Prabhupada's Order to Become a Diksa Guru |

Guru in ISKCON

Published on March 8th, 2024 | by HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada


Prabhupada’s Order to Become a Diksa Guru

Srila Prabhupada has clearly told us time and time again when he was ordered by his spiritual master, His Divine Grace Om Visnupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Prabhupada, to preach [and accept disciples] in the Western countries. Prabhupada has given us the complete details of this order. The order was given to Prabhupada and all of his friends when Prabhupada met his Spiritual Master for the first time in 1922 and the same order was confirmed when Srila Bhaktsiddhanta replied to a letter from Srila Prabhupada requesting “What service can I render you?” in 1936. This was not a special personal order given only to Srila Prabhupada. It was general, open order to all of Srila Bhaktsiddhanta’s disciples.The special quality of Srila Prabhupada is he took this order as his life and soul and executed it.

And what was that order? “Why don’t you take up Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s cult and preach all over the English knowing public? Why don’t you take up this matter?”In my last meeting with him in Radha Kunda he advised me to print some books if I get moneyandYou write on, preach on in EnglishSrila Prabhupada received no specific order from his spiritual master to become a diksa guru and accept disciples. That order is included in the order to preach.

The following quotes from Srila Prabhupada prove this statement conclusively.

SB 3.22.5 P The Marriage of Kardama Muni and Devahuti
Manu described herewith the result of seeing a great saintly person. Lord Caitanya says that one should always try to associate with saintly persons because if one establishes a proper association with a saintly person, even for a moment, one attains all perfection. Somehow or other, if one meets a saintly person and achieves his favor, then the entire mission of one’s human life is fulfilled. In our personal experience we have actual proof of this statement of Manu. Once we had the opportunity to meet Visnupada Sri Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja, and on first sight he requested this humble self to preach his message in the Western countries. There was no preparation for this, but somehow or other he desired it, and by his grace we are now engaged in executing his order, which has given us a transcendental occupation and has saved and liberated us from the occupation of material activities. Thus it is actually a fact that if one meets a saintly person completely engaged in transcendental duties and achieves his favor, then one’s life mission becomes complete. What is not possible to achieve in thousands of lives can be achieved in one moment if there is an opportunity to meet a saintly person. It is therefore enjoined in Vedic literature that one should always try to associate with saintly persons and try to disassociate oneself from the common man, because by one word of a saintly person one can be liberated from material entanglement. A saintly person has the power, because of his spiritual advancement, to give immediate liberation to the conditioned soul. Here Manu admits that all his doubts are now over because Kardama has very kindly described the different duties of individual souls.

SSR 8 Attaining Perfection
The spark of love for Krsna is struck by the spiritual master, the pure devotee. As for myself, my spiritual master, His Divine Grace Om Visnupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Prabhupada, ordered me to take up the responsibility of spreading Krsna consciousness in the Western world. His Divine Grace had a great desire to preach Lord Caitanya’s message in the West, and my success is both his grace and pleasure. When I first met my spiritual master, I was a very young man in India, a nationalist, engaged in a very responsible office. But although I did not want to go, one of my friends, who is still living in Calcutta, forcibly took me to His Divine Grace. I was reluctant to see him because in our home our father used to receive many sannyasis and I was not very satisfied with their dealings. I thought that Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja might be a similar man, and if he were, what business would I have in seeing him? But my friend took me forcibly. “Why not see him?” he asked. I finally relented and went with him, and I profited.

SSR 8 Attaining Perfection
On my first visit, His Divine Grace said that it was necessary for educated boys like me to go to foreign countries and preach the gospel of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. I replied that India was a foreign-dominated nation and that no one would hear our messages. Actually, at the time foreigners considered Indians very insignificant because in the face of so many independent nations India was still dependent, being dominated by Britain. At the time there was one Bengali poet who actually lamented that even uncivilized nations were independent, whereas India was dependent on the British. His Divine Grace convinced me that dependence and independence are simply temporary conditions, and he pointed out that because we are concerned with the eternal benefit of humanity, we should take up this challenge of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. This meeting with His Divine Grace, my Guru Maharaja, took place in 1922, half a century ago.

