Krishna as Supersoul- our friend within

Hare Krishna dear devotees,

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

As aspiring devotees, many a times, we feel alone, sometimes even helpless. We, however, forget that Krishna as Supersoul is always with us. Due to our ignorance and dull consciousness we may not be able to see Krishna’s hand in our journey towards Him but He is very much with us. Similarly we may not be able to appreciate and value how Krishna as Supersoul is sitting in our heart and is inspiring us to progress towards Him at every stage in our Krishna consciousness journey. Supersoul plays a very important role in the journey of a devotee. Let us find out how we can connect with Supersoul, hear His voice and take guidance from Him.

Srimad Bhagavatam says

harir deha-bhtām ātmā svaya praktir īśvara
tat-pāda-mūla śaraa yata kemo nṛṇām iha

Śrī Hari, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is the Supersoul and guide of all living entities who have accepted material bodies within this world. He is the supreme controller of all material activities in material nature. He is also our best friend, and everyone should take shelter at His lotus feet. In doing so, one’s life will be auspicious.

(SB 4.29.50)

Krishna is very close!

In Bhagavad-gītā (18.61) it is said, īśvara sarva-bhūtānāṁ hd-deśe ’rjuna tiṣṭhati: “The Supreme Lord is situated in everyone’s heart, O Arjuna.” The living entity is within the body, and the Supersoul, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is also there. He is called antaryāmī and caitya-guru. As Lord Krishna states in Bhagavad-gītā (15.15), He is controlling everything:

sarvasya cāhaṁ hṛdi sanniviṣṭo
mattaḥ smṛtir jñānam apohanaṁ ca

“I am seated in everyone’s heart, and from Me come remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness.”

(SB 4.29.50p)

Should I take directions from Supersoul?

Everything is being directed by the Supersoul within the body; therefore the better part of valor is to take His direction and be happy. To take His directions, one needs to be a devotee, and this is also confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā (10.10):

teṣāṁ satata-yuktānāṁ bhajatāṁ prīti-pūrvakam
dadāmi buddhi-yogaṁ taṁ yena mām upayānti te

“To those who are constantly devoted and worship Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me.”

(SB 4.29.50p)

Paramatma is our ‘old’ friend

In His Paramatma feature, Krishna is the old friend of everyone. According to Vedic injunction, Krishna is sitting with the living entity side by side. According to the sruti-mantra (dvä suparëä sayujä sakhäyäù), the Lord is sitting within the heart of every living entity as suhrt, the best friend. The Lord is always eager to have the living entity come home, back to Godhead. Sitting with the living entity as witness, the Lord gives him all chances to enjoy himself materially, but whenever there is an opportunity, the Lord gives good counsel and advises the living entity to abandon trying to become happy through material adjustment and instead turn his face toward the Supreme Personality of Godhead and surrender unto Him.

(SB 4.28.51p)

Can I start talking with Supersoul right now!

The Lord is the Supersoul seated in everyone’s heart, and He acts as the caitya-guru, the spiritual master within. However, He gives direct instructions only to the advanced, pure devotees.

(SB 4.28.41p)

I knew there would be some catch!

Unless you are a devotee, unless you are constantly engaged in the transcendental loving service of the Lord, He will not speak to you. He speaks, but you cannot hear. You have no ears to hear Him. That is not possible. Krishna is speaking. Just like Krishna is speaking in the Bhagavad-gita, sarva-dharmän parityajya mäm ekaà çaraëaà vraja [Bg. 18.66]. It is open speaking, but who is hearing? Nobody is hearing. Nobody is hearing. They have got their own conception of life.

(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, 6th Nov, 1973, Delhi)

So what chance I have?

When a living entity desires to serve the Lord in transcendental loving service, the Lord helps the devotee in so many ways as the caitya-guru, or the spiritual master within, and thus the devotee can perform many wonderful activities beyond material estimation. By the mercy of the Lord even a layman can compose prayers of the highest spiritual perfection. Such spiritual perfection is not limited by material qualifications but is developed by dint of one’s sincere endeavor to render transcendental service. Voluntary endeavor is the only qualification for spiritual perfection.

(SB 3.9.38p)

We begin by taking shelter of a bona fide guru

A person in full Krishna consciousness acts by the dictation of Krishna. In the beginning of Krishna consciousness, dictation is received through the transparent medium of the spiritual master. When one is sufficiently trained and acts in submissive faith and love for Krishna under the direction of the bona fide spiritual master, the dovetailing process becomes more firm and accurate. This stage of devotional service by the devotee in Krishna consciousness is the most perfect stage of the yoga system. At this stage, Krishna, or the Supersoul, dictates from within, while from without the devotee is helped by the spiritual master, who is the bona fide representative of Krishna. From within He helps the devotee as caitya, for He is seated within the heart of everyone. Understanding that God is seated within everyone’s heart is not, however, sufficient. One has to be acquainted with God from both within and without, and one must take dictation from within and without to act in Krishna consciousness.

(SB 3.15.45p)

(We all have experienced when we are sitting with a bona-fide spiritual master or a devotee coming in proper disciplic succession, how the questions within our heart are automatically answered or explained by the such speaker, there is a solid connection via supersoul)

It’s a gradual process, coinciding with our purification level

In the beginning, when a devotee is serious and sincere, the Lord gives him directions from within to approach a bona fide spiritual master. When one is trained by the spiritual master according to the regulative principles of devotional service and is situated on the platform of spontaneous attachment for the Lord (räga-bhakti), the Lord also gives instructions from within. teṣāṁ satata-yuktānāṁ bhajatāṁ prīti-pūrvakam [Bg. 10.10]. This distinct advantage is obtained by a liberated soul.

(SB 4.28.41p)

Supersoul manifests outside to help us!

One who is sincere and pure gets an opportunity to consult with the Supreme Personality of Godhead in His Paramatma feature sitting within everyone’s heart. The Paramatma is always the caitya-guru, the spiritual master within, and He comes before one externally as the instructor and initiator spiritual master. The Lord can reside within the heart, and He can also come out before a person and give him instructions. Thus the spiritual master is not different from the Supersoul sitting within the heart.

(SB 4.8.52p)

Why does Supersoul need to manifests outside?

jīve sākṣāt nāhi tāte guru caittya-rūpe
śikṣā-guru haya kṛṣṇa-mahānta-svarūpe

Since one cannot visually experience the presence of the Supersoul, He appears before us as a liberated devotee. Such a spiritual master is none other than Krishna Himself.

It is not possible for a conditioned soul to directly meet Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but if one becomes a sincere devotee and seriously engages in devotional service, Lord Krishna sends an instructing spiritual master to show him favor and invoke his dormant propensity for serving the Supreme. The preceptor appears before the external senses of the fortunate conditioned soul, and at the same time the devotee is guided from within by the caittya-guru, Krishna, who is seated as the spiritual master within the heart of the living entity.

(CC Adi 1.58+p)

(We should not only see our spiritual master as manifestation of Krishna but also our shiksha guru and senior counselors, from whom we are taking shiksha, as being direct representatives of Krishna. Krishna has personally sent them to help us.)

Wow! can we understand it via some example?

