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Articles by Shri Shrila Prabhupada
Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura
Collected by Dasharatha-suta dasa
We have taken upon ourselves the responsibility of welcoming this grave charge. All the audience have accepted ordinary seats, I alone have been provided with a lofty seat. All are being told in effect-"Do have a look at a big animal from the Zoo-gardens. What arrogance! So foolish! So wicked! Have you ever seen such a big brute? Garlands of flowers have been put round his neck! What laudations! What bombastic long-drawn, and hyperbolic adjectives! And how complacently too he is listening to the praise of his own achievements, how intently, and with his own ears! He also evidently feels delighted in mind! Is he not acting in plain violation of the teaching of Mahaprabhu? Can such a big brute, so selfish and insolent, be ever reclaimed from brutishness?"
I happen to be one of the greatest of fools. No one offers me good advice on account of my arrogance. Inasmuch as nobody condescends to instruct me I placed my case before Mahaprabhu Himself. The thought occurred to me that I would make over the charge of myself to Him and see what He would advise me to do. Then Shri Chaitanyadeva said to me:
"Whom-so-ever thou meet'st,
instruct him regarding Krishna,
By My command being Guru deliver this land;
In this thou wilt not be obstructed
by the current of the world;
Thou wilt have My company once again
at this place."
In these verses is to be found the proper explanation of the apparent inconsistency noticed above.
He whose only teaching is humility greater than that of a blade of grass, said-"By My command being guru save this land!" In this instance Mahaprabhu Himself has given the command. His command being "Perform the duty of the guru, even as I do it Myself. Also convey this command to whom-so-ever you chance to meet." Chaitanyadeva says, "Tell them these very words, viz. By My command being Guru save this land. Deliver the people from their foolishness." Now who-so-ever happens to hear these words would naturally protest with palms joined-"But I am really a great sinner; how can I be Guru? You are Godhead Himself, the Teacher of the world. You can be Guru." To this Mahaprabhu replies:
"In this thou will not be
by the current of the world;
Thou wilt have My company once again
at this place."
"Do not practice the craft of a guru for the purpose of injuring others through malice. Do not adopt the trade of a guru in order to get immersed in the slough of this world. But if you can, indeed, be My guileless servant you will be endowed with My power-then you need not fear."
I have no fear. My gurudeva has heard this from his gurudeva. And it is for this reason that my gurudeva has accepted even such a great sinner as myself and has told me: "By My command being guru save this land." It is only those who have never heard these words of Gaursundara who say "How odd! To listen to one's own praise!" While the guru is instructing his disciple in the eleventh Skandha of the Bhagavatam what a great sin, in their opinion, is he not perpetuating! What is the acarya to do when he has to explain the shloka, acarya mam vijaniyat: Never disregard the acarya; never entertain the idea that the acarya is your equal in any sense." These are the words of Shri Krishna Himself by which the jiva is to be benefitted. Is the guru to take himself off, to desert his seat-the seat of the acarya-from which these words are to be explained? That office his gurudeva has conferred on him. If he does not act up to its requirements he is doomed to perdition by reason of his offense against the holy Name in the shape of disrespect towards the guru. He has to do it in spite of the fact that such procedure is apparently open to the charge of egoism.
When the guru imparts the mantram to the disciple should he not tell him by this mantram to worship the guru? Should he say instead, "Give the guru a few strokes of the shoe or the horse-whip?" The guru is never to be decried. The guru is the abode of all the gods. Should the gurudeva abstain from communicating these words to his disciple while reading the Bhagavatam to him? "To him alone who possesses guileless spiritual devotion, similar to the transcendental devotion that is due to Krishna Himself, to the gurudeva, the holy mysteries are manifested." Is the gurudeva not to tell these things to his disciples? Athau gurupuja: the worship of the guru has precedence over all others." The guru is to be served just as Krishna is served. The guru is to be worshiped in a particular way. Is the guru to desert his seat without telling all these things to the disciple? In the angle there is always the defect in the shape of absence of the fullness, the evenness of level, of 180 degrees or of 360 degrees. But in the plain surface, in 360 degrees, there is no such defect. That in the emancipated state no defect is possible, this simple truth ordinary foolish people entirely fail to grasp.
As the saying goes, "Having started on the dance it is no use to draw close the veil." I am doing the duty of the guru, but if I preach that no one should shout "Jai" to me, that is to say, if I say in a round about way, "Sing Jai to me," it would be nothing short of duplicity. Our Gurudeva has not taught us such insincerity. Mahaprabhu has not taught such insincerity. I have to serve God in the straightforward way. The word of God has come down to the gurudeva; I have to obey it in all sincerity. I will not disrespect the guru at the instance of any foolish or malicious sectarians. Especially as Shri Gurudeva has directed me saying, "By My command being guru save this land." This command has my gurudeva preached. My gurudeva in his turn has conveyed the command to me. I will not be guilty of any insincerity in carrying out that command. In this matter I will not accept the ideal of ignorant, insincere, pseudo-ascetic sectarianism. I will not learn insincerity. The worldly-minded, the malicious, the pseudo-renunciationists, the selfish cannot understand how the devotees of God, spurning at everything of this world by command of God, never, not even for a second, deviate from the service of God through all the twenty-four hours.
