Worship of the Sampradaya Acharya Endorsed
Upendranatha das from Vrindaban, after reading Srila Prabhupada, His Movement and You, claimed the term “Sampradaya Acharya” is a concoction. What follows are quotes from Srila Prabhupada’s books and conversations which clearly show the term and concept is very bona fide.
Madhva Sampradaya, the same, and Rudra Sampradaya and Sri Sampradaya…, Sri, Rama, Kumara Sampradaya. These are four sampradayas. So we should hear from the Sampradaya Acharya by disciplic succession. As Krishna recommends in this Bhagavad-gita. (Lecture on Bhagavad-gita, Hyderabad, November 30, 1972)
The four Kumaras are parampara spiritual masters of the Vaishnava Sampradaya. Out of the four sampradayas, namely Brahma Sampradaya, Sri Sampradaya, Kumara Sampradaya and Rudra Sampradaya, the disciplic succession of spiritual master to disciple known as the Kumara Sampradaya is coming down from the four Kumaras. So Prithu Maharaja was very respectful to the Sampradaya Acharyas. (Purport, Srimad-Bhagavatam, Canto 4, Chapter 22, Text 4)
There are four sampradayas, parampara: the Ramanuja Sampradaya, Madhvacharya Sampradaya, Vishnusvami Sampradaya, Nimbarka Sampradaya. So we belong to the Madhvacharya Sampradaya. Fortunately, all these acharyas, even Shankaracharya, they appeared from South India. This sampradaya, acharya sampradaya, is going on all over India. So every sampradaya has got his commentary on the Brahma-sutra. (Lecture on Bhagavad-gita 13.8-12, Bombay, September 30, 1973)
So we have to follow Prahlada Maharaja. He is our guru, purva acharya. Narada is purva acharya. He is disciple of Narada. Therefore he is acharya, and his disciplic succession…. There are sampradayas: Brahma Sampradaya, Kumara Sampradaya…. Anyone who is bona fide acharya, he can create his own disciplic succession, but one disciplic succession and the other disciplic—they are not different. They are of the same conclusion. The Vaishnava acharyas, just like our Ramanujacharya, Madhvacharya and Nimbarka and who that? Rudra Sampradaya? Vishnu Swami. (Lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam, Canto 7, Chapter 9, Text 12, Mayapur, February 19, 1976)
That is acharya. Acharya gives some way for simple understanding. The same conclusion, but according to the time, circumstances, they give a very easy method to understand. That is acharya. Acharya is following strictly the previous acharya, but according to the circumstances, he may make little changes. That is… That change is not change from the original idea. (Lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam, 7.9.12, Mayapur, February 19, 1976)
PARAMAHAMSA: Sometimes people ask, though, they say, “Why is it that even among the acharyas sometimes we find there is a difference of opinion?”
PRABHUPADA: They are not acharyas. They are not acharyas. There is no difference of understanding between acharyas. What Madhvacharya understands, we also understand . Suppose you are present also. So there is no difference. What Ramanujacharya understands, we also understand. What Chaitanya Mahaprabhu understands, we also understand. So where is the difference? Difference should be that the fact that he is not acharya. As soon as he differs from the previous acharyas, that means he is not acharya. Otherwise there is full agreement between all the acharyas. Just like Krishna is the Supreme Person, all acharyas agree. Where is the difference? Does Ramanujacharya differ from Madhvacharya or Madhvacharya differ from Chaitanya, Chaitanya differs from—no. There is no difference. That is Vaishnava. All the Vaishnavas understand that Vishnu is the Supreme. There may be, sometimes, such as Krishna is understood as incarnation of Vishnu, and sometimes they understand Vishnu as the incarnation of Krishna. That is sampradaya. That is sampradaya. But either Krishna or Vishnu, He is Supreme. That is accepted by all. (Evening discussion, Perth, May 6, 1975)
O Lord, who resemble the shining sun, You are always ready to fulfil the desire of Your devotee, and therefore You are known as a desire tree (vancha-kalpataru). When acharyas completely take shelter under Your lotus feet in order to cross the fierce ocean of nescience, they leave behind on earth the method by which they cross, and because You are very merciful to Your other devotees, You accept this method to help them. (Srimad-Bhagavatam, Canto 10, Chapter 2, Text 31)
Thus it is the duty of theacharya to publish books that will help future candidates take up the method of service and become eligible to return home, back to Godhead, by the mercy of the Lord. (Purport, Bhag, Canto 10, Chapter 2, Text 31)
The acharya gives the suitable method for crossing the ocean of nescience by accepting the boat of the Lord’s lotus feet, and if this method is strictly followed, the followers will ultimately reach the destination, by the grace of the Lord. This method is called acharya-sampradaya. It is therefore said, sampradaya-vihina ye mantras te nisphaamatah (Padma Purana). The acharya-sampradaya is strictly bona fide. Therefore one must accept the acharya-sampradaya; otherwise one’s endeavor will be futile. Srila
Narottama dasa Thakura therefore sings: tandera charana sevi bhakta sane vasa/janame janame haya, ei abhilasa: One must worship the lotus feet of the acharya and live within the society of devotees. Then one’s endeavor to cross over nescience will surely be successful.” (Purport, Bhag. 10.2.31)
PRABHUPADA: Evam parampara-praptam.
