19 Jul 2013
in A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Diksha, Disciplic succession, Guru & Disciple, July 9th Letter, Letters by Srila Prabhupada, Siksa, Spiritual Master
Tags: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Bhagavan dasa Adhikari, Bhavananda Gosvami, Hamsaduta Swami, Harikesa Swami, Hrdayananda Gosvami, Jayapataka Swami, Jayatirtha dasa Adhikari, July 9th Letter, Kirtanananda Swami, May 28th conversation, Ramesvara Swami, Satsvarupa dasa Gosvami, Tamala Krsna Gosvami, to all gbc's and temple presidents
This is the last written instruction we have on initiations. It is a very important letter that all members of ISKCON should be familiar with, regardless of your position. It was adressed to All G.B.C., and Temple Presidents. This is where the first eleven names originated, and how initiations were to be carried out. This letter was based on the equally important May 28th Conversation between the GBC and Srila Prabhupada, as regards to how initiations in the future, will go on, particularly at that time when Srila Prabhupada is no longer with us.
It is essential for devotees to understand that all ISKCON members are first and foremost followers of Srila Prabhupada and that it is by his blessings that we advance in Krishna consciousness. The eternal spiritual master is a resident of Vaikuntha and is our ever well-wisher. It is he who is preparing a place for us in the spiritual world.
Very important history!
The full text is as follows: More
19 Jul 2013
in A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Diksha, Disciplic succession, Guru & Disciple, guru-tattva, Parampara System, Quotes by Srila Prabhupada, Rakshana das, Siksa, Vidura das
Tags: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, bona fide spiritual master, Guru Issue, Initiation, Iskcon, prabhupada, prabhupadanugas, Rakshana das, Sampradaya sun, spiritual master, transparent medium, Vidhura das, Vraja Vilasa
As always in our ISKCON Society, since the departure of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, there is an ongoing discussion, debate, and, or, argument on the guru issue. No doubt finding a qualified spiritual master is of utmost importance as is outlined in Easy Journey to Other Planets:
1. The serious candidate must accept a bona fide spiritual master in order to be trained scientifically. Because the senses are material, it is not at all possible to realize the Transcendence by them. Therefore the senses have to be spiritualized by the prescribed method under the direction of the spiritual master.
2. When the student has chosen a bona fide spiritual master, he must take the proper initiation from him. This marks the beginning of spiritual training.
3. The candidate must be prepared to satisfy the spiritual master in every way. A bona fide spiritual master who is fully cognizant of the methods of spiritual science, learned in the spiritual scriptures such as the Bhagavad-gītā, Vedānta, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and Upaniṣads, and who is also a realized soul who has made a tangible connection with the Supreme Lord, is the transparent medium by which the willing candidate is led to the path of the Vaikuṇṭhas. The spiritual master must be satisfied in all respects, because simply by his good wishes a candidate can make wonderful progress along the path.
Recently I have been following on the Sampradaya Sun a slew of posts by Vraja Vilasa Prabhu:
Which were in response to the article by Rakshana Prabhu (which we also posted here):
The Transmission of Transcendental Sound
Followed by his reply:
Surround Sound and the Big Mrdanga
Then of course there was a rebuttal post by Vidura Prabhu in response to Vraja Vilasa Prabhu’s; “Two Wrongs Don’t Make a Right”, which was not posted on the Sampradaya Sun, but rather by the Prabhupanuga pages and which we (for the sake of disclosure) will post here. This is a very nice assortment of quotes, for instance…
“Krishna and his representative are the same. Similarly, the spiritual master can be present wherever the disciple wants. A spiritual master is the principle, not the body.” (Letter to Malati, 28/5/68)
14 May 2013
in Diksha, Disciplic succession, Guru & Disciple, guru-tattva, ISKCON, Iskcon Bangalore, Madhu Pandit das, Siksa
Tags: 1st and 2nd initiation, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Bangalore Group, diksa, diksa disciples, disciple, guru, guru disciple, initiates, ISKCON Bangalore, ISKCON Mumbi, officiating Acarya, ritvik, Satsvarupa, siksa, spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada, Synopsis of the System of Initiation, Tamala Krsna
Creating the Post of Officiating Acarya
In the ensuing struggle between the Devotees of ISKCON Bangalore and ISKCON Mumbi, it is this authors hope that both sides will try to work towards a brotherly reconciliation. Wherein both sides can find the common ground, which is faith in, and obedience to the teachings of Srila Prabhupada.
Srila Prabhupada’s intentions with regard to how initiations should be conducted in his physical absence was clearly stated in the May 28th, 1977 discussion with the GBC:
Satsvarūpa: …Then our next question concerns initiations in the future, particularly at that time when you’re no longer with us. We want to know how first and second initiation would be conducted.
