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<center>Sri Guru & His Grace






(Srila Bhakti Raksaka Sridhara Deva Goswami)





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His Divine Grace

A.C. Bhaktivedanta

Swami Prabhupada




of the

International Society


Krsna Consciousness







In ten short years, A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada inundated the world with Krsna Consciousness. In the following excerpt from one of his essays, he smashes the sectarian misconception that the spiritual master is limited to a particular person, form, or institution, and establishes the universal conception of guru.



saksad-dharitvena samasta-sastrair

uktas tatha bhavyata eva sadbhih

kintu prabhor yah priya eva tasya

vande guroh sri caranaravindam


In the revealed scriptures it is declared that the spiritual master should be worshiped like the Supreme Personality of Godhead and this injunction is obeyed by pure devotees of the Lord. The spiritual master is the most confidential servant of the Lord. Thus let us offer our respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of our spiritual master .


Gentlemen, on behalf of the members of the Bombay branch of the Gaudiya Math, let me welcome you all because you have so kindly joined us tonight in our congregational offerings of homage to the lotus feet of the world teacher, acaryadeva, who is the founder of this Gaudiya Mission and is the President-acarya of Sri Sri Visva Vaisnava Raja Sabha-I mean my eternal divine master, Om Visnupada Paramaharnsa Parivrajakacarya, Sri Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Maharaja.


Sixty-two years ago, on this auspicious day, the acaryadeva made his appearance by the call of Thakura Bhaktivinoda at Sri Ksetra, Jagannatha Dhama at Puri.


Gentlemen, the offering of such an homage as has been arranged this evening to the acaryadeva is not a sectarian concern, for when we speak of the fundamental principle of gurudeva or acaryadeva, we speak of something that is of universal application. There does not arise any question of discrirninating my guru from yours or anyone else's.


There is only one guru, who appears in an infinity of forrns to teach you, me and all others.


In the Mundaka Upanisad (1.2.12) it is said:


tad-vijnartham sa gurum evabhigacchet samit-panih srotriyam brahma-nistham


"In order to learn the transcendental science, one must approach the bona fide spiritual master in disciplic succession, who is fixed in the Absolute Tmth.''


Thus it has been enjoined herewith that in order to receive that transcendental knowledge, one must approach the guru. Therefore, if the Absolute Truth is one, about which we think there is no difference of opinion, the guru cannot be two. The acaryadeva to whom we have assembled tonight to offer our humble homage is not the guru of a sectarian institution or one out of many differing exponents of the truth. On the contrary, he is the jagad-guru, or the guru of all of us, the only difference is that some obey him wholeheartedly, while others do not obey him directly.


In the Bhagavatam (11.17.27) it is said:



acaryam mam vijaniyan

navamanyeta karhicit

na martya-buddhyasuyeta

sarva-deva mayoguruh


"One should understand the spiritual master to be as good as I am," said the Blessed Lord. "Nobody should be jealous of the spiritual master or think of him as an ordinary man, because the spiritual master is the sum total of all demigods." That is, the acarya has been identified with God Himself. He has nothing to do with the affairs of this mundane world. He appears before us to reveal the light of the Vedas and to bestow upon us the blessing of full-fledged freedom, after which we should hanker at every step of our life's journey.


The transcendental knowledge of the Vedas was first uttered by God to Brahma, the creator of this particular universe. From Brahma the knowledge descended to Narada, from Narada to Vyasadeva, from Vyasadeva to Madhva, and in this process of disciplic succession the transcendental knowledge was transmitted by one disciple to another till it reached Lord Gauranga, Sri Krsna Caitanya, who posed as the disciple and successor of Sri Isvara Puri. The present acaryadeva is the tenth disciplic representative from Sri Rupa Goswami, the original representative of Lord Caitanya who preached this transcendental tradition in its fullness. The knowledge that we receive from our gurudeva is not different from that imparted by God Himself and the succession of the acaryas in the preceptorial line of Brahma. We adore this auspicious day as Sri Vyasa-puja-tithi because the acarya is the living representative of Vyasadeva, the divine compiler of the Vedas, Puranas, Bhagavad gita, Mahabharata and Srimad-Bhagavatam .


We cannot know anything of the transcendental region by our limited, perverted method of okservation and experiment. But all of us can lend our eager ears for the aural reception of the transcendental sound transmitted from that region to this, through the unadulterated medium of sri gurudeva or Sri Vyasadeva. Therefore, gentlemen, we should surrender ourselves today at the feet of the representative of Sn Vyasadeva for the elimination of all our differences bred by our unsubmissive attitude. It is accordingly said in the Bhagavad-gita (4.34):



tad viddhi pranipatena

pariprasnena sevaya

upadeksyanti te jnanam

jnaninas tattva darsinah


"Just approach the wise and bona fide spiritual master. Surrender unto him first and try to understand him by inquiries and service. Such a wise spiritual master will enlighten you with transcendental knowledge, for he has already known the Aksolute Truth."


To receive transcendental knowledge, we must completely surrender ourselves to the real acarya in a spirit of ardent inquiry and service. Actual performance of service to the Absolute under the guidance of the acarya is the only vehicle by which we can assimilate transcendental knowledge. Today's meeting for offering our humble services and homage to the feet of the acaryadeva will enable us to be favored with the capacity of assimilating the transcendental knowledge so kindly transmitted by him to all persons without distinction.


Gentlemen, although it is imperfectly that we have been enabled, by his grace, to understand the sublime messages of our acaryadeva, we must admit that we have realized definitely that the divine message from his holy lips is the congenial thing for suffering humanity. All of us should hear him patiently. If we listen to the transcendental sound without unnecessary opposition, he will surely have mercy upon us. The acarya's message is to take us back to our original home, back to God. Let me repeat, therefore, that we should hear him patiently, follow him in the measure of our conviction and bow down at his lotus feet for releasing us from our present causeless unwillingness for serving the Absolute and all souls.


Sitting at the feet of the acaryadeva, let us try to understand from this transcendental source of knowledge what we are, what is this universe, what is God, and what is our relationship with Him. The message of Lord Caitanya is the message for the living entities and the message of the living world. Lord Caitanva did not bother himself for the upliftment of this dead world, which is suitably named Martyaloka, the world where everything is destined to die. He appeared before us four hundred and fifty years ago to tell us something of the transcendental universe, where everything is permanent and everything is for the service of the Absolute. But recently Lord Caitanya has keen misrepresented by some unscrupulous persons, and the highest philosophy of the Lord has been misinterpreted to be the cult of the lowest type of society. We are glad to announce tonight that our acaryadeva, with his usual kindness, saved us from this horrible type of degradation, and therefore we bow down at his lotus feet with all humility.


We are happy that we have been relieved of this horrible type of malady by the mercy of His Divine Grace. He is our eye-opener, our eternal father, our eternal preceptor and our eternal guide. Let us therefore bow down at his lotus feet on this auspicious day.


Gentlemen, although we are like ignorant children in the knowledge of Transcendence, still, my gurudeva has kindled a small fire within us to dissipate the invincible darkness of empirical knowledge. We are now so much on the safe side that no amount of philosophical argument by the empiric schools of thought can deviate us an inch from the position of our eternal dependence on the lotus feet of His Divine Grace.


Gentlemen, had he not appeared before us to deliver us from the thralldom of this gross, worldly delusion, surely we should have remained for lives and ages in the darkness of helpless captivity. Had he not appeared before us, we would not have been able to understand the eternal truth of the sublime teaching of Lord Caitanya.


Personally, I have no hope for any direct service of the coming crores of births in the sojourn of my life, but I am confident that some day or other I shall be delivered from this mire of delusion in which I am at present so deeply sunk. Therefore let me with all my earnestness pray at the lotus feet of my divine master to allow me to suffer the lot for which I am destined due to my past misdoings, but to let me have this power of recollection: that I am nothing but a tiny servant of the Almighty Absolute Godhead, realized through the unflinching mercy of my divine master. Let me therefore bow down at his lotus feet with all the humility at my command.


Abhay Charan Das [early name of A. C. Bhaktivedanta Prabhupada]

For Members, Sri Gaudiya Math



-This lecture was originally published in The Harmonist in 1936, on the advent day of His Divine Grace Om Visnupada Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura.


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His Divine Grace

Bhakti Raksaka

Srila Sridhara

Deva Goswami





Sri Chaitanya

Saraswat Math






To err is human. To err is inevitable for all, being not perfect. Still, no one wants to remain imperfect. There is an element within all that is animate that tends towards perfection. If it were not so, we would feel no want at all. Our tendency towards perfection is certainly very weak and limited; otherwise we could attain the goal at once. Our limited capacity and tendency for perfection makes room for the guide or guru.


The imperfect is not so if it is not in need of help, and that also from beyond itself. The perfect is not perfect if He cannot assert Himself or help others, and that too, of His own accord. So the guidance to perfection or Absolute Truth is necessarily a function of the absolute Himself, and the divine agent through whom this function manifests is Sri Guru or the divine guide.


For a seeker of the Absolute Truth, submission to the guru is unavoidable. A class of thinkers believes, however, that when scientific research is possible, why cannot higher spiritual knowledge also be evolved from within? Such people are ignorant of the most essential nature of absolute Knowledge, that He alone is the Aksolute Subject and all else including ourselves constitutionally stand only as an object to His omniscient vision. It is impossible for the eye to see the mind; it can have some connection with the mind only when the latter cares to mind it. In a similar way, our connection with absolute knowledge depends mainly on His sweet will. We must solely depend on His agent, or the spiritual master, through whom He likes to distribute Himself.


Our human society with its finest culture forms but an infinitesimal part of the dynamic absolute. How, except by the direct and positive method of revelation, dare we hope to comprehend or evolve any conception of the supernatural knowledge of the unconditioned infinite? All intellectual giants prove themselves but pygmies before the absolute omniscient omnipotence who reserves the right to give Himself away through His own agents alone.