Just like we work in some big establishment, and if we can satisfy our immediate boss, that is the satisfaction of the whole company. You haven’t got to see whether all the members of the company have become satisfied. Simply the immediate boss under which you are working, if he is satisfied, then you know the company is satisfied because he will submit the report of his work.

Similarly, Krishna is very kind. He is helping you in different ways. He is within your heart. Krishna is within your heart. Antaryami, Caitya-guru. And is presenting Himself as spiritual master both ways, externally, internally. He is trying to help you. And when you are actually taking the advantage of that help, and if you are engaged with love and affection in the transcendental service of the Lord, then you can talk with God from within. God is within you. You haven’t got to find out God in so many places. Anywhere you can sit down. But if you are sincere, if you are actually wanting to offer your service to the Lordteñäà satata-yuktänäà bhajatäà préti-pürvakam, dadämi buddhi-yogaà tam [Bg. 10.10]—He will give you intelligence. Simply we have to become sincere servitor.

So it doesn’t matter whether one is householder or a brahmacari or sannyasi. He has to become first of all sincere servitor of the Lord. Then everything is complete. The Lord is within you. He will give you all knowledge, all enlightenment, all dictation, and He will make your life progressive.

(Srila Prabhupada lecture, 14th May 1969, Columbus)

I hope and pray that by reading the above we all can develop more faith to understand how Krishna is sitting within us as Supersoul and more importantly, we can appreciate how He is actively thinking about each one of us. Krishna loves each one of us and for those who are sincere, Krishna directly facilitates all arrangements so that we can go back to Him. For showering such love and personal care, what should be our feelings towards Krishna? And then what should be our feelings and attitude towards those great souls, whom Krishna has made His instrument of compassion and sent them to guide us in our spiritual journey. They are His direct representatives. Krishna Himself is helping every one of us internally as well as externally. Srila Prabhupada explains that there is no difference between internal instructor and external instructor. Can I work on my consciousness to see them non-different from each other?

Simply by accepting and acknowledging our spiritual master, shiksha guru and senior counselor as an external manifestation of Krishna, by valuing their association and contribution in our life, by following their instructions, we can attract further mercy of Krishna and make very rapid progress in Krishna consciousness and one day soon it may be our turn to start receiving direct instructions from someone very special within us, the stealer of hearts, Sri Krishna Chandra.

 

your servant,

Giriraj dasa

 

P.S. – Please use this link to read Lord Kapila describing the specific form of Supersoul residing in our heart and how yogis meditate on that divine form SB 3.28.21

Who is a Bonafide Guru?

guru

Reporter: But the bad gurus…
Çréla Prabhupäda: And what is a “bad” guru?
Reporter: A bad guru just wants some money or some fame.
Çréla Prabhupäda: Well, if he is bad, how can he become a guru? [Laughter.] How can iron become gold? Actually, a guru cannot be bad, for if someone is bad, he cannot be a guru. You cannot say “bad guru.” That is a contradiction. What you have to do is simply try to understand what a genuine guru is. The definition of a genuine guru is that he is simply talking about God—that’s all. If he’s talking about some other nonsense, then he is not a guru. A guru cannot be bad. There is no question of a bad guru, any more than a red guru or a white guru. Guru means “genuine guru.” All we have to know is that the genuine guru is simply talking about God and trying to get people to become God’s devotees. If he does this, he is genuine.

Science of Self Realization, Chapter 2 (SSR)

A bonafide guru honestly accepts and faithfully serves the authority of the disciplic succession represented by the Founder-Äcärya of ISKCON, His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupäda.

The founder-äcärya of the sampradäya is the principal çikñä-guru for that disciplic succession. Speculations that contradict his teachings are to be immediately rejected. Only a saintly devotee who has understood the teachings of the principal çikñä-guru is eligible to be a dékñä-guru for others. If one thinks that he can be initiated by an unauthorized guru or a Mäyävädé into these teachings, he errs severely. He will never attain Kåñëa consciousness.

HNC 6.2126

All bona fide representatives of Çré Vyäsadeva in the chain of disciplic succession are to be understood to be gosvämés. These gosvämés restrain all their senses, and they stick to the path made by the previous äcäryas. The gosvämés do not deliver lectures on the Bhägavatam capriciously. Rather, they execute their services most carefully, following their predecessors who delivered the spiritual message unbroken to them.

ÇB 1.1.5p

The guru does not manufacture a new process to instruct the disciple. The disciple receives from the guru an authorized process received by the guru from his guru. This is called the system of disciplic succession (evaà paramparä-präptaà imaà räjarñayo viduù [Bg. 4.2]). This is the bona fide Vedic system of receiving the process of devotional service, by which the Supreme Personality of Godhead is pleased. Therefore, to approach a bona fide guru, or spiritual master, is essential. The bona fide spiritual master is he who has received the mercy of his guru, who in turn is bona fide because he has received the mercy of his guru. This is called the paramparä system.

ÇB 8.16.24p

A bonafide guru is fixed in serving the Supreme Personality of Godhead as servant of the servant.

A Vaiñëava never thinks that he has a direct relationship with Kåñëa. Lord Caitanya says, “I am the servant of the servant of the servant of the servant—a hundred times the servant of the servant—of Kåñëa [Cc. Madhya 13.80].” We have to agree to become the servant of the servant of the servant. This is the process of disciplic succession, and if one wants real, transcendental love of God, then he has to adopt this process.

SSR Ch. 8

A spiritual master’s qualification is that he is brahma-niñöhä, which means that he has given up all other activities and has dedicated his life to working only for the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kåñëa.

Kåñëa Book Ch. 87

A bonafide guru hears from the disciplic succession.

Some spiritual teachers say, “In my opinion you should do this,” but this is not a guru. Such so-called gurus are simply rascals. The genuine guru has only one opinion, and that is the opinion expressed by Kåñëa, Vyäsadeva, Närada, Arjuna, Çré Caitanya Mahäprabhu, and the Gosvämés.

SSR Ch. 2

An actual guru is çrotriya, one who has heard or received perfect knowledge through paramparä, the disciplic succession.

ÇB 7.5.31p

Perfect knowledge is called paramparä, or deductive knowledge coming down from the authority to the submissive aural receiver who is bona fide by service and surrender.

ÇB 1.2.21p

A bonafide guru has realized the conclusions of scriptures.

The qualification of a spiritual master is that he must have realized the conclusions of the scriptures by deliberation and arguments and thus be able to convince others of these conclusions. Such great personalities who have taken shelter of the Supreme Godhead, leaving aside all material considerations, are to be understood as bona fide spiritual masters.

NOD Ch. 7

A spiritually advanced person who is authorized to act as the spiritual master speaks as the Supreme Personality of Godhead dictates from within. Thus it is not he that is personally speaking. In other words, when a pure devotee or spiritual master speaks, what he says should be accepted as having been directly spoken by the Supreme Personality of Godhead in the paramparä system.

CC Antya 5.71p

Whatever position one may have, if he is fully conversant with the science of Kåñëa, Kåñëa consciousness, he can become a bona fide spiritual master — an initiator or a teacher of the science.

TLC, Ch. 31

A bonafide guru does not behave whimsically.

One who is in the line of disciplic succession cannot manufacture his own way of behavior. There are many so-called followers of the Vaiñëava cult in the line of Caitanya Mahäprabhu who do not scrupulously follow the conclusions of the çästras, and therefore they are considered to be apa-sampradäya, which means “outside of the sampradäya.”

