In The Midst Of World Events

These dark things are always around us in many forms which we can see to varying degrees every day, and I’ve directly experienced this in a more extreme way in my past; but I feel that by trying to connect to the loving center together, we can purify ourselves and help purify those around us in our short lives.

This is a letter written recently by Varun, a sincere newcomer to Krishna consciousness, in response to a message from someone expressing deep frustration over current world events. Continue reading “In The Midst Of World Events”

Avoiding Envy

by Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Deva-Goswami Maharaj. Speaking on 16 January 2006 from Sri Nabadwip Dham.

“For two or three days I have been thinking of how I can say this to the devotees: I am trying as possible, and they must also try as possible; but the cheṣṭā, the trying attitude, must be perfect, otherwise we will cheat our own selves.”

We cannot say that we are always expert and firm in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, but we are trying. That is the nature of the Vaiṣṇava. The Vaiṣṇava is always saying, “I want to be a servant of the servant of the servant.” It is necessary to be more and more conscious about this matter. For two or three days I have been thinking of how I can say this to the devotees: I am trying as possible, and they must also try as possible; but the cheṣṭā, the trying attitude, must be perfect, otherwise we will cheat our own selves. This is very exclusive, but important for everyone.

What is religion? This is the first thing. Religion has so many forms, because people have so many natures. Not only humans, but dogs, cows, elephants, lions, tigers, jackals—everyone has some nature, and the jīva-soul is living everywhere. But religion is one for everyone. That is very important to consider.

We cannot get the human body easily.

bahūnāṁ janmanām ante jñānavān māṁ prapadyate
vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti sa mahātmā sudurlabhaḥ
(Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā: 7.19)

Bahūnāṁ janmanām ante: so many births have passed before, and then by sukṛti, by good fortune, by the mercy of the servitors of the Lord, the Vaiṣṇavas, by the mercy of Guru—through so many channels the merciful rain has come to us, and we have got this human body.

There are 400,000 species of humans; but Mahāprabhu said,

bhārata-bhūmite haila manuṣya-janma yāra
janma sārthaka kari’ kara para-upakāra
(Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta: Ādi-līlā, 9.41)

[“One who has taken his birth as a human being in the land of India should make his life successful and work for the benefit of all other people.]

Everywhere in this world there are many species of humans, but that is not sufficient: who has taken birth in Bhārat [India], where the earth is fertile for religion, where the Veda, Vedānta, and Upaniṣads appeared, where āmnāya—the knowledge that descends from the transcendental world through some particular qualified soul—appears, and where God, Lord Kṛṣṇa Himself, appeared in different incarnations; who receives the manuṣya-janma, the human body, here, has more fortune. Mahāprabhu clearly told this to us.

We see that in India there are so many religious ideals: māyāvad, viśiṣṭādvaitavād, Vaiṣṇavism, Madhvāchārya, and so on—so many. Jungle religion, village religion, and city religion take different forms in India, but the pure religious ideal is given in the Vedas, Vedānta, and Upaniṣads, and in a historical form in the Mahābhārata. There is an expression: yā nei Mahābhārate tā nei Bhārate, yata āchhe Mahābhārate sakala-i āchhe Bhārate. “What is not in Mahābhārata, that is not in India, and what is in Mahābhārata, that is all in India.” Then, we can believe that religion is full-fledged in Mahābhārata.

Who has given that to us? We have got some consciousness about different ideals of dharma, religion, but the giver is Vedavyās. Through Vedavyās we have got the knowledge of the Veda, Vedānta, Upaniṣad, and so on. Finally, however, Vedavyās was not happy, because Vedavyās knew, “What I am giving is not palatable for everyone; it is the medicine for sick men, medicine for poor persons, but not medicine for healthy persons.” He did not know how to give this, and for that reason he was very unhappy. “I have given everything. I have given Mahābhārata: inside of that is Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā, and we can say that the gist of Mahābhārata and the gist of knowledge is within Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā. That has also been given.” But it was not given in a full-fledged way. In the battlefield you cannot say how the gopīs played with Kṛṣṇa! He indicated that as it was possible, but he knew it was not sufficient. He was thinking about this and then through telepathy his Gurudev Nārad Goswāmī came in front of him and asked,

“How are you?”

Vedavyās said, “Well, Prabhu, I am just thinking about your lotus feet, because I am not happy. I am not well. Physically I have no disease, but mentally I am unsatisfied.”

And Nārad Goswāmī said, “I understand that. For that reason I have come to see you, to give some nourishment to you.”

“What, Prabhu, you know my situation?”

“Yes, I know!”

jugupsitaṁ dharma-kṛte ’nuśāsataḥ
svabhāva-raktasya mahān vyatikramaḥ
yad-vākyato dharma itītaraḥ sthito
na manyate tasya nivāraṇaṁ janaḥ
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 1.5.15)

[The people in general are naturally inclined to enjoy, and you have encouraged them in that way in the name of religion. This is verily condemned and is quite unreasonable. Because they are guided under your instructions, they will accept such activities in the name of religion and will hardly care for prohibitions.]

“What can I say to you? You have given everything, but it has not properly manifested, and it will not enter into the heart of everyone, because they do not even know where they are living! You need to settle them; they need to stand in their own land, and then you can give them everything else. They have no land, they are refugees here; you have given them some food, some dress, etc. but they have not got proper accommodation.

You have given,

naiṣkarmyam apy achyuta-bhāva-varjitaṁ
na śobhate jñānam alaṁ nirañjanam
kutaḥ punaḥ śaśvad abhadram īśvare
na chārpitaṁ karma yad apy akāraṇam
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 1.5.12)

[Knowledge of self-realisation, even though free from all material affinity, does not look well if devoid of a conception of the Infallible [God]. What, then, is the use of fruitive activities, which are naturally painful from the very beginning and transient by nature, if they are not utilised for the devotional service of the Lord?]

When he received these special teachings from Nārada Goswāmī, Vyāsadev meditated; Nārada had also told him, “I am giving this mantram, this knowledge to you, and if you meditate on it, it will reveal itself to you.” Then Vyāsadev meditated and he saw,

bhakti-yogena manasi samyak praṇihite ’male
apaśyat puruṣaṁ pūrṇaṁ māyāṁ cha tad-apāśrayām
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 1.7.4)

[Thus he fixed his mind, perfectly engaging it by linking it in devotional service [bhakti-yoga] without any tinge of materialism, and thus he saw the Absolute Personality of Godhead along with His external energy, which was under full control.]

Vyāsadev saw the position of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, His paraphernalia, His devotees, His chit-śakti, His jīva-śakti, His māyā-śakti—everything. Then by the grace of his Gurudev Nārada Goswāmī, he composed the Śrīmad Bhāgavat. ‘Composed’ means that he explained what knowledge he received from Nārada Goswāmī. Then he wanted to distribute that knowledge to others, but he considered: previously he gave so much knowledge to everyone, and now he wanted to give something new, some correction, so who, better than him, could present this knowledge? Then he remembered Śukadev. Only that boy, strī-pum-bhidā na tu sutasya vivikta-dṛṣṭeḥ [“who is so pure that he does not distinguish between male and female bodies” SB: 1.4.5], only that boy can give it. Then he searched for his own boy, Śukadev.

Śukadev had forgotten everything. Pariniṣṭhito ‘pi nairguṇye: he was always existing on the platform of transcendental knowledge. But Vedavyās searched for him and gave him that knowledge, and Śukadev Goswāmī distributed that knowledge in Parīkṣit Mahārāj’s assembly; then Sūta Goswāmī spoke that at the meeting of 60,000 ṛṣis. Vedavyās then composed the full history of Kṛṣṇa-līlā, of that divine abode, and so many beautiful things. Vyāsadev collected everything and gave it to Śukadev; Śukadev gave everything; and then Vyāsadev composed everything and gave it to us, in the divine form of Śrīmad Bhāgavat.

Vyāsadev mentioned that Śrīmad Bhāgavat is the divine form of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead: padau yadiyau prathama dvitīyau (“The first and second cantos are His two feet.” —Padma-purāṇa), and so on.

kṛṣṇe sva-dhāmopagate dharma-jñānādibhiḥ saha
kalau naṣṭa dṛśām eṣa purāṇārko ’dhunoditaḥ
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 1.3.43)

[“After Lord Kṛṣṇa departed for His abode along with religious principles and transcendental knowledge, this Purāṇa, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, has arisen like the sun in this Age of Kali to enlighten those who have no spiritual vision.”]

These are all historical matters, which you know already. What I want to say, what I have been thinking about how to present to you all for two or three days—and it is necessary to follow what I shall say now, that will be so important and so good for my friends—that is, dharma, what I started with: what kind of dharma are we practising?

dharmaḥ projjhita-kaitavo ‘tra paramo nirmatsarāṇāṁ satāṁ
(SB: 1.1.2)

[Here, the highest dharma, in which cheating is utterly rejected, is given for the sadhus who are free from envy.] 

That religion: we are the practitioners of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, that divine form of religion. That is dharma. Projjhita-kaitavo: we have been given so many explanations from our preceptors, but the main thing we must avoid is kaitava, cheating. And, paramo nirmatsarāṇāṁ satāṁ: we must not be envious. This is the vital point. Paramo nirmatsar: be that kind of sādhu, that kind of practitioner. Envy is very bad.

We are searching for our spiritual life, which is clean from jñāna-karmādy anāvṛtam [the coverings of jñāna and karma]. Ānukūlyena Kṛṣṇānuśīlanaṁ bhaktir uttamā [“The highest type of devotion is cultivated according to Kṛṣṇa’s satisfaction.” Brs: 1.1.11]. We want to worship our Lord with love and affection. With love and affection: this is the very vital point, because otherwise we cannot be engaged fully, and that is necessary. This is the first thing. And the second thing is: do not be envious. It is harmful for our spiritual movement, our spiritual life. It is very harmful and you must avoid that.

You are all very qualified and very clean-hearted personalities, born in the Western world, because you do not know what is what but you have joined by your sukṛti. Your good fortune is behind you, pushing you, and you have joined in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Kṛṣṇa consciousness can reveal everywhere and you have all had this opportunity. But the obstacle is envy, so do not be envious of others, and always be affectionate and loving. Have a ‘loveful’ heart. Mahāprabhu said everyone should be merciful. Jīve doyā, Nāme ruchi, Vaiṣṇava-seva: serve the Vaiṣṇavas, chant the Holy Name of Lord Kṛṣṇa with love and affection, and be merciful to everyone. In this way proceed in the line of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. That is the real religion of the jīva-soul.

Vedavyās said it! Projjhita-kaitavo ’tra paramo nirmatsarāṇām. This gives us the opportunity to receive more and more promotion from this environment. We can very easily cross the specific gravity of the illusory environment. Everywhere there is some specific gravity and we can avoid that specific gravity and that illusion.

Dh dhātu man dharma: dharma can hold us and give us firmness. Holding is necessary for any substance. Our position must be substantial, and that will develop if we can practise Kṛṣṇa consciousness with love and affection. Submission is the first condition and that is the launching pad from where we will throw ourselves. That launching pad must be substantial.

‘śraddhā’-śabde — viśvāsa kahe sudṛḍha niścaya
kṛṣṇe bhakti kaile sarva-karma kṛta haya
(Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta: Madhya-līlā, 22.62)

[Sraddha means confident, firm faith that all activity is fulfilled through devotion to Krishna.]

This is necessary.