731213DB.LA Lectures
Prabhupada: So anyway, it was Krsna’s grace. I would not go, but their point of view was that unless I certify that sadhu, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, he’ll not be accepted. Therefore he dragged me. So I went to see Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura on that day. On the first meeting, just we offer our obeisances. It is the practice. So immediately he began his talking that “You are all educated young men. Why don’t you take up Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s cult and preach all over the English knowing public? Why don’t you take up this matter? So I argued with him in so many… At that time I was nationalist. So I told that “Who will accept our message? We are dependent nation. Nobody will care.” In this way, in my own way, in these younger days… But we belonged to the Vaisnava family, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Nityananda, Radha-Govinda. That is our worshipable Deity. So I was very glad that “Radha-Krsna cult, Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s cult, this sadhu is trying to preach. It is very nice.”

So at that time we had some talks, and of course I was defeated by his argument, my argument. (laughter) And then, when we came out, we were offered prasadam, very nice treatment, the Gaudiya Matha. And when I came out on the street, this my friend asked me, “What is your opinion of this sadhu?” Then I said that “Here is the right person who has taken up Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s message, and now it will be distributed…” So I was at that time a fool, but I opined like this. And I accepted him as my spiritual master immediately. Not officially, but in my heart. That was in 1922…

761210DB.HYD Lectures
So 1922 I met my Guru Maharaja through the exigency of my intimate friend, Mr. Narendranath Mullik. And I would not go. He told me information, “There is a nice sadhu. Let us go and see.” I did not like very much these sadhus in those days, national spirit. So I said, “I have seen many sadhus. They come at my father’s care. I was not very much pleased with their behavior.” So he dragged me forcibly: “No, I have heard this person is very exalted.” So I went. And his first opening version was that “You are educated young men. Why don’t you preach Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s gospel in the Western countries?” I did not know. So this was his blessing in the first meeting. I did not know, but because we belonged to a Vaisnava family we were very much worshiper of Lord Caitanya and Nityananda, our family Deity. So I was very much pleased that “Here is a personality who is going to preach Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s gospel.” I was very much pleased.

691209DB.LA Lectures
…We cannot understand how things are taking place. In 1936… Today is ninth December, 1938(68). That means thirty-two years ago. In Bombay, I was then doing some business. All of a sudden, perhaps on this date, sometimes between 9 or 10 December. At that time, Guru Maharaja was indisposed little, and he was staying at Jagannatha Puri, on the seashore. So I wrote him letter, “My dear master, your other disciples, brahmacari, sannyasi, 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?” So the reply was dated 13th 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 31st 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 Krsna. If we strictly try to serve the spiritual master, his order, then Krsna will give us all facilities. That is the secret. Although there was no possibility, I never thought, but I took it little seriously by studying a commentary by Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura on the Bhagavad-gita. In the Bhagavad-gita the verse vyavasayatmika-buddhir ekeha kuru-nandana, in connection with that verse, Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura 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.

690207BA.LA Lectures
In 1936, just on the 13th, December, I wrote him one letter. Not 13th. I think by the beginning of December, 1936, I wrote one letter to Guru Maharaja. I knew he was little kind upon me, so I wrote that “Guru Maharaja, you have got many disciples. I am also one of them. But they are doing direct service to you. Some of them are brahmacaris, some of them sannyasis, but I am a householder. I cannot…” Of course, I was giving sometimes some monetary help, but I could not give any direct service, so I asked him that “If there is any particular service I can do for you?” So that letter was replied in 13th December, dated 13th December, from Puri. And he passed away on the 31st December. Just a fortnight before. So the reply was the same as he wanted me to do this preaching work in 1922, when I first met him, that “You try to preach whatever you have learned from me to the English-knowing people in English. That will do good to you and to the people to whom you shall preach. That is my instruction.” So I took up, direction. And then he passed away in 1936, 31st December. So I consulted some of my Godbrothers, senior Godbrothers, “Guru Maharaja has told me like this. What can I do?” So you have heard the name of Professor Sanyal, and there were other Godbrothers. They asked me to write on the Vaisnava-siddhanta in English. So perhaps in 1935 I wrote one poetry. The part of it, somebody, you have got. He was very pleased. Since then he was insisting me that “You write on, preach on in English.” At that time I was thinking, “What can I do?” So anyway, after his passing away, this Back to Godhead paper was started, as late in 1944, I think, because the expenditure was three hundred, four hundred rupees per month.

