Guru in ISKCON

Published on September 22nd, 2023 | by Madhudvisa dasa


The “Living Guru” Concept

I have been reading the articles on this website for at least a few years now and it has given me great spritual benefit. I do agree that there are so many bogus guru’s out there I am looking for a guru as well, but I still think that there must be a living guru to approach.

Hare Krishna
All Gloires to Srila Prabhupada
I have been reading the articles on this website for at least a few years now and it has given me great spritual benifit. I do agree that there are so many bogus guru’s out there I am looking for a guru as well, but I still think that there must be a living guru to approach. I have been reading the articles on this website for at least a few years now and it has given me great spritual benifit. I do agree that there are so many bogus guru’s out there I am looking for a guru as well, but I still think that there must be a living guru to approach. Do the devotee\’s who maintain this website reccomend anyone as a bonified spritual master other than Prabhupada? Prahbupada is the spritual master of the entir world there is no arguing this point but how can one take initiation from him.
Please do not take any offence by my question, this is a most sincere question.
Your Servant steve

Dear Steve

Hare Krishna! All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

Thank you very much for reading the articles on and I am happy that you feel you have received great spiritual benefit from these articles.

You say you agree there are so many bogus gurus but you think there must be a living guru to approach and can I recommend one. Firstly this idea of “living guru” is very offensive. If you are talking about “living gurus” then we have to assume that you consider that Srila Prabhupada is not in the category of a “living guru,” that he is a “dead guru.” This is most offensive and it is not your fault for thinking in this way but this is the philosophy that many so-called spiritual organizations are spreading. So there is no question of a “dead guru.” The spiritual master lives in two ways, one is his physical form which may be appreciated at some time and no longer appreciated, however the other way the spiritual master is living is through his instructions, his vani. His physical form is called “vapu” and his instructions are called his “vani.” It is more important to associate with the spiritual master by following his instructions than by serving his physical form.

So you lament that you want to approach a “living guru,” you have not yet realized that Prabhupada is living with us still in the form of his instructions and you can associate with him personally by reading his books, hearing his recorded lectures, conversations, morning walks, press conferences, etc and even by watching the video and film recordings of him. So you have the benefit of a bona fide living guru. There is no question of that at all. You simply have to realize the great fortune you have because you are connected with Srila Prabhupada.

Your main concern seems to be initiation. However initiation is a secondary concern. First you have to find a qualified guru, someone who is actually a liberated soul, a devotee on the topmost platform, a devotee who can guide you so you can also ultimately become a liberated soul, a pure devotee. The example given by Lord Caitanya in this connection is that of a creeper. A climbing plant. Krishna consciousness is likened to that creeper, that climbing plant, and the seed of that plant is called the “bhakti latta bija” (the seed of the creeper of devotion). So you know if from your experience that if you want to get the seed of a fruit tree you have to find a plant that is fully developed, fully grown, which is flowering, and producing fruits, and in those fruits you will find the seeds. So getting initiated into Krishna consciousness means getting this seed of bhakti, however, if you want to get that seed first you have to find someone who has the plant of bhakti fully grown in his heart and with that plant producing flowers and fruit, and seeds.

Otherwise how can he give you the seed if he does not have the plant of bhakti fully developed within his heart? That is impossible. So only a pure devotee of Krishna can give the seed of bhakti. We have seen many devotees who are for the most part very sincere who have taken the position of guru and tried to give their followers the seed of bhakti through initiation but have failed, because although they may be sincere, sincerity is not enough. One has to be a pure unalloyed devotee of Krishna with the plant of bhakti fully grown within his heart so that plant of bhakti is producing seeds and then he can give those seeds to others. Otherwise no matter how sincere and dedicated he is he is simply cheating his followers. He can not give them the seed of the bhakti-lata plant because that plant is not fully developed in his heart.

And by accepting disciples he has to accept the sinful reactions of the disciples. So if he can not deliver the seed of bhakti the disciples will not be able to give up their sinful activities either and he will become loaded down with so many reactions from his disciples and will ultimately fall down himself.

We have seen this happen with practically every “guru” the GBC has authorized. They may have been sincere devotees, but they undertook a task which they were not able to perform. They offered to accept all the sinful reactions of their disciples and to initiate them even though they did not have the plant of devotion fully developed within their hearts. So they are cheaters. And it is bad for them and bad for their followers.

