Sri Guru-Tattva and the Secret of Diksa - (Part 1)
(By: Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda)
(On the morning of Wednesday, August 8th 1934, Sriyukta Rajendranath Pal Chaudhuri Mahasaya, the famous zamindar of Louhajang, came to Sri Gaudiya Matha accompanied by one of his employees. Offering his humble dandavats at the lotus feet of Sri Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Prabhupada, he expressed his desire to hear some words on Sri Guru-tattva and the secret of diksa etc. Srila Prabhupada obligingly gave a valuable discourse for two hours. Some brief excerpts from that talk are presented below. It has only been possible for us to publish this priceless gem by the help of Upadesaka Pandita Sripada Pranavananda Pratnavidyalankara Mahadaya. Thus, we convey our sincere gratitude at his feet – Nishikanta Sanyal)
Rajen Babu – Is it necessary for me to take diksa again if I have already taken diksa from a kula-guru (hereditary family guru)? He does not eat fish or meat; he studies the Bhagavatam, is the son of a Gosvami and is a householder.
Prabhupada – Bhaktisiddhanta:
asat-saṅga-tyāga, – ei vaiṣṇava-ācāra
‘strī-saṅgī’ – eka asādhu, ‘kṛṣṇābhakta’ āra
To discard the company of those who diminish one’s resolve in krsna-bhakti (asat-sanga) is truly the natural conduct of a Vaisnava. And the most detrimental association of all is those who enjoy the company of women and the non-devotees. (Cc. Madhya. 22.087)
These two types of non-devotees can never become spiritual masters. They are not devotees of Krsna.
kibā vipra, kibā nyāsī, śūdra kene naya
yei kṛṣṇa-tattva-vettā, sei ’guru’ haya
Whether one is a brahmana, a sannyasi, a sudra or whatever, if he is fully conversant with the science of Krsna, he is eligible to become a guru. (Cc. Madhya. 8.128)
From this we understand that Sri Gurudeva must be a krsna-tattva-vetta (one who knows the science of Krsna). It is incorrect to assume that only those who are born in a high caste family, who has attained knowledge of the Absolute (brahma-jnana), or who are famous are entitled to be guru. Sri Gurudeva may externally be a brahmana, a sannyasi or a grhastha – that is irrelevant. If the spiritual master is not a krsna-tattva-vetta, he should be abandoned.
Sri Guru is sadacari – one who correctly practices devotional principles. The question may be asked, “What is acara?” In reply it has been said, asat sanga tyaga – ei vaishnava achara. Who is asat? Those who are addicted to illicit connections with women (stri-sangi) and those who are averse to Krsna (krsnabhakta) –these are the two types of non-devotees. Their association must be abandoned. The general understanding of the term asat is that which is unreal. Sat is that which is unchangable, which is not transformable, which is not transmutable. The opposite state of sat is asat. There are two terms known a grhastha and grha-vrata. One who pays less attention to Krsna and is more attached to his wife, considering her to be the most cherished thing in his life, is known as yosit-sangi (one who is addicted to women). Such householders that are attached to matter, which is inferior to Krsna, are known as grha-vratas. Therefore a grha-vrata can never be a guru. Those who perform hari-bhajana – whether they are grhasthas or sannyasis –should be considered as most excellent. Otherwise even a sannyasi that does not perform hari-bhajana should be understood to be a non-devotee.
Who is a devotee of Krsna?
vadanti tat tattva-vidas tattvaṁ yaj jñānam advayam
brahmeti paramātmeti bhagavān iti śabdyate
The seers that know the Absolute Truth call this non-dual substance Brahman, Paramatma or Bhagavan. (Bhag. 1.2.11)
One who sees Brahman and Paramatma as separate from Krsna, who is the advaya-jnana-tattva (the non-dual Absolute), cannot become a devotee of Krsna due to their ignorance of vastu-tattva (the science of Absolute Reality). Brahman is that conscience relating to a subject that is known to be devoid of material distinctions. The Vedanta-sutras’ aphorism athato brahma jijnasa explains about inquiring into Brahman.
When one is deprived of the eternally blissful darsana of saccidananda Bhagavan, and solely takes shelter of samvit-vritti (the cognitive faculty), which although is a substance imbued with the divine lila of the Supreme, one experiences Brahman.
And when one is deprived of the blissful darsana of saccidananda Bhagavan, and only pursues sat-cit vritti (the faculty of eternity and cognition), which although is a substance imbued with the divine lila of the Supreme, one attains darsana only of Paramatma.
Therefore, the spiritual effulgence of Bhagavan’s saccidananda form is the impersonal Brahman that is without cit and vilasa. And when He is present in the mood of aisvarya – that is Paramatma. In his Bhagavata-sandarbha, Srila Jiva Gosvami states as follows:
tatha caivam visistaye prapte purnavirbhavatvenakhanda-tattva-rupo’sau bhagavan
brahma tu sphutam aprakatita-vaisistya karatvena tasyevasamyag-avirbhava ity agatam
When the Supreme completely reveals Himself He is known as Bhagavan, and in comparison to this the Brahman feature, where the transcendental form of the Lord is not manifested, is only a partial manifestation of the Supreme. (Anuccheda 4.1)
yena hetu-karta atmamsa-bhuta-jiva-pravehsana-dvara sanjivitani santi dehadini tad-upalksanani
pradhanadi-sarvany eva tattvani yenaiva preritayaiva caranti sva-sva karye pravartante tat paramatma rupam viddhi
He enters the body of the jivas as the Paramatma and enlivens the body, senses, life-airs, and mental activities, and thus all the subtle and gross organs of the body begin their functions. (Anuccheda 4.4)
jivasyatmatattvam tad-apeksaya tasya paramatvam ity
atah paramatma-sabdena tat-sahayogi sa eva vyajyate iti
The Paramatma feature of the Lord is then the constant companion of the conditioned souls, but He is always their superior, and therefore He is called ‘Paramatma’, or ‘the Supreme Soul’.(Anuccheda 4.6)
Bhagavan is akhanda-tattva-rupa (the form of all tattvas), as He possesses all potencies due to His complete manifestations. Yet Brahman, who does not manifest similar attributes, is but a part of Bhagavan, or an incomplete manifestation.
