(Kadamba Kanana Swami, Durban – South Africa, April 2011)
We are always looking for the shelter, the shelter of the Vaisnavas. But not only are these Vaisnavas there to bring us inspiration in the form of wonderful experience that brings great feeling that emerge from our heart, but also that the Vaisnava has come and will show us the way.
Srila Prabhupada travelled around the world tirelessly, 14 times in 11 years, in his old age. And in those 14 times it is sometimes amazing to hear how much impact he had upon the life of someone who only met him very shortly. I always meet people around the world who say, “I was there when Prabhupada came and gave a lecture and I heard the lecture…” And it shows it has touched their lives and they’ve actually become devotees because of it and for their whole life they’re taking inspiration from that meeting. So undoubtedly, just the personal presence of a great Vaisnava can uplift us so much.
But then there is so much more, and that is there in the instructions. There is Vapu and Vani. There is the personal presence and there is vani – these are the instructions. And the instructions of the spiritual master, it is said, are most potent because Srila Prabhupada says in the dedication of Srimad Bhagavatam: “He lives forever in his instructions and the follower lives with him.” And that is very profound, because within the instructions, Srila Prabhupada is forever present, and the follower lives with him also, in the eternal plane, equally so. And therefore, it is these instructions that are so important. These instructions are like the network that can save us when we are falling, when we are falling due to the harshness of the material nature.