śrī śrī guru gaurāṅga jayataḥ!

Rays of The Harmonist On-Line Edition

Year 12, Issue 1
Posted: 24 February 2019

Dedicated to
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

Porridge and Mortar

by Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda


The special advice that Śrī Caitanyadeva has given to us about the easy way to get rid of desires, a way so natural to mankind, is nothing more than taking shelter of devotion. He has said (as recorded in Śrī Caitanya-candrodaya 8.24, by Śrī Kavi-karṇapūra, a contemporary associate and devotee of the Lord):

For men who are going to serve God after abandoning every worldly attachment with a desire to cross the ocean of worldliness (saṁsāra), the audience of viṣayīs – those sunk deep in worldly affairs and sex-life – is much more harmful and more fit to be abandoned than even sipping poison.

One may take poison and die; but one should never keep company with a viṣayī (an enjoyer of worldly objects) and viṣaya (the objects of enjoyment). He who begins hari-bhajana (service to Śrī Hari) but thereafter becomes entangled with worldly objects of enjoyment (viṣaya), is ruined. 

Bharat, the Emperor of India, practised devotion with penances and progressed along the path. But he cherished a desire for some viṣayaother than Kṛṣṇa – a desire to perform a pious act – and because of that slight desire to serve a jīva’s material condition instead of doing him true kindness, he had to be reborn as a fawn (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 5.7–8). 

It is for this reason that we receive the teaching from the lotus feet of śrī gurudeva that we have no other duty to perform than serving Kṛṣṇa. Śrī gurudeva’s only blessing is “May your mind rest in Kṛṣṇa.” 

Śrī Mahāprabhu has given those who seek true well-being this advice: totally shun the company of the emancipationists, who seek oneness with non-distinct brahma; they are more insincere than those who desire worldly enjoyments. We should shun all such bad company and associate with true sādhus (saintly devotees of God), whose only duty is to cut through the jīvas’ accumulated evil designs. This is their natural motiveless desire (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 11.26–27). 

Worldly people generally cherish a dichotomous heart, or duplicity. They speak one thing out loud, while concealing something different inside. And the funny thing is that they are anxious to present this duplicity of heart to the public as liberality or the virtue of conciliation. These double-tongued men give those who are candid and do not adopt duplicity themselves, the designations of sectarianist, bigot and so on. But we should associate only with those who are candid, not with anyone else. We should totally abandon evil company and keep it at the furthest distance. It is proper to keep a distance of a hundred cubits from horned beasts. 

The common decision of men, whether discriminative or otherwise, is not identical with truth. The common sense of the people in blindly following, like simple cattle being herded, is always defective and prone to mistakes. It is a product of their mental faculty, and although some relative, temorary truth may appear in it, it is not the real truth. 

Human intellect, driven as it is by rajah and tamah (the two lower modes of nature) cannot penetrate deliberations on unmixed sattva-guṇa (the highest mode). To cite a popular example, a person about to eat some pāyasa (sweet rice and milk porridge) was given friendly advice to mix in mortar made of lime, brick-dust and sand, in order to increase its volume. As a result, he could not benefit from the food. The mortar mixed in destroyed the taste of the porridge, choked his throat, burned his mouth and brought about a condition that could have caused his death. 

If we are ever advised to add to pure bhakti, which is free from any of the three modes of nature, the many worldly practices of cultivating jñānayogakarma and so on, which are born of the modes of nature, in order to make pure bhakti complete, it would be to our benefit to not accept such advice. It is detrimental to our true well-being, like the dessert adulterated by mortar. 

Karmajñānayoga, and so on, are the activities of fettered souls, being the functions of the body and mind, whereas bhakti is the function of the soul and the activity of the liberated being. Consequently, bhakti cannot be mixed with activities accomplished within the world of māyā, like karmajñāna, and so on, which are foreign to the soul. When, however, these activities are performed while acknowledging the supremacy of bhakti, that bhakti, although mixed with karma and jñāna, may be helpful in leading one along the road to pure bhakti. When pure bhakti is attained, the mixed state no longer remains. Thus it has been said in the Pañcarātra (cited in the Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu 1.2.8): “Acts that are prescribed in śāstra for service to Hari, constitute ordained bhakti, and through the performance of ordained bhakti, true bhakti is available.”

Adapted from The Gauḍīya, Volume 8, Number 12, Part 2 of 2
by the Rays of The Harmonist Team

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