Malaga Evening Lecture On “Śrīla Prabhupāda, The Founder-Ācārya Of ISKCON”

Malaga Evening Lecture On “Śrīla Prabhupāda, The Founder-Ācārya Of ISKCON”

INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY FOR KRISHNA CONSCIOUSNESS

Founder-Ācārya: His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda

The Following Evening Lecture On “Śrīla Prabhupāda, The Founder-Ācārya Of ISKCON” Was Given By His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami In ISKCON Malaga, Spain, On 14 July 2014.

 

Gaur Premānande Hari Haribol.

nāma oṁ viṣṇu-pādāya kṛṣṇa-preṣṭhāya bhūtale
śrīmate bhaktivedānta-svāmin iti nāmine

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

Śrīla Prabhupāda Ki Jaya!

Gaura premānande Hari Haribol.

 His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Hare Kṛṣṇa.

Devotees: Hare Kṛṣṇa

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: So how is everybody doing? Who is translating? Okay. Do you have another mike? Yes. Yes [Unclear] How do you say it?

Devotees: [Unclear]

 His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Okay.

Translator: Hare Kṛṣṇa. Hare Kṛṣṇa. Hare Kṛṣṇa. Hare Kṛṣṇa.

 His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: So Hare Kṛṣṇa. Your… is working?

Some devotee: No, not working, but you can start it.

 His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Did you put it in the right slot?

Devotee: It is wireless.

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Oh this is wireless. Where is the reception? The receiver? The antenna? Okay you have a loud voice. Okay so are you all happy that…?

Devotee: Yes. [Laughter]

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: … that Mahārāja has taken sannyāsa?

Devotee: Not everybody.

 His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Why not? Oh yes I can understand. The first person that comes to my mind is your wife. So now we will listen to Mahārāja.

Devotees: Haribol [clapping].

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Sumon, is the camera alright or should we shift more on that side? If the thing is coming alright. Anyway don’t worry. You don’t have the time to experiment. You should have done that earlier.

Mahārāja: oṁ ajñānatimirāndhasya jñānāñjana-śalākayā
cakṣur unmīlitaṁ yena tasmai śrī-gurave namaḥ.

Nice opportunity again to have the association of the vaiṣṇavas, and it’s the only real treasure we have in the material world because the devotees they carry Kṛṣṇa in their heart, manifested. Kṛṣṇa is in the heart of all the living entities as we now,  īśvara sarva bhutanam hṛde deśe arjuna tiṣṭhati; He is there; but as it is explained in Caitanya Caritāmṛta that… Recently we had the ratha yatra and before there is the cleaning of the Guṇḍicā and at the end of the pastime Śrīla Prabhupāda gives a very long purport and he also … his spiritual master Śrīla Bhakti Siddhānta Sarasvatī Thakur. And the gist of the whole summary is that the cleaning of the temple is the symbol for cleaning the heart, so that Kṛṣṇa will comfortably sit down. As it is said He is in everybody’s heart but from this we can conclude He is not necessarily comfortable in all the situations. He is so kind; He accompanies the living entities even into species like hogs and worms. Now who is saying would you like to accompany in a hog’s …and then witness all these activities

 His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Staying in the stool.

Veda-Vyasa Mahārāja: and then staying in the stool. So no, that’s not very nice. And even in the human form of life, not everybody is in a very nice situation, especially if they have come to the platform of a non-devotee. So the cleaning means that one wants to invite Kṛṣṇa to sit down in the heart and we understand that the devotees they have done this and when they go to place to place and come in contact with the conditioned souls, those who are fortunate they will be able to perceive this to some degree. And this may change their lives. That’s the way we come in contact with Kṛṣṇa in the material world.

Like when Śrīla Prabhupāda came, his heart was so comfortable for Kṛṣṇa that He was fully manifesting all His glory, and those who were fortunate like Mahārāja they felt spontaneously attracted. Kṛṣṇa says the devotee is in my heart and I am in the heart of the devotee. In this way the devotees they try to give Kṛṣṇa to everybody. So we are fortunate that Mahārāja will give us Kṛṣṇa tonight. So it is my duty to somehow or other do some cleaning like in the Guṇḍicā temple, so that others who somehow or other come in contact with us may take or receive an impression of Kṛṣṇa and sometimes we can actually see this practically, those who preach like distributing books, distributing prasādam come in contact with people, many times they had the experience that a person is reacting not in a usual way nor like in normal encounter between other persons in the world but that person somehow that person perceives that there is some difference here. And as we said that if the person is fortunate the desire awakens that I also want to be like that. So that way Kṛṣṇa consciousness will be distributed. So please give us Kṛṣṇa.

