For example, in the material world there is a family lineage. Suppose we accept our father, but not our grandfather. Where did our father come from? Similarly, in the realm of bhajana, we have our guru and he is the link. But the link to what? My link is Srila Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja, and he connects me to Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, Srila Gaurakisora dasa Babaji Maharaja, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Jagannatha dasa Babaji Maharaja, Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana Prabhu, Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, Syamananda Prabhu, Narottama dasa Thakura, Srinivasa Acarya, Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami, Sri Krsna Caitanya, Prabhu Nityananda, Sri Advaita, Gadadhara, Srivasadi-gaura-bhakta-vrnda, Isvara Puripada, Madhavendra Puripada, Laksmipati, Madhvacarya and his disciples, and then Vyasa, Narada, Brahma, and ultimately Krsna.
This is how we reach the spiritual realm. Therefore guru, on his birthday, is not eager to have others perform worship to him. The ceremony is not called vyasa-puja if it is performed for one’s own worship. Vyasa-puja means ‘worship of Vyasadeva and Vyasadeva’s lineage.’ He who fails to do this has no knowledge of the guru-parampara, and if he does not know the guru-parampara he cannot do bhajana. The bhajana of those who do not accept this link is useless.
Ordinary people think, “We can be anywhere and just chant Hare Krsna – or any mantra of Krsna, like “Sri Krsna sarana mama.” Such persons live independently and think, “There is only my guru; beyond that there is nothing. What is the use of a guru-parampara?” Such persons may think their bhajana will reach perfection, but it does not.
“Sampradaya-vihina ye mantras te nisphala mata – if one does not follow the four recognized disciplic successions, his mantra and initiation is useless (Padma Purana).” Without sampradayas and the parampara, all mantras are useless. Why are they useless? They will be mundane, just as the money from your job is useless in the sense that you can attain only worldly things.
Mathura, India: Feb. 27, 1994