Facing our shortcomings with hope and determination: words of love and wisdom from His Divine Grace.
We have attachment with this mundane world and with our body; it must be, because we are fallen souls. But we promised our Guru, “I must practise Krishna consciousness.” Taking diksa [initiation] means a promise, “I promise Gurudev, I promise Mahaprabhu: yes, any circumstance may come to me, but I will not leave your lotus feet.” And you have still not left: you are running, but only wake up from that illusion. You can see everything, and that is necessary. To always fall down somewhere is not good. Sometimes falling down is a possibility. And what loss is there? There is no loss. When a boy is running on the ground he will fall down on the ground. What loss does he have? He is not going underground; he will take help from the ground, and again he will run. This is the conception of Guru Maharaj, and not only Guru Maharaj: it is the conception of Srila Rupa Goswami Prabhu and Srila Sanatan Goswami Prabhu. They are the golden pillars of the sampradaya of Mahaprabhu.
My only shelter is your lotus feet. I may fall down, but will I sleep there?
Rupa Goswami Prabhu said,
bhūmau skhalita pādānāṁ bhūmir evāvalambanam
tvayi jātāparādhānāṁ tvam eva śaraṇaṁ prabho
“Oh Prabhu, you are my shelter. Tad api kila payodah stūyate chātakena. What shall I do? In the future, if I do not have your lotus feet I have no shelter. Then where shall I go? I cannot go to Brahmaloka [plane of non-differentiated spirit] and I cannot go to Svargaloka [plane of heavenly enjoyment]: my satisfaction is not there, my end is not there. My only shelter is your lotus feet. I may fall down, but will I sleep there? It is not possible. I am a living entity, a jiva-soul. I have willing, I have feeling, I have thinking. This is my property, and with that property I shall worship your lotus feet.”
What happened, happened. We don’t care.
Service to the Vaishnavas, and service to Guru is our only life’s goal. Then, what happened, happened. We don’t care. What have we seen? Many big, big rishis and big, big munis are sometimes falling down. But they are not completely attached with that environment. Vishvamitra Rsi also fell down. Sometimes willingly, sometimes unwillingly. Sometimes they willingly fall down. But our shelter is not there, our shelter is the lotus feet of Krishna. That is our only shelter.
You know everything, and that is the problem. That is why your heart is not satisfied with anything else. I have so much love for everybody, especially yourself. You know that love. When you come I feel it is my own atma, my own soul coming. That is how I see you.
It is not necessary to abuse anybody. We will only think, “My fortune gave me that type of environment and I fell down there. But I will not stay there forever.”
Everything belongs to my Gurus, and has been made by them, prepared by them. I can say that I am only mud, and they can make a Deity or make a dog.
I am the example. I am always telling to the devotees, I am the example. You know me. You see me, and what one Guru can do. I am looking at my Guru and I am surprised to see how it has come out. I am a very fallen soul, so how did my improvement come out this way, and not only in a very small way? When I consider that I get so much strength. That is why I sometimes say, defeat is not in my life. Victory is always with me, because Guru Maharaj is with me.
My body, my mind, my age, everything belongs to my Gurus, and has been made by them, prepared by them. I can say that I am only mud, and they can make a Deity or make a dog. They can make anything, but my position is like soft mud. I did not know anything when I joined with Guru Maharaj’s mission, but after that everybody gave respect, and why? Not for my qualification, but for my Guru Maharaj’s qualification. When everybody is giving me respect I am thinking, “Oh, it is Guru Maharaj’s respect, it is going to Guru Maharaj.”
Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur said,
guru-jana-śire punaḥ, śobhā pāya śata guṇa
When anybody gives some respect, when anybody comes for service to Krishna I am thinking it is because of Guru Maharaj’s quality. By his mercy it is possible. And I have seen Guru Maharaj’s form, and how merciful Guru is.
Srila Gurudev speaking in Govardhan, March 1991
This talk is continued in the post ‘The pillar of success’
virachaya mayi daṇḍaṁ dīna-bandho dayām vā
gatir iha na bhavattaḥ kāchid anyā mamāsti
nipatatu śata-koṭir nirbharaṁ vā navāmbhas
tad api kila-payodaḥ stūyate chātakena
(Srila Rupa Goswami)
“O Friend of the needy, whether You chastise me or reward me, in the whole wide world I have no other shelter but You. Whether the thunderbolt strikes or torrents of fresh waters shower down, the chātak bird (who drinks only the falling rainwater) perpetually goes on singing the glories of the raincloud.”
ohe prabhu dayāmaya, tomāra charaṇa-dvaya,
śruti-śiropari śobhā pāya guru-jana-śire punaḥ,
śobhā pāya śata guṇa, dekhi āmāra parāṇa juḍāya
“O merciful Lord! Seeing Your feet become more beautiful atop the heads of the scriptures and a hundred times more beautiful atop the head of my Guru soothes my heart.”