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: [Laughter] Thank you. Thank you Mahārāja. [You always need the expert touch (in connection to the setting of the mike).]

Devotees: [Laughter]

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami:
oṁ ajñāna-timirāndhasya jñānāñjana-śalākayā
cakṣurunmīlitaṁyenatasmaiśrī-guravenamaḥ

sri-caitanya-mano-‘bhīṣṭaṁ sthāpitaṁ yena bhūtale
svayam rūpaḥ kadā mahyaṁ dadātisva-padāntikam

śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanyaprabhu-nityānanda
śrī-advaitagadādharaśrīvāsādi-gaura-bhakta-vṛnda

hare kṛṣṇa hare kṛṣṇa, kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa hare hare
harerāma hare rāma, rāma rāma hare hare.

Hare Kṛṣṇa. guru kṛṣṇa prasāde pāye bhakti latā bīja. What is needed for all of us is to get bhakti and the bhakti is received by the mercy of the guru and we get the guru by the mercy of Kṛṣṇa. And we all are very fortunate that we find a guru like Śrīla Prabhupāda. Śrīla Prabhupāda is the guru of all the devotees in ISKCON. Śrīla Prabhupāda is not the guru of only his disciples but Prabhupāda is the guru of all the devotees of ISKCON of all times generation after generation, Prabhupāda will remain the spiritual master. That concept has been confirmed by Prabhupāda being the founder ācārya of ISKCON. Prabhupāda is not only the founder of ISKCON but Prabhupāda is the ācārya of ISKCON. For many years we have been thinking about this concept, researching on this concept, trying to establish this concept in ISKCON but finally this year we have come out with a book written by RavindraSvarūpaprabhu as ‘Śrīla Prabhupāda the Founder Ācārya’. Did they see the book here? Did anyone bring those books? Anyways I will send the book let me know how many copies are needed. And this book is actually the position paper of ISKCON meaning in ISKCON this concept has now been established through this book which is the presentation of ISKCON’s understanding of ŚrīlaPrabhupāda’s position. And now we are considering the importance of implementing this concept throughout ISKCON and that’s why I am taking this opportunity to present it to you all. Next few days we will have a retreat some where nearby and there the main theme for the retreat is actually ‘Śrīla Prabhupāda as the Founder Ācārya of ISKCON’. Now is it some sentimental understanding or is it practical aspect of our institution? Is it just sentimental understanding? No, it is a reality. So, that is what I will try to establish now.

Say for example a spiritual master generally has an āśramaĀśrama is something like the school. Āśrama is like a residential school, boarding school. They stay there and study there and that is how the guru teaches there. The disciple stays in the āśrama and the guru teaches. And then when the guru retires he hands over the āśrama to his successor and if some other disciples want to have, want to function like a guru, then they can create their own āśrama. Now Śrīla Prabhupāda, not only Śrīla Prabhupāda, Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Thakur, BhaktisiddhāntaSarasvatī Thakur and Śrīla Prabhupāda, these three personalities in the line actually they saw the need to establish Kṛṣṇa consciousness all over the world. How many of you know that Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu predicted that Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement will spread in every town and village all over the world? Yes, so practically all of you know that. Now who is Caitanya Mahāprabhu? Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Now when the Supreme Personality of Godhead says something is it going to happen? Or can His words go in vain? His words can never go in vain. So when Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu said Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement will spread all over the world in every town and village no matter how impossible it may sound, but it’s bound to happen. And Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Thakur saw the need of that, saw the need to make that prediction become a reality. And so he started to work on that but he was a big government officer so he didn’t have enough time to do that but what he did is, he wrote many books explaining the life and meaning and teachings of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. And he predicted, he also said a time will come when this movement will spread all over the world in every town and village and all the religions of the world will come under the umbrella of this Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s saṅkīrtana movement. And he also gave the blueprint of an institution called Namahata, which means the market place of the holy name and in that institution Bhaktivinoda Thakur did not want to become the head or the leader, he simply wanted to become a sweeper to clean the market place, to keep the market place clean. And he could see that he could not fulfill the prediction of Caitanya Mahāprabhu himself. Therefore he prayed to Lord Jagannātha to send a qualified assistant to fulfill that mission. And as a result of that Lord Jagannātha sent Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Thakur as his son. And Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Thakur established an institution called Gauḍīya Mission. And he spread Kṛṣṇa consciousness very effectively throughout India and he also designed a plan to spread Kṛṣṇa consciousness outside of India. And as you all know when Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Thakur first met Śrīla Prabhupāda in 1922 he told Prabhupāda, how many of you know what he told Śrīla Prabhupāda? Haan Ānanda?

