Prabhupāda: So you all become bhagavad-dūta, bhagavad-dūta, messenger of God. That is perfection of life. Otherwise you shall be obliged to become the servant of the senses. Go-dāsa and gosvāmī. The bhagavad-dūtas are gosvāmī, and the servants of the senses are go-dāsa. Unfortunately the go-dāsas are claiming to be gosvāmīs. That is the cause of falldown of Indian Vedic civilization. One has to become gosvāmī. Gosvāmī means refuse to follow the dictation of the senses. Simply he has to follow the dictation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That dictation comes through the paramparā system. Kṛṣṇa dictated Arjuna, sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja (BG 18.66). If you follow Arjuna, then you are in directly contact with Kṛṣṇa. There is no difficulty. The dictation comes through disciplic succession. Now Kṛṣṇa is teaching to His disciple, Arjuna. Arjuna accepted, śiṣyas te 'ham: (BG 2.7). "Just now I become Your disciple." Śiṣya means one who voluntarily accepts the ruling of a spiritual master. He is called śiṣya. Nobody wants to follow the dictation of others—that is another independent nature of living entity—but when one voluntarily agrees to serve the dictation of the spiritual master... means to follow the dictation of Kṛṣṇa... Ācāryaṁ māṁ vijānīyāt. Kṛṣṇa says, "Ācārya is My self." Nāvamanyeta karhicit: "Never disobey." Na martya-buddhyāsūyeta: "And do not think him as ordinary person and become envious of his position." Then there is fall down. Ācāryaṁ māṁ vijānīyān nāvamanyeta karhicit, na martya-buddhyāsūyeta (SB 11.17.27).
So this dictation of Kṛṣṇa comes through the disciplic succession, and if we follow the instruction of ācārya, or spiritual master, then we are directly following the orders of Kṛṣṇa, and thus I become a bhagavad-dūta. No more I am the dūta or the follower of the dictation of my senses. And one who is bhagavad-dūta, he is called gosvāmī, just like Rūpa Gosvāmī, Sanātana Gosvāmī. Whose life is dedicated to follow the dictation of Kṛṣṇa, they are gosvāmī. Gosvāmī is not a caste title, just like it has become in India. Gosvāmī... Rūpa Gosvāmī was a minister. He was rejected by the brāhmaṇa society, but Caitanya Mahāprabhu made him gosvāmī. He is the original gosvāmī. Why? Because he gave up the dictation of Nawab Shah but he followed the dictation of Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Therefore he became gosvāmī, prabhupāda. He became prabhupāda. Prabhupāda means the title or the respect which is given to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That is called... Prabhu means master and pāda means maryādā, or the respect or the distinction. So bhagavad-dūta, those who are strictly following the dictation of Kṛṣṇa under strict disciplinary chain of disciplic succession, he is Kṛṣṇa's representative and he should be given all the respect. Sākṣād-dharitvena samasta-śāstraiḥ. That is the verdict of all śāstras. And those who are actually Vaiṣṇava, they follow this instruction.
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Calcutta, January 6, 1971)