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Srila Prabhupada regarding breakdown of disciplic succession

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Srila Prabhupada regarding breakdown of disciplic succession

 
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Paramahamsa: Yes. The Christians always say that Christ was eating
fish and drinking wine, so what problem have we got? Drinking a little
alcohol, eating a little meat?
Prabhupada: Then how did he say that “Thou shall not kill”?
Srutakirti: That was actually the Ten Commandments. That was given by
God.
Ganesa: Given to Moses.
Srutakirti: That was given to Moses by God. The Ten Commandments.
Prabhupada: That is not Christ has said?
Srutakirti: Well, Christ enforced it.
Paramahamsa: It was accepted by him as one of the rules.
Srutakirti: Christ’s greatest commandment was to love God above all
things. So if one is to love God, one must follow His instructions.
Prabhupada: Who is following the instructions?
Srutakirti: We are.
Prabhupada: But supposing Christ distributed fish, but did he say that
we shall maintain regular slaughterhouse for killing animals?
Srutakirti: He was against that. He threw the men out of the temple,
because they were selling lambs in the temple to be offered at the
altar. So he kicked them out, saying this temple is not a place for
sellling animals for slaughter.
Paramahamsa: But in one place they say Christ encouraged fishermen.
Because he came and the fishermen were fishing on one side of the
boat, and Christ came along and said, “You are fishing on the wrong
side of the boat.” He said, “Put your nets on the other side, and you
will get more fish.” An they did that and they got huge amounts of
fish. And so they were encouraged in their fish-eating in this way.
Ganesa: Jesus also said to the fisherman, “Give up you fishing and I
will make you fishers of men.” He said this to his disciples.
Prabhupada: Then on the whole it comes that his instructions are
sometimes contradictory.
Paramahamsa: Not only that but they say that… Usually when it comes
right down to it, the Bible has gone through so many interpretations
and so many changes in the last two thousand years that…
Prabhupada: Yes. It is very difficult.
Paramahamsa: People…, I’ve talked to professors who know the
original Hebrew and the original tongues that the Bible was written
in. They say that is has changed so much that you can hardly…
Prabhupada: Yes, they are changing. Just like he said, “Thou shall not
kill.” They are now changing, “Thow shall not commit murder.” They are
doing that.
Paramahamsa: Yes. They have a modern Bible, using all modern
terminology.
Prabhupada: So, when you change, then the authority is lost. Just like
in our society, sometimes they do something nonsense and they say,
“Prabhupada said.” (laughter) They are doing that. We know that. It is
deteriorated like that
. Therefore Krsna said, sa kaleneha mahata yogo
nastah kaunteya: “And in due course of time, this yoga was lost.
Therefore I am repeating the same thing, old philosophy to you.” So it
requires like that.
Paramahamsa: One thing about the Christian religion is that through
the last two thousand years, Christ’s original teachings may have been
good teachings, may have been potent preaching, but because there were
no potent preachers to carry on the preaching, therefore the whole
thing has been lost. But if there are potent preachers to continue
reestablishing and estabishing the principles,…
Prabhupada: So how you’ll find, if everything is now changed? Where
you will get the right information
?
Paramahamsa: That’s the problem. That’s why there are so many hundreds
of branches of Christianity, literally hundreds. So many divisions of
Christianity. Some people accept this, some people accept this.
Prabhupada: Therefore we should advocate that Bhagavad-gita is not
like that. It is coming in the same form as it was taught to Arjuna.
If you challenge that “How you know that it has not been changed?” the
acaryas are there. The acaryas are there, and they are accepting.
Therefore it is correct. We have to follow the acaryas. So when we see
the acaryas have accepted, then we accept. All the acaryas,
Ramanujacarya, Madhvacarya, before that other acaryas also, they
accept. They never say that “This was not in the original scripture.
It has been changed.” You don’t find any such statement of the
acaryas. The best thing, therefore, if you want a religious system,
Bhagavad-gita is coming without any contradiction, change, for the
last five thousand years. You accept it.
Other scriptures are
(unclear), and there are so many doubts, so many interpretations. So,
if you want real religious system, this is the scripture spoken
directly by God, and accepted by all the acaryas, so take it. If you
are really after God, so you take enlightenment from this perfect
scripture
. If you want truth, it doesn’t matter wherefrom it is
coming. I must accept the truth.
Paramahamsa: The Christians openly admit that the Bible has been
changed, but they also have a lot of doubt about our scripture.
Prabhupada: No, even they doubt, the Christian religion is now dead.
That we see practically. So many churches are not working. Nobody
comes there. Nobody comes.
Paramahamsa: As they have seen that their scripture has been changed,
they also have a very strong doubt about our scripture. They say
“Well, yours in even older than ours,” so somewhere along the line
they say it must have been changed.
Prabhupada: You say, but those who are the followers of the
authorities, they do not say. You are outsider. You say it may be. It
may not be, but you have no authority. You are simply taking a
hypothesis, “it may be.” But those who actually are following, they do
not say
. What about this? Whose version is more important? Your or
theirs? You are outsider. You are simply suggesting because you had a
bad experience. But one who has no such experience, why should he
follow your advice?
Paramahamsa: Actually if anyone looks at Bhagavad-gita As It Is,
presented by yourself, then they can logically see that it is perfect.
Prabhupada: Yes, we have got our argument, logic, everything. Why
should we blindly follow?
Ganesa: The results can be seen practically that those who are
following the Bhagavad-gita written by you, Srila Prabhupada, are
giving up these nonsense activities.
Prabhupada: Letters are posted?
Paramahamsa: No, not yet.
Prabhupada: How they can deliver if you don’t post?
Paramahamsa: Well the next time someone goes in. This evening someone
can post.
Prabhupada: There is no letter box?
Ganesa: There’s not one close. I can post them tonight.
Prabhupada: No, night is useless. Nobody is coming to clear.
Ganesa: Yes, there’s one collection at eight o’clock in the night
time.
Prabhupada: Oh, then why not post there? It is six.
Ganesa: Srila Prabhupada, if the knowledge was handed down by the
saintly kings, evam parampara-praptam, how is it that the knowledge
was lost?
Prabhupada: When it was not handed down. Simply understood by
speculation. Or if it is not handed down as it is. They might have
made some changes. Or they did not hand it down
. Suppose I handed it
down to you, but if you do not do that, then it is lost. Now the Krsna
consciousness movement is going on in my presence. Now after my
deparature, if you do not do this, then it is lost. If you go on as
you are doing now, then it will go on. But if you stop… (end

