He [Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Maharaja] never recommended anyone to be acharya of the Gaudiya Math… If Guru Maharaja could have seen someone who was qualified at that time to be acharya, he would have mentioned. because on the night before he passed away he talked of so many things, but he never mentioned an acharya…. Therefore we may not commit the same mistake in our ISKCON camp.—Srila Prabhupada in a letter to Rupanuga das, April 28, 1974
When a NON-LIBERATED person takes leadership (material or spiritual) without being under the guidance of a liberated soul, the end result is always destruction and failure. Initially there may be fabulous success, like in the case of Hitler and Napoleon or as in our ISKCON, in the case of Bhagavan, Bhavananda, Rameswara, Jayatirtha, myself and most recently Kirtanananda, but ultimately everything will collapse and the FOLLOWERS aware of the leader’s imperfections ABANDON HIM. This is not a criticism, but an observation of the facts and realisation through personal experience.
We want and we need a perfect person to follow: the ACHARYA, then others acting under his charge can be accepted as guides in as much as they are submissive and experienced under the authority of the ACHARYA.
Therefore Prabhupada emphatically advised us: “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’s Letters, 1967)
In our sampradaya there MUST BE AN ACHARYA at all times (living or departed), like Brahma, Narada, Vyasa, Madhvacharya, Lord Chaitanya, the six Goswamis, Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura and Srila Prabhupada, whose commentaries on the standard Vaishnava texts the aspiring candidate can refer to as a YARDSTICK in order to ascertain the BONAFIDES of his chosen GURU (representative of the ACHARYA); otherwise the sampradaya becomes over-crowded with pretenders, and everything falls into chaos, as is the situation now—each a guru claiming to be bonafide. But the practical result is dozens of provincial camps with fanatic followers claiming allegiance to his particular leader as all in all.
If the necessity of the SAMPRADAYA ACHARYA is understood, the neophyte followers in any or all camps would or will see Prabhupada as all in all and their PROVINCIAL GURU as a servant of Prabhupada, experienced to some degree and capable of helping the newcomer in the philosophical and practical application of the ACHARYA’S TEACHINGS. Just as in the UNIVERSITY the great ACHARYA EINSTEIN is understood under the guidance of an experienced professor, but the professor is never equated with such giants as Einstein, Newton, Galileo, etc. Even if a person is a great, liberated soul, he should present himself as nothing more than representative of the Acharya, if only for the sake of unity in the sampradaya.
It is actually a very simple concept to understand. The reason our leaders fail or find it so difficult to comprehend is because their minds and hearts are CLOUDED with the AMBITION to be the guru, to be Prabhupada, rather than the AMBITION to BE THE GURU’S SERVANT or to be PRABHUPADA’S SERVANT TODAY as MUCH as they were in Prabhupada’s physical presence. This is the SUM and SUBSTANCE of all ISKCON’s problems.
If this simple problem is solved, the whole ISKCON PREACHING MACHINE can begin to roll again, as it rolled BEFORE with Prabhupada at the wheel.
Even if some personalities are UTTAMA ADHIKARI (within or without ISKCON), on the highest platform of realization in Krishna bhakti, such persons would have no objections to acting as representative of the ACHARYA, because they would have no attraction for wealth, women and FOLLOWERS. Naturally such highly elevated souls would come down to the MADHYAM ADHIKARI platform to preach as the representatives of the ACHARYA in order to keep the UNITY, seeing it as necessary for making organized propaganda on the material plane within the SAMPRADAYA under the AUSPICES of the SAMPRADAYA ACHARYA.
ISKCON preaching MISSION means ORGANIZATION, and that requires strategy, which necessitates co-operation and unity, which is possible only if there is one ABSOLUTELY PERFECT PERSON, the SAMPRADAYA ACHARYA, under whose divine lotus feet all the Vaishnava leaders (rittvik representatives of the acharya) can work harmoniously, and all the disciples in the various camps under diverse rittvik leadership can be as brothers and sisters of one family: the BRAHMA GAUDIYA VAISHNAVA SAMPRADAYA. All the numerous camps can be united under one authority, the Brahma Gaudiya Vaishnava Sampradaya Acharya, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Founder-Acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, which is the modern-day name, known traditionally as the Brahma Sampradaya.
His books will be accepted as the standard texts for all Vaishnava devotees throughout the world for the next 10,000 years, and thus ISKCON can truly be “a house the whole world can live in.” But neglecting this essential understanding (seeing Prabhupada as the Sampradaya Acharya), the ISKCON will become a house NO ONE can live in, NOT EVEN PRABHUPADA, ITS FOUNDER-ACHARYA.
It should be noted with concern that of the eleven original so-called gurus named by Srila Prabhupada in his July 9th, 1977 letter, six have fallen down. The remaining five acharyas (?!), Harikesh Swami, Tamal Krishna Goswami, Jayapataka Swami, Hrdayananda Goswami, Satsvarupa das Goswami were all strong supporters of those who fell, in many cases justifying or covering up the gross deviations exhibited by their colleagues. All of the five remaining acharyas (?!) have come under close scrutiny—some being suspended from performing initiation, due to exhibiting doubtful behavior.
Then what are we to think of those new gurus who have been appointed by these five remaining doubthul GURU ACHARYAS?! If the root is rotten, how will the tree grow? These questions should be given serious thought.