In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.17.27), Lord Kṛṣṇa states that the spiritual master is nondifferent from Himself (ācāryaṁ māṁ vijānīyān) and is the representative of all the demigods (sarva-devamayo guruḥ). The word deva also means “devotee.” Therefore the spiritual master, especially a great ācārya like Śrīla Prabhupāda, represents God, His devotees, and the demigods.
Śrīla Prabhupāda taught personalism: that every sentient being is a distinct and significant person. He used the word personality instead of person. Although this is not standard English usage, Prabhupāda would stress that person means personality. Through his books Prabhupāda introduced us to many wonderful personalities, amongst whom Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Wonderful. Śrīla Prabhupāda also revealed the wonderful transcendental qualities of Kṛṣṇa, His incarnations, and His great devotees. Prabhupāda may be compared to many great personalities, but still there is no one quite like him. He is so wonderful, and I am so happy to have him as my spiritual master! Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!
Like Kṛṣṇa, Śrīla Prabhupāda has a multifaceted personality. He is humorous, unpredictable, full of love and charm, and pleasing to all except the staunchest of demons—yet merciful even to them. As Kṛṣṇa is all-attractive and captivates different people in different ways, so Prabhupāda also found all-attractive ways to bring different kinds of individuals to Kṛṣṇa.
Kṛṣṇa is full of inconceivable opposites. He is so big that all the universes rest in His body, yet so small that He enters into every atom. He is all-powerful, all-opulent, and self-sufficient, yet in His Deity form He agrees to be carried around in a box by His devotee. He is so kind that He is ready to be sold by His devotee, yet He unhesitatingly slaughters the demons.
Śrīla Prabhupāda was similarly inconceivable. Like Kṛṣṇa, he was hard as a thunderbolt and soft as a rose. He was always hard and uncompromising in his determination to defeat the demons, yet he was naturally soft, loving, and kind to all who approached him in humility. Although absorbed in the apparently worldly affairs of managing Kṛṣṇa’s movement, he was yet ever detached, being fully dependent on Kṛṣṇa. Śrīla Prabhupāda always talked about Kṛṣṇa, even when discussing financial, legal, and other apparently mundane matters. And although shrewd in business and legal dealings, his natural demeanor was simple and sweet, like that of a child. Prabhupāda even outwitted crafty demons like Mr. Nair by being more cunning than they. (Śrīla Prabhupāda-līlāmṛta, Ch. 41) Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!
As Caitanya Mahāprabhu is the most magnanimous incarnation of God ever to appear in this world, freely offering that which had never been offered before, love of Kṛṣṇa, so Śrīla Prabhupāda is the most magnanimous and merciful guru ever. Lord Caitanya specifically came to pick up the most fallen, and Prabhupāda practically did that work for Him. Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!
The spiritual master is the representative of Lord Nityānanda, the original spiritual master. In his purport to the verse ācāryaṁ māṁ vijānīyāt, Śrīla Prabhupāda writes, “The spiritual master is always considered either one of the confidential associates of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī or a manifested representation of Śrīla Nityānanda Prabhu.” (SB 11.17.27) He also wrote, “My spiritual master is nondifferent from Lord Nityānanda.” (Letter, 3 June 1970) Like Lord Nityānanda, Śrīla Prabhupāda was often humorous, sometimes angry, and always unpredictable.
In Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Madhya 13.149) Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī describes Lord Nityānanda traveling everywhere with two purposes: to preach love of Kṛṣṇa (prema-pracāraṇa) and to subdue the unbelievers (pāṣaṇḍa-dalana). Lord Nityānanda and His followers preached Kṛṣṇa consciousness anywhere and everywhere without discrimination, taking all risks to preach among the infidels, meat-eaters, and outcasts. Lord Nityānanda and His men moved freely amongst all classes of people, not caring for social convention. They never considered that they might become contaminated or ostracized. They simply wanted to give Kṛṣṇa consciousness to everyone. No one since has demonstrated such bravado in spreading Kṛṣṇa consciousness as His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Śrīla Prabhupāda. Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!
Advaita Ācārya brought Caitanya Mahāprabhu to this world by His loud calling. Śrīla Prabhupāda again brought Lord Caitanya to the world in the form of His saṅkīrtana movement, which had been all but lost. Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!
As Lord Nārāyaṇa is charming, beautiful, very great, and to be approached with awe and reverence, so also is Śrīla Prabhupāda. As He is assisted by the goddess of fortune, so is Śrīla Prabhupāda. Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!
Like the Matsya-avatāra, Śrīla Prabhupāda saved the Vedas from being lost in an ocean of apathy, and respoke Vedic knowledge to the faithful devotees. Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!