When I hear that other institutions are getting some joy in the line of preaching Kṛṣṇa consciousness, I feel a joyful heart, and through that I think I have got some more nourishment from this world. Otherwise how is it possible that our Mission is spreading around this world, especially to some of the atheistic countries, like Russia, like Hungary, like China, like Poland?

My days are passing and I see and feel that I will leave very soon. All my friends and family and the devotees of Śrīla Guru Mahārāj are proceeding, but I want them to be very serious about their practising life. Within this religion that they have taken, Mahāprabhu’s three directives are living and they must follow these. There is no other way!

tṛṇād api su-nīchena taror iva sahiṣṇunā
amāninā māna-dena kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ

[“The Lord’s Name is to be always chanted by one who is more humble than a blade of grass, tolerant like a tree, free from desire for respect, and who offers respect to others.”]

Hari-kīrtan is most essential. It is not necessary for us to capture a Ganges full of scriptures in our brain. At present Mahāprabhu has given us Hari-nām.

nāmaikaṁ yasya vāchi smaraṇa-patha-gataṁ śrotra-mūlaṁ gataṁ vā
śuddhaṁ vāśuddha-varṇaṁ vyavahita-rahitaṁ tārayaty eva satyam

 [If a devotee once utters the Holy Name of the Lord, or if it penetrates his mind or enters his ear, which is the channel of aural reception, that Holy Name will certainly deliver him from material bondage, whether vibrated properly or improperly, with correct or incorrect grammar, or properly joined or vibrated in separate parts.]

If we proceed with offence then the result will not come quickly, but if we will proceed in our line without offence we will get the result very quickly. Rūpa Goswāmī Prabhu said this. Then we will try as much as possible.

Our religion is Bhāgavat-dharma, Vaiṣṇava-dharma, jaiva-dharma. That is our religion. There are eighty-four hundred thousand species in this world; we are one of those species and we have received a super-chance, because we have the lotus feet of Śrī Chaitanya Mahāprabhu, who is the nondifferent form of Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. At least we heard the name of Śrī Chaitanyadev!

We have this opportunity, and you are present here in Nabadwīp Dhām, so you must try to observe the mood of devotion of Śrī Chaitanya Mahāprabhu, His teachings, His divine mission, and activity.

Mahāprabhu said,

pṛthivīte āchhe yata nagarādi-grāma
sarvatra prachāra haibe mora nāma
(Śrī Chaitanya-bhāgavat: 4.126)

[“My name will be spread in every town and village in the world.”]

Now that is happening: everywhere, in every country, people are chanting and dancing. When I see the list of our ashrams worldwide I am surprised. You are all so fortunate and great, because Kṛṣṇa Himself has entered into your heart, and He will not leave you. You also cannot leave Him, whatever situation will come in your life. But you must be merciful to everyone and continue your spiritual life.

Yes, "Every wave is favourable"—with properly adjusted vision.

I received this question in response to an article of Srila Gurudev’s posted awhile ago:

In regards to your recent post of Srila Gurudeva’s beautiful words of encouragement. Please could you explain to me this: here he says:

“Whatever is considered good and whatever is considered bad in this mundane world—everything is bad here. Maybe that is affection, or maybe that is enviousness. Maybe that is apparently good or bad, but everything is bad.”

Then, my question is: in other places we are hearing, that ‘Everything is good’ and that ‘every wave is favorable’… how shall we explain or harmonize these two?

I thought I would post my response here for the clarification of any others who may have had the same question:

In response to the points that you brought up:

Here Srila Gurudev is referring to everything coming from the wave of the material energy—not how we will perceive and respond to it.

Srila Gurudev quotes this famous verse of Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta (3.4.176),

‘dvaite’ bhadrābhadra-jñāna, saba — ‘manodharma’
‘ei bhāla, ei manda’, — ei saba ‘bhrama’

“In the material world, conceptions of good and bad are all mental speculations. Therefore, saying ‘This is good’ and ‘This is bad’ is all a mistake.”

And similarly in Srimad Bhagavad-gita it is repeatedly pointed out that everything pertaining to the material energy should be seen with equal vision because it is all standing on a false platform; it is all within the plane of mundane duality:

sukha-duḥkhe same kṛtvā lābhālābhau jayājayau
tato yuddhāya yujyasva naivaṁ pāpam avāpsyasi

“Considering pleasure and pain, gain and loss, and victory and defeat to be one and the same—fight. No sin will be incurred by you.”

vidyā-vinaya-sampanne brāhmaṇe gavi hastini
śuni chaiva śvapāke cha paṇḍitāḥ sama-darśinaḥ

“The humble sages, by virtue of true knowledge, see with equal vision a learned and gentle brāhmaṇa, a cow, an elephant, a dog and a dog-eater.”

From a devotional perspective, everything coming from the material wave, whatever the material energy has to offer to us, whether superficially good or bad (wealth, poverty, beauty, ugliness, fame, obscurity, etc) is of temporary value and will ultimately take us away from Krishna so it should all be seen as unfavourable.

Everything coming from the spiritual wave, on the other hand, is positive and to be embraced, because however it may manifest, whether apparently favourable or unfavourable, it is coming from the plane of truth and can thus adjust us to Reality the Beautiful.

As Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur sings in Atma-nivedana,

tomāra sevāya, duḥkha haya yata,
seo ta’ parama sukha
sevā-sukha-duḥkha, parama sampada,
nāśaye avidyā-duḥkha

“All the distress I encounter in Your service is also my greatest happiness. Both the distress and the happiness that come from engagement in Your service are my greatest fortune; they both destroy the distress of ignorance.”

As we’ve heard from Srila Sridhar Maharaj, Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur in his final days was fond of the expression “Religion is proper adjustment.” So, yes, “every wave is favourable”—with properly adjusted vision. It is all about in what interest what we see and experience is being considered. For example, say you receive a million dollar job offer from a big corporation. You could make a lot of money, but in order to do so you would have to give up all association, service, preaching, etc. Therefore through the lens of spiritual vision you may reject the proposal as being unfavourable to your devotional life. Or on a more base level, say somebody offers you a hamburger, or drugs, etc. A relative or an old friend who loves us dearly may want to sit and discuss many topics with us which are no longer of any interest to us. On a more subtle level, in our day-to-day service life we have to constantly discriminate and make decisions as to what is favourable and unfavourable.

Pratikulya vivarjanah, “Rejection of the unfavourable” is actually one of the six limbs of surrender so it is quite a crucial part of our devotional life. This whole process however is not contradictory to the concept that “every wave is favourable”. Srila Sridhar Maharaj defines progress as “elimination and new acceptance”. Through the devotional lens, in the interest of a higher truth, to reject something which otherwise may be considered favourable, actually clarifies and strengthens our own faith and conception. To assert, “No, I reject this as unfavourable to my spiritual life” is actually a supremely positive moment because it is an embrace of higher truth, it is an embrace of Guru and Gauranga and all they are trying to give us.

This idea that “every wave is favourable” is not something to be applied in a passive way. This is a dangerous way in which this concept can be applied. It is not that everything should be accepted at face value in a passive way. Rather everything must be seen in terms of the higher interest and at times in order to assert the higher interest we may need to resist the mayic flow. Perceiving the environment in terms of the higher interest may entail a fight at times. Someone is coming to attack or insult Guru and Vaishnava and I will sit passively because “every wave is favourable”? That response brings us to the Brahman conception. No, I must assert myself in their interest and protect them. I will see this as a service opportunity and in that way “every wave is favourable.”

So the tricky part is knowing when to respond to situations in a passive or active way. And there’s no ‘one size fits all’ here, we will have to consider on a case by case basis, also factoring in individual capacity and responsibility.

I hope this is somewhat helpful. I’m also reminded of this short article I wrote a couple years ago, which is somewhat related.


—Vishakha dasi.

Systematic approach

Srila B.R. Sridhar Deva-Goswami Maharaj discusses the importance of developing a clear and systematic understanding of the nature of reality and the path chalked out by our Gurus.

Download mp3 audio
In a scrutinising way we are to find the differences between the layers of knowledge. They are, Bhū, Bhuvah, Maha, Jana, Tapa, Satya, Virajā, Brahmaloka, Vaikuṇṭha, Goloka. These are the layers of different position and different planes of charm. Ultimately we are charmed by something and become a slave to that. Everything has got its own specific charm, and we are to compare and to dismiss and accept, eliminate and accept. We are to understand what is the peculiarity of Bhūloka, and then what is Bhuvaloka, Mahaloka, Janaloka, Tapaloka, and Satyaloka within the jurisdiction of exploitation. Gradually exploitation is being lessened, decreased. In Satyaloka there is a slight attraction for pleasure, for exploitation. There is the least exploitation in Satyaloka. There is more concern for the eternal position of the soul, independent of material acquisition and enjoyment. They do not like the enjoyment of these material things; they are more self-sufficient. They are ātmārāma: they find more pleasure in the perception of their own self. Ramanti means the fixed pleasure, and where? In their own soul. More or less they can find the nature of their own soul, and they are satisfied with that. They are ātmārāma, self-satisfied. That is found in Satyaloka mostly. They can realise the position of their own soul, so they have no material body. No exploitation is necessary to preserve this material body, and they are charmed by the beauty of their own soul and more or less engaged there. Ātmārāma: who is finding pleasure in their own self, their eternal self. Then:
ātmārāmāś cha munayo nirgranthā apy urukrame
kurvanty ahaitukī bhaktim ittham-bhūta guo hari
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 1.7.10)
[“Those who are self-satisfied and unattracted by external material desires are also attracted to the loving service of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, whose qualities are transcendental and whose activities are wonderful. Hari, the Personality of Godhead, is called Kṛṣṇa because He has such transcendentally attractive features.”]
Those that are self-satisfied, that are found in the last extremity of this exploiting world, who are not dependent on the exploitation of this material world, they have got some charm over their plane, and they find Hari there. Hari is such that can attract the attention of those that are self-satisfied. Ātmārāma is a conception of liberation, liberation from the exploiting tendency of the environment. If they feel attraction for some other thing, then that thing must be superior to the human self; otherwise how is it that the attention of those that are self-content can be drawn to something else? That must be finer. So it is a proof that Hari is not this side of the world, but on the higher side. They feel causeless attraction for Hari. Then the ecstasy which we can get in association with Hari must be of a higher degree than what we find in our own self.
prāyea munayo rājan nivttā vidhi-edhata
nairguya-sthā ramante sma guānukathane hare
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 2.1.7)
[“O King Parīkṣit, mainly the topmost transcendentalists, who are above the regulative principles and restrictions, take pleasure in describing the glories of the Lord.”]
These are the proofs that Hari is not this side, within the natural production, as the Śaṅkarites, māyāvādīs say. It is nirguṇa, it is beyond this world. They do not care for satya, raja, tama [the modes of goodness, passion, and ignorance]. They are posing as such, and still they find satisfaction in the discourse about Hari. So Hari must be on the higher side.
tasyāravinda-nayanasya padāravinda
sva-vivarea chakāra teā
kobham akara-juām api chitta-tanvo
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 3.15.43)
The scent of the tulasī which has contact with the holy feet of Nārāyaṇ disturbed these peoples who are ātmārāma, the chatuḥsan [four kumāras], who are self-sufficient, self-satisfied. Their attention is attracted by the sweet scent of the tulasī which has got contact with the holy feet of Nārāyaṇ. That snatched away their attention, so that must have some superior position. In this way it is proved within reason that Vaikunṭḥa is over Brahma, and not this side  of Brahma, as the Śaṅkarites, māyāvādīs, argue.
Śukadev also says:
pariniṣṭhito ’pi nairguya uttama-śloka-līlayā
ghīta-chetā rājare ākhyāna yad adhītavān
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 2.1.9)
“Oh Mahārāj Parīkṣit, you all know that I am well established in nirguṇ Brahma. My position has proved that I am beyond the charm of this mundane world. Cent per cent I have no charm for any material temptation, and still I have some special charm to hear about the līlā of Kṛṣṇa, Vṛndāvan. My attention was forcibly snatched towards that, so that must be on the other side, on the higher side of this world. That is not among the pleasing attractions of this mundane world. This is the sweetness, the elegance, of that Kṛṣṇa-līlā: it is aprākṛta [appearing humanlike, yet divine], it is adhokṣaja, transcendental. This is the proof: that those that have got no charm, the least charm for this mundane pleasure, are reverentially attracted towards those similar things that are very high on the other side of the Brahma, Parabrahma world, and not this mundane world.
Hallucination is dangerous: it may draw our attention to any side and every side. These are the sound calculations towards the transcendental līlā of Kṛṣṇa and we must strictly stick to this sort of judiciousness and judgement. Otherwise we may be misled, misguided. Who is Christ, who is Mohammad, who is Śaṅkara, who is Rāmānuja, and who is Chaitanya? What is their position and what are their subtle differences? We are to measure by these standards of subtle knowledge.
With great scrupulousness and discrimination we are to follow and examine all these specialties of these different layers or planes of existence. Otherwise, puzzled and perplexed, we shall accept anything and everything  in the name of anything and everything, We must make a strong, systematic, study, and the differences between the different layers of thought must be very accurately understood, improved, and followed. Otherwise we are in danger. At any moment anyone may say, “Oh I have finished all these things, it is all nothing! What Charvak says, that is well and good.” This reaction may come.
Generally, we must try to understand the nature of three planes: the plane of exploitation, the plane of renunciation, and the plane of dedication. Then we are to calculate. If you understand the proper evaluation of these planes in general, then in fine points you can also try to calculate how much renunciation, how much exploitation, how much dedication is mixed with it, and then make an evaluation. We must be well versed in the intrinsic knowledge of these three planes first, and then understand the gradation, and how the development is possible, in a mathematical way. Then we cannot be removed from our present fixed position. Otherwise, if we are uncertain, anyone may try to convince us and we will fall prey to their whimsical representation. No stability: today I am a Chaitanyite, the other day I am a Śaṅkarite, the other day I am a Buddhist, another day a Muslim, and another day I am an atheist.