Prabhupāda: Yes. I shall recommend some of you. After this is settled up, I shall recommend some of you to act as officiating ācāryas.
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Is that called ṛtvik-ācārya?
Prabhupāda: Ṛtvik, yes.
Satsvarūpa: Then what is the relationship of that person who gives the initiation and the…
Prabhupāda: He’s guru. He’s guru.
Satsvarūpa: But he does it on your behalf.
Prabhupāda: Yes. That is formality. Because in my presence one should not become guru, so on my behalf, on my order… Āmāra ājñāya guru hañā [Cc. Madhya 7.128]. Be actually guru, but by my order.
Satsvarūpa: So they may also be considered your disciples.
Prabhupāda: Yes, they are disciples. Why consider? Who?
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: No, he’s asking that these ṛtvik-ācāryas, they’re officiating, giving dīkṣā. Their… The people who they give dīkṣā to, whose disciple are they?
Prabhupāda: They’re his disciple.
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: They’re his disciple.
Prabhupāda: Who is initiating. He is grand-disciple.
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: That’s clear.
So it is plain to see that those giving diksa would be acting as officiating acaryas, and those receiving diksa from them would be their disciples. It is the duty of the GBC to create the post of Officiating Acarya so that we may all be properly connected to the disciplic succession.
“Who is Initiating” refers to the Officiating Acarya who is giving diksa, and those who receive diksa are his initiated disciples and Srila Prabhupada’s grand-disciples.
That’s clear. (However that instruction was never followed).
The GBC must create the post of “Officiating Acarya”, and all the ISKCON gurus would be considered as such, as it should have been since the time of the famous July 9th Letter. This I think, would be the beginning of the much needed reconcililation, and cure many of the ills of our society.
The following is the Synopsis of the System of Initiation as applicable to the ISKCON Bangalore group of temples and could be incorporated into mainstream ISKCON very easily.
The Post of Officiating Acarya More
07 May 2013
in A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Diksha, Disciplic succession, Guru & Disciple, Prabhupadanugas, Remembering Srila Prabhupada, Satsvarupa das Goswami, Spiritual Master, The Hare Krishna Movement
Tags: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Bhakti Caru Swami, buddha, Buddhists, Christ, Christians, devotees, Founder Acarya, Iskcon, prabhupadanuga, prabhupadanugas, Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami, spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada, Srila Prabhupada Lilamrta, The Final Lesson
click on image to enlarge
Perhaps it was Krsna who directed me to the last chapter of Śrīla Prabhupāda-līlāmṛta, by Satsvarūpa dāsa Goswāmī. The famous book chronicling The life of our Founder-Acarya His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. In this last chapter entitled, “The Final Lesson”, last sentence of this voluminious book, Satsvarūpa dāsa Goswāmī concludes with this statement:
“Our hope is that by hearing about Śrīla Prabhupāda the reader will become himself a Prabhupādānuga, a follower of Śrīla Prabhupāda. We can wish no better fortune upon anyone.”
this came as a comment…
This is probably the best thing Satsvarupa Maharaja ever wrote.
When a devotee decides to join the Hare Krishna movement as a full-time member, they are announcing to the world their acceptance of Srila Prabhupada as the empowered representative of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. By mature realization they will come to recognize Srila Prabhupada as their eternal spiritual master. These lifetime servants of the spiritual master are called Prabhupadanugas.
Those who mould their lives in such a way that they can always think of the lotus feet of the spiritual master will live with him eternally. Because of Srila Prabhupada’s transcendental position, there is no separation in time or space between us. He is present in our lives and is guiding us back to Godhead through his written and spoken word. By his unlimited blessings we continue to move forward in Krishna consciousness and surely we will one day reach the ultimate goal of love of Godhead. The more we advance toward that goal, the more we will understand the greatness of Srila Prabhupada’s compassion upon us and his concern for the conditioned souls of this world who are all part and parcel of the Supreme Lord, Sri Krishna. (Locanananda das)
Sometimes the ISKCON devotees refer to Prabhupadanugas as some splinter group, not belonging to the mainstream devotees. But in fact we can plainly see from some of the writing of the senior members of our society that becoming a follower of Śrīla Prabhupāda is exactly what is needed. For instance in Bhakti Curu Swami’s, Disappearance Day offering to Srila Prabhupada, given June 16, 2010, he states:
…everyday, in all the temples of ISKCON, Srila Prabhupada is worshipped by everyone. Then why do we hesitate to tell a new comer who is searching for a guru that Srila Prabhupada, the best guru the world has ever seen, is still here, and one can surrender unto him and go back to Godhead very easily? When we have such a great good fortune, why do we not take full advantage of it? It is only when we do so that the glorious days of ISKCON will come back again and we will witness Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s sankirtan movement starting to spread in leaps and bounds all over the world.