To our best knowledge and sincerity, however, we should see not to submit to a false agent. Here of course, we can't help ourselves very much; because in our present state we are mainly guided by our previous samskara or acquired nature. "Birds of the same feather flock together." Yet, although we are generally overpowered by habit, there is still the possibility of free choice to a certain extent, specially in the human species, otherwise correction becomes impossible, and punishment mere vengeance. Reality can assert itself. Light does not require darkness for its positive proof. The sun by itself can establish its supremacy over all other lights. Before an open and unbiased eye, the sad guru (real guide) shines above all professors of phenomenon.


Sri Guru manifests himself mainly in a twofold way- -as the director from within and the preceptor from without. Both functions of the absolute help an individual soul--a disciple to reach the absolute goal. In our fallen state we cannot catch the proper direction of the inner guide, so the merciful manifestation of the preceptor without is our sole help and hope. But at the same time it is only by the grace of the guru within that we can recognize the real preceptor without and submit to his holy feet.


A bona fide disciple must always remain fully awake to the fact that his highest spiritual fortune is but a gracious grant from the Absolute Lord, and not a matter of right to be demanded or fought out. Constitutionally, we are equipped only to be proper recipients of God's favor. In this connection it should be clearly understood that an individual soul can never be substantially the same as the Absolute Person. Not even in his liberated or fully realized condition can an individual soul be one with Godhead. The misconception of oneness has been introduced from the slothful nondiscrimination of the Absolute Personality from the luminous orb around His eternal, spiritual, and blissful home. In fact, an individual soul constitutes only a part of a particular power of intermediate value of the Supreme Lord, and as such he is capable of being converted from both sides. He differs from the absolute Entity both in quantity and quality; and is merely a dependent entity on the absolute. In other words, the Absolute Lord Krsna is the master,and an individual jiva soul is His constitutional subordinate or servant.


Such a relationship is constant and really wholesome for the jiva. The apprehension of slavery does not arise because of his free choice and immense positive gain. The freedom and individuality of the jiva are not only unharmed bv surrender to the Absolute Good, but they really thrive in Him alone. Individual freedom and interest are the part and parcel of those who are of the absolute, and so they are quite at home there, as a fish is at home in water or an animal in a healthy atmosphere. But the freedom as well as all other qualities of the Supreme personality are unlimited and transcendental, and so only by their partial functions they harmonize all relative entities.


Sri guru is not exclusively the same as the Supreme Lord Himself, but he fully represents the essence of the whole normal potency and embodies the most comprehensive and excellent service and favor of the Lord. As he is the fittest servitor of the Lord, he is empowered by the Lord to reinstate all misguided souls to their best interest. So, guru is the divine messenger of immortal hope and joy in this mortal and miserable world. His advent is the most auspicious and happy event to the suffering animation, and can be compared to the rising of the moming star that can guide the traveller lost in the desert. A gentle touch of sri guru's merciful hand can wipe off the incessant tears from all weeping eyes. A patriot or philanthropist makes the problem only worse in his frantic and futile attempt to alleviate the deeprooted pain of a suffering soul, as an ignorant doctor does in eagerly handling an unfortunate patient. Oh the day when this poor soul realizes the causeless grace of sri gurudeva.


Swami B.R. Sridhara


-this essay was originally published in 1934, in The Harmonist

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Chapter One





Sri Guru






Even great scholars are perplexed in understanding what is good and what is bad, what to accept, and what to dismiss (kim karma kim akarmeti kavayo'py atra mohitah). Even great scholars fail to understand their real necessity. This material world is a jungle of perplexities, where the soul has accepted so many different kinds of bodies in different types of consciousness. In the Laws of Manu, it is written:



jalaja nava laksani

sthavara laksa vimsati

krmayo rudra-sankhyakah

paksinam dasa laksanam

trimsal laksani pasavah

catur laksani manusah


There are 900,000 kinds of aquatics, 2,000,000 kinds of trees and plants, 1,100,000 kinds of insects and reptiles, 1,000,000 kinds of birds, 3,000,000 kinds of four-legged beasts, and 400,000 kinds of human species. Manu says that the trees are in such a hopeless position as a result of their own karma. Their feelings of pain and pleasure are similar to ours; their souls are not of a lower standard. Still, they are in such a deplorable position as a result of their own karma. They have no one to blame but themselves. This is the state of affairs in this external world.


We are living in an environment which is afflicted with serious misconception, misunderstanding, misguidance, and misbehavior. How are we to ascertain what is good and what is bad, what we should aspire after and what we should reject? Innumerable alternatives have thronged in a crowd, coming to influence us. And when this area, covered by illusion and influenced by misunderstanding, is filled with such diversity, how can we hope to know the infinite spiritual world of Vaikuntha? With what attitude should we approach that realm which is transcendental, beyond the realm of the senses and mind (adhoksaja).



The Genuine Guru


We must accept any way and any alliance that will help us gain entrance into that realm. We shall try to have even the slightest connection with that perfect goal of our innate aspiration. We are helpless; we are hopeless in the midst of disappointment. We are in extreme danger. We rely on our free will, our capacity of selection for our own good, but it is too minute and helpless to guide us. What danger we are in! All around us are witnesses to this danger. How important is a real guru who can guide us to our real welfare.


We are in the midst of different forces that are drawing us, attracting us towards different directions, so proper guidance is the most valuable and the most important thing for all of us. If we accept direction from anywhere and everywhere, we will be misguided. Therefore, we must be careful to get proper direction. That direction has been given by Krsna in the Bhagavad-gita:



tad viddhi pranipatena

pariprasnena sevaya

upadeksyanti te jnanam

jnaninas tattva-darsinah


"To understand transcendental knowledge, you must approach a self-realized soul, accept him as your spiritual master, and take initiation from him. Inquire submissively and render service unto him. Self-realized souls can impart knowledge unto you, for they have seen the truth."



Qualifications of a Disciple


Here, Krsna has given us the standard by which we can understand what is what, from a bona fide source. The standard to measure truth or untruth must come not from a vitiated, vulnerable plane, but from a real plane. And to realize that, we must have these three qualifications: pranipat, pariprasna, and seva. Pranipat means we must surrender to this knowledge, for it is not an ordinary class of knowledge, which as a subject we can make our object; it is supersubjective. We may be the subjects in this mundane world, but we will have to become objects to be handled by the superknowledge of that plane.


Pranipat means that one approaches a spiritual master, saying, "I am finished with the experience of this external world; I have no charrn for anything in this plane, where I have already traveled. Now I am offering myself exclusively at your altar. I want to have your grace." In this mood we should approach that higher knowledge.


Pariprasna means honest, sincere inquiry. We must inquire not with the tendency of discussion or in the mood of argument, but all our efforts should be concentrated in a positive line to understand the truth, without the spirit of doubt and suspicion. With full attention we should try to understand that truth, because it is coming from a higher plane of reality that we have never known.


Finally, there is sevaya, or service. This is the most important thing. We are trying to gain this knowledge not so we can get the help of that plane, not so we can utilize that experience for living here; rather we must give our pledge to serve that plane. Only with this attitude may we approach that plane of knowledge. We shall serve that higher knowledge; we won't try to make it serve us. Otherwise, we won't be allowed to enter into that domain.


Absolute knowledge won't come to serve this lower plane. We must offer ourselves to be used by Him, not that we shall try to use Him in our own selfish way, to satisfy our lower purpose.


With the mood of service we shall dedicate ourselves to Him; not that He will dedicate Himself to satisfy our lower animal purpose. So, with this attitude we shall seek the plane of real knowledge and receive the standard understanding. And then we can know what is what, and have a proper estimation of our environment.


This is Vedic culture. Absolute knowledge has always been imparted by this process alone, and never by the intellectual approach. Srlla Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta used to give the analogy of the bee: honey is in a bottle, the cork is in place, and the bee has taken his seat on the glass. He tries to taste the honey by licking the bottle. But, just as the bee cannot taste the honey by licking the outside of the glass bottle, the intellect cannot approach the world of spirit. We may think that we have attained it, but that is not possible: a barrier is there, like the glass. Intellectual achievement is not real achievement of higher knowledge. Only through faith, sincerity, and dedication can we approach that higher realm, and become a member. We can enter that higher plane only if they grant us a visa and admit us. Then we can enter that land of divine living.


So, a candidate must have these three qualifications before he can approach the truth which is on the higher plane of Absolute Reality. He can approach the Absolute Truth only with an attitude of humility, sincerity, and dedication. There are similar statements in the Srimad Bhagavatam and the Vedas. In the Upanisads it is said, tad vijnanartham sa gurum evabhigacchet samit panih srotriyam brahma nistham: "Approach a spiritual master. Do not go to him hesitatingly or haphazardly, but with a clear and earnest heart."



Spintual Life-a One Way Ticket


One should not approach the spiritual master "cutting a return ticket." Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Prabhupada used to always say, "You have come here cutting a return ticket." We must not approach the spiritual master with that attitude. Rather, we should think that we have seen everything, that we have full experience of this mortal world, and that we have nothing to aspire after here. With this clear consciousness, we should approach the guru. That is the only way for us to live. This world is mortal. There is no means, no possibility of living here, and yet the will to live is an innate tendency everywhere.


"I only want to live and to save myself. I am running to the real shelter." With this earnestness, the disciple will bring his spiritual master the necessary materials for sacrifice. He won't go to his spiritual master only to trouble the guru, but will approach him with his own necessities already supplied. He will go there with his own bed and baggage. Not that he will show some kindness to the spiritual master and give him name and fame by becoming his disciple.


