The Secret of Success in Spiritual Life

Srila Prabhupada, Secret of Success in Spiritual Life

“The Words of the Spiritual Master”
by Ananda devi dasi

“Believing in the words of His Spiritual Master, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu introduced the Sankirtana movement, just as the present Krishna Consciousness movement was started with belief in the words of our Spiritual Master. He wanted to preach, we believed in his words and tried somehow or other to fulfill them, and now this movement has become successful all over the world. Therefore faith in the words of the Spiritual Master and the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the secret of success. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu never disobeyed the orders of His Spiritual Master and stopped propagating the Sankirtana movement.

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami, at the time of his passing away, ordered all his disciples to work conjointly to preach the message of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu all over the world. Later, however, some self-interested, foolish disciples disobeyed his orders. Each one wanted to become head of the mission, and they fought in the courts, neglecting the orders of their Spiritual Master, and the entire mission was defeated. We are not proud of this, however the truth must be explained. We believed in the words of our Spiritual Master and started in a humble way-in a helpless way – but due to the spiritual force of the Supreme Authority, this movement has become successful.” (From the Chaitanya Charitamrita written and presented by Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, Srila Prabhupada Cc Adi 7.95-96)

When Srila Prabhupada was physically present (vapuh) he was able to write these transcendental books for the purpose of propagating the Sankirtana movement of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Srila Prabhupada’s success was based on his faith of the words of his Spiritual Master. He points out clearly that his Spiritual Master’s mission was defeated by the disciples who did not carry out the orders of the Spiritual Master and more over, Srila Prabhupada clearly explains that he is not proud of this but the truth must be explained.

When a faithful disciple of the Spiritual Master explains these problems in a spiritual movement they are for our consideration.These activities of self-interested, foolish disciples can be repeated and we must be aware of these problems and Srila Prabhupada gives us ideas on how to circumvent these problems.

In Iskcon, Srila Prabhupada’s mission, we have mirrored the same problems, perhaps even more grossly than before, and the Iskcon mission has been defeated by these type of disciples.

“Instruct everyone to follow the orders of Lord Krishna as they are given in Bhagavad-Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam. In this way become a spiritual master and try to liberate everyone in this land.” (Cc Madhya Lila 7.128)

Srila Prabhupada writes thus, “Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhus advised His followers to increase the numbers of Vaisnavas..It is Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s wish that everyone should become a Vaisnava and guru.

Following the instructions of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and His disciplic succession, one can become a spiritual master, for the process is very easy. One can go anywhere and everywhere to preach the instructions of Krishna. Bhagavad-Gita is the instructions of Krishna; therefore the duty of every Vaisnava is to travel and preach Bhagavad-Gita, either in this country or a foreign country.” (Cc Madya 24.277)

“A devotee must carry out the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said, “yare dekha, tare kaha ‘krsna-upadesa.” Every devotee, therefore, should spread Krishna Consciousness by preaching……..” (SB 9.11.25)

The instruction here concerning everyone becoming a spiritual master is clear. The instruction refers plainly to everyone.

Everyone should become a guru and spread the mission by preaching. This is not an instruction for everyone or anyone to be a Diksa Guru, there is no mention of initiating to spread the mission but by preaching.

“Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura said that the position of a Vaisnava can be tested by seeing how good a touchstone he is – that is by seeing how many Vaisnavas he has made during his life. A Vaisnava should be a touchstone so that he can convert others to Vaisnavaism by his preaching, even though people may be fallen like the hunter. There are many so called advanced devotees who sit in a secluded place for their personal benefit.

They do not go out to preach and convert others into Vaisnavas, and therefore they cannot be called sparsa-mani, advanced devotees. Kanistha-adhikari devotees cannot turn others into Vaisnavas, but a Madhyama-adhikari Vaisnava can do so by preaching.” (Cc Madhya 24.277)

“One should not become a Spiritual Master unless he has attained the platform of Uttama-Adhikari. A neophyte (Kanistha) or a Vaisnava situated on the intermediate platform (Madhyama) can also accept disciples, but such disciples must be on the same platform, and it should be understood that they cannot advance very well toward the ultimate goal of life under his insufficient guidance.Therefore a disciple should be careful to accept an Uttama-Adhikari as a Spiritual Master.” (Nectar of Instruction, Text 5 purport,P 58)

It becomes self-evident in the conclusive analysis where the leaders and devotees of Iskcon have not followed the orders of Srila Prabhupada, our Spiritual Master, otherwise Iskcon would be even more successful than in 1977. Srila Prabhupada said the proof of success is in following the orders of the Spiritual Master, his words.