This idea you are hinting at is there must be a bona fide “living” spiritual master somewhere. This is not necessarily the case. Sometimes a pure devotee is present and sometimes not. I do not think you have fully understood the rarity of pure devotional service. It is not at all common to find someone who is qualified to initiate disciples. To find someone who is a Paramahamsa, an uttama-adhikari, a pure devotee of Krishna on the topmost platform is truly very, very rare. So do not underestimate the great fortune you have in associating with Srila Prabhupada. If you miss this chance of taking the association of Srila Prabhupada you may have to take many, many thousands of births before you get the opportunity to associate with such a great soul again. Maybe many millions or billions of births. Such a great soul is VERY RARE.

It is not that one can rubber-stamp gurus. A guru has to be a pure devotee of Krishna and that is very rarely seen.

So if you are anxious to be initiated there are hundreds of wanabe “gurus” out there who will initiate you right away. But unfortunately they can not give you the seed of the plant of bhakti because they do not have the plant fully-developed within themselves. So they will only exploit you and in the end leave you with nothing. This has happened to thousands of sincere devotees in the past and continues to happen even today.

Krishna has sent you the perfect guru and his name is His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. You simply need to hear from Srila Prabhupada on a regular basis, chant at least 16 rounds of the Hare Krishna mantra daily and strictly follow the four regulative principles: no illicit sex, no meat eating, no gambling and no intoxication. Of course we need to follow the instructions we hear from Srila Prabhupada and be engaged in devotional service 24 hours a day as he teaches us to be. This process will purify our hearts and gradually also Krishna will dictate to us from within our hearts.

Of course it is easy to rattle this off but in reality it is impossible to chant 16 rounds of the Hare Krishna mantra daily and follow the four regulative principles unless we are getting some higher taste, some pleasure from the spiritual platform. There are so many things we need to follow if we want to purify our existence and it is so easy to slip from the path and fall back to our old habits. It is said that spiritual life is like the razors edge. We have to execute it with great care and attention for if we make a little slip then there is blood everywhere. It is a little hard to understand with today’s razors. But in the past they would shave with cutthroat razors which were just a very sharp hard steel blade. So if one slipped while shaving there was a big mess.

There are so many aspects which have to be followed on the path to perfection, the path to Krishna, and to a large extent these teachings of Srila Prabhupada have been forgotten.

Saddhana-bhakti means serving Krishna by following the rules and regulations. There are so many rules and regulations and to advance we have to follow these rules and regulations. As I said it is a scientific process, if we follow the rules we will see the results. And if we don’t follow we will also see a different sort of result. A transcendental activity will bring us closer to Krishna and make material sense gratification seem unimportant to us and a material activity will cover our original Krishna consciousness more and make us more attached to material activities. So we have to be careful to do everything for Krishna under the direction of the pure devotee of Krishna.

When Srila Prabhupada was physically present his disciples generally had very little association with him. Some never even saw him at all. They received their training from disciples of Srila Prabhupada and by reading Srila Prabhupada’s books. To a large extent their questions were answered by these devotees and in so many ways they were guided in Krishna consciousness by these devotees. So it is not that we have to get all guidance from our guru only. We can also get so much guidance from our godbrothers. That system was established by Srila Prabhupada that his older disciples would train his younger disciples. But still all the disciples were Srila Prabhupada’s and they were all “godbrothers.” Such a system is still possible and in such a system you could get the training and association you want and need but still have Srila Prabhupada as your spiritual master.

Krishna will always look after you. He is in your heart. He will help you remember Him if that is what you want, He will give you knowledge, and if you want He will help you forget also. Ultimatly it is up to our desire. Krishna has given us a little independence to desire. Do I want Krishna or do I want maya? So if we want Krishna, Krishna will provide us with what we need to make spiritual advancement, if we want maya, Krshna will provide us with what we need to “enjoy” in the material world. The choice is ours.

So you already have yoru guru, Srila Prabhupada. You will not find a better living guru than Prabhupada. Do not be distracted by flashy “living gurus” who have no substance and depth. You need the real thing, and we know it for sure that Srila Prabhupada is the real thing, and that the real thing is very, very rare.

If you have more questions please ask.

