śrī śrī guru gaurāṅga jayataḥ!
Year-1 & 14, Number 9
Posted: 19 October 2008 & 25 October 2021
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
By what means can one receive the complete mercy of Kṛṣṇa?
by Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda
Question 1: How will I attain spiritual well-being?
Answer: “Kṛṣṇa is my eternal master and I am His eternal servant.” When we are fortunate to have this knowledge or realization come into our life, then all inauspiciousness will be burnt to ashes and all auspiciousness will become accessible to us.
Question 2: What is the path to our auspiciousness?
Answer: The sole path to auspiciousness, whether we are amidst prosperity or calamity, is to fully surrender ourselves at the lotus feet of Bhagavān.
If someone abandons the attitude of surrender, “Kṛṣṇa will certainly protect me,” and instead pretends to be his own protector, then, at once, he will in fact become the cause of his own utter ruination. In all respects, depending on Kṛṣṇa is most beneficial. If we do not, we will surely suffer, birth after birth. Śrī Bhagavān, who is affectionate to His devotees, accepts full responsibility for those who take shelter of Him. It is best if we become fully dependent on Him as soon as possible.
Question 3: Who is a bhakta?
Answer: A bhakta is exclusively he who gives up his own happiness for the sake of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s happiness, who gives up his own sense enjoyment for His enjoyment, and who can thus remain constantly engaged in serving Him. He alone will attain auspiciousness.
The tendency to give pleasure to Kṛṣṇa is bhakti. The disposition characterized by the thought “I must remain in a state of happiness”, wherein we simply desire our own happiness, is abhakti, or the antithesis of bhakti. It will only bring us distress.
The abhaktas (non-devotees), thinking they can imitate Śrī Kṛṣṇa, consider, “I will live a mundane, sensual life, enjoying with women.”
Rather than accepting the ideals of the abhaktas, we must become inspired by the ideals of the bhaktas. Only then will our lives become auspicious.
If we do not constantly engage ourselves in Kṛṣṇa’s service, then we will either become a bhogī (one who chases after sense objects) or a tyāgī (one who runs away from sense objects), but we cannot become a bhakta.
Question 4: What is the process by which one can attain bhagavad-darśana, or direct personal audience with Śrī Bhagavān?
Answer: Under śrī guru’s guidance, become saturated with a mood of service and wait expectantly for Kṛṣṇa’s mercy. This alone is the way to attain darśana of Bhagavān.
The verse, tat te nukampāṁ... gives evidence of this; bhagavad-darśana, direct personal audience with Śrī Bhagavān, comes through śrī guru’, the transparent via medium.
The path of śuddha-bhakti, or pure bhakti, is most certainly the path to bhagavad-darśana.
Question 5: How will I attain service to Kṛṣṇa?
Answer: Without being mukta, or in the liberated state, one does not attain the qualification to serve Kṛṣṇa. Only one who surrenders everything at Bhagavān’s lotus feet is factually liberated.
Reluctance in offering everything to Bhagavān is no doubt symptomatic of the shackled living entities’ state of aversion to Śrī Kṛṣṇa.
Liberated souls render service to Kṛṣṇa by offering Him everything they posses. They make every possible endeavour for Kṛṣṇa’s pleasure and welfare. But it is not possible to become liberated or to surrender everything to Kṛṣṇa in this way without receiving the mercy of śrī gurudeva, for Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the asset of śrī gurudeva. No one can attain Kṛṣṇa unless śrī gurudeva delivers Him to us. Therefore, without rendering service to śrī gurudeva, one never becomes eligible to render service to Śrī Kṛṣṇa.
To serve Śrī Kṛṣṇa, one must first become śrī guru’s possession. By this alone one will attain this service (kṛṣṇa-sevā). In the absence of subordination to śrī guru (guru-ānugatya) and service to him (guru-sevā), kṛṣṇa-sevā is impossible.
Question 6: Are we the servants of śrī nāma?
Answer: Certainly. In our self-realized state, or our constitutional state, our only activity is to serve Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa’s name is truly Kṛṣṇa Himself; therefore, service to śrī nāma is indeed service to Śrī Kṛṣṇa.
As soon as we forget our service to Śrī Kṛṣṇa or śrī nāma, we forget our constitutional nature. In the resultant state of distorted consciousness, we undergo suffering, being grasped by the jaws of māyā (the illusory energy).
By the mercy of śrī guru, when sambandha-jñāna (knowledge of our relationship with the absolute) is awakened, we come to know that we are the eternal servants of Kṛṣṇa and we realize that, īśāvāsyam idaṁ sarvam, every object throughout the universe is an instrument for serving Śrī Kṛṣṇa.
Those who desire eternal happiness upon deliverance from material existence must incessantly perform kṛṣṇa-nāma-saṅkīrtana. This alone is the instruction of Mahāprabhu. Therefore, the devotee sees that he is the servant of śrī nāma, that every living entity within this universe is meant to bring joy to Kṛṣṇa, and that each and every object is an instrument to be used in serving Him.
Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s holy name is akhila-rasāmṛta-sindhu, the ocean of transcendental humours; He is sac-cid-ānanda-vigraha, the condensed form of eternality, cognizance and bliss; and He is Śrī Śyāmasundara, Yaśodānandana.
Service to akhila-rasāmṛta-sindhu śrī-kṛṣṇa-nāma is alone service to Śrī Kṛṣṇa Himself. Therefore, the devotees please śrī guru and Kṛṣṇa by rendering uninterrupted service to Kṛṣṇa through the medium of śrī-nāma-saṅkīrtana.
Question 7: By what means can one receive the complete mercy of Kṛṣṇa?
Answer: When Śrī Vārṣabhānavī-devī (Śrīmatī Rādhikā, the daughter of King Vṛṣabhānu) accepts someone as one of Her own – as a rūpānuga, or one of the followers of Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī – then, only, is the full mercy of Kṛṣṇa accessible to him. He can only attain this fortune if he can become the kiṅkara of śrī guru, who is himself the best of the followers of Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī.
It is thus necessary for each and every one of us to become tṛṇād api sunīca, more humble than a blade of grass. To become tṛṇād api sunīca, we shall have to forsake our present identity, qualities and possessions, and identify ourselves as the servant, or kiṅkarā, of śrī guru and śrī nāma.
Question 8: Who can become a real guru?
Answer: One who considers himself to be a Vaiṣṇava is branded “Avaiṣṇava” (a non Vaiṣṇava), and one who considers himself to be guru, or superior to others, is totally unfit to be a guru. Only one who regards himself as the disciple of the disciple of śrī guru is capable of becoming a guru. Only a guru-niṣṭhā bhakta, one who has unflinching bhakti unto śrīla gurudeva and Bhagavān alike, can perform the function of guru.
Translated by the Rays of The Harmonist team
from Srila Prabhupadera Upadesamrta
Questions re-numbered for this on-line presentation
Śrīla Prabhupadera Upadeśāmṛta is a compilation of Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda’s instructions in question-and-answer form.