How the Teachings of Lord Caitanya Came to the Western World

BTG_Year-1974_Volume-01_Number-63_Page_01

This is a very informative article which gives not only some of the History of Lord Caitanya’s Mission, but on the preaching of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur, Gaudiya Vaisnavism, and the Hare Krishna Movement here in the West.

How the Teachings of Lord Caitanya Came to the Western World
Excerpted from Back to Godhead Magazine
Vol.1, No. 66, 1974
Part 1
by His Holiness Brahmananda Swami

“He reasons ill who tells that Vaisnavas die When thou art living still in Sound! The Vaisnavas die to live and living try To spread a holy life around!”—verse by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura on the tomb of the great saint Thakura Haridasa at Puri, India

In Calcutta in 1896, the teachings of Lord Caitanya began their journey to the West. In Bengali-speaking Calcutta on August 20th of that year, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura published a small English treatise entitled Lord Caitanya—His Life and Precepts. Seventyone years later, in 1967, in Montreal, Canada, a graduate student came across a copy of this book while browsing through the rare-book collection of the McGill University library. The book was a wonderful find for him because he was a dedicated follower of Lord Caitanya’s, having been convinced of Lord Caitanya’s teachings by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, whom he had accepted as his spiritual master. Srila Prabhupada was born in Calcutta on September 1, 1896, only a few days after Lord Caitanya-His Life and Precepts was published. Thus by a transcendental arrangement this significant book and he who would fulfill the purpose of the book appeared together.

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Accepting the Shelter of a Bona Fide Spiritual Master

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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.

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Same solution as desired by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura

Same solution as desired by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura
Pradyumna Prabhu (ACBSP): 7 August, 1978

Dear Satsvarupa Maharaj,

Please accept my most humble obeisances.

Maharaj, I am writing you this letter with GREAT anxiety in my heart and after days and days and long nights of thought and careful consideration.

I have been staying in Vrndavan for some time and have not visited any other center recently except Delhi. Therefore, my information I have about what is happening at our other centers comes only from devotees visiting here, occasional letters, newsletters and our society’s magazine and other publications. But the news I hear from these sources is very alarming and therefore I am writing you in some anxiety.

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