Srila Prabhupada Siddhanta

Section Three

Sadhana — Authorized Principles of Spiritual Practice

sruti-smrti-puranadi-pancaratra-vidhim vina,
aikantiki harer bhaktir utpatayaiva kalpate
“Devotional service of the Lord that ignores the authorized Vedic literatures like the Upanisads, Puranas, and Narada-pancaratra is simply an unnecessary disturbance in society.” (A verse from Skanda Purana, cited by Srila Rupa Gosvami in Part 1, Chapter 2, Text 101 of his Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, which Srila Prabhupada presents as the summary study Nectar of Devotion.)

The following principles of spiritual practice have been established by Srila Prabhupada and are recognized, accepted, and followed by the bona fide disciples of Srila Prabhupada. Disciples fixed in following this sadhana are true representatives of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Deviation from these principles causes schisms, fall-down from the path of pure Krishna consciousness, and disturbance in human society.

1) Offering Obeisances to Srila Prabhupada:

When devotees offer pranamas (obeisances) to Srila Prabhupada, they should do this clearly and audibly, with the following two prayers, or pranama mantras:

nama om visnu-padaya krsna-presthaya bhu-tale
srimate bhaktivedanta-svamin iti namine

namas te sarasvate deve gaura-vani-pracarine

“One should not offer obeisances silently to the spiritual master; or in other words, one should recite aloud the prayers to the spiritual master while offering obeisances.” (Nectar of Devotion,Chapter 8)

2) Offering Standard Mantras for Puja and Kirtanas:

All kirtanas should begin with the above-mentioned pranama mantras to Srila Prabhupada, which may be followed by chanting “Jaya Prabhupada.” The prema-dhvani (respectful obeisances at the end of kirtana) should be recited starting with pranamas to Srila Prabhupada and the predecessor acaryas, and continuing with the other standard, authorized pranamas taught by Srila Prabhupada.

3) Performing Deity Worship:

Deity worship in Hare Krishna temples must be performed exclusively by devotees who are Srila Prabhupada’s initiated disciples. By his order, Srila Prabhupada’s disciples and students must chant at least sixteen rounds of the Hare Krishna malm-mantra on beads daily and must follow the four regulative principles of Vaisnava life—that is, no illicit sex, no meat-eating, no gambling, and no intoxication. The highest standard recommended by Srila Prabhupada is for disciples to rise by 4 a.m. The principle is to rise early for mangala-arati.

4) Worshiping the Authorized Disciplic Succession:

Guru-parampara-puja (worship of the authorized disciplic succession) is essential in Krishna conscious sadhana. Offerings should be directed first toward the picture of Srila Prabhupada and should proceed (moving rightward from the picture of Srila Prabhupada) to pictures of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, Srila Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Srila Jagannatha dasa Babaji, the Six Gosvamis, and the Panca-tattva—that is, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Sri Nityananda Prabhu, Sri Advaita, Sri Gadadhara, and Sri Srivasa Thakura. In other words, on the altar with Srila Prabhupada’s picture may be only pictures of Deities and bona fide predecessor Vaisnava acaryas of the Brahma-Madhva-Gaudiya Sampradaya.

maha-bhagavata-srestho brahmano vai guru nrnam
sarvesam eva lokanam asau pujyo yatha harih:
“The guru must be situated on the topmost platform of devotional service. There are three classes of devotees, and the guru must be accepted from the topmost class… When one has attained the topmost position of maha-bhagavata, he is to be accepted as guru and worshiped exactly like Hari, the Personality of Godhead. Only such a person is eligible to occupy the post of a guru.” (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya 24.330, Purport, citing Padma Purana)

5) Worship Only Authorized Paintings and Photographs.

Only authorized paintings and photographs—that is, pictures of bona fide acaryas and also of Deities and Their pastimes-shall be placed on the temple altar or walls. Srila Prabhupada instructs that the disappearance day of Sriman Jayananda Prabhu may be honored with ceremonies (puspa-abhiseka) and feasting, as are the disappearance days of other recognized Vaisnava saints. (Srila Prabhupada never authorized demigod worship for his disciples or temples.)

