In the revealed scriptures it is declared that the spiritual master should be worshiped like the Supreme Personality of Godhead and this injunction is obeyed by pure devotees of the Lord. The spiritual master is the most confidential servant of the Lord. Thus let us offer our respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of our spiritual master .
Gentlemen, on behalf of the members of the Bombay branch of the Gaudiya Math, let me welcome you all because you have so kindly joined us tonight in our congregational offerings of homage to the lotus feet of the world teacher, acaryadeva, who is the founder of this Gaudiya Mission and is the President-acarya of Sri Sri Visva Vaisnava Raja Sabha-I mean my eternal divine master, Om Visnupada Paramaharnsa Parivrajakacarya, Sri Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Maharaja.
Sixty-two years ago, on this auspicious day, the acaryadeva made his appearance by the call of Thakura Bhaktivinoda at Sri Ksetra, Jagannatha Dhama at Puri.
Gentlemen, the offering of such an homage as has been arranged this evening to the acaryadeva is not a sectarian concern, for when we speak of the fundamental principle of gurudeva or acaryadeva, we speak of something that is of universal application. There does not arise any question of discrirninating my guru from yours or anyone else’s.
There is only one guru, who appears in an infinity of forms to teach you, me and all others.
In the Mundaka Upanisad (1.2.12) it is said:
tad-vijnartham sa gurum evabhigacchet samit-panih srotriyam brahma-nistham
“In order to learn the transcendental science, one must approach the bona fide spiritual master in disciplic succession, who is fixed in the Absolute Truth.”
Thus it has been enjoined herewith that in order to receive that transcendental knowledge, one must approach the guru. Therefore, if the Absolute Truth is one, about which we think there is no difference of opinion, the guru cannot be two. The acaryadeva to whom we have assembled tonight to offer our humble homage is not the guru of a sectarian institution or one out of many differing exponents of the truth. On the contrary, he is the jagad-guru, or the guru of all of us, the only difference is that some obey him wholeheartedly, while others do not obey him directly.
In the Bhagavatam (11.17.27) it is said:
acaryam mam vijaniyan
“One should understand the spiritual master to be as good as I am,” said the Blessed Lord. “Nobody should be jealous of the spiritual master or think of him as an ordinary man, because the spiritual master is the sum total of all demigods.” That is, the acarya has been identified with God Himself. He has nothing to do with the affairs of this mundane world. He appears before us to reveal the light of the Vedas and to bestow upon us the blessing of full-fledged freedom, after which we should hanker at every step of our life’s journey.
The transcendental knowledge of the Vedas was first uttered by God to Brahma, the creator of this particular universe. From Brahma the knowledge descended to Narada, from Narada to Vyasadeva, from Vyasadeva to Madhva, and in this process of disciplic succession the transcendental knowledge was transmitted by one disciple to another till it reached Lord Gauranga, Sri Krsna Caitanya, who posed as the disciple and successor of Sri Isvara Puri. The present acaryadeva is the tenth disciplic representative from Sri Rupa Goswami, the original representative of Lord Caitanya who preached this transcendental tradition in its fullness. The knowledge that we receive from our gurudeva is not different from that imparted by God Himself and the succession of the acaryas in the preceptorial line of Brahma. We adore this auspicious day as Sri Vyasa-puja-tithi because the acarya is the living representative of Vyasadeva, the divine compiler of the Vedas, Puranas, Bhagavad gita, Mahabharata and Srimad-Bhagavatam .
We cannot know anything of the transcendental region by our limited, perverted method of okservation and experiment. But all of us can lend our eager ears for the aural reception of the transcendental sound transmitted from that region to this, through the unadulterated medium of sri gurudeva or Sri Vyasadeva. Therefore, gentlemen, we should surrender ourselves today at the feet of the representative of Sn Vyasadeva for the elimination of all our differences bred by our unsubmissive attitude. It is accordingly said in the Bhagavad-gita (4.34):
tad viddhi pranipatena
upadeksyanti te jnanam
jnaninas tattva darsinah
“Just approach the wise and bona fide spiritual master. Surrender unto him first and try to understand him by inquiries and service. Such a wise spiritual master will enlighten you with transcendental knowledge, for he has already known the Aksolute Truth.”
To receive transcendental knowledge, we must completely surrender ourselves to the real acarya in a spirit of ardent inquiry and service. Actual performance of service to the Absolute under the guidance of the acarya is the only vehicle by which we can assimilate transcendental knowledge. Today’s meeting for offering our humble services and homage to the feet of the acaryadeva will enable us to be favored with the capacity of assimilating the transcendental knowledge so kindly transmitted by him to all persons without distinction.
