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śrī śrī guru gaurāṅga jayataḥ!
Year-1, Issue 11
Posted: 17 December 2008
nitya-līlā praviṣṭa oṁ viṣṇupāda
Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Prajñāna Keśava Gosvāmī Mahārāja
Inspired by and under the guidance of
Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja
~ What Sriman Mahaprabhu gave is the highest benefaction ~
by Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada
Question 1: How will we attain service to Sri Bhagavan?
Answer: The day we realize that Sri Gurudeva - who is seva-vigraha, the embodiment of service - is non-different from Sri Caitanyadeva, we will obtain service to Sri Gaurasundara. On that day we will obtain the fortune of performing confidential service to Sri Sri Radha-Govinda. Only when we realize that the mahanta-gurudeva, or foremost of Vaisnavas performing the function of guru, is a direct personal associate of Sri Krsna Caitanyadeva, will the transcendental pastimes of Sri Sri Radha-Govinda manifest in our pure and spotless hearts.
Question 2: How will we understand the subject matter of Vaisnava philosophy?
Answer: A person may be a great scholar or a great thinker, but until he accepts the shelter of an acarya, whose character is the very embodiment of Vaisnava philosophy, he cannot embrace the philosophy of Vaisnavism within his heart. It is stated in Gita (4.34):
tad viddhi pranipatena
upadeksyanti te jnanam
Acquire this knowledge by offering prostrated obeisances to a guru who imparts transcendental knowledge, by asking him relevant questions and by rendering service to him. Those who have seen the truth, who are expert in the imports of sastra, and the jnanis who have realised the Absolute Reality, will enlighten you with that knowledge.
In other words, if anyone possesses the three qualities of unconditional surrender, honest enquiry and a serving temperament, he can understand Vaisnava philosophy. When someone who possesses these three types of daksina, or genuine offerings of submission, presents himself before an acarya, the acarya instructs him on the philosophical truths of Vaisnavism. No type of mundane, or material, daksina ever tempts the instructing acaryas of Vaisnava philosophy.
Question 3: Is the gift of Sriman Mahaprabhu the highest benefaction?
Answer: Indeed. There is no higher benefactor than Mahaprabhu and His devotees, nor will there ever be. In the name of benevolence, other types of altruism cause harm, whereas the benevolence of Mahaprabhu and His devotees is truly the eternal and supreme benevolence. Such benevolence does not last only for two to ten days. It is not a temporary charity that causes pain and misery after some time. Nor is it a benevolence by which one party is benefited while the other is harmed, just as one country benefits at the expense of other countries. Others are distressed for the sake of my temporary happiness; and when others are happy, I feel no enjoyment. For my own convenience I can ride on a horse-drawn cart, but the horse is inevitably inconvenienced.
Mahaprabhu and His associates never deceived humanity at large by propagating this type of mundane benevolence. Their contribution, their benefaction, offers the paramount benefit to all living entities - at all the times and in all circumstances. Their benevolence does not benefit one particular country and harm another. Their benefaction is for the whole universe. Therefore, Mahaprabhu and His associates never propagated narrow-minded, communal and temporal benefits. The benevolence of Mahaprabhu never resulted in injustice to anyone. It is therefore known as amanda-udaya-daya - compassion that never causes harm or injustice to anybody, but bestows the highest auspiciousness. For this reason it is said that Mahaprabhu is greatly munificent (maha-vadanya) and His devotees are magnanimous to the highest degree (maha-maha-vadanya). This is not a story or tale, nor is it mere poetry or a literary work; it is the subject matter of the highest truth.
Mahaprabhu's compassion is complete, and all other types of compassion are limited and deceitful. All other avataras, such as Matsyadeva (the fish incarnation), Kurmadeva (the tortoise incarnation), Varahadeva (the boar incarnation), Lord Ramacandra, and even Lord Sri Krsnacandra, have bestowed Their compassion only upon those who surrendered to Them, and They annihilated those who were antagonistic to them. Mahaprabhu, however, bestowed His compassion even to those who were antagonistic to Him, such as the Chand Kazi and the followers of Buddhism in South India. He never hesitated to distribute His amanda-udaya-daya .
Question 4: How will I know that I have gained sambandha-jnana?
Answer: Sambandha-jnana is obtained by the mercy of Sri Gurudeva, who bestows transcendental knowledge. The day one realizes one's eternal relationship with Krsna (sambandha-jnana) by the mercy of Sri Gurudeva, one will understand, "Krsna is my only eternal master, and I am His eternal servant. Service to Krsna is indeed my eternal occupation."
Krsna is the sovereign emperor of the whole universe as well as of all the transcendental Vaikuntha planets, which lie beyond this universe. Therefore, no one can refrain from worshipping Him. There is no advantage, however, to worshipping him indirectly. Those who worship the sun god or Ganesa or Krsna's Sakti-devi are in fact worshipping Krsna's shadow potency, for no one exists independently of Krsna. Someone who worships the shadow potency is unable to gain knowledge and realization of his own eternal, constitutional form (svarupa-jnana) or of his eternal relationship with Krsna (sambandha-jnana).
Translated by the Rays of The Harmonist team
from Srila Prabhupadera Upadesamrta
Questions re-numbered for this on-line presentation
Śrīla Prabhupadera Upadeśāmṛta is a compilation of Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda’s instructions in question-and-answer form.