The downhill trend of Iskcon can be traced from 1977, when Srila Prabhupada passed away.There is no debate on this matter. All outside and inside commentators on Iskcon independantly point to the same time of 1977. The scene was already set by those devotees intent on not following the Spiritual Master’s orders by setting up their own system of initiation, continuing the disciplic succession and dividing the Spiritual Master’s assets for themselves.

Clearly in the previous evidence the Spiritual Master is of Uttama-Adhikari status and qualification. The Kanistha-Adhikaris are unable to make Vaisnava what to speak of transsmission of the process of Diksa, as defined by Srila Jiva Goswami and reproduced by Srila Prabhupada in CC Madhya 4.111 and at 15.108. The Madhyama-Adhikari can accept other Madhyama-Adhikari disciples by his ability to preach and convert them to Vaisnavas. But there is no indication that Madhyama-Adhikaris are qualified to initiate disciples and be able to transmit the process of Diksa. The words used in NOI, Text 5 are, that the Madhyama-Adhikari Vaisnavas can accept disciple not initiate disciple.

Which takes us to the words of instruction concerning the platform that disciples can accept the Spiritual Master on, this is Uttama-Adhikari only.

“The guru, Spiritual Master must be situated on the topmost platform of devotional service. There are three classes of devotees (Kanistha, Madhyama and Uttama.), and the guru, Spiritual Master must be accepted from the topmost class.” (CC Madhya-lila 24.330)

“The result is now everyone is claiming to be acharya even though they may be Kanishta adhikari with no ability to preach. In some camps the acharya is being changed three times a year.

Therefore we may not commit the same mistake in our Iskcon. Actually amongst my godbrothers no-one is qualified to become acharya.”
(Letter to Rupanuga Prabhu, 74-4-52)

The same practice of Kanistha-adhikaris is simply recognised by Srila Prabhupada in the Gaudiya Matha. This is the nature of Kanistha. The devotees in Iskcon that also practiced being Acharya within Iskcon were also just Kanistha-Adhikari behaviour. This behaviour is self-evident. But for our recognition Srila Prabhupada pointed this out in a letter to Rupanuga Prabhu. History and hindsight has proved this to be accurate and truthful.The original 11 that usurped Iskcon and changed the path that Srila Prabhupada had put Iskcon on have all behaved and qualified themselves in the category of Kanishta. The illusion that any of these 11 had converted people to Vaisnavas was through Srila Prabhupada’s Books and not directly their own work.

This dual tiered system continues today in a similar fashion. The GBC have voted in many Vaisnavas as Diksa Gurus but their quality is also Kanistha with no ability to convert. What continues to prevail is Srila Prabhupada’s Books preaching to convert Vaisnavas. The actual Gurus only confuse us with their continual contradictions, rhetoric, and extreme behaviour.

Therefore the faith in the words of our Spiritual Master is minimal and this is the evidence that Iskcon is diminished today. The secret of success is in the words of the Spiritual Master as exemplified by Srila Prabhupada. The words is where it begins and the following of the words is where it ends for the disciple.

Anything else is just a compomise. And thats exactly what we see all the time in Iskcon. When we try to “understand” and question the authority of the Spiritual Master then it all comes crashing down around us. When we get Kanisthas trying to imitate and lead us, the mission becomes spoilt. Our mentality is, we know better than the Spiritual Master so we interprete what he means. The words become lost, twisted and changed and the potency is reduced.

“The members of Iskcon must always remember that if they stick to the regulative principles (4) and preach sincerely according to the instructions of the acharyas, surely they will have the profound blessings of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and their preaching work will be successful everywhere throughout the world.” (Cc Adi 7.171)

“Unless one is empowered by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, one cannot spread the Holy Names of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra throughout the world. Persons who do so are empowered. Therefore they are sometimes called Avesha-avatars or incarnations, for they are endowed with the power of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.” (Cc Antya 2.13-14)

“The symptoms of a Sadhu are that he is tolerant, merciful and friendly to all living entities. He has no enemies, he is peaceful, he abides by the scripture, and all his characteristics are sublime.” (Srimad Bhagavatam, 3.25.21)

Please read Srila Prabhupadas purport [full text and purport below]. Here we have the real qualities of the Sadhu, saintly person, not the ones espoused by the Gbc/Gurus of Iskcon. There is no abuse in a Sadhu.  No exploitation,  no contradictions, no changing the philosophy to suit themselves, no sexual abuse of women, children and men.The Spiritual Master, the Guru, are exemplary in nature and behaviour and Srila Prabhupada describes the real qualities in this purport so we can recognise positively the real Sadhus and the real Spiritual Master, his characteristics are sublime.

