By: Compiled by Yashodanandana Dasa, Los Angeles, California
Books : Bhagavad-gita As It Is - Macmillan 1972 Edition : Bg: Introduction
1) Krishna, 2) Brahma, 3) Narada; 4) Vyasa, 5) Madhva, 6) Padmanabha, 7) Narahari, 8) Madhava, 9) Akshobhya, 10) Jayatirtha, 11) Jnanasindhu, 12) Dayanidhi, 13) Vidyanidhi, 14) Rajendra, 15) Jayadharma, 16) Purushottama, 17) Brahmanyatirtha, 18) Vyasatirtha, 19) Lakshmipati, 20) Madhavendra Puri, 21) Ishvara Puri, (Nityananda, Advaita), 22) Lord Chaitanya, 23) Rupa (Svarupa, Sanatana), 24) Raghunatha, Jiva, 25) Krishnadasa, 26) Narottama, 27) Vishvanatha, 28) (Baladeva) Jagannatha, 29) Bhaktivinode, 30) Gaurakishora, 31) Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, 32) His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Srila Prabhupada gives all credit to his Guru Maharaja
"...In Los Angeles many fathers and mothers used to come to see me to express their feelings of gratitude for my leading the Krishna consciousness movement throughout the entire world. Some of them said that it is greatly fortunate for the Americans that I have started the Krishna consciousness movement in America. But actually the original father of this movement is Lord Krishna Himself, since it was started a very long time ago but is coming down to human society by disciplic succession. If I have any credit in this connection, it does not belong to me personally, but it is due to my eternal spiritual master, His Divine Grace Om Vishnupada Paramahamsa Parivrajakacharya 108 Sri Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja Prabhupada.."
- Bhagavad-gita As It Is - Macmillan 1972 Edition : Preface
Srila Prabhupada explains his birth in a family of transcendentalists and his meeting His Guru Maharaja
- Bhagavad-gita As It Is - Macmillan 1972 Edition : Sankhya-yoga 6.42
Birth in a family of yogis or transcendentalists - those with great wisdom - is praised herein because the child born in such a family receives spiritual impetus from the very beginning of his life. It is especially the case in the acharya or gosvami families. Such families are very learned and devoted by tradition and training, and thus they become spiritual masters. In India there are many such acharya families, but they have now degenerated due to insufficient education and training. By the grace of the Lord, there are still families that foster transcendentalists generation after generation. It is certainly very fortunate to take birth in such families. Fortunately, both our spiritual master, Om Vishnupada Sri Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja, and our humble self, had the opportunity to take birth in such families, by the grace of the Lord, and both of us were trained in the devotional service of the Lord from the very beginning of our lives. Later on we met by the order of the transcendental system.
- Srimad-Bhagavatam : Canto 1:"Creation" : SB Introduction
Many devotees of Lord Chaitanya like Srila Vrindavana dasa Thakura, Sri Lochana dasa Thakura, Srila Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami, Sri Kavikarnapura, Sri Prabodhananda Sarasvati, Sri Rupa Gosvami, Sri Sanatana Gosvami, Sri Raghunatha Bhatta Gosvami, Sri Jiva Gosvami, Sri Gopala Bhatta Gosvami, Sri Raghunatha dasa Gosvami and in this latter age within two hundred years, Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarti, Sri Baladeva Vidyabhushana, Sri Shyamananda Gosvami, Sri Narottama dasa Thakura, Sri Bhaktivinoda Thakura and at last Sri Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura (our spiritual master) and many other great and renowned scholars and devotees of the Lord have prepared voluminous books and literatures on the life and precepts of the Lord. Such literatures are all based on the shastras like the Vedas, Puranas, Upanishads, Ramayana, Mahabharata and other histories and authentic literatures approved by the recognized acharyas. They are unique in composition and unrivaled in presentation, and they are full of transcendental knowledge. Unfortunately the people of the world are still ignorant of them, but when these literatures, which are mostly in Sanskrit and Bengali, come to light the world and when they are presented before thinking people, then India's glory and the message of love will over flood this morbid world, which is vainly searching after peace and prosperity by various illusory methods not approved by the acharyas in the chain of disciplic succession.
