Srila Prabhupada’s letters On Guruship

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Srila Prabhupada’s 6341 letters represent an undervalued, untapped and formidable source of spiritual and philosophical knowledge, knowhow and information.

Let us consider for example 751202let.TustaKrishna hereunder reproduced:

New Delhi

2 December, 1975

My Dear Tusta Krishna Swami,

Please accept my blessings. I beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter dated 21 November, 1975. Every student is expected to become Acarya. Acarya means one who knows the scriptural injunctions and follows them practically in life, and teaches them to his disciples. I have given you sannyasa with the great hope that in my absence you will preach the cult throughout the world and thus become recognized by Krishna as the most sincere servant of the Lord. So I’m very pleased that you have not deviated from the principles I have taught, and thus with power of attorney go on preaching Krishna Consciousness, that will make me very happy as it is confirmed in the Guru vastakam yasya prasadat bhagavata prasadah just by satisfying your Spiritual Master who is accepted as the bona fide representative of the Lord you satisfy Krishna immediately, without any doubt.

I am very glad to inform you that Sudama Vipra Maharaja is also now following my principles. So I am very, very happy to receive all this news. Thank you very, very much.

Keep trained up very rigidly and then you are bona fide Guru, and you can accept disciples on the same principle. But as a matter of etiquette it is the custom that during the lifetime of your Spiritual Master you bring the prospective disciples to him, and in his absence or disappearance you can accept disciples without any limitation. This is the law of disciplic succession. I want to see my disciples become bona fide Spiritual Master and spread Krishna consciousness very widely, that will make me and Krishna very happy.

I hope this letter finds you well,

Your ever well wisher,

A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

ACBS/hda

The main cause of the Guruship controversy stems from quoting Srila Prabhupada out of context.

The above letter on its own however, clears ALL doubts and ALL ignorance. It simultaneously gives the law of disciplic succession in FULL. Just see the perfection and completeness of Srila Prabhupada’s letters and consequently of their author, Srila Prabhupada Himself!

Srila Prabhupada clearly says here that:

“…as a matter of etiquette it is the custom that during the lifetime of your Spiritual Master you bring the prospective disciples to him, and in his absence or disappearance you can accept disciples without any limitation.” and that is where the ritvik procedure ends and full fledged Guruship begins. The same logical conclusion can be drawn from the 730822vp.Lon quote below.

Furthermore, Srila Prabhupada clearly explains how the law of disciplic succession operates.

Besides giving a 3 pronged definition of “Acarya”: that the Acarya

One: knows the scriptural injunctions.

Two: follows himself / herself the scriptural injunctions

Three: teaches the same to his disciples,

Srila Prabhupada makes two major relevant statements in this particular letter:

One that “Every student is expected to become Acarya. ”

And two, that “I want to see my disciples become bona fide Spiritual Master ”

That means that every bonafide disciple of Srila Prabhupada must work very hard and must endeavor his very best to live up to Srila Prabhupada’s expectation and become qualified as a bona fide Spiritual Master. The responsibility to guide and save the world is very great and heavy and it represents the function of Srila Prabhupada’s true followers. Neither is Guruship an impossible or forbidden task, nor is it a casual option. It is a great challenge for every bona fide Prabhupada disciple. To be a Prabhupada disciple is not a cheap or mediocre thing because the Master Himself is topmost superlative.

We should also note very carefully indeed that, in this particular letter, Srila Prabhupada does not make any gender distinction at all. He does not specify that every male student only should become Acarya or that He wants to see every male disciple only to become bona fide spiritual master. Not at all! On the contrary, in the following 730822vp.Lon quote below Srila Prabhupada positively designates “men, women, boys and girls, (to) become Spiritual Master.”

There is no alternative choice. Besides this choice, there is only failure. Every generation, MUST (“abhigaccet”) follow to the best of its ability “the law of disciplic succession”, as Srila Prabhupada puts it so nicely in this letter, just as Shastra says that one MUST accept a spiritual master, Tad-vijïänärthaà sa gurum eva abhigaccet samit-päëiù çrotriyaà brahma-niñöham [MU 1.2.12].

And frankly speaking, every Prabhupada disciple’s power of attorney to take up the service of bona fide Spiritual Master is already intrinsically contained in this letter.

Not even to mention the practical benefits, for the sake of proper regulation of the process, it will be best however to accept and undergo the Guru qualifying process as set out by The International Society for Krishna Consciousness, Srila Prabhupada’s organization and movement, in order to obtain one’s certificate of authenticity and qualification for such a responsible, top most and culminating service. Several brains are generally better than a single one.

It is not that because some have failed that everyone else will also fail. Neither should we subscribe to the jackal’s philosophy, that if the grapes are out of our reach, we automatically condemn the grapes as inedible. On the contrary, we note already the existence of so many brilliant successes and many more such successes will follow. “There is no difficulty.”

Here is another relevant passage from 730822vp.Lon

“To become Spiritual Master is not very difficult thing. You’ll have to become Spiritual Master. You, all my disciples, everyone should become Spiritual Master. It is not difficult. ……. Keep trained up very rigidly and then you are bona fide Guru, and you can accept disciples on the same principle. But as a matter of etiquette it is the custom that during the lifetime of your Spiritual Master you bring the prospective disciples to him, and in his absence or disappearance you can accept disciples without any limitation. This is the law of disciplic succession. I want to see my disciples become bona fide Spiritual Master and spread Krishna consciousness very widely, that will make me and Krishna very happy.

………………..

So I hope that all of you, men, women, boys and girls, become Spiritual Master, and follow this principle. Spiritual Master, simply, sincerely, follow the principles and speak to the general public.”

All glories to the transcendental, most merciful and most knowledgeable, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, Srila Prabhupada, the Founder-Acarya of The International Society for Krishna Consciousness and Institutor of the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust!

“He Built a House in Which the Whole World Can Live!”

In service to Sri Guru, Lord Gauranga and the Vaishnavas.

Yadavendra Das, travelling book distribution preacher.

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1 Puskaraksa das

It is good to quote one letter, but one should review all the instructions of Srila Prabhupada in the matter of Guruship, so as to get the full picture.

Besides, one has to keep in mind that there are three types of guru: vartma-pradarsaka-guru, diksha-guru and siksa-guru.

“If he is conversant in the science of Kṛṣṇa he can become a spiritual master as vartma-pradarśaka-guru, dīkṣā-guru or śikṣā-guru. The spiritual master who first gives information about spiritual life is called the vartma-pradarśaka-guru, the spiritual master who initiates according to the regulations of the śāstras is called the dīkṣā-guru, and the spiritual master who gives instructions for elevation is called the śikṣā-guru.”
(C.c. Madhya 8.128)

So, when Srila Prabhupada encourages his disciples to become guru, all the more when he states that “to become Spiritual Master is not a very difficult thing”, he may jolly well not refer to becoming a diksa guru. He may rather mean “you tell others about Krishna, and in this way you become guru”:

“So any child can carry these words. Any foolish man can carry these words. And if you do that, Caitanya Mahaprabhu says, then you become guru, simply by carrying these words. Amara ajnaya guru hana tara’ ei desa. Even in your village, in your home, you can say to your wife, to your children. They will accept you that “Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.” Then you become guru at home.” 
(Darshan, December 3rd, 1976)

To put things in proper perspective, one may also ask the question “Where are some of the recipients of those letters and what is their spiritual status nowadays?”. Hence, one should also not misconstrue encouragements or even wishful thinking to be reality.

In that respect, a famous letter is often used nowadays to promote the idea that everyone has gotten an open permission to become a diksa guru, since Srila Prabhupada wrote to Hamsaduta, on January 3, 1969, that by 1975, he wished to retire and that all his disciples should become guru in his place…

“Maybe, by 1975, all of my disciples will be allowed to initiate and increase the numbers of the generations. That is my program.”

Did Srila Prabhupada not want to encourage his disciples to study sastras? Yes, he did.
Did he not want to give a perspective to those who already aspired to become guru…? Yes, he may well have done so, all the more when he confessed that some wanted to take his position, even if he had not left yet…!

Comment posted by Puskaraksa das on August 11th, 2013
2 Puskaraksa das

Did this (“by 1975, all of my disciples will be allowed to initiate”) happen? No…!
This is why Srila Prabhupada precisely wrote “Maybe”

Isn’t Srila Prabhupada a tri-jna, as a nitya-siddha? Yes
Then, did he think he was going to pass away in 1975…? No!

