07 May 2013
in A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Diksha, Disciplic succession, Guru & Disciple, Prabhupadanugas, Remembering Srila Prabhupada, Satsvarupa das Goswami, Spiritual Master, The Hare Krishna Movement
Tags: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Bhakti Caru Swami, buddha, Buddhists, Christ, Christians, devotees, Founder Acarya, Iskcon, prabhupadanuga, prabhupadanugas, Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami, spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada, Srila Prabhupada Lilamrta, The Final Lesson
click on image to enlarge
Perhaps it was Krsna who directed me to the last chapter of Śrīla Prabhupāda-līlāmṛta, by Satsvarūpa dāsa Goswāmī. The famous book chronicling The life of our Founder-Acarya His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. In this last chapter entitled, “The Final Lesson”, last sentence of this voluminious book, Satsvarūpa dāsa Goswāmī concludes with this statement:
“Our hope is that by hearing about Śrīla Prabhupāda the reader will become himself a Prabhupādānuga, a follower of Śrīla Prabhupāda. We can wish no better fortune upon anyone.”
this came as a comment…
This is probably the best thing Satsvarupa Maharaja ever wrote.
When a devotee decides to join the Hare Krishna movement as a full-time member, they are announcing to the world their acceptance of Srila Prabhupada as the empowered representative of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. By mature realization they will come to recognize Srila Prabhupada as their eternal spiritual master. These lifetime servants of the spiritual master are called Prabhupadanugas.
Those who mould their lives in such a way that they can always think of the lotus feet of the spiritual master will live with him eternally. Because of Srila Prabhupada’s transcendental position, there is no separation in time or space between us. He is present in our lives and is guiding us back to Godhead through his written and spoken word. By his unlimited blessings we continue to move forward in Krishna consciousness and surely we will one day reach the ultimate goal of love of Godhead. The more we advance toward that goal, the more we will understand the greatness of Srila Prabhupada’s compassion upon us and his concern for the conditioned souls of this world who are all part and parcel of the Supreme Lord, Sri Krishna. (Locanananda das)
Sometimes the ISKCON devotees refer to Prabhupadanugas as some splinter group, not belonging to the mainstream devotees. But in fact we can plainly see from some of the writing of the senior members of our society that becoming a follower of Śrīla Prabhupāda is exactly what is needed. For instance in Bhakti Curu Swami’s, Disappearance Day offering to Srila Prabhupada, given June 16, 2010, he states:
…everyday, in all the temples of ISKCON, Srila Prabhupada is worshipped by everyone. Then why do we hesitate to tell a new comer who is searching for a guru that Srila Prabhupada, the best guru the world has ever seen, is still here, and one can surrender unto him and go back to Godhead very easily? When we have such a great good fortune, why do we not take full advantage of it? It is only when we do so that the glorious days of ISKCON will come back again and we will witness Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s sankirtan movement starting to spread in leaps and bounds all over the world.
If we really love ISKCON and if we sincerely want the Krsna Consciousness movement to spread all over the world in every town and village, then let us broadcast all over the world that Srila Prabhupada is still with us and that anyone who wants to receive his mercy can approach him and establish his eternal relationship with him.
Full Chapter of the “The Final Lesson” More
30 Mar 2013
in Spiritual Life, Srimad Bhagavatam, Spiritual World, Spiritual Master, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Tags: Bs. 5.28, cintamani-dhama, cintamani=arakara-sadmasu, cows, goddesses of fortune, gopis, Govinda, kalpa-vrksa, Laksmis, Lord Govinda, SB 1.11.26, spiritual gems, Spiritual Life, spiritual master A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Spiritual world, Srimad Bhagavatam, touchstone, transcendental abode, transcendental windows
Sometimes when I am sitting and reading from Srila Prabhupada’s Srimad Bhagavatam, a verse or sentence from the purport just jumps out from the page almost like it is in 3D, and I catch a glimpse of what the Spiritual World must be like. It is beyond even my imagination, but sometimes I catch a glimmer of light, through a transcendental window, by the grace of my spiritual master His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
…The transcendental abode of the Lord where the trees are all desire trees and the buildings are made of touchstone. The Lord Govinda is engaged there in herding the surabhi cows as His natural occupation.