Yes( to the translator). How many of you know, let me see Okay you say.

Devotee: Preach Kṛṣṇa Consciousness

 His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Where?

Devotee: In the western world.

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Very good. So that way we can see that how much he wanted to spread Kṛṣṇa consciousness all over the world because he knew that Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s prediction will become a reality and he planted the seed of that mission in the heart of Śrīla Prabhupāda. And what did Śrīla Prabhupāda do? Śrīla Prabhupāda planted that seed very wonderfully in his heart. That was in 1922. But when did Śrīla Prabhupāda go to America, go to the western world? In 1965. It took the seed to grow into a tree 43 years and then what happened? Śrīla Prabhupāda went to America and in ten years’ time Śrīla Prabhupāda spread Kṛṣṇa consciousness all over the world. Actually this is the most amazing miracle that happened in the world. How long did it take Christianity to spread throughout the world? You all are coming from Christian background so you must know. Dharmarāja has his..

Devotees: [Unclear]

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: no, not in Europe. It took 400 years to start the preaching of Jesus’s teaching. Who started to spread Christianity? The Roman counsel Constantine and Constantine came about 430 A.D. After 430 years after Jesus Christ and then yes, he spread it. He is the one who established the Roman Catholic Church. Prior to that earlier Christians were prosecuted so badly by the Romans. They were living in Catacombs, undergrounds. And sometimes to watch fun those early Christians were thrown in the mouth of lions. Anyway, so we can see that it took Christianity a long time to spread all over the world. Like as the colonials went after Columbus found the water way then Vasco Dagama went to India and that is how they started to take Christianity to the outside world, apart from Asia minor and Europe… Anyway the point is it took Christianity 1500 years to spread. How long did Islam take to spread all over the world? Also about seven to eight hundred years and that also they established with the strength of the sword either take it or.. [Laughter].

But the Hare Kṛṣṇa movement [Laughter] how long did it take to spread all over the world? How many? Yes, 10 years. Prabhupāda started Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement in 1966 in America and Prabhupāda left in 77. So isn’t it a miracle? And Prabhupāda did not force anyone; Prabhupāda did not bribe anyone to take to Kṛṣṇa Consciousness. It was simply through the value of its own that ISKCON has been established.

So today we may not understand but a time will come when the world will recognize that this is the greatest miracle that has ever happened. Now we can see that Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Thakur and Śrīla Prabhupāda knew that they won’t be able to fulfill that mission of spreading Kṛṣṇa consciousness in every town and village in one lifetime, in their lifetime. That’s why both of them actually recognized the need of an institution. The institution that will hold all the members together and spread Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Therefore before leaving the planet Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Thakur told his leading disciple to collectively manage the institution through a governing body. Continue the mission. Yes and he did not say anything about who will be the next ācārya. He did not appoint any ācārya and he didn’t say anything about the need for an ācārya. But unfortunately after his disappearance some of his leading disciples felt that how can a spiritual organization run by a bunch of managers. For a spiritual institution we need a spiritual head or an ācārya. So they appointed an ācārya but unfortunately that ācārya fell down and when the ācārya falls down, then what happens? The whole structure collapses. And Śrīla Prabhupāda mentioned once they appointed the ācārya, the ācārya fell down, then everybody wanted to become the ācārya. And they continued their spiritual life; most of Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Thakur’s seniors disciples, sannyāsīs they carried on; they had their own āśrama, temple; they had a few disciples they carried on with their spiritual life but the mission of spreading Kṛṣṇa consciousness effectively all over the world came to a grinding halt. Because the institution was not there; the institution collapsed.

Now Śrīla Prabhupāda was the only one out of all of Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Thakur’s disciples who understood his mission. And Śrīla Prabhupāda what did he want to do? Like he went to America all his life he was struggling to go to the West then finally at the age of seventy he goes to the West. And at first, when there was an opportunity to preach Kṛṣṇa consciousness in America in New York, Śrīla Prabhupāda invited his God brothers: “Please come; let us fulfill our mission of spreading Kṛṣṇa consciousness all over the world. Please come; let’s work together to fulfill the desire of our spiritual master.” But no one came. Therefore Prabhupāda had to continue alone with a handful of disciples and Prabhupāda established the “International Society for Kṛṣṇa consciousness” in 1966. And Śrīla Prabhupāda gave the absolute emphasis on the institution. He did not put himself in the center. He kept himself at the back and he just wanted Kṛṣṇa to be the center. The International Society for Kṛṣṇa Consciousness.