Hypocritical sectarians, pseudo-Vaishnava sects, those sects that cherish internally the longing for earthly fame, naturally enough think "What a shame it is for one to listen to the eulogies of disciples occupying the seat of the guru." But every Vaishnava regards everyone of the Vaishnavas as the object of his veneration. When Thakura Haridasa exhibits the attitude of humility Mahaprabhu says-"You are the greatest of the world, the crest-jewel of the world. Be agreeable, let us have our meal together." He carried in His arms the body of Thakura Haridasa which is eternally existent, self-conscious and full of spiritual bliss. In the community that follows Shri Rupa, the qualities of desiring no honor for oneself and of readiness to duly honor others are fully present. Those who detect any disparity are, like the owl, blind while the sun shines. They commit an offense by such conduct.
If I disobey the law which has come down to me through the chain of preceptorial succession, the offense due to omission to carry out the command of the guru will sever me from the lotus-feet of Shri Gurudeva. If in order to carry out the command of the Vaishnava guru I have to be arrogant, to be brutish, to suffer eternal perdition, I am prepared to welcome such eternal damnation and even sign a pact to that effect. I will not listen to the words of other malicious persons in lieu of the command of the gurudeva. I will dissipate with indomitable courage and conviction the currents of thought of all the rest of the world, relying on the strength derived from the lotus feet of Shri Gurudeva. I confess to this arrogance. By sprinkling a particle of the pollen of the lotus-feet of my Preceptor crores of people like you will be saved. There is no such learning in this world, no such sound reasoning in all the fourteen worlds, in no man-gods, that can weigh more than a solitary particle of the dust of the lotus-feet of my gurudeva. Gurudeva in whom I have implicit trust can never spite me. I am by no means prepared to listen to the words of any one who wants to hurt me or to accept such a malicious person as my perceptor.
I have no capacity to tend to the feet of the denizens of this holy place. Yet by the grace of Shri Gaurasundara and urged by your good wishes, I stand here to speak only if I may thereby serve the servants of Shri Gauranga. Indeed if we can truly serve the feet of the devotees of Shri Gauranga, by whose graceful glance alone all desires, hopes, and aims in life are easily fulfilled, then that will be a crowning achievement.
We are proud of our ego. We are either given to judge sinful and pious acts or think how we can lord it over others by acquiring power. These are all base self-glorifications. But one devoted to Gauranga says that all desires actuating every object from the pillar to the highest being (Brahma), all labour for worldly possessions, all longing for enjoyment and every kind of renunciation after satiety, are all pseudo-existent and evanescent, i.e., subject to change and time. When we lose anything so acquired, life seems vacant and useless. But it is quite futile to try to straighten the tail of a dog-such being the end of all enjoyments in the fourteen spheres. All pleasures acquired as the fruits of worldly work are transitory.
Carried away by sense-perceptions of eye, ear, touch, taste and sound we turn into ego-worshippers. In this state the pure activity of the soul lies dormant. Then we also desire the pleasure in heaven. And when such ideas are strong in us we err by identifying ourselves with this mind, which thus seems to be the enjoyer of the things of this world. This propensity for selfish enjoyment deadens the pure function of the Soul.
But the Soul knows that Shri Krishna is the One Absolute Truth.
Shri Narayana is the embodiment of His Majesty. Narayana though is the ultimate source of the Absolute Truth, Krishna's transcendent designation, form, qualities, and sportive activities (lila) excel Narayana's Majesty by His display of sweetening Beauty. In Krishna the fullest majesty is mellowed by the most delicious sweetness (madhurya) which predominates. When we do not know all these and forget our true selves, we cannot understand the activities of a Vaishnava and the transcendental truth underlying such activities, and so give ourselves up to worldly enmity and friendship, taking things transitory and illusory as eternal and real.
Secondly, Krishna is completely all-cognisant. Material objects are not self-conscious. God is ever existent. It is, indeed, through mistake that we consider ourselves as Brahman. It is only then that such useless arguments for the effacement of all super-sensual diversity or variety in Absolute Truth take hold of us. The function of the spirit is clogged and our minds run after worldly enjoyment. The materialised mind thinks that sensual enjoyment is obtained at Krishna's feet. But at the feet of Krishna everything is spiritual and so not an object for the gratification of our senses. When truth is obscured in us carried away by egotistic tendencies, we take things material as of the spirit.
Krishna is bliss. In Him dwells perfect joy-He is the embodiment of it. Sensual knowledge or joy is not perfect;-therein all our longings are not realised. Under the spell of sense perceptions we imagine that there might be unalloyed happiness in ego-worship or in the kaivalya state of Patanjali.
All seeking after joy is the function of the soul. When the desire for joy wakes up in our minds we commit a blunder in running after worldly objects and enjoyment. It is only when we receive a spiritual sight of Krishna that we understand that His service must, of necessity, be the sole aim in life. As long as we thus hanker after our own pleasures we try to enjoy the world through the senses and are given to hollow argumentation. But this world is not made for our enjoyment. When spiritual bliss will appear in us like the incessant flow of oil then shall we be truly tied to the feet of Krishna.
Such numerical variety as that of one, two and three exists only in worldly diversity. This diversity acquires a certain inexpressible sameness in the world of spirit. Then we can appreciate that Krishna alone is the eternal Truth Absolute. When the very existence of Truth and sensiency in our own selves becomes solely relative to Him only then we are established in our real normal state.
