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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura > Brahmana & Vaishnava > Appendixes > Acarya-Santana


How to respect an acarya and his offspring.

Those who are endowed with spiritual power and who properly follow the religious principles are called acaryas. And those who serve Lord Hari following in the footsteps of the acaryas are known as pure devotees under the shelter of the acaryas. The Supreme Lord has said, “You should know Me as an acarya, therefore never disrespect an acarya in any way.” Just as a disciple is duty-bound to show respect and devotion to his spiritual master, he should show similar respect to the children, friends, and relatives of the spiritual master. How one should behave and respect the spiritual master's santana, or children, is found in many places in the Dharma-shastras. Considering the children of the acarya as superior to themselves, like the acarya, the pure devotees respect them accordingly. To show respect to the family of the acarya is also proper etiquette and approved by the shastras. (Sajjana-toshani, Vol. 19, Part 2)

The difference between the parivara

and the santana of an acarya.

The two principle servants of Shri Mahaprabhu were Shri Prabhu Nityananda and Shri Prabhu Advaita. Since Shri Nityananda Prabhu and Shri Advaita Prabhu accepted the grihastha-ashrama, Their seminal descendants are known as acarya-santana. Their surrendered servants and devotees in the disciplic succession are also known as Their santana. In Bengal, the servants in the disciplic succession are called parivara, or family, and seminal descendants are called santana. When one mentions the vamsha, or dynasty, of an acarya, it refers to his seminal children as well as his disciples.

Due to lack of renounced disciples,

the seminal offspring are unduly respected.

Since there is an abundance of householders following the line of the smartas in Bengal, there is a considerable lack of renounced persons in the disciplic line. That is why the seminal descendants, while attempting to impress or prove mastery over the uneducated householders, have caused great harm to the eternal religious principles. What to speak of this, even ordinary nondevotee householders are so mad about the acarya-santana that they consider giving mundane social respect to those sons is actually devotional service to Hari, and thus they often became averse to Hari. In many instances these seminal sons of the acaryas award titles like “qualified devotee” to members of the uneducated community, while in fact making them averse to devotional service.

The acarya-santana's activities hostile

to devotional service and service to the six enemies.

The seminal offspring of the acaryas have sometimes acted foolishly, become averse to Lord Hari, indulged in accumulating excessive wealth and women, professionally recited scriptures like the Shrimad Bhagavatam for the sake of money, become professional story tellers, displayed expertise in dancing and voracious eating while conducting twenty-four hour kirtana, imparted mantras in return for money and clothes, and in the process engaged in activities hostile to devotional service.

Just after the disappearance of Shriman Mahaprabhu these misfortunes caused turmoil in the Vaishnava families of the world and resulted in degradation. At that time, following in the footsteps of the eight Gosvamis of Vraja, acaryas empowered by Shri Mahaprabhu headed by Shrinivasa Acarya Prabhu, Narottama dasa Thakura, and Shyamananda Prabhu tried to keep the preaching of devotional service intact.

Later, during the time of their descendants, the flow of pure devotional service was again covered. Again the acarya-santana became averse to Hari, which affected the flow of pure devotional service. This diverted the acarya-santana in various ways from their predecessors' line. If the children of the acaryas lead a pious life and engage in devotional service, then the whole world will benefit from their behavior. The great disturbances that are often created by the six enemies such as lust, anger, and greed among the acarya-santana are not unknown to the pure devotees.

Being the offspring of Lord Brahma,

every living entity is an acarya-santana.

Brahma, the original spiritual master, is the foremost acarya. From him the four varnas and other living entities have taken birth. According to the different occupations, various varnas and castes were created among the descendants. Actually all living entities are santana of the original acarya, Lord Brahma. Shri Gaurasundara and His associates especially tried to keep the acarya-santana's service attitude intact, just like their fathers.

The degradation of the acarya-santana

is due to their karma.

As a result of their previous karma, the offspring of the acarya often lack the qualities of a real acarya. Ignorance, foolishness, and nondevotional activities have in some places influenced the acarya-santana and their followers to become averse to Lord Hari. In other places, hypocrisy has created confusion among the acarya-santana and perversity among their followers. Due to artificiality and hypocrisy some acarya-santana became overwhelmed by material sense objects and absorbed in sense gratification while accumulating money. Yet in other places they have propagated ignorance as an ornament of devotional service. The result has been that many nondevotees are considering that worship of Hari is a kind of hypocrisy, and thus the preaching of pure devotional service has been halted.

Instruction to the acarya-santana.

All living entities created by the Supreme Lord are offspring of the acarya. Our humble request at their lotus feet is that they should learn the foremost teaching of Shri Gaurasundara: “Being nonduplicitous and lower than the straw, more tolerant than a tree, respectful to everyone while thinking oneself most fallen, one should always chant the names of Krishna.” Then foolish persons like us will realize the quality of an acarya among those living entities who are acarya-santana, cross the insurmountable ocean of material existence, and constantly engage in the service of Hari. (Sajjana-toshani, Vol.19, Part 2 )