As the Kūrma-avatāra became the pivot when the gods and demons churned the ocean of milk, so Śrīla Prabhupāda became the pivot for all kinds of living beings to churn the ocean of devotional service. At first poison came out; our grossest material activities were vanquished. And as Lord Śiva swallowed the poison without being affected, so Śrīla Prabhupāda consumed the poisonous results of our sins. But as the churning continued, all kinds of wonderful results were produced, and finally everyone got the nectar of love of God which Śrīla Prabhupāda was freely distributing, to gods and demons alike. Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!
Like Lord Varāha, who went down into a filthy place to save the earth, Śrīla Prabhupāda came to the sin-polluted West to save us. Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!
As Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva appeared to prove the existence of God to the staunchest atheist who refused to believe in Him, and to show that He is not a stereotype, so was the purpose of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s appearance. And as Lord Nṛsiṁha ripped Hiraṇyakaśipu to shreds, so Śrīla Prabhupāda minutely dissected the demonic theories of modern scientists. Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!
Like Lord Vāmanadeva, Śrīla Prabhupāda appeared to be physically small in stature, but his steps covered the earth and conquered it. Lord Vāmana took all material possessions away from Bali Mahārāja but gave Himself to Bali. Similarly, Śrīla Prabhupāda came to take away our material attachments but then give us Kṛṣṇa, and to give himself also. Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!
Like Lords Matsya, Varāha, and Vāmana, Śrīla Prabhupāda’s appearance was unusual. No one could have predicted what wonderful events would transpire shortly after his appearance. His arrival in New York City as an elderly Indian gentleman with a thick accent, exotic clothes, perfect manners, and an unheard-of message was certainly unusual, even in that most unusual of times in that most unusual of cities. Like these three Lords, he started very small, as if incapable, but quickly astounded everyone by becoming gigantic. Even when he was apparently small, Śrīla Prabhupāda was still most significant—just that no one realized his significance. Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!
As Lord Paraśurāma repeatedly attacked the demoniac leaders with ever undiminished enthusiasm, so did Śrīla Prabhupāda. Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!
Śrīla Prabhupāda once compared himself to Lord Rāmacandra: “As Lord Rāma crossed the sea and brought back Lakṣmī to India from the land of the asuras, so did I. And as Rāma was assisted by an army of monkeys, so was I!” (This is one of those “Prabhupāda saids” that I haven’t been able to verify. But who but Śrīla Prabhupāda could have thought of such a wonderful thing to say?) Rāma brought Lakṣmī as Sītā; Śrīla Prabhupāda brought her as money for building temples. Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!
As Lord Balarāma, although knowing fully the powers of Kṛṣṇa, considered Himself Kṛṣṇa’s protector, so did Śrīla Prabhupāda in protecting ISKCON, which he saw to be nondifferent from Kṛṣṇa, and the numerous Deity forms of the Lord which he installed. Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!
As Lord Buddha was detached, calm, peaceful, and wise, neither advocating excessive interaction with the sense objects nor excessive renunciation of them, so was Śrīla Prabhupāda. Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!
As Lord Kalki angrily destroyed the demons, so did Śrīla Prabhupāda destroy demoniac theories, being angry at the rascals for their enviousness of Kṛṣṇa. Fortunately for us, Śrīla Prabhupāda killed the sins, not the sinners, as he ushered in the Golden Age. Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!
Of the Hayagrīva incarnation, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (2.7.11) states, “When He breathed, all the sweet sounds of the Vedic hymns came out of His nostrils.” Similarly, Prabhupāda’s every breath was Kṛṣṇa conscious. Whatever he spoke was śāstra. He did not speak anything outside of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!
Like Lord Ṛṣabhadeva, Śrīla Prabhupāda spoke out strongly and clearly about the proper use of human life and the bondage of sexual attraction. Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!
Like Mahārāja Pṛthu, Prabhupāda came to restore order from chaos, give the proper idea of how things should be done, and show how the world should be organized. Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!
As the representative of Vyāsadeva, Śrīla Prabhupāda was another Vyāsa producing numerous volumes of transcendental literature presented in a manner just suitable for the people of today. Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!
Like the four Kumāras, Śrīla Prabhupāda was ever young, although wiser than all. No one thought of him as an old man, for he was ever fresh in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!
As the Lord of Gajendra came immediately from a distant place on perceiving the distress of His devotee, so did Śrīla Prabhupāda come from afar to save us. Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!
Śrīla Prabhupāda stayed with us only a short time—like Viṣṇu showing Himself to Nārada—just to give us a taste of the nectar of pure Kṛṣṇa consciousness. He left too soon, leaving us ever hankering for his association. Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!
As Lord Viṣṇu, although unseen, is the sustaining force behind the universe, so does Śrīla Prabhupāda maintain ISKCON. Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!