At present many false meanings have been imported into the word "devotion." Regard for one's parents, loyalty to man, obedience to the teacher, etc., pass as bhakti. But the root "bhaj" means "to serve." If we do not clearly judge as to what must be the medium of that service then it is sure to be misapplied. As Chaitanya-candramrita sings:
kalah kalir balina
shri-bhakti-marga iha kantaka koti-ruddhah
ha ha kva yami vikalah kim aham karomi
chaitanya-candra! yadi nadya krpam karosi
"This is the quarrelling age. The senses, which are our enemies, are now very powerful; and crores of thorns choke the path of pure bhakti. I am quite at a loss to know what I shall do or where I shall go unless Chaitanya Candra shows mercy unto me."
We live in the Kali-yuga-this is an age of strife. So it happens that the self-luminous path of pure devotion is completely covered up with millions of thorns in the shape of foolish argumentations and wordy wranglings. In these circumstances it is absolutely impossible to have the knowledge of pure devotion without the mercy of Chaitanya Candra. Shri Chaitanya Candra is Krishna Himself. He is the Godhead. We cannot know God by the exertions of our senses. As the Katha Upanishad says:
nayamatma pravacanena labhyo
na medhaya na bahuna srutena
yam evaisa vrnute tena labhyas
tasyaisa atma vrnute tanum svam
"The knowledge about the all-embracing Oversoul cannot be attained either through reasoning, argumentations or hearing the Vedas; only to him does He manifest His person whom He accepts."
Godhead is eternal. We cannot attain to Him unless we realise He is bliss Himself. One confined within his psychic range in a hundred ways cannot know what God is and so accepts things other than God as objects of his worship. Unable to understand the true subject and object of enjoyment, as well as the nature of enjoyment itself, he imagines the world as created to afford him every kind of pleasure. This materialised mind strives only after selfish enjoyment. By this fleshly form we cannot serve Krishna. It is possible only in spirit. The atomic theory of the world knows nothing of that service.
In the variety of His manifestations, Absolute Truth Himself is to be determined from Narayana. In Krishna exists Narayana, Who is His Majestic form. Baladeva is the manifestation of His Self. He is the all-pervading Oversoul. With the revelation of the function of supreme knowledge in our soul, we come to know that Krishna is the Absolute Truth. He is also perfect bliss, reverence does not stand in His way. Intimate service cannot be rendered if one is actuated by reverence. Yet Krishna is the eternal object of the devotees' whole-hearted service. But He is to be served with the ever-existent senses of the soul. We cannot serve Him through imagination or sentiment. Super-sensuous knowledge of our relation with Him is essential. There is nobody whom I can call my own except one who is solely devoted to Krishna. Krishna alone is the one object of my service. This faith is the one glory of the Vaishnava. This is the supreme necessity of life. Material fame full of the idea of selfish enjoyment is never desirable.
Time is running short. The time for the evening wave-offering ceremony is drawing nigh. I must no longer encroach upon your time of service. If it be Krishna's wish I shall again try to serve you. A thousand obeisances at the feet of the devotees of Krishna.
A Lecture in Calcutta
by Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Goswami
from the anthology
Shrila Prabhupada's Discourses
Place—The Gaudiya Math, Calcutta, Evening-July 12, 1936
(Within the beautiful marble Temple at Bagh Bazaar, Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Prabhupada sat upon a raised platform before the assembly (composed of many distinguished persons of learning and theistic culture, prominent amongst whom were Mr. Sultjay, Sj. Supati Ranjan Nag M.A., B.L. of Dacca, Raja Khitendra Deb Roy of Bansberia and Tridandi Swami Shripada Tirtha Maharaja). After pointing out the indispensable necessity of proper cultivation of Krishna-bhakti with quotations from the Bhagavata and other Holy Scriptures, His Divine Grace Shrila Prabhupada continued, with all humility, thus:)
We jivas are really poor, no doubt. We are poor jivas but we are not poor Narayanas. (To identify Narayana Who is the permanent Possessor of all wealth, with a poor jiva, is an absurdity.) Our poverty should be diminished. And to that end, wealth should be accumulated. Wealth of what kind? It is wealth of Krishna-prema, i.e. causeless love for the Absolute Truth-Krishna. And for this, we should pray to Him in the same way as a Vaishnava mahajana prays, in the following lines:
prema dhana vina vyartha
dasa kari vetan more deha prema dhana
without Love is useless and poor they say,
Appoint me in Thy service, Oh Lord with Love as my pay.
Our prayer should be of the aforesaid nature. We naturally begin to feel dislike for everything but Krishna as soon as we feel necessity for Krishna-prema. In absence of this, other tendencies and considerations take firm hold of our mind, exhorting us to be great workers, forgetful of the main object of the Pancharatra.
Now, what course should we adopt, with regard to our propaganda work in England? Mahaprabhu enjoins us to proclaim His Name, throughout the length and breadth of this world-from small hamlets to big cities. Gross, worldly names are being in vogue, everywhere at present; let the Transcendental Name be henceforth proclaimed all over the world.
