Gaura Keshava is propounding Apa-Siddhantha
Gaura Keshava prabhu in his article
http://www.iskcontimes.com/unless-one-is-properly-initiated-one-cannot-go-back-to-godhead has made many assertions, I wish to respond them.
Hare Krishna Prabhu,
Regarding your comment:
1. The posthumous guru has no possibility for testing the disciple and therefore has no possibility of accepting or rejecting him.
I believe that Srila Prabhupada did not have contact with many of his eventual disciples, depending upon the discretion of the ritviks who recommended them to him, and subsequently initiated on his behalf.
First, the reason I chose to write is that I shudder every time I see the words "Posthumous Guru" That is apa-siddhanta. Posthumous translates into DEAD, After living, No longer Living. Srila Prabhupada did not accept such a term. There is no such thing as a DEAD Guru. This is offense. It is hellish mentality of one who does not see the actual position of the guru, but takes the guru to be an ordinary mortal man - who was once Alive, but is now DEAD. Those who use this word are possessed of Hellish mentality. Spiritual Master, Srila Prabhupada said, Is ETERNAL. He is not an ordinary mortal who lives and then Dies. He lives forever in his teachings. Those who use words that describes Srila Prabhupada as a DEAD Guru - I shun their association. Only so much as to point this fact out, and if they are not willing to hear and act on that advice, then I shun the association of their hellish mentality. No one, who considers themselves a brahmana devotee, would ever refer to their guru or any past bona fide acharya as a DEAD Guru. You will not find, in the works of Srila Prabhupada, or of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta or Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur, or Krishna das Kaviraj, or Srila Rupa Gosvami, etc, or Srila Vyasadeva, ever referring to any past Acharya as a DEAD Guru. Such a person who dare use that word and refer to a past guru, what to speak of their own guru, as a DEAD Guru is not a real devotee, is not a real brahmana, and is possessed of hellish mentality. That is the verdict of Ameyatma das; it is the verdict of shastra. And it, sadly, applies to virtually every member of the so-called current GBC and their supporters and followers.
Now, as far as authority is concerned:
As authorized by Srila Prabhupada in the July 9th letter he delineated authority to those who serve in the capacity of Ritvik Acharya to make the decision on his behalf whether that person was fit and qualified to become Srila Prabhupada's disciple. Srila Prabhupada has that prerogative. It is the guru's responsibility to test to see if someone is qualified. That is there. It is still there if that guru chooses to delegate that responsibility to someone of his own choice. He has the right to do so. Delegation of authority to an authorized representative goes on all the time and is fully sanctioned by Vedic principles.
Just like it is the duty of Yamaraj to make the final decisions as to the reaction of karmic work one has done in one's life. Yet, he can delegate that responsibility to his ministers as he so chooses. The decision reached by those whom Yamaraj authorizes to make the decisions on his behalf is just as binding as the decisions made by Yamaraj himself. And, beyond that, even at times Yamaraj takes leave of his post for some time; he can delegate full responsibility of his post to a surrogate or ritvik officiating minister. That is fully authorized by Vedic principles and occurs from time to time. When Yamaraj so takes physical leave of his court and it is run by the system he has set up, then the decisions made in that court are just as fair and binding as those made when he is physically present. That is authorized by Vedic principle.
It is absolutely no different in the case of a guru who authorizes ritvik surrogates who are given the duty to make certain specific decisions on behalf of the presiding acharya.
The process is just as bona fide when the ritvik representative makes the decision as when Srila Prabhupada himself made the decision. For many years Srila Prabhupada simply relied on the recommendation of his Temple Presidents and carte blanche accepted their recommendations without ever physically meeting his disciples. So, the ritvik process was there already in that he had it in a less formal way. He had delegated responsibility for making the decision to accept someone to his many Temple Presidents. As of July 9th he set up a more formal procedure in which he authorized ritviks to carry out that final choice on his behalf. If you look at the process that Srila Prabhupada set up that tests if the person is qualified or not to become his disciple, greater responsibility lies on the shoulder of the Temple Presidents, than on the Ritvik-Acharyas. It is the Temple Presidents who make the real determining recommendations, not the ritviks.
What the July 9th letter did is it removed the last and final tie to Srila Prabhupada's physical presence. From then on, his physical presence was no longer required for the system to carry on in his absence.
