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EL/Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα: Ιδρυτής - Ατσάρια της ISKCON - Ένα Θεμελιώδες Έγγραφο τoυ GBC

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Ένα σημείωμα από την Εκτελεστική Επιτροπή της Διοικητικής Επιτροπής της Διεθνούς Οργάνωσης για την Συνείδηση του Κρίσνα

Αυτό το έργο, Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα: Ιδρυτής-Ατσάρια της Διεθνούς Οργάνωσης για την Συνείδηση του Κρίσνα που συνέγραψε ο Ravīndra Svarūpa Dāsa, εγκρίθηκε επίσημα από την Διοικητική Επιτροπή (GBC) της Διεθνούς Οργάνωσης για την Συνείδηση του Κρίσνα.

Η εν λόγω Διοικητική Επιτροπή καλεί όλους τους λάτρεις και φίλους της Διεθνούς Οργάνωσης για την Συνείδηση του Κρίσνα να δώσουν ιδιαίτερη έμφαση και προσοχή στο έργο αυτό. Έτσι, θα κατανοήσουμε βαθύτερα και θα εκτιμήσουμε περισσότερο την θέση του Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα, καθώς και τον μοναδικό του ρόλο στο πλαίσιο της Διεθνούς Οργάνωσης για την Συνείδηση του Κρίσνα.

Ο Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα δεν μετέφερε απλά το μήνυμα του Κυρίου Τσεϊτάνια και του Κυρίου Κρίσνα σε εμάς. Αυτό από τη φύση του είναι ένα μεγαλειώδες εγχείρημα, αλλά αυτό που έκανε ο Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα ως Ιδρυτής-Ατσάρια ήταν να συστήσει την οργάνωση και να οραματιστεί την λειτουργία και τον στόχο της στο ρόλο της ως παγκόσμια κοινότητα με την ευθύνη να «φέρει πίσω στην πνευματική ζωή ολόκληρη την ανθρώπινη κοινωνία».

Ο ρόλος του Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα, όπως θα διαβάσετε, συνεχίζεται αενάως. Η παρουσία του είναι αισθητή μέσα στην ζωή κάθε λάτρη και κάθε μέλους της Διεθνούς Οργάνωσης για την Συνείδηση του Κρίσνα σήμερα, καθώς και στις ζωές όλων των λατρών για ακόμα πολλούς αιώνες. Στόχος του κειμένου αυτού είναι να μας βοηθήσει να κατανοήσουμε τον τρόπο με τον οποίο ο Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα εκδηλώνεται ως κεντρικός πυρήνας στην ζωή και στην κοινωνία μας και να μας δείξει πώς να τον διατηρήσουμε στην ουσιώδη αυτή θέση. Όπως γράφει ο Bhakti Charu Swami στο πρόλογο, «το βιβλίο αυτό δεν προορίζεται για τυχαία ανάγνωση, αλλά για εφαρμογή των λεγομένων του.»

Εκτελεστική Επιτροπή-GBC
Δεκέμβριος, 2013

ΠΡΟΟΙΜΙΟ

Ο Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα ήταν αναμφισβήτητα η προσωπικότητα που έστειλε σε εμάς ο Κύριος Τσεϊτάνια Μαχαπραμπού για να εκπληρώσει την πρόβλεψή Του: «Έχω ενσαρκωθεί για να εγκαινιάσω την κίνηση του σανκίρτανα. Θα απελευθερώσω όλες τις πεσμένες ψυχές του κόσμου αυτού... Σε κάθε πόλη και σε κάθε χωριό του κόσμου, θα εξαπλωθεί η ομαδική ψαλμωδία των αγίων ονομάτων του Κυρίου» (Caitanya Bhāgavata, Antya 4. 120, 126).

Για να κατανοήσουμε τον μοναδικό ρόλο του Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα από την οπτική γωνία ενός Γκαουντίγια Βαϊσνάβα, θα πρέπει να ταξιδέψουμε πίσω στον χρόνο και να δούμε από ιστορική σκοπιά τον τρόπο με τον οποίο το σχέδιο του Κυρίου Τσεϊτάνια Μαχαπραμπού για την εκπλήρωση της πρόβλεψής Του ξεδιπλώθηκε σταδιακά.

Μόλις επέστρεψε από την Γκάια, ο Κύριος Τσεϊτάνια Μαχαπραμπού ξεκίνησε την αποστολή Του για την ομαδική ψαλμωδία των αγίων ονομάτων του Κυρίου. Και όταν διέδιδε αυτήν την αγάπη για τον Θεό μέσω της ομαδικής ψαλμωδίας των αγίων ονομάτων - nāma prema, «Εκείνος και οι σύντροφοί Του δεν σκεφτόντουσαν ποιος ήταν κατάλληλος υποψήφιος και ποιος δεν ήταν, ούτε σκεφτόντουσαν που θα διαδόσουν το μήνυμά τους και που όχι. Δεν έβαζαν κανέναν περιορισμό. Όπου παρουσιαζόταν η ευκαιρία, οι πέντε σύντροφοί Του - Pañca-tattva διέδιδαν την αγάπη για τον Θεό.» (Caitanya Caritāmṛita, Ādi-līlā 7.23).

Αυτή η πλημμύρα αγάπης για τα ονόματα του Κυρίου διαδόθηκε σε όλες τις κατευθύνσεις και συνέχισε να σκορπίζει τα οφέλη της στον κόσμο υπό την αιγίδα των εμπνευσμένων κατηχητών, όπως των έξι Γκοσουάμι, του Śrīnivāsa Ācārya, του Narottam Das Ṭhākur και του Śyāmānanda Prabhu.

Δυστυχώς, μετά την αποχώρηση από τον κόσμο αυτό του Κυρίου Τσεϊτάνια Μαχαπραμπού και αυτών των εμπνευσμένων συντρόφων Του, μια σκοτεινή εποχή σκέπασε τον κόσμο του Γκαουντίγια Βαϊσναβισμού. Υπό την επιρροή της εποχής του Κάλι, πολλές apasampradāyas, δηλαδή αποκλίνουσες αιρέσεις, εξαφάνισαν πλήρως την αγνή εικόνα που είχε δώσει ο Κύριος Τσεϊτάνια Μαχαπραμπού για την Συνείδηση του Κρίσνα με τα ανειλικρινή, υλιστικά τους δόγματα και πρακτικές. Και τα έκαναν αυτά στο όνομά Του! Σύντομα οι διδασκαλίες Του ταυτίστηκαν με ανήθικα, δογματικά και αντικοινωνικά στοιχεία. Ως αποτέλεσμα, οι καλλιεργημένοι και πεπαιδευμένοι άνθρωποι της κοινωνίας της Ινδίας ανέπτυξαν μια βαθιά αποστροφή για τον Κύριο Τσεϊτάνια Μαχαπραμπού. Η σκοτεινή εποχή συνεχίστηκε για περίπου 250 χρόνια.

Για να αφυπνίσει εκ νέου την κίνηση του σανκίρτανα και να φωτίσει για άλλη μια φορά τον ουρανό των Γκαουντίγια, ο Κύριος Τσεϊτάνια Μαχαπραμπού έστειλε στον κόσμο έναν από τους πιο πιστούς συντρόφους Του, τον Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākur. Προικισμένος με υπερβατικές ικανότητες, ο Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākur συνέγραψε ακούραστα για να κλείσει το στόμα σε όλες τις ανειλικρινείς και παρεκκλίνουσες φιλσοοφίες που έρχονταν σε αντίθεση με την εικόνα του Κυρίου Τσεϊτάνια Μαχαπραμπού για την Συνείδηση του Κρίσνα. Μέσω αυτής της ακούραστης και αφοσιωμένης συγγραφής, εξέθεσε όλες τις άθρησκες φιλοσοφίες του καιρού εκείνου και για άλλη μια φορά φανέρωσε στον κόσμο τον δρόμο του Κυρίου Τσεϊτάνια Μαχαπραμπού προς την υπέρτατη επιτυχία και συμπόνια: την αποστολή Του για την ομαδική ψαλμωδία των αγίων ονομάτων του Κυρίου - nāmasaṅkīrtana. Τα γραπτά αυτά συνέστησαν αργότερα την φιλοσοφική βάση για το συστηματικό και θεσμικά στηριγμένο πλάνο του Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura που αφορούσε την εκπλήρωση της πρόβλεψης του Κυρίου Τσεϊτάνια Μαχαπραμπού. Η εκ νέου ανακάλυψη από τον Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākur του τόπου γέννησης του Κυρίου Τσεϊτάνια Μαχαπραμπού, καθώς και το αποτύπωμα που έδωσε με την μορφή του «nāmahaṭṭa» για την εκπλήρωση της επιθυμίας του Κυρίου Τσεϊτάνια Μαχαπραμπού να εξαπλωθεί το κίνημα του σανκίρτανα σε όλον τον κόσμο ήταν μια ξεκάθαρη και αξοισημείωτη ένδειξη της απόλυτης πεποίθησης στα λόγια του Κυρίου Τσεϊτάνια Μαχαπραμπού. Ωστόσο, ήξερε ότι αυτό το γιγαντιαίο καθήκον της εξάπλωσης της συνείδησης του Κρίσνα σε όλον τον κόσμο θα χρειαζόταν την συλλογική συμμετοχή χιλιάδων ανθρώπων από πολλές γενεές. Δεν θα μπορούσε και δεν ήταν τελικά έργο ενός μόνο ανθρώπου—μια υπερβατική οργάνωση ήταν απόλυτη αναγκαιότητα.

Οι θερμές προσευχές του προς τον Κύριο Τζαγκανάτ απαντήθηκαν και ο Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura εμφανίστηκε στον κόσμο αυτό ως ο υιός του για να εφαρμόσει πρακτικά το αποτύπωμά του με την μορφή της αποστολής Γκαουντίγια. Μέσα σε δεκαπέντε σύντομα έτη, ο Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura εξάπλωσε την κίνηση του σανκίρτανα του Κυρίου Τσεϊτάνια Μαχαπραμπού σε όλη την Ινδία και προσέλκυσε πολλούς πεφωτισμένους του καιρού εκείνυ για να τον βοηθήσουν στην αποστολή του. Τον καιρό εκείνο, εξήντα τέσσερα μοναστήρια - maṭhas αναγέρθηκαν στην Ινδία και αφιερώθηκαν στην εξάπλωση της διδασκαλίας του Κυρίου Τσεϊτάνια Μαχαπραμπού.

Ο Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura αναγνώρισε την σημασία του θεσμού του στην αδιάκοπη συνέχιση της διδασκαλίας μετά την αποχώρησή του από τον κόσμο αυτό. Χωρίς αμφιβολία και με μεγάλη ειλικρίνεια δίδαξε στους βασικούς μαθητές του ότι αυτή η Αποστολή Γκαουντίγια πρέπει να οργανωθεί και να διατηρηθεί από ένα κυβερνητικό σώμα. Περιέργως, δεν όρισε κάποιο συγκεκριμένο άτομο για να γίνει ο πνευματικός του διάδοχος. Αποχώρησε από τον κόσμο αυτό την 1η Ιανουαρίο του 1937 και σχεδόν αμέσως διαφωνίες και διαμάχες ξέσπασαν εντός της Αποστολής Γκαουντίγια. Πολύ σύντομα, ο θεσμός που από πάνταν ήταν γνωστός ως γνήσιος και ξεκάθαρος στην διδασκαλία των μηνυμάτων του Κυρίου Τσεϊτάνια Μαχαπραμπού έγινε διάσημος για την εμπλοκή του σε διαμάχες και δικαστικές υποθέσεις. Δύο υποστηρίζουσες φατρίς πάλεψαν για την ācārya-ship και πολλοί παλαιότεροι μαθητές έφυγαν από τον θεσμό αηδιασμένοι. Η ενωμένη οργάνωση της Αποστολής Γκαουντίγια, καθώς και μια οργάνωση σε όλη την Ινδία αποτελούμενη από πολλά κέντρα, πολλούς presses και χιλιάδες λάτρεις που εργάζονταν από κοινού κάτω από μια ενωμένη ηγεσία σταμάτησε να υπάρχει. Λανθασμένες εντυπώσεις για την ιδιοκτησία και την εξουσία εξαφάνισαν την εντολή του Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura order και την αποστολή του—η ανάπτυξη ενός παγκόσμιου κινήματος για την εξάπλωση των διδασκαλιών του Κυρίου Τσεϊτάνια Μαχαπραμπού—έφτασε σε τέλμα.

Ο δικός μας Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα, η Αυτού Θεία Χάρις Α. Τσ. Μπακτιβεντάντα Σουάμι, στενοχωρήθηκε απίστευτα από αυτήν την τραγική εξέλιξη των γεγονότων, αλλά ήταν προφανές από τις πράξεις του ότι κατανοούσε πλήρως την καρδιά και την αποστολή του δασκάλου του:

Μόλις μερικοί οπαδοί στην Νέα Υόρκη πήραν το μήνυμά του στην καρδιά τους, εκείνος νόμιμα προσχώρησε στον θεσμό του. Τον ονόμασε Διεθνής Οργάνωση για την Συνείδηση του Κρίσνα και ακόμα νόμιμα ανακοίνωσε τους επτά στόχους της. Όλα αυτά συνέβησαν ήδη το 1966.

Για να συνεχίσει την αποστολή του Κυρίου Τσεϊτάνια Μαχαπραμπού και να διασφαλίσει την υπερβατική κληρονομιά της ISKCON, ο Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα πολύ συστηματικά συνέστησε το Διοικητικό Σώμα και με τρόπο ξεκάθαρο έδωσε την εξής οδηγία στους πιο έμπειρους οπαδούς του: «Μην κάνετε το ίδιο λάθος με τους αδελφούς μου μετά την αποχώρηση από τον κόσμο αυτό του Γκούρου μου Μαχαράτζα. Να διαχειρίζεστε την οργάνωση αυτή συλλογικά μέσω του Διοικητικού Σώματος.»

Για να διασφαλίσει την υπερβατική αποστολή της ISKCON με σταθερά φιλοσοφικά και πολιτιστικά θεμέλια, μετάφρασε και σχολίασε ακούραστα και λεπτομερέστατα μία από τις πιο σημαντικές και έξοχες διδασκαλίας του Κυρίου Τσεϊτάνια Μαχαπραμπού με την μορφή της Μπάγκαβαντ Γκίτα, της Σρίμαντ Μπάγκαβαταμ και της Τσεϊτάνια Τσαριταμρίτα. Και με μεγάλη καθαρότητα νου είπε ότι τα βιβλία του είναι η βάση της Οργάνωσης για την Συνείδηση του Κρίσνα και του θεσμού της ISKCON.

Και, όπως ο Γκούρου του Μαχαράτζα, δεν κατονόμασε και δεν επέλεξε έναν διάδοχο για την ISKCON. Αντίθετα, θέλησε οι μαθητές του να διαχειριστούν συλλογικά την οργάνωση αυτή μέσω ενός Διοικητικού Σώματος.

Όταν ήμουν ο προσωπικός υπηρέτης του Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα, πρόσεξα πολλές φορές ότι επέμενε κάθε τυπωμένο υλικό να φέρει τον τίτλο Ιδρυτής - Ατσάρια και το πλήρες όνομά του κάτω από το όνομα της οργάνωσης ISKCON. Ήμουν πολύ ανώριμος και χωρίς καμία εμπειρία τον καιρό εκείνο και συχνά αναρωτιόμουν, «ο Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα είναι ένας τόσο ταπεινός και σεβαστός Βαϊσνάβα, γιατί τόσο πολύ επίμονα ζητάει ένα τέτοιο πράγμα;» Ποτέ δεν εξέφρασε τις σκέψεις μου ανοικτά στον Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα, αλλά συνέχισαν να με γεμίζουν με ερωτηματικά. Σιγά σιγά, με την βοήθεια της χάρης του, και όταν ο καιρός ήταν ο κατάλληλος, ξεκίνησα να καταλαβαίνω την πρόθεσή του. Η φράση «Ιδρυτής-Ατσάρια» δεν είναι μόνον ένας τίτλος αλλά ένα υπερβατικό σύστημα που στόχο έχει να προστατεύσει, να διατηρήσει και να προσδώσει μακροζωία σε έναν θεσμό που είναι αφιερωμένος στην μαζική απελευθέρωση των ψυχών εκείνων που ζουν υπό όρους σε όλα τα μέρη της γης σε αυτήν την σκοτεινή και απεχθή εποχή του Κάλι.

Οι μέγαλες μορφές Βαϊσνάβα όπως ο Śrī Madhvācārya και ο Śrī Rāmānujācārya με επιτυχία εφάρμοσαν το σύστημα αυτό.

Προφανώς, η πλήρης εφαρμογή του σηστήματος μέσα στην Διεθνή Οργάνωση για την Συνείδηση του Κρίσνα - ISKCON είναι ζωτκής σημασίας για την επιτυχή εκπλήρωση της πρόβλεψης του Κυρίου Τσεϊτάνια Μαχαπραμπού. Μοιράστηκα την συνειδητοποίηση αυτή με έναν αριθμό ανώτερων πνευματικών αδελφών μου και ένιωσα μεγάλη πνευματική ενθάρρυνση όταν ανακάλυψα ότι ο Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα τους ευλόγησε με τον ίδιο όραμα.

Τότε, το 2006, το σώμα GBC συνέστηκε διάφορες επιτροπές για τον σχεδιασμό και την εκπλήρωση διαφορετικών στρατηγικών στόχων. Μία τέτοια επιτροπή είναι η Επιτροπή για την Θέση του Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα - SPPC, της οποίας η αποστολή είναι να συνδράμει στην επίτευξη των ήδη υπαρχουσών προσπαθειών και να αναπτύξει νέες πρωτοβουλίες για την αιώνια εγκαθίδρυση της θέσης του Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα ως Ιδρυτή - Ατσάρια της ISKCON και διαπρεπή σκίκσα γκούρου για όλους τους λάτρεις της ΙSKCON. Το βιβλίο αυτό είναι μια πρωτοβουλία της SPPC.

Η Αυτού Θεία Χάρις Ravīndra Svarūpa Prabhu, που είναι αναμφισβήτητα ένας από τους πιο εξέχοντες στοχαστές και συγγραφείς της ISKCON, συνέγραψε το βιβλίο και όλα τα μέλη του GBC και πολλοί ανώτεροι λάτρεις το εξέτασαν με σοβαρότητα και επιμέλεια.

Για το βιβλίο αυτό έγινε εξονυχιστική έρευνα και βασίστηκαν στην ιερές γραφές - śāstra και σε ιστορικά γεγονότα. Η φύση του είναι ακαδημαϊκή και παρέχει την βάση πάνω στην οποία μπορούμε να κτίσουμε έναν ολιστικό πολιτισμό παιδείας με στόχο να εδραιώσουμε πρακτικά και οργανωτικά την θέση του Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα ως Ιδρυτή - Ατσάρια της ISKCON. Βεβαίως, η αγνή Συνείδηση του Κρίσνα δεν αναγνωρίζει καμία τεχνική —βασίζεται μόνον στην ταπεινότητα και στην απόλυτη υποταγή. Με αυτήν την διάθεση προσφέρουμε την δημοσίευση στον Κύριο Τσεϊτάνια Μαχαπραμπού, στον Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα και σε όλους τους λάτρεις του.

Παρακαλείσθε να σημειώσετε ότι το βιβλίο του δεν προορίζεται για τυχαία ανάγνωση αλλά για εφαρμογή των λεγομένων του. Εάν το κάνουμε αυτό, η προσωπική και συλλογικά μας σχέση με τον Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα θα ανθίσει απεριόριστα και θα φτάσουμε στο σημείο να κατανοήσουμε πρακτικά ότι ο αγαπημένος μας Ιδρυτής - Ατσάρια δεν πάγωσε μέσα στον χρόνο. Είναι ο αιώνιος υπηρέτης του Κυρίου Τσεϊτάνια Μαχαπραμπού και της θεϊκής πλημμύρας συμπόνοιας και Κρίσνα Πρέμα. Η καρδιά του λιώνει από αγάπη και η αγάπη αυτή πλημμυρίζει αενάως και ανεμπόδιστα τις καρδιές όλων εκείνων που δείχνουν έστω κι ένα ελάχιστο ενδιαφέρον για τις διδασκαλίες του και την αποστολή του για την ομαδική ψαλμωδία των αγίων ονομάτων του Κυρίου - nāmasaṅkīrtana.

Με ταπεινότητα ζητάμε την ευγενική και ενεργή υποστήριξή σας για να εφαρμόσουμε το επόμενο σημαντικό βήμα του σχεδίου του Κυρίου Τσεϊτάνια Μαχαπραμπού που είναι να πλημμυρίσει όλον τον κόσμο με Κρίσνα Πρέμα, με αγάπη για τον Κρίσνα και να εδραιώσει πρακτικά την θέση του Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα ως Ιδρυτή - Ατσάρια της Διεθνούς Οργάνωσης για Συνείδηση του Κρίσνα για πάντα.

Σας ευχαριστώ πολύ.

Στην υπηρεσία σας, στην υπηρεσία του Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα,
Bhakti Charu Swami
Βριντάβανα, Ινδία
Νοέμβριος, 2013

ΠΡΟΛΟΓΟΣ

Το έργο που κρατάτε στα χέρια σας—ή βλέπετε στην οθόνη σας—προσφέρεται σε εσάς ως ένας ώριμος καρπός του εντατικού, πολυκλαδούς στρατηγικού σχεδίου που ξεκίνησε το 2006 από την Διοικητική Επιτροπή της ISKCON. Η συνεχής προσπάθεια έφερε μαζί πολλούς λάτρεις από όλον τον κόσμο που συμμετέχουν στον συστηματικό σχεδιασμό και ανάπτυξη για την διασφάλιση ενός λαμπρού μέλλοντος για την κίνηση του Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα. Εν ολίγοις, στοχεύουμε στην ενδυνάμωση ολόκληρης της οργάνωσης—κάθε μέλος, όλες οι μονάδες της οργάνωσης, κάθε διοικητική και καθοδηγητική αρχή—όλοι αυτοί πρέπει να εργαστούν από κοινού αποτελεσματικά για να υλοποιήσουν όλες τις επιθυμίες του Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα και του Κυρίου Τσεϊτάνια Μαχαπραμπού. Από την αρχή, όλοι μας καταλάβαμε εκείνο το ουσιασικό, μοναδικό στοιχείο για την επίτευξη του στόχου αυτού που ήταν, όπως λέγεται συχνά, «να κρατήσουμε τον Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα στο κέντρο.»

Έχοντας αυτό στο νου μας, η ομάδα στρατηγικού σχεδιασμού είχε επίγνωση του ότι στο κοντινό μέλλον η ISKCON θα αντιμετώπιζε μια σοβαρή πρόκληση: την αναμπόφευκτη μετάβαση σε έναν χρόνο όπου όλοι οι λάτρεις με άμεση εμπειρία από τον Ιδρυτή-Ατσάρια θα είχαν φύγει. Αυτή η επικείμενη απώλεια έγινε ένα ακόμα κίνητρο στην εργασία της Επιτροπής Θέσης του Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα-SPPC. Όλα τα μέλη του κατανόησαν ότι ο Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα δεν θα έπρεπε να είναι μία παρουσία για τις μεταγενέστερες γεννέες αλλά η πρώτη. that Śrīla Prabhupāda should be no less a presence to subsequent generations than he has been to the first. (Στην πραγματικότητα, μερικοί πίστευαν ότι θα μπορούσε να είναι και κάτι παραπάνω.) Πώς θα το διευκολύνουμε αυτό; Πώς θα εμπνεύσουμε σε όλους τους λάτρεις της ISKCON, την μια γεννεά μετά την άλλη, μια συνεχώς αυξανόμενη επίγνωση της βαθιάς σχέσης τους με τον Ιδρυτή-Ατσάρια, ώστε όλοι μας να τον βιώσουμε ως μία ζωντανή παρουσία στις ζωές μας; Πώς η αποστολή του, οι διδασκαλίες του, το όραμά του, η αποφασιστικότητά του, το έλεός του, θα γίνουν ένα με κάθε παλλόμενη καρδιά;

Ως μέλος της SPPC, μου ανατέθηκε το καθήκον να συγγράψω αυτό το έγγραφο-θεμέλιο για τους λάτρεις της ISKCON που αφορά την σημασία της θέσης του Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα ως Ιδρυτή-Ατσάρια.

Έχοντας αναλάβει το καθήκον αυτό, βρέθηκα να περνάω πολλές μέρες και νύχτες απορροφημένος στην σκέψη, με κάποια εμμονή, του Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα—για την ζωή του και για την κληρονομιά του, για το κίνημά του, για εμένα ως μαθητή και για τα πνευματικά μου αδέρφια. Κατά την διάρκεια των ημερών και των νυχτών αυτών, η νοητική και συναισθηματική μου κατάσταση έγινε πιο έντονη και γι'αυτό δεν ήθελα να φτάσω σε κάποια τελικά συμπεράσματα. Και τότε, κάθησα κάτω και μέσα σε δύο με τρεις ώρες, συνέγραψα ένα σύντομο κείμενο—όχι παραπάνω από τρεις σελίδες—το οποίο φαινόταν ότι έβγαινε φυσικά από μόνο του. Βασίστηκε σε ελάχιστη έρευνα ή σε απολύτως καμία έρευνα και σε κανένα νέο συμπέρασμα—ήταν απλώς οι δικές μου ενστικτώδεις «συνειδητοποιήσεις». Τελειοποίησα την εργασία αυτή με κάποιο τρόπο και στην επόμενη δοθείσα ευκαιρία την παρουσίασα στα άλλα μέλη της ομάδας στρατηγικού σχεδιασμού.

Προς μεγάλη μου ανακούφιση, η εξαιρετικά θετική ανταπόκριση με διαβεβαίωσε ότι τουλάχιστον ήμουν στην σωστή κατεύθυνση. Η κατεύθυνση αυτή πήρε ένα ορισμένο σχήμα από την οδηγία που μου έδωσαν στην συνέχεια. «Υπέροχα μέχρι εδώ. Τώρα γράψε και έναν σχολιασμό».

Πρέπει να προσθέσω ότι το γενικό «Υπέροχα» συνοδεύτηκε με μια σειρά λεπτομερών σχολίων—σχόλια που ζητούσαν, στο ένα ή στο άλλο σημείο, περισσότερη δικαιολόγηση, διευκρίνιση ή επεξεργσία; σχόλια που διετύπωναν αμφιβολίες ή σημεία σύγχυσης; σχόλια που πρότειναν άλλα θέματα για συμπερίληψη ή έρευνα και λοιπά και λοιπά. Πήρα τα σχόλια αυτά μαζί μου—όπως αποδείχθηκε με βοήθησαν πολύ—και ύστερα, μετά που βελτίωσα το σύντομο κείμενο, έκανα όπως μου ζητήθηκε και έγραψα τον σχολιασμό.

Συνεπώς, το τελικό προϊόν, που έχετε τώρα στα χέρια σας, έρχεται υπό την μορφή ενός κειμένου με σχολιασμό επί του κειμένου. Δίδεται πρώτα το κείμενο, μόνο του. Και ακολουθεί ο σχολιασμός που είναι πολύ πιο εκτενής. Στο σημείο αυτό, το αρχικό κείμενο εμφανίζεται με την ορθή σειρά αλλά είναι χωρισμένο σε χρήσιμα τμήματα. Το αρχικό κείμενο είναι τυπωμένο σε έντονη γραμματοσειρά, ενώ ο σχολιασμός που ακολουθεί στο τμήμα αυτό είναι τυπωμένος με κανονική γραμματοσειρά.

Το κείμενο είναι σύντομο, μόνον 1300 λέξεις (5 σελίδες). Ο σχολιασμός, όπως προέκυψε, είναι μακροσκελής, περίπου 21,000 λέξεις (79 σελίδες). Η συγγραφή του κειμένου μου πήρε αρχικά τρεις ώρες και τα σχόλια έξι χρόνια.