As a matter of fact, only if he had known for sure that he was to pass away in 1975, could this have happen as he specifies:
“As a matter of etiquette it is the custom that during the lifetime of your Spiritual Master you bring the prospective disciples to him, and in his absence or disappearance you can accept disciples without any limitation. This is the law of disciplic succession.” (Letter to Tusta Krishna Swami - 2 December, 1975)

Yet, in 1975, Srila Prabhupada gave another purport to his earlier letter of 1969:

“The GBC should all be the instructor gurus. I am the initiator guru, and you should be the instructor guru by teaching what I am teaching and doing what I am doing.”
(Letter, August 4th, 1975)

Besides, we should not try to fool ourselves (and others) and try to pretend that there is an open permission for anyone and everyone to become guru.

First, of all one has to be genuinely qualified to fill in the position of Guru in our Parampara:

“The guru must be situated on the topmost platform of devotional service. There are three classes of devotees, and the guru must be accepted from the topmost class” (Cc. Madhya 24. 330)



which Srila Prabhupada confirms in the purport of Upadesamrita – Text 5:

“One should not become a spiritual master unless he has attained the platform of uttama-adhikārī. A neophyte Vaiṣṇava or a Vaiṣṇava situated on the intermediate platform can also accept disciples, but such disciples must be on the same platform, and it should be understood that they cannot advance very well toward the ultimate goal of life under his insufficient guidance. Therefore a disciple should be careful to accept an uttama-adhikārī as a spiritual master.”

Here again, we may realize what are the qualifications required to officially act as guru:

“On the whole, you may know that he is not a liberated person, and therefore, he cannot initiate any person to Krishna Consciousness. It requires special spiritual benediction from higher authorities.”
[Srila Prabhupada Letter to Janardana — New York 26 April, 1968]

Comment posted by Puskaraksa das on August 11th, 2013
3 Puskaraksa das

Hence, beyond general encouragements addressed to all to simply repeat the words and teachings of Guru and Krishna, Srila Prabhupada is very precise and specific about the process by which one is individually allowed and thus empowered to act as guru.

As a matter of fact, we have seen too many fall-downs, not to take the following instructions seriously.

Thereby, one can become guru, only when he is personally ordered by his bona fide guru, in the Parampara:

Srila Prabhupada Conversation, May 28, 1977, Vrindavan:
Prabhupada: “When I order, “You become guru,” he becomes regular guru. That’s all. He becomes disciple of my disciple. That’s it.”

“Self-made guru cannot be guru. HE MUST BE AUTHORIZED BY THE BONA FIDE GURU. Then he’s guru. This is the fact…Similarly, bona fide guru means he must be authorized by the superior guru.” (SP NOD Lecture, October 31. 1972)

“One should take initiation from a bona fide spiritual master coming in the disciplic succession, who is AUTHORIZED BY HIS PREDECESSOR SPIRITUAL MASTER. This is called diksa-vidhana.” (S.B. 4.8.54, purport)

Lecture on Bhagavad-gita 7.2 — Nairobi, October 28, 1975:
INDIAN MAN: When did you become the spiritual leader of Krishna consciousness?

PRABHUPADA: What is that?

BRAHMANANDA: He’s asking, When did you become the spiritual leader of Krishna consciousness?

PRABHUPADA: When my Guru Maharaja ordered me. This is the guru-parampara.

INDIAN MAN: Did it…

PRABHUPADA: Try to understand. Don’t go very speedily. A guru can become guru when he’s ordered by his guru. That’s all. Otherwise, nobody can become guru.

INDIAN WOMAN 2: (Hindi)

PRABHUPADA: (Hindi) Sadhi mam prapannam. “I am surrendered to you. Whatever you say, I shall carry out.” That’s all.

INDIAN MAN: When did he tell you to–

PRABHUPADA: What is the business, when did he tell me? And why shall I disclose to you? It is so very insignificant thing that I have to explain to you?

INDIAN MAN: No, I am just curious when–

PRABHUPADA: You should be curious within your limit. You should know that one can become guru when he is ordered by his guru, this much.

Comment posted by Puskaraksa das on August 11th, 2013
4 Puskaraksa das

Srila Prabhupada Room Conversation, Bombay, April 22, 1977:

Prabhupada: What is the use of producing some rascal guru?

Tamala Krishna: Well, I have studied myself and all of your disciples, and it’s clear fact that we are all conditioned souls, so we cannot be guru. Maybe one day it may be possible…

Prabhupada: Hm.

Tamala Krishna: …but not now.

Prabhupada: Yes. I shall produce some gurus. I shall say who is guru, ‘Now you become acharya. You become authorized.’ I am waiting for that. You become, all, acharya. I retire completely. But the training must be complete.

Tamala Krishna: The process of purification must be there.

Prabhupada: Oh, yes, must be there. Caitanya Mahaprabhu wants that. Amara ajnaya guru hana. “You become guru.” (laughs) But be qualified. Little thing, strictly follower.

Tamala Krishna: Not rubber stamp.

Prabhupada: Then you’ll not be effective. You can cheat, but it will not be effective. Just see our Gaudiya Matha. Everyone wanted to become guru, and a small temple and “guru.” What kind of guru?”

So, one should not become a self-appointed guru:

“The spiritual master must never be carried away by an accumulation of wealth or a large number of followers. A bona fide spiritual master will never become like that. But sometimes, if a spiritual master is not properly authorized, and only on his own initiative becomes a spiritual master, he may be carried away by an accumulation of wealth and large numbers of disciples. His is not a very high grade of devotional service. If a person is carried away by such achievements, then his devotional service becomes slackened. One should, therefore, strictly adhere to the principles of disciplic succession….”
The Nectar of Devotion - 1970 Edition : Nectar of Devotion (Unrevised edition) Chapter 14: Devotional Qualifications.

One cannot either be appointed by ones Godbrothers or fellow devotees:

“A disciple of Kali cannot become an ācārya by the decision of some high court. Mundane votes have no jurisdiction to elect a Vaiṣṇava ācārya. A Vaiṣṇava ācārya is self-effulgent, and there is no need for any court judgment. A false ācārya may try to override a Vaiṣṇava by a high-court decision, but Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura says that he is nothing but a disciple of Kali-yuga.” (C.c. Madhya 1.220 – Purport)

Comment posted by Puskaraksa das on August 11th, 2013
5 Puskaraksa das

However, some may object or wonder: “How will one receive the instruction to become guru, once one’s spiritual master has physically departed…?”

“Because I have always served my Guru Maharaja and followed His teachings, I am now even never separated from Him.”
(73-11-25. Letter to Cidananda)

Indian Lady: … is that spiritual master still guiding after death?

Srila Prabhupada: Yes, yes. Just like Krsna is guiding us, similarly spiritual master will guide us.
(General lecture, 69/09/23)

“Whether I am present or not present, it doesn’t matter. 

I shall remain your personal guidance, physically present or not physically, as I am getting personal guidance from my guru maharaja”
(Srila Prabhupada to Tamal Krishna, 14 July 1977)

Srila Prabhupada refers here to personal guidance, such as undergoing personal training (”but the training must be complete”) and being then ordered to become guru (”when I order, you become guru”) and not just to his global teachings made available to one and all through his books.

So, Sri Guru can manifest in any way he may judge appropriate to instruct and guide his sincere and faithful disciple.

An example of that is the way Srila Prabhupada was personally instructed by his spiritual master to take sannyasa, even after his beloved Gurudeva had physically departed:

“One night Abhay had a striking dream, the same dream he had had several times before, during his days as a householder. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati appeared, just as Abhay had known him, the tall, scholarly sannyasi, coming directly from the spiritual world, from Krishna’s personal entourage. He called to Abhay and indicated that he should follow. Repeatedly he called and motioned. He was asking Abhay to take sannyasa. Come, he urged, become a sannyasi.

Abhay awoke in a state of wonder. He thought of this instruction as another feature of the original instruction Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati had given him at their first meeting in Calcutta, the same instruction that his spiritual master had later solidified in a letter; become an English preacher and spread Krishna consciousness throughout the Western world. Sannyasa was for that end; otherwise, why would his spiritual master have asked him to accept it? Abhay reasoned that his spiritual master was saying, “Now take sannyasa and you will actually be able to accomplish this mission.”
(From Prabhupada Lilamrita)

Comment posted by Puskaraksa das on August 11th, 2013
6 Unregistered

IMPROVED VERSION.

