Winter 2006/7


Hear Srila Prabhupada speak conclusively and repeatedly on the relevance of the physical presence of the Guru:

Real association is not physical

"Physical presence is immaterial. Presence of the transcendental sound received from the Spiritual Master should be the guidance of life. That will make our spiritual life successful. If you feel very strongly about my absence you may place my pictures on my sitting places and this will be source of inspiration for you."
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, 19/1/67)

"So we should associate by vibration, and not by the physical presence. That is real association."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, 18/8/68 )

"It is sometimes misunderstood that if one has to associate with persons engaged in devotional service, he will not be able to solve the economic problem. To answer this argument, it is described here that one has to associate with liberated persons not directly, physically, but by understanding, through philosophy and logic, the problems of life."
(Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.31.48, purport)

"There are two conceptions, the physical conception and the vibrational conception. The physical conception is temporary. The vibrational conception is eternal.[...] When we feel separation from Krsna or the Spiritual Master, we should just try to remember their words or instructions, and we will no longer feel that separation. Such association with Krsna and the Spiritual Master should be association by vibration not physical presence. That is real association."
(Elevation to Krsna Consciousness, BBT 1973 edition, p. 57 )

Physical absence no bar to association

"But always remember that I am always with you. As you are always thinking of me, I am always thinking of you also. Although physically we are not together, we are not separated spiritually. So we should be concerned only with this spiritual connection."
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, 13/11/69)

"There are two ways of association - by vani and by vapuh. Vani means words and vapuh means physical presence. Physical presence is sometimes appreciable and sometimes not, but vani continues to exist eternally. Therefore, one must take advantage of the vani, not the physical presence."
(Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Antya-lila 5, Conclusion)

Paramananda: "We're always feeling your presence very strongly, Srila Prabhupada, simply by your teachings and your instructions. We're always meditating on your instructions."
Srila Prabhupada: "Thank you. That is the real presence. Physical presence is not important."
(Srila Prabhupada Conversation, 6/10/77)

Devotee: "...so sometimes the Spiritual Master is far away. He may be in Los Angeles. Somebody is coming to Hamburg Temple. He thinks 'How will the Spiritual Master be pleased?'"
Srila Prabhupada: "Just follow his order, Spiritual Master is along with you by his words. Just like my Spiritual Master is not physically present, but I am associating with him by his words."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, 18/8/71)


Srila Prabhupada's guidance not checked by physical absence

"Reception of spiritual knowledge is never checked by any material condition."
(Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.7.1, purport)

"The potency of transcendental sound is never minimised because the vibrator is apparently absent."
(Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.9.8, purport)

"I shall remain your personal guidance, physically present or not physically present, as I am getting guidance from my Guru Maharaja."
(Srila Prabhupada Room Conversation, 14/7/77)

"I am always with you. Never mind if I am physically absent."
(Srila Prabhupada Letter 16/9/67)

Srila Prabhupada is the living Guru

"So although a physical body is not present, the vibration should be accepted as the presence of the Spiritual Master, vibration. What we have heard from the Spiritual Master, that is living."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, 13/1/69)

"Krsna and his representative are the same. Similarly, the spiritual master can be present wherever the disciple wants. A spiritual master is the principle, not the body. Just like a television can be seen in thousands of place by the principle of relay monitoring.”
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, 28/5/68)

Srila Prabhupada gives personal instruction through his books

“The instruction given in my books is supposed to be personal instruction. When we read the Bhagavad-gita As It Is, it is understood that we are receiving personal instructions of Krsna. No physical barrier is there in the case of spiritual affairs.”
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, 14/10/73)

Paramahamsa: “My question is, a pure devotee, when he comments on Bhagavad-gita, someone who never sees him physically, but he just comes in contact with the commentary, explanation, is this the same thing?”
Srila Prabhupada: "Yes. You can associate with Krsna by reading Bhagavad-gita. And these saintly persons, they have given their explanations, comments. So where is the difficulty?"
(Srila Prabhupada Morning Walk, 11/6/74)



Though Srila Prabhupada has never stated that his physical presence is essential, but has actually stated the opposite, the GBC continue to insist that Srila Prabhupada’s physical absence prevents him from continuing to act as the spiritual master (diksa/initiating).