Sp re Different branches of disciplic succession

SP re disciplic succession does not mean one has to be directly a disciple of a particular person

 
Regarding your question about the disciplic succession coming down from Arjuna, it is just like I have got my disciples, so in the future these many disciples may have many branches of disciplic succession. So in one line of disciples we may not see another name coming from a different line. But this does not mean that person whose name does not appear was not in the disciplic succession. Narada was the Spiritual Master of Vyasadeva, and Arjuna was Vyasadeva’s disciple, not as initiated disciple but there was some blood relation between them. So there is connection in this way, and it is not possible to list all such relationships in the short description given in Bhagavad-gita As It Is. Another point is that disciplic succession does not mean one has to be directly a disciple of a particular person. The conclusions which we have tried to explain in our Bhagavad-gita As It Is is the same as those conclusions of Arjuna. Arjuna accepted Krishna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and we also accept the same truth under the disciplic succession of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Things equal to the same thing are equal to one another. This is an axiomatic truth. So there is no difference of opinion of understanding Krishna between ourselves and Arjuna. Another example is that a tree has many branches, and you will find one leaf here and another leaf there. But if you take this leaf and the other leaf and you press them both, you will see that the taste is the same. The taste is the conclusion, and from the taste you can understand that both leaves are from the same tree.
Letters : 1969 Correspondence : January : Letter to: Kirtanananda — Los Angeles 25 January, 1969