The Supersoul is the constant companion and friend of every living being. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.2.2) indicates that great devotees on the level of Śukadeva Gosvāmī can also enter the hearts of all. We saw how Śrīla Prabhupāda understood the inner heart of everybody and thus knew how to deal with everyone perfectly. Even now, Śrīla Prabhupāda is guiding the lives of millions of jīvas by inspiring them from within their hearts, including so many who came to Kṛṣṇa consciousness after his apparent departure from this world. Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!
Lord Brahmā’s task of creation can be entrusted only to a special living being who is eligible to receive direct inspiration from Lord Viṣṇu Himself. Śrīla Prabhupāda’s task in creating ISKCON was at least as important, as it fulfilled the purpose of Brahmā’s creation; for without the endeavor to rectify the fallen jīvas, Brahmā’s creation is devoid of meaning. Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!
Lord Śiva is the master of the material energy, but he has no motive to enjoy her. Instead, he lives under a tree and chants Lord Rāma’s names. Similarly, Śrīla Prabhupāda was the leader of a prosperous international movement, but he preferred to live simply and chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!
Lord Śīva is also known as Paśupati, because he gives shelter to jīvas fallen to the level of animals and attempts to uplift them, a task no one else would want to do, or could do without becoming contaminated. We are animals and Śrīla Prabhupāda is our master. Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!
As Mother Durgā has ten hands, each equipped with a weapon sufficient to kill the demons, Śrīla Prabhupāda also has multiple weapons. With harināma, prasāda, books, festivals, and other transcendental devices and techniques, he destroys the demoniac mentality. Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!
As Mother Sarasvatī presides over all branches of Vedic knowledge, so Śrīla Prabhupāda also seemed to know about and was expert in everything: philosophy, science, history, music, cooking, business, accounts, practical economics, art, architecture, legal matters, and so on. The only thing he did not seem to know much about, or have much interest in, was yantra-vidyā (technology), a branch of knowledge meant for the demons. Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!
As Mother Gaṅgā purifies, not just by direct contact but even by being remembered, so does Śrīla Prabhupāda. Those who cannot go to India to bathe in the Gaṅgā need not be distressed, for Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura confirms that Śrīla Prabhupāda’s power of purification is even greater than hers. (gaṅgāra paraśa hoile paścate pāvan/ darśane pavitra koro—ei tomāra guṇ) Indeed, Śrīla Prabhupāda can purify even the Gaṅgā. (See SB 9.9.6) Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!
No one could have imagined what wonderful things Hanumān would do. Although a senior and respected member of his community, he did not appear to be particularly special. But when the time for special service came, Hanumān performed such extraordinary feats that his name is now inseparable from that of Lord Rāma’s. Similarly, Śrīla Prabhupāda seemed to be just another devotee. But now that he has spread Lord Kṛṣṇa’s fame far and wide, the people of the world cannot but remember him when they remember Kṛṣṇa. Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!
Hanumān was sent to find the whereabouts of Sītā. Having done that, he thought to do more, which resulted in his burning Laṅkā. In the same way, Śrīla Prabhupāda could have taken the instruction “to preach in English” to mean merely delivering a few lectures. But he took that instruction as his task to spread Kṛṣṇa consciousness all over the world—in all languages—and undertook numerous projects to fulfil that goal. Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!
Nārada Muni is a perfect devotee, comparable with himself only. (SB 1.9.6–7 Purport) Nārada’s position is unique, but so is that of his modern-day representative, His Divine Grace Śrīla Prabhupāda. Therefore, comparisons between Śrīla Prabhupāda and Nārada Muni are obvious and many. Like Nārada, Śrīla Prabhupāda constantly travels, sings about Kṛṣṇa, infuses bhakti in the hearts of the most unlikely persons, makes many disciples, writes books, teaches Deity worship, gets cursed by angry parents, and also enjoys controversy.
Nārada is not an ordinary spiritual master. He could understand that “My disciple [Vyāsadeva] is sitting morose. So I must go there and give him some encouragement because he’s a great personality. He is giving human society so many nice things, but he’s not very happy in his mood. So I shall go and give him some encouragement.” (Lecture, 8 January 1968)
Here Śrīla Prabhupāda says that Nārada is not an ordinary spiritual master. Certainly a spiritual master is never ordinary, for he represents the whole paramparā and Kṛṣṇa Himself. Yet some spiritual masters are qualified as extraordinary by their activities. Nārada Muni is one, Śrīla Prabhupāda another. Understanding that the people of the West were morose but could do great service if properly encouraged, Prabhupāda immediately went to save them. Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!
