An audio file and full transcript of this talk can be found here.
Devotee: You told us an example of Gaura Kiśor Dās Bābājī, about the pregnant woman and a woman who’s not really pregnant but just imitating.
Śrīla Śrīdhar Mahārāj: Imitation. Imitation is not realisation. We are to know it as a general thing that imitation, the outward imitation, is not proper realisation. One who takes the dress of a sannyāsī is not a real sannyāsī, but it is a mockery. That is rather offensive: to take a particular position without having realised it. If I take the dress of a king or a police officer I will be punished. If I take the dress of a police officer or anyone else to deceive the public I should be punished. In the spiritual world no such punishment is seen from this plane, but punishment asserts there on the higher plane. But now there are agents who make us careful about the imitationists: “Don’t mix with them. Try to understand what is the real symptom of a real thing. Don’t approach the sham, the adulterated goods. Don’t approach to purchase the adulterated things. All that glitters is not gold. Glittering is not the only qualification of gold, there’s something more.” Something like that. Do you follow?
Śrīla Śrīdhar Mahārāj: It is a general thing, but it is very difficult to understand the highly valued things. There is every possibility of there being imitation. Imitation comes in the market, why? To get more money. Highly valued things will have most, greater imitation; and the imitationists are more dangerous than the ordinary exploitationist.
You know of the Rāma Rāvaṇ Yuddha [battle between Lord Ramachandra and the demon Ravan]? Have any of you heard of Mahirāvaṇ? When Rāma was engaged in fighting with Rāvaṇ in Laṅkā, many of the heroes of the Rāvaṇ group had been killed, and then Rāvaṇ, disappointed, remembered that one of his sons was living underground in the lower world, a subterranean world. The son, Mahirāvaṇ, was informed of his father’s desire and he came to see Rāvaṇ and heard, “So many things have happened. Almost all the stalwarts are killed in the battle with Rāma.”
After hearing everything, Mahirāvaṇ also went to advise Rāvaṇ, “Why have you engaged yourself in this unfortunate battle? There is still time. You may be saved if you respectfully return Sītā Devī, His beloved wife, the only wife He has got. Generally the kings have got any number of wives, but He has got only one wife. How beloved She is to Him, and you have taken Her. It is very deplorable, father. You give Her back to Rāma and make a truce with Him.”
But Rāvaṇ was enraged, “What do you know? I have called you only to help me, not to instruct me.”
“Then of course, if you desire so, I am ready to sacrifice my life.” Mahirāvaṇ was a highly qualified magician and he planned to carry Rāma-Lakṣmaṇ to his subterranean palace.
Vibhiṣan, the brother who had sided with Rāmachandra, cautioned Rāma: “The most dangerous mystic hypnotist, magician, a son of Rāvaṇ, has come, and something inconceivable is going to happen. You, Hanumān, Sugriva, keep Rāma-Lakṣmaṇ in a very guarded position. I suppose he will try his best to steal Rāma-Lakṣmaṇ from our midst. I think his plan will be such, so guard Them in every way, especially in the night when They will sleep.”
Then with Hanumān they constructed a temporary room and Hanumān was guarding: he was on night guard always.
And Vibhiṣaṇ was surveying the whole battle position of the army and patrolling, and now and then coming: “Hanumān, are you ready? None have entered?”
“Yes. Some came to enter. One came in the form of Kauśalyā, Rāma’s mother: ‘I can’t see Rāmachandra. I can’t keep my life any more. Please show my affectionate son, Rāma.’ In this way I dismissed her: ‘No. Where has Kauśalyā been for so long, and only today you have come? I don’t believe in you.’ Then someone came as Rāmachandra’s father-in-law, Janaka; and in this, that, in so many forms.”
“Be very careful, even if your father comes don’t allow him to enter. Guard very strictly.” In this way Vibhiṣaṇ was warning, and patrolling the whole position.
Then, when so many had attempts failed, that Mahirāvaṇ had a new plan. He took the figure of Vibhiṣaṇ himself, and came, “Hanumān, are you looking very carefully? Very careful you should remain. If your father himself comes don’t allow him to enter.”
“But are They safe? Are you sure?”
“Yes, They are safe.”
“Let me go inside and see whether They are in safe order or not.”
