J) The Disciplic Succession Relies on Genuine Disciples.
The disciplic succession or guru-parampara is continued by the spiritual master’s genuine disciples. In other words, the disciplic succession relies on disciples who follow the orders, the conclusions, the siddhanta of the sampradaya-acarya. The disciplic succession never relies on ecclesiastical arrangements for authorizing “gurus” or initiating new generations of disciples. Srila Prabhupada never told his disciples to initiate their own disciples in his mission, and thus he never offered any instructions in this regard. Rather, he carefully trained genuine disciples, like Sriman Jayananda Prabhu, to preach the pure siddhanta of Krishna consciousness, as humble messengers of Lord Caitanya’s mission and humble servants of the Spiritual Master.
“I am the initiator guru, and you should be the instructor guru by teaching what I am teaching and doing what I am doing. This is not a title, but you must actually come to this platform. This I want.” (Letter, August 4,1975)
Srila Prabhupada: “Only Lord Caitanya can take my place. He will take care of the movement.” (Conversation, November 2, 1977, Vrndavana)
Reporter: “Have you chosen a successor?”
Srila Prabhupada: “My success is always there. Yes. Just like the sun is always there.” (Conversation, February 12,1975, Mexico City)
“One should not try to be an artificially advanced devotee, thinking, ‘I am a first-class devotee.’ Such thinking should be avoided. It is best not to accept any disciples.” (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya 7.130, Purport)
“One who thinks he is guru becomes goru [cow].” (Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, essay)
“If everyone just initiates, then there will only be a contradictory result. As long as it goes on, there will be only failure.” (From Phalguna Krishna Pancami, Srila Prabhupada’s 1961 poem honoring the appearance day of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura.)
K) Srila Prabhupada Formally Initiates Through Deputed Priests.
Srila Prabhupada personally established in his mission a system whereby he has continued formally initiating new disciples through deputed priests. This system should always be followed in institutions established by Srila Prabhupada and in institutions representing the mission of Srila Prabhupada and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. (See Appendix: Conversation July 7, 1977, Vrndavana; Srila Prabhupada’s final will, June 1977; and Srila Prabhupada’s last directive on initiations, July 9, 1977.)
“My Dear R-, Please accept my blessings. Just now I have received some more requests for giving first initiation …, and now I am receiving weekly not less than ten to fifteen such requests from new students. So it is becoming very expensive to send so many sets of beads such a long distance, and it has become a little bothersome for me also, so I think now you may be appointed by me to give first initiations to new disciples by chanting on their beads on my behalf. In America K- is doing that. So now if there are two of you, that will give me great relief. K- will chant on the beads for new devotees in America, Canada, like that; you can chant on the beads for the European continent, new disciples. They shall, of course, still be considered as my disciples, not that they shall become your disciples, but you will be empowered by me to chant their beads and that is the same effect of binding master and disciple as if I were personally chanting.” (Letter, January, 4,1973)
Disciple 1: “Then our next question concerns initiations in the future, particularly at that time when you are no longer with us. We want to know how first and second initiation would beconducted.”
Srila Prabhupada: “Yes. I shall recommend some of you…. I shall recommend some of you to act as officiating acaryas.”
Disciple 2: “Is that called ritvik-acarya?”
Srila Prabhupada: “Ritvik. Yes.”
(Conversation, May 28, 1977, Vrndavana) (See also: Conversation, July 7,1977, Vrndavana; Srila Prabhupada’s last directive on initiations, July 9,1977.)
Srila Prabhupada: “Hare Krishna. One Bengali gentleman has come from New York?… So I have deputed some of you to initiate. I have already deputed… So, deputies… J’s name was there?”
Disciple: “It is already there, Srila Prabhupada. His name was already on that list [of deputies in the July 9th directive, stating Srila Prabhupada’s authorized system for initiations ‘ henceforward’ ].”
Srila Prabhupada: “So I depute him to do this… This initiation; I have deputed my disciples. Is it clear or not?”
Disciple: “It’s clear… We will explain to the Bengali gentleman, just as you have described to us, so that he’ll be satisfied with this arrangement.” (Conversation, October 18, 1977, Vrndavana)
L) Persons Devoted to Srila Prabhupada and His Instructions Are His Disciples.
Persons initiated according to the sadhana established by Srila Prabhupada and fixed in following his instructions are bona fide students or disciples of Srila Prabhupada. (See “Sadhana”)
“Sisya means [one] who accepts the ruling of his spiritual master, and disciple means also the same thing—[one] who becomes disciplined by the spiritual master.” (Lecture, September 12,1969, London)
Srila Prabhupada: “Who is my disciple? First of all, let him follow strictly the disciplined rules.”
Disciple: “As long as one is following, then he is …”
Srila Prabhupada: “Then he is all right.”(Conversation, June 13,1976, Detroit)
“He lives forever by his divine instructions, and the follower lives with him.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam, Dedication, 1962)