When Śrīla Prabhupāda was translating the Seventh Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and lecturing about Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva and Prahlāda Mahārāja, devotees noted how Śrīla Prabhupāda seemed to be particularly enlivened by the topics of Prahlāda. He seemed to be entering deeply into the fearless and compassionate preaching mood of Prahlāda. Prahlāda Mahārāja was a great devotee who worshiped Kṛṣṇa from his very birth. He always remembered Kṛṣṇa despite the greatest difficulties. Even though he had no proper association and his own family members opposed him, he never gave up his mission of service to his spiritual master. He went alone to preach among the demons, unconcerned about danger, confident that Kṛṣṇa would protect him. And he converted some of the demons to be his followers. After putting Prahlāda through many tests, the Supreme Lord made him triumphant. Prahlāda Mahārāja is the ideal of selflessness. He was not interested in his own salvation; he was interested in the salvation of others. And his devotion to his guru was so strong that even when favored by the personal presence of the Lord, Prahlāda refused to give up assisting Nārada Muni in delivering the fallen souls.
The essence of Prahlāda’s mood is captured in three of his prayers to Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva:
evaṁ janaṁ nipatitaṁ prabhavāhi-kūpe
kāmābhikāmam anu yaḥ prapatan prasaṅgāt
kṛtvātmasāt suraṣiṇā bhagavan gṛhītaḥ
so ’haṁ kathaṁ nu visṛje tava bhṛtya-sevām
"My dear Lord, O Supreme Personality of Godhead, because of my association with material desires, one after another, I was gradually falling into a blind well full of snakes, following the general populace. But Your servant Nārada Muni kindly accepted me as his disciple and instructed me how to achieve this transcendental position. Therefore my first duty is to serve him. How could I leave his service?"
naivodvije para duratyaya-vaitaraṇyās
śoce tato vimukha-cetasa indriyārtha-
māyā-sukhāya bharam udvahato vimūḍhān
"O best of the great personalities, I am not at all afraid of material existence, for wherever I stay I am fully absorbed in thoughts of Your glories and activities. My concern is only for the fools and rascals who are making elaborate plans for material happiness and maintaining their families, societies, and countries. I am simply concerned with love for them."
prāyeṇa deva munayaḥ sva-vimukti-kāmā
maunaṁ caranti vijane na parārtha-niṣṭhāḥ
naitān vihāya kṛpaṇān vimumukṣa eko
nānyaṁ tvad asya śaraṇaṁ bhramato ’nupaśye
"My dear Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva, I see that there are many saintly persons indeed, but they are interested only in their own deliverance. Not caring for the big cities and towns, they go to the Himālayas or the forest to meditate with vows of silence. They are not interested in delivering others. As for me, however, I do not wish to be liberated alone, leaving aside all these poor fools and rascals. I know that without Kṛṣṇa consciousness, without taking shelter of Your lotus feet, one cannot be happy. Therefore I wish to bring them back to shelter at Your lotus feet."
Śrīla Prabhupāda’s purports to these verses are important and fully reveal his own devotional mood. Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!
In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (7.7.10) Nārada Muni describes Prahlāda Mahārāja as mahā-bhāgavato mahān, a devotee considered great even among other highly elevated devotees. Prabhupāda is certainly also mahā-bhāgavato mahān. Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!
Kaśyapa Muni also describes Prahlāda Mahārāja’s qualities, which are equally applicable to Śrīla Prabhupāda:
He will be an approved devotee of the Lord, and his fame will be broadcast equally with that of the Personality of Godhead. In order to follow in his footsteps, saintly persons will try to emulate his character by practicing freedom from animosity, just as the purifying processes rectify gold of inferior quality. Everyone will be pleased with him because the Personality of Godhead, the supreme controller of the universe, is always satisfied with a devotee who does not wish for anything beyond Him. That topmost devotee of the Lord will have expanded intelligence and expanded influence and will be the greatest of the great souls. Due to matured devotional service, he will certainly be situated in transcendental ecstasy and will enter the spiritual sky after quitting this material world. He will be a virtuously qualified reservoir of all good qualities; he will be jolly and happy in others’ happiness, distressed in others’ distress, and will have no enemies. He will be a destroyer of the lamentation of all the universes, like the pleasant moon after the summer sun. (SB 3.14.45–49) Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!
Like the gopīs, especially Mother Yaśodā and Rādhārāṇī, Śrīla Prabhupāda takes great pleasure in beautifully dressing and decorating Kṛṣṇa and feeding Him varieties of delicious food. Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!
Mother Yaśodā always wanted the best for Kṛṣṇa. She nourished Him and took pleasure in seeing His stumbling growth. She was always anxious to protect Him from demons. Although sometimes angry with her wayward son, she knew nothing but Him and gave her all for Him. Similarly, Śrīla Prabhupāda identified ISKCON as nondifferent from Kṛṣṇa. Sometimes encouraging his neophyte disciples and sometimes chastising them, he gave them his very self to nurture their spiritual growth. With the heart of a Bengali mother, he protected his society and defended it from the onslaught of demons. Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!
