His Divine Grace A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
the Hare Krsna movement)
His Divine Grace A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
the Hare Krsna movement)
His Holiness The Pope, Paul VI
Vicar of Jesus Christ
State of Vatican City
Please accept my respectful humble obeisances at Your lotus feet. I beg to introduce myself as an Indian monk, following the Vedic principles of religious life, and at the present, I am in the renounced order of Sannyas (aged 72 years) and preaching God consciousness all over the world. I came to America in 1965, and since then I have many followers belonging to both Christian and Jewish faiths. And I have established 8 centers of Krishna consciousness temples in the USA and Canada. In the month of September, 1968, I am scheduled to go to London on this mission, and maybe I can visit other cities of European countries.
My mission is in the line of Lord Caitanya, Who is Personified Love of Godhead, and Who advented Himself 482 years ago in India, and preached God consciousness all over the country. His mission is to revive God consciousness all over the world, on the basis of Srimad-Bhagavatam (Science of God). The principle of Srimad-Bhagavatam is that any religious faith which helps a man to develop Love of God, without any motive, and without being hampered by any material condition, is transcendental religion. And the best process or the easiest process, in this age especially, is to chant the Holy name of God. From this definition of religion as we find in the Srimad-Bhagavatam, the criterion test of religion is how it helps people to develop his dormant Love of God, which is not artificially invoked, but it is aroused from within by bona fide association of devotees and hearing about God.
Yes, whoever you tell the chant to, it is effective. You have heard it from me and my disciples, similarly I have heard it from my Guru Maharaja, and so on, and on. Because you have heard it from a pure devotee of the Lord, therefore it is transmitted from you to another. Just as an aerial message, is transmitted from one place to another, similarly, this Guru parampara system is working. My disciples are my agents, my representatives, so by hearing it from them, you are receiving it from me. And because you are a sincere soul, those who are hearing the Mantra from you are receiving it in disciplic succession, from Lord Caitanya and from Lord Krishna.
(Srila Prabhupada´s Letter to: Andrea Temple -- Los Angeles 6 March, 1968)
So there is no cause of becoming sad. Our meeting and separation in the material world is like the flowing tide of the river.
During the flowing tide of the river, so many different floating articles meet together, and with the flowing, they again become separated by the movement of the waves. That is the way of the material life.
But our separation, although it resembles exactly in the material way, it is completely different. In the spiritual world, separation is more relishable than meeting. In other words, in spiritual life, there is no separation.
Separation is eternal, and meeting is also eternal. The separation is simply another feature of meeting.
(Srila Prabhupada´s Letter to: Brahmananda -- San Francisco 3 April, 1969)
Our Freedom Lies Beyond The Universe
by Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Because the foolish people have no information of the soul and how the spirit soul is beyond the purview of the body and the mind, therefore all their occupational duties can not give them complete satisfaction. Herein the question of satisfaction of the self is raised. The self is beyond the gross body and subtle mind and he is the potent active principle of the body and mind. Without knowing the need of the dormant soul how one can be happy simply by emolument of the body and mind. The body and the mind are but superfluous outer coverings of the spirit soul but the soul's needs must be fulfilled. Without knowing the needs of the bird in the cage, simply by cleansing the cage the bird can not be satisfied.
The need of the spirit soul is that he wants to get out of the limited sphere of material bondage and wants to fulfil the desire for complete freedom. He wants to get out of the covered walls of the greater universe. He wants to see the free light and the spirit. That complete freedom is achieved when he meets the complete Spirit Personality of Godhead. There is dormant affection of God within everyone; spiritual existence is manifested through the gross body and mind in the form of perverted affection for the matter gross and subtle. We have to engage ourselves, therefore, in such occupational engagement as will be able to evoke our divine consciousness. This is possible only by the process of hearing and chanting of the divine activities of the Supreme Lord and any occupational activity which does not help in achieving such Stage of attachment for hearing and chanting the transcendental message of Godhead, is said herein as simply waste of time. Because other occupational duties call it by any ism can not give liberation to the soul. Even the activities of the salvationists are considered to be useless on account of its failure to pick up the Fountain head of all liberties. Gross materialists can see it practically that his material gain is limited only by time and space either in this world or in the other. Even he goes up to the Swargaloka that is also not the permanent abode for the hankering soul. The hankering soul must be satisfied by the perfect scientfic process of perfect devotional service.
(Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.2.8 Delhi edition, purport)
Srila Rupa Goswami
BHAKTI RASAMRITA SINDHU
(Devotional Service of the Lord)
Translations and Purports
His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
(published in the 1960 issues of "Back to Godhead")
Hridi yasya preranaya prabrtita aham baraka api-tasya hare padakamalam vande chaitanya devasya.
Hridi-In the heart; yasya-whose, preranaya-by the inspiration of, pravartito-engaged, aham-myself, baraka-insignificant, api-although, tasya-of him, hare-the Lord's, padakamalam-lotus feet, vande-do worship, chaitanya-Sri Chaitanya, deva-the Lord.
Let me worship the lotus feet of Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, by the inspiration of whose unbounded mercy I am now engaged, although very much insignificant in this task.