“I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, the first progenitor who is tending the cows, yielding all desire, in abodes built with spiritual gems, surrounded by millions of purpose trees, always served with great reverence and affection by hundreds of thousands of lakṣmīs or gopīs.” (Bs 5.29)
…And those who are artists, overtaken by the beautiful creation, should better see to the beautiful face of the Lord for complete satisfaction. The face of the Lord is the embodiment of beauty. What they call beautiful nature is but His smile, and what they call the sweet songs of the birds are but specimens of the whispering voice of the Lord.
03 Mar 2013
in A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Lokadrsti devi, Spiritual Master, Srila Prabhupada, Srila Prabhupada Pranati
Tags: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, His Divine Grace, Lokadrsti devi dasi, nama om visnu padaya, namas to sarasvate, Prabhupada's Vyasasana, Pranati, Srila Prabhupada, Srila Prabhupada Pranati, Vyasasana
click on image to enlarge
Śrīla Prabhupāda Praṇati
nama oṁ viṣṇu-pādāya kṛṣṇa-preṣṭhāya bhū-tale
śrīmate bhaktivedānta-svāmin iti nāmine
namah–obeisances; om–address;visnu-padaya–unto him who is at the feet of Lord Visnu;krsna-presthaya–who is very dear to Lord Krsna;bhu-tale–on the earth;srimate–all beautiful;bhaktivedanta-svamin–A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami;iti–thus;namine–who is named
I offer my respectful obeisances unto His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, who is very dear to Lord Kṛṣṇa, having taken shelter at His lotus feet.
namas te sārasvate deve gaura-vāṇī-pracāriṇe
namah–obeisances;te–unto you;sarasvate deve-servant of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami;gaura-vani–the message of Lord Caitanya;pracarine–who are preaching;nirvisesa–impersonalism;sunyavadi–voidism;pascatya–Western;desa–countries;
tarine–who are delivering
Our respectful obeisances are unto you, O spiritual master, servant of Sarasvatī Gosvāmī. You are kindly preaching the message of Lord Caitanyadeva and delivering the Western countries, which are filled with impersonalism and voidism.
Vyasasana decorations by Lokadrsti devi dasi
26 Jan 2013
in A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Bhagavad-gita, Book Changes, Spiritual Master, The Hare Krishna Movement
Tags: 1972 Macmillan edition, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, as it is, bhagavad-gita, original 1972, picture of Srila Prabhupada, prabhupada pictures
Images of the Disciplic Succession (taken from Original 1972 Edition of Bhagavad-gita As It Is)
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
the Founder-Acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness
and greatest exponent of Krishna Consciousness in the western world.
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja
the spiritual master of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
and foremost scholar and devotee in the recent age.
Srila Gaura Kisora Das Babaji Maharaja
the spiritual master of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami
and intimate student of Srila Thakur Bhaktivinode
Srila Thakur Bhaktivinode
the pioneer of the program to benedict
the entire world with Krishna consciousness
As taken from Original 1972 Edition of Bhagavad-gita As It Is
*Note; These images were deleted from: Second Edition, Revised and Enlarged …or rather, current edition.
19 Dec 2012
in Book Changes, Diksha, Remembering Srila Prabhupada, Rupanuga das, Siksa, Spiritual Master, Srila Prabhupada
Tags: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, confidential servants of God, devotee, guru, literary incarnation of God, Prabhupada Direct, Rupanuga das, Siksa guru, spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada, Srila Prabhupada vani
click on image to enlarge
I like reading the articles written by Sriman Rupanuga Prabhu, as he has a very good appreciation for the potency and attributes of Srila Prabhupada. So we took the liberty of posting another one here to share with our readers.
…The conclusion is that in the same way Lord Krsna is identical with His words in the Gita, even though He spoke them long ago, Srila Prabhupada is actually present in his purports, even though he is no longer physically present. And those purports are as much sastra as the verses they explain. Those books are as good as Deities in the temple. They are not the playthings of editors, but the literary incarnations of God and His most confidential servants. Therefore, they must be approached with all respect and reverence.