RAMESVARA: It’s clear that for the first time these scholars are understanding the difference between the Bhagavad-gita and the Mayavadi conception. It’s clear that now you have saved them. Previous to this, all they knew about is this impersonal concept.
PRABHUPADA: That is the business of acharya:
sampradaya-rakshana, to save the sampradaya from falling down. Sampradaya. Sampradaya rakshana.
RAMESVARA: After centuries of rascaldom, you are giving them the first clear choice.
PRABHUPADA: Yes. That was the desire of my Guru Maharaja. I am just trying. (Room conversation with Sannyasis, Bhuvaneshvara, January 22, 1977)
PRABHUPADA: So a similar counterpart leaflet you should, that “International Society for Krishna Consciousness, world organization, established by His Divine Grace, and anyone can come here and take foodstuff. We have got arrangement,” like this. In suitable words you write and issue another pamphlet.
TAMAL KRISHNA: Bengali.
PRABHUPADA: In Bengali and in English. Which may not touch there, but we write in our own way that “by the order of is guru he went to America. Then he….” That’s a fact. What is the fact, that should be written. Give the list of the books and so on, so on.
TAMAL KRISHNA: List of the temples.
PRABHUPADA: Yes, temples. And “He is
the Acharya of the present Gaudiya Sampradaya.” (Room conversation, Mayapur, January 19, 1976)
PRABHUPADA: I don’t care for them. Immediately kick out. That is, sampradaya vihina ye mantras te vi(pha)lah matah . If he is not coming by this parampara system, whatever he says, all nonsense.
TAMAL KRISHNA: What about those who are coming in these other sampradayas, like Ramanuja Sampradaya…?
PRABHUPADA: They are bona fide if they are actually following.
TAMAL KRISHNA: I was referring to them, that they are not preaching very widely.
PRABHUPADA: Then they are useless.
TAMAL KRISHNA: Yeah, because if they wanted to, Krishna would have facilitated it.
PRABHUPADA: Ramanuja preached. All the acharyas preached.
TAMAL KRISHNA: Yeah, either in writing or by traveling and preaching. You have done both, though.
PRABHUPADA: That is the duty of acharya. Otherwise he is not… Not that three dozen acharyas in Mayapura. Each one has a temple and a few dozen… Not few dozen; one dozen disciples. Bring some rice and eat. They are acharya. That day I said that, khai laya khasi bhaja (?), then everybody became angry. Collecting some money, taking
to the holy place, collecting fifty rupees and keeping twenty rupees and spending thirty rupees. This is… In this way they are making livelihood, acharyas. They say, “Whatever is in our capacity, we are doing.” The capacity means when they are speaking that the cockroach is as good a bird as the Garuda. Cockroach is also a bird, and Garuda is also a bird.
TAMAL KRISHNA: Quite a difference, though.
PRABHUPADA: How the cockroach can say, “I am also as good as Garuda?”
TAMAL KRISHNA: THAT IS CALLED INSANITY.
PRABHUPADA: (Laughs) So they want to say like that. (Room conversation, Bombay, April 10, 1977)