CC Ädi 7.48p

 

One who is now the disciple is the next spiritual master. And one cannot be a bona fide and authorized spiritual master unless one has been strictly obedient to his spiritual master.

ÇB 2.9.43p

 

If one is seriously interested in Kåñëa conscious activities, he must be ready to follow the rules and regulations laid down by the äcäryas, and he must understand their conclusions. The çästra says, dharmasya tattvaà nihitaà guhäyäà mahäjano yena gataù sa panthäù (Mahäbhärata, Vana-parva 313.117). It is very difficult to understand the secret of Kåñëa consciousness, but one who advances by the instruction of the previous äcäryas and follows in the footsteps of his predecessors in the line of disciplic succession will have success. Others will not.

CC Ädi 8.7p

 

A bonafide guru is selfcontrolled.

One who is not self-controlled, specifically in sex life, can become neither a disciple nor a spiritual master. One must have disciplinary training in controlling speaking, anger, the tongue, the mind, the belly and the genitals. One who has controlled the particular senses mentioned above is called a gosvämé. Without becoming a gosvämé one can become neither a disciple nor a spiritual master. The so-called spiritual master without sense control is certainly the cheater, and the disciple of such a so-called spiritual master is the cheated.

ÇB 2.9.43p

 

A person who has full control over the senses and mind is called a gosvämé or gosäïi. One who does not have such control is called a godäsa, or a servant of the senses, and cannot become a spiritual master.

CC Ädi 7.13p

 

A bonafide guru is an uttama-adhikäré.

The guru must be situated on the topmost platform of devotional service. There are three classes of devotees, and the guru must be accepted from the topmost class. The first-class devotee is the spiritual master for all kinds of people…… The guru is a qualified brähmaëa; therefore he knows Brahmanand Para-brahman. He thus devotes his life for the service of Para-brahman. The bona fide spiritual master who accepts disciples from all over the world is also worshiped all over the world because of his qualities. Lokänäm asau püjyo yathä hariù: the people of the world worship him just as they worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead. All these honors are offered to him because he strictly follows the brahminical principles and teaches these principles to his disciples. Such a person is called an äcärya because he knows the principles of devotional service, he behaves in that way himself, and he teaches his disciples to follow in his footsteps…… The mahä-bhägavata is one who decorates his body with tilaka and whose name indicates him to be a servant of Kåñëa by the word däsa. He is also initiated by a bona fide spiritual master and is expert in worshiping the Deity, chanting mantras correctly, performing sacrifices, offering prayers to the Lord and performing saìkértana. He knows how to serve the Supreme Personality of Godhead and how to respect a Vaiñëava. When one has attained the topmost position of mahä-bhägavata, he is to be accepted as a guru and worshiped exactly like Hari, the Personality of Godhead. Only such a person is eligible to occupy the post of a guru.

CC Madhya 24.330p

One should not become a spiritual master unless he has attained the platform of uttama-adhikäré. A neophyte Vaiñëava or a Vaiñëava situated on the intermediate platform can also accept disciples, but such disciples must be on the same platform, and it should be understood that they cannot advance very well toward the ultimate goal of life under his insufficient guidance. Therefore a disciple should be careful to accept an uttama-adhikäré as a spiritual master.

The uttama-adhikäré, or highest devotee, is one who is very advanced in devotional service. An uttama-adhikäré is not interested in blaspheming others, his heart is completely clean, and he has attained the realized state of unalloyed Kåñëa consciousness……Out of many such Vaiñëavas, one may be found to be very seriously engaged in the service of the Lord and strictly following all the regulative principles, chanting the prescribed number of rounds on japa beads and always thinking of how to expand the Kåñëa consciousness movement. Such a Vaiñëava should be accepted as an uttama-adhikäré, a highly advanced devotee, and his association should always be sought……When a person realizes himself to be an eternal servitor of Kåñëa, he loses interest in everything but Kåñëa’s service. Always thinking of Kåñëa, devising means by which to spread the Holy Name of Kåñëa, he understands that his only business is in spreading the Kåñëa consciousness movement all over the world. Such a person is to be recognized as an uttama-adhikäré.

NOI Text 5p

 

Note :The above content is copied from An Ocean of Gaura’s premämåta-kåpä – An elaboration on Srila Rupa Goswami’s Sri Upadesamrta by H.G. Srimati Mataji. We can download the book CLICK HERE

In the next blog I will quote a heavy check list on what is meant by a bonafide Guru by Srila Bhaktisdhanta Sarasvati Thakura.

 

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

 

Unflinching Faith in Spiritual master

Hare Krishna

7th April, 2016, Gurgaon.

Srila Prabhupada

Last year there was an incident where I received a major chastisement because of not having properly understood the unique position of Srila Prabhupada. Well, I thought I understood his position but unknowingly and subtly I got led in way that would have meant exactly the opposite! The repercussion  for me was polite but very grave, something I had never experienced in my spiritual or even in my material life. It was something I would carry whole life as it taught me a little what is meant by Guru Nishtha (firm faith in spiritual master).

Few days back I stumbled on a very unique correspondence between Srila Prabhupada and one of his most sincere disciples, HH Tamal Krishna Goswami, which I had read almost one a half years back but for some reasons I had saved it. Here, Srila Prabhupada also shares his present and previous life and explains the position of a spiritual master. As I read it again and again I understood a little better why the reaction I received was so severe and why must I be thankful for it till eternity.

Reading it, I also realised the importance of taking a break from the ‘auto-mode’ in our spiritual life and contemplate on important issues surrounding us.

I am sharing the same correspondence below and I pray that the readers get the intended message. I am first sharing the letter which HH Tamal Krishna Maharaj received from Srila Prabhupada and then his thought process and contemplation.  This correspondence also shows the level of simplicity and openness which existed between Srila Prabhupada and his disciples. I have taken the liberty to highlight some portions, here it goes.

Prabhupada’s next letter arrived. Srila Prabhupada said:

Los Angeles, California, June 21st 1970

My Dear Tamal,

Please accept my blessings. I beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter dated 18th June, 1970, sent by Special Delivery Air Mail.

Krishna philosophy is understood as it is stated in the Vedas:

            yasya deve para bhakti yathadeve tatha gurou

            tasya ete kathitha hi artha prakasante mahatmanah

“One who has got unflinching faith in the Supreme Lord and similar faith in his Spiritual Master to him only the imports of Vedic knowledge become revealed.”

A Spiritual Master is always liberated. In any condition of His life He should not be mistaken as ordinary human being. This position of a Spiritual Master is achieved by three processes. One is called sadhan siddha. That means one who is liberated by executing the regulative principles of devotional service. Another is kripa siddha, one who is liberated by the mercy of Krsna or His devotee. And another is nitya siddha who is never forgetful of Krsna throughout his whole life. These are the three features of the perfection of life.

So far Narada Muni is concerned, in His previous life He was a maidservant’s son, but by the mercy of the devotees He later on became siddha and next life He appeared as Narada with complete freedom to move anywhere by the grace of the Lord. So even though He was in His previous life a maidservant’s son there was no impediment in the achievement of His perfect spiritual life. Similarly any living entity who is conditioned can achieve the perfectional stage of life by the above mentioned processes and the vivid example is Narada Muni.