Unity in diversity

Śrīla B.S. Govinda Mahārāj speaks on the need for harmonious dealings between different groups and missions within Krishna consciousness.
Śrīla Jājāvar Mahārāj and Śrīla Guru Mahārāj had completely separate moods, but in one way they are the same. That is that both are practising Kṛṣṇa consciousness, both are good devotees of Kṛṣṇa, and both are very sincere. I am seeing this from the middle point, not as Guru Mahārāj’s disciple. As a disciple of Guru Mahārāj, I must see my Guru as supreme, but I am not telling this in that way. This is through realisation. Sometimes both would fight heavily—I do not want to tell about that type of fighting—but that reaction did not come to me, and this is what I want to establish in my friends’ heart.
Śrīla Guru Maharaj would debate with his godbrothers in a very high way. He would debate with Swami Maharaj in Kolkata, on some days up to two o’clock. And in Nabadwip, Jājāvar Mahārāj would come for discussion with Guru Mahārāj and stay for one month or two months in Chaitanya Sāraswat Maṭh, only for discussion in the matter of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Śrīla Guru Mahārāj is an ocean of transcendental knowledge and Guru Mahārāj’s godbrothers knew that if they came to Guru Mahārāj, they would be satisfied. Until they reached satisfaction, they would debate with Guru Mahārāj, and heavily debate. The effect of that could come to us in a negative way, but it did not; that effect always came to us in a positive way. It is the mercy of Jājāvar Mahārāj and the mercy of Guru Mahārāj. You see my application of their names: first I gave the name of Jājāvar Mahārāj, and then I gave the name of Guru Mahārāj. Do you understand? This is the proper application.
Why has this mood come to us? It has come to us by the mercy of Śrīla Guru Mahārāj. I am always giving my obeisance to Jājāvar Mahārāj, and always giving my obeisance to Śrīla Guru Mahārāj. They are showing different moods, but from those different moods, we are not getting any negative feeling. How shall I give this mood to my friends and brothers? I am always thinking about that. This is the only thing that can save us. Otherwise nothing can save us. I heard many things from Jājāvar Mahārāj, and I heard many things from Guru Mahārāj also. When they would debate they were fighting, but we did not lose our śraddhā, our faith, to Guru and Vaiṣṇava. We did not think that Jājāvar Mahārāj is bad and Guru Mahārāj is good. We would never think that, although they would take completely different lines. Sometimes one would take what could be considered a nastik, atheistic, line, and another would take a theistic line.
The godbrothers of Guru Mahārāj were all great paṇḍits and highly qualified, and they all came often to see Guru Mahārāj. We can name that Vaikhānas Mahārāj: he was a great paṇḍit and highly qualified. When they came, they would debate with Guru Mahārāj, and questions and answers were always going on, sometimes for the whole day. They would eat, rest, and then again go to Guru Mahārāj for questions and answers. Their discussion would go on in a challenging way, not an asking way: they wanted to know from Guru Maharaj. Some of them were senior to Guru Maharaj, but they would ask Guru Mahārāj. They needed some conclusion of the fact. They would debate scriptural matters and many things with Guru Mahārāj. But I did not lose faith with them: I have full regard for Goswāmī Mahārāj, full regard for Mādhav Mahārāj, and full regard for Vaikhānas Mahārāj. There were many qualified Mahārājs there, and they all looked at me as their boy. They were not thinking, “He is a disciple of Śrīdhar Mahārāj, he is a disciple of another.” When they came, they also brought some disciples with them. Somebody brought two disciples, somebody brought four disciples; but we did not feel at that time that, “I am one group, he is another group.” When Jājāvar Mahārāj’s disciples came we behaved with each other like twin brothers. We had very nice feelings between us. When any godbrother died, Guru Mahārāj was crying, and not only outwardly crying, but heavily crying. He would become sick. Guru Mahārāj had that type of affection for his godbrothers. When we heard that Jājāvar Maharaj’s disciple Bhaṭṭa Kṛṣṇa died, Goswāmī Mahārāj’s disciple died, and the disciples of other Mahārājs, then we would also cry for them.
Why can we not establish this type of relationship now? I do not understand. Actually, I know where there is a gap, but I cannot fill up that gap. I am trying to fill that gap. I went to the West, and I told this conception in another way. This morning someone said that I did not come with party feelings; I came to the West to establish our Gurus’ conception, and that is the supreme conception. I did not come for taking sides. I am not a campaign-man, and we have that feeling from our birth.
When I joined, the next day Kṛṣṇadās Bābājī came to see Guru Mahārāj, and Guru Mahārāj asked Kṛṣṇadās Bābājī, “See this boy. This boy told this, this, this, this, this, and you know about that. You examine this boy.” What good feelings! Kṛṣṇadās Bābājī examined me in many ways in song. At that time I had told that I know Vaiṣṇava songs, and Kṛṣṇadās Bābājī knew many songs, more than Guru Mahārāj.
He examined me in many ways, and he told, “Yes Mahārāj, he knows something.” They were happily talking.
When Guru Mahārāj heavily told something to Kṛṣṇadās Bābājī Mahārāj I was very sad, and I gave objection to Guru Mahārāj: “Why did you tell this?” I had a very close relationship with Guru Mahārāj and I could say anything to Guru Mahārāj. That was our relationship. I asked, “Why did you tell this to Bābājī Mahārāj? He is always helpful for our Mission, always affectionate with you, is keeping high regard in his heart for you, but you behaved like an ordinary man, and it is giving me pain.”
That was when Guru Mahārāj sent him out from the Maṭh; and Guru Mahārāj’s answer was very high thinking. Guru Mahārāj said, “I cannot make offence to my Guru. Prabhupād Sāraswatī Ṭhākur did not want that any of his disciples will go to hear sahajiyā kīrtan, and he is going to do that. He may be my best friend, but not more than Prabhupād.” This was Guru Mahārāj’s answer. “Prabhupād Saraswatī Ṭhākur did not like it, and he is my best friend. Why is he doing it? I told him many times, but he is not listening. Then, it is very difficult, very difficult to tell him, but I must tell, otherwise I will make offence to my Guru.” Guru Mahārāj was also crying, his heart was crying, but he could not ignore his Guru. We have got that type of feeling for Vaiṣṇavas, for Gurus, for godbrothers.
I received a letter this morning from a disciple of Śrīla Swāmī Mahārāj, and he stated many times in the letter, “Your Guru Mahārāj and my Guru Mahārāj, your Guru Mahārāj and my Guru Mahārāj, your Guru Mahārāj and my Guru Mahārāj”. We are not habituated with this conception, and we are not speaking in that way. This is making differentiation, “Your Guru Mahārāj and my Guru Mahārāj.” This is not a good conception, but they are habituated with that conception, and that is the difficulty. It is necessary to remove this conception. We are all in one family. That conception should come first.
My father, my uncle, my grandfather, my uncle’s son, and my nephew—we are all in one family. Why will we quarrel? This is the first thing. The second thing is that if anybody is going a different way, we will try to keep them in our sampradāya with a harmonising mood. That will be good for our society. We are very few in this world: there are three hundred crores of people [one crore is ten million], but how many are we in Kṛṣṇa consciousness? Very few. There is no percentage, maybe zero point zero, zero, five (0.005%),  and if we quarrel, then how can we try to spread Kṛṣṇa consciousness?
Some persons took initiation from me in Guadalajara, and the Iskcon guru came immediately and talked with me and was happy with me. He said to me, “Mahārāj, those persons took initiation from you, but they are serving in our Iskcon Mandir. Now they are your disciples. Then what is your desire? They will serve Iskcon or not?” He directly asked me.
And I told him, “Why will they not serve Iskcon?  I cannot understand. They are doing service in Iskcon and I think it is very good. They can serve. But you also must be sober with them, and don’t abuse Guru–Vaiṣṇava in any way to them, and they will happily serve you.” This is the real conception.
Many of the sannyāsīs came to see Guru Mahārāj, and with those sannyāsīs many of the devotees also came, but we never abused their gurus and we never thought that they were outside of our society. We are thinking we are in one family: he is my uncle’s son, he is my brother, he is my cousin. Our friends are going in this mood, and sometimes the disciples of other Mahārājs are coming to our Maṭh to see me. Parvat Mahārāj, Goswāmī Mahārāj, Mādhav Mahārāj, Jājāvar Mahārāj: their disciples are coming to see me sometimes, and if you see our mood, you will be surprised. You cannot understand that he is not a disciple of Guru Mahārāj, and that I am not a disciple of his Guru. Our relationship is going in this way, and with this feeling, we are happy with our family.
I am always thinking, thinking, thinking of this, and every day this is my headache. Many letters come from the West, and all the letters are not very sweet. Some letters are a little bitter, some letters are a little sour. Many things are in those letters. The man who wrote this morning was inspired when I went to America. He was alone. Now he wants to come in our society and see my preaching mood. But his mood is always, “My Guru, your Guru, my Guru, your Guru.” It is first necessary to remove this. Guru is one. Our feelings will come that way and it is not necessary to take the name of his Guru, and it is not necessary to take the name of my Guru. We are all brothers.
The ‘Sonhood of Godhead’ is living in the middle. That is Mahāprabhu’s conception, the ‘Sonhood of Godhead’.  ‘Sonhood’ means that he has a father and a mother; he has uncles, sisters, nephews; he has friends, he has servants; he has many things. He is living in the centre and the family is around. That is the Sonhood of Godhead, and we are the servants of the servants of Godhead. That is Kṛṣṇa, Nanda-gopa-kumārāya: He is the son of Nanda Mahārāj, and we are worshipping Him. Then, it will be a very happy thing if we can make our relation with everyone harmonious and good.
This article has been prepared from an informal discourse given by Srila B.S. Govinda Maharaj in Kolkata, India, December 1992. The original recording is available here:
And a raw transcript as well as audio file is available here:

Problems & Solutions

If the living being is not guided by their belief in the inner world, or knowledge of dharma, they cannot follow the path of peaceful co-existence. This means that there is no possibility of peace in the negative world until the living being enters into connection with the positive world. When one is in connection with the positive world then one realises the insignificance of ‘small and great,’ ‘profit and loss,’ ‘happiness and distress,’ and ‘victory and defeat’ found within this negative world.

