ISKCON that Srila Prabhupada built

ISKCON that Srila Prabhupada built

In 1965, at the age of seventy, a simple Indian sannyasi, a pure devotee of Lord Sri Krishna, boarded the cargo ship, Jaladuta, to sail to America. Neither did he have the money to set out on such a journey, nor did he know what to expect at his destination. However one thing he was sure of. His mission. As instructed by his guru, His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddantha Saraswathi Thakura, an acharya in the line of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (1486-1534), this stalwart disciple was taking a gigantic step to present to the world the message of Bhagavad-gita and other Vedic scriptures. His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (reverentially called Srila Prabhupada) thus embarked on his monumental and historic service to God and mankind.

In July 1966, Srila Prabhupada stablished the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) in New York city. During the next 10 years, he relentlessly worked towards his mission. He traveled around the globe 14 times and established 108 Krishna temples, authored over 70 books and guided a worldwide movement of over 10,000 Krishna devotees from all continents of the world.

When Srila Prabhupada departed from this material world on November 14, 1977, the world lost a glorious soul, a genuine spiritual leader of modern days.

ISKCON after the disappearance of Srila Prabhupada

Just before his passing away, Srila Prabhupada was confronted with several issues of the institution he had founded. One of them was: who would be the acharya or guru of ISKCON after his time. Who will initiate (give diksha) to the new entrants to ISKCON?

Srila Prabhupada’s teachings about guru or acharya

One of the most significant lessons taught by Srila Prabhupada is about the position of guru or acharya. According to the Vedic tradition this subject is of vital concern to anyone who desires to pursue the spiritual path. To emphasize the importance of the guru or acharya, he repeatedly instructed this in his books, lectures, letters and recorded room conversations.

He has quoted a verse from the Padma Purana in one of his books:

“The guru must be situated on the topmost platform of devotional service. There are three classes of devotees, and the guru must be accepted from the topmost class. The first-class devotee is the spiritual master for all kinds of people.”(CC Madhya 24.330)
He has also taught how the guru or acharya has to be regarded by the disciples:

“The conclusion is that an empowered spiritual master is authorized by Krishna and his own guru and should therefore be considered as good as the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself.” (CC Madhya 10.136)

“It is recommended herewith that all the acharyas be given the highest respect.”
(Srimad Bhagavatam 3.29.17 purport)

“You are correct when you say that when the Spiritual Master speaks it should be taken that Krishna is speaking. That is a fact. A Spiritual Master must be liberated.”
(Srila Prabhupada’s letter to Mukunda dtd June 10th, 1969).

.“Therefore one is strictly forbidden to think that the acharya is an ordinary human being (gurusu nara-matih) (Srimad Bhagavatam 7.7.14 purport)

“If I can satisfy my spiritual master, then I understand that Krishna is satisfied. And if I cannot satisfy my spiritual master, then I have no other way to approach Krishna.” (Srila Prabhupada’s Bhagavatam lecture on Feb.10th, 1971 at Gorakhpur).
In short, the position of acharya or guru, as taught by Srila Prabhupada, is a position of extraordinary spiritual advancement, respect and authority: the guru should be honored as good as God; his word is word of God; pleasing him, pleases God; and displeasing him, displeases God.

Pasted from;

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