Το ίδιο το αρχικό κείμενο είναι απλό και αρκετά κατάλληλο για το ευρύ κοινό. Ο σχολιασμός προορίζεται συγκεκριμένα για κάποιον ο οποίος είναι ή ο οποίος σκοπεύει να γίνει, prabhupāda-śiṣya, ένα πραγματικός μαθητής śikṣā του Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα. Αυτός, για να πούμε την αλήθεια, θα πρέπει να είναι ο στόχος όλων των μελών της ISKCON και η επίτευξη του στόχο αυτού, από μόνη της, θα φέρει την εκπλήρωση της εγκάρδιας επιθυμίας του Κυρίου Τσεϊτάνια.

Η απροσδόηκητη και μερικές φορές δύσκολη εργασία πάνω στα σχόλια με έφερε μπρστά σε ένα απρόσμενο ευτυχές αποτέλεσμα: έμαθα εις βάθος πράγματα τα οποία προηγουμένως ήξερα μόνο επιφανειακά ή επίσημα. Ξεκίνησα την εργασία αυτή γνωρίζοντας ότι ο Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα ήταν ένας μεγάλος μαθητής, αλλά τώρα απέκτησα μια πιο λεπτομερή και βαθιά γνώση του πόσο σημαντικός μαθητής ήταν—μια συνειδητοποίηση, μπορώ να σας εμπιστευτώ, η οποία εμπλουτίζεται συνεχώς. Αυτό που ανακάλυψα μου έμαθε πολλά περισσότερα για τα επιτεύγματα του Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα και μέσα μου ξύπνησε μια νέα αγάπη και ευγνωμοσύνη για εκείνον. Αυτό το δώρο της γνώσης μου έδειξε συν τοις άλλοις πόσο μεγάλο είναι το καθήκον μου, ως μαθητής του, να μεταδώσω το φως της υπεροχής του μέσα από την πιο αληθινή μαρτυρία, την μαρτυρία της δικής μου μαθητείας.

Επιπλέον, κατέστη δυνατόν για εμένα να δω την πλήρη εικόνα της πραγματικά απαράμμιλης σημασίας του τίτλου που φέρει, «Ιδρυτής-Ατσάρια της Διεθνούς Ένωσης για την Συνείδηση του Κρίσνα».

Προσεύχομαι ώστε η ανάγνωση της εργασίας αυτής να εμπνεύσει σε εσάς, αυτό που η συγγραφή του ενέπνευσε σε εμένα.

Θα ήθελα να εκφράσω το βαθύ χρέος μου απέναντι σε όλους εκείνους που βοήθησαν, που με ενθάρρυναν, που με καθοδήγησαν, που με διευκόλυναν και με διόρθωσαν στην παραγωγή του έργου αυτού. Η γενική στρατηγική αποστολή, όπως την διευθύνει ο Gopāla Baṭṭa Prabhu και οι ικανοί βοηθοί του, δημιούργησε και πλαισίωσε τις συνθήκες που κατέστησαν το αποτέλεσμα αυτό—το παραδοτέο αυτό—δυνατόν. Η SPPC, η οποία προς το παρόν συνδιευθύνεται από τον H.H. Bhakti Charu Swami και τον Akrūra Prabhu, υπέστη αρκετές αλλαγές όσον αφορά την σύνθεσή της κατά τα τελευταία επτά χρόνια, αλλά οι συνεχείς παρατηρήσεις και η ενθάρρυνση από όλους εκείνους που υπηρετούν και υπηρέτησαν στην ομάδα αυτή απεδείχθη περισσότερο πολύτιμη σε εμένα από ότι ήμουν ικανός να εκφράσω. Το κάνω τώρα, με ευγνωμοσύνη. Πολλοί ανώτεροι μαθητές εκτός της SPPC αναθεώρησαν την εργασία αυτή σε εξέλιξη. Συγκεκριμένα, μια ομάδα ειδικά για τον σκοπό αυτό με τον τίτλο «Sannyāsī, Guru, and GBC Sanga» αποτελούμενη από εκατό περίπου ηγέτες, συναντήθηκε στην Μαγιαπουρ τον Φεβρουάριο του 2013, και αναθέωρησε τα πρόχειρα πρακτικά της εργασίας αυτής και αφιέρωσε χρόνο στην συγγραφή σημαντικών σχολίων και σκέψεων. Το ίδιο υπό αναθέωρηση έργο εμπλουτίστηκε από την ανταπόκριση είκοσι ή ακόμα και περισσοτέρων ανώτερων μελών. Από αυτή την προσπάθεια, προέκυψε το τελικό κείμενο, το οποίο αναθεωρήθηκε ακόμα μια φορά από την GBC κατά την συνάντησή τους στην Τζούχου τον Οκτώβριο του 2013. Με νέες μικρές προτάσεις για βελτίωση, η GBC έδωσε την ομόφωνη έγκρισή της για την δημοσίευση του έργου αυτού ως ένα επίσημο έγγραφο της GBC. Το χρέος μου απέναντι στα μέλη της GBC—για την υπόμονή τους, την βοήθειά τους και πάνω από όλα για τις ευχές τους—δεν μπορεί εκφραστεί σε λόγια.

Θα ήθελα να ευχαριστήσω ακόμα τον άμεσο συνεργάτη μου. Τον μαθητή μου Śraddhā devī dāsī που μου παρείχε υπό συνεχή βάση οργανωμένη και τεχνολογική υποστήριξη, καθώς και ολοκληρωμένη βοήθεια επί της σύνταξης και συμβουλές. Η γυναίκα μου Saudāmaṇī devī dāsī ανέγνωσε επίσης το έργο αυτό με μεγάλο ενθουσιασμό και έκανε την κριτική της πάνω στο έργο υπό εξέλιξη. Μου έχει προαφέρει, επίσης, την αμείωτη υποστήριξή της σε όλην την ζωή μου. Είμαι ένας δύσκολος άνθρωπος, αλλά τα κατάφερε ακόμα και κάτω από αυτήν την δυσκολία.

Ο υπηρέτης σας στην υπηρεσία του Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα,
Ravīndra Svarūpa Dāsa
Φιλαδέλφεια, Πενσυλβάνια
Δεκέμβριος, 2013

Η ΘΕΣΗ ΤΟΥ ΣΡΙΛΑ ΠΡΑΜΠΟΥΠΑΝΤΑ - ΚΕΙΜΕΝΟ

Ο Πραμπουπάντα ως ο Ιδρυτής-Ατσάρια για την Διεθνή Οργάνωση για την Συνείδηση του Κρίσνα

Ο Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα ασχολήθηκε ιδιαίτερα με το να καταστήσει την θέση του ως Ιδρυτής-Ατσάρια της ISKCON αναγωρισμένη από όλους και για πάντα. Έδωσε την εντολή κάθε ένα από τα βιβλία του και ιδιαίτερα η σελίδα τίτλου και το εξώφυλλο να φέρει το πλήρες όνομά του, «Αυτού Θεία Χάρις Α.Τσ. Μπακτιβεντάντα Σουάμι Πραμπουπάντα» και ακριβώς από κάτω το τίτλος, «Ιδρυτής-Ατσάρια της Διεθνούς Ένωσης για την Συνείδηση του Κρίσνα». Μέσα στο ίδιο πλαίσιο, ζήτησε ο τίτλος, «Ιδρυτής-Ατσάρια: Αυτού Θεία Χάρις Α.Τσ. Μπακτιβεντάντα Σουάμι Πραμπουπάντα» να εμφανίζεται αμέσως κάτω από τον τίτλο, «Διεθνής Ένωση για την Συνείδηση του Κρίσνα» σε όλα τα επίσημα έγγραφα της ISKCON, σε όλα τα επιστολόχαρτα, σε όλες τις δημοσιεύσεις και τις σημάνσεις. Με αυτούς και άλλους τρόπους, θα χαίρει για πάντα σεβασμού η ιδιαίτερη και στενή σχέση του Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα με την ISKCON.

Ως Ιδρυτής-Ατσάρια ο Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα κατέχει μια μοναδική θέση μέσα στην ISKCON. Πρέπει να το κατανοήσουμε αυτό εις βάθος. Ως Ατσάρια, η παραδειγματική προσωπική του συμπεριφορά είναι ένα πρότυπο και ένας κανόνας για όλους τους λάτρεις της ISKCON. Ως Ιδρυτής, τα προσωπικά του πρότυπα και αρχές δράσης, το ιδιαίτερο πνεύμα του και η συμπεριφορά του, παίρνουν κοινωνικό σχήμα και μορφή μέσα στην οργάνωση που συνέστησε. Κάθε άτομο ξεχωριστά, γίνει κάτοχος του πνεύματος αυτού και το ενσωματώνει στο κέντρο της δικιάς του προσωπικότητας. Το πνεύμα του διαπερνά την οργάνωση και αποτελεί την ουσία του πολιτισμού της, ενώ τα μέλη της γίνονται η ορατή ενσάρκωση του πνεύματος του στον κόσμο.

Σεβόμαστε και μαθαίνουμε από τους μεγάλους ατσάριας της γραμμής μας, ωστόσο ως Ιδρυτής-Ατσάρια, ο Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα είναι μοναδικός ανάμεσα μας. Στην ISKCON, ο ίδιος ο Πραμπουπάντα παραμένει παρών, την μια γενιά μετά την άλλη, ως ο μοναδικός σημαντικός σίκσα γκούρου και εκδηλώνεται στην ζωή του κάθε λάτρη της ISKCON—μια συνεχής, θεϊκή, ενεργή παρουσία που σε καθοδηγεί και σε παροτρύνει. Είναι η ψυχή της ISKCON. Και έτσι, ο Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα συνεχίζει να δρα αποτελεσματικά στον κόσμο αυτό, όσο η ISKCON συνεχίζει να είναι η συλλογική έκφραση και το εργαλείο της επιθυμίας του. Με τον τρόπο αυτό, ο Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα παραμένει η ψυχή της ISKCON και η ISKCON το σώμα του.

Αιτίες για την Ίδρυση της ISKCON από τον Πραμπουπάντα

Όταν ο Σρίλα Πραπουπάντα επιτυχώς εγκαθίδρυσε την κίνηση του Κυρίου Τσεϊτάνια ως μια αποστολή παγκόσμιας διδασκαλίας, πήρε την σοβαρή απόφαση να συστήσει έναν νέο θεσμό, την Διεθνή Κοινότητα για την Συνείδηση του Κρίσνα, με τον ίδιο στην θέση του Ιδρυτή-Ατσάρια. Το έκανε αυτό πάνω στην βάση της συνειδητοποιημένης του γνώσης. Την ουσία της γνώσης αυτής την διδάχθηκε από τον δικό του πνευματικό δάσκαλο. Δυστυχώς, μετά που ο Γκούρου Μαχαράτζα του Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα άφησε τον κόσμο αυτό, αυτή η γνώση και η συνειδητοποίηση σε μεγάλο βαθμό σταμάτησαν να εκφράζονται εντός του θεσμού του γκούρου, έναν θεσμό που δεν υφίστατο πλέον ως ενότητα. Για τον λόγο αυτό, ο Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα ίδρυσε μια νέα οργάνωση η οποία ως σύνολο αλλά και κάθε τμήμα της ενσωμάτωνε και ανέπτυσε αυτήν την συνειδητοποίηση. Η συνειδητοποίηση αυτή εκφράζεται ως μια συνεχής, άκαμπτη και σταθερή δέσμευση προσφοράς της αγνής αγάπης του Θεού σε όλη την ανθρωπότητα που υποφέρει σε κάθε μέρος του κόσμου.

Η οργάνωση η οποία θα μπορούσε να λειτουργήσει εκ μέρους του με ενωμένη δύναμη σε πολλά μέρη του κόσμου και για μεγάλο χρονικό διάστημα χρειαζόταν να έχει μοναδική μορφή. Ο Σρίλα Μπακτισσιντάντα Σαρασβάτι Γκοσουάμι ζήτησε, συνεπώς, να συστηθεί μια οργάνωση στην οποία η απόλυτη αρχή δεν θα εκφραζόταν στο άτομο ενός μοναδικού απολυταρχικού ατσάρια, αλλά αντίθετα σε ένα σώμα διοικητικού συμβουλίου το οποίο ονόμασε «Επιτροπή Διοικητικού Σώματος». Η οργάνωση Gauḍīya Maṭha απέτυχε να υλοποιήσει τον στόχο αυτό και έτσι, όπως ο Πραπουπάντα είπε, έγινε «άχρηστη».

Η Κεντρική μας Πρόκληση

Ο Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα εγκαθίδρυσε μια δομή για την ISKCON και έθεσε την Επιτροπή Διοικητικού Σώματος σε λειτουργία το 1970 επιβλέποντας την σταδιακή άρθρωση και την ανάπτυξή της. Ανέφερε ότι ήθελε να υπάρχουν εντός της ISKCON «εκατοντάδες, χιλιάδες πνευματικοί δάσκαλοι» και με αυτό εννοούσε ότι η κανονιστική σχέση μεταξύ πνευματικού δασκάλου και μαθητή θα συνεχιζόταν εντός του ενοποιημένου οργανισμού κάτω από την διεύθυνση του GBC. Μέσα σε μια τέτοια οργάνωση, πολλοί πνευματικοί δάσκαλοι θα μπορούσαν να ενεργήσουν με συντονισμένη δύναμη, μαζί με άλλους ηγέτες και διευθυντές σε συλλογική συμφωνία.

Και, ωστόσο, όσο ο Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα ήταν παρών ανάμεσά μας ως ο μοναδικός ατσάρια και ντίκσα πνευματικός δάσκαλος, η δομή αναγκαστικά παρέμενε σε εμβρυακή μορφή, ένα μωρό ακόμα μέσα στην μήτρα της μητέρας του, με μια δομή και λειτουργία όχι πλήρως αναπτυγμένες. Κατά την διάρκεια της φυσικής κα έκδηλης παρουσίας του Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα και λόγω της ίδιας της φύσης της κατάστασης, το GBC δεν μπορούσε να αναλάβει τον πλήρες ρόλο του ως «την απόλυτη διευθύνουσα αρχή» και ο Πραμπουπάντα παρέμενε ο μοναδικός πνευματικός δάσκαλος. Ως εκ τούτου, όλο το αποτέλεσμα της εργασίας του Πραμπουπάντα έπρεπε να περιμένει να εκδηλωθεί την σωστή ώρα.

Συνεπώς, ο Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα μας κληροδότησε αυτό το καθήκον, μετά την αποχώρησή του από τον κόσμο αυτό, δηλαδή να φτιάξουμε την μορφή και να καθορίσουμε τις λειτουργίες της ISKCON ώστε να μπορέσει να δράσει αποτελεσματικά μέσα στον κόσμο. Μια κεντρική πρόκληση είναι να ενσωματώσουμε την σχέση γκούρου-μαθητή—η οποία εμπεριέχει τις δικές της σαφείς απαιτήσεις για βαθιά αφοσίωση και δέσμευση στο πρόσωπο του γκούρου—εντός μιας ευρύτερης κοινωνίας η οποία απαιτεί, με μια συγκεκριμένη έννοια, μια υψηλότερη αφοσίωση σε ένα ευρύτερο στόχο. Αυτή η αφοσίωση είναι η κοινή μας πίστη στον Ιδρυτή-Ατσάρια Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα, μια πίστη η οποία αποδεικνύεται έμπρακτα μέσω της συνεργασίας μας μέσα στην ομάδα και μεταξύ μας, εντός της δομής που μας κληροδότησε ώστε να εκπληρώσουμε την επιθυμία του στον απόλυτο βαθμό.

Ανακαλύψαμε ότι το αρχικό σύστημα «κατά ζώνη-ατσάρια» που αφορά την ενσωμάτωση του γκούρου σε μια ευρύτερη δομή, εμμέσως δημιουργούσε γεωγραφικές ζώνες οι οποίες ατομικά ήταν πιο δυνατές και ενωμένες συγκριτικά με την ISKCON στο σύνολό της. Η ακεραιότητα της ISKCON μπήκε σε κίνδυνο. Tο σύστημα αυτό καταργήθηκε. Ωστόσο, χρειαζόμαστε να πάμε βαθύτερα στην υλοποίηση της οργάνωσης που ο Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα επιθυμούσε.

Είναι ενδιαφέρον να σημειώσουμε ότι οι δύο αντι-ISKCON οργανώσεις—που συχνά αυτοαποκαλούνται «η πραγματική ISKCON»—σχηματίστηκαν μέσω της απόρριψης ενός από τα συστατικά στοιχεία του συνόλου του Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα: η θέση «ρίτβικ» επιθυμεί να διώξει τους πραγματικούς πνευματικούς δασκάλους προς όφελος της κατασταστικής αρχής του GBC, ενώ οι ακόλουθοι ενός διακεκριμένου sannyāsī ή ενός άλλου επιθυμούν να καταργήσουν το υπάρχον GBC και να βασιστούν σε έναν χαρισματικό και αυταρχικό μοναδικό ācārya.

Η ISKCON χρειάζεται να υιοθετήσει και τα δύο αυτά στοιχεία: μια άκαμπτη κοινή αφοσίωση στην ISKCON και το GBC, και μια βαθειά και εμπεριεκτική σχέση διδασκαλίας μεταξύ των πνευματικών δασκάλων και των μαθητών εντός της ISKCON. Πρέπει να συνειδητοποιήσουμε ότι δεν υπάρχει καμία αντίθεση και καμία διαφορά και καμία διαμάχη. Πρέπει να συνειδητοποιήσουμε πόσο αυτά τα δύο στοιχεία ενδυναμώνουν και συμπληρώνουν το ένα το άλλο.

Ένα βασικό στοιχείο στην καθιέρωση της απαραίτητης σύνθεσης είναι η επίτευξη μιας βαθιάς κατανόησης της θέσης του Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα και η θέση σε εφαρμογή της κατανόησης αυτής— τόσο jñāna όσο και vijñāna. Ως Ιδρυτής-Ατσάρια, ο Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα ο ίδιος συμβολίζει—και κατά μία έννοια είναι—η ενότητα της ISKCON. Ως εκ τούτου, πρέπει να γίνει μια αναπόφευκτη, κυρίαρχη και αισθητή παρουσία μέσα στις ζωές όλων των λατρών, ανεξάρτητα από το ποιος είναι ο πνευματικός δάσκαλος σίκσα ή ντίκσα των λατρών. Οι πνευματικοί δάσκαλοι που ακόμα είναι ενεργά παρόντες στον κόσμο αυτό ασκούν μια πιο δυνατή επιρροή στους μαθητές τους συγκριτικά με εκείνους των οποίων η μορφή τώρα δεν εκδηλώνεται. Επειδή το άτομο του Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα δεν εκδηλώνεται αυτήν στιγμή φυσικά, η απουσία φυσικής παρουσίας-vapu πρέπει να συμπληρωθεί για μια ακόμα πιο βαθιά συνειδητοποίηση της εκδήλωσής του ως φωνή-vāṇi (όπως ο ίδιος μας δίδαξε).

Μια τέτοια παρουσία χρειάζεται να γίνει μέρος του ιστού της ISKCON, να γίνει η καρδιά του πολιτισμού της, ώστε να μην φθαρεί ακόμα και όταν όλοι όσοι προσωπικά γνωρίζουν τον Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα τον ακολουθήσουν από τον κόσμο αυτό.

Συνέπειες

Θα υπάρξουν πολλές συνέπειες όταν η θέση του Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα ως Ιδρυτής-Ατσάρια εκδηλωθεί. Ανάμεσα σε αυτές ξεχωρίζουμε τις εξής:

Η μια γενιά μετά την άλλη θα μπορεί να λαμβάνει το ιδιαίτερο έλεος που προσφέρει ο Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα. Τον δρόμο πίσω στον Θεό που άνοιξε θα τον διαβεί ολοένα και μεγαλύτερος αριθμός ανθρώπων.

Λαμβάνοντας καταφύγιο στον Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα υπό την ιδιότητά του ως σίκσα γκούρου μέσω της εκδηλωσής του με την φωνή και τις διδασκαλίες του-vāṇi, όλοι οι δάσκαλοι της ISKCON, σε διάφορα επίπεδα προόδου, θα μπορούν να μεταφέρουν αυθεντικά τις πραγματικές διδασκαλίες του Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα, προσφέροντας με τον τρόπο αυτό ορθή καθοδήγηση, καταφύγιο και προστασία σε όλους.

Η ενεργή παρουσία του Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα θα διασφαλίσει την ενότητα και την ακεραιότητα της ISKCON.

Οι διδασκαλίες της ISKCON θα παραμείνουν συνεκτικές μέσα στον χώρο και τον χρόνο.

Η συνειδητοποιημένη γνώση του Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα—που τον προίκισε με την ιδιαίτερη δύναμη να διαδώσει την Συνείδηση του Κρίσνα— όχι μόνο θα διατηρηθεί, αλλά και θα αναπτυχθεί.

Τα βιβλία του θα παραμείνουν στην κεντρική θέση για εμάς, επειδή εμπεριέχουν πληροφορίες και κατεθυντήριες γραμμές που χρειάζονται περαιτέρω ανάπτυξη και υλοποίηση.

Τα μάτια του Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα θα παραμείνουν για πάντα οι φακοί μέσω των οποίων όλες οι μελλοντικές γενεές θα μπορούν να βλέπουν τους προγενέστερους ατσάριας.

Η ΘΕΣΗ ΤΟΥ ΣΡΙΛΑ ΠΡΑΜΠΟΥΠΑΝΤΑ - ΚΕΙΜΕΝΟ ΜΕ ΣΧΟΛΙΑ

Ο Πραμπουπάντα ως ο Ιδρυτής-Ατσάρια της ISKCON

Ο Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα έδειξε μεγάλο ενδιαφέρον στο να διασφαλίσει σε εύρος χρόνου και εμφανώς την θέση του ως Ιδρυτής Ατσάρια της ISKCON. Εξέφρασε την επιθυμία κάθε ένα από τα βιβλία του να φέρει στην σελίδα τίτλου και στο εξώφυλλο το πληρες του όνομα «Αυτού Θεία Χάρις Α.Τσ. Μπακτιβεντάντα Σουάμι Πραμπουπάντα» με τον τίλτο «Ιδρυτής Ατσάρια της Διεθνούς Οργάνωσης για την Συνείδηση του Κρίσνα» ακριβώς από κάτω. Παρόμοια, έδωσε την εντολή ο τίτλος «Ιδρυτής-Ατσάρια: Αυτού Θεία Χάρις Α.Τσ. Μπακτιβεντάντα Σουάμι Πραμπουπάντα» να εμφανίζεται αμέσως κάτω από τον τίτλο «Διεθνής Οργάνωση για την Συνείδηση του Κρίσνα» σε όλα τα επίσημα έγγραφα της ISKCON, στα χαρτικά επιστολών, στις δημοσιεύσεις και στις σημάνσεις. Με αυτούς και με άλλους τρόπους η ιδιαίτερη, στενή σύνδεση του Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα με την ISKCON πρέπει πάντοτε να τιμάται.
'

‘’'Η μεγάλη ανησυχία του Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα. Το 1970, μερικά γραπτά του Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα που εκδόθηκαν από τον τύπο της ISKCON εμφάνιζαν το όνομα το συγγραφέα χωρίς τα παραδοσιακά τιμητικά και η θέση του μέσα στην ISKCON να επεξηγείται απλώς με τον τίτλο «Ατσάρια» στην θέση του «Ιδρυτής-Ατσάρια». “Από αυτό, ο Πραμπουπάντα διέκρινε μια συντονισμένη προσπάθεια να υποσκάψουν την θέση του.

Ο Satsvarūpa dāsa Gosvāmī θυμάται το γεγονός αυτό στην βιβλιογραφία του Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα (Śrīla Prabhupāda-līlāmṛta) (4.93):

Όταν ο τύπος της ISKCON στην Βοστώνη εσφαλμένα εκτύπωσε το όνομα του Πραμπουπάντα σε ένα νέο βιβλίο, εκείνος βαθιά λυπήθηκε.

Το μικρό κεφάλαιο χαρτόδετου χαρτιού από το δεύτερο κάντο της Σρίμαντ Μπάγκαβαταμ έφερε το όνομά του πάνω στο εξώφυλλο αναγράφοντας απλώς Α.Τσ. Μπακτιβεντάντα παραβλέποντας το σύνηθες «Αυτού Θεία Χάρις», καθώς και «Σουάμι Πραπουπάντα». Το όνομα του Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα έμεινε σχεδόν γυμνό πνευματικής σημασίας. Κάποια άλλη δημοσίευση από τον τύπο της ISKCON περιέγραψε τον Πραμπουπάντα ως «ατσάρια» της ISKCON, παρά το ότι ο Πραμπουπάντα είχε επανειλλημένως δώσει έμφαση στο ότι ήταν ο ιδρυτής-ατσάρια. Είχαν υπάρξει πολλοί ατσάριας ή πνευματικοί δάσκαλοι και θα υπάρξουν και άλλοι πολλοί, αλλά η Αυτού Θεία Χάρις Α.Τσ. Μπακτιβεντάντα Σουάμι Πραμπουπάντα ήταν ο μοναδικός ιδρυτής-ατσάρια της Διεθνούς Οργάνωσης για την Συνείδηση του Κρίσνα.

Tα πράγματα έγιναν ακόμα χειρότερα, όταν ο Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα άνοιξε για πρώτη φορά το νέο κεφάλαιο της Μπάγκαβαταμ, το δέσιμο έσπασα και οι σελίδες έπεσαν. Ο Πραμπουπάντα κοίταξε τους πάντες βλοσυρά.

Ο Brahmānanda συνδέει την προσωπική του ενθύμηση από το περιστατικό αυτό με την σειρά βίντεο του Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα που ακολουθεί (Ιούλιος-Αύγουστος 1970, Λος Άντζελες):

Τον καιρό εκείνο, υπήρχε αυτό που ο Πραμπουπάντα θεωρούσε την υποτίμηση των πνευματικών δασκάλων από τους ηγέτες και κυρίως του ιδίου. Ήμουν ο πιο μολυσμένος από αυτό που θα έλεγα φθόνο για το πρόσωπο του πνευματικού ηγέτη. Κατά την επίσκεψη αυτή στο Λος Άντζελες, τα πράγματα δεν πήγαιναν καλά—από τον τύπο της ISKCON, για τον οποίο υπεύθυνος ήμουν εγώ. Τα βιβλία τυπώθηκαν, ο τίτλος του Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα δεν είχε γραφτεί σωστά. Αναγραφόταν μόνον, Α.Τσ. Μπακτιβεντάντα Σουάμι, ενώ η φράση «Αυτού Θεία Χάρις» είχε τελείως παραλειφθεί. Ακόμα ένα βιβλίο, ένα από τα κεφάλαια της Μπάγκαβαταμ, έφερε μόνον τον τίτλο Α. Τσ. Μπακτιβεντάντα Σουάμι— ακόμα και η λέξη «Σουάμι» είχε αφαιρεθεί. Παρουσίασα στον Πραμπουπάντα ένα βιβλίο από τον τύπο της ΙSKCON στην Βοστώνη που τυπώσαμε και άνοιξε το βιβλίο και το δέσιμο απλώς έγινε φύλλο και φτερό. Και αυτό έγινε μέσα στον ναό όπου έγινε η επίσημη παρουσίαση.

Ο Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα υποψιάστηκε αυτό και άλλα δυσάρεστα περιστατικά τα οποία παρακινήθηκαν από μια «ύπουλη μόλυνση» που είχε εξαπλωθεί από την Ινδία (SPL 4:94-95):

Ενώ οι τοπικές δυσκολίες βάρυναν τους ώμους του Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα, έπεσαν στην υπόληψή για κάποια περίεργα πράγματα που οι μαθητές του στην Ινδία είχαν γράψει μέσα στις επιστολές τους και τότε θύμωσε ακόμα περισσότερο. Ένα γράμμα στους λάτρεις στην Αμερική ανέφερε ότι τα πνευματικά αδέρφια του Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα στην Ινδία έφεραν αντίρρηση για τον τίτλο Πραμπουπάντα. Σύμφωνα με αυτούς, μόνον ο Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī θα έπρεπε να αποκαλείται Πραμπουπάντα. . . .

