Krishna & the Spiritual Master

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Letter by Srila Prabhupada

“Lately there has been some misunderstanding amongst our devotees about our Krishna Consciousness philosophy. Particularly there has been some confusion about the relationship between the Spiritual Master and Krishna.

The Vedas say that there is a Master Krishna. This Servant Krishna is the Spiritual Master and this is the conclusion. The Spiritual Master is the Mercy Representative of the Supreme Lord and as such He is given honor as good as Krishna, but He is never identical with Krishna.

Perhaps you know the picture of Madhvacarya, one of the great Acaryas in our line, who is holding two fingers up to indicate Krishna and jiva. The impersonalists hold up one finger because their idea is that everything is one. So if we make the Spiritual Master identical with Krishna, then we will also become impersonalists.

If we say that our Spiritual Master is Krishna, then the conclusion is that if we become Spiritual Master some day, then we will also become Krishna. Please try to understand how dangerous this kind of reasoning is.

In my books I have tried to explain clearly this simultaneously one and different philosophy acinta beda beda tattva propounded by Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. But sometimes it happens that this philosophy is given a self-interested interpretation. As soon as personal motivation comes in it is not possible for one to understand our Krishna Consciousness philosophy.” (From Letter to Isana and Vibhavati, 21 September, 1970, Calcutta)

Full Letter

Letter to: Isana, Vibhavati
Calcutta
21 September, 1970

Lachine, Quebec

My Dear Isana and Vibhavati,

Please accept my blessings.

Lately there has been some misunderstanding amongst our devotees about our Krishna Consciousness philosophy. Particularly there has been some confusion about the relationship between the Spiritual Master and Krishna. The Vedas say that there is a Master Krishna. This Servant Krishna is the Spiritual Master and this is the conclusion. The Spiritual Master is the Mercy Representative of the Supreme Lord and as such He is given honor as good as Krishna, but He is never identical with Krishna. Perhaps you know the picture of Madhvacarya, one of the great Acaryas in our line, who is holding two fingers up to indicate Krishna and jiva. The impersonalists hold up one finger because their idea is that everything is one. So if we make the Spiritual Master identical with Krishna, then we will also become impersonalists. If we say that our Spiritual Master is Krishna, then the conclusion is that if we become Spiritual Master some day, then we will also become Krishna. Please try to understand how dangerous this kind of reasoning is.

In my books I have tried to explain clearly this simultaneously one and different philosophy acinta beda beda tattva propounded by Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. But sometimes it happens that this philosophy is given a self-interested interpretation. As soon as personal motivation comes in it is not possible for one to understand our Krishna Consciousness philosophy.

You have both been very nice devotees and I would like you both to continue to make nice advancement. So please patch up any crack that may have come between yourself and ISKCON. As husband and wife you must always remain together and raise your daughter in Krishna Consciousness. I would like you to go back to New Vrndavana and fix up a nice living place for yourselves and help to develop the New Vrndavana scheme. Our ISKCON should be taken as being a family based upon love and trust, so as the father becomes unhappy when one of his children wishes to break family connections I also become unhappy when there is difficulties within our ISKCON family. So please do not consider leaving as you are spiritual children of mine.

While writing this letter dated September 12th, 1970, I do not think at this time you should come to India. Your both service is required in New Vrndavana.

Please chant your rounds sincerely and read carefully all the books and dedicate your life equally to Krishna and your Spiritual Master. This will make you happy.

Hope you are both well and your daughter Vrajadevi also.

Your ever well-wisher,
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

ACBS:ds

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