(Click to enlarge photo of Srila Prabhupada and disciples)
Prabhupāda: Discipline... Disciple means discipline. The word discipline comes from disciple, or disciple comes from discipline. So unless there is discipline, there is no question of disciple. This discipline must... That should be uniform. Otherwise, śiṣya... Śiṣya, the word śiṣya, it comes from the root, verb, śās-dhātu. Śās. Śās means ruling. From this word, sasana. Sasana means government. Śāstra. Śāstra means weapon, and śāstra, scripture, and sisya... These things have come from the one root śās-dhātu. So śās-dhātu means ruling under discipline. There is another English word, that "Obedience is the first law of discipline," or something. They say, "Obedience is the first law of discipline"? So I am right? "Obedience is..."? That is the...
Devotee: Yes, that's more or less what it is.
Prabhupāda: No, what is the word, exact. There is an English word. "Obedience is the first law of discipline." So unless there is obedience, there cannot be any discipline. And unless there is discipline, there is no question of disciple. Disciple means one who follows the discipline. So...
Devotee (2): So there is no disagreement with that. I have no disagreement.
Prabhupāda: Yes, that is the point. That is...
Devotee (2): But I consider that discipline and the person being disciplined must be voluntary. He must voluntarily put himself under someone's discipline.
Prabhupāda: Yes, that is... Accepting spiritual master means voluntarily accepting somebody to rule him. There is no question... I have no power to rule over you unless you voluntarily surrender.
Devotee (2): Yes.
Prabhupāda: I am Indian. Why, you Americans, you should obey me? You have done it voluntarily. Yes. So, (laughs) in India they appreciate me only on this point, that I am Indian; how I am controlling so many Americans? That is their appreciation. (laughter) So this acceptance of guru means voluntarily surrender. Yes. Śiṣyas te 'haṁ śādhi māṁ prapannam (BG 2.7). The instruction is there in the... They were friends, Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna. From material point of view, they are equal. He is also belonging to the royal family, he is also belonging to the royal family, and they are cousin brothers, equal footing, friend. But still, Arjuna said, "Now there is no solution. I become Your disciple." Śiṣyas te 'haṁ śādhi māṁ prapannam: "I surrender." And this is sisya, surrender. And then lessons on Bhagavad-gītā began. So we have to surrender voluntarily; otherwise discipline cannot be implemented. That is wanted. Śiṣyas te 'haṁ śādhi māṁ prapannam.
Devotee (2): Yes.
Prabhupāda: That is wanted. Śiṣyas te 'haṁ śādhi māṁ prapannam.
(Srila Prabhupada Morning Walk, March 8, 1976, Mayapur)