We do not belittle the importance of Pancharatrik process (system) of having representatives (in theistic institutions), or establishing temples with deities; but we are of the opinion that the duty of better or higher class, is propaganda work. And Mahaprabhu's open desire was that the Transcendental Name should be proclaimed everywhere. And to that end, we think sufficient number of pamphlets should be published. The rich are the so-called big men of the world, who are running after fame, females and money. They will not listen to our words even if we cry hoarse in their ears, so what's the use of wasting our time, in trying to make them hear? We say therefore, that the line of our propaganda work should be to publish sufficient number of pamphlets even at the cost of possible suspension of building temples. This will show to them the insignificance of discoveries of truths or discussions that have found expression in their philosophies or applied sciences, in contrast to the enormity and magnitude of the subject matter of our discussions.
So far about our propaganda work. Now, as to the manner in which that work is to be carried out. A self-conceited or vain-glorious man can never successfully carry on propaganda work. How will it be possible for him? For, the Absolute Truth never manifests Itself to a vain-glorious man, who looks upon himself as the only preacher of truths. Such a man can do no good to the world. Of such persons some will be fond of prohibited food as available at Kalighat. Some will be malicious patriots engrossed with considerations of their own advantages, as opposed to others' interests; while others will be in the clutches of self-enjoying propensities or its opposite-renunciating tendencies with a view to have, respectively, self-emolument or salvation; and the rest will make pretended show of bhakti. But none of them will have the least idea of the Absolute Truth divested of the slightest trace of insincerity and maliciousness.
Oh, how deplorable it is that the propaganda of the Bhakti-Rasamrita-Sindhu, the glorious, unique, devotional teachings of India is stopped here, in the very land of its origin. And it is not the less regrettable to see people suffer under the mistaken idea that mere ringing of bells in places of worship (i.e., mere formal observance of prescribed rites), or touring in holy places, or ostentatiously reading of holy works like the Bhagavata with no other purpose than earning livelihood, or playing the role of preceptors by a right of heredity only, are sure signs of bhakti, they being quite ignorant of the true significance of right worship, the true object of pilgrimage, the right duty of the proper ways of preceptorship, the true culture of theistic works like the Bhagavata and the real difference between true and false bhakti. And it is painful to see people wasting their valuable time in no better work than mischievous, ill-conceived criticisms of others' conduct. They excel only in giving advice to others. (Their damned mind is, no doubt, responsible for this.) So, every morning, on rising from bed they should make their wicked mind hear the following immortal song of Thakur Bhaktivinoda:
bhaja re bhaja re amara mana ati
(bhaja) vraja-vane radha-krishna caranaravinda
(bhaja) gaura-gadadharadvaita guru
(smara) shrinivasa, haridasa, murari, mukunda
(smara) raghava-gopala-bhatta svarupa ramananda
(smara) gosthi saha karnapura, sena
(smara) rupanuga sadhu-jana bhajana-ananda
In this song, the mind is asked, first of all, to hold bhajan of Radha-Krishna (in Their joyful activity) in the sacred woodland of Vraja. In comparative view, the degrees of excellence of the five rasas, from madhurya (consorthood) to shanta (the state in which active service is wanting), are gradually lowering. A servitor in the last mentioned position (i.e., shanta rasa) is neither actively engaged in bhajan, nor against it. He will neither oppose bhajan nor actively hold it. Now bhajan or bhakti may be of different kinds. There is such a thing as micha bhakti (false bhakti), as opposed to shuddha bhakti (unalloyed bhakti); the former kind of bhakti being taken recourse to by adherents of karma, who again are followers of Smriti. And Thakur Narottama Das warns us against such false bhakti by saying:
karmi jnani, micha bhakta, na habe
suddha bhajanete kara mana
The cult of the so-called social reformers (or society makers) of the past or present age is quite different from the ideas and principles of bhaktas. And the followers of the former are engaged, at present, in various movements relating to personal advantages and self-enjoyment.
Those agitators, who, leaving aside all considerations of bhakti, are busily engaged in movements for temporal advantages only, are doing harm to themselves. And their failure to serve Krishna, Who is the emporium or rather effigy of all endless, immeasurable nectar of love, joys and pleasures, bespeaks simply of their ignorance of the real state of affairs. And such desistance of service to Krishna, gradually turns a man into an upholder of nirvishesha-vada (i.e. the doctrine of the unspecifiedness of the Absolute Truth.) And what can be more deplorable than such misfortune of the mankind. So, to counteract the aforesaid tendencies in us, we should sing, every morning, advising our wicked mind to hold bhajan, which is impossible if we be unmindful of the dictum:
trnad api sunicena taror api
amanina manadena kirtaniyah sada harih
-which means that Hari kirtana should be continued ceaselessly and with the humility of low grass.
Now, what is the object of our bhajan? It is only the Holy Feet of Radha-Krishna, roaming about freely in the woodland of Vraja. And what should be our line of conduct in holding bhajan? Mahaprabhu's advice to Shrila Das Goswami, in this connection, is as follows:
gramya katha na sunibe, gramya katha
bhala na khaibe ara bhala na paribe
amani manada hanya sada krishna nama labe
vraje radha-krishna seva manase karibe
Have no worldly talk, nor pay heed to
Wear no good clothes, nor rich food eat,
Have Krishna-nama always, humbly, on your tongue,
Serve Radha-Krishna in the closet of the mind, all day long.
