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
ki
ñjalka-miśra-tulasī-makaranda-vāyu
antar-gata
sva-vivarea chakāra teā
sa
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.

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.’”
FOOTNOTES:
(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
rādhā-padāmbhoja-sudhāmbu-rāśiḥ
(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)

The Land of Absolute Reality

From an address given by our Param Gurudev Om Vishnupad Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj in 1966 at  Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math, Nabadwip, India, on the occasion of the His Divine Grace’s appearance day, in the presence of revered Vaishnavas, including Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj (ISKCON Founder-Acharya) accompanied by disciples from USA, Srila Bhakti Kamal Madhusudan Maharaj and Sri Bhakti Baridhi Sourindra Nath Sarkar.
You are aware that this body of mine is completing seventy-two years of its mortal existence. In a physical sense, my association with the maṭh is well over forty years, and out of that period of time I spent thirty-seven years of my life as a sannyāsī. Therefore you can see that I have had three different births altogether. Today I would like to present some of the teachings of that holy descent of the Lord, Oṁ Viṣṇupād Śrīla Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Goswāmī who fulfilled the spiritual quest of this world through the Lord’s own ways, means and goals. He was the mainspring of my spiritual inspiration, and imparted to me a rare spiritual awakening and brought about a radical change in my life. His ever-merciful divinity bequeathed that I take this revered seat without any burden of fear and accordingly I sit here to fulfill his divine wish.
The land where he wanted us to become its denizens is the Land of Absolute Reality. In that land everybody sees each other as a divine entity in an abundant measure. This is the very nature of that world. When Lord Kṛṣṇa gave a building to Sudåmå, he received that with his ever service-centric mindset. It is a nirguṇ state of consciousness, a sort of position where external conditions cannot stake any claim whatsoever on it.
vanaṁ tu sāttviko vāso
grāmo rājasa uchyate
tāmasaṁ dyūta-sadanaṁ
man-niketaṁ tu nirguṇam
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 11.25.25)

(“Residence in the forest is in the mode of goodness, residence in a town is in the mode of passion, residence in a gambling house displays the quality of ignorance, and residence in a place where I reside is transcendental.”)
There is no scope to attach any conditionality in that state. No claimant is found there. Whatever is available or given there is entirely free. This is the manifestation of a state of pure harmony, a condition where the duality of action and reaction is totally absent. Perfect autonomy is possible in such a conception because the forces of giving and taking never oppose each other there. That world, therefore, should be our destination. Everything there is divine. There, the master sees his servant as a divine entity and reciprocates his service in the same way as he received it from him. The master considers that it is but the kindness shown by the servant towards him. There everybody is showing compassion towards one another by way of rendering his service. In that state everything is possible. This is not an expression of indifference, but the manifestation of positive dynamic harmony, and, by virtue of its power anything can be done and accepted wholeheartedly.
Srila Prabhupad used to say that religion is but proper adjustment. In the celestial Goloka it is possible to have the finest and the highest form of adjustments. The cause and effect are not intrinsically associated there. It’s a free world. By means of Divine Love and radiantly divine service-centric life one can have entrance into that highest world. This is not just a story or history but a pure, sublime and infinitely superior promise of existence (artheṣu abhijṇaḥ svarāt). Theoretically the same thing exists in this terrestrial plane, if seen from that point of view. Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākur has written,
ye-dina gṛhe, bhajana dekhi,
gṛhete goloka bhāya
(Śuddha-bhakata)

If we enter that world by means of such a realisation we too will be able to witness those things. Our sacred key is the divine consciousness. So, adjust yourself in that divine way. By his divine touch he wanted to give us that world where everybody is divine and worthy of worship. He used to address all his disciples in the most humble way as “Prabhu” (Master). He repays them respect in the same manner in which they offer it to him.
I cannot do all services in spite of knowing what is necessary. I owe much to the devotees for their pure desire to help me in performing my duties. I admit myself as one of the most worthless servitors of all. Once, my Godbrother, Rāmgopāl Bābu, found it difficult to understand a passage from Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, where a devotee is saying, “I will serve my Master exclusively; neither the Goddess Lakṣmī nor even Baladev will be allowed if they come to serve Him.” Rāmgopāl Bābu asked me whether or not the devotee is showing arrogance here. I read the śloka a couple of times and, by the grace of Prabhupād, I realised its purport. There is no arrogance in his attitude. There is no question of establishing his superiority as a servant over others. His attitude is that, “You are all worthy to be served, and I am the servant. You please wait; it is my exclusive duty to serve you. You are all my masters and I am to serve you all.” This very conception of considering oneself as a sole servitor promises us the celestial charm of the world of that highest realm.
Śrīla Prabhupād always said that it was his duty to do all the work, right from the cooking down to begging alms. Since he cannot do them all in spite of giving the best of his effort, he takes the help of the devotees in performing them. This is the philosophy of the celestial Goloka and also of the mahā-bhāgavat. There is nothing to rule over, all are showing mercy upon each other. There the master is requesting his disciples to shower their divine mercy by way of paying attention to his words. This is absolute reality; only love, devotion, compassion, etc., can substantiate that highest truth. The primary stage of those rarest of qualities is respect. The more respectful one is, the nearer he is to that world. He can even experience Goloka in this mundane world. The offering of service to Lord Hari that goes on here is not different from what is going on in Goloka. Śrī Guru tries to inculcate in us that great philosophy of Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākur. Other concepts are all insignificant and ludicrous to the extreme. Some are making an inch of advancement but boast laughable assertions of reaching Venus and touching the surface of the Moon. They are ecstatically proclaiming that they have the ability to throttle God to death. What a progress of science! They claim it would be a matter of a minute or a second to achieve those feats. But is it possible to kill Him by pursuing this line of thought? “Space is infinite”, is there any possibility to make that infinite, finite? Besides, there are many factors aside from the factor of time. Thought encapsulates our mental space and time. The law of thought originates from this space and time. There is no doubt that myriad numbers of inconceivable riddles and mysteries of impenetrable dimensions are there at the centre. Those whose minds have the absolute vision of reality, to them these thoughts are but jokes, the dance of madmen. By lifting themselves an inch or two in their cage, they dance and give an ear-deafening cry, maddened by their so-called progress.
These things we came to know from Guru Mahārāj and they must be the subject of our discussion. There is actually no famine in this earth. There is only acute hunger and thirst for want of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. No revolutionary set of concepts can become at par with Kṛṣṇa consciousness. It is ultra revolutionary, and it is without a second, for there are hardly enough people to justify the potential revolutionary essence within it. It is necessary to create loyalty and faithfulness, and it is sad to see rebellion. Opposing the all-conquering Divinity is the cause of this rebellion. So don’t rebel. You will see everything in its most serene glory. The ever sacred sweetness of holy kīrtan could save and sanctify all rebellious instincts and impulses in you, and assures the bounties of divine pleasures here and hereafter. Needless to say, the sacred vibration of the name of “Hari” in kīrtan brings about a feeling of reality in our existence, and it can bring about the attitude of proper adjustment. You will find all things are here in this world but we cannot claim them because we deserve them not. First deserve, and then claim. There is no scarcity of anything else in this world. The scarcity of all other things is nothing but the figment of our imagination. We are wrestling with our shadow and crying foul. There is a proverbial expression; “A bad workman quarrels with his tools.” The problems that you see are merely the creation of “bad workmen.” In Vaikuṇṭha everything is opulent in its pristine glory. It is possible by the grace of the Lord. How much do we know about our own selves? He is alive to my well-being. His Love is more than my love towards myself. Guru Mahārāj gave the inner essence of that transcendental world.
Today, we have Śrīpād Swāmī Mahārāj here with us and you can see two other souls have come to the lotus feet of Guru Mahārāj being attracted by his ineffable charm. Swāmī Mahārāj’s soft melodious talks on establishing Divinity, breaking the stubborn worldliness, inspire the people in large numbers from the far West to become his followers. They all are the unparalleled preaching and sanctifying grace of my Guru Mahārāj. The preaching sign of Śrīla Guru Mahārāj was to climb on the top of the tower completely.
Once, an advocate from Krishnanagar told us we should go the mountains and forests, instead of coming to the mundane people like him. I said Guru Mahārāj is not an ordinary saint to be disturbed by the existent mundanity of the place and so leave for a forsaken place for meditation. He descended from his celestial Goloka to capture this world by waging a totalitarian war in order to change it. He came to capture the forts of illusion. He came to overwhelm the moneyed people, the advocates, judges, barristers, kings, queens, emperors, and all the beautiful places of this world for the service of the Lord. He was fearless and ready to face any consequence. He said that whatever lesson I had learnt from the lotus feet of my Guru Mahārāj is to be given to this world and I have nothing to receive from here. Even an iota of his treasure would offer a sacred sublimity to this world. He said, pariṇāmitvād ā-viriñchyād amaṅgalam (SB 11.19.18), “What else can you offer me when even Brahmā, the creator of this universe, suffers for failing to reach Him through meditation?” Sva-dharma-niṣṭhaḥ śata-janmabhiḥ pumān
viriñchatām eti tataḥ paraṁ hi mām
, sudurlabhā Bhāgavatā hi loke, “Everything is within the periphery of my knowledge. How can you trouble me? What logic do you have to convince me? What protection would you vouchsafe me while being deeply absorbed in this worldly existence?” His knowledge of this world was vast, and he knew well what was needed in the context of all truths and realities.
When he went to Vṛndāvan after taking sannyās, he took two of his disciples in chaste Western dress. People jeered him and said that Vṛndāvan must be visited in utter simplicity, wearing only a piece of cotton cloth. In Vṛndāvan, he said that the piece of cotton cloth that you put on as a requirement for worship does not necessarily mean that you are qualified for worshipping the Lord. Worship of the Lord is not such an easy thing. Your dress does not speak whether you are as humble as a blade of grass, but your conduct, and that is what has to be achieved. Non-violence, according to Mahātmā Gandhi, is the weapon of the powerful. Although my Guru Mahārāj and all those revered Vaiṣṇavas possessed humility and renunciation, still they were opulent beyond measure. Even to see their humble clothing was a blessing to the eye. Such things cannot be attained by means of hypocrisy. They have the spirit to capture the world and they did that with élan (Rāja Rām Mohan Roy tried to stop that influence by quoting from the Upaniṣads, Brahma-sūtra, etc.). Nothing would be more beneficial than desiring intensely, from the core of one’s heart, to roll about in the dust of Vraja, even while ostensibly riding in a motorcar. It is dangerous if one is internally attracted towards sensual pleasures while pretending to be a picture of renunciation. What is the utility of dressing that way when the core of one’s heart craves for earthly pleasures? It is but depriving oneself from the realisation of the ultimate sense of the term. It would be unwise if one is unaware of the real purport of the dress, but puts it on just to follow its ritualistic significance.
Prabhupād radically cured the ailments of the Vaiṣṇavas and made them healthy. Like a surgeon he cut open the diseased part, removed the pus, and applied medicine to cure the affected area. He imparted a new vision to save and sanctify the values of the frail mortals in an age of chaos and conflict.
Those who are present here, many of them enlightened themselves by the touch of his golden wand. Knowledge is power, but Love is more powerful, and any price should be paid for that. All treasures can be sacrificed for attaining that blissful and sublime Love with which to enter that world of highest Divinity. We are unaware that we are caught in a web of fear (bhayaṁ dvitīyā-bhiniveśataḥ syād). We feel ourselves independent in spite of living without the liberty of Divine Love. In Śrīmad Bhāgavat this attitude of ours is stated as an act of committing treachery to one’s own self. Finite beings are all suicidal. More or less we are keeping ourselves busy in suicidal activities, and that is why he made an illuminative arrangement for the sake of redeeming the fallen, faithless, and servile creatures like us. His promise of the deliverance of this world and its living beings bears the stamp of the highest Divinity. Therefore to praise his lotus feet will bring us unimaginable benefit. His principle of all consciousness needs to be upheld with all its glory and spell. The web of illusions cannot entangle us if we uphold his philosophy of divine well-being; otherwise there is every possibility of getting lost in the vortex of worldly illusion. Tad Viṣṇoh paramaṁ padaṁ sadā paśyanti sūrayaḥ divīva chakṣur ātatam. Like the universal eye, the light-giving sun exists in the sky; similarly the lotus feet of Viṣṇu also spread across the realm above. To us, He is the Observer, not the object to be observed. He is the Knower, not the object to be known. If one’s mind is fully absorbed in selfless service towards the Lord, then he can observe that Observer and know the Knower.
He is in fact transcendental. The term ‘transcendental’ is a much-loved term of Śrīmad Bhāgavat, where materialism is dealt with in a scientific way and in accordance with the purest form of knowledge and not abstractionisms. It is said in the Bhāgavat that we must have devotion to that which is beyond the ken of our material perception (mṛyate anayā). The thing which is perceived within the range of inferior faculties of living beings are all gross. The transcendental is by its definition, beyond you (yato bhaktir adhokṣaje… adhah-kṛtaṁ akṣajaṁ indriya-jñanaṁ yena), it is far above matter. It exists prevailing over matter but remains inconceivable to our empirical minds. It is present like our guardian but our physical sense is unaware of its existence. Devotion is the path to transcend the barrier of our limitations, to have a tryst with that Unknown. Awakenment of devotion causes the evolutionary growth of the soul of the living being. And in the highest phase of evolution the soul’s supermost divinity will appear if the Lord is merciful.
It is said in Bhagavad-gītā,

ūrdhva-mūlam adhaḥ-śākham aśvatthaṁ prāhur avyayam
chhandāṁsi yasya parṇāni yas taṁ veda sa veda-vit
(Srimad Bhagavad-Gita: 15.1)
[“It is said in the scriptures that this material world is like a Peepul tree, roots up, branches down, endless, yet transient. Its leaves represent the nourishing verses of the Vedas. One who knows this tree is a knower of the Vedas.”]

 
“Who is the master of the Veda? He, who is able to offer such a conception of the world. What kind of conception? ‘It is like a banyan tree, whose roots grow at the top of it and spread themselves like a burgeoning coral reef at the bottom.’ It conceives of the eye as the birthplace of beauty and the ear, the birthplace of sound.”
Śrī Śaṅkarāchārya gave an example while explaining the Vedānta. He said that while strolling in a garden in a dream it appeared to the dreamer that he was long acquainted with the trees of that garden. Although the trees were only dreams yet they appeared to the dreamer as real. Accordingly the visible world is the creation of our minds. When our mundane mind gets trapped in myriad numbers of our partial thoughts and fragmented feelings, they all appear to us as stark realities.
In Manu Saṁhitā it is stated,
yadā sa devo jāgarti tadevaṁ cheṣṭate jagat
yadā svapiti śāntātmā tadā sarvaṁ nimīlati
“When that Great Being is in slumber then everything is in deep slumber. There is no creation, no destruction or anything else. With His awakening everything becomes active.”
These are the kinds of finest conceptions given by those great souls. We can make our life truly enlightened and enrich our existence here and hereafter by associating ourselves with these supreme understandings of the all-embracing reality.
It is the blessings of that Divinity that I am here with my friends. He deserves all the praises that you heap on me. If I deserve anything, it is certainly not for holding this mortal body, not for having material knowledge that I gather from this world, but for being a chosen emissary for carrying the messages from that transcendental world. Yes, there is justification for having your praise. As the glory of fire is expressed when iron becomes red hot in fire, similarly the glory of the highest Divinity is expressed when the light of divine consciousness enlightens a man. Therefore, I consider that the glory, praise, etc., that you shower upon me is actually made for the lotus feet of my Śrī Guru and I pray that by the touch of the lotus feet of his ever illuminant resplendent glory, the world will find the perennial stream of spiritual fulfilment of the highest magnitude.
This article was originally published in Sri Gaudiya Darshan (Vol 15, No 4) by Sriman Devashis Prabhu.

Imitationism

An audio file and full transcript of this talk can be found here.
Devotee: You told us an example of Gaura Kiśor Dās Bābājī, about the pregnant woman and a woman who’s not really pregnant but just imitating.
Śrīla Śrīdhar Mahārāj: Imitation. Imitation is not realisation. We are to know it as a general thing that imitation, the outward imitation, is not proper realisation. One who takes the dress of a sannyāsī is not a real sannyāsī, but it is a mockery. That is rather offensive: to take a particular position without having realised it. If I take the dress of a king or a police officer I will be punished. If I take the dress of a police officer or anyone else to deceive the public I should be punished. In the spiritual world no such punishment is seen from this plane, but punishment asserts there on the higher plane. But now there are agents who make us careful about the imitationists: “Don’t mix with them. Try to understand what is the real symptom of a real thing. Don’t approach the sham, the adulterated goods. Don’t approach to purchase the adulterated things. All that glitters is not gold. Glittering is not the only qualification of gold, there’s something more.” Something like that. Do you follow?
Devotee: Yes.
Śrīla Śrīdhar Mahārāj: It is a general thing, but it is very difficult to understand the highly valued things. There is every possibility of there being imitation. Imitation comes in the market, why? To get more money. Highly valued things will have most, greater imitation; and the imitationists are more dangerous than the ordinary exploitationist.
You know of the Rāma Rāvaṇ Yuddha [battle between Lord Ramachandra and the demon Ravan]? Have any of you heard of Mahirāvaṇ? When Rāma was engaged in fighting with Rāvaṇ in Laṅkā, many of the heroes of the Rāvaṇ group had been killed, and then Rāvaṇ, disappointed, remembered that one of his sons was living underground in the lower world, a subterranean world. The son, Mahirāvaṇ, was informed of his father’s desire and he came to see Rāvaṇ and heard, “So many things have happened. Almost all the stalwarts are killed in the battle with Rāma.”
After hearing everything, Mahirāvaṇ also went to advise Rāvaṇ, “Why have you engaged yourself in this unfortunate battle? There is still time. You may be saved if you respectfully return Sītā Devī, His beloved wife, the only wife He has got. Generally the kings have got any number of wives, but He has got only one wife. How beloved She is to Him, and you have taken Her. It is very deplorable, father. You give Her back to Rāma and make a truce with Him.”
But Rāvaṇ was enraged, “What do you know? I have called you only to help me, not to instruct me.”
“Then of course, if you desire so, I am ready to sacrifice my life.” Mahirāvaṇ was a highly qualified magician and he planned to carry Rāma-Lakṣmaṇ to his subterranean palace.
Vibhiṣan, the brother who had sided with Rāmachandra, cautioned Rāma: “The most dangerous mystic hypnotist, magician, a son of Rāvaṇ, has come, and something inconceivable is going to happen. You, Hanumān, Sugriva, keep Rāma-Lakṣmaṇ in a very guarded position. I suppose he will try his best to steal Rāma-Lakṣmaṇ from our midst. I think his plan will be such, so guard Them in every way, especially in the night when They will sleep.”
Then with Hanumān they constructed a temporary room and Hanumān was guarding: he was on night guard always.
And Vibhiṣaṇ was surveying the whole battle position of the army and patrolling, and now and then coming: “Hanumān, are you ready? None have entered?”
“Yes. Some came to enter. One came in the form of Kauśalyā, Rāma’s mother: ‘I can’t see Rāmachandra. I can’t keep my life any more. Please show my affectionate son, Rāma.’ In this way I dismissed her: ‘No. Where has Kauśalyā been for so long, and only today you have come? I don’t believe in you.’ Then someone came as Rāmachandra’s father-in-law, Janaka; and in this, that, in so many forms.”
“Be very careful, even if your father comes don’t allow him to enter. Guard very strictly.” In this way Vibhiṣaṇ was warning, and patrolling the whole position.
Then, when so many had attempts failed, that Mahirāvaṇ had a new plan. He took the figure of Vibhiṣaṇ himself, and came, “Hanumān, are you looking very carefully? Very careful you should remain. If your father himself comes don’t allow him to enter.”
“No, no.”
“But are They safe? Are you sure?”
“Yes, They are safe.”
“Let me go inside and see whether They are in safe order or not.”
Hanumān thought, “Vibhiṣaṇ is my guide. He told about this mischievous plan and he is the most interested person.” He allowed him to enter.
Then Vibhiṣaṇ again came in his patrol, “Hanumān, are you alert?”
“What is this? Just a minute ago you entered the room and told—”
“Oh, we are finished, Hanumān, finished!” They went: no Rāma-Lakṣmaṇ there. “The demon has taken away those sleeping masters of ours. What to do, Hanuman? But there is the door, there is a hole, and if you can go there, there is a subterranean town.” And Hanumān went, and there is a story how he killed that demon and took out Rāma-Lakṣmaṇ on his shoulders here.
That Vibhiṣaṇ’s imitation: we want to aspire after the highest thing, but if imitation is there, what loss can be effected on us, on our fortune. So we must be careful about the imitation. And Bābājī Mahārāj has warned in a plain way that śuddha-bhakti is very rare, it is not very cheap. What we have come after by our inconceivable great fortune, it is not so cheap. We must try to follow, to be acquainted with the steps: Bhūr, Bhuvar, Svar, Maha, Jana, Tapa, Satya, Virajā, Brahmaloka; then Vaikuṇṭha, Paravyoma, then Goloka, in this way. We must not omit the steps, and must try to know something about the nature of those steps. Then, when the sound is coming we can recognise, “Oh, it must have come from that plane: it is a vibration which can only be produced from that plane.” In this way we must acquaint ourselves. The Name, the mantram, it may be everywhere, even in a book you can find, but why the sound comes from a Guru? Who is living in that plane, the sound of that plane will come from them, and that will come within us and awaken us. Just as with homoeopathic globules, externally they are all one and the same, but, nāmākṣara bahiraya batu nāma kabhu naya (“The Name does not appear within the letters of the Name”—Prema-vivarta). The meaning must have such depth which when it will exert, it will take me to Goloka.
brahmāṇḍa brahmite kona bhāgyavān jīva,
guru-kṛṣṇa-prasāde pāya bhakti-latā-bīja

[“Wandering throughout the material universe, the very fortunate living entity who receives the grace of Guru and Kṛṣṇa receives the seed of the creeper of devotional service.”]
mālī hañā kare sei bīja āropaṇa,
śravaṇa-kīrttana-jale karaye sechana  

[“When a person receives the seed of devotional service, he should take care of it by becoming a gardener and sowing the seed in his heart. If he waters the seed gradually by the process of śravaṇ and kīrtan, the seed will begin to sprout.”]
upajiyā bāḍe latā ‘brahmāṇḍa’ bhedi’ yāya
Bhūr, Bhuvar, Svar, Mahar, Janar, Tapar, Satyaloka, brahmāṇḍa.
virajā,’ ‘brahmaloka,’ bhedi’ ‘paravyoma’ pāya
Vaikuṇṭha Paravyom, Nārāyaṇ’s domain.
tabe yāya tad upari ‘goloka-vṛndāvana’,
‘kṛṣṇa-charaṇa’-kalpavṛkṣe kare ārohana
(Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta, Madhya-līlā, 19.151–4)
[“The creeper of devotion is born, and grows to pierce the wall of the universe. It crosses the Virajā River and the Brahman plane, and reaches to the Vaikuṇṭha plane. Then it grows further up to Goloka Vṛndāvan, finally reaching to embrace the wish-yielding tree of Kṛṣṇa’s Lotus Feet.”]
The creeper of devotion will grow and pierce through the different planes, atmosphere, and go direct to Kṛṣṇa-pāda-padma, Kṛṣṇa conception of Godhead, and there it will take its place and that will surround him. His holy feet, generally, at His feet means His own paraphernalia. And gradually Kṛṣṇa will locate him in a proper serving school and then give him engagement fully in His holy service. That is sambandha-jñāna.
Sambandha, abhidheya, prayojana: in three groups we are to understand the thing. Sambandha: place, purpose, position, all these things; and destination, prayojana; and abhidheya means the means to attain the goal. We are to understand under these three heads. Sambandha-jñāna, and prayojan, and abhidheya: under these three classifications we are to understand, we are to realise the nature of the whole thing which we aspire after.
Spoken by our Param Gurudev Srila B.R. Sridhar Deva-Goswami in Sri Nabadwip Dham, on 9 January 1982.

Sri Vaishnava Toshani: Srila Guru Maharaj's Centenary Edition

Sri Vaishnava Toshani: Srila Guru Maharaj’s Centenary Edition, Jan–Feb 1995, Vol 4 #1 is presented here.
pdf file
Contents
Brahma Gayatri—The Ultimate Presentation
by His Divine Grace Bhakti Rakshak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj
The Perfect Guru
by His Divine Grace Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj
A Glimpse Of Nectar
by Sripad B.A. Sagar Maharaj
How Could We Live Without Him?
by Sripad B.P. Janardan Maharaj
The Representative Of Sri Shukadev
by Sripad B.K. Giri Maharaj
A Glimpse Into His Divine Personality
by Sripad Yudhamanyu Das Seva Vikram
Relief In The Time Of Our Greatest Need
by Srimati Jivana Devi Dasi
Experiencing Unforgettable Mercy
by Srimati Kum Kum Devi Dasi
I Cannot Give A Certificate
by Sripad Srutrasrava Prabhu
Previous editions uploaded:
Jan–Feb 1992 Vol 1 No 1
March–April 1992 Vol 1 No 2
May–June 1992 Vol 1 No 3
Nov–Dec 1992, Vol 1 #6
May–June 1993, Vol 2 #2
Sept–Oct 1993, Vol 2 #3

The ontological conception of Vrindavan

Through service we live, and through renunciation and exploitation we die. That is our innate nature. We must adjust ourselves with that principle, and then we will be invincible.

An audio file and full transcript of this talk can be found here.
Our Guru Mahārāj used to say often in his last days, “Religion is proper adjustment.”
I always quote Hegel’s maxim, “Die to live.” We shall try to adjust, to realise, to understand this. Die to live: this is Vaikuṇṭha. Death is finished in this world, but in the eternal world where death is absent, there ‘Die to live’ means that by sacrifice we can become great. Here also partially, if one gives up money, he may get a life of fame. So ‘Die to live’, and, ‘Everything is for Himself.’ We are to adjust with this, that He is the enjoyer, and we are the suppliers of His enjoyment. That is our natural position and we can thrive only in that plane, in that attitude. By giving to Him we can thrive. We are to accommodate ourselves with this tendency. Through service we live, and through renunciation and exploitation we die. That is our innate nature. We must adjust ourselves with that principle, and then we will be invincible. None, nothing in the world can take away from this principle of life; if we can adjust properly with what is service, what is dedication, what is surrender, and how helpful that is to us, especially when we are in the midst of gross exploitation, and if not so, then renunciation of any type.
Renunciation and exploitation are the two general enemies of the devotees. If we can cross these two enemy lands, then there is Vaikuṇṭha, and the highest position is that of the automatic, spontaneous surrendering love of Kṛṣṇaloka. We are mainly to be acquainted with what is what in these few planes. Then we can maintain our consciousness in the plane of Kṛṣṇaloka, Goloka Vṛndāvan. What is Vṛndāvana, in the ontological conception? We must have such idea. And if we can adjust with this we can be invincible.
And we will be bold enough to announce to the world, to so many, to all the souls we find:
yāre dekha, tāre kaha ‘kṛṣṇa’-upadeśa,
āmāra ājñāya [guru hañā tāra ei deśa

kabhu nā vādhibe tomāra viṣaya-taraṅga,
punarapi ei ṭhāñi pābe mora saṅga]

(Chaitanya-charitāmṛta, Madhya-līlā, 7.128-9)
[“Instruct whoever you meet in the science of Kṛṣṇa. Teach them the instructions of Kṛṣṇa in Bhagavad-gītā, and the teachings about Kṛṣṇa in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. In this way, on My order, become a Guru and liberate everyone in the land. If you follow this instruction, the waves of materialism within this world will not affect you. Indeed, if you follow My order, you will soon attain My association.”]
Quite confident, strongly established in such position, to anyone I see I shall say, “Oh, what are you doing? Save yourself. Come in contact with Kṛṣṇaloka. You will be saved and prosper beyond your conception. Why do you lose your capital, investing in this mundane and filthy world of exploitation? Everyone is trying to exploit the vitiated world. Why do you put your energy, capital, in this filthy and mundane world? Go. Come. And put your investment, whatever little you have got, in such a bank; deposit in this invulnerable bank. It will come to you in time of need and immensely, beyond your expectation, you will have profit there.” In this way we are to approach one and all, whatever they may be.
Spoken by our Param Gurudev Srila B.R. Sridhar Deva-Goswami in Sri Nabadwip Dham, on 9 January 1982.

Hinduism & Vaisnavism

Srila Sridhar Maharaj discusses the progression from varnasram-dharma to Vaisnavism.

Download mp3 audio
You can find a complete and raw transcript of this talk here, which includes an illuminating discussion of tridanda-sannyas.
Devotee: This question of Hinduism and Muslim is coming up; we’re not Hindus but in some way we may speak on behalf of Hindus.
Śrīla Śrīdhar Mahārāj: We are not Hindus in the general sense. We are Vaiṣṇava [worshippers of Vishnu], we are Kāṛṣṇa [worshippers of Krishna]. Varṇāśram is steps to Vaiṣṇava-dharma, Vaiṣṇavism. It is a favourable step that may be utilised; we may begin from varṇāśram-dharma but we are to leave that when we enter the domain of nirguṇ. Varṇāśram is concerned with sattva-guṇa. It is up to sattva-guṇa, and then we are to leave varṇāśram when we enter into nirguṇ, Vaiṣṇavism proper.
Karma, our activities; the yoga, our attention; the jñāna, our dhyan, means our acquisition: when they leave their own colour and surrender into complete dedicated life, then it becomes Vaiṣṇavism. They have to leave their past steps. If all the karma is done only for the satisfaction of Kṛṣṇa then it is well and good, it is Vaiṣṇavism. And the jñāna, when it ceases all its enquiry, surrendering to the sweet will of Kṛṣṇa, then it is Vaiṣṇavism, it enters the realm of Vaiṣṇavism. And the yoga, the attention, the direction of our energy, internal, fine, subtle energy, when it stops seeking any other achievement but concentrates wholly for the satisfaction of Kṛṣṇa, then it enters the area of Vaiṣṇavism.
The karma and the jñāna and the yoga cannot give their promised result without the help of bhakti, without the support of the the universal wave or force. If God withdraws all His energy from them then they are nowhere. Just as there may be so many independent companies, insurance companies, banking companies, and such, but they can work as long as the government does not withdraw from them. If the government withdraws they cannot exist. But they can thrive, they can work well with the supposed backing of the government, with the passive support of the government. If the government is withdrawn, they are nowhere. If the power, the potency of Kṛṣṇa, the sympathy, is withdrawn, then karma, yoga, and jñāna are nowhere, but on the basis of the supposed support of the government, of Kṛṣṇa’s will, they can work on independently.
[kṛṣṇa-bhakti haya abhidheya-pradhāna]
bhakti-mukha-nirīkṣaka karma-yoga-jñāna
(Chaitanya-charitāmṛta, Madhya-līlā, 22.17)
[“Devotional service to Kṛṣṇa is the chief function of the living entity. There are different methods for the liberation of the conditioned soul—karma, jñāna, yoga and bhakti—but all are dependent on bhakti.”]
In Charitāmṛta, they are always looking at the face of bhakti, the service to Kṛṣṇa.
ei saba sādhanera ati tuchchha bala
[kṛṣṇa-bhakti vinā tāhā dite nāre phala]
(Chaitanya-charitāmṛta, Madhya-līlā, 22.18)
[“But for devotional service, all other methods for spiritual self-realization are weak and insignificant. Unless one comes to the devotional service of Lord Kṛṣṇa, jñāna and yoga cannot give the desired results.”]
What they give, that is a very negligible thing. Bhakti, service, does not depend on anything else. She can go independently, from any point. From any point of our life, only with the connection of a bona fide agent, we can link with bhakti and go on independently without taking any help from the energy [karma], from this fine attention [yoga], and our inquisitive spirit [jnana]. Everything may be rejected, and only through service, through a sādhu, one can go on safely towards Vaikuṇṭha.
In varṇāśram-dharma, or sanātan-dharma, there are the divisions of brāhmaṇ, kṣatriya, vaiśya, śūdra. The qualification of the brāhmaṇs, the highest section, is that they seek something which is not mundane, which is conscious; but they don’t have any clear conception of the conscious world, only some vague conception of the spiritual world. It is not very clear, so,
brāhmaṇānāṁ sahasrebhyaḥ satra-yājī viśiṣyate
[satra-yāji-sahasrebhyaḥ sarvva-vedānta-pāragaḥ
sarvva-vedānta-vit-koṭ yā viṣṇubhakto viśiṣyate
vaiṣṇavānāṁ sahasrebhyaḥ ekāntyeko viśiṣyate]
(Garuḍa-Purāṇa)
[“Among many thousands of brāhmaṇs, a yajñika brāhmaṇ is best. Among thousands of yajñika brāhmaṇs, one who fully knows Vedānta is best. Among millions of knowers of Vedānta, one who is a devotee of Viṣṇu is best. And among thousands of devotees of Viṣṇu, one who is an unalloyed Vaiṣṇava is best.”]
Satra-yāji means who is engaged in sacrifice which is meant to be following the model that everything should be done to satisfy Him, the central truth, Kṛṣṇa.
satra-yāji-sahasrebhyaḥ sarvva-vedānta-pāragaḥ
Then it may come to the stage of an enquirer, Vaidantic, who loves to deal with consciousness, fine things, Vedānta-pāragaḥ.
sarvva-vedānta-vit-koṭ yā viṣṇubhakto viśiṣyate
The yogī and the jñānī are stayed there; they are not dealing with gross things like karmīs but they are busy in their dealing with the very subtle things of consciousness. But mere consciousness does not mean God consciousness; there is consciousness of the self, consciousness of the cause of this material world, and so many things. Brāhmaṇs, who are the head of the varṇāśram-dharma, are more addicted to spirit than to matter, but they have not got the real and cosmic idea in the complete idea of this spiritual world, the purely spiritual world of Vaikuṇṭha or Goloka.
So the Vaiṣṇava,
bahūnāṁ janmanām ante, jñānavān māṁ prapadyate
[vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti, sa mahātmā sudurlabhaḥ]
(Bhagavad-gītā, 7.19)
[“After many, many births and deaths, one who is actually in knowledge surrenders unto Me, knowing Me to be the cause of all causes and all that is. Such a great soul is very rare.”]
When the jñānī surrenders to the feet of Vāsudeva then he becomes a Vaiṣṇava. The Vaiṣṇava is there. And when the karmī,
yajñārthāt karmaṇo ‘nyatra, loko ‘yaṁ karma-bandhanaḥ
[tad-artham karma kaunteya, mukta-saṅgaḥ samāchara]
(Bhagavad-gītā, 3.9)
[“Selfless duty performed as an offering to the Supreme Lord is called yajña, or sacrifice. O Arjuna, all action performed for any other purpose is the cause of bondage in this world of repeated birth and death. Therefore, remaining unattached to the fruits of action, perform all your duties in the spirit of such sacrifice. Such action is the means of entering the path of devotion, and with the awakening of true perception of the Lord, it will enable you to attain to pure, unalloyed devotion, free from all material qualities (nirguṇa-bhakti).”]
When he can come to understand that any work which is not for Viṣṇu will bind him with matter, with a reaction, then he comes to be Vaiṣṇava.
And the yogīs,
yoginām api sarveṣāṁ, mad-gatenāntarātmanā
śraddhāvān bhajate yo māṁ, sa me yuktatamo mataḥ
(Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā, 6.47)
[“In My opinion, of all types of yogīs, the most elevated of all is he who surrenders his heart to Me and serves Me in devotion with sincere, internal faith.”]
He is following so many mystic practices in body or mind and trying to raise his consciousness into the higher, subtle sphere of the world. But when leaving all those things he comes to make contact with the devotee and begins his bhajan then he is all right. He becomes Vaiṣṇava.
Varṇāśram has been accepted as so many steps: that śūdra mentality, vaiśya mentality, kṣatriya mentality, brāhmaṇ mentality, and then Vaiṣṇava mentality. When they accept Vaiṣṇava mentality, that Viṣṇu is all in all, and our real position is only that of a servant of Him, and he begins that life, dismissing all his ambitions in this mundane world whether gross or subtle, then he becomes Vaiṣṇava.
The Vaiṣṇava will preach Hinduism to a certain extent, with the centre as Kṛṣṇa. That can be couched in this way: “You may earn money, like a vaiśya, but spend at least a greater portion for the service of Kṛṣṇa, for the propaganda of His name.” The kṣatriya: “You organise the force and try to help Vaiṣṇavism, the service of Kṛṣṇa.” If the organising capacity and the fighting capacity will be utilised for that, then you will be fully accepted, whoever you are. And the brāhmaṇs, “You explain the Vedic scriptures and Purāṇa, etc. but connect that with Kṛṣṇa as all in all. No other gods are equal to or more than Him. So in that way you connect, and we shall accept you.” And the śūdra, “You can devote some energy, so try to utilise your energy for the service of Kṛṣṇa. Then we shall have some relation with you. Whoever you are, if you come to utilise yourself in the service of Kṛṣṇa we are in your favour. We have got recognition for you.”
chāri varṇāśramī yadi kṛṣṇa nāhi bhaje
svakarma karite se raurave paḍi’ maje
(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta: 2.22.26)
[“The followers of the varṇāśram institution accept the regulative principles of the four social orders (brāhmaṇ, kṣatriya, vaiśya and śūdra) and four spiritual orders (brahmacharya, gṛhastha, vānaprastha and sannyās). However, if one carries out the regulative principles of these orders but does not render transcendental service to Kṛṣṇa, he falls into a hellish condition of material life.”]
But if you do not connect with the service of Kṛṣṇa, then doing your own respective duty you will have to be the prey of that reaction, that is, to go down. Up and down, up and down: you can’t get out of this vicious circle. Only with the connection of Kṛṣṇa, the autocrat, the great repository of love and beauty, will you be saved. Otherwise in whatever position you are, if you are apathetic to that, you are doomed. That is our position. The Kṛṣṇa conception is the real purpose of the varṇāśram but they cannot ascertain that, mostly, and they wander up and down. That is our creed. That is nirguṇ and this is all saguṇ, going up and down.
ābrahma-bhuvanāl lokāḥ, punar āvartino ‘rjuna
mām upetya tu kaunteya, punar janma na vidyate
(Bhagavad-gītā, 8.16)
[“O Arjuna, from the planet of Lord Brahmā downwards, the residents of all planets are naturally subjected to repeated birth and death. But, O Kaunteya, upon reaching Me, there is no rebirth.”]

My life is only meant for Krishna

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

Vaishnava Toshani Vyasa Puja Edition

Sri Vaishnava Toshani Special Vyasa Puja Edition, Nov–Dec 1993, Vol 2 #10 is presented here.
pdf file
epub file
Contents
I Cannot Forget My Love For You
by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Everyone Knows His High Position
by His Divine Grace B.R. Sridhar Dev-Goswami
Offerings From The Sannyasis
Offerings From Seva Vikram And Seva Sundar
Offerings From The Assembled Devotees
Offerings From The Children
 
Previous editions uploaded:
Jan–Feb 1992 Vol 1 No 1
March–April 1992 Vol 1 No 2
May–June 1992 Vol 1 No 3
Nov–Dec 1992, Vol 1 #6
May–June 1993, Vol 2 #2
Sept–Oct 1993, Vol 2 #3