Take shelter of Srila Prabhupada, read his books and chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

Madhudvisa dasa

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About the Author

My first contact with a Hare Krishna was a most merciful Mataji in Oxford Street, London who sold me a "Higher Taste" cook book in 1984 while I was on holidays there. I started seriously reading Srila Prabhupada's books in Australia 1985 and by 1986 Srila Prabhupada had convinced me "Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead" and "we should surrender to Krishna." I joined the Hare Krishnas in Perth, Western Australia in 1986. Since then I have been chanting Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, reading and distributing Srila Prabhupada's books and preaching as much as I can. That's my life and full-time occupation now really. I like it more than anything I've ever experienced before. Srila Prabhupada's books are so amazing... Even after reading them all many times they're still fresh and new. They are truly transcendental! That's it really. Now I'm just hankering to once again see the world chant Hare Krishna, dance and feast and float away in the ecstasy of Lord Caitanya's Sankirtana movement as it did in Srila Prabhupada's physical presence. Let the whole world drown in the ecstatic flood of love of Krishna!

23 Responses to The “Living Guru” Concept

  1. Name says:

    Hare Krishna Prabhu,
    Please accept my obeisance,
    All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

    I have a huge problem, actually it is that I cannot control my mind. Without wanting it bad thoughts about pure devotees keep coming, I don’t know how to stop it, please help me.

    I started chanting 16 rounds from last two days. I read how offensive it is to offend pure devotees of the Lord, but still I cannot control it. I am afraid that I am going to hell. My mind automatically brings insult, it is not my will, I don’t know why that happens, I am a very sinful person, but I have atleast momentarily tried to follow the regulative principles.

    Please help me Prabhu.

    • It is natural, it is always difficult to control the mind. But it can be controlled by engaging it in the service of Krishna and by chanting Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.

      So please just keep on chanting Hare Krishna at least 16 rounds a day and reading Srila Prabhupada’s books and gradually your mind will come under control.

      By the way, there are not many pure devotees of Krishna… Such a great soul is very rare. So unless the bad thoughts you are having are against Srila Prabhupada, then there is a good chance they are not against a pure devotee.

      So please make sure you are not having bad thoughts against Srila Prabhupada, and chant Hare Krishna and read Prabhupada’s books and everything will be OK in the end.

  2. Aman says:

    Wonderful article by Madhudvisa Prabhu, as always! I read it a long time ago but as I read today again I found it to be more blissful.

  3. student says:

    How about Guru Granth Sahib ji ? His a living guru and shows the way to ultimate god as well.

    • Yes, maybe, but I think he is against the standard Vedic system. He is against the teachings of Krishna in Bhagavad-gita, for example, while still claiming to be a follower of Krishna. I do not know a lot about his teachings, maybe you can let me know more, but as far as I have heard he rejects the standard Vedic way as given to us in all the authorized scriptures by the great Acharyas and he has given his own way. But as I say, really I do not know what he teaches, but I do know that if what he teaches is different from what Krishna is teaching in Bhagavad-gita then he is not bona-fide. But I do not know what he teaches. If you ask me what Krishna teaches, that I can tell you for sure.

  4. Madhava Lata devi dasi says:

    We were given a Rtivik initiation anyway since the Siksha guru is still Srila PRabhupada. They do not call it Rtivik because they need the fools to worship them and pay for their material desires, but it is a Rtvik initiation de facto. Most of the parampara is made of “siksha gurus” so nothing wrong with a Rtivik initiation, the siksha is what counts and one can have as many as necessary to reach perfection. The present cannot lead up there bcz are mostly Kanisthas and others are pretenders, dharmadvajis, have not even cross anarthas. So any sincere devotee has to look for a bona-fide siksha and continue on their bhakti marg.

  5. Damien says:

    Hare Krishna Madhudvisa, the Krishna Book that comes in Vol 1 and 2 by Iskcon Press…are they still in print?

    • Not at the moment. Currently we have only the single volume smaller Krsna Book, but it has the same text and color plates in it. Hopefully we will be able to print the larger size in the near future.

  6. Reena says:

    Hare Krishna Madhudvusa Dasa,

    Extremely beautiful reply this is … Really very nice and effective.. Thanks a lot…. Please keep posting. This is real nectar…

  7. rahul says:

    living,guru, what if someone couldn’t find a guru to his heart’s liking, and find solace in His love all by himself?

