The GBC Prabhupada Position Committee has released an enlightening and detailed book explaining the pre-eminent position of Srila Prabhupada in ISKCON as its Founder-Acarya.
The Prabhupada Position Committee, consisting of sixteen senior devotees including Bhakti Charu Swami, Gopal Krishna Goswami, Hari Sauri Das and Ravindra Svarupa Das is one of the many initiatives created by the GBC Strategic Planning Team, which aims to secure the future of ISKCON.
“Srila Prabhupada: The Founder-Acarya of ISKCON,” was written by ISKCON scholar Ravindra Svarupa Das and published by ISKCON GBC Press. It received an initial hardcover print-run of 25,000 copies and was first distributed at the ISKCON Leadership Sanga this February in Mayapur, West Bengal. It is also now available as an e-book.
“Our main concern [in writing this book] was that, in the very near future, our movement faces a time when all the devotees who had direct experience of Srila Prabhupada will no longer be on the planet,” says Ravindra Svarupa. “And I know from the history of religions that this is always a critical time.”
The Prabhupada Position Committee wanted to make sure that even with the connection of his direct disciples gone, every ISKCON devotee in the future would continue to feel Srila Prabhupada’s presence in their lives.
“Understanding how Srila Prabhupada is in the center of our lives and our society, and knowing how to keep him in that essential role, is the purpose of this text,” the GBC Executive Committee writes in its note at the beginning of the book.
The book, which runs to just 115 pages, begins with a five-page text on “The Position of Srila Prabhupada,” while the remaining pages give a commentary on the points presented within that text.
Some of these include why Srila Prabhupada himself mandated that he be described with the title “Founder-Acarya,” and how he remains the single prominent siksa guru in the lives of each and every ISKCON devotee generation after generation – “a perpetual, indwelling, active guiding and directing presence.”
The book also explains why he founded his own institution, ISKCON, instead of continuing under the banner of the Gaudiya Math; how we can realize the structure Srila Prabhupada wanted for ISKCON; and what will be the outcomes when Srila Prabhupada’s position as Founder-Acarya is realized.
Although it’s a short book, “Srila Prabhupada: The Founder-Acarya of ISKCON” is an extremely detailed academic presentation, with Ravindra Svarupa citing all his sources so that devotees can double-check every point for themselves.
The work is also meticulously researched. To discover many things, including the origins and meaning of the phrase Founder-Acarya – as well as how perfectly Srila Prabhupada emulated his own guru Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati and carried his mission to completion -- Ravindra Svarupa says, “I got a hold of and studied very carefully the English language literature of the Gaudiya Math.”
This included the magazine the Harmonist, which started as Sajjana Toshani under Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura in 1881, and continued in 1927 in its English language version under his son, Gaudiya Math President Acharya Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura.
Ravindra Svarupa also studied the book Sri Krishna Chaitanya, written by Bhaktisiddhanta’s assistant Nishikant Sunyal (Narayan Das), in very close cooperation with Bhaktisiddhanta himself, for ‘the preachers who are going to the West.’
Ultimately, the book makes the point that understanding Prabhupada’s pre-eminent position as Founder-Acharya will ensure the unity of ISKCON into the future.
“It will give readers a deeper sense, I hope, of the relationship between the individual devotee, Srila Prabhupada, and the International Society for Krishna Consciousness,” Ravindra Svarupa says.
And towards the end of the book he writes, “A crucial element… is achieving a deep understanding of Srila Prabhupada’s position and putting that understanding into action—both jnana and vijnana. As Founder-Acharya, Srila Prabhupada himself symbolizes—and, in a sense, is—the unity of ISKCON. Therefore he must become an inescapable predominate felt presence in the lives of all devotees, no matter who else may serve as their diksa or siksagurus.”
He continues, “Such presence needs to become so much a part of the fabric of ISKCON, to become the essential savor of its culture, that his presence will not diminish even when all who personally knew Srila Prabhupada follow him from this world.”
Now that the print and electronic versions of the book are in circulation, there are plans for a second edition to remove some typing errors that appear in the first, as well as to translate it into various languages. Courses on its subject matter may also be offered in the future.
It’s all in the hope that devotees will be inspired not just to read the book, but to act on its message.
“Kindly note that this book is not meant for casual reading but for implementation,” writes Bhakti Charu Swami in his foreward. “If we do that, our personal and collective relationships with Srila Prabhupada will flourish unlimitedly and we will come to very practically understand that our beloved Founder-Acaryais not frozen in time. He is an eternal assistant of Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s divine flood of compassion and Krishna prema. And his heart melts and flows without restriction or impediment to anyone and everyone who shows the slightest interest in his teachings and the namasankirtanamission.
“We humbly seek your kind and active support in implementing the next important step in Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s plan to flood the entire world with Krishna prema—to firmly and very practically establish Srila Prabhupada as the Founder-Acaryaof ISKCON for all time.”
Please download “Srila Prabhupada: The Founder-Acarya of ISKCON” for free here: http://www.founderacharya.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/FounderAcharya.pdf[ ac-bhaktivedanta-swami-prabhupada ] [ acharya ] [ governing-body-commission ] [ ravindra-svarupa ]