6) Establish Only Srila Prabhupada’s Vyasasana in Temples and Centers.

As with Srila Prabhupada’s daily guru-puja, Srila Prabhupada’s vyasa-asana is a permanent feature in all Hare Krishna temples and centers. A floor seat (asana) shall be provided for speakers or those giving class on the sastras, Srila Prabhupada’s authorized and approved pre-1978 book editions. This practice was personally approved by Srila Prabhupada. He never suggested that other arrangements should be made in the future.

7) Conduct Temple Programs Approved by Srila Prabhupada.

Only Srila Prabhupada’s guru-puja and the worship of authorized Deities and predecessor Vaisnava acaryas, as mentioned above, can take place in the temple or any other place of Krishna conscious worship. Srila Prabhupada never authorized the worship of imperfect preachers, prophets, leaders, or demigods.

8) Celebrate Authorized Festivals.

All Hare Krishna temples must conduct ceremonies for proper observance of Srila Prabhupada’s avirbhava-mahotsava (appearance festival) and tirobhava-mahotsava (disappearance festival). These auspicious days should be celebrated in a grand way, as far as possible. Similarly, the appearance and disappearance observances of the authorized predecessor Vaisnavaacaryas, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Sri Nityananda Prabhu, Sri Advaita Prabhu, other members of the Sri Panca-tattva and parsadas (associates of Sriman Mahaprabhu), Lord Sri Krishna, Srimati Radharani, Sri Ramacandra, Sri Varaha, Sri Narasimha, Sri Vamana, and other avatars and bona fide, recognized Vaisnava saints should be celebrated with devotion and enthusiasm.

9) Method for Offering Food:

Offering of food, or bhoga, to the Deity shall be done by using the following mantras:

nama om visnu-padaya krsna-presthaya bhu-tale
srimate bhaktivedanta-svamin iti namine:

“I offer my respectful obeisances unto His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who is very dear to Lord Krishna, having taken shelter at His lotus feet.”

 namas te sarasvate deve gaura-vani-pracarine

“Our respectful obeisances are unto you, O spiritual master, servant of Sarasvati Gosvami. You are kindly preaching the message of Lord Caitanyadeva and delivering the Western countries, which are filled with voidism and impersonalism.”

namo maha-vadanyaya krsna-prema-pradaya te
krsnaya krsna-caitanya-namne gaura-tvise namah:

“O most munificent incarnation! You are Krishna Himself appearing as Sri Krishna Caitanya Mahaprabhu. You have assumed the golden color of Srimati Radharani, and You are widely distributing pure love of Krishna. We offer our respectful obeisances unto You.” (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya 19.53)

namo brahmanya-devaya go-brahmana-hitaya ca
jagad-dhitaya krsnaya govindaya namo namah:

“I offer my respectful obeisances to the Supreme Absolute Truth, Krishna, who is the well-wisher of the cows and the brahmanas as well as the living entities in general. I offer my repeated obeisances to Govinda, who is the pleasure reservoir for all the senses.” (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya 13.77)

“You may say the prayer to the spiritual master three times, and also the namo brahmanya prayer three times, when offering prasadam. That is very nice, to say the mantra three times. Also, you may, after offering to the spiritual master, offer to Lord Caitanya by saying the prayer namo maha-vadanyaya three times, and then offer to Krishna thrice.” (Letter, March 26,1968)

10) Carefully Study Books Authorized by Srila Prabhupada.

For personal study, readings, classes, and public distribution, accept only the authorized and approved pre-1978 editions of Srila Prabhupada’s books. Serious students of Krishna consciousness should never accept unauthorized changes made to Srila Prabhupada’s books by various editors.

“I have given you the process of disciplic succession… So in the parampara system, in that disciplic succession, you will find no change. The original word is there. That is the thing… If you want the real thing, then you have to take the old, the oldest. You cannot change anything.” (Lecture, December 1, 1966, New York)

“In my books the philosophy of Krishna consciousness is explained fully, so if there is anything which you do not understand, then you simply have to read again and again. By reading daily, the knowledge will be revealed to you, and by this process, your spiritual life will develop.” (Letter, November 22,1974)