An Addendum to "The World Acarya"
BY: RUPANUGA DAS (ACBSP)
Sep 26, 2011 JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA, USA (SUN) A couple questions were asked regarding the time and circumstances surrounding a quotation from Srila Prabhupada as it was included in "The World Acarya" article: "I am the tenth Acarya in line from Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu and you are next."
Srila Prabhupada said the following during his arrival address at the Los Angeles Temple on May 5, 1972:
"So we have got this message from Krsna, from Caitanya Mahaprabhu, from the Six Goswamis; later on Bhaktivinode Thakur, Bhaktisiddhanta Thakur. And we are trying our bit to distribute this knowledge. Now tenth, eleventh, twelfth; my Guru Maharaj is the tenth from Caitanya Mahaprabhu, I am eleventh, you are twelfth."
In the article, this last sentence was paraphrased from memory, but the meaning is still the same as Srila Prabhupada's statement, which now becomes enhanced when taken in the context of his speech. He is obviously referring to his present disciples as the next in the disciplic succession he has just named and numbered, all of whom are directly initiating their own disciples.
He is speaking about distributing the knowledge of the parampara by his disciples, whether they distribute the (same) knowledge as vartma-pradarsaka, siksa or diksa gurus, depending on the capacity and qualifications of the individual disciple. The point is to expand on the principle that guru is one, not two. As Srila Prabhupada remarked elsewhere, if two gurus disagree, either one is not a bona fide guru or both are not bona fide. He means that because guru is one, all real gurus teach the same thing, Krsna consciousness.
That is what it means to be a guru as defined by Lord Krsna Himself. In the Gita, He tells Arjuna one must surrender to a guru humbly and render service to him, with inquiries; then that guru "will impart knowledge unto you…" That knowledge is defined in the next verse: "And when you have thus learned the truth, you will know that all living beings are but part of Me – and that they are in Me, and are Mine." (4.35) In other words, Lord Krsna clearly defines the bona fide guru in terms of what he or she teaches: Krsna consciousness. God is one, guru is one, although teaching according to time and circumstances.
So Srila Prabhupada is notifying his disciples that they are the next authorized gurus to distribute the knowledge, as he has done. Of course, he expected they would practice what they preached, that is the qualification and character. Only now, instead of one big guru, Srila Prabhupada, he envisioned many smaller gurus to continue distributing the (same) knowledge all over the world. Once before, he called it "old wine in a new bottle." How else will Lord Caitanya's Name be known in every town and village? Srila Prabhupada's followers have the assignment.
Arjuna was told by Lord Krsna that the battle was already won, but Krsna wanted him to help make it happen and get credit for success. Similarly, Lord Caitanya said His Name would be known in every town and village. What God predicts comes true. Srila Prabhupada has given the chance – a matchless opportunity – for his followers to help the Lord execute His will. In whatever capacity, one can join with Srila Prabhupada in saying, "And we are trying our bit to distribute this knowledge." That is, trying to pass it on as it is. All glories to Srila Prabhupada…
Rupanuga das (ACBSP '66)