Gaps in the Disciplic Succession

śrī-bhagavān uvāca
imaṁ vivasvate yogaṁ proktavān aham avyayam
vivasvān manave prāha manur ikṣvākave ‘bravīt
The Blessed Lord said: I instructed this imperishable science of yoga to the sun-god, Vivasvān, and Vivasvān instructed it to Manu, the father of mankind, and Manu in turn instructed it to Ikṣvāku. (Bg 4.1)
Srila Prabhupāda: This science of Kṛṣṇa consciousness was understood by disciplic succession. Paramparā-prāptam. Imaṁ vivasvavate yogaṁ proktavān aham avyayam: “My dear Arjuna, don’t think that this Kṛṣṇa consciousness science I am speaking to you is something new. No.” Imaṁ vivasvate yogaṁ proktavān aham avyayam: (BG 4.1) “It is eternal, and first I spoke to sun-god.” Vivasvate. Vivasvān manave prāhuḥ: “And Vivasvān said to his son, Manu.” Manur ikṣvākave ‘bravīt: “And Manu also transferred this knowledge to his son, Ikṣvāku.” Evaṁ paramparā-prāptam: (BG 4.2) “In this way, by disciplic succession, it is coming on.”
evaṁ paramparā-prāptam imaṁ rājarṣayo viduḥ
sa kāleneha mahatā yogo naṣṭaḥ parantapa
This supreme science was thus received through the chain of disciplic succession, and the saintly kings understood it in that way. But in course of time the succession was broken, and therefore the science as it is appears to be lost. (Bg 4.2)
Srila Prabhupāda: The succession was broken. So similarly, Christ says something. So if that commandment is received by succession, then it goes nicely. But if you break it according to your necessity, then where is the authority? Srila Prabhupada’s room conversation With John Lennon, Yoko Ono, and George Harrison — September 11, 1969, London, England  at Tittenhurst:


Srila Prabhupāda: The Vedic knowledge was thus imparted unto the heart of Brahmā, the first living being in the material creation. It was Brahmā who related this knowledge to the sage Nārada Muni. Similarly, the Bhagavad-gītā was spoken by the Personality of Godhead, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, to Vivasvān, the presiding deity of the sun, and when the aural chain of disciplic succession was broken, Lord Kṛṣṇa repeated the Bhagavad-gītā to Arjuna on the Battlefield of Kurukṣetra. At that time, Arjuna took the role of disciple and student in order to receive transcendental knowledge from Śrī Kṛṣṇa. In order to drive out all misgivings which the gross materialists of the world may have, Arjuna asked all relevant questions, and the answers were given by Kṛṣṇa so that any layman can understand them. Only those who are captivated by the glamour of the material world cannot accept the authority of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa. One has to become thoroughly clean in habit and heart before one can understand the details of the antimaterial world. Bhakti-yoga is a detailed scientific transcendental activity that both the neophyte and the perfect yogī can practice. (Easy journey to other Planets).
:
Regarding parampara system: there is nothing to wonder for big gaps. Just like we belong to the Brahma Sampradaya, so we accept it from Krishna to Brahma, Brahma to Narada, Narada to Vyasadeva, Vyasadeva to Madhva, and between Vyasadeva and Madhva there is a big gap. But it is sometimes said that Vyasadeva is still living, and Madhva was fortunate enough to meet him directly. In a similar way, we find in the Bhagavad-gita that the Gita was taught to the sungod, some millions of years ago, but Krishna has mentioned only three names in this parampara system—namely, Vivasvan, Manu, and Iksvaku; and so, these gaps do not hamper from understanding theparampara system. We have to pick up the prominent acaryas, and follow from him. There are many branches also from the parampara system, and it is not possible to record all the branches and sub-branches in the disciplic succession. We have to pick up from the authority of the acharya in whatever sampradaya we belong to. Srila Prabhupada letter, 12 April, 1968
 :
Regarding your third question—”Why are there apparent time-gaps in the line of disciplic succession as listed in the Bhagavad-gita? Is Arjuna an instructor Spiritual Master and not an initiator Spiritual Master and therefore not listed?” The time gap mentioned by you is inevitable, because the disciplic succession sometimes becomes disconnected, as we find from the Bhagavad-gita. This is the influence of material energy, and to link it up again, it takes some time. That some time may appear to our calculation a big gap, but in relation with the eternal time, it is not even as instant. So this big gap or small gap of time is relative. Just like our 24 hours and Brahma’s 24 hours, there is much difference. Our 24 hours is not even a fraction of his second. Srila Prabhupada letter, 14 March, 1969:
 