Kṛṣṇa’s cowherd boyfriends carefreely entered the mouth of Aghāsura, being confident of Kṛṣṇa’s protection. And He did protect them. Similarly, Śrīla Prabhupāda entered the dangerous streets of New York City and Kṛṣṇa protected him also. Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!
Svāyambhuva Manu gave his Manu-saṁhitā as the lawbook for mankind. Following in the footsteps of Manu, Śrīla Prabhupāda has given the world his books, the lawbooks for the next ten thousand years. Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!
Like Ambarīṣa Mahārāja, Śrīla Prabhupāda diligently engaged in all nine processes of devotional service. Not only did he enthusiastically execute nava-vidha bhakti, but he also endeavored to engage the whole world in such devotional service. Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!
As Dhruva Mahārāja astounded the universe by his unprecedentedly powerful activities in devotional service, so did Śrīla Prabhupāda. Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!
Many devotees in the past, such as Dhruva Mahārāja, took up stringent asceticism to please the Lord. Even Kṛṣṇa Himself went through severe austerities to please His guru, Sāndīpani Muni. Similarly, Śrīla Prabhupāda accepted many hardships in the course of his service to guru and Kṛṣṇa. And Kṛṣṇa also underwent hardships to please His pure devotee Śrīla Prabhupāda, who so much wanted a gorgeous palace for Kṛṣṇa in Bombay that Kṛṣṇa reciprocated by living in very austere conditions until it was built. Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!
Like Rukmiṇīdevī and Gadādhara Paṇḍita, Śrīla Prabhupāda has deep, steady affection for Kṛṣṇa and Caitanya Mahāprabhu that cannot be altered under any circumstances. Śrīla Prabhupāda never blamed Kṛṣṇa, even when He apparently mistreated him by putting him into difficulties. Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!
Like Akrūra, Śrīla Prabhupāda took Kṛṣṇa out of Vṛndāvana. But this time the gopīs weren’t crying, because Prabhupāda also took them along—as well as all of Vṛndāvana too! Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!
Like Akrūra, Kuntīdevī, Mahārāja Kulaśekhara, Yamunācārya, and many other devotees in the past, Śrīla Prabhupāda satisfied the Lord with prayers. Prabhupāda prayed to Kṛṣṇa for the strength to carry out His mission. Obviously, Kṛṣṇa was satisfied with Prabhupāda’s prayer, for He fulfilled his desire. Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!
In his old age Bhīṣmadeva was still enthusiastic and fit for fighting. And before passing away he spoke perfectly on religious principles from a bed of arrows. Similarly, Śrīla Prabhupāda went out in his old age to fight, and finally gave religious instructions from his departure bed. As Lord Kṛṣṇa was personally present at the passing of Bhīṣma, so was He at the departure of Śrīla Prabhupāda. Before Bhīṣma, Kṛṣṇa appeared in the four-armed form so dear to him, and at the passing of Śrīla Prabhupāda He appeared in the form of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra, so dear to Śrīla Prabhupāda. Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!
Prabhupāda begged from Kṛṣṇa the benediction to fight for Him up to his last breath, as did Arjuna. (Transcendental Diary Vol. 3) As Arjuna was Kṛṣṇa’s instrument to defeat the Kauravas, so Śrīla Prabhupāda was Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s instrument to defeat Kali-yuga. Arjuna did not want to fight for his own sake, but on Kṛṣṇa’s order he took up arms for the sake of righteousness. Similarly, Śrīla Prabhupāda remained aloof from the useless squabbling in the Gauḍīya Maṭha, but when it came time to conquer the demons, he entered the battle with full enthusiasm. Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!
Śrīla Prabhupāda once explained that if anyone wants to be the friend of Kṛṣṇa, he must do what Kṛṣṇa wants. He cited the example of Arjuna, who fought for Kṛṣṇa because that is what Kṛṣṇa wanted. Prabhupāda further explained that if anyone now wants to be the friend of Kṛṣṇa, he must do what Kṛṣṇa now wants, which is to preach His holy name all over the world. So it is clear who is the real follower of Arjuna and the greatest friend of Kṛṣṇa. Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!
Kṣatriyas like Abhimanyu like to attack the enemy in their strongest position. Like Abhimanyu, Śrīla Prabhupāda went into the heart of the demoniac forces, not caring for personal risk. And like Abhimanyu, Śrīla Prabhupāda won eternal glory, although he was never overcome in the fight. Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!
