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15. IS THE GURU OMNISCIENT?
Devotee: Is a pure devotee, the guru or an acarya, omniscient?Narasingha Maharaja: There are two aspects of the guru, namely absolute and relative. On the inspired side the guru is absolute and within his own thinking he is a devotee of krishna. Our siksd-guru, Srila B. R. Sndhara Deva Gosvami Maharaja, explained this topic as follows."By the special will of krishna, gurudeva is a delegated power. If we look closely within the spiritual master, we will see the delegation of krishna, and accordingly, we should accept him in that way. The spiritual master is a devotee of krishna, and at the same time, the inspiration of krishna is within him. These are the two aspects of gurudeva. He has his aspect as a Vaisnava, and the inspired side of a Vaisnava is the guru. On a fast day like ekddasl, 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 disciple offers the 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 deary a, 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-bheddbheda, inconceivable unity and diversity." (Sri Guru and His Grace, Guru-Absolute and Relative, page 15)From the disciple's standpoint, one should consider the guru as absolute, as non-different from krishna.
acaryam mam vijaniyan, navamanyeta kamicit
na martya'buddhyasuyeta, sarva-deva-mayo guruh
"One should know the deary a as Myself and never disrespect him in any way. One should not envy him, thinking him an ordinary man, for he is the representative of all the demigods." (Bhdg. 11.17.27)The disciple says that, because my guru knows krishna, he knows everything. But that is a different thing. We do not find the quality of omniscience listed among the twenty-six qualities of a pure devotee, nor is omniscience one of the fifty qualities of a jiva soul.A certain section of devotees like to think that the guru is omniscient, that he knows everything, because he knows krishna. This section of devotees will think that the guru's omniscience means that he may be sitting in his institution and in a nearby place one of the children in his school is being harmed and he knows that such a cruel thing is taking place. They will say that because the guru is omniscient he knows everything and when asked why the guru did not do anything to save the poor child from physical harm they will say that the guru does not want to interfere with that child's prarabdha-karma. The mistaken devotee may carry on thinking in this way for lifetimes together, but there is no evidence in either sdstra or history to support such an idea.Some devotees will say that the guru and all other great sages are tri'kdla'jfia, that they know the past present and future. But that is only their conjecture. Tri-hdla-jna means that the liberated soul is not urider the laws of material time, which has three phases of existence: past, present, and future. The liberated souls are not under the illusion of time. A liberated soul knows that he existed in the past, he exists at present and he will exist in the future. That the guru knows krishna, means he is free from the illusion of the effacement of the self (soul). But those who are under the bodily concept of life (conditioned souls) are simultaneously under the influence and illusion of time. Such persons have no knowledge of the eternal existence of the soul, or knowledge of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, krishna.The guru's 'knowing krishna' does not mean that he knows everything that is going on in Maya's kingdom. Of course, in a general way, the guru knows that Maya's kingdom is a place of birth, death, old age, and disease. But even at that, he wants to save the living entity from the clutches of Maya, so why would he simply tolerate an assault against a defenseless child who is under his care and shelter in the gurukukO Such thinking is only palatable in the lowest section of devotees who have no proper understanding ofguru-tattva (philosophical understanding of the guru's position).
The higher thinking devotees and great authorities in the devotional line think in a completely different way. Lord Siva, one of the twelve Mahajanas (great devotees), says:aham vedmi iuko vetti, vydso vetti na vetti vd "I know the true purpose of Bhdgavatam; Sukadeva, the son and disciple of Vyasadeva, knows it thoroughly, and the author of the Bhdgavatam, Srila Vyasadeva, may or may not know the meaning."Vyasadeva may or may not know, vydso vetti na vetti vd. This is the thinking of the higher class of devotees. By the will of the Supreme Lord a flow of knowledge may come down in the Vaisnava,but even he may not be aware of its meaning. Such is possible, he may or may not know, vydso vetti na vetti vd.Srila Sridhara Maharaja has related an incident in this regard that once while Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura was delivering a lecture, an especially high flow of Gaudiya conception came down in him. While speaking very intensely Sarasvati Thakura gestured to Srila Sridhara Maharaja to write it down. Sarasvati Thakura continued to speak for some time but there was no pencil available. When Sarasvati Thakura stopped speaking he turned to Srila Sridhara Maharaja and eagerly inquired, "Did you get it, did you get it?!" Sridhara Maharaja replied that there was no pen or pencil available to which Sarasvati Thakura replied, "Just see, gobar Ganesa."Sridhara Maharaja relates this incident in his own words."What I told you, it is not under my command. It is coming from above me. I also once heard Prabhupada say
such. From Vrndavana he came to Prayaga. I also went with him, and we were invited, and went to a big man's place there, and such beautiful, new things came out, that I was feeling very much disturbance that I cannot note them. So much so, that I could not attend his lectures also deeply. Only I felt much disturbance to get pen and paper. Then, I felt very much uneasiness, because I could not mark those words. Then I came out, and Guru Maharaja told, his word was to me —he was gobar Ganesa. That is Ganesa made of gobar. Gobar means cow-dung. Ganesa composed of gobar. He could not know these things, these thoughts that came. Even I felt the necessity of going through these things, these ideas afterwards."
