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Former acaryas

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Srimad-Bhagavatam

SB Canto 4

In this verse there are two significant words: yogena, "by the approved method," and dṛṣṭena, "as exemplified by the former ācāryas." One is mistaken if he thinks that by applying modern machines such as tractors, grains can be produced. If one goes to a desert and uses a tractor, there is still no possibility of producing grains.
SB 4.18.8, Purport:

When there is a scarcity of grain, the government should follow the methods prescribed in the śāstra and approved by the ācāryas; thus there will be a sufficient production of grains, and food scarcity and famine can be checked. Bhagavad-gītā recommends that we perform yajña, sacrifices. By the performance of yajña, sufficient clouds gather in the sky, and when there are sufficient clouds, there is also sufficient rainfall. In this way agricultural matters are taken care of. When there is sufficient grain production, the general populace eats the grains, and animals like cows, goats and other domestic animals eat the grasses and grains also. According to this arrangement, human beings should perform the sacrifices recommended in the śāstras, and if they do so there will no longer be food scarcity. In Kali-yuga, the only sacrifice recommended is saṅkīrtana-yajña.

In this verse there are two significant words: yogena, "by the approved method," and dṛṣṭena, "as exemplified by the former ācāryas." One is mistaken if he thinks that by applying modern machines such as tractors, grains can be produced. If one goes to a desert and uses a tractor, there is still no possibility of producing grains. We may adopt various means, but it is essential to know that the planet earth will stop producing grains if sacrifices are not performed. The earth has already explained that because nondevotees are enjoying the production of food, she has reserved food seeds for the performance of sacrifice. Now, of course, atheists will not believe in this spiritual method of producing grains, but whether they believe or not, the fact remains that we are not independent to produce grain by mechanical means. As far as the approved method is concerned, it is enjoined in the śāstras that intelligent men in this age will take to the saṅkīrtana movement, and by so doing they shall worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead Lord Caitanya, whose bodily complexion is golden and who is always accompanied by His confidential devotees to preach this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement all over the world. In its present condition, the world can only be saved by introducing this saṅkīrtana, this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. As we have learned from the previous verse, one who is not in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is considered a thief. Even though he may be materially very advanced, a thief cannot be placed in a comfortable position. A thief is a thief, and he is punishable. Because people are without Kṛṣṇa consciousness, they have become thieves, and consequently they are being punished by the laws of material nature. No one can check this, not even by introducing so many relief funds and humanitarian institutions. Unless the people of the world take to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, there will be a scarcity of food and much suffering.

Lectures

Bhagavad-gita As It Is Lectures

Those who are devotees, those who are following the principles of devotion, they see the ideal. Well, our former ācārya or former devotee, I mean to say, guru or spiritual master, he had so much money, and he distributed in this way.
Lecture on BG 3.21-25 -- New York, May 30, 1966:

The same thing just we have explained before, that the results should be given to God. Just like Rūpa Gosvāmī. Rūpa Gosvāmī... The other day I cited the example. When they retired, they brought home two boats full of gold coins, millions of rupees. But before retirement they spent 50 percent of the accumulation of wealth for God's cost. And 25 percent he distributed to the relatives. They also expect some money. And 25 percent they kept in the bank for personal needs in some extraordinary times. So here Kṛṣṇa also said that saktāḥ karmaṇy avidvāṁsaḥ. Just like fool, those who are after sense gratification, as they are working with full attachment, that "I must have this money. I must accumulate this bank balance and so on, so on," so similarly, yathā kurvanti bhārata, as they devote, similarly, vidvāṁs... Vidvān means learned also may work in that way, but he would spend the money in such a way that is example. That is example. That example—"Oh, such a big man, such a rich man. He distributed his money..." Just like Rūpa Gosvāmī. He distributed his money like this. Oh.

Therefore those who are devotees, those who are following the principles of devotion, they see the ideal. Well, our former ācārya or former devotee, I mean to say, guru or spiritual master, he had so much money, and he distributed in this way. The distribution, money, was accepted like that. So people would follow that. So Kṛṣṇa advises Arjuna that "You also become an ideal man, that you become a fighter for the cause of God. Then you become the ideal man. Your principle will be followed by others."

