The Ritvik Order

Srila Prabhupada issued his last directive to the society regarding how initiations were to be conducted from then on. This letter didn’t actually change the system of initiation which was already in place in ISKCON; Srila Prabhupada was still to be the initiating guru as he always had been, but instead the 11 disciples who were meant to act only as representative priests artificially declared themselves full-fledged acharyas, pure devotee successor spiritual masters.


July 9th, 1977 Letter



Founder-Acharya: His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

July 9th, 1977

To All G.B.C., and Temple Presidents

Dear Maharajas and Prabhus,

Please accept my humble obeisances at your feet. Recently when all of the GBC members were with His Divine Grace in Vrndavana, Srila Prabhupada indicated that soon He would appoint some of His senior disciples to act as “rittik”-representative of the acarya, for the purpose of performing initiations, both first initiation and second initiation. His Divine Grace has so far given a list of eleven disciples who will act in that capacity:

• His Holiness Kirtanananda Swami

• His Holiness Satsvarupa dasa Gosvami

• His Holiness Jayapataka Swami

• His Holiness Tamala Krishna Gosvami

• His Holiness Hrdayananda Gosvami

• His Holiness Bhavananda Gosvami

• His Holiness Hamsaduta Swami

• His Holiness Ramesvara Swami

• His Holiness Harikesa Swami

• His Grace Bhagavan dasa Adhikari

• His Grace Jayatirtha dasa Adhikari

In the past Temple Presidents have written to Srila Prabhupada recommending a particular devotee”s initiation. Now that Srila Prabhupada has named these representatives, Temple Presidents may henceforward send recommendation for first and second initiation to whichever of these eleven representatives are nearest their temple. After considering the recommendation, these representatives may accept the devotee as an initiated disciple of Srila Prabhupada by giving a spiritual name, or in the case of second initiation, by chanting on the Gayatri thread, just as Srila Prabhupada has done. The newly initiated devotees are disciples of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad, the above eleven senior devotees acting as His representative. After the Temple President receives a letter from these representatives giving the spiritual name or the thread, he can perform the fire yajna in the temple as was being done before. The name of a newly initiated disciple should be sent by the representative who has accepted him or her to Srila Prabhupada, to be included in His Divine Grace”s “Initiated Disciples” book.

Hoping this finds you all well.

Your servant,

Tamala Krishna Gosvami

Secretary to Srila Prabhupada

Approved: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

[Srila Prabhupada’s signature appears on the original]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s