    • You can not find anything by yourself.

      That is speculation and useless.

      You have to find the real knowledge from a perfect source. If you can not find the perfect source you will not get the perfect knowledge and you will not be able to escape the painful cycle of samsara, of repeatedly taking birth and suffering in the material world over and over and over again.

      It is very rare actually to come in contact with a pure devotee of Krishna, a person who can give you the real knowledge. Without this, without finding a bona fide guru, you can not escape…

      Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

      Madhudvisa dasa

  8. I just want to say from a layman’s point of view that I can understand both sides of this subject.I am still learning and I apologize for anyone taking offense on my thoughts on this subject. I was raised Baptist and people still worship and speak to God and end their prayers in,”Jesus Christ name I pray”.

    So now I understand Madhudvisa dasa’s point of view. Christ has been gone now for over 2,000 years and he is the way for Christians and I can see that Srila Prabhupada can still be the way for Krishna . I am not making a stand on this point, just saying I understand both sides.

    • Ishan das says:

      Dear Steven,

      There are no two sides to this subject, as you are saying. Only one. Srila Prabhupada is a pure devotee of Krishna. And Jesus Christ also is a pure devotee of Krishna. It is the pure devotee, as Madhudvisa Prabhu has explained, who has the power to to do two things. Two things that no one else can attempt to do.

      The first thing the pure devotee can do is to accept the burden of sin or the karmic impurities of the fallen conditioned soul. The pure devotee will not fall from his elvated liberated position, because krishna will always protect him and releive him of this burden. Still the pure devotee will willingly accept some measure of inconvenience because of taking on the sins of those who seek his mercy. And this we see both in the lila of christ and of Srila Prabhupada.

      The second thing that the pure devotee can do is to take those who follow him nicely, back to the spiritual realm. There is one verse in the prayers to the spiritual master that Srila Prabhupada has taught us. This prayer called Gurvastakum states that it is only by pleasing the true spiritual master that one can receive the grace of God, or Krishna. “By the mercy of the spiritual master, one receives the mercy of Krishna. Without the grace of the spiritual master, no one can make any advancement.”

      So this role of the pure devotee cannot be immitated. Not only is it impossable to fulfill these duties – but also, to pose onewelf as such is demonic. It is better that such a person never entered the association of devotees – for his own sake.

      In financial circles, those who are authorized to handle one’s valuable accrued assts hass a very great responsability to those who he is serving in that way. That is called a fiduciary obligation. Such persons are entrusted with one’s assets and therfore he must do everything that is in the highest interest of those who are depending on him for protection and guidance.

      In the same way the senior members of Srila Prabhupada’s ISKCON movement have a fiducuary obligation to those newer members who come to ISKCON for spiritual shelter. It is the duty of such senior members to direct the newer followers to take shelter of the lotus feet of the acharya pure devotee of Krishna. If they do not direct the new members in this way, then they are misleading such new members, by taking advantage of their trust.

      This misleading of the new members, whether it is by fraudulently taking the role of spiritual master, (fraud because he cannot deliver such new members to Krishna), or if it is by encouraging the new members to do so, it is all part of the same conspiracy which can only derail the new members progressive march towards the kindom of God. To do so is worse than any mundane crime even up to the level of murder. To wrongfully take the life of one who is revolving in the cycle of birth and death is one thing. But to derail and msidirect the one who is inclined towards breaking out of the cycle of samsara by returnming back to Godhead, is millions of times worse.

      Therefore the word “ritvik” means, not that one takes on desciples on his own behalf, but rather that one performs the ceremony through which the new member becomes a disciple of Srila Prabhupada. Though the vehicle of such a ceremony, the aspiring student is made to clearly understand his obligations within the scope of his contract with the pure devotee, Srila Prabhupada. He is made to understand that the contract is two-sided. Srila Prabhupada will releive him of his karmic burden and take him back to Krishna. In return, the initiate is to keep the regulations of no illicit sexual connection, no eating of meat, fish, fowl or eggs, coffee, tea, no intoxication, and no gambling of speeculative philosophical thinking. This is a contract. And as in any contract, certain rights or privileges are obtained and certain obligations are incurred.

