How to Recognize the Acharya
So everyone after Columbus, however great he may be, owes his regards to Columbus for opening the door to the New World, and Columbus is never obliged to any late-comers or new-comers. Like Columbus, Prabhupada set out from India and opened the door to the spiritual world for the whole world, and every transcendentalist thereafter is obliged to Prabhupada. Prabhupada is never obliged to those coming after him, however great they may appear as individuals. Neither is he obliged to his contemporaries. That is the unique position of Prabhupada as the acharya of the entire Gaudiya Vaishnava Sampradaya.
With this view in mind, everyone should see their way clear for uniting harmoniously under the lotus feet of Srila Prabhupada, the acharya of the Gaudiya Vaishnava Sampradaya, for preaching the great mission of Krishna consciousness all over the world as Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati envisioned it. Any individual or group obstinately remaining stuck up in their petty, egocentric conception of preaching Krishna consciousness is surely doomed to fail.
Here we wish to present some shastric evidence in support of the afore-mentioned conclusions. The following excerpts courtesy of Atma Tattva dasa:
The Sampradaya Acharya is distinguished from all other acharyas, and his qualities and activities are outlined in the shastras:
tabhyas sarvajana trata sarvasrestatamo dhruvan
dina abhaya pradanartham visadikritya bhutale
Among all acharyas, certainly he who is the deliverer of all people, who appears in this world for the purpose of removing the fears of the fallen souls (dina-abhaya) is the most perfect.
gitacharyokta tatvartha charamartha prakasanam
rishiproktapramananam kritva vyakhyanamuttamam
He sheds light on the ultimate meaning of the philosophical conclusions spoken by Krishna, who is the speaker of Bhagavad-gita. He also gives perfect purports to the evidences given by the rishis.
divyaprabandhan lokebhya sarakopadibhi paryantam
arthopadesa paryantam vardhayaitva cha sasvatah
He propagates everywhere the meanings and purports of the songs of the previous acharyas.
natharyadi gurunam cha satakopadi yoginam
ahrtya vyasa sutranam artham lokahitaya cha
sribhasyadi mahagrantham vidhaya karunarnaya
nirjitya sarvasamayan vadena sataso’subhan
He, the ocean of mercy, contributes great books for the welfare of the people that explain the meaning of Vedanta strictly in line with the previous Vaishnava acharyas and devotees. In this way he conquers all, defeating hundreds of different kinds of inauspicious philosophies by his arguments.
ityadibhir yatisresta karye lokahite rata
nathadidesike tebhya pradhano bhavati dhruvam
Because of engaging in the welfare of the people of the world, that perfect and topmost mendicant is certainly the most important Founder Acharya (pradhana). ( Prapannamrita Tarpana 62.47-53)
Just as Vyasadeva is recognized as acharya because he presented the Vedic literatures, so Prabhupada is recognized as acharya because of his making the Vedic literatures accessible to every man all over the world, and no one since has been able to contribute anything so significant. Rather, everyone is borrowing from him—his books are the standard.
Srila Prabhupada translated and wrote purports to the four essential Vaishnava literatures, namely to 18,000 verses of Srimad-Bhagavatam, 700 verses of Bhagavad-gita, 17 volumes of Chaitanya-charitamrita and the Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu. He not only published these books and others; he also created a monthly magazine (Back to Godhead). He also recruited thousands of young disciples in every country of the world, whom he engaged in distributing these literatures by the millions. Prabhupada wrote 7,000 letters (printed in five volumes) and gave lectures and personal darshans, a collection of which has been published recently by the Bhaktivedanta Archives, comprising another 42 volumes of books.
Srila Prabhupada initiated a whole new movement in the field of art, producing thousands of paintings, sculptures, music and dance performances.
Srila Prabhupada built temples in Bombay, Vrindaban and Mayapur, with comfortable and stylish hotel and guest houses for each place. His disciples opened and continue to maintain hundreds of temples worldwide.
Srila Prabhupada inspired the New Vrindaban-type farm communities all over the world. He started Gurukulas for teaching Krishna consciousness to children.
Srila Prabhupada taught a whole generation a new way of life from how to eat, how to dress, how to bathe and toilet, how to live as a gentleman in this world and how ultimately to leave this world for the next world, to go back to home, back to Godhead. NO OTHER PERSON ON THIS PLANET HAS PREACHED WORLDWIDE SO EXTENSIVELY. THEREFORE HE IS THE BRAHMA SAMPRADAYA ACHARYA. What Vyasadeva is to the Vedic age, Srila Prabhupada is to the modern age and for ages to come, because everyone is taking advantage of his books, temples and devotees to preach Krishna consciousness all over the world.