SRILA PRABHUPADA ON GURUSHIP. V 4Fi

Srila Prabhupada’s 6341 letters represent an undervalued, untapped and formidable source of spiritual and philosophical knowledge, knowhow and information.

Let us consider for example 751202let.TustaKrishna hereunder reproduced:

New Delhi
2 December, 1975

My Dear Tusta Krishna Swami,

Please accept my blessings. I beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter dated 21 November, 1975. Every student is expected to become Acarya. Acarya means one who knows the scriptural injunctions and follows them practically in life, and teaches them to his disciples. I have given you sannyasa with the great hope that in my absence you will preach the cult throughout the world and thus become recognized by Krishna as the most sincere servant of the Lord. So I’m very pleased that you have not deviated from the principles I have taught, and thus with power of attorney go on preaching Krishna Consciousness, that will make me very happy as it is confirmed in the Guru vastakam yasya prasadat bhagavata prasadah just by satisfying your Spiritual Master who is accepted as the bona fide representative of the Lord you satisfy Krishna immediately, without any doubt.
I am very glad to inform you that Sudama Vipra Maharaja is also now following my principles. So I am very, very happy to receive all this news. Thank you very, very much.

Keep trained up very rigidly and then you are bona fide Guru, and you can accept disciples on the same principle. But as a matter of etiquette it is the custom that during the lifetime of your Spiritual Master you bring the prospective disciples to him, and in his absence or disappearance you can accept disciples without any limitation. This is the law of disciplic succession. I want to see my disciples become bona fide Spiritual Master and spread Krishna consciousness very widely, that will make me and Krishna very happy.
I hope this letter finds you well,
Your ever well wisher,
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
ACBS/hda

The main cause of the Guruship controversy stems from quoting Srila Prabhupada out of context.

The above letter on its own however, clears ALL doubts and ALL ignorance. It simultaneously gives the law of disciplic succession in FULL. Just see the perfection and completeness of Srila Prabhupada’s letters and consequently of their author, Srila Prabhupada Himself!

Srila Prabhupada clearly says here that:

“…as a matter of etiquette it is the custom that during the lifetime of your

Comment posted by yadavendra das on August 31st, 2013
7 Unregistered

Spiritual Master you bring the prospective disciples to him, and in his absence or disappearance you can accept disciples without any limitation.” and that is where the ritvik procedure ends and full fledged Guruship begins. The same logical conclusion can be drawn from the 730822vp.Lon quote extensively below.

Furthermore, Srila Prabhupada clearly explains how the law of disciplic succession operates.

Besides giving a 3 pronged definition of “Acarya”: that the Acarya

One: knows the scriptural injunctions.
Two: follows himself / herself the scriptural injunctions
Three: teaches the same to his disciples,

Srila Prabhupada makes two major relevant statements in this particular letter:

One that “Every student is expected to become Acarya. ”
And two, that “I want to see my disciples become bona fide Spiritual Master ”

That means that every bonafide disciple of Srila Prabhupada must work very hard and must endeavor his very best to live up to Srila Prabhupada’s expectation and become qualified as a bona fide Spiritual Master. The responsibility to guide and save the world is very great and heavy and it represents the function of Srila Prabhupada’s true followers. Neither is Guruship an impossible or forbidden task, nor is it a casual option. It is a great challenge for every bona fide Prabhupada disciple. To be a Prabhupada disciple is not a cheap or mediocre thing because the Master Himself is topmost superlative.
We should also note very carefully indeed that, in this particular letter, Srila Prabhupada does not make any gender distinction at all. He does not specify that every male student only should become Acarya or that He wants to see every male disciple only to become bona fide spiritual master. Not at all! On the contrary, in the following 730822vp.Lon quote below Srila Prabhupada positively designates “men, women, boys and girls, (to) become Spiritual Master.”

There is no alternative choice. Besides this choice, there is only failure- at least failure in the realm of Guruship. Every generation, must (“abhigaccet”) follow to the best of its ability “the law of disciplic succession”, as Srila Prabhupada puts it so nicely in this letter, just as Shastra says that one must accept a spiritual master, Tad-vijïänärthaà sa gurum eva abhigaccet samit-päëiù çrotriyaà brahma-niñöham [MU 1.2.12].
And frankly speaking, every Prabhupada disciple’s power of attorney to take up the service of bona fide Spiritual Master is already intrinsically contained i

Comment posted by yadavendra das on August 31st, 2013
8 Unregistered

intrinsically contained in this letter.
By extrapolation, it means also that every single member of Iskcon is meant to be or become a Guru in due course of time. Time is indeed passing and history is moving on. Iskcon is a movement for spiritual teachers, brahmanas and gurus, whether we like it or not. On Janmastami 2013, I met again an ideal second generation devotee and candidate for Guruship. Let him lodge his application and go through the formal Iskcon process of Guruship approval. In letter dated December 31, 1975 addressed to Madhudvisa Maharaja, Srila Pabhubhupada writes:” Thousands of Caitanya Mahaprabhu temples may be established all over Australia……..” Please note the plural. He does not say one thousand Caitanya temples only, but means many thousands of Caitanya temples to be established all over Australia. How many spiritual teachers do you think that will require???
Not even to mention the practical benefits, for the sake of proper regulation of the process, it will be best however to accept and undergo the Guru qualifying process as set out by The International Society for Krishna Consciousness, Srila Prabhupada’s organization and movement, in order to obtain one’s certificate of authenticity and qualification for such a responsible, top most and culminating service. Several brains are generally better than a single one.
It is not that because some have failed that everyone else will also fail. Neither should we subscribe to the jackal’s philosophy, that if the grapes are out of our reach, we automatically condemn the grapes as inedible. On the contrary, we note already the existence of so many brilliant successes and many more such successes will follow. “There is no difficulty.”
Here is another relevant passage from 730822vp.Lon
“To become Spiritual Master is not very difficult thing. You’ll have to become Spiritual Master. You, all my disciples, everyone should become Spiritual Master. It is not difficult. It is difficult when you manufacture something. But if you simply present whatever you have heard from your spiritual master, it is very easy. If you want to become over intelligent, to present something, to interpret something, whatever over you have heard from spiritual master you can make some further addition, alteration, then you’ll spoil whole thing. Then you’ll spoil whole thing. Don’t make addition or alteration. Simply present as it is. Therefore, we have begun Bhagavad-gétä As It Is. Don’t try to become over spiritual ma

Comment posted by yadavendra das on August 31st, 2013
9 Unregistered

spiritual master. Then you’ll spoil. Remain always a servant of your spiritual master and present the thing as you have heard. You’ll be spiritual master. This is secret. You should know it. Don’t try to become over intelligent. That will spoil.…….

You’ll find in Caitanya-caritämåta, now it is published. Caitanya Mahäprabhu says, He is the Supreme Lord, Kåñëa. He says, ämära äjïäya. “Whatever I say, ämära äjïäya, by My order, you become a spiritual master.” Caitanya Mahäprabhu. So one may be very illiterate, no education, or no scholarship, may not be born in brähmaëa family, or may not be a sannyäsé. There are so many qualification. But one may not have all these qualifications. He may be rascal number one, but still, he can become spiritual master. How? Ämära äjïäya. As Kåñëa says, as Caitanya Mahäprabhu says, if you follow, then you become spiritual master. One may be rascal number one from material estimation, but if he simply strictly follows whatever is said by Caitanya Mahäprabhu or His representative spiritual master, then he becomes a guru.
So it is not very difficult. One may not think that “I am not qualified to become guru.” No, you are qualified if you follow strictly the paramparä system. Then you are qualified. That’s all. Ämära äjïäya guru haïä… And what is the difficulty? Caitanya Mahäprabhu says, “Don’t feel any difficulty.” Because as spiritual master, what you have to do? Yäre dekha, täre kaha, ‘kåñëa’-upadeça [Cc. Madhya 7.128]. Whomever you meet, you simply speak to him the instruction which Kåñëa gives. What Kåñëa instruction gives? That is also very easy. What is that? Kåñëa says man-manä bhava mad-bhakto mad-yäjé mäà namaskuru [Bg. 18.65]. Kåñëa says “Just become My devotee, always think of Me, offer Me obeisances, and worship Me.” So here is Kåñëa. If you simply think “Here is Kåñëa, Rädhä-Kåñëa Deity,” you may be fool number, rascal number one. That doesn’t matter. But you are getting impression of this Rädhä-Kåñëa, think of Him: “Oh, how nicely Kåñëa is decorated.” This much. No erudite scholarship. Simply… Kåñëa says, man-manä bhava mad-bhakto. Here is Deity. Worship Him nicely as it is regulated principle. Even you are not worshiping, simply think of Kåñëa, “Here is Rädhä-Kåñëa.” Impression. What is the difficulty? As soon as you see Rädhä-Kåñëa, you get some impression. Think of that impression. Where is the difficulty? Man-manä bhava mad-bhakto. “Worship me.” If you have got opportunity, worship. If you are initiated,

