Unlimited Branches of Sri Chaitanya’s Tree:

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The Guru-Parampara

Unlimited Branches of Sri Chaitanya’s Tree:

The Guru-Parampara

By Narasimha das

In Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya 10) Srila Krishnadas Kaviraja Gosvami describes nearly eighty main branches of the movement of Sri Chaitanya and then states at the end of the chapter that the branches and sub-branches of Lord Chaitanya’s tree are unlimited and produce unlimited fruits and flowers. Lord Nityananda Himself forms the topmost, main branch of this tree, and in the next chapter (Madhya 11) Krishnadas Kaviraja describes this branch and some of its sub-branches. Some branches and sub-branches are considered especially important but all are totally spiritual and full of potency. Each branch is connected to the Complete Whole, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, through the mercy of at least one of His nitya-siddha associates.

“Each and every branch of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s tree has unlimited spiritual power and glory. Even if one had thousands of mouths, it would be impossible to describe the limits of their activities.” (Cc. Madhya 10.162)

Lord Chaitanya’s personal associates are capable of liberating fallen conditioned souls simply by glancing at them or touching them. Lord Nityananda was such a great personality that by His desire even the most wretchedly fallen souls were liberated immediately– by His sweet will alone. In this connection Srila Prabhupada comments that it is by Lord Chaitanya’s mercy that so many western people have been able to take up the mission of Krishna consciousness. Because Srila Prabhupada received the full blessings of Lord Nityananda and Lord Chaitanya, he was able to spread the sankirtana mission worldwide, even in this most fallen age, within 11 years.

Some nitya-siddha devotees of Lord Chaitanya are considered most important and most merciful. Srila Vasudeva Datta, the nineteenth branch of the “Chaitanya Tree”, is one these great personalities. Krishnadas Kaviraja concludes, “One could not describe his qualities even with thousands of mouths.” (Cc. Madhya 10.41) Srila Prabhupada confirms Vasudeva Datta’s glories as follows: “He was the most exalted personality to ever show mercy to the conditioned souls. This is not an exaggeration of his transcendental qualities. It is perfectly true. Actually, there cannot be any comparison to Vasudeva Datta… The entire world is purified simply by the appearance of such a great devotee. Indeed, by his transcendental presence the whole world is glorified and all conditioned souls are also glorified.” (Cc. Madhya 15.163, Purport)

Lord Chaitanya Himself confirms Srila Krishnadas Kaviraja’s and Srila Prabhupada’s conclusions regarding the glories of Vasudeva Datta. Lord Chaitanya proclaimed, “I am Vasudeva Datta’s man. My body is only meant to please Vasudeva Datta, and he can sell Me anywhere.” Srila Prabhupada comments, “Thrice He vowed that this was a fact and that no one should disbelieve these statements.” Lord Chaitanya revealed that Vasudeva Datta is an incarnation of Sri Prahlada Maharaja. (Cc. Madhya 15. 165) Elsewhere, in the Gaura-ganoddesa-dipika, as cited by Srila Prabhupada, Sri Vasudeva Datta is identified as the singer Madhu-vrata, one of Lord Krishna’s most intimate friends in Krishna’s Vrindaban pastimes.

Srila Vasudeva Datta was the spiritual master of Yadunandana Acharya, who was the spiritual master of Srila Raghunatha Das Gosvami.  At a very young age, Raghunatha Das renounced his fabulously wealthy and aristocratic Vaisnava family and beautiful wife to become the most austere devotee.  As a young newcomer to the mission of Lord Chaitanya, he served for fifteen years as the personal assistant of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu under the guidance of Srila Swarupa Damodara–until suddenly They both disappeared. At that time Raghunatha Das decided to commit suicide by jumping off Govardhana Hill, but he wanted to first see the lotus feet of Srila Rupa and Srila Sanatana. They convinced him to go on living, and these two senior leaders of all Vaisnavas used to hear from Raghunatha Das constantly about Lord Chaitanya’s confidential pastimes in Jagannatha Puri.