The following article was prepared from a lecture by Śrīla B.R. Śrīdhar Mahārāj in December of 1955 in Sri Nabadwip Dham, and published in Sri Gaudiya Darshan, Vol 01 1955-56, by Śrīla B.S. Govinda Mahārāj. 
The present honourable Prime Minister of India, Śrī Jawaharlal Nehru, has suggested ‘peaceful co-existence’ as an antidote to the principal problems faced by today’s extroverted state of world affairs. Everyone accepts that due to the overzealousness of warmongering nations there is a chance of complete annihilation of world peace. If the policy of ‘peaceful co-existence’ is followed to the point, then there will be no necessity of spending millions to finance defence machinery, armies nor will there be a need to invest millions in maintaining the department of defence to protect the country. Instead, if that money is utilised in developing other activities for the country then the nation will become prosperous and the ordinary citizens of the country will be able to live in peace. If the above policy attains more prominence then the necessity of a police force, which is kept for the welfare of the common people, will also reduce—this is a fact. Although it may seem impossible to the human intellect at present, it is a clue to peace and Indian politics.
Now it needs to be seen what is the origin of the aforementioned policy? It is easily discernable to an impartial acute observer—its origin lies in a belief in the world within us, in other words, a belief in the Supreme. If the living being is not guided by their belief in the inner world, or knowledge of dharma, they cannot follow the path of peaceful co-existence. This means that there is no possibility of peace in the negative world until the living being enters into connection with the positive world. When one is in connection with the positive world then one realises the insignificance of ‘small and great,’ ‘profit and loss,’ ‘happiness and distress,’ and ‘victory and defeat’ found within this negative world.
When one studies the history of spirituality, one finds that the mahātmās, who were expert in spiritual topics, instead of focusing on making permanent arrangements to stay in this mortal or external world, utilised their entire endeavour in obtaining ‘membership’ in the internal or eternal world. In such efforts they also achieved success. They only accepted whatever elements or products that were easily obtainable in this world for maintaining their lives. One has to bid goodbye today or some days later to this plane. If one makes permanent arrangement to stay in this temporary ‘hotel-like’ world, they will attain no permanent gain except for increasing the intensity of one’s misery. There are famous mahātmās in history who, in spite of obtaining a very long life spanning many yugas, considered it very negligible compared to eternity. Considering things in this way, they set an example by residing under a tree, absorbed in meditating on the eternal spiritual world. Even some mahātmās considered it a waste of time to collect clothes for the body and remained naked. This is the country of that great culture. Therefore it needs to be seen what are our problems and what are their respective solutions. Needless to say, the policy of ‘peaceful existence’ is only momentarily successful in alleviating the raging problems the world is facing, it is not a permanent solution. This is because the element that creates or forms our problems is the one that possesses the inclination to acquire knowledge and perform activity—namely the consciousness.
In reality, the necessity of food and clothing are not the prime problems. Countries that have sufficient food and clothing and immense wealth also cannot avoid problems. They do not have less problems and suffering. Presently America is the most prosperous country. But if we analyse America a little closer, you will find that those who are famous as the wealthiest amongst them, that are immersed in all sorts of worldly enjoyment, have the highest record of suicide amongst all the countries of the world.
Therefore it needs to be seen where the fault lies. It makes no sense for a person who is completely bereft of food to hope for food, or for one who is ultimately bereft of peace to hope for peace. Similarly, expecting solutions to problems from living entities who are always bogged down by problems is also futile. But the solutions to all problems have been given by the all-knowing Bhagavān Vedavyāsa through the medium of the sun-like purāṇa the Śrīmad Bhāgavata and the Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā which occupy the highest positions in saintly conclusions. Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā and Śrīmad Bhāgavata have manifested to provide solutions to the most serious problems ever faced.
From the words of Mahātmā Bhīṣma we come to know that the great warrior Arjuna had the power to defeat a whole army of eighteen akṣauhiṇīs (horse battalions) in a moment—yet in spite of his being so immensely powerful and being capable of creating such massive destruction, he was perplexed in solving the problems that he faced. At that time Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā appeared.
On the other hand, when we see the position of one who was worshipped as the undisputed sovereign controlling the destiny of all his subjects—when he understood that he had been given seven days notice that he would depart from this world then one can imagine the grave problem confronting him. You will see that his problem far surpasses all other problems commonly faced by us. At that time, that which manifest to give him proper guidance was the Śrīmad Bhāgavata—that which eradicates sorrow, illusion and fear (śoka-moha-bhayāpahā).
Śrīmad Bhāgavata or Bhagavad-gītā have not cultured any sectarian concept. In a universal manner they have given us solutions. Even if we are enamoured by all kinds of problems, they have given us the thing that can give us real peace. For this reason these two suns are shining brightly in all countries for all times in their full splendour.
Take the case of Śrīmad Bhāgavata—when Parīkṣit Mahārāj was deeply concerned about the dilemma he was in after hearing various opinions from great men and sages, at that moment, by divine providence, Śukadeva arrived. The enquiry of Parīkṣit is not that of any particular group or class of people—it is not even confined to the human species—it is relevant to all conscious living beings. At that final moment he only had one question—what activity within this very short phase of time can lead to attaining supreme auspiciousness and transcendental peace? In what way is it possible to obtain the greatest benefit?
Parīkṣit was affected by this problem—the giver of the solution was Śukadeva. One is in an extreme crisis and the other is the solution-giver at that extremely critical situation. On this point there are similar comparative narrations in the Śrīmad Bhāgavata which you can understand in more detail.
Hearing Parīkṣit’s question Śrī Śukadeva, who is self-satisfied and worshipped even by the denizens of Brahmaloka, became satisfied and replied, “O King, this question of yours is not only relevant to you—this question is relevant to the entire world and it is a most pertinent one.
śrotavyādīni rājendra nṛṇāṁ santi sahasraśaḥ
apaśyatām ātma-tattvaṁ gṛheṣu gṛha-medhinām
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 2.1.2)
“O king, those who are engrossed in materialistic household affairs and are blind to knowledge of the self, find thousands of subject matters to hear about within human society.”
In this world from animals, birds, insects (both flying and non-flying), to the different levels of human beings—all are busy trying to satisfy their own requirements. Eating, sleeping, sense gratification, etc. is their requirement, and this requirement is the root cause of all problems. Yet all of them are ignorant of self-realisation (anātmavit). This is because one who is self-realised (ātmavit) only has one program. Those who have not seen themselves—those who have not learnt to see their actual requirement—they will only accept those things that they consider to be necessities. But those who know themselves, who know their actual necessity, will accept your question as the real question or the only question. The program of those who are anātmavit will always be ‘booked’ for eternity. That is because they are gṛheṣu gṛha-medhinām (engrossed in materialistic household affairs).”
The only program of the ātmavit is to be delivered from the clutches of ignorance. A person who has submerged under water—his only program will be to try to save himself. Despite all kinds of external endeavours that are made to improve this world—all such attempts still remain confined to the realm of mortality.
ajñānenāvṛtaṁ jñānaṁ tena muhyanti jantavaḥ
(Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā: 5.15)
“The living entities are bewildered because their knowledge is covered by ignorance.”
Entrapped in illusion and suffering miserably, those who are anātmavit do not achieve any result other than running from one body to another. Their consciousness is fully covered by ignorance and by identifying themselves with the material body, they revolve eternally, subjugated by birth and death. No immediate relief can be obtained in spite of increasing one’s wealth, followers or equipping oneself with more weapons. House and home, wealth, close relatives and dear friends—none of these things are mine. Even my body does not belong to me. Identifying one’s body as ‘I’ or ‘mine’—this is an animalistic mentality. While I continue to think of these things as ‘I’ or ‘mine’ I will surely continue to face problems. Birth, death, old age, disease—yet at that time I will surely be tricked into transmigrating from one body to another. Thus, in this way, for all eternity, one will never be able to discover the path that will deliver one from these problems.
The Bhāgavata has said, “You have not even learnt how to look at these problems properly. The way to look at these problems is svapne yathā śiraś-chedaṁ (like the cutting off of one’s head in a dream). The man who is sleeping, shouts in his dream, “I have been caught by a tiger!” He only needs to be woken up to solve the problem that he is facing. If he is woken up he will see that everything is fine. He will see that the hope of relief that keeps him absorbed day and night in innumerable programs—those are actually no one’s problem. Śukadeva has said, tvaṁ tu rājan mariṣyeti paśu-buddhih—this means that death is ‘animal conception.’ You can’t die! You won’t die! So many types of problems are not yours. Back to God—become situated in the self!
muktir hitvānyathā rūpaṁ sva-rūpeṇa vyavasthitiḥ
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 2.10.6)
“Liberation is the permanent form of the living entity after they give up their gross and subtle bodies.”
Reject any material form! You are a member of the spiritual sky. That which you are thinking is nectar—that is actually poison. What you are thinking is happiness, is sorrow; those things that you consider to be ‘mine’ and ‘yours’ are nothing. It is all ignorance.
asato mā sad gamaya
tāmaso mā jyotir-gamaya
mṛtyor māmṛtaṁ gamaya
(Bṛhad-āraṇyaka-upaniṣad: 1.3.28)
“From falsity, lead me to truth; from darkness lead me to light; from death lead me to immortality.”
Leaving behind ignorance, advance towards light. Make your journey from matter to consciousness—you will be saved from unnecessary garbage—“to make the best of a bad bargain.”
All philosophers that are searching for the self, both in the eastern and western world, say the same thing. All of them say— ‘instead of chasing the hawk outside, first try to touch your own ears.’(1) In the Vedas and other scriptures, various reformatory measures are mentioned for ignorant souls that are mentally deranged to guide them to become truly ‘self-centred.’ When the uncultured souls are disciplined through all these injunctions that will raise them to the plane of the ātma, then they will be able to realise their true identity.
yato yato niśchalati manaś chañchalam asthiram
tatas tato niyamyaitad ātmany eva vaśam nayet
Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā: 6.26)
“The nature of the mind is flickering and unsteady. However, one should always endeavour to control the mind from its wanderings and bring it back under the control of the ātma.”
All endeavours progress from ‘shadow’ to ‘substance,’ from ‘phenomena’ to ‘reality.’ It is a one-way journey and this is considered to be real bhūta-śuddhi (purification of the self). Once bhūta-śuddhi happens then everything is solved. Although with pure knowledge one can overlook or ignore one’s connection to this world, again one faces a problem regarding that other (spiritual) world which we try to conceive of from here. Therefore I will speak a little on this topic and conclude my speech.
We find various Āchāryas teaching various ways of how to undergo the journey from the mundane to the spiritual. From our perspective, a constellation of stars may look as if they are all on a single plane in spite of actually being many light years away from each other—similarly there are vast differences amongst the spiritual contributions of various Āchāryas. And if we understand them properly then we will fully realise the unique contribution of Śrī Chaitanyadeva. I have found the solutions to all these topics very beautifully from the Rāmānanda-saṁvāda portion of Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta. Under proper guidance if you read the eighth chapter of the Charitāmṛta you will be able to clearly understand all these things.
Depending on different levels of perfection there are also different levels of endeavour required to achieve them. On the basis of their individual realisations and dedication, Āchāryas have shed light in different directions with the intention of bringing auspiciousness to the lives of all souls. But due to the influence of the wonderful effulgence of Śrī Chaitanyadeva’s supreme magnanimity, other lights have paled into insignificance. The primeval Supreme Lord is the cause of all causes, full of eternity, bliss and knowledge and is the possessor of all opulence, and in order to distribute Himself fully, He Himself glorifies the process of achieving the highest goal attainable by a sādhaka and executes that Himself in order to teach others by His own example. Then only, by His mercy, one can realise Him as the svabhajana-vibhajana-prayojanāvatarī-Bhagavān (the original Supreme Lord whose goal is to come and distribute His own worship and simultaneously taste His own intrinsic ecstasy). Then we can make our lives successful by chanting the praṇāma-mantra spoken by Śrī Rūpa:
namo mahā-vadānyāya kṛṣṇa-prema-pradāya te
kṛṣṇāya kṛṣṇa-chaitanya-nāmne gaura-tviṣe namaḥ

