Adhere to the Real Authority

Reject the Minimization of the Person Bhägavata, the Teachings, and the Real Movement of His Divine Grace Çréla Prabhupäda

Part One of a Multi-Part Series

By Bhakta Çré Hari Vijayaraghavan
(Edited by Kailäsa Candra däsa)

eka bhägavata baòa--bhägavata-çästra
ära bhägavata--bhakta bhakti-rasa-pätra
dui bhägavata dvärä diyä bhakti-rasa
täìhära hådaye täìra preme haya vaça

“One of the bhägavatas is the great scripture Çrémad-Bhägavatam, and the other is the pure devotee absorbed in the mellows of loving devotion. Through the actions of these two bhägavatas, the Lord instills the mellows of transcendental loving service into the heart of a living being, and thus the Lord, in the heart of His devotee, comes under the control of the devotee's love.”
-Sri Caitanya-caritämåta, Ädi-lélä, 99-100

Minimization of the Person Bhägavata

In the two brilliant verses from Çré Caitanya-caritämåta, the author of that great literature in Bhägavata tradition, Çréla Kåñëa däsa Kaviräja GoSwämi--who was (and remains) himself a great Bhägavata Äcärya in the Brahma-Madhva-Gauòéya-Vaishnava disciplic succession (kaha mora bhaööa-juga kaha kaviräj)--succinctly summarized the Bhägavata philosophy. That summarization is this: Rendering transcendental loving service unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead Çré Kåñëa is the eternal constitution of all living beings, and, by rendering such service under the guidance of the Book Bhägavata and Person Bhägavata (pure devotee), any conditioned jéva can rise to eternal perfection.

Concerning the recent past and current time in the history of this Earth planet, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedänta Swämi Çréla Prabhupäda irrevocably occupies the exalted status of Person Bhägavata of the highest order. He was in the ghoñöyänandé mood of his spiritual master, Çréla Bhaktisiddhänta Sarasvaté (gaura-väëé-çré-mürtaye déna-täriëe). Çréla Prabhupäda saw to it that the teachings of Book Bhägavata (Bhagavad-gétä, Çrémad Bhägavatam, Caitanya-caritämåta, Bhakti-rasämåta-sindhu, etc.) were distributed all over the world. Historically, by receiving dékñä initiation from him (hari-näma and/or brahminical mantra initiation), devotees received bhakti sevä opportunities.

Similarly, as per the above two verses, many more devotees were guided by, and are still being guided by, his Book Bhägavata contributions, i.e., his çikñä guidance to render authorized devotional service -- like reading and hearing his super-excellent purports and lectures--all glorifying the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Çré Kåñëa, which is first-class çravaëam. Then, these bhaktas engage in chanting the glories of the Lord (kértanam). By purporting those books with deep and profound commentaries, by expertly publishing the books (in many different international languages), and by magnanimously seeing to them being distributing all over the world, Çréla Prabhupäda set an exemplary example (pramäëaà kurute) of providing unprecedented devotional opportunities to his willing disciples and followers.

Just for the purpose of glorification of this mahä-bhägavata prema-bhakta Äcärya, three important points must be noted: 1) He is a Person Bhägavata of the highest order (viñëu-pädäya kåñëa-preñöhäya bhütale), 2) His teachings (books, lectures, letters) are non-different from the Book Bhägavata and teachings of the predecessor Bhägavata Äcäryas (sarasvaté deve, gaura-väëé-pracäriëe), and, 3) His mission, via the potent Gauòéya Vaiñëava teachings, was to deliver, especially in the Western world, people afflicted by impersonalism and voidism (nirviçeña-çünyavädi-päçcätya-deça-täriëe).

Initiated disciples, followers, leaders, etc., as long as they all adhere to his authority, are part of his movement, known as Kåñëa consciousness or Hare Kåñëa movement. The verb from which the noun “movement” is formed is move. As such, the obvious question is: Moving towards what? That is a rhetorical question, obviously. To answer it is not at all difficult, although some would project various concoctions (through their words and deeds), all of which are contrary to the guru-paramparä and what the Kåñëa movement really means.

Conversely, moving away (kåñëa bahir muka) from Lord Çré Kåñëa, Lord Çré Caitanya Mahäprabhu, and Çréla Prabhupäda is no bhakti movement at all; it is Mäyä and Kali’s movement! Although sahajiyä misleaders present their stone-boat version of a so-called Kåñëa movement (for innocent and ignorant devotees to board and sink in), intelligent devotees should not forget what actually constitutes an accurate definition of the Kåñëa consciousness movement. This point will be explored further as this series progresses.

