Special On-line Edition for the Appearance day of
Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Vaman Gosvami Maharaja
śrī śrī guru gaurāṅga jayataḥ!
Year-4, Special On-line Edition
Posted: 19 December, 2011
nitya-līlā praviṣṭa oṁ viṣṇupāda
Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Prajñāna Keśava Gosvāmī Mahārāja
Inspired by and under the guidance of
nitya-līlā praviṣṭa oṁ viṣṇupāda
Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja
Guru, Grace and Endeavour
by Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Vaman Gosvami Maharaja
Sri Devananda Gaudiya Matha
Teghari-Pada, Navadvipa (Nadiya)
My dear object of affection,
Sriman ###### went to see you. Not meeting you, he came back, for he did not have time to wait. Regardless, it is a matter of great fortune for you that you were able to attend Sri Puri-Dhama Parikrama and participate in the month-long festival of observing vows. How many people have this fortunate opportunity to cultivate hearing and chanting of Sri Hari-katha in a regulated manner in such good association?
We can observe that many people are very eager to go on pleasure trips within their own country and abroad, but it is only possible for one with spiritual credit to long for and desire to visit Sri Dhama in the association of saints, and to see the holy tirthas.
In order to obtain such an opportunity, one must consciously and carefully renounce any concern for worldly gain or loss, or the pros and cons involved, and simply go. Otherwise, one will be cheated of the opportunity for such immediate welfare. “Time and tide wait for no one.” Once an opportunity goes away, it does not come back.
And not everyone meets with the same types of opportunity and facility. One must accept one’s worldly or practical duties and responsibilities and, accordingly, go forward on the path of spiritual life. Otherwise misunderstandings, disorder, disputes and disagreements will present themselves. It is a common rule and even customary to sacrifice insignificant interest for the sake of higher interest, but often it simply cannot be avoided.
By the blessings of the devotees, all types of inauspiciousness or obstacles and hindrances can be whisked away, and this is an unfaltering truth. With the auspicious wishes for our well-being from sadhu, guru, and vaisnavas, the unachievable can be achieved. By their causeless compassion, the impossible can become possible. Inconceivable, transcendental events that can never be comprehended by the intelligence of worldly men, can be perceived and manifest in tangible reality by the grace of sadhus and guru. Earthly, mundane logic and reasoning are incapable and incompetent in addressing such matters.
“Yamevaisa vrnute tena labhyah.” This concept is applicable here. Grace is of more worth and is more glorious than endeavour. That is certainly proven here. Only when effort (sadhana) and grace (krpa) are united is it possible to achieve perfection.
“Sri guroh krpa hi kevalam.” Without grace, the practitioner – the sadhaka or sadhika –cannot gain knowledge of the truth (tattva-jnana). Sri guru is the captain taking us across the ocean of material existence and the human form of life is the root or foundation for spiritual practice. To obtain the rarity of birth as a human but to be averse to worshiping Krsna is the ultimate form of ruin and misfortune.
When, in due course, the jiva becomes conscious of his true duty while remaining in good association, then and only then does the desire to engage in bhajana become strong in his heart and compel him forward on the path of sadhana. On this path, a bona fide guru is the only refuge (asraya) because only the asraya-vigraha can direct him in serving thevisaya-vigraha and show him the path.
Sri guru incarnates according to Sri Bhagavan’s desire, and is therefore known as the“prakasa-vigraha”, or manifestation thereof. Sri gurudeva is the potency of Sri Nityananda, who is non-different from Baladeva. Guru-tattva (the existential reality ofguru) is that guru is undivided and eternal. “Nitaiyera carana satya tahara sevaka nitya– the lotus feet of Nitai are the absolute truth and his servant is eternal.” This is the special quality shared by master and servant in their mutual relationship and interaction. The bona fide guru is eternally the well-wisher of his followers and is always occupied in thinking about their welfare. This responsibility and duty of his remains forever, and one can never repay this favour.
If, on the appearance days of sri guru and vaisnavas, the jiva engages in glorifying them, his welfare is assured.
“Hari, guru, vaisnava: tinera smarana; tinera smarane haya vighna-vinasana – Hari,guru, and vaisnavas: by remembering these three, all of one’s obstacles will be destroyed.
“Vaisnavera guna-gana karile jivera trana – Singing the glories of the vaisnavas ensures the jiva’s deliverance.
This regulatory prescription is in accordance with proper discipline. No matter how many disqualifications the sadhaka or sadhika may possess, no matter how dejected or lowly they may be, now is the auspicious moment, now is the time in which to clear one’s slate.
Regret and repentance are the best atonement. By these, one’s inner self is purified. If one is not fixed and determined in following proper discipline, one cannot become pure inside.
“Sattvasya suddhim paramatma-bhaktim; jnananca vijnana-viraga-yuktam.” The tradition of confession, or the facilitation of the forgiving of sins in Christianity was originally adopted from the eternal arya-sastras.
“Prabhu bole: ara tomara na karisa papa – The Lord said: You must not sin again.”
“Jagai-Madhai bole: ara nare bapa – Jagai and Madhai said: We will not sin again.”
This confession, “we will not sin again,” is an integral part of repentance and atonement. Sriman Mahaprabhu made Jagai and Madhai vow to this in front of Guru-Nityananda. Without such a firm and determined resolution, the urge to sin will return and try to pervert and pollute the pure inclinations of the heart.
Words of greeting and obeisance engender notions of self-surrender and the propensity to take exclusive shelter. In smrti, the subjects of full, eight-limb prostrated obeisance and full six-fold surrender are described. Although these things have been specifically detailed in verses such as “padabhyam jannubhyam sirasa” and “anukulyasya-sankalpah”, the reality of their deep significance has been stated and conveyed throughout sastra.
If one’s heart does not melt when observing spiritual practices and customs, if a change does not overcome one’s mind, then such activities quickly become futile. “Hrdaya hoite bole, jihvara agrete cale, sabda-rupe nacce anuksana – It speaks from within the heart, it situates itself on the tip of the tongue, and it dances in the form of sound vibration.” That is transcendental sabda-brahma: the absolute truth in the form of sound, or Sri Nama Brahma. That Sri Nama enters the heart through the pathway of the ears and raises a clamour there. Amid that, the consciousness becomes agitated and manifests the desire to obtain a vision of Sri Krsnacandra.
“Purva itihasa, bhulinu sakala, seva-sukha peye mane – I have forgotten all my past history while revelling in the bliss of serving.”
“Ami to tomara, tumi to amara, ki kana apara dhane – I am Yours, You are mine; what else is of any worth?”
In this is the awakening of knowledge of our relationship with the Absolute Truth. By the potency of the grace of a bona fide guru, all of one’s past history – or in other words, all of one’s worldly endeavours and arrogance – can be forgotten. We can thus be protected from the hands of such things. In this matter, the causeless mercy of sri guru is our only support. We must vow to engage our senses, which we have received from the Lord, to serve solely Him; He who is known as Hrsikesa, the Lord of the senses.
A bona fide guru is always well situated in actual knowledge of the truth, but this can never be inferred from a mundane source. Therefore, the devotees and their Lord are qualified by the term “aprameya” which means “immeasurable”. According to what we have heard from our predecessors (from srauta-patha), there is some difference between perceiving the Lord through kirtan and seeing Him directly. Everyone cherishes the hope to see Him in person, directly. Hastayukta Navami is on the 30th of Pausa.
Accept my loving blessings. I conclude here.
Forever your well-wisher,
Sri Bhaktivedanta Vamana
Translated from the patrāvalī (compilation of letters) of
Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Vāmana Gosvāmī Mahārāja
by the Rays of The Harmonist team