“O most munificent incarnation! You are Kṛṣṇa Himself appearing as Śrī Kṛṣṇa Chaitanya. You have assumed the golden colour and You are distributing love of Kṛṣṇa. We offer our respectful obeisances unto You.” (Cc: 2.19.53)
We can briefly find a summary of the most vital essence of the ambrosial teachings of Śrī Chaitanya in the Rāmānanda-saṁvād.
Mahāprabhu, during His ‘human-like’ Pastimes asked, paḍa śloka-sādhyera-nirṇaya—“With the help of evidence from proper authorities, explain the goal for which one should engage all their endeavours.” This question regarding the ultimate goal arises in the heart of the living being due to good fortune accumulated over several lifetimes. In the first sūtra of the Vedānta philosophy, athāto Brahma jijñāsā, the Āchāryas have presented that conclusion in an elaborate and clear way. Here Mahāprabhu desires to listen to the answers to these questions in a straightforward manner from Rāma Rāya. Why?
sa yat pramāṇaṁ kurute lokas tad anuvartate
(Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā: 3.21)
“Whatever standard a great man sets, the whole world will follow.”
It is not a question of merely repeating something, but to prove it through śāstric reasoning with the help of authorised evidence. In the process of answering Mahāprabhu’s questions, Rāmānanda continued to raise various important theories and in this way he gradually concluded by arriving at the highest stage of achievement.
Rāya kahe, “Sva-dharmachāraṇe Viṣṇu-bhakti haya”: What is one’s true duty (sva-dharma)? It is performing one’s activities according to varṇāśrama. What is the sadhya (the ultimate goal)? It is devotion to Viṣṇu. Who is Viṣṇu? Viśvaṁ vyāpnotīti (He that pervades the entire universe). The knower of the field of activity (kṣetra-jña), namely the soul within the body, and the very soul of the soul, is Viṣṇu. He is the ‘owner;’ the internal substance of the whole cosmos. Aṇor aṇīyān mahato mahīyān (‘He is the smallest of the smallest and the greatest of the greatest’—Kaṭha-upaniṣad: 1.2.20). His satisfaction is the ultimate goal. Here, Rāya Rāmānanda has taken the side of the moralists (nīti-vādīs) and said that the ultimate way to attain devotion to Viṣṇu is by following one’s dharma according to varṇa and āśrama. However, Mahāprabhu said that realising one’s relation with the Lord through the medium of varṇāśrama is restricted within the boundaries of the material world—eho bāhya, āge kaha āra (“This is external, speak more!”). In other words “Such a process is meant for those who are preoccupied with externals. It is a long process. Therefore speak about the ‘direct approach’.” Then—
prabhu kahe, — “eho bāhya, āge kaha āra”
rāya kahe, kṛṣṇe karmārpaṇa—sarva-sadhya-sara

“The Lord said, ‘This is external, speak more!” Rāmānanda said, “To offer the results of one’s actions to Kṛṣṇa is the essence of all perfection.'” (Cc: 2.8.59)
prabhu kahe, — “eho bāhya āge kaha āra”
rāya kahe, —”svadharma-tyāga, ei sādhya-sāra”
(Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta: 2.8.61)
“The Lord said, ‘This is external, speak more!” Rāmānanda said, “Giving up one’s occupational duties according to the system of varṇāśrama is the essence of all perfection.'”
prabhu kahe, — “eho bāhya āge kaha āra”
raya kahe, —”jñāna-miśra-bhakti—sādhya-sāra”
(Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta: 2.8.64)
“The Lord said, ‘This is external, speak more!” Rāya Rāmānanda said, “The essence of all perfection is devotion mixed with knowledge.’”
Karma-miśra bhakti (devotion mixed with fruitive work), naiṣkarma (activities free of karmic reaction) and jñāna-miśra-bhakti (devotion mixed with empirical knowledge)—these are not the ultimate goal nor are they the means to achieve it. Although there is delineation of progressive advanced stages, each of them has a mood of considering oneself knowledgeable or a certain consideration of measuring oneself. Each of them is tinged by māyā. But then—
rāya kahe, —”jñāna-śūnya-bhakti sādhya-sāra”
(Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta: 2.8.66)
“Rāya said that bhakti devoid of jñāna is the essence of spiritual practice.” Then Mahāprabhu said, eha haya—meaning that, “Now the real path is being taken.” Jñāna-śūnya-bhakti (devotion free of knowledge) is the starting point of true devotion. Even in the Bible we see that the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge is the cause of fall down. “I want to understand everything!”—this tendency must be rejected. This is because the very intelligence to estimate is faulty by nature. What to speak of knowing Him with our tiny brains, we cannot even fully measure a small atomic particle! For this reason the Bhāgavata has given the following point, jñāne prayāsam udapāsya namanta eva jīvanti—your capability to grasp reality is very insignificant and limited. There are personalities who know about your real benefit innumerable times more than yourself! You simply need to hatefully reject (udapāsya) your desire to be ‘all knowing’ and embrace the path of namanta eva jīvanti (dedicating your life serving the Lord). You will see—just like being in an elevator or a lift, you will be raised to a position in Vaikuṇṭha. Whatever was binding you will become your obedient follower. And moreover, san-mukharitāṁ bhavadīya vārtām—once you learn to give a submissive hearing to this, you will see that your journey through eighty-four million species will be terminated. And where should you apply your hearing? You should hear from the one who can properly guide you. There should be ‘guidance proper’. Only this will save you. Whatever condition you are situated in (sthāne sthitāḥ), from there itself you attend. You will see that everything will become clear. This is because only the words of the Bhāgavata emanating from the lips of a sādhu can save us. For the one who follows this, in spite of the Supreme Lord being impenetrable, difficult to attain, and of an unconquerable nature, ultimately they can conquer Him. Throughout the Bhāgavata there are phrases such as, bhaktyāham ekayā-grāhyaḥ (“I am attained only by devotion”). Under the shelter of sādhu-saṅga and jñāna-śūnyā-bhakti, even ordinary people can attain service to the Supreme Lord, whereas without it, even an intellectual giant cannot. For this reason Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇ, in his commentary on the Vedānta, has proven the importance of sādhu-saṅga by citing various evidences. The sādhu is the ‘living source’. Even if one has no good quality, due to the influence of association of a sādhu one becomes sarvair guṇais tatra samāsate (“all good qualities reside with him”). Due to the influence of sādhu-saṅga even a very abominable person can become an instrument of service to the Bhāgavata. Seeing with an attitude of worship or service is Vaikuṇṭha-darśana.
Many, like Miss Mayo (2), in spite of having preached about the filthiness of such worship, have actually never experienced even a slight trace of true worship. They will be thousands and thousands of miles away from the proper understanding of worship. One who is able to approach it with a true mood of worship has nothing to fear. Fear itself runs away upon seeing such a person. One who takes shelter of such a worshipful attitude completely destroys all filthy sentiments and misconceptions—that very auspicious intelligence is the only way to be delivered from the bewildered consciousness that we are in.
We find this teaching in the Bhāgavata verse vikrīḍitaṁ Vraja-vadhū. Your misconception, your malady, your ‘heart disease’ of lust will be cured completely if you can take shelter of a worshipful attitude. Did those who composed the Liṅga-purāṇa and other texts not have even a little common sense like you? Did they have less knowledge and intelligence than you? But still they wrote—still they wrote for our benefit—from the plane beyond lamentation, illusion, and quarrel. Why? Their sole intention was to release us from the fear of the ghost of this material world—to permanently bury our ideology of enjoyment, to frustrate our materialistic mentality. Lest persons see Bhagavat-tattva from a mundane perspective, Śukadeva Goswāmī, who already had knowledge of Brahman (brahma-jñāna) and was completely self-satisfied (ātmārāma), warned the great assembly of principal religious leaders like Atri, Vaśiṣṭha, Chyavan, Agastya etc. when he introduced himself—“You all know that I am well situated in the realisation of the nirguṇa plane, therefore you should remember—if my mind becomes enchanted by the narrations of someone’s character and I become so attracted that I forget everything, then those stories cannot be about an ordinary mundane person who is full of lust. I never speak about things pertaining to this world. I am presenting to you the summum bonum, and without taking shelter of His feet, no auspiciousness can be obtained.”
tapasvino dāna-parā yaśasvino
manasvino mantra-vidaḥ sumaṅgalāḥ
kṣemaṁ na vindanti vinā yad-arpaṇaṁ
tasmai subhadra-śravase namo namaḥ
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 2.4.17)
“I offer my repeated obeisances unto the Supreme Lord, who is all-auspicious. Without offering their actions unto Him, neither the performers of austerities, nor the great givers of charity, nor the mystics, nor those who are expert in Vedic mantras, nor those who are most virtuous can attain any result without dedication to Him.”
Saying this, he established the transcendental platform of his dialogue. Therefore those who see Kṛṣṇa or His Pastimes with mundane intelligence, are not only deceived, but they also commit a great offence, and as a result they never obtain darśana of Śrī Chaitanya and their own identity remains concealed from them.
Bhagavān is supramundane (turīya-vastu). Everything about Him is satyam, śivam, sundaram (comprising of reality, auspiciousness and beauty). In every way Śrī Chaitanyadeva has declared to the world that His worship is beautiful, and the method of that worship is also so beautiful that any person can achieve it by following the path shown by Śrī Chaitanya—
govindābhidam indirāśrita-padaṁ hastastha-ratnādivat
(Siddhānta-ratnam 4)
“He that is known as Govinda, whose feet Lakṣmī takes shelter of, becomes like a jewel in the hand of His devotees.”
The Lord becomes just like his play-doll. And that itself is the highest manifestation of the supremacy of the all-powerful independent Bhagavān (sarva-tantra svatantra Bhagavān). For this reason Kavirāj Goswāmī has said, Kṛṣṇera yateka khelā sarvottama nara-līlā (‘The most attractive play of Kṛṣṇa is His human-like Pastimes’—Cc: 2.21.101). This is the ‘fullest adjustment’ of the Lord’s form—sarvottama nara-līlā—where His devotees, who have taken shelter of Him, see His ‘all-accommodating’ form as atulaṁ Śyāmasundaram (the incomparable Śyāmasundara) and completely serve Him eternally in five rasas. This is the very zenith of achievement.
yaṁ labdhvā chāparaṁ lābhaṁ manyate nādhikaṁ tataḥ
(Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā: 6.22)
“Upon gaining this, one thinks there is no greater gain.”
Śrī Chaitanyachandra has made that thing which is very rare to achieve into something which is very easy to achieve. That is why He is the most munificent and magnanimous. For this reason Śrīla Prabhodhānanda Saraswatīpāda has exhorted and appealed very earnestly to the souls of this world to take shelter of Śrī Chaitanyachandra’s feet by saying:
dante nidhāya tṛṇakaṁ padayor nipatya
kṛtvā cha kāku-śatam etad ahaṁ bravīmi
he sādhavaḥ sakalam eva vihāya dūrāt
chaitanya-chandra-charaṇe kurutānurāgam
(Śrī Chaitanya-chandrāmṛta: 8.90)
“Taking a straw between my teeth I fall at your feet and beseech you again and again, ‘O noble men, whatever you know, please cast it far away and cultivate attachment for the lotus feet of Śrī Chaitanyachandra.’”
(1) This refers to a Bengali proverb which advises a foolish man to first touch his ears to be sure that they are still there before running after a hawk, whom he thinks has stolen his ears.
(2) Katherine Mayo (1867-1940) was an American historian and political writer. Mayo became notorious for her book Mother India in which she denounced Indian culture and religion. The book was condemned by many for its racist tone and in a review of the book, Mayo was criticised by Gandhi as having the mentality of a ‘drain-inspector’.
Original Bengali text: Samasya O Samadhan (Pages 196-198_230-232 in Vol01_1955-56)
Special thanks to Swami B.K. Tyagi and Krishnendrani Devi Dasi for their assistance in preparing this article.

Fools Rush In Where Angels Fear To Tread

by Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Deva-Goswami Maharaj
Question: In Śrī Brāhma-saṁhitā it is described that Śrī Śrī Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa are seated on a divine throne, and the whorl of the lotus flower upon which They are seated is described as a hexagonal figure. What is the meaning of this hexagonal figure and how can this be drawn?
Śrīla Guru Mahārāj: I am sorry, but we are not to enter into the discussion of such higher and subtle position of the līlā of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. That is not to be brought into public, and that is the distinction between the Gauḍīya Maṭh and the sahajiyā section. The sahajiyās are trying to imitate all these things, but we have no faith in imitation. The higher līlā will come in an individual case, and it will awaken in an irresistible way. When the program of the sādhana stage is finished it will come automatically, spontaneously. We are believers in that, and not to know the form already and then we will reach there—that is not the policy accepted by Guru Mahārāj, Prabhupād: pūjala rāga-patha gaurava-bhaṅge.
Śrīla Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur also said, “Stick to the rulings of the class you are fit for, then you will see automatically.”
yathā yathā gaura-padāravinde
vindeta bhaktiṁ kṛta-puṇya-rāśiḥ
tathā tathotsarpati hṛdy akasmād
(Śrī Chaitanya-chandrāmṛta: 88)
Strictly stick to Gaura-līlā, Mahāprabhu, and you will find automatically within your heart that Rādhā-rasa-sudhānidhi is flowing. Don’t attempt directly to have it. It will come automatically, spontaneously. Not intellectually you shall approach that, for that will give you a bad prejudice. Not only that, but it will be harmful prejudice and you will have to expend more energy to do away with that layer of misunderstanding. So our Śrīla Prabhupād did not allow these things.
Do your duty in your plane, according to what you deserve, and that will come naturally. That is his instruction all through, not only temporarily, but all through. Don’t go to be a disbeliever and be very eager to see the final result. Don’t do like that, for then you will get māyā instead of Yogamāyā.
He knows it fully well, She knows it fully well, when you are to be taken in to the confidential area, and that cannot be acquired by any other thing but His sweet will—the flow of Her sweet will, or His sweet will. Try to have the natural thing, not any thing of imitation or any reflection. Reflection and shadow, these two kinds of misconceptions may come there. Reflection is more dangerous.
In Harināma also it has been stated like that. Reflection and shadow, both are misguiding. And we are to cross that. On our way that sort of temptation may come, but we must not think that everything will come within the fist of our intellect.
achintyāḥ khalu ye bhāvā
na tāṁs tarkeṇa yojayet
(Mahābhārata: Bhīṣma-parva, 5.22)
That which is inconceivable, don’t take it under the jurisdiction of reason. When it will be extended to you, you will be astounded only to find a peep into that. Na tāṁs tarkeṇa yojayet: don’t try to drag that into the zone of reason. This is autocratic in its nature. It may come in one shape to you, it may go in another shape to another gentleman. It is so expansive and so free in its nature. It is infinite. Rather the Infinite is the base of those Pastimes. Always prepare yourself. Hanker. But don’t make it an object of your experience.
When Mahāprabhu talked about the higher līlās it was as if He was in a trance. As if in a trance He gave a description of His wonderful experience of Kṛṣṇa-līlā. Several times we find that sort of deep līlā, the higher līlā of Kṛṣṇa being related by Mahāprabhu Himself, the Govardhan-līlā and the Jalakeli-līlā when He jumped unconscious into the ocean and for a few hours was carried by the waves of the sea to Chakra-tīrtha from Swargadwār. The Jalakeli of Kṛṣṇa, He described how it is. Also at Chaṭak-parvat—there is no end to His līlā. When His body was transformed like a pumpkin, then also He described a līlā,  but the nature of that description was not any book-produced thing. It cannot be taken into black and white. It is such thing. So we receive caution often, that: “Don’t try. It will come automatically. Go on with the program that is given by the śāstra and the Guru and it will be. If you have such possibility of fortune then it will come to you. It is not a natural experience that can be given to this and that. It is not to be tackled in such way.”
yathā yathā gaura-padāravinde
Engage your full attention in Gaura-līlā and that will come automatically within you. From the indirect way it will come to you from the higher domain. When it will be pleased it will come down for some time to give you experience, and you will simply be astonished: “What is this!” Then even when gone, withdrawn, you will have nothing to lament. It is a living thing. Try to come to get the whole. We cannot make it our object. Such higher thing! Such higher thing.
Even it is very hard to get an ordinary man’s conduct with his intimate friends, and so it is with the līlā of the Supreme Lord. How can we dare to enter into that, and especially publicly? It is not possible. Externally we can try to give some description of the outer possibilities, but not the actual thing. We won’t venture to enter there.
Question: Can they draw something general, like a lotus flower?
Śrīla Guru Mahārāj: A lotus flower is representing the idea of beauty, softness, and such things. And different petals representing different platforms of rasa. In such a way we can take it—beauty, softness. No mundane ideas should be drawn there—only distant similarity. But categorical difference should always be there.
Even we are not allowed by our Master to read the books where They are described: Govinda-līlāmṛtam, even Stava-kusumāñjali, even Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi. He did not allow us to study and to discuss it. Rather, he would be very much disturbed, disturbed if he heard that someone is interfering with the higher līlās in those books. He did not like it.
Duṣṭa phala karibe arjjana—Śrīla Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur gives warning that you will get only a bad result if you venture to cross the line. A bad effect will come to you. Aparādha. From the lower position, anartha, the steps are shown. Śraddhā, sādhu-saṅga, śravaṇ, kīrtan, then anartha-nivṛtti—the undesirable things will vanish altogether. Then ruchi, then āsakti, then bhāva-bhakti—the sprout of real devotion. Then prema-bhakti, and sneha, mān, praṇaya, rāga, anurāga, bhāva, Mahābhāva. By such steps we are to approach there.
Once Prabhupād remarked, though how you will take it I do not know: one gentleman, of course he was a senior, wanted to discuss these things with Prabhupād. He laid much stress on that, and ultimately he left the association of Prabhupād and lived a secluded life. Previously he did much service to the Mission, that gentleman. Prabhupād remarked, “Oh, he has two lives. He is married with Kṛṣṇa and she has got a child.” Such a remark was there that he was a man, but taking himself as a gopī he wanted to culture about the life of the gopīs—the intimate connection of Kṛṣṇa and the gopīs. In this way he wanted to culture intensely, but Prabhupād remarked in that way: “Oh he has turned into a lady, a gopī, and after coming in contact with Kṛṣṇa she produced a child!”
Another time the Guru Mahārāj of Prabhupād—Gaura Kiśor Bābājī—was in a hut near the Ganges. Another disciple of Prabhupād, leaving Prabhupād went to imitate Prabhupād’s Gurudev, Gaura Kiśor Bābājī, and constructed a tiny hut nearby and imitated his bhajan, Harināma and the discussion of Narottam Ṭhākur—all these things—and observed strict vairāgyam in his physical life. Gaura Kiśor Bābājī remarked one day that only by entering a labour room and imitating some pain of giving birth to a child, a child will not come by that imitation of the sound. Many important previous events are necessary, then a child will come. Only imitation will not give birth to a child. Such was his remark to that gentleman.
So, śuddha-sattva, pure goodness, you must come in connection with what is known as śuddha-sattva first. Viśuddha-sattva, the nirguṇa world. Śuddha-sattva means nirguṇa. You must come in connection with nirguṇa, then only may you try to approach the subtle happenings or events there.
So, we are not to satisfy curiosity. ‘Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.’ With this spirit we must approach the whole thing. At the same time we may not be, by God’s grace, a disbeliever by considering, “I shall judge the whole thing to the last details, then I shall accept what you say.”
There are many things below, but the charm and reasonableness of the higher plane, that is enough to convince a person to come this side, and these high līlās should be left high above your head. Very cautiously we are to handle all this līlā, especially Madhura-līlā.
Just the other day I was thinking, about a year after joining the Mission, Prabhupād arranged for the full Kārtik month to preach in Vṛndāvan. He asked the Mahārāj, Bhāratī Mahārāj at that time, to explain the Seventh Canto of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: the story of Prahlād, not the story of Kṛṣṇa, Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, Yaśodā or anything of Vṛndāvan, but, “Preach śuddha-bhakti of Prahlād first. They are all ripe in sahajiyā. Just try to make them understand that ‘Enter into the plane of bhakti; what to speak of Kṛṣṇa-līlā—that is far, far above.’ ”
So, in Vṛndāvan the people rather wondered, “What is this? They are explaining Bhāgavatam, but leaving the Tenth Canto they are explaining the Seventh Canto, the Prahlād-līlā, the lower portion of bhakti. That is wonderful and strange.”
Again, I found later on that Śrīla Prabhupād himself gave a lecture between Rādhā-Kuṇḍa and Śyāma-Kuṇḍa. There is a boundary line between the two. There he used to explain for a few days.The Upadeśāmṛtam of Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmī was read by him and explained. He did not explain about Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, not about Kṛṣṇa, but about that Upadeśāmṛtam—the basis. His attention was always towards the basis, and the fruit will come of itself: “Pour water onto the root; pour water onto the root, and the fruit will come up itself.”
He himself explained this while sitting in the middle between Rādhā-Kuṇḍa and Śyāma-Kuṇḍa. He explained not only Bhāgavatam, but Upadeśāmṛtam. Upadeśāmṛtam is the substance of Mahāprabhu and the language of Rūpa Goswāmī.
vācho vegaṁ manasaḥ krodha-vegaṁ
jihvā-vegam udaropastha-vegam
etān vegān yo viṣaheta dhīraḥ
sarvām apīmāṁ pṛthivīṁ sa śiṣyāt