750302BA.ATL Lectures
So perhaps my Guru Maharaja, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, attempted to fulfill the desire of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. And sometimes in the year 1918, he was brahmacari, and Bhaktivinoda Thakura, his material father, he wanted… Actually, he wanted, Bhaktivinoda Thakura… Of course, everyone wanted. But he wrote one small book, Teachings of Lord Caitanya, Teachings and Precepts of Lord Caitanya, in 1896. And he presented that book to the McGill University in Canada. And he very much desired that the foreigners, especially Americans, would join this movement. That was his desire in 1896. And then, in 1918, my Guru Maharaja started with this mission one institution known as Gaudiya Math. Perhaps some of you know the name, Gaudiya Math. And he was trying to spread this message of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and by chance or by prediction, as you think, I was taken to Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura by one of my friends. I did not want to go there, but he forcibly took me there. Yes. And he ordered me that “You preach the cult of Caitanya Mahaprabhu in English language. This is very much essential.” So on the first meeting he told me like that. That was my first meeting with him. So at that time I was in favor of Gandhi’s movement. So I said that “We are not independent–subjugated. Who will hear about our message?” So Bhaktisidhanta Sarasvati Thakura refuted my argument. I was very much pleased. I had so many talks. But I was very much pleased to be defeated, that “This so-called nationalism or any ism, they are all temporary. Real need is the self-realization.”

So I was convinced. But at that time, although he wanted me to immediately join him and spread this movement, so at that time I was a married man, young man. I was married in 1918. And I got a son also at that time, 1921. And in 1922 I met him. At that time I was manager in a big chemical factory. So I thought that “I am married man. I have got so many responsibilities.

How I can join immediately? It is not my duty.” Of course, that was my mistake. I should have joined immediately. (laughter) I should have taken the opportunity immediately. But maya is there. So I thought like that. So that’s a long history. Then in 1954, no, not 1954, 1968, when I was fifty-four years old… Nineteen fifty-four, yes. Nineteen fifty-four, I was at that time fifty- eight years. So I left home, and I was living alone. Then, 1958, I took sannyasa, and then I decided to take up the responsibility of my Guru Maharaja. I thought that “My other Godbrothers are trying, so I am not capable to do it. They are better situated.” But somehow or other, they could not do very much, appreciative activities, in this connection.

68-06-12 Letter: Rayarama
Please accept my blessings. I thank you very much for your letter of June 9th, 1968, and it is very kind of you that you are seriously thinking about Krishna Consciousness movement and trying to engage yourself more and more seriously. My blessings are always with you. You are very sincere boy trying your best to serve Krishna and by His Grace you are quite fit for this business, and considering all these points, I have entrusted Back To Godhead in your hand. Because this paper is the beginning of my spiritual life. During the time of my Guru Maharaja’s passing away, His last instruction was to me that “You try to preach whatever you have learned from me in English, and that will do good to you and the people who will hear you.” This instruction was given to me in 1936, and I started this paper in 1944. So during my householder life I was printing this paper and almost distributing free, and some of them were paying me subscription, and some of them not. But I was trying my best at my cost. You have seen the old articles about my tendency in this regard, and please try to follow this principle and improve the condition of this paper as you think best.

You have got full liberty to make it acceptable to the general public, keeping pace with our principles of Krishna Consciousness. And as I have told you several times that I am awaiting for the day when this paper will take the shape of Life magazine or similar other magazines, in the matter of its popularity. From India this paper has been brought to America, with this hope that American young boys like you will take interest in spreading this sublime gospel of Krishna Consciousness.