If we really love ISKCON and if we sincerely want the Krsna Consciousness movement to spread all over the world in every town and village, then let us broadcast all over the world that Srila Prabhupada is still with us and that anyone who wants to receive his mercy can approach him and establish his eternal relationship with him.
Full Chapter of the “The Final Lesson” More
15 Apr 2013
in A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Disciplic succession, Guru & Disciple, Letters by Srila Prabhupada, Parampara System
Tags: 68-04-12, Brahma sampradaya, Dayanda das, disciplic succession, guru and disciple, Madhava, Parampara, parampara system, Sampradaya Acarya, spiritual master, Vyasadeva
..Regarding parampara system: there is nothing to wonder for big gaps. Just like we belong to the Brahma Sampradaya, so we accept it from Krishna to Brahma, Brahma to Narada, Narada to Vyasadeva, Vyasadeva to Madhva, and between Vyasadeva and Madhva there is a big gap. But it is sometimes said that Vyasadeva is still living, and Madhva was fortunate enough to meet him directly. In a similar way, we find in the Bhagavad-gita that the Gita was taught to the sungod, some millions of years ago, but Krishna has mentioned only three names in this parampara system—namely, Vivasvan, Manu, and Iksvaku; and so these gaps do not hamper from understanding the parampara system. We have to pick up the prominent acaryas, and follow from him. There are many branches also from the parampara system, and it is not possible to record all the branches and sub-branches in the disciplic succession. We have to pick up from the authority of the acharya in whatever sampradaya we belong to. (from letter to Dayananda: April 12, 1968)
Full letter More
18 Mar 2013
in A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Disciplic succession, Guru & Disciple, Quotes by Srila Prabhupada
Tags: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Accepting the Line of Disciplic Succession, disciplic succession, quotes by Srila Prabhupada, Srila Prabhupada, Srila Prabhupada's books, vani, vibration of transcendental sound
This is a nice post put together by Krishna Path entitled “Accepting the Line of Disciplic Succession”, with some slight editing (highlighting) done by us. What is particularly nice about it, are the Quotes at bottom stressing the importance of reading Srila Prabhupada’s books.
So there is nothing to be said new. Whatever I have to speak, I have spoken in my books. Now you try to understand it and continue your endeavor. Whether I am present or not present, it doesn’t matter. (Arrival Speech – May 17, 1977, Vrndavana)
So although a physical body is not present, the vibration should be accepted as the presence of the spiritual master, vibration. What we have heard from the spiritual master, that is living. (Lecture Excerpt – Los Angeles, January 13, 1969)
So utilize whatever time you find to make a thorough study of my books. Then all your questions will be answered. (Letter to: Upendra – Nellore 7 January, 1976)
08 Mar 2013
in A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Disciplic succession, Isvara Puri, Sri Caitanya-Caritamrta
Tags: disciple of madhavendra puri, Hare Krsna Maha-mantra, Isvara Puri, Lord Caitanya, Madhavendra Puri, spiritual master, spiritual master of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Sri Caitanya-caritmrta, usvara-puri gosani fare
Today is the the Disappearance of Śrī Īśvara Purī who was the spiritual master of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Even though Lord Caitanya, the Supreme Godhead, did not need a spiritual master, He accepted Śrī Īśvara Purī as His guru to establish the importance of accepting a spiritual master. In honor of his disappearance we are posting one verse from the Sri Caitanya-caritmrta describing the service he rendered to his spiritual master Śrīla Mādhavendra Purī.
…”At the last stage of his life Śrī Mādhavendra Purī became an invalid and was completely unable to move, and Īśvara Purī so completely engaged himself in his service that he personally cleaned up his stool and urine. Always chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra and reminding Śrī Mādhavendra Purī about the pastimes of Lord Kṛṣṇa in the last stage of his life, Īśvara Purī gave the best service among his disciples. Thus Mādhavendra Purī, being very pleased with him, blessed him, saying, ‘My dear boy, I can only pray to Kṛṣṇa that He will be pleased with you.’ Thus Īśvara Purī, by the grace of his spiritual master, Śrī Mādhavendra Purī, became a great devotee in the ocean of love of Godhead.”
12 Nov 2012
in Diksha, Disciplic succession, Guru & Disciple, Locanananda das
Tags: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, disciple, future initiations, guru, Initiation, initiation system, Iskcon, Locanananda das, spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada
click on image to enlarge
…What Srila Prabhupada arranged in ISKCON was a very safe and very clear path for the new adherent to advance in Krishna consciousness and in the end to reach the ultimate goal of going back to Godhead. The process of sadhana bhakti with morning and evening classes, kirtana and Deity worship coupled with training in preaching and daily Sankirtana activity was the path to purification and the awakening of our dormant love for Krishna. Simple, yet sublime!