Like Śukadeva Gosvāmī, Śrīla Prabhupāda spoke Bhāgavatam continuously, day and night. He gave Bhāgavatam class in the morning, spoke the message of Bhāgavatam throughout the day, and at night dictated his purports to the Bhāgavatam. Although Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam had been spoken before, its importance and acceptance became well established when Śukadeva Gosvāmī gave his Bhāgavatam dissertation. Śukadeva’s presentation was new, exciting, and fresh, fully in paramparā but enriched by his own ecstasy. The Bhāgavatam we have now, as accepted by all authorities, is as spoken by Śukadeva Gosvāmī. Śukadeva is famous simply for speaking the Bhāgavatam, yet for this he is counted among the topmost devotees.
Śrīla Prabhupāda is a modern-day Śukadeva. The Bhāgavatam was already existing, but Prabhupāda’s presentation was new and special. By arranging for the profuse distribution of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam all over the world, Śrīla Prabhupāda established its importance and authority. Śrīla Prabhupāda referred to his purports as his “personal ecstasies,” and indeed he is a topmost ecstatic devotee, on the level of Śukadeva Gosvāmī. Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda! (Śrīla Prabhupāda-līlāmṛta, Ch. 50)
Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.4.10) states that Mahārāja Parīkṣit increased the prestige of the Pāṇḍava dynasty. How could the reputation of such an exalted lineage be at all increased? It was apparently impossible, but Mahārāja Parīkṣit was so great that he did it. He was proud of his forefathers and was always careful to act so as to maintain their good name. By remaining an ideal Kṛṣṇa conscious king, Mahārāja Parīkṣit proved that not only were the Pāṇḍavas themselves great, but that they could also produce great descendants.
Similarly, devotees coming in a great paramparā have the responsibility to increase the prestige of the disciplic succession, or at least to not degrade it. The lineage of Rūpa, Jīva, Narottama, Bhaktivinoda, Bhaktisiddhānta, and others has no parallel or close competitor in the universe. To increase the prestige of the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava sampradāya was practically impossible. But Śrīla Prabhupāda did it. He increased the prestige of his preceptors by fulfilling their mission and making them known throughout the world. Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!
Also like Mahārāja Parīkṣit, Śrīla Prabhupāda was a great devotee from his very birth, or even before. Both satisfied their spiritual masters by attentive hearing, and both chastised the personality of Kali. Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!
Śaṅkarācārya, Rāmānujācārya, and Madhvācārya all traveled the length and breadth of India. By spiritual strength they changed the lives of innumerable people and made lasting effects on the course of religious history. Similarly, Śrīla Prabhupāda went into the world and by diligence, conviction, and spiritual power caused a revolution in thought that will have a permanent effect on the misdirected civilization. Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!
Tirumaṅgāi Ālvar of the Śrī sampradāya engaged thieves, liars, cheaters, and rogues in the service of the Lord. He purified their sinful propensities by engaging them in devotional service, and with their help he did tremendous work for establishing Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Similarly, Śrīla Prabhupāda accepted all kinds of questionable, rejected characters, made them saintly persons, and spread the message of Lord Caitanya through them. Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!
Mādhavendra Purī did not like to display his love of Kṛṣṇa, not wanting to be praised by others. Ultimately he could not hide his greatness and was honored nonetheless. Similarly, Śrīla Prabhupāda was never interested in personal honor. But had he tried to hide from fame by avoiding the public, he would not have been able to preach. So for the sake of saving us, he accepted fame. Like Mādhavendra Purī, Prabhupāda was sent alone out of Vṛndāvana to execute a confidential and difficult task for Kṛṣṇa. Fully depending on Kṛṣṇa’s protection, he fearlessly entered unknown lands. He steadily persisted, ever confident of success, and never hesitated to encounter difficulties. His only consideration was how to please Kṛṣṇa. And as Mādhavendra Purī acquired name, fame, faithful followers, and a pleasing situation within which to worship Kṛṣṇa, but abandoned it to do more service for Kṛṣṇa elsewhere, so also Śrīla Prabhupāda established ISKCON in this world and then went somewhere else to continue serving Kṛṣṇa. Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!
Caitanya Mahāprabhu said that anyone who had not heard of Puṇḍarīka Vidyānidhi was not a Vaiṣṇava. Similarly, how can anyone really be a devotee unless he recognizes Śrīla Prabhupāda? Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!
