Questions on GBC Founder-Acarya Paper
BY: CAITANYA DAS
A selection of questions in serial form regarding the GBC foundational document on Srila Prabhupada, the Founder-Acarya:
Questions (a), reference page 23, para 1:
What other evidence is there to reinforce the statement that Srila Prabhupada, as the paper puts it, 'implied' (Oxford English definition: suggested but not definitely expressed) that the normative guru-disciple relationship would be perpetuated within the unified institution under the direction of the GBC. In such an organization, many gurus would be able to act with concerted force, operating together with other leaders and managers in collegial accord.
[PADA: Yes, the GBC has used this term before, their collection of "collegial gurus," which may be something like the Catholic church and their "College of Cardinals." What is a "concerted group" of "many gurus" who "operate together" as leaders, managers and gurus? And how can the acharya be subordinate to a group of managers and leaders?]
Consider this particularly in the light of a guru being a representative of Krishna, and inspired by Krishna to come to conclusions about how to progress his disciple, and who does not need to, but may want to consult in collegial accord. However, must he take his direction and his disciple's direction from a central body? This would be unprecedented in our Vaisnava history. So before making such a bold statement, perhaps more evidence should be gathered directly from the instructions of His Divine Grace.
[PADA: Right, if the guru is getting dictation from Krishna, it makes no sense that he would need to take dictation from a collegial body? Especially, if this collegial body makes so many blunders as our GBC collegial group is doing?]
Further, it could be said that unless definite evidence is produced as to how Srila Prabhupada saw the movement continuing, as he also said his disciples will form their own branches of the disciplic succession, the above statement could be said to be merely conjecture -- an opinion or conclusion based on incomplete information. Other evidence may well be gathered to suggest the guru's independence, inspired directly by the Lord within. Although still serving within the realm of ISKCON in cooperation and understanding of the goals of ISKCON, still he remains transcendentally independent and free to serve in the way Krishna directs him.
Other questions to follow…
[PADA: Right, the guru is independent, that is to say he is fully dependent on the instruction of Krishna, not on the orders and instruction from the college of cardinals GBC? ys pd]
What is an actual guru? (By Dhamaghosha das)
What follows is a few quotes from Srila Prabhupada where he nicely explains how important is the one quality of submissiveness. We hear it briefly given in BG 4.34 about approaching a bona fide spiritual master in service and submission and then our natural spiritual inquires will be fruitful, being blessed by the pleased spiritual master.
So to whom should this submissiveness be directed? Only to ones initiating spiritual master or to anyone who gives us spiritual guidance? There are basically two types of gurus-diksa (initiating) and siksa(instructing) and Srila Prabhupada explains that they both are equal. One can even get guidance from somebody as low as a prostitute-as did Bilvamangal Thakur, and advance in spiritual life. These things are to be considered thoughtfully by the serious student, without malice or envy.
CC Adi 1.35 Purport
One should always remember that a person who is reluctant to accept a spiritual master and be initiated is sure to be baffled in his endeavor to go back to Godhead. One who is not properly initiated may present himself as a great devotee, but in fact he is sure to encounter many stumbling blocks on his path of progress toward spiritual realization, with the result that he must continue his term of material existence without relief.
Such a helpless person is compared to a ship without a rudder, for such a ship can never reach its destination. It is imperative, therefore, that one accept a spiritual master if he at all desires to gain the favor of the Lord. The service of the spiritual master is essential. If there is no chance to serve the spiritual master directly, a devotee should serve him by remembering his instructions.
There is no difference between the spiritual master's instructions and the spiritual master himself. In his absence, therefore, his words of direction should be the pride of the disciple. If one thinks that he is above consulting anyone else, including a spiritual master, he is at once an offender at the lotus feet of the Lord. Such an offender can never go back to Godhead.
The Spiritual Masters : Adi 1.47 : PURPORT :
Srila Sanatana Gosvami is the ideal spiritual master, for he delivers one the shelter of the lotus feet of Madana-mohana. Even though one may be unable to travel on the field of Vrndavana due to forgetfulness of his relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he can get an adequate opportunity to stay in Vrndavana and derive all spiritual benefits by the mercy of Sanatana Gosvami. Sri Govindaji acts exactly like the siksa-guru (instructing spiritual master) by teaching Arjuna the Bhagavad-gita.
He is the original preceptor, for He gives us instructions and an opportunity to serve Him. The initiating spiritual master is a personal manifestation of Srila Madana-mohana vigraha, whereas the instructing spiritual master is a personal representative of Srila Govindadeva vigraha. Both of these Deities are worshiped at Vṛndavana. Śrīla Gopinatha is the ultimate attraction in spiritual realization.