He is known as Paramatma because He directs all the activities within the universe and makes the jivas, who are His parts and parcels, enter into the world and activates them and gives them the propensity to fulfill their minute independent desires. The jiva’s svarupa is the atma; one who by nature is superior to the jiva and the doer is known by the word ‘Paramatma’ and He is the jiva’s eternal companion.” (Cc. Adi 2.10 Anubhashya)
Independence due to maya, or ignorance, results in voluntary subjection to duality. As a result of such secondary interests, a sense of discrimination arises in relation to the non-dual Absolute form of Vrajendra-nandana Krsna and His name, form, qualities and pastimes. Because of the fetters of material intelligence in relation to the form of Vishnu, and due to a continual lack of understanding of Bhagavan’s advaya-jnana, independent ideas such as jnana-yoga etc. are imagined to be different ways to attain Brahman and Paramatma. The jiva then retires from accepting topics concerning devotion to Bhagavan and having invoked various philosophical ideas, he is shackled to the jungle of this material world.
When one is completely free from the desire for jnana, karma etc. and only performs activities that please Krsna, that is the sign of uttama-bhakti (pure devotion). Those who wish to differ even a fraction from this point or desire to pollute it with some ‘alloy’ should be included amongst those who are abhaktas (non-devotees). They are unfit to be gurus.
na te viduḥ svārtha-gatiṁ hi viṣṇuṁ
durāśayā ye bahir-artha-māninaḥ
Because of their foolish activities and their belief that external sense objects are of great value, they are unaware that the ultimate goal of human life is to achieve Vishnu. (Bhag. 7.5.31)
matir na kṛṣṇe parataḥ svato vā
mitho ’bhipadyeta gṛha-vratānām
The inclination toward Krsna in the grha-vrata is never aroused, either by the instructions of others, by their own efforts, or by a combination of both. (Bhag. 7.5.30)
The difference between a grhastha and a grha-vrata has been explained in these verses from Bhagavatam. A grha-vrata is one who cannot understand Krsna. Realization of Krsna cannot be achieved simply through the instructions of others, through one’s own endeavors or by mutual discussions. This is because the activities of the senses never follow the complete, pure and eternally liberated direction of the Absolute. Attempts to follow the non-Absolute are the endeavors of the grha-vrati. The grha-vrati tries to enter that which is finite with a great deal of trouble. Anything within our sensuous jurisdiction cannot be Bhagavan. The good fortune to attain darsana of Krsna only arises when His maya potency is lifted. It is the dharma of the grha-vrati to always participate in discussions that neglect Krsna. Although externally they may seem the same, the difference between the grhastha who is a devotee of Bhagavan and the grha-vrati who is averse to Bhagavan is like the difference between heaven and hell. The exterior and interior of a house are not one.
The grhastha devote considers every object in his home as objects that are meant for serving Krsna and offers them to the transcendental senses of Krsna. But the non-devotee grha-medhi remains busy serving his own senses and ignores service to Krsna.
The baddha-jiva has two tendencies – the avarana of maya (which covers the soul’s natural spiritual knowledge) and viksepatmika (that which overwhelms the soul with ideas that have nothing to do with the Absolute Truth). Such foreign things are considered as an impediment and obstruct the jiva’s natural instinct to serve. It bewilders the jiva’s understanding of that which is to be understood and mutilates it.
Two or three years ago we delivered a lecture in Madras. There we spoke on guru-tattva and we explained that, “The guru is not an impediment.” If we pretend to be guru, and somewhere down the line we decide to eat those things that are meant for Sri Bhagavan’s enjoyment, then we will be completely ruined and our disciples will be totally finished. The sastra says –
yo vyakti nyaya rahitam nyayena srinoti yah
tabubhau narakam ghoram vrajatah kalamaksayam
The guru who speaks contrary to the conclusions of the revealed scriptures and the disciple who hears such distorted conclusions, will both fall into the darkest regions of hell. (Hari-bhakti-vilasa 1.101)
The example of opaque glass and transparent glass may be discussed. An object cannot be seen through opaque glass. Some obstacles appear between my eyes and the object that is to be seen. I can see something through a transparent object. Similarly we cannot take darsana of the Absolute Truth (para-tattva) through the medium of an opaque guru, or guru-bruva. Rather than offering everything that is given to him by his disciples to the lotus feet of Bhagavan, the guru-bruva consumes everything himself. Thus, having surrendered to such an opaque guru, the disciple is deprived of attaining real spirituality.
With the exception of a Vaisnava, one who is a non-Vaisnava or an anti-Vaisnava cannot become a guru. The sastra states –
avaiṣṇavopadiṣṭena mantreṇa nirayaṁ vrajet
punaś ca vidhinā samyag grāhayed vaiṣṇavād guroḥ
A mantra received from a non-Vaisnava transports one to hell. Thus one should again ask a Vaisnava guru to give the mantra in the proper manner. (Narada Pancaratra)
Rajen Babu: Can’t a kanistha Vaisnava become a guru?
