by Swami B.A. Paramadvaiti
Feel Fortunate and Be Broadminded
I feel extremely blessed that from 1977, the year that Srila Prabhupada left us, to 1999, when Srila Puri Maharaja left this world, I received the grace of associating with the intimate Godbrothers of Srila Prabhupada. They had surrendered to their spiritual master one hundred percent, and they bestowed their grace upon me and others to be able to develop our service. It’s a fact that my harinama- and diksa-guru, Srila Prabhupada had the vision and the experience necessary for spreading Krsna-consciousness in the western world. This has been unparalleled. I have not seen anybody else from India coming to the West with the knowledge of how to deal with all the different situations and people. I’ve simply not seen it. Most of them are astonished and overwhelmed to see what’s going on in the West. Srila Prabhupada wasn’t astonished at all. He immediately made all the necessary adjustments, so that Westerners could become Krsna-conscious.
He would instantly adapt everything to Krsna’s service, and he would challenge western society in such a loving way that many people were able to take up Krsna-consciousness. At least eighty percent of my spiritual understanding and practice can be attributed to what I received from Srila Prabhupada. Fifteen percent came from Srila Bhakti Raksaka Sridhara Maharaja and another five percent of incredible love, openness, mercy and humility I received and learned from Srila Puri Maharaja. These wonderful souls were all on the same platform: full of love for and surrendered to their gurudeva and to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Of course for a disciple of Srila Puri Maharaja this ratio in influence will be quite different, and the disciples of some of the other Gaudiya Vaisnavas will also see their own experiences differently. They may not even consider Srila Prabhupada, Srila Puri Maharaja or Srila Sridhara Maharaja as most important in their life and practice. They may not even know much about them, but their spiritual life is in the same way inspired and ignited by the mercy of Vaisnavas. We should be broadminded enough to accommodate the different moods that each disciple has. Still I feel so fortunate that I got the association of these great Sages. Along the way I also heard so many other great personalities preach, like Srila Bhakti Kumuda Santa Maharaja, Srila Bhakti Ballabha Tirtha Maharaja, Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja, Srila Bhakti Vaibhava Puri Maharaja, Srila Nayananda dasa Babaji Maharaja, Srila Gopananda Vana Maharaja and Srila Bhakti Sata Govinda Maharaja to name a few. However, my connection with my direct spiritual masters is the all in all.