Παρά το ότι οι μαθητές του ήταν μερικές φορές αδαείς, ήξερε ότι δεν ήταν κακοπροαίρετοι. Ωστόσο, τα γράμματα αυτά από την Ινδία μετέφεραν μια πνευματική ασθένεια που είχαν μεταδώσει πολλά πνευματικά αδέρφια του Πραμπουπάντα στους μαθητές του που βρίσκονταν εκεί. . . .

Ο Πραμπουπάντα ήταν ευαίσθητος απέναντι σε κάθε απειλή στην ISKCON. . . . Αλλά τώρα μερικά σχόλια που εκστομίστηκαν ανεύθυνα στην Ινδία αδυνατούσαν την πίστη μερικών από των μαθητών του. Ίσως, αυτή η ύπουλη μόλυνση που τώρα εξαπλωνόταν είχε κατακρημνίσει τα λάθη στον τύπο της ISKCON και ακόμα και τις ασυμφωνίες στο Λος Άντζελες.

Συνεπώς, ο Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα προσπάθησε σκληρά ώστε να τηρηθούν στην λεπτομέρεια οι πολιτικές που είχε εγκαθιδρύσει και που αναγνώριζαν την θέση του. Βλέπουμε την ανησυχία του εμφανώς στις επιστολές του:

Είναι πολύ καλό το ότι έχετε ήδη ανοίξει το κέντρο και το ότι έχετε εγγράψει την Οργάνωση. Αυτό είναι μια καλή αρχή. Ένα πράγμα, όσον αφορά την εγγραφή είναι ότι είναι στην πολιτική μας είναι κρατάμε το όνομα του Ιδρυτή-Ατσάρια Αυτού Θεία Χάρις Α. Τσ. Μπακτιβεντάντα Σουάμι Πραμπουπάντα σε όλα τα καταστατικά της εγγραφής, καθώς και σε όλα τα χαρτικά, τα βιβλία και τις δημοσιεύσεις. Βλέπω λοιπόν το όνομα πάνω στο επιστολόχαρτο στην επιστολή του Σουάμι Subaladas και είναι εντάξει. Κάντε το με αυτόν τον τρόπο.[1] Προχωρήστε λοιπόν και εγγράψτε την Οργάνωση εκεί κάνοντας όλα τα απαιραίτητα και τα σωστά βήματα. Πριν από την ολοκλήρωση της εγγραφής, θα ήθελα να σας ζητήσω να μου αποστείλετε ένα έγγραφο της σύστασης της οργάνωσής μας έτσι ώστε να μπορέσω να το εγκρίνω. Το όνομά μου θα πρέπει να είναι Ιδρυτής-Ατσάρια, Α. Τσ. Μπακτιβεντάντα Σουάμι. Πρέπει να έχω πλήρη εξουσία σε όλα τα ζητήματα.[2]

Μπορούμε να δούμε πώς ο Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα επιθυμούσε ιδιαίτερα να αναφέρεται πάντα ο ακριβής τίτλος του στην ISKCON και αυτός ήταν «Ιδρυτής-Ατσάρια». Μέσα σε αυτό το πλαίσιο, ο Πραμπουπάντα έκρινε την ονομασία, «ατσάρια», εάν χρησιμοποιούνταν μεμονωμένα, ανεπαρκώς και ακόμα και προσβλητικά. Παραιτήθηκε από την χρήση αυτής της ακριβής υβριδικής σύνθετης Αγγλικο-Σανκριτικής λέξης. Είναι ο τίτλος «Ιδρυτής-Ατσάρια» που μεταφέρει την ξεχωριστή στενή σύνδεση που διατηρεί ο Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα με την ISKCON.

Ως Ιδρυτής Ατσάρια ο Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα διατηρεί μια μοναδική θέση εντός της ISKCON. Πρέπει να το κατανοήσουμε πολύ καλά αυτό. Ως Ατσάρια, η παραδειγματική προσωπική του συμπεριφορά είναι το μοντέλο και ο κανόνας για όλους τους λάτρεις της ISKCON. Ως Ιδρυτής, τα προσωπικά του πρότυπα και οι αρχές δράσης, το ιδιαίτερο πνεύμα του ή η «διάθεσή του» λαμβάνουν κοινωνικές διαστάσεις και μορφή εντός της οργάνωσης που εκείνος δημιούργησε. Κάθε μέλος ατομικά εσωτερικεύει το πνεύμα αυτό και το ενσωματώνει στην καρδιά της δικής του ταυτότητας. Το πνεύμα του διαπερνά τον θεσμό και γίνεται η ουσία του πολιτισμού του, ενώ τα μέλη γίνονται η ορατή ενσάρκωση του πνεύματός του στον κόσμο αυτό.'

Ένας Ατσάρια,' ή, ή σύμφωνα με τα λόγια του Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα, «ένας υπερβατικός δάσκαλος της πνευματικής επιστήμης,» [3] είναι διαφορετική φυλή από έναν σύγχρονο ακαδημαϊκό. Ο υπερβατικός δάσκαλος παίρνει την ευθύνη των μαθητών του, τους μυεί στις ιερές γραφές, τους εκπαιδεύει εις βάθος στην βεδική γνώση και τους παρέχει την κατάλληλη κατάρτιση στους απαιτούμενους κανονισμούς και τις αρχές».

Ένας ατσάρια προέρχεται από έναν ατσάρια, μια λέξη που αναφέρεται τόσο στους κανόνες συμπεριφοράς των ιερών γραφών καθώς και στην ίδια την συμπεριφορά σε πρακτικό επίπεδο. Ένας ατσάρια διδάσκει τέτοια συμπεριφορά όχι μόνο μέσω διδασκαλίας, αλλά και μέσω του προσωπικού του παραδείγματος. Ένας ατσάρια είναι παράδειγμα. Ο Πραμπουπάντα έγραψε πάνω σε αυτό, «ένας ατσάρια είναι ο ιδανικός δάσκαλος ο οποίος γνωρίζει τον σχολιασμό των αποκεκαλυμμένων γραφών, συμπεριφέρεται ανάλογα με τις οδηγίες των γραφών και διδάσκει στους μαθητές του να υιοθετούν αυτές τις αρχές».[4] Τέτοια διδασκαλία ξεπερνά την θεωρητική γνώση. Περιλαμβάνει την διαμόρφωση χαρακτήρα που βασίζεται πάνω στην ικανότητα των μαθητών να διαμορφώνουν τον χαρακτήρα τους με βάση το ιδανικό μοντέλο που τους παρουσιάζει ένας ατσάρια.

Ένας ατσάρια πρέπει να παραμένει πιστός στους προηγούμενους ατσάριας. «Δεν μπορεί κανεις να γίνει ατσάρια (πνευματικός δάσκαλος) χωρίς να ακολουθεί αυστηρά την μαθητική διαδοχή των ατσάριας. Αυτός που είναι πραγματικά σοβαρός και επιθυμεί να κάνει πρόοδο στην υπηρεσία αφοσίωσης θα πρέπει να έχει ως μοναδικό του στόχο να ικανοποιήει τους προηγούμενους ατσάριας».ref>CC Madhya 19.156</ref> Την ίδια στιγμή, ο ατσάρια πρέπει να συνδυάζει αυτή την βαθιά πίστη με την ικανότητα να διαμορφώνει ευέλικτα τις οδηγίες ώστε να γίνονται αποτελεσματικές για τις διάφορες κοινότητες μαθητών. «Κάθε ατσάρια έχει συγκεκριμένα μέσα που χρησιμοποιεί για να προωθήσει το πνευματικό κίνημα». Ο Πραμπουπάντα γράφει σχετικά με αυτό ότι, «Ένας ατσάρια θα πρέπει να φτιάξει μόνος του τα μέσα για να έλθουν οι άνθρωποι με τον έναν ή με τον άλλο τρόπο στην Συνείδηση του Κρίσνα». [5] Με την δικιά του εμπειρία κατά νου, σημειώνει το εξής:

Ο δάσκαλος (ατσάρια) πρέπει να σκεφτεί τον χρόνο, τον υποψήφιο και την χώρα. Πρέπει να αποφύγει την αρχή niyamāgraha— που σημαίνει ότι δεν θα πρέπει να προσπαθεί να κάνει το αδύνατο δυνατό. Αυτό που είναι δυνατόν σε μια χώρα, μπορεί να είναι αδύνατο σε μια άλλη. Το καθήκον του ατσάρια είναι να αποδέχεται την ουσία της υπηρεσίας αφοσίωσης. Μπορεί να υπάρχουν αλλαγές εδώ κι εκεί όσον αφορά την yukta-vairāgya (ορθή απάρνηση).[6]

Η ικανότητα να παραμένει πιστός στην παράδοση και την ίδια στιγμή να είναι επιδέξιος στην προσαρμογή αυτής της παράδοσης στο κοινό κατά τόπους και στις διάφορες συνθήκες, είναι όπως ο Πραμπουπάντα επεξηγεί, δείγμα συνειδητοποιημένης γνώσης:

Προσωπική συνειδητοποίηση δεν σημαίνει ότι κάποιος θα πρέπει, από ματαιοδοξία και μόνο, να προσπαθεί να επιδείξει την δικιά του γνώση για να ξεπεράσει τους προηγούμενους ατσάριας. Πρέπει να έχει πλήρη εμπιστοσύνη στους προηγούμενους ατσάριας και την ίδια στιγμή πρέπει να συνειδητοποιεί την ουσία τόσο καλά ώστε να μπορεί να την παρουσιάσει κάτω από ορισμένες συνθήκες με τον κατάλληλο τρόπο. Ο αρχικός στόχος του κειμένου πρέπει να διατηρηθεί. Κανένα λιγότερο γνωστό μήνυμα δεν θα πρέπει να παραβλεφθεί, αλλά αντίθετα θα πρέπει να παρουσιαστεί με τρόπο ενδιαφέρον για να μπορέσει το κοινό να το κατανοήσει. Αυτό καλείται συνειδητοποίηση.[7]

Η συνειδητοποίηση δίνει στον ατσάρια τα «μέσα για να μπορέσει να διαδόσει το πνευματικό κίνημα».

Τότε, ένας ατσάρια έχει τον έλεγχο των μέσων που θα οδηγήσουν τους δεκτικούς μαθητές κοντά σε αυτόν (upanīti) ώστε να μπορέσει να τους μεταδώσει και να τους αφυπνίσει με το δικό του πνεύμα, δίνοντάς τους παράλληλα την δύναμη της δικιάς του γνώσης και συνειδητοποίησης. Γίνονται οι προσωπικοί του εκπρόσωποι, που σημαίνει ότι γίνονται εκείνοι που με την ουσιώδη έννοια της λέξης, παρουσιάζουν εκ νέου, από την αρχή τον ατσάρια στους άλλους.

«Ιδρυτής-Ατσάρια» ‘’’—αυτή η ενωτική Αγγλικο-Σανσκριτική υβριδική σύνθεση—είναι ο συγκεκριμένος όρος που χρησιμοποιεί ο Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα για να δηλώσει την θέση του μέσα στην ISKCON. Έχουμε δει ότι από την άποψη αυτή ο Πραμπουπάντα έκρινε τον τίτλο «Ατσάρια,» όταν χρησιμοποιείται μόνος του, όχι μόνο ανεπαρκή αλλά και προσβλητικό. Ωστόσο, γνωρίζουμε ότι η λέξη «ατσάρια» μεμονωμένα χρησιμοποιείται παραδοσιακά ως τιμητικός τίτλος για την διακεκριμένη αρχή του πνευματικού θεσμού. Συμπερασματικά, πρέπει να πούμε ότι αυτός που φέρει τον τίτλο «Ιδρυτής-Ατσάρια,» έχει αναλάβει μια σοβαρότερη αποστολή, την αποστολή της ειδικής αναγνώρισης. Ο Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα είναι ο πρώτος ατσάρια στην γραμμή μας που έχει λάβει (και που επιμένει σε αυτό) αυτόν τον επίσημο τίτλο. Ενώ κάποιος θα περίμενε να δει τον Σρίλα Μπακτισιντάντα Σαρασβάτι Τακούρα να έχει επίσημα αναγνωριστεί με τον τίτλο αυτό, τέτοια πρακτική είναι απούσα από το αρχείο.

Μια εξέταση του περιοδικού στην αγγλική γλώσσα The Harmonist από την μοναστική οργάνωση Gauḍīya Maṭha l[8] αποκαλύπτει ότι στα πρώτα χρόνια ο Μπακτισιντάντα Σαρασβάτι Τακούρα ήταν συνήθως γνωστός με δύο διακριτούς τίτλους. Από την μια πλευρά, ήταν «ο Πρόδερος του Śrī ViśvaVaiṣṇava-rāja Sabhā» και από την άλλη πλευρά ήταν «ο Ατσάρια», τίτλος που χρησιμοποιείται είτε μόνος του είτε με ένα άλλο σύνολο, όπως για παράδειγμα: ο Ατσάρια της κοινότητας Gauḍīya, της κοινότητας Madhva-Gauḍīya, των Βαϊσνάβα Gauḍīya και λοιπά. Μερικές φορές οι δύο τίτλοι συνδέονται μεταξύ τους και ταυτόχρονα είναι και ξεχωριστοί, όπως βλέπουμε στα εξής παραδείγματα: «ο Ατσάρια» (ο Μεσσίας) της σύγχρονης εποχής και εκείνος ο οποίος είναι τώρα ο πρόεδρος του λεγόμενου ιστορικού Viswa Vaishnava Raj Sabha (Harm. 28.2:58).10 [9] Ενσωματωμένη στο πλήρως επίσημα ανανεωμένο Viśva-Vaiṣṇavarāja Sabhā (το οποίο λειτούργησε κάτω από ένα συμβούλιο τριών ηγετών μαθητών) ήταν η συνεχώς διευρυνόμενη συνομοσπονδία ναών— μοναστικών κέντρων κατάρτισης, διδασκαλίας και κατήχησης—που έγινε γνωστή συλλογικά με την ονομασία «Gauḍīya Maṭha» και όλο και συχνότερα με την ονομασία «Αποστολή Gauḍīya.» [10] Την ίδια στιγμή οι ονομασίες «Ατσάρια» και «Πρόεδρος» συγχωνεύτηκαν σε μια ενωτική μορφή η οποία σταδιακά έγινε ο βασικός τίτλος για τον Μπακτισιντάντα Σαρασβάτι Τακούρα: «Πρόεδρος-Ατσάρια.» Αυτός ο σύνθετος τίτλος χρησιμοποιείται σε συνδυασμό και με τα δύο «Viśva-VaiṣṇavaRāja Sabhā» και «Gauḍīya Maṭha» (ή άλλες εκδοχές όπως «Αποστολή Gauḍīya» και «η Αποστολή»). Επιπλέον, ο τίτλος «Πρόεδρος-Ατσάρια» όπως και ο τίτλος «ο Ατσάρια» συχνά εμφανίζεται ως μια αυτόνομη ονομασία για τον Μπακτισιντάντα Σαρασβάτι Τακούρα.[11] Από την άλλη μεριά, η χρήση του «ιδρυτής» στους τίτλους του Μπακτισιντάντα Σαρασβάτι Τακούρα είναι αρκετά σπάνια. Το πιο αξιοσημείωτο παράδειγμα προκύπτει στον πολύ γνωστό φόρο τιμής Vyāsa-Pūjā από τον Abhay Charan Das, για τα μέλη, «Sree Gaudiya Math, Βομβάη» όπου ο δικός μας Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα αναφέρεται στον Μπακτισιντάντα Σαρασβάτι ως «ο παγκόσμιος δάσκαλος Acharyadeva, που είναι ο ιδρυτής αυτής της Αποστολής Gaudiya και είναι ο Πρόδερος Ατσάρια του Sree Sree Viswa Vaishnab Raj-Shabha: Εννοώ τον αιώνιο πνευματικό μου δάσκαλο. . . » (Harm. 32:291).[12]

Ακόμα κι αν δεν βρίσκουμε το τίτλο «Ιδρυτής-Ατσάρια» να χρησιμοποιείται για τον Μπακτισιντάντα Σαρασβάτι Τακούρα, αυτός ο συγκεκριμένος τιμητικός τίτλος κάνει την αξιοσημείωτη εμφάνισή του μέσα στα πιο αξιόλογα έργα της Αγγλικής λογοτεχνίας του Gauḍīya Maṭha: Σρι Κρίσνα Τσεϊτάνια από τον Niśikānta Sānyāl.

Έχουμε ήδη σημειώσει ότι το 1927 η Sajjana-toṣaṇī άλλαξε και έγινε το αγγλικής γλώσσας περιοδικό με το όνομα The Harmonist προκειμένου να μεταδώσει την Συνείδηση του Κρίσνα στον κόσμο πέρα από την Ινδία—ένα στάδιο προετοιμασίας για την επικείμενη αποστολή των «Κατηχητών της Αποστολής» στις ξένες ακτές το 1933—«The crowning glory,» σημειώσεις από τον Bhakti Vikāśa Swami, «από όλες τις δραστηριότητες του Gauḍīya Maṭha που αναφέρονται εδώ» (SBV 1:108). Για να αποσταλούν οι κατηχητές αυτοί με τα κατάλληλα όπλα στην αποστολή τους, έπρεπε πρώτα να γίνει μια γραπτή εργασία την οποία θα έπαιρναν μαζί τους για να την χρησιμοποιήσουν. Η εργασία αυτή θα μετέφερε «το μήνυμα της Αποστολής» με τρόπο επαρκή, λογικό, πλήρη και λόγιο ώστε να μπορεί να βρει ανταπόκριση στα πεπαιδευμένα μέλη των καλλιεργημένων εθνών. Η εργασία αυτή ήταν ο Κύριος Κρίσνα Τσεϊτάνια. [8] Ο συγγραφέας του, ο Niśikānta Sānyāl, Καθηγητής Ιστορίας στο Κολλέγιο Ravenshaw στο Cuttack, έφερε το όνομα του μυημένου λάτρη Nārāyaṇa Dāsa και τον τίτλο Bhakti Sudhākara από τον Σρίλα Μπακτισιντάντα Σαρασβάτι Τακούρα. Ο πνευματικός δάσκαλος και ο μαθητής του χρησιμοποίησαν από κοινού την εργασία σε στενή συνεργασία με τα λογοτεχνικά προγράμματα στην αγγλική γλώσσα και αυτό δεν αποτέλεσε καμία εξαίρεση.[9] Ο Bhakti Vikāśa Swami αναφέρει ότι ο Μπακτισιντάντα Σαρασβάτι Τακούρα καθυστέρησε στον σταθμό του Nilgiri Hill Ootacamund για δύο μήνες το καλοκαίρι του1932 για να συγκεντρωθεί στην αναθεώρηση του βιβλίου του Κυρίου Κρίσνα Τσεϊτάνια (SBV 1:243). Προφανώς, οι κατηχητές δεν μπορούσαν να ξεκινήσουν την αποστολή τους στην Δύση μέχρι να έχουν το βιβλίο στα χέρια τους.(SBV 2:27):

Με τα Αγγλικά του Καθηγητή Sanyal και το βιβλίο για τον Κύριο Κρίσνα Τσεϊτάνια να δημοσιεύεται στο φεστιβάλ Gaura-pūrṇimā το 1933, ο Σρίλα Μπακτισιντάντα Σαρασβάτι έκρινε ότι ήρθε η ώρα για την διάδοση του μηνύματος του Μαχαπραμπού στην Ευρώπη. Και στις 10 Απριλίου το όνειρό του τελικά έγινε πραγματικότητα όταν ο Śrīmad Bhakti Pradīpa Tirtha Mahārāja, ο Śrīmad Bhakti Hṛdaya Bon Mahārāja και ο Saṁvidānanda Prabhu έπλευσαν από την Βομβάη για το Λονδίνο.

Τριάντα πέντε χρόνια αργότερα, στις 14 Μαρτίου του 1967, ο Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα έγραψε από το Σαν Φρανσίσκο στον Brahmānanda Dāsa στην Νέα Υόρκη να κάνει την δική του συνεισφορά στο έργο:

Είμαι χαρούμενος που ο Donald αγόρασε το βιβλίο του Καθηγητή Sanyal για τον Κύριο Κρίσνα Τσεϊτάνια. Ο τελευταίος Καθηγητής N. K. Sanyal ήταν ο πνευματικός μου αδελφός και το βιβλίο του για τον Κύριο Κρίσνα Τσεϊτάνια εγκρίθηκε επίσημα. Κράτησέ το προσεκτικά και ίσως να καταφέρουμε να δημοσιεύσουμε στο περιοδικό Back to Godhead μερικά άρθρα από το βιβλίο. Θα μας βοηθήσει σε μεγάλο βαθμό επειδή ο πνευματικός μου δάσκαλος έδωσε την έγκρισή Του για το βιβλίο αυτό. Σε παρακαλώ να το κρατήσεις προσεκτικά και όταν επιστρέψω θα το δω. (670314 - Επιστολή στον Brahmananda η οποία συντάχθηκε στο Σαν Φρανσίσκο)

Βρίσκεται μέσα στις σελίδες του βιβλίου για τον Κύριο Κρίσνα Τσεϊτάνια το εξής χωρικό: ο υβριδικός Αγγλικο-Σανσκριτικός τίτλος «Ιδρυτής Ατσάρια» λαμβάνει την εξέχουσα θέση που του αρμόζει και εμφανίζεται πρώτος στον πίνακα περιεχομένων:

ΚΕΦΑΛΑΙΟ VII— ΙΔΡΥΤΕΣ-ΑΤΣΑΡΙΑΣ
Τα συστήματα των Sree Vishnuswami, Sree Nimbaditya, Sree Ramanuja και Sree Madhva σηματοδοτούν την αναγέννηση του Βαϊσναβισμού που βρίσκεται στα προ-ιστορικά αρχεία. Ενσαρκώνουν την ευλαβική λατρεία του Βίσνου. Η δευτερεύουσα αξία τους συνίσταται στο να είναι μια ασυμβίβαστη διαμαρτυρία κατά των απόψεων των κερδοσκοπικών θρησκευμάτων. Η πνευματική τους σύνθεση, παρά το ότι είναι σταθερή, είναι παράλληλα και ατελής.

Ο συγγραφέας παρουσιάζει μια ανοικτή επισκόπηση της φθίνουσας πορείας της ανθρώπινης πνευματικότητας που έρχεται στο επίκεντρο κάτω από τις τέσσερις κανονιστικές ιστορικές παραδόσεις των Βαϊσνάβα. Ο ίδιος ο Κύριος ξεκίνησε τις παραδόσεις αυτές εμπνέοντας εκείνους που ο Καθηγητής Sānyāl αποκαλεί «τους αρχικούς προ-ιστορικού δασκάλους.» Εξηγεί:

Οι τέσσερις κοινότητες (sampradayas) της Εποχής του Σιδήρου συνδέονται με τους αρχαίους καιρούς μέσω της αναγνώρισης της υπέρτατης αρχής των αιώνιων αρχαίων δασκάλων. δηλαδή των Lakshmi, Brahma, Rudra και των τεσσάρων Sanas (chatuhsanah), αντίστοιχα. Οι τέσσερις Ιδρυτές-Ατσάριας της Εποχής του Σιδήρου πρέσβευαν να κυρήττουν τις απόψεις εκείνων των αρχικών δασκάλων της θρησκείας.

Βρίσκουμε τότε ότι κάθε sampradāya κατέχει ένα ζευγάρι μελών που διακρίνονται από κάθε άλλο για την εκτεταμένη επίδραση που ασκούν πάνω στους διαδόχους τους. Το πρώτο άτομο σε κάθε ζευγάρι είναι ένας από τους «αιώνιους αρχαίους δασκάλους» που γίνεται «ο αρχικός προ-ιστορικός δάσκαλος» για την κοινότητα sampradāya. Το δεύτερο μέλος του ζευγαριού είναι ο «Ιδρυτής-Ατσάρια» ένας παραδειγματικός μέντορας ο οποίος αναγεννά και μεταρρυθμίζει την κοινότητα στην εποχή του Κάλι, προικίζοντάς της με ένα χαρακτηριστικό στυλ σκέψης και δράσης.[10] Ο τίτλος «Ιδρυτής-Ατσάρια,» όπως χρησιμοποιείται από τον Niśikānta Sānyāl, περιορίζεται σε αυτές τις επιφανείς ιστορικές προσωπικότητες, στις οποίες αναφερόμαστε με την κοινή ονομασία «sampradāya-ācāryas.»[11] «Ιδρυτής-Ατσάρια» ήταν ο διακριτικός τίτλος τους. Κάτω από το φως των λεγομένων αυτών, είναι κατανοητό ότι ο Σρίλα Μπακτισιντάντα Σαρασβάτι Τακούρα δεν έφερε ο ίδιος τον τίτλο. Συνεπώς, είναι πραγματικό εκπληκτικό το γεγονός ότι βρίσκουμε μέσα στις σελίδες της φυλλάδας The Harmonist τις λέξεις «Ιδρυτής-Ατσάρια» που χρησιμοποιούνται με τρόπο μετρημένο αλλά και σίγουρο για να γίνει αναφορά στον Πρόεδρο του μοναστικού ιδρύματος Gauḍīya Maṭha. Η φράση εισάγεται σε ένα σημαντικό άρθρο με τίτλο «The Gaudiya Math,» το οποίο τυπώθηκε σε τρεις δόσεις στο τεύχος του περιοδικού The Harmonist του Οκτωβρίου του 1930. [12] Η δημοσίευσή του συνέπεσε ως εκ τούτου με την εορτή εγκαινίασης τον Νοέμβριο του μόλις ολοκληρωμένου ανακτορικού ναού που ονομάστηκε «Śrī Gauḍīya Maṭha» στην Bāg-bazar, στην Καλκούτα. Αυτός ο ναός μέσα στην νέα του αποκαλυπτόμενη αίγλη είναι το συγκεκριμένο θέμα του τίτλου του άρθρου. Το πρώτο μέρος του «The Gaudiya Math» αποτελεί το πιο σημαντικό τμήμα του τεύχους του Οκτωβρίου και η πρώτη σελίδα φέρει την φωτογραφία του πολύ σεβαστού Jagabandhu Bhakti Rañjana,[13]. Το άρθρο του περιοδικού The Harmonist δεν κάνε καμία παρατήρηση, μια πρακτική που προσδίδει στα κομμάτια αυτά την σφραγίδα της αυστηρής συντακτικής έγκρισης (εάν όχι άμεσης συγγραφής).[14] Ενώ γίνεται ο εορτασμός του μεγάλου βήματος της Αποστολής προς την παγκόσμια κατήχηση, το περιοδικό The Harmonist αξιοποιεί την ευκαιρία για να επεξηγήσει με σαφήνεια την πνευματική (και σε ένα βαθμό την εσωτερική) δομή και λειτουργία της εξαπλώμενης οργάνωσης. "The Gaudiya Math" presents a definitive essay in Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava ecclesiology.[15]

The article presupposes a controlling metaphor[16] used by community members to understand the form and activity of their Gauḍīya Maṭha institution: that of a robustly growing tree whose flourishing limbs and branches extend to cover the world. This metaphor is derived, of course, from the ninth chapter of Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Ādi-līlā, "The Desire Tree of Devotional Service." There Mahāprabhu is depicted as a gardener who brings to earth this desire tree, the bhakti-kalpa-taru, plants the seed in the soil of Navadvīpa, and cultivates the plant, which grows to bestow the fruit of Kṛṣṇa prema to all everywhere. Mahāprabhu is not only the gardener, but also the tree itself (kṛṣṇa-premāmara-taruḥ svayam) as well as the enjoyer and the distributor of its fruit.