Prabhupada: Kanistha, madhyama and uttama are the gradations amongst Vaisnavas. In the kanistha stage of Vaisnavism, only non-Vaisnavism is absent– this I shall explain in detail a little later. How can we deliberate upon adhikara and define who is a Vaisnava without taking shelter of a sad-guru? Only Gurudeva can explain adhikara. How can one who has never entered the domain of a devotee, who cannot himself understand anything, explain such things to others? If a non-Vaisnava sits on the seat of the guru, it amounts to sheer contempt of guru-tattva.
guror apy avaliptasya - kāryākāryam ajānataḥ
utpatha-pratipannasya - parityāgo vidhīyate
If the guru becomes attached to sense gratification, loses his sense of duty, and follows a degraded path, a path other than devotional service to the Lord, he should be rejected. (Mahabharata, Udyoga Parva 179.25)
What is the point of approaching someone who instead of being guru (heavy) is laghu (light)? If you beat empty chaff with all your strength, will you be able to extract any grains? If my guide goes in the wrong direction, then I must retire from the journey. It is only proper to reject the shelter of such a guide. Srila Jiva Gosvami Prabhu had said:
A guru based upon mundane conventions should be rejected. One must accept a qualified spiritual master. (Bhakti-sandharba, Annucheda 210)
Knowledge of a particular subject can only be obtained from one who has experience in that subject. If someone were given the position of a judge, how would he judge if he has not even elementary knowledge of justice?One who has no knowledge of mathematics cannot teach that subject. If one wants to know how to swim, he must go to a swimmer; if one wishes to learn how to be a smithy, one must go to a smith.
There is a shop near a house where things are purchased regularly. However, at present the shop is in a deplorable state and its products have become substandard. Yet the shop next to it sells wholesome fresh goods. Then what will the customer do? Will he continue to purchase inferior goods simply to honor tradition or will he choose the fresh items? If an inexperienced family doctor is incapable of treating a patient properly, is it not proper to consult a more knowledgeable doctor? In such a situation, if a good doctor is found in Switzerland, then he is brought in. Just as when one expects to find wealth from a pauper or wisdom from a fool, similarly there is the rule, andhenaiva niyamana yatha’ndha – when a blind man leads another blind man, both will attain a dark destination and nothing more. Therefore one must approach a transparent guru. Such things demand cognitional activities and if an opaque guru comes in-between and creates an obstacle in achieving them, it becomes a matter of great misery. Thus, one must remember the Vaisnava principle of asat-sanga tyaga.
One will never attain the mercy of Krsna if he tries to gratify and serve his wife, friend, servant etc. instead of Krsna. Just as we serve our faithful sons in order to receive service from them later, similarly if I serve Krsna with the same mentality in the hope of gaining something, then I don't offer myself as a servitor. Rather, we make that divine object our servant.
A true Vaisnava does not make disciples. Where is the scope for him to lord over the world when he sees everything fully in the spirit of served and server (sevya-sevaka)? How is it possible for him to accept service offered by someone else? One who does not serve Bhagavan, but accepts another’s service on the pretext of serving others, is an atheist. Gurudeva is the messenger of the Para-tattva and a servant of the Absolute. One who steals the property of the Absolute is laghu (low), not guru (great).
Taking from a disciple is indicative of laghutva. Accepting objects from a disciple is nothing more than accepting his stool and urine. It is the duty of the transparent guru to take all the service offered by the disciple to the lotus feet of Krsna.
The opaque guru makes disciples out of his greed for wealth and instead of offering the items dedicated to serve Krsna, he enjoys them himself, and thus he continuously deceives the disciple.
(From Dainik Nadiya Prakasa, Janmastami Edition, 1934)
Sri Guru-Tattva and the Secret of Diksa (Part 2)
Srila Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada: A materialistic Smarta who is opposed to devotion to Krsna should never be considered as a guru. Only one who is most dear to Krsna – krsna-prestha (beloved of Krsna), can be Gurudeva. Externally it may seem to be the same as being under the influence of a mundane guru (laukika) or hereditary guru (kaulika), but in actuality one is never deceived when he seeks refuge at the lotus feet of the guru who is krsna-prestha.
In the realm of madhura-rati, it is Srimati Varsabhanavi, Krsna’s ananda-dayini-sakti (pleasure-giving potency) who is considered to be the guru-tattva. She has two manifestations – one is Sri Nityananda Prabhu and the other is Sri Gadadhara or Sri Gaurasundara who has taken the heart and halo of Sri Radha. Those who take refuge under Sri Baladeva-gopi Ananga-manjari accept Sri Baladeva Nityananda Prabhu as their guru, and they also accept Sri Varsabhanavi-devi as guru. The reason is that except for allegiance to Sri Varsabhanavi, Sri Ananga-manjari has no separate fulfillment. Many have performed bhajana under the shelter of Sri Jahnava, the sakti of Sri Nityananda.
In raga-marga, allegiance to Sri Gadadhara and the proper understanding of the four types of pure devotional rati found in the associates of Sri Nityananda, Sri Gauridasa Pandita etc. should be clearly understood. The service rendered by Govinda Dasa and Kasisvara etc. exists in accordance to the difference in the manifestation of purna-bhava.
Worshippers in madhura-rasa can be freed from the temporary ego of being a husband in this world by taking shelter of Sri Varsabhanavi, considering Krsna to be their only consort. Through the process of bhajana, those worshippers in vatsalya-rasa will be relieved from the temporary ego of father-son relationships by taking shelter of Sri Nanda-Yasoda and thinking of Krsna as their most affectionate son; through bhajana, those who take shelter of Sridama and Sudama and worship in the mood of sakhya-rasa are delivered from the attraction of transient friends by accepting Krsna as their one and only dearest friend. Those in dasya-rasa who take shelter of Raktaka, Patraka, Citraka, Vakula etc. will be saved from temporary master-servant relationships by considering Krsna as their only master. Santa-rasa is the mood of neutrality and this includes the cow-herding stick, buffalo horn, flute etc. Compared to santa-rasa, dasya-rasa etc.has more affection.