Eventually Raghunatha Das Gosvami gave up eating and sleeping almost entirely. He used to live by drinking a little buttermilk only. He offered obeisance to 2,000 Vaisnavas every day, and he used to chant a minimum of one hundred thousand holy names daily. Krishnadas Kaviraja accepted Srila Rupa Gosvami and Srila Raghunatha das Gosvami as his main inspiration and guides. Thus he ends every chapter of Sri Caitanya-caritamrta begging for their mercy.

Srila Vasudeva Datta wanted to liberate all conditioned souls in the universe by volunteering to personally suffer for their sinful reactions so that Lord Chaitanya might deliver them all immediately. Apparently not all conditioned souls can be delivered immediately by the sankirtana mission alone. They need to first surrender and purify themselves by following regulations. Otherwise, they need the special mercy of a great Vaisnava. If we remain attached to material life, false prestige, mayavad or sahajiya ideas, pseudo-religion or atheism, we must wait to be gradually purified by a systematic process of preaching, loud nagara kirtana and prasadam distribution. This can take many lifetimes for most people. Lord Chaitanya asked Sri Nityananda Prabhu to begin this systematic preaching work in Bengal, and later, armed with the writings of the Six Gosvamis of Vrindaban, Srila Narottama, Srila Srinivasa Acharya, and Srila Syamananda established the Lord’s mission in a big way all over Bengal, Orissa and other places in India.

In the course of time many branches of the “Chaitanya Tree” appeared to dry up or disappear, but around the year 1866 A.D., Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura thought to create a cooperative worldwide mission of Krishna consciousness. Thus, he prayed for a “Ray of Vishnu” to start this work of systematic, worldwide propagation of Lord Chaitanya’s sankirtana mission. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura appeared as the son of Sri Bhaktivinoda and took up the work of reorganizing the global sankirtana mission of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. He was successful in preserving the pure teachings and spreading the mission all over India through his Gaudiya Matha mission, as cited below. Furthermore, this great acharya is still preaching the mission of Lord Chaitanya all over the world through his bona fide disciples headed by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. (See Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.22.19, Purport)

Those who are fortunate enough to appreciate Lord Chaitanya’s nitya-siddha devotees don’t need to wait around for the sankirtana movement to become institutionalized all over the world or in a particular locality. As Srila Prabhupada has repeatedly confirmed, devotees who are factually advancing in Krishna consciousness don’t need a certificate from any institution to prove their advancement in spiritual life. Those who are not envious or duplicitous can be immediately promoted to Goloka Vrindaban simply by understanding the glorious position of the eternally liberated associates of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. This is confirmed by Srila Narottama Thakura and Srila Prabhupada.

“Simply by accepting that the associates of Lord Chaitanya are eternally free, one is immediately promoted to the transcendental abode of Lord Krishna.” (Savarana-sri-gaura-mahima, Purport)

Another nitya-siddha branch of the “Chaitanya Tree” is Thakura Saranga dasa. He is the seventy-seventh branch of this divine tree. This great devotee was a babaji who used to worship the Supreme Lord at a secluded spot on the bank of the Ganges. He was not part of an organized mission but wanted to remain secluded from the general mass of people. Unlike some other leading devotees in Lord Chaitanya’s mission, he was not focused on extensive preaching programs. In fact, he had decided to not accept any disciples. In spite of his idea to not accept disciples, the Supreme Lord within his heart was constantly inspiring him to do so. At last he relented, and thus one morning he decided, “Whomever I see today I will make my disciple.”

The Thakura didn’t jump on a tonga and head for the nearest town or village but went about his regular duties at his secluded location on the bank of the Ganges. He didn’t see anyone that day, but when he went to take bath in the Ganges River, he saw a dead body floating by and happened to touch it with his feet. The dead body sprang to life, and Thakura Saranga das accepted him as his disciple.