And the last śloka:
kṛṣṇasyochchaiḥ praṇaya-vasatiḥ preyasībhyo ’pi rādhā
kuṇḍaṁ chāsyā munibhir abhitas tādṛg eva vyadhāyi
yat preṣṭhair apy alam asulabhaṁ kiṁ punar bhakti-bhājāṁ
tat premedaṁ sakṛd api saraḥ snātur āviṣkaroti

These topics were explained by Śrīla Prabhupād and not even anything of Govinda-līlāmṛtam or Viśvanāth Chakravartī’s Śrī Kṛṣṇa-bhāvanāmṛta—these things were left. So, our training was in this line.
Pūjala rāga-patha gaurava-bhaṅge, that is always upon our head, that the prospect of our life’s future, life after life, cannot be finished. We shall rather foster the hope, the pure hope that we may be taken in one day in that camp. With this idea.
Question: Sometimes in Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta, Śrīla Kṛṣṇa Dās Kavirāj Goswāmī makes reference to Govinda-līlāmṛtam, Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi and other such confidential selected works. How are we to take that?
Śrīla Guru Mahārāj: There are three chapters of Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta that we were generally not allowed to enter into, including the discussions with Rāmānanda Rāy, to a certain extent. Where the līlā portion of Rādhā-Govinda is mentioned, we had no entrance into that līlā. Of course when pārāyaṇ (consecutive chanting of the whole book) is going on, we go on reading. But not to enter into details of discussion about that. At that part we went on reading but without giving any particular attention to the līlā of highest order of rāga. That was barred: “Don’t try to come into details there.That will come automatically when the time will be. Do not make it a discussion of the public. Don’t take it in the public eye.”
So much so that the following incident happened in Vṛndāvan. Prabhupād had a friend there from his childhood, an attorney, who came to see him, so Prabhupād went to give a return visit to this friend from his boyhood. Śrīpād Paramahaṁsa Mahārāj was with Prabhupād and they went to give the return visit. They were told, “He is upstairs.” They went there and saw that a Goswāmī was explaining the Rāsa-līlā section of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Prabhupād just bowed down his head and came away. Immediately he came away. Then his friend also came down, leaving that Rāsa-līlā discussion, and said, “Yes, the Rāsa-līlā explanation is going on, but you did not take your seat at all. You just bowed down your head and came down. What is the matter?”
Śrīla Prabhupād replied, “Our Gurus’ order is such that, ‘If you attend Rāsa-līlā explanation you will commit offence.’ That will be offence to attend Rāsa-līlā explanation, so I cannot stand there even for a second. I had to come back. This is my Guru’s order. To attend Rāsa-līlā explanation is aparādha.”
So, for us, such strict behaviour he has shown.And we also do that, especially myself. At so many other places they show the Rāsa-līlā with dolls, but I never do that. Following what is true to my understanding of my Gurudev’s will and his words, I do not make any show of Jhulana-līlā or Rāsa-līlā or anything of the type. I find in my heart that this is not desirable of my Guru Mahārāj.
But in so many maṭhs I see at present, I hear also, that they are doing that, but I strictly abstain from that sort of showing. The Jhulana-līlā, the Rāsa-līlā. That is too high for us, I considered. I must be true to my hearing of the words of my Gurudev if I want my realisation and not any position: the position of some sort of popularity. To attract people by such show, and to make money, or to make a favourable field for preaching, they may do like that, but I do not do. I do not want popularity nor any position of a higher Āchārya. I am a student.
Still I am a student. I consider myself to be a student. A faithful student. What I heard from my Gurudev, I try my best to stick there, to keep my position there as I heard from him. I do not want to mutilate that in any way to suit my purpose. I try not to do that. Of course for big propaganda they may take different ways as they think. They are now free. But I am not a member to do so—to go on in such way. I try.
When Prabhupād offered me to go to the West, I replied simply that I did not consider myself fit to go the West, “I will not be able to show success there.” I mentioned two defects. Then some of the sannyāsīs showed much reverence to me, “What is this? So many persons wish this opportunity. You are prepared to lose this chance? You neglect to take advantage of such a position, that you will be a world preacher. Do you have no hankering for that?”
I replied, “Yes, Mahārāj, I have no hankering to have such a position. My only humble ambition is that I may be reckoned as a sincere devotee of Mahāprabhu, Śrī Chaitanyadev.No other ambition I have in my mind such as to become a world preacher and so on.”
In my nature I am such. I want truth, and I hope and crave for the mercy of the Vaiṣṇavas and you all that I may not have that ambition, but to be the humblest, the most humble servant of the Lord, that I may not be misguided.
I may engage myself in the lower form of service. Tad dāsa-dāsa-dāsānāṁ dāsatvaṁ dehi me Prabho. My faith may be so firm and may be of such quality that the least offer of His service, of divine service, may satisfy me. I may not be ambitious to run high, to get the chance there in the higher officer class. With my lowest connection with the Divinity I may go on satisfied with my life.
Mahāprabhu says, “Just consider Myself a speck of dust at Your feet, Kṛṣṇa.”
ayi nanda-tanuja kiṅkaraṁ
patitaṁ māṁ viṣame bhavāmbudhau
kṛpayā tava pāda-paṅkaja
sthita-dhūlī-sadṛśaṁ vichintaya
(Śikṣāṣṭakam, verse 5)
“O Nandanandan, son of King Nanda, although I am Your eternal servitor, I have fallen into the terrible ocean of material existence due to the fructification of My own deeds (karma). Please graciously consider Me to be a particle of dust at Your lotus feet.”
That may be our guidance. “Consider me to be one of the specks of dust that are at Your feet.” That is too much! Our faith should come to such a grade in quality that we may be satisfied to become a speck of dust at His feet. Then by His sweet will, anything may happen. But our humble aim should be to have even the least connection of the Divinity real. Not a concocted Kṛṣṇa.
pūjala rāga-patha gaurava-bhaṅge
Very sweet. The rāga-patha is on the head. We are servants of the Rāga-patha. We are in vidhi-mārga, under śāstric rule. We must live and move under śāstric rule, and always keep the rāga-patha upon our head.
Once an incident happened while our Śrīla Prabhupād was at Rādhā Kuṇḍa. A pāṇḍā in his talk made a side remark that, “We are brāhmaṇas in Vraja. We can bless Raghunāth Dās Goswāmī.” Prabhupād was perturbed by such a haughty remark, “Dās Goswāmī is our highest Āchārya in our camp, in the Gauḍīya camp. And that fellow he says that he is able to bless Dās Goswāmī, and I am to hear that?” He stopped taking food, and remarked, “If I was an ordinary bābājī I would not care. I would leave the place. But I am running with a motorcar here as an Āchārya. I have the responsibility. I am moving here in the pose of an Āchārya that I shall protect the sampradāya. I shall brush the dusts of undesirability from the sampradāya. How can I tolerate such a remark against my Guru?”
He left his food: “Until any pratikār (any suitable objection and correction, cure) is given by me, I won’t take any food. I cannot take any food.”
I think I did something to give vent to the feeling of my Gurudev today! I did something today to clarify his position.
Pūjala rāga-patha gaurava-bhaṅge—this is enough. Tad dāsa-dāsa-dāsānāṁ dāsatvaṁ dehi me Prabho…. This is not a figurative thing, this is not mere poetry. Mahāprabhu says:
nāhaṁ vipro na cha nara-patir nāpi vaiśyo na śūdro
nāhaṁ varṇī na cha gṛha-patir no vana-stho yatir vā
kintu prodyan-nikhila-paramānanda-pūrṇāmṛtābdher
gopī-bharttuḥ pada-kamalayor dāsa-dāsānudāsaḥ

(Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta: Madhya-līlā, 13.80)
“I am not a priest, a king, a merchant, or a labourer (brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya, śūdra); nor am I a student, a householder, a retired householder, or a mendicant (brahmachārī, gṛhastha, vānaprastha, sannyāsī). I identify myself only as the servant of the servant of the servant of the lotus feet of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Lord of the gopīs, who is the personification of the fully expanded (eternally self- revealing) nectarean ocean that brims with the totality of Divine Ecstasy.”
This is not only an ornamental thing. It is reality. This is reality. To feel ourselves to be actually mean is really to become eligible for the higher service. So much selflessness, so much self-abnegation is necessary for a unit here of the lowest order to enter into that domain. So much self-abnegation is necessary, then we can come into that plane. There is a plane of undercurrent, an undercurrent plane, and if we really want to contact with that, we shall have to be such finest of the fine in us, and with no demand. In this negative way we are to transform ourselves, then we can have a touch of that plane where we can come.
The least tinge of exploiting, any speck of the ambitious life, will not take us there—that is another thing: pratiṣṭhā. Pratiṣṭhā is self-establishing, to be stable, to be immortal, to be invincible—it is not self-giving, but it is the self-establishing tendency: “I must stay. I must live.” But, if necessary, I must die for the interest of Kṛṣṇa.
mārobi rākhobi—jo ichchhā tohārā
nitya-dāsa prati tuwā adhikārā

“Slay me or protect me as You wish, for You are the master of Your eternal servant.”
A suicidal soldier! For the cause of the country, if necessary I must die. I must efface myself. I may be effaced. If it is necessary my very existence may be effaced for the satisfaction of Kṛṣṇa.
“My very existence may be effaced if it is necessary.” Such temperament, such selflessness of such degree is necessary to find out that plane. So much subtleness.
Let us be blessed by Prabhupād Śrīla Saraswatī Ṭhākur. All glory to Guru and Gaurāṅga. All glory to Guru and Gaurāṅga.
(To the devotees gathered there.) You are helping me to take out from my inner heart so many beautiful and so many valuable things. It is through your help that these old memories are coming again fresh to me. I am forced to take out those things of the inner nature of my previous life which I got from my Gurudev as wealth. Again I have the chance of seeing that treasury. I am given the opportunity by this recapitulation of what I heard from the divine feet of Gurudev.
This is our education, what I got from the divine feet of Gurudev. I just sincerely put it to you all. It is such.
pūjala rāga-patha gaurava-bhaṅge
He instructed that we must not go to live in Rādhā Kuṇḍa. One day near Lalitā Kuṇḍa, the Swānanda Sukhada Kuñja is there, and there is a single-storey building. He said, “A second storey is necessary, but I will not be able to live there.”
I asked, “If you will not live on the first floor, who will live there? What is the necessity of further construction?”
“No. You don’t know. Better persons will live there: Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur, Gaura Kiśor Bābājī Mahārāj. They will live there, and we shall stay on the ground floor and we shall serve them.”
Again he said, “I shall live in Govardhan. Rādhā Kuṇḍa is the highest place: the place of our Guru Mahārāj, our Gurudevas. They will live here in closer connection with līlā, but we are not fit to live there. We shall live in Govardhan, just a little far away. Because we shall have to come and serve our Gurudev, we must be near, but we must not live in closer connection with them. We are not fit.”
pūjala rāga-patha gaurava-bhaṅge
The whole tenor of his life was such: “That is high, high. And from below we are to honour that.” We are to establish in the whole world this sort of posing: the proper regard of that higher līlā: “That is too high.”
One day in Allahabad—perhaps it was that very year Śrīpād Swāmī Mahārāj was initiated—while speaking in a park Śrīla Saraswatī Prabhupād said, “I am out to give a challenge to fight with any person to show that the highest position is occupied by my Gurudev, by Śrīla Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur and by Mahāprabhu. Let anyone come to fight with me to decide. I am ready. I am ready to give that challenge to anyone and everyone. Let them come to fight with me. I am ready to establish the throne in the highest place—my Gurudev.”
pūjala rāga-patha gaurava-bhaṅge
Originally printed in Guardian of Devotion (Kolkata edition)

Serving in Separation

His Divine Grace speaking on the day before Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj’s appearance day in 1988, just a few months after his departure from this world.