The author Sri Rupa Goswami shows the way of approaching the Absolute Personality of Godhead Sri Krishna. He therefore offers his respectful obeisance unto the lotus feet of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu who is no other than Sri Krishna Himself appeared in the form of a devotee to bestow his merciful benediction upon the fallen souls of this iron age called by the name Kali Yuga. Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu personally inspired Srila Rupa Goswami at Dasaswmedh Ghat Prayag (Allahabad) continuously for ten days and authorised him to propagate the science of devotional service for everyone's benefit. As pure Vaishnava, Srila Rupa Goswami considers himself as the most insignificant person although he is not so. Nobody can describe the transcendental science unless he is authorised by the Lord Himself or His bonafide representative. As Arjuna was, in the Bhagwat Geeta, personally inspired by Sri Krishna-so also here Srila Rupa Goswami was also personally inspired by the Lord. As such none of them can be insignificant persons but on the contrary they are the proper authorities who can deliver us the right thing. Nobody can understand the Bhagwat Geeta if he does not follow the footprints of Arjuna and similarly nobody can understand the mission of Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu unless one is scrupulously inclined to follow the footprints of the Goswamins headed by Sri Rupa Goswami. Srila Jiva Goswami explains the word Baraka as one who can explain the right concept. It may not be out of place to mention in this connection that this translation work into English is also undertaken under the same authority of His Divine Grace Sri Srimad Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Maharaj who is bonafide representative of Srila Rupa Goswami. There is no spirit of change herein from the path of the original authority.
How To Achieve Freedom, Equality and Brotherhood
by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
So in the human form of body we can understand our real, constitutional position. So if the leaders of the human society do not give education to the human society, how the spirit soul can get out of the clutches of birth, death, old age and disease? You have rightly said that Indian sages and great personalities, they specifically cultivated this knowledge, how the living entity encaged in this material body can be liberated. Therefore, to give education to the human society how he can get out of this entanglement of birth, death, old and disease is the best welfare activity. We can remember the history in your country: there was great Napoleon. In other countries also there were many big heroes. They constructed their country very nicely, but at last they had to leave the country.
So whatever we create materially with this material body in this life, along with my giving up this body I have to give up everything. And after this, I have to accept another body. We do not know what kind of body I am going to accept. But suppose I am going to accept, say, a lower grade of body, less than human being. Then what is my condition? My love of country may give me another body in this country, or in my country, but if I am not well situated... Suppose if I get the body of an animal like cow, I shall be sent to the slaughterhouse.
Always Depend Fully On Krsna
I have read your statements regarding opening centers. I am not in agreement with Mr. Altman that we are expanding very thinly. In my opinion, a single sincere soul can maintain a center. You know I started the center at 26 2nd Ave. alone. I took the risk of 200.00 dollars per month for the rent. At that time there were no assistants. Mukunda was at that time a friend but there was no responsibility for him for maintaining the center. Gradually Kirtanananda and Hayagriva joined but they did not take any responsibility. Still I was maintaining the establishment simply depending on Krishna and then Krishna sent me everything -- men and money. Similarly, if a sincere soul goes out and opens a center in any part of the world Krishna will help him in all respects. Without being empowered by Krishna, nobody can preach Krishna Consciousness. It is not academic qualification or financial strength which helps in these matters, but it is sincerity of purpose which helps us always. Therefore, I wish that you will remain in charge of New York, let Satsvarupa be in charge of Boston, Let Mukunda be in charge of San Francisco, let Janardana be in charge of Montreal. Let Nandarani and Dayananda be in charge of Los Angeles. And let Subala das be in charge of Santa Fe. In this way you will follow my example as I did in the beginning at 26 2nd Ave. That is preaching, cooking, writing, talking, chanting everything one man's show. I never thought about the audience. I was prepared to chant if there were no man to hear me. The principle of chanting is to glorify the Lord and not to attract a crowd. If Krishna hears nicely then he will ask some sincere devotee to gather in such place. Therefore, be advised that thousands of centers may be started if we find out a sincere soul for each and every center. We do not require more men to start. If there is one sincere soul that is sufficient to start a new center.
(Letter to: Brahmananda -- Calcutta 11 November, 1967)
by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Yes. So if we get place, we can start. Our program is international. And it is not difficult for us. We can start a branch even underneath a tree. We begin... I began in New York like that. I was chanting underneath a tree in a park. Yes.
(Room Conversation, Dec. 21st 1970, Surat)
As preachers, we do not require elaborate temples for our work. No, we are content to live under a tree. So, as long as your preaching work is going on, never mind there is no temple. of course, in your western countries people must have a comfortable place to sit down or they will not come for chanting. So as soon as possible you may get a nice place and invite the general public by making it very attractive.
(Letter to: Locanananda -- Delhi, India 8 December, 1971)
It is not so important that you have no temple building just now. The main thing is that somehow or other preaching work goes on and literature is distributed. We are prepared to sleep under a tree, so what is there need for a fancy house? Only people must have some place to go, so as soon as possible try to get some place where the public can come and sit down comfortably and chant Hare Krishna.
(Letter to: Sri Galim -- Delhi 20 November, 1971)
THERE ARE NO CHANGES IN THE ORIGINAL BOOKS
Hayagriva has changed so many things.
(Conversation, "Rascal Editors," and Morning Talk -- June 22, 1977, Vrndavana)
PRABHUPADA CHECKED THE EDITING
It is not possible for me to check, and they are doing all nonsense, freedom.
(Conversation, "Rascal Editors," and Morning Talk -- June 22, 1977, Vrndavana)
EVEN THOUGH THERE ARE CHANGES, THE FIRST EDITIONS ARE AUTHORIZED
So, when you change, then the authority is lost.
(Room Conversation with Carol Cameron -- May 9, 1975, Perth)
EVEN THOUGH WE KNOW THERE ARE CHANGES, WE SHOULD KEEP THEM THERE.
Of course, our spiritual subject matter is transcendental and therefore it remains potent despite mistakes in grammar, spelling, etc. But this type of translation may only be allowed if there is no other way to correct it, then it is all right. But if you know the correct order, then you must make it perfect. That is our philosophy: everything perfect for Krishna.
(Letter to: Mandali Bhadra - Jaipur 20 January, 1972)
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada in the early days chalked out the path for his movement in the West. Here are the goals he set up:
(A) To educate the greater human society in the techniques of spiritual life as the basis for a balanced psychic and biological development, and thereby achieve for the first time in human society a real peace and unity among the contending forces in the world today.