Like Lokanātha, Bhugarbha, and Gopāla Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmīs, Śrīla Prabhupāda did not want fame. Lokanātha and Bhugarbha were great devotees sent by Lord Caitanya to Vṛndāvana even before Rūpa and Sanātana. But we hardly find their names mentioned in Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta. Before compiling Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī visited all the Vaiṣṇavas of Vṛndāvana to get their blessings. Lokanātha, Bhugarbha, and Gopāla Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmīs gave their blessings on the condition that their names or activities not be mentioned. Similarly, Śrīla Prabhupāda kept himself in the background. He wanted only that everyone should know Kṛṣṇa. Other swamis who went to America had promoted themselves. They named their missions after themselves and directed the attention of their followers fully towards themselves. Prabhupāda was different. By his endeavors the entire world now knows Kṛṣṇa. But even today Prabhupāda is not nearly as well known as he should be. It is the duty of us, his followers, to correct this anomaly. Ebe jaśa ghuṣuk tribhuvana. Let us make Prabhupāda famous! Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!
As Rūpa Gosvāmī understood the inner desire of Lord Caitanya, so Śrīla Prabhupāda understood the heart of his master, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura. Rūpa Gosvāmī astonished Lord Caitanya by composing a verse revealing his knowledge of the Lord’s inner sentiments. Similarly, Śrīla Prabhupāda composed a verse precisely describing the mission of his spiritual master: to destroy impersonalism by proving the absolute truth to be sentient. When Lord Caitanya asked how Rūpa could have understood His inner sentiment, Svarūpa Dāmodara Gosvāmī responded that Lord Caitanya must have blessed Rūpa with His special mercy. Similarly, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī’s pleasure with Abhay Caraṇāravinda’s poem was the first major indication of the special mercy that Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī was to bestow on his disciple. Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!
Caitanya Mahāprabhu told Sanātana Gosvāmī to explain devotional service, establish centers for cultivation of love of Kṛṣṇa, and teach people how to live in the renounced order. He ordered Sanātana to rediscover the lost holy places of Vṛndāvana and to preach Vṛndāvana’s glories for the benefit of others. Lord Caitanya has again done these things through Śrīla Prabhupāda. All of us had forgotten Vṛndāvana, our eternal home, but Prabhupāda revealed it to us again. Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!
Of Sanātana Gosvāmī, Śrīla Prabhupāda has written, “He was so devoted to his spiritual master that this cannot be described.” (Cc Ādi 10.84 Purport) Śrīla Prabhupāda was intimately attached to his spiritual master, and also invoked guru-bhakti in his disciples. Therefore Prabhupāda is the personification of the qualities of Sanātana Gosvāmī. Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!
Sanātana Gosvāmī told Haridāsa Ṭhākura, “You are the best devotee, the guru of all, because you preach Kṛṣṇa consciousness and also practice what you preach.” (Cc Antya 4.102–103) Similarly, Prabhupāda is the best devotee and the guru of all (sarva-guru). He is better than those who preach but do not follow, and he is better than those who follow but do not preach. He is doing more for Kṛṣṇa than anyone else. Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!
Nāmācārya Haridāsa Ṭhākura personally relished the chanting of the holy names and chanted for the benefit of others also. By his chanting and preaching he relieved the anxiety of Lord Caitanya, who was wondering how to deliver meat eaters and other fallen souls. Śrīla Prabhupāda is the nāmācārya of the modern age, fulfilling Haridāsa Ṭhākura’s promise to Lord Caitanya that the meat eaters could be saved by harināma. Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!
Haridāsa Ṭhākura was tested first by a prostitute, then by Māyādevī herself. But he was not even slightly disturbed by his would-be temptresses. Rather, he charmed them with the much greater attraction of pure Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Similarly, Śrīla Prabhupāda had thousands of beautiful, submissive young women disciples, but his mind was never slightly disturbed, for he considered them to be gopikās of Kṛṣṇa. Previously they may have seemed like khecarīs (witches of Māyā), but Prabhupāda took compassion on their unfortunate, neglected condition, protected them like a kind father, and turned them into Vraja-kiśorīs, happy maidservants of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!
As Govinda was the best servant of Lord Caitanya and was prepared to serve Him even at great risk, so Śrīla Prabhupāda was the best servant of his spiritual master and risked everything to serve him. Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!
Śivānanda Sena would take the devotees from Bengal to see Lord Caitanya. As an expert manager, he cared for and protected them and made all arrangements for their prasāda, residence, comfort, and well-being on the journey. He knew all the roads and obstacles, having taken devotees along the path many times before. By his mercy, even a dog who joined the party received Lord Caitanya’s mercy and went back to Godhead. Similarly, Śrīla Prabhupāda transformed many dog-like people into devotees and led them on the path to Lord Caitanya, a path that he has surely guided countless along, many times before. Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!
