Mohsin Hassan: My master, what's your opinion on the Ramakrishna Mission? We have a Ramakrishna Mission in Chicago.
Prabhupāda: Ramakrishna Mission, if I say it frankly, they distorted the Bhagavad-gītā to the greatest extent. Because they presented somebody, Ramakrishna, as God. Ramakrishna said that "I am the same Kṛṣṇa, I am the same Rāma," and they accepted it. But one thing is, anybody can say that "I am the same Rāma, I am the same Kṛṣṇa." First of all we have to see the proof. So many, there are many ways of to understand. So Ramakrishna Mission is pushing on this wrong idea. And another thing is that, supposing this Ramakrishna is the same Kṛṣṇa, then the philosophy is different. Ramakrishna's philosophy and Bhagavad-gītā's philosophy is different, because Ramakrishna says that you can accept any method, every method is all right. But Kṛṣṇa says only unto Him, sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇam (BG 18.66). "Give up everything, simply surrender unto Me." Now Kṛṣṇa says one: "Simply surrender unto Me," and Ramakrishna says that we can accept anywhere. So which one we shall accept? Kṛṣṇa's or Ramakrishna's? What is your opinion? If something is spoken by Kṛṣṇa and something is spoken by Ramakrishna, so which one we shall prefer to accept?
Mohsin Hassan: Kṛṣṇa.
Prabhupāda: That's the answer. Therefore Ramakrishna Mission is misguiding.
Mohsin Hassan: There is another question many people like to know about. They visit the temples in Chicago and many temples all over the United States. They are fascinated in the ritual things, the ara..., during the offering pūjā to the Deities and especially this initiation service. I would like to record the meaning of these ritual things because it's very important to explain in great detail about it.
Prabhupāda: Yes. This is, this is essential for advancing in spiritual consciousness. Just like kindergarten system, the children are given some wooden, I mean, some plans to form some A, B and C like that, (indistinct). So this not like, exactly like the (indistinct) system. This system is introduced by great ācāryas, authorities. So we have to follow. In the beginning we have no love for Kṛṣṇa, so this process will help how to invoke his love for Kṛṣṇa. This is standard process.
Mohsin Hassan: This is the Vedic philosophy of the ritual.
Prabhupāda: And they are introduced by great ācāryas. You'll find, if you go in India, there are many thousands of temples, the same things are being followed from, since thousands and thousands of years, not only since the time of Kṛṣṇa; before the time of Kṛṣṇa. This is called arcana vidhi, the regulative principles for worshiping the Lord. They are followed. So they, actually Pañca..., this is called Pañcarātrika-vidhi, the regulative principle on the authority of Nārada Pañcarātra. So they must be followed. Otherwise one cannot be purified. This is purificatory process.
Mohsin Hassan: Would you please mention something about the meaning of the ritual of the initiation. They put their hand in the oil and the burning of the fire...
Prabhupāda: They are not putting their hand on the oil. It is called yajña, offering ghee to the fire. This is Vedic, this is Vedic ritual, to offer clarified butter and grains in the fire. Fire is supposed to be the mouth of God. So we are offering eatables to the Supreme Person, rūpa.