In the aforesaid verse, the first two advices are in the negative and the remaining two are in the affirmative. By "Vraja-seva" Mahaprabhu meant service to Krishna by one who has a transcendental body and whose self-realisation is complete. People ignorant of this generally turn into mental speculators, and cannot rightly understand the teachings of the Gaudiya Math.
This wicked mind, which is never to be trusted, should be broom-sticked every morning with such warning as, "Be not anxious to find fault with others, or to proclaim thyself as a true, sincere, bonafide bhakta, which certainly thou art not." In this connection, the advice of a Vaishnava Mahajana is this:
karmi-jnani micha-bhakta, na habe
suddha-bhajanete kara mana
vraja-janera yei mata, tanhe habe anugata,
ei se param tattva dhana
Be not attached to karmis, jnanis and
But pure, unalloyed bhajan you should always endorse.
Follow principles, which Vraja folk adopt,
These being valued truths to be kept aloft.
The mind is always working erroneously in looking upon this thing or that, either as good or bad. The Charitamrita sings:
dvaite bhadrabhadra jnana-saba
ei bhala ei manda-ei saba bhrama
People are usually too much busy with mental speculations. They should relieve themselves of this and try to find out the real good of their own selves or souls. There is an adage to the effect that para-carccakera gati nahi kona kale, "a man who is habituated to criticise others' conduct will never prosper." Let others do whatever they like, I have no concern with them. I should rather find fault with my own damned mind, and think like the Vaishnava Mahajana who sings:
amara jivan, sada pape rata, nahi
para-sukhe duhkhi, sada mithya-bhasi,
engaged in vicious activity,
And without the slightest trace of virtue in me,
A liar as I am, always sorry at others' pleasures
And merry at others' sorrows, troubles and cares.
We should always remember this song and engage our mind ceaselessly in Hari-bhajan. We should not run about attacking others with dissuading policy; such conduct behooves only deceitful persons and not preachers.
The way of Karmis and Jnanis will lead us to immense troubles and difficulties, by engaging our attention to consideration of the shadowy, transient things, instead of the only cause or true origin; viz., the Sac-chid-ananda vigraha (the ever-existing, joyful, conscious Entity-Krishna), of Whom every thing visible is a mere shadow. The gross archaeologist is too much busy with ascertaining of material ingredient of idols which may be either of stone or wood or any other material. There are some who work as iconographers or iconoclasts, while there are others who are busy in ascertaining the amount of filth or impurities accumulated in a particular soil. But none of them ever cares to find out or measure the impurities of their own minds. There is no attempt on their part to weed out the undesirable elements in their mind, though such an attempt is of paramount importance in their own personal interest.
Now, whose bhajan are we to hold? Whom are we to worship? Usually we want to worship Mammon, with a view to satisfy our own personal greed; or sometimes we desire to secure the exalted position of presidentship of the American Republic. But we never think of the necessity of worshipping the lotus feet of Radha-Krishna moving merrily in the woodland of Vraja, without which there is no other way of securing the permanent good.
There are some who want to worship Krishna not of Vrindavan but of Dwaraka, where He is being served majestically by thousands of His Queens; while others are willing to serve respectfully the Lord Vaikuntha-natha (Who is possessed of all wealth and magnificence), with the help of their upper limbs only. But Shri Chaitanya Deva asks, "Should there be any service which may not be unrestrictedly done with the help of all the limbs from head to foot (not excluding the inferior lower limbs)?" One will find no difficulty in finding out proper answer to this, when he thinks within himself thus: If these lower limbs have no use or existence at all in the Transcendental World (of which this gross world is a mere shadow), whence are they and why are they? In fact, to use these limbs in serving the Absolute Lord is their proper adjustment. Want of this, will lead us to woeful ways of karma and jnana.
Tad vanam upasitavyam-the woodland of Vraja alone is to be served and worshipped. And to that end, we should always associate with the followers and devotees of Shri Chaitanya. Association with those who take historic side or speculative side of Krishna will spoil everything. Now what does Shri Chaitanya say? He says that His Name will be proclaimed everywhere, all over the world-from small hamlets to big cities. Mahaprabhu desires that all the people of the world should know Krishna-katha (details or discussions about Krishna) as prevailing in Vrindavan. Notwithstanding their proficiencies in their particular field of activities, they should feel necessity of Radha-Govinda's bhajan.
The twelve vanas or woodlands, included within Vrindavan are twelve places of Krishna-bhajan, in twelve separate rasas (capacities or tastes), of which five are primary, and seven are secondary. Vana-bihari Krishna, i.e. Krishna who wanders in the woodland of Vraja, playfully, and Who is the effigy, emblem, or incarnation of all rasa, is alone to be served and worshipped and not any other thing like earth, water or mud. And in doing this, we should beware of the ways of the mental speculators, who want to pose as so many Krishnas, by going to enjoy the world, and thus imitate Him. For such persons are liable to quarrel amongst themselves for their own share of enjoyments and fall ultimately into this lowest depth of degradation. To avoid this calamity, Krishna should be worshipped as Vana-bihari, i.e. Krishna in bihari, the land of His Own free, joyful movement.