And, it is just as bona fide as when Yamaraj appoints others to make a final decision on his behalf, or even appoints another minister to act on his behalf in his physical absence. The Vedic precedence, that so many say is not there in the Vedic scripture, it is there. The decision made by the ministers of Yamaraj on behalf of Yamaraj is very far reaching. Imagine, if someone were a murderer of Vaishnava Brahmans and some irresponsible minister allows them to take birth as the son of a great demi-god. Or, if someone were virtuous and pure hearted and some irresponsible minister condemns them to take birth as a fish or plant who now faces so many thousands of births before even attaining a human form again. Those who make such final decisions are entrusted with far far reaching responsibility. If such delegation of authority is allowed by Vedic principles in the court of Yamaraj, it can be fully argued that it is also allowable by the decision of the bona fide acharya, that if he chooses, he can also delegate the responsibility to make a final decision to others whom he authorizes.
Besides, as pointed out, all those who oppose the on-going ritvik process take this as if it were some huge immovable obstacle which the Vedic scriptures absolutely forbid. Even though there is not a single word in Vedic scripture forbidding a guru to delegate such responsibility, those who are opposed have assumed that it is a treacherously forbidden unwritten law and if one breaks this imaginary law, all hell breaks loose. But, in reality, Srila Prabhupada had, for years, taken carte blanche the recommendations of the Temple Presidents, he did not insist on seeing each and every one of his new initiates personally, he did not insist that they must stay with him for 6 months so that he can test them 'personally', or for 1 month, 1 week, 1 day, 1 hour, 1 minute or even 1 second before he would give his final decision. No. He took the recommendation of his Temple Presidents carte blanche. That is why I say the system that he had already in place for years, placed much more responsibility on the shoulders of the Temple Presidents then on the shoulders of the newly appointed ritviks.
Actually, Srila Prabhupada had set up a strict system that the Temple Presidents were to adhere to. Such as for nam-diksha it requires that the initiate must reside at the temple for 6 months and fully follow the four regulative principles, practice the prescribed sadhana and chant 16 rounds minimum each day. All the Temple President did was vouch that this person has done this. Srila Prabhupada then trusted the word of the Temple President. But, the test Srila Prabhupada gave was that the pre-requisites were followed. If those pre-requisites were met, then that person passed Srila Prabhupada's test and could become his direct disciple. Srila Prabhupada chose not to personally be present for those 6 months and on a daily basis see physically for himself that the candidate did indeed follow those pre-requisites, rather, he authorized the Temple Presidents to verify this for him, and he trusted their word, thus he acted carte blanche on their recommendations. The most crucial aspect of the on-going ritvik system is not that of those SP gave the title of Ritvik Acharya to, but rather the most crucial aspect had already been in place for years, and that was the responsibility of the Temple Presidents to only recommend those who had truly complied with the prerequisites that SP had set.
That was already the system for many years before July 9th, 1977. On July 9th he simply took the process one 'small' step further. It was not some insurmountable, unthinkable, Vedic apa-siddhanta leap into the abyss. It was just an additional 'small' step further. On July 9th he now authorized a few men to make the final decision on his behalf, they will now take the recommendations given from the Temple Presidents and those ritviks will now make the final decision on Prabhupada's behalf, to accept their recommendations or not. The July 9th was just a small additional step, because most responsibility rests on the recommendations made by the Temple Presidents.
Still, this July 9th added step of authorizing ritviks to make the final decision on SP's behalf was significant in that it was the last step that now fully relieved Srila Prabhupada physically from the process. Just as Yamaraja may rely on the recommendation of ministers, and then, in court he reads off their verdict, then, he decides to take physical absence for a while, so he appoints several of his ministers to now act in the capacity of taking the recommendations of the other ministers and reading the final decision in Yamaraj's court. As long as the process that Yamaraj has set up and authorized to function in his absence is being followed, then the resulting decisions are authorized and final. The exact same for Srila Prabhupada and the system that he authorized and set up. When it is followed as he set it up, it has the same exact potency, and those who are initiated by that authorized process become as much SP's direct disciples as those whom SP had personally trained for months and personally performed the fire-yajna for. Absolutely NO Difference.