Following the Most Recent Sampradaya Acarya

BY: ROCANA DASA - 13.6 2024

As we conclude our serial presentation of the paper "Guru-parampara: The List of 32" and its addendum summary of the biographies of our Sampradaya Acaryas, we would like to once again present the following, from the Preamble of the Constitution for ISKCON As It Is:


The International Society for Krishna Consciousness As It Is represents the preaching mission established by the Founder-Acarya, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada, for propagating Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu's Sankirtana Movement throughout the world.

Members of the Society are dedicated to preaching the Science of Krishna Consciousness and distributing to all people the Holy Names, particularly the Maha-mantra for this age:

Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

We will perpetuate the Divine mood, methodology and standards of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, which exemplify perfection in propagating spiritual knowledge to the people of this world, who are anxious to develop God consciousness and re-establish their eternal relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krsna.

Following in the footsteps of the Founder-Acarya in executing the Sankirtana mission is only possible if one first philosophically recognizes and understands who His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada is. Members of this society accept, and pledge to act according to the understanding that His Divine Grace is an exalted transcendental personality: a nitya-siddha, shaktyavesa, uttama-adhikari, maha-bhagavata paramahamsa Vaisnava who was personally deputed by Lord Caitanya to serve as His senapati bhakta, fulfilling the Lord's prediction that the Holy Names would be delivered to every town and village. [1]

His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada Appeared on this planet as the most recent in a wave of three successive Sampradaya Acaryas: Srila Bhaktivinoda, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta and Srila Bhaktivedanta Thakurs. These three exalted Acaryas, who are equal in potency and singularity of mission, worked in concert, in close time sequence, to fulfill the Lord's prediction for the worldwide proliferation of Krsna Consciousness.

Srila Prabhupada's exalted status is evidenced by the inclusion of his name as the most recent of only 32 Acaryas in the guru-parampara going back to the time of Lord Brahma. Whether these 32 divine personalities are semantically referred to as 'Sampradaya Acaryas' or as 'topmost members of the guru-parampara', their transcendental nature is explicitly defined by their inclusion on this list of 32 rarified members of the Brahma-Madhva-Gaudiya Vaisnava Sampradaya, as presented in Bhagavad-gita As It Is.

"Without being empowered by the direct potency of Lord Krsna to fulfill His desire and without being specifically favored by the Lord, no human being can become the spiritual master of the whole world. He certainly cannot succeed by mental concoction, which is not meant for devotees or religious people. Only an empowered personality can distribute the holy name of the Lord and enjoin all fallen souls to worship Krsna. By distributing the holy name of the Lord, he cleanses the hearts of the most fallen people; therefore he extinguishes the blazing fire of the material world. Not only that, he broadcasts the shining brightness of Krsna's effulgence throughout the world. Such an Acarya, or spiritual master, should be considered nondifferent from Krsna–that is, he should be considered the incarnation of Lord Krsna's potency. Such a personality is "krsna lingita-vigraha"– that is, he is always embraced by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna. Such a person is above the considerations of the varnasrama institution. He is the guru or spiritual master for the entire world, a devotee on the topmost platform, the maha-bhagavata stage, and a paramahamsa-thakura, a spiritual form only fit to be addressed as paramahamsa or thakura." [2]

His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada Thakur has delivered to the world a transcendental treasure-house of instruction in the age-old Vedic Science of God Consciousness, in the form of his books, lectures, etc. These instructions represent the pure unadulterated teachings of the Gaudiya Vaisnava Sampradaya, as handed down through this guru-parampara by the Sampradaya Acaryas. We accept all of Srila Prabhupada's instructions cent percent, without change, as they represent the unalloyed Absolute Truth handed down in the Vedas. Although Sri Krsna may at any time choose to send another self-effulgent nitya-siddha acarya, the instructions of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, under the guidance of guru, sadhu and sastra, represent Absolute authority in the Society.

The authorized books of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada shall be considered absolute and unchangeable. This includes all authorized literatures produced during His Divine Grace's lila period. Unless specifically requested by His Divine Grace, no revisions or editing shall be considered bona fide or acceptable, and on the principle of arsa prayoga, no changes shall be made in future to His Divine Grace's authorized books.

"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." [19]

In the same way that we accept Srila Prabhupada's authorized books without change, Members of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness As It Is adopt and promote the mood and methods of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada for executing the mission of his spiritual society. Srila Prabhupada's mood, methods and standards shall be emulated and replicated to the greatest degree possible in all areas of practicing and preaching Krsna Consciousness, adjusted only as necessary to meet present circumstances and facilitate preaching.

It is not our business to re-create Srila Prabhupada's mission, which embodies the lila pastimes of the pure devotee. Our business is to manifest the Founder-Acarya's vision within our mission, which is built upon his own. Although the daivi-varnasrama system had not yet been put in place during Srila Prabhupada's manifest lila, it was his desire that it be established. The International Society for Krishna Consciousness As It Is shall therefore dedicate itself to establishing daivi-varnasrama, which serves as the sastrically defined model for our own mission in society according to present time, place and circumstance (desa-kala-patra).

The Society shall be based on the philosophical constructs, standards and practices instructed by His Divine Grace during his manifest lila, however he is no longer physically present to oversee the Society, thus the dynamics of his ISKCON lila cannot be re-created. His Divine Grace requested that his followers not appoint or elect a successor acarya in the Society, thus the Members shall collectively and personally try to please His Divine Grace by embracing his mood, vision and standards as they are represented by the principles of this Constitution.

Members of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness As It Is accept the dictates found in authorized Vaisnava sastra on the matter of initiation. We accept the sastric imperative for the bona fide spiritual seeker to aspire for acceptance into the Sampradaya through formal diksa initiation. We accept the sastric imperative that when the bona fide Spiritual Master departs, his spiritually qualified disciples are free to accept the responsibility of becoming diksa (bona fide) gurus. These relationships, properly engaged, in no way diminish the role of Srila Prabhupada as the Founder-Acarya.

We accept the parity of siksa and diksa-guru, and the sastric imperative that initiation is a connection to the eternal sampradaya brought about by transmission of knowledge through the Brahma-Madhva-Gaudiya Vaisnava via medium who is following the predecessor Acaryas in the Sampradaya, and particularly the most recent, preeminent Acarya − His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.

We reject the notion that an organizational body or a collective of leaders of a matha or spiritual institution are authorized by sastra and the Sampradaya's Acaryas to withhold permission for any qualified disciple to become a bona fide representative of the Sampradaya by giving diksa initiation following the departure of his own Spiritual Master. Likewise, we reject the notion that such an institutional body or collective of leaders has the right to withhold permission for any qualified disciple to enter into the sannyasa asrama.

Members of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness As It Is accept the Governing Body Commission construct established by His Divine Grace, and members of the GBC body who are acting in accordance with Srila Prabhupada's instructions for how this Governing Body is to function.