With the exception of Sri Radha-Govinda, everything else is asat. One must accept the efficacy of the associates of Gauranga by rejecting asat-sanga. When one adopts an ‘opaque face’ to judge guru-tattva and sees that someone only has one eye, someone has a beautiful form, someone is poorly educated, someone is powerful etc. such considerations solely based upon sense perception give rise to confusion in deliberating guru-tattva. Some accept Blavatsky as their guru; some accept Epicurus, while others accept Hegel, Kant etc. as their guru. “Whoever can satisfy my senses is my guru” – rather than following such a path of self-destruction, one should diligently take shelter of the feet of the associates of Sri Gaura. The eternal auspiciousness of the jiva is found in those who speak of nothing except for the worship of Radha-Krsna. If a guru claims to be Radha-Krsna, Nanda-Yasoda or Sridama-Sudama, he must be considered to as extremely laghu asat-sanga (the most degraded type of bad association) and should be rejected immediately. Srila Dasa Gosvami states in his Manah-siksa:
na dharmaṁ nādharmaṁ śruti-gaṇa-niruktaṁ kila kuru
vraje rādhā-kṛṣṇa-pracura-paricaryām iha tanu
śaci-sūnuṁ nandīśvara-pati-sutatve guru-varaṁ
mukunda-preṣţhatve smara param ajasraṁ nanu manaḥ
O Mind, don’t concern yourself with the pious and impious deeds described in the Vedas. Rather, intently serve Sri Sri Radha-Krsna in Vraja. Always remember that the son of Saci is the son of Maharaja Nanda and that my guru is most dear to Lord Mukunda. (Manah-siksa 2)
There is a belief that one should not perform bhajana of Radha-Krsna while living in this world – give up such a notion and come to Vraja! Vraja means to go;iha asmin jagati tanum vistaraya – the form of that world is forever expanding. Vraja-mandala does not simply consist of soil, water and mud.
The Bodhayana-bhasya was found at a place called Vrijavraron in Kashmir at Sarada-pitha. Based upon this, Ramanuja composed the Sri-Bhasya. Sankara’s commentary attempted to eliminate this scripture from Kashmir. However, whoever is inimical towards the Absolute Reality is incapable of harming Him. May there always be abundant service offered to Sri Radha-Govinda! May there always be the study and teaching of Srimad Bhagavatam!
The works of Candidasa, the poems of Vidyapati, Sri Jagannatha-vallabha Nataka, Krsna-karnamrta and Sri Gita-govinda – these five books, along with the Srimad Bhagavatam, have delineated service to Sri Radha-Govinda. It is mentioned in Jagannatha-vallabha Nataka that Sriman Mahaprabhu accepted these books with great love. However, only those who have finished the study of the Upanisads, Gita etc. and have achieved the adhikara to study the Tenth Canto of Srimad Bhagavata, and whose adhikara arises for lila-rasa are eligible to even touch this nataka.
Dhira-samira is where the gopis of the general category are attracted by the flute song of Krsna and gather for love-sports at night. Yet the rasa-sthali on the banks of Sri Radha-kunda, where the noon pastimes are enacted, is the topmost. Mathura, the birthplace of Krsna, is higher than Vaikuntha, Vrndavana is higher than Mathura, Govardhana is higher than Vrndavana, and at Govardhana, Radha-kunda is the highest. Gaudiya Vaisnavas never visit Candra-sarovara at Sakhi-sthali which is near to Govinda-kunda. Amongst the eight yutheshvaris, Chandra, Saibya and others have circulated anti-propaganda about Radha-kunda. The acme of Vrndavana is Radha-kunda, below that is Govardhana. Sriman Mahaprabhu forbade His followers to climb upon Govardhana Hill to take darsana of Gopala. Candra, the rival gopi of Sri Radhika, wanted that Krsna should be confined in her groves. But Krsna played a trick. He said, “I have all attachment for you. I won’t go to Radha-kunda.” Thus by deluding the group of Chandra, He managed to leave Chandra-sarovara. At present, another sampradaya has taken this place and has adopted a position contrary to that of the Gaudiya Vaisnavas. By reading Sri Govinda-lilamrta one can learn about Sri Krsna’s madhyahnika-vihara (noon pastimes) at Sri Radha-kunda. We find in the Srimad Bhagavatam:
anayārādhito nunam - bhagavān harir īśvaraḥ
yan no vihāya govindah - prito yām anayad rahaḥ
"Certainly this particular gopi has perfectly worshiped Govinda, the all-powerful Controller, since He was so pleased with Her that He abandoned the rest of us and brought Her to a secluded place." (Bhag. 10.30.28)
This verse indicates the superiority of the place of noon pastimes in comparison to the place of nightly pastimes. When the rasa began at the rasa-sthali, the general gopis began dancing; attracted by the sound of Krsna's flute they gathered and met at the rasa-sthali. They cannot imagine the service attempts rendered by those gopis that have taken shelter under Sri Radhika. Without the shelter of Sri Radhika any attempt to independently attain union with Krsna (sambhoga) goes against the mode of worship(bhajana-pranali) followed by the Gaudiya Vaisnavas.
By understanding that Sriman Mahaprabhu is the combined form of Radha and Krsna, His most surrendered followers acquire the eligibility to realize the esoteric mode of worship (bhajana-rahasya) of Radha-Govinda. Any attempt to worship Krsna independently, abandoning the shelter of Sri Gaurasundara, who is absorbed in the bhava of Sri Varsabhanavi, is not approved by Sri Varsabhanavi Herself. Therefore, this does not bring any genuine happiness to Krsna.
Candidasa, Vidyapati (the poet of Mithila), Jagannatha-vallabha, Krsna-karanamrta (which was sung on the banks of the Krsna-veni River) and Sri Gita Govinda – these five works express nothing but Krsna.
(At this point in his talk, Srila Prabhupada, in a wonderful state of bhavavesa, or divine emotions, referred to various lyrical verses from those books such as Vidyapati’s tatala saikate,meghair-medurambaram and lalita-lavanga-lata from Gita-Govinda and disatusharma etc. from Jagannatha-vallabha).