Srila Prabhupada comments, “The disciple later became famous as Thakura Murari, and his name is always associated with Sri Saranga. His disciplic succession still inhabits the village of Shar. There is a temple at Mamagachi that is said to have been started by Saranga Thakura. Not long ago a new temple was erected in front of the bakula tree there, and it is now managed by the members of the Gaudiya Matha. It is said the management of the temple is now far better than before. In the Gaura-ganoddesa-dipika (172) it is stated that Saranga Thakura was formerly a gopi named Nandimukhi.” (Cc. Madhya 10.113, Purport)

Sometimes people ask, “What became of all these many branches of Lord Chaitanya’s mission? We find very little mention of these various missions while traveling in India or in regular historical accounts.”

There are various points to consider in answering this question. First point is that these branches are branches of a divine tree. The fruits and flowers of these spiritual branches cannot be appreciated by persons still absorbed on the mundane plane. Many pure devotees retire completely from this world after receiving the mercy of one of Lord Chaitanya’s nitya-siddha devotees. It is not that they all become famous preachers. But many of their descendants are still around, as cited above, performing bhajana, Deity worship, and nagara-kirtana. There are many stories of these great Vaisnavas and their followers, but such histories are ignored by materialists and materialistic devotees. The true followers of great Vaisnavas go back to Godhead quickly and easily and never return to this material world, as is confirmed by Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad-gita. It is not that all of Lord Chaitanya’s great devotees build big temples with stone inscriptions and expect their followers to build them big samadhi tombs at famous holy places.

It is misleading when neophyte preachers try to claim a monopoly on spiritual life based on a particular name, institution or mission according to their own limited vision of spiritual life. Srila Prabhupada specifically contradicts the notion that the spiritual movement of Lord Chaitanya can be monopolized through legal manipulations or institutional status and mandate. The mission of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is always more extensive, comprehensive, and glorious than what we tiny souls can imagine.

Devotees of Lord Chaitanya, specifically the followers of Srila Prabhupada, should spend more time hearing about, glorifying and praying to His nitya-siddha devotees. Hearing details of the scandalous behavior of infamous persons who tried to imitate the bona fide acharya may not help us much. In fact, such distractions may lead to further deviations. The best path for everyone serious about quick advancement in spiritual life is to glorify the eternal parampara of nitya-siddha Vaisnavas coming in the line of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Sri Nityananda Prabhu.

“These great saintly Vaisnavas are all paramahamsas, devotees of the highest order, and they are all part of Lord Gauranga’s own spiritual family. Their holy feet are my refuge. I have no real interest in devotional service, and I am a poor and lowly tridandi sannyasi named Sri Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati.” (Sri Guru-parampara, Verse 9)





On Friday, February 11, 2022, 05:55:59 AM PST, Narasimha Parvat <parvatnarasimha@gmail.com> wrote:
Hare Krishna Prabhus,
Please accept my obeisance. All glories to Srila Prabhupada. 
I am still working on putting together into a small book format all the extensive information compiled, mostly by Yasoda nandana prabhu, regarding Srila Prabhupada’s unique position in the Krishna consciousness movement. This is more challenging than I thought it would be, but I am making slow progress. (I am very busy at the moment and I have an arm injury that makes it painful to hold my hands on the keyboard for a long time.) 
In the meantime, here is an article I wrote some years ago that I hope helps illuminate the best path for progress in spiritual life. Hint: it has nothing to do with joining, reforming, creating, or supporting quasi-spiritual institutions or clubs. 
Hope you are all well,
yours in Prabhupada-seva-smaranam,
Narasimha das
On Mon, Feb 7, 2022 at 1:50 PM Joseph Langevin <yasoda1008@yahoo.com> wrote:

His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Founder-Acarya of the Krishna Consciousness Movement

Prabhupada Disciples Association [PDA]

An International Alliance of Srila Prabhupada’s Followers

Established under the inspiration, guidance and authority of the current spiritual master [acarya] of the Krishna Consciousness Movement.


