Bhakta Mark – NY US: The secret is that one must submissively listen to those who know perfectly the science of God, and one must begin the mode of service regulated by the preceptor. A devotee already attracted by the name, form, qualities, etc., of the Supreme Lord may be directed to his specific manner of devotional service; he need not waste time in approaching the Lord through logic. The expert spiritual master knows well how to engage his disciple’s energy in the transcendental loving service of the Lord, and thus he engages a devotee in a specific devotional service according to his special tendency.
A devotee must have only one initiating spiritual master because in the scriptures acceptance of more than one is always forbidden. There is no limit, however, to the number of instructing spiritual masters one may accept.** (From the beginning we are constantly instructed by Srila Prabhupada’s books, lectures, and conversations, and will continue to be until death) **
Generally a spiritual master who constantly instructs a disciple in spiritual science becomes his initiating spiritual master later.
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.
(Adi 1.35 purport.)
Today, Sunday, November 10, 1974-corresponding to the 10th of Kārtikka, Caitanya Era 488, the eleventh day of the dark fortnight, the Rāma-ekādaśī-we have now finished the English translation of Śrī Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī’s Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta in accordance with the authorised order of His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākur Gosvāmī Mahārāja, my beloved eternal spiritual master, guide and friend. Although according to material vision His Divine Grace Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda passed away from this material world on the last day of December, 1936, I still consider His Divine Grace to be always present with me by his vāṇī, his words. There are two ways of association-by vāṇī and by vapu. Vāṇī means words, and vapu means physical presence. Physical presence is sometimes appreciable and sometimes not, but vāṇī continues to exist eternally. Therefore we must take advantage of the vāṇī, not the physical presence. Bhagavad-gītā, for example, is the vāṇī of Lord Kṛṣṇa. Although Kṛṣṇa was personally present five thousand years ago and is no longer physically present from the materialistic point of view, Bhagavad-gītā continues…
… I think that His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura is always seeing my activities and guiding me within my heart by his words. As it is said in Śrīmad Bhāgavatam, tene brahma hṛdā ya ādi-kavaye. Spiritual inspiration comes from within the heart, wherein the Supreme Personality of Godhead, in His Paramātmā feature, is always sitting with all His devotees and associates. It is to be admitted that whatever translation work I have done is through the inspiration of my spiritual master because personally I am most insignificant and incompetent to do this materially impossible work. I do not think myself a very learned scholar, but I have full faith in the service of my spiritual master, His Divine Grace Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhakura. If there is any credit to my activities of translating, it is all due to His Divine Grace.
Certainly if His Divine Grace were personally present at this time, it would have been a great occasion for jubiliation, but even though he is not physically present, I am confident that he is very pleased by this work of translation.
He was very fond of seeing many books published to spread the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. Therefore our society, the International Society for Kṛṣṇa Consciousness, has formed to execute the order of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and His Divine Grace Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhakura.
(Cc. 1975: Concluding Words)
Indian Man (2): …like your company very much in Toronto and we feel like talk you so much, but we don’t have so much time to talk with you. You have so much mercy, so we have not… know so much about Kṛṣṇa from you.
Prabhupāda: So in my absence you read the books. What I talk, I have written in the books. That’s all.
Indian Man (2): Personally, we think more greater.
Prabhupāda: That’s all right. But still, you can associate with me by reading my books.
(Morning Walk — August 7, 1975, Toronto)
To answer your last point, one who teaches can be treated as Spiritual Master. It is not that after we become initiated we become perfect. No. It requires teaching. So if we take instruction from them, all senior godbrothers may be treated as guru, there is no harm. Actually, you have only one Spiritual Master, who initiates you, just as you have only one father. But every Vaisnava should be treated as prabhu, master, higher than me, and in this sense, if I learn from him, he may be regarded as guru. It is not that I disobey my real Spiritual Master and call someone else as Spiritual Master. That is wrong. It is only that I can call Spiritual Master someone who is teaching me purely what my initiating Spiritual Master has taught. Do you get the sense?
