The ācārya comes down to this world directly from Goloka Vaikuṇṭha. He descends in the line of disciplic succession that passes through the compiler of the Veda, namely Śrīla Vyāsadeva. It is from the Veda that we shall learn of all things essential for our progress in Kṛṣṇa consciousness and it is from the ācārya that we will receive entrance into the esoteric teachings of the Vedas.
For this reason, the appearance day of the ācārya is celebrated as Śrī Vyāsa Pūjā. Indeed, the ācārya is the living representative of Śrīla Vyāsadeva.
We are happy and we feel ourselves blessed on this celebrated holy day of the Vyāsa Pūjā of Śrī Parama-pūjyapāda Śrīmad Bhakti Pramoda Purī Gosvāmī Mahārāja. To be conscious of the dignity of the ācārya, the Supreme Lord’s Guardian Representative, and to offer our humble words of praise at his lotus feet is indeed a great fortune made possible for us by Śrī Caitanya Deva.
Our Most Worshipable Lord and Master Śrī Caitanya Deva has spoken to Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī Prabhupāda the following verse:
brahmāṇḍa bhramite kona bhāgyavān jīva
guru-kṛṣṇa-prasāde pāya bhakti-latā-bīja
“According to their karma, all living entities are wandering throughout the entire universe. Some of them are being elevated to the upper planetary system, and some are going down into the lower planetary systems. Out of many millions of wandering living entities, one who is very fortunate gets an opportunity to associate with (Śrī Guru) a bona-fide ācārya by the grace of Kṛṣṇa. By the mercy of both Kṛṣṇa and the ācārya, such a fortunate person receives the seed of the creeper of devotional service.” (Caitanya-caritāmṛta 2.19.151)
Again it is said:
sādhu-saṅga’, ‘sādhu-saṅga’——sarva-śāstre kaya
lava-mātra sādhu-saṅge sarva-siddhi haya
“The verdict of all revealed scriptures is that by even a moment’s association with a true saint, one can attain all success.” (Caitanya-caritāmṛta 2.22.54)
We have assembled here at the lotus feet of the ācārya on this holy day of Vyasa Puja with the hope that by his association and causeless mercy we will once and for all end our aimless wandering throughout the universe so that we shall finally become fixed in devotional service to the Supreme Lord Hari.
All living beings are wandering in the mundane world due to ignorance of their eternal and inner-most necessity. In this mundane world all are fortune seekers; all are seeking their fortune but the difficulty lies in that we do not know how to seek our real fortune.
The wandering soul looks upon the objective world as his home. The objective world, the world of his sensual experience, suggests that he is master of all he surveys, when in fact he is actually under the strict laws of material nature. Such bewildered fortune-seekers aimlessly wander in search of their heart’s satisfaction only to suffer perpetually according to the reactions of their deeds. This wandering and suffering is endless—until that is, one connects and receives the grace of the ācārya.
The Bhagavad-gītā gives instruction to the wandering souls. In such instruction the wandering souls are advised to approach the ācārya through whom they may come in contact with the Truth, the Eternal Reality.
tad viddhi praṇipātena paripraśnena sevayā
upadekṣyanti te jñānaṁ jñāninas tattva-darśinaḥ
“Just try to learn the Truth by approaching the ācārya. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized soul can impart knowledge unto you because he has seen the Truth.” (Bg. 4.34)
In the Upaniṣads it is said:
tad-vijñānārthaṁ sa gurum evābhigacchet
samit-pāṇiḥ śrotriyaṁ brahma-niṣṭham
“In order to learn the Truth, one must approach the ācārya in disciplic succession, who is fixed in the Absolute Truth.” (Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad 1.2.12)
In the plane of Absolute Truth the wandering souls at last experience the fulfilment of their innermost heart’s desire. The Absolute Truth is the plane of infinite beauty, sweetness, charm, affection, and love – this alone is that for which we are seeking. The Absolute Truth is Kṛṣṇa.
In Ṛg Veda the direction is given in yet another way as follows:
tad viṣṇoḥ paramaṁ padaṁ sadā
paśyanti sūrayaḥ divīva cakṣur ātatam
viṣṇor yat paramaṁ padam
“The lotus feet of sun are like the sun above our heads. His holy feet are the supreme shelter of all conscious entities. The Lord is our Guardian.” (Ṛg Veda 1.22.20)
The Supreme Lord Viṣṇu/Kṛṣṇa is above all like the sun; His watchful eye sees and knows everything. Not even a blade of grass moves without His sanction. The direction is given that we must learn to perceive the presence of the Supreme everywhere and in everything. He is our Supreme Guardian.
Responding to the direction of the Supreme Lord we must abandon our fortune-seeking in the mundane world and look upward toward the bottoms of His holy lotus feet. The Lord will welcome us and quickly send His Guardian Representative, the ācārya, to protect and guide us on our journey back to home, back to Godhead.
We shall thus receive the ācārya as the Supreme Lord’s own dearmost representative, the Guardian Representative. What the ācārya says we will accept that to be non-different from the holy scriptures, the Vedas, as good as spoken by God Himself.
ācāryaṁ māṁ vijānīyān nāvamanyeta karhicit
na martya-buddhyāsūyeta sarva-devamayo guruḥ
“One should know the ācārya as Myself and never disrespect him in any way. One should not envy him, thinking him an ordinary man, for he is the representative of all the demigods.” (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 11.17.27)
The Lord will reveal Himself to us through the ācārya and the hidden purport of the Veda may become known to us according to the degree of our śraddhā (faith) in and śaraṇāgati (surrender) to the ācārya.
yasya deve parā bhaktir yathā deve tathā gurau
tasyaite kathitā hy arthāḥ prakāśante mahātmanaḥ
“The key to success in spiritual life is unflinching devotion to both the ācārya and Kṛṣṇa. To those great souls who have full faith in both Kṛṣṇa and the ācārya, the inner meaning of the Veda is fully revealed.” (Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad 6.23)
We must always be conscious of the most dignified position held by the ācārya. His worship even takes preference over that of the Supreme Lord.
ārādhnānāṁ sarveṣāṁ viṣṇor ārādhanaṁ param
tasmāt parataraṁ devi tadīyānāṁ samarcanam
“Of all kinds of worship, the worship and devotional service of Nārāyaṇa/Visnu, is the highest. But even higher than the worship of Vishnu is worship of the ācārya.” (Padma Purāṇa, Śiva to Pārvatī Devī)
The unfortunate souls who are under the illusion of false pride, arrogance, conceit, duplicity, society consciousness, and the pitfall of amāra guru jagad-guru (considering one’s guru to be the only bona-fide manifestation of Divinity), and who have not surrendered to the ācārya can never properly understand or honour the ācārya.
Being free from illusion, let all good fortune be with those blessed souls who have come here on this holy day of Vyāsa Pūjā to worship the lotus feet of the ācārya —Śrī Parama-pūjyapāda Śrīmad Bhakti Pramoda Purī Gosvāmī Mahārāja. With all the humility at my command I throw myself in the holy foot dust of our ācārya and I pray again and again that in some distant lifetime he will be pleased to accept me as one of his own. It is to my Eternal Father, my Eternal Mother, my Eternal Guide, and my Eternal Guardian appearing in the form of the ācārya to whom I humbly surrender.
Śrī Parama-pūjyapāda Śrīmad Bhakti Pramoda Purī Gosvāmī Mahārāja Ki Jaya!!