Chapter-36: Following in the Footsteps of Srila Prabhupada

June 22, 1995

By Indradyumna Swami

I spent several hours meeting my disciples. Because there were more than forty disciples to see I had to limit all darsana to five minutes. It was difficult, with each of them wanting as much personal association with their spiritual master as possible. Although we often say that the vani (the spiritual master’s instructions) are more important than the vapu (the personal association of the spiritual master), every devotee knows that in order to fully appreciate and assimilate the instructions of his spiritual master, personal association is important. It is for that reason Srila Prabhupada once said, “[I am] traveling all over the world just to give association to my disciples.”

During the darsanas I had to listen carefully to each of my disciples and givethe appropriate encouragement, chastisement, or instruction. I had to choose each word and sentence carefully, knowing that whatever I said would be the guiding light for each disciple for days, months, or even years to come. Personally, I know that the few sentences that Srila Prabhupada said to me remain fresh within my mind after twenty-five years and are pertinent instructions in many circumstances. I cherish his few words to me and keep them like veritable jewels within my heart. They are the source of unlimited strength and inspiration at all times:

“Don’t sleep in my classes.”

“They are all simply fools and rascals, attached to the bodily concept of life. No good qualities.”

“What do you think, Indradyumna?” “Come on, take prasadam.”

And of course, the words that give me the greatest hope in my life:

“So much endeavor in this material world, but when I take you back to Godhead everything will be easy and sublime.”

Thank you, Srila Prabhupada. Please give me the purity, the strength, and the intelligence to guide my own disciples to your lotus feet.

Throughout the darsanas, I found myself quoting from Srila Prabhupada again and again, that the spiritual master teaches his disciples the basic principles of devotional service, and the disciple must learn to execute the details. I said this because very often disciples would ask for practical solutions to marriage problems, business problems, health problems, etc. Although I give guidance in these matters, I feel it is important for the disciples to mature and be able to make Krsna-conscious decisions for themselves. If that is not always possible, then they should learn to take help from temple authorities, senior devotees, or Godbrothers and Godsisters.

Of course, they can always come to me in the event the problem is of a serious nature and cannot be resolved any other  way. But I have almost five hundred disciples, and it is impossible to be involved in their practical lives. I am confident that the knowledge Srila Prabhupada has given us in his books and which is repeated by me as their spiritual master can solve my disciples’ difficulties  in material existence. But I know that my personal association is important, therefore following in the footsteps of Srila Prabhupada, I am traveling constantly.