Comment posted by yadavendra das on August 31st, 2013
10 Unregistered

worship here. Or you install Deity at home, as our Kñérodakaçäyé Prabhu is doing. Everyone can do it. Where is the difficulty? Now ask him how he is happy. The whole family is happy. Not only he. But his wife, his children, everyone is happy. Practical. Man-manä bhava mad-bhakto mad-yäjé mäà namaskuru [Bg. 18.65]. And if you cannot do anything, simply come and offer your obeisances: “My dear Lord Kåñëa, I am so poor, so unfortunate, I cannot do all these things, but I offer my humble obeisances unto Your lotus feet.” That much also. If you do this, you become spiritual master.
So, simply by accepting this principle, and even if you are not learned, illiterate, you are hearing so much from Bhagavad-gétä, you simply repeat that. Simply repeat that. There is no question of becoming very learned scholar. God has given you this ear. Even if you are blind, you cannot read, you can hear. So kåñëa-upadeça, what is Kåñëa…? This is ‘kåñëa’-upadeça. And at last, Kåñëa says, sarva-dharmän parityajya mäm ekaà çaraëaà vraja [Bg. 18.66]. So if you simply preach this cult, “My dear friend, my dear brother, you surrender to Kåñëa,” you become spiritual master. You become spiritual master. You go door to door. No other talks. Simply say, “My dear friend, you are very nice, you are very learned.”….. “Now kindly forget all nonsense, whatever you have learned. That’s all. I am flattering you because I want that you forget everything, all these yogis and this and that and that and meditation. Please kick out all these.” “Then what I have to do?” “Caitanya-candra-caraëe kurutänurägam. “Just adhere yourself to the lotus feet of Lord Caitanya Mahäprabhu.” Then you become spiritual master. That’s all.
………………..
So I hope that all of you, men, women, boys and girls, become Spiritual Master, and follow this principle. Spiritual Master, simply, sincerely, follow the principles and speak to the general public.”

All glories to the transcendental, most merciful and most knowledgeable, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, Srila Prabhupada, the Founder-Acarya of The International Society for Krishna Consciousness and Institutor of the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust!

“He Built a House in Which the Whole World Can Live!”

In service to Sri Guru, Lord Gauranga and the Vaishnavas.
Yadavendra Das, travelling book distribution preacher.
31 August 2013, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
www.krishnaculture.org
OM TAT SAT

Comment posted by yadavendra das on August 31st, 2013
11 Puskaraksa das

If I may, I would like to quote from “The Great Transcendental Adventure” by HG Kurma Prabhu, in relation to the obvious impatience that Tusta Krishna das (”Swami” at the time) had already displayed earlier to become “guru”, which again, two years later, prompted the above quoted letter from Srila Prabhupada to him:

“Since Prabhupada’s visit to New Zealand in 1973, Tusta Krsna Swami had left ISKCON and was heading up his own group outside the jurisdiction of the local temple. Adamant that he would neither move back in the temple nor work co-operatively with ISKCON, he had given up the sannyasa dress and grown his hair.

However, Tusta Krsna had recently arrived in Melbourne and had visited Prabhupada a couple of times. Srila Prabhupada had expressed his appreciation for Tusta Krsna’s service, especially his time spent in Bombay and his opening of the Auckland centre. Prabhupada had been kind and encouraging to him, gently coaxing him to again take up the role, and dress, of a sannyasi.

In the evening, Tusta Krsna again visited. He had been making genuine attempts to take Prabhupada’s instructions to heart and had cut his hair short. Prabhupada appreciated Tusta’s attempts but didn’t let up in his preaching to bring Tusta back to full spiritual health. Tusta Krsna sat with a few other devotees as Prabhupada spoke about the need for following rules and regulations.

Spiritual purity and strength, he explained, were the results of surrendering to the order of the spiritual master. If one did not surrender, and did not strictly adhere to the rules and regulations, then the chanting would take a long time to bring him to the perfectional stage. Prabhupada recommended that although in all circumstances the chanting should continue, proper conditions should also be there. He gave an example: If one ignited a fire from dry wood, the fire would blaze immediately. If the wood was moist, however, it would only produce troublesome smoke.

“So pure devotional service is the flame. All other things are smoke. You must get the flame. Otherwise your business will not get done. So, naturally, we fan when there is smoke, phat-phat-phat. As soon as flame comes, there is no smoke. So again fan it, let the flame come. Then everything will be all right. Otherwise be satisfied with the smoke. You are cooking with smoke for three hundred years.” The devotees laughed at the humourous exchange.

Srila Prabhupada proceeded to tell an amusing story.

Comment posted by Puskaraksa das on September 1st, 2013
12 Puskaraksa das

…/…

“People are generally inquisitive to see some yogic magic, so one day a rich man approached a yogi and asked him: ‘What have you learned about yogic perfection?’ The yogi replied that he could, in the severest winter season, dip himself into the water at night and practise his yoga. The rich man asked him how long he could remain in the water and he answered, ‘All night’.

“The rich man said to the yogi, ‘If you can remain in the water overnight in the severest cold, then I shall give you such and such presentation’. So the yogi agreed and he did it, and in the morning when the rich man came back, (either he had no money or he did not want to honour the agreement), he declined to pay the yogi. The rich man said to his one adviser, ‘What shall I do?’ His adviser agreed, ‘No, no sir. You cannot give the money.’ The rich man asked why, and his adviser answered that the yogi had actually warmed himself from a lamp on the roof of a temple some distance away from the lake.”

Prabhupada explained that in India, during the Karttika month, one of the Vaisnava principles is to mount one akasa-pradipa on the top of the temple. A bamboo tripod is placed on top of the temple roof and on the top of the tripod is a lamp.

At this point, Prabhupada explained, the rich man and his adviser told the yogi that he was not eligible to claim his prize because he had used the heat of the lamp to tolerate the cold, even though it was three miles away. “The yogi was a poor man,” said Srila Prabhupada, “so what can be said?” Prabhupada continued his story.

“The rich man had a second servant. So the yogi appealed to him, ‘See, I took so much trouble and he [the rich man] did not pay me anything.’ The servant of the man told the yogi: ‘So don’t worry. I shall see that you are paid.’

“Next morning, the second servant was asked by the rich man to accompany him on an important business mission. The rich man had already advised the servant that he should be ready to go at ten. So at nine o’clock, a question came from the rich man via a message as to whether the servant was ready. The servant sent a message back to the rich man, ‘No, just now I am cooking. Then I shall finish my cooking, take my meals and then we shall go.’

“After some time, another messenger came and inquired, but the answer was still the same, ‘I am cooking and the cooking is not yet done.’

…/…

Comment posted by Puskaraksa das on September 1st, 2013
13 Puskaraksa das

…/…

More time passed. Eventually the rich man himself came in a very angry mood. ‘So why are you making me late? Why did you not come?’ The servant answered: ‘I am just cooking. As soon as my rice is finished, I will take and then come.”

“The rich man was furious: ‘Where are you cooking?’

‘Here,’ answered the servant, indicating a pot of rice on top of three tall bamboos with a fire a very large distance from the pot. ‘What kind of cooking is this?’ the rich man asked. The servant answered, ‘No, there is heat. It is going on’.”

The devotees laughed along with Srila Prabhupada. “The rich man was very angry: ‘How have you done this? Such nonsense!’ The servant answered, ‘No, if the temperature from the lamp on the roof of the temple could protect that man who was in the water all night, why won’t it be cooking my rice?’”