Now, to turn to the third line of the previous song, which is:
(bhaja) gaura-gadadharadvaita guru nityananda
Shri Gadadhara has taught us the proper way to serve Krishna, with His Own example in serving Mahaprabhu. Raya Ramananda and Damodara Svarupa too have set the same example. Mahaprabhu Himself has shown the true functions of a servitor. Though Himself the real Master to be served, Mahaprabhu has played the role of a servitor, with a view to let us know how a servitor is to do his duty. Again, Shri Gadadhara Prabhu too is a servitor (to Mahaprabhu). The same absolute Lord is Krishna (in His enjoying activity), and Shri Gaurasundara (in His serving capacity). And Shri Gadadhara Prabhu is His Transcendental Consort. A parallel case of this is the instance in which a man may scratch his body with one of his own limbs, while an entirely separate person (i.e. a third party) also may do the same work. And Shri Gadadhara Prabhu furnished the example of the last mentioned person, i.e., He stands in the place of the third party, in the aforesaid case. (To be more explicit, Mahaprabhu here serves Krishna-His Ownself, while the third party Gadadhara serves Mahaprabhu.)
Now to turn to Advaita Prabhu. He acted as an acharya or preceptor. And so Kaviraja Goswami says:
acharyam bhakti samsanat
bhaktavataram isam tam
"Because He is non-different from Hari, the Supreme Lord, He is called Advaita, and because He propagates the cult of devotion, He is called Acharya. He is the Lord of the incarnation of the Lord's devotee. Therefore I take shelter of Him."
(Cc. Adi-lila Ch. 1, v.13)
The so-called acharyas of present day are not removers of the afflictions and miseries of their disciples, but removers (stealers) of their disciples' properties. But what sort of acharya Advaita Prabhu was? From His Own version in Chaitanya Charitamrita we find that He declares Himself as a servant's servant of Shri Chaitanya (Vide Charitamrita 6.86)
Servitude is the predominating feature of bhakti. And the acharya (Advaita Prabhu) sings glory to it by declaring Himself as a servant's servant of Mahaprabhu. This serving tendency is predominant in the other four rasas. The special characteristic of Advaita Prabhu's conduct is found in His identification of His Own revered Self as a servitor to Mahaprabhu, in spite of His venerable position like that of a father. But such humble serving attitude is never found in the conduct of the so-called acharyas of present day, whose only object in life is to live happily by acting as gurus.
Next advice in the aforesaid song is to serve Guru Nityananda. We are to follow their ideal only. We should not offer ourselves to be guided by these ignorant, debauched fools, who are fond of eating goats' flesh. Such persons can never act as gurus, they themselves having fallen to the lowest depth of degradation.
Next advice in the song is:
(smara) shrinivasa, haridasa, murari, mukunda
To remember Shrinivasa, Haridasa, Murari and Mukunda, who were Nityananda Prabhu's assistants, and Mahaprabhu's associates in His earthly activities in Navadvipa. They were asked by Mahaprabhu to go from door to door, and bless everyone with Hari-nama, thus:
prati ghare ghare giya koro ei bhiksa
bolo krishna, bhaja krishna, koro krishna-siksa
iha bai ara na boliba, bolaiba
dina-avasane asi amare kohiba
Go from door to door and beg their
To say "Krishna," serve Krishna and learn His air,
Say not, and make not others say, anything more,
And at sun-set, come back, with news to my door.
Then we find the following advice in the song:
Here we are advised to remember Rupa Goswami, Sanatana Goswami, Jiva Goswami, Raghunatha Das Goswami and Raghunatha Bhatta Goswami. We are to follow them. Bhajan is impossible without following Rupa Goswami (in particular).
(At this stage of the discourse, Raja K.C. Deb Roy of Bansberia comes in, offering due obeisances to Shrila Prabhupada's holy feet, and refers, in course of talk, to God's mercy in letting him incidentally know Prabhupada's arrival at the Math on that very day. In reply to which, His Divine Grace remarked thus:)
Prabhupada: Yes, Bhagavan is always lending us helping hands, and we should stretch our hands on our part to catch hold of them. We should wait for His favour; and when it comes, we should avail of it. It will be alright then.
The Raja: But your blessings-the holy dust of your lotus feet-are above all. Today is a glorious day. Bhagavan has kindly supplied food for my soul today.
Prabhupada: Yes, the soul requires nourishment, no doubt. The function of the limited soul to the Universal Soul is what is called bhakti, and that is the only thing needful. But unfortunately, people do not understand it. In bhakti alone, all will meet. Nowhere else is union possible.
Everything should be used in Bhagavan's service. And such use alone is the proper adjustment of things. It will be alright if all our acquired knowledge is used in His service, making coincidence of circumstances possible, in absence of which there will be only chaos.
The Raja: The news about you, in newspaper, at once presented your appearance before my mind.
Prabhupada: Yes, such association of ideas takes place when one is engaged in serving Shri-Vigraha (the Deity). And without this, one is likely to be overtaken with nirvishesha ideas (i.e. ideas about the Absolute Truth as without form, figure, attributes and activities). We should have full association with the Absolute Truth. But at present, we are unfortunately detached from the same, with the result that we are bringing miseries and troubles upon ourselves, by running after finite things with out-stretched hands, to grasp any and every limited thing, which is far from being the Undivided Whole or the Absolute Truth. Such state of affairs will not cease to continue unless and until we take shelter under the Holy Feet of Bhagavan, Who is Undivided and Infinite. And Shri-Vigraha is nothing but direct manifestation of the Absolute Truth, i.e., Bhagavan.