The Gauḍīya Maṭha institution is a manifestation of that tree. Its seed—so the members understood—had been planted and watered in Navadvīpa, Mahāprabhu’s very birthplace, by his agent Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, who retired to that sacred place from 1905 to 1914, chanting 192 rounds a day, in fulfillment of a vow to chant a billion names. Much of this yajña he executed in a cottage he had built on property where, on March 27, 1918, he took sannyāsa. "On the day he took sannyāsa," writes Bhakti Vikāśa Swami, "Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī also established the Śrī Caitanya Maṭha in Māyāpur, revealing service to the deities Śrī Śrī Gāndharvikā-Giridhārī alongside the deity of Lord Caitanya before whom he had performed his vow of chanting a billion names."[17] In this way, the tree of the Gauḍīya Mission took root in sacred soil, and soon began to grow and branch out, notably in the form of the Śrī Gauḍīya Maṭha, established in 1920 by Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura at 1 Ultadingi Junction Road, Calcutta.[18]

This image of the institution is presented in the very first issue of The Harmonist (June, 1927). "The Gaudiya Math: Its Message and Activities," opening with rhetorical flourishes that give voice to the spirit of dynamic growth, depicts the Gauḍīya Maṭha with the image of a tree—rooted in Māyāpura ("the soil of Advent" of Mahāprabhu), branching to Calcutta, and spreading throughout India :

By the grace of the Lord of the Gaudiyas the message of the Gaudiya Math is to-day not unknown to any one in the whole of Gauda Desh—and not in Gauda Desh only, but over Naimisharanya, Ayodhya, Prayag, Kasi, Sree Brindaban, Mathura on one side and also over Dakshinatya [southern India] and everywhere throughout the tracts of Orissa on the other, [thus it] has been well proclaimed the message of the Gaudiya Math, the principal branch of the Sree Chaitanya Math which is the root implanted in the soil of the Advent of Sreeman Mahaprabhu,— Sree Mayapur Nabadvipa Dhama. Over Gaudamandala, Kshetramandala and Brajamandala the message of the Gaudiya Math has gone forth.

Upon the opening in October 1930 of the relocated Gauḍīya Maṭha at Bāg-bazar—which was expressly constructed to be headquarters for worldwide propagation of gaura-vānī[19]—The Harmonist of that month opened with an explication of the deep meaning of the event (Harm. 28.5:129):

The Gaudiya Math is the embodiment of the highest service of Sri Sri Radha-Govinda made manifest in the modern urban environment by the Grace of the Acharyya

. . . It is the embodiment of the ideal of service of a single individual who does not belong to this or any Age, nor to this world. By the self-sufficing wish of this single individual the ideal of his service of Sri Sri RadhaGovinda has been manifested in the busiest City of this country in the form of an institution for the practice and propagation of the most perfect service of the supreme Lord.

This institution . . . owes its existence both as regards initiative and growth to His Divine Grace Paramhansa Srila Bhaktishiddanta Saraswati Goswami Maharaj . . . .

Thus, the Gauḍīya Maṭha is made to appear and to flourish by the grace of the Ācārya. Here is its provenance (Harm. 28.5:130):

The Gaudiya Math [in Calcutta] is the principle branch of Sri Chaitanya Math of Sridham Mayapur. The distinction between the Gaudiya Math and Sri Chaitanya Math is all analogous to that between one lamp lighted by another. The Gaudiya Math is the expansion of the Chaitanya Math in a visible form into the heart of the world. Sri Chaitanya Math is eternally located as the original source even when it is manifested to the view of the people of this world, in the transcendental environment of the eternal Abode of the Divinity. The activities of the Gaudiya Math and of the other sister branch Maths are, however, essentially identical with those of Sri Chaitanya Math and are categorically different from the ordinary activities of this world.

Here, use of the lamp-analogy is telling. Taken from Śrī Brahmasaṁhitā 4.46, where it elucidated the relation between Lord Kṛṣṇa and his expansion, the analogy as used here implies that the institution itself is transcendent and has the same attribute as the Lord Himself, whose multiple expansions and sub-expansions are nondifferent from Him. Hence, the Gauḍīya Maṭha and other branch Maṭhas are spiritually identical with the parent Maṭha in Māyāpura and with each other as well.

And now (Harm. 28.5:131):

The Gaudiya Math is also identical with its founder Acharyya. The associates, followers and abode of His Divine Grace are limbs of himself. None of them claim to be anything but a fully subordinate limb of this single individual. This unconditional, causeless, spontaneous submission to the Head, is found to be not only compatible with, but absolutely necessary for the fullest freedom of initiative of the subordinate limbs.

Throughout this article, Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura is denoted "the Acharyya," but in this one place, expounding upon the nature of his spiritual relationship with his (equally spiritual) institution, he is explicitly distinguished as "founder Acharyya." He is the one, "the Head," to whom the institution, comprised of all the human and material resources consecrated to his service, "owes its existence both as regards initiative and growth." Under such conditions, the institution is non-different from its Founder-Ācārya.

In the second installment, "The Gaudiya Math" returns to a theological exposition of the structure and function of the institution (Harm. 28.6:165):

All activity of the Gaudiya Math emanates from His Divine Grace Paramahansa Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Maharaj, the spiritual successor of Sri Rupa Goswami who was originally authorised by Sri Caitanyadeva to explain the process of loving spiritual devotion for the benefit of all souls. The reality of the whole activity of the Gaudiya Math depends on the initiative of the Acharya. Sri Chaitanya Math of Sridham Mayapur reveals the source of the Gaudiya Math. The Acharya dwells eternally with the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna Chaitanya in His transcendental Abode in Sridham Mayapur, White Island of the Scriptures. From there the Acharya manifests his appearance on the mundane plane for the redemption of souls from the grip of the deluding energy and conferring on them loving devotion to the Feet of Sri Sri Radha-Govinda. The offshoots of Sri Chaitanya Math are an extension of the centre of the bestowal of grace for the benefit of souls in all parts of the world. The recognition of the connection with Sridham Mayapur is vital for realising the true nature of the Gaudiya Math and the grace of the Acharya.[20]

It is noteworthy that the use of Founder-Ācārya to refer to Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura occurs a second time in the pages of The Harmonist. In the issue of December 24, 1936 (Harm. 33.4:90-96) an article titled "The Gaudiya Math"—this time explicitly attributed to "Prof. Nisi Kanta Sanyal M.A."— contains these words: "The Gaudiya Math is the instrument and counterpart of His Divine Grace Paramahansa Paribrajakacharyya Sree Sreemad Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Maharaj. It lives and moves and has its being in the Founder-Acharyya."[21] A week following the publication of these words, Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura left this world.

In summary, we see that the precise hyphenated term "Founder-Acharya" makes its appearance in Sree Krishna Chaitanya to distinguish four formative preceptors who, having inherited the primordial ancient teaching imparted originally by God Himself, were able to revive and redact it for durable transmission, without deformation or diminution, in the degraded and degrading milieu of Kali-yuga. Infusing their teachings with their own realized knowledge, they endowed succeeding generations with a normative model of thinking, feeling, and acting, as well as specific salvific power.[22] The palatial Calcutta temple was inaugurated even as Professor Sānyāl was laboring to produce Sree Krishna Chaitanya. The temple, like the book, was viewed as a major component of a worldwide preaching mission. As part of the inaugural observances, The Harmonist carried an authoritative ecclesiological exposition of Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura’s institution. It is significant, on this occasion, that the author of Sree Krishna Chaitanya made use of the words "founder Acharyya" to characterize Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura. Especially in light of their intimate working relationship, the disciple would take so consequential a step only with the accord of his spiritual master and Editor-in-Chief.

The similarities between "the four Founder-Acharyas of the Iron Age," and the ācārya of the Gauḍīya Mission are clear, in spite of the obvious differences. In the case of the four sampradāyaācāryas, the inaugural divine revelations took place in prehistoric time. In the case of the Gauḍīya-sampradāya, however, the divine disclosure provided by Lord Caitanya occurred within relatively recent historic time. Yet the "original pre-historic teachers," who were graced with direct enlightenment by the Lord, have their Gauḍīya analogue in (primarily) the Six Gosvāmīs. The parallel between the enlightenment of the ṣaḍ-gosvāmī by Lord Caitanya and that of caturmukha Brahmā by Lord Kṛṣṇa was clear to Śrīla Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī:

Before the creation of this cosmic manifestation, the Lord enlightened the heart of Lord Brahmā with the details of the creation and manifested the Vedic knowledge. In exactly the same way, the Lord, being anxious to revive the Vṛndāvana pastimes of Lord Kṛṣṇa, impregnated the heart of Rūpa Gosvāmī with spiritual potency [nijaśakti]. By this potency, Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī could revive the activities of Kṛṣṇa in Vṛndāvana, activities almost lost to memory. In this way, He spread Kṛṣṇa consciousness throughout the world. (CC Madhya 19.1)

And Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura himself acted analogously to the four Founder-Ācāryas by reviving and reforming a weakened tradition, and engendering a society which, formed and pervaded by his own spirit, embodied the founder’s unassuageable eagerness to satisfy the merciful desires of the Lord. The four sampradāya-ācāryas powerfully countered impersonal monism, restored the true theistic siddhānta of the Vedas, and spread that siddhānta vigorously throughout India. So did Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura. Moreover, Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura had been concentrating his resources on going even further: to propagate acintyabhedābheda-tattva—the ultimate synthesis of the teachings of the four sampradāya-ācāryas—throughout the entire planet.

However, following the loss of Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura’s physical presence, his institution unfortunately also suffered the immensely greater loss of his spiritual presence. As a result, the Gauḍīya Mission became deprived of the power to be "an extension of the centre of the bestowal of grace for the benefit of souls in all parts of the world."

Consequently, the servant of Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, in order to carry out the order of his master, in order to continue his mission as the enactor of his desire and fulfiller of his aspiration, that servant became the Founder-Ācārya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. He will remain actively present among us, generation after succeeding generation, so long as we remain his unwavering servants in all conditions, as he himself showed us by his own resplendent example.

We revere and learn from the many great ācāryas in our line, yet as ISKCON Founder-Ācārya, Śrīla Prabhupāda becomes unique among them for us. In ISKCON, Prabhupāda himself remains present, generation after generation, as the single prominent śikṣā guru immanent in the life of each and every ISKCON devotee—a perpetual, indwelling active guiding and directing presence. He is thus the soul of ISKCON. As such, Śrīla Prabhupāda himself continues to act effectively in this world so long as ISKCON continues as the coherent expression and unified instrument of his will. In this way Śrīla Prabhupāda remains the soul of ISKCON, and ISKCON his body.

Śrīla Prabhupāda remains present. While Śrīla Prabhupāda was among us, he blessed us with clear instructions for maintaining our association with him during his future physical absence. We find these instructions expounded thoroughly in the Fourth Canto of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam, wherein Prabhupāda elucidates Queen Vaidarbhī’s reaction to the death of her royal husband, an incident in Nārada’s allegorical narration regarding King Purañjana. Prabhupāda explains:

Figuratively the queen is supposed to be the disciple of the king; thus when the mortal body of the spiritual master expires, his disciples should cry exactly as the queen cries when the king leaves his body. However, the disciple and spiritual master are never separated because the spiritual master always keeps company with the disciple as long as the disciple follows strictly the instructions of the spiritual master. This is called the association of vāṇī (words). Physical presence is called vapuḥ [body]. As long as the spiritual master is physically present, the disciple should serve the physical body of the spiritual master, and when the spiritual master is no longer physically existing, the disciple should serve the instructions of the spiritual master.[23]

The queen prepares to immolate herself on her husband’s pyre. Her intention, Prabhupāda explains, signifies the determination of a disciple to faithfully execute the spiritual master’s order. Thereupon a learned brāhmaṇa appears—as "an old friend" of the queen—and begins to console and guide her. Allegorically, Prabhupāda says, the brāhmaṇa signifies the Supersoul. Prabhupāda continues:

When one becomes serious to follow the mission of the spiritual master, his resolution is tantamount to seeing the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As explained before, this means meeting the Supreme Personality of Godhead in the instruction of the spiritual master. This is technically called vāṇī-sevā. Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura states in his Bhagavad-gītā commentary on the verse vyavasāyātmikā buddhir ekeha kuru-nandana (BG 2.41) that one should serve the words of the spiritual master. The disciple must stick to whatever the spiritual master orders. Simply by following on that line, one sees the Supreme Personality of Godhead. . . . In conclusion, if a disciple is very serious to execute the mission of the spiritual master, he immediately associates with the Supreme Personality of Godhead by vāṇī or vapuḥ. This is the only secret of success in seeing the Supreme Personality of Godhead.[24]

Commenting on the next text, Śrīla Prabhupāda further elucidates this inviolable relationship between the faithful follower and the spiritual master:

One who is sincere and pure gets an opportunity to consult with the Supreme Personality of Godhead in His Paramātmā feature sitting within everyone’s heart. The Paramātmā is always the caitya-guru, the spiritual master within, and He comes before one externally as the instructor and initiator spiritual master. The Lord can reside within the heart, and He can also come out before a person and give him instructions. Thus the spiritual master is not different from the Supersoul sitting within the heart. . . . When the brāhmaṇa asked the woman who the man lying on the floor was, she answered that he was her spiritual master and that she was perplexed about what to do in his absence. At such a time the Supersoul immediately appears, provided the devotee is purified in heart by following the directions of the spiritual master. A sincere devotee who follows the instructions of the spiritual master certainly gets direct instructions from his heart from the Supersoul. Thus a sincere devotee is always helped directly or indirectly by the spiritual master and the Supersoul.

We should carefully take note that the presence of Śrīla Prabhupāda in ISKCON is conditional upon one thing: the dedication of his committed followers to execute his mission. Śrīla Prabhupāda has here revealed to us the "secret of success." We should accept and treasure this gift.

The soul of ISKCON. Lecturing on the first verse of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam in Caracas on February 21, 1975, Śrīla Prabhupāda used a revealing example. It was not his main point, simply an example offered in passing. Even so, it captures one’s attention:

So here it is said that origin is life, because here it is said, yato ‘nvayād itarataś ca artheṣu abhijñaḥ svarāṭ. [He is directly and indirectly conscious of all manifestations, and He is independent]. Just like if I am taken as the origin of this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, that means I know everything directly and indirectly of all this movement. If I do not know directly or indirectly everything of this movement, then I cannot be called the founder-ācārya. And as soon as the origin becomes a knower, he is life. So therefore dull matter cannot be the knower of everything.(750221 - Lecture SB 01.01.01 - Caracas)

As Śrīla Prabhupāda is the soul of ISKCON, so ISKCON is his body.[25] And because the incorporation is a spiritual one, the body is non-different from the embodied. In this same context, the principle (as previously noted) had already been propounded in The Harmonist:

The Gaudiya Math is. . . identical with its founder Acharyya. The associates, followers and abode of His Divine Grace are limbs of himself. None of them claim to be anything but a fully subordinate limb of this single individual.

Nearly four decades later, we find Śrīla Prabhupāda advancing this same principle in a letter to Rāyarāma (VB: Correspondence: Jan. 11, 1968):

You have very nicely stated that I am your life. This means you are my body and so neither life nor body can be separated because on the spiritual platform there is no such distinction. On material platform sometimes life is separated from body, but on the Absolute platform there is no such distinction.

Animated by the indwelling spirit of its Founder-Ācārya, ISKCON is the embodiment in this world of the spiritual potency of Lord Caitanya. As an entity thus ensouled by Śrīla Prabhupāda, ISKCON itself becomes a perdurable social organism. In the manner of a living organism, it embraces and enfolds the diversity of its individual elements—its members and sub-groups—into a transcendent union, in which each of its unique elements enshrines the concentrated unity of the whole, while the unified whole valorizes the distinct individuality of each and every one of its parts. In this fashion, ISKCON exemplifies that ultimate principle of divinity realized in the Vaiṣṇava traditions: "unity in diversity." [26] Stressing the paramount necessity of its application within ISKCON, Śrīla Prabhupāda explains how "its success will depend upon agreement" (VB: letter to Kīrtanānanda, Oct. 18, 1973):

Material nature means dissension and disagreement, especially in this Kali yuga. But, for this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement its success will depend on agreement, even though there are varieties of engagements. In the material world there are varieties, but there is no agreement. In the spiritual world there are varieties, but there is agreement. That is the difference. The materialist without being able to adjust the varieties and the disagreements makes everything zero. They cannot come into agreement with varieties, but if we keep Kṛṣṇa in the center, then there will be agreement in varieties. This is called unity in diversity. I am therefore suggesting that all our men meet in Mayapur every year during the birth anniversary of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. With all GBC and senior men present we should discuss how to make unity in diversity. But, if we fight on account of diversity, then it is simply the material platform. Please try to maintain the philosophy of unity in diversity. That will make our movement successful.

Reasons for Prabhupāda’s Founding of ISKCON

When Śrīla Prabhupāda successfully established Lord Caitanya’s movement as a world-preaching mission, he made the weighty decision to form a new institution, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, with himself as Founderācārya. He did this on the basis of his realized knowledge. The essence of that knowledge he imbibed from his own spiritual master. Unfortunately, after Śrīla Prabhupāda’s Guru Mahārāja had passed away, that knowledge and realization largely ceased to be expressed in his guru’s own—but now fragmented— institution. Hence, Prabhupāda founded a new organization that, as a whole and in its every part, would embody and develop that realization—a realization that manifests itself as an unwavering, indefatigable commitment to deliver pure love of God to suffering humanity everywhere.

A new institution. The endeavor that brought Śrīla Prabhupāda to America was in fulfillment of the direct order of his spiritual master. Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura on two occasions specifically enjoined his disciple Abhaya Caraṇāravinda Dāsa to preach to the English-speaking people. Abhaya received this direction at his very first meeting with Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura in 1922. And in 1936 he received it again by post in their last communication. By this time, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura had seen the debilitation of the Gauḍīya Maṭha’s own sustained and concentrated drive that had dispatched preachers to England in 1933.[27] His order to his disciple clearly shows he had not wavered in his resolve. In the long and varied course of fulfilling his master’s divine order, Śrīla Prabhupāda carefully modeled his own creative efforts on the paradigm established by Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura with the Gauḍīya Maṭha in 1920s and ’30s. That adventurous course was marked by such milestones as the 1944 appearance of the English-language Back to Godhead, the publication of the three-volume First Canto of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam in 1962-65, the 1966 founding of ISKCON in New York City, the establishment of the movement in England and Germany in 1969, and the restoration to India in 1970 of Lord Caitanya’s movement, rejuvenated and revitalized. The historical record gives moving testimony throughout to the devoted regard and painstaking fidelity with which Śrīla Prabhupāda paid homage to the exemplar of his own spiritual master.

Śrīla Prabhupāda’s literary production illustrates this fidelity: In 1927 Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura had begun rehearsing for worldwide preaching by transforming Sajjana-toṣaṇī into The Harmonist. Following those footsteps, Śrīla Prabhupāda began preparation for his own eventual entrance onto the world-stage by starting up Back to Godhead. [28]

Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura worked closely with Niśikānta Sānyāl on a magisterial English-language book—the projected three-volume Sree Krishna Chaitanya—to impress upon educated Europeans the loftiness and profundity of Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava teachings. This work was considered so indispensable that the missionaries of 1933 did not embark until copies of the first volume were in hand. Three decades later Śrīla Prabhupāda reprised this effort—this time working virtually alone—and spent the years 1960-65 in composing, fund-raising, printing, publishing, and distributing the Bhāgavatam First Canto in three volumes—1,100 copies of each volume. He did not embark from Calcutta until he had a steamer trunk crammed with Bhāgavatams to accompany him.

Śrīla Prabhupāda arrived in New York alone and destitute, yet he immediately began working to purchase a respectable property for a temple in Manhattan. The priority he gave this effort also replicates that of Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, who had directed a considerable—but ultimately fruitless— effort to establish an impressive temple in London.[29] In this, as in many other instances, the record offers ample testimony as to how closely Śrīla Prabhupāda was guided by the precedent conduct of his spiritual master.

In the context of such fidelity, one momentous act of Śrīla Prabhupāda stands out as an apparent anomaly: his decision to continue his efforts outside the aegis of his spiritual master’s own established organization by founding the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. Further along the way—within two years of ISKCON’s formation—its founder accepted that distinctive honorific that had been borne by his own spiritual master: "Śrīla Prabhupāda." Both acts elicited sometimes virulent criticism from godbrothers. However, a close scrutiny of this undertaking—a kind of reboot-and-recovery of Mahāprabhu’s mission—reveals it to be an act of exemplary fidelity. It could not have been otherwise.

In fact, Śrīla Prabhupāda first proposed to place his hitherto unsupported missionary effort in the West under the mantle of the Gauḍīya Maṭha. In a letter from New York dated November 8, 1965, he pleaded the case for cooperation to his godbrother Bhakti Vilāsa Tīrtha Mahārāja, the then head of the Śrī Caitanya Maṭha in Māyāpura. Initiated with the name Kuñja Bihārī Dāsa, he had previously been affiliated with the Ramakrishna Mission, and his worldly competence and managerial skills had lead Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura to establish him as secretary and overseer of the entire Gauḍīya Maṭha institution[30] Śrīla Prabhupāda’s letter is worth quoting at length:

I am here and see here a good field for work but I am alone without men and money. To start a centre here we must have our own buildings. The Ramakrishna Mission or any other mission which are working here all have their own buildings. So if we want to start a centre here we must have also our own building. To have a own building means to pay at least Rs 500,000/-five lacs or one hundred thousand dollars. And to furnish the house with up to date paraphernalia means another two lacs. If attempt is made this money can be had also. But I think for establishing Matha and temples here you may take the charge and I shall be able to make them self independent. There is difficulty of exchange and I think unless you have some special arrangement for starting a branch of Caitanya Math transfer of money will be difficult. But if you can do so with the help of the Bengal or Central Government, here is good chance to open immediately a centre in New York. . . . Without our own house it will not be possible to open our own centre. For me it will take long time but for you it is very easy. The Calcutta Marwaris are in your hand by the Grace of Srila Prabhupada. If you like you can immediately raise a fund of Rs 10,00,000/- ten lacs to open a centre in New Work. One centre started, I shall be able to start many others also. So here is a chance of cooperation between us and I shall be glad to know if you are ready for this cooperation. I came here to study the situation and I find it very nice and if you are also agreeable to cooperate with it will be all very nice by the will Srila Prabhupada. . . . If you agree then take it for granted that I am one of the worker of the Sri Mayapur Caitanya Matha. I have no ambition for becoming the proprietor of any Matha or Mandir but I want working facilities. I am working day and night for my Bhagavatam publication and I need centres in the western countries. If I am successful to start a centre in New york, then my next attempt will be start one in California and Montreal . . . . There is ample scope for working but unfortunately we have simply wasted time by quarreling with one another while the Ramakrishna Mission with misrepresentation have made their position all over the world. Although they are not so popular in these foreign countries they have made a great propaganda only and as a result of such propaganda they are very prosperous in India while the Gaudiya Math people are starving. We should now come to our senses. If possible join with our other godbrothers and let us make an effort combinedly to preach the cult of Gaura Hari in every cities and villages of the western countries. (651108 - Letter to Teertha Maharaj written from New York)

If you agree to cooperate with me as I have suggested above, then I shall extend my Visa period. . . . otherwise I shall return to India. Immediately I want some good assistants to work with me. They must be educated and able to talk in English as also read Sanskrit nicely. For preaching here two languages English and Sanskrit will be very much appreciated. I think under your leadership every camp of our god brothers should supply a man good for this purpose and they must agree to work under my direction. If that is possible then you will see how our beloved Srila Prabhupada will be satisfied on all of us. I think we shall all forget now the past fratricidal war and now come forward for a good cause. If they are not agreeable then do it yourself and I am at your service.

On November 23, Śrīla Prabhupāda wrote Tīrtha Mahārāja again, this time with a description of a specific property and amount of down payment, noting: " . . . I think this amount you can arrange immediately and just start a branch of your Sri Caitanya Math or designate the branch as New York Gaudiya Math." (651123 - Letter to Teertha Maharaj written from New York)

When Śrīla Prabhupāda had the prospect of a large donation from India to secure a temple, he wrote to Bon Mahārāja and to Tīrtha Mahārāja with appeals to undertake a specific, promising approach to secure the requisite government approval for transfer of funds to America. "Everything is ready," he wrote to Tīrtha Mahārāja:

namely the house is ready, the donor is ready and my humble service on the spot is also ready. Now you are to give the finishing touch because you are most affectionate disciple of His Divine Grace. I think Srila Prabhupada wants that in this great attempt by my humble self your valued service may also be dovetailed. (660204 - Letter to Teertha Maharaj written from New York)

In the event, these strenuous efforts to secure cooperation from these two godbrothers yielded no fruit. In stark contrast, a young disciple of a godbrother, a brahmacārī named Mangalniloy,[31] wrote Śrīla Prabhupāda to express his admiration for Prabhupāda’s endeavor and his eagerness to assist him. However, Mangalniloy’s spiritual master, Mādhava Mahārāja, did not share the enthusiasm of his disciple. Prabhupāda had asked Mangalniloy to urge Mādhava Mahārāja to take up the effort in India to secure release of funds. However, the reply Prabhupāda received from Mangalniloy inadvertently disclosed the antipathy of yet one more godbrother. Here is Prabhupāda’s highly revealing reaction (VB: Correspondence, June 23, 1966):

I requested for this [help on release of funds] to Sripada Bon Maharaja but he has declined, I requested Sripada Tirtha Maharaja and at first he promised [to] see the President and the Finance Minister but later on he is trying to avoid it. So I have to request Sripada Madhava Maharaja through you for this most important work to see the President and the Finance Minister immediately with reference to my application as it is acknowledged by the Embassy of India in Washington.

You have written to say in your letter under reply that you want to join first with me then talk with Sripada Maharaja about cooperation otherwise your journey to this country may be cancelled by him. I could not follow the import of this proposal. Do you think that cooperation with me prior to your joining me here is not possible? Why this mentality. Is it my private business?

Srila Prabhupada wanted to construct some temples in the Foreign countries as preaching centres of the message of Srila Rupa Raghunatha and I am trying to do this in this part of the world. The money is ready and the opportunity is open. If by seeing the Finance Minister this work can be facilitated why should we wait for time so that you cannot talk with your Guru maharaj about any cooperation because you afraid of your journey here may be cancelled. Please do not think in that way. Take everything as Srila Prabhupada’s work and try to cooperate in that spirit. The Gaudiya Math institution has failed[.]

The last two sentences above remain highly relevant to us in ISKCON today. They reward reflection. In the first sentence, Prabhupāda gives two essential directions for spiritual success: Consider every undertaking as "Śrīla Prabhupāda’s work" (and not as "mine" or "yours"). Animated by this mentality, cooperate together. Prabhupāda’s next sentence bluntly states the consequence of not following the directions just delivered: proven failure.

So it happened that in 1966 Śrīla Prabhupāda gained an unwelcome realization: the spiritual defects that engendered the failure of the Gauḍīya Maṭha remained robust three decades later.

All his hopes for cooperation from donors, government, and godbrothers shattered, Śrīla Prabhupāda would be obliged to start from scratch—just himself, alone. Undeterred, he wrote Mangalniloy, "There is no need for help from any one else."[32]

This, then, is a major component of the context in which the International Society for Krishna Consciousness was born. The other element is the spiritual fulfillment afforded Śrīla Prabhupāda by a steadily increasing number of young Americans who gave their earnest and eager attention to Lord Caitanya’s teachings.

What was Prabhupāda to do? In his first plea for cooperation posted to Tīrtha Mahārāja in November of 1965, just after his arrival in New York City, Prabhupāda had offered to work within his godbrother’s institution:

So here is a chance of cooperation between us and I shall be glad to know if you are ready for this cooperation. I came here to study the situation and I find it very nice and if you are also agreeable to cooperate with it will be all very nice by the will Srila Prabhupada. . . . If you agree then take it for granted that I am one of the worker of the Sri Mayapur Caitanya Matha. (651108 - Letter to Teertha Maharaj written from New York)

The recipient—and many others—having proven themselves uncooperative, Śrīla Prabhupāda then established his own institution.

For doing that, Prabhupāda was duly condemned. Writing some two-and-a-half years later to the secretary of the Gauḍīya Mission in Calcutta,[33] Śrīla Prabhupāda again takes up the key theme of cooperation, repeating the word itself, over and over like a drum beat. And he cites its absence not only to reproach his godbrothers but also to cleverly vindicate his own founding of ISKCON:

. . . . in the matter of my activities of spreading the objective of Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Goswami Maharaja, I am prepared to cooperate with the Gaudiya Mission in all respects, but I do not know under what condition you wish to cooperate with me. But I am prepared to accept any condition for getting your cooperation in full. So I shall be glad to know from you under what condition our cooperation is possible. But I am prepared in every respect and I shall await your reply with interest.