So I do not know why you have asked about my previous life. Whether I was subjected to the laws of material nature? So, even though accepting that I was subjected to the laws of material nature, does it hamper in my becoming Spiritual Master? What is your opinion? From the life of Narada Muni it is distinct that although He was a conditioned soul in His previous life, there was no impediment of His becoming the Spiritual Master. This law is applicable not only to the Spiritual Master, but to every living entity.

There are thousands of examples explained in our books that the conditioned soul is never affected with the material body. It is said in the Vedas asamga ayam purusa, which means the living entity is always unaffected with matter. Another example is given that the reflection of the moon on water appears to be moving, but actually the moon is not moving, it is fixed up. So any living entity is like that. His reflection on the material body appears to be changing, but the spirit soul is fixed up, therefore this movement is called illusion.

Liberation means liberation from this changing condition. So far I am concerned, I cannot say what I was in my previous life, but one great astrologer calculated that I was previously a physician and my life was sinless. Besides that, to corroborate the statement of Bhagavad Gita “sucinam srimatam gehe yogabhrasta samyayate” which means an unfinished yogi takes birth in rich family or born of a suci or pious father. By the grace of Krishna I got these two opportunities in the present life to be born of a pious father and brought up in one of the richest, aristocratic families of Calcutta (Kasinath Mullick). The Radha Krsna Deity in this family called me in 1966 to meet Him, and therefore last time when I was in Calcutta, I stayed in that temple along with my American disciples. Although I had immense opportunities to indulge in the four principles of sinful life because I was connected with a very aristocratic family, Krsna always saved me, and throughout my whole life I do not know what is illicit sex, intoxication, meat-eating or gambling. So far my present life is concerned; I do not remember any part of my life when I was forgetful of Krsna.

……………

Your ever well-wisher,

A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

Upon reading this letter I was stunned as if jolted by an electric current. Literally I lost strength and had to sit down. As I sat alone in the temple, my mind reeled. I had not at all been prepared for such a letter.

Again I reread it to be sure that I had understood Prabhupada’s mood rightly. He was firm and straightforward in his defence of the spiritual master’s absolute position. I had committed a great blunder, which Srila Prabhupada by his causeless mercy had not tolerated. When previously I had committed the indiscretion of asking permission to chant the names of the gopis, he had only mildly replied that there was no need. But there was no such indulgence in this letter. The matter was far too serious. I had raised a question about his previous life and whether he had been subjected to the laws of material nature. Prabhupada sensed a doubt inherent in my questioning. If such doubt existed and was not at once quelled, my spiritual life would be undermined at its very foundation. Considering the gravity of the subject, Srila Prabhupada’s mood was extremely tempered.

I tried to examine my motives. Why had I asked such a question? I had been studying the life of Narada Muni from the First Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam. From my reading I had gotten the impression that at one time he was an ordinary, conditioned soul. That had led me to wonder about Srila Prabhupada’s previous life and whether he had also been conditioned at some previous time. But I felt no uncertainty about Narada Muni’s infallibility, nor of Srila Prabhupada’s. Narada Muni was traveling from planet to planet liberating the entire universe by spreading the glories of the Maha-Mantra, and Prabhupada was doing the same in this world on his behalf. Srila Prabhupada was actually my life and soul, and I meant exactly as I had written in a previous letter; everything I had, including myself, was his to do with as he wished. Surely Srila Prabhupada knew the depth of my sincerity. Then why such a strong letter?

I concluded that Prabhupada was taking no chances. If there was even a pinch of distrust for his transcendental position that unsealed flaw would one day crack my spiritual life. And like a fire, it had to be put out at once, thoroughly. Left to its own ways, doubt, like fire, could consume everything in its path. Unflinching faith in one’s spiritual master was the key to success in spiritual life. Lord Caitanya, though the Supreme Personality of Godhead, explained that total faith in His spiritual master’s words was the cause of His achieving success in the matter of chanting Hare Krsna. In contrast, a faithless disciple loses the thread of devotional service and eventually his lips cannot even form the shape of the holy names of the Lord.

My question had arisen in regard to Narada Muni’s previous life: Was it wrong to think of him as ordinary at the time? Prabhupada’s answer was clear: “In any condition of his life he should not be mistaken as ordinary human being.” Just as when we think of famous wealthy men of the world like Rockefeller or Ford, we may hear of their early struggles when they may even have been poor. But that does not cloud our vision of them as being fabulously wealthy. Rather, their early life is precursory as the fertile ground in which the seed of their good fortune was sown. Their present stature does not allow us to view them as ever having been ordinary poor men. How much more so in the case of great liberated souls, as evidenced by the wonderful activities of Narada Muni, who began as a maidservant’s son! His were not the activities of an ordinary low-class boy; otherwise why would the author of the Bhagavatam, Srila Vyasadeva, have bothered to include the incidents of his previous life? Such narrations are of the utmost interest because they ultimately resulted in his becoming the great transcendentalist Narada Muni. Therefore the spiritual master is always liberated, and none of his activities-present or previous-should ever be thought of as ordinary.

The Vedic literatures are full of examples of great personalities who took their birth in seemingly common circumstances. The great devotee Vidura, though born in the womb of a sudrani, enlightened the great king Maharaja Yudhisthira. Haridasa Thakura, a Muslim by birth, was elevated as the namacarya for the whole world. The prayers of Kunti devi, a woman, are revered by great liberated sages. And there are hundreds of other similar examples. If one’s birth in this lifetime is not a criterion for judgment, then what to speak of one’s previous life? I could answer Srila Prabhupada with certainty that one’s past in no way hampered one’s becoming a spiritual master. Srila Prabhupada, both in his lectures and his books, has made this very evident. In Teachings of Lord Caitanya he explains this point clearly:

Whatever position one may have, if he is fully conversant with the science of Krsna, Krsna consciousness, he can become a bona fide spiritual master, initiator, a teacher of this science. In other words one can become a bona fide spiritual master if he has sufficient knowledge of the science of Krsna, Krsna consciousness. The position does not depend on a particular position in society or on birth. This is the conclusion of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and it is in accordance with the Vedic injunctions….In ancient days there was even a hunter named Dharma, who became a spiritual master for many people.

My question had betrayed an even more basic misunderstanding about the identity of the soul in regard to the body. To demonstrate that the soul is unaffected by its material surroundings, Prabhupada cited the example that the moon appears to move in its reflection on water, despite its actual steady position in the firmament. That apparent movement is factually the rippling effect of the water, not the movement of the moon itself. The Bhagavad Gita and other Vedic literatures contain numerous statements confirming the soul’s transcendence over matter:

Those with the vision of eternity can see that the soul is transcendental, eternal, and beyond the modes of nature. Despite contact with the material body, O Arjuna, the soul neither does anything nor is entangled.

