By His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj
Devotee: Guru Maharaj, how can we please you? What can we do that will be pleasing to you?
Srila Guru Maharaj: Krishna is for Himself, that is He exists for His own purpose, and we also exist for him. When you can adopt this line of life, for which I am also trying to use my energy wholesale, when you will join that concern, then I will be pleased.
What I am to do with this life, I like that others will also follow that. My life is only meant for Krishna, and naturally I would like that others will also follow this same route. That is only natural. “Sri Chaitanya manobhistam”, what is the desire of Sri Chaitanyadev, and accordingly, the desire of my Guru Maharaj, I want to work towards fulfilling that.
Under the direction of my Gurudev, I am following the path to Radha-Krishna consciousness, where we will enter the domain where Radharani is serving Her most beloved Lord Krishna. We consider this to be our highest goal, and anyday, anytime in this infinite time, we want to reach that goal, the highest ideal. It is our only aim in life, and we consider that everyone should accept it as their summum bonum.
What is the most faultless, purest conception of life? Exploitation is filthy, and renunciation is zero, therefore service, loving service is the highest zenith of purity. We want to prepare ourselves for that cause—the most intense loving service with no tinge of exploitation. Purity depends only on how much we can sacrifice our self for the highest object, and that is love proper. It is based on sacrifice, not on exploitation. Love proper stands on the plane of sacrifice. As much sacrifice, then that much we will have love, the basis of love must be sacrifice—the pure love. Die to live. Sacrifice does not end only in renunciation. That is only the negative side, but there is positive sacrifice. Sacrifice for the perfect cause, the absolute good. And that sacrifice is living, it does not just reach the zero and disappear, not that samadhi. No, it is the most intensified life, possessed of the highest degree of living energy. The standard of that sacrifice we cannot conceive of and we may never be able to reach that standard. Here we have some experience of heat but within the sun how much heat is there? It is inconceivable, and intolerable to us, but we cannot deny that it exists. The highest degree of heat is found in the sun and there are also substances that can stand that heat, but we can only tolerate the sun from some distance. So in the same way, we can only render service under the direction of the highest servitors. In Krishnaloka there is a special group of servitors in every rasa; dasya, sakhya, vatsalya, and madhura (servitude, friendship, parental and consorthood), and we are to reach that certain distance in relation to them where we will thrive most. We cannot stand if we venture to go nearer. So Radha-dasya is necessary, or Yashoda-dasya, Nanda-dasya, Sudhama-dasya, because their degree of serving sacrifice will be intolerable to us, due to our constitution. Only from behind them can we render our service. We can do our duty and that will be our acme. Our highest aspiration should be there, this has been recommended for us.
The first group is already there, and we can never take the place of them. Only from behind them, in the second or third line, we can do our best work, and our highest attainment will be from that position. From there we will be able to have some experience of the higher order, we will get some view how things are going on in the area of most intense heat.
One poet has written that if the fly falls into the pot of honey while trying to taste its sweetness, then he will die. Its wings will be covered with honey and it will drown there. But if, instead of honey the pot is filled with amrta then the fly won’t die, because it is amrta. Taking the sweetness of that amrta one will get eternal life.
So we cannot tolerate the “heat” but that heat is sweet heat. It will not burn us but we can’t stand, we can’t raise ourselves up to that degree. It is not within us. Just like we are limited as to what we can see. The most intense light is invisible to us, for example the X-ray. And sound, a very high sound will be inaudible to us, as will a very low sound. Only in the middle can we hear. The senses are like that, and the position of the soul is also like that, it has its range within which it thrives.
Visvanath Chakravarti has in a nutshell described what is our duty, that our object of adoration is the Lord Nandanandana, Krishna, the son of the King of Vraja, and His capital is Vrindavan. A sweet forest town. The Jamuna is there, Radha Kunda, the Govardhan Hill, and so many kadamba trees, lotus flowers—many wonderful things. A garden town, Vrindavan, that is His capital. And there we find a peculiar type of worship which has been designed by the damsels of Vrindavan, the Gopis. They have discovered a very peculiar, sweet type of service, worship of their Lord of Love. We have much charm for that. The type of worship and adoration designed by the Gopis, that is the most attractive.
How do we know that this is the truth? This may all be imagination. Where is your evidence, your witnesses, where is your guarantee that you may get that thing? Who can say that it is not purely imagination? The great scripture Srimad Bhagavatam, which is acknowledged as the very gist of all revealed scriptures, that holy book stands guarantee for us all. And what does it offer, that Bhagavatam? You are to aspire and strive so hard, but what will be your remuneration?
You will receive the fifth end of life, and that is Love Divine. You will be able to taste that nectar of Love Divine. That has been reserved for you. And where do you get that? Who has taught that? Who has given this information to you? Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, that great Lord, Chaitanyadev. He has come with all these fine things, these wonderful things and our greatest respect is for this advice, this direction of our life.
Devotee: Maharaj, can we all get there?
Srila Guru Maharaj: Yes, we can all have our birth in that land. All can be accommodated there, that is the nature of the infinite. But there is gradation according to our capacity. Santa, dasya, sakhya, vatsalya, madhura, in this way the hierarchy is there. There is the clerk, the officer, the confidential officer—gradation. The friendly circle, they will have to serve under Subala, Sudhama, Sridham, etc., their eternal leaders in that rasa. In the filial circle, Nanda, Yashoda and others are the permanent leaders, and we may serve under them. In madhura-rasa also there is the selected group. So we are to be located in some area of service. So many services are there; the garland service, the food service, the fanning service, and so on. So according to my inner taste I shall be grouped there in a particular section where I will get my duty. There I will get my best satisfaction, I will be fulfilled as much as may be contained within my heart. And sometimes, like hunger, I will feel separation and then there will be union. Separation will prepare us for relishing the food even more. In this way there are so many arrangements in that land. Heart’s transaction has its facility there. Bhakti comes from the heart. Heart holds a higher position than the brain. Ruchi (taste) is the sweetest thing there. No calculation is found in Vrindavan. In Vaikuntha of course, the position of brain is there to some degree. But in Vrindavan—reflex action, inspiration, love is the moving force.
In this article Srila Sridhar Maharaj beautifully illuminates this well known verse encapsulating Mahaprabhu’s conception,
aradhyo bhagavan vrajesa-tanayas tad-dhama vrndavanam
ramya kachid upasana vraja–vadhu-vargena ya kalpita
srimad-bhagavatam pramanam amalam prema pumartho mahan
sri-chaitanya-mahaprabhor matam idam tatradarah nah parah
(Srila Visvanath Chakravarti)
“‘Our worshippable Lord is the son of the King of Vraja, Krishna, whose abode is Vrndavan. The most pleasing worship is that performed by the wives of Vraja. Srimad Bhagavatam is the flawless authority, and divine love is the ultimate goal of human life.’ This is the conception of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and we adore it as supreme.”
This text was originally published in Counterpoint by Sriman Devashis Prabhu