The Krishna conscious philosophy was initially taught by Madhväcärya, who, by the blessings of Çréla Vyäsadeva, re-established the Brahma Sampradäya. However, his apparent line has now degenerated significantly. Leaving aside Çréla Prabhupäda's envious god-brothers (and their ardent followers), and disregarding the nonsense and inimical propaganda of so-called followers of Çrépäda Madhväcärya, His Divine Grace spread the real mission of the Madhva-Gauòéya sampradäya. His enemies, being spiritually blind, openly (and sometimes, subtly) inimical, rejected the deep imports of the praëäma mantras offered to him. Nevertheless, all genuine devotees of the Lord recognize these glorifications. All genuine devotees highly appreciate him for establishing the authorized branch of Çré Brahma Madhva Gauòéya Sampradäya, for which he remains the Äcärya, as per the highest definition of that term.

In this series, we shall discuss how Çréla Prabhupäda, the Person Bhägavata of the highest order, his teachings (non-different from the Book Bhägavatam), and his original movement (built on devotional principles), have all been minimized, reduced, and tarnished--especially by his so-called current leaders. Here in Part One, let us proceed by analyzing how the Person Bhägavat Çréla Prabhupäda has been minimized, especially since his disappearance on November 14, 1977. That minimization was well under way before the cataclysmic date, but it had been checked to some extent up to that time.

Beginning of Inauspiciousness

Since late 1977, there has been a major change: His Divine Grace A.C Bhaktivedänta Swämi Çréla Prabhupäda, who, by his divine presence, brought auspiciousness into the devotional lives of his disciples and followers, unexpectedly disappeared from the manifest plane under very nefarious circumstances.

“. . . I have inclination for philosophy and translating . . . to give you so many nice literatures like the Vedas, Upaniñads, Puräëas, Rämäyaëa, Mahäbhärata, and other books in our own Gauòéya line, like Rüpa GoSwämi, Sanätana GoSwämi, Viçvanätha Cakravarté and others. . . I shall devote my full time to giving you further nice books.”
-Letter to Krittika, Feb 16, 1972

It is a fact that he desired to live a long devotional life of one hundred years and to translate and purport, as per the paramparä, many important Vedic and Vaiñëava literatures (even though already his literary contributions were and remain unparalleled in recorded history). In this connection, regrettably, we are all at a great loss for not having the final cantos of Çrémad Bhägavatam (which he dedicated to his spiritual master His Divine Grace Çréla Bhaktisiddhänta Sarasvaté Öhäkura) purported by him or translated by his authorized servant, Pradyumna däsa Adhikäré.

In the final days of his manifest pastimes, Çréla Prabhupäda wanted to fulfill two personal desires: 1) He wanted to see all his loving disciples at his Våndävana residence, and, 2) He wanted to undertake a pilgrimage (parikrama) of the whole holy dhäma of Våndävana. For want of maximizing the holiday pick (money collection), his former desire was minimized (read, changed) to inviting only two devotees from each governing zone to come to India to see him, while his latter desire was totally and whimsically denied, citing lame excuses, such as maintaining his health or the doctor's advice.

As a side note, his leading personal secretary, infamous for ruthless Machiavellian methods and manipulations in previous years (and who also became a latter-day so-called äcärya himself), meted out the above-mentioned changed orders. This fellow was himself killed in a most shocking, violent, and inauspicious way, well outside the boundaries of any holy dhäma. The one who denied the pure devotee a pilgrimage of the holy dhäma at his time of leaving the world was forced to leave his own body, justifiably (yet, pitiably), outside any holy area!

Çréla Prabhupäda’s desire for delivering the final cantos of Çrémad Bhägavatam through Pradyumna däsa was not honored nor was the management of his deviating movement carried out according to his stated desires and standards. In other words, shortly after the disappearance of Çréla Prabhupäda (certainly, no later than February, 1978), the beginning phase of what was to be many inauspicious things relative to his movement--all under the horrific governance of a vitiated G.B.C. (which would soon become totally worthless (asära) and deviant in every sense of the word)--ushered in the post-apocalyptic era.

Imitation Literary Nonsense

Let us now analyze two influential literary contributions authored by two “ISKCON” misleaders: 1) The ultra-offensive “Çréla Prabhupäda Lélämåta” (henceforward, simply Lélämåta), published during the peak of the zonal-äcärya deviant years (and authored by Satsvarüpa däsa, who himself was one of those so-called äcäryas), and, 2) More recently, another terrible work, entitled “Çréla Prabhupäda Founder-Äcärya of ISKCON” (henceforward, simply SPFAI), authored by an institutional guru named Ravéndra Svarüpa däsa. This man had been a second echelon leader of “ISKCON,” but he moved up by previously penning a short work, entitled “Ending the Fratricidal War.” That position paper greased the wheels for the transformation of the movement from the zonal-äcärya era to something else, i.e., it ushered in a collegial phase of the post-apocalyptic era.

