śrī śrī guru gaurāṅga jayataḥ!

Rays of The Harmonist On-Line Edition

Year-3 & 16, Issue 4
Posted: 3 May, 2010 & 9 May 2023

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

The Enlightening Potency of Words

by Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda

(Photograph of Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda)

There are many obstacles along the path of the search for Truth. These obstacles eclipse the real nature of the seeker of Truth, of the search, and of the object of the search. It is the enlightening potency of words which alone is able to destroy all those obstacles. Therefore, only when the deluding potency of words born of the ephemeral nature is resolved into the enlightening function do words prevent the individual soul from becoming severed from non-dual knowledge (advaya-jñāna), that is, from the Supreme True Entity. Then, such enlightening words shall never promote the perversion of the cognitive principle into indistinct oneness. On the contrary they shall thoroughly uproot the blunder of prescribing to the speculative theory of undifferentiated cognition.

Śrī Caitanyadeva is the true oneness of the subject and object of non-dual knowledge. And Nityānanda is the manifestation of this oneness. In fact, He is the manifesting aspect of non-dual knowledge Himself. The two of Them are like the Sun and the Moon. They reveal the cognitive potency of the spiritual soul. Bhakti bestows the true quality of oneness and of love of Kṛṣṇa. These two potencies of bestowing oneness and of producing the pleasure of that non-dual knowledge are to be found within Śrī Caitanya.

In this world we create various structures by means of our cognitive and active sense-organs. Among our sense-organs the organ of speech is the parent of hearing, that is, of perceiving sound. The organ of speech is not always wholly established on the path of aurally received transcendent sound. In such a case conflict with such divine sound will arise, which will lead the other four senses astray. It should be understood that this phenomenon does not apply to those words that are free from all limitations and which remove the obstructive filth that blocks the path of the auricular cavity. Such words dissipate the influence of the words that exist in the realm of limited perception. And by that operation, the path of transcendental hearing is not prejudicially affected.

There is a ten-fold process for rectifying the defects of the physical body that is produced from semen in the mother’s womb. Although this purificatory process satisfies the speculative function of the mind, it serves to enrich our sensory knowledge, which subsequently may produce indifference to transcendental, non-dual knowledge. In such a case, our sensory knowledge leads us to mistake those beings who are in a relationship with Godhead, for things of this phenomenal world. Under such misapprehension, that same knowledge, by the Real Entity’s deluding potency, may impel us to renounce such beings and lead us away from the Truth, causing us to rely upon the non-spiritual reflection of the realm of true cognition more than on the realm of Truth itself.

In the demonstration of teaching, there are two parties – the teacher and the student. We find a reciprocal relation between the aforesaid two. The position of the student has special significance in that he has to pay his attention to the words and observe the deeds of the teacher, as well as perceive the true goal of his attempts. If he is negligent in receiving anything from the teacher, he will simply miss out on truly hearing that which was intended for him. Indeed, his function as a recipient will vary according to the nature, capacity and degree of his whole-hearted attention. When we consider this nature, we find that he must take responsibility for himself as the follower of either an elevationist (who seeks heaven), a salvationist (who seeks liberation from the material realm) or a devotee. By availing himself of the teachings of one of these, he is expected to make up for his inadequacies by rectifying his wrong notions and assimilating the essence of the knowledge he will receive. He can thus regulate his mental state by any addition to or deduction from his store of intuitions.

The teachings of a teacher are therefore meant for enriching, regulating and inviting the impulse of reception in the mentality of the student in order to enable the latter to make further progress. If the student has an irreverent mood, he will prove himself to be a callous and non-susceptible agent. But if he proves himself truly worthy of receiving the teachings and enriching himself, he will be deemed fit for undertaking further mental training. But some amount of timidity may hamper him in his dutiful advance.

Adapted from The Gaudiya Volume 26, Number 9
by the Rays of The Harmonist team

Rays of The Harmonist On-line, Year-3, Issue 4 “The Enlightening Potency of Words” by Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License to ensure that it is always freely available. You may redistribute this article if you include this license and attribute it to Rays of The Harmonist. Please ask for permission before using the Rays of The Harmonist banner-logo.