And what will be the spiritual master's position? He will be well versed in the revealed truth, not in ordinary information. Revelation in many shades has been spread in the world from the upper realm, but the guru must have some spacious, graphic knowledge. He must have extensive knowledge about the revealed truth. And he must always be practicing real spiritual life. His activities are all connected with spirit, not with the mundane world. He is concerned with Brahman, the plane which can accomodate everything, the fundamental basis of everything (brahma-nistham). Not that he is leading his life with any mortal, mundane reference. He always lives in the transcendental plane and keeps himself in connection with that plane his whole life. Whatever he does, he will do only with that consciousness. This is the version of the Upanisads.


And in the Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.3.21) it is said:



tasmad gurum prapadyeta

jijnasuh sreya uttamam

sabde pare ca nisnatam

brahmany upasamasrayam


Maya means misconception. We are living in the midst of misconception. Our understanding of the environment is based on a completely misconceived set of ideas and thoughts. We have no proper conception of anything in the absolute sense. Our ideas are all relative. Provincial selfishness has been imposed on the environment, and we are living under that misconception. When one comes to the conclusion that everything will vanish, then, with that mood, he will feel the necessity of approaching the guru, the divine guide and preceptor, with the purpose of inquiry. "What is the highest good for me?" With this inquiry, he will approach the spiritual master.


And who will he approach? One who is not only well-versed in the precepts of the revealed scriptures, but who has also come in contact with the revealed truth. One who is conversant with the very object of the scriptures, and who has practical experience, who is established in pure consciousness, is a genuine guru. One should approach such a guide for his own relief, to understand what is the highest benefit in the world and how to attain it. This is necessary. It is real. It is not imaginary. At the same time, it is difficult. The Absolute Truth must be sought out through a real process, otherwise we shall go the wrong way and then say, "Oh, there is nothing here; it is not real." So, only if we follow this real process of understanding the truth will we experience the real nature of divinity.

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<center>Chapter Two











Devotee: Can you explain the real meaning of diksa, initiation?


Sridhara Maharaja: Srila Jiva Goswami has explained this in his Bhakti Sandarhha (868):



divyam jnanam yato dadyat

kuryat papasya sanksayam

tasmad dikseti sa prokta

desikais tattva-kovidaih


Experienced scholars have explained the meaning of diksa, or spiritual initiation, in this way: diksa is the process through which transcendental knowledge is imparted by the preceptor to the disciple. As a result, all the disciple's previous bad tendencies are crushed. Through diksa, all previous commitments are cleared, and one gets the light of new life in relationship with the transcendental Lord. Diksa, or initiation, is a process by which we are given a noble connection with the absolute center and at the same time, our previous commitments are all finished. It is an innter awakenment of life that brings divine knowledge. That wealth is there within us, but it is suppressed. Diksa means discovering one's inner wealth, and getting relief from all outward obligations.


With inner awakenment, the outward commitments vanish, just as when you reach home, all other arrangements you may have contracted for your comforts are all cut off, for at home you find full comfort. When we are in a foreign land, we may seek the comforts which are supplied in hotels, but when we reach home, the hotel comforts are discarded; we find no more use for them. Sometimes a minor is kidnapped from home. Later, while visiting his native place he may stay in a hotel, but if he suddenly finds his father's house, and retums home, his parents will recognize him and say, "O, my son! You were stolen from us when you were young. We recognize your face. I am your mother, this is your father, here is your sister." Then the hotel is no longer needed. In a similar way, with the inner awakenment of the soul, when we return back home, back to Godhead, we will find our comfortable home with Krsna. So, to make a connection with our real home and dispense with our outward links is known as diksa.



Mantra: The Spiritual Formula


Devotee: What is the difference between siksa, or spiritual instruction, and diksa ?


Srila Sridhara Maharaja: Diksa mainly involves initiation into the mantra, the spiritual formula. Other instructions are necessary to substantiate it, to help it become effective. Certain activities are also helpful. These are all parts and parcels of initiation. So, a general directlon is given by diksa, but how to substantiate that? Details are necessary. In the Srimad-Bhagavatam (7.5.23-24) it is said,



sravanam kirtanam visnoh

smaranam .-sevanam

arcanam vandanam dasyam

sakhyam atma-nivedanam

iti pumsarpita visnau

bhaktis cen nava-laksana


"Hearing about Krsna, chanting Krsna's glories, remembering Krsna, serving Krsna's lotus feet, worshipping Krsna's transcendental form, offering prayers to Krsna, becoming Krsna's servant, considering Krsna as one's best friend, and surrendering everything to Krsna- these nine processes are accepted as pure devotional service." All these things are advised; a thousand details may be necessary.



Initiation: Spiritual Invasion


If a general plans to invade another country, he must first chalk out his strategy of attack in a broad way. When he goes to practically execute his plan, so many obstacles appear, and he has to solve them and march on. If one plans to travel, first he conceives of the whole plan in a nutshell: "From this foreign land, I will retum home by this route." But to carry out the plan in practice, so many details are necessary. First it is chalked out in a rough plan, and then he must practically do so many things. First he must hire a taxi, then he has to go to the airport to purchase a ticket for the plane-in this way, so many details are required. So, from partial knowledge, we have to develop final knowledge. This detailed knowledge is known as siksa.


Devotee: What is the position of a devotee, who although not yet fully free from the influence of maya, accepts disciples on the order of Srl Caitanya Mahaprabhu and his spintual master?


Srila Sndhara Maharaja: It is better that a man who begins business with small capital has a connection with a wealthier capitalist. Then he can prosper in his business. In a similar way, as long as one is not completely established in Krsna consciousness, he must have some connection with superior aid. Then he will be safe. If we are to fight face to face with maya, illusion, help from the higher agency should be our only resource.


It is very difficult to control maya. Krsna says in Bhagavad-gita (7.14):



daivi hy esa gunamayi

mama maya duratyaya

mam eva ye prapadyante

mayam etam taranti te


"My illusory energy is impossible to overcome. Only one who surrenders to me can cross beyond it." Maya dreads only Krsna, for she has her backing from Him. If you attempt to cross maya alone, it will be impossible. You must have some higher connection. And with the help of that connection you can overcome illusion. Maya will withdraw only when she sees that you have the backing of higher potency. Alone, you cannot fight and gain victory over maya. It is impossible, because wherever you go, you are within the boundary of maya, illusion. It may be more or less intense, but it is all maya. Only when you really come in touch with the plane above maya can you fight against maya; only then will maya withdraw. We must have some shelter beyond maya from where we can fight with illusion. We are advised to take shelter of sadhus, saints, and sastra, scriptures. Their help comes from above, and we must accept that help from the inner core of our hearts.



Accepting Disciples and Karma


Devotee: It seems that those who accept disciples have to undergo some physical difficulty or suffering because of accepting the karma of their disciples.


Srila Sridhara Maharaja: Physical difficulty should not be considered. And physical success also should not be considered of much value. One should not think that if a guru has a large number of disciples he is great.


One may voluntarily accept the responsibility of the spiritual life of so many disciples, but find that their improvement is not satisfactory. As a result, he may experience some disturbance. He may think, "I have taken charge of their lives, but I am not able to give them the desired improvement in their spiritual life." That is a good symptom. The Vaisnavas have no trouble for themselves, but they are troubled for others (para-duhkha duhkhi). In his prayer to Sanatana Goswami, Srila Raghunatha Dasa Goswami writes that Sanatana Goswami was always distressed upon seeing the distress of others. A Vaisnava has no mental trouble for himself, but he feels mental trouble when he sees the pain of others. It is difficult for a Vaisnava to tolerate. They are always sympathetic to the misery of others. This is the qualification of the intermediate devotee. He has no trouble of his own, but he is troubled by the pain of others. An intermediate devotee cannot ignore these things.


The spiritual master will have to digest some of the responsibility of the bad and undesirable activities of the disciple. He has the responsibility of managing them by his instruction. When a doctor has accepted a patient, and the patient is in pain, the doctor may feel some trouble in his mind: "l have taken charge of this patient, and I can't remove his difficulty." In this way, he may feel some voluntary responsiblity.


The spintual master may experience different kinds of suffering in different stages. Sometimes a guru may feel, "I am doing as much as I can to help this disciple." Such a guru does not take so much responsibility for his disciple. He thinks, "I am doing my duty," and treats his disciples with this openness of mind. It is just as in the case of the consulting physician and the family doctor. The family doctor cannot shake off the responsibility of caring for his patients, but a doctor from outside may say, "If you like, you may engage another doctor." The consulting physician is not so much eamest for the patient. He may feel, "I am not perfect, I cannot make him pure immediately. Whether he improves is God's will. I can only do my best." From the beginning of their relationship, just as a doctor may approach his patient with this attitude, the guru may approach his disciples. The question of how much responsibility the guru takes for the disciple is a question of the attitude he takes towards his disciples in particular cases.


Devotee: Does the disciple's advancement depend more on the guru or on his own efforts? How will the disciple make proper advancement in following the principles of his guru?


Srila Sridhara Maharaja: That depends on the stages of realization of the disciple. Exclusive devotion must come from the disciple towards the guru. It is said in the Svetasvatara Upanisad (6.23):



yasya deve para bhaktir

yatha deve tatha gurau

tasyaite kathita hy arthah

prakasante mahatmanah


"The key to success in spiritual life is unflinching devotion to both the spiritual master and Krsna. To those great souls who have full faith in both Krsna and the spiritual master, the inner meaning of the scriptures is fully revealed." The guru is Krsna's representative. We are in search of divinity, and so, we must try to concentrate all our energy wherever we find a real connection with divinity. That is the key to success, because Krsna is all-conscious. So, the response to our devotional efforts will come from Krsna according to our attentiveness to Him. He is everywhere. In the conception of infinite, everywhere there is center, nowhere is there circumference. In every point there may be the center. Prahlada Maharaja saw the center present everywhere. Hiranyakasipu asked him, "Is your God in this pillar?" Prahlada replied, "Yes. He is there." And when Hiranyakasipu demolished the pillar, Lord Nrisirnhadeva came out.



