Srila Prabhupada: The Prominent Link

prabhupada

Srila Prabhupada: The Prominent Link
by Dhira Govinda dasa

Recently I had the good fortune to meet one of my God brothers, Dhira Govinda Prabhu. It was on the appearance day of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur. I had heard of him and had posted the following article some time back and had read some of his book “Srila Prabhupada; The Prominent Link”, but had not meet him yet. But I found him to be a very nice devotee of good character. Just to give his voice a broader rang we decided to post his book Srila Prabhupada The Prominent Link as well as the Prominent Link Supplementary Articles Click on either of the above links to read or save the pdf files.

Many members of Srila Prabhupada’s movement who did not receive formal initiation from him experience Srila Prabhupada as the primary giver of direct transcendental knowledge. This empirical reality forms the basis of recognizing Srila Prabhupada as the prominent link to the parampara. Such a conception is supported by sastric descriptions of the essence of the initiation process, and by the delineation of the parampara described by Srila Prabhupada and Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura.

Introduction

This paper presents a framework for understanding Srila Prabhupada’s position that is derived from a comprehension of Srila Prabhupada’s direct and personal relationship with the members of his movement. The central idea is that Srila Prabhupada is the prominent link to the parampara by virtue of being the prime deliverer of transcendental knowledge. We present these ideas in a mood of open-minded discussion and ask that the reader approach the material with a fresh perspective and a willingness to reexamine the issues.

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The Parampara System

Srila Prabhupada

..Regarding parampara system: there is nothing to wonder for big gaps. Just like we belong to the Brahma Sampradaya, so we accept it from Krishna to Brahma, Brahma to Narada, Narada to Vyasadeva, Vyasadeva to Madhva, and between Vyasadeva and Madhva there is a big gap. But it is sometimes said that Vyasadeva is still living, and Madhva was fortunate enough to meet him directly. In a similar way, we find in the Bhagavad-gita that the Gita was taught to the sungod, some millions of years ago, but Krishna has mentioned only three names in this parampara system—namely, Vivasvan, Manu, and Iksvaku; and so these gaps do not hamper from understanding the parampara system. We have to pick up the prominent acaryas, and follow from him. There are many branches also from the parampara system, and it is not possible to record all the branches and sub-branches in the disciplic succession. We have to pick up from the authority of the acharya in whatever sampradaya we belong to. (from letter to Dayananda: April 12, 1968)

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Book Changes

My heart laments with deep sorrow whenever I think of how the Books of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami are being changed, and re-edited. But I think Srila Prabhupada has said it best in his introduction to Bhagavad-gita As It Is;

Vedic knowledge is not a question of research. Our research work is imperfect because we are researching things with imperfect senses. We have to accept perfect knowledge which comes down, as is stated in Bhagavad-gītā, by the paramparā disciplic succession. We have to receive knowledge from the proper source in disciplic succession beginning with the supreme spiritual master, the Lord Himself, and handed down to a succession of spiritual masters. Arjuna, the student who took lessons from Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, accepts everything that He says without contradicting Him. One is not allowed to accept one portion of Bhagavad-gītā and not another. No. We must accept Bhagavad-gītā without interpretation, without deletion and without our own whimsical participation in the matter. The Gītā should be taken as the most perfect presentation of Vedic knowledge. Vedic knowledge is received from transcendental sources, and the first words were spoken by the Lord Himself. The words spoken by the Lord are different from words spoken by a person of the mundane world who is infected with four defects. A mundaner 1) is sure to commit mistakes, 2) is invariably illusioned, 3) has the tendency to cheat others and 4) is limited by imperfect senses. With these four imperfections, one cannot deliver perfect information of all-pervading knowledge.( From Introduction to the Bhagavad-gita As It Is)

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Parampara: Knowledge Through Disciplic Succession

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At one time, Indra, the king of heaven, committed an offense at the feet of his spiritual master, and his spiritual master cursed him to take the birth of a hog. Thus the throne of the heavenly kingdom became empty as Indra went to earth to become a hog. Seeing the situation, Brahmā came to earth and addressed the hog: “My dear sir, you have become a hog on this planet earth. I have come to deliver you. Come with me at once.” But the hog replied:. “Oh I cannot go with you. I have so many responsibilities—my children, wife and this nice hog society.” Even though Brahmā promised to take him back to heaven, Indra, in the form of a hog, refused. This is called forgetfulness. Similarly, Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa comes and says to us, “What are you doing in this material world? Sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja [Bg. 18.66]. Come to Me, and I’ll give you all protection.” But we say, “I don’t believe You Sir. I have more important business here.” This is the position of the conditioned soul—forgetfulness. This forgetfulness is quickly dissipated by following in the path of disciplic succession.

Raja-vidya: The King of Knowledge
By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Chapter 5

Parampara: Knowledge Through Disciplic Succession

śrī bhagavān uvāca
imaṁ vivasvate yogaṁ
proktavān aham avyayam
vivasvān manave prāha
manur ikṣvākave ’bravīt

“The Blessed Lord said: I instructed this imperishable science of yoga to the sun-god, Vivasvān, and Vivasvān instructed it to Manu, the father of mankind, and Manu in turn instructed it to Ikṣvāku.” (Bg. 4.1)

Many ages ago Kṛṣṇa imparted the divine knowledge of Bhagavad-gītā to Vivasvān, the god of the sun. To the best of our knowledge, the sun is a very hot place, and we do not consider it possible for anyone to live there. It is not even possible to approach the sun very closely with these bodies. However, from the Vedic literatures we can understand that the sun is a planet just like this one but that everything there is composed of fire. Just as this planet is predominately composed of earth, there are other planets which are predominately composed of fire, water and air.

The living entities on these various planets acquire bodies composed of elements in accordance with the predominating element on the planet; therefore those beings who live on the sun have bodies which are composed of fire. Of all beings on the sun, the principal personality is a god by the name of Vivasvān. He is known as the sun-god (sūrya-nārāyaṇa). On all planets there are principal personalities, just as in the United States the chief person is the President. From the history called the Mahābhārata we understand that formerly there was only one king on this planet by the name of Mahārāja Bharata. He ruled some 5,000 years ago, and the planet was named after him. Subsequently the earth has become divided into so many different countries. In this way there is usually one and sometimes many controllers of the various planets in the universe.

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