by Swami B.A. Paramadvaiti
One day a devotee asked Srila Sridhara Maharaja why the different Gosvamis were presenting different aspects of the transcendental teachings. Srila Jiva Gosvami worked very hard to find sastric quotes to protect everything taught by his predecessor acaryas. Srila Gopala Bhatta Gosvami was very keen to explain the rituals and all the different processes of deity worship. This is still apparent in his Radha-ramana temple, where high standards are kept to this day. Srila Sanatana Gosvami was very focused on the sambandha aspect of devotional life. Srila Rupa Gosvami is the abidheya acarya and Srila Ragunath dasa Gosvami our prayojana acarya. In this way, each and everyone had something to contribute. Srila Sridhara Maharaja looked very sternly and said, “Do not think that any one of the Gosvamis could not have done any of the things the others did. It’s not that one is higher or lower than the other. It’s just that it developed according to the sweet will of Sri Krsna.”
So, when you look at the acaryas, don’t look down on the ones that did not go around the world, like Srila Prabhupada. This type of classification comes from an “Olympic” consciousness. In the West we often only appreciate the “gold medalists” and disregard everyone else. This mentality is not a Vaisnava mentality. Everybody does what destiny has designed for him. I’ve met many of the disciples of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, who fit perfectly into the category of the nirupadhi Vaisnava. The nirupadhi Vaisnava is that Vaisnava who externally doesn’t have any distinction. He may not be an acarya; he may not even be a sannyasi or the founder of a temple, but in his heart devotion lives and shines brightly, just like in the heart of somebody else that has done extraordinary things. If we disrespect such a nirupadhi Vaisnava, our whole process will be in vain.
Source: Sato Vrtteh – Following in the Footsteps of Previous Acaryas