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Excerpted from chapters 12 and 13 of
Sri Srimad Gour Govinda Swami Maharaja’s
book, My Revered Spiritual Master

Prabhupada Laid the Foundation

Devotee: You were explaining how “räma”
in the mahä-mantra refers to Krishna. But Srila
Prabhupada sometimes explained that “räma” in
the mahä-mantra refers to Balaram.
Gour Govinda Swami: Yes, Prabhupada said
that. Balaram is dvitéya-deha, the second body of
Krishna. They have the same two-handed form.
varëa-mätra-bheda — Only there is a difference in
their complexion. Krishna is black and Balaram is
white. Everything else is the same. And Balaram is
always with Krishna. So Prabhupada said it in simple
way. It is not easy for everyone to understand why
Krishna is referred to as Rama. When Prabhupada world, the country of mlecchas and yavanas.
was asked by a particular devotee, he knew that The people there have very low consciousness.
the devotee could not understand. Therefore Vaishnava philosophy, Mahaprabhu’s philosophy,
Prabhupada didn’t say so at the time. But Jiva is the highest, most sublime philosophy. Caitanya-
Goswami has said it; Bhaktivinode Thakur has said caritämåta is post-graduate study. It is difficult
it. All of our äcäryas have described why Krishna for Western people to understand. Therefore,
is known as Rama. Prabhupada stressed, “You first chant ‘hare kåñëa’.
Time Place and Circumstance Let your consciousness be purified. Hear the
transcendental sound vibration.”
An äcärya like Srila Prabhupada teaches Buddhadeva is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu,
according to time, place and circumstances. but he blasphemed the Vedas. He is the origin of
People can understand only according to their the Vedas, why will he speak like that? Because
consciousness. Neophytes cannot comprehend at the time it was needed. The people were
higher things, subtle philosophy. Just speak to indiscriminately killing animals for sacrifice. If you
them according to their capacity and let them would ask them, “Why are you killing?” tthey would
make advancement. When the time comes, then say, “The Vedas say we should.” But they could
all the subtle points will come out. Äcärya teaches not understand the purport of the Vedas. They
like that. You should not think that there is some were in the mode of ignorance. How could they
hard and fast rule as to what they must explain understand? Unless one comes to the level of sattva-
in the beginning. You should try to understand guëa, mode of goodness, one cannot understand
Srila Prabhupada’s purpose. Following the orders what the Vedas say. At that time it was needed for
of his revered spiritual master, Bhaktisiddhanta Buddhadeva to teach people to stop following
Saraswati, our Prabhupada went to the Western the Vedas. He told them to give up indiscriminate
2 Prabhupada's Mission
killing of animals. In that way they could elevate ’’Krishna’. They are committing a great offense
themselves to the mode of goodness. Then they at the lotus feet of Srila Prabhupada — leaving
would be able to understand. At that time it was ISKCON, joining another camp and criticizing
needed. But Buddha’s followers cannot understand ISKCON’s teachings, Srila Prabhupada’s teachings.
the real reason why he did so. Nonsense! I get so much pain in my heart from this.
Such rascals will definitely go to hell. So I have
Work of an Acharya
taken up this task: now the time has come we’ll
Similarly, you cannot understand why teach all this higher philosophy. Prabhupada left it
Prabhupada said what he did. Tat-kälika, at that in a seed form. Now that seed should be fructified,
time it was needed. But not for all time. He was and a big tree will come out. That is our duty.
laying the foundation. Before building a mansion Prabhupada was teaching Westerners, mlecchas
you should lay the foundation, and the foundation and yavanas, eating beef, and drinking liquor. They
should be very strong. Then you will be able to were hippies — mad fellows taking strong drugs,
build a big mansion, skyscraper. If the foundation is LSD, and marijuana. What they can understand
not strong the skyscraper will collapse. Prabhupada of this philosophy? He did what was needed for
laid the foundation. Then he left it for you: “Now them at that particular time. He did a great job and
you build a mansion.” That time has now come. brought us to the path. Otherwise so many persons
Don’t stay in the foundation only. Now a mansion would not have come here. But now the time has
should be built. This is gradual development. come to understand this philosophy.
Buddhadeva came and did this thing. He
criticized the Vedas and the people became atheists.
Then when the Vedas were about to be lost, Lord You mention that many devotees are losing
Narayan ordered Shivaji, who is mahä-bäla, very faith in ISKCON and are leaving our society to
powerful: “Shiva, you go and establish the Vedas.” find shelter elsewhere. That is not good. They
Then Shivaji came in the form of Shankaracharya. should not leave ISKCON; that will never please
It is all mentioned in Caitanya-caritämåta. Srila Prabhupada. Develop patience and tolerance
Shankara was not at fault. His master ordered him, and pray to Srila Prabhupada from the core of your
so he preached this mäyäväda philosophy. It was heart. How is it that he will not help you? (Letter,
needed at the time. When you establish something, 18 December 1993)
you first start from the lower and then go to the
There are three things that are very important to
higher part. You cannot all of a sudden establish
me. One is that I want to preach to the preachers. It
the higher part. Shankara established the lower
causes me so much pain to see the devotees falling
part of the Vedas, karma-käëòa, jïäna-käëòa
down and going away. The second thing is that I
section, which is gauëa, secondary. Shankara
want to show how everything is in Prabhupada’s
laid the foundation. Therefore Mahaprabhu has
books. Those persons who are saying that Srila
accepted Shankara as äcärya because he did the
Prabhupada only gave ABC, it causes me so much
work of an äcärya. Mahaprabhu said, “Shankara
pain in my heart. I want to make them silent. And
has helped us. He has laid the foundation. Now I
the third thing is that I want to show how everything
have to build the mansion.” This was the need at
is in ISKCON and that devotees do not have to go
that particular time.