At that time many Indian spiritual leaders went to America and started to also preach their thing and they all set up their institutions by their own names. Like all those institutions were named after their names like Cinmaya mission, Bala Yogi, Mahesh Yogi they all were the personality cult. But ŚrīlaPrabhupāda’s mission was Kṛṣṇa Consciousness, Hare Kṛṣṇa movement. So much so that even in Māyāpur, in Vṛndāvana they don’t recognize who is the person behind ISKCON movement, Hare Kṛṣṇa movement. Even now they call the temple in Māyāpur as sahib math. Sahib means the temple of the English men.

Devotees: [Laughter]

 His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: and in Vṛndāvana they call it angrezoka mandir. They don’t recognize that it was Śrīla Prabhupāda who actually set up this mission. Why? Because Prabhupāda wanted the institution to be established, not himself. But Prabhupāda made it very clear that in order to establish the institution, in order to keep the institution together and function properly after his disappearance, there is a need to have the head of the institution and the managing structure of the institution.

And the most important consideration was the need of the institution. You see just like as – as long as Bhakti Siddhānta Sarasvatī Thakur was on the planet everything was going on very nicely. The trouble started when he left the planet. He actually wanted that after he left the institution should continue the mission but unfortunately his leading disciples couldn’t understand that. And as a result of that the institution disintegrated. And Śrīla Prabhupāda emphatically told us: ‘Don’t make the same mistake that my God brothers made after my Guru Mahārāja’s disappearance” and he pointed out that, he wanted, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Thakur wanted to manage the institution collectively and not appoint any head. And Śrīla Prabhupāda made it very clear that he is going to be the head. No one is going to take his position. Is it necessary? Yes. It is not that Prabhupāda wanted to aggrandize himself by being the Founder Ācārya but he wanted this concept to be properly established for the benefit of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement.

And we saw in Gauḍīya Math what happened. What did Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Thakur want? He didn’t want anybody to become the ācārya, meaning after him somebody to take his position. Yes he wanted the institution to continue the mission. And he wanted the institution should be managed collectively through the governing body. So in ISKCON the mission continues to expand even after ŚrīlaPrabhupāda’s disappearance. Now I will make one point very clear that the Gauḍīya Mission, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Thakur’s mission disintegrated soon after Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Thakur’s disappearance. Why did it disintegrate? Ānanda?

Devotee: Because everybody wanted to become ācārya.

 His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Yes because they didn’t want to function collectively rather they wanted to become THE BIG LEADER. Now Śrīla Prabhupāda pointed out: No! Collectively manage the institution. So much so that before leaving the planet you know what was Śrīla Prabhupāda’s, one of the most important instructions? Yes.

Devotee: ‘Your love for me will be shown by how you cooperate with each other’.

 His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Very good. Your love for me will be shown by how you cooperate with each other. So meaning if he who doesn’t love Śrīla Prabhupāda. Is there anybody in ISKCON who doesn’t love Śrīla Prabhupāda? Now how do we have to express our love for Śrīla Prabhupāda.

Devotee: Cooperation.

 His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Through our cooperation. Now what does this cooperation mean? Work together through the institution. Now you know how long it took for Gauḍīya Math to disintegrate after Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Thakur’disappearance. It started after the feud, the conflict started after a few weeks, then it took a few months to disintegrate, whereas with ISKCON, 37 years after Śrīla Prabhupāda’s disappearance ISKCON is still together and ISKCON is expanding. In this last 35 to 40 years, did ISKCON grow or did ISKCON diminish? What is your understanding? When Śrīla Prabhupāda left the planet there were 108 temples. You know how many temples ISKCON has today? More than 500 and it is expanding; it is growing. When Śrīla Prabhupāda was here the communist countries in Europe were completely behind the iron curtain; devotees couldn’t even function there. Today Kṛṣṇa consciousness is booming in Russia. The east European countries are the most effective in Kṛṣṇa consciousness today. Now how this is happening? Because of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s divine arrangement of establishing ISKCON. So as I was telling at the beginning the guru teaches in his āśrama and in that respect ISKCON is an āśrama. In early days the āśrama used to be small in some remote corner with a guru with a few disciples but this āśrama of ISKCON has spread all over the world. And was it necessary to spread Kṛṣṇa consciousness all over the world. Don’t we need an āśrama that has spread all over the world? Now the question is whose āśrama is ISKCON? Whose āśrama is ISKCON?

