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śrī śrī guru gaurāṅga jayataḥ!
Year 6, Issue 11
Posted: 21 December 2013
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
Thākura Bhaktivinoda - Part II
by Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda
...Continued From Ṭhākura Bhaktivinoda – Part I
Ṭhākura Bhaktivinoda is acknowledged by all his sincere followers as possessing the above powers of the pure devotee of Godhead. His words have to be received from the lips of a pure devotee. If his words are listened from the lips of a non-devotee they will certainly deceive. If his works are studied in the light of one’s own worldly experience their meaning will refuse to disclose itself to such readers. His works belong to the class of the eternal revealed literature of the world and must be approached for their right understanding through their exposition by the pure devotee. If no help from the pure devotee is sought the works of Ṭhākura Bhaktivinoda will be grossly misunderstood by their readers. The attentive reader of those works will find that he is always directed to throw himself upon the mercy of the pure devotee if he is not to remain unwarrantably self-satisfied by the deluding results of his wrong method of study.
The writings of Ṭhākura Bhaktivinoda are valuable because they demolish all empiric objections against accepting the only method of approaching the Absolute in the right way. They cannot and were never intended to give access to the Absolute without help from the pure devotee of Kṛṣṇa. They direct the sincere enquirer of the truth, as all the revealed scriptures do, to the pure devotee of Kṛṣṇa to learn about Him by submitting to listen with an open mind to the transcendental sound appearing on His lips. Before we open any of the books penned by Ṭhākura Bhaktivinoda we should do well to reflect a little on the attitude, with which as the indispensable pre-requisite, to approach its study. It is by neglecting to remember this fundamental principle that the empiric pedants find themselves so hopelessly puzzled in their vain endeavour to reconcile the statements of the different texts of the scriptures. The same difficulty is already in process of overtaking many of the so-called followers of Ṭhākura Bhaktivinoda and for the same reason.
The person to whom the ācārya is pleased to transmit his power is alone in a position to convey the divine message. This constitutes the underlying principle of the line of succession of the spiritual teachers. The ācārya thus authorised has no other duty than that of delivering intact the message received from all his predecessors. There is no difference between the pronouncements of one ācārya and another. All of them are perfect mediums for the appearance of the divinity in the form of the transcendental name who is identical with His form, quality, activity and paraphernalia.
The divinity is absolute knowledge. Absolute knowledge has the character of indivisible unity. One particle of the absolute knowledge is capable of revealing all the potency of the divinity. Those who want to understand the contents of the volumes penned by the piece-meal acquisitive method applicable to deluding knowledge available to the mind on the mundane plane, are bound to be self-deceived. Those who are sincere seekers of the truth are alone eligible to find Him, in and through the proper method of His quest.
In order to be put on the track of the Absolute, listening to the words of the pure devotee is absolutely necessary. The spoken word of the Absolute is the Absolute. It is only the Absolute who can give Himself away to the constituents of His power. The Absolute appears to the listening ear of the conditioned soul in the form of the name on the lips of the sādhu. This is the key to the whole position. The words of Ṭhākura Bhaktivinoda direct the empiric pedant to discard his wrong method and inclination on the threshold of the real quest of the Absolute. If the pedant still chooses to carry his errors into the realm of the Absolute Truth he only marches by a deceptive bye-path into the regions of darker ignorance by his arrogant study of the scriptures. The method offered by Ṭhākura Bhaktivinoda is identical with the object of the quest. The method is not really grasped except by the grace of the pure devotee. The arguments, indeed, are these. But they can only corroborate, but can never be a substitute for, the word from the living source of the truth who is no other than the pure devotee of Kṛṣṇa, the concrete personal Absolute.
Ṭhākura Bhaktivinoda’s greatest gift to the world consists in this; that he has brought about the appearance of those pure devotees who are, at present, carrying on the movement of unalloyed devotion to the feet of Śrī Kṛṣṇa by their own whole-time spiritual service of the divinity. The purity of the soul is only analogously describable by the resources of the mundane language. The highest ideal of empiric morality is no better than the grossest wickedness to the transcendental perfect purity of the bona-fide devotee of the Absolute. The word ‘morality’ itself is a mischievous misnomer when it is applied to any quality of the conditioned soul. The hypocritical contentment with a negative attitude is part and parcel of the principle of undiluted immorality.
Those who pretend to recognise the divine mission of Ṭhākura Bhaktivinoda without aspiring to the unconditional service of those pure souls who really follow the teachings of the Ṭhākura by the method enjoined by the scriptures and explained by Ṭhākura Bhaktivinoda in a way that is so eminently suited to the requirements of the sophisticated mentality of the present age, only deceive themselves and their willing victims by their hypocritical professions and performances. These persons must not be confounded with the bona-fide members of the flock.
Ṭhākura Bhaktivinoda has predicted the consummation of religious unity of the world by the appearance of the only universal church which bears the eternal designation of the Brahma Sampradāya. He has given mankind the blessed assurance that all theistic churches will shortly merge in the one eternal spiritual community by the grace of the Supreme Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya. The spiritual community is not circumscribed by the conditions of time and space, race and nationality. Mankind had been looking forward to this far-off divine event through the long ages. Ṭhākura Bhaktivinoda has made the conception available in its practicable spiritual form to the open minded empiricist who is prepared to undergo the process of enlightenment. The key stone of the arch has been laid which will afford the needed shelter to all awakened animation under its ample encircling arms. Those who would thoughtlessly allow their hollow pride of race, pseudo-knowledge or pseudo-virtue to stand in the way of this long hoped for consummation, would have to thank only themselves for not being incorporated in the spiritual society of all pure souls.
These plain words need not be misrepresented, by arrogant persons who are full of the vanity of empiric ignorance, as the pronouncements of aggressive sectarianism. The aggressive pronouncement of the concrete truth is the crying necessity of the moment for silencing the aggressive propaganda of specific untruths that is being carried on all over the world by the preachers of empiric contrivances for the amelioration of the hard lot of conditioned souls. The empiric propaganda clothes itself in the language of negative abstraction for deluding those who are engrossed in the selfish pursuit of worldly enjoyment.
But there is a positive and concrete function of the pure soul which should not be perversely confounded with any utilitarian form of worldly activity. Mankind stands in need of that positive spiritual function of which the hypocritical impersonalists are in absolute ignorance. The positive function of the soul harmonises the claims of extreme selfishness with those of extreme self-abnegation in the society of pure souls even in this mundane world. In its concrete realisable form the function is perfectly inaccessible to the empiric understanding. Its imperfect and misleading conception alone is available by the study of the scriptures to the conditioned soul that is not helped by the causeless grace of the pure devotees of Godhead.
From The Harmonist, December 1931, Volume 29, Number 6
Published in Rays of The Harmonist,
Volume 1, Number 2, Kartika 1997