If you told me 40 years ago, someone would even 'think' Srila Prabhupada had to earn his purity - I would never have believed you.
My expectation within the conversation was, most would point to him as NityaSiddha. But to my surprised, more pointed to him as SadhanaSiddha!
They claim he says it in shastra. But he says many things in shastra, and it seems since a big name was involved in the conversation, more worried about offending him, than Prabhupada.
Others simply may not have connected dots, or did not want to rock the boat, or some other reason. I'm not about to judge them. I don't walk in their shoes of their daily life. But what I will do is give the shastric evidence that he is indeed, a Nitya Siddha.
Some said why should it matter, since either way he is a pure devotee. I thought about that. Yet, it got under my skin. But why?
My conclusion: If he's Sadhana-Siddha instead of Nitya-Siddha, I've been living a lie all these decades, and so have countless others. Plus it might mean he is not 'quite' as pure as we thought [tho it might not, cuz Krishna can zap anyone and make them as pure as He wishes]. Most of all, it just felt WRONG. However, I must find it in scripture. Thus the following. :)
"So the nitya-siddha maha-bhagavata, they come from the spiritual world on the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and they, by example, they preach Krsna Consciousness. This is maha-bhagavata. By suffering, by example, everything, they look like ordinary men, but maha-bhagavata. How it is tested? Never forgets Krsna. This is maha-bhagavata nitya-siddha. And sadhana-siddha means those who are put into this material world, by the association of maha-bhagavata, if he tries, follows, then he can also become maha-bhagavata or nitya-siddha, because originally everyone is nitya-siddha." (Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Mayapur, February 11, 1976)
[NOTATION: There is a quote where Prabhupada said he never forgot Krishna not even in childhood. When I locate the exact words, and date, etc, I'll put it here. But it's a fact.]
Guest (1): Prabhupāda, did Christ return to the spiritual planets then, when he left the earth, to be with Kṛṣṇa?
Prabhupāda: He is coming from spiritual planets. He is authorized representative of Kṛṣṇa, we accept him as śaktyāveśa-avatāra. " SP, Evening Darsana -- July 11, 1976, New York
[So let me see, Jesus has come from spiritual planets, but some initiated disciples think Prabhupada has not? Jiv Jago.]
"This word nitya-siddha is significant. Nitya-siddha and nitya-baddha. There are two kinds of living entities. Nitya-baddha means ever-conditioned. Ever-conditioned means those who are in this material world, they do not know when they came in touch with this material world. Neither they do know when they will be liberated. They are called nitya-baddha, ever-conditioned.
And similarly, there are nitya-siddhas. Nitya-siddhas means they never come in contact with this material world, and even they come here for some business, they do not forget their position. That is nitya-siddha. Try to understand.
There are two kinds of living entities: nitya-siddha, nitya-baddha. Nitya-baddhas are within this material world. Beginning from Brahma down to a small ant, insignificant ant, they are all nitya-baddha. Anyone who is in this material world -- nitya-baddha.
And nitya-siddhas, they belong to the spiritual world. They never come in contact with this material world, and even they come for some business under the order of the Supreme Lord, they do not touch these material qualities. They remain always transcendental.
As Krsna remains always transcendental, even though He is in this material world, similarly, Krsna's nitya-siddha associates, they are also transcendental. They never touch this material world." ~ Srila Prabhupada lecture, July 14, 1973
"Nitya-siddha devotees come from Vaikuntha to this material world to teach, by their personal example, how to become a devotee. The living entities in this material world can take lessons from such nitya-siddha devotees and thus become inclined to return home, back to Godhead. A nitya-siddha devotee comes from Vaikuntha upon the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and shows by his example how to become a pure devotee (anyabhilasita-
sunyam). In spite of coming to this material world, the nitya-siddha devotee is never attracted by the allurements of material enjoyment." (S.B. 7.10.3, Purport)
"A nitya-siddha never forgets the service of the Lord. He is always engaged, even from childhood, in worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead." (CC Madhya 3.167, Purport)
"All nitya-siddhas within this material world may appear to toil like ordinary men, but they never forget their position as servants of the Lord." (CC Madhya 5.113, Purport)
[Yet some of us conditioned souls think they can recognize. Too risky imho. Karmic.]
"In all the ancient scriptures of devotional service and in the more recent songs of Srila Narottama dasa Thakura, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and other unalloyed Vaisnavas, the spiritual master is always considered either one of the confidential associates of Srimati Radharani or a manifested representation of Srila Nityananda Prabhu." (CC. Adi 1.46, Purport)
ME: The question arises, as it did in that discussion, if Prabhupada is NityaSiddha he would have said that; and why did he call himself a SadhanaSiddha?
We must understand thru the eyes of shastra. First, one can be a SadhanaSiddha AND a NityaSiddha at the same time [as the pure devotee still preforms saddhana], but not to "assume" it is the other way around. It sometimes could be, but we must not speculate.
Second, it's highly important to understand the pure devotee is humble. He does not like to show off his level of purity, and rather say he is Sadhana-Siddha than Nitya-Siddha.
"It is characteristic of advanced Vaisnavas following the principles of bhakti that they think themselves ordinary human beings. This is not an artificial exhibition of humility; a Vaisnava sincerely thinks this way and therefore never admits his exalted position." (Srimad-Bhagavatam 5.24.26, Purport)
"The activities of these elevated souls are not to be questioned by us. They have a higher purpose which we cannot determine; therefore do not try to imitate the actions of the very powerful, but one should simply follow their instructions." Prabhupada Letter, July 25, 1970
UPDATE: Found the quote where Prabhupada says he never forgot Krishna:
"So far my present life is concerned, I do not remember any part of my life when I was forgetful of Krsna." SPL to Tamal Krsna, Los Angeles, 21 June, 1970
Poem on the Passing of Thakur Haridas
Author : Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur
"He reasons ill who says that Vaishnavas die
When thou art living still in Sound!
The Vaishnavas die to live and living try
To spread the holy life around!"
This is not very helpful if I can't find the evidence, but there was a story, I believe told by Daivi Shakti. Gita Devi Saraf, who donated the land for Krsna Balaram mandir, once had a private meeting with Srila Prabhupada toward the end of his manifest pastimes. In that meeting, Srila Prabhupada told her that he had come from Goloka and would soon be returning. Gita Devi confided this to (I believe) Daivi Shakti, before her own passing.
As far as I'm concerned, there is plenty of evidence that Srila Prabhupada was not only nitya-siddha, but far beyond anything we can imagine! \o/