Guru-Absolute and Relative


Devotee: Can you explain this concept of the absolute and relative position of the spiritual master?


Srila Sridhara Maharaja: By the special will of Krsna, gurudeva is a delegated power. If we look closely within the spiritual master, we will see the delegation of Krsna, and accordingly, we should accept him in that way. The spiritual master is a devotee of Krsna, and at the same time, the inspiration of Krsna is within him. These are the two aspects of gurudeva. He has his aspect as a Vaisnava, and the inspired side of the Vaisnava is the guru. On a fast day like Ekadasi, he himself does not take any grains. He conducts himself as a Vaisnava, but his disciples offer grains to the picture of their guru on the altar. The disciples offer their spiritual master grains even on a fast day.


The disciple is concerned with the delegation of the Lord, the, guru's inner self, his inspired side. The inspired side of a Vaisnava is acarya, or, guru. The disciple marks only the special, inspired portion within the guru. He is more concerned with that part of his character. But gurudeva himself generally poses as a Vaisnava. So, his dealings towards his disciples and his dealings with other Vaisnavas will be different. This is acintya-bhedabheda, inconceivable unity in diversity.


There may be imitation, and there may be deviation. Both are possible. For ulterior motives, one may make a trade of guruship, just as in the case of the caste goswamis and the sahajiya imitationists. For some reason or other, one may pose as a guru, but the syrnptoms of a real guru are given in the scriptures: sabde pare ca nisnatam brahmany upasamagrayam: "A bona fide spiritual master must be conversant with the conclusions of the Vedic literature, fixed in realization of the Supreme Truth." (Srimad Bhagavatam 11.3.21).



Scriptures Need Saints


Anyone can say, "I am guru, he is not guru ." Imitation is always possible, but the scriptures give the criterion for the selection of a real guru, and the real guru will extract the meaning of the scripture. Guru and sastra are interdependent. One will help another for our edification. The scriptures say we must read the scripture under the guidance of a proper professor, a Vaisnava guru (acaryavan puruso veda ). So, the scripture is dependent on the spintual master. And who is a spiritual master? The scriptures will explain. So they are interdependent: sadhu and sastra are both necessary. They are the active and the passive agents.


Devotee: Can you explain why Krsna appears in so many different gurus? Why must Krsna appear again and again? Can't we leam everything we need to know just by reading Bhagavad-gita ? What is the need for constant revelation? Don't the old books contain all the truths we need to know?


Srila Sridhara Maharaja: In Srimad-Bhagavatam, Krsna says, "First I transmitted Vedic knowledge to this world through Brahma. And that was entrusted to his disciples: the four Kumaras, Marichi, Angira, and other sages. The knowledge was first invested in them and later in books.


First it was presented in the forrn of sound, not script. Gradually it became fixed in writing. In the beginning, it descended directly through sound from one man to another, from lip to ear. No script or writing was invented at that time, but knowledge was contained in the form of sound. Passing through the ear to the mouth, and again to the ear of another, gradually it became lost. In connection with the mediator sometimes it becomes lost and disfigured, distorted, and then again the Lord feels the necessity of appearing in this world (yada yada hi dharmasya ).


Sometimes Krsna comes himself, and sometimes he sends a normal thinking man to reinstate the standard of true religion. Krsna says, "This karma yoga that I have spoken to you, Arjuna, I spoke first to Surya, and from Surya it was passed down from generation to generation. And so it has become mutilated and disfigured. Again I am speaking that very same thing to you today." The enervating plane gradually erodes the truth. The truth is bright when it first appears, but gradually with the contact of this enervating plane, it becomes weak, disfigured, and demoralized, and so Krsna appears from time to time to rejuvenate it, and bring about a renaissance.


Devotee: Is there any difference between an acarya and a guru?


Srila Sridhara Maharaja: Guru and acarya are the same but generally it may be said that an acarya does more extensive work. And also the acarya must have extensive knowledge of the scriptures, whereas the guru may not have expressly deep knowledge of scripture, but may have real knowledge of their purport. He may not be able to quote scripture extensively, but feels the meaning of the scriptures. He may be a guru. But an acarya is one who preaches widely and is able to extensively quote scriptural evidence.



Marketplace of Gurus


Devotee: There are so many imitation gurus in the guise of Vaisnavas who are simply out to cheat the innocent public. How can we know who is a real guru and who is a cheater? How do we know when we are being given real knowledge and when we are being cheated?


Srila Sridhara Maharaja: We have to find out what is the source of his knowledge. In the marketplace there may be imitation gold, but if we are sure that the gold we are purchasing is coming from a particular mine, we can buy it, with the assurance that it has not been tampered with on the way. In that way it can be understood: by examining the source.


Once, here in India, Gandhi wanted to revive the cherka system of homespun cloth. In the cherka system, the poor produce thread with a spinning wheel, and if everyone buys that cloth, called khadi, then the money goes to the pockets of the poor. But the Japanese and English cloth factories sent imitation "homespun" khadi here. They began manufacturing rough cloth, imitating the ordinary homespun cloth produced here by the poor. Gandhi found himself perplexed, "What is this?" he said. "My need is that the money go to the poorest pocket, but now the capitalists are producing imitation rough cloth abroad, and that is being sold here in India. Instead of money going to the poor here in India, it is going to the foreign capitalists." Then he founded one association, the Khadi association, and told his followers, "You must purchase homespun cloth only from those shops who are connected with this association of mine. Then the money will surely go to the pockets of the poor." At that time he said, "This is guru parampara, the system of disciplic succession." Of course, this a crude example.


Revealed truth coming uncontaminated through a particular process is parampara. We must connect with a reliable succession. Only then can we get the genuine thing. The authorized association is necessary, guru parampara is necessary. So, before we read anyone's book, we shall try to find out who is his guru, and from where the substance is coming down. Is it only a facade, or is there any real substance within? If we can understand that he has a relationship with a genuine sadhu, then we can give some attention to him.


I often give the example of the homeopathic globule. The mere globule itself has no medicinal value. The potency is within. An ordinary guru may give the same mantra to his disciple, but what is the potency within the sound? What quality of conception or divine will is contained in that sound? That is all-important. To get the mantra from a sad guru, a genuine guru, means to get the internal good will or real conception about the Lord. The seed of a banyan tree may be a small seed, but the great big banyan tree will come from that seed. The will with which the particular sound is given by the guru to the disciple is all-important. We may not trace that at present, but in time, if a favorable environment is there, it will express itself and develop into something great. So, when we go to purchase anything, we must be careful about imitations, or else we may be deceived.

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<center>Chapter Three




of the

Revealed Truth </center>






Krsna consciousness, the spiritual conception of the highest level, descends by flowing down from one level to the next, just as from the peak of a mountain, the Ganges flows in a zigzag way, from one peak to another. Sometimes the water of the Ganges mixes with the current of the river Saraswati. That water is not to be considered Ganges water. When the water of the Saraswati joins the current of the Ganges, it is considered to be Ganges water. When the two rivers meet, the water that flows away from the Ganges is not the Ganges; but when the Saraswati's waters enter into the current of the Ganges, it becomes the Ganges. That water will purify us, whatever its point of origin may have been. There is a saying that whatever water is deep within the current of the Ganges riverbed, is the real Ganges water. That water will purify us, whatever its point of origin may have been.


The purifying potency of the water has nothing to do with the water we can feel and see. What can we see with our physical eyes? The current of the Ganges is pure. When the spirit and sanction is there, it is a living thing, and can purify everyone.



Dead Mantras


So, the very gist of the guru parampara, the disciplic succession, is siksa, the spiritual teaching, and wherever it is to be traced, there is guru. One who has the transcendental eye, the divine eye, will recognize the guru wherever he appears. One who possesses knowledge of absolute divine love in purity--he is guru. Otherwise the guru parampara is only a body parampara: a succession of bodies. Then the caste brahmanas, the caste goswamis, will continue with their trade, because body after body, they are getting the mantra. But their mantra is dead. We are after a living mantra, and wherever we can trace the living tendency for a higher type of devotional service, we shall find that there is our guru. One who has that sort of vision awakened will be able to recognize the guru wherever he may appear.


Initiation into the mantra means to impart real knowledge and devotional sentiment from one to another. And that must be genuine. Nothing can be known about a homeopathic globule by an outer physical inspection, but the potency is within. So also within the mantra the important thing is the type of thought or sentiment which is imparted through that sound. The impersonalists have got the same mantra, and are also chanting, the holv name of Krsna, but that sort of name will vanish in the brahmajyoti. They won't be able to cross the Viraja, the river between the material and spiritual world. When the mayavadi chants the name of Krsna, Bhaktivinoda Thakura says that his chanting of the name of Krsna is just like thunder to the holy body of Krsna. It does not produce any soothing effect.


The Gaudiya Math deals with reality, not with the frame. We are trying to understand what is what in the spiritual thought-world. We are not enchanted or captured by the mere form. We are interested in the step by step development in spiritual thought. In his Upadesamrta (10), Srila Rupa Goswami has said, karmibhyah parito hareh priyataya vyaktim yayur jnaninas, tebhyo jnanavimukta bhakti-paramah premaika nisthas tatah. "Out of many materialists one may be a philosopher. Out of many philosophers, one may become liberated and take to devotional service. Out of many devotees, one may attain pure love of Krsna. He is the best of all." We are interested in understanding this gradation: what is the Viraja river, what is the spiritual sky, the planet of Lord Siva, the Vaikuntha world of Visnu, Lord Rama's Ayodhya, and then Krsna in Dwaraka, Mathura, and Vrndavana? We want to know the realistic view of the whole gradation of devotional thought. Krsna shows this gradation in the Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.14.15) where he says:



na tatha me priyatama

atma-yonir na sankarah

na ca sankarsano na srir

naivatma ca yatha bhavan


"Neither Brahma, nor Siva, nor Sankarsana of Vaikuntha, nor the goddess of fortune Laksmidevi, nor even my own self is as dear to me as you. You are my favorite, Uddhava."