Çréman Kailäsa Candra prabhu has analyzed SPFAI in a four-part series (http://therealexplanation.org/article/spfai.html). Here, your author is presenting his own humble contributions and realizations in a cooperative spirit with that four-part series.

kali-kälera dharma--kåñëa-näma-saìkértana
kåñëa-çakti vinä nahe tära pravartana

"The fundamental religious system in the age of Kali is the chanting of the holy name of Kåñëa. Unless empowered by Kåñëa, one cannot propagate the saìkértana movement.”
-Caitanya-caritämåta, Antya-lélä, 7.11

“Na martya-buddhyäsüyeta: One should never think the äcärya an ordinary person. Familiarity sometimes breeds contempt, but one should be very careful in one’s dealings with the äcärya. . . One should fully surrender unto the spiritual master. and with service (sevayä) one should approach him for further spiritual enlightenment.“
-Çrémad Bhägavatam, 6.7.15, purport

Keeping these important quotes in the background, let us now critique some statements contained in the above-mentioned literary adventures authored by those two big “ISKCON” men, viz., Satsvarüpa däs and Ravéndra Svarüpa däs:

“However, he [Çréla Bhaktivinode Öhäkura] knew that this massive task of spreading Krishna Consciousness all over the world would need the collective involvement of thousands of people for many generations. It could not, and would not, be just one man’s work—a transcendental institution was of absolute necessity.”
-SPFAI, Foreword

“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.”
-SPFAI

This attitude of minimizing Çréla Prabhupäda, while, at the same time, openly (but sometimes, subtly) glorifying themselves, is something these misleaders have turned into a kind of black art. It needs to be thoroughly confronted and checked. The above quoted Caitanya-caritämåta verse and Çrémad Bhägavatam purport clearly explain the greatness of such an Äcärya as our Çréla Prabhupäda. His success in spreading Krishna consciousness all over the world was and is not dependent on the means and methods of this world, which measures accomplishment via the numbers game. Rather, it was by his devotional purity that he was able to spread the Supreme Lord’s glories to every nook and corner of this world—nay, to the whole universe for its purification (ebe jasa ghuñuk tribhuvana).

Under the direction of various Bhägavata scriptural references, one can clearly understand that success of even an institutional system (such as daiva-varëäçrama) is measured on how well its members are pleasing and satisfying Çré Viñëu by their guëa-karma and authorized service activities (viñëur ärädhyate … nänyat tat-toña-käraëam; saàsiddhir hari-toñaëam). So, how can blind institutionalists, fully possessed of the materialistic demeanor, ever understand the glories of our Äcäryas? The real Äcärya knows, and has shown, how to expertly engage everyone and everything (including daiva-varëäçrama institutional system) in Lord’s sevä!

“Just like in the Çrémad-Bhägavatam in the First Canto, first verse, it is said, tene brahmä hådä ädi-kavaye. The original authority of Vedic literature, Lord Brahmä. He was instructed about Vedic knowledge by Lord Kåñëa. And he imparted Vedic knowledge to the world.”
-Initiation Lecture, Boston, May 6, 1968

“The great sage (Vyäsadeva), who was fully equipped in knowledge, could see, through his transcendental vision, the deterioration of everything material, due to the influence of the age. He could also see that the faithless people in general would be reduced in duration of life and would be impatient due to lack of goodness. Thus, he contemplated for the welfare of men in all statuses and orders of life.”
-Çrémad Bhägavatam, 1.4.17-18

“So, this movement was already there since five thousand years. But these, I may say, the foolish scholars, they suppressed. Caitanya Mahäprabhu revived. Five hundred years ago he revived. So, from Caitanya Mahäprabhu time, we are trying to revive this movement in different way, different way. About two hundred years ago, hundred and fifty years ago, Bhaktivinoda Öhäkura revived it, and then about fifty years ago, my guru mahäräja, he revived it, and he also ordered me that, 'You go and preach this philosophy to the Western world.' So, under his order, I came, and I presented Bhagavad-gétä As It Is, as you have read. So, the acceptance has been very marvelous, because the things are presented in pure form. So, it has acted very nice.”
-Room conversation, Detroit, July 18, 1971.