Srila Prabhupada’s books and recordings are a consistent and constant source of revelation for anyone who follows him. If one is able to follow Srila Prabhupada’s instructions to chant 16 rounds, follow the four regulative principles, systematically study his teachings and then help others do the same, that person will undoubtedly remember Lord Krsna at the time of death. Such a bhakta may be unable to discover a guru fully qualified to give diksa and specific name. Those who factually meet the standards required by Srila Prabhupada to become a genuine spiritual master may be few and far between. But by honestly and seriously accepting Srila Prabhupada as siksa guru, anyone can obtain freedom from the material conception of life, be inspired to action in Krsna consciousness, and learn to think of Srila Prabhupada and Lord Krsna always.
06 Nov 2012
in A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Disciplic succession, Spiritual Master
Tags: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Brahma, Brahma sampradaya, disciplic succession, evam parampara-praptam, Krsna, Madhva sampradaya, Madhva-Gaudiya-Sampradaya, Narada, sampradayas, Vyasa
The Disciplic Succession
Those who are followers of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, and read from his books with faith and conviction, are receiving Transcendental Knowledge Evaṁ paramparā-prāptam imaṁ rājarṣayo viduḥ. (Bhagavad-gīta, 4.2; see below for full verse and purport) through this disciplic succession:
1) Kṛṣṇa, 2) Brahmā, 3) Nārada; 4) Vyāsa, 5) Madhva, 6) Padmanābha, 7) Nṛhari, 8) Mādhava, 9) Akṣobhya, 10) Jayatīrtha, 11) Jñānasindhu, 12) Dayānidhi, 13) Vidyānidhi, 14) Rājendra, 15) Jayadharma, 16) Puruṣottama, 17) Brahmaṇyatīrtha, 18) Vyāsatīrtha, 19) Lakṣmīpati, 20) Mādhavendra Purī, 21) Īśvara Purī, (Nityānanda, Advaita), 22) Lord Caitanya, 23) Rūpa (Svarūpa, Sanātana), 24) Raghunātha, Jīva, 25) Kṛṣṇadāsa, 26) Narottama, 27) Viśvanātha, 28) (Baladeva) Jagannātha, 29) Bhaktivinode, 30) Gaurakiśora, 31) Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī, 32) His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda.
…We have to accept Kṛṣṇa through the disciplic succession. There are four sampradāyas, disciplic successions. One comes from Lord Brahmā (the Brahma-sampradāya), and another comes from Lakṣmī, the goddess of fortune, (the Śrī-sampradāya). There are also the Kumāra-sampradāya and the Rudra-sampradāya. At the present moment, the Brahmā sampradāya is represented by the Madhva-sampradāya, and we belong to the Madhva-Gauḍīya-sampradāya. Our original sampradāya stems from Madhvācārya. In that sampradāya there was Mādhavendra Purī, and Mādhavendra Purī’s disciple was Śrī Īśvara Purī. Śrī Īśvara Purī’s disciple was Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Thus we are coming in the disciplic succession from Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, and therefore our sampradāya is called the Madhva-Gauḍīya-sampradāya. It is not that we have manufactured a sampradāya; rather, our sampradāya stems from Lord Brahmā.
05 Nov 2012
in Diksha, Guru & Disciple, Locanananda das, Siksa, Spiritual Master
Tags: devotees, diksa, diksa guru, GBC, Goloka, guru, Guru Issue, initiating spiritual master, Iskcon, Locanananda dasa, officiating acaryas, ritvik, ritvik initiation system, siska, spiritual master A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Srila Prabhupada
This is a continuation from our previous posts, The Spiritual Master some time ago, and the further discussion in The Spiritual Master (Part 2) This is a fascinating account by Sriman Locanananda Prabhu revealing his insights into the ‘guru issue’ in our ISKCON society today, from his own personal understanding, and his realizations of the instructions given by Srila Prabhupada shortly before his untimely departure. Our obeisances to him for sharing his personal recollections and realizations. [Note: some of the other comments were edited out so as not to distract from Locanananda Prabhu’s train of thought. You can follow the entire stream of comments by going to Prabhupada News As I stated, this is a fascinating account, however, this does not necessarily reflect our views on the ‘guru issue’. But Locanananda Prabhu makes a very well stated argument, and we are in complete agreement with his assessment that “success in spiritual life, means following the instructions of the spiritual master”.