We have to follow the spirit; otherwise after Jahnava devi, the wife of Lord Nityananda, up to Vipina Goswami, from whom Bhaktivinoda Thakura took initiation, there are so many unknown lady gurus. Through them, the mantra came to Vipina Goswami, and from him Bhaktivinoda Thakura received the mantra. We accept Bhaktivinoda Thakura, but should we count all those ladies in our disciplic succession? What was their realization?



Slaves of the Truth


We are slaves of the truth. We are beggars for the pure current of truth that is constantly flowing: the fresh current. We are not charmed by any formality. I will bow down my head wherever I find the river of nectar coming down to me. When one is conscious that the Absolute Truth is descending to him from the highest domain, he will think, "I must surrender myself here."


Mahaprabhu says to Ramananda Raya, kiba vipra, kiba nyasi, sudra kene naya, yei krsna-tattva vetta sei guru haya. "Wherever the truth appears, wherever the nectar of divine ecstasy descends, I shall offer myself as a slave. That is my direct concern." Whatever form it takes doesn't matter much; the form has some value, but if there is any conflict, the inner spirit of a thing should be given immense value over its external cover. Otherwise, if the spirit has gone away, and the bodily connection gets the upper hand, our so-called spiritual life becomes sahajiya, a cheap imitation.


When we are conscious of the real substance of Krsna consciousness, the real wealth we are receiving from our spiritual master, then our spiritual life cannot be sahajiyaism, imitationism. We must be aware enough to detect our guru's advice when we find it in another. One who is awake will see, "Here is my guru's advice, I find it here in this man. Somehow or other, it has come here. How, I do not know, but I see my guru's characteristics, his dealings, and behavior in this person." When we are able to recognize a thing for its intrinsic value, then, wherever we find it, we cannot neglect it.


There is an example of this in an instance regarding Aurobindo Ghosh, of Pondicherry. He was the first leader of the Anarchist Party and practically the founder of the revolutionary movement in Bengal. In 1928, a case against him was proceeding in Calcutta High Court. A famous attorney, Mr. Norton, was in charge of the prosecution. Aurobindo had absconded, and when the case was going on, he was not to be found anywhere. Norton was concerned. How to find him? Aurobindo's English was very good English. He had been educated in England from childhood, and could speak English even better than many Englishmen. Norton began to search through different papers and magazines for Aurobindo's writing. Finally, he found Aurobindo's style of writing in the Amrita Bazaar Patrika, a Bengali newspaper. "Here is Mr. Ghosh!" he said. The editor of the Amrita Bazaar Patrika was summoned to court to find out whether Aurobindo Ghosh had written the article. Norton examined him:


"This is your paper. You must know who has written this article. You are the editor."


"Yes, I know."


"Do you know this man, Aurobindo Ghosh?"


"Yes, I know him. I consider him to be one of the greatest men in the world."


"As the editor of this newspaper do you know who wrote this article?"


"Yes, I know."


"Has Mr. Ghosh written this article?I won't say."


Norton asked him, "Do you know what is the punishment?"


"Yes. Six months imprisonment.You are ready for that?"


"Yes, I am ready for that." Holding up the newspaper article, Norton said, "Here is Mr. Ghosh! I rest my case."


He saw Aurobindo in his writing, and in a similar way we must see, "Here is my gurudeva !" Our spiritual master would also sometimes say of one of his disciples who had departed, "Bhaktivinoda Thakura came to me, but l could not recognize him." Those whose divine vision is awakened are always seeing signs of divinity everywhere .



One Krsna in Many Gurus


We must have the vision to recognize the presence of our guru's temperament. Mahaprabhu says madhavendra purira sambandha dhara jani. When Mahaprabhu met the Sanodiya brahmana, upon seeing his movements, he at once detected that this brahmana must have some connection with Madhavendra Puri. He said, "Without his connection, I could never find such symptoms of transcendental ecstasy. It must come from Madhavendra Puri." So, we must know Krsna consciousness in truth. It is said acaryam mam vijaniyan, the spiritual master is not to be differentiated. One thing is coming down from the Supreme Lord, so the oneness of continuity is not to be ignored. Guru can be here; guru can be in another bodv also. The same teacher may come in a different body to inspire us; he may come to give us new hope and higher education. The substance should always be given a higher value than the form.


First understand the degree of purity in Krsna consciousness. The followers of form are only imitationists; they want only to exploit Mahaprabhu and not to serve him. They are our worst enemies. They are traitors; they have taken the garb of Mahaprabhu's sampradaya, and they are saying something bogus. This is cheap marketing; they are extensively selling adulterated things very cheaply. They have no inner necessity to attain the purest thing (pujala ragapatha gaurava-bhange ). Although he was such an exalted Vaisnava, our guru maharaja never presented himself as a great devotee. He always used to say, ''I am a servant of the servant of the Vaisnavas. That was his claim. And he would say, "The higher devotees are my guru, they are so exalted." First come and practice all these things, and then you can hope to reach the goal. It is not so easy, or so cheap.Out of many liberated persons, a pure devotee of Lord Krsna is extremely rare." (koti-mukta-madhye 'durlabha' eka krsna-bhakta ).


Krsna consciousness is an internal thing, and those who cannot see the internal truth will make much of the external cover. We do not support that. Rather we are interested in the real spirit. All the opposing elements who are interested in externals cannot touch us. Dogs may bark, but the barking of a dog has no importance. Because they make so much of the outer thing, they have no real purification of the heart to accept the pure thing, to discriminate what is purity, or what is love of Godhead, prema, after which even Brahma and Mahadeva aspire.

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<center>Chapter Four





Guru </center>






The original spiritual master is Nityananda Prabhu. He is the general representation of guru. In the spiritual world, he is the guru-tattva principle in the four primary mellows of devotion, excluding the conjugal mellow. In madhurya-rasa, Baladeva's representation is Ananga Manjari, the sister of Radharani.


The position of Nityananda is greater than that of Baladeva. Why? He is distributing prema, divine love. And what is prema ? It is higher than all other achievements. If one can give divine love, then all others must be subordinate to him. If Krsna is subordinate to Mahaprabhu, then of course, Balarama is subordinate to Nityananda. They are similar, but when magnanimity is added, Balarama becomes Nityananda. That Balarama who can distribute divine love, who can perforrn that higher function has come here as Nityananda. Our foundation must be solid and proper. Then the structure should be erected. Otherwise the whole thing will go down (heno nitai vine bhai radha krsna paite nai ) . We can get a solid foundation from Nityananda Prabhu.


One day Nityananda Prabhu came to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's house in Mayapura. Mahaprabhu's mother, Saci devi, and Visnupriya devi, his wife, were also there, as well as other devotees. Suddenly, Nityananda arrived, quite naked.


Mahaprabhu managed to give him some cloth. And perhaps He was concerned that the devotees might have some misconception about Nityananda Prabhu. So, to prevent this he asked Nityananda Prabhu for his kaupina, his loincloth. He tore it up and distributed it amongst the householders that were present, instructing them, "Keep a piece of his loincloth, as a kavaca, an amulet, and tie that with a thread to your arm or wear it around your neck. Please keep it with you. Then you will be able to achieve sense control very soon."


Nityananda Prabhu has control of his senses to the extreme degree; he does not know anything of this world. His vairagya, indifference to the world of mundane transaction, is of such a degree that he can appear naked amongst both male and female. So, the grace of Nityananda Prabhu will construct a firm foundation for us. If there is a firm foundation, then we may build a great structure over it. If we have faith in Nityananda, then that faith can bear any amount of weight. It won't betray us.


So, Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada has laid stress amongst the Westerners on devotion to Nityananda. First, we must get His mercy. And then, afterwards, we can get the mercy of Radha-Krsna. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu means Radha-Krsna (sri krsna caitanya radha-krsna nahe anya ). First achieve the mercy of Nityananda Prabhu, and then Gauranga Mahaprabhu, and then Sri Radha Govinda. In these three stages, we must raise ourselves up.


Devotee: How does one attain the mercy of Lord Nityananda?


Srila Sridhara Maharaja: One who finds more inclination to serve Gauranga and his dhama, his transcendental land, and his servants can get the mercy of Nityananda Prabhu. Nityananda is very much kind to one who has some special tendency towards Gaura lila.



"Take the Name of Gauranga"


Nityananda Prabhu walked from door to door in Bengal, saying, "Take the name of Gauranga! I'll become your servant. You can purchase me if you only take the name of Gauranga. I'll be sold to you without any price or condition." That was his temperament. When Mahaprabhu was in Puri, he sent Nityananda Prabhu to Bengal. At that time, he said, "Without you I don't find anyone who can spread the holy name of Krsna, or devotional service to Krsna, in Bengal. They are more engaged in the tantric method and the smrti. They make too much of these trifling things. They are puffed up, thinking that they have finished all knowledge. So, Bengal is a very hard field for preaching. Without you, no one will be able to awaken the masses. Separate yourself from the higher castes and approach the masses with the holy name of Krsna. You are the fittest person for this work."