Srimad-Bhagavatam Lectures

Prahlāda Mahārāja is our ācārya, former ācārya. So following his footsteps, we have to do that. Everyone did that, preaching. Preaching is required. People are in ignorance. They do not know what is God, what is his relationship with God. Therefore preaching is necessary. So Prahlāda Mahārāja was doing that.
Lecture on SB 7.5.22-30 -- London, September 8, 1971:

So Hiraṇyakaśipu did not like that his son was becoming a devotee. So he chastised the teachers because he was king, emperor, very powerful. He conquered all the universal planets, he was so powerful. So the teachers became very much frightened. So when they were asked, "What nonsense you have taught my boy, spoiled? He has become a devotee," so they said,

na mat praṇītaṁ na para-praṇītaṁ
suto vadaty eṣa tavendra-śatro
naisargikīyaṁ matir asya rājan
niyaccha manyuṁ kad adāḥ sma mā naḥ

So the teacher said, "Sir, we have not taught this. I do not know how your son has learned all this devotional service. By nature he is so like that." Prahlāda was doing that. Because the teachers were very much cautious that "This Prahlāda has got tendency to become a devotee," so they were very careful. But Prahlāda Mahārāja, what he did do, as soon as there is tiffin hours, all the teachers gone, he would immediately call all the class friends and stand up on the bench and speak on bhagavad-bhakti. Perhaps you have seen that picture. That teaching is there. If there is time we shall..., how he was teaching his class friend to become devotee. Just like our boys going on the street try to teach all others how to learn devotional service. This is our business. Prahlāda Mahārāja is our ācārya, former ācārya. So following his footsteps, we have to do that. Everyone did that, preaching. Preaching is required. People are in ignorance. They do not know what is God, what is his relationship with God. Therefore preaching is necessary. So Prahlāda Mahārāja was doing that. Therefore the teacher said that naisargikīyaṁ matir asya rājan niyaccha manyum: "Don't be unnecessarily angry upon us. We did not teach him. By nature he is like that."

General Lectures

Guru means Kṛṣṇa's representative, former ācāryas' representative. Kṛṣṇa's... All ācāryas are representative of Kṛṣṇa; therefore guru should be offered the same respect as you offer to God.
Lecture What is a Guru? -- London, August 22, 1973:

Who needs a guru? A third-class, fourth-class man, ordinary man, doesn't require a guru. Guru, to keep a guru or to have a guru is not a fashion. One who is very serious to understand spiritual life, he requires a guru. Otherwise, there is no need of guru. Just like you keep a dog as a fashion, don't keep a guru. Guru means..., is a question of necessity. One must be very serious to understand what is spiritual life, what is God, what is my relation with God, how to act. When we are very much serious about this subject matter, then we require a guru. Don't go to a guru as a matter of fashion. That is useless. That is useless. Therefore śāstra says, tasmād guruṁ prapadyeta. Because we have to go to guru and surrender there. Without surrendering, you cannot learn anything. If you want to challenge guru, it is not possible. Then you'll learn nothing. Tasmad guruṁ prapadyeta. Praṇipātena. So, just like Arjuna accepted Kṛṣṇa as guru, he said, śiṣyas te 'haṁ śādhi māṁ tvāṁ prapannam: (BG 2.7) "I am now surrendered to you." That is the process. Tad viddhi praṇipātena paripraśnena sevayā (BG 4.34). To... Guru means Kṛṣṇa's representative, former ācāryas' representative. Kṛṣṇa's... All ācāryas are representative of Kṛṣṇa; therefore guru should be offered the same respect as you offer to God. Tasmād guruṁ prapadyeta (SB 11.3.21). Therefore Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura says, yasya prasādād bhagavat-prasādo **. Because guru is bona fide representative of Kṛṣṇa, or God, so if you surrender to guru, bona fide guru, that means you surrender to God. God is accepting your surrender through the guru. Yasya prasādād bhagavat-prasādo. If you surrender to guru, that means Kṛṣṇa is pleased. Kṛṣṇa says in the Bhagavad-gītā, sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja: (BG 18.66) surrender. That somebody argues, "Where is Kṛṣṇa? I shall surrender." No. You surrender to His representative, then you surrender to Kṛṣṇa. This is the process.

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