His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Founder-Acarya of the Krishna Consciousness Movement


Mission Statement


Prabhupada Anugas are followers and devotees of Śrīla Prabhupāda around the world with the goal to follow Srila Prabhupada’s directives, orders and teachings in all matters, as well as to expose the deviations and distortions currently misleading those that want to follow Srila Prabhupada, and to bring back Śrīla Prabhupāda to the center of His movement as the Ācharya and initiating spiritual master.


The Prabhupada Disciple Association (PDA) goal is to facilitate and foster communications and cooperation among all the devotees and followers of Srila Prabhupada, and to facilitate and encourage those interested in becoming devotees of Lord Kṛṣṇa, disciples, students and true followers of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. The Prabhupada Disciples Association [PDA] upholds the following:


a.       To present His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, as the foremost preacher of Krishna Consciousness in the modern times;

b.      To establish Him as the sole successor acharya of his Guru, Srila Bhaktisiddanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada;

c.        to preserve his written works in their original form without any change;

d.       to spread the chanting of Hare Krishna mantra to every town and village;

e.        to distribute His original unrevised, first edition books in every country on the earth.


Original Purposes of Prabhupada Disciples Association


(a) To systematically propagate spiritual knowledge to society at large and to educate all people in the techniques of spiritual life in order to check the imbalance of values in life and to achieve real unity and peace in the world.

(b) To propagate Krishna Consciousness as it is revealed in the Bhagavat-Gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam.

(c) To bring the members of the Society together with each other and nearer to Krishna, the prime entity, and thus to develop the idea, within the members, and humanity, at largo, that each soul is part and parcel of the quality of Godhead (Krishna).

(d), To teach and encourage the Samkirtan movement congregational chanting of the holy name of God as revealed in the teachings of Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

(e) To erect for the members, and for society at large, a holy place of transcendental pastimes, dedicated to the personality of Krishna.

(f) To bring the members closer together for the purpose of teaching a simpler and more natural way of life.

(g) With a view towards achieving the aforementioned purposes, we encourage and support the publishing and distribution of periodicals, magazines, books and other writings.


Let Srila Prabhupada Speak for Himself


Srila Prabhupada is ever present now in His vani incarnation, his original non-adulterated, first edition original books.


Basic fundamental points of the Prabhupada Disciples Association [PDA]*

 for those interested in participating with us.


1.                  Srila Prabhupada is the current and final authority on all matters being the acharya and diksha guru [initiating spiritual master] in the Krishna Consciousness Movement and ISKCON based upon his clear recorded and written instructions that are available for all to study, examine, and understand.


Based on all the above, the only system for initiations which he used, practiced, taught and established with complete detail and clarity over a dozen years and finalized/confirmed in his written directive and ritvik order on July 9th of 1977, is the system of using officiating representatives [ritviks] in the matter of first and second initiations. This applies to all those wanting to be true followers of Srila Prabhupada and having a bona fide connection with him.


2.         Srila Prabhupada’s unrevised, original, first edition books are the basis of the Krishna Consciousness movement and ISKCON. 


Srila Prabhupada’s serious followers and disciples should use these books for reading, studying and preaching, and whenever available, for book distribution.


3.         Srila Prabhupada’s original method of offering bhoga and aratika to the deities, which he taught, instructed, practiced and demonstrated during His manifested presence, should be the method practiced, taught and followed by Srila Prabhupada’s followers, disciples, students and new devotees. Srila Prabhupada’s original tune/melody/raga in performing kirtan especially during arati should be followed.  Dancing during kirtan should also be the way Srila Prabhupada taught us.