ātala saikate bāri-bindu-sama
tohe visari mana, tāhe samarpala
ab majhu habo kon kāje
"Burning on the sands of a hot beach, I have offered my mind unto the association of sons, friends and wife, yet they are simply like a drop of water. Now what can I do to be relieved of this great misery?" (Vidyapati)
meghair meduram ambaram vanabhuvaḥ śyāmās tamāla-drumair
naktaṃ bhīrur ayaṃ tvam eva tad imaṃ rādhe gṛhaṃ prāpaya
itthaṃ nanda-nideśataś calitayoḥ pratyadhva-kuñja-drumaṁ
rādhā-mādhavayor jayanti yamunā-kule rahaḥ kelayaḥ
“The heavens are overcast with thick clouds. The forest seems dark with the hue of the Tamala trees. This young boy Krsna is afraid of the darkness of night. Thus, O Radha, You should take Him home with You!” Thus Their love arose as They passed through the forest. All glories to the pastimes of Radha and Madhava who sport on the banks of the river Yamuna." (Gita-Govinda 1.1)
viharati harir iha sarasa-vasante
nṛtyati yuvati-janena samaṁ sakhi virahi-janasya durante
"The breeze that touches the tender clove creepers gently drifts from the Malaya hills. The arbors resound with the sound of the cuckoo and the humming of honeybees. During this beautiful spring, when love cannot endure separation, Hari is playing and dancing with young damsels. O my friend Radhika – go and meet Him.'"(Gita-Govinda 1.28)
murari-natanam sada disatu sarma loka-traye
"Accompanied by the musical sounds of the vina, drum and flute, and the tinkling of the Gopis' karatalas and ankle-bells, which reveals His charming smile and the movements of the vine of His charming three-fold bending transcendental form – May the wonderful dancing of Murari eternally bring bliss to the three worlds." (Jagannatha-vallabha Nataka 1.1)
It was the duty of Srila Damodara-svarupa to sing all these songs at all times in keeping with the divine bhava of Sriman Mahaprabhu.
1) Purva-raga – alambana and uddipana.
2) Bhava-pariksa – The type of attachment [anuraga] that shows the deep love that Sri Krsna feels for Sri Radha and the deep love that Sri Radha feels for Sri Krsna.
3) Bhavavesa – The attraction that Sri Krsna feels for Sri Radha and the attraction that Sri Radha feels for Sri Krsna.
4) Abhisara – Union.
5) Sangama – Sri Radha-kunda is found in the village of Arit; at this place Krsna killed the demon Arishtasura. At that time, an elderly gopi by the name of Madanika gifted Sri Radha into the hands of Sri Krsna as a reward for killing Arista. Then the rasa was performed at this place. A dance filled with divine mellows is known as rasa.
These five sections are there in Jagannatha-vallabha Nataka. These need to be discussed. However, eligibility also needs to be considered. One should take shelter on the banks of this kunda.
(Mahamahopadeshaka Acaryatrika Prabhu [Sri Kunja-vihari Vidyabhushana] further elaborated upon the statements of Srila Prabhupada and continued to analyze the subject matter for Rajen Babu’s understanding)
Acaryatrika Prabhu: While remaining in this world, attached to the material rasa found in relationships with wife and children etc. and being tormented by various types of anarthas, any endeavor to explore transcendental vraja-rasa and any attempt to equate them will simply result in producing vairasya (animosity towards genuine rasa). Thus, it is essential that after surrendering at the lotus of sad-guru, we perform sravana and kirtana according to our eligibility as instructed by Sri Guru.
Prabhupada: Visnu and visnu-maya – it is essential to deliberate upon these two tattvas. That which gives illusory pleasure and is measurable by the mind is not Absolute – it is non-Absolute. The only function of the unalloyed soul is to serve the Absolute.
Rajen Babu: Isn't it possible for a person with meager knowledge to become a guru?
Prabhupada: No. There is no place for laghutva within gurutva. One should know that there is not a trace of spirituality when the disciple detects faults such as poverty, meager knowledge and deviations from the proper code of conduct within the guru, and considers the guru to be a recipient of his mercy, while the guru also considers himself most fortunate on receiving a certificate from the disciple.
The sole aim of both is to serve their own senses. An evaluation of the guru and disciple is not based upon such sense-gratification. Worldly ‘gurus’ who teach us how to play the sitar or teach us how to swim, as well as hereditary family gurus who promote our gross and subtle sense gratification are not in the same category as spiritual gurus. It is not the duty of the mahanta-guru to eagerly involve himself in maintaining a mundane wife and children. Various types of laghutva enter into those who do not cultivate Krsna consciousness (krsnanusilana) twenty-four hours a day. Gurudeva does not wait to attain a certificate from his disciple. He has no time to lend his ear to useless talk. He is indifferent to others.
Rajen Babu: If the guru has borrowed money and is heavily in debt, is it proper to help him become free from debt by giving him money?
Prabhupada: He should be considered as fallen if he accepts money from his disciple in order to save his material wealth. The only property of a spiritual guru is spirituality; the only duty of a true disciple is spiritual service. In regards to the financial obligations of this world, the guru is never a debtor. Worldly things are absent in him and cannot touch him. One should not compare the attempts of the sad-guru to collect ingredients for serving Krsna with the guru-bruva’s greed for accumulating material wealth. One cannot be a guru is he is devoured by the desire for material wealth. Maintaining a mundane mentality and the mentality of being a guru, results in a mentality that leads us to hell.
gurusu nara-matir yasya va naraki sah
"If one considers the spiritual master as a mundane person, one becomes a resident of hell." (Padma Purana)
Acaryatrika Prabhu: A mundane mentality arises when one considers the mahanta-guru as belonging to the brahmana caste. Sri Bhagavan tells Uddhava:
ācāryaṁ māṁ vijānīyān nāva-manyeta karhicit
na martya-buddhyāsūyeta sarva-devamayo guruḥ
"Know the acarya to be My Self. Never envy the acarya; never blaspheme him or consider him to be an ordinary man. Because the acarya channels the infinite, He is greater than the sum total of all the finite. Thus, he is more important than all the gods." (Bhag.11.17.27)
Prabhupada: A national guru, a guru of a particular caste, a guru who teaches the sitar – they all treat Krsna as an object of their enjoyment. None of them are spiritual gurus.
