Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta – Adi 7.107
“The material defects of mistakes, illusions, cheating and sensory inefficiency do not exist in the words of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
A mistake is the acceptance of an object to be different than what it is or the acceptance of false knowledge. For example, one may see a rope in the dark and think it to be a serpent, or one may see a glittering oyster shell and think it to be gold. These are mistakes. Similarly, an illusion is a misunderstanding that arises from inattention while hearing, and cheating is the transmission of such defective knowledge to others. Materialistic scientists and philosophers generally use such words as "maybe" and "perhaps" because they do not have actual knowledge of complete facts. Therefore their instructing others is an example of cheating. The final defect of the materialistic person is his inefficient senses. Although our eyes, for example, have the power to see, they cannot see that which is situated at a distance, nor can they see the eyelid, which is the object nearest to the eye. To our untrained eyes the sun appears to be just like a plate, and to the eyes of one who is suffering from jaundice everything appears to be yellow. Therefore we cannot rely on the knowledge acquired through such imperfect eyes. The ears are equally imperfect. We cannot hear a sound vibrated a long distance away unless we put a telephone to our ear. Similarly, if we analyze all our senses in this way, we will find them all to be imperfect. Therefore it is useless to acquire knowledge through the senses. The Vedic process is to hear from authority. In the Bhagavad-gita (4.2) the Lord says, evam parampara-praptam imam rajarsayo viduh: "The supreme science was thus received through the chain of disciplic succession, and the saintly kings understood it in that way." We have to hear not from a telephone but from an authorized person, for it is he who has real knowledge.
The manifestations of the mode of goodness can be experienced when all the gates of the body are illuminated by knowledge.
There are nine gates in the body: two eyes, two ears, two nostrils, the mouth, the genital and the anus. In every gate, when the symptom of goodness is illuminated, it should be understood that one has developed the mode of goodness. In the mode of goodness, one can see things in the right position, one can hear things in the right position, and one can taste things in the right position. One becomes cleansed inside and outside. In every gate there is development of the symptoms of happiness, and that is the position of goodness.
In the Bhagavad-gita Srila Prabhupada tells us in the above purport that one in mode of goodness can hear things in the right position, or in other words he does not “hear” or see or touch or feel or think – that which is not there.
He also says, “an illusion is a misunderstanding that arises from inattention while hearing,” This means if we are inattentive while chanting Hare Krishna mantra (which is the 10th offense) we are still in some sort of illusion(s) which is why we have all sorts of illusory explanations regarding guru tattva, etc. When we have many conclusions from many different devotees this means we are not accepting the words of Srila Prabhupada verbatim, as he asks. Many opinions also means we are not following the 4 regulative principles, of which the 4th one is no gambling or speculation.
This verse from Adi-lila above is very instructive for conditioned souls. We must know for a fact that most of us are conditioned because to be liberated means we do not have these sensory defects mentioned in the above verse. It is very clear, we are either conditioned or liberated as there is no half way position, like 75% liberated. When Krishna tells Maya devi to release us from her clutches, at that point when she releases us, then we are liberated, and not before.
So Srila Prabhupada defines a mistake as the acceptance of an object to be different than what it is or the acceptance of false knowledge. So to make this easy to understand, if we accept somebody as a bona fide spiritual master and he does not fit the sastric descriptions, then we have made a huge mistake – especially if we accept him as our own “guru”. Similarly, when Srila Prabhupada calls his representatives who will initiate new disciples in the future as officiating acharyas, or ritviks, then this means we must accept verbatim the terminology he has used. It has now become fashionable for devotees to just generate their own definitions of this person who is giving initiation and how he does it on behalf of Srila Prabhupada.
Now the very next verse in Chaitanya-charitamrta Adi lila explains why and how this fashionable mental concoction activity takes place.
"The Absolute Truth is described by the Upanisads and Brahma-sutra, but one must understand the verses as they are. That is the supreme glory in understanding.
