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Should be Read the Books of Acharyas


Q. Where does Shrila Prabhupada say that we should reads the books of the previous Acharyas? I thought reading his books was enough.


A. by Swami Gaurangapada:


In the Introduction to Shrimad-Bhagavatam, Shrila Prabhupada writes:


“Many devotees of Lord Chaitanya like Shrila Vrindavana dasa Thakura, Shri Locana dasa Thakura, Shrila Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami, Shri Kavikarnapura, Shri Prabodhananda Sarasvati, Shri Rupa Gosvami, Shri Sanatana Gosvami, Shri Raghunatha Bhatta Gosvami, Shri Jiva Gosvami, Shri Gopala Bhatta Gosvami, Shri Raghunatha dasa Gosvami and in this latter age within two hundred years, Shri Visvanatha Cakravarti, Shri Baladeva Vidyabhushana, Shri Syamananda Gosvami, Shri Narottama dasa Thakura, Shri Bhaktivinoda Thakura and at last Shri Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura (our spiritual master) and many other great and renowned scholars and devotees of the Lord have prepared voluminous books and literatures on the life and precepts of the Lord. Such literatures are all based on the sastras like the Vedas, Puranas, Upanishads, Ramayana, Mahabharata and other histories and authentic literatures approved by the recognized acaryas. They are unique in composition and unrivaled in presentation, and they are full of transcendental knowledge. Unfortunately the people of the world are still ignorant of them, but when these literatures, which are mostly in Sanskrit and Bengali, come to light the world and when they are presented before thinking people, then India’s glory and the message of love will overflood this morbid world, which is vainly searching after peace and prosperity by various illusory methods not approved by the acaryas in the chain of disciplic succession.


Similarly, other false devotees think that studying books of the previous acaryas is unadvisable, like studying dry empiric philosophies. But Shrila Jiva Gosvami, following the previous acaryas, has inculcated the conclusions of the scriptures in the six theses called the Shat-sandarbhas. False devotees who have very little knowledge of such conclusions fail to achieve pure devotion for want of zeal in accepting the favorable directions for devotional service given by self-realized devotees. Such false devotees are like impersonalists, who also consider devotional service no better than ordinary fruitive actions.” (Cc Adi 2.117)


Amogha: I thought you said that we should not read the previous acaryas’ books.

Prabhupada: No, you should read.

(Morning Walk with Shrila Prabhupada, May 13, 1975, Perth).


"A sincere devotee must, therefore, be prepared to hear the Vedic literature like the Upanishads, Vedanta and other literatures left by the previous authorities or Gosvamis, for the benefit of his progress. Without hearing such literatures, one cannot make actual progress. And without hearing and following the instructions, the show of devotional service becomes worthless and therefore a sort of disturbance in the path of devotional service. Unless, therefore, devotional service is established on the principles of sruti, smriti, purana or pancaratra authorities, the make-show of devotional service should at once be rejected. An unauthorized devotee should never be recognized as a pure devotee. By assimilation of such messages from the Vedic literatures, one can see the all-pervading localized aspect of the Personality of Godhead within his own self constantly. This is called samadhi." (SB 1.2.12 purport)