Prabhupada summed up the story: “Then the rich man could understand that this is the reply. So that man [the yogi] was paid. So this kind of progress, cooking, three miles above a pot on a little fire, it will not act. There must be proper adjustment of cooking. Then you can cook food and eat. A little smoke or a little fire, and three miles away the cooking pot — in this way cooking is a useless attempt. One must be serious to cook. There is a method how to cook. If you don’t adopt that method and you cook in your whimsical way, you will never be able to eat. If you say ‘I shall cook in my way’, and if you adopt that process, will it help? Na sa siddhim avapnoti na sukham na param gatim.”

It was clear that the story was particularly directed to Tusta Krsna Swami. The man “cooking with smoke three miles away from the pot” could not expect to enjoy a meal in the near future. Similarly, Prabhupada was clearly reminding Tusta Krsna Swami that if he chanted without following the standard rules and regulations, then the result, the ultimate goal of the chanting, pure love of God, would be a long time coming.”

End of the narration by HG Kurma Prabhu

Comment posted by Puskaraksa das on September 1st, 2013
14 Puskaraksa das

One may also reason that by becoming guru, one will render some service.

This is definitely true, provided one is qualified and authorized, which are the two absolute requisites, in order to act as a bona fide spiritual master.

However, one ought to beware that:

“IT IS ILLEGAL TO BECOME A SPIRITUAL MASTER IF ONE IS UNABLE TO DELIVER THE DISCIPLE. “ (Purport S.B. 2.8.7)

gurur na sa syāt na mocayed yaḥ samupeta-mṛtyum

“One who cannot deliver his dependents from the path of repeated birth and death should never become a spiritual master.” (S.B.5.5.18)

“There are many spiritual masters, but Ṛṣabhadeva advises that one should not become a spiritual master if he is unable to save his disciple from the path of birth and death. Unless one is a pure devotee of Kṛṣṇa, he cannot save himself from the path of repeated birth and death. …/…

First the spiritual master must be able to release the dependent from repeated birth and death. If he cannot do this, he plunges himself into the ocean of reproachment for his UNLAWFUL ACTIVITIES. Everyone should be very responsible and take charge of his dependents just as a spiritual master takes charge of his disciple. All these responsibilities cannot be discharged honestly unless one can save the dependent from repeated birth and death.” (S.B. 5.5.18)

Thus, not everyone is destined to become guru,

1974-12-02 SB. BOMBAY Lecture
:
“Guru means who follows the predecessor, authorized predecessor. He is guru. Not that everyone is guru. So therefore we have to follow the superior order. Then we become guru, not that by cheating others we become guru. No. That is cheater. That is not teacher. Guru means who is following the superior order. The superior order is Krsna or His representative. So Caitanya Mahaprabhu is Krsna. He is ordering, amara ajnaya, “By My order,” guru hana, “you become guru.”

Hence, Srila Prabhupada advises:
“One should not try to be an artificially advanced devotee, thinking, “I am a first-class devotee.” Such thinking should be avoided. It is best not to accept any disciples.”
(C.c. Madhya 7.130 – Purport)

Comment posted by Puskaraksa das on September 7th, 2013
15 Puskaraksa das

In this line,

“Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu prayed to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, na dhanaṁ na janaṁ na sundarīṁ kavitāṁ vā jagad-īśa kāmaye: (Cc. Antya 20.29, Śikṣāṣṭaka 4) “O my Lord, I do not aspire for material opulence or wealth, nor do I want a great number of followers to accept me as their leader, nor do I want a very beautiful wife to please me.” Mama janmani janmanīśvare bhavatād bhaktir ahaitukī tvayi: “I do not even want liberation. All I want, life after life, is to be a faithful servant of Your Lordship.” (S.B. 6.7.12 – Purport)

Another wide-spread misconception, often personally motivated, is that we may need as many gurus as possible (including, of course, the promoters of this theory), so as to make as many disciples as possible.

However, one forgets in the process that a pure devotee has the capacity to liberate the whole world, whereas:

guru yatha bhakti-sunya, tatha sisyagana 


“As the guru is without devotion, so are the disciples.”

(Sri Chaitanya-Bhagavata - Madhya 21.65)

“So the devotees, they do not want anything material. They are not captivated by so-called followers. No. Na dhanaṁ na janam, janam means followers, na dhanaṁ na janaṁ na sundarīṁ kavitāṁ vā jagadīśa kāmaye (Cc. Antya 20.29, Śikṣāṣṭaka 4). What is this false power? Ekaś candras tamo hanti na ca tara sahasrasaḥ. If one disciple is enlivened with Kṛṣṇa consciousness, he can work as the moon. Otherwise so many foolish followers, what they’ll do? Just like stars. Thousands and millions of stars, they cannot do anything. One moon is sufficient.”
(Lecture on The Nectar of Devotion — Bombay, January 9, 1973)

Hence, the devotional process (based on the absence of envy) is to bring the prospective disciples to the lotus feet of the prominent acarya.

“We have to pick up the prominent acarya, and follow from him.”
(
Srila Prabhupada Letter to Dayananda, April 12, 1968)

ācāryavān puruṣo veda - (Candogya Upaniṣad 6.14.2/JD ch 20)

“Ācāryavān puruṣo veda: one who is guided by the bona fide spiritual master knows everything as stated in the Vedas, which set forth the standard of infallible knowledge. As recommended in Bhagavad-gītā, ācāryopāsanam: one must approach the ācārya for real knowledge. Tad-vijñānārthaḿ sa gurum evābhigacchet: [MU 1.2.12] one must approach the ācārya, for then one will receive perfect knowledge. When guided by the spiritual master, one attains the ultimate goal of life.” (S.B.7.15.56 - Purport)

Comment posted by Puskaraksa das on September 7th, 2013
16 Puskaraksa das

“The human form of body is actually meant for jīvasya tattva jijñāsā, enlightenment in knowledge of spiritual values. Therefore, one must seek shelter of a bona fide spiritual master. Tasmād guruḿ prapadyeta: one must approach a guru. Who is a guru? Śābde pare ca niṣṇātam (Bhāg. 11.3.21): a guru is one who has full transcendental knowledge. Unless one approaches a spiritual master, one remains in ignorance. Ācāryavān puruṣo veda (Chāndogya Upaniṣad 6.14.2): one has full knowledge about life when one is ācāryavān, controlled by the ācārya.” (S.B. 10.10.10 – Purport)

Thus, only one whose Guru is an ācārya can know the truth; only one who follows the ācārya (and learns directly from his ācāra - behaviour) can know things in truth.

acaryam mam vijaniyan

navamanyeta karhicit

na martya-buddhyasuyeta

sarva-deva-mayo guruh

(S.B. - 11.17.27)

Lord Sri Krishna told Uddhava:
 “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.”

Srila Prabhupada: “I wish that each and every branch shall keep their separate identity and cooperate keeping the acharya in the center. On this principle we can open any number of branches all over the world.” (letter 11th Feb. 1967)

Therefore, it is an illusion to think that the world is in need of so many would-be gurus, for:

‘uttama-adhikārī’ sei tāraye saṁsāra

The uttama-adhikari can deliver the whole world. (C.c. 22.65)

Indeed,

“The guru must be situated on the topmost platform of devotional service. There are three classes of devotees, and the guru must be accepted from the topmost class. The first-class devotee is the spiritual master for all kinds of people. It is said: gurur nṛṇām. The word nṛṇām means “of all human beings.” The guru is not limited to a particular group. It is stated in the Upadeśāmṛta of Rūpa Gosvāmī that a guru is a gosvāmī, a controller of the senses and the mind. Such a guru can accept disciples from all over the world. Pṛthivīṁ sa śiṣyāt. This is the test of the guru.”
(C.c. Madhya 24.330 - Purport)

Thus,

yāṅhāra darśane mukhe āise kṛṣṇa-nāma
tāṅhāre jāniha tumi ‘vaiṣṇava-pradhāna’

Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu said, “A first-class Vaiṣṇava is he whose very presence makes others chant the holy name of Kṛṣṇa.”
(C.c. Madhya 16.74)

Comment posted by Puskaraksa das on September 7th, 2013
17 Puskaraksa das

It is therefore stated in C.c. Madhya 6.279:

lohāke yāvat sparśi’ hema nāhi kare
tāvat sparśa-maṇi keha cinite nā pare

“One cannot understand the value of touchstone until it turns iron into gold.”