      So there is no question of there being two sides to the question. It is not a question of “living guru” versus the acharya who has “disappeared” from our vision. It is living represntative of the acharya (ritvik) who, like an attorney, handles the implementation of the contract between the parties involved, viz., the acharya and the initiate.

      It is the same thing in Christianity, as you have pointed out. The local priest cannot save us. His job is to mediate the contract between Jesus Christ and the new disciple. The paradigm is congruent. Whether in Christianity of Vaishnavism, the paradigm is the same. The relationship is between the savior and the saved. In the Gaudiya Sampradaya, Srila Prabhupada is the savior, and the senoir members are the priests, or attorneys who brings the parties together. The local priest is not Christ. And the ritvik is not Srila Prabhupada. To proclaim otherwise is ludicrous, and spiritually criminal. Embezzlement is misappropriation of assets by a person who is in a position of trust.For the ritvik to take the devotion and faith which is meant for Christ or for Srila Prabhupada and msiguide the initiate to direct such devotion and faith towards himself is spiritual embezzlement, misappropriation, for one’s own shameful purposes.

      But actually the congruence of the paradigm in Christianity and vaishnavism ends there. The difference is that Srila Prabhupada has left us with volumes of instruction, whereas the Teachings of Jesus are poorly understood, misconstrued, and infected with mayavadi influiences.

      Jesus taught pure devotional service. He taught “Not my will but Thy will”. He taught that one should seek God’s pleasure with all of one’s thoughts words and deeds. He did not teach that we should pray for our own material pleasures. He taught that the real family was the family of spiritual association and not the family of blood relationships. He taught that we should not look for our fulfillment through material acquisitions, and not that we should seek these things through our prayers. He taught, in the prayer that he advised us all to take up , that the Holy name of God was the way through which the atmosphere on earth could be made spiritual, when he said, “Our Father, Holy is Your Name, (and by taking up your Name)Thy kindom will come , will manifest here on earth, as it is in heaven.” In other words Christ taught nama sankirtanb. These first lines of Christ’s recommended prayer exactly coincides with the first vesre of Lord Chaitanya’ Sikshastakum, wherein Lord Chaitanya prays, “All glories to the Shri Krishna sankirtan. It cleases our hearts of all the dust accumulated for years togehter. In this way the fire of repeated birth and death is extinguished. Therefore this sankirtan process is the prime benediction for all of humanity. It spreads benediction and gives us a taste of the nectar of life that we are always seraching for.” In other words, “Thy kingdom will come because by making this sound vibration, the whole atmosphere will be purified and we will all taste the nectar of the spiritual realm, right here on earth.”

      And there are so-called Christians who preach that it is not to Jesus that we have to surrender, ot to the personal Jesus, but to the christ quality that is in all of us. That is identical to the mayavadis who say that it is not to Krishna the Person that we should surrender , but to the Krishna quality that is in all of us, because we are all God and Krishna realized His inner god quality and we can have this realizatio and know that we are God.

      And that will be the next step in ISKCON. By taking the focus off Srila Prabhupada, the next justification for this will be to say that we do not have to surrender to Srila prabhupada but to the quality in Srila Prabhupada that is in all of us. And then that good works is equivalent to bhakti yoga.

      Therefore we must keep Srila Prabhupada books pure and unchanged. And we must read tese books. Srila Prabhupada proclaimed< "The books are the basis." Srila Prabhupada once said to me, in his room in New York temple, "Pryaschita means attonement. Pryaschita is to read my books. That is the atonement. One evening in the Calcutta temple at bed time, I was lying on a mat on the large balconey of the temple. it was very warm and the devotees were resting pn the porch on their respective mats. I was lying on my belly and I was reading Srila Prabhupada's Krishna Book. And as I was reading, I could sense that someone was peering over my shoulder. I looked up and it was Srila Prabhuppada looking to see what I was reading, and when he saw that it was his Krishna Book , His divine grace said, very softly, "Thank you very much."

      So that is how we are to obtain the mercy and the blessings of the pure devotee. That is how we are to attone for our mistakes. That is how we can stay fixed up in our Krishna Consciousness. And that is how we can understand our relationship with our spiritual guide and saviour, Srila Prabhupada. One time, I was on a morning walk with Srila Prabhupada on John Lenon's estate, Tittenhurst Park in Ascot, England. I asked Srila Prabhupada a question about my relationship with him as spiritual master. Srila Prabhupada said, "You can just hink of me as your spiritual father". And one time on that land, Srila Prabhupada asked me, "Are you always thinking of krishna?" At that time there was no Krishna Book, no Chaitanya Charitamrita. There was the edited MacMillan edition of Bhagavad Gita. And I answered Srila Prabhupada, "I don't know much about krishna, Srila Prabhupada. I just try to thin about you." And Srila Prabupada kindly said, "You can just thin of me, how I am always thinking of Krishna."

