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11 : Ślokas Applicable to Śrīla Prabhupāda

Many Sanskrit and Bengali verses praise the Supreme Lord by citing specific wonderful features of His activities, characteristics, personality, and so on. Many of these points recorded in scripture can also be applied to Śrīla Prabhupāda. Being a pure devotee, Prabhupāda is qualitatively as good as God, and being a śāktyāveśa-avatāra he performed superhuman activities inimitable by ordinary persons. (SB 4.19.38, Purport)

Here are some selected verses praising the Supreme Lord that can also be applied to His Divine Grace Śrīla Prabhupāda:

anarpita-carīṁ cirāt karuṇayāvatīrṇaḥ kalau
samarpayitum unnatojjvala-rasāṁ sva-bhakti-śriyam
hariḥ puraṭa-sundara-dyuti-kadamba-sandīpitaḥ
sadā hṛdaya-kandare sphuratu vaḥ śacī-nandanaḥ

(Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Ādi-līlā 1.4)

This verse describes Lord Caitanya, who appeared in the Age of Kali by His causeless mercy to bestow what no incarnation had offered ever before: the most sublime and radiant spiritual knowledge of the mellow taste of His service. Lord Caitanya brought that which had never been brought before: kṛṣṇa-bhakti enriched with the ecstatic mellow of conjugal love. Because Lord Caitanya is incomparably munificent, Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī benedicts his readers: “May that Śacīnandana ever be manifest in the innermost chambers of your heart.” By bringing the unimagined treasure of Kṛṣṇa consciousness to those who least deserved it, Śrīla Prabhupāda has again manifested such munificence. Although the first lesson of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, “You are not that body,” initially seemed too difficult for most Westerners to grasp, Prabhupāda nevertheless gave us the full package of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, replete with Lord Caitanya’s inner ecstatic sentiments. Therefore may Śrīla Prabhupāda “ever be manifest in the innermost chambers of our hearts.”

bhavantam evānucaran nirantaraḥ
kadāham aikāntika-nitya-kiṅkaraḥ
praharṣayiṣyāmi sanātha-jīvitam

By serving you constantly, one is freed from all material desires and is completely pacified. When shall I engage as Your permanent eternal servant and always feel joyful to have such a fitting master?

This beautiful prayer of Yāmunācārya to Lord Nārāyaṇa (Stotra-ratna 43) has often been quoted in Vyāsa-pūjā offerings to Śrīla Prabhupāda. It is also quoted in Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 1.206, wherein Rūpa Gosvāmī submits himself to Lord Caitanya. Śrīla Prabhupāda often explained the difference between sanātha (having a master) and anātha (without a master). He explained that just as a dog without a master is unprotected, uncared for, and unhappy, so the conditioned souls, without recognizing Kṛṣṇa as their master, remain like street dogs.

Śrīla Prabhupāda, before I met you I was a miserable dirty street dog. Now that I have you as my eternal spiritual master, I am completely satisfied.

tava kathāmṛtaṁ tapta-jīvanaṁ
kavibhir īḍitaṁ kalmaṣāpaham
śravaṇa-maṅgalaṁ śrīmad-ātataṁ
bhuvi gṛṇanti ye bhūri-dā janāḥ

In this famous śloka (SB 10.31.9), the gopīs say to Kṛṣṇa:

My Lord, the nectar of Your words and the descriptions of Your activities are the life and soul of those suffering in this material world. These narrations are transmitted by exalted personalities, and they eradicate all sinful reactions. Whoever hears these narrations attains all good fortune. These narrations are broadcast all over the world and are filled with spiritual power. Those who spread the message of Godhead are certainly the most munificent welfare workers.

Lord Caitanya very much appreciated this verse, which can be applied to Śrīla Prabhupāda in two ways: 1) he is the most munificent because more than anyone else he broadcast the message of Godhead all over the world, and 2) those who broadcast Prabhupāda’s words and descriptions of his activities are also munificent welfare workers because prabhupāda-kathā (words spoken by or about him) are as good as kṛṣṇa-kathā.

kali-kālera dharma—kṛṣṇa-nāma-saṅkīrtana
kṛṣṇa-śakti vinā nahe tāra pravartana

The fundamental religious system in the Age of Kali is the chanting of the holy name of Kṛṣṇa. Unless empowered by Kṛṣṇa, one cannot propagate the saṅkīrtana movement.

(Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Antya-līlā 7.11)

The yuga-dharma is to collectively glorify Kṛṣṇa, but that cannot be done without Kṛṣṇa’s mercy. Similarly, prabhupāda-śakti vinā nahe tāra pravartana. Our endeavor to glorify Śrīla Prabhupāda cannot be done from the material platform. Without his blessings, we cannot be successful.

From Gajendra’s prayers of surrender:

mādṛk prapanna-paśu-pāśa-vimokṣaṇāya
muktāya bhūri-karuṇāya namo ’layāya
svāṁśena sarva-tanu-bhṛn-manasi pratīta-
pratyag-dṛṣe bhagavate bṛhate namas te

Since an animal such as I has surrendered unto You, who are supremely liberated, certainly You will release me from this dangerous position. Indeed, being extremely merciful You incessantly try to deliver me. By Your partial feature as Paramātmā, You are situated in the hearts of all embodied beings. You are celebrated as direct transcendental knowledge, and You are unlimited. I offer my respectful obeisances unto You, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. (SB 8.3.17)

Even though I am an animal, I have surrendered to Prabhupāda, who is constantly trying to deliver me.

tyaktvā su-dustyaja-surepsita-rājya-lakṣmīṁ
dharmiṣṭha ārya-vacasā yad agād aranyaṁ
māyā-mṛgaṁ dayitayepsitam anvadhāvad
vande mahā-puruṣa te caraṇāravindam

O Mahā-puruṣa, I worship Your lotus feet. You gave up the association of the goddess of fortune and all her opulence, which is most difficult to renounce and is hankered after by even the great demigods. Being the most faithful follower of the path of religion, You thus left for the forest in obedience to a brāhmaṇa’s curse. Out of sheer mercy, You chased after the conditioned souls who are always in pursuit of the false enjoyment of illusion, and at the same time engaged in searching out your own desired object, Lord Śyāmasundara.

(SB 11.5.34)

This verse states that Lord Caitanya chases after the conditioned souls to deliver them. Similarly, Śrīla Prabhupāda did not wait for anyone to come to him, but he spiritedly and aggressively went out to preach for Kṛṣṇa. Traditionally candidates for spiritual life submissively approach a guru, who then decides whether or not to accept them. But in Kali-yuga no one wants to be a disciple, so spiritual masters have to canvass for candidates upon whom to bestow their mercy, and if their followers are not ideal or submissive, they have to deal with them anyway. And that’s exactly what Śrīla Prabhupāda did, following the order of his superior (arya-vacasā).

athāpi te deva padāmbuja-dvaya-
prasāda-leśānugṛhīta eva hi
jānāti tattvaṁ bhagavan-mahimno
na cānya eko ’pi ciraṁ vicinvan

When Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya challenged Gopīnātha Ācārya about Lord Caitanya’s being the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Gopīnātha Ācārya quoted this verse from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.14.29). The purport is that one cannot know the Supreme Lord unless he is favored with at least a slight drop of His mercy. Gopīnātha said that even though the Bhaṭṭācārya was such a great scholar, his knowledge was useless because he could not recognize the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who was residing in his house. Similarly, without the mercy of Kṛṣṇa even so-called learned scholars of Vaiṣṇavism cannot appreciate the exalted position of Śrīla Prabhupāda.

kvāhaṁ daridraḥ pāpīyān
kva kṛṣṇa śrī-niketanaḥ
brahma-bandhur iti smāhaṁ
bāhubhyāṁ parirambitaḥ

Who am I? A sinful, poor friend of a brāhmaṇa. And who is Kṛṣṇa? The Supreme Personality of Godhead, full in six opulences. Nonetheless, He has embraced me with His two arms.

(SB 10.81.16)

Who am I? The friend of mlecchas. Who is Śrīla Prabhupāda? The friend of Kṛṣṇa. Still, he so kindly embraced me.