Letter to: Sri Galim — Delhi 20 November, 1971
The chanting Hare Krishna is our main business, that is real initiation. And as you are all following my instruction, in that matter, the initiator is already there. Now the next initiation will be performed as a ceremony officially, of course that ceremony has value because the name, Holy Name, will be delivered to the student from the disciplic succession, it has got value, ( Letter to: Tamala Krsna — Montreal 19 August, 1968)
The GBC should all be the instructor gurus. I am in the initiator guru, and you should be the instructor guru by teaching what I am teaching and doing what I am doing. This is not a title, but you must actually come to this platform. This I want.
(Letter to: Madhudvisa: — Detroit 4 August, 1975)
Why distinguish between chanting and book distribution? These books I have recorded and chanted, and they are transcribed. It is spoken kirtanas. So book distribution is also chanting. These are not ordinary books. It is recorded chanting. Anyone who reads, he is hearing.
(Letter to: Rupanuga: — Mayapur 19 October, 1974)
On the whole, you may know that he is not a liberated person, and therefore, he cannot initiate any person to Krishna Consciousness. It requires special spiritual benediction from higher authorities.
(Letter to: Janardana — New York 26 April, 1968)
The initiating spiritual master is a PERSONAL MANIFESTATION of Śrīla Madana-mohana vigraha, whereas the instructing spiritual master is a PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE of Śrīla Govindadeva vigraha.
(Adi 1.47 : PURPORT)
When one has attained the topmost position of maha-bhagavata, he is to be accepted as a guru and worshiped exactly like Hari, the Personality of Godhead. Only such a person is eligible to occupy the post of a guru.
( Madhya 24.330)
Satsvarūpa: By the votes of the present GBC. Then our next question concerns initiations in the future, particularly at that time when you’re no longer with us. We want to know how first and second initiation would be conducted.
Prabhupāda: Yes. I shall recommend some of you. After this is settled up, I shall recommend some of you to act as officiating ācāryas.
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Is that called ṛtvik-ācārya?
Prabhupāda: Ṛtvik, yes.
(room conv. May 28. 1977)
His Divine Grace said, “You are a suitable person and you can give initiation to those who are ready for it. I have selected you among eleven men as “rittvik” or representative of the acharya, to give initiations, both first and second initiation, on my behalf.” (A newsletter is being sent to all Temple Presidents and GBC in this regard, listing the eleven representatives selected by His Divine Grace. Those who are initiated are the disciples of Srila Prabhupada, and anyone who you deem fit and initiate in this way, you should send their names to be included in Srila Prabhupada’s “Initiated Disciples” book. In this way the Temple Presidents will send their recommendations for initiation direct to the nearest representative who will give a spiritual name or chant on the Gayatri thread just as Srila Prabhupada has been doing.) (letter to Hamsadutta, July 10th 1977)
Tamala Krsna Maharaja: Upendra and I could see it for the last… [break]
Srila Prabhupada: “And nobody is going to disturb you there. Make your own field and continue to become ritvik and act on my charge. People are becoming sympathetic there. The place is very nice.” (Room Conversation, July 19th,1977)
Hamsadutta das: Srila Prabhupada replied my letter by paraphrasing my question and answering in a letter dated July 31st 1977 as follows:
“You have written to Srila Prabhupada saying you do not know why he has chosen you to be a recipient of his Mercy. His Divine Grace immediately replied, “It is because you are my sincere servant. You have given up attachment to a beautiful and qualified wife and that is a great benediction. You are a real preacher. Therefore I like you. (Then Laughing). Sometimes you become obstinate, but that is true of any intelligent man. Now you have got a very good field. Now organize it and it will be a great credit. No one will disturb you there. MAKE YOUR OWN FIELD AND CONTINUE TO BE RITTVIK AND ACT ON MY BEHALF”
Prabhupada: “When it was not handed down. Simply understood by speculation. Or if it is not handed down as it is. They might have made some changes. Or they did not hand it down. Suppose I handed it down to you, but if you do not do that, then it is lost. Now the Krishna consciousness movement is going on in my presence. Now after my departure, if you do not do this, then it is lost. If you go on as you are doing now, then it will go on.” (Room conversations, May 9th,1975, Perth)
Nov 1977 – “The system of management will continue as it is now and there is no need of any change.”
(Section 1. Srila Prabhupada’s Last Will and Testament)
Nov 1977 – “In the event of death or failure to act for any reason of any of the said directors, a successor director or directors may be appointed by the remaining directors, provided the new director is my initiated disciple …”
(Section 3, Srila Prabhupada’s Last Will and Testament)