Acaryatrika Prabhu: The status of a Gosvami is simply not restricted to a particular ancestral line. A father performs devout worship – he is said to be a bhakta and he is respected. Yet his son performs no bhajana, so he cannot expect to receive the same respect as his father does. Deliberations on the pure devotional conclusions (suddha-bhakti-siddhanta) of Mahaprabhu are completely different from the considerations of fallen jivas that are attached to this world.
Rajen Babu: What is the difference between a grhasta and a grha-vrata?
Prabhupada: The difference lies in krsna-bhajana. Bhajana should not be taken as a trivial plaything. Illegible writing is writing and proper writing is also writing. Yet one conveys no meaning and the other has significance. The notion of considering both as equal has been prevented by the words of Vyasa:
arcye viṣṇau śilā-dhīr guruṣu nara-matir vaiṣṇave jāti-buddhir
viṣṇor vā vaiṣṇsnavānāṁ kali-mala-mathane pāda-tīrthe ’mbu-buddhiḥ
śrī-viṣṇor nāmni mantre sakala-kaluṣa-he śabda-sāmānya-buddhir
viṣṇau sarveśvareśe tad-itara-sama-dhīr yasya vā nārakī saḥ
"One who thinks the Deity to be made of wood or stone, who thinks of the spiritual master as an ordinary man, who thinks the Vaisnava to belong to a certain caste or thinks of caranamrta or Ganges water as ordinary water should be understood to be a resident of hell." (Padma Purana)
It is the Smartas idea to attach greater value to the apparent side. That is their primary duty. We need not take the road to hell by wasting our time in idle and trifling activities in the name of doing bhajana.
Rajen Babu: But those who are grhasthas also reside with their wife and children.
Prabhupada: A true grhastha remains fixed in thoughts of performing hari-bhajana. The Vaisnava view should not be confused with the non-Vaisnava view. A five-year-old child may vocalize a drama of Shakespeare, but only an adult can truly appreciate it.
Acaryatrika Prabhu: It is necessary to observe which direction a mundane social guru takes and which direction a spiritual guru takes.
Rajen Babu: What is the harm if one takes instruction from a spiritual guru and takes mantra from a social guru?
Prabhupada: If you go in that direction then you cannot advance towards Vraja – you will not progress; you will remain in one place by dropping your anchor and will never be able to lift it. What will be the benefit for you to go somewhere else? You will be quite satisfied with what you already have.
Rajen Babu: If one does not accept spiritual initiation, is it possible to be aware of any type of spiritual truth (tattva)?
Prabhupada: There will be no sravana, and the opposite result of such beneficial things will be attained instead. The duty of light is to remove darkness. If one remains in the midst of darkness, how will it be possible to attain light by allowing darkness to prevail?
Acaryatrika Prabhu: A mundane guru considers the mantra only as shabda (sound) and not as sabdi (He who is known by sound)
Prabhupada: The mantra is non-different from the sabdi. There is no difference between the aprakrta-sabda (transcendental sound) and sabdi.
Sri Guru Tattva and the Secret of Diksa (Part 3)
Rajen Babu: Isn't the kanistha-adhikari qualified to give initiation into the mantra?
Srila Sarasvati Prabhupada: Where is the kanishtha-adhikari coming from? Who gave him the adhikara? A kanishtha-adhikari can never become a guru.
Rajen Babu: Can a madhyama-adhikari give diksa?
Prabhupada: He can only perform the initial duties of diksa. It is the uttama-adhikari maha-bhagavata Vaisnava who is actually the diksa-guru. There are two types of Vaisnavas – the ragatmika and the raganuga. Those who are from the eternal realm offer service to Sri Krsna directly. These ragatmikas serve Sri Varshabhanavi and Her direct expansions. Those who perform direct service to the ragatmikas and take shelter in them through the performance of smarana are raganugas. These are spiritual gurus.
A social guru does not understand Vaisnava dharma or spirituality. The attainment of selfish interests or the mundane interests of others is anatma-dharma – it is not atma-dharma or spirituality. Teaching the sitar is not the duty of the Absolute. Selfishness and spirituality are two separate things. The attempt to serve oneself is the antithesis of spirituality. Self interest means discriminating between sin and piety. Mahaprabhu married for the second time, and accepted Sri Visnupriya-devi. However, pondering how He would establish spiritual discrimination amongst His own followers, He renounced the world in order to teach the common people through His ideal example. This pastime of His intense search for Krsna is the ideal example to be followed by us.
Saksat and smrti – there is a difference between these two things. In the state of svarupa-siddhi, remembrance of Krsna (smrti) gives rise to the state of visualization (saksat-kara); the plane of vastu-siddhi gives rise to direct darsana of and service to Krsna.
Rajen Babu: What is the difference between svarupa-siddhi and vastu-siddhi?
Prabhupada: We must destroy the mind – it must be eliminated. The mind is the king amongst all the senses. The senses supply the mind with knowledge of the external world. Through such knowledge supplied by the senses, the mind sometimes engages in gross enjoyment and sometime in subtle enjoyment. The human soul has made the mind its agent to deal with the world of enjoyment. When this mind becomes engrossed in its own principles, then various anarthas arise. If one wants to attain real pleasure by removing displeasure, then the mind is to be destroyed. There is danger when the mind acts independently – chastising the mind is the first statement found in all the sastras. However, there is no way of chastising the mind except by serving the lotus feet of Hrsikesa.
By following the path of yoga and performing yama etc. an opposite result will ensue. Sriman Mahaprabhu explains how the mind ascends to the lotus feet of Sri Krsna –
anyera hṛdaya – mana, mora mana – vṛndāvana,
‘mane’ ‘vane’ eka kari’ jāni
tāhāṅ tomāra pada-dvaya, karāha yadi udaya,
tabe tomāra pūrṇa kṛpā māni
"For most people, the mind and heart are one, but because My mind is never separated from Vrndavana, I consider My mind and Vrndavana to be one. My mind is already Vrndavana, and since You like Vrndavana, will You please place Your lotus feet there? I would deem that Your full mercy." (Cc. Madhya. 13.137)
The shelter of Caitanyadeva's mind is Vrndavana, the place of Krsna's pastimes; it remains perpetually engaged in the mood of serving Krsna in five bhavas ((1) vibhava – that which is the cause of tasting rati (2) anubhava – bodily transformations which illustrate the emotions of the mind (3) sattvika-bhava – ecstatic symtoms which arise from suddha-sattva-or in other words, when the mind is overwhelmed with emotion in relationship to Krsna (4) vyabhicari-bhava – disturbing emotions originating from and serving to enlarge the sthayi-bhava (5) sthayi-bhava – that bhava or permanent condition of the heart which dominates the favorable and unfavorable emotions.)
When the mind ceases to serve Krsna, it remains settled in the material world on the plane of shanta-dharma etc. The nirupadhika (detached) mind is Vrndavana, and the sopadhika (attached) mind is the material world. Mahaprabhu was given the name Sri Krsna Caitanya because He distributes Krsna consciousness and makes people aware of Krsna. Anyone who has taken full shelter of Sri Krsna Caitanya should know that they have no other duty except for constantly cultivating Krsna consciousness and performing smarana of krsna-lila. Of course, this does not refer to artificial lila-smarana.
Forgetting the lotus feet of Krsna results in complete inauspiciousness, whereas krsna-seva creates all good fortune and destroys all types of obstacles.
kṣiṇoty abhadrāṇi ca śaṁ tanoti
"For one who remembers the lotus feet of Krsna, all inauspiciousness soon disappears, and one's good fortune expands." (Bhag. 12:12:55)
When one attains the platform of svarupa-siddhi and one constantly fixes the mind on the lotus feet of Krsna, then when this subtle body (linga-deha) is completely destroyed along with gross or subtle impressions of material enjoyment and the gross body also expires, then direct visualization of one’s desired object is attained.
Rajen Babu: What is vastu-siddhi?
Prabhupada: To attain Krsna directly. After svarupa-siddhi is vastu-siddhi. If the mind can be eliminated while one is alive, then at the time of leaving this body, you can attain eternal service in the transcendental Vrndavana and will never take birth again. However, by the will of the Lord, divine personalities such as Kasara Muni, Bhuta-yogi, Mahad, Bhakti-sara, Sathari etc. descend from Vaikuntha in order to liberate the jivas.
During Sri Krsna’s earthly pastimes in Vrndavana, His eternal associates also descended with Him. That is a different thing. They have no material birth. There are two kinds of associates – the sadhana-siddha and the nitya-siddha. The nitya-siddhas descend by the desire of Krsna in order to liberate the world.
Rajen Babu: Isn't it possible to take diksa at the lotus feet of a sad-guru and perform shravana and kirtana while remaining at home?
vastv advitīyaṁ tan-niṣṭhaṁ
"The Absolute Truth is the ultimate reality, one without a second. This goal is exclusive devotional service unto that Supreme Truth." (Bhag. 12.13.12)
In the non-liberated world, sravana, kirtana and smarana are hampered – but this is not so in the liberated world. There, after attaining svarupa-siddhi, sravana etc. goes on without any kind of obstruction.
Therefore, while staying in this world of entanglement, apart from hearing from Sri Guru – who is a resident of the liberated world – and remaining close to his lotus feet and happily rendering service to him, any other place is infested with materialistic association where one has no hope for nourishment. Who will make us hear? How will we develop the proper qualification for kirtana? All these things must be taken into consideration.
Rajen Babu: Can one meditate upon service to Sri Gurudeva from afar?
Prabhupada: Meditation is not like that. Meditation etc. is not possible if even for a moment the thought arises to live far away from the lotus feet of our guru.Such a tendency is common nowadays. While following the customs of Vaisnavism such as asat-sanga-tyaga, there arises a cheating propensity amongst weak-hearted people to superficially perform service to Sri Guru (which lacks genuine and sincere effort) and to externally seek the association of saintly people. In fact, without the practice of hearing and chanting in association of sadhus, no one can ever advance in bhajana with such a superficial tendency.
ataḥ śrī-kṛṣṇa-nāmādi na bhaved grāhyam indriyaiḥ
sevonmukhe hi jihvādau svayam eva sphuraty adaḥ
"The mundane senses cannot conceive of Krsna's holy name, form, qualities and pastimes. When one renders service by using his tongue to chant the Lord's holy name then the Lord reveals Himself." (Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu 1.2.234)
These words of Sri Rupapada deserve special consideration.
Rajen Babu: Can we not listen to another Vaisnava?
Prabhupada: He should be respected if he is actually a disciple of a real guru. One may listen to those who have heard from a genuine spiritual preceptor. But wherever it is found that there is a conflict in opinion between him and my guru, then to see him as a ‘Vaisnava’ is a sure path leading to hell.
mannathah sri jagannathah mad-guruh sri jagad-guruh
"My Lord is Sri Jagannatha and my guru is the universal teacher."
It is not proper to associate with a person who has deviated even minutely from the suddha-bhakti-siddhanta preached by my Guru-Pada-Padma.The basis of hearing from him is that he himself has heard from Sri Nityananda Prabhu.
Rajen Babu: Is the study of spiritual books or periodicals also considered to be sravana and kirtana?
Prabhupada: In attempting to understand a book with my own realizations, I will actually understand something different due to my perception being covered with anarthas. Sri Damodara-svarupa has said:
yāha, bhāgavata paḍa vaiṣṇavera sthāne
ekānta āśraya kara caitanya-caraṇe
caitanyera bhakta-gaṇera nitya kara 'saṅga'
tabeta jānibā siddhānta-samudra-taraṅga
"Go and study the Bhagavata from a Vaisnava. Totally surrender at the feet of a Vaisnava. Always associate with the devotees of Sri Caitanya. Only then will you understand the waves of the ocean of devotional conclusions." (Cc. Antya 5.131-132)
Rajen Babu: And if I study while under the shelter of the lotus feet of a guru?
Prabhupada: If one cannot hear topics directly at the lotus feet of the guru, then one can study various books etc.
Acharyatrika Prabhu (Kunja-vihari Vidyabhushana):
yāṅhāra darśane mukhe āise kṛṣṇa-nāma
tāṅhāre jāniha tumi`vaiṣṇava-pradhāna'
"One whose very presence induces others to chant the name of Krsna should be understood to be a first-class Vaisnava." (Cc. Madhya 16.74)
One must only perform sravana and kirtana while situated at the lotus feet of that person upon meeting whom, the name of Krsna instantly manifests on ones lips; and while one is in the presence of such a person, all other thoughts are removed and bad association can never influence us.
Prabhupada: Sravana is eternal.Sravana continues even after the attaining svarupa-siddhi. Once, Thakura Haridasa was performing solitary chanting of the holy name of Hari in a hut deep within the jungles of Benapol. At that time, in order to diminish the glories of Haridasa, an immoral woman was sent to that place by the conniving landowner Ramacandra Khan,and she entered the Thakura’s hut expressing her evil intentions. Then the Thakura told her, "I have taken hari-nama diksa. I will talk to you after that diksa is over."
In other words, the actual purpose of Haridasa was that this diksa will never end and I will not listen to what you have to say. On hearing hari-nama chanted from the holy mouth of the Thakura, the consciousness of that immoral woman changed.
prasiddhā vaiṣṇavī haila parama-mahāntī
baḍa baḍa vaiṣṇava tāṅra darśanete yānti
veśyā hañā muñi pāpa kariyāchoṅ apāra
kṛpā kari' kara mo-adhame nistāra
"In this way the prostitute became an advanced devotee. Great Vaisnavas would come for her darsana." (Cc. Antya 3.132)
When the Thakura left Benapol and went to Phuliya, he instructed the prostitute to remain in that hut and to perform hari-bhajana with intense renunciation.
One’s consciousness becomes purified through the process of sravana.Then we become like this:
sakhi, kevā śunāila śyāma-nāma
kānera bhitara diyā, marame paśila go
ākula karila mora prāṇa
"Who forced me to hear the name of Syama? It has entered into my ear and touched the very essence of my being, overwhelming my life airs!" (Candidasa)
Thakura Bhaktivinoda has sung:
ye-dina gṛhe, bhajana dekhi', gṛhete goloka bhāya
"That day that I see the worship of the Lord in my home, the abode of Goloka seems to manifest there." (Saranagati 3.6)
Rajen Babu: Can we fall down even after having taken diksa?
Prabhupada: Yes, if we become indolent.
Rajen Babu: After diksa, will I notice that the tendency to enjoy material pleasures has decreased?
Prabhupada: Of course.
divyaṁ jñānaṁ yato dadyāt - kuryāt pāpasya saṅkṣayam
tasmād dīkṣeti sā proktā - deśikais tattva-kovidaiḥ
"Great scholars who are expert in spiritual science call the process by which divine knowledge is given and sins are eliminated as diksa." (Hari-bhakti-vilasa 2.7)
This diksa never ends.There is also no end to the attacks of bad association. It is not simply a question of receiving the mantra in the ear:
viśrambheṇa guroḥ sevā
"One must serve the spiritual master with intimacy and affection and follow the path of the sadhus." (Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu 1.2.74)
One must follow the guru by the process of seriously inquiring about the nature of bhajana (bhajana-riti-prashnah), forsaking all types of sense-enjoyment in order to cultivate love for Krsna (sri krsna-pritaye bhogadi-tyagah) etc. If one shows a lack of sincerity in properly understanding this due to the pride of receiving diksa, then what possibility is there of removing anarthas? One must be in touch with the real thing.
dīkṣā-kāle bhakta kare ātma-samarpaṇa
sei-kāle kṛṣṇa tāre kare ātma-sama
"At the time of diksa when a devotee fully surrenders then Krsna accepts him as good as Himself." (Cc. Antya 4.192)
sei deha kare tāra cid-ānanda-maya
aprākṛta-dehe tāṅra caraṇa bhajaya
"When the devotee’s body is fully transformed into a spiritual substance, then with that spiritual body he worships the lotus feet of Krsna." (Cc. Antya 4.193)
After surrendering oneself at the lotus feet of Sri Guru, through the process of sravana etc, pure devotion arises within one’s pure consciousness. If after accepting this material, one continues to serve the spiritual master, then gradually the thirst for gratifying one's own senses reduces and the thirst for serving Krsna’s senses intensifies.
anatma-dharma – Those activities that are against the nature of the self.
atma-dharma – Activities that are the nature of the true self.
grha-vrata – A materialistic householder.
guru-bruva – A guru in name only.
gurutva – Literally means heavy, or in this case, strong or superior.
laghutva –Literally 'lightweight' or in this case, superficial.
mahanta-guru – The topmost spiritual master.
purna-bhava – Completely immersed in loving mellows for the Lord.
raga-marga – The path of spontaneous devotion.
raganuga – Those devotees that take shelter of the path of spontaneous devotion.
ragatmika – The eternal residents of Goloka whose devotion is saturated with deep attachment for the Lord.
rati – The stage of transcendental attachment.
saksat – Direct experience of the Lord.
santa-dharma – The path of neutrality.
smrti – Remembrance of the Lord and His pastimes.
svarupa-siddhi – The stage when bhava manifests; one becomes free from the influence of matter and one’s spiritual identity is revealed.
vastu-siddhi – The stage where the devotee actually enters the pastimes of the Lord.
yama – The various observances found in the process of yoga