… the next step is to find a way to convince others of Srila Prabhupada’s actual intention in laying out a ritvik initiation system. It was not to end the parampara with himself as the last guru in our line. It was not to push aside what he himself referred to as the “law of disciplic succession.” It was to introduce a method by which millions of souls throughout the world could be initiated into the society of vaisnavas and attain the mercy of Krishna and the previous acaryas on their journey back to Godhead.
…everyone is taking shelter of Srila Prabhupada and receiving transcendental knowledge, but they are receiving so much more. By his grace, we will be able to enter the spiritual abode and interact with Krishna face to face. Without pleasing Srila Prabhupada, one cannot even make one iota of spiritual advancement.
…Srila Prabhupada had his reasons for introducing the title “officiating acarya” instead of “diksa guru” or “initiating spiritual master,” to designate the giver of diksa when he would no longer be present. Why devotees cannot accept Srila Prabhupada’s terminology is beyond my comprehension. As far as Srila Prabhupada’s present position, we can learn from a letter written to Brahmananda on Nov. 15, 1969 where he said,
“So far as I am concerned, in relationship with my disciples who are so kindly cooperating with me in the matter of my rendering service to my spiritual master, for them I am always ready to come back from Goloka Vrindaban, if they are not delivered along with me.”
The point made here is that one should think that upon his disappearance from our visual perception, the spiritual master has returned to Goloka Vrindaban. What he has left behind is the legacy of the temples he established, the Deities he installed and the body of instructions he imparted. By his inconceivable mercy, Srila Prabhupada, while residing in the abode of Krishna, continues to bestow his blessings upon us. As disciples, we should make every attempt to end the cycle of birth and death by preparing ourselves through the purificatory process of devotional service to go back to Godhead so as not to oblige the spiritual master to come back to this world to deliver us.
28 Oct 2012
in A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, Disciplic succession, Gaudiya Math, Guru & Disciple, Rupanuga das, Spiritual Master
Tags: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Bhaktivinode Thakur, disciples, Gaudiya Math, generals who could not be defeated, guru, Lord Caitianya Mahaprabhu, Rupanuga das, sankirtan, spiritual master, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta, Srila Prabhupada, viraha astaka
…whatever Krsna Consciousness exists outside of India is due to the humble efforts of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who openly challenged the scientific voidism and sectarian impersonalism dominating the world. Like Bhaktivinode Thakur and Bhaktisiddhanta Thakur, his predecessors in bringing Lord Caitanya’s causeless mercy of Harinama out of India, His Divine Grace remains undefeated, and is prepared to commission any and all of his followers to carry on the tradition of victory.
…The Generals who could not be defeated have already provided the strategy, weapons, and knowledge, the spiritual strength, to guarantee ultimate victory. The Parampara Acaryas have chosen Srila Prabhupada-vani to lead the mission into this 21st Century…
Therefore, the wise shall accept the infallible guidance and protection of Srila Prabhupada and to best capacity help deliver, by His Divine Grace, the inconceivable benediction of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
The Generals Who Could Not Be Defeated
by Sriman Rupanuga das
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada once remarked to his disciples, “You must become a general like me. I cannot be defeated.” Srila Prabhupada was commissioned by another undefeated general, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Thakur, who against all opposition established the legitimacy and influence of the Gaudiya Vaisnava siddhanta in India. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta met resistance from every quarter: professional gurus, prakrta-sahajiyas, caste goswamis, ecumenists, eclecticists, et al., but anyone who dared to sally forth and meet his challenge was ultimately trounced.