Srila Prabhupada credits His Guru Maharaja for helping him to revive his old habit of deity worship
- Srimad-Bhagavatam : Canto 1:"Creation" : Birth of Emperor Parikshit: SB 1.12.30
Srila Jiva Gosvami remarks in this connection that every child, if given an impression of the Lord from his very childhood, certainly becomes a great devotee of the Lord like Maharaja Parikshit. One may not be as fortunate as Maharaja Parikshit to have the opportunity to see the Lord in the womb of his mother, but even if he is not so fortunate, he can be made so if the parents of the child desire him to be so. There is a practical example in my personal life in this connection. My father was a pure devotee of the Lord, and when I was only four or five years old, my father gave me a couple of forms of Radha and Krishna. In a playful manner, I used to worship these Deities along with my sister, and I used to imitate the performances of a neighboring temple of Radha-Govinda. By constantly visiting this neighboring temple and copying the ceremonies in connection with my own Deities of play, I developed a natural affinity for the Lord. My father used to observe all the ceremonies befitting my position. Later on, these activities were suspended due to my association in the schools and colleges, and I became completely out of practice. But in my youthful days, when I met my spiritual master, Sri Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja, again I revived my old habit, and the same playful Deities became my worshipful Deities in proper regulation This was followed up until I left the family connection, and I am pleased that my generous father gave the first impression which was developed later into regulative devotional service by His Divine Grace. Maharaja Prahlada also advised that such impressions of a godly relation must be impregnated from the beginning of childhood, otherwise one may miss the opportunity of the human form of life, which is very valuable although it is temporary like others.
Srila Prabhupada explains the power of Sadhu-sanga and the powerful favor of His Guru Maharaja
- Srimad-Bhagavatam : Canto 1:"Creation" : Dhritarashtra Quits Home 1.13.29
Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the great preacher of the principles of Srimad-Bhagavatam, has stressed the importance of association with sadhus, pure devotees of the Lord. He said that even by a moment’s association with a pure devotee, one can achieve all perfection. We are not ashamed to admit that this fact was experienced in our practical life. Were we not favored by His Divine Grace Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja, by our first meeting for a few minutes only, it would have been impossible for us to accept this mighty task of describing Srimad-Bhagavatam in English. Without seeing him at that opportune moment, we could have become a very great business magnate, but never would we have been able to walk the path of liberation and be engaged in the factual service of the Lord under instructions of His Divine Grace.
Srila Prabhupada explains the about the power of a true representative of the Lord like Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura
- Srimad-Bhagavatam : Canto 2: "The Cosmic Manifestation" : Questions by King Parikshit 2.8.5 PURPORT:
In other words, the cleansing of the polluted heart by other methods (like the culture of empiric knowledge or mystic gymnastics) can simply cleanse one's own heart, but devotional service to the Lord is so powerful that it can cleanse the hearts of the people in general, by the devotional service of the pure, empowered devotee. A true representative of the Lord like Narada, Sukadeva Gosvami, Lord Chaitanya, the six Gosvamis and later Srila BhaktivinodaThakura and Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, etc., can deliver all people by their empowered devotional service.
Srila Prabhupada describes His Guru Maharaja as an avowed brahmachari
- Srimad-Bhagavatam : Canto 3: "The Status Quo" : Creation of the Kumaras and Others : SB 3.12.42
During student life the brahmacharis were given full instructions about the importance of the human form of life. Thus the basic education was designed to encourage the student in becoming free from family encumbrances. Only students unable to accept such a vow in life were allowed to go home and marry a suitable wife. Otherwise, the student would remain a permanent brahmachari, observing complete abstinence from sex life for his whole life. It all depended on the quality of the student’s training. We had the opportunity to meet an avowed brahmachari in the personality of our spiritual master, OmVishnupada Sri Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Gosvami Maharaja. Such a great soul is called a naisthika-brahmachari.
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja, who at the present moment is preaching the philosophy of Lord Chaitanya throughout the entire world through his bona fide disciples.
- Srimad-Bhagavatam : Canto 3: "The Status Quo" : The Marriage of Kardama Muni and Devahuti : 3.22.19
After fulfilling his responsibility to produce a nice child, one should take sannyasa and engage in the perfectional paramahamsa stage. paramahamsa refers to the most highly elevated perfectional stage of life. There are four stages within sannyasa life, and paramahamsa is the highest order. The Srimad-Bhagavatam is called the paramahamsa-samhita, the treatise for the highest class of human beings. The paramahamsa is free from envy. In other stages, even in the householder stage of life, there is competition and envy, but since the activities of the human being in the paramahamsa stage are completely engaged in Krishna consciousness, or devotional service, there is no scope for envy. In the same order as Kardama Muni, about one hundred years ago, Thakura Bhaktivinoda also wanted to beget a child who could preach the philosophy and teachings of Lord Chaitanya to the fullest extent. By his prayers to the Lord he had as his child Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja, who at the present moment is preaching the philosophy of Lord Chaitanya throughout the entire world through his bona fide disciples.
Srila Prabhupada explains that Gaura Kishora accepted Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati as His disciple
- Srimad-Bhagavatam : Canto 4: "The Creation of the Fourth Order" : Daksha Curses Lord Shiva : SB 4.2.18
Because of this curse, Shiva was deprived of his share in the oblations of Vedic sacrifices. It was due to the curse of Daksha, Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarti comments in this connection, that Lord Shiva was saved from the calamity of taking part with other demigods, who were all materialistic. Lord Shiva is the greatest devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and it is not fitting for him to eat or sit with materialistic persons like the demigods. Thus the curse of Daksha was indirectly a blessing, for Shiva would not have to eat or sit with other demigods, who were too materialistic. There is a practical example set for us by Gaurakishora dasa Babaji Maharaja, who used to sit on the side of a latrine to chant Hare Krishna. Many materialistic persons used to come and bother him and disturb his daily routine of chanting, so to avoid their company he used to sit by the side of a latrine, where materialistic persons would not go because of the filth and the obnoxious smell. However, Gaurakishora dasa Babaji Maharaja was so great that he was accepted as the spiritual master of such a great personality as His Divine Grace Om Vishnupada Sri Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja. The conclusion is that Lord Shiva behaved in his own way to avoid materialistic persons who might disturb him in his prosecution of devotional service.
