My dear Maharaja,
Dandavat pranams. Ram Ram.
CC 7.5 --> Pancha-tattvas are same and there is not difference between them. Yet, the devotees accept various differences to enjoy the rasas (mellows).
Here the devotees refers to one who sees himself as sat chid ananda and as eternal ansh of Krishna. As we are eternal ansh of Krishna, we have direct relationship with Krishna. Accepting various differences does not mean that we don't have direct relationship with Krishna.
Your relationship with Krishna is eternal. Krishna is always yours and you always belong to Krishna. It is better to accept this truth without any "IFs" and "BUTs".
Guru shows our direct relationship with Krishna. Accepting guru does not negate the truth i.e. we are sat chid ananda and eternal ansh of Krishna.
Many Iskcon devotees see guru as a broker between disciple and Krishna. It appears that you also believe the same. I am sorry but that is not correct understanding. There are thousands of verses which can show that we are eternal part of Krishna. It would be difficult to find verses which show that guru is broker between disciple and Krishna.
There are many beautiful ways in which Krishna sends us guru and we need to open for those gurus. I try to be open as Krishna has funny ways to teach me. I have learnt a lot from you. Actually, this email conversations has given me new vision. You are my guru (teacher) and so are many others.
HpS - AGTSP pamho. Gaurav means worshipable, no?!
Again thank you for your letter.
1) I'm always suspicious of estimates such as "many ISKCON devotees think". ISKCON now has over 400 centers and Temples, Radhanatha Swami just finished a Parikrama with over a thousand devotees in the South of India! Ooof! It seems almost like saying, many American's think.
On the other hand, I certainly use, respect, qualified estimations of ISKCON think, America think. I have to live in both so its nice to here, develop pratical ideas of general consciousness of this great institution.
2) The core of this problem, I think (Haw! Haw!), is this idea of Guru as a broker. I tried to address that in the last letter. If Guru is a broker trying to do some business in the name of his boss, Krsna. Then he is not Guru. Guru, logos, Jesus Christ, are important when we realize that to associate with Krsna directly is just too, too scarey. O.K. Radharani and Balarama can handle Him, but we want someone else to help us. Ooof!
Direct statement of this idea by Srila Prabhupada is in the end of the Gita.
"Vyāsa was the spiritual master of Sañjaya, and Sañjaya admits that it was by Vyāsa's mercy that he could understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This means that one has to understand Kṛṣṇa not directly but through the medium of the spiritual master. The spiritual master is the transparent medium, although it is true that the experience is still direct. This is the mystery of the disciplic succession. When the spiritual master is bona fide, then one can hear Bhagavad-gītā directly, as Arjuna heard it."
Also, if you look at Raghunata Goswami's dealings with Lord Caitanya, Krsna, Rama, even when he was in a Dasrsana with Mahaprabhu with other devotees he would always ask his questions through Svarupa Damodara. This natural. Svarupa Damodar is Lalita and Raghuantha Goswami is Rati manjari (as far as I know). Rati is just like an 9 year old girl, so she is so, so, so awe struck in the presence of handsome, heroic Krsna, that she just wants Lalita to ask her questions.
The "Direct" experience is more intense that way. We can all see the moon. We call all talk to Rama directly, but if we find a bona-fide Acharya, like we feel we have found in Prabhupada, then we have the chance to see the moon through a telescope.