As far as acceptance of a spiritual master, in our day it was a foregone conclusion that the initiated disciple was agreeing to worship Srila Prabhupada as good as God and that the spiritual master was promising to deliver the disciple from the cycle of birth and death.
Presently, people are still being attracted to join this movement by coming into contact with Srila Prabhupada’s books, by association with good devotees who represent him with transparency, and by developing a taste for chanting the Holy Name and honoring Krishna prasadam. They agree to abide by the principles established by Srila Prabhupada for all generations of ISKCON devotees — past, present and future. They read and distribute his books, offer obeisances to him when entering the temple, worship his murti, and focus on cultivating a personal relationship with him. In other words, someone who joins our movement today is doing so as a follower of Srila Prabhupada and is accepting His Divine Grace as their eternal spiritual master. It is he who is taking them back to the spiritual world. How could someone who is not a resident of the spiritual world do so?
This is a continuation from our previous posts, The Spiritual Master some time ago, and the further discussion in The Spiritual Master (Part 2)
And The Spiritual Master (Part 3) This is a fascinating account by Sriman Locanananda Prabhu revealing his insights into the ‘guru issue’ in our ISKCON society today, from his own personal understanding, and his realizations of the instructions given by Srila Prabhupada shortly before his untimely departure. Our obeisances to him for sharing his personal recollections and realizations. This new The Spiritual Master (Part 4) is exploring the same theme although from a different source.
06 Nov 2012
in A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Disciplic succession, Spiritual Master
Tags: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Brahma, Brahma sampradaya, disciplic succession, evam parampara-praptam, Krsna, Madhva sampradaya, Madhva-Gaudiya-Sampradaya, Narada, sampradayas, Vyasa
The Disciplic Succession
Those who are followers of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, and read from his books with faith and conviction, are receiving Transcendental Knowledge Evaṁ paramparā-prāptam imaṁ rājarṣayo viduḥ. (Bhagavad-gīta, 4.2; see below for full verse and purport) through this disciplic succession:
1) Kṛṣṇa, 2) Brahmā, 3) Nārada; 4) Vyāsa, 5) Madhva, 6) Padmanābha, 7) Nṛhari, 8) Mādhava, 9) Akṣobhya, 10) Jayatīrtha, 11) Jñānasindhu, 12) Dayānidhi, 13) Vidyānidhi, 14) Rājendra, 15) Jayadharma, 16) Puruṣottama, 17) Brahmaṇyatīrtha, 18) Vyāsatīrtha, 19) Lakṣmīpati, 20) Mādhavendra Purī, 21) Īśvara Purī, (Nityānanda, Advaita), 22) Lord Caitanya, 23) Rūpa (Svarūpa, Sanātana), 24) Raghunātha, Jīva, 25) Kṛṣṇadāsa, 26) Narottama, 27) Viśvanātha, 28) (Baladeva) Jagannātha, 29) Bhaktivinode, 30) Gaurakiśora, 31) Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī, 32) His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda.
…We have to accept Kṛṣṇa through the disciplic succession. There are four sampradāyas, disciplic successions. One comes from Lord Brahmā (the Brahma-sampradāya), and another comes from Lakṣmī, the goddess of fortune, (the Śrī-sampradāya). There are also the Kumāra-sampradāya and the Rudra-sampradāya. At the present moment, the Brahmā sampradāya is represented by the Madhva-sampradāya, and we belong to the Madhva-Gauḍīya-sampradāya. Our original sampradāya stems from Madhvācārya. In that sampradāya there was Mādhavendra Purī, and Mādhavendra Purī’s disciple was Śrī Īśvara Purī. Śrī Īśvara Purī’s disciple was Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Thus we are coming in the disciplic succession from Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, and therefore our sampradāya is called the Madhva-Gauḍīya-sampradāya. It is not that we have manufactured a sampradāya; rather, our sampradāya stems from Lord Brahmā.
02 Nov 2012
in Diksha, Disciplic succession, Guru & Disciple, Hansadutta das
Tags: conditioned, disciplic succession, discipline, guru, Hansadutta dasa, liberated, living guru, rittvik, spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada
click on image to enlarge
…Srila Prabhupada said he wanted all his students to become qualified gurus and often said it was simple: all one had to do was repeat what he had heard from his guru. When Srila Prabhupada was preparing to leave this world, he said, “Act as rittvik representative of the Acharya.” But no one follows this; therefore, how are they guru?! They do not repeat or follow this last important directive, but attempt to discredit Srila Prabhupada’s own order, saying, “There is no precedent. It was never done before.” They quote Srila Prabhupada to contradict Srila Prabhupada. They quote His Holiness Narayana Maharaja to contradict Srila Prabhupada. Why? A disciple’s duty is to find evidence to support his guru’s order—not to be over intelligent, quoting authorities to contradict his spiritual master’s orders.