All other types of initiations, change to the standards of aratika and bhoga offerings, unauthorized changes in Srila Prabhupada’s teachings are dangerous infiltrations and deviations and are to be strictly avoided by true followers of Srila Prabhupada. The original method of offering bhoga to the deities, as he taught, instructed, practiced, and demonstrated during his manifested presence should be the method practiced and followed by all serious new Prabhupada followers and disciples.


“Yes, you may say the prayer to the Spiritual Master 3 times, and also the Namo Brahmanya . . . prayer 3 times, when offering Prasadam. That is very nice to say the mantra 3 times. Also, you may, after offering to the Spiritual Master, offer to Lord Caitanya by saying the prayer, Namo Maha Badanyaya . . . 3 times, and then offer to Krishna thrice.” Srila Prabhupada Letter. March 22, 1968


“Not a special plate. The process is that whatever we offer to the Deity, that is offered to guru. And guru offers to his guru. In this way goes to Krsna. We don’t directly offer Radha-Krsna. No. We have no right. Neither He accepts in that way. The pictures of the acharyas, why there are? Actually, one has to offer the plate to his guru, and he’ll offer his guru, he offers his guru, his guru. In this way, it will go to Krsna. That is the process. You cannot directly approach Krsna or other subordinates to Krsna. That is not possible.”

Srila Prabhupada Srimad-Bhagavatam Lecture, Gorakhpur, India. February 15, 1971


4.         Srila Prabhupada’s photograph and the photographs of Srila Prabhupada’s authorized predecessor acaryas, should be the only ones on the altars and preaching centers of all serious new and seasoned Srila Prabhupada followers and disciples, as practiced and demonstrated by Srila Prabhupada


5.         The Jaya Dhvani [respectful obeisances] prayers at the end of the kirtana should be recited beginning with pranams to Srila Prabhupada and the predecessor acaryas, and continuing with the other standard authorized pranams taught by Srila Prabhupada.


6.         Srila Prabhupada’s original method of offering pranams [respectful obeisances] to him by reciting audibly nama om vishnu padaya… and namaste sarasvate deve … should be practiced by reciting audibly by all serious Prabhupada followers and disciples. No other pranams should be chanted other than the pranam mantras for Srila Prabhupada.


7.         Srila Prabhupada is the pure Vaisnava who is meditated on when singing Sri Gurvastakam,


8.         In the list of disciplic succession given by Srila Prabhupada, His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada is number ’32’, with no need for a ‘33’ as a link to ‘32’”,


“From His kingdom the Personality of Godhead sends His bona fide servants to propagate this message by which one can return to Godhead, and sometimes the Lord comes Himself to do this work.“Isopanisad Mantra 10


It is the desire of Bhaktivinoda Thakura to preach the Caitanya cult all over the world and in 1875 he predicted that someone would come very soon who would individually preach this cult all over the world. So, if his benediction is there and my Guru Maharaja’s blessings are there, we can go ahead without any impediment but all of us must be very sincere and serious….” Srila Prabhupada Letter, February 23, 1971


Srila Prabhupada: “…in 1896 Bhaktivinoda Thakura was the first origin of this movement. But he simply thought of it. And he was expecting some others that willing to take up the work. Well, somebody says that I am the same man. And I was born in 1896…”  Srila Prabhupada room conversation with Canadian Ambassador to Iran, March 13, 1975


9.         The term “my guru or my spiritual master’ refers to His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.


Srila Prabhupada: Upon accepting initiation from the spiritual master, one takes a vow to perform these spiritual activities daily. Even the six Gosvāmīs of Vṛndāvana, who were liberated personalities, regularly chanted the mahāmantra many times daily, and they never failed to offer their obeisances to the Deity and the devotees…These activities indicate that the Gosvāmīs were dhṛtavrata, accustomed to taking vows with great determination and carrying them out

Second chance 12.


10.       All initiated members should strictly follow their initiation vows, chant 16 rounds daily, and follow the four regulative principles (no meat eating, no intoxication, no gambling and no illicit sex). Ideally all the members are encouraged to follow the sadhana bhakti (morning, noon, and evening program). Some devotees with health issues may be given special consideration if their health does not permit them to strictly follow some of the recommended sadhana practices.