(B) To propagate the Sense of Godhead, the all attractive Personality of primal and eternal Form, as He Himself revealed in His own words in the Bhagavad Gītā, the Holy Scripture of the Lord Sri Krishna, the Godhead.
(C) To bring together individals in a Society, regardless of nationality and irrespective of creed or caste, in order to develop a nearness to the Godhead and thereby the idea that within the members and humanity-at-large there is an infinitesimal soul-spirit that is part and parcel in quality with the Godhead, and that all life is meant for the satisfaction of said Godhead, the Supreme Soul.
(D) To encourage the teachings of Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu who demonstrated practically the transcendental process of approaching the absolute Personality of Godhead by His acts of congregational chanting of the holy name of God, a process known as Samkirtan.
(E) To prove by active work and preaching that Lord Sri Krishna is the only enjoyer of all the outcomes of individual and collective sacrifice, penance, meditation, arts, culture, science, because He is the Supreme Proprietor of the whole universe, eternally apart of Him everyone knows Him as a friend. Real peace can be attained when this is realized, in fact.
(F) To assist whenever and wherever possible in the building of a social structure on the real foundation of spiritual progress and establishment of peace and unity between men throughout the world.
(G) To attempt to save men individually from the chain of victimization the ongoing trend in modern civilization operates by, in the name of ideologies of false sentiment, so that Man may again be a free soul, to act and live freely with spiritual vision. This is possible by individual spiritual initiation, Diksha, when a man can see everything in Godhead and Godhead in everything.
(H) To further toward realization this highest truth as revealed by Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and the six Goswamins headed by Śrīla Rupa and Sanatana Goswamins.
(I) To have for its objectives amongst the others four principles which the Goswamins had in view. They are the following:
1. To erect a holy place of transcendental pastimes as well as a place where members of the Lord Sri Krishna can flourish.
2. To propagate all over the world in the form of missionaries the process of devotion, the transcendental service to the Godhead, and to make known that this devotional service is the main function of the human being.
3. In order to accomplish this, to adopt proselytizing methods of peaceful means and to establish a broader society of association for all members, including scholars and admirers, to engage in this service as put forth in the Śrīmad Bhagwatam.
4. To install, wherever it is possible, the worship and temple of Radhakrishna and that of Sri Chaitanya, and to give facility to everyone to become trained in the modes of Archan or preparatory principles of devotional service.
(J) To introduce to the members of the Society and humanity-at-large a simpler and more natural purpose in life by means suitable to the particular place and time, and as enjoined in the Bhagavad Gītā.
(K) To organize educational programs, such as classes and lecture tours, and to institute services, such as mailing, for the benefit of the members of the Society and humanity-at-large.
(L) To publish periodicals, books and/or pamphlets in all important languages in order to reach human society and give an opportunity to same to communicate with the Society.
(M) To invoke the quality of goodness particularly in every member of the Society, individually by the process of Diksha and by establishing one in the status of a Brahmin (good and intelligent man) on the basis of truthfulness, knowledge and faith in the transcendental service of the Lord.
(N) Among the secondary objectives of the Society, it shall undertake the following activities:
1. To revive the scientific system of social orders of classification based on intelligence, martial spirit, productivity and common assistance, generally known as the four castes with reference to quality and worth for the common cause of world society.
2. To discharge as a matter of course the vitiated system of supremacy of one man over another by false prestige of birthright or vested interests.
3. To popularize the vegetable-grain diet under approved methods in order that full value of protein, carbohydrate, fat and vitamin benefit may be derived therefrom.
4. To discourage intoxicating or addicting habits of all descriptions and dimensions and to expose such persons thus afflicted to approved methods of spiritual realization.
(Founding Document For ISKCON : Constitution Of Association, 1966)
Without Krsna Everything Is Zero
by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, published in the "Back to Godhead" Magazine vol.3 part 1, March 1st 1956 and vol.3 part 2nd March 16th 1956
The following two Sanskrit slokas are quoted in the Chaitanya Charitamrita from Haribhakti Sudhodaya. (11 and 12th.)
jatih sastram japas tapah
svapako 'pi budhaih slagyo
na vedajno 'pi nastikah
Bhagabad Bhakti Hinashya Jatih Sastram Japah Tapah Apranashya Eva Dehasya Mandanam Loka Ranjanam.
Suchih Sadbhakti Diptagni Dagdha Durjati Kalmasha Swapaka Api Budhai Shlaghya Na Vedajna Api Nastikah.
Bhagabad=The Personality of Godhead. Bhakti=Devotional activity. Hinashya=one who is devoid of. Jatih=Caste or heredity. Sastram=Book of knowledge. Japah=Meditation. Tapa=Penances. Apranasya=What is devoid of life. Eva=certainly. Dehasya=Of the body. Mandanam=Decoration. Loka=Popular. Ranjanam=Satisfaction. Suchih=One who is purified or a Brahmin. Sadbhakti=Devotion of the Supreme one. Diptagni=Burning fire. Dugdha=Exhausted. Durjati=Low birth. Kalmasha=Result of past misdeeds. Swapaka=One who eats dog (the lowest of the human being). Api=also. Budhai=By the learned. Shlaghya=Object of respect. Na=Not. Vedajna=One who knows the Vedas. Api=Even though. Nastikah=The faithless.
A person who is devoid of devotional activities on behalf of the Personality of Godhead has no value for his high caste or heredity, knowledge in the books, meditation, penances-because all these are to him like the decoration of the dead body.
The lowest of the human being (the dog eater), whose lower birth as a result of past misdeeds, has been exhausted by the burning devotional activities for the Supreme one, is an object of respect by the learned but not the one who is faithless even though he may be well versed in all the Vedas.