"That person to whose house he (Bhaktisiddhanta) went to visit, was technically known as that section who worship satyam. Then what is the conception of satya? Mahaprabhu, and Radha-Govinda, Navadvlpa, that is the highest conception of satya. Satya is not an abstract conception of rules of some transcendental type. Satya is not such. What is the relation of krishna and this satya? That he was to explain. And he told us that the thoughts that came at that time, he also wants to see it, what an inspiration, what was revealed in his heart at that time. He wanted to see. That was unknown to him. He said like that. He told us like that. That they are stranger to me, but they passed through me, and I want to see.""I (Sridhara Maharaja) was very much mortified that I could not know them, and at the same time, I had some inner satisfaction that I could appreciate those finer points. Those extraordinary higher points that were delivered then, I was very much disturbed that I could not know them. So, I had the capacity of appreciating the highness, of those higher sentiments, that was my satisfaction. There is some inner element in me that can appreciate so much high ideas, our Guru Maharaja also wants to have them to consult a second time. That was my satisfaction, and at the same time, I was mourning all through, that I could not keep it for the public. And what our Guru Maharaja wanted to do, I also wanted to keep them again, to pass through me. So, we are instruments. It is the higher property. It may not stay in a particular plane always. By our negotiation, it may care to come down and to particular persons. This is very rarely to be found, few and far between. Gaura Haribol. That is, in other words, it is the wealth, it is the property of our gurndeva, and not ours. That should be our understanding, pujala rdga-pdtha gaurava bhange."We find a similar narration by Srila Sridhara Maharaja, describing another such incident to Pradyumna Prabhu on November II, 1978 as follows:"Sometimes the agent may not know what things are passing through this arrangement. Vydso vetti na vetti vd. But it is passing through Vyasa. It is tatasthd-vicdra. That is Absolute. From the Absolute standpoint, this has been , told like that, even Vyasa may not know, but things may come through Vyasa to grace others. This is possible sometimes. But still we must not admit so easily that Vyasa does not know. We don't admit. I told it once to my Guru Maharaja.'
"I had composed a Sanskrit sloka about Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Guru Maharaja was very much pleased with that. In Darjeeling I just showed him, that I have written this poem about Bhaktivinoda. He saw it. At that time one Maharaja was like his clerk. He, Prabhupada, dictated and the Maharaja used to write letters. The Maharaja was attendant for letter writing. But one letter came from Vana Maharaja from England with something.Then Prabhupada told "who has supplied this to Vana Maharaja?" The Maharaja said, "Prabhupada, you yourself have written this news to him." "No, no, no. I never wrote this to Vana Maharaja," replied Prabhupada. Then Maharaja humbly took it, "I wrote and you dictated, I remember. You were giving this news to him." "No, I don't remember" Prabhupada replied. Then I spoke, "vydso vetti na vetti vd." I just remarked at the time, that "vydso vetti na vetti vd."The narratives related above certainly give us an intimate look into the higher conception of guru-tattva via the life and teachings of such an exulted personality as Srila Bhaktisiddhanta SarasvatI Thakura and his disciples. The pure devotee is always attentive to the will of the Supreme Lord, but everything that can be known is not always knowablc to the devotee. krishna is an autocrat and according to His wish something may come down to the heart of a devotee in the form of divine revelation, that which even the devotee is not aware of. This is what is shown to us by the higher thinking devotees.While commenting on the tenth canto of Srimad Bhdgavatam, Srlpada Madhvacarya did not like to comment on the portion known as Brahma-vimohana-lild (the illusion of Brahma). Madhva could not accommodate that Brahma, the original guru of our sampradaya, could be in illusion. Madhvacarya could not accept that Brahma did not know everything. But Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu accepted everything in Bhdgavatam in-toto.
The following is stated in this regard by Srila Sridhara Maharaja in The Loving Search for the Lost Servant, page 50:"Although Brahma and the other gods and gurus and the givers of many sastras may have given some description of His pastimes, we shall have to realize that krishna's pastimes are not bound by their descriptions. krishna is not confined within a cage.
"So for this reason, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu did not hesitate to give a description of the bewilderment of Brahma (Brahmd'vimohana'lild). Brahma was bewildered in hrsna-llld in Vrndavana, and again when Brahma went to have an interview with krishna in Dvaraka, we find the same condition. The boundary of the sweet will of the infinite is such that anything can be accommodated there, and even Lord Brahma, the creator of the universe, can be perplexed by krishna."All these pastimes are like so many lighthouses showing us which way to go. Brahma is our guru, but he was bewildered by krishna. And Vedavyasa, the universal guru, was also chastised by Narada. Narada was put to the test many times. All these examples are showing us the way. They ; are pointing out the direction."Omnisciernce is a quality of the Supreme Lord and not the quality of the jiva'. soul or even of the guru. The Supreme Lord has a total of sixty-fcour transcendental qualities. The jiva souls, however, have only t fifty of those qualities found in the Supreme Lord and only maniifest those qualities in a minute quantity (omniscience is not listeed among these fifty qualities).
Above thaese fifty qualities the Supreme Lord has five more qualities tthat sometimes partially manifest in personalities like Lord Sivaa. These transcendental qualities are: (I) changeless; (2) all-cognizzant; (3) ever-fresh; (4) sac-cid-dnanda (possessing an eternal bliissful body); and (5) possessing all mystic perfection.AU-cogniizant' means to know everything or to be omniscient (possess oDmniscience). According to Srila Rupa Gosvami this is a quality thaat even the perfected jiva souls do not have. Only krishna is fully onmniscient. Only krishna (God) knows everything.
Additionally, it may be mentioned that according to Webster's Thesauruss some synonyms for omniscience are as follows: God; the Creattor; the Almighty; the Supreme Being; our Heavenly Father; thie Lord; and Allah. None of these synonyms however are appliccable to a pure devotee, the guru, or the dcarya. So our conclusioon is obvious: omniscience is a quality of the Supreme Lord andi not a quality of the pure devotee, the guru, or the dcarya.