I want to clarify something. We know that Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Swami Mahārāja established ISKCON. What is ISKCON? Śrīla Svāmī Mahārāja translated the name of Vaiṣṇava society into English as ISKCON, but Vaiṣṇava society has actually existed since the origin of creation, the beginning of time. As he himself has said, “It is the same wine in a new bottle.” He never created anything new. He gave the same philosophy that Kṛṣṇa gave in His Gītā, the same philosophy that was given by Śrīla Vyasadeva in his Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, and the same philosophy that was given by Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī in Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta.
We in this world have forgotten Kṛṣṇa, and we are deprived of Kṛṣṇa’s service. We are bahirmukha, opposed to serving Kṛṣṇa, and the only business of the Guru-paramparā is to bring us to Kṛṣṇa’s service. I have read in Bhagavad-Gītā 2.40:
nehābhikrama-nāśo ’sti pratyavāyo na vidyate
svalpam apy asya dharmasya trāyate mahato bhayāt
In this endeavor there is no loss or diminution, and a little advancement on this path can protect one from the most dangerous type of fear.
This verse is true for one who is not committing vaiṣṇava-aparādha, śāstra-aparādha or tadīya-vastuaparādha (aparādha to things and people in relationship to Kṛṣṇa). If one actually accepts bhakti-yoga, then even if he dies before perfection, or even if he gives up practicing before he dies, there is no harm. He can continue practicing in his next life. Kṛṣṇa will give preference to him, and from there he will begin.
November 20, 2001 Varsānā