Hanumān thought, “Vibhiṣaṇ is my guide. He told about this mischievous plan and he is the most interested person.” He allowed him to enter.
Then Vibhiṣaṇ again came in his patrol, “Hanumān, are you alert?”
“What is this? Just a minute ago you entered the room and told—”
“Oh, we are finished, Hanumān, finished!” They went: no Rāma-Lakṣmaṇ there. “The demon has taken away those sleeping masters of ours. What to do, Hanuman? But there is the door, there is a hole, and if you can go there, there is a subterranean town.” And Hanumān went, and there is a story how he killed that demon and took out Rāma-Lakṣmaṇ on his shoulders here.
That Vibhiṣaṇ’s imitation: we want to aspire after the highest thing, but if imitation is there, what loss can be effected on us, on our fortune. So we must be careful about the imitation. And Bābājī Mahārāj has warned in a plain way that śuddha-bhakti is very rare, it is not very cheap. What we have come after by our inconceivable great fortune, it is not so cheap. We must try to follow, to be acquainted with the steps: Bhūr, Bhuvar, Svar, Maha, Jana, Tapa, Satya, Virajā, Brahmaloka; then Vaikuṇṭha, Paravyoma, then Goloka, in this way. We must not omit the steps, and must try to know something about the nature of those steps. Then, when the sound is coming we can recognise, “Oh, it must have come from that plane: it is a vibration which can only be produced from that plane.” In this way we must acquaint ourselves. The Name, the mantram, it may be everywhere, even in a book you can find, but why the sound comes from a Guru? Who is living in that plane, the sound of that plane will come from them, and that will come within us and awaken us. Just as with homoeopathic globules, externally they are all one and the same, but, nāmākṣara bahiraya batu nāma kabhu naya (“The Name does not appear within the letters of the Name”—Prema-vivarta). The meaning must have such depth which when it will exert, it will take me to Goloka.
brahmāṇḍa brahmite kona bhāgyavān jīva,
guru-kṛṣṇa-prasāde pāya bhakti-latā-bīja
[“Wandering throughout the material universe, the very fortunate living entity who receives the grace of Guru and Kṛṣṇa receives the seed of the creeper of devotional service.”]
mālī hañā kare sei bīja āropaṇa,
śravaṇa-kīrttana-jale karaye sechana
[“When a person receives the seed of devotional service, he should take care of it by becoming a gardener and sowing the seed in his heart. If he waters the seed gradually by the process of śravaṇ and kīrtan, the seed will begin to sprout.”]
upajiyā bāḍe latā ‘brahmāṇḍa’ bhedi’ yāya
Bhūr, Bhuvar, Svar, Mahar, Janar, Tapar, Satyaloka, brahmāṇḍa.
virajā,’ ‘brahmaloka,’ bhedi’ ‘paravyoma’ pāya
Vaikuṇṭha Paravyom, Nārāyaṇ’s domain.
tabe yāya tad upari ‘goloka-vṛndāvana’,
‘kṛṣṇa-charaṇa’-kalpavṛkṣe kare ārohana
(Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta, Madhya-līlā, 19.151–4)
[“The creeper of devotion is born, and grows to pierce the wall of the universe. It crosses the Virajā River and the Brahman plane, and reaches to the Vaikuṇṭha plane. Then it grows further up to Goloka Vṛndāvan, finally reaching to embrace the wish-yielding tree of Kṛṣṇa’s Lotus Feet.”]
The creeper of devotion will grow and pierce through the different planes, atmosphere, and go direct to Kṛṣṇa-pāda-padma, Kṛṣṇa conception of Godhead, and there it will take its place and that will surround him. His holy feet, generally, at His feet means His own paraphernalia. And gradually Kṛṣṇa will locate him in a proper serving school and then give him engagement fully in His holy service. That is sambandha-jñāna.
Sambandha, abhidheya, prayojana: in three groups we are to understand the thing. Sambandha: place, purpose, position, all these things; and destination, prayojana; and abhidheya means the means to attain the goal. We are to understand under these three heads. Sambandha-jñāna, and prayojan, and abhidheya: under these three classifications we are to understand, we are to realise the nature of the whole thing which we aspire after.
Spoken by our Param Gurudev Srila B.R. Sridhar Deva-Goswami in Sri Nabadwip Dham, on 9 January 1982.