A spiritual succession tracing back to God Himself

Lineage refers to the direct descent from a particular ancestry, heritage or tradition. People may trace or claim their lineage from some specific race, bloodline, aristocracy, language, wealth status, statesmanship, culture or class.

Despite such claims, the lineages of the material world have been diluted or have disappeared into oblivion with the passage of time. There is another type of lineage however, a spiritual one. Known as the disciplic succession, it is an unbroken chain of spiritual masters that can be traced back for millennia. About 5000 years ago, Sri Vyasadev compiled the Vedic scriptural canon. Vyasadev, who lived on the subcontinent of India, was divinely empowered to describe and compile the voluminous Vedas, which he disseminated to his disciples, and that spiritual succession has continued ever since.

Srila Prabhupada is the pre-eminent guru in this spiritual succession in the modern age. The spiritual master in this chain is qualified by his deep immersion in the scriptural teachings and his complete, impeccable practice of the instructions therein. By following the directions of his predecessor spiritual masters, the current master becomes empowered to deliver the same sublime, timeless message received from the original speaker of the Vedas, and give directions to those who seek spiritual advancement.

The special position of Srila Prabhupada is that his appearance, mission and teachings were predicted by ancient sages and masters:

 “My commander-in-chief devotee will spread the chanting of the holy names around the world.”
― Caitanya Mahaprabhu [1], 500 years ago

“Very soon a great personality will appear who will spread Krishna consciousness all over the world.”
― Bhaktivinode Thakhur [2], a great Vaisnava saint, in 1881

“After 5,000 years of this age have passed, the great sage and worshiper of my holy names will appear and spread the chanting of my names throughout the world.”
― Lord Krishna [3] in Brahma-vaivarta Purana, 5000 years ago

The spiritual master of Srila Prabhupada, recognising his scholarliness and devotion, instructed him to teach this philosophy in the English language in the West. Srila Prabhupada reached the shores of the USA in 1966. From poor beginnings in the Bowery, New York, he founded the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) and successfully transplanted an ancient culture on Western soil, which has grown into a worldwide confederation of temples, farm communities, schools and institutes. His position as the pre-eminent acharya (greatest spiritual teacher) in recent times has been acknowledged by other great teachers, and will not be eclipsed (as predicted) by anyone at least for the next ten thousand years.


[1] Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu  (1486-1534): spiritual reformer, religious ascetic and considered divine incarnate by followers, recorded in Chaitanya Mangala, a sixteenth-century biography by Lochana das Thakur.

[2] Bhaktivinode Thakur (1838-1914) who in his earlier life was a magistrate under the British government, was a powerful scholar whose research and writings re-established the position of the ancient Vaishnava traditions.

[3] Lord Krishna is a name of the Supreme Lord, which means the “all attractive Supreme Personality”.

Interested to learn more about Srila Prabhupada and Krishna Consciousness? You can explore our online resources, ask a question or visit a temple.

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What is my real identity? Who is Krishna? What is bhakti yoga?

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Read the books of Srila Prabhupada, one of the most prolific authors of commentaries on and translations of Vedic texts.