From a recent lecture by Rupanuga Prabhu (ACBSP)
Posted on May 5, 2016
Srila Prabhupada did appoint eleven madhyama-adhikaris to become diksa gurus. There’s no question about it. I was there when it happened. I’ve got the dialogue, I’ve got the CD, I’ve got them written and they match perfectly. I was there when it came down. I signed off as one of the eighteen GBC men. We all understood exactly what had happened. That whole discussion was all about the future. What was that future? Disciples of my disciples, my grand-disciples. And then on the 9th of July he came out with was to happen while he was still here. Because the question had been asked, “Well, what about initiations now?” There were hundreds people waiting in line, praying, crying for Srila Prabhupada to initiate before he disappeared. Everyone could understand that Srila Prabhupada was winding up his appearance. It was becoming pretty obvious. The GBC were first persons to know it. Our task was, we had to be able to explain to the devotees in general, what Srila Prabhupada wanted in the future. There was a lot of pressure on us. So we went to see Srila Prabhupada. So instead of eighteen of us going in, we chose six of us to go on, the chartered members which included myself. We went in and Satsvarupa read the questions we had laboriously compiled so as to not take too much time. Srila Prabhupada was indisposed. So we wanted to make it simple, clear and yet be able to know what we were supposed to do in the future. So we asked the first question about what to do about first and second initiations, especially when you are not with us. That was the first question. The discussion was about GBC, BBT; a lot of things went on at that meeting. It was brief but it covered a lot. I’m talking about that particular part, the first question that was on our list. And Srila Prabhupada replied, “Yes, I’m going to appoint some of you.” And the next question was, “Whose disciple will they be?” And he said, “Disciple of my disciple, my grand-disciple.” So the discussion was about the future. He didn’t answer the question about right now, these people are waiting. Kirtanananda wrote a letter to Srila Prabhupada after May 28, about five days later. He wrote a letter with a bunch of names that he wanted to submit for initiation. I recall, Tamala Krsna was Srila Prabhupada’s secretary, he was saying, “Srila Prabhupada has not decided what to do about those waiting for initiation now. He has not given an answer to that question.” He said, “Tell the GBC to tell everybody to wait. They just have to wait.” So what happened was on the 9th of July, Srila Prabhupada came out with a famous letter in which he said, “These men will initiate people on my behalf.” But he had already explained what was going to happen after he left. My disciple’s disciple, my grand-disciple. That was already discussed but the part about what happens with all those people waiting in line hadn’t been settled, yet. 9th’s letter settled that question. “Whatever initiations they perform now, these people I will name.” And between 28th of May and 9th of July, he picked the men. He put them in that letter. They were going to be ritviks, or the officiating acaryas for Srila Prabhupada. And anyone they initiated would be his disciple. But he had already described in the meeting on 28th May what was to happen after that. This was a description of what was to happen now to all those hundreds of devotees who were waiting. It’s all there in print. And all eighteen of us signed off on it. We knew, when we walked out of that meeting, all of us knew, nobody, nobody thought that Srila Prabhupada was changing the parampara system. If we had thought that, we’d have been back in the room. “Srila Prabhupada, how are we going to explain this to the devotees?” There wasn’t an issue. Nodbody even thought that Srila Prabhupada was changing the parampara system, to be the last acarya and everyone initiated from then on would be his disciple. That wasn’t even thought about.
Devotee: My question is that, nobody even knew that was going to happen at all. No one knew that there was going to be diksa gurus after Srila Prabhupada left. I didn’t know that. First of all, I didn’t know that Srila Prabhupada was going to leave.
Rupanuga: Well, the GBC knew it. It was up to the GBC to tell the others.
Note from Bhakti Vikasa Swami: I remember Jayatirtha Dasadhikari returning to London (where he was the GBC) from Vrndavana shortly after this and telling the assembled devotees at Bhaktivedanta Manor that Srila Prabhupada had appointed eleven leaders (including himself) to initiate on his behalf and that they were to act as full initiating gurus after his departure.