Moreover, when teaching Sanātana Gosvāmī, the Lord further said:

śāstra-yuktye sunipuṇa, dṛḍha-śraddhā yāṅra
‘uttama-adhikārī’ se tāraye saṁsāra

“If one is expert in Vedic literature and has full faith in the Supreme Lord, then he is an uttama-adhikārī, a first-class Vaiṣṇava, a topmost Vaiṣṇava who can deliver the whole world and turn everyone to Kṛṣṇa consciousness.” (Cc. Madhya 22.65)

Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Thākura comments, “Without being empowered by the direct potency of Lord Krishna to fulfill His desire and without being specifically favored by the Lord, no human being can become the spiritual master of the whole world. He certainly cannot succeed by mental concoction, which is not meant for devotees or religious people. Only an empowered personality can distribute the holy name of the Lord and enjoin all fallen souls to worship Krishna. By distributing the holy name of the Lord, he cleanses the hearts of the most fallen people; therefore he extinguishes the blazing fire of the material world. Not only that, he broadcasts the shining brightness of Krishna’s effulgence throughout the world. Such an ācārya, or spiritual master, should be considered nondifferent from Krishna — that is, he should be considered the incarnation of Lord Krishna’s potency. Such a personality is krishnālińgita-vigraha — that is, he is always embraced by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna. Such a person is above the considerations of the varnāśrama institution. He is the guru, or spiritual master, for the entire world, a devotee on the topmost platform, the mahā-bhāgavata stage, and a paramahamsa-thākura, a spiritual form only fit to be addressed as paramahamsa or thākura.” (Purport to C.c. 25.9)

As a matter of fact, the necessity of receiving the mercy of a pure devotee is actually vital, not only for wandering souls, but also for both the kanistha-adhikaris and the madhyam-adhikaris:

“A neophyte and intermediate devotee should always be anxious to hear the mahā-bhāgavata and serve him in every respect.”
(C.c. Madhya 16.74 – Purport)

Comment posted by Puskaraksa das on September 7th, 2013
18 Puskaraksa das

“The second-class devotee, even though he cannot support his position with śāstric reference, can gradually become a first-class devotee by studying the śāstras and associating with a first-class devotee. However, if the second-class devotee does not advance himself by associating with a first-class devotee, he makes no progress.” (Purport to C.c. Madhya 22.71)

Hence, if we follow the proper vaishnava siddantha, we will preserve both aspiring gurus and their prospective disciples from any potential disappointment, for:

bhrama, pramāda, vipralipsā, karaṇāpāṭava
ārṣa-vijña-vākye nāhi doṣa ei saba

Mistakes and misconceptions (bhrama), illusions (pramāda), cheating (vipralipsā) and defective perception (karaṇa-apāṭava) do not occur in the sayings of genuine sādhus [In other words, Śrī Guru is free from material defects and therefore everything he does and says is perfect].
(C.c. Ādi 2.86)

“There cannot be mistakes, illusion, cheating or imperfect perception in the words of liberated sages. …/… Since the Personality of Godhead and His plenary portions and self-realized devotees are all transcendentally situated, they cannot be misled by such deficiencies.”
(C.c. Ādi 2.86 - Purport)

and

“ There is no possibility that a first-class devotee will fall down, even though he may mix with nondevotees to preach.” (Purport to C.c. Madhya 22.71)

Moreover,

“A spiritually advanced person who is authorized to act as the spiritual master speaks as the Supreme Personality of Godhead dictates from within. Thus it is not he that is personally speaking. In other words, when a pure devotee or spiritual master speaks, what he says should be accepted as having been directly spoken by the Supreme Personality of Godhead in the paramparā system.” (C.c. Anthya 5.71 – Purport)

Comment posted by Puskaraksa das on September 7th, 2013
19 Puskaraksa das

Thus, one should not entertain the misconception that being and acting as the acarya is a cheap thing:

In Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.17.27), THE SPIRITUAL MASTER IS ALSO CALLED ACARYA. “Acaryam mam vijaniyan: the Supreme Personality of Godhead says that one should respect the spiritual master, accepting him as the Lord Himself. Navamanyeta karhicit: one should not disrespect the acarya at any time. Na martya-buddhyasuyeta: one should never think the acarya an ordinary person. Familiarity sometimes breeds contempt, but one should be very careful in one’s dealings with the acarya. Agadha-dhisanam dvijam: the acarya is a perfect brahmana and has unlimited intelligence in guiding the activities of his disciple.”


Srimad-Bhagavatam 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 Krishna. 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 Letter to Dayananda, April 12, 1968:
“We have to pick up the prominent acarya, 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.”

In this way, Srila Prabhupada warned us and indicated that becoming an acarya and all the more the acarya, is not an easy thing:

“Why this Gaudiya Math failed? Because they tried to become more than guru. He [Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura], before passing away, he gave them 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. They never thought, “Why Guru Maharaja gave us instruction so many things, why he did not say that this man should be acharya? ” They wanted to create artificially somebody acharya, and everything failed.”

…/…

Comment posted by Puskaraksa das on September 7th, 2013
20 Puskaraksa das

…/…

“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. They declared some unfit person to become acharya. Then another man came, then another, acharya, another acharya. So better remain a foolish person perpetually to be directed by Guru Maharaja. That is perfection. –
Therefore we may not commit the same mistake in our ISKCON camp. Actually amongst my Godbrothers no one is qualified to become acarya. So it is better not to mix with my Godbrothers very intimately because instead of inspiring our students and disciples they may sometimes pollute them.”
(Srila Prabhupada, August 16, 1976, Bombay)

So, if Srila Prabhupada considered that amongst his Godbrothers, nobody was qualified to become acarya, what to speak of us, his disciples or grand disciples…?

This should prompt us to develop more humility and ascertain the fact that one ought not become guru, unless he (or she) receives the personal order to do so from the previous bona fide acarya, who himself received a similar order from his bona fide spiritual master, thus abiding by the law of disciplic succession.

“One should understand the real potency of Sri-guru-carana-padma. ‘Sri Guru’ - these words are very significant. Sri means what? Sri means, sobha, sampada, srestha. Sri means beauty. Sri means transcendental wealth or asset and Sri means the topmost. These are some of the meanings of this word Sri.

Sri Guru means what? Guru who is endowed with Sri. Understand? That means endowed with prema-bhakti.That is Sri Guru. Understand me? And this word Sri can only be used with a Guru who is present, understand? Present! Who is always manifest! Not unmanifested. That is Sri Guru. Sri Guru is always manifest! It is not that Guru is unmanifest, he is eternally manifest. Understand me? Therefore, we say Sri Guru. There is no question of un-manifesting or disappearing. He is eternally manifested, therefore we say, ‘Sri Guru,’ this word Sri is used; otherwise we cannot use this word Sri.

In this world, Sri Guru is the only beauty; he is the only asset and only wealth. Nothing else is there. And he is eternally manifest, eternally there, yes. There is no question of unmanifesting or disappearing. Sri Guru is nitya, eternally there.” - Sri Srimad Gour Govinda Maharaja

Comment posted by Puskaraksa das on September 7th, 2013
21 pustakrishna

I just now read through the letter presented and the many comments by Puskaraksa das. Some history is helpful to understand the background here. Tusta Krishna das was took diksa initiation in Bombay along with me, Pusta Krishna das, in early 1971. Srila Prabhupad personally performed the fire sacrifice in that flat in the Akash Ganga building. Tusta Krishna das joined Krishna consciousness under the early guidance of “Sai” who also was later initiated by Srila Prabhupad as Siddha Swarup Ananda das. He was a very charismatic teacher of Krishna consciousness in Hawaii. He used Srila Prabhupad’s books. He himself came to Srila Prabhupad and brought him disciples to Srila Prabhupad as well. I was later Srila Prabhupad’s personal secretary and His Divine Grace and I discussed all of this directly in private. Srila Prabhupad was very pleased that Siddha Swarup Ananda das was using the Iskcon books. He was satisfied to consider that Siddha Swarup Ananda das had his own branch of the tree of Lord Chaitanya. He did not think that this diminished ISKCON in any way. Of course, some of our western converts were not as agreeable to Siddha Swarup Ananda das and his group or his ways. They felt that it diminished the importance of Srila Prabhupad. Srila Prabhupad was much more liberal about these things.
In some ways, Tusta Krishna das’ initiation may be interpreted as a “rubber stamping” of the authenticity of Krishna consciousness connection, but it was clear that Tusta Krishna das looked to Siddha Swarup Ananda das for guidance and empowerment. He did not like to mix with ISKCON because there seemed to be a mutual feeling that the two groups did not mix well, like oil and water. Still, I hope you appreciate the manner in which Srila Prabhupad gave encouragement to those attracted to Krishna. He opened doors and did not close them. He built bridges and did not destroy them.
So, you need to understand something, as faulty as I may be presenting it, of the history involved between Tusta Krishna das and the ISKCON mission. While Srila Prabhupad’s letter is perfect, you can see the obvious conflicts. Is Tusta Krishna das supposed to bring those interested in Krishna consiousness to Srila Prabhupad (to an ISKCON he did not trust), or to Siddha Swarup Ananda das (whom Tusta Krishna das had a long affectionate relationship with), or to keep those himself, to nourish these individuals himself. continued Pusta Krishna das

Comment posted by pustakrishna on September 8th, 2013
22 pustakrishna

2 continued

I had heard several years ago that Tusta Krishna das who stayed in Sacramento, California where he had a preaching program isolated from ISKCON, had died from a brain tumor. I was sorry to hear that. In any case, it helps to understand some of the history of what is being discussed above, and that criticism of Tusta Krishna das’ approach needs to be seen in light of that history. It was not a typical history for an ISKCON newcomer.