“Narada was the Spiritual Master of Vyasadeva, and Arjuna was Vyasadeva’s disciple, not as initiated disciple but there was some blood relation between them. So, there is connection in this way, and it is not possible to list all such relationships in the short description given in Bhagavad-gita As It Is. Another point is that disciplic succession does not mean one has to be directly a disciple of a particular person. The conclusions which we have tried to explain in our Bhagavad-gita As It Is is the same as those conclusions of Arjuna. Arjuna accepted Krishna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and we also accept the same truth under the disciplic succession of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Things equal to the same thing are equal to one another. This is an axiomatic truth. So there is no difference of opinion of understanding Krishna between ourselves and Arjuna. Another example is that a tree has many branches, and you will find one leaf here and another leaf there. But if you take this leaf and the other leaf and you press them both, you will see that the taste is the same. The taste is the conclusion, and from the taste you can understand that both leaves are from the same tree…” Srila Prabhupada letter, 25 January, 1969

Regarding the disciplic succession coming from Arjuna, disciplic succession does not always mean that one has to be initiated officially. Disciplic succession means to accept the disciplic conclusion. Arjuna was a disciple of Krishna and Brahma was also a disciple of Krishna. Thus there is no disagreement between the conclusions of Brahma and Arjuna. Vyasadeva is in the disciplic succession of Brahma. The teachings to Arjuna was recorded by Vyasadeva verbatim. So according to the axiomatic truth, things equal to one another are equal to each other. We are not exactly directly from Vyasadeva, but our Gurudeva is a representative of Vyasadeva. Because Vyasadeva and Arjuna are of equal status, being students of Krishna, therefore we are in the disciplic succession of Arjuna. Things equal to the same thing are equal to one another. Srila Prabhupada letter, 31 October, 1969

But factually this Krishna Consciousness is coming down through a chain of disciplic succession from a time some millions of years ago because the first student of this cult was Vivasvan, the present predominating deity in the Sun-globe planet. Later on Vivasvan taught this philosophy to his son Manu, who again taught this philosophy to his son, King Iksvaku, who ruled over this earthly planet. The original ksatriya kings were all descendants from King Iksvaku, the father of the dynasty in which Lord Ramacandra appeared. That is a long history comprising a period covering not less than 40 million years according to Vedic scriptures. Lord Krishna also appeared in the same family a little more than 5000 years ago; and because the cult of Krishna Consciousness became broken in course of time, Lord Krishna again re-established the same formula by teaching His dear friend Arjuna for benefit of the entire human society. Srila Prabhupada letter to Japanese brothers and sisters,  10 March, 1970:
 
:
Srila Prabhupāda: Kṛṣṇa said to Arjuna, “My dear Arjuna, this Bhagavad-gītā philosophy or yoga system, first of all I spoke to the sun-god. And then he spoke to his son, Manu. Then Manu spoke to his son Ikṣvāku.” In this way, the knowledge comes down from the spiritual master to the disciple or from the father to the son. So unless one comes in this disciplic succession, he cannot become guru. Therefore, I do not know all of them. All the swamis and yogis who came here, they do not belong to this paramparā system, so therefore they are not bona fide guru. They are presenting themselves as guru, but they are not guru. Therefore, people are misled. People are misled, and this is the first time that we presented India’s traditional philosophy and life as it is understood by the paramparā system.  
Interview with Trans-India Magazine — July 17, 1976, New York
 
New York, July 26, 1971 : 710726I2.NY :
So we are Brahmā sampradāya-our disciplic succession from Brahmā. Therefore, we shall accept Brahmā’s statement and we worship ādi-puruṣam, Govindam. We may not know that ādi-puruṣa, but we follow the footsteps ofācāryas. Brahmā says this. Brahmā’s disciple, Nārada, says like that. Nārada’s disciple Vyāsa says like that. Vyāsa’s disciple, Madhvācārya, says like that. In this way, Īśvara Purī says like that. His disciple, Caitanya Mahāprabhu, says like that. His disciple, Gosvāmīs, Ṣaḍ-gosvāmīs, they say like that. In this way, we receive knowledge by paramparā, by step by step in the disciplic succession. Therefore, our knowledge is perfect.

 

 

 

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