Bona fide Branches of Prabhupada's Tree

BY: CAITANYA DAS - 30.6 2020

When Srila Prabhupada said that in a parampara line there are many branches of a tree, but if one rubs the leaves together on any of their branches they should taste the same, it's an interesting analogy and worth pondering further. One could say providing the disciplic lines are connected to the main trunk of the tree, they will give the essence of the same flavour. If disconnects take place from the main trunk the flavour will not be present and the leaves will dry and fade, but perhaps the leaves may contain, due to a branch being situated in shady areas, a flavour not as pronounced as the branches that bask in sunlight.

It's clear that Srila Prabhupada was and is a very special Acarya representing in contemporary times the full range of teachings and transcendental strategies of two other contemporary and Great Acaryas, namely Srila Bhaktisiddanta Saraswati and Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur, who were highly education persons, something our esteemed editor Rocana Prabhu has written on. They saw the opportunity, using the western dominated expansion of a new world order with its revolutionary ways that united a world based on trade and commerce, as an opportunity to bring forth and promote the great transcendental message of Mahaprabhu. And these personalities had the vision of how Mahaprabhu's mission could be taken out of India and saturate the whole of the western worlds and far beyond with Krishna Consciousness. They knew that at the time in India, the misunderstood message was in the hands of sahajiyas, or impersonal followers, or materialistic neophytes with no understanding of its essence. The real essence of the Vaishnavas had been lost, as Dr. Radha Krishna and Vivakananda sought to make a political message of Krishna, with sentiment and Māyāvādī teaching. Srila Bhaktivinod and Srila Bhaktisiddanta regained some control of Mahāprabhu's teachings, in India, but this was only the beginning of something even more wonderful, as they planned how Krishna Consciousness might spread worldwide. And Srila Prabhupada was that great Vaisnava acarya waiting in the wings to carry out this task and apply his transcendental intelligence to.

The greatness of Srila Prabhupada and his connection to these two Acaryas who he is intimately connected to is found in this verse from the Srimad Bhagavatam:

SB 3.14.48

sa vai maha-bhagavato mahatma
mahanubhavo mahatam mahisthah
pravrddha-bhaktya hy anubhavitasaye
nivesya vaikuntham imam vihasyati

Translation by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada:

"That topmost devotee of the Lord will have expanded intelligence and expanded influence and will be the greatest of the great souls. Due to matured devotional service, he will certainly be situated in transcendental ecstasy and will enter the spiritual sky after quitting this material world."

In my opinion, this verse very much describes Srila Prabhupada. He displayed extraordinary intelligence and extraordinary influences and displayed such transcendental ecstasy, and he allowed his disciples to experience that ecstasy.

It is essential that all devotees know well the history behind ISKCON and what it's real purpose is. It appears to me that Srila Prabhupada had the full vision, intelligence and capacity and will direct all aspects of it via his bona fide branches of his transcendental body. Each of our leading inspirational devotees taking certain positions, which may externally look different, but the test will be the essence of what they present in their differing ways.

In one sense we should be grateful that ISKCON has not morphed into a homogeneous lump, and Prabhupada and his different programmes are being carried out in so many ways by those who like to specialize in the various areas of preaching. Of course, there must be checks and balances and an understanding of the origins of the tree, so the full taste of the leaves are experienced, and drying branches are detected and cut off to encourage new, fitter branches to grow. Do I need to bring up the constitutional measuring rod again?