These slokas were quoted by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu when He met Shri Rupa Goswami along with his younger brother at Allahabad.
The material body, an encagement of the spirit soul and made of five gross elements of material nature namely earth, water, fire, air and sky-is a dead body from the beginning of its formation in the womb of its birth. The ingredients of the body is supplied by varieties of secretion of a male and a female body and when the favourable circumstance is created by such combination, a living soul takes shelter in that material combination according to the past deeds of the migrating soul. Transmigration of the soul takes place according to the mental situation of the dying man. The subtle body encircling the spirit soul carries him to the special body destined for him by the law of nature. The law of nature is executed in terms of her different modes and a living entity is accommodated in a suitable womb according to his association with different modes of nature namely goodness, passion and ignorance. Here is a great science for many research scholars.
Although Srila Prabhupada clearly expressed that the initiations on his behalf through priests (rtviks) should continue even after his physical departure, many devotees find it difficult to accept and insist that one must have a so-called "living" guru besides Srila Prabhupada. What is the need of another guru, if the teachings left by Srila Prabhupada in his books, audio recordings, letters, videos are complete and perfectly understandable? The following is a collection of testimonies and statements from early disciples of Srila Prabhupada that shed light on this matter.
(On the left is the "July 9th Letter signed by Srila Prabhupada, settig up the rtvik system of initiations for ISKCON)
TAMAL KRSNA GOSWAMI
Actually, Prabhupada never appointed any gurus. He didn't appoint eleven gurus. He appointed eleven ritviks. He never appointed them gurus. Myself and the other GBC have done the greatest disservice to this movement the last three years because we interpreted the appointment of ritviks as the appointment of gurus. What actually happened, I'll explain. I explained it, but the interpretation is wrong. What actually happened was that Prabhupada mentioned that he might be appointing some ritviks, so the GBC met for various reasons and they went to Prabhupada - five or six of us. We asked him, "Srila Prabhupada, after your departure, if we accept disciples, whose disciples will they be, your disciples or mine?"
by Purujit Dasa
It is a habit of the post-modern times to say that man does not depend on any authority. He is free to create his own viewpoint of the world unique and exceptional. However if we are to sincerely consider our condition, we must conclude that such thinking is nothing but delusional. In order to acquire knowledge, we always depend on superior authority. We cannot even ascertain who is our father without the help of a superior authority -the mother. We were not there when our parents conceived us and therefore we can only put faith in our mother's words. We are in complete ignorance about things that are beyond our perception. Therefore the Vedic injunction is acintyah khalu ye bhava na tams tarkena yojayet (Mahabharata, Bhisma parva 5.22). We should not try to understand things that are beyond our material conception by argument and counter argument. Rather, we should approach a guru. How can we recognize the perfect guru and not get cheated at the same time? In this connection, interestingly enough Srila Prabhupada gives a rather liberal definition of what the word guru means:
A startling insight into the changes in the "original books" of Srila Prabhupada!
by Makhancora dāsa
For many years we have been developing a more clear understanding in regards to the controversy that has arisen around the books of our spiritual master, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda. This article is the result of that endeavor. Those who sincerely try to follow his instructions cultivate and fully accept the idea that his vāṇi cannot be adulterated, because the pure message descending from the ācārya on his disciples is the essence of the paramparā, disciplic succession.
the qualifications of a perfect human being
By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
In the Adi-lila of Caitanya-caritamrta, Chapter Eight, there is a description of some of the qualities of devotees. For example, Sri Pandita Haridasa is described as being very well-behaved, tolerant, peaceful, magnanimous and grave. In addition, he spoke very sweetly, his endeavors were very pleasing, he was always patient, he respected everyone, he always worked for everyone's benefit, his mind was free of duplicity, and he was completely devoid of all malicious activities. These are all originally qualities of Krsna, and when one becomes a devotee they automatically become manifest. Sri Krsnadasa Kaviraja, the author of Caitanya-caritamrta, says that all good qualities become manifest in the body of a Vaisnava and that only by the presence of these good qualities can one distinguish a Vaisnava from a non-Vaisnava. Krsnadasa Kaviraja lists the following twenty-six good qualities of a Vaisnava: (1) He is very kind to everyone. (2) He does not make anyone his enemy. (3) He is truthful. (4) He is equal to everyone. (5) No one can find any fault in him. (6) He is magnanimous. (7) He is mild. (8) He is always clean. (9) He is without possessions. (10) He works for everyone's benefit. (11) He is very peaceful. (12) He is always surrendered to Krsna. (13) He has no material desires. (14) He is very meek. (15) He is steady. (16) He controls his senses. (17) He does not eat more than required. (18) He is not influenced by the Lord's illusory energy. (19) He offers respect to everyone. (20) He does not desire any respect for himself. (21) He is very grave. (22) He is merciful. (23) He is friendly. (24) He is poetic. (25) He is expert. (26) He is silent.
"Whatever is produced of the complete whole is also complete by itself."
By Purujit Dāsa
Śrīla Prabhupāda says:
“You can eulogize your Guru Mahārāja, but you have to learn it and face the public and be strong to defend yourself. That is success. Not by praising your Guru Mahārāja. You'll praise your Guru Mahārāja. That is not very difficult. But be victorious to the opposing elements. Then you will praise your Guru Mahārāja nicely. At home, you can praise your Guru Mahārāja, and Guru Mahārāja be satisfied, "Oh, my disciples are praising me." That is not very.... That is good. Respectful. That is the qualification. But you have to fight. Then your Guru Mahārāja will be glorified?”