The sky, due to its subtle nature, does not mix with anything, though it is all-pervading. Similarly, the soul, situated in Brahman vision, does not mix with the body, though it is situated in that body. (Bg. 13.32-33)

My question was most inappropriate, because the spiritual master, as the direct manifestation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead’s mercy feature, is never considered within the category of ordinary conditioned souls. Lest any doubts linger after citing the conclusions of scripture, Srila Prabhupada put his personal life before me as evidence. Though, connected with a wealthy aristocratic family, he had had immense opportunity for sinful life, throughout his whole life he had never indulged in intoxication, meat-eating, nor engaged in gambling or illicit sex. Most strikingly, Srila Prabhupada stated that throughout his whole life he was never forgetful of Krsna. In fact, Krsna was personally protecting him and had saved him on numerous occasions. Srila Prabhupada said that the Radha-Krsna Deity in his family’s Calcutta home had personally called him back to Calcutta. These were unusual admissions for Srila Prabhupada to make. Due to his natural humility as Krsna’s pure devotee, he rarely spoke of his own purity and intimate relationship with Krsna. But his prodding disciple had now forced these statements out.

And the evidence was clear for all to see. As Narada Muni was krpa siddha, having been liberated by the mercy of Krsna and His devotees, Srila Prabhupada as much as admitted to his own exalted position as a nitya-siddha devotee of the Lord. By his own statements, he had never, ever forgotten Krsna, not even in his last life, as the calculations of one great astrologer revealed.

I felt ashamed that I had ever asked Srila Prabhupada such a question. What I did not know at the time was that Srila Prabhupada’s lengthy response was not prompted merely by my thoughtless query. In America some of his disciples had committed serious discrepancies in regard to this very same matter. Srila Prabhupada had reason to suspect that some of his Godbrothers in India, due to envy, were influencing his disciples to doubt in his bonafidity. I was completely unaware that such a thing was going on. I had thought Prabhupada’s letter to be an isolated issue, when in fact it had been written at a highly sensitive time when an actual attempt was being made to minimize his position as the founder-acarya of ISKCON.

Srila Prabhupada’s instructions, because they are based on Vedic conclusions, do not become irrelevant due to the passage of time. The transcendental stature of the spiritual master, irrespective of birth or other social considerations, will always be accepted by learned men. Srila Prabhupada’s life should be seen as the performance of a great transcendental personality who appeared on the stage of Kali-yuga. Though he himself is timeless and could have been equally well suited to any one of the ages, he never lost sight of the historical significance of his appearance. As sastra-caksus, he always rested his words and deeds upon the authority of the Vedas. Yet as the great preaching acarya for this age, he spoke and acted considering fully the needs of the generations yet to come. The legacy of his appearance in the form of his books, his disciples, and the worldwide institution of ISKCON will be able to nourish all spiritually minded men through the duration of this age.

Only the poor-hearted, the materialists, the envious, could fail to find sufficiency in ‘Srila Prabhupada’s magnanimous gifts. For such unfortunates, his books will remain a mystery, his disciples an enigma, his spiritual institution a material organization.

(Biographies and Glorifications of Srila Prabhupada-Servant of the Servant-The European Yatra-Le Sankirtana Parisien-Tamala Krsna Goswami)

So as his followers and grand children we must develop absolute faith in the mercy and potency of Srila Prabhupada, this alone is sustaining ISKCON and its ever increasing members. Srila Prabhupada is the primary shiksha Guru of all ISKCON devotees. Therefore, we must first carefully study all his books, not just merely read them, and we will find how he has given the essence of Mahaprabhu’s and previous acharayas teachings. Finally, we should daily beg and pray to receive association of those devotees whose pure heart have Srila Prabhupada’s lotus feet in them. Only then we can make our life successful in this very lifetime.

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Should devotee chant any other mantra?

Hare Krishna

18th August, 2015. Gurgaon.

Here is another wonderful conversation where Srila Prabhupada shares so many wonderful gems.

Jayadvaita: Just like sometimes we’ll hear our men. They’ll be chanting… Like yesterday I heard someone was chanting “Nitai-Gaura, Nitai-Gaura, Nitai-Nitai-Gaura.” Like that, I’ll hear different mantras. Someone is chanting ‘Radhe, Radhe, Radhe, Radhe.” like that, at kirtana.

Prabhupada: Well, that is not done by the acaryas. But there is no harm chanting “Radhe.” But sometimes it is degraded to make something new, invention. Therefore better to stick to “Hare Krsna” and to “Sri-Krsna Caitanya Prabhupada-Nityananda.” Otherwise… Just like the sahajiyas, they have invented: “Nitai-Gaura Radhe Syama, Hare Krsna Hare Rama.” These things will come gradually. But they are not approved. They are called chara kirtana (?), means “concocted kirtana.” But there is no harm chanting “Radhe, Nitai-Gaura.” So better stick to this Panca-tattva, and maha-mantra. Just like “Nitai Gaura Radhe Syama, Hare Krsna Hare Rama.” There is “Nitai-Gaura, Radhe Syama,” but it is not approved. Mahajano yena gatah sa panthah [Cc. Madhya 17.186]. We have to follow the mahajana. In Caitanya-caritamrta you’ll find “Sri-Krsna-Caitanya Prabhu-Nityananda, Sri-Advaita Gadadhara…,” never “Nitai Gaura, Radhe Syama.” So why should we do that?

Jayapataka: The concocter of the “Nitai Gaura Radhe Syama,” previously he was a follower of Bhaktisiddhanta, but then he was rejected, and then he started his own camp.

Prabhupada: No, yes, he was meeting Bhaktivinoda Thakura. So… What is called? Carana dasa Babaji.

Satsvarupa: Srila Prabhupada, sometimes during arati, many bona fide bhajanas are sung, but not much Hare Krsna. Is that not a good tendency, that maybe just two or three minutes of Hare Krsna mantra and many other bhajanas?

Prabhupada: No. We should stick to Hare Krsna. Sri-Krsna-Caitanya Prabhu-Nityananda, jiva jago jiva jago…, these are authorized. But Hare Krsna is the maha-mantra. What is sung by mahajana, Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Narottama dasa Thakura, that can be sung. [break]

Jayapataka: …you say is back to Godhead. But when one is situated in pure, transcendental love of Krsna, then that’s, then wherever he may be, that’s back to Godhead. Isn’t it?

Prabhupada: Yes.

Jayapataka: So then we should desire not to go back to Vaikuntha but to go back to…, to be situated in our pure service to Krsna.

Prabhupada: Yes. Pure devotee does not aspire anything, simply to be engaged in loving service of the Lord, wherever it may be. It doesn’t matter. [break]

Jayadvaita: …they know everything and they’re perfect in everything. But sometimes, from our material viewpoint, we see some discrepancies. Just like we think that…

Prabhupada: Because material viewpoint. The viewpoint is wrong; therefore you find discrepancies.

Jayadvaita: So we should think that we have the defect.

Prabhupada: Yes. Acarya is explained, bhakti-samsanah: “One who’s preaching the cult of devotional service, he’s acarya.” Then why should you find any discrepancy?

Jayadvaita: Because we see… For instance, sometimes the acarya may seem to forget something or not to know something, so from our point of view, if someone has forgotten, that is…

Prabhupada: No, no, no. Then…

Jayadvaita: …an imperfection.

Prabhupada: That is not the… Then you do not understand. Acarya is not God, omniscient. He is servant of God. His business is to preach bhakti cult. That is acarya.

Jayadvaita: And that is the perfection.