Devotees: Śrīla Prabhupāda’s.

 His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Śrīla Prabhupāda’s. ISKCON is Śrīla Prabhupāda’s āśrama. Did Śrīla Prabhupāda appoint any successor for ISKCON? No, Śrīla Prabhupāda did not appoint any successor, rather Śrīla Prabhupāda made it clear that he would be The Founder Ācārya, so that we don’t make the same mistake that they made in Gauḍīya Math. So Śrīla Prabhupāda is The Ācārya of ISKCON, although Śrīla Prabhupāda left the planet, Śrīla Prabhupāda will continue to be the Ācārya. Just as in the institution of Christianity who is the Founder Ācārya?

Devotee: Jesus Christ.

 His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Jesus Christ. Is he present on the planet? But still isn’t he the Ācārya, the head? In the Islam institution who is The Founder Ācārya.

Devotee: Mohammad.

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Mohammad. Similarly in ISKCON Śrīla Prabhupāda is going to be the Founder Ācārya or The Head of the institution for all time. And Śrīla Prabhupāda pointed out that this institution should be managed through the collective concept of management through the governing body. So this is what we are trying to make everybody understand in ISKCON. So was it a very heavy discussion today? Was it difficult to understand?

Devotees: No.

 His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Was it important to understand?

Devotees: Yes.

 His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: And did you understand?

Devotees: [Laughter]

 His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Very good. Now if you have any question you can ask.

Devotee: It was a very enlightening talk. Mahārāja, in this regard Prabhupāda also gave instructions that his disciples should become gurus. Now when Prabhupāda said that they should become gurus, it is some section of devotees they understand to be śikṣā guru.

 His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: No, not only, there are dīkṣā gurus also. Dīkṣā guru also, both dīkṣā and śikṣā because both are needed but the thing is that both the gurusdīkṣā  guru and śikṣā guru must function under the institution of ISKCON. Not that because they have become gurus they have inherited ISKCON. No. Like they function under the institution and the governing structure of ISKCON that’s how the ISKCON gurus should function and guru’s function is to become the via medium. Generally the guru is a via-medium between his disciple and Kṛṣṇa but in ISKCON it is disciple, Śrīla Prabhupāda and Kṛṣṇa. Like the gurus of ISKCON, what they are doing? They are acting as a via medium between their disciples and Śrīla Prabhupāda. They are giving Śrīla Prabhupāda’s teachings to them explaining or clarifying Śrīla Prabhupāda’s teachings and they are securing them in Śrīla Prabhupāda’s āśrama, ISKCON, right? And this way they are eventually coming to Śrīla Prabhupāda and Śrīla Prabhupāda is giving them Kṛṣṇa. The gurus are giving Kṛṣṇa through Śrīla Prabhupāda not directly Kṛṣṇa, guru and disciple. And as a guru myself I can tell you that makes my job very easy [Laughter]

Devotee: [Laughter]

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Okay. Yes

Devotee: So Mahārāja now is it when Prabhupāda said that his disciples should act as gurus, so you now whatever you said, in this context what I understand is: is it implied that when Prabhupāda says guru, it means both included, it is implied?