elsewhere for higher teachings. (Conversation with
Fools Criticize devotees in New York City, July 1994:)
That is what an äcärya does, and in the My opinion is that Srila Prabhupada will not be
same way Srila Prabhupada did the work of an happy with these senior devotees going outside of
äcärya. Fools and rascals criticize him. I say they ISKCON. Srila Prabhupada has said that everything
cannot understand Srila Prabhupada. They can’t is in his books. If you try to understand this, then
understand what he has done. He has done what by the mercy of Srila Prabhupada it will all be made
was needed at that particular time. He has laid the clear to you. It is a fact that if an elevated vaiñëava is
foundation. Now the time has come, we have to there, then one should go and take his association.
build the mansion. These fools cannot understand There is no harm in that. But in this case, there is
Prabhupada's Mission 3
a danger that the discipline in our organization Gour Govinda Swami: What difficulty is
will be affected adversely. If the leaders are going there in preaching the message of Gauranga
outside of ISKCON, how will we be able to maintain Mahaprabhu? Mahaprabhu says, “I will help you.
discipline? Srila Prabhupada has formed this society, You’ll never be affected by mäyä.” If you have
and this threat to his society will only cause him no faith in Mahaprabhu, then you will be put into
pain. With this consideration, they should not go. difficulties. Don’t be afraid of problems. ’’Krishna’ is
That will only lead to indiscipline in our society. there. His representative, the guru, is there. They are
Two sides are there, philosophical and always with you. They are always prepared to help
organizational. On the organizational side, this you. These dangers, these problems, difficulties
practice is not good. Therefore we have this GBC will help you to become fixed. They are welcome.
body, which makes so many rules to maintain the Therefore Kuntidevi says, vipadaù santu täù çaçvat
discipline of the members of our society. But how tatra tatra jagad-guro — “I wish that all those
will we be able to keep discipline now? No one calamities would happen again and again.” WWhy
will listen: “If the leaders are going, why should did she say like that?
we listen? We will also go.” This will create only Devotee: Because by those troubles she was
trouble. (Letter, 3 November 1994) always able to remember Krishna.
Gour Govinda Swami: Yes. Difficulties,
Devotee: You said we should always seek the dangers, and problems help one to be more
association of advanced devotees. When Srila attached to Krishna. Unless there are difficulties,
Prabhupada left the planet, some of his disciples one will not turn his face towards Krishna. Thereby
took shelter of one of his godbrothers. he is in a fool’s paradise, thinking, “I am OK.” But
Gour Govinda Swami: Thereby they committed he is in danger. He cannot understand it. So all
a mistake. For the clarification of some philosophical of these difficulties, problems, and dangers, they
doubt or to accept çikñä, one may go to another are kåpä, mercy in disguise. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta
vaiñëava, but why leave? Saraswati Prabhupada Maharaja said, “Accept all the
Devotee: Some people took shelter of this sufferings in this material world as the mercy of the
maharaja, and naturally, because he was giving Supreme Lord.” (Evening darshan, Bhubaneswar,
some instruction, they became attached to him 20 November 1989)
and accepted him as çikñä-guru. Because of this, in
some cases, it seems that our society rejected them Devotee: You have to give us your blessings,
rather than they rejected our society. Maharaja.
Gour Govinda Swami: Let me be excused Gour Govinda Swami: I have this blessing,
at the feet of a vaiñëava. This Maharaja is a great “Get the blessings of my guru-mahäräja, Srimad
vaiñëava. I pay my obeisance to him. He is my guru. A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupadji Maharaja.
He is the godbrother of my guru. But he should Be a member of ISKCON, the society he founded
have taught these ISKCON devotees, “Don’t leave worldwide. Serve him. Remain in the society. Serve
ISKCON. Take çikñä from me if you have some guru and Gauranga.” This is my blessing. Nothing
doubts. I am prepared to clarify them. But don’t else. This is everything. Thank you. (Darshan, South
leave ISKCON.” Why didn’t he teach this thing? London, 29 September 1991)
Devotee: So it’s all right for Srila Prabhupada’s
disciples to accept another çikñä-guru, but they
should not leave ISKCON?
Gour Govinda Maharaja: Why should they
leave ISKCON?
Devotee: I spoke to one devotee who had
taken shelter of a maharaja outside of ISKCON
and he said that his life was made very difficult
within ISKCON and he could no longer preach. Drawings by Anuradha Dasi
He was so restricted. Therefore, in order to
preach, he left ISKCON.