The Absolute Necessity of a Spiritual Master—The Universal Teacher

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The Absolute Necessity of a Spiritual Master—The Universal Teacher
By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Founder-Acharya of the world-wide Hare Krishna Movement

In February 1936, in Bombay, India, the members of a reputed religious society, the Gaudiya Matha, were astonished by the powerful and eloquent words of a young member who spoke in honor of his spiritual master, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami. Three decades later, the young speaker would become the world-renowned founder and spiritual master of the Krishna consciousness movement. Srila Prabhupada’s presentation is a memorable statement on the importance of the guru in spiritual life.

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The Absolute Necessity of a Spiritual Master

The Absolute Necessity of a Spiritual Master
From; The Science of Self Realization
By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

In February 1936, in Bombay, India, the members of a reputed religious society, the Gauḍīya Maṭha, were astonished by the powerful and eloquent words of a young member who spoke in honor of his spiritual master, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī. Three decades later, the young speaker would become the world-renowned founder and spiritual master of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. Śrīla Prabhupāda’s presentation is a memorable statement on the importance of the guru in spiritual life.

sākṣād-dharitvena samasta-śāstrair
uktas tathā bhāvyata eva sadbhiḥ
kintu prabhor yaḥ priya eva tasya
vande guroḥ śrī-caraṇāravindam

“In the revealed scriptures it is declared that the spiritual master should be worshiped like the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and this injunction is obeyed by pure devotees of the Lord. The spiritual master is the most confidential servant of the Lord. Thus let us offer our respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of our spiritual master.”

Gentlemen, on behalf of the members of the Bombay branch of the Gauḍīya Maṭha, let me welcome you all because you have so kindly joined us tonight in our congregational offerings of homage to the lotus feet of the world teacher, Ācāryadeva, who is the founder of this Gauḍīya Mission and is the president-ācārya of Śrī Śrī Viśva-vaiṣṇava Rāja-sabhā—I mean my eternal divine master, Paramahaṁsa Parivrājakācārya Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī Mahārāja.

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The Expansions of Advaita Ācārya

The order of the spiritual master is the active principle in spiritual life. Anyone who disobeys the order of the spiritual master immediately becomes useless. (Adi 12.10)

…the followers of Advaita Ācārya divided into two parties. Such disagreement among the disciples of one ācārya is also found among the members of the Gauḍīya Maṭha. In the beginning, during the presence of Oṁ Viṣṇupāda Paramahaṁsa Parivrājakācārya Aṣṭottara-śata Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda, all the disciples worked in agreement; but just after his disappearance, they disagreed. One party strictly followed the instructions of Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, but another group created their own concoction about executing his desires. Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, at the time of his departure, requested all his disciples to form a governing body and conduct missionary activities cooperatively. He did not instruct a particular man to become the next ācārya. But just after his passing away, his leading secretaries made plans, without authority, to occupy the post of ācārya, and they split into two factions over who the next ācārya would be. Consequently, both factions were asāra, or useless, because they had no authority, having disobeyed the order of the spiritual master. Despite the spiritual master’s order to form a governing body and execute the missionary activities of the Gauḍīya Maṭha, the two unauthorized factions began litigation that is still going on after forty years with no decision. (Adi 12.8 purport)

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ISKCON’s Decline after Srila Prabhupada’s Departure


ISKCON’s Decline after Srila Prabhupada’s Departure

The following conversation of Srila Prabhupada’s clearly explains the reasons for ISKCON’s decline after Prabhupada’s departure. Though Srila Prabhupada was speaking about the failure of the Gaudiya Matha, amazingly it perfectly matches ISKCON’s own post-samadhi history, line for line. Seven sentences have been numbered for direct comparison to ISKCON.

“1) Why this Gaudiya Matha failed? Because they tried to become more than guru. 2) He, before passing away, he gave 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. 3) They never thought, ‘Why Guru Maharaja gave us instruction so many things, why he did not say that this man should be acharya?’ 4) They wanted to create artificially somebody acharya and everything failed. 5) 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. 6) They declared some unfit person to become acharya. Then another man came, then another, acharya, another acharya. 7) So better remain a foolish person perpetually to be directed by Guru Maharaja. That is perfection.” – Srila Prabhupada Room Conversation, 08-16-76, Bombay

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