Gentlemen, although it is imperfectly that we have been enabled, by his grace, to understand the sublime messages of our acaryadeva, we must admit that we have realized definitely that the divine message from his holy lips is the congenial thing for suffering humanity. All of us should hear him patiently. If we listen to the transcendental sound without unnecessary opposition, he will surely have mercy upon us. The acarya’s message is to take us back to our original home, back to God. Let me repeat, therefore, that we should hear him patiently, follow him in the measure of our conviction and bow down at his lotus feet for releasing us from our present causeless unwillingness for serving the Absolute and all souls.
Sitting at the feet of the acaryadeva, let us try to understand from this transcendental source of knowledge what we are, what is this universe, what is God, and what is our relationship with Him. The message of Lord Caitanya is the message for the living entities and the message of the living world. Lord Caitanva did not bother himself for the upliftment of this dead world, which is suitably named Martyaloka, the world where everything is destined to die. He appeared before us four hundred and fifty years ago to tell us something of the transcendental universe, where everything is permanent and everything is for the service of the Absolute. But recently Lord Caitanya has keen misrepresented by some unscrupulous persons, and the highest philosophy of the Lord has been misinterpreted to be the cult of the lowest type of society. We are glad to announce tonight that our acaryadeva, with his usual kindness, saved us from this horrible type of degradation, and therefore we bow down at his lotus feet with all humility.
We are happy that we have been relieved of this horrible type of malady by the mercy of His Divine Grace. He is our eye-opener, our eternal father, our eternal preceptor and our eternal guide. Let us therefore bow down at his lotus feet on this auspicious day.
Gentlemen, although we are like ignorant children in the knowledge of Transcendence, still, my gurudeva has kindled a small fire within us to dissipate the invincible darkness of empirical knowledge. We are now so much on the safe side that no amount of philosophical argument by the empiric schools of thought can deviate us an inch from the position of our eternal dependence on the lotus feet of His Divine Grace.
Gentlemen, had he not appeared before us to deliver us from the thralldom of this gross, worldly delusion, surely we should have remained for lives and ages in the darkness of helpless captivity. Had he not appeared before us, we would not have been able to understand the eternal truth of the sublime teaching of Lord Caitanya.
Personally, I have no hope for any direct service of the coming crores of births in the sojourn of my life, but I am confident that some day or other I shall be delivered from this mire of delusion in which I am at present so deeply sunk. Therefore let me with all my earnestness pray at the lotus feet of my divine master to allow me to suffer the lot for which I am destined due to my past misdoings, but to let me have this power of recollection: that I am nothing but a tiny servant of the Almighty Absolute Godhead, realized through the unflinching mercy of my divine master. Let me therefore bow down at his lotus feet with all the humility at my command.
Abhay Charan Das [early name of A. C. Bhaktivedanta Prabhupada]
For Members, Sri Gaudiya Math
-This lecture was originally published in The Harmonist in 1936, on the advent day of His Divine Grace Om Visnupada Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura.
Harikeśa: I'm curious about the destination of a neophyte devotee. If a neophyte devotee is with determination endeavoring for purification but he were to meet with death as he is still influenced by the lower modes, although he is seriously trying, then does he take another birth or does he go to Kṛṣṇa?
Prabhupāda: No, he has to take another birth. If he is not completely purified, he has to suffer another birth. Nobody is allowed to enter into the spiritual unless he is cent percent pure. No allowance. Then he has to... Therefore it is said, śucīnāṁ śrīmatāṁ gehe yoga-bhraṣṭo sañjāyate [Bg. 6.41]. He is given chance, another chance, to take birth in a very pure brāhmaṇa family or rich family so that he may take again the chance, not in, he is allowed to enter. He is given a good chance again. That is his benefit. Even if you are failure, still, your next birth as a very first-class human being is guaranteed. Not for others. It is only for the yogis. If he is... Therefore it is said that "What is the loss even if he is failure?" Tyaktvā sva-dharmaṁ caraṇāmbujaṁ harer bhajann apakvo 'tha patet tato yadi yatra kva va abhadram abhūd amuṣya kim [SB 1.5.17]. This verse is very important. Even by sentiment one comes to Kṛṣṇa consciousness and discharges the regulative duties, chants Hare Kṛṣṇa, his next life is guaranteed as a human being. Even he does it for some time—he is not perfect—still, his next life is guaranteed. But others, there is no such guarantee. Even if he discharges his so-called duties, material duties, there is no guarantee that he'll become a human being. [break]
Harikeśa: They let him stay in that body and then he went to Hṛṣīkeśa and performed devotional service and then became perfect.