In this regard, the strategic planning team was acutely aware that the near future would confront ISKCON with a critical challenge: the unavoidable transition to a time when all devotees with direct experience of its Founder-Äcärya are gone. This imminent loss became an additional incentive for the work of the Çréla Prabhupäda’s Position Committee (SPPC). All its members understood that Çréla Prabhupäda should be no less a presence to subsequent generations than he has been to the first. (Indeed, some believed, he could be even more). How to facilitate this? How to foster in all devotees in ISKCON, generation after generation, an ever-increasing awareness of their deep connection with its Founder-Äcärya, so that all encounter him as a living presence in their lives? How will his mission, his teachings, his vision, his determination, his mercy, become one with each and every beating heart?”
-SPFAI, Preface (Emphasis added)

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 Çréla Prabhupäda 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 Çréla Prabhupäda.”
-SPFAI, Our Central Challenge

As per the (initial) quotes from Çréla Prabhupäda, we can understand that, at the dawn of time, Lord Brahmä underwent tremendous tapasya to please the Supreme Lord (bhoktäraà yajña-tapasäà; ahaà hi sarva-yajñänäà bhoktä ca prabhur) in order to be endowed with Vedic knowledge (tena brahmä hådaya adi-kavaya). He engaged in that way so as to create the material cosmos. Similarly, from Çrémad Bhägavatam, we learn that Çréla Vedavyäsa (the literary incarnation of the Lord, munénäm api ahaà vyäsa), foreseeing the impending Kali-yuga (with great suffering of the people in general), was deep in merciful thoughts (vyäsaù kripana vatsalaù; kripaya muninä kåtam) as to how to deliver them. That is when Çréla Närada Muni appeared and instructed Vyäsa about the means and methods as per the Bhägavata teachings.

In the same way, our Çréla Prabhupäda (based on revealed knowledge in his many purports, letters, and lectures), while coming to the West to preach (and, even before that, during his preaching phase in India), was rapt in merciful thoughts as to how to help suffering humanity, within the confines of the paramparä system represented by his spiritual master, Çréla Bhaktisiddhänta Sarasvaté. Thus, every Äcärya from Lord Brahmä to Vyäsadeva to Çréla Prabhupäda (and every Äcärya in the disciplic lineage) has always sought the blessings of the predecessor Äcäryas and the Supreme Lord. As per their empowerment, they delivered devotional literatures (including books, letters, platform lectures, etc.) to guide suffering humanity.

Thus, their magnanimous acts, their production and distribution of transcendental literature, being completely authorized by the paramparä and blessed by the predecessor Äcäryas, are self-evident to all but the most dumb, dull, and unintelligent. That is the eternal standard of the Bhägavata school: Its Äcäryas do not create or deliver unauthorized literatures chock full of sentiments and concoctions!

In light of their transcendental contributions, now let us compare and critique some key words and phrases in the above-listed quotes of SPFAI, such as: “Deep-connection,” “living presence,” “mission,” “teachings,” “vision,” “determination,” and “mercy.” Undoubtedly, from Lord Brahmä to Çréla Vyäsadeva to our Çréla Prabhupäda (and every paramparä Äcärya in the disciplic lineage), all of them felt the need to preach the paramparä message to suffering humanity for their benefit. These magnanimous Äcäryas delivered transcendental literature without any tinge of material, hodge-podge sentiment (with its underlying cheating propensity meant to exploit the innocent public). However, such exploitation is patently demonstrated in works such as Lélämåta and SPFAI, which are both institutionally motivated literatures. These literary works are the products of misplaced sentiments and rooted in misguidance. They contain many concoctions which are all in defiance of the spotless teachings of the guru-paramparä.

These two literary works evoke abominable imitations of the genuine sympathy felt by the great Äcäryas for the suffering of living entities in the material world (patitänäà pavaneabhyo vaiñëavebhyo). Ultimately, all they really are is cheap imitations. The cheating propensity embedded in them is essentially the same cheating propensity on egregious display by the “ISKCON” zonal äcäryas for as long as that scam lasted. It should be noted that both of the literary adventures also received the stamp of approval of the Governing Body Commission.

To some extent, Lélämåta is an imitation of both the Book and Person Bhägavata. Many devotees have been bewildered by it, especially the notion that it is some kind of literature worthy of being “relished” on Çréla Prabhupäda’s appearance and disappearance days. This SPFAI nonsense, which is composed in a kind of sütra format (apparently being commented upon by its author), will thus leave ample scope for latter-day expansions and commentaries on it. Each in its own way, these two works are nothing more than cheating schemes, imitations!

At the beginning of SPFAI, its author states how he allegedly felt the presence of Çréla Prabhupäda while writing his nescience. At the end of SPFAI, he pats himself on the back for having accomplished his goal. Along with other cheer-leading “ISKCON” misleaders (listed at the beginning of that book and, of course, praising its message and mentality), all of these people are simply creating imitations of the literary work of great Äcäryas. Logically speaking, how can any intelligent devotee accept contributions like these two books as containing any significant spiritual value?

Adhere to the Real Authority! Foolishly and blindly accepting imitation literatures as being on par with the Bhägavata standard will only obscure the real understanding of Çréla Prabhupada—and will only obscure the real understanding of his person, his teachings, and his mission--or, just as importantly, its viability in the future.

Go to Part Two

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Quotes from the books of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada are copyright by the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust