Note: Even from a technical point of view what one hears from the tape is IDENTICAL to what one hears in the actual class. The devotees originally heard Srila Prabhupada's classes through a microphone/amplifier/speakers.
The same sound vibration converted to electronic waves was fed to the tape recorder as to the amplifier and when the tapes are played back we hear exactly the same thing as the devotees originally heard through the loud-speakers… So we can all hear directly from Srila Prabhupada…
"I am so pleased that you are feeling for me and listening to my old tapes with pleasure. As you are remembering our old meeting days on the second avenue, when I first started my lectures there, similarly I also remember the incidents and speak to so many friends and disciples. So our meeting was Krishna's desire. Apparently it was accidental but actually it was Krishna's plan. So we should always remember this plan of Krishna and must continue to work jointly for advancement of Krishna Consciousness movement in this part of the world. I shall always pray to Krishna to give you more and more strength and confidence in this great responsibility and I shall pray for your long life to execute this mission." Srila Prabhupada letter November 18, 1968
"I am very encouraged to learn that you have your own radio show for one hour every Sunday morning. Here in Los Angeles I have so many tapes of my singing prayers, chanting new tunes of Hare Krishna, playing mridanga, and purports to prayers. So if you think that some of these tapes will be nice for your program, I will have copies made of some of them and have them sent to you." Srila Prabhupada letter August 2, 1969
Note: Below is the main quote ISKCON use to support their philosophy: EVEN IF YOU READ SRILA PRABHUPADA'S BOOKS YOU CANNOT UNDERSTAND. THE DISCIPLE MUST UNDERSTAND EVERYTHING THROUGH HIS OWN SPIRITUAL MASTER, AND NOT ATTEMPT TO INDEPENDENTLY UNDERSTAND SRILA PRABHUPADA!
Note: The next quote follows on from the paragraph we have already quoted above where Srila Prabhupada says we have to understand Bhagavad-gita as Arjuna did. He sees no problem in understanding what Arjuna says in the Bhagavad-gita. What follows is an analogy used to describe that we have to understand Bhagavad-gita as Arjuna did as he heard it directly form Krishna, but ISKCON have picked up a quote from the middle and taken it completely out of context. (ISKCON's quote is in capitals)
"So if you want to understand Bhagavad-gita, then we must understand in the same way as the person who directly heard from. THIS IS CALLED PARAMPARA SYSTEM. SUPPOSE I HAVE HEARD SOMETHING FROM MY SPIRITUAL MASTER, SO I SPEAK TO YOU THE SAME THING. SO THIS IS PARAMPARA SYSTEM. YOU CANNOT IMAGINE WHAT MY SPIRITUAL MASTER SAID. OR EVEN IF YOU READ SOME BOOKS, YOU CANNOT UNDERSTAND UNLESS YOU UNDERSTAND IT FROM ME. THIS IS CALLED PARAMPARA SYSTEM. YOU CANNOT JUMP OVER TO THE SUPERIOR GURU, NEGLECTING THE NEXT ACARYA, IMMEDIATE NEXT ACARYA. Just like our, this Gau…, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's cult; we cannot understand Chaitanya Mahaprabhu directly. It is not possible. We have to understand through the Gosvamis. Therefore, you'll find in the Chaitanya-Charitamrita and at the end of every chapter, the writer says,
sri-rupa-ragunatha-pade yara asa Chaitanya-Charitamrita kahe krishna-dasa
"This is the process. He does not say that "I've understood Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu directly." No. That is not understanding. That is foolishness.
You cannot understand what is Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Therefore, repeatedly he says, rupa-ragunatha-pade… "I am that Krishna dasa, Kaviraja, who is always under the subordination of the Gosvamis." This is parampara system.
Similarly, Narottama dasa Thakura also says, ei chay gosai jar mui tar das, "I am servant of that person who has accepted this six Gosvamis as his master. I am not going to be servant of any other person who does not accept the way and means of…" Therefore, we say or we offer our prayer to our spiritual master, rupanuga-varaya te, rupanuga-varaya te, because he follows Rupa Gosvami, therefore we accept, spiritual master.
Not that one has become more than Rupa Gosvami or more than… No. Tandera carana-sebi-bhakta-sane vas. This is the parampara system." Srila Prabhupada lecture December 8, 1973 Los Angeles, California
Note: After explaining all of this Srila Prabhupada further clarifies in the next paragraph that physical presence is not required! But, of course, ISKCON have not let us know that…
"Now here, the same thing is repeated: Arjuna, who directly heard from Krishna. Sometimes some people say that 'Arjuna heard directly from Krishna, but we don't find Krishna in our presence, so how can I accept?' IT IS NOT A QUESTION OF DIRECT PRESENCE, BECAUSE YOU HAVE NO IDEA OF THE ABSOLUTE KNOWLEDGE. Krishna's words, Bhagavad-gita, is not different from Krishna. It's not different from Krishna. WHEN YOU HEAR BHAGAVAD-GITA, YOU ARE DIRECTLY HEARING FROM KRISHNA, BECAUSE KRISHNA IS NOT DIFFERENT. Krishna is absolute.
Krishna, Krishna's name, Krishna's form, Krishna's quality, Krishna's instruction, everything Krishna's, they're all Krishna. They're all Krishna. This has to be understood. They're not different from Krishna. Therefore, Krishna's form here, He's Krishna. He's not a statue. "He's a marble statue." No. He's Krishna. He has appeared before you because you cannot see Krishna. You can see stone, wood; therefore, He has appeared in that form. You think that it is stone and wood, but He's not stone and wood; He's Krishna. This is called Absolute Truth. Similarly, Krishna's words are also not different from Krishna. When Krishna's words are there in the Bhagavad-gita, it's Krishna."
Note: So ISKCON's selective quoting from Srila Prabhupada's words is very misleading. They have not let us know, "IT IS NOT A QUESTION OF DIRECT PRESENCE, BECAUSE YOU HAVE NO IDEA OF THE ABSOLUTE KNOWLEDGE." It's a most mischievous presentation indeed. And they do this over and over and over again in their paper.
Note: To give another example of the same point the authors of ISKCON's paper go on to quote:
"And again in answering a question from an Indian lady at his lecture:
Indian lady: How does one contact the spiritual master? Through a book can you contact the spiritual master?
Srila Prabhupada: No, you have to associate.
Syamasundara: "Can you associate through a book?" she asked.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes, through books, and also personal. Because when you make a spiritual master you have got personal touch. Not that in air you make a spiritual master. You make a spiritual master concrete. So as soon as you make a spiritual master, you should be inquisitive.
Srila Prabhupada conversation London, England September 23, 1969
However ISKCON fail to let us know about the women's next question and Srila Prabhupada's answer:
Indian lady: Can the death of a spiritual master take to us, or I can get… Is that spiritual master still guiding after the death?
Srila Prabhupada: YES, YES. JUST LIKE KRISHNA IS GUIDING US, SIMILARLY, SPIRITUAL MASTER WILL GUIDE. We are being guided by Krishna, by the Bhagavad-gita.
Although Krishna is not physically present, so- called… Krishna is present always. BUT EVEN IF WE SAY THAT KRISHNA IS NOT PHYSICALLY PRESENT AS HE WAS PRESENT BEFORE ARJUNA, STILL HIS BOOK, BHAGAVAD-GITA IS THERE. AND THAT BOOK BHAGAVAD-GITA IS NONDIFFERENT FROM KRISHNA. KRISHNA AND KRISHNA'S TEACHING, THE SAME, ABSOLUTE. That is Absolute Truth. Krishna and Krishna's… Here form, the same. It is not that we are making show of offering Krishna some food.
No, we are offering directly to Krishna and He's eating. Krishna being absolute, He can perform through anything provided we are sincere and serious. All right. (end)
Note: So Krishna may not be physically present, but His book, Bhagavad-gita, is there. And that is non-different from Krishna. Similarly, Srila Prabhupada may not be physically present, however his books, letters, conversations, classes, morning works, bhajans, press interviews, etc., etc., are there and they are the same, absolute. It is the vani, the instruction of Srila Prabhupada and there is no difference between the vani [instruction] and vapu [physical presence].
"Although according to material vision His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada passed away from this material world on the last day of December, 1936, I still consider His Divine Grace to be always present with me by his vani, his words. There are two ways of association–by vani and by vapu. Vani means words, and vapu means physical presence. Physical presence is sometimes appreciable and sometimes not, but vani continues to exist eternally. Therefore, we must take advantage of the vani, not the physical presence. Bhagavad-gita, for example, is the vani of Lord Krishna. Although Krishna was personally present five thousand years ago and is no longer physically present from the materialistic point of view, Bhagavad-gita continues." (Concluding Words from Chaitanya-Charitamrita)
Note: There are so many examples of partial quotes taken out of context and presented by ISKCON in their paper to give an impression which differs from the one Srila Prabhupada originally intended. There are a few examples below:
In this example you can see Srila Prabhupada talks about TWO qualifications required for becoming a spiritual master, however the editors of ISKCON's paper have only included one of them and have carefully edited the other one out!! [ISKCON’s quote is in capital letters]
"In the Kathopanisad also it is said that tad-vijnanartham gurum eva abhigacchet: "IF YOU WANT TO UNDERSTAND THE TRANSCENDENTAL SCIENCE, THEN YOU HAVE TO APPROACH A SPIRITUAL MASTER." AND WHO IS A SPIRITUAL MASTER? Oh, nowadays everyone wants to be spiritual master. Oh, that is also mentioned, who is spiritual master. Samit-panih srotriyam brahma-nistham: "You have to approach a spiritual master who is srotriyam and brahma-nistham." Srotriyam means who has come down from the disciplic succession, or from the Supreme. Just like we have understood in the Fourth Chapter, in the beginning of the Fourth Chapter, evam parampara-praptam imam rajarsayo viduh. There is a parampara; there is disciplic succession.
So ONE WHO IS COMING INTO THAT DISCIPLIC SUCCESSION AND BY COMING FROM THAT DISCIPLIC SUCCESSION, HE IS FIRMLY CONVERSANT IN THE ABSOLUTE TRUTH, HE IS GURU. Two qualifications. Tad viddhi pranipatena pariprasnena."
Note: So it is a very dishonest presentation indeed. From reading ISKCON's edited quote one gets the idea that simply by coming in the disciplic succession one is automatically "firmly conversant in the absolute truth. He is guru." But they have completely edited out the other necessary qualification, brahma-nistham…
"SO THERE IS NO BAR FOR ANYONE, THAT ONE CANNOT BECOME THE SPIRITUAL MASTER. EVERYONE CAN BECOME THE SPIRITUAL MASTER, PROVIDED HE KNOWS THE SCIENCE OF KRISHNA. And that is very reasonable. If you do not this, do not know the subject matter, how can you be a teacher? Eh? A teacher means he knows the thing. He knows the science. So only qualification of the spiritual master, as Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu says, kiba sudra, kiba vipra, nyasi kene naya, yei krishna-tattva-vetta: 'Anyone who knows the science of Krishna…' This is the science of Krishna, this Bhagavad-gita. If anyone knows perfectly, then he becomes the spiritual master..” Srila Prabhupada lecture, New York, NY August 17, 1966
Note: Here ISKCON have [has] not changed the meaning, however they have changed the emphasis of what Srila Prabhupada is saying. Srila Prabhupada does say "Everyone can become the spiritual master," however he adds a warning, "If you do not do this, do not know the subject matter, how can you be a teacher? Er? A teacher means he knows the thing. He knows the science".
Note: Then he stresses it again and finally, for a third time he says, "If anyone knows PERFECTLY, then he becomes the spiritual master…" So Srila Prabhupada is stressing so many times one can only be a spiritual master if he knows the science of Krishna perfectly but ISKCON have[has] put the stress on "Everyone can become the spiritual master."
"Lord Chaitanya says that 'EVERY ONE OF YOU BECOME THE SPIRITUAL MASTER, EVERY ONE OF YOU. WHY ONE, TWO? EVERY ONE OF YOU' 'OH, SPIRITUAL MASTER IS VERY DIFFICULT JOB.' NO. NO DIFFICULT JOB. CHAITANYA MAHA… AMARA AJNAYA: 'JUST TRY TO CARRY OUT MY ORDER. THAT'S ALL. THEN YOU BECOME SPIRITUAL MASTER.' And if you interpolate, if you put something nonsense, rubbish, to show your so-called rascal's education, then it is spoiled. Immediately spoiled. And if you present as it is, then it is pure." (690509BG.COL Lectures)
Note: Once again we see Srila Prabhupada stating that "Everyone can become the spiritual master," but he goes on to qualify the statement that if we interpolate, put some nonsense, rubbish to show our so-called rascal's education, then it is spoiled. But ISKCON have [has] made it sound rather cheap by putting the stress on "Just try to carry out My order. That's all. Then you become spiritual master…" So without the qualification the message is different.
"Everything is there. Satam prasangan. FROM A BONA FIDE SPIRITUAL MASTER, YOU RECEIVE KNOWLEDGE, BECAUSE HE WILL PRESENT AS HE HAS RECEIVED FROM HIS SPIRITUAL MASTER. HE'LL NOT ADULTERATE OR MANUFACTURE SOMETHING. THAT IS THE BONA FIDE SPIRITUAL MASTER AND THAT IS VERY EASY. TO BECOME SPIRITUAL MASTER IS NOT VERY DIFFICULT THING. YOU'LL HAVE TO BECOME SPIRITUAL MASTER.
YOU, ALL MY DISCIPLES, EVERYONE SHOULD BECOME SPIRITUAL MASTER. IT IS NOT DIFFICULT. IT IS DIFFICULT WHEN YOU MANUFACTURE SOMETHING. BUT IF YOU SIMPLY PRESENT WHATEVER YOU HAVE HEARD FROM YOUR SPIRITUAL MASTER, IT IS VERY EASY. If you want to become over intelligent, to present something, to interpret something, whatever over you have heard from spiritual master you can make some further addition, alteration, then you'll spoil whole thing.
Then you'll spoil whole thing. Don't make addition or alteration. Simply present as it is. Therefore, we have begun Bhagavad-gita as It Is. DON'T TRY TO BECOME OVER SPIRITUAL MASTER. THEN YOU'LL SPOIL. REMAIN ALWAYS A SERVANT OF YOUR SPIRITUAL MASTER AND PRESENT THE THING AS YOU HAVE HEARD.
YOU'LL BE SPIRITUAL MASTER. THAT IS SECRET. YOU SHOULD KNOW IT. DON'T TRY TO BECOME OVERINTELLIGENT, THAT WILL SPOIL. Evam parampara praptam imam rajarsayo viduh. This is the..” Srila Prabhupada lecture, London, England August 22, 1973
Note: Once again ISKCON have quoted the "it’s easy to become a spiritual master section but have edited out many of the qualifying statements…
Nowadays ISKCON have their "New, Revised and Enlarged" versions of Srila Prabhupada's books containing so many additions and alterations… they have "improved" on Srila Prabhupada's work in so many ways, so how can they quote Srila Prabhupada saying: "If you want to become over intelligent, to present something, to interpret something, whatever over you have heard from spiritual master you can make some further addition, alteration, then you'll spoil whole thing. Then you'll spoil whole thing. Don't make addition or alteration. Simply present as it is…"
"REGARDING YOUR QUESTION ABOUT THE DISCIPLIC SUCCESSION COMING DOWN FROM ARJUNA, IT IS JUST LIKE I HAVE GOT MY DISCIPLES, SO IN THE FUTURE THESE MANY DISCIPLES MAY HAVE MANY BRANCHES OF DISCIPLIC SUCCESSION. So in one line of disciples we may not see another name coming from a different line.