So far as my starting a separate organization known as International Society for Krishna Consciousness, it was inevitable because none of our godbrothers are cooperating with one another. Every one of us is conducting his own institution, and there is difference of opinion even between Gaudiya Mission and Gaudiya Math.

So if it is now possible to combine ourselves together, I shall be the first man to welcome this good opportunity. But apart from others, if Gaudiya Mission is prepared to cooperate with me, I am prepared to accept this cooperation in any condition. Please therefore let me know your terms of cooperation, and I shall be very glad to consider it. (690523 - Letter to Gaudiya Mission written from New Vrindaban, USA)

Three days after writing his response, Śrīla Prabhupāda disclosed his mind in a letter to his disciple Brahmānanda Dāsa:

Regarding the Gaudiya Mission letter of Dr. Syama Sundar Brahmacari, I have replied asking them the terms of cooperation which he has mentioned. Let us see their terms, although it is a hopeless business. Still, as you know, I never become hopeless in any case. So I am negotiating with them to see how we can cooperate.(690526 - Letter to Brahmananda written from New Vrindaban, USA )

It should be noted that Śrīla Prabhupāda went on making efforts at cooperative endeavors with Gauḍīya Maṭha members up until his last breath.[34] His persistence is testimony to his commitment to the order of his spiritual master. This is his spirit, conveyed by an epigram: "It is a hopeless business, but I never become hopeless."

Śrīla Prabhupāda’s persistent invocation of the idea of cooperation in these letters discloses that the word carries special significance for him. We should take a little time to grasp it. The English word is derived from a Latin root meaning simply "to work together with," but in Prabhupāda’s teachings the term becomes freighted with profound spiritual import. In a lecture (Seattle, 1968), Śrīla Prabhupāda conveyed this import with characteristic simplicity: "When you do something in cooperation with the Lord, that is called bhakti." This cooperation with Kṛṣṇa, Prabhupāda stresses, is essentially voluntary (681009 - Lecture - Seattle):

We are persons and Kṛṣṇa is a person, and our relationship with Kṛṣṇa is always open as a voluntary agreement. That voluntary attitude—"Yes, Kṛṣṇa, I shall gladly cooperate. Whatever You say"—that ready willingness to obey is only possible if there is love. Forcing will not make me agree. But if there is love, oh, I shall gladly do it. That is bhakti. That is Kṛṣṇa consciousness.[35]

Cooperation is the vital principle of all healthy social relationships, and it attains its highest application in divinity. The Lord is supremely personal. Therefore He is supremely social, for personhood becomes manifest only in relationships with other persons. For that reason, as Prabhupāda said many times, "Kṛṣṇa is never alone." On one occasion, he noted: "When we speak of Kṛṣṇa, ‘Kṛṣṇa’ means Kṛṣṇa with His devotees" (VB: Lecture, Los Angeles, Jan. 10, 1969). The Lord’s devotees even become integral to His own identity. Kṛṣṇa’s own names often illustrate this fact by including names of his intimate devotees: Yaśodānandana, Rāmānuja, Rādhāramaṇa, and so on. Thus, the supremely absolute is at the same time supremely relative—entering into relationships with all varieties of individual devotees. As a result, all those diversities become increasingly integrated into a more perfect union. In such a way, a transcendent relativity is manifest as a society of the utmost harmonious cooperation, and through the conduct of those relationships the Lord—and His associates—eternally increase in beauty, opulence, bliss, and knowledge.

Salvation for a Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava means socialization into this highest society—being accepted, for example, into the company of the Six Gosvāmīs or into that circle of gopīs who may serve Rati-mañjarī or Lalitā-sakhī. Damnation is the opposite: isolation and exclusion. We self-alienated, non-cooperative living entities—living here in exile, isolated in solitary confinement by the impervious walls of our egoism—are always summoned to return as fully integrated members of that transcendent society. And bhakti-yoga is the practice by which we become fit to rejoin it. By bhakti, we become increasingly integrated into the divine society, closer to Kṛṣṇa and closer to His associates, and at the same time, we try to bring others with us. "And this is the highest yoga," Śrīla Prabhupāda said in 1968 in San Francisco.

If you push on this movement of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, then you’ll be performing the highest type of yoga. Don’t be misled by so-called ‘yogas.’ This is yoga. Yoga means cooperation, cooperation with the Supreme.(680317 - Lecture BG 07.01 - San Francisco)

Bhakti is the yoga of cooperation. Of all spiritual societies in this world, the Saṅkīrtana movement most fully leads us into this transcendent cooperation. Since saṅkīrtana is the yuga-dharma, in this age of quarrel, we will return to the kingdom of Kṛṣṇa not as isolated individuals but all together. "We will have another ISKCON there," wrote Śrīla Prabhupāda.[36]

Prabhupāda’s founding of ISKCON was "inevitable" because of the failure of cooperation within the Gauḍīya Maṭha. The new, but inevitable, institution was meticulously crafted by Śrīla Prabhupāda, who faithfully accepted as his ecclesiological template his spiritual master’s own institution—by then hopelessly shattered. The incorporation of ISKCON in July of 1966 proved to be only the first of a sequence of five crucial steps in the reconstitution of Lord Caitanya’s movement. In the summer of 1966, the bearer of the grand—if not grandiloquent—title "International Society for Krishna Consciousness" encompassed no more than a seventy-year-old man, a rundown storefront, and a band of ragtag kids. Yet the seed had been planted and would fructify.[37] It took another four years or so for all the requisite elements to become manifest, so that ISKCON was made fit to become the fruition and fulfillment of the Gauḍīya Maṭha institution.[38]

The International Society for Krishna Consciousness. It is a brand-new name for a new society, a name embellished by a neat, entirely au courant acronym. Although the name is new, it harks back to two very old names, and those names disclose that the society, brand-new though it be, is a deeply connected perpetuation of its own ancient and modern heritage. Śrīla Prabhupāda himself depicts his English coinage "Krishna consciousness" as a translation of the Sanskrit compound kṛṣṇabhāvanāmṛta. He writes: "Our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is therefore called kṛṣṇa-bhāvanāmṛta-saṅgha, the association of persons who are simply satisfied in thoughts of Kṛṣṇa" (SB 9.9.45, purport). Should the reader at this point wonder where the "international" is in kṛṣṇa-bhāvanāmṛta-saṅgha, Prabhupāda avers, in effect, that it is inherent in kṛṣṇa-bhāvanāmṛta:

One who is absorbed in kṛṣṇa-bhāvanāmṛta has no material benefits to ask from Kṛṣṇa. Instead, such a person prays to the Lord for the benediction of being able to spread His glories all over the worlds.

Kṛṣṇa consciousness not only gives bliss to the devotees who possess it but also impels them to give it to others, spreading it "all over the worlds."

Bearing this in mind, we can see that the phrase kṛṣṇabhāvanāmṛta alludes to an important verse in the Caitanya-caritāmṛta (CC Ādi-līlā 16.1):

vande śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanyaṁ kṛṣṇa-bhāvāmṛtaṁ hi yaḥ
āsvādyāsvādayan bhaktān prema-dīkṣām aśikṣayat

Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, who personally tasted the nectar of ecstatic love for Kṛṣṇa and then instructed His devotees how to taste it. Thus He enlightened them about ecstatic love of Kṛṣṇa to initiate them into transcendental knowledge.

Here the nature of Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s "ecstatic love for Kṛṣṇa" is such that he relishes it himself and causes others to do so. Those devotees who thus receive kṛṣṇa-bhāvāmṛta themselves come to be both tasters and givers of it. In this way, the society for Kṛṣṇa consciousness naturally becomes "international."

Two names for Mahāprabhu appear in the first line of this verse: kṛṣṇa-caitanya and kṛṣṇa-bhāvāmṛta. They are nearly synonymous, both indicating a person whose consciousness is absorbed in Kṛṣṇa.[39] Both words, then, can be rendered equally well as "Kṛṣṇa consciousness." Thus, Lord Caitanya’s personal name—rendered into English as "Kṛṣṇa consciousness"— is encoded in the name of the society founded by Śrīla Prabhupāda.

The other historical progenitor of "International Society for Krishna Consciousness" is "viśva-vaiṣṇava-rāja-sabhā." These words appear within the ceremonious declaration that closes each book of Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī’s Bhāgavata-sandarbha. The word sabhā means "society." The word viśva means "the whole world," for which "international" will serve. We can take the referent of "vaiṣṇava-rāja"—literally "the king of Vaiṣṇavas"—to be Lord Caitanya, as we find in the Sajjana-toṣaṇī article reporting Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura’s "reestablishment" of the society in 1919:[40] "Śrī Caitanyadeva is Kṛṣṇacandra Himself, the king of all Vaiṣṇavas in the world, Viśva-Vaiṣṇava-rāja. The gathering of His devotees is the Śrī Viśva-Vaiṣṇava-rāja-sabhā."

If the words "Krishna Consciousness" in the name of Prabhupāda’s society encodes the name of Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya, and if "vaiṣṇava-rāja" denotes Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya, then the appellation "International Society for Krishna Consciousness" also pays homage to viśva-vaiṣṇava-rāja-sabhā. If, alternatively "vaiṣṇava-rāja" is taken to refer to those leading devotees who have attained an advanced stage of Kṛṣṇa consciousness,[41] Śrīla Prabhupāda’s English name for his institution will serve just as well. In any case, we see that the name "International Society for Krishna Consciousness" signifies, by its web of allusions and associations, that the society so named remains profoundly connected with and nourished by its Gauḍīya heritage, even as, at the same time, the society revitalizes that tradition in order to carry it forward, retrofitted for multicultural efficacy on the worldwide stage.

In doing this, Śrīla Prabhupāda is remaining faithful to his own great predecessors in the tradition. In 1919, his own spiritual master had formally "reestablished" Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura’s Viśva-Vaiṣṇava-Sabhā, restoring its old name Viśva-VaiṣṇavaRāja-Sabhā. On that occasion, Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura noted that the eternally situated Viśva-Vaiṣṇava-RājaSabhā, which descended to the world with Mahāprabhu and His associates, has sometimes become occluded by the illusory potency; however, powerful devotees arise to reignite it and dispel the darkness of the world.

So it happened that, after the time of Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura and Śrīla Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa, the ViśvaVaiṣṇava-Rāja-Sabhā became nearly undetectable, until "In 399 Gaura Era (1885 A.D.), a brilliant star of the universal Vaiṣṇava firmament re-illuminated the Śrī Viśva-Vaiṣṇava-rāja-sabhā." This "brilliant star" was Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, "the servant of the king of universal Vaiṣṇavas," who endowed his reformed and revitalized Sabhā with spiritual energy and achievement. In 1919, Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura recast and reenergized the Viśva-Vaiṣṇava-Rāja-Sabhā, introducing into the Gauḍīya tradition an organized monastic preaching order of sannyāsīs and brahmacārīs centered in temples. The Mission swiftly spread throughout India and made an initial foray into Europe, only to have its light again vanish for thirty long years. Then, in 1966, in New York City—having single-handedly established his tradition in the West, and having discovered what was left of the Gauḍīya Maṭha to have become "useless" [42] — Śrīla Prabhupāda, following in the footsteps of his illustrious predecessors, effected once again a re-illumination of the Viśva-Vaiṣṇava-Rāja-Sabhā, now restored and re-energized in the name and style of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness.

Śrīla Prabhupāda. Followers became initiated, increased in number, and began opening temples in quick succession: San Francisco, then Montreal, Los Angeles, then Boston, and on and on. Devotees advanced in the disciplines of discipleship, and, as they did so, they became increasingly enabled to understand their master. Just as the mahā-mantra gradually reveals itself to those who properly chant, so the spiritual master becomes revealed to the disciples who properly follow. As a result, "the Swami" and "Swamiji" became "Śrīla Prabhupāda." This happened in Boston, in an impromptu exchange. Govinda Dāsī recollects:

All along everyone knew him as Swamiji. This is up until May of 1968. So Goursundar [Govinda Dāsī’s husband] decided he wanted to call me Govindaji, and so he asked Prabhupāda and Prabhupāda said, "No, actually ‘ji’ is a third-class form of address. It’s better not to call her Govindaji." So I piped up, I was sitting right in front of him and I said, "Well, if it’s a third-class form of address, why are we calling you ‘ji’? Why are we calling you Swamiji?" And he said, "It’s not very important." I said, "Oh, no, it’s very important. If it’s a third-class form of address, then we don’t want to call you that. We want to call you the most first-class form of address. So tell us what would be a good name for us to call you by." And he was very humble, very reluctant, but I pressed him, "We’ve got to change this," and he said, "You can call me Gurudev or Guru Mahārāj or Prabhupāda." So I said, "Well, that’s three. We need one." So I said, "Well, which one is the best?" and he answered, "Śrīla Prabhupāda is nice, that is the best." So I said, "From today you will be called Śrīla Prabhupāda." So I told all the devotees. Some of the devotees didn’t like it because it kind of is a tongue twister, "Prabhupāda," and "Swamiji" kind of flows more easily. But we gradually started calling him Śrīla Prabhupāda from that time.[43]

The way of the change was low-key and casual; the change itself, momentous. It would not have been so for "Gurudeva" or "Guru Mahārāja"—since both are in widespread common use. But "Prabhupāda" is exceptional.

The word appears in Caitanya-caritāmṛta (CC Madhya 10.23), which quotes Kāśī Miśra referring to Lord Caitanya Himself as "Prabhupāda." Śrīla Prabhupāda comments:

In this verse the word prabhupāda, referring to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, is significant. Regarding this, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī Prabhupāda comments, "Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, and all His servants address Him as Prabhupāda. This means that there are many prabhus taking shelter under His lotus feet." The pure Vaiṣṇava is addressed as prabhu, and this address is an etiquette observed between Vaiṣṇavas. When many prabhus remain under the shelter of the lotus feet of another prabhu, the address Prabhupāda is given. Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu and Śrī Advaita Prabhu are also addressed as Prabhupāda. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, Śrī Advaita Prabhu and Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu are all viṣṇu-tattva, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Viṣṇu. Therefore all living entities are under Their lotus feet. Lord Viṣṇu is the eternal Lord of everyone, and the representative of Lord Viṣṇu is the Lord’s confidential servant. Such a person acts as the spiritual master for neophyte Vaiṣṇavas; therefore the spiritual master is as respectable as Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya or Lord Viṣṇu Himself. For this reason the spiritual master is addressed as Oṁ Viṣṇupāda or Prabhupāda.

Within our lineage "Prabhupāda" is used in particular to honor the luminaries who comprise the Six Gosvāmīs, and then— centuries later—Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura.[44] The title thus places ISKCON’s founder in very rarefied company. More immediately, the sharing of the appellation "Śrīla Prabhupāda" between guru and disciple intimates an affinity both profound and exceptional between the two personages and their achievements.

Nearly a year after the conversation with Govinda Dāsī, Back to Godhead No. 23 (April 18, 1969) devoted a full-page spread under the banner headline "Prabhupada" to herald the honorific.[45] "Prabhupad" makes only a single appearance in No. 25 (September 1969) (1969 Back to Godhead Number 25), but after that it rapidly becomes the norm. And in issue No. 27 (undated)(1969 Back to Godhead Number 27) "Swamiji" makes its final appearance in the pages of Back to Godhead.[46]

We have been describing in chronological sequence the critical steps or stages by which ISKCON took form under Śrīla Prabhupāda’s supervision:

The founding of an institution under the name "International Society for Krishna Consciousness."

The recognition of that founder with the title "Prabhupāda."

Three more essential elements yet remained to be manifest in the morphology of ISKCON. All of them were finally in place by early 1971. They are:

The further recognition of Prabhupāda with the title "Founder-ācārya."

The establishment of the Governing Body Commission.

The acquisition of land in Śrīdhāma Māyāpura for ISKCON’s "world headquarters," and ceremoniously establishing there the foundation of the Temple of the Vedic Planetarium.

With that, all the core elements of ISKCON will have been set in place by its Founder-ācārya.[47]

Founder-ācārya. This highly consequential title of Śrīla Prabhupāda took some time to gain its proper prominence. When it did, in 1970 the title "ācārya" by itself was deemed both inadequate and offensive. Yet it is evident that Śrīla Prabhupāda knew exactly what he wanted from the beginning.

Nevertheless, just after incorporating ISKCON in 1966, Śrīla Prabhupāda’s personal ISKCON letterhead stationery displays his position simply as "Acharya: Swami A.C. Bhaktivedanta."[48] Similarly, the line "Acharya: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami" received public circulation on the famous "Stay High Forever!" flyer of September, 1966."[49] When we examine the first few years of Back to Godhead, [50] we find nowhere any formal letter or masthead-style lines displaying Śrīla Prabhupāda’s name and position in relation to ISKCON—with two quite striking exceptions.[51] These occur only in the second (September 12, 1966) and the fourth (December 15, 1966) issues—and both of such a common prominence, format, and style as to indicate the guiding hand of Śrīla Prabhupāda, and making their utter absence elsewhere somewhat mysterious.

In the second and fourth issue of Back to Godhead, the inside front cover displays a nearly full-page photograph of Śrīla Prabhupāda. (There are two different photos, each capturing Prabhupāda before the sturdy elm in Tompkins Square Park, both from the same article in The East Village Other.) In the space above each photograph stand the words:

HIS DIVINE GRACE
And below:
SWAMI A.C. BHAKTIVEDANTA
FOUNDER ACHARYA
INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY FOR KRISHNA CONSCIOUSNESS, INC.

After these two early issues, the title of "Founder-ācārya" vanishes until issue number 28 (in late 1969),[52] whereupon it re-emerges as part of a treatment almost identical to the two of late 1966. In the 1969 issue, a photograph of Śrīla Prabhupāda takes up the entire first page, with room only for the caption below:

SRI SRIMAD A.C. BHAKTIVEDANTA SWAMI
THE FOUNDER ACHARYA OF ISKCON AND THE GREATEST EXPONENT
OF KRISHNA CONSCIOUSNESS IN THE WESTERN WORLD.

However, nearly a year passes before we again see such a treatment of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s position. Then, with Back to Godhead No. 36 (late in 1970) (1970 Back to Godhead Number 36) we find the start of a regular standard presentation of Śrīla Prabhupāda as we are accustomed to seeing it today—and which had its prototype in two of the very first issues of Back to Godhead—a large photograph above his name and position given in full:

His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda
Founder-Ācārya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness

Even though the title of Founder-ācārya took some time to become thus normalized in use, it is clear that Śrīla Prabhupāda had it in mind very early on. The particular presentations of Prabhupāda as Founder-ācārya in those three early issues are certainly few and irregular. Yet all three so closely adhere to a common exemplar—as if directed by an editorial style-sheet— that one can see the guiding hand of Śrīla Prabhupāda behind it.

The grave crisis of 1970—touched on at the outset of this commentary—prompted Śrīla Prabhupāda to undertake powerful remedial actions to fortify his movement.[53] Among them was the firm establishment of standards for the use of "Founder-ācārya" as his title in reference to ISKCON. By so doing, Prabhupāda intended to impress upon all ISKCON members our need to deepen our understanding of his position and to keep it actively in mind.

What makes this so important? The spiritual power of ISKCON depends on it. That spiritual potency, in the beginning of ISKCON, reposed entirely in Śrīla Prabhupāda. By following his directions, his disciples—even though raw and wavering— became themselves empowered by his potency. With just neophyte devotees acting as his effective agents, by 1971 Śrīla Prabhupāda had spread Kṛṣṇa consciousness all over the world:

in addition to the increasing number of temples in North America, ISKCON centers had been established in London, Paris, Hamburg, and Tokyo, and the movement was going strong. How was Śrīla Prabhupāda able to accomplish this? By cherishing the order of his spiritual master as his greatest treasure and by serving that order without reservation, Śrīla Prabhupāda had been enabled—though alone and unaided— to pick up the Hare Kṛṣṇa movement exactly where Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura had left it off, and then to propel it onward with the same resolute drive that had animated his own spiritual master. Astonishingly, the goal that the unified forces of "a great institution" had concentrated on for nearly two decades, had been realized, in the event, by a single agent of Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura acting alone.

Thus Śrīla Prabhupāda had seen for himself—had proven in action—the potency of discipleship, of servitorship. Owing to servitorship alone, it seemed that the single divine energy—gauraśakti—had seamlessly continued to act, without interruption, merely transferring itself from one willing instrument to the next. Now Prabhupāda’s challenge was to instill the same art of spiritual servitorship within his own disciples. If successful, they in turn will pass it on, as the living cultural legacy of ISKCON. If his followers can receive and be worthy of his legacy, developing it and improving it just as he had done, keeping cooperative servitorship at the core of all action—then his work as Founderācārya will find its fulfillment.

During this same period, Śrīla Prabhupāda complied with a request from some disciples to be able to honor him with a special, or personal, praṇāma-mantra. [54] It would normally fall to a competent disciple to compose such a mantra in his gurudeva’s honor. Since at the time, no disciple of Śrīla Prabhupāda was sufficiently qualified spiritually and linguistically to do so, Prabhupāda was placed in the awkward position of coming up with a mantra himself. As a result, we have been given Prabhupāda’s own representation of himself, how he thought of himself, and how he wanted us to remember him as we daily invoked his presence:

namas te sārasvate deve gaura-vāṇī-pracāriṇe
nirviśeṣa-śūnyavādi-pāścātya-deśa-tāriṇe

Sārasvata is the name in this verse by which Śrīla Prabhupāda wishes to be remembered, his name in relation to his spiritual master. Sārasvata is his patronymic; it means "son [or disciple] of [Bhaktisiddhānta] Sarasvatī."[55] As Prabhupāda explains (CC Ādi 10.84, purport): "As members of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement we belong to the family, or disciplic succession, of Sarasvatī Gosvāmī, and thus we are known as Sārasvatas. Obeisances are therefore offered to the spiritual master as sārasvata-deva, or a member of the Sārasvata family . . . ." Thus, his own name in this praṇāma-mantra is simply the name of his spiritual master, which, by means of a few grammatical tweaks— changing the first a to ā, and modifying the word-ending— becomes his own. In this way, "Sārasvata" directs attention to their deep affinity and suggests that achievements of the son— accomplished in his father’s name—belong to the father, his creator and director. In this instance, the son represents the father in the literal sense of the term: to "represent" is to "represent"—to present over again.

Śrīla Prabhupāda’s praṇāma-mantra recognizes him as being the one who spreads (pracāriṇa) Lord Caitanya teaching (gauravāṇī) to the West (pāścātya-deśa). His achievement had been the concerted aim of the Gauḍīya Maṭha, which had attained a toehold in Europe in 1933 but nothing further. Had that position become secured—particularly by the construction of a London temple—Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura would have gone to the West himself.[56] Circumstantially, his intent seems to have been frustrated. Even so, in the ripeness of time, he had one faithful Sārasvata who fulfilled his heartfelt desire.

The name sārasvata-deva indicates that its bearer is the continuation of Sarasvatī Ṭhākura in another form. In that form, Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura succeeded in fulfilling his heartfelt desire. When his most dedicated servant realized that success was at hand,[57] and that it bore the name and form of "International Society for Krishna Consciousness," Śrīla Prabhupāda accepted the title "Founder-ācārya." This confident, self-assured act of Śrīla Prabhupāda indicates that he knew very well that this title had been prepared to recognize the crowning success of Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura in establishing Kṛṣṇa consciousness as a global movement, and that Śrīla Sarasvatī Ṭhākura had achieved this success through his own Sārasvata.

Śrīla Prabhupāda’s praṇāma-mantra recognizes two kinds of achievements: widespread propagation of devotional service to the Supreme Lord, and overthrowing nihilism and impersonalism. These were also the aims of the Gauḍīya Maṭha institution under Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura and the signature achievements of the sampradāya-ācāryas as well.

It is notable that Śrīla Prabhupāda was able to recognize his own achievement, and accept the honors that properly belong to it, without a tinge of pride. It is evident that at a certain time, Śrīla Prabhupāda realized that in spite of all impediments, he would be able to execute his spiritual mater’s order. He recognized that he had been empowered. It is a natural characteristic of spiritual psychology, observable in great devotees and saints, that the experience of empowerment is inevitably accompanied by the experience of extreme humility, and the more empowerment bears fruit, the further humility increases. This compact blend of great accomplishment and great humility is beyond the scope of experience of ordinary materialistic persons. They cannot begin to imagine it.

When visible success began to attend upon Śrīla Prabhupāda’s efforts, he discounted his own effort, gave credit to others, and was filled with gratitude.

On several memorable occasions, he disclosed his mind in public addresses. For example, speaking to his disciples gathered in London to celebrate Śrī Vyāsa-pūjā on August 22, 1973, Śrīla Prabhupāda said:

Anyone who is connected with our movement, he’s not ordinary living being. Actually, he’s liberated soul. And I am very much hopeful that my disciples who are now participating today, even if I die, my movement will not stop, I am very much hopeful. . . . My Guru Mahārāja, His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī Prabhupāda, he also attempted to send his disciples to preach Caitanya cult in the Western world. . . . First meeting, perhaps you know, he asked me to preach. So at that time I was young man, only twenty-five years old, and I was also householder. So I should have joined and executed his desire immediately, but due to my ill luck I could not immediately execute his order, but it was in my heart that it is to be done. So better late than never, I executed his order at the age of seventy years, not at the age of twenty-five. So actually I wasted so much time, I can understand that. . . . The message was there when I was twenty-five years old, but I began at the age of seventy years. But I did not forget the message. Otherwise, how could I do? That was, that is a fact. I was simply finding out the opportunity, how to do it. So anyway, although I began very late, at the age of seventy years, so by the help of my disciples this movement is gaining ground and is spreading all over the world. So therefore I have to thank you. It is all due to you. It is not my credit, but it is your credit that you are helping me in executing the order of my Guru Mahārāja. (730822 - Lecture Festival Appearance Day, Sri Vyasa-puja - London)

Later that year in Los Angeles, Śrīla Prabhupāda expressed similar thoughts, with more visible emotion, on the Disappearance Day of his spiritual master (VB: Lecture, Dec. 31, 1973):

So in this way, gradually, I became attached to these Gauḍīya Matha activities, and by the grace of Kṛṣṇa, my business also was not going very well. [laughs] Yes. Kṛṣṇa says yasyāham anughṛṇāmi hariṣye tad-dhanaṁ śanaiḥ. If somebody wants to be actually devotee of Kṛṣṇa, at the same time, keeps his material attachment, then Kṛṣṇa’s business is He takes away everything material, so that cent percent he becomes, I mean to say, dependent on Kṛṣṇa. So that actually happened to my life. I was obliged to come to this movement to take up this very seriously.

And I was dreaming that: "Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura is calling me, ‘Please come out with me!’" [pause] So I was sometimes horrified, "Oh, what is this? I have give up my family life? Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura is calling me? I have to take sannyāsa?" Oh, I was horrified. But I saw several times, calling me. So anyway, it is by his grace I was forced to give up my family life, my so-called business life. And he brought me some way or other in preaching his gospel.

So this is a memorable day. What he desired, I am trying little bit, and you are all helping me. So I have to thank you more. You are actually representative of my Guru Mahārāja [begins to cry] because you are helping me in executing the order of my Guru Mahārāja. . . .