Disciple’s Role to Support the Order of the Acharya
by Hansadutta Dasa
Srila Prabhupada said, “I don’t say I am liberated. I am conditioned. But because I am following the instructions of Bhaktisiddhanta, I am liberated. This is the distinction between conditioned and liberated: when one is under the direction of a liberated person.”
So Srila Prabhupada’s direction was: “Act as representative of the Acharya, act as rittvik.” We should follow that order and be liberated and thus continue the disciplic succession. The rittvik is also a living guru.
28 Oct 2012
in A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, Disciplic succession, Gaudiya Math, Guru & Disciple, Rupanuga das, Spiritual Master
Tags: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Bhaktivinode Thakur, disciples, Gaudiya Math, generals who could not be defeated, guru, Lord Caitianya Mahaprabhu, Rupanuga das, sankirtan, spiritual master, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta, Srila Prabhupada, viraha astaka
…whatever Krsna Consciousness exists outside of India is due to the humble efforts of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who openly challenged the scientific voidism and sectarian impersonalism dominating the world. Like Bhaktivinode Thakur and Bhaktisiddhanta Thakur, his predecessors in bringing Lord Caitanya’s causeless mercy of Harinama out of India, His Divine Grace remains undefeated, and is prepared to commission any and all of his followers to carry on the tradition of victory.
…The Generals who could not be defeated have already provided the strategy, weapons, and knowledge, the spiritual strength, to guarantee ultimate victory. The Parampara Acaryas have chosen Srila Prabhupada-vani to lead the mission into this 21st Century…
Therefore, the wise shall accept the infallible guidance and protection of Srila Prabhupada and to best capacity help deliver, by His Divine Grace, the inconceivable benediction of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
The Generals Who Could Not Be Defeated
by Sriman Rupanuga das
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada once remarked to his disciples, “You must become a general like me. I cannot be defeated.” Srila Prabhupada was commissioned by another undefeated general, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Thakur, who against all opposition established the legitimacy and influence of the Gaudiya Vaisnava siddhanta in India. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta met resistance from every quarter: professional gurus, prakrta-sahajiyas, caste goswamis, ecumenists, eclecticists, et al., but anyone who dared to sally forth and meet his challenge was ultimately trounced.
23 Oct 2012
in Diksha, Disciplic succession, Guru & Disciple, Locanananda das, Spiritual Master
Tags: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, diksa, disciples, GBC, guru, initiations, Iskcon, July 9th Letter, Locanananda dasa, May 28th conversation, officiating acaryas, ritvik acarya, SB 1.13.15, spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada, The Hare Krishna Movement, Vidura
click on image to enlarge
This is a continuation from our previous post, The Spiritual Master a few days ago. This is a fascinating account by Sriman Locanananda Prabhu revealing his insights into the ‘guru issue’ in our ISKCON society today, from his own personal understanding, and his realizations of the instructions given by Srila Prabhupada shortly before his untimely departure. Our obeisances to him for sharing his personal recollections and realizations. [Note: some of the other comments were edited out so as not to distract from Locanananda Prabhu’s train of thought. You can follow the entire stream of comments by going to Prabhupada News
…Because the focus of every devotee’s efforts is to please Srila Prabhupada knowing him to be Krishna’s pure representative, we can understand that the officiating acarya’s function is to formalize the disciple’s connection with Srila Prabhupada and the disciplic succession by the giving of diksa.
… According to this correct understanding, the officiating acarya is not particularly empowered to take those he initiates back to Godhead. But if he is capable of acting as the transparent via medium to the founder acarya, he is certainly to be honored and shown great respect. However, so that Srila Prabhupada remains the central figure and worshipable spiritual master within the Hare Krishna movement, no other spiritual personality should become his competitor by exacting worship from disciples. It is the responsibility of the GBC to preserve this unique role as exclusively the position of Srila Prabhupada.
18 Oct 2012
in Diksha, Disciplic succession, Locanananda das, Siksa, Spiritual Master
Tags: devotional service, diksa, disciple, Founder Acarya, grand disciples, guru, Krishna's empowered emissary, Krishna's pure devotee, ritvik acarya, ritvik system of initiation, spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada
This is excerpted comment by Locanananda Prabhu at Prabhupada News on an article posted there by one of Srila Prabhupada’s personal servants, Gauridasa Pandita dasa, about the Ritvik order. Very nice comment.