11        Srila Prabhupada is fully and ever present in his archa-vigraha form and pictures as confirmed by him.

Srila Prabhupada is present in picture and murtis.


Next you ask if I am present in my picture and form? Yes. In form as well as in teachings. To carry out the teachings of guru is more important than to worship the form, but none of them should be neglected. Form is called vapu and teachings is called vāṇī. Both should be worshiped. Vāṇī is more important than vapu. Srila Prabhupada Letter. December 14, 1972]


There is no difference between me and my picture. Therefore, we should honor and keep pictures in that spirit. If we throw pictures this way and that way, that is offence. The name and picture are as good as the person in spiritual world. In the material world either picture or person, everything is illusion. Srila Ptabhupada letter.  September 4,1972


Brahmānanda: His question… You stated that a statue of yourself is not the same as you, and yet in some of our temples, such as Vṛndāvana, the mūrti of Your Divine Grace has been installed and they are offering prasādam. So, is it the same, that the prasādam is accepted by the guru?


Srila Prabhupāda: Yes. Sākṣād-dharitvena samasta-śāstraiḥ. Guru is nondifferent from Kṛṣṇa. That is accepted by all the śāstra. Sākṣād-dharitvena samasta śāstraiḥ. Sākṣād-dharitvena samasta-śāstrair uktaḥ: ** “It is said,” tathā bhāvyata eva sadbhiḥ, “and those who are advanced devotees, they accept it like that.” Kintu prabhor yaḥ priya eva tasya: “But the guru’s position is the most confidential servant.” So, guru is the servant God, and Kṛṣṇa is the master God. Both of them are God, servant God and master God. Guru kṛṣṇa kṛpāya pāya bhakti-latā-bīja [Cc. Madhya 19.151]. So, we have to serve both the servant and the master. Through the servant, we go to the master. Any other question? Chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. 

Srila Prabhupada Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam class 3.28.18. Nairobi, Kenya, Africa. October 27, 1975


Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura therefore says, yasya prasādād bhagavatprasādaḥ: if one very sincerely serves the spiritual master, Kṛṣṇa certainly becomes favorable to such a devotee. Following the instructions of a devotee is more valuable than following the instructions of the Supreme Personality of Godhead directly. https://prabhupadabooks.com/sb/9/4/63

12. The only annual Vyasa puja ceremony is for AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada.


He lives forever by His Divine Instructions and the follower lives with him


*and Worldwide Prabhupada Anugas (an International Alliance of Prabhupada followers)
Following topics to be written upon in the website. Order of topics can be readjusted.

1.    Srila Prabhupada’s Most Exalted, Unique Position (LSPSFH link)

2.    Srila Prabhupada’s Authorized Instructions on Varna Asrama and Unity, Trust and Cooperation (LSPSFH)

3.  Providing A Safe and Protected Environment for Everyone (LSPSFH)

4.    On Srila Prabhupada;s Instructions for Authorized Initiations (LSPSFH)

5.    On Authorized Non-Adulterated Books (LSPSFH)

6.  On Srila Prabhupada’s Authorized system of Deity Worship (LSPSFH)

7.    On Srila Prabhupada;s Authorized system of Offering Bhoga (LSPSFH)

8.    On Srila Prabhupada;s Authorized Instructions  on the Role of Siksha Guru’s (LSPSFH)

9.    Importance of Helping Each Other Remove Obstacles and Negative Influences on Our Journey to Pure Devotional Service (LSPSFH)

10. To Prevent Cheating, Abuses, Deception and Coverups (LSPSFH)

11. To Promote the Development of Vaishnava Qualities and Behavior (LSPSFH)

12. To invoke the Trust of Others by Preaching with Humility and Compassion and Providing A Safe and Protected Environment for Everyone (LSPSFH)