(Conversation on Roof -- December 26, 1975, Sanand)
What are the opposing elements to the spreading of Krsna consciousness movement at the moment? Corrupted managers, bogus gurus, hypocritical pretenders, politicians and mental speculators- the list is endless, but they can be all put under one unifying category, which can be understood from Śrīla Prabhupāda's praṇāṁ mantra:
namas te sārasvate deve gaura-vāṇī-pracāriṇe
“Our respectful obeisances are unto you, O spiritual master, servant of Sarasvatī Gosvāmī. You are kindly preaching the message of Lord Caitanyadeva and delivering the Western countries, which are filled with impersonalism and voidism.”
This is the sum and substance of Śrīla Prabhupāda's mission -to defeat the philosophy of impersonalism and voidism and establish the sublime philosophy of acintya abheda-bheda tattva of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahāprabhu. It is just like watering the root of a tree. If we are able to defeat the philosophy of impersonalism and voidism, then everything else will fit into place along with minor issues.
The initiating spiritual master must be an uttama-adhikari
by Purujit Dāsa
Traditionally, ācārya must comment on the Vedānta-sūtra otherwise he is not recognized. In the past all the Vaiṣṇava ācāryas were vastly learned scholars who understood Vedānta philosophy fully, for unless one knows Vedānta philosophy he cannot be an ācārya. To be accepted as an ācārya among Indian transcendentalists who follow the Vedic principles, one must become a vastly learned scholar in Vedānta philosophy, either by studying it or hearing it.
For example, Śrīla Prabhupāda has shown his vast knowledge of the Vedānta by giving a commentary on the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, which is the essence of the Vedānta-sūtra written by the author of the Vedānta-sūtra itself, Śrīla Vyāsadeva. But this is not enough. He must be also conversant with all the other systems of philosophy. Śrīla Prabhupāda writes:
by His Divine Grace
published in "Back to Godhead" vol.1 part2 Oct.1944
"Bhakti" means spontaneous loving service. When a servant renders service to his master in consideration of monetary exchange, it is no loving service neither this hired service can come within the category of "Bhakti". When a friend renders service to a fellow friend in consideration of obligation or in expectation of reward or as a matter of gratitude, it is no longer spontaneous loving service and therefore cannot be called "Bhakti". When a father loves his son in expectation of future reward or self satisfaction or a son loves his father in consideration of gain or gratitude, it is no longer a spontaneous loving service and it is out of the operation of "Bhakti". Similarly when a wife loves her husband with a view to the inflated pocket of the husband or a husband loves the skin and complexion of his wife or in consideration of duty towards each other, it is no longer a spontaneous loving service. During our stay in the material world we have to maintain a relation between a material thing and its owner; between a master and a servant; between a friend and a friend between a father or a mother and a child or between a husband and a wife or such similar extended relation between man to man, man to beast or man to nature and none of these categories of different relations can be termed as "Bhakti". No relation within this mundane affair is possible without a motive behind it and even though apparently we may meet some relativities without any motive behind them, by deep analysis it will be possible to see behind them some sort of motive, may be in a lower or higher degree. As such "Bhakti" or spontaneous loving service cannot be applied to any object within the world of three dimension but it is a thing which is absolute monopoly of the Personality of Godhead.
by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
published in "Back to Godhead" vol.1 - 1944
When Pralhad Moharaj, the celebrated devotee of the Personality of Godhead Vishnu and the son of Hiranyakashipu the well-known atheist-was a mere boy of five years old, was seen one day by his fellow playmates, chanting the transcendental name of Hari (The Lord). The boys, who were all born of atheist family and thereby known as the children of the Ashuras, asked Prolhad Moharaj a question which is now-a-days a common enquiry by all busy men. The question was quite plain and simple and it was an enquiry by the children of the Ashuras as to why Prolhad was wasting his valuable time by chanting the name of Hari. They asked him to come out of his place and make an enjoyment of life by fulfilling the utilitarian theory of eat, drink, be merry and enjoy. This was quite a natural thing for the children of the Ashuras because the Ashuras are none but those who know nothing of transcendence but are always busy with the business of material enjoyment.
The symbol of material enjoyment is a combination of gold and cushion and Hiranya-Kashipu was made the King of Ashuras because his very name suggested that he was concerned with only gold and cushion. Gold is the medium of exchange for all material comforts and cushion or soft-padded bedding is the resting place for enjoying women and wine. Hiranya means gold and Kashipu means soft bedding. Hiranya-Kashipu was therefore the King of such materialists who simply cared for gold and cushion and as such he did care little for the Lord or his Name.
by Purujit dāsa
Lord Kṛṣṇa informs us about the deviation from the disciplic succession (paramparā) in the pages of the Bhagavad-gītā:
imaṁ vivasvate yogaṁ
proktavān aham avyayam
vivasvān manave prāha
manur ikṣvākave 'bravīt
imaṁ rājarṣayo viduḥ
sa kāleneha mahatā
yogo naṣṭaḥ parantapa
The Personality of Godhead, Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, said: I instructed this imperishable science of one’s relationship with the Supreme to the sun-god, Vivasvān. Vivasvān instructed it to his son Manu, the father of mankind, and Manu in turn instructed the same science to his son Ikṣvāku.This science was thus received through the chain of disciplic succession, and the saintly kings understood it in that way.
But in course of time the succession was broken, and therefore the science as it is, O subduer of the enemies, appears to be lost.
When His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda first visited his devotees in England, in 1969, and was asked by a reporter to explain what he had come to teach, he calmly responded: ‘‘I am trying to teach what you have forgotten.’’
And indeed, this is the sole role of a bona fide spiritual master. The message of Kṛṣṇa (God) consciousness reaches beyond a limited sphere of oneʻs nationality, race, sex, religious denomination or similar sectarian considerations. We, as spirit souls, are eternal and our eternal function is to serve the Supreme eternal Person.
The guruʻs duty is to reawaken such consciousness, without creating artificial impositions on the mind. Through his instructions, one has a chance to discover oneʻs original state of being, liberate the self from all misconceptions, and engage in a loving devotional relationship with God.