23 Oct 2012
in Diksha, Disciplic succession, Guru & Disciple, Locanananda das, Spiritual Master
Tags: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, diksa, disciples, GBC, guru, initiations, Iskcon, July 9th Letter, Locanananda dasa, May 28th conversation, officiating acaryas, ritvik acarya, SB 1.13.15, spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada, The Hare Krishna Movement, Vidura
click on image to enlarge
This is a continuation from our previous post, The Spiritual Master a few days ago. This is a fascinating account by Sriman Locanananda Prabhu revealing his insights into the ‘guru issue’ in our ISKCON society today, from his own personal understanding, and his realizations of the instructions given by Srila Prabhupada shortly before his untimely departure. Our obeisances to him for sharing his personal recollections and realizations. [Note: some of the other comments were edited out so as not to distract from Locanananda Prabhu’s train of thought. You can follow the entire stream of comments by going to Prabhupada News
…Because the focus of every devotee’s efforts is to please Srila Prabhupada knowing him to be Krishna’s pure representative, we can understand that the officiating acarya’s function is to formalize the disciple’s connection with Srila Prabhupada and the disciplic succession by the giving of diksa.
… According to this correct understanding, the officiating acarya is not particularly empowered to take those he initiates back to Godhead. But if he is capable of acting as the transparent via medium to the founder acarya, he is certainly to be honored and shown great respect. However, so that Srila Prabhupada remains the central figure and worshipable spiritual master within the Hare Krishna movement, no other spiritual personality should become his competitor by exacting worship from disciples. It is the responsibility of the GBC to preserve this unique role as exclusively the position of Srila Prabhupada.
18 Oct 2012
in Diksha, Disciplic succession, Siksa, Spiritual Master, Locanananda das
Tags: devotional service, diksa, disciple, Founder Acarya, grand disciples, guru, Krishna's empowered emissary, Krishna's pure devotee, ritvik acarya, ritvik system of initiation, spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada
This is excerpted comment by Locanananda Prabhu at Prabhupada News on an article posted there by one of Srila Prabhupada’s personal servants, Gauridasa Pandita dasa, about the Ritvik order. Very nice comment.
The Spiritual Master
by Locanananda dasa
Srila Prabhupada is the eternal spiritual master of his followers and of all generations of followers still to come. His Divine Grace likened initiation to the admissions procedure at school. He said it was more or less a formality. He surely never wanted this initiation issue to divide his followers into different camps.
The essence of the process of devotional service is to surrender to the spiritual master. A disciple accepts the discipline taught by Krishna’s pure representative. He does not manufacture his own way. In that sense, followers are disciples, and Srila Prabhupada will deliver them to Krishna.
26 Jul 2012
in Guru & Disciple, Spiritual Master
Tags: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, bona fide guru, disciple, disciplic succession, God, guru, guru disciple relationship, material world, prabhupada, spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada
The bona fide guru will simply present what the supreme guru, God, says in bona fide scripture. A guru cannot change the message of the disciplic succession.
The guru’s business is to bring his disciples from darkness to light.
The guru’s business is to see that no human being suffers in this material world. No one can claim that he is not suffering. That is not possible. In this material world, there are three kinds of suffering; adhyatmika, adhibhautika, and adhidaivika. These are miseries arising from the material body and mind, from other living entities and from the forces of nature. We may suffer mental anguish, or we may suffer from other living entities-from ants or mosquitoes or flies-or we may suffer due to some superior power. There may be no rain, or there may be flood. There may be excessive heat or excessive cold. So many types of suffering are imposed by nature. Thus there are three types of miseries within the material world, and everyone is suffering from one, two, or three of them. No one can say that he is completely free from suffering.
The Guru – Guide to the Spiritual World
from the Bhakta Handbook
On hearing the word guru, we tend to envision a caricature like image: a bizarre-looking old fellow with a long, stringy beard and flowing robes, meditating on distant, esoteric truths. Or we think of a cosmic con man cashing in on young seekers’ spiritual gullibility. But what really is a guru? What does he know that we don’t? How does he enlighten us?
In a talk given in England in 1973, Srila Prabhupada provides some enlightening answers.
16 Jun 2012
in Back to Godhead, Hayagriva das, Spiritual Master
Tags: Back to Godhead Magazine, bona fide spiritual master, by the grace of Krsna, emissary of the Supreme Person, guru, Hayagriva dasa, Krishna, Madhya 19.151, spiritual master
This is a well researched, nicely written article by Sriman Hayagriva Prabhu, with many quotes from Srila Prabhupada’s books. Worth the read!