The Spiritual Master
by Locanananda dasa
Srila Prabhupada is the eternal spiritual master of his followers and of all generations of followers still to come. His Divine Grace likened initiation to the admissions procedure at school. He said it was more or less a formality. He surely never wanted this initiation issue to divide his followers into different camps.
The essence of the process of devotional service is to surrender to the spiritual master. A disciple accepts the discipline taught by Krishna’s pure representative. He does not manufacture his own way. In that sense, followers are disciples, and Srila Prabhupada will deliver them to Krishna.
21 Jul 2012
in Disciplic succession, Guru & Disciple, Nectar of Devotion
Tags: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Acaryas, accepting the shelter of a bona fide spiritual master, bhakti yoga, Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, guru disciple, Initiation, Krishna consciousness, Nectar of Devotion, NOD 7, spiritual master, Srila Rupa Goswami, suffering humanity
click on image to enlarge
The Nectar of Devotion is a summary study of Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, which was written in Sanskrit by Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī Prabhupāda. He was the chief of the six Gosvāmīs, who were the direct disciples of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu, and has since been translated into English by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Founder-Acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness.
The author of Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, very humbly submits that he is just trying to spread Kṛṣṇa consciousness all over the world, although he humbly thinks himself unfit for this work. That should be the attitude of all preachers of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, following in the footsteps of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī. We should never think of ourselves as great preachers, but should always consider that we are simply instrumental to the previous ācāryas, and simply by following in their footsteps we may be able to do something for the benefit of suffering humanity. (From introduction to Nectar of Devotion)
Nectar of Devotion
By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda
Chapter 7 “Evidence Regarding Devotional Principles”
Accepting the Shelter of a Bona Fide Spiritual Master
In the Eleventh Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Third Chapter, verse 21, Prabuddha tells Mahārāja Nimi, “My dear King, please know for certain that in the material world there is no happiness. It is simply a mistake to think that there is happiness here, because this place is full of nothing but miserable conditions. Any person who is seriously desirous of achieving real happiness must seek out a bona fide spiritual master and take shelter of him by initiation. The qualification of a spiritual master is that he must have realized the conclusion of the scriptures by deliberation and arguments and thus be able to convince others of these conclusions. Such great personalities who have taken shelter of the Supreme Godhead, leaving aside all material considerations, are to be understood as bona fide spiritual masters. Everyone should try to find such a bona fide spiritual master in order to fulfill his mission of life, which is to transfer himself to the plane of spiritual bliss.”
The purport is that one should not accept as a spiritual master someone who is fool number one, who has no direction according to the scriptural injunctions, whose character is doubtful, who does not follow the principles of devotional service, or who has not conquered the influence of the six sense-gratifying agents. The six agents of sense gratification are the tongue, the genitals, the belly, anger, the mind and words. Anyone who has practiced controlling these six is permitted to make disciples all over the world. To accept such a spiritual master is the crucial point for advancement in spiritual life. One who is fortunate enough to come under the shelter of a bona fide spiritual master is sure to traverse the path of spiritual salvation without any doubt.
23 May 2012
in Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Diksha, Disciplic succession, Gaura-kisora, Guru & Disciple, Siksa
Tags: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Bhaktivinode Thakur, Dayananda, Dayananda dasa, diksa, diksa guru, Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji Maharaja, Gaura-kisora, letter by Srila Prabhupada, siksa, Siksa guru, Thakur Bhaktivinode
…So far as your second question, Thakura Bhaktivinode was not official Spiritual Master of Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji Maharaja. Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji Maharaja was already renounced order, Paramahamsa, but Thakura Bhaktivinode, while He was even playing the part of a householder, was treated by Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji Maharaja as Preceptor, on account of His highly elevated spiritual understanding, and thus He was always treating Him as His Spiritual Master. The Spiritual Master is divided into two parts; namely, siksa guru and diksa guru. So officially Bhaktivinode Thakura was like siksa guru of Gaura Kisora das Babaji Maharaja.
Letter to: Dayananda
1 May, 1969
My Dear Dayananda,
Please accept my blessings. Just yesterday morning I was thinking of you that I did not hear from Dayananda for so many days, and immediately I got your nice letter dated April 25, 1969. You are such a nice soul that you are always thinking of Krishna and becoming more and more purified in Krishna Consciousness. As stated in the Srimad-Bhagavatam, First Canto, Second Chapter, Twenty-Seventh Verse, Krishna is sitting in everyone’s heart and He is purifying one who is Krishna Conscious. The symptoms of advancement in Krishna Consciousness is gradually feeling detached to materialistic way of life. Although you are young man, you have got your nice young wife and child, and by Krishna’s Grace, everything is all right so far as your family is concerned, still you are feeling detached. That is very nice. But when your wife and child all are cooperating in your Krishna Consciousness, there is no hampering in your progress. So keep yourself always in Krishna Consciousness with your family members, raise your children to that standard, and employ your energy for serving Krishna. Then, even though you are in family life, you are as good as sannyasi.