Prabhupada: That is the perfection. Hare Krsna.

Jayadvaita: So we have a misunderstanding about what perfection is?

Prabhupada: Yes. Perfection is here, how he is preaching bhakti cult. That’s all.

Satsvarupa: Srila Prabhupada, there’s also a question of reciprocation. You have so many disciples, thousands, and one devotee was asking me yesterday, “How does… I want to please Srila Prabhupada. How does he know my progress and my service because I’m…, when I’m so far away from him and if I don’t write him?”

Prabhupada: So his representatives are there, the president, the GBC. They will see.

Madhavananda: The representatives.

Jayadvaita: The representative may be there, but what is my personal relationship?

Prabhupada: Hm? To obey your spiritual master. Whatever he has said, you follow strictly. Follow the regulative principles. Chant sixteen rounds. That’s all.

Devotee (1): Prabhupada, when Srila Vyasadeva was lamenting after compiling so many Vedic literatures before compiling Srimad Bhagavatam, he said to his spiritual master, Narada Muni, that “You please enter within me and find out my deficiency. You are as good as the all-pervading Supersoul.”

Prabhupada: That is always the position of spiritual master, to find out the deficiency in the character of his disciple.

Devotee (1): He said that “You are as good as the all-pervading Supersoul.”

Prabhupada: Yes. He… He pointed out the deficiency, that “You have not described so elaborately about the Supreme Personality of Godhead. You have touched only the social, religious, political point of views.” That was his deficiency. So a disciple is always in deficiency before his spiritual master. Just like Caitanya Mahaprabhu says, guru more murkha dekhi karila sasana [Cc. Adi 7.71]. “My spiritual master saw Me a fool number one. Therefore he has chastised Me.” So disciple should be always ready to be chastised. He should not think that he has become perfect. That is perfection. So long he thinks that he is not perfect-he’s to be chastised — then he’s perfect. And as soon as he thinks that he has become perfect, he’s nonsense immediately, nonsense number one. [Break] …always to be chastised by the spiritual master for perfection. And if he thinks that now he has become perfect, then he’s a foolish. Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, guru more murkha dekhi. “My spiritual master saw Me a fool number one.” Was He fool number one? He’s God Himself. But that is the position. He should remain always a fool number one, ready to be chastised. Then he’s perfect. In the moral instruction, Canakya Pandita gives this instruction, that lalane bahavo dosas tadane bahavo gunah: “If you chastise your son or disciple, he’ll improve, and if you say, ‘Oh, you are all right,’ then he’ll degrade.” Tasmat putram ca sisyam ca tadayet na tu lalayet: “Therefore you always chastise your son and disciple. Never flat…” What is called?

Jayadvaita: Flatter.

Prabhupada: No.

Satsvarupa: Prabhupada, in one purport in the Bhagavad-gita, you write that a disciple of a bona fide spiritual master is supposed to know everything.

Prabhupada: Yes, if he follows the spiritual master.

Satsvarupa: But how could he know…? What does that mean, “everything”?

Prabhupada: Everything means whatever his guru knows, he should know, that much. Not like God, everything. Within his limit, that’s all. If he tries to understand whatever his guru has said, that much is “everything.” Otherwise, “everything” does not mean that we know everything, like God, like Krsna. That is not possible. If he regularly chants and follow the regulative principles, follows the orders of guru, then he knows everything. That’s all. Not very much… Knows everything, then what is the use of reading books when he knows everything? [break] …everything — except Krsna. Aham… Sarvasya caham hrdi sannivisto [Bg. 15.15]. He knows past, present, future, everything. You cannot expect anyone to know like Krsna, everything.

Jayadvaita: Krsna says in Bhagavad-gita that one who knows Him knows everything.

Prabhupada: Yes. Because if he knows that Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, then he knows everything. That’s all. Not that he should know as Krsna. If he… Yasmin vijnate sarvam eva vijnatam… If he accepts Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Absolute Truth, then he knows everything. That is finish.

Jayadvaita: That knowledge itself is…

Prabhupada: Eh?

Jayadvaita: That knowledge itself is complete.

Prabhupada: Yes.

Satsvarupa: There may be material things he doesn’t know, but they’re useless.

Prabhupada: Eh?

Satsvarupa: If there’s some material information that such a person doesn’t know, that’s not really knowledge anyway.

Prabhupada: I did not follow.

Satsvarupa: If he doesn’t know how many people live in…

Jayadvaita: Just like Gaura-kisora could not write. So it appeared that he did not, there was something that he did not know, although he knew Krsna.

Prabhupada: Yes. He knows everything. Otherwise how Bhaktisiddhanta accepted him as guru? He knows Krsna. That’s all.

Nalini-kanta: Whatever the spiritual master says, that is also perfect?

Prabhupada: Yes. Because he says nothing concocted. Whatever he says, he says from sastra, and guru.

Devotee (2): Srila Prabhupada, is there any instance when you were chastised by your spiritual master?

Prabhupada: Eh?

Devotee (2): Is there any instance when you were chastised by your spiritual master?

Prabhupada: Oh, yes. Oh, yes.

Devotee (2): Can you tell us?

Prabhupada: I remember the moment was very valuable. Yes.

Devotee (2): Can you tell us the story?

Prabhupada: Yes. I think I have said that.

Satsvarupa: When you were speaking to one man…

Prabhupada: Yes. He became very angry and chastised me.

Jagajivana: Srila Prabhupada, was this during a lecture by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta?

Prabhupada: Eh?

Jagajivana: Was this during a lecture?

Prabhupada: Yes. I was not… One of my old brother, he, he wanted to speak something. So I leaned my… I immediately became… (laughter) So he chastised him more than me.

Devotee (2): When Lord Caitanya chastised someone more than Advaita Acarya, Advaita felt that He had been neglected ’cause he had not received a greater chastisement.

Prabhupada: He wanted to be chastised, so Caitanya fulfilled His desire. (end)

(Morning Walk — April 9, 1975, Mayapur)

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.

 

What is the meaning of Prabhupada ?

Hare Krishna.

23rd September, 2014. Gurgaon

sp4

I randomly opened Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta yesterday and this beautiful verse, with an enlightening purport by Srila Prabhupada, opened up.

Q : What is the meaning of word Prabhupada ?

Answer:

kāśī-miśra kahe, — āmi baḍa bhāgyavān
mora gṛhe ‘prabhu-pādera’ habe avasthāna (CC Madhya 10.23)

Translation:
When Kāśī Miśra heard the proposal, he said, “I am very fortunate that Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, the Lord of all prabhus, will stay at my home.”

Srila Prabhupada writes in his purport ‘In this verse the word prabhupāda, referring to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, is significant. Regarding this, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī Prabhupāda comments, “Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, and all His servants address Him as Prabhupāda. This means that there are many prabhus taking shelter under His lotus feet.”

The pure Vaiṣṇava is addressed as prabhu, and this address is an etiquette observed between Vaiṣṇavas. When many prabhus remain under the shelter of the lotus feet of another prabhu, the address Prabhupāda is given.

Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu and Śrī Advaita Prabhu are also addressed as Prabhupāda. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, Śrī Advaita Prabhu and Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu are all viṣṇu-tattva, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Viṣṇu. Therefore all living entities are under Their lotus feet.