The Raja: But the ideas about the Trueself of the Bhagavan are different in different sects and communities, some opining that He is invisible, while others are of the opinion that He is visible.
Prabhupada: Yes, but they are mere different perspectives of mental speculation. Such attitude as to accept one idea now, and reject it the next moment, is useless and should be avoided. We should relieve ourselves of this, and try to directly approach Bhagavan, Who is the effigy of the nectar of endless rasa (akhila-rasamrita-murti).
But we should not lose sight of the fact that He is Transcendental, and so, not measurable or perceptible to our gross senses. And effort in that direction, viz., to measure Him, will bring in varied sceptic views. And it is for this reason, that the Bhakti-Rasamrita-Sindhu and the Brahma-samhita says:
na bhaved grahyam indriyaih
sevonmukhe hi jihvadau
svayam eva sphuraty adah
"So the Name Who is identical with Krishna, is not perceptible to gross senses but manifests Himself (i.e. is articulated) of His Own accord, on the tongue (i.e. in the mouth) of those who are eager to serve Him."
santah-sadaiva hrdayesu vilokayanti
yam syama-sundaram acintya-guna-svarupam
govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami
"I worship that original Lord Shyama Sundara (Krishna) Who is possessed of inconceivable Form and Attributes, perceptible to such (transcendental) eyes only as are painted and so invigorated, as it were, with the paint of loving service known as bhakti." (Bs. 5.38)
We are put to test and trial in this world.
Only those who attend the kirtana of the devotees can succeed.
Every spot on earth where discourses on God are held
is a place of pilgrimage.
3. Possession of objects not related to Krishna is our main malady.
4. Let me not desire anything but the highest good for my worst enemies.
As dalliance with the body in luxury increases,
so wanes the spirit of service of the Lord.
6. Those favored by God find their paths set by thorns.
There is no peace or happiness in our worldly life.
Circumstances create turmoil and annoyance.
Chant the mahamantra loudly and with attachment.
This will drive away inertia, worldly evils and pests.
Be indifferent to bazaar gossips, stick firmly to your cherished goals,
no lack or impediments of the world will ever stand in your way.
Pay due respects to the extroverts of the world,
but do not be appreciative of their manners and conduct.
They are to be shaken off from your mind.
A devotee feels the presence of God everywhere,
but one averse to the Lord denies His existence anywhere.
You cannot appreciate transcendental matters with the reasoning
of the world. It is sheer nonsense to decry them with
the measuring stick of your intellect.
13. To recite the name of Shri Krishna is bhakti.
Life is for the glorification of topics on Hari.
If that is stopped, then what need is there to carry on life.
Physical illness with Hari-bhajana is preferred to physical
fitness without Hari-bhajana.
Our span of life on earth is short. Our life will be crowned
with success if the body wears out with constant discourses on Hari.
We are here on earth not to work as artisans for making big
buildings with wood and stone but to work only as messengers
for the teachings of Shri Chaitanya Deva.
18. A sycophant is neither a guru or a preacher.
To transform the adverse desires of the jivas is the supreme
duty of the most merciful. To rescue one person from the
stronghold of Mahamaya is an act of superb benevolence,
far superior to opening innumerable hospitals.
20. Unless we are devoted to God, secularism shall not leave us.
Look within. Amend yourself, rather than pry into the
frailities of others.
In this world of Maya, averse to the Lord,
full of trials and tribulations,
only patience, humility and respect for others are
our friends for Hari-bhajana.
The Lord, Gaurasundara, puts His devotees in various
difficulties and associations to test their patience and strength
of mind. Success depends on their good fortune.
When faults in others misguide and delude you - have
patience, introspect, find faults in yourself. Know that others
cannot harm you unless you harm yourself.
I wish that every selfless, tender-hearted person of Gaudiya
Math will be prepared to shed two hundred gallons of blood
for the nourishment of the spiritual corpus of every individual
of this world.
This article was
originally published in The Harmonist on Sept 19th, 1934 Volume XXI No.2.
Fountainhead of all eternal and temporal manifestations is confined in Sree
Krishna alone. The non-absolute phases are emanations from a particular potency
whose analytical distributions are known as gunas or qualities. In the factor
of time, they are branched as past, present and future and their material
representations have three characteristics viz. evolution, sustenance and
dissolution. The Fountainhead is Absolute and His borderland emanations are
absolute infinitesimals, though they are recognized in the same qualities.
Their quantitative reference is then considered as apart from the Absolute, but
swayed by a quality and their special characteristic is that the infinitesimal
bearing should not be confused with the Infinitude.
The resources of manifestive nature have their common origin in the absolute existence of the Fountainhead. The delegation of the power of the Absolute Infinity is traced in the spirit and the matter. The family of qualitative temporal representations possesses numerous isolated entities and so the absolute infinitesimals are grouped together in magnitudinal difference form the Fountainhead.
The present human figure or the figure of a member of the Zoo or of one of the family of the phytographic species has got a restrictive and depending position and it is liable to change in the shape of growth and deterioration. The internal nature of the absolute-infinitesimals is spirit and takes the initiative; whereas, the difference of quality cannot show the power of taking initiative, similar to that of living entities.