When appreciative Indians began praising Śrīla Prabhupāda as a magician or miracle-maker, he denied having any special powers. Here is his account given in Bombay on January 9, 1973:

Yes, we should not be very much proud that "I have created wonderful." Why? . . . Sometimes people, they give me so much honor: "Swamijī, you have created wonderful." I do not feel that I have created wonderful. What I have done? I say that I’m not a magician, I do not know how to create wonderful. I have simply presenting Bhagavad-gītā as it is, that’s all. If there is any credit, this is only credit. Anyone can do it. The Bhagavad-gītā is there, and anyone can present Bhagavad-gītā as it is. So it will act wonderful. I am not a magician. I do not know the tricks of magic and the yoga-siddhi. . . . So my only credit is, I do not want to mix with this pure Bhagavadgītā teaching, any rascaldom, that’s all. That is my credit. And whatever little miracle has been done, only on this principle. That’s all. (721127 - Lecture BG 02.23 - Hyderabad)

Governing Body Commission. The upheaval of 1970 in ISKCON provided the occasion for Śrīla Prabhupāda to satisfy another unfulfilled desire of Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura: the formation of a governing body to manage the whole institution. This instruction was among the final directions imparted by Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura to his disciples in his last days.[58] Disobedience to this order, according to Śrīla Prabhupāda, led to the disintegration of the Gauḍīya Maṭha (CC Ādi 12.8, purport):

In the beginning, during the presence of Oṁ Viṣṇupāda Paramahaṁsa Parivrājakācārya Aṣṭottara-śata Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda, all the disciples worked in agreement; but just after his disappearance, they disagreed. One party strictly followed the instructions of Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, but another group created their own concoction about executing his desires. Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, at the time of his departure, requested all his disciples to form a governing body and conduct missionary activities cooperatively. He did not instruct a particular man to become the next ācārya. But just after his passing away, his leading secretaries made plans, without authority, to occupy the post of ācārya, and they split into two factions [the Calcutta "Gauḍīya Mission" and the Mayapura "Gauḍīya Maṭha"] over who the next ācārya would be. Consequently, both factions were asāra, or useless, because they had no authority, having disobeyed the order of the spiritual master. Despite the spiritual master’s order to form a governing body and execute the missionary activities of the Gauḍīya Maṭha, the two unauthorized factions began litigation that is still going on after forty years with no decision.

Therefore, we do not belong to any faction. But because the two parties, busy dividing the material assets of the Gauḍīya Maṭha institution, stopped the preaching work, we took up the mission of Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura and Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura to preach the cult of Caitanya Mahāprabhu all over the world, under the protection of all the predecessor ācāryas, and we find that our humble attempt has been successful.

We followed the principles especially explained by Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura in his commentary on the Bhagavad-gītā verse beginning vyavasāyātmikā buddhir ekeha kuru-nandana (BG 2.41). According to this instruction of Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura, it is the duty of a disciple to follow strictly the orders of his spiritual master. The secret of success in advancement in spiritual life is the firm faith of the disciple in the orders of his spiritual master. . . . . One must judge every action by its result. The members of the self-appointed ācārya’s party who occupied the property of the Gauḍīya Maṭha are satisfied, but they could make no progress in preaching. Therefore by the result of their actions one should know that they are asāra, or useless, whereas the success of the ISKCON party, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, which strictly follows guru and Gaurāṅga, is increasing daily all over the world.

The establishment of the Governing Body Commission on July 28, 1970 was Śrīla Prabhupāda’s second potent counter-measure against the imp of disunity let loose in ISKCON. The GBC is the type of institution—a committee[59]—that both demands and fosters cooperation. Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura’s leaders failed to realize such a governing board. Had the Gauḍīya Maṭha not been dismembered by their disobedience, there would have been many disciples of Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura working together in the West. In the event, Śrīla Prabhupāda arrived alone, and alone he resuscitated the Krishna Consciousness movement. When godbrothers actively or passively spurned cooperation, he was left no alternative but to be the single ācārya at the head of ISKCON.

Yet his spiritual master himself had asked for a governing board to succeed him at the head of his institution. Śrīla Prabhupāda took this request to heart. Here was another desire of Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura left unsatisfied, and Śrīla Prabhupāda, the faithful Sārasvata, undertook to satisfy him: He would establish such a board, oversee its development, and have it ready to act as his successor at the head of ISKCON.

It is customary in India for an ācārya to leave his institution to his chosen successor as a legacy in his will. The action Śrīla Prabhupāda took in 1970—establishing the GBC— allowed him in 1977 to set this down as the first provision of his "Declaration of Will": "The Governing Body Commission (GBC) will be the ultimate managing authority of the entire International Society for Krishna Consciousness." By thus establishing the GBC and leaving it as his chosen successor at the head of ISKCON, Śrīla Prabhupāda insured that the order of Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura would continue to work efficaciously in the world and bear fruit.

The final stage in Śrīla Prabhupāda’s installation of the essential components in ISKCON’s spiritual morphology was also initiated around this time. After great difficulty and many setbacks, mainly occasioned by passive and active opposition of godbrothers,[60] Śrīla Prabhupāda was able to purchase land in Māyāpura for ISKCON, and he quickly revealed his plans for a monumental temple there. Writing to Govinda Dāsī from Calcutta (May 28, 1971), he said:

You will be glad to learn that we have purchased about five acres of land in Mayapur, the birthsite of Lord Caitanya and we have proposed to hold a nice festival there from Janmastami day for two weeks. At that time the foundation stone [for the temple] will be set down. I wish that all our leading disciples come to India at that time. There are 50 branches, so at least one from each branch should attend the function . . . . (710528 - Letter to Govinda dasi written from Calcutta)

By performing the ceremony for establishing the temple’s foundation, Śrīla Prabhupāda committed himself to the completion of the structure. As it turned out, the foundationlaying itself was delayed until Gaura Pūrṇimā of 1972, and in the ensuing years many more vicissitudes sent ISKCON leaders repeatedly back to the drawing board. Yet Śrīla Prabhupāda’s own commitment, established in 1972 as if a vow, has proved to contain a potency that has driven the concerted effort over, under, around and through all impediments, and the Temple of the Vedic Planetarium rises on the alluvial soil of Antardvīpa.

Śrīla Prabhupāda gave high priority to acquiring land in Māyāpura for ISKCON’s "world headquarters" and constructing on it an extraordinary temple. Gradually, Śrīla Prabhupāda’s leaders began to grasp its importance for him. For example (SPL 5:9):

During this visit to Calcutta [November, 1971], Prabhupāda had also spoken of his plans for Māyāpur. Nara-Nārāyaṇa had built a scale model of the building ISKCON would construct on the newly acquired property, and Prabhupāda had shown it to all his guests and had asked them to help. Seeing Prabhupāda’s absorption in this project, Girirāja had volunteered to help in any way required. "It seems the two things you want most," Girirāja had said, "are for the books to be distributed and to build a temple at Māyāpur." "Yes," Prabhupāda had said, smiling. "Yes, thank you."

We gain a deeper grasp of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s priority when we understand this temple in light of the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava ecclesiology that lay, as we have seen, at the foundation of Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura’s institution. We have already noted that Śrīla Prabhupāda constructed ISKCON on the basis of that same ecclesiology. In the Gauḍīya Maṭha institution, the Śrī Caitanya Maṭha in Māyāpura is the central or "parent" temple and all others are its branches: "The distinction between the Gaudiya Math [in Calcutta] and Sri Chaitanya Math is all analogous to that between one lamp lighted by another," The Harmonist article explains (with an allusion to Brahmasaṁhitā 5.46). The central temple, being located in Māyāpura, the descended spiritual realm (Śvetadvīpa), is really the visible mundane complement or counterpart of its transcendentally located original, where the Lord and the ācārya dwell eternally together. The diverse branches are places for training aspirants for service in the place of the ācārya in the transcendent Māyāpura. The central or parent temple of the institution, being thus located on the border, as it were, between two realms, serves as a kind of gateway. Its associated branches, though dispersed further throughout the mundane realm, by virtue of their links with the center also function in themselves as gateways.

Situated at the center, the Śrī Caitanya Maṭha teaches by its very architecture with its embellishments and appurtenances, the spiritual science which sets forth the unified principle that make such a gateway possible: acintya-bhedābheda-tattva. The paved parikramā path around the central dome brings the circumambulating visitor around to encounter, one after another, the forms of the four Vaiṣṇava Founder-Ācāryas, each within his own shrine set into the outward body of the dome. They are spaced evenly around the base of the dome, but the structure itself draws them together around Śrī Caitanya Maṭha.

Each of these Founder-Ācāryas propounded a specific teaching concerning the relationship between the Lord and his energies. While each doctrine is sound, it is also incomplete, asserts Niśikānta Sānyāl in Sree Krishna Chaitanya. But the teaching of Lord Caitanya—formalized as acintya-bhedābhedatattva—"reconciles, harmonizes and perfects them" (SKC 164). The temple embodies this Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava teaching and so presents the case—so thoroughly advanced in Sree Krishna Chaitanya—that Mahāprabhu, the yuga-avatāra, offers the consummation and the fulfillment of theism.

The ISKCON Temple of the Vedic Planetarium presents the same teaching portrayed by the Śrī Caitanya Maṭha in a more detailed and more comprehensive manner. On a cosmological scale, it maps, models, and illustrates the realized truth of acintyabhedābheda-tattva: that nothing is different from Kṛṣṇa, yet Kṛṣṇa is different from everything.[61] Within the main dome of the temple we see the cosmos displayed as it discloses itself to those who experience it with unoccluded perception: as pervaded by and connected to Kṛṣṇa as the Lord’s own potencies. The temple thus counters the two kinds of widespread false perception, both of which separate Kṛṣṇa from His energies. One is the way of monism or impersonalism (nirviśeṣa-vāda), which denies the reality of the divine energies and relegates both the personality of Godhead and the creation to illusion. The other is the way of materialism or nihilism (śūnya-vāda), which recognizes only the energies, which have no origin or foundation.

Displaying the connections between the Lord and the creation, the temple can provide a kind of map of the pathway to divinity (together with the various way stations, detours, and diversions). Set into the inner wall of the dome, ascending concentric galleries offer the visitor a sequence of artistically rendered representations of the regions encountered on the cosmic journey by Gopa-kumāra, passing through multiple material and spiritual realms to Śrī Kṛṣṇa in Vṛndāvana, as depicted by Sanātana Gosvāmī in Bṛhad-Bhāgavatāmṛta. The temple thus previews the ultimate ascent that draws all sentient life onward.

It is the last of the five steps by Śrīla Prabhupāda, all accomplished by 1972, that puts all core components of ISKCON in place. The temple completes the whole spiritual structure of the visible ISKCON. The centers and temples scattered throughout the world are joined together in a network that converges on the center at Śrīdhāma Māyāpura. Like the widely spread roots of a tree that draw water to the central trunk, Śrīla Prabhupāda’s ISKCON brings conditioned souls to Māyāpura, where the central temple opens a gateway to the vertical dimension, that, like a tree-trunk, soars upward to branch out luxuriantly in the spiritual sky.

This is the work of a Founder-Ācārya. A Founder-Ācārya opens an avenue that leads through the cosmos and crosses over into transcendence. Having laid out the illustrious path—from the beginning root tip to ending leaf tip—the Founder-Ācārya makes provision for its regular maintenance and for the trained guides who will direct, protect, and encourage those who traverse it. He continuously oversees its functioning as long as there are those who act under his direction. In a sense, this lane to the land of the living is identical with its own craftsman. Naming his construction ISKCON, Śrīla Prabhupāda engineered it so that this entirely spiritual artifact should be manifest not only to the wise (who recognize what they see), but even to the foolish (who cannot). Especially for them, he assembled a vast array of visible entrances to the path, spread in a network covering the world. All converge on the center in Antardvīpa, where the map of the luminous path—in cosmological cartography—is marvelously displayed, and each step of the journey into transcendence finely depicted. Thus the temple discloses itself as a cosmic portal or gateway leading through the heavens and into the eternal realms of Kṛṣṇa.[62]

In the ISKCON temples and centers, Śrīla Prabhupāda’s specially placed mūrtis indicate his guardianship over the entranceways onto the path. At their convergence point in Navadvīpa-dhāma, Śrīla Prabhupāda’s presiding presence over all of earthly ISKCON is proclaimed by his radiant form of gold in his puṣpa-samādhi; from that coign of vantage he surveys the entrance of the great temple, gateway to the ultimate passage. And then, at the passage’s terminus in Śvetadvīpa, Śrīla Prabhupāda himself presides to welcome and gather the new arrivals into the everlasting transcendent ISKCON of gaura-līlā. [63] In this way, Śrīla Prabhupāda’s spiritual thoroughfare conveys the recovered and rescued jīvas safely to the highest destination.

Our Founder-Ācārya marked the beginning of his project with his first book, Easy Journey to Other Planets, and he continued his effort through the writing, printing and distributing of books and the simultaneous construction of a worldwide institution. His handiwork continues and now is at last crowned with its consolidating apex, the Temple of the Vedic Planetarium, which unifies both Bhāgavatam and Bhāgavata, book and person. It marks the core and center of the Founder-Ācārya’s creation, and it indicates the location of the true world-axis at sacred Śrīdhāma Māyāpura, the descended spiritual realm.

The "four Founder-Acharyas of the Iron Age" each formulated an explication of Vedānta that recovered the theistic, Vaiṣṇava understanding of Vedavyāsa, and each energetically taught it and trained others to do so. In this way the illusive facade of impersonalism was dismantled, and the veridical Vedic siddhānta became propagated throughout India. In Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura’s depiction, the four were preparing the way for the yuga-avatāra Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, who was to make the most highly confidential revelation of the Vedas open and accessible to all through saṅkīrtana. Mahāprabhu inspired his closest associates to systematically formulate his teaching as acintya-bhedābheda-tattva, which included and completed the systems of the Founder-Ācāryas. These intimate associates of Mahāprabhu bore the special title of "Prabhupāda."

Now two more followers of Mahāprabhu have appeared who also bear the title "Prabhupāda"—Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda and A.C. Bhaktivedānta Swami Prabhupāda. The first practically formulated the strategy and tactics for systematic worldwide propagation of Mahāprabhu’s movement; the second carried his plan to completion. Within the Gauḍīya Maṭha institution, the title "Founder-Ācārya" had been prepared for Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda to assume, but circumstantially he could not complete his plans himself and establish Kṛṣṇa consciousness in the Western countries. In his name, however, A.C. Bhaktivedānta Swami Prabhupāda, having understood the heart of his spiritual master, picked up where Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura left off and in twelve eventful years established the yuga-dharma throughout the world. In this way, the compassionate efforts of the four Founder-Ācāryas were, by the mercy of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and his instruments, expanded and completed by one more who bears that title.

The extraordinary achievements of Śrīla Prabhupāda certainly make him worthy of the title, but it does not, in this case, imply that he originated a "new sampradāya." By faithfully transmitting the teachings and practices as he received them in the Gauḍīyasampradāya, he continued the tradition. Nevertheless, Śrīla Prabhupāda transmitted his received tradition with a distinct and decisive articulation, uniquely his own, as the fruit of his realized knowledge. Consequently, under his direction the Gauḍīya-sampradāya, in his refreshed and revitalized reiteration, has been able to extend beyond its natal ground, to sink down roots around the globe, and so to flourish everywhere.

The Gauḍīya-sampradāya appears historically as a branch of the Brahmā-Madhva-sampradāya because Lord Caitanya—in reality the one fountainhead of all four sampradāyas—appeared as a devotee (bhakta-rūpa). As such, He sought and accepted proper Vaiṣṇava initiation into one of the four authorized sampradāyas. However, His teaching, systematized and expounded by the Six Gosvāmīs, were so clearly distinct from the standard teaching of the Madhvite community into which He was initiated, that the followers of Mahāprabhu naturally became recognized as a distinct community or sampradāya. Challenged, as such, to establish its bona fides, Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa successfully responded by producing a Gauḍīya-vaiṣṇava commentary on the Vedānta-sūtra, the Govinda-bhāṣya. Thus there was formal acknowledgment of the Gauḍīya-sampradāya as distinct from the others early in the eighteenth century.

Even so, the Gauḍīya-sampradāya has a special status, and we cannot regard it simply as a new sampradāya, taking its place as one more among many. Rather, the Gauḍīya-sampradāya, correctly understood, should be recognized as the unified completion and fulfillment of the four earlier sampradāyas of Kali-yuga. Such is the understanding propounded by the realization—and revelation—of Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, documented by him in his visionary Śrī Navadvīpa-dhāmamāhātmya of 1890. There Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura offers a detailed account—as of an eyewitness—of Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī performing (soon after the disappearance of Lord Caitanya) navadvīpaparikramā under the guidance of Prabhu Nityānanda. In the course of their excursion, Nityānanda Prabhu relates to Śrī Jīva how each of the four Founder-Ācāryas of Kali-yuga, while themselves on pilgrimage to Jagannātha Purī or Navadvīpa, is favored with a confidential revelation of the future advent of the yuga-avatāra. [64] Binding them to secrecy, Lord Caitanya uplifts and inspires each of them to work so as to prepare the way for His future advent. For example, the Lord appears in a dream to Madhvācārya and tells him (NDM 68):

Everyone knows you are my eternal servant. When I appear in Navadvīpa, I will accept your sampradāya. Now, go everywhere and carefully uproot all the false scriptures of the māyāvādīs. Reveal the glories to worshiping the Deity of the Lord. Later, I will broadcast your pure teachings.

When Lord Caitanya appears to Nimbāditya (or Nimbārka), the Lord discloses how in the future He will unveil a consummate teaching that will include, sublate, unify, and complete the teaching of each of the four Founder-Ācāryas (NDM 73):

Later, when I begin the saṅkīrtana movement, I Myself will preach the essence of the four Vaiṣṇava philosophies. From Madhva I will receive two essential items: his complete defeat of the Māyāvāda philosophy, and his service to the Deity of Kṛṣṇa, accepting the Deity as an eternal spiritual being. From Rāmānuja I will accept two great teachings: the concept of bhakti unpolluted by karma and jñāna, and service to the devotees. From Viṣṇusvāmī’s teachings I will accept two main elements: the sentiment of excusive dependence on Kṛṣṇa, and the path of rāga-bhakti. And from you I will receive two excellent principles: the necessity of taking shelter of Rādhā, and the high esteem for the gopīs’ love of Kṛṣṇa.

In conclusion, the advent of Lord Caitanya is itself the consummation of the four sampradāyas. That consummation heralds a new beginning, with Mahāprabhu as the originator of an unprecedentedly magnanimous revelation, with the Six Gosvāmīs as the first receivers and transmitters of that revelation, and with Śrīla Prabhupāda as the ācārya who founded and developed a global community of kṛṣṇa-bhaktas, who christened that community as the "International Society for Krishna Consciousness," who energized the society so engendered with the life-force of his realized knowledge, and who established its foremost temple at its world headquarters in Antardvīpa, the descended Śvetadvīpa, from which his society conveys the revelation of Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya to the world, and the world back to Him.

Śrīla Prabhupāda’s realized knowledge. It is our good fortune that Śrīla Prabhupāda was quite open in sharing with us how he gained his realized knowledge and how that knowledge enabled him to fulfill the desire of his spiritual master and establish Lord Caitanya’s movement as a global venture. Śrīla Prabhupāda offered one remarkable disclosure in 1968 at the temple in Los Angeles, occasioned by the observance of the disappearance of Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura. Looking at the rows of young American faces lifted up to him, Śrīla Prabhupāda wondered out loud:

I was born in a different family; my Guru Mahārāja was born in a different family. Who knew that I will come to his protection? Who knew that I would come in America? Who knew that you American boys will come to me? These are all Kṛṣṇa’s arrangement. We cannot understand how things are taking place.

But then, Śrīla Prabhupāda goes on to tell how his presence that day in Los Angeles came about.

In 1936—today is ninth December, 1968—that means thirty-two years ago, in Bombay, I was then doing some business: All of a sudden—perhaps on this date, sometimes between ninth or tenth of December (at that time, Guru Mahārāja was indisposed little, and he was staying at Jagannātha Purī, on the seashore)—so, I wrote him a letter: "My dear master, your other disciples— brahmacārī, sannyāsī—they are rendering you direct service. And I am a householder: I cannot live with you, I cannot serve you nicely. So I do not know. How can I serve you?" Simply an idea: I was thinking of serving him, "How can I serve him seriously?"

The seed from which all else grew was "simply an idea." Discontent with his occupation in business, feeling himself incapacitated by the obligations of his āśrama, on an impulse ("all of a sudden") Prabhupāda wrote his Guru Mahārāja with a plea, a cry from the heart. He felt himself locked in a position which made proper service impossible, yet still the desire to do it was there. So he confessed his desire and his frustration to his spiritual master.

Prabhupāda continues:

So the reply was dated 13 December, 1936. In that letter he wrote, "My dear such and such, I am very glad to receive your letter. I think you should try to push our movement in English." That was his writing. "And that will do good to you and to the people who will help you." That was his instruction. And then in 1936, on the thirty-first of December—that means just after writing this letter a fortnight before his departure—he passed away. But I took that order of my spiritual master very seriously, but I did not think that I’ll have to do such and such thing. I was at that time a householder. But this is the arrangement of Kṛṣṇa. If we strictly try to serve the spiritual master, his order, then Kṛṣṇa will give us all facilities. That is the secret. Although there was no possibility—I never thought—.

It was a startling, an unexpected, an incongruous, an entirely improbable order. "Push on our movement in English": that was, in fact, the cutting edge of the Gauḍīya Maṭha’s preaching. It meant: Go to the West—to Europe, to America. It was a wellknown order, already conveyed to many leaders, sannyāsīs and brahmacārīs, in the Gauḍīya Maṭha. But now the recipient was a householder doing business in Bombay, entangled in domestic and commercial matters, helping out the temple as much as he could. He was, as we say today, a "congregational member." Prabhupāda confesses that he could not envision any concrete circumstances in which it could be realized. ("I did not think that I’ll have to do such and such thing," "Although there was no possibility—I never thought—".) Nevertheless, he took it "very seriously." At the same time, it was the last direct communication he received from his spiritual master. That gave it even more weight. (And he surely remembered this order echoed the request he received on his very first meeting with Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, fourteen years previously.) So he understood he must take it seriously, even though he was initially baffled: How in the world will it happen? As it turns out, it happened by "the arrangement of Kṛṣṇa."

Yet something more is still required. For what prompts Kṛṣṇa to make such an arrangement? The seriousness of the disciple. "If we strictly try to serve the spiritual master, his order, then Kṛṣṇa will give us all facilities. That is the secret."[65] This is Śrīla Prabhupāda’s "realized knowledge."

Now Prabhupāda goes to tell us how—again by Kṛṣṇa’s arrangement—he learned this secret:

Although there was no possibility—I never thought— but I took it little seriously by studying a commentary by Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura on the Bhagavad-gītā. In the Bhagavad-gītā there is the verse, vyavasāyātmikābuddhir ekeha kuru-nandana. In connection with that verse, Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura gives his commentary that we should take up the words from the spiritual master as our life and soul. We should try to carry out the instruction, the specific instruction of the spiritual master, very rigidly, without caring for our personal benefit or loss.

Here is the immediate source of Prabhupāda’s inspiration: the realization he received from reading Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura’s commentary on Bhagavad-gītā 2.41. It was the key that unlocked the order of his spiritual master. It became the foundation of his life and achievement, the "only secret" of his success. Again and again, Prabhupāda directly and indirectly refers to this defining moment of his life,[66] when he was granted the realization to make the total commitment that, come what may, he would make the order of his spiritual master his life and soul. Because of that commitment alone, Kṛṣṇa has brought him to America and given him success:

So I tried a little bit in that spirit. So he has given me all facilities to serve him. Things have come to this stage, that in this old age I have come to your country, and you are also taking this movement seriously, trying to understand it. We have got some books now. So there is little foothold of this movement.

Now Prabhupāda requests his own disciples to enact the same commitment to his order that he has evinced to that of his Guru Mahārāja:

So on this occasion of my spiritual master’s departure, as I am trying to execute his will, similarly, I shall also request you to execute the same order through my will. I am an old man, I can also pass away at any moment. That is nature’s law. Nobody can check it. So that is not very astonishing, but my appeal to you on this auspicious day of the departure of my Guru Mahārāja, that at least to some extent you have understood the essence of Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. You should try to push it on. (681209 - Lecture Festival Disappearance Day, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati - Los Angeles)

"Execute his will" is a play on words. The expression means, of course, to carry out the order of some one, but it is also the formal legal term to refer to the process by which a person’s assets become those of his heirs. By his commitment to execute Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī’s will, Śrīla Prabhupāda inherited from him his specific potency to spread Kṛṣṇa consciousness. On this occasion Śrīla Prabhupāda is now making his will: "I shall also request you to execute the same order through my will. I am an old man." By his will, Prabhupāda has made us his heirs. He imparts, as his legacy, the instructions that, if accepted, transfers to us the same potency to deliver people to the shelter of Kṛṣṇa’s feet.

"I shall also request you to execute the same order through my will:" This is an extraordinary moment; it is the act of transmission of spiritual potency, by which we all can become empowered just as Śrīla Prabhupāda himself became empowered. Then Śrīla Prabhupāda tells us what "that same order" is:

. . . . at least to some extent you have understood the essence of Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. You should try to push it on. People are suffering for want of this consciousness. As we daily pray about devotees:

vāñchā-kalpatarubhyaś ca kṛpā-sindhubhya eva ca

patitānāṁ pāvanebhyo vaiṣṇavebhyo namo namaḥ

A Vaiṣṇava, or devotee of Lord, his life is dedicated for the benefit of the people. You know—most of you belong to Christian community—how Lord Jesus Christ, he said that for your sinful activities he has sacrificed himself. That is the determination of devotee of the Lord. They don’t care for personal comforts. Because they love Kṛṣṇa or God, therefore they love all living entities because all living entities are in relationship with Kṛṣṇa. So similarly you should learn. This Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement means to become Vaiṣṇava and feel for the suffering humanity.

The order he received in the form "push on our movement in English" is now retransmitted to us in the form "become Vaiṣṇavas and feel for the suffering of humanity." Śrīla Prabhupāda took this to heart, as the song instructs:

guru-mukha-padma-vākya, cittete kariyā aikya,
āra nā kariha mane āśā

"Make the words from the lotus mouth of Śrī Gurudeva one with your heart; aspire for nothing else."

The achievement of Śrīla Prabhupāda is proof of the potency of these instructions. Many others had received the same order from Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, but in the event, the demonstration of vyavasāyātmikā-buddhi was his alone.

Hence, Prabhupāda founded a new organization that, as a whole and in its every part, would embody and develop that realization—a realization that manifests itself as an unwavering, indefatigable commitment to deliver pure love of God to suffering humanity everywhere.

Suffering humanity. The acute feeling for human suffering— so prominent in Śrīla Prabhupāda’s inheritance from Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura—possesses a natural ramification: an urgent need to muster and deploy all resources together—material, personnel, finances, infrastructure, organization—to deliver as much relief as possible in the shortest possible time. Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura’s innovation was to create a unified, coordinated institution that could accomplish this. When the voluntary service of devotees was rationally organized and coordinated, its effective energy, thus consolidated and concentrated, became hugely multiplied.

The institution that would be able to act on this commitment with united force over large spans of space and time needs a unique form. Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī therefore called for an organization in which the ultimate authority would reside not in the person of a single autocratic ācārya but rather in a board of directors, which he called the "Governing Body Commission." In the event, the Gauḍīya Maṭha failed to realize this structure, and so, Prabhupāda said, became "useless."

A board of directors. A board of directors is a modern Western institution for joint management and oversight. Śrīla Prabhupāda put into place the standard, generally familiar, elements of such an organization: the annual general meeting, resolutions adopted by a majority of the voting members, following rules of formal parliamentary procedure (as given in Robert’s Rule of Order), the adopted resolution recorded into a minutes book by the secretary, and so on.

The "single autocratic ācārya" exemplifies an older, more basic, and perhaps more instinctively natural, form of organization. It has, of course, become a standard arrangement in Indian culture, developing originally out of, say, a sannyāsī and his brahmacārī students.

When over time institutions grow up around a single powerful, charismatic teacher or leader, a result of the gradual accumulation of followers, land, temples, housing, and wealthy patronage, then the person at the top needs to be spiritually advanced in order not to fall victim to the temptations of power, money, fame, and the like. At the same time, the prospect of controlling and enjoying such assets may attract precisely the wrong kind of person—who must of course feign indifference to such things. In these cases, hypocrisy, faultfinding, backstabbing, underhanded dealing, etc., may become endemic, and institutions tend toward disintegration.

