Today is the appearance day of His Divine Grace A .C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, my spiritual master. He is the Founder acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, or the Hare Krishna movement. And he is the spiritual master of everyone, actually, because Srila Prabhupada is the pioneer in our time who has taken Krishna consciousness out of India and brought it to every nook and cranny of the world, to every town and village all over the world.
Srila Prabhupada has made Krishna consciousness available by translating the essential books: Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam, Chaitanya-charitamrita and other books as well. He has translated into English and other languages, and his disciples have distributed those books all over the world.
I am one of those fortunate disciples of His Divine Grace, and I had a chance to help him translate books in German and Russian and other languages, as well as distribute his books. I also had a chance to preach and recruit many disciples for Srila Prabhupada in Germany and other parts of the world, to help him execute his mission.
But foolish disciple that I am, I became puffed up and lost my head and lost my way in Krishna consciousness, and I was diverted for some time. But now, gradually everything is clearing up, and it’s obvious to me that my duty and my engagement in Srila Prabhupada’s service is to recruit devotees and train them to be Krishna conscious, on behalf of Srila Prabhupada. In that way, you are all coming to understand Krishna consciousness.
Of course, there is a lot of confusion about this business of preaching and training disciples and initiating them. But for me there is no confusion. For me it’s very clear that I’m always just an assistant to Srila Prabhupada. I’m his disciple, and it’s my business to preach what I have learned from him everywhere, and bring people to his lotus feet and encourage them to worship Srila Prabhupada and understand the greatness of Srila Prabhupada by reading his books, by following the instructions of those books. That is my service to Srila Prabhupada, plain and simple. It always has been, and it always will be.
As far as the new disciples coming, of course everyone likes to have personal access to someone for instructions and guidance, and that’s also necessary. For that I may be available, and I may give instructions, but still we should always remember that Srila Prabhupada is the central figure in our association. He is the Prabhupada, or “the master at whose feet all other masters take shelter.” If we accept this arrangement and understand this properly—and I am determined to make you understand it properly—then our association will be very happy, healthy and successful. I wish you to understand this very perfectly. Anything other than that will not be succesful and will neither please Srila Prabhupada, nor please me. If you have any regard for me at all, then try to understand this point. Whatever I do, I am doing it on Srila Prabhupada’s behalf only.
So you are in fact his servants, his students or his disciples. And I am just like a monitor in the class. While the teacher is away, the senior student becomes the monitor in the class and conducts the class, gives advice. It should be understood in that way.