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Well! yes we have to understand. It is not implied. It is a matter of understanding. The understanding is say if I had my own āśrama, yes if I had my own āśrama then I could function in a different way. I could become a via-medium between my disciples and Kṛṣṇa. But I don’t have my āśrama; I belong to the āśrama of ISKCON which belongs to Śrīla Prabhupāda and ISKCON has a structure which is giving in Śrīla Prabhupāda’s teachings. By Śrīla Prabhupāda’s arrangement it is giving protection to the devotees. And by Śrīla Prabhupāda’s arrangement devotees are getting the opportunity to make advancement in spiritual life. So what I am doing is: I am functioning within that structure. I do not have to train all my disciples myself. They are getting- I am just helping them to get connected to ISKCON and Śrīla Prabhupāda and this structure is giving them all the facilities in the form of ISKCON. Like I am functioning you see I am not having my āśrama, I am functioning within the āśrama of ISKCON which Śrīla Prabhupāda arranged. I will just give you an example. Say in Malaga I have a few disciples. If ISKCON was not there could I dare to give initiation to disciples here where I come only once a year at the most? Then I go to South Africa; then I go to Australia [Laughter]; then I go to Europe, Italy, Switzerland, Germany [Laughter]. Now will it be possible to accept disciples and train them and if I could not train them would it have been appropriate for me to give them initiation. But today how do I dare to give initiation to the devotees in different parts of the world? Because I know ISKCON is there and ISKCON will give them the protection and direction and the guidance, right? Otherwise I had to have my āśrama in Malaga, I had to have my āśrama in Switzerland and which wouldn’t have been possible and Śrīla Prabhupāda has created everything for us and we simply have to take advantage of that. And that’s why it is important that those who approach me, I tell them that look my business is to connect you to Śrīla Prabhupāda and situate you in ISKCON. Yes, you are my disciple but actually Śrīla Prabhupāda is your real guru [Laughter] and who would not want to be connected to Śrīla Prabhupāda? Just today Hari Nārāyaṇa was telling me had he had come one year earlier then he could be initiated by Śrīla Prabhupāda. And I think all the devotees, you know in a way feel that way: had I come ten years earlier I could have been initiated by Śrīla Prabhupāda. Had I come hundred years earlier I could have been initiated by Śrīla Prabhupāda. This feeling will always be there in the heart of the devotees and tell me how they will feel when you say that you are initiated or you are Prabhupāda’s disciple? I am just a via-medium and I am taking you to Śrīla Prabhupāda. Somebody can ask how do you feel about that Vinod Vihari?

VinodVihariprabhu: I feel very safe.

 His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Very good. Feel very safe. What about you Priyavrata [Laughter]?

Priyavrataprabhu: I feel very happy to be connected to ISKCON and very happy also to be initiated by Your Divine Grace, Your Holiness and I also feel very safe to be in ISKCON.

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: and I am also very happy to connect you to Śrīla Prabhupāda [Laughter]. I think that’s how the devotees, you know, feel. They feel so secured, so safe. We can say in this respect quite a few gurus in ISKCON have fallen down. Now if their disciples had that understanding then their real shelter is Prabhupāda then they wouldn’t have left ISKCON after their guru fell down. And many of you here like at least like Hari-Narayana, Dharmarāja, have gone through few falling gurus. Also Madhavi-priya but their spiritual life is safe. What is the secret Hari-Narayana? Connection to Śrīla Prabhupāda; connection to ISKCON. They didn’t think oh because my guru fell down my spiritual life is finished. Hari-Narayana all along had been telling me that I came for Śrīla Prabhupāda [Laughter]. Thank you very much.

Devotee: So, in this aspect can you put some light on the finer technicalities of śikṣā and dīkṣā.

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Dīkṣā is the process by which one receives the mantra. But again the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā mantra has been given by Caitanya Mahāprabhu, so, Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā mantra doesn’t need dīkṣā but there is another aspect of dīkṣā that is: at the time of dīkṣā a disciple submits to guru and Kṛṣṇa accepts him at that time. And so that’s why for the sake of surrender which is the beginning of spiritual life, dīkṣā is necessary. So that is the role of the dīkṣā guru. You see disciple begins to associate with the sādhusvaiṣṇavas, devotees. And then he develops faith in one of the sādhus and officially surrenders to him and that is the role of the dīkṣā guru and then śikṣā is the spiritual enlightenment. So those who are giving the instructions they are śikṣā gurus. Now dīkṣā guru has to be present but śikṣā guru may not be present. Like, although Śrīla Prabhupāda is not present on the planet, Śrīla Prabhupāda is the śikṣā guru of all the devotees of ISKCON. Just as although Rūpa Gosvāmī is not present on the planet he is the śikṣā guru of all the Gauḍīya vaiṣṇavas. Okay?

One devotee: [Unclear] Will do saṅkīrtana?

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Let’s see if there are more questions. I thought there will be many questions.

Devotees: [Laughter].

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami First I will ask, did you understand all what I spoke.

Devotees: [Laughter]

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: How many of you understood? Raise your hands. Okay so you understood everything therefore you don’t have any questions. Śrīla Prabhupāda once mentioned that two kinds of people don’t have any questions. One who understood everything.

Devotees: [Laughter]

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: And one who didn’t understand anything.

Devotees: [Laughter]

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: [Laughter] Okay so we can have a kīrtana now.

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Transcription: Anonymous Helper
Editing: Rāmānanda Rāya Dāsa