The advantage of a governing board is that power is more dispersed, and the members act to check and balance each other. The institution is inherently more stable: If at some time there is no single outstanding charismatic leader, the institution continues. On the other hand, the existence of two or more supremely qualified leaders can be smoothly accommodated. With a governing board they become an asset—the more the merrier. But if there is a single head, two or more highly qualified leaders will leave all but one under-engaged or unfulfilled, a condition that will foster schisms.

Thus a governing board is more stable, stronger and far more resilient than a single ācārya. But what if there are a number of exceptionally empowered—let’s call them "self-effulgent"— ācāryas on that board? Will they pull things apart? No: If they are indeed elevated in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, then they will be certain to exemplify the principle of cooperative service at the lotus feet of Śrīla Prabhupāda and make the governing board all the stronger.

Our Central Challenge

Śrīla Prabhupāda established such a structure for ISKCON, putting the Governing Body Commission in place in 1970 and overseeing its gradual articulation and development. Stating that he wanted there to be "hundreds and thousands of spiritual masters" within ISKCON, he implied that the normative guru-disciple relationship would be perpetuated within the unified institution under the direction of the GBC. In such an organization, many gurus would be able to act with concerted force, operating together with other leaders and managers in collegial accord.

Hundreds and thousands of spiritual masters. In New York on August 17, 1966, while speaking on Bhagavad-gītā 4.34-38, Śrīla Prabhupāda said:

So there is no bar for anyone, that one cannot become the spiritual master. Everyone can become spiritual master, provided he knows the science of Kṛṣṇa. . . . This is the science of Kṛṣṇa, this Bhagavad-gītā. If anyone knows perfectly, then he becomes the spiritual master. . . . So we require hundreds and thousands of spiritual masters who has understood this Kṛṣṇa science. And preach all over the world. . . . . Therefore we have formed this society and we invite all sincere souls to take part in the society and become a spiritual master, and preach this science all over the world. (660815 - Lecture BG 04.34-38 - New York)

Śrīla Prabhupāda explained his expectation to Tuṣṭa-kṛṣṇa (VB: Correspondence, Dec. 2, 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. . . . 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.

Śrīla Prabhupāda stated on these and many other occasions the need of huge numbers of gurus, and his desire that "every student" help meet that need. Since he very much wanted his disciples and followers to remain within ISKCON, he envisioned a vast increase in spiritual and material force generated by the efficiencies and mutual reinforcements of cooperative service. By working and preaching together in a concerted, organized fashion, our internal and external power become far more than the sum of that of the individual parts.

After all, our practice is saṅkīrtana, not just kīrtana, and the full import of the prefix saṁ—indicating not only union, but also thoroughness, intensity and completeness—needs realization.

Yet as long as Prabhupāda was present as the sole ācārya and dīkṣā guru, the structure necessarily remained in embryonic form, a child still in the womb of its mother, its form and function necessarily not fully developed. During Prabhupāda’s manifest presence, by the very nature of the situation, the GBC clearly could not assume its full role as the "ultimate managing authority," and Prabhupāda remained the only guru. Therefore the completed product of Prabhupāda’s work had to await its time to be manifest.

Consequently, Prabhupāda has left to us the task, after his departure, of fully articulating the form and functions of ISKCON for effective action in the world. One central challenge is to integrate the guru-disciple relationship—which carries its own proper demand for deep loyalty and commitment to the person of the guru—within a larger society that demands, in a certain sense, a higher, all-encompassing, loyalty. That loyalty is our common fidelity to our Founder-Ācārya Śrīla Prabhupāda, a loyalty proven in practice by our cooperation with each other, within the structure he bequeathed us, to fulfill his deepest desire.

Our cooperation with each other. The foundation of cooperation is love. "A whole society is carrying my order, not because I am superior person," said Śrīla Prabhupāda (Philosophy Discussion on Arthur Schopenhauer).

There is love. Without love, you cannot do so. You have got some bit of love for me, therefore you carry my order. Otherwise it is not possible. And I cannot also. You are foreigners, you are Americans; I came from another country. I have no [bank] account. I cannot also order you: "You must do it, otherwise I will chastise you." Because there is love. It is a connection of love. I can also become bold enough to chastise you, but you also, in whatever condition you carry my order due to the basic principle is love. And our whole philosophy is love.[67]

On May 23, 1977, Śrīla Prabhupāda made a well-know statement about the test of our love.

As recorded by Tamāla Kṛṣṇa Goswami:

Śrīla Prabhupāda emphasized, "Your love for me will be tested how after my departure you maintain this institution. We have glamour and people are feeling our weight. This should be maintained. Not like Gauḍīya Math. After Guru Mahārāja’s departure so many ācaryās came up."[68]

Bhakti Charu Swami was present when Śrīla Prabhupāda made this statement. He recalls:

When Srila Prabhupada was in Vrindavan during his last days, Tamal Krsna Maharaja used to read out loud the letters that devotees wrote to Srila Prabhupada, and His Divine Grace used to dictate his replies, and sometimes he also used to make some comments. Once one devotee wrote how he wanted to offer his longevity to Srila Prabhupada so that he could continue to be with us on this planet. It was a very sweet letter, steeped with emotion. However, Srila Prabhupada reacted in a rather unusual way and commented that our real love for him would be shown by how we cooperate with each other to continue his mission. That incident left a very deep impression in my heart, and I became aware that the best way to show my love for Srila Prabhupada is through my cooperation with the devotees of ISKCON who are serving His Divine Grace so sincerely to continue his mission.[69]

In his final days, Śrīla Prabhupāda asked from us a more compelling proof of love than heartfelt expressions, however sincere. This, he says, will convince him: Our cooperation with one another to advance his mission after his departure.

This standard established by Śrīla Prabhupāda—actions that disclose far more than ardent words— also expresses the essence of the vāṇī-sevā by which we attain and sustain association with Śrīla Prabhupāda.

Furthermore, to cooperate together to spread Kṛṣṇa consciousness is the very meaning of saṇkīrtana. Śrīla Prabhupāda has explained this wonderfully:

The purport of the verse is that even Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu—He is God himself, Kṛṣṇa Himself—He felt, alone, unable to do this task. He felt. So this is the position. You are cooperating; therefore I am getting the credit. Otherwise alone what could I do? Ekākī āmāra nāhi pāya bolo. Caitanya Mahāprabhu Himself wanted our cooperation. He is God, Kṛṣṇa. And therefore cooperation is very important thing. Nobody should think that "I have got so great ability. I can do." No. It is simply by cooperation we can do very big thing. "United we stand; divided we fall." This is our. . . . So be strong in pushing on Kṛṣṇa consciousness, and Kṛṣṇa will help. He is the strongest. Still, we must be combined together. Saṅkīrtana. Saṅkīrtana means many men combined together chanting. That is saṅkīrtana. Otherwise kīrtana. Saṅkīrtana. Bahubhir militvā kīrtayatīti saṅkīrtanam. Bahu: bahu means many, many combined together. That is Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s mission, combined together.[70]

After two influential leaders had left ISKCON, Śrīla Prabhupāda gave this counsel to Babhru Dāsa on December 9, 1973. May it always remain in our hearts:

Now, we have by Krsna’s Grace built up something significant in the shape of this ISKCON and we are all one family. Sometimes there may be disagreement and quarrel but we should not go away. These inebrieties can be adjusted by the cooperative spirit, tolerance and maturity so I request you to kindly remain in the association of our devotees and work together. The test of our actual dedication and sincerity to serve the Spiritual Master will be in this mutual cooperative spirit to push on this Movement and not make factions and deviate. (731209 - Letter to Babhru written from Los Angeles)

We discovered that the initial "zonal-ācārya" system of integrating the guru into a broad structure implicitly created geographical zones that were individually more unified than ISKCON as a whole. The integrity of ISKCON came in to jeopardy. That system has been abolished. Yet we need to go much further in realizing the organization Śrīla Prabhupāda wanted.

We need to go much further. We look forward to establishing a culture in ISKCON of committed cooperative servitorship under Śrīla Prabhupāda. When this becomes established as a culture, each and every member—top to bottom— shares equally in it. It is so thoroughly part of the essence of existence in the Krishna Consciousness movement that it dwells even in the smallest gesture. Children take it in with their mother’s milk. It is all pervading. We will be perpetually in the presence of Śrīla Prabhupāda—and of those in whose presence he dwells.

and distribute?" In his purport, Śrīla Prabhupāda points out: "Here Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu indicates that the distribution of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra should be performed by combined forces."

It is interesting to note that two prominent anti-ISKCON movements—often claiming to be the "real ISKCON"—have formed by specific rejection of one or the other component of Prabhupāda’s whole: the "ritvik" position wishes to do away with actual gurus in favor of GBC institutional authority, while the followers of one prominent sannyāsī or another wish to eliminate an actual GBC and rely on the charismatic, autocratic single ācārya.

Specific rejection of one or the other component. As we learn from the Gauḍīya Maṭha, it is clearly a challenge to get it right. We now have our own schismatic groups, and we should treat them as Śrīla Prabhupāda did the remnant factions of the Gauḍīya Maṭha: With a clear and incisive understanding of their deviations; with a generous, well-wishing attitude; and with endless patience.

ISKCON needs to foster both elements: an intense common loyalty to ISKCON and the GBC, and the deep and full teaching relationship between individual gurus and disciples within ISKCON. We need to realize how there is no contradiction and no conflict. We need to realize how they reinforce and support each other.

'A crucial element in establishing this necessary synthesis is achieving a deep understanding of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s position and putting that understanding into action—both jñāna and vijñāna. As Founder-Ācārya, Śrīla Prabhupāda himself symbolizes—and, in a sense, is—the unity of ISKCON. Therefore he must become an inescapable predominate felt presence in the lives of all devotees, no matter who else may serve as their dīkṣā or śikṣā gurus. Gurus still manifest in the world tend to make a more vivid impact on their followers than those now unmanifest in form. Because Śrīla Prabhupāda’s person is now unmanifest as such, this absence of vapu needs to be compensated for by an ever-deepening realization of his manifestation as vāṇi (as he himself taught).

Understanding Śrīla Prabhupāda’s position. It is hoped that the present paper will be one among many more that aim to foster ever-deepening understanding of Śrīla Prabhupāda as FounderĀcārya and ever-increasing devoted service to him.

Such presence needs to become so much a part of the fabric of ISKCON, to become the essential savor of its culture, that his presence will not diminish even when all who personally knew Śrīla Prabhupāda follow him from this world.

His presence will not diminish. Culture has been defined by anthropologists as the sum total of learned behavior of a group that is transmitted from generation to generation. The great gift to posterity each generation of ISKCON can give is the gift of Śrīla Prabhupāda.

Αποτελέσματα

Θα υπάρξουν πολλές συνέπειες όταν η θέση του Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα ως Ιδρυτή-Ατσάρια εκδηλωθεί. Ανάμεσα σε αυτές ξεχωρίζουμε τις εξής:

Η μια γενιά μετά την άλλη θα μπορεί να λαμβάνει το ιδιαίτερο έλεος που προσφέρει ο Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα. Τον δρόμο πίσω στον Θεό που άνοιξε θα τον διαβεί ολοένα και μεγαλύτερος αριθμός ανθρώπων.
Λαμβάνοντας καταφύγιο στον Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα υπό την ιδιότητά του ως σίκσα γκούρου μέσω της εκδηλωσής του με την φωνή και τις διδασκαλίες του-vāṇi, όλοι οι δάσκαλοι της ISKCON, σε διάφορα επίπεδα προόδου, θα μπορούν να μεταφέρουν αυθεντικά τις πραγματικές διδασκαλίες του Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα, προσφέροντας με τον τρόπο αυτό ορθή καθοδήγηση, καταφύγιο και προστασία σε όλους.
Η ενεργή παρουσία του Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα θα διασφαλίσει την ενότητα και την ακεραιότητα της ISKCON.
Οι διδασκαλίες της SKCON θα παραμείνουν συνεκτικές μέσα στον χώρο και τον χρόνο.
Η συνειδητοποιημένη γνώση του Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα—που τον προίκισε με την ιδιαίτερη δύναμη να διαδώσει την Συνείδηση του Κρίσνα— όχι μόνο θα διατηρηθεί, αλλά και θα αναπτυχθεί.
Τα βιβλία του θα παραμείνουν στην κεντρική θέση για εμάς, επειδή εμπεριέχουν πληροφορίες και κατεθυντήριες γραμμές που χρειάζονται περαιτέρω ανάπτυξη και υλοποίηση.
Τα μάτια του Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα θα παραμείνουν για πάντα οι φακοί μέσω των οποίων όλες οι μελλοντικές γενεές θα μπορούν να βλέπουν τους προγενέστερους ατσάριας.

ABBREVIATIONS

BG: Bhagavad-gītā
BS: Brahma-saṁhitā
CB: Caitanya Bhagavat
CC: Caitanya-caritāmṛita
BTG: Back to Godhead
HKE: The Hare Krishna Explosion
Harm: The Harmonist
Kṛṣṇa: Kṛṣṇa, The Supreme Personality of Godhead
MHP: Modern Hindu Personalism
NDM: Navadvīpa-dhāma-māhātmya
SS: Servant of the Servant
SKC: Sree Krishna Caitanya
SBV: Śrī Bhaktisiddhānta Vaibhava
SPL: Śrīla Prabhupāda-lilamrita
SB: Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam
TKG: TKG’s Diary
VB: VedaBase

WORKS CITED

Back to Godhead. Accessed October 8, 2013. http:///www.backtogodhead.in.

Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Goswami Ṭhākura. Śrī Brahma-saṁhitā. Bombay: The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, 1991.

Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, A.C.. Bhagavad Gītā As It Is. Los Angeles: The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, 1989.

———. Kṛṣṇa: The Supreme Personality of Godhead. Los Angeles: The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International, 1996.

———. Śrī Caitanya Caritāmrita of Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī. Botany: The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, 1996.

———. Śrīmad Bhāgavatam. Los Angeles: The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, 1976.

Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: The Complete Teaching of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Founder-Acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. CD-ROM, 2003.1. Bhaktivedanta Archives.

Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura. Śrī Navadvīpa-dhāma Māhātmya. Translated by Bhānu Swami. n.p., n.d.

Dasa, Hayagriva. The Hare Krishna Explosion. Singapore: Palace Press, 1985.

Following Srila Prabhupada: DVD 1, compiled by Yadubara Dāsa, British Columbia, Canada: ISKCON Cinema, 2006.

Goswami, Satsvarūpa dāsa. Śrīla Prabhupāda-līlāmṛta: A Biography of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda. 6 vols. Los Angeles: Bhakivedanta Book Trust, 1980-1983.

Goswami, Tamal Krishna. Servant of the Servant. Los Angeles: The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, 1984.

———. TKG’s Diary. Dallas: Pundits Press, 1998.

Harmonist, The. Edited by Sri Srimad Bhakti Siddhanta Sarasvati Goswami Maharaj. Vols. 24-33. Calcutta: Sri Gaudiya Math, 1927- 1936. Note: The Bhaktivedanta Research Centre holds a collection of original issues of The Harmonist, bound in ten volumes. (This collection was previously part of the library of Sundarānanda Vidyāvinoda.) In the 8th bound volume (containing Volume 32 of The Harmonist), there are no issues 22 and 24. The 9th bound volume, containing Volume 33, holds only four issues, two for November and two for December 1936. The 10th and final bound volume, containing The Harmonist Volume 34 (1937), holds six issues—published after the demise of Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura—beginning in August and ending in November.

Sanyal, Nisikanta. Sree Krishna Chaitanya. Vol. 1. Royapettah, Madras: Sree Gaudiya Math, 1933.

Sardella, Ferdinando. Modern Hinduism Personalism: The History, Life, and Thought of Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī. New York: Oxford University Press, 2013.

Sraman, Bhakitikusum. Prabhupāda Srila Sarasvati Thākura. Māyāpur: Śrī Caitanya Maṭha, 1982.

Swami, Bhakti Vikāsa. Śrī Bhaktisiddhānta Vaibhava: The Grandeur and Glory of Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura. 3 vols. Surat, India: Bhakti Vikas Trust, 2009.

GLOSSARY

ACCORD: AGREEMENT OR HARMONY.

ADROIT: SKILLFUL IN USING THE HANDS OR MIND; DEXTEROUS, ACTIVE, CLEVER.

AEGIS: THE PROTECTION, BACKING, OR SUPPORT OF A PARTICULAR PERSON OR ORGANIZATION.

ALLEGORY: DESCRIPTION OF A SUBJECT UNDER THE GUISE OF SOME OTHER SUBJECT OF APTLY SUGGESTIVE RESEMBLANCE; A STORY, POEM, OR PICTURE THAT CAN BE INTERPRETED TO REVEAL A HIDDEN MEANING, TYPICALLY A MORAL OR POLITICAL ONE; A SYMBOL.

ALLUSION: IMPLIED, OR INDIRECT REFERENCE; AN EXPRESSION DESIGNED TO CALL SOMETHING TO MIND WITHOUT MENTIONING IT EXPLICITLY; AN INDIRECT OR PASSING REFERENCE.

ALLUVIAL: OF, PERTAINING TO, OR CONSISTING OF ALLUVIUM; DEPOSITED FROM FLOWING WATER; OR PERTAINING TO SUCH A DEPOSIT.

ANALOGOUS: COMPARABLE IN CERTAIN RESPECTS, TYPICALLY IN A WAY THAT MAKES CLEARER THE NATURE OF THE THINGS COMPARED.

ANALOGUE: AN ANALOGOUS WORD OR THING; A REPRESENTATIVE IN DIFFERENT CIRCUMSTANCES OR SITUATION; SOMETHING PERFORMING A CORRESPONDING PART.

ANOMALY: SOMETHING THAT DEVIATES FROM WHAT IS STANDARD, NORMAL, OR EXPECTED.

ANTIPATHY: FEELING AGAINST, HOSTILE FEELING TOWARDS; CONSTITUTIONAL OR SETTLED AVERSION OR DISLIKE.

APHORISM: A PITHY OBSERVATION THAT CONTAINS A GENERAL TRUTH.

APPELLATION: A DESIGNATION, NAME, OR TITLE GIVEN.

APPURTENANCE: A THING WHICH NATURALLY AND FITLY FORMS A SUBORDINATE PART OF, OR BELONGS TO, A WHOLE SYSTEM; A CONTRIBUTORY ADJUNCT, AN ACCESSORY.

ARDENT: ENTHUSIASTIC OR PASSIONATE.

ATTESTATION: PROVIDE OR SERVE AS CLEAR EVIDENCE OF.

ATTRIBUTION: ASCRIBE A WORK OR REMARK TO (A PARTICULAR AUTHOR, ARTIST, OR SPEAKER).

AU COURANT: AWARE OF WHAT IS GOING ON; WELL INFORMED; FASHIONABLE.

AVER: TO DECLARE TRUE, ASSERT THE TRUTH OF (A STATEMENT).

CARTOGRAPHY: THE SCIENCE OR PRACTICE OF DRAWING MAPS.

CHRISTEN: GIVE TO (SOMEONE OR SOMETHING) A NAME THAT REFLECTS A NOTABLE QUALITY OR CHARACTERISTIC.

COIGN OF VANTAGE: A FAVORABLE POSITION FOR OBSERVATION OR ACTION.

COINAGE: THE (DELIBERATE) FORMATION OF A NEW WORD.

CONSUMMATE: COMPLETED, PERFECTED, FULLY ACCOMPLISHED.

CONSUMMATION: THE POINT AT WHICH SOMETHING IS COMPLETE OR FINALIZED.

CONTROLLING METAPHOR: A METAPHOR THAT PERVADES OR ORGANIZES AN ENTIRE LITERARY WORK.

ECCLESIOLOGY: THEOLOGY AS APPLIED TO THE NATURE AND STRUCTURE OF A CHURCH.

EFFICACIOUS: SUCCESSFUL IN PRODUCING A DESIRED OR INTENDED RESULT; EFFECTIVE.

ELUCIDATE: MAKE (SOMETHING) CLEAR; EXPLAIN.

EMBRYONIC: (OF A SYSTEM, IDEA, OR ORGANIZATION) IN A RUDIMENTARY STAGE WITH POTENTIAL FOR FURTHER DEVELOPMENT; IMMATURE, UNDEVELOPED.

EMINENT: OF PERSONS: EXALTED, DIGNIFIED IN RANK OR STATION.

ENACTOR: SOMEONE WHO PUT INTO PRACTICE (A BELIEF, IDEA, OR SUGGESTION).

ENDEMIC: CONSTANTLY OR REGULARLY FOUND AMONG A (SPECIFIED) PEOPLE.

ENGENDER: CAUSE OR GIVE RISE TO (A FEELING, SITUATION, OR CONDITION); TO FORM, ORIGINATE, BE PRODUCED.

ENSUE: TO HAPPEN OR OCCUR AFTERWARD.

EPIGRAM: A PITHY SAYING OR REMARK EXPRESSING AN IDEA IN A CLEVER AND AMUSING WAY.

EVINCE: TO PROVE BY ARGUMENT OR EVIDENCE; TO ESTABLISH.

ETYMOLOGY: THE ORIGIN OF A WORD AND THE HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT OF ITS MEANING.

EXPLICATION: THE PROCESS OF DEVELOPING OR BRINGING OUT WHAT IS IMPLICITLY CONTAINED IN A NOTION, PROPOSITION, PRINCIPLE, ETC.; THE RESULT OF THIS PROCESS.

EXPOUND: PRESENT AND EXPLAIN (A THEORY OR IDEA) SYSTEMATICALLY AND IN DETAIL.

EXPOSITION: A COMPREHENSIVE DESCRIPTION AND EXPLANATION OF AN IDEA OR THEORY.

FACADE: AN OUTWARD APPEARANCE THAT IS MAINTAINED TO CONCEAL A LESS PLEASANT OR CREDITABLE REALITY.

FEIGN: PRETEND TO BE AFFECTED BY.

FORAY: AN ATTEMPT TO BECOME INVOLVED IN A NEW ACTIVITY OR SPHERE.

FREIGHT: TO LOAD, STORE; TO BEAR UPON AS A LOAD.

GRANDILOQUENT: EXTRAVAGANT IN LANGUAGE, STYLE, OR MANNER, ESPECIALLY IN A WAY THAT IS INTENDED TO IMPRESS.

IMMOLATE: KILL OR OFFER AS A SACRIFICE, ESPECIALLY BY BURNING.

IMPROMPTU: DONE WITHOUT BEING PLANNED, ORGANIZED, OR REHEARSED.

IMP: A LITTLE DEVIL OR DEMON, AN EVIL SPIRIT.

INDEFATIGABLE: INCAPABLE OF BEING WEARIED; THAT CANNOT BE TIRED OUT; UNWEARIED, UNTIRING, UNREMITTING IN LABOUR OR EFFORT.

INDIFFERENCE: LACK OF INTEREST, CONCERN, OR SYMPATHY.

INSIDIOUS: TREACHEROUS, DECEITFUL, UNDERHAND, CUNNING, CRAFTY.

INVIOLABLE: NEVER TO BE BROKEN, INFRINGED, OR DISHONORED.

LUMINARY: A PERSON WHO INSPIRES OR INFLUENCES OTHERS, ESP. ONE PROMINENT IN A PARTICULAR SPHERE.

MAGISTERIAL: HAVING OR SHOWING GREAT AUTHORITY; OF OR PERTAINING TO A MASTER-WORKMAN; DISPLAYING A MASTER’S SKILL.

MATRONYMIC: A NAME DERIVED FROM THE NAME OF A MOTHER OR FEMALE ANCESTOR.

MILIEU: A MEDIUM, ENVIRONMENT, ‘SURROUNDINGS’.

MORPHOLOGY: SHAPE, FORM, EXTERNAL STRUCTURE OR ARRANGEMENT.

NATAL: OF OR RELATING TO THE PLACE OR TIME OF ONE’S BIRTH.

NIHILISM: AN EXTREME FORM OF SCEPTICISM, INVOLVING THE DENIAL OF ALL EXISTENCE.

OCCLUDE: STOP, CLOSE UP, OR OBSTRUCT.

PALATIAL: RESEMBLING A PALACE IN BEING SPACIOUS AND SPLENDID.

PARADIGMATIC: SERVING AS A PATTERN; EXEMPLARY.

PATRONYMIC: A NAME DERIVED FROM THE NAME OF A FATHER OR ANCESTOR, TYPICALLY BY THE ADDITION OF A PREFIX OR SUFFIX.

PARAMOUNT: MORE IMPORTANT THAN ANYTHING ELSE; SUPREME.

PERDURABLE: ENDURING CONTINUOUSLY; IMPERISHABLE.

POSTERITY: ALL FUTURE GENERATIONS OF PEOPLE.

PRECEPTOR: ONE WHO INSTRUCTS; A TEACHER, INSTRUCTOR.

PRIMORDIAL: EXISTING AT OR FROM THE BEGINNING OF TIME.

PROFFER: TO BRING OR PUT BEFORE A PERSON FOR ACCEPTANCE; TO OFFER, PRESENT.

PROGENITOR: A PERSON OR THING FROM WHICH SOMETHING ORIGINATES; AN ANCESTOR OR PARENT.

PROMINENCE: THE FACT OR CONDITION OF STANDING OUT FROM SOMETHING BY PHYSICALLY PROJECTING OR BEING PARTICULARLY NOTICEABLE.

PROPOUND: PUT FORWARD (AN IDEA, THEORY, OR POINT OF VIEW) FOR CONSIDERATION BY OTHERS.

PROTOTYPE: A FIRST, TYPICAL OR PRELIMINARY MODEL OF SOMETHING, FROM WHICH OTHER FORMS ARE DEVELOPED OR COPIED.

PROVENANCE: THE PLACE OF ORIGIN OR EARLIEST KNOWN HISTORY OF SOMETHING.

PYRE: A PILE OR HEAP OF COMBUSTIBLE MATERIAL, ESPECIALLY WOOD; USUALLY, A FUNERAL PILE FOR BURNING A DEAD BODY.

RAGTAG: UNTIDY, DISORGANIZED, OR INCONGRUOUSLY VARIED IN CHARACTER.

RAREFIED: OF OR RELATING TO A SELECT GROUP.

REDACT: TO PUT (MATTER) INTO PROPER LITERARY FORM; TO WORK UP, ARRANGE, OR EDIT.

REFERENT: THAT WHICH IS REFERRED TO BY A WORD OR EXPRESSION.

REPOSED: BE SITUATED OR KEPT IN A PARTICULAR PLACE; PLACE SOMETHING, ESPECIALLY CONFIDENCE OR TRUST, IN.

REPRISE: A REPETITION OR FURTHER PERFORMANCE OF SOMETHING.

RESOLUTE: ADMIRABLY PURPOSEFUL, DETERMINED, AND UNWAVERING.

RESPLENDENT: ATTRACTIVE AND IMPRESSIVE THROUGH BEING RICHLY COLORFUL OR SUMPTUOUS.

RHETORICAL: EXPRESSED IN TERMS INTENDED TO PERSUADE OR IMPRESS.

SALVIFIC: TENDING TO SAVE, CAUSING SALVATION.

SCHISM: A SPLIT OR DIVISION BETWEEN STRONGLY OPPOSED SECTIONS OR PARTIES, CAUSED BY DIFFERENCES IN OPINION OR BELIEF.

SPURN: REJECT WITH DISDAIN OR CONTEMPT.

SUBLATE: ASSIMILATE (A SMALLER ENTITY) INTO A LARGER ONE.

TARRY: TO ABIDE TEMPORARILY, TO SOJOURN; TO STAY, REMAIN, LODGE (IN A PLACE).

TERMINUS: A FINAL POINT IN SPACE OR TIME; AN END OR EXTREMITY.

TOEHOLD: A RELATIVELY INSIGNIFICANT POSITION FROM WHICH FURTHER PROGRESS MAY BE MADE.

UNASSUAGEABLE: NOT ABLE TO BE SOOTHED OR RELIEVED.

UNDETERRED: PERSEVERING WITH SOMETHING DESPITE SETBACKS.

UNOBTRUSIVE: NOT CONSPICUOUS OR ATTRACTING ATTENTION.

UNOCCLUDED: NOT OBSTRUCTED.

