śrī śrī guru gaurāṅga jayataḥ!
Year 7, Issue 5 Dedicated to Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Prajñāna Keśava Gosvāmī Mahārāja Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja
Posted: 17 June 2014
nitya-līlā praviṣṭa oṁ viṣṇupāda
Inspired by and under the guidance of
nitya-līlā praviṣṭa oṁ viṣṇupāda
śrī śrī guru gaurāṅga jayataḥ!
Year 7, Issue 5
Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Prajñāna Keśava Gosvāmī Mahārāja
Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja
Jesus Christ is Jagad-guru
by Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda
Question 1: Jesus Christ is jagad-guru, the spiritual master of the whole world. His instructions alone are sufficient for our spiritual welfare. Is it still necessary, then, to accept a mahānta-guru – a great spiritual ācārya (one who teaches by his example) – who is still living in this world?
Answer: We accept both – jagad-guru and mahānta-guru. If only the jagad-guru-vāda [jagad-guru-ism] is accepted the result has many undesirable consequences (anarthas). If someone accepts such a great soul from the past – in this case Jesus Christ – as jagad-guru and wishes to follow in his footsteps in the present but considers that there is no need for any mahānta-guru, it is questionable to what extent he will be able to properly follow the views of Jesus. Only the succession of mahānta-gurus mercifully delivers to us the words of the Supreme Lord or of the jagad-guru ācāryas.
The stream of water that originated in the Himalayas has travelled between Gaṅgā’s banks all the way here, to Navadvīpa. As a result, even though we are sitting at such a distance from her source, we are able to touch water from the Himalayas. In the same manner, mahānta-guru brings the current of the river of śuddha-bhakti – as pure and sacred as the waters of Mandākinī (Gaṅgā). He brings that current, which originates at the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord, all the way to us and showers it on our heads.
Had the banks of the Ganges not existed, then a person as ordinary and weak as me, a person without resources, could never have been able to climb the Himalayas and touch the water there. And without those riverbanks, the concentrated flow of that pure source from the Himalayas would be scattered and we would often tend to accept some polluted stream as pure Himalayan water, inviting our own misfortune.
If the teachings preached by Jesus Christ two thousand years ago are not carried forward through guru-paramparā into the present time, if Jesus Christ’s message is sought only in books and recorded instructions, then there is a possibility that we will mistakenly accept distortions of the truths preached by Him or even accept views that are opposite to his as his own.
Mahānta-guru is also jagad-guru. He is the manifestation of the previous jagad-guru. He receives the teachings of the jagad-guru through disciplic succession and mercifully delivers them to us. He is not someone who would deceive us by not presenting the real truth or say things just to please us; He does not wish for any worldly thing from us. He is the unbiased deliverer of the truth.
Question 2: Does the seed of the desire for sense-gratification remain in the jīva even after attaining perfection?
Answer: No. It is said in scriptures,
jagat ḍubila, jīvera haila bīja nāśa
tāhā dekhi’ pāṅca janera parama ullāsa
Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Ādi-līlā 7.27)
When the five personalities comprising the Pañca-tattva beheld all the living entities of the world thus submerged, and the seed of their material existence completely destroyed, their jubilation knew no bounds.
Inside the jīva, which is taṭasthā-śakti, (the marginal potency of the Supreme Lord) there exist both the endeavour to please Śrī Kṛṣṇa (kṛṣṇonmukhī-ceṣṭā) and the seed of desire for sense-gratification in its unmanifest form, the latter being contrary to the former. When the seed of desire for sense-gratification that manifests from the tree of material existence (saṁsāra) is watered by the flow of time, the conditioned soul becomes bound again and again to the three kinds of misery by varieties of enjoyment.
If a seed that is planted in the soil is drowned in water, it cannot sprout. In the same manner, when the latent seed of desire for sense-gratification is drowned at the bottom of the ocean of service to Śrī Kṛṣṇa, that seed, which is synonymous with aversion to serving Kṛṣṇa, is destroyed in the flood of love of God and there is no possibility of it ever sprouting.
Question 3: What is the proper use of money?
Answer: We are neither sat-karmīs (those who engage in pious activities) nor ku-karmīs (those who engage in sinful activities). We are the carriers of the sandals that protect the lotus-like feet of the devotees of the Lord, who are initiated in the mantra, “...kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ – ..constantly sing the glories of Lord hari”.
Spending money to publish scripture, for preaching hari-kathā (the message of the Lord), and for serving Hari, guru and Vaiṣṇavas is the only proper use of money; it bestows unending fruits.
Question 4: Should criticism of others be condemned?
Answer: One should not engage in praising or criticizing someone else’s nature or activities. This injunction is given in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam as well as in Śrī Caitanya-bhāgavata. Elsewhere also it is stated, “para-carcakera gati nahi kona kāle – one who engages in criticizing others never achieves any benefit.” Criticism of others leads us only to hell. Instead of criticizing the nature of others, one should engage in correcting oneself. When śrī gurudeva chastises or reprimands, it is for the benefit of the people. It is best for us not to enter into such a hazardous realm.
Question 5: Does happiness exist in this material world?
Answer: True happiness does not exist in this material world. In this world, so many unexpected disturbances arise, leading to endless varieties of chaos. Although bad, good and partial purity may exist here as well, the prominent results here are a variety of manifest disturbances. This is why the verse “tat te ‘nukampām”* manifested. Selfish autocracy does not exist in Goloka-dhāma, but here, there is no alternative but to tolerate the disturbances that arise at a particular time and place.
* C.f. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 10.14.8
Question 6: What qualities are favourable for bhajana?
Answer: This cosmic manifestation, devoid of the inclination to serve the Supreme Lord, is a painful place meant for one’s examination. Tolerance, humility and appreciating others are the traits that are helpful in one’s bhajana.
Question 7: Is preserving the property of the Lord also service to Him?
Answer: The basic objective for every one of us is to render service to the Supreme Lord and His devotees. While genuinely rendering this service, if one has to engage in all sorts of material activities just like other materialists, then it is not unfavourable for bhajana. In fact, one should understand such service to be exclusively favourable for bhajana. In order to rescue oneself from material sense gratification, it is essential for both the householders and those in the renounced order of life to engage in kṛṣṇa-bhajana (devotional service).
Question 8: What are the activities of a Vaiṣṇava?
Answer: Śrīman Mahāprabhu has remarked on the conduct of a Vaiṣṇava, stating that it is necessary for both householders and renunciants to engage in bhagavad-bhajana through performing their respective prescribed duties – for the householders, that means to acquire necessary wealth and for the renunciants, it means to beg. In both lifestyles, one’s food and clothing is acquired in accordance with the mercy of the Supreme Lord. Therefore it is a must for everyone to depend on the mercy of the Supreme Lord.
All of the body parts simultaneously engage together in order to preserve the material body, but if any part becomes apathetic or hostile towards the preservation of the body, then the body more or less suffers. Knowing this, it becomes the duty of all those who wish to achieve their eternal welfare to simultaneously engage in the service of Hari, guru and Vaiṣṇavas, to be merciful towards other living entities (jīve-dayā), and to engage in chanting the holy names of Śrī Kṛṣṇa (kṛṣṇa-nāma-bhajana).
Translated by the Rays of The Harmonist team
from Śrīla Prabhupādera Upadeśāmṛta
Questions re-numbered for this on-line presentation
Śrīla Prabhupādera Upadeśāmṛta is a compilation of Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda’s instructions, in question-and-answer form.