Lord Viṣṇu is the eternal Lord of everyone, and the representative of Lord Viṣṇu is the Lord’s confidential servant. Such a person acts as the spiritual master for neophyte Vaiṣṇavas; therefore the spiritual master is as respectable as Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya or Lord Viṣṇu Himself. For this reason the spiritual master is addressed as Oṁ Viṣṇupāda or Prabhupāda.

The ācārya, the spiritual master, is generally respected by others as Śrīpāda, and the initiated Vaiṣṇavas are addressed as Prabhu. Prabhu, Prabhupāda and Viṣṇupāda are described in revealed scriptures like Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Caitanya-caritāmṛta and Caitanya-bhāgavata. In this regard, these scriptures present evidence accepted by unalloyed devotees.’

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Difference between devotees & non devotees, and some analogies.

Hare Krishna.

21st September, 2014. Gurgaon.

Quotes-by-Srila-Prabhupada-on-Difference-Between-A-Devotee-and-A-Non-Devotee

I recently heard two wonderful analogies about devotees, I am sharing them below.

As the many waves of the rivers flow into the ocean, so do all these great warriors enter blazing into Your mouths. (BG 11.28)

I see all people rushing full speed into Your mouths, as moths dash to destruction in a blazing fire. (BG 11.29)

The first was when I was listening to a lecture by HG Chaitnaya Charan Prabhuji on NoI and heard this amazing description of the above often repeated analogies of rivers rushing into water and moths dashing into fire, that death will come to everyone present there. Prabhuji quoted Vedanta Desika of Sri sampradaya who compared moths to non devotees and rivers to devotees in the following ways :

1. River enters naturally into sea where as moth forcefully enter the fire. Similarly people like Duryodhana enter death forcefully by doing adharma where as warriors like Bhishama and Drona are forced by the providence to be on the wrong side and they have to fight and also die also, but there is a difference between the two.

2. Rivers don’t lose their primary identity after merging into seas (water remains water) where as moths gets burned and lose their primary identity after getting burnt. Similarly devotee do not lose their identity after death. On the other hand materialists when they die, lose whatever they value. Devotees continue as before and serve the Lord, their essentials doesn’t change either in the material world or in the spiritual world. What they were doing before they do afterwards as well, death doesn’t effect them in a major way.

3. When moths go towards fire the don’t do any good to themselves or to the fire. But rivers irrigate the land and also provide water to everyone on the way to sea. Similarly when devotee lead there lives they are benefiting everyone, when they speak Krishna katha not only they are living a spiritual life but also spreading Krishna consciousness. Non devotees are no good to anyone.

The second one was when I heard a most wonderful seminar by HH Bhakti Vijnana Goswami Maharaj on cleansing our heart. Maharaj first stated how a brahmana has three stages in his devotional life :

1. Dvija : when one is born in a brahmana family
2. Vipra : when one becomes an expert and is inspired
3. brahmana : One who knows Brahman.

Maharaj stated that similarly a devotee too has three stages in his life

1. First stage : When one gets initiated by the mercy of his Guru
2. Vipra : when one feels internally inspired to progress in bhakti
3. Vaishanava : when one understands Brahman

I then searched for analogies written by Srila Prabhupada and I hit a jackpot at this link.

I am sharing some of them below

1. As the river flows on till she reaches the sea, similarly pure devotional service flows by the association of pure devotees till it reaches the ultimate goal, namely, transcendental love of God.

2. His Divine Grace the spiritual master can kindle the spiritual fire from the wood-like living entity by imparting proper spiritual messages injected through the receptive ear.

3. He is slapped by the police. He says, “Oh, I am independent. Go on slapping.” This is insanity. Is it not insanity? The police slaps him, and he says, “I am independent.” Do you think independence? So that sort of independence we are having.

4. Tiger can kill many animals. Does it mean it is very important animal? No. It has no use in the society. Undoubtedly, it is very powerful. It has got the good weapons to fight and it can kill many. These are not qualifications for good men or good society.

I request devotees to kindly share useful analogies you may have heard with all of us.

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Yukta Vairagya vs dry renunciation

Hare Krishna.
21st June, 2014, Gurgaon

Quotes-by-Srila-Prabhupada-on-Renunciation

Q: What is `Yukta Vairagya’ and what is false renunciation. Also explain `niyamāgraha’.

Ans :

yukta-vairāgya-sthiti saba śikhāila
śuṣka-vairāgya-jñāna saba niṣedhila (CC Madhya 23.105)

Translation
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu then told Sanātana Gosvāmī about proper renunciation according to a particular situation, and the Lord forbade dry renunciation and speculative knowledge in all respects.

Srila Prabhupada writes in his purport :
This is the technique for understanding śuṣka-vairāgya and yukta-vairāgya. In the Bhagavad-gītā (6.17) it is said:

yuktāhāra-vihārasya yukta-ceṣṭasya karmasu
yukta-svapnāvabodhasya yogo bhavati duḥkha-hā

“He who is temperate in his habits of eating, sleeping, recreation and work can mitigate all material pains by practicing the yoga system.”

To broadcast the cult of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, one has to learn the possibility of renunciation in terms of country, time and candidate. A candidate for Kṛṣṇa consciousness in the Western countries should be taught about the renunciation of material existence, but one would teach candidates from a country like India in a different way. The teacher (ācārya) has to consider time, candidate and country. He must avoid the principle of niyamāgraha — that is, he should not try to perform the impossible. What is possible in one country may not be possible in another. The ācārya’s duty is to accept the essence of devotional service. There may be a little change here and there as far as yukta-vairāgya (proper renunciation) is concerned.

Dry renunciation is forbidden by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, and we have also learned this from our spiritual master, His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Gosvāmī Mahārāja. The essence of devotional service must be taken into consideration, and not the outward paraphernalia.

Sanātana Gosvāmī wrote his Vaiṣṇava smṛti, Hari-bhakti-vilāsa, which was specifically meant for India. In those days, India was more or less following the principle of smārta-vidhi. Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī had to keep pace with this, and his Hari-bhakti-vilāsa was compiled with this in mind. According to smārta-brāhmaṇas, a person not born in a brāhmaṇa family could not be elevated to the position of a brāhmaṇa. Sanātana Gosvāmī, however, says in the Hari-bhakti-vilāsa (2.12) that anyone can be elevated to the position of a brāhmaṇa by the process of initiation.

yathā kāñcanatāṁ yāti kāṁsyaṁ rasa-vidhānataḥ
tathā dīkṣā-vidhānena dvijatvaṁ jāyate nṛṇām

“As bell metal is turned to gold when mixed with mercury in an alchemical process, so one who is properly trained and initiated by a bona fide spiritual master immediately becomes a brāhmaṇa.”

There is a difference between the smārta process and the gosvāmī process. According to the smārta process, one cannot be accepted as a brāhmaṇa unless he is born in a brāhmaṇa family. According to the gosvāmī process, the Hari-bhakti-vilāsa and the Nārada-pañcarātra, anyone can be a brāhmaṇa if he is properly initiated by a bona fide spiritual master. This is also the verdict of Śukadeva Gosvāmī in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (2.4.18):

kirāta-hūṇāndhra-pulinda-pulkaśā
ābhīra-śumbhā yavanāḥ khasādayaḥ
ye ‘nye ca pāpā yad-apāśrayāśrayāḥ
śudhyanti tasmai prabhaviṣṇave namaḥ

“Kirātas, Hūṇas, Āndhras, Pulindas, Pulkaśas, Ābhīras, Śumbhas, Yavanas and members of the Khasa races, and even others who are addicted to sinful acts, can be purified by taking shelter of the devotees of the Lord, due to His being the supreme power. I beg to offer my respectful obeisances unto Him.”