Download mp3 audio
dhyāyech chhrī-guru-pāda-padma-nikaṭe sevotsukañ chātmanaḥ
I am ever-ready to carry out the order of Srila Guru Maharaj. This is my position. This is my dhyan, meditation. What meditation shall we do before worship? This type of meditation. My svarup, my form, is very nice: with a clean and pure heart I am always waiting beside Srila Gurudev for his order. This is my svarup.
vimalatāṁ nityaṁ vahantīṁ tanuṁ
dhyāyech chhrī-guru-pāda-padma-nikaṭe sevotsukañ chātmanaḥ

এইভাবেতে সেবা করার বিধি শাস্ত্র এইটা বলেছেন । [In this way the scriptures have stated the rule for engaging in service.] In this way we can worship the Deities or do anything ordered by our Sri Gurudev.

Tomorrow is a very auspicious day. We have come here from so far for worshipping our beloved Srila Guru Maharaj. It is necessary to make ourselves ready in this way: “I can do everything for my Gurudev; I am ever-ready to carry out whatever order he may give.” This mentality gives us our destiny.

এ রকম মনোভাবই আমাদেরকে ভগবানের সেবার দিকে টেনে নিয়ে যেতে পারে । নিজের ধ্যানটা ভূতশুদ্ধিটা সেইটি হচ্ছে গিয়ে সর্ব্বাগ্রে দারকার । এই ভূতশুদ্ধি করতে গেলে যে preparation-এর দারকার হয় সে preparation আমাদের গুরু মহারাজ পরম কৃপা করে প্রথম থেকে আমাদেরকে জানিয়ে দিয়েচ্ছেন । সেইটা কি ? সেইটা হচ্ছে গিয়ে first preparation হচ্ছে গিয়ে শরণাগতি: surrendering mood, not challenging mood । আমরা গুরু মহারাজকে সাক্ষাৎ ভাবেতে যেটা দেখি সেটা কিন্তু তাঁর শুদ্ধ স্বরূপ আমরা অনুভব করতে পারি মুখে বলে যতই বলে না কেন যে,

[This type of mentality can lead us to the Lord’s service. Self-meditation, self-purification (bhuta-suddhi), is first of all necessary. Our Guru Maharaj most mercifully taught us from the beginning the preparation that is necessary when we go to perform such self-purification. What is that? That first preparation is saranagati, the mood of surrender, and not the mood of challenge. What we see directly of our Guru Maharaj is him, but we cannot perceive his pure form, regardless of whatever we may say or not.]
sākṣād-dharitvena samasta-śāstrair
uktas tathā bhāvyata eva sadbhiḥ
kintu prabhor yaḥ priya eva tasya
vande guroḥ śrī-charaṇāravindam
Bhagavan Himself has come very mercifully in this world in the form of my Gurudev. If I can take this conception closely in my heart, then I must be satisfied and successful.
Tomorrow we want to worship our Guru Maharaj, but for that we must peform bhuta-suddhi (self-purification), and then we can properly worship our Guru Maharaj. How is it possible? By the grace of Guru Maharaj, we have got so many books, we have got so many instructions from our Guru Maharaj’s tapes, and we have the living source of Guru Maharaj, the devotees who are always engaged twenty-four hours a day worshipping according to Guru Maharaj’s order. We can have some association, and we can understand and properly worship our Guru Maharaj in this way.
Srila Guru Maharaj wants to offer us to his worshippable beloved Gurudev, and in that way everything goes to the service of Sri Sri Radha-Krishna. But if we cannot maintain saranagati properly, then we also cannot worship Sri Gurudev properly. In the Gaudiya sampradaya we can see the highest example of saranagati, the surrendering mood. Before Mahaprabhu, we can also find the proper saranagati mood in the Ramanuja sampradaya. We can see that saranagati is very exalted there, and our Guru Maharaj quoted many slokas of the Acharyas of the Ramanuja sampradaya, like Yamuna Acharya and Kulasekhar Acharya, in the Prapanna-jivanamrtam scripture. Srila Thakur Bhakti Vinod also included their expressions about saranagati in his songs.
In Srimad Bhagavad-gita (18.66), Bhagavan Sri Krishna has glorified saranagati and given us super hope with the verse,
sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja
[“Abandon all duties and surrender to Me.”]
And also,
yat karoṣi yad aśnāsi yaj juhoṣi dadāsi yat
yat tapasyasi kaunteya tat kuruṣva mad-arpaṇam
(Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā: 9.27)
[“Whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you sacrifice, whatever you give away, and whatever austerity you perform, do that as an offering to Me.”]
Saranagati is the highest thing in our life. Guru Maharaj always told us, “If you can surrender yourself properly, you must get the feelings and seva of your worshippable Deities. Then it is necessary to think today that we must make some preparation for worshipping our Guru Maharaj, and we can do that by being ready to carry out his order. The only thing that he wants is the spreading of Krishna consciousness all over the world. We can also attain our auspicious fortune if we try to fulfil his order and serve him through his paraphernalia present here in Nabadwip Dham, Koladwip. We must be the gainer.
When Guru Maharaj was present, the final result of all the service in the Math would come to me. The devotees would report something had happened, and Guru Maharaj would think, “Govinda Maharaj has done it.” When I would express that I had not done it, but it was done by Hari Charan Prabhu, or Krishna Saran Prabhu, or another devotee, Guru Maharaj would say, “Oh yes, yes, you have done it!”
In this way I was sometimes very fortunate, and sometimes I was very unhappy. Another devotee did so much, but the pratishtha, the fame, would come to me. At that time I could not understand that Guru Maharaj had one line, and he wanted everything to go through me: “If Govinda Maharaj said it is okay, then it is okay.” If any devotee wanted to start something, Guru Maharaj would tell them, “Ask Govinda Maharaj.”
In this way Srila Guru Maharaj gave me an opportunity to do some seva, but at that time I was not fully conscious because I felt that Guru Maharaj was doing everything and we were his instruments. Now a heavy duty has come to us; we cannot say anything wrong now. At that time everything we said was right; everything belongs to Krishna, and everything was going to Guru Maharaj, and he would manage everything. He was my caretaker and everyone’s caretaker.
We had no fear at that time, but now we must be very conscious about our position in our transcendental Krishna conscious practising life. This is necessary, and we think that it is for this reason that Guru Maharaj disappeared. If Guru Maharaj is always present in front of us, then we are always depending on Guru Maharaj. Now Guru Maharaj wants to hiddenly see our activities. This is the thinking that has come to me now. Guru Maharaj gave me some charge, and he wants to see what I am doing now, and what is my progress report. This is not only for myself, but it is for everybody. He wants to know what our progress report is. He is hiddenly waiting.
If we can see Guru Maharaj properly, then we can see that he is present everywhere, in the form of his devotees, in form of his disciples, in form of his paraphernalia, and also in the form of my disciples. In this way he is looking to see how my progress report is going. This is the feeling coming to us in the absence of Guru Maharaj, and I think that it is a very correct and good symptom.
Good symptoms must come to us. It is very hopeful. Guru Maharaj was always in Krishna consciousness and Krishna Himself came for our benefit in the form of Guru Maharaj, but his whole life he practised Krishna consciousness in order to teach us. Then, when we were not fully conscious, he disappeared, and he wants to see what we learned from him. He left many things for our practising of Krishna consciousness. One thing is enough for us, but he has done many things for our devotional life. It is necessary to go forward very consciously now.
Guru Maharaj is always with us. When I was feeling very great separation from Guru Maharaj, the news came that the London Math was in some trouble. The London Math was Guru Maharaj’s Math: he did not claim any Math, but his Guru Maharaj ordered him to preach in London, so when an opportunity came for a centre in London, he thought, “This is my place; something must be there in my name.” In this way he felt, “The London Math in my Math.” Then when some difficulty came there, my mind was diverted from feelings of separation to the London Math. I could understand that this was Guru Maharaj’s policy: when I was feeling the deepest separation, I could not do anything and was only thinking, “Guru Maharaj is not here, Guru Maharaj is not here!” At that time Guru Maharaj said, “Guru Maharaj is not here? Guru Maharaj is always with you all. You think for seva.” Then Guru Maharaj created that seva. If we have this vision, then we can see everything as the mercy of our Guru Maharaj.
Guru Maharaj has given so many engagements to us. We are trying to fulfil his desire in Chaitanya Saraswat Math, in the Kolkata Math, in the Hapaniya Math, in the Puri Math, and now he has given us another duty for his Union in Separation Temple, his Samadhi Mandir. In this way Guru Maharaj is trying to develop our faith, and our transcendental thinking and practising life. He wants it to grow, and it must grow in this way. We are so fortunate if we can see the mercy of our Guru Maharaj in this way.
We have puppy brains: our nature is that we begin practising Krishna consciousness very fast, and then immediately come back and go in another direction. This is the position of our minds. From that position Guru Maharaj wants to take us for his seva and for our destiny, and for that reason he has given us his separation; but through his paraphernalia, through his Deity, through his disciples, and through his godbrothers, we can always feel union with him. If we try to see properly, then we can see this by the grace of our Guru Maharaj.
vāñchha-kalpa-tarubhyaś cha kṛpā-sindhubhya eva cha
patitānāṁ pāvanebhyo vaiṣṇavebhyo namo namaḥ


Spoken on 31 October 1988.


divyaṁ śrī-hari-mandirāḍhya-tilakaṁ kaṇṭhaṁ sumālānvitaṁ
vakṣaḥ śrī-hari-nāma-varṇa-subhagaṁ śrī-khaṇḍa-liptaṁ punaḥ
pūtaṁ sūkṣma-navāmbaraṁ vimalatāṁ nityaṁ vahantīṁ tanuṁ
dhyāyech chhrī-guru-pāda-padma-nikaṭe sevotsukañ chātmanaḥ

“Meditate that the Lord’s Temple (your body) is decorated with shining tilak, your neck bears a beautiful tulasī-mālā, your chest is adorned with the Names of Śrī Hari and sandalwood paste, you are wearing fine, new, clean cloth, and in your pure, eternal form, you are at the lotus feet of Śrī Guru, eager for service.”