      So those were my guidelines. Think of Srila Prabhupada as my spiritual father and think of him how he is always thinking of Krishna. And anyone can do this. Put on a DVD of Srila Prabupada and listen to Him singing Jaya Radha Madhava before morninf bhagavatam class. Hear him chanting with great love and see the love on his face while he sings about krishna with his eyes closed. Let that sound and that vison be burned into your heart. think of him how he is thinking of Krishna. That is the seed of devotion. Capture it and make it grow, by singing in that same mood. The vaishnava acharya sings, "I am just running after you chanting Krishna, Krishna."

    • A. devi dasi says:

      Steve this is something different. I was born Baptist too, and if they pray in the name of Jesus Christ, usually they are asking something, begging to God with a purpose. And sometimes those requests to God are whimsical, sentimental and self centered, as not following the scriptures properly. Think about the commandment: thou shall not kill. Please do not take it as an offence, This is my personal experience. Haribolo

  9. Miroslav says:

    Dear Madhudvisa Prabhu,

    Thank you very much for your nice explanation. That point is now very clear. In fact, it is clear from the very begining from letter (1977) to all GBC and all temple presidents.
    All we have to do is to fully surrender to Srila Prabhupada and strictly follow instructions from his divine books.

  10. Vinesh says:

    Hare Krishna,

    Lovely e-mails you send. Thank you Prabhu!

    May I put these on my Facebook?

  11. maah! says:

    Dear Madhudvisa Prabhu,

    Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada! Thank you for this explanation of associating with Sri Guru Srila Prabhupada. High degree of understanding and devotion. Only additional comment would be this. Just as Sri Krishna is manifest in His Holy Name, His Words, His Deity, etc., He also manifests Himself in a walking, talking body as well. Similarly, the Sri Guru Acarya who is accessable in his books, instructions, murti, prayers, etc, sometimes appears before us in a body in the line of Sri Guru Parampara. When he is not present, at that time we must rely on service in separation. When he self-manifests, we should not say “He can’t do that!” and deny him. He can do it, he has done it and he will do it. We would get so much spiritual benefit and happiness serving his walking form. Those who were able to serve Srila Prabhupada never forget that blessing and the potency of it-watch the DVDs of the devotees rememberances of their contact with him in that form. For many of them, their mistake was thinking he is “dead and gone” and thinking he can be replaced. Of course, that is incorrect, they should have followed the wise instructions given in your article. When the time is right, He will reveal his divine walking, talking form (although it will appear to be a different personality) to those who want Him, those who have sincerely cried for His Divine Presence. Hare Krishna.

    Thank you for considering these points.

    • Ishan das says:

      Dear Maah! Hare Krishna! I have just now read your letter to Madhudvisa Prabhu, which is dated April 7, 2010. Now it is some 10 months later, and I do not know whether or not you will get to read this response, but I believe that it is important to clarify one point.

      In referring to Srila Prabhupada, you have written.”When the time is right, He will reveal his divine walking, talking form (although it will appear to be a different personality) to those who want Him, those who have sincerely cried for His Divine Presence.”

      The mayavadi philosophers believe that our individuality is an illusion, and that in fact we are all God. Therefore when the acarya appears, the mayavadi believes that God has appeared in the disguise of an individual being who is an embodiment of God, for our guidance, because in this form of illusory individuality we can understand His message. Therefore the mayavadis believe, that the acarya is the same One and only God, but in a new form and therefore that all of the acaryas are the same Only Being, now coming in different dress. This is not vaishnava philosophy. This is not the direct message of Krishna in the Bhagavad-gita.

      According to vaishnava philosophy, we are all part and parcel of God, as infinitely tiny sparks of spiritual energy. But God, Krishna, or Vishnu, is eternally great and we, as tiny spiritual sparks, are eternally minute parts and parcels. Krishna is eternally individual as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and we are eternally individual as His eternal servants, “nitya Krishna das”.