But this does not mean that person whose name does not appear was not in the disciplic succession. Narada was the Spiritual Master of Vyasadeva, and Arjuna was Vyasadeva's disciple, not as initiated disciple but there was some blood relation between them. So there is connection in this way, and it is not possible to list all such relationships in the short description given in Bhagavad-gita As It Is. Another point is that disciplic succession does not mean one has to be directly a disciple of a particular person…"
Note: Here we find a VERY IMPORTANT principle in the text discarded by ISKCON, "Another point is that disciplic succession does not mean one has to be directly a disciple of a particular person…"
I have not looked up many of the quotes in ISKCON's paper as they have made it very difficult by not giving the proper references. They have just given the date. So unless one searches for the quote in Folio there's no way of telling if it comes from a class, a morning walk, a letter, a private conversation with devotees, a press interview, etc. They have mixed up everything and given no indication whatsoever where any of their quotes come from, just a date…
So the paper is a very dishonest presentation indeed, particularly since they call their list of quotes a "Chronology of Srila Prabhupada's Instructions" as if they were giving a general cross-section of Srila Prabhupada's instructions on the guru issue, however, as you can see from this article, they have not even honestly presented some of the quotes they have carefully selected.
They have selected quotes they can use to support their own ideas and carefully trimmed them to remove anything Srila Prabhupada says contrary to their ideas. It is a VERY dishonest paper indeed…
"These books are the life of human society. Others may be disturbed, but they cannot disturb this Srimad-Bhagavatam. Let any man come, but here they cannot touch. We are putting these books for deliberation before the topmost thinkers of human society. Therefore, I have to see that in all languages all of our books are published. If we strain, and if he takes one book home, some day people will come to understand what valuable knowledge they have received. It is transcendental literature. Nobody can challenge it. It is done so nicely, without any spot, the spotless Purana. Please continue like this to print books in all the languages for the benefit of suffering, misdirected humanity.” Srila Prabhupada letter May 4, 1976
Srila Prabhupada: So I cannot speak. I am feeling very weak. I was to go to other places like Chandigarh program, but I cancelled the program because the condition of my health is very deteriorating. So I preferred to come to Vrndavana. If death takes place, let it take here. So there is nothing to be said new. Whatever I have to speak, I have spoken in my books. Now you try to understand it and continue your endeavor. Whether I am present or not present, it doesn't matter. As Krishna is living eternally, similarly, living being also lives eternally. But kirtir yasya sa jivati: "One who has done service to the Lord lives forever." So you have been taught to serve Krishna, and with Krishna we'll live eternally. Our life is eternal. Na hanyate hanyamane sarire. A temporary disappearance of this body, it doesn't matter. Body is meant for disappearance. Tatha dehantara-praptih. So live forever by serving Krishna. Thank you very much.
Devotees: Jaya! (offer obeisances) Srila Prabhupada Arrival Address Vrindavana, India May 17, 1977
"…But why we are bothering? Because we are servant of Krishna. Krishna wants that these rascals should be informed. These rascals should be raised from this status of ignorance. So that is our mission. Therefore, we are going and pleading, 'Sir, I am a beggar, I have come to beg from you that you kindly purchase one book and you read it.' So sometimes they are doing.
After all, human being… So this is our… This is our business. We are stressing on pushing on these books because modern man, if he purchases one book, then at least he will see one line, 'What these nonsense have written?' So if he reads one line, if he is intelligent man, he will understand the value. That is sure. That is sure." Srila Prabhupada lecture, London, England March 11, 1975
"Yes, have London pay BBT as much as possible. They owe a great amount. Regarding record albums, it is something sentimental. They will purchase and hear for some time and throw it and purchase another. A book purchased will remain, and once even one line is read, that will benefit the reader." Srila Prabhupada letter September 7, 1974
"The remedy is there. If you like, you can take it. If a man is suffering from some disease, the remedy is there, the physician is there, but if he does not take advantage, then that is his business. What can be done? This is very nice… Every Bhagavata, every line is so important." Srila Prabhupada conversation London, England March 9, 1975
All glories to Srila Prabhupada!
Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!