The Spiritual Master: Emissary of the Supreme Person
By Hayagriva Dasa Adhikari
Published in Back to Godhead Magazine 1970, Vol.1, No.38
brahmāṇḍa bhramite kona bhāgyavān jīva
guru-kṛṣṇa-prasāde pāya bhakti-latā-bīja
“According to their karma, all living entities are wandering throughout the entire universe. Some of them are being elevated to the upper planetary systems, and some are going down into the lower planetary systems. Out of many millions of wandering living entities, one who is very fortunate gets an opportunity to associate with a bona fide spiritual master by the grace of Kṛṣṇa. By the mercy of both Kṛṣṇa and the spiritual master, such a person receives the seed of the creeper of devotional service.”(Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta: Madhya-līlā 19.151)
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, Srila Prabhupada, once said that religion without philosophy is fanaticism and philosophy without religion is mental speculation. For a sincere student engaged in God realization, major philosophical points should be understood in the light of the guru, scripture and practical devotional service. One of the first points to understand is the position of the spiritual master. How is he related to Krsna? Is he Krsna? Is he an ordinary man? How should the disciple approach him? How can one know that the spiritual master is bona fide? What is the duty of the spiritual master? What are his symptoms? These and other questions concerning the spiritual master and Krsna are discussed herein by way of authoritative evidence compiled from the writings of Srila Prabhupada, the spiritual master himself.
In addition to rendering devotional service to Krsna through the spiritual master, the student should come to a philosophical understanding based on scripture of his own identity and the identity of the Supreme Person, Sri Krsna, and His emissary, the bona fide spiritual master. This understanding should correlate with the basic teachings of the spiritual master and other great saints and sages.
24 Jan 2012
in Back to Godhead, Guru & Disciple, Hayagriva das, Spiritual Master, Uncategorized
Tags: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Back to Godhead Magazine, dharma of Kali Yuga, God, guru, hayagriva das, Krishna, prabhupada, religion, spiritual master
I like these early articles published in Back to Godhead Magazine. The mood was different in the early days of this movement, as the emphasis was on preaching. We understood the importance of Hari Nama Sankirtan, Book and Prasadam distribution, and there was not so much politics and internal wrangling, as we see today. Devotees had such profound appreciation for Srila Prabhupada, and the Mission of Lord Caitanya. We were unified; “Srila Prabhupada built a house the whole world could live in”, and we were in a unique position to change the world. To go back to those early days, we need only to put Srila Prabhupada and Krishna, back in the center of all our activities.
The Guru: Via Media to God
By Hayagriva das
“Excerpted from ‘Back To Godhead’ magazine, courtesy of The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International, Inc., http://www.Krishna.com.”; 1970 Vol. 1, No. 34
It is always best to assume that we are in the modes of ignorance, and at least we will be right on that point. When knowledge is staggeringly finite, humility is the best policy. On the spiritual path one tries to make progress to the modes of goodness and then transcend, for it is not always possible to transcend the modes all at once. God alone is perfect, and we are always imperfect, even in our so-called liberated state. It is because we are imperfect that we have to take shelter of the perfect.
Lord Caitanya advises that we take shelter of a sadhu, who is a holy man of spotless character, sastra, which is scripture, and guru, who is the perfect spiritual master. The scriptures should be the guidelines for the other two. The guru is liberated because he follows scriptures, and the sadhu is pure and honest because he accepts scriptural principles. The insistence on the authority of the scripture is to discourage people from inventing their own religions and to warn others against following such fabricators.
Actually, only God can establish a religion that is bona fide. Religion refers to man’s relationship with God or the Supreme Absolute Truth; it is neither a mere ritual, nor a set of regulations, nor a conglomeration of mental speculations concocted by man. Actual religion is to know God and one’s relationship to Him. And this is not possible unless God reveals who and what He is and reveals man’s relationship to Him. It is not that we can artificially say, “Oh, I think God is this, so I think if I do this or this I will become God, and then I’ll be happy.” One who invents in this way may be well intentioned, but he is actually misguiding himself and others.