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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Observing the Armies on the Battlefield of Kurukṣetra

Dhrtarastra inquires from Sanjaya

We are posting the First Chapter of the Original Bhagavad-gita As It Is 1972 Macmillian Edition complete with the corresponding pictures.

Bhagavad-gita As It Is 1972 Edition
By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Chapter 1: Observing the Armies on the Battlefield of Kuruksetra

TEXT 1

dhṛtarāṣṭra uvāca
dharma-kṣetre kuru-kṣetre
samavetā yuyutsavaḥ
māmakāḥ pāṇḍavāś caiva
kim akurvata sañjaya

dhṛtarāṣṭraḥ—King Dhṛtarāṣṭra; uvāca—said; dharma-kṣetre—in the place of pilgrimage; kuru-kṣetre—in the place named Kurukṣetra; samavetāḥ—assembled; yuyatsavaḥ—desiring to fight; māmakāḥ—my party (sons); pāṇḍavāḥ—the sons of Pāṇḍu; ca—and; eva-certainly; kim—what; akurvata—did they do; sañjaya—O Sañjaya.

TRANSLATION

Dhṛtarāṣṭra said: O Sañjaya, after assembling in the place of pilgrimage at Kurukṣetra, what did my sons and the sons of Pāṇḍu do, being desirous to fight?

PURPORT

Bhagavad-gītā is the widely read theistic science summarized in the Gītā-māhātmya (Glorification of the Gītā). There it says that one should read Bhagavad-gītā very scrutinizingly with the help of a person who is a devotee of Śrī Kṛṣṇa and try to understand it without personally motivated interpretations. The example of clear understanding is there in the Bhagavad-gītā itself, in the way the teaching is understood by Arjuna, who heard the Gītā directly from the Lord. If someone is fortunate enough to understand Bhagavad-gītā in that line of disciplic succession, without motivated interpretation, then he surpasses all studies of Vedic wisdom, and all scriptures of the world. One will find in the Bhagavad-gītā all that is contained in other scriptures, but the reader will also find things which are not to be found elsewhere. That is the specific standard of the Gītā. It is the perfect theistic science because it is directly spoken by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa.

The topics discussed by Dhṛtarāṣṭra and Sañjaya, as described in the Mahābhārata, form the basic principle for this great philosophy. It is understood that this philosophy evolved on the Battlefield of Kurukṣetra, which is a sacred place of pilgrimage from the immemorial time of the Vedic age. It was spoken by the Lord when He was present personally on this planet for the guidance of mankind.

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Srila Prabhupada is the Guru, Acarya and Actual Initiator in ISKCON

Srila Prabhupada is the Guru, Acarya and Actual Initiator in ISKCON
By Mahesh Raja

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. (68-04-12.Day Letter: Dayananda)

The **only** injunction from scriptures is to worship the acarya. Its only the acarya that is able to give diksa ( spiritual initiation) to the Madhyama-adhikari (see antya CC 4.192-4.194) where he relishes loving mellows(in his svarupa) with krsna. Acarya is not voted by the GBC 2/3 majority votes. The acarya has direct communication with Krsna- Krsna speaks through him. It is therefore only the acarya that can actually be expected to be worshiped as good as Krsna. So the photo worship is not sanctioned of one who is not an acarya. (conditioned soul worship — idol worship where is the difference?).
   
Adi 1.45 “According to the deliberate opinion of all revealed scriptures, the spiritual master is nondifferent from Krsna. Lord Krsna in the form of the spiritual master delivers His devotees.”

Adi 1.46 **acaryam** mam vijaniyan navamanyeta karhicit na martya-buddhyasuyeta sarva-deva-mayo guruh “One should know the acarya as Myself and never disrespect him in any way. One should not envy him, thinking him an ordinary man, for he is the representative of all the demigods.” Purport:This is a verse from Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.17.27)

Note: It is significant the same text has been quoted In NoD Ch7 but in reference to **accepting initiation**. So this shows Initiation is from Acarya not from 2/3 majority voted spiritual masters.

Ch7 Nectar of Devotion; Serving the Spiritual Master with Faith and Confidence Regarding ACCEPTING INITIATION from the spiritual master, in the Eleventh Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam, Seventeenth Chapter, verse 27, it is stated by Lord Krsna, “My dear Uddhava, the spiritual master must be accepted not only as My representative, but as My very self. He must never be considered on the same level with an ordinary human being. One should never be envious of the spiritual master, as one may be envious of an ordinary man. The spiritual master should always be seen as the representative of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and by serving the spiritual master one is able to serve all the demigods.”

Adi 1.35 A devotee must have only one initiating spiritual master because in the scriptures acceptance of more than one is always forbidden.
Note:We know it is only the uttama adhikari acarya Prabhupada that is able to transmit diksa (spiritual Initiation) into the madhyam adhikaris heart whereby he is enabled to see Krsna and relish loving mellows in his svarupa. (television in the heart).

Here it is understood that the spiritual master disciplic succession is of acaryas. And Srila Prabhupada is the current acarya. SB 3.29.17 In Bhagavad-gita, Thirteenth Chapter, it is clearly stated that one should execute devotional service and advance on the path of spiritual knowledge by accepting the acarya. Acaryopasanam: one should worship an acarya, a spiritual master who knows things as they are. The spiritual master must be in the disciplic succession from Krsna. The predecessors of the spiritual master are his spiritual master, his grand spiritual master, his great-grand spiritual master and so on, who form the disciplic succession of acaryas.

Srila Prabhupada is the prominent acarya.

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