A Vaiṣṇava is immediately purified, provided he follows the rules and regulations of his bona fide spiritual master. It is not necessary that the rules and regulations followed in India be exactly the same as those in Europe, America and other Western countries. Simply imitating without effect is called niyamāgraha. Not following the regulative principles but instead living extravagantly is also called niyamāgraha.

The word niyama means “regulative principles,” and āgraha means “eagerness.” The word agraha means “not to accept.” We should not follow regulative principles without an effect, nor should we fail to accept the regulative principles. What is required is a special technique according to country, time and candidate. Without the sanction of the spiritual master, we should not try to imitate. This principle is recommended here: śuṣka-vairāgya-jñāna saba niṣedhila. This is Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s liberal demonstration of the bhakti cult. We should not introduce anything whimsically, without the sanction of the bona fide spiritual master. In this connection, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura comments on these points by quoting two verses by Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī (Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu 1.2.255-256).

anāsaktasya viṣayān yathārham upayuñjataḥ
nirbandhaḥ kṛṣṇa-sambandhe yuktaṁ vairāgyam ucyate
prāpañcikatayā buddhyā hari-sambandhi-vastunaḥ
mumukṣubhiḥ parityāgo vairāgyaṁ phalgu kathyate

When one is not attached to anything but at the same time accepts everything in relation to Kṛṣṇa, one is rightly situated above possessiveness. On the other hand, one who rejects everything without knowledge of its relationship to Kṛṣṇa is not as complete in his renunciation.”

To preach the bhakti cult, one should seriously consider these verses.

All glories to Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Prayers by devotees

Hare Krishna.

26th May, 2014, Gurgaon.

Back-To-Godhead-Pray-To-Godhead

 

Yesterday, 25th May, turned out to be a day when I realised the power of prayer by devotees.

I was suffering from a bad throat since last 2 days and 24th evening was worst. When I woke up around 6am on 25th morning I felt terrible. I could not speak and even the simple task of getting up from the bed proved to a big effort. I felt very hungry and extremely thirsty. I drank some warm water, then I somehow remembered that Atma Prabhu had told me to take Neem capsules regularly, which I stopped some time back, so I took one capsule as well. I checked my temperature it was 101.3F. As it was Dwadashi so I waited for 6.50am and then I had some hot ginger lemon water with honey. I started coughing continuously and had green colour phelgm, confirming that I had an infection.

The hot concoction I drank gave me some relief and I slowly started chanting my rounds. But after less than an hour I felt too tired and stopped my chanting. I watched Mayapur.tv for some time and listened to HG Madhav Prabhu singing soulfully at a retreat. I also took crocin and later had my breakfast. I felt cold and had to take a quilt in the hot summer weather. I checked the fever again it was almost 102F now and my cheeks seem to be oozing heat. It was almost 9.45am. My wife was pushing me since yesterday to see a doctor and get antibiotics but today being a Sunday all the doctors were closed. I myself didn’t have any energy or a will to see the doctor. I took my bath.

In the meantime I got a call from HG Shyam Sundar Prabhu, who broke the sad news that HG Advaita Hari Prabhu left his body in Kolkata few days back. I had the good fortune to meet Prabhuji twice and I clearly remember his sweet and affectionate long talks. He was always most helpful to everyone in Mayapur. He was disciple of HH Jayapataka Swami, serving as chief finance officer and deputy director of Mayapur. He was currently involved in corporate preaching in nearby regions of Mayapur and Kolkata. Shyam Sundar prabhu narrated me how Prabhuji took such good care of  HH Janananda Maharaj that maharaj declared that he will now come more often to Mayapur only because of Sri Advait Hari Prabhu. Shyam Sundar Prabhuji also made a very good statement that unlike `karmis’ when devotees leave this world what we miss most is their association. I pray to Lord Sri Krishna that He may give HG Advaita Hari prabhu a service in His eternal abode.

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HG Advaita Hari Prabhuji

As we spoke for some time, Shyam Sundar Prabhu found out from my constant coughing that I was not very well. After the call was over I received a message on the Bhagavad Gita whatsapp group, which we run, and when I opened it, to my embarrassment, I found that due to a strong brotherly affection Prabhuji had posted a message to the group that I am not well and devotees should pray for me. I immediately messaged him back and requested him not to post such messages for me and that too for a simple cough and fever. I then added, for some effect, that if he really wants to pray for me then he should pray for my spiritual life that I should get attached to the holy name. Prabhuji’s reply stumped me as he spoke `Prabhuji I am praying for your material body so that you can serve the devotees and preach !

After this posting I received messages from some devotees and I told all of them that I am fine and just a little under the weather. By this time it was past 11am, I felt very tired and dozed off again.

I woke up around 3.30pm and felt a little different. It took me a few seconds to realise that I actually feel much better. In fact I felt as if I was almost recovered. I ate my lunch. I seem to have regained most of my energy, there was minimal cough- phelgm was now whitish and no tiredness at all. I was most surprised at this sudden transformation. I, then, remembered the message Prabhuji had posted on the whatsapp group and I realised that some merciful devotee(s) prayed for me and their prayers did the work instantly, it was like magic. I had my energy back, I played with my kids for some time and then called up Shyam Sundar Prabhu and shared with him this unique experience. He too was very surprised and happy to hear it. I thanked all the devotees mentally and in my state of happiness forgot to even thank  Shyam Sundar prabhu as I knew that he would have been the first one to pray for me. Thank you so much to all the devotees.

What are my realisations  –

1. Well, first of all, I must ensure that I serve all the devotees, specially the senior ones, to the best of my ability and regularly take the benefit of their association, life is too short and unpredictable to wait or to be lazy.

2. I would never underestimate the power of prayers by devotees.

3. I regularly receive messages, mails and requests for praying for a devotee or a devotee’s relative who is not well. If such requests are one to one then I make it a point to chant an extra round or pray to Srila Prabhupada for him/her. But many a times when it is a forwarded mail or a mail copied to many devotees then I skip it as well, there are many excuses which my lousy mind makes up. So I promised myself that from today onwards whenever I will receive such a request I will make sure that I pray for that devotee, I will never skip it.

3. And lastly, I realised that the real purpose of reading all the scriptures, and gaining knowledge, is to convince my own self that I should feel attached to Krishna and His devotees.

 

 

Regarding your questions are the Spiritual Master and the Grand Spiritual Master consciously aware of the prayers of a sincere devotee who prays in love to Them?—the answer is that no conscious prayers go in vain. They are transmitted positively.    (By Srila Prabhupada, Letter to Mahananda, Los Angeles, 1970)

 

Thank you respected devotees for showing me the right way and improving my consciousness to always pray for others. I will not forget it.

 

All glories to the most merciful Vaishanavas.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada