Go Back to the Beginning: Allegiance Belongs to Prabhupada
How do we worship Srila Prabhupada?
Puri Maharaja said we should publish a book to show by comparison to other acharyas what Srila Prabhupada has done and what other acharyas have done, so that people can understand who is Srila Prabhupada. The devotees are so foolish. They don’t understand. They go to this swami that swami, that baba, this and that. These men have done nothing at all. They are just unfaithful and ungrateful, because had it not been for Srila Prabhupada, there is no question of going to anybody for anything. Just like Columbus. Columbus discovered America, and everyone thereafter is indebted to Columbus. Srila Prabhupada opened up the door to devotional service, to Krishna consciousness. He gave us the key to enter into the teachings of Lord Chaitanya and the previous acharyas, and unless we carry ourselves with complete humility and subservience to his lotus feet, we become offensive. This is a very important point.
In this way, to that degree that someone actually represents Srila Prabhupada, we know what his spiritual standing is, and we honor him accordingly. To that degree that he actually represents Srila Prabhupada, worships Srila Prabhupada and teaches people to worship, to love and to follow Srila Prabhupada, to understand Srila Prabhupada and serve Srila Prabhupada—to that degree we can know what a person’s actual spiritual merit is. We should not accept a person blindly, simply because he says that he is a guru or an acharya, or because he has a hundred thousand followers. A hundred thousand followers is not the sign of the acharya. The sign of the acharya, the sign of the sincere follower is that he perfectly presents himself as a menial servant of the acharya. That is the real sign.
If we don’t follow this guideline, we will be misled, misguided. We will be cheated.
Some devotees argue, “My guru is showing me how to surrender to Prabhupada, and he is worshipping. We are doing guru-puja for Prabhupada. We are chanting his glories. Is that not worship?”
Yes, everyone will say that. But why are you all in disagreement? Why are you all in discord? Why is the mission not growing but collapsing? Why have all of Srila Prabhupada’s disciples gone away? Why do you keep them away? Why don’t you bring them back, if you actually are worshipping Srila Prabhupada? Why are you so interested in these neophyte followers? Why are you not interested in your own god-brothers’ spiritual welfare? Why don’t you go to their door and beg them to come back and give them whatever they want? Whatever they want, whatever it takes to bring them back, give them. Everyone will say, “Yes, we’re worshipping Srila Prabhupada,” but my point is, where are Srila Prabhupada’s devotees, then? Where are they? Why have you driven them away and collected all these new people who worship you but don’t worship Srila Prabhupada?
They don’t even read Srila Prabhupada’s books. We talked to one so-called disciple of Bhagavan who has been in the movement for over five years, yet he has not read all of Srila Prabhupada’s books. We said, “So what do you do? What do you know? What is your spiritual life? How do you have a spiritual life—you have not read all of Srila Prabhupada’s books? What do you understand? What do you mean by spiritual life? Is it just that you put on a dhoti and some tilak and shave your head and ring a bell and wave incense? Is that spiritual life?” This is the situation of these so-called followers. They don’t worship Srila Prabhupada, because they don’t read his books.
They don’t even have them. Srila Prabhupada’s books are going out of print. Srila Prabhupada’s samadhi is not finished. That’s how we know that you don’t worship Srila Prabhupada. You have your own house, but Srila Prabhupada has no house. How is that? A world-wide movement. He gave everything, and you have built yourself a very nice place. Your followers have built for you, but nothing is built for Srila Prabhupada. Why is that? We don’t think you do worship Srila Prabhupada. You definitely don’t worship Srila Prabhupada.
Now there is much propaganda about the upcoming 1996 Centennial and re-union of Srila Prabhupada’s disciples. The SRILA PRABHUPADA RE-UNION is not a re-union with each other, like a sentimental high school or family re-union, but the re-union is a re-union of each individual disciple with his spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada—which is at once effected when the disciple resolves to once again obey and serve Srila Prabhupada in the same submissive mood of awe and reverence that he was in at the time of his original initiation by Srila Prabhupada.
This revival of the disciple’s determination to be obedient and faithful to Srila Prabhupada’s instructions immediately brings or revives our spiritual life, and we are automatically re-united with all other surrendered disciples of Srila Prabhupada. This kind of re-union is wanted—not the psuedo re-union of warm bodies coming together under the pretense of spiritual life. The body is never alive. It is the soul which lives, and only through the principle of surrender and faith in Srila Prabhupada can we, as his disciples, have any association with Srila Prabhupada’s devotees.
The emphasis must be on RE-UNITING, REVIVING, RE-CONFIRMING our ALLEGIANCE to SRILA PRABHUPADA, as his surrendered servant—not simply a re-union of material bodies for one or two days in an atmosphere of hysterical, sentimental pseudo spiritualism. The uniting is to be with Srila Prabhupada—not with each other for love, friendship and society. Each devotee must re-unite himself with Srila Prabhupada by surrender and obedience to his order. Then automatically through Sri Guru, the Sampradaya Acharya (hub of the wheel), such sincere, surrendered disciples will be united. But to have re-union without embracing this principle of Acharya worship is like putting leaves back on the tree after they have withered, dried and fallen from the tree.
In the following letters, the devotees have expressed their realizations, doubts, experiences and heartfelt sentiments openly and freely. It is in this spirit that Srila Prabhupada wanted us to associate with one another, keeping always in the context of pure devotional service under the direction of Srila Prabhupada. We have included these letters in this publication because on the whole they point to the necessity of re-uniting the devotees with Srila Prabhupada in the center as the Sampradaya Acharya—”I wish that each and every center shall keep the Acharya (i.e. Srila Prabhupada) in the center and keep their separate identity.” (Srila Prabhupada, 1967) Srila Prabhupada is the one person who is capable of resolving all our questions, all our doubts to everyone’s satisfaction, because all the devotees trust that they are able to repose their faith in Srila Prabhupada without reservation.