It has become fashionable since the time of Sankaracharya to explain everything regarding the sastras in an indirect way. Scholars take pride in explaining everything in their own way, and they declare that one can understand the Vedic scriptures in any way he likes. This "any way you like" method is foolishness, and it has created havoc in the Vedic culture. One cannot accept scientific knowledge in his own whimsical way. In the science of mathematics, for example, two plus two equals four, and one cannot make it equal three or five. Yet although it is not possible to alter real knowledge, people have taken to the fashion of understanding Vedic knowledge in any way they like. It is for this reason that we have presented Bhagavad-gita As It Is. We do not create meanings by concoction. Sometimes commentators say that the word kuruksetra in the first verse of the Bhagavad-gita refers to one's body, but we do not accept this. We understand that Kuruksetra is a place that still exists, and according to the Vedic version it is a dharma-ksetra, or a place of pilgrimage. People still go there to perform Vedic sacrifices. Foolish commentators, however, say that kuruksetra means the body and that pancha-pandava refers to the five senses. In this way they distort the meaning, and people are misled. Here Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu confirms that all Vedic literature, including the Upanisads, Brahma-sutra and others, whether sruti, smrti or nyaya, must be understood according to their original statements. To describe the direct meaning of the Vedic scriptures is glorious, but to describe them in one's own way, using imperfect senses and imperfect knowledge, is a disastrous blunder. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu fully deprecated the attempt to describe the Vedas in this way.
Srila Prabhupada says above that “we do not create meanings by concoction.” But it has become' “fashionable” he also says today, to do such things. For example, now among the so-called camp where devotees accept that Srila Prabhupada can and does accept disciples now and into the future, some have come up with various descriptions for the person doing the fire sacrifice initiation ceremony. Some of these devotees flat-out say that they “don’t accept the ritvik system but accept the “Prabhupada Acharya” system instead, whatever that means. Some say they are not comfortable with the word ritvik and prefer to say he is the Prominent link. And there are many others like these, but none of these devotees will call it what Srila Prabhupada himself called it.
He said when asked, on tape, that these devotees are his Officiating Acharyas, and Tamala Krishna Gosvami asked if that was ritvik acharya to which Srila Prabhupada replied, “ritvik, yes” (May 28th 1977 Vrindavana).
Now let us go the very next verse in Chaitanya-charitamrta Adi lila.
"Sankaracarya is not at fault, for he has thus covered the real purpose of the Vedas under the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
The Vedic literature is to be considered a source of real knowledge, but if one does not take it as it is, one will be misled. For example, the Bhagavad-gita is an important book of Vedic literature that has been taught for many years, but because it was commented upon by unscrupulous rascals, people derived no benefit from it, and no one came to the conclusion of Krishna consciousness. Since the purpose of the Bhagavad-gita is now being presented as it is, however, within four or five short years thousands of people all over the world have become Krishna conscious. That is the difference between direct and indirect explanations of the Vedic literature. Therefore Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said, mukhya-vrttye sei artha parama mahattva: "To teach the Vedic literature according to its direct meaning, without false commentary, is glorious."
We are not trying to pick a fight with other Prabhupadanugas here but are only trying to point out that we should accept Srila Prabhupada's words – verbatim, without change, addition or alterations, otherwise we open the door to later deviations in the parampara which Srila Prabhupada took such trouble to maintain. Just see what they have done to his books! Some devotees will complain we are too dogmatic, too black and white to which we reply, Srila Prabhupada said the only credit he would take, despite all that he did while here, was that he did not change one word he heard from his own spiritual master. That he took as his only credit.
Letter to: Krsna dasa, June 1, 1968
Personally I have no credit for myself, but I am trying to act as faithful servant of my predecessors and just presenting without any adulteration the message which I have received from my Spiritual Master.
Letter to: Kirtanananda, Los Angeles, May 6, 1970
Yes, if it is any credit for me, that is what you have written that I tried to give aural reception to the words of my Spiritual Master, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Goswami Maharaja, and thus I tried to engage my tongue in repeating the same words without any change.
Letter to: Krsna dasa, Surat, December 18, 1970
Actually I cannot claim any credit for myself, but I say if any credit is due, it is due to the fact that I have not deviated from the original instructions. Whatever I have learned from my spiritual master I have presented before you and similarly whatever success you are having only it is due to the purity of the message which you are carrying.
Teachings of Lord Chaitanya
"Unless one is under the shelter of a realized spiritual master, his understanding of the Supreme is simply foolishness."
Lecture – Los Angeles, July 13 1971
Prabhupada: Unless one is prepared that "I am accepting somebody as my spiritual master. I must accept whatever he says," if there is any doubt, that "I cannot accept his words verbatim," then one should not accept him as spiritual master. That is hypocrisy.