One ISKCON. One Founder-acharya.
There is an idea amongst devotees today whom although intelligently understand that Srila prabhupada set up a ritvik system of initiations for ISKCON irrespective of his physical presence, believe that this system was more of a temporary concession to satisfy the immediate lack of a qualified successor guru. This idea, however, can only be speculation. When it comes down to it, Srila Prabhupada did what he did, which was give an order for the society to conduct initiations on his behalf, with new devotees being initiated as his disciples. Period. Srila Prabhupada didn’t say that this order was to be carried out only until a more qualified guru is available, nor did he say that his reason for ordering so was because of a lack of any qualified individuals. Srila Prabhupada’s ritvik order is not a mystery. It is not something that requires a great deal of insight. If Srila Prabhupada issued an order to his society, that order must be carried out in his society. It certainly could never be lifted on the strength of some circumstantial implications which may or may not be factual.
The facts which form the conclusion that Srila Prabhupada is ISKCON’s diksa guru for roughly 10,000 years are as follows.
“…we write in our own way that “By the order of his guru he went to America. Then he…” That’s a fact. What is the fact, that should be written. Give the list of the books and so on, so on. […] And “He is the ācārya of the present Gauḍīya-sampradāya.” (Conversation, 19th January, 1976)
“…the International Society for Krishna Consciousness of which I am the Founder and Acarya.” (Letter — Surat 2 January, 1971)
“Still they have made some impression, the Hare Kṛṣṇa movement. Literatures are selling, they are appreciating, learned circle. Takes some time, but if we stick to our principles and do not make any compromise and push on-in this way, I have given you instruction, it will never stop; it will go on. It will never stop. At least for ten thousand years it will go on.” (Excerpt from conversation in car in New Vrindavan on June 21, 1976)
“The newly initiated devotees are disciples of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad, the above eleven senior devotees acting as His representative.” (Letter — July 9th, 1977)
“I am the spiritual master of this institution, and all the members of the society, they’re supposed to be my disciples. They follow the rules and regulations which I ask them to follow, and they are initiated by me spiritually.” (Radio Interview — March 12, 1968, San Francisco)
In addition to this there is the fact that ISKCON even on a managerial level was meant to operate with Srila Prabhupada as the initiating spiritual master:
“…a successor director or directors may be appointed by the remaining directors, provided the new director is my initiated disciple…” (Declaration of Will — June, 1977)