Pusta Krishna das

Comment posted by pustakrishna on September 8th, 2013
23 Puskaraksa das

Dear Pusta Krishna Prabhu

Thank you very much for sheding some more light on this period of history, of which you have been both a witness and a significant actor.

However, I would not like you to think that there was any targeted and intended criticism, ad hominem, against Tusta Krishna das or anyone else. The narration of Kurma Prabhu was brought in with the intention to also shed some more light on the context at the time, with some devotees struggling to maintain their sannyasa vows and sometimes wanting to prematurely take up the position of guru themselves.

Whatever be the case, and whatever be the amount of leniency and compassion one may have, one ought to acknowledge the fact that once one becomes a disciple, one should be willing to accept discipline to be inflicted upon oneself by one’s Guru. This is the meaning of “disciple”, he who is under discipline.

So, even though Sai may have been a charismatic personality and may have had his own audience and group of followers, once he became Siddha Swarup Ananda das and accepted to become a disciple of Srila Prabhupada, he should have surrendered himself and brought along with him, whatever amount of faithful followers he may have had at the feet of Srila Prabhupada, the master at the feet of whom all other masters surrender.

Thus, as you must be knowing, there is no question of remaining independent once one has become a sishya… śiṣyas te ‘haḿ śādhi māḿ tvāḿ prapannam - prapannam means surrendered.

In this way, Arjuna declares to Krishna:
Now I am confused about my duty and have lost all composure because of miserly weakness. In this condition I am asking You to tell me for certain what is best for me. Now I am Your disciple, and a soul surrendered unto You. Please instruct me.

That is the proper attitude of the disciple. Not that one becomes a disciple and keeps running one’s own show…!

tad viddhi pranipatena
pariprasnena sevaya
upadeksyanti te jnanam
jnaninas tattva-darsinah

Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized souls can impart knowledge unto you because they have seen the truth.
B.g. 4.34

Sri Guru, a sat Guru is a Tattva darshi, which means that he sees Krishna, the absolute Truth:

advaya-jnana-tattva, vraje vrajendra-nandana

He is the Absolute Truth, devoid of duality but present in Vrndavana as the son of Nanda Maharaja. (C.c. Madhya 20.152)

Comment posted by Puskaraksa das on September 11th, 2013
24 Visakha Priya dasi

Just a few days ago a disciple of Srila Prabhupada told me that as a young girl in Hawai, she became a follower of Sai. When Sai became Siddha-Swarup, Srila Prabhupada apparently told him that he could keep his disciples. But SS refused. He wanted his disciples to also take shelter of Srila Prabhupada, which most of them did. The interesting thing, as we preach in ISKCON, is that the siksa guru is more important than the diksa guru (the implication being that ultimately we are all Srila Prabhupada’s disciples), but the general idea is that the devotee who first gives faith to the disciple and instructs him (or her) in devotional service, becomes his initiating guru later on. Now, in ISKCON it doesn’t work like that, because siksa-gurus are not automatically diksa-gurus. I have met a good number of devotees who are not happy about the fact that once the devotees they have brought to and nurtured in devotional service take initiation, they just about forget their siksa-guru and are even sometimes encouraged to do so. In the case of Tusta-Krsna Prabhu, the guru he trusted and surrendered to was obviously Sai, and when Sai advised him to take initiation from Srila Prabhupada he did it out of obedience to his guru. Is he guilty?

Another interesting thing I heard from another source is that when Srila Prabhupada told Siddha Swarup that he could not remain in ISKCON unless he followed the GBC, he also told him that if he left ISKCON he could still be Prabhupada’s disciple and that Srila Prabhupada would continue to guide him. How wonderful and compassionate Srila Prabhupada is!

Which makes me think that just as all beings are in Krsna but Krsna is not in them, Srila Prabhupada is not just ISKCON but greater than ISKCON.

Your servant,
Visakha Priya dasi

Comment posted by Visakha Priya dasi on September 12th, 2013
25 Puskaraksa das

Sai may have had “followers”, but can we call them “disciples”…?

Similarly, calling Sai, “guru” rather than “leader”, raises the question of his qualification, which starts with his belonging to a bona fide Sampradaya and then, of his being authorized to act as guru, by the bona fide Acarya.

However, Srila Prabhupada clearly states in the above quoted letter to Tusta Krishna das that:

“As a matter of etiquette it is the custom that during the lifetime of your Spiritual Master you bring the prospective disciples to him.”

Similarly, can we grant the title of “Siksa Guru”, rather than “vartma-pradarsaka guru”, to any senior devotee who passes on some information to a new comer or a junior devotee…?

Hence, we have to careful not to water everything down, by making everything cheap!

In that regard, Sri Srimad Gour Govinda Maharaja used to say: “Guru means Guru and Krishna means Krishna”.

Thus, we have to understand, in Tattva, that both Diksa and Siksa gurus have to be liberated souls and pure devotees.

Then, we can really understand the actual role they are meant to play:

Srila Prabhupada writes “Sri Govindaji acts exactly like the siksa-guru by teaching Bhagavad-gita to Arjuna. He is the original preceptor, for he gives instructions and an opportunity to serve Him. The initiating spiritual master or diksa-guru is a personal manifestation of Sri Madana-Mohana vigraha. Both of these deities are worshipped in Vrindavan. Diksa-guru gives the first requisite sambandha-jnana the other name of which is divya-jnana or diksa.” (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi-lila 1.47, purport)

Sri Srimad Gour Govinda Swami confirms:

“The diksa-guru, out of his causeless mercy, fixes the feet of those conditioned souls, disciples, in the holy Vrindavan dhama, and thus gives them the opportunity to re-establish their relationship with the Supreme Lord, and to move in the holy abode of Vrajabhumi.

Also, the siksa-guru out of his causeless mercy through instructions enables the disciples, the otherwise conditioned souls, to effectively travel in the holy land of Vrajabhumi and gives them the knowledge to eternally and perfectly serve the lotus feet of Srila Govindadeva.”

Comment posted by Puskaraksa das on September 15th, 2013
26 Puskaraksa das

So, this starts by understanding the real meaning of Sat Diksa and the real role of the bona fide Diksa Guru:

“Diksa” is a compound word which is derived from the verb “diyate”, “to give” and “ksiyate” to “destroy”. Knowledge and liberation are given while sins are destroyed.

In the Hari-bhakti-vilasa it is stated:

divyam jnanam yato dadyat
kuryat papasya sanksayam
tasmat dikseti sa prokta
desikais tattva-kovidaih

“Diksa is the process by which one can awaken his transcendental knowledge and vanquish all reactions to sinful activities performed in the past. A person who is expert in the study of the revealed scriptures knows this process as diksa.” (Hari-bhakti-vilasa 2.9, quoted from Visnu-yamala)

Srila Jiva Gosvami explains diksa in his Bhakti-Sandarbha (283):


divyam jnanam yato dadyat kuryat
papasya sanksayam tasmat dikseti
sa prokta desikais tatva-kovidaih

“Diksa is the process by which one can awaken his transcendental knowledge and vanquish all reactions caused by sinful activity. A person expert in the study of the revealed scriptures knows this process as diksa.”

This is why the Sat Diksa Guru and Sat Siksa Guru(s), i.e. both being understood to be - in Tattva - pure devotees, i.e. uttama-adhikaris, are known to be on an equal level.