Nityananda Prabhu went to Bengal, but without trying to preach the glories of the holy name of Krsna, Nityananda began to preach the name of Gauranga. Nityananda Prabhu found that there is some danger of thinking that Krsna's pastimes are very much akin to the mundane debauchery, lying, and stealing of a degraded soul. Krsna's pastimes are of a highly confidential nature. It is very difficult for the masses to understand the purity of krsna-lila. The mass mind cannot accept krsna-lila as the highest attainment. So, Nityananda Prabhu found it would be difficult to preach krsna-li1a, but he found it would be easy to preach gaura-lila, where Krsna has come to distribute himself to the public with so much capital in his mind. Gauranga means a dynamo which wants to distribute Krsna, surchared with the most magnanimous, intensified, pity and kindness for the ordinary people, with the greatest affection even for the criminals. Nityananda Prabhu wanted to bring them in connection with Gauranga, for then krsna-lila would automatically be within their fist. So, he began to preach about Gauranga, not Radha-Krsna, as commanded by Mahaprabhu. So, Nityananda Prabhu says, bhaja gauranga kaha gauranga, laha gauranga nama, "Worship Gauranga, speak only of Gauranga, and chant the name of Gauranga."


There is another instance of the relationship between Krsna and Balarama and Gauranga and Nityananda, which is described in the Caitanya-bhagavata. Saci devi had a dream that Krsna and Balarama were sitting on a throne, and Nityananda was fighting with Balarama, "Come down from the throne. It is no longer Dvapara-yuga. The age of Kali has come and my master Gauranga must occupy your position on this throne. You come down!" Balaram began giving some opposition. "No, no, why should we come down? We have been sitting on this throne for such a long time." Nityananda Prabhu began forcibly taking him down, and Balarama submitted slightly. Nityananda Prabhu said, "My master Gauranga wants to take the position now. The age for him has come." So Nityananda is very partial to Gauranga. He says, "Krsna is far off. My Lord is Gauranga. "


So, we must be very grateful to Nityananda Prabhu, for he is our guru. And guru's grace is so important that Raghunatha Dasa Goswaml says, "Radharani, I want your grace. Without you, I don't want Krsna separately. I never want Krsna without you." That should be the healthy attitude of a devote. This has been explained by


Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, in his Gurvastakam :



yasya prasadad bhagavat-prasado

yasyaprasadan na gatih kuto 'pi

dhyayan stuvams tasya yasas tri sandhyam

vande guroh sri-caranaravindam


" I bow down to the lotus feet of sri gurudeva. By his grace, we achieve the grace of Krsna; without his grace, we are lost. Therefore, we should always meditate on sri gurudeva, and pray for his mercy."


This is the position of sri guru, by whose grace we can get everything, we can get the grace of Krsna, and without whose grace, we have no other prospect. So, in this way, we must have reverence for he who has given us our first connection with Krsna consciousness.



Guru Is Not a Doll


But at the same time we offer reverence to gurudeva, we must not conceive that the, guru is a doll, a lifeless figure. Because we are familiar with a particular figure and accept that as our guru we should not become misled. The important thing is what he says, his instructions. That is attracting our inner hearts. I am not this body. I am the inquirer. That thing which is satisfying me, drawing the inquirer to the inquired--I must try to locate that thing in him. I must not rely on material calculation. I am not this body. Who am I, the disciple? Am I only this body, this figure, this color, this caste? Or am I this temperament, this scholarship and intellectualism? No. I am he who has come to seek. Who is the party within me, and who is the party in guru? We must be fully awake to that. What is the inner thing? I have come for that. We must be awake to our own interest.


There is the relative principle and the absolute principle. We shall have to eliminate the form, ignore the form; we shall always have to keep the spirit. Otherwise, we become form worshipers, idol worshipers.



Guru: More than Meets the Eye


It is said, of course, that the connection with the spiritual master is eternal (caksudana dilo yei, janme janme prabhu sei ). But we must not identify our guru with the appearance we perceive with our physical senses. Our inner identification of him will be clarified according to the growth of our vision. When our vision increases and takes shape from material to transcendental, his look will also change accordingly.


A man is sometimes known most externally, by his uniform, and then by his body, then by his mind, then by his intelligence. As much as our eye will develop to see things rightly, what we are seeing will also change its face. Krsna says, acaryam mam vijaniyan, "Ultimately it is I who am the acarya. " It is the function of divinity, and in different stages there may be different forms. Different acaryas may work at the same time. The knowledge, the ideal, is growing from subtle to gross. And the depth of the vision of the eye will disclose the different figures of the different acaryas. It will go in different rasas to the highest position, by a gradual process of realization. Otherwise our knowledge will be based on the material conception. And to force the material conception onto divinity is a crime, it is ignorance, it is erroneous.


We have to free ourselves from the snare of identifying reality with the physical form presented to our senses. The eyes deceive us; they cannot give us the proper form or color. The ears cannot give us the proper sound. The concrete reality is beyond the experience of our senses. So, then what is that thing? Because we are in such a low position, we can gradually go there to the inner world only with the help of our guru.


But how can we recognize our guru? Sometimes in the winter he wears a particular dress, and in the summer he wears another dress. If we attach so much importance to the external dress, then what should we do? Should we think that the dress is indispensible to the body? The guru may come to us in a particular body. Suppose the guru appears as a young man. When he has become an old man, and the young form has grown into another form, how are we to recognize him? How are we to differentiate? Again, in one birth, he may have come in a particular body, and another time, he may appear in a different body. The same guru may appear differently at different times. How are we to recognize him? From the external consideration we must go to the internal.


If I am devoid of flesh and blood, and I exist only in a subtle body, then I shall also find my guru there, in a subtle body. The demigods, gandharvas, and siddhas, the perfected beings in the heavenly planets, also have their gurus, but they do not have a material body, nor does their guru have a material body.


So, by eliminating the external conception, we have to enter into the internal, and that will be all-important to a progressive disciple. That does not mean that one should disregard the physical form of our guru. But the real importance is within. We must worship the remnants of the guru, his coat, his boot, his sandal. But that does not mean that his shoe is superior to his body; we must serve his person. In a similar way, if we are eager to do some physical service for him, if we want to massage his feet, but he does not desire that, and says, "No, no, no," then should we do that? Our internal obedience to him will be higher. In this way, we have to make progress from the gross to the subtle.


Who is guru? Where is he to be located? What is his ideal? What does he really want me to do? These things must not be dismissed from our ears. We must not give only formal adherence. We want the spiritual way. The spiritual man is going to the spiritual world to have the spiritual realization. It is all a spiritual transaction. And all conceptions of mundane, whether physical, mental, or intellectual, should be eliminated in our journey if we want to go to the inner world of substance.



Progress Means Elimination and Acceptance


This attitude will decide our real progress, our real design of life. Our fulfillment comes always from the inner side. If one can catch up that thread, then he can go and get things of that higher, spiritual quality. We may appreciate the beautiful figure, style, movement, and intellectual delivery of the spiritual master, and so many other things may be appreciable. But what should be the highest focal point of our realization? What should be our highest aim, for which we will eliminate everything else?


Progress means elimination and acceptance. And our spiritual life must always be a dynamic thing, otherwise we shall be dead. Progress means acceptance and elimination. The scientists also say this in their theory of natural selection, "survival of the fittest." Nature is selecting some and eliminating others. Life is dynamic; we are living in a dynamic world. Everywhere we find acceptance and elimination. That is progress. And our life must be progressive, not static.


To get the grace of Nityananda Prabhu, we should try as far as possible to study the character of Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu, to serve him, to serve his dhama, and his devotees. That will easily help us attain the grace of Nityananda Prabhu. And there will always be so many practical dealings in our present stage, but we must always keep the highest ideal over our heads. With this ideal we shall be able to make progress. Our ideal, our highest model-- that is our all in all in life. To be acquainted with the conception of the highest ideal and to be on the path of realization of that goal is the greatest wealth in one's life.


Srila Raghunatha Dasa Goswami prays, "I only aspire after one thing. I cherish the hope that one day I may be welcomed into the plane where Radhika and Madhava are in their glory, sitting and playing." That should be our prospect. This is found in Raghunatha Dasa Goswami's prayer to his guru. He says:



nama-srestham manum api saci-putram atra svarupam

rupam tasyagrajam uru-purim mathurim gostavatim

radha-kundam giri-varam aho radhika-madhavasam

prapto yasya prathita-krpaya sri gurum tam nato 'smi


"I am fully indebted to sri gurudeva. Why? He has given me so many things. He has given me the highest conception of the holy name of Krsna, the highest form of sound which contains the highest form of thought, aspiration, ideal, everything. And next he has given me the mantra. " The name is there within the mantra. Without the name, the mantra is nothing. If the name of Krsna is withdrawn and replaced with another name, the mantra will give the opposite result. The name of Krsna is all in all. And within the mantra, the name is couched in a particular way as a sort of prayer.


And then he says, "He has given me the service of that great saviour, the son of Mother Saci, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who is like a golden mountain standing to show the direction of krsna-lila. And gurudeva has brought me to the lotus feet of Mahaprabhu's most favorite personal assistant, Svarupa Damodara, who is the representation of Lalita devi, the most favorite friend of Radhika .


"Then he has brought me in connection with Sri Rupa, who was ordered to distribute the highest kinds of devotional love, rasa. " Vaidhi bhakti, the worship of the Lord in awe and reverence, is of a lower order. But raganuga-bhakti, spontaneous love, the hearts innermost dealings, was distributed through Srila Rupa Goswami. Mahaprabhu considered Sri Rupa the best to deal with raganuga-bhakti.


Dasa Goswami says, "Then, by his grace, I have achieved the association of Srila Sanatana Goswami, who adjusts our position in relation to raganuga-bhakti.


He explains the path of vaidhi-bhakti, and gives us sambandha-jnana : the knowledge of what is what, a proper acquaintance with the environment." Then he says, "Gurudeva has given me Mathura Mandala, where Radha and Govinda have their pastimes; where the forest, the hills, every creeper, shrub, and grain of sand, everyone is bearing the acquaintance of Radha-Krsna lila, and wherever I shall cast my glance they will help me in my remembrance of Radha and Govinda. I have received all these things from my gurudeva : Vrndavana, where the cows and the milkmen have their village constructed. I am becoming acquainted with their association, their nature, and their feelings of love for Krsna.


"By the grace of gurudeva, I have become acquainted with Radha-kunda, the favorite place of Radha and Govinda for their pastimes, and this great Govardhana. And lastly he has given me the hope that one day I can get the service of Sri Sri Radhika and Madhava. I have been given all these assurances by my gurudeva, so I bow my head with all my respects to his lotus feet."


So, if we are conscious of all these spiritual matters, then we can think that we have approached our gurudeva properly. What is our guru? What is his mission? It is filled with all these things. Devoid of that, what is our interest?



What is ISKCON?


Devotee: There are so many visions about the International Society for Krsna Consciousness (lSKCON). But what should the real vision of ISKCON be?


Srila Sridhara Maharaja: In this verse, Raghunatha Dasa Goswami gives the real acquaintance of what is lSKCON (nama-srestham manum api saci-putram atra svarupam ). ISKCON must not deviate from this line We have not come here to deceive ourselves, but to fulfill ourselves. ISKCON will fulfill everyone's inner demand, even extending to the vegetables and stones, taking them to the feet of Mahaprabhu and the gosvamis. From village to village, every one, in every place, should be hunted and approached, "Take the name of Krsna! Come under the flag of Mahaprabhu! This grand worldwide mission will thrive like anything; it will touch the heavens and cover the Earth, and other planets also. That was the aim of Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, and we understand and appreciate that.

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Chapter Five


God Consciousness vs. Society Consciousness </center>






Responding to the necessity of the times Srila Sridhara Maharaja lucidly explains the absolute societal conception of Krsna consciousness:


Devotee: Within a religious mission, sectarian policies may appear to bar the path of progress and pragmatic concerns take precedence over spiritual ideals. Should one risk leaving the formal institution or should he try to remain within and work out the problems?


Srila Sridhara Maharaja: Progress means elimination and new acceptance. So, when there is a clash between the relative and the absolute standpoint, the relative must be left aside, and the absolute accepted. The example is given of a socialist in a country of capitalists. When there is a clash, one will not express their creed for the sake of peace. But to maintain the purity of their faith for the socialists they will try to leave and join the socialists.



Higher Ideal


So, the absolute and the relative are two different classes of interest. And we find more importance in the absolute interest. We must be sincere to our own creed. The form is necessary to help me in a general way to maintain my present position. At the same time, my conception of the higher ideal will always goad me to advance, to go forward, and wherever I do, I must follow the greater model, the greater ideal. Spiritual life is progressive, not stagnant. We are in the stage of sadhana, and we want to go ahead, not backwards. The formal position will help me to maintain my present status, and my extraordinary affinity for the ideal will goad me towards the front. The search for Sri Krsna is dynamic and living, so adjustment and readjustment is always going on. And we should also change our present position accordingly, so that we may not have to sacrifice the high ideal for which we have come. Einstein had to leave Germany and go to America for his high ideal of life. And so many similar instances may be found in the world. The ideal is all in all. The highest ideal in a man is his highest jewel. Our most precious gem is our ideal.


Many things are recommended in the scriptures, but they are meant to promote us towards the truth in an indirect way (sva-dharme nidhanam sreya ). [bg 3.35] It is recommended at a certain stage that for the sake of our close friends, we should give up our ideal. But in the Bhagavad-gita, Krsna's final instruction is sarva dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja: "If it is necessary to maintain the highest ideal, you must give up your friends. Surrender to me. I am the real purport of the scriptures." The highest kind of idealists give up their country, their family, their friends, and everything else, but they can't give up their ideal.


In the Bhagavad-gita, [3.35] Krsna says, "It is better to die while performing one's duty that to try to do another's duty." That is one stage of understanding: the relative consideration. The absolute consideration is also given in the Bhagavad-gita: sarva dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja [bg. 18.66]. Krsna says, "Give up everything. Come to Me directly." This is the revolutionary way. This is absolute. And this is relative: "Stick to your own clan. Don't leave them." That is the national conception. There is nation consciousness and God consciousness; society consciousness and God consciousness. God consciousness is absolute. If society consciousness hinders the development of God consciousness, it should be left behind. This is confirmed in the Srimad-Bhagavatam (5.5.18):



gurur na sa syat sva jano na sa syat

pita na sa syaj janani na sa syat

daivam na tat syan na patis ca sa syan

na mocayed yah samupeta mrtyum


Even a spiritual master, relative, parent, husband, or demigod who cannot save us from repeated birth and death should be abandoned at once."


What to speak of ordinary things, even the guru, may have to be abandoned. One may even have to give up one's own spiritual guide, as in the case of Bali Maharaja, or one's relatives, as in the case of Vibhisana. In the case of Prahlada, his father had to be given up, and in the case of Bharata Maharaja, it was his mother. In the case of Khatvanga Maharaja, he left the demigods, and in the case of the yajna patnis, (the wives of the brahmanas ) they left their husbands in the endeavor to reach the Absolute Personality.


We need society only to help us. If our affinity to the society keeps us down, then that should be given up, and we must march on. There is the absolute consideration and the relative consideration. When they come into clash, the relative must be given up, and the absolute should be accepted. If my inner voice, my spiritual conscience decides that this sort of company cannot really help me, then I will be under painful necessity to give them up, and to run towards my destination, wherever my spiritual conscience guides me. Any other course will be hypocrisy, and it will check my real progress. If we are sincere in our attempt, then no one in the world can check us or deceive us; we can only deceive ourselves (na hi kalyana-krt kascid durgatim tata gacchati ) [bg. 6.40]. We must be true to our own selves, and true to the Supreme Lord. We must be sincere.



Disappearance of the Guru


Devotee: After the disappearance of the spiritual master, how should the disciples continue the mission?


Srila Sridhara Maharaja: You must not neglect your conscience. Otherwise you have no faith in your own cause. There may be disturbances but we should not leave the preaching of Mahaprabhu, despite all differences. Disturbances must come, and we must undergo them. Still, we must remain sincere; we must face the difficulty in a proper way. It has come to train us to go in the right direction.


The Fire has Come to Test Us


What we have received from our spiritual master we understood only in a rough estimation. Now, things have come in such a way that we have to scrutinize ourselves in every position. We have to analyze ourselves. Atma-niksepa, self-analysis has begun. We are under trial. What we have received from our spiritual master, in what way have we received it? Properly, or only showingly? The time has come to purify us, to test whether we are real students, real disciples, or his disciples only in face and confession. What is the position of a real disciple? If we live in a society, what is the depth of our creed? In what attitude have we accepted his teachings? How deep-rooted is it within us? The fire has come to test whether we can stand. Is our acceptance real? Or is it a sham, an imitation? This fire will prove that.


So, this is the real field of sadhana, or practice. Our practice, our advancement needs these difficulties. Otherwise, we may not know what is progress, and we will become hypocrites, and give the adulterated thing to others. So, to purify ourselves, it is necessary that so many disturbances come.


And God has no error. He commands the environment. It is not our responsibility. The responsibility of the environment does not rest upon us. If I am sincere, then I have to adjust myself with this environment and put my faith before Him. "Everyone may leave me, but I shall stand alone!" With this attitude we must march on, whatever the circumstances may be. Then the recognition may come in my favor, that "Yes, under such trying circumstances he is still there." Our superiors will be pleased with us.


The relative and absolute considerations are always coming in clash. The absolute should be accepted and the relative sacrificed. Still the relative is necessary. After graduation from primary school another teacher is accepted for higher education, but that does not mean that the primary teacher is neglected or insulted. For our own interest, whatever we find which is akin to what was given to us by our guru maharaja, whatever we find that will enlighten us further, and whatever will help us to understand more clearly what we heard from our guru maharaja, must be accepted. Is my realization a living thing, or is it dead? Anyone who has come in connection with the infinite cannot but say this: "I am nothing." That should be the salient point.


We have left all social concerns and so many other shackles. For what? For the Absolute Truth. And wherever I shall find that, I must bow down my head. And if a great soul shows us, "This is the path to where you will find your thirst quenched. The line is in this zigzag way," we must accept that for our own interest. We are worshipers not of this form, but of substance. Wherever I feel the presence of my Lord in an intense form, I must be attracted to that side. Krsna says, sarva dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja. Wherever we shall find Him, we must run in that direction. My interest is with Him. Not that we can challenge, "Why did Krsna appear here, and why is He appearing there?" If a man in a boat is passing through the current and finds himself in danger, then from whatever side help may come, he must run to that side.


If we are worshipers of Siva, when we understand the special superiority of Narayana, should we stick to Siva? And then Krsna? In the Brhad-bhagavatamrta the story is told of how Gopa-kumara, by chanting his Gopala mantra, gradually leaves one stage and progresses to the next. There, the gradation of devotion is traced from the karma-kanda brahmana, to a devotee king, then to Indra, then to Brahma, then to Siva, from him to Prahlada, then to Hanuman, then the Pandavas, then to the Yadavas, to Uddhava, and finally the gopis. In this zigzag way he is passing. In the sincerity of his quest, his thirst is not being quenched until he goes to Vrndavana. So, the Brhad-bhagavatamrta has shown us the line of guru parampara, or the real line of our quest, of our search.



Sincere Hankering for the Truth is Our Guide


If we are sincerely searching after real truth, then wherever we go may be a contribution to our experience for further preaching in the future. We may cross many guru paramparas before ultimately attaining the Vraja-lila of Krsna, as given by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.


Sometimes the father may not be our guardian. Our uncle may be our guide, and not the father. It is possible. The line of interest is to be considered the most important. So, our line is the siksa guru parampara.


I am thankful to those that are helping my spiritual understanding not only in a formal way, but in the real sense. Whoever is untying the knots of our entanglement in this material world, giving us light, and quenching our thirst for inner understanding and satisfaction is our guru. In this way, we live on the contribution of all these spiritual masters. They are all our siksa gurus. All the Vaisnavas are more or less our instructing spiritual masters.


