Guru-parampara: The List of 32, Part 18

BY: ROCANA DASA - 14.9 2018

In Closing

Just as we have to be careful about terminology, we have to be very careful indeed when accepting characterizations of our Sampradaya Acaryas which suggest that they are conceiving, fashioning, innovating, and revolutionizing sastra – and the List of 32, our guru-parampara list, is non-different from sastra.

At the end of "The Bhagavata Parampara", Brahma das writes:

"Bhaktisiddhanta made revolutionary changes in the Gaudiya Vaisnavism of his time while simultaneously maintaining and revitalizing the essential teachings of the sampradaya. Bhaktivedanta brought those teachings to the western world and doing so planted the Chaitanya tree with its various branches, and watered that tree in a way that would allow it to grow and produce fruit. Both of these acharyas took the inspiration and vision of Bhaktivinode and energized the mission of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu."

Just as we have to be careful when suggesting that a Sampradaya Acarya has 'conceived' or 'fashioned' an aspect of our philosophy, we have to carefully scrutinize statements like the one above. HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada planted the Chaitanya tree, not just in the West, but essentially in every town and village on the planet. In the absence of clarification, suggesting that he planted a tree with "various branches" can also be easily misinterpreted. Srila Prabhupada did not plant the Gaudiya Math branches – the B.R. Sridhar branch, or the B.V. Narayana branch. In fact, he planted the trunk of Lord Caitanya's tree, with its root bundle completely intact, down to every tendril on every root.

And while it's true that Srila Prabhupada watered Lord Caitanya's tree, it must be said that he did far more than that. He nurtured the tree with rare love and devotion, watering it with his own life in service every day. In his preaching, he trimmed from the tree those branches that were un-bonafide, pointing out the deviations they represented. He protected the tree from invasive attackers who sought to change the philosophy. And he lives eternally connected to that great tree, not only protecting, plucking, polishing and distributing the nectarian fruit it produces, but as one of its primary branches, also producing his own fruit. This fruit, the disciples and followers of Srila Prabhupada, have their own subtly unique flavor -- and they have the potential to simultaneously be exactly like the rest of the fruit on the tree. Doing so will be the perfection of their own service to the Sampradaya Acaryas.

In our next segment we'll begin the biographies of the Sampradaya Acaryas who appeared in our sampradaya prior to Sri Krsna Caitanya.