sri sri guru gauranga jayatah!
Special On-line Edition for the appearance day of Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Vāmana Gosvāmī Mahārāja
Posted: 29 December 2010
nitya-lila pravista om visnupada
Sri Srimad Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja
Inspired by and under the guidance of
Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
Appearing in English for the first time
Śrī Hari, Guru and Vaiṣṇavas Certainly Accept Our Offerings
by Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Vāmana Gosvāmī Mahārāja
Śrī Gaura-Govinda Maṭha,
Gosā̃i Road, Dinahāta (Kocha-bihār)
12 August, 1971
śrī śrī guru-gaurāṅga jayataḥ
I see that you were greatly overjoyed to receive my letter and read my mad ramblings. In doing so you have praised your own good fortune and at the same time your natural humility has been made apparent.
When a sādhaka or sādhikā fully accepts shelter at the lotus feet of a genuine guru and thereafter engages in śrī hari-bhajana, then there is no personal disqualification that can create obstacles on the path of their sādhana. Nevertheless, it is certainly very true that, in addition to performing sādhana, it is imperative to simultaneously beg for mercy. Only in this way does one attain perfection in their spiritual practices.
The eternal, pure, ever-existent, and transcendental soul is certainly capable of attaining the transcendental object of worship – the Supreme Lord. However, this is only possible when one attains both bhūta-śuddhi and bhāva-śuddhi – that is, when one’s being and one’s sentiments both become pure. Entities of the same clan naturally unite with one another. As such, the unborn, eternal soul gradually attains proximity to Adhokṣaja Śrī Bhagavān by performing sādhana and becomes immersed in the bliss of pure service.
For the last five months, I have been preaching outside of Navadvīpa. As far as the matter of rest is concerned, there has been nothing of the sort. Factually, for a servant there is no such thing as a break from service. In the field of service, there is neither concession nor commission. True service only breeds more service. Even exalted, liberated personalities are forever preoccupied with worshipping and serving Śrī Bhagavān. Hence, under no circumstance can the sevaka or sevikā withdraw, or even take a break from service. Actively taking shelter of Śrī Bhagavān’s beautiful lotus feet, which are the abode of fearlessness, immortality and freedom from sorrow, is the true and only state of rest, and it is what the Vaiṣṇava mahājanas pray for.
aśoka-abhaya, amṛta-ādhāra, tomāra caraṇa-dvaya
tāhāte ekhana, viśrāma labhiyā, chāḍinu bhavera bhaya
Śaraṇāgati, Ātma-Nivedana (2)
I have now found solace at Your lotus feet, which are the basis of freedom from sorrow, and the basis of fearlessness and of immortality. Thus I have given up all fear of worldly existence.
[You asked if Śrī Hari, guru and Vaiṣṇavas accept what we offer when we are not in their direct presence.] Because I understand why you are experiencing this anxiety in your heart, I am trying to pacify you. During the summer, did you not offer summer fruits like mangoes and litchis to your deities? If you were to continue to submit offerings in this manner, you could consider that you have achieved the same result as having served Them directly. It is natural that you feel, as you said, “pained by not being able to offer anything in service to the Lord”.
Śrī Hari, guru and Vaiṣṇavas certainly accept everything that is offered to them. It is on the basis of faith in this that the scriptures have ordained the conventions of deity worship. Therefore, consider it proven that I have been accepting the things you offer me, both in person and when you make offerings from afar. Just as one may truly envision the Lord’s beautiful form (śrī vigraha) simply by hearing transcendental descriptions of Him with one’s ears, so too, worship of Śrī Hari and guru is actually enriched when it is performed with the mood that they are present indirectly through separation.
When the yajña-patnīs expressed their desire to stay in the proximity of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, He told them,
“You should not remain near me. Rather, you should only extol My name, form, qualities and pastimes from a distance. Your most holy auspiciousness lies in that alone.”
It is seen in this instance that the mood of separation (viraha-bhāva) is superior to meeting (milana). This is what Śrī Bhagavān wanted the wives of the brāhmaṇas to understand.
Those who attain the audience of Śrī Hari, guru and Vaiṣṇavas in close proximity, have many opportunities to misunderstand them or even erroneously find faults in them. As the English saying goes, “Familiarity breeds contempt.” For this reason, although close association with śrī guru and Vaiṣṇavas has not been forbidden, we must carefully consider the statement: “vando mui sāvadhāna-mate – I worship śrī gurudeva with utmost caution.”
It is essential to carefully consider which type of audience will be more beneficial for us: direct or indirect. The words of sādhu, guru and śāstra provide the best evidence in this matter. Their considerations are thoroughly worthy of everyone’s acceptance, for all time. By indirect service in separation, you have achieved the same result as performing direct service. Of this there is no doubt. Do not let your mind be disturbed any longer.
I hope you have been able to grasp what I am trying to say.
Your ever-well wisher,
Śrī Bhaktivedānta Vāmana
Translated from the patrāvalī (compilation of letters) of
Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Vāmana Gosvāmī Mahārāja
by the Rays of The Harmonist team