The Very Powerful Acharya And His Unlimited Number Of Disciples
Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (1975 Edition) Madhya-lila 22.118:
“The twelfth item is to give up the company of nondevotees. (13) One should not accept an unlimited number of disciples. (14) One should not partially study many scriptures just to be able to give references and expand explanations.
Accepting an unlimited number of devotees or disciples is very risky for one who is not a preacher. According to Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī, a preacher has to accept many disciples to expand the cult of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. This is risky because when a spiritual master accepts a disciple, he naturally accepts the disciple’s sinful activities and their reactions. Unless he is very powerful, he cannot assimilate all the sinful reactions of his disciples. Thus if he is not powerful, he has to suffer the consequences, for one is forbidden to accept many disciples.
One should not partially study a book just to pose oneself as a great scholar by being able to refer to scriptures. In our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement we have therefore limited our study of Vedic literatures to Bhagavad-gītā, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Caitanya-caritāmṛta and Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu. These four works are sufficient for preaching purposes. They are adequate for the understanding of the philosophy and the spreading of missionary activities all over the world. If one studies a particular book, he must do so thoroughly. That is the principle. By thoroughly studying a limited number of books, one can understand the philosophy.
Note: This purport hints at the extraordinarily exalted position of Srila Prabhupada. Srila Prabhupada, through his institution for Krishna consciousness, is perpetually giving shelter to disciples who wish to associate with the movement. Srila Prabhupada has taken this risk in order to expand the cult of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Srila Prabhupada must be very, very powerful!
Srila Prabhupada is not any ordinary preacher. In fact, he is the preacher of preachers in the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement; His complete teachings constitute the basis for all preaching activities in the movement. As such, all preaching activities performed in the movement are an extension of Srila Prabhupada’s preaching. Every member that joins the movement as a result of this preaching serves as an example of the unlimited mercy of Srila Prabhupada in his ability to give shelter to an unlimited number of disciples through his teachings.