72-02-20 Letter: Satadhanya
So far personal association with the Guru is concerned, I was only with my Guru Maharaja four or five times, but I have never left his association, not even for a moment. Because I am following his instructions, I have never felt any separation. There are some of my Godbrothers here in India who had constant personal association with Guru Maharaja, but who are neglecting his orders. This is just like the bug who is sitting on the lap of the king. He may be very puffed-up by his position, but all he can succeed in doing is biting the king.

Personal association is not so important as association through service.

76-11-15 Letter: Syama Sundarji
You have given me the credit of being the best disciple of Prabhupada. That is very kind of you, but I am just trying to serve him. Whatever success there is is due to his mercy. In my last meeting with him in Radha Kunda he advised me to print some books if I get money. I took it very seriously and by His grace we have now published my translations of Bhagavad-gita, Srimad-Bhagavatam, Caitanya Caritamrta, Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, Upadesamrta, etc. to the extent of 84 books. You’ll be surprised to know that these books and my magazine Back To Godhead are selling daily 5-6 lakhs of rupees in the foreign countries. Out of such proceeds I am bringing foreign exchange of not less than 10 lakhs per month for construction work in Bombay, Mayapur, Vrndavana, etc. So, this is all due to the blessings of Srila Prabhupada. I have no credit in this connection. These American boys are helping me in this endeavor, therefore, until they are admitted to the Jagannatha Puri temple I’m not inclined to go there.

730317RC.MAY Conversations
Prabhupada: Big sum, yes. So Gosvami Maharaja very much appreciated, and he began to speak highly about me that “Abhay Babu is so expert, he has got so many friends, he has collected so many… So why does he… He should not be the Matha in-charge.” In this way. “Why should he not live with us? Why he’s living separately?” In this way. So Prabhupada, Maharaja, Sridhara may remember it (laughing), he said, “It is better to live separately from you people, and he will do the necessity in due course of time.” So I could not understand what Srila Prabhupada meant by that. So his inclination, blessings, were always upon me although (indistinct), but he was so kind.

750203mw.haw Conversations
Prabhupada: Sarva-sastre kaya, lava-matra sadhu-sange sarva-siddhi haya. For me, personally, I had the opportunity to talk with my spiritual master not more than ten times in my whole life, not more. It may be less than that. But I tried to follow his instruction, that’s all, although I was a grhastha.

750203mw.haw Conversations
Prabhupada: Yes. Anyway, follow the instruction. That is required. Follow the instruction. Wherever you remain, it doesn’t matter. You are secure. Follow the instruction. Then you are secure anywhere. It doesn’t matter. Just like I told you that I saw my Guru Maharaja not more than ten days in my life, but I followed his instruction. I was a grhastha, I never lived with the Matha, in the temple. It is practical. So many Godbrothers recommended that “He should be in charge in this Bombay temple, this, that, that…” Guru Maharaja said, “Yes, better he lives outside. That is good, and he will do what is needed in due course of time.”

750203mw.haw Conversations
Prabhupada: He said like that. I could not understand at that time what does he expect. Of course, I knew that he wanted me to preach.

750713r2.phi Conversations
Prabhupada: My life is simple. I was householder. I have still my wife, my children, my grandsons. So my Guru Maharaja ordered me that “Go and preach this cult in the western countries.So I left everything on the order of my Guru Maharaja, and I am trying to execute the order. That’s all.

Woman: At what point was it that he told you to do this? It was very late in your life that you…?

Prabhupada: Yes. When I was twenty-five years old I met him first. On the first meeting he ordered me to this. So at that time I was married man. I had two children. So I thought, “I shall do it later on.” But I was trying to get out of family life. It took some time. But I was trying my best to carry out his order. In 1944 I started magazine, Back to Godhead, when I was grhastha. Then I started writing books in 1958 or ’59. In this way in 1955 I came to your country.

HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

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About the Author

Founded the Hare Krishna Movement in 1966 in New York. In only 11 years he spread the movement all over the world. He wrote more than 80 books including Bhagavad-gita As It Is, Srimad-Bhagavatam, Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Sri Isopanisad. Prabhupada's books constitute a complete library of Vedic philosophy, religion, literature and culture.

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