The two potencies possessed by the Fountainhead are known as spiritual and material. The frame of the living should never be confused with the life itself. so there is a broad distinction of aspects between the two families of spirit and matter. The predominating phase is exercised in the material atmosphere which is liable to be controlled by animation. The animal world differs from materialistic structure, though it is endowed with a material association in its outward appearance.
We may often distinguish between a living body and a dead one. The generative advent has a smaller beginning to undergo development and growth and the elimination of the life principle from the structure itself has got different denominations.
In the Semitic thought we do not find any metensomatosistic speculation; so they are prone to consider the spirit as a composition of chanced incident, and this material combination as the starting point of the souls. So these thoughts are opposed to the theory inculcated by the conception of Seelenwanderung or metempsychosis. The spiritistic view is quite different from the idea of material congregation which is wrongly considered as the composition of the eternal soul. On the other hand, the non-Semitic thoughts make a departure from the Semitic ideas of non-transmigrating accidental composition.
The explanation of the different methods of the two bearings - the tabernacle and the inner temporal animating entity - can lead us to a differing element in the transcendental entity beyond our sensuous conception when we bring into consideration the true eternal position of the absolute infinitesimals, by following the analogy of wrapping the entity by two kinds of garments covering the same as incorporations. The covers, though foreign, are amalgamated to create a confusion of their natural isolated position.
Portions of matter, in the factor of time, are liable to change. But the substratum - the spirit - is not obliged to undergo transformation like the foreign parts attached to the same by conventional practices. The very theory is explained in other words by the encountering attitude of a different potentia of the Fountainhead to effect the conversions by means of temporary decorations. The exercising function of the spirit is more or less impeded by the counteracting agency of a different potency of the Absolute. So the susceptibility of being attacked is an inevitable element in the spirit infinitesimal which is different from the spiritual Infinite.
Conversion in or mixing with the temporary material dust should not and cannot disable or disfigure the Spirit Infinity, as the value of spirits infinitesimals should not and could not be identical with the Fountainhead and His emanation, just like a particular pencil of ray should not be misconceived as the glowing disc from which the rays come. The Absolute Fountainhead of spirit should not be considered to slumber like absolute infinitesimals who are subject to the other potentia of the Absolute.
The nature of the spirits of borderland potency of the Fountainhead need not be affirmed with the objective knowledge of the mixed up conception. The nature of the Absolute Infinite should not be standardized in the same line as His infinitesimals. The spirits are observed in two different stages; whereas the eternal Fountainhead of all spirits has no bifurcation. The Absolute Infinite cannot be expected to be accommodated in the finite reference of phenomena which have limiting merits.
The Fountainhead alone has the reservation of Ubiquity; whereas all ubiquitous aspects are wanting in infinitesimals. So isolation and association of infinitesimals with the Infinite should not be recognized as two different entities. Pleasure and pain are of the same temporary stay and they are counted differently in their gradatory condition.
The eternal and temporal potencies have got their two realms, and on the border of the two, the border-land potentia can easily be traced. The members of the border-land potency can claim one of the two potencies at a time which are double-winged places of their habitation. The mundane phenomena have got a temporal situation; whereas, the eternal manifestations of the Transcendence are not subject to the atmosphere of inadequacy, limit and imperfection of phenomena.
The border-land potency can be traced to exhibit her neutral position which is normal and does not espouse at that time the cause of temporal or eternal manifestation of the Fountainhead. The members of this potency are apt to be forgetful of their eternal situation, when they have stronger affinity to live in this temporal region as lords and by their inherent free-will want not to submit to their eternal functions of the transcendence.
The forgetful demeanor posed by a member of the border-land potency cannot welcome the guidance of the eternal blissful wisdom of a devotee. The misguiding and tempting objects of phenomena often dictate the necessity, in the heart of a weak, cringing forgetful spirit, of his wonted participation in the enjoyment of this material sphere.
The eternal acquisition of the members of the border-land potency cannot be dissociated from their persons. The impersonalist has got a non-differentiative impression of all spirits into one. If an erroneous argument is offered by a silly person of his having been endowed with the susceptibilities of forgetfulness of his eternal function, and therefore, because the Fountainhead is to be blamed for delegating to him inadequate power, he should not have been held responsible for the incomplete investiture on him alone with complete freedom, then this polemic character of the Semitic school can easily be met by an acquaintance of prepossession of spiritual independent element inherent in the border-land potency to entangle themselves in undesirable situation. Free will of an absolute infinitesimal cannot be denied as a limited quality like the material characteristic of phenomenal nature.
The absolute infinitesimal has got his free will, and by his free will he can either pose himself as a forgetful agent or he can awaken himself for his original eternal function of remembering his own eternal exploits. The Fountainhead does never wish to delude nor oblige His parts - the infinitesimal spirits by devoiding them of such free will but allows them the freedom inherent in them.
The conditioned souls, out of their own discretion, rush into moods quite apathetic for not serving the Fountainhead when He Himself sends His message of delivering them through His messengers who act as spiritual guides to the wrong-doers. Both the Semitic and the non-Semitic people live in the impersonality of the Absolute; whereas, the clear eyes of the devotees can see the personality of Godhead as the Fountainhead of many conflicting and contending energies that foster the whims of different parties. Proneness to forgetfulness is afforded by the free will of non-devotees who are found to adopt wrong processes as their guiding principles.