1. Vyasa-puja Offering to Srila Prabhupada, 2014

    (The following Vyasa-puja offering by HH Bhakti Vikas Maharaj was published in the Srila Prabhupada Tributes book, available to download at www.sptributes.com)

    Śrīla Prabhupāda, you are the glorious, incomparable paramahaṁsa whose preaching in the Western world was the only thing of any real importance that ever happened there.

    Of course, Vyāsa-pūjā offerings are meant for glorifying the guru as the representative and worshiper of Vyāsa. Yet we have learned from you that in the physical absence of the guru, he may be best worshiped by the continuation of his mission. As you pointed out in your 1961 Vyāsa-pūjā offering to your own guru-mahārāja, a festival of flowers and fruits is not the real pūjā; rather, one who serves the guru’s message truly worships him.

    Śrīla Prabhupāda, in your 1958 “Viraha-aṣṭāṣṭaka” submission to your guru-māhāraja, you expressed deep dissatisfaction upon observing the disorientation of his mission:

    That your ocean of compassion has again become dammed is to me a great spear piercing my heart.

    More of your reflections therein are:

    Those devotees to whom the responsibility was given to continue spreading this flood of love somehow became overpowered by Māyā.

    Without Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s message being spread there is only confusion and upheaval in the movement.

    The tigress of ambition has appeared within your mission, which is conducted by devotees who are irresolute in devotional service. The mission has expanded, but with many factions.

    The essential purport of your message did not enter their ears.

    Where are your instructions still being followed?

    Many of these statements concerning the mission of your guru bear obvious similarities to the situation within your own institution today, and thus we can begin to comprehend some of the distress that you must again be experiencing on seeing the present state of your ISKCON.

    In the following quotes, “you,” in reference to your gurudeva, could well be reapplied to ourselves in reference to Your Divine Grace:

    If, at such a time as this, you were to return to this world and once more preach in the same manner that you always did, if again there were such kind of preaching in every direction, then, as before, everyone would be stirred up in bliss.

    Your deep roaring would make the demons and atheists flee, and your narrations of Lord Caitanya’s message would fill the jīvas’ hearts.

    If you were to again come, then again the whole world would be dynamized.

    Śrīla Prabhupāda, it has been 118 years since you mercifully appeared in this world, and 37 years since Kṛṣṇa called you back to Him. At the time of your departure, your disciples clearly understood your mandate and were confident that if we simply adhered to your instructions, amazing things would continue to unfold as they had throughout your manifest presence, and very soon Kṛṣṇa consciousness would overtake the world.

    Obviously, all has not happened as expected. Although the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement has much increased since 1977, no one who was then present and is not amnesic or delusional would deny that much of what is mainstream in ISKCON today would at that time have been considered an unthinkable deviation from your instructions and example. There is no need to elaborate on this herein. I am but one among many (including mundane scholars) who have commented about the ongoing redefinition of what is meant to be your ISKCON. Some devotees call this mission drift, but I see it more as a hijack.

    Śrīla Prabhupāda, I just need to let you know that I am not aligned with persons who use your name and institution to promote their own agenda, among which some programs bear hardly even a semblance to your mission. I unequivocally accept you as the founder-ācārya of ISKCON and I aspire to associate with those devotees whose resolve is to serve your ISKCON, not some other version.

    Śrīla Prabhupāda, I am often reminded that you strongly desired that all of your disciples cooperate. But it is mere sophistry to substitute your pristine directions with one’s own concoctions and then, in your name, demand cooperation.

    Śrīla Prabhupāda, you gave substance to my miserable and empty life. Please again save me from darkness and grant me the association of your genuine followers.

    The lowly

    Bhakti Vikāsa Swami