Srila Prabhupada says that He is simply following in the footsteps of His Guru Maharaja in fulfilling the prediction of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu
- Srimad-Bhagavatam : Canto 4: "The Creation of the Fourth Order" : Prithu Maharaja's Meeting with the Four Kumaras : SB 4.22.42
When Lord Vishnu appeared in the great arena of sacrifice at the time when King Prithu was performing a great sacrifice (ashvamedha), He predicted that the Kumaras would very soon come and advise the King. Therefore Prithu Maharaja remembered the causeless mercy of the Lord and thus welcomed the arrival of the Kumaras, who were fulfilling the Lord’s prediction. In other words, when the Lord makes a prediction, He fulfills that prediction through some of His devotees. Similarly, Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu predicted that both His glorious names and the Hare Krishna maha-mantra would be broadcast in all the towns and villages of the world. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Prabhupada desired to fulfill this great prediction, and we are following in their footsteps.
Srila Prabhupada explains how everyone can follow in the footsteps of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura
- Srimad-Bhagavatam : Canto 4: "The Creation of the Fourth Order" : Maharaja Prithu's Going Back Home : SB 4.23.5
- Srimad-Bhagavatam : Canto 4: "The Creation of the Fourth Order" : Maharaja Prithu's Going Back Home : SB 4.23.5
Srila Rupa Gosvami, after retiring from his minister’s seat in the government, went to Vrindavana and lived beneath a tree, like Maharaja Prithu. Since then, many people have gone to Vrindavana to imitate Rupa Gosvami’s behavior. Instead of advancing in spiritual life, many have fallen into material habits and even in Vrindavana have become victims of illicit sex, gambling and intoxication. The Krishna consciousness movement has been introduced in the Western countries, but it is not possible for Westerners to go to the forest and practice the severe austerities which were ideally practiced by Prithu Maharaja or Rupa Gosvami. However, Westerners or anyone else can follow in the footsteps of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura by living in a temple, which is transcendental to residence in a forest, and to vow to accept Krishna-prasada and nothing else, follow the regulative principles and chant sixteen rounds daily of the Hare Krishnamantra. In this way, one’s spiritual life will never be disturbed.
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura explains the unwanted creepers of bhakti
- Sri Chaitanya-caritamrta - 1975 Edition : Cc. Madhya-lila : Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Instructs Srila Rupa Gosvami : Madhya 19.160
'nisiddhacara', 'kutinati', jiva-himsana' 'labha', 'puja', 'pratisthadi' yata upasakha-gana :
The unwanted creepers have been described by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. He states that if one hears and chants without trying to give up offenses, one becomes materially attached to sense gratification. One may also desire freedom from material bondage like the Mayavadis, or one may become attached to the yoga-siddhis and desire wonderful yogic powers. If one is attached to wonderful material activities, one is called siddhi-lobhi, greedy for material perfection. One may also be victimized by diplomatic or crooked behavior, or one may associate with women for illicit sex. Others may make a show of devotional service like the prakrita-sahajiyas, or one may try to support his philosophy by joining some caste or identifying himself with a certain dynasty, claiming a monopoly on spiritual advancement. Thus with the support of family tradition, one may become a pseudo guru or so-called spiritual master. One may become attached to the four sinful activities - illicit sex, intoxication, gambling and meat eating, or one may consider a Vaishnava to belong to a mundane caste or creed. One may think, "This is a Hindu Vaishnava, and this is a European Vaishnava. A European Vaishnava is not allowed to enter the temples." In other words, one may consider Vaishnavas in terms of birth, thinking one a brahmana Vaishnava, a shudra Vaishnava, a mleccha Vaishnava and so on. One may also try to carry out a professional business while chanting the Hare Krishna mantra or reading Srimad-Bhagavatam, or one may try to increase his monetary strength by illegal means. One may also try to be a cheap Vaishnava by chanting in a secluded place for material adoration, or one may desire mundane reputation by making compromises with nondevotees, compromising one's philosophy or spiritual life, or one may become a supporter of a hereditary caste system. All these are pitfalls of personal sense gratification. Just to cheat some innocent people, one makes a show of advanced spiritual life and becomes known as a sadhu, mahatma or religious person. All this means that the so-called devotee has become victimized by all these unwanted creepers and that the real creeper of bhakti-lata-bija has been stunted.