Recently there was a nice article on the Sampradaya Sun posted by Sriman Dhira Govinda Prabhu on the Current and Direct Link, for continuance of the disciplic succession in ISKCON, and two nice spin off articles. Enclosed are two of the recent articles submitted by readers.
BY: DUSYANTA DAS
Apr 27, 2011 — UK (SUN) — In Srimad Bhagavatam 2.9.7 is where the quote is found concerning the word “link”. In the purport, Srila Prabhupada identifies this phenomena thus: “…in order to receive the real message of Srimad Bhagavatam one should approach the current link, or Spiritual master, in the chain of disciplic succession.”
The definition of “current” is explained clearly from the Collins English dictionary thus:
“most recent, commonly known, practiced or accepted, widespread, circulating and valid at present”. Which all seems to fit very easily into the idea that Srila Prabhupada is the Spiritual Master, the current link that is illustrated here in the purport of SB 2.9.7.
The application of this phenomena, the “current link” is hinging on the word in the sentence “approach”. Which is either a verb or noun. The verb “approach” is defined as “to come near, to go to someone with a request or offer, to set about doing something.” The noun “approach” is defined as “a way or road to a place, a method of doing something.”
If we follow the premise that Srila Prabhupada uses the term “immediate acarya” as synonymous with the term “current link”, then we come up with the definitions lending the validity to a direct relationship with Him without intermediaries and regardless of physical presence. Immediate definition as “without intervening medium, closest or most direct in effect of relationship.”
The point in approaching a spiritual master or current link in disciplic succession is to take initiation from him.
“One should take Initiation from a bona fide spiritual master coming in Disciplic Succession, who is authorized by His predecessor Spiritual Master.”
(Srimad Bhagavatam 4.8.54.purport)
Whether we call it the “prominent link” or “the link-period” or “current link”, we all follow Srila Prabhupada in all circumstances in absentia. Whether we physically met Him during the years He was physically present or whether we just follow Him because of reading His Books since He departed — we follow Him.
Seems to me that most devotees who read this Sampradaya Sun site and other Prabhupadanuga sites (and there are more than one) all want to follow Srila Prabhupada and try to establish Him back in the centre of what used to be ISKON — that He created and is the Founder and Acarya of.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
Srila Prabhupada is ‘The Link’, Period
BY: RAMA DASA
Apr 26, 2011 — TIMBUKTU (SUN) — What if we never had Srila Prabhupada’s physical presence or His books? In regards to the “prominent link”, there would be no link. There would be no Hare Krsna movement, and none of his disciples would have been awoken from maya to Krsna consciousness. There would be little or no conception of “The Supreme Personality of Godhead”, a phrase that Srila Prabhupada used in His books frequently, to say the least. Most of us searched in so many ways before coming to Srila Prabhupada, so what if He never came? No books to edit. No association of devotees, no movement to corrupt by taking high positions and then displaying extremely poor conduct, or in many cases criminal conduct.
Srila Prabhupada is not the prominent link, He is The Link, period. Without Srila Prabhupada there is no link. That was actually the experience of all of Srila Prabhupada’s directly initiated disciples. We searched everywhere, high and low, and found no shelter. We looked in university courses, we looked at spiritual movements and their teachers and found nothing satisfying.
With Srila Prabhupada’s books we can refer others to them, we can give or sell them so that others gain His association. So without Srila Prabhupada and His books, there is no prominent link and no links at all. There has been Moses of the old Testament, Jesus of the New, and Mohamed of the Koran, which one local preacher is busy burning in public. Then Srila Prabhupada came and told us about Lord Chaitanya, Lord Ramacandra and Lord Krsna. Need more? Well, Srila Prabhupada gave us lots more. Just read all His books.
ISKCON does not seem to tell its newcomers to make sure they read all of Srila Prabhupada’s books. I see them very impressed, reading some of Srila Prabhupada’s disciples’ books. Just think, if His disciples books are interesting, how potent must be Srila Prabhupada’s books. Actually, His books are from an unlimited Source of unending transcendental knowledge. Srila Prabhupada enjoyed reading and hearing His own books read. He said that Krsna wrote them. How potent is that?
As Govinda dasi has written, Srila Prabhupada’s books, and any author’s books should and usually are left alone, unedited, especially after the author has departed. If an author were living, they could sue and bring the matter to court. Historically, they have value, they have the author’s personality, they are the author’s work, his children if you will.
There are laws about changing authors’ books after they have passed on, but apparently the ISKCON authorities sidestepped these by naming Srila Prabhupada as a ‘hired writer’ for ISKCON. I wonder which lawyer thought this up for some cash? In this way, they made ISKCON superior to Srila Prabhupada. Isn’t that ironic, and moronic, since Srila Prabhupada founded ISKCON. But of course, without Srila Prabhupada there would be no ISKCON, no books to change, no guru discussions, and no Lilamrita to read, discuss and or debate over its authenticity.