Srila Prabhupada wins hands down every time. The sincere followers in Iskcon just have to read Srila Prabhupadas Books constantly for us to be reminded of the real nature and characteristics of the Sadhu and Spiritual Master. Srila Prabhupada brings together the Spiritual Master, the Sadhu and the scriptures for us to make appropriate evaluations. For us neophyte devotees coming from such low-class backgrounds in a capitalistic, exploitative animal slaughtering background our sensitivities become minimised at best. We are de-sensitized souls. All we have to raise our consciousness are the words emanating from the mouth of our merciful Spiritual Master, Srila Prabhupada, what else is there?

Reference text and purports;

Srimad Bhagavatam
By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Canto Three, Chapter 25, Text 21

titikṣavaḥ kāruṇikāḥ suhṛdaḥ sarva-dehinām ajāta-śatravaḥ śāntāḥ sādhavaḥ sādhu-bhūṣaṇāḥ

titikṣavaḥ—tolerant; kāruṇikāḥ—merciful; suhṛdaḥ—friendly; sarva-dehinām—to all living entities; ajāta-śatravaḥ—inimical to none; śāntāḥ—peaceful; sādhavaḥ—abiding by scriptures; sādhu-bhūṣaṇāḥ—adorned with sublime characteristics.


The symptoms of a sādhu are that he is tolerant, merciful and friendly to all living entities. He has no enemies, he is peaceful, he abides by the scriptures, and all his characteristics are sublime.


A sādhu, as described above, is a devotee of the Lord. His concern, therefore, is to enlighten people in devotional service to the Lord. That is his mercy. He knows that without devotional service to the Lord, human life is spoiled. A devotee travels all over the country, from door to door, preaching, “Be Kṛṣṇa conscious. Be a devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa. Don’t spoil your life in simply fulfilling your animal propensities. Human life is meant for self-realization, or Kṛṣṇa consciousness.” These are the preachings of a sādhu. He is not satisfied with his own liberation. He always thinks about others. He is the most compassionate personality towards all the fallen souls. One of his qualifications, therefore, is kāruṇika, great mercy to the fallen souls. While engaged in preaching work, he has to meet with so many opposing elements, and therefore the sādhu, or devotee of the Lord, has to be very tolerant. Someone may ill-treat him because the conditioned souls are not prepared to receive the transcendental knowledge of devotional service. They do not like it; that is their disease. The sādhu has the thankless task of impressing upon them the importance of devotional service. Sometimes devotees are personally attacked with violence. Lord Jesus Christ was crucified, Haridāsa Ṭhākura was caned in twenty-two marketplaces, and Lord Caitanya’s principal assistant, Nityānanda, was violently attacked by Jagāi and Mādhāi. But still they were tolerant because their mission was to deliver the fallen souls. One of the qualifications of a sādhu is that he is very tolerant and is merciful to all fallen souls. He is merciful because he is the well-wisher of all living entities. He is not only a well-wisher of human society, but a well-wisher of animal society as well. It is said here, sarva-dehinām, which indicates all living entities who have accepted material bodies. Not only does the human being have a material body, but other living entities, such as cats and dogs, also have material bodies. The devotee of the Lord is merciful to everyone—the cats, dogs, trees, etc. He treats all living entities in such a way that they can ultimately get salvation from this material entanglement. Śivānanda Sena, one of the disciples of Lord Caitanya, gave liberation to a dog by treating the dog transcendentally. There are many instances where a dog got salvation by association with a sādhu, because a sādhu engages in the highest philanthropic activities for the benediction of all living entities. Yet although a sādhu is not inimical towards anyone, the world is so ungrateful that even a sādhu has many enemies.

What is the difference between an enemy and a friend? It is a difference in behavior. A sādhu behaves with all conditioned souls for their ultimate relief from material entanglement. Therefore, no one can be more friendly than a sādhu in relieving a conditioned soul. A sādhu is calm, and he quietly and peacefully follows the principles of scripture. A sādhu means one who follows the principles of scripture and at the same time is a devotee of the Lord. One who actually follows the principles of scripture must be a devotee of God because all the śāstras instruct us to obey the orders of the Personality of Godhead. Sādhu, therefore, means a follower of the scriptural injunctions and a devotee of the Lord. All these characteristics are prominent in a devotee. A devotee develops all the good qualities of the demigods, whereas a nondevotee, even though academically qualified, has no actual good qualifications or good characteristics according to the standard of transcendental realization.

Text pasted from The Hare Krishna