Prabhupāda: No, he was already perfect, but to increase his desire—"How shall I go Vaikuṇṭha?"—another time he had to go. He was a perfect; otherwise how he was saved from the Yamadutas?
Harikeśa: So if a devotee dies and remembers Kṛṣṇa, although he is not perfect...
Prabhupāda: Unless he is perfect, he cannot remember Kṛṣṇa. That is not possible. That is not possible. That is theory only. He must be perfect. Somehow or other, he fallen, so Kṛṣṇa gives him the chance. That is special concession for devotee. Some way or other, you become devotee. Even if you cannot finish the whole job, if you fall down, still, there is guarantee that you get your birth in a very good society. That is the prerogative."
Srila Prabhupada's Morning Walk conversation -- November 2, 1975, Nairobi
“If one loves Krishna, he must love Lord Jesus also. And if one perfectly loves Jesus he must love Krishna too. If he says, “Why shall I love Krishna? I shall love Jesus,” then he has no knowledge. And if one says, “Why shall I love Jesus? I shall love Krishna”, then he has no knowledge either. If one understands Krishna, then he will understand Jesus. If one understands Jesus, you’ll understand Krishna too” (Srila Prabhupada – Room conversation with Allen Ginsberg, May 12, 1969, Columbus – Ohio)
As Lord Jesus Christ said, we should hate the sin, not the sinner. That is a very nice statement, because the sinner is under illusion. He is mad. If we hate him, how can we deliver him? Therefore, those who are advanced devotees, who are really servants of God, do not hate anyone. When Lord Jesus Christ was being crucified, he said, “My God, forgive them. They know not what they do.” This is the proper attitude of an advanced devotee. He understands that the conditioned souls cannot be hated, because they have become mad due to their materialistic way of thinking. In this Krsna consciousness movement, there is no question of hating anyone. Everyone is welcomed to come and chant Hare Krsna, take krsna-prasada, listen to the philosophy of Bhagavad-gita, and try to rectify material, conditioned life. This is the essential program of Krsna consciousness. (Path of Perfection Chapter 3: Learning How to See God)
Christian, Muhammadan, Hindu-it doesn’t matter. If he is simply speaking on behalf of God, he is a guru. Lord Jesus Christ, for instance. He canvassed people, saying, “Just try to love God.” Anyone-it doesn’t matter who-be he Hindu, Muslim, or Christian, is a guru if he convinces people to love God. That is the test. The guru never says, “I am God,” or “I will make you God.” The real guru says, “I am a servant of God, and I will make you a servant of God also.” It doesn’t matter how the guru is dressed. As Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, “Whoever can impart knowledge about Krsna is a spiritual master.” A genuine spiritual master simply tries to get people to become devotees of Krsna, or God. He has no other business. (Science of Self Realization Chapter 2: Choosing a Spiritual Master)
So Lord Jesus Christ said, “My Lord, hallowed be Thy name.” He wants to glorify the name of the Lord. And some people says that there is no name of God. How? If Lord Jesus Christ says “Hallowed by Thy name,” there must be name. The name is there, but he did not pronounce it because the people at that time will not be able to understand or maybe some reason, but he says there is name. So we are making this propaganda, Krsna consciousness movement, the “Hallowed by Thy name. My Lord Krsna, the Personality of Godhead, let Your holy name be glorified.” This is our movement. It is not a sectarian. (Lecture: Bhagavad Gita 3.27 Melbourne June 27, 1974)
Sometimes Sri Krsna descends Himself, and sometimes He sends His representative. The major religions of the world-Christian, Hindu, Buddhist and Moslem-believe in some supreme authority or personality coming down from the kingdom of God. In the Christian religion, Jesus Christ claimed to be the son of God and to be coming from the kingdom of God to reclaim conditioned souls. As followers of Bhagavad-gita, we admit this claim to be true. So basically there is no difference of opinion. In details there may be differences due to differences in culture, climate and people, but the basic principle remains the same-that is, God or His representatives come to reclaim conditioned souls. (Raja Vidya Chapter 6: Knowledge of Krsna’s Appearance and Activities)