His Divine Grace, or more commonly Śrīla Prabhupāda, is performing this task most brilliantly at this very moment by instructing on the science of bhakti-yoga millions of Kṛṣṇa devotees all over the world through his highly esteemed transcendental books, the medium of recorded transcendental vibration. He is thus fulfilling the purport of a poem written by a great Vaiṣṇava saint, who once wrote:
‘‘He reasons ill who says that Vaiṣṇavas die, when thou art living still in sound! The Vaiṣṇavas die to live, and living try to spread the holy name around.’’
Śrīla Prabhupādaʻs teaching is appreciated not exclusively by a limited circle of disciples or followers of Kṛṣṇa only. Numerous scholars, professors, linguists and scientists from various fields admire him for his expertly grasp on the ancient Vedic knowledge, and proclaim him to be the true ambassador of the original Indian culture.
Therefore, it does not come as a surprise to find Śrīla Prabhupādaʻs scholarly translations practically in every major university and college on the planet. In fact, the teachers in many of these institutions use them as standard textbooks. The following is just a small sample of what prominent scholars wrote about Śrīla Prabhupādaʻs most popular Bhagavad-gītā As It Is:
‘Whether the reader be an adept of Indian spiritualism or not, a reading of the Bhagavad-gītā As It Is will be extremely profitable. For many this will be the first contact with the true India, the ancient India, the eternal India.’
Professor of Religious Sciences from the Institute of Political Studies in Paris
‘I can say that in the Bhagavad-gītā As It Is I have found explanations and answers to questions I had always posed regarding the interpretations of this sacred work, whose spiritual discipline I greatly admire. If the aesceticism and ideal of the apostles which form the message of the Bhagavad-gītā As It Is were more widespread and more respected, the world in which we live would be transformed into a better, more fraternal place.’
Dr. Paul Lesourd, Author Professeur Honoraire from Catholic University of Paris
‘This is a work to be treasured. No one of whatever faith or philosophical persuasion who reads these books with an open mind can fail to be both moved and impressed.’
Dr. Garry Gelade, Professor of Psychology from Oxford University
What is significant is that Śrīla Prabhupādaʻs voluminous literary contribution confirms the powerful potency of Vedic writings. The Vedas, the most ancient scriptures in the world, are also called śruti, because they are understood by hearing. It has been said that a fool remains unnoticed until he speaks. The real master never deviates or contradicts the scripture and in this way, the potency of the spiritual message passes through him in a same way the electricity passes through a linked-up wire. It is therefore the knowledge the spiritual master is speaking, not his physical presence, which is of importance. In order to ascertain the qualification of a spiritual master we should study what he says.
Disciples all around the world are experiencing Śrīla Prabhupādaʻs direct guidance on a daily basis through his literatures, and the effect of this spiritual potency manifests in their ability to easily refrain from meat-eating, illicit sex, gambling and intoxication, even now without meeting Śrīla Prabhupāda personally. Although this is a standard practice for every disciple of Kṛṣṇa, to refrain from these activities is not an easy job, especially in a modern society, where one is practically raised to indulge in these sinful activities. However, anyone who links himself up with Śrīla Prabhupāda through his instructions can very easily come up to this standard. How is this possible? As Śrīla Prabhupāda mentions in one of his purports: ‘‘The potency of transcendental sound is never minimized because the vibrator is apparently absent.’
Although the knowledge of the Vedas has no beginning, they were written down by Śrīla Vyāsadeva 5,000 years ago. They contain complete knowledge ranging from spirituality, religion, art, politics, economics, astronomy, astrology up to military art and medicine. The essence or the cream of the Vedas is the beautiful Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, or Bhāgavata Purạ̄na. It is the last contribution of Śrīla Vyāsadeva to the world. In the First volume of this great literature we find the following prediction made:
“This Bhāgavata Purāṇa is as brilliant as the sun, and it has arisen just after the departure of Lord Kṛṣṇa to His own abode, accompanied by religion, knowledge, etc. Persons who have lost their vision due to the dense darkness of ignorance in the age of Kali shall get light from this Purāṇa.” (Bhāg. 1.3.43)
According to the Vedas, history is divided into four ages of which presently Kali-yuga, the age of quarrel and hypocrisy, is the last. The verse says that the knowledge contained in the Bhāgavatam will bring solutions to the world wide crisis, and it is due to Śrīla Prabhupāda that the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is now accessible on a massive scale.
It is of no wonder, that the Delhi-printed translation of this work, along with a bag of cereals and a few coins, was the only possession he took with him on his journey to the western countries from his motherland India.
Furthermore, in the 16th century, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, the last, yet disguised appearance of Lord Kṛṣṇa in this world, predicted that the name of Kṛṣṇa would be heard in every town and every village throughout the world. Similarly, a great ācārya, Śrīla Bhaktivinode Ṭhākura, in the 19th century, wrote in his journal Vaiṣṇava Toṣaṇī that soon the Hare Kṛṣṇa movement would be propagated all around the world and people from England, France, Russia, Germany and America would assemble together and chant the names of Kṛṣṇa in the streets of their towns.
Śrīla Prabhupāda fulfilled both of these prophecies by sending groups of his disciples to chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra in all the corners of the planet—a task that is unparallel in the history of Vedic tradition, thus making the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra into a household word. These, and numerous other references, might give us a little hint as to the significance of Śrīla Prabhupādaʻs appearance in this world.
DISCIPLIC LINE OF SPIRITUAL MASTERS
His Divine Grace was born as Abhay Caran De on September 1, 1896 in Calcutta. In 1920 he finished his schooling, majoring in philosophy, English and economics at the University of Calcutta. Soon afterward, he took up the duties of a manager at a large chemical company. Then in 1922, he met His Divine Grace Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī Mahārāja, the founder of 64 Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava Maṭhs in India; Berlin and London.
Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī belongs to the ancient disciplic succession (paramparā) of spiritual masters through which the science of bhakti-yoga is passed down since Lord Kṛṣṇa introduced it to his friend Arjuna as the Bhagavad-gītā 5,000 years ago. The succession is still current and in short we can say that His Divine Grace belongs to the Brahma-Madhva, Gauḍīya-Vaiṣṇava sampradāya:
1) Kṛṣṇa, 2) Brahmā, 3) Nārada; 4) Vyāsa, 5) Madhva, 6) Padmanābha, 7) Nṛhari, 8) Mādhava, 9) Akṣobhya, 10) Jayatīrtha, 11) Jñānasindhu, 12) Dayānidhi, 13) Vidyānidhi, 14) Rājendra, 15) Jayadharma, 16) Puruṣottama, 17) Brahmaṇyatīrtha, 18) Vyāsatīrtha, 19) Lakṣmīpati, 20) Mādhavendra Purī, 21) Īśvara Purī, (Nityānanda, Advaita), 22) Lord Caitanya, 23) Rūpa (Svarūpa, Sanātana), 24) Raghunātha, Jīva, 25) Kṛṣṇadāsa, 26) Narottama, 27) Viśvanātha, 28) (Baladeva) Jagannātha, 29) Bhaktivinode, 30) Gaurakiśora, 31) Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī, 32) His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedānta Swami Prabhupāda.
The succession protects the message from being adulterated by imposters and consists of fully-realized, liberated pure devotees of Kṛṣṇa, who act as transparent via mediums through which the teachings are broadcasted to the people of the world as they are without change. Any deviation from the line as above-mentioned will bewilder the studentʻs understanding. Unless one is on the highest platform of spiritual realization, and strictly follows the instructions of his predecessor, one cannot become a spiritual master.
At Allahabad in 1933, Abhay Caran De was formally initiated, and in 1936, just days before Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatīʻs departure from this mortal world, he was specifically ordered by his master to spread Kṛṣṇa consciousness in the English language to the West.
Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī also instructed his disciples in his Gauḍīya Maṭha institution to form a governing body commission to conduct the preaching in his absence. Unfortunately, the order was not followed and the institution thereby broke into factions. Śrīla Prabhupāda writes about these events in his purports to Caitanya-caritāmṛta:
‘‘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.’’ (C.C. Ādi 12.8)
JOURNEY TO AMERICA
Remaining aloof from the politics of the Maṭha, in 1944 Śrīla Prabhupāda started a periodical ‘‘Back to Godhead’’ in the English language, and at the end of the 50’s he published Easy Journey to Other Planets—a small booklet challenging the authenticity of the moon landing expedition program on the basis of astronomical information contained in the ancient Vedic texts. He also adopted the renounced order of life (sannyāsa) and started working on his lifeʻs masterpiece—the translation of the 60-volume Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. He resided in the Rādha Dāmodara temple in Vṛndāvana, the birth place of Kṛṣṇa, where he found spiritual inspiration being surrounded by the places of pilgrimage commemorating the six Gosvāmīs, the direct disciples of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.
Then at the age of 70 in 1965, His Divine Grace arrived in the USA. He had only a great aspiration to fulfill the order of his Guru Mahārāja Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī to spread the message of Kṛṣṇa as it is in the West. Upon arriving, he wrote the following prayer:
‘‘How will I make them understand this message of Kṛṣṇa consciousness? I am very unfortunate, unqualified and the most fallen. Therefore I am seeking Your benediction so that I can convince them, for I am powerless to do so on my own.’’
‘‘Somehow or other, O Lord, You have brought me here to speak about You. Now, my Lord, it is up to You to make me a success or failure as You like.’’
‘‘O spiritual master of all the worlds! I can simply repeat Your message, so if You like You can make my power of speaking suitable for their understanding.’’
‘‘Only by Your causeless mercy will my words become pure. I am sure that when this transcendental message penetrates their hearts they will certainly feel engladdened and thus become liberated from all unhappy conditions of life. ’’
‘‘O Lord, I am just like a puppet in Your hands. So if You have brought me here to dance, then make me dance, make me dance, O Lord, make me dance as You like.’’
‘‘I have no devotion, nor do I have any knowledge, but I have strong faith in the holy name of Kṛṣṇa. I have been designated as Bhaktivedānta, and now, if You like, You can fulfill the real purport of Bhaktivedānta.’’
(Mārkine Bhāgavata-dharma, Boston Harbor, September 18, 1965)
Manifesting a perfect example of how a sincere disciple should be determined to fulfill the orders of the spiritual master, he manifested a pastime of struggling for one year without any external success in New York, the greatest city in the world.
But by chanting the mahā-mantra:
HARE KṚṢṆA HARE KṚṢṆA
KṚṢṆA KṚṢṆA HARE HARE
HARE RĀMA HARE RĀMA
RĀMA RĀMA HARE HARE
under a tree in Tompkins Square Park, he soon attracted the attention of the younger generation, who resonated with the message of Kṛṣṇa and who joined him to form the International Society for Kṛṣṇa Consciousness (ISKCON). A world wide Hare Kṛṣṇa revolution began.
Temples were established first in America, then Europe and gradually on all other continents. Thousands of young people of all types of faith, race, sexes and nationalities took up devotional life and turned into saints practically over night. This marked the only time in history that a Kṛṣṇa devotee was successfully training non-Indians in the strict disciplines of Vaiṣṇavism.