So without Srila Prabhupada, the word ‘link’ and ‘prominent link’, becomes meaningless. Now only that Srila Prabhupada has come is there a link, and a prominent link. But it is safe to say that no one is on the spiritual level of Srila Prabhupada. That is my feeling and opinion. Some are advancing in devotional service because of having been given, and following instructions by Srila Prabhupada. So when the word ‘link’ is used, as in ‘prominent link’, we must all realize that there is a distinct difference in quality between the Prominent Link, Srila Prabhupada, and all the other links after Him. All the other links would have to have descended from the spiritual world (shaktavesa avatar), or be experiencing prema bhakti yoga continuously. The quality of the links, as distinct from the Prominent Link, cannot be expressed strongly enough. Dhira Govinda prabhu used the expression, ‘the singular and plural gurus’, singular referring to Srila Prabhupada, plural referring to those who link others to Srila Prabhupada. If someone else sees Srila Prabhupada in a lesser or smaller way, then that is their business.
Lord Krsna does not interfere with Atheists, or agnostics, God and His material energy do. We all have the freedom to perceive God and life in general as we desire. As with the decent of Lord Jesus Christ, some believe it is all fairy tales. Of course, we all know that fairies exist, because Srila Prabhupada translated many Vedas for us. Srila Prabhupada referred to Jesus as Lord Jesus Christ. So I can also refer to Srila Prabhupada as Lord Srila Prabhupada, but it doesn’t fit so well because Srila Prabhupada is a title used by many.
I do place Srila Prabhupada on the highest level. Within His books we hear of so many devotees who have descended to the material world along with the Lord, as His entourage, they take birth here. Srila Prabhupada made, and is making everything clear to us.
And what is the meaning of ‘link’ as in ‘prominent link’? This type of link is meant to assist the individual to develop love for God. That is the real nature of this link, aside from the fact that the Srila Prabhupada link is used by people/devotees, for many reasons, some even forgetting the original purpose of the link of Srila Prabhupada. Once, meeting an assembly of devotees, the first thing Srila Prabhupada said was, “So how is your love for God coming along or developing?”
We have noted that Dhira Govinda prabhu refers to other devotee as ‘links’, as maybe not being on the “absolute platform”, i.e., not having fully developed love for God. So he is being kind by using the term maybe. The word link is good because yoga mean to yoke oneself to God, to link up, and so Srila Prabhupada is our prime source of connecting to the Lord.
As Dhira Govinda prabhu points out about worshiping a picture of one’s guru, if the guru does not actually have the spiritual potency to be present in the picture then in effect, the individual is sort of worshiping the plastic the picture is made of, which means useless worship. However, the individual’s sincerity will make the difference, because God, being in our hearts, is directing us according to our sincere desires. However, there is also worship in the modes of passion, ignorance, goodness and their mixtures.
What pains us is the sidelining of Srila Prabhupada within His movement, but as mentioned, there are those who see Srila Prabhupada as their opportunity to accomplish many things aside from devotional service, which is simply glorification of the Lord. Personally, I always consider how much austerity was performed by Hiranyakasipu in order to gain control over material nature. He even followed the four regulations. So each of us has our reasons for performing austerity, or what we call devotional service. Devotional dis-service comes to mind with some of ISKCON’s previous leaders. Some of them are still in big positions today within ISKCON. What can I say about ISKCON’s leaders in general and how I feel about them? I was used to having Srila Prabhupada being in charge when I joined. How can I pay allegiance to something less, or something else unless I have mixed motives for performing my devotional service?
They may say ISKCON is Srila Prabhupada, but that is now very far-fetched. After spending a lot of money on the revised books, after spending more money on so many court cases having to do with changed books, the Bhagavad-gita As It Is, now apparently the BBT is again after 30 odd years, going to sell the original Bhagavad-gita As It Is by Srila Prabhupada, their salaried worker, because they are losing book sales to others who are selling the originals. But why they should care about money, they already lost so much in court battles.
Saying that all Christian religions are promoting what Lord Jesus Christ was teaching is like saying that the GBC is non-different from Srila Prabhupada. The first set of 11 infamous zonal so-called acaryas, they were the GBC. They were same as Srila Prabhupada, His representatives? More like His anti-representatives. More like doing the best they could to destroy ISKCON, and alienate all Srila Prabhupada’s disciples from ISKCON.
As Srila Prabhupada said, the Christians, they mostly do not follow the first principle, ‘thou shalt not kill’. I refer all interested parties to The Essene Gospel of Peace by His disciple John, as translated from the Aramic language spoken by Lord Jesus Himself back then, and translated by Dr. Edmond Szekely. In this one hour read, Lord Jesus explains very clearly how slaughtering and eating animals is an abomination in every sense. His description of what takes place in the human body is like a horror story.
Alas, I cannot use my real name, which says more about present ISKCON politics. Srila Prabhupada gave me love, trust and a family, they took that away.