the failure of the ritvik-vadis as well, but they do not know it. By backing an idea that has no sastric support they are in tamo guna (Srimad-bhagavatam. 11.25.4), yet they feel that as long as ISKCON does not get behind the ritvik understanding, ISKCON is off. Actually, in a number of ways ritvik-vada is as bogus as a three-dollar-bill. Convincing any ritvik-vadi of this fact, however, is quite another thing. They are not noted for their ability for rational discussions.

They take a true piece of evidence, that there are unqualified persons in the post of guru, or that gurus had falldowns, and with that, they run off in all directions at once and jump to all the wrong conclusions, one of which is that the philosophy needs to be changed to include ritvik-vada. Just because some are unqualified to be guru does not mean that all serving as guru are unqualified. They have appointed themselves the sole arbiters of who is qualified and who is not. Without their approval, no one will ever be qualified, although they humbly admit that they themselves are not qualified. However, somehow, or another, they are all amply qualified, to tell us who is unqualified.

Why do not they simply preach what is the qualification of a guru by giving a balanced presentation of the teachings in Prabhupada’s books and leave it at that?

Why do not they just educate people and then leave them to discriminate for themselves?

Why baffle the minds of the innocent with bogus rhetoric pawned off as a philosophical conclusion?

Moreover, in their attempt, they risk making offenses by indulging in verbal sleight of hand with Prabhupada’s words.

To answer these questions, we have to understand the nature of rationalizing, i.e., attempting to explain or justify (one’s own or another’s behavior or attitude) with logical, plausible reasons, even if these are not true or appropriate. When we have no rational reason for something that we are attached to, we rationalize. We come up with rational reasons to support our irrational motive. Inasmuch as ritvik-vada has no sastric support, it has no rational basis. Thus, we are obliged to conclude that it is a rationalization.

What could that rationalization be? One reason is that there is no real responsibility on the shoulders of the ritvik-guru. He can preach, elicit services, initiate people as disciples of Srila Prabhupada, and they will be for all practical purposes his followers, yet when it comes down to the crunch, he is not accountable to or responsible for that individual, because that individual is not his disciple. He does not have to teach by example.

Some ritvik vadis blame all ISKCON’s troubles on the guru issue, but I find that the guru issue is only a symptom. ISKCON’s troubles are primarily due to our failing to be more in the mode of goodness. Unfortunately, that is the failure of the ritvik-vadis as well, but they do not know it. By backing an idea that has no sastric support they are in tamo guna (Srimad-bhagavatam. 11.25.4), yet they feel that as long as ISKCON does not get behind the ritvik understanding, ISKCON is off. Actually, in a number of ways ritvik-vada is as bogus as a three-dollar-bill. Convincing any ritvik-vadi of this fact, however, is quite another thing. They are not noted for their ability for rational discussions.

They take a true piece of evidence, that there are unqualified persons in the post of guru, or that gurus had falldowns, and with that, they run off in all directions at once and jump to all the wrong conclusions, one of which is that the philosophy needs to be changed to include ritvik-vada. Just because some are unqualified to be guru does not mean that all serving as guru are unqualified. They have appointed themselves the sole arbiters of who is qualified and who is not. Without their approval, no one will ever be qualified, although they humbly admit that they themselves are not qualified. However, somehow, or another, they are all amply qualified, to tell us who is unqualified.

Why do not they simply preach what is the qualification of a guru by giving a balanced presentation of the teachings in Prabhupada’s books and leave it at that?

Why do not they just educate people and then leave them to discriminate for themselves?

Why baffle the minds of the innocent with bogus rhetoric pawned off as a philosophical conclusion?

Moreover, in their attempt, they risk making offenses by indulging in verbal sleight of hand with Prabhupada’s words.

To answer these questions, we have to understand the nature of rationalizing, i.e., attempting to explain or justify (one’s own or another’s behavior or attitude) with logical, plausible reasons, even if these are not true or appropriate. When we have no rational reason for something that we are attached to, we rationalize. We come up with rational reasons to support our irrational motive. Inasmuch as ritvik-vada has no sastric support, it has no rational basis. Thus, we are obliged to conclude that it is a rationalization.

What could that rationalization be? One reason is that there is no real responsibility on the shoulders of the ritvik-guru. He can preach, elicit services, initiate people as disciples of Srila Prabhupada, and they will be for all practical purposes his followers, yet when it comes down to the crunch, he is not accountable to or responsible for that individual, because that individual is not his disciple. He does not have to teach by example.

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