Taking advantage of an unfortunate incident, Subuddhi Rāya left home and went from Bengal to Vṛndāvana. Śrīla Prabhupāda did the same when his wife preferred tea to he. Although from a highly aristocratic background, Subuddhi Rāya lived austerely in Vṛndāvana and made arrangements for the comfortable stay of visiting devotees from Bengal, who were not accustomed to the climate, conditions, and food in Vṛndāvana. He personally cared for the devotees and introduced them to the holy places of Vraja-maṇḍala. In the same spirit Śrīla Prabhupāda welcomed his Western disciples to Vṛndāvana. Although he was personally content to live simply in Vraja, he wanted that his foreign disciples not feel inconvenience there. As a perfect host, he undertook much trouble to ensure that his “guests” had clean, adequate living arrangements and healthful prasāda. He taught his disciples how to welcome the constant streams of guests to the “aṅgrejī” Kṛṣṇa-Balarāma Mandira. In Māyāpur also, Śrīla Prabhupāda constructed for his disciples the longest building in Bengal, but was personally content to live in two small rooms. Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!
Rāghava Paṇḍita and his sister, Damayantī, were famous for cooking for Lord Caitanya. Śrīla Prabhupāda also liked to cook for Kṛṣṇa and was concerned that the Deities he installed were nicely fed. Not only Rāghava Paṇḍita but all the devotees liked to invite Lord Caitanya and feed Him sumptuously. Śrīla Prabhupāda also liked to feed his disciples sweetballs, lāḍḍus, halavā, samosās, sābjis, pakorās, and many other wonderful prasāda treats. He also personally relished the delicious prasāda offered to him by his disciples. Indeed, an entire book could be written just about Prabhupāda’s cooking and prasāda-līlās. Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!
Vakreśvara Paṇḍita would dance in ecstasy as Lord Caitanya sang. Sometimes Vakreśvara danced nonstop for three days. We have seen Śrīla Prabhupāda’s ecstatic dancing also—proof that he was never an old man at all. Prabhupāda is a dancer from Goloka Vṛndāvana, an eternal member of Lord Caitanya’s dancing party. He is a transcendental Pied Piper come to take us all dancing back to the spiritual world, where there is no fatigue and the dance goes on forever. Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!
Vāsudeva Datta was such a powerful devotee that Kṛṣṇa was purchased by him. He always thought of the jīvas’ sufferings and how to deliver them. He was prepared to accept any amount of tribulation just so they could be saved. Therefore Lord Caitanya declared Himself to be the property of Vāsudeva Datta. Which devotee again exhibited the mood of Vāsudeva Datta? Who then is closest to Lord Caitanya? Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!
Like the Six Gosvāmīs, Śrīla Prabhupāda left home to live austerely in Vṛndāvana and write books. Later Śrīnivāsa, Śyāmānanda, and Narottama were sent out of Vṛndāvana to bring the books to the world and organize the preaching movement. Śrīla Prabhupāda did the work of both the Six Gosvāmīs and of the next generation of ācāryas. He not only wrote books of monumental importance, but also traveled widely and preached effectively. As Prabhupāda explained, “My mission is to develop the glories of Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī all over the world.” (Letter, 15 December 1966) Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!
Like Rasikānanda, Śrīla Prabhupāda tamed ferocious animals, initiated them, and made them into Vaiṣṇavas. Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!
Like his guru-mahārāja, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, Śrīla A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda was a revolutionary who did not care for stereotypes or the criticism of others. Both delivered Kṛṣṇa consciousness exactly in the line of Rūpa Gosvāmī. Both preached hard and strong with the no-compromise “chopping technique.” Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!
We haven’t seen Lord Caitanya, Kṛṣṇa, or any of Their great and wonderful associates, except one: Śrīla Prabhupāda. Prabhupāda is the representative of the entire paramparā coming from Kṛṣṇa. An ocean of unfathomed transcendental attributes, he personifies all the good qualities of all great devotees who have appeared in this world. Śrīla Prabhupāda is the most wonderful, and by serving him we are connected to all his friends in Kṛṣṇaloka, who are all wonderfully ecstatic devotees. In this dark material world, where everyone is full of lust, greed, and envy, it is a great relief to know that there really is a perfect world where people are blissful and non-envious. We are so fortunate to be connected to wonderful Śrīla Prabhupāda, and through him to all our dear long-lost friends back home. We pray to all the eternally liberated souls of the spiritual world to bless us with the ability and intelligence to nicely serve Śrīla Prabhupāda. And we look forward to the time when he personally introduces us to them, and gives us the chance to directly serve them.
At our present miserably low level of devotional service, it is certainly presumptuous to think like this, but still we remember the prayer of Śrīla Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura:
kabe lokanātha more saṅge lañā jābe,
śrī-rūpa pāda-padme more samarpibe?
When will Śrīla Lokanātha Gosvāmī (the spiritual master of Narottama dāsa) take me with him and submit me at the lotus feet of Rūpa-mañjarī?
(Prārthanā, song 17)
When will Śrīla Prabhupāda take us with him and submit us in the service of the servants of the gopīs?