      Therefore when the new acarya appears, it is not as you say, that “it will appear to be a different personality”. Rather, he (or she) will be a different personality. This is because the acaryas in the line of parampara, disciplic succession, are all eternal individuals, just as we are all eternal individuals. The difference being that we are under the spell of illusion, thinking ourselves to be this material body and forgetful of our relationship with Krishna, whereas the acharya is an eternally liberated soul who is never forgetful of his eternal relationship with Krishna as His eternal servant, “nitya Krishna das”.

      At the same time, in so far as all the acharyas are delivering the same pure message of Krishna, without any persoanl interpretation, and therefore the message of the acharyas is one,one can understand that the the guru is One , in this sense. But that does not mean that they are all the same person. Further more, it is the instruction of the shastra or scripture that the real acharya is to be honored as good as God, because he is the most confidential servant of God. But that does not mean that we should think that the acharya is Krishna. But he is Krishna’s pure ambassador, and as such he should be given all the respect that is due to Krishna.

      So these are fine distinctions. It is only by reading Srila Prabhupada’s books and chanting Hare Krishna that these influences of mayavadi philosophy will be removed from our hearts. And this is most important because otherwise we will be thinking that when we become self-realized we also will be that same personality, that same Krishna. And that conclusion is spiritual suicide. The devotees of Krishna, when they become purified of all misgivings and re-awaken their love for Krishna, they return to the Krishna Loka planet to sing and dance with Krishna, as Krishna’s eternal servants – “nitya krishna das.” Bhakti is not a devotional means to an impersonal goal of merging into an impersonal oneness. Bhakti is the means and bhakti is the goal. In krishna Consciousness, the means and the goal are one and the same. Therefore Lord Chaitanya is teaching “Chaitanya Charitamrita) which means that He is teaching “the character (charita) of the spititual force (chaitanya)in the immortal condition (amrita). Or as Krishna says in the 9th chapter, verse 2 of the Bhagavad-gita, “Shushukam kartum avayayam”. This means that this raja vidya, the king of knowledge, this bhakti yoga, is a very joyful activity, shushukam, which is eternally performed, kartum avyayam. It is our eternal nature as eternal servants of Krishna.

      If you have any questions in this regard you can address them to Madhudvisa Prabhu and I am sure that he will reiterate the same conclusions in his crystal clear mode of explanation.

      Thank you for contributing your enthusiasm to this discussion.

      Ishan das

      • Reena says:

        Very nice reply Ishan Das… Thank you very much.. I had come across a Mayavadi who misinterpreted a transcendental work of a pure devotee of Lord Krishna. This pure devotee was from Kerala in south India.. His name was Poonthanam Namboodiripath.. He composed the very popular “Njanappana” that is known as Bhagavat Gita in malayalam for the Keralites.. This Njanappana explains Bhagavat Gita in the form of a song and in very simple words.. The beauty of this work is it is giving Bhagavat Gita as it is.. When I discovered that the english translation of this work was filled with examples of Vivekananda and Ramkrishna, I was deeply hurt.. I found that this work was translated by a Mayavadi who comes from the same family of this pure devotee.. It was really shocking… As I found it very offensive I expressed my disappointment through mail to this person.. I tried to convince her about Krishna consciousness and we communicated many times but still it was very difficult to convince.. This person has been writing blogs on mayavadi philosophy for the last 41 years and this philosophy of YATO MAT TATO PAT is really self defeating and saddening…

  12. Steve Harvell says:

    I enjoy reading your articles very much and I appreciate you taking the time to educate all of us readers and followers of Krishna. I have much to learn from you and Krishna’s devotees. I appreciate what all of you are doing.
    Steve Harvell

  13. Puneet says:

    Even Krishna could not realize the true form of Lord Krishna until He manifested His cosmic form to Arjuna.

    How can you imagine that common man concentrate on the abstract?

    History proves that Religion was at its best till Christ, Moses, Buddha, Krishna, Rama were alive. That they got the spiritual endowment of the God proves that this lineage can continue and that is the only way to preserve the Core of Religion. Which is to develop the Spiritual nature of man.

    Today, the Spiritual Nature of man is degrading and only an unbroken lineage of a true Guru can overcome this vacuum.


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