CC Adi 1.55 purport
The entire material manifestation develops and exists because the Supreme Personality of Godhead enters it as Paramātmā, or the Supersoul. The Personality of Godhead in His all-pervading feature of Paramātmā enters every entity, from the biggest to the most minute.His existence can be realized by one who has the single qualification of submissiveness and who thereby becomes a surrendered soul. The development of submissiveness is the cause of proportionate spiritual realization, by which one can ultimately meet the Supreme Lord in person, as a man meets another man face to face.
Because of his development of transcendental attachment for the Supreme Lord, a surrendered soul feels the presence of his beloved everywhere, and all his senses are engaged in the loving service of the Lord.
.....Bilvamaṅgala Ṭhākura actually entered into the transcendental pastimes of Lord Kṛṣṇa. He has recorded his transcendental experiences and appreciation in the book known as Kṛṣṇa-karṇāmṛta. In the beginning of that book he has offered his obeisances to his different gurus, and it is to be noted that he has adored them all equally. The first spiritual master mentioned is Cintamani, who was one of his instructing spiritual masters because she first showed him the spiritual path.
Cintamani was a prostitute with whom Bilvamangala was intimate earlier in his life. She gave him the inspiration to begin on the path of devotional service, and because she convinced him to give up material existence to try for perfection by loving Kṛṣṇa, he has first offered his respects to her. Next he offers his respects to his initiating spiritual master, Somagiri, and then to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who was also his instructing spiritual master.
CC Adi 1.91
"The great scripture Śrimad-Bhagavatam, compiled by Maha-muni Vyasadeva from four original verses, describes the most elevated and kindhearted devotees and completely rejects the cheating ways of materially motivated religiosity. It propounds the highest principle of eternal religion, which can factually mitigate the threefold miseries of a living being and award the highest benediction of full prosperity and knowledge.
Those willing to hear the message of this scripture in a submissive attitude of service can at once capture the Supreme Lord in their hearts. Therefore there is no need for any scripture other than Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam."
PURPORT- ... In Srīmad-Bhagavatam, a distinction between real religion and pretentious religion has been clearly made. According to this original and genuine commentation on the Vedānta-sūtra, there are numerous pretentious faiths that pass as religion but neglect the real essence of religion. The real religion of a living being is his natural inborn quality, whereas pretentious religion is a form of nescience that artificially covers a living entity's pure consciousness under certain unfavorable conditions. Real religion lies dormant when artificial religion dominates from the mental plane. A living being can awaken this dormant religion by hearing with a pure heart.
Adi 1.107 : TRANSLATION :
Simply hearing submissively will free one's heart from all the faults of ignorance, and thus one will achieve deep love for Kṛṣṇa. This is the path of peace.
SB 4.12.32 purport
Dhruva had a feeling of obligation to his mother, Suniti. It was Suniti who had given him the clue which had now enabled him to be personally carried to the Vaikuṇṭha planet by the associates of Lord Viṣṇu. He now remembered her and wanted to take her with him. Actually, Dhruva Maharaja’s mother, Suniti, was his patha-pradarsaka-guru. Patha-pradarsaka-guru means “the guru, or the spiritual master, who shows the way.”
Such a guru is sometimes called siksa-guru. Although Narada Muni was his diksa-guru (initiating spiritual master), Suniti, his mother, was the first who gave him instruction on how to achieve the favor of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is the duty of the śikṣā-guru or dīkṣā-guru to instruct the disciple in the right way, and it depends on the disciple to execute the process.According to sastric injunctions, there is no difference between siksa-guru and diksa-guru, and generally the siksa-guru later on becomes the diksa-guru. Suniti, however, being a woman, and specifically his mother, could not become Dhruva Mahārāja’s dīkṣā-guru. Still, he was not less obliged to Sunīti.
The Nectar of Devotion -- Vrndavana, October 29, 1972 : 721029ND.VRN :
Prabhupāda: Guru-kṛṣṇa-kṛpāya pāya bhakti-latā-bīja [Cc. Madhya 19.151]. We have to acquire this energy through the mercy of guru andKṛṣṇa. So Kṛṣṇa is within as caitya-guru, and when we are serious He comes out as the spiritual master. Śikṣā-guru, dīkṣā-guru. So there is no difference between śikṣā-guru and dīkṣā-guru and Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa manifests Himself externally as śikṣā-guru and dīkṣā-guru.