And our own sincere hankering for the truth will be our guide. That is guru parampara. So the real disciplic line provides practical knowledge in support of the divine love which is coming down. We must bow our heads wherever we find support of that. We should not become formalists, but substantialists; not fashionists, not imitationists, but realistic thinkers. That should always be our temperament.


And what sort of saintly persons shall we try to mix with earnestly? In the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (1.2.91) Rupa Goswami has said, sajati-yasye snigdhe sadhau sangah svato vare: Those who are in our line, who have the same high spiritual aspirations as we do, and who hold a superior position. To associate with such saintly persons will help us the most to progress towards the ultimate goal.


There may be some obstacles, but if at heart we are sincere, the environment cannot deceive us, because God's inner help is there, cooperating with our sincere, inner need (na hi kalyana krt kascit durgatim tata gacchati) [bg. 6.40]. What we want from our innermost hearts cannot but come true, because Krsna knows everything. There may be some obstacles, but by Krsna's help, they shall all be eliminated and our innermost aspiration will be crowned with success.


The formal societal position helps one to maintain their present status while our affinity for the high ideal will always push us to advance in Krsna consciousness. In the Srimad-Bhagavatam 5.5.18 it is stated that whatever hinders our advancement must be left behind, even society consciousness. The society is there to help us, not hinder us. Our process is Krsna consciousness not society consciousness.

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<center>Chapter Six



"I Command You Become Guru!" </center>





It is stated in the Srimad-Bhagavatam (10. 31.9):



tava kathamrtam taptajivanam

kavibhir iditam kalmasapaham

sravana-mangalam srimad-atatam

bhuvi grnanti ye bhurida janah


"O, Krsna, the nectar of your words and the narrations of your pastimes give life to us, who are always suffering in this material world. This nectar is broadcast all over the world by great souls, and it removes all sinful reactions. It is all-auspicious and filled with spiritual power. Those who spread this message of Godhead are certainly doing the greatest relief work for human society and are the most magnanimous welfare workers."


This is what is necessary and this is what is universal. Everyone can be satisfied to the highest degree in their hearts only by the nectar of Krsna's words and the nectarine descriptions of his activities. This is because Krsna is raso vai sah, the reservoir of all pleasure, and akhila rasamrta murtih, ecstasy Himself. Krsna's very nature is sweet:



madhuram madhuram vapur asya vibhor

madhuram madhuram vadanam madhuram

madhu gandhi mrdu smitam etad aho

madhuram madhuram madhuram madhuram


"O, Lord Krsna! The beauty of your transcendental form is sweet, but your beautiful face is even sweeter. The sweet smile on your face, which is like the sweet aroma of honey, is sweeter still."



"I'm Being Nectarized!"


This verse is found in Bilvamangala Thakura's Krsna Karnamrta (92). He says, "Sweet, sweet, sweet, sweetness. Krsna is sweetness personified. At my first sight, I thought Krsna was Cupid, who can capture everyone. But then I saw, 'No, this is not like lust personified, which can be experienced only in the material world. This is cinmaya, spiritual substance. I see that this sweetness is spiritual in characteristic. I feel it. It is the very gist of all sweetness. What is this? My eyesight is being nectarized. I am experiencing nectar pouring on my eyes. Oh, Krsna has already conquered my heart. I am captured, I am captivated by sweetness personified."



marah svayam nu madhura-dyuti-mandalam nu

madhuryam eva nu mano-nayanamrtam nu

veni-mrjo nu mama jivita-vallabho nu

krsno 'yam abhyudayate mama locanaya


"My dear friends, where is Krsna, who is Cupid personified, brilliant as a kadamba flower? Where is Krsna, sweetness himself, the sweetest nectar for my eyes and mind? Where is Krsna, who loosens the hair of the gopos? He is the supreme source of divine bliss. He is my life and soul. Has he come before my eyes again?"


This is Bilvamangala Thakura's statement (Krsna Karnamrta 68). Whatever type of sorrow or affliction there may be, all different layers of painfulness will be removed. This nectar of the words and pastimes of Krsna gives us life. It gives us hope that we can live a higher life, that we were not created only to suffer in this mortal world, but to live a life which can soar up and transcend this painful life of mortality. We have that sort of life of vitality in our own intrinsic form. The speculationists say that Krsna consciousness only does away with all sinfulness, but theirs is only an external acquaintance with Krsna consciousness. Sin is nothing in comparison with His purifying capacity. As soon as we come in contact with Krsna, even in the forrn of mere sound through the ear, our real welfare begins to awaken. (sreyah kairava candrika vitaranam ). Krsna consciousness is infinitely surcharged with all the resources of our welfare. And those who can distribute Krsna consciousness to the world are really benevolent and kindhearted. They give the most who give Krsna to those who are helpless and disappointed. Only this sort of transaction should be continued in the world, to save these souls suffering from the disease of mortal connection.



Divine Nectar


The descriptions about Krsna are like divine nectar. So, go on with this transaction, always giving Krsna consciousness, and if you give Krsna consciousness you will have an ample supply of Krsna consciousness. That will descend from the higher position. If you are sincere to distribute Krsna consciousness, you will have no want in your own capital. New capital will be supplied to you as much as you can give it to others. It will have connection with the infinite source. So go on. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu says:



yare dekha, tare kaha 'krsna'-upadesa

amara ajnaya guru hana tara ei desa


"Whomever you find, talk with him only about Krsna." We have no other engagement. Whomever you find, any soul you come across, try to save him from this desert of mortality. I command you. Don't be afraid; take the position of guru, the giver, and give it to everyone.


Then, Mahaprabhu says:



kabhu na vadhibe tomara visaya-taranga

punarapi ei thani pabe mora sanga


"And in this transaction, you will find my backing. If you obey my command for distribution to one and all, then you will find that I am there, backing you in this work." So, your great master has engaged you all like so many dedicated soldiers. Now you must do relief work in this world of mortality and death. Do relief work. Somehow we have to get Krsna consciousness for ourselves and also carry this news to our neighbors. Mahaprabhu says, "Whomever you meet, tell him about Krsna, and in this way, save the people." They are all under the influence of eternal mortality. Only this path is relevant to their condition; all other talks are irrelevant.



Jaws of Death


Everyone is rushing into the jaws of death. This the sum total of the news of this world; it is the only news. Every second everyone is entering the jaws of death. This is the real problem--nothing else. The whole problem, if summarized, will come to this, that every second, every atom here is entering into the jaws of death. This is the great and only danger in the world. So, all other talks are irrelevant to the real problems of life; try to help them from entering into the jaws of death. This is the only problem in the whole world.


Go forth and tell everyone about Krsna. Whatever you do, make them talk about Krsna, Krsna, Krsna. Save yourself, and prepare yourself for the highest goal. Whenever you meet anyone, wherever you meet anyone, only talk of Krsna. All other talks are irrelevant and redundant.


Mahaprabhu says, "It is my command. Don't think that if you do this and take the position of guru, when the people come to honor you, you will forget your own ordinary position, become puffed up with pride, and go to hell; no, no, no. I order you: 'Go on!' The relief work is there. You can't stand idle as an onlooker. So, I say, 'Jump! Start relief work.' I order you to do so. And I shall take whatever responsibility is there. The whole world is dying. So, always, at every second, the real need is krsna katha. You will get my association only by obeying my orders, and discharging the duty that I am entrusting with you. You will find me there in your obedience of my order, in the discharge of the duty I impose on you."


Is it reasonable or not? Every one of us can judge. What will be the relief work to save those in the mortal world? What will give real help to the people? Not clothing them or feeding them, nothing of the kind. Everyone is dropping down dead. Once, when I was in the Madras Math, someone came and criticized us, saying, "Oh, you are only talking about Krsna, and people are dying without food. Don't you mind?" I said, "No." He told me, "The Ramkrishna Mission is doing real relief by feeding so many. If a man dies of starvation, how will he hear you? Where will you get a listener if he dies? First make them live, feed them, and then you can tell him about Krsna."


I told him, "Suppose there is a famine. I have some food. I am distributing that to so many people. There is a great crowd before me. If, while I am distributing food, someone from the crowd flees, what should I do? Should I distribute the food, or run to catch him?" He said, "You must distribute the food; that is natural." I said, "The crowd is always ready to hear from me about Krsna. Why should I waste my time running after one man? So many people are coming to hear from me about Krsna and I cannot attend them all. Why should I stop distribution of the nectar, and run to catch one man? This is a foolish attempt."


We are interested in helping people by distributing krsna katha, and we pay no attention to any so-called danger. All are in need of this guidance. You must only engage yourself in krsna-katha. Go on talking about Krsna, and continue with that vibration.


When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was going from Puri to Vrndavana through the jungle path, the elephants, deer, and tigers were all chanting, "Krsna! Krsna!" and dancing. How? His krsna katha created such a fine vibration that it entered into the ears of the tigers, deer, and elephants and awakened their hearts. And they began to chant, "Krsna! Krsna! Krsna!" and dance. Mahaprabhu's vibration of Krsna's name was so fine and surcharged with force that the sound entered within the animals, and aroused in their hearts the innermost plane which was covered by the elephant's or tiger's body. Just like electricity, the finest current of the holy name of Krsna entered into the hearts of all the animals, and their souls were aroused. And when their souls were awakened, then they began to chant "Krsna! Krsna!"


Everywhere the environment is full of animation, and just as a ray of light, penetrates the darkness, in a similar way, the vibration of krsna katha wilI strike a chord within the soul and create some inspiration there towards Krsna consciousness. So continue preaching Krsna consciousness. We have no other duty, no other work. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, went the length and breadth of the world with Krsna consciousness. The fact that you have all come here is due to his earnestness. He has gone to the upper world, and so, in his name we are going on with some sort of transaction.





Next Seven Chapters </center>

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