08 Feb 2012
in Disciplic succession, Raja-Vidya
Tags: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, bhagavad-gita, Brahma, disciplic succession, Indra, Parampara, Raja-Vidya, Srila Prabhupada, the king of knowledge
click on image to enlarge
At one time, Indra, the king of heaven, committed an offense at the feet of his spiritual master, and his spiritual master cursed him to take the birth of a hog. Thus the throne of the heavenly kingdom became empty as Indra went to earth to become a hog. Seeing the situation, Brahmā came to earth and addressed the hog: “My dear sir, you have become a hog on this planet earth. I have come to deliver you. Come with me at once.” But the hog replied:. “Oh I cannot go with you. I have so many responsibilities—my children, wife and this nice hog society.” Even though Brahmā promised to take him back to heaven, Indra, in the form of a hog, refused. This is called forgetfulness. Similarly, Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa comes and says to us, “What are you doing in this material world? Sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja [Bg. 18.66]. Come to Me, and I’ll give you all protection.” But we say, “I don’t believe You Sir. I have more important business here.” This is the position of the conditioned soul—forgetfulness. This forgetfulness is quickly dissipated by following in the path of disciplic succession.
Raja-vidya: The King of Knowledge
By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Parampara: Knowledge Through Disciplic Succession
śrī bhagavān uvāca
imaṁ vivasvate yogaṁ
proktavān aham avyayam
vivasvān manave prāha
manur ikṣvākave ’bravīt
“The Blessed Lord said: I instructed this imperishable science of yoga to the sun-god, Vivasvān, and Vivasvān instructed it to Manu, the father of mankind, and Manu in turn instructed it to Ikṣvāku.” (Bg. 4.1)
Many ages ago Kṛṣṇa imparted the divine knowledge of Bhagavad-gītā to Vivasvān, the god of the sun. To the best of our knowledge, the sun is a very hot place, and we do not consider it possible for anyone to live there. It is not even possible to approach the sun very closely with these bodies. However, from the Vedic literatures we can understand that the sun is a planet just like this one but that everything there is composed of fire. Just as this planet is predominately composed of earth, there are other planets which are predominately composed of fire, water and air.
The living entities on these various planets acquire bodies composed of elements in accordance with the predominating element on the planet; therefore those beings who live on the sun have bodies which are composed of fire. Of all beings on the sun, the principal personality is a god by the name of Vivasvān. He is known as the sun-god (sūrya-nārāyaṇa). On all planets there are principal personalities, just as in the United States the chief person is the President. From the history called the Mahābhārata we understand that formerly there was only one king on this planet by the name of Mahārāja Bharata. He ruled some 5,000 years ago, and the planet was named after him. Subsequently the earth has become divided into so many different countries. In this way there is usually one and sometimes many controllers of the various planets in the universe.
22 Dec 2011
in Diksha, Disciplic succession, Guru & Disciple, Siksa
Tags: disciple, guru, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Initiation, Nov. 14th 1977, rules and regulations, spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada
Srila Prabhupada Spiritually Present
Physically Departed / Spiritually Present
“Yes, I am the Spiritual Master of this institution, and all 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.”
Srila Prabhupada left this world on November 14th 1977 in Krishna’s holy land of Vrindavan. He had been translating his books and instructing his disciples to the very last, and left in the most auspicious circumstances, surrounded by his disciples chanting the maha-mantra.
He left behind a massive legacy of teachings in the form of numerous books, audio and video taped lectures and conversations, as well as a worldwide Movement. He said he had given everything necessary to go back home, back to Godhead, we just had to read his books, chant and follow his instructions. He taught that there was no difference to serving him when he was physically present, to doing so when he was absent. He would remain spiritually present in his books and instructions:
22 Nov 2011
in Diksha, Disciplic succession, Guru & Disciple, Quotes by Srila Prabhupada, Siksa
Tags: disciples, guru, guru tattva, Harinam das, Iskcon, July 9th Letter, officiating acharyas, ritvik, ritvik acarya, Srila Prabhupada Quotes, Srila Prabhupadas Will
Blessings from Srila Prabhupada
This is an older article, and rather long, but is full with information, quotes, and insightful analysis, on the most important issues, facing our society, concerning guru tattva, and following the instructions of Srila Prabhupada. Many good quotes and a highly recomended read!