Just like Lord Jesus Christ. He was so badly treated and still he was thinking, “Father, they do not know what they are doing. Please excuse.” This is suhrdah. He is praying to God This is sadhu, mahatma. Suhrdah prasanta. Not that In India there are examples like Haridasa Thakura, Prahlada Maharaja. And the Western countries also, Lord Jesus Christ, he is saktyavesa-avatara, God’s son. And he tolerated so much. These are the examples of mahatma. Don’t misunderstand that we are preaching that mahatmas are only in India. No. By the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead there are mahatmas even among the birds, even among the beasts, even among the lower than animals. Because this Krsna consciousness movement is going on in different places, in different circumstances. (Srimad Bhagavatam 5.5.3 –vrndavana Oct 25, 1976)
A devotee of Krsna is friendly to everyone. Therefore it is said here that he has no enemy (nirvairah). How is this? A devotee situated in Krsna consciousness knows that only devotional service to Krsna can relieve a person from all the problems of life. He has personal experience of this, and therefore he wants to introduce this system, Krsna consciousness, into human society. There are many examples in history of devotees of the Lord who risked their lives for the spreading of God consciousness. The favorite example is Lord Jesus Christ. He was crucified by the non devotees, but he sacrificed his life for spreading God consciousness. Of course, it would be superficial to understand that he was killed. Similarly, in India also there are many examples, such as Thakura Haridasa and Prahlada Maharaja. Why such risk? Because they wanted to spread Krsna consciousness, and it is difficult. A Krsna conscious person knows that if a man is suffering it is due to his forgetfulness of his eternal relationship with Krsna. Therefore, the highest benefit one can render to human society is relieving one’s neighbor from all material problems. In such a way, a pure devotee is engaged in the service of the Lord. Now, we can imagine how merciful Krsna is to those engaged in His service, risking everything for Him. Therefore it is certain that such persons must reach the supreme planet after leaving the body. (Chapter 11 Bhagavad gita text 55 purport)
You have asked me what I feel is the best engagement for you at this time and in response, I kindly request you to continue to distribute my books full-time. You are very expert in this matter and you can also teach others how to do it. At the present moment, the plays are not as important as our book distribution. So, my desire is that you increase your book distribution more and more and be blessed by Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
Letter to: Lokamangala -- Honolulu 2 February, 1975
Only hope is that you distribute books, as much as possible, whole Europe, whole America. If they come to some day, they will realize what is this value. [break] ...day they will realize that what valuable books we have left for the study of the whole world.
These books and magazines are our most important propaganda weapons to defeat the ignorance of maya's army, and the more we produce such literature and sell them profusely all over the world, the more we shall deliver the world from the suicide course. Letter to: Jayadvaita — Hyderabad 18 November, 1972
Prabhupada: Therefore the gentleman the other day was asking, "How is that you say electricity?" Oh you were not present that time? Because we have translated there is no need of sun, there is no need of moon, there is no need of electricity in the spiritual world. So when he heard the word electricity, he became astonished.
Syamasundara: He thought the word did not exist at the time?
David Lawrence: Yes, I must admit I was amazed at that reference, reading that yesterday.
Prabhupada: That frog philosophy is going on. Dr. Frog. He's simply calculating the well, that's all. How there can be Atlantic Ocean? That is frog philosophy. You know frog philosophy? Yes?
David Lawrence: Yes.
Prabhupada: You know? I don't think you know. Who can explain what is that frog philosophy?
Syamasundara: Frog philosophy is trying to imagine the size of the Atlantic Ocean never having left my well.
David Lawrence: Oh, I see, yes. Completely beyond one's experience.
Prabhupada: Yes. No, especially of the Mr. Frog, Dr. Frog. He has never seen what is Atlantic Ocean and somebody informed him, "Oh I have seen such a vast mass of water." "Oh, is it bigger than this well?"
David Lawrence: Yes, beyond his conception.
Prabhupada: These people are like frogs rotting in the well, and what they can understand of the Vedic knowledge?
There are many missionaries, they open hospitals or similar philanthropic activities, but we never do that. So many friends advised me to open some hospitals, dispensaries. Oh, I flatly said that "We are not interested in the hospitals." There are so many hospitals. So people who are interested in hospitals, they can go there. Here is spiritual hospital. The disease is the other hospitals, they cannot stop death, but our hospital can stop death. (Prabhupada lecture Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Ādi-līlā 1.15 Dallas, March 4th 1975)