Srila Prabhupada confirms in his purport to this famous verse:

vande gurūn īśa-bhaktān
īśam īśāvatārakān
tat-prakāśāḿś ca tac-chaktīḥ
kṛṣṇa-caitanya-saḿjñakam

I offer my respectful obeisances unto the spiritual masters, the devotees of the Lord, the Lord’s incarnations, His plenary portions, His energies and the primeval Lord Himself, Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya. (C.c. Adi-lila 1.34)

PURPORT
“Although others* give help in showing the way to beginners, the guru who first initiates one with the mahā-mantra is to be known as the initiator, and the saints who give instructions for progressive advancement in Kṛṣṇa consciousness are called instructing spiritual masters. The initiating and instructing spiritual masters are equal and identical manifestations of Kṛṣṇa, although they have different dealings. Their function is to guide the conditioned souls back home, back to Godhead. Therefore Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī accepted Nityānanda Prabhu and the six Gosvāmīs in the category of guru.”

Note: others* here refer to vartma-pradarsaka gurus who “give help in showing the way to beginners”.

Comment posted by Puskaraksa das on September 15th, 2013
27 pustakrishna

I genuinely appreciate the scholarly research of Puskaraksa das. His thoughtful comments are usually very much appreciated. Still, you can also see the necessity of trying to understand the compassionate heart of Srila Prabhupad. His mood is one of encouragement. There is recognition that it is very rare and wonderful to get some connection with Sri Krishna. In the case of Siddha Swarup Ananda das (Sai), Srila Prabhupad recognized that Sai was using Srila Prabhupad’s books for his own education and preaching. Although the mood of “Sai” may not have been always approved universally, his use of the proper line of knowledge is indeed appreciated. Keep in mind, there are many, many instances of Srila Prabhupad’s so called senior disciples having a mood that was very un-vaishnava like. Many personally have been motivated by pratishtha, kamini, and kanak (position, lust and personal material profit). These are always challenges at all times. Somehow, we can try to appreciate the deep faith that the true vaishnava has in Krishna. Remember, Who and What is Krishna, the Summon Bonum Personified. One might think that He is dis-interested and far away, and you would be mistaken! Eko bahunam yo vidhadhat kaman.
Thus, the discussion of Guru not only requires the scholarship to define Guru (as the teacher manifestation of Sri Krishna Himself), but also the Acharya aspect…how his example can teach us how to behave, how to analyze situations, and how to give encouragement to the conditioned souls whose human lives (so rare to begin with) are the portal for entry into Krishna consciousness. Then, Srila Prabhupad demonstrated his faith that Krishna will purify one and make entry possible for the conditioned souls.
You cannot expect everyone to have a Mahabhagavat as a Guru, but you want someone who will be a clear purveyor of Lord Chaitanya’s message, and hopefully an example of those teachings, sufficient to transform the hearts of those with whom they interact.
Pusta Krishna das

Comment posted by pustakrishna on September 17th, 2013
28 Praghosa

Just in support of Pusta Krishna prabhu’s previous comment:

“We may not be cent percent perfect, but as far as possible, if we follow the instruction as it is, that much [is] perfect. In this way, one will get perfection. So, one has to follow. …So if you follow pure devotee, then you are also pure devotee. It may not be one is cent percent pure. Because we are trying to raise ourself from the conditional life. But if we strictly follow the pure devotee, then we are also pure devotee. So far we do, that is pure. So pure devotee does not mean one has to become immediately cent per cent pure. But if he sticks to the principle that “We’ll follow a pure devotee,” then his actions are… He is as good as a pure devotee.”

Srila Prabhupada, Los Angeles, 25th November 1968

Aside from supporting the previous point, the above reference is also helpful for us not to get too carried away with those who are following (excessively worshiping). Or becoming overly despondent when apparent advanced devotees run into spiritual difficulties.

Praghosa dasa

Comment posted by Praghosa on September 17th, 2013
29 Puskaraksa das

Dear Pusta Krishna and Pragosh Prabhus

Yes, definitely, we have to appreciate the “merciful mood” of Srila Prabhupada.

Similarly, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur stated that a Vaishnava is broadminded and tolerant.

Otherwise, how would or could many of us be around, addicted as we were, as conditioned souls, to both gross and subtle sense gratification…?

However, we also have to take into consideration the “encouraging mood” of Srila Prabhupada when he explains in 1968, to an assembly of new devotees, that “if you follow pure devotee, you are also pure devotee”.

That is to say that if you are on the boat which Sri Guru leads all the way to Goloka Vrindavana and if you follow his instructions while being on the boat, then you’ll reach this most desirable destination.

But, to the contrary, if you jump off the boat or if you become a mutineer and disobey the order of the captain of the ship, then you’re not going to get Sri Guru’s mercy and you’re not going to reach the supreme destination: yasya a-prasado’ na gatih kuto ‘pi

” Yasya prasādād bhagavat-prasādo yasya **. Therefore the guidance of spiritual master is required. Kṛṣṇa comes in the form of spiritual master to guide. That is stated in the Caitanya-caritāmṛta. Guru-kṛṣṇa-kṛpāya. Guru-kṛṣṇa-kṛpāya. So guru-kṛpā, mercy of guru, is mercy of Kṛṣṇa. So when both of them are satisfied, then our path is clear. Guru-kṛṣṇa-kṛpāya pāya bhakti-latā-bīja (CC Madhya 19.151). Then our devotional service is perfect. So you did not mark this statement in the Gurvaṣṭaka? Yasya prasādād bhagavat-prasādo, yasya aprasādān na gatiḥ kuto ‘pi…” Srila Prabhupada - Lecture on BG 4.18 — Delhi, November 3, 1973.

Moreover, we have to understand that one of the most, if not the most important requisites for spiritual success, is “sincerity of heart” (versus “duplicity”) and “sincerity of purpose” (versus “ulterior motives”).

Hence, Sri Guru, the Sat Guru Pure Devotee, who is tri-kala-jna, i.e. who knows past, present and future, knows as the external manifestation of the Supersoul, who his disciple is, what his potential is and what he or she is meant to be…

This is also a secret reason why he is so expert and so…tolerant and patient with us… !

Comment posted by Puskaraksa das on September 17th, 2013
30 Puskaraksa das

Just like an expert diamond-cutter already sees what the raw stone will be like, after being purified of its external impurities, shaped and polished…

Similarly, Sri Guru, by the grace of Krishna, is being revealed “who’s who” even at our conditioned stage and already knows what each one of us is meant to become in the near or more distant future…

Otherwise, for instance, why would you think Srila Prabhupada would have picked a dirty fellow with long hair out of the crowd at a big pandal in India and would have made him sit on stage next to him…?

Certainly, he knew who that searching soul was, as he recognized Radhanath Swami to-be!

Furthermore, Sri Guru certainly also knows the eternal identity of his eternal associates, as he is collecting them by Krishna’s supreme and merciful arrangement, drags them out of Devi Dhama and elevates them to their constitutional position, while reviving their dormant love of God.

So, please once again, let us take into consideration the fact that the mercy of a pure Vaishnava is required so as to become pure Vaishnavas ourselves…

Chadiya Vaishnava seva, nistara payeche keba

Without serving a servant of Krishna, one cannot be elevated to being a servant of Krishna. (S.B. 6.17.15 – Purport)

Hence, who has ever attained the supreme goal, without serving a pure Vaishnava…?

So, other so-called spiritual masters (kanistha and madhyam adhikaris, whose guidance is known to be insufficient) are meant to surrender and take shelter at the feet of the current Prabhupada, i.e. the prominent Acarya.

That is to be put to their credit and will add to their glory if they have the proper understanding and the appropriate humility to do so, and lead their followers or disciples to Sri Guru, the uttama-adhikari’s lotus feet, he who has the power to liberate the whole world, which includes both these gurus and their sincere followers or disciples.

Srila Prabhupada confirms and strongly recommends:

“One should not become a spiritual master unless he has attained the platform of uttama-adhikārī. A neophyte Vaiṣṇava or a Vaiṣṇava situated on the intermediate platform can also accept disciples, but such disciples must be on the same platform, and it should be understood that they cannot advance very well toward the ultimate goal of life under his insufficient guidance. Therefore a disciple should be careful to accept an uttama-adhikārī as a spiritual master.” (Upadesamrita Verse 5 - Purport)

Comment posted by Puskaraksa das on September 17th, 2013

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