UNTOWARD: UNEXPECTED AND INAPPROPRIATE OR INCONVENIENT.

VALORIZE: GIVE OR ASCRIBE VALUE OR VALIDITY TO (SOMETHING).

VERIDICAL: TRUTHFUL; COINCIDING WITH REALITY.

VICISSITUDE: A CHANGE OF CIRCUMSTANCES OR FORTUNE, TYPICALLY ONE THAT IS UNWELCOME OR UNPLEASANT.

VINDICATE: SHOW OR PROVE TO BE RIGHT, REASONABLE, OR JUSTIFIED.

VIRULENT: BITTERLY HOSTILE.

Definitions taken from the Oxford English Dictionary and the Oxford American English Dictionary.

FOOTNOTES

  1. 741113 - Letter to Deoji Punja written from Bombay
  2. 741229 - Letter to Mr. Punja written from Bombay
  3. CC Adi 1.46
  4. CC Adi 7.37
  5. CC Adi 7.37
  6. CC Madhya 23.105
  7. SB 1.4.1
  8. Ήταν ο πρώτος από τους τρεις προβλεπόμενους τόμους. Ο δεύτερος τόμος δεν δημοσιεύτηκε μέχρι το 2004 (Kolkata: Gaudiya Mission) και ο τρίτος προφανώς δεν γράφτηκε ποτέ.
  9. Ο Bhakti Vikāśa Swami γράφει ότι (SBV 2:362-63): «Ο de facto εκδότης και ο κύριος συνεισφέρων στο περιοδικό the Harmonist ήταν ο Bhakti Sudhākara που κατείχε μια μοναδικά εξέχουσα θέση ανάμεσα στα άλλα πνευματικά του αδέρφια. Και οι δύο ικανοί στην φιλοσοφική κατανότηση και στην πολύπλοκη αγγλική έκφραση και με την καρδιά του να είναι ένα με αυτήν του πνευματικού του δασκάλου, ήταν στην ουσία ο άλλος εαυτός της ομάδας της ομαδικής ψαλμωδίας του Σρίλα Σαρασβάτι Τακούρα όπως εκφράζεται στα Αγγλικά. Έτσι, ο Σρίλα Σαρασβάτι Τακούρα μερικές φορές δημοσίευε τα δικά του άρθρα κάτω από τον τίτλο του Καθηγητή Nishi Kant Sanyal, M.A., και αντίστροφα . . . Ένα άλλο σημαντικό έργο που του ανατέθηκε ήταν να συνθέσει το τελικό βιβλίο του Κυρίου Κρίσνα Τσεϊτάνια. Και του ανατέθηκε επίσης το έργο να συντάσει διαλέξεις για τον Śrīmad Bon Mahārāja ώστε να διανεμηθούν στην Αγγλία.
  10. Ο Καθηγητής Ιστορίας του Ravenshaw δίνει την εξής χρονολογική σειρά: «Οι πρώτοι προϊστορικοί δάσκαλοι οι οποίοι είναι η απόλυτη πηγή των τεσσάρων κοινοτήτων κατά την χρονολογική σειρά εμφάνισής τους είναι οι εξής: (1) Lakshmi, η αιώνια και αχώριστη σύζυγος του Βίσνου, (2) Brahma που προήλθε από τον λωτοειδή ομφαλό του Garbhodakasayi Vishnu, (3) Rudra που προήλθε από την δεύτερη Purusha, και (4) οι τέσσερις Sanas δηλαδή οι γιοι του Μπράχμα που γεννήθηκαν από τον νου Του. Η χρονολογική σειρά των Ατσάριας της Εποχής του Σιδήρου είναι (1) ο Sree Vishnuswami, (2) ο Sree Nimbaditya, (3) ο Sree Ramanuja, και (4) ο Sree Madhva» (SKC 150).
  11. Αυτός είναι ο όρος που χρησιμοποιείται από τον Σρίλα Πραμπουπάντα. Στο Gauḍīya Maṭha, ο όρος «Ιδρυτής-Ατσάρια» χρησιμοποιούνταν για την ομάδα αυτή. Αυτό είναι ένα αποκαλυπτικό παράδειγμα: Στο περιοδικό Harmonist του Οκτωβρίου του 1931 (Harm. 29.4: 125) βρίσκουμε την αναφορά «Srila Vishnu Swami, Ιδρυτής - Ατσάρια ενός από των τεσσάρων Vaishnava Sampradayas.» (Αυτή είναι μια περιγραφη των εκθεμάτων στην «Έκθεση για την Θεϊστική Παιδεία» η οποία έγινε στην Καλκούτα.) Στην ίδια σελίδα, ο Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura αναφέρεται ως ο «Ατσάρια των Gaudiya Vaishnavas.» (Αρκετά ενδιαφέρον είναι ότι το βιβλίο για τον Κύριο Κρίσνα Τσεϊτάνια δεν είχε δημοσιευτεί μέχρι τον Μάρτιο του 1933.)
  12. Harm. 28.5:129-135, 28.6:163-168, 28.7:216-220
  13. Ήταν ένας πολύ επιτυχημένος επιχειρηματίας ο οποίος έγινε μαθητής του Μπακτισιντάντα Σαρασβάτι Τακούρα. Για να μάθετε περισσότερα για τον λάτρη αυτό που χρηματοδότησε και διήθυνε την κατασκευή του ναού σας παραπέμπουμε στο SBV 2:364-371.
  14. Η μορφή όσο και το περιεχόμενο αναφέρουν σαφώς ότι ο Niśikānta Sānyāl είναι ο συγγραφέας. Βλέπε σημείωση 15 παραπάνω για την στενή του σχέση—ειδικά στον κόσμο της αγγλικής συγγραφής—με τον Μπακτισιντάντα Σαρασβάτι Τακούρα.
  15. "Ecclesiology" denotes the branch of theology dealing with the spiritual constitution and function of the church (ecclesia). The term was coined in 19th century England to indicate reflections concerning church architecture—the construction and ornamentation of the physical structure. Nowadays the term, in its Christian context, has become widened to deal with issues like: What is the relation of the Church to Jesus or God? Or to the Kingdom of God? How does the Church save? What is the church’s relation to the world or to secular society? Our own Vaiṣṇava tradition has a de facto ecclesiology, so we can conveniently adapt the term. The Oxford English Dictionary gives this definition for "ecclesia:" "A Greek word for a regularly convoked assembly; chiefly applied to the general assembly of Athenian citizens. On the introduction of Christianity it became the regular word for church." The word thus fits our own situation nicely: we are also an assembly, a congregation—a sabhā, as in "Viśva-Vaiṣṇava-rāja Sabhā." And, as we shall see, sacred architecture plays a prominent role in ISKCON, as it did in its precursor.
  16. "Controlling metaphor" is borrowed from literary criticism. It denotes a metaphor that pervades or organizes an entire literary work.
  17. SBV 1:66. This account of the origin of the Gauḍīya Mission is based on material in SBV, "Part One: Biographical Overview" (SBV I:1-122).
  18. This premises was secured in 1918 as a center for Calcutta preaching with the name "Bhaktivinoda Āsana." At that time four gṛhasthas with their families resided there; Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura had quarters on the roof (SBV 1:68-9). The place was turned into a temple with the name "Gauḍīya Maṭha" in 1920. It was here, two years later, that Śrīla Prabhupāda first met his spiritual master.
  19. "Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī directed [Jagabandhu] to erect a temple wherefrom Gaurasundara’s message could be broadcast throughout the globe" (SBV 2:366).
  20. We find this same ecclesiology restated in The Harmonist some five years later (March 15, 1935). In an article titled "Sreedham Mayapur" (Harm. 32.14:313- 315), a proposal to relocate the "parent Math" from Śrī Caitanya Maṭha in Māyāpur to Śrī Gauḍīya Maṭha in Calcutta, though "asked with every appearance of honest enquiry," is firmly rejected on the grounds that "Sreedham Mayapur is the descended Divine Realm," and "The Gaudiya Math of Calcutta and the branch Maths of the Mission all over the world have their spiritual justification to territorial existence as training centers for the service of Sreedham Mayapur."
  21. Here the author has adapted a well-known phrase from the Christian Bible: "For in him [the Lord] we live, and move, and have our being . . . ." (Acts 17:28).
  22. Śrīla Prabhupāda: "The ācārya gives the suitable method for crossing the ocean of nescience by accepting the boat of the Lord’s lotus feet, and if this method is strictly followed, the followers will ultimately reach the destination, by the grace of the Lord. This method is called ācārya-sampradāya. It is therefore said, sampradāya-vihīnā ye mantrās te niṣphalā matāḥ [A mantra received outside of an authorized succession of strict followers is without effect.] (Padma Purāṇa). The ācārya-sampradāya is strictly bona fide. Therefore one must accept the ācāryasampradāya; otherwise one’s endeavor will be futile" (SB 10.2.31, purport).
  23. SB 4.28.47
  24. SB 4.28.51
  25. The statement “ISKCON is my body" has repeatedly been cited as a remark by Śrīla Prabhupāda himself. (See, for example, the introduction to the 1986 Vyāsa Pūjā book by Draviḍa Dāsa, as well as the Vyāsa Pūjā offerings from China in 1986, from Gaṇapati Dāsa Swami in 1987, from Kīrtirāja Dāsa in 1991, from Nityodita Swami in 1995. In an offering of 1997 Tamāl Krishna Goswami reflects with feeling on this “well-known statement" of Śrīla Prabhupāda, and the next year Giridhārī Swami notes in his homage, “We have all heard your well-known saying ‘ISKCON is my body.’") However, we currently have no direct attestation for this assertion. Nevertheless, we can accept the truth of the statement simply on our understanding the meaning of “Founder-Ācārya" as presented in The Harmonist.
  26. "The Supreme Personality of Godhead, the living entities, the material energy, the spiritual energy and the entire creation are all individual substances. In the ultimate analysis, however, together they constitute the supreme one, the Personality of Godhead. Therefore those who are advanced in spiritual knowledge see unity in diversity" (SB 6.8.32-33). In his purport to CC Madhya 10.113, Prabhupāda states that "the principle of unity in diversity" is "philosophically known as acintya-bhedābheda—simultaneous oneness and difference." (CC Madhya 10.113)
  27. Bhakti Vikāśa Swami: "The crowing glory of all Gauḍīya Maṭha activities hitherto came in 1933, with the dispatching of preachers to the West" (SBV 1:108).
  28. The Harmonist had ceased publication in 1937
  29. On October 1, 1935, the chief of the European missionaries, Bhakti Hṛdaya Bon Mahārāja, paid a formal visit to the Mahārāja of Tripura. An exuberant account of the occasion appeared in The Harmonist of November 7, 1935 (Harm. 32.5:116- 118) under the title "First Hindu Temple in London." In it we read: "Swamiji [B. H. Bon] then referred to the activities of the Gaudiya Math in England and Central Europe, and intimated to His Highness the wish of His Divine Master, the Head of the Gaudiya Math, for the erection of the first Hindu Temple in London and a Home for the diffusion of the spiritual culture of India in the West. His Highness listened graciously to the proposals of Swamiji and was pleased to convey to him in the afternoon his kind decision to meet the entire cost of erection of the London Gaudiya Math Temple . . . ." However, a year later, Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura became much displeased with Bon Mahārāja, so much so that he recalled him from London (refusing even to grant him audience upon his return) and wrote the Mahārāja of Tripura to give no further money to Bon Mahārāja (SBV 2:302).
  30. For a profile of Bhakti Vilāsa Tīrtha Mahārāja, see SBV 2:332-339. To this it should be added that according to Śrīla Prabhupāda the unauthorized action of Tīrtha Mahārāja initiated the break-up of the Gauḍīya Maṭha (VB: Room Conversation, Bombay, 23 Sept. 1973).
  31. This is Śrīla Prabhupāda’s spelling, which captures the Bengali pronunciation of his Sanskrit initiation name, Maṅgala-nilāya Dāsa. (In Śrīla Prabhupāda-lilamrita this devotee appears under the pseudonym "Mukti.")
  32. (VB: Letter to Mangalniloy, July 16, 1966). (The date is three days after Prabhupāda incorporated ISKCON.)
  33. VB: Letter to the Secretary, Gaudiya Mission, May 23, 1969. "Gauḍīya Mission": In his purport to Caitanya-caritāmṛta Ādi-līlā, 12.8, Prabhupāda refers to the split of the Gauḍīya Maṭha institution into "two factions" over rival claimants to be the next ācārya. Much litigation ensued. The faction headquartered at the Calcutta Bāg-bazar temple took the name "Gauḍīya Mission," while the faction headquartered at the Māyāpura Śrī Caitanya Maṭha under Tīrtha Mahārāja was called "Gauḍīya Maṭha." Even now a sign placed by the main altar there proclaims: It is the parent Math of all the Gaudiya Maths Sri Chaitanya Math Sri Mandir
  34. In his last two month on earth, Śrīla Prabhupāda put time and energy into establishing the Bhaktivedanta Swami Charity Trust, with the central aim of uniting the Sārasvata family—the followers of Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura—in a cooperative effort to restore and develop Gaura-maṇḍala-bhūmi. Tamal Krishna Goswami recorded how Śrīla Prabhupāda laid down the aim and provided a concrete example. Prabhupāda said, "No more non-cooperation. Now everyone cooperate to spread Lord Caitanya’s movement. Just like Śrīdhara Mahārāja is having trouble finishing his Nath Mandir. So in that way, cooperate" (TKG 293).
  35. Letter to an unnamed Gurukula teacher, quoted in BTG 54.17 (1973).
  36. Letter to Tuṣṭa Kṛṣṇa. Ahmedabad, 14 Dec., 1972.
  37. The "seed" itself is Śrīla Prabhupāda, sprung from Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura’s Gauḍīya Maṭha. Although the parent plant perished, its seed was borne across the waters, whereupon it took root, flourished, and fructified. Of course, Prabhupāda is described as "planting the seed," for the neonatal ISKCON is a seed as well. Both can be called seeds, on the ecclesiological principle that the spiritual institution is non-different from the Founder-Ācārya
  38. Yet still on condition that ISKCON remained wholesome.
  39. This may be somewhat more so when the Caitanya-caritāmṛita’s kṛṣṇa-bhāvāmṛta becomes tweaked to kṛṣṇa-bhāvanāmṛta. There is little difference between the meanings of the two words, but to put a nice point on it, kṛṣṇa-bhāva can be taken to denote a feeling; kṛṣṇa-bhāvana, a complete state of being. However, the nature of kṛṣṇa-bhāva itself is such that it is all-absorbing kṛṣṇa-bhāvana. This later word, we should note, makes a eminent appearance in Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava literature, as Śrīla Prabhupāda points out: "Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura has given us a transcendental literary work entitled Kṛṣṇa-bhāvanāmṛta, which is full with Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes. Exalted devotees can remain absorbed in Kṛṣṇa-thought by reading such books" (Kṛṣṇa Ch. 46).
  40. See SBV I:70-73, for an English translation of the article
  41. This sense is widespread. For example: "‘Visva-vaishnava-raja-sabha’ refers to the society which is composed of those Vaishnavas who are the kings (i.e. the foremost) of all the Vaishnavas present in this world" (Bhakitikusum Sraman 355).
  42. CC Ādi 12.8, purport. Such statements do not express the whole of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s attitude toward his godbrothers. Another, more appreciative, perspective occasionally finds expression. Here are two examples. In the purport to SB 4.28.31, Prabhupāda writes: "The disciples of Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī Mahārāja are all Godbrothers, and although there are some differences of opinion, and although we are not acting conjointly, every one of us is spreading this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement according to his own capacity and producing many disciples to spread it all over the world." And in a letter of November 18, 1967 to his disciple Brahmānanda, Prabhupāda explains: "Even amongst our God-brothers we have misunderstanding but none of us is astray from the service of Krishna. My Guru Maharaja ordered us to execute his mission combinedly. Unfortunately we are now separated. But none of us have stopped preaching Krishna Consciousness. Even if there was misunderstanding amongst the Godbrothers of my Guru Maharaja none of them deviated from the transcendental loving service of Krishna. The idea is that provocation and misunderstanding may remain between one man and another. But our staunch faith in Krishna Consciousness may not allow any material disruption."
  43. Govinda Dāsī, DVD 1: "November 1965 – Summer 1970." Following Śrīla Prabhupāda : A Chronological Series. (ISKCON Cinema, 2006). Transcription from The Bhaktivedanta VedaBase 2011.1.
  44. In referring to the Six Gosvāmīs, Śrīla Prabhupāda himself tends to confine his use of "Prabhupāda" to Śrī Rūpa and Śrī Jīva. Previous ācāryas have applied the honorific to other members as well. For example, in a lecture of October 16, 1932, Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura refers to Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī as "Dāsa Gosvāmī Prabhupāda" (VB: Amṛta Vāṇī, Appendix), and in his commentary to Caitanya-bhāgavata, Ādi 1.25, he quotes Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura, who refers to Sanātana Gosvāmī as "Our Prabhupāda, Śrī Sanātana Gosvāmī." We should note that this exalted title has fallen into cheap usage within some deviant communities (apa-sampradāyas). Śrīla Prabhupāda refers to this when, in his purport to CC Madhya 10.23, he writes: "The prākṛta-sahajiyās are not even worthy of being called Vaiṣṇavas. They think that only caste gosvāmīs should be called Prabhupāda. Such ignorant sahajiyās . . . are envious of a bona fide spiritual master who is addressed as Prabhupāda, and they commit offenses by considering a bona fide spiritual master an ordinary human being or a member of a certain caste." Jayapatāka Swāmī also recounts a conversation with Śrīla Prabhupāda directly after Prabhupāda had met with some godbrothers: "Prabhupāda called us back in. He said, ‘They are upset that I am using the name Prabhupāda, so I said, ‘"What can I do? My disciples call me that."’ Then Prabhupāda said that actually the name Prabhupāda was very common among the caste gosvāmīs and other residents of Navadvīpa. So it was not an isolated name. He liked to keep it because he felt, ‘Why only the apa-sampradāyas should have monopoly over the name Prabhupāda?’" (Personal communication)
  45. The article explains the meanings and import of the name and announces that "[W]e American and European servants of His Divine Grace . . . prefer to address His Grace our Spiritual Master as Prabhupāda, and he has kindly said ‘Yes.’" (BTG 25:24) (1969 Back to Godhead Number 23)
  46. In BTG No. 26 (October, 1969)(1969 Back to Godhead Number 26), the article "The Hare Krishna Explosion" by Hayagriva has "Prabhupad" throughout. In BTG No. 28 (1969 Back to Godhead Number 28), the main feature, "The Great Soul Who Walks Among Us" (pp. 7-11), is mainly composed of large photographs of Prabhupāda (one full page; two others, one-and-three-fourths of a page). In the accompanying text, he is still "Swamiji." However, in other articles in the issue he is called "Prabhupad" or "Prabhupad A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami." In the article "Boston Wedding" (which also features many photographs), his first mention is "His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada," and after he is "Prabhupada" and "His Divine Grace."
  47. To be sure, other very important hallmarks of ISKCON were also in place by 1971, most notably: the brahmacārī, brahmacāriṇī, gṛhastha, and sannyāsa āśramas; the New Vrindavan rural community project; and the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust (which was established the day after the GBC). As significant as these are, they do not seem to function as core components, considered in terms of ecclesiology
  48. A photocopy of this stationery, used for a letter to Hayagriva, can be found in Hayagriva Dasa, The Hare Krishna Explosion among the photographs sectioned between pp. 128-129. Beneath "International Society for Krishna Consciousness, Inc.," "Acharya: Swami A.C. Bhaktivedanta" appears in bold capitals at the left margin. Directly below that stands the word "Trustees" (also in bold capitals), above nine names in a column below it. His name appeared the same way on letterhead bearing the San Francisco temple address on a letter Prabhupāda wrote in 1967 from that city. In other letters he is "A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, Acarya" or, under his signature, "Acarya International Society for Krishna Consciousness" (VB: Correspondence: Feb. 1, 1968 to Hare Krishna Aggarwal; Aug. 22, 1968 to David Exley). In a long letter of February 5, 1970 to Hanuman Prasad Poddar describing the activities and achievement of ISKCON, he notes ". . . in each banking account my name is there as Acarya."
  49. See BTG No. 26 (October, 1969) for a photocopy of the flyer
  50. Scanned copies of these are accessible at www.backtogodhead.in.
  51. The small, boxed Back to Godhead masthead in every issue contains "Founder: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami." But "Founder" here has reference to Back to Godhead, not ISKCON.
  52. Back to Godhead ceased dating its issues with no. 26 (October, 1969).
  53. Certain godbrothers in India, having gained a measure of access to a few of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s disciples, had insidiously undermined Prabhupāda’s authority and position, leading eventually to a compromise in the faith and allegiance of even some of his leaders. Śrīla Prabhupāda refers to such godbrothers in his purport to CC ādi. 10.7: "When our disciples similarly wanted to address their spiritual master as Prabhupāda, some foolish people became envious. Not considering the propaganda work of the Hare Kṛṣṇa movement, simply because these disciples addressed their spiritual master as Prabhupāda they became so envious that they formed a faction along with other such envious persons just to minimize the value of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement."
  54. Tamāla Kṛṣṇa Goswami: "When we had approached Prabhupāda and told him that as his disciples we would like a special prayer which we could recite in his honor, he had composed a verse in which he described his mission" (SS 187). A "personal" mantra, that is, honoring a certain spiritual master for some particular personal characteristic or achievement. The first praṇāma-mantra is "generic," that is, suitable being directed to any guru whose name is inserted within the mantra. The date of the new praṇāma-mantra: In a letter of April 9, 1970 to Pradyumna Dāsa, Śrīla Prabhupāda refers to it as "the new prayer addition," and proposes a grammatical modification to the Sanskrit.
  55. There is a rule in Sanskrit grammar for the formation of a patronymic or matronymic, that is, a name derived from one’s father or mother. In English, common surnames like "Johnson" or "Erickson" were originally patronymics ("John’s son"). In Scotland, the prefix "Mac-" or "Mc-" is the sign of a patronymic, "MacDonald" being (originally) Donald’s son; in Ireland FitzGerald was Gerald’s son. In Russian, "Ivanovitch" is a patronymic. Following the Sanskrit rule, Prabhupāda denoted himself with the name "Sārasvata," the son or servant of Sarasvatī Ṭhākura.
  56. The Harmonist of July 12, 1935 (Harm. 31:521-22) reports that "Her Highness Majarani Indira Devi, Regent Shaeba of Cooch Behar paid a visit to Sree Gaudiya Math, Baghbazar, Calcutta," where she met with Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura. During that meeting, the magazine reports: "Her Highness very earnestly enquired about the proposed visit of the Editor [Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura] to Europe for further extension of the propaganda in the West."
  57. We don’t know the precise time he realized this. In any case, there is no doubt that Śrīla Prabhupāda’s knowledge of the future was not that of ordinary, conditioned persons. In late fall of l965, Śrīla Prabhupāda sat on a park bench and chatted with Paul Ruben, a New York City subway conductor, who recollects (SPL 2:28): ‘‘He seemed to know he would have temples filled with devotees. He would look out and say, ‘I am not a poor man, I am rich. There are temples and books, they are existing, they are there, but the time is separating us from them.’"
  58. This instruction was set down on December 31, 1936 in the recorded minutes of his will. The original document is preserved at the Bhaktivedanta Research Center in Kolkata. For a photocopy, see MHP 289.
  59. Etymologically, the word goes back to the Latin committere, "to unite, connect."
  60. Satsvarūpa dāsa Goswami relates (SPL 4:95): "Though sometimes ignorant, his disciples, he knew, were not malicious. Yet these letters from India carried a spiritual disease transmitted by several of Prabhupāda’s Godbrothers to his disciples there. Prabhupāda had already been troubled when some of his Godbrothers had refused to help him secure land in Māyāpur, the birthplace of Lord Caitanya. Although he had asked them to help his inexperienced disciples purchase land, they had not complied. In fact, some of them had worked against him. Prabhupāda had written to one of his Godbrothers, ‘I am so sorry to learn that there is a sort of conspiracy by some of our Godbrothers as not to give me a place at Māyāpur.’"
  61. Two memorable, aphoristic formulations of acintya-bhedābheda-tattva by Śrīla Prabhupāda: "Nothing is different from the Supreme. But the Supreme is always different from everything" (BG 18.78, purport). And: "In a sense, there is nothing but Śrī Kṛṣṇa, and yet nothing is Śrī Kṛṣṇa save and except His primeval personality" (CC Ādi 1.51, purport).
  62. This "portal" is, in truth, an outward manifestation of the heart of Śrīla Prabhupāda. That heart is large and magnanimous, and so is its manifestation in a path that girdles the world and a central temple that embraces the universe and beyond. All this resided in Śrīla Prabhupāda’s heart when he walked alone on the chilled concrete of Manhattan in 1966. Now, it is becoming hugely manifest to bestow its benediction munificently
  63. "We shall have another ISKCON there (in the spiritual sky)." See 721214 - Letter to Tusta Krsna written from Ahmedabad
  64. The Lord similarly appears to Śaṅkarācārya, acknowledges him as "My servant," and bids him: "Do not contaminate the inhabitants of Navadvīpa." Śaṅkara goes away with "devotion instilled in his heart"(NDM 68-9).
  65. In a conversation with Rāmeśvara (VB: Jan. 13, 1977, Allahabad), Prabhupāda explains how he received "all facilities": "I started my activities when I was seventy years old. So they [his Godbrothers] thought, ‘This man is gṛhastha. He is embarrassed with family life. What he’ll do?’ (laughs) That was their impression. But I never neglected. Guru Mahārāja told me. I was simply thinking, ‘How to do it? How to do it?’ I thought, ‘Let me become a rich businessman. The money will be required.’ That was my thought. But Guru Mahārāja was asking me, ‘You give up this. I’ll give you money.’ That I could not understand. I was planning. My plan was not wrong. But I was thinking ‘The money required, so let me earn some money. Then I shall begin.’ And Guru Mahārāja said, ‘You give up this moneyearning endeavor. You come completely. I’ll give you money.’ I can understand now. But my desire was there. Therefore he guided me."
  66. One of many examples: "Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura states in his Bhagavad-gītā commentary on the verse vyavasāyātmikā buddhir ekeha kurunandana that one should serve the words of the spiritual master. The disciple must stick to whatever the spiritual master orders. Simply by following on that line, one sees the Supreme Personality of Godhead. . . . [I]f one sticks to the principles enunciated by the spiritual master, somehow or other he is in association with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Since the Lord is in the heart, He can advise a sincere disciple from within. . . . In conclusion, if a disciple is very serious to execute the mission of the spiritual master, he immediately associates with the Supreme Personality of Godhead by vāṇī or vapuḥ. This is the only secret of success in seeing the Supreme Personality of Godhead" (SB 4.28.51, purport).
  67. Lectures: Philosophy Discussion: Discussion with Śyāmasundara: Arthur Schopenhauer.
  68. (TKG 45) In Śrīla Prabhupāda-Līlāmṛta, Satsvarūpa dāsa Goswami records a slightly variant version: "‘Your love for me,’ said Śrīla Prabhupāda, ‘will be shown by how much you cooperate to keep this institution together after I am gone’’’ (SPL 6:313). Regarding the difference between the two versions, Satsvarūpa dāsa Goswami states: "I heard it from Tamala Krsna Maharaja and wrote it down exactly as he told me. Tamala Krsna Maharaja has written the statement in TKG’s Diary with a slightly different sentence structure but the meaning is the same." Posted by Badrinārāyaṇa Dāsa on the electronic forum [email protected] net on June 21, 2013.
  69. Posted on [email protected], by Bhakti Charu Swami, June 21, 2013.
  70. The verse Śrīla Prabhupāda refers to is Ādi 9.34. Lord Caitanya says: "I am the only gardener. How many places can I go? How many fruits can I pick and distribute?" In his purport, Śrīla Prabhupāda points out: "Here Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu indicates that the distribution of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra should be performed by combined forces." See Conversation with Rādhā-Dāmodara Saṅkīrtana Party. March 16, 1976, Māyāpur

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