Srila Prabhupada Guru Tattva
By Sriman Harinam Prabhu
June 12, 2006
It is widely known that Srila Prabhupada instituted a ritvik or representative (proxy) initiation system throughout ISKCON as early as 1971 in order to meet the growing need to initiate his disciples worldwide. However what is not widely known is that he instructed his disciples to continue initiating new disciples on his behalf even after his physical disappearance.
He called those disciples who performed the initiation ceremonies ritvik representatives of the acharya (officiating acharyas). Below are quotes directly from Srila Prabhupada for the evidence of these intructions as well as explanations, philosophical insights, and historical background.
17 Nov 2011
in Diksha, Disciplic succession, Guru & Disciple, Hansadutta das, Siksa, Srila Prabhupada His Movement & You
Tags: diksha, guru, guru and disciple, Guru Parampara, hansadutta das, Initiation, liberated, servant of guru, spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada, Srila Prabhupada His Movement and You
If one remains always a servant everlastingly of guru, then he is liberated. And as soon as he thinks that he is liberated, he’s a rascal. That is the teaching of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu…. You must be ready always to be chastised by guru. Then he’s liberated. And as soon as he thinks that “I am beyond this chastisement, I am liberated,” he’s a rascal…. Why this Gaudiya Math failed? Because they tried to become more than guru. He [Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura], before passing away, he gave them all direction and never said that “This man should be the next acharya .” But these people, just after his passing away, they began to fight, who shall be acharya . That is the failure. They never thought, “Why Guru Maharaja gave us instruction so many things, why he did not say that this man should be acharya? ” They wanted to create artificially somebody acharya, and everything failed. They did not consider even with common sense that if Guru Maharaja wanted to appoint somebody as acharya, why did he not say? He said so many things, and this point he missed? The real point? And they insist upon it. They declared some unfit person to become acharya . Then another man came, then another, acharya, another acharya . So better remain a foolish person perpetually to be directed by Guru Maharaja. That is perfection. –Srila Prabhupada, August 16, 1976, Bombay ( Conversations with Srila Prabhupada, Vol. 26, p. 59-60)
By Sriman Hansadutta Prabhu
These are some last minute thoughts in continuing the first edition of Srila Prabhupada, His Movement and You.
During Tamal’s conversation at Topanga Canyon, Tamal Krishna Goswami admitted that “you cannot show me anywhere where Srila Prabhupada appointed gurus. He only appointed rittviks…. This appointment is a myth….”
Certainly Prabhupada made gurus! But seeing their immaturity, he qualified them as rittvik representatives of the Acharya. One certainly must have a guru, but to understand the calibre of one’s guru, the standard for judgment of measure is there in the person of the Acharya, Srila Prabhupada. Otherwise, why did Prabhupada say, “Ramanuja Acharya is there, Madhva Acharya is there, and their commentaries are there. You follow the Acharya; don’t follow any rascal”
10 Nov 2011
in Disciplic succession, Guru & Disciple, The Hare Krishna Movement
Tags: Acharya, disciple, guru, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, initiations, Iskcon, Locanananda das, officiating acharyas
There is a popular ideology that claims that Srila Prabhupad should still be considered the diksa guru in ISKCON. It is commendable that devotees who espouse this ideology want to see Krishna’s pure devotee unlimitedly and perpetually glorified. That goal can be accomplished by following the system of “officiating acharyas” that he factually authorized. An “officiating acharya” simply teaches by example how to follow in the footsteps of the great preceptor and founder acharya of ISKCON and then engages everyone in the service of expanding the sankirtan movement.
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada Founder Acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness
The War is Over
By Sriman Locanananda Prabhu
When Srila Prabhupad was asked how initiations would be performed after he was no longer physically present, his response was clear and powerful. He had been contemplating this question for ten years, and his main concern was to guarantee the continuity and future growth of his movement. His reply was “I shall recommend some of you to act as officiating acharya.” This was the term he wanted to introduce to describe the role of his disciples who would initiate new devotees as members of ISKCON after he had concluded his manifest pastimes.
The title “acharya” indicates that one is a guru, or spiritual master, and the qualifying term “officiating” means that the initiation is to be performed on behalf of the founder acharya and his institution. By naming eleven of his foremost disciples who had demonstrated great leadership ability and dedication to his movement as “officiating acharyas”, Srila Prabhupad was laying the groundwork to perpetuate Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s sankirtana movement throughout the world. His plan would be successful as long as his followers kept his teachings intact and protected his movement from any influence that might tend to push Srila Prabhupad into the background. The Krishna Consciousness Movement would ultimately establish His Divine Grace as the greatest vaisnava acharya coming in the line of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the most merciful incarnation of Krishna.