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16 : The Ācārya of the Modern Age

When we think of the great ācāryas, such as Madhva, Rāmānujācārya, and Narottama, it seems as if they were from another time and world, when spiritual culture was thriving in India and saintliness was possible. In today’s nasty, impersonal, technological age, there is no culture or quest for God. It almost seems as if the ācāryas are storybook figures having little connection with this modern age.

But wait! Here is an ācārya. Performing superhuman transcendental activities, His Divine Grace Śrīla Prabhupāda was with us, alive and real. We saw him. We heard him. And he demonstrated that saintliness is possible even now. He brought religion out of the history books and into our lives, dispelling the gloomy clouds of modern life to reveal the ever-present, ever-shining sun of Kṛṣṇa.

Prabhupāda walked with us, talked with us, moved with us, and was one of us, although simultaneously far above us.

Yet although apparently moving as one of us, Śrīla Prabhupāda’s words and activities revealed him to be deeper than many oceans. He was fully surrendered to Kṛṣṇa, and intensely desired to communicate that spirit to others. He was simple and charming, but ever ready to defend with strong words any challenge to the supremacy of Kṛṣṇa, or to the absolute correctness of Kṛṣṇa’s philosophy.