In 1970, George Harrison, of the popular musical group the Beatles, and Śrīla Prabhupādaʻs personal friend and admirer, applauded the movement by his song ‘‘My Sweet Lord’’ where he used the Hare Kṛṣṇa chant. He also financed the printing of Śrīla Prabhupādaʻs ‘‘Kṛṣṇa—The Supreme Personality of Godhead’’ book and wrote a foreword for it, in which he openly encouraged his fans to take up the chanting process.
The Hare Kṛṣṇa movement became widely-known, and in 1976 it was recognized by the American government as a bona fide religion. According to the Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta this is not a feat of an ordinary man. Unless directly empowered by Kṛṣṇa, one cannot propagate the saṅkīrtana movement.
Just like a lotus growing in muddy water remains untouched, similarly, a pure devotee of the Lord can use all modern facilities such as corporations, banks, dictaphones, airplanes, computers, television, etc. to broadcast the message of Kṛṣṇa consciousness and yet remain completely unaffected by their materialistic influence. Śrīla Prabhupādaʻs exemplary behavior in dealing with the material world serves as an impetus to many aspiring spiritualists even up to the present day.
Śrīla Prabhupāda within a short span of 12 years accomplished his mission by writing approximately seventy books on the science of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. The Encyclopaedia Britannica proclaimed that his voluminous translations from the original Sanskrit and his lucid commentaries “have astounded literary and academic communities worldwide.” (By 1976, over 55,000,000 literatures had been published in twenty-five languages and distributed in almost every country, making the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust the worldʻs largest publisher of Indian religious and philosophical texts. One printing alone of Bhagavad-gītā As It Is required seventy-six train cars to ship the paper needed to print it.)
He also managed to initiate over 5,000 disciples, established 108 Kṛṣṇa temples on six continents, installed the deity of Kṛṣṇa in each center and trained his disciples in the process of deity worship, inaugurated the Ratha-yātrā Festival of Lord Jagannātha in major cities around the globe, in effect, bringing the temple to the people. He also instructed his disciples in 1967 to start an incense business in order to provide financial support for the maintenance of the temples. Within four years the business, Spiritual Sky Incense, generated an annual revenue of one million dollars (equivalent to $6,038,000 in 2017). He introduced the “Sunday Love Feast” and other prasādam (sanctified food) distribution programs that provided millions of free meals to the public. He created the worldʻs first chain of vegetarian restaurants.
He built major temples in Bombay and Vṛndāvana, and founded a spiritual city at Māyāpur. All became international sites of pilgrimage. He established primary schools to provide education in the principles of devotional service and founded The Bhaktivedanta Institute to advance Kṛṣṇa consciousness within the scientific community, engaging serious academics in the consideration of the science of self-realization. He also set up farm communities to teach “simple living and high thinking”, emphasizing cow protection and dependence on God and nature.
HE LIVES FOREVER THROUGH HIS INSTRUCTIONS
Śrīla Prabhupāda did not choose a successor, but requested all his disciples to continue associating with him through his books and work in the same way as before cooperatively even after his physical departure.
Unfortunately, after Śrīla Prabhupādaʻs demise in 1977, his leading disciples did not take his instruction in their hearts and artificially, despite Śrīla Prabhupādaʻs clear orders not to do so, took up the posts of initiating spiritual masters with the desire to enjoy the glory and respect such a position commands, but without meeting the required qualification such a position demands. On account of this offensive act, consequently the ISKCON institution has suffered greatly due to internal dispute over its leadership and there has been a major setback in its preaching activities.
Śrīla Prabhupāda, however, lives on in his books. His instructions on re-spiritualization of the human society are still waiting to be fulfilled. People of the world should therefore take advantage of this wonderful opportunity.
“There are two ways of association - by vāṇī and by vapu. Vāṇī means words, and vapu means physical presence. Physical presence is sometimes appreciable and sometimes not, but vāṇī continues to exist eternally. Therefore we must take advantage of the vāṇī, not the physical presence.”
(Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Concluding Words)
Por Purujit dāsa
El Señor Kṛṣṇa nos informa sobre la desviación de la sucesión discipular (paramparā) en las páginas del Bhagavad-gītā:
imaṁ vivasvate yogaṁ
proktavān aham avyayam
vivasvān manave prāha
manur ikṣvākave 'bravīt
Imaṁ rājarṣayo viduḥ
sa kāleneha mahatā
yogo naṣṭaḥ parantapa
El Señor Śrī Kṛṣṇa, la Suprema Personalidad de Dios, dijo: Yo instruí esta ciencia imperecedera de la relación de uno con el Supremo al dios el sol, Vivasvān. Vivasvān la instruyó a su hijo Manu, el padre de la humanidad, y Manu a su vez instruyó la misma ciencia a su hijo Ikṣvāku. Esta ciencia fue recibida de esta manera a través de la cadena de sucesión discipular, y los reyes santos lo entendieron de esa manera.
Pero con el transcurso del tiempo, se rompió la sucesión y, por lo tanto, la ciencia tal como está, oh, dominador de los enemigos, parece estar perdida.
by George Harrison
A lot of people say, "I'm it. I'm the divine incarnation. I'm here and let me hip you." You know what I mean? But Prabhupada was never like that. I liked Prabhupada's humbleness. I always liked his humility and his simplicity The servant of the servant of the servant is really what it is, you know. None of us are God--just His servants. He just made me feel so comfortable. I always felt very relaxed with him, and I felt more like a friend. I felt that he was a good friend. Even though he was at the time seventy-nine years old, working practically all through the night, day after day, with very little sleep, he still didn't come through to me as though he was a very highly educated intellectual being, because he had a sort of childlike simplicity. Which is great, fantastic. Even though he was the greatest Sanskrit scholar and a saint, I appreciated the fact that he never made me feel uncomfortable. In fact, he always went out of his way to make me feel comfortable. I always thought of him as sort of a lovely friend, really, and now he's still a lovely friend.