śrī śrī guru gaurāṅga jayataḥ!
Year-4, Issue 6
Posted: 20 July, 2011
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
Do Not Be Deprived of Sri Guru’s Mercy
by Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda
Question 1:Is Śrīla Gurudeva completely unbiased?
Answer: Certainly. Śrī gurudeva is completely unbiased. He does not seek any type of favour from anyone in this world. His sole desire, which is fully auspicious, is for everyone to engage in sincere hari-bhajana. He believes that the topmost form of compassion is to instruct everyone to act for the pleasure of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s senses. He knows that encouraging someone to engage in sense gratification or encouraging their attachment to material sense objects is not an act of compassion, but in fact one of sheer violence.
Question 2: Is the mercy of Bhagavān the sole cause of meeting sad-guru?
Answer: Yes. If we are fortunate enough to attain the association of a pure devotee of the Lord, we should understand that such opportunities are masterfully arranged solely by Śrī Kṛṣṇacandra. By bringing us in connection with śrī guru, the Lord bestows His most assuring blessings upon us. Only those who are exceptionally fortunate will receive this benediction. A befitting guru appears before the seeker according to that seeker’s qualification (adhikāra).
Question 3:Is it acceptable to maintain a mood of enjoyment in relation to paraphernalia meant for serving Śrīla Gurudeva?
Answer: Never. Such a mood is offensive. If we do not engage our ears in listening to hari-kīrtana; if our tendency to measure everything according to our worldly vision is solely predominant; if we engage our eyes in judging all visible objects; if we engage our nose in enjoying sweet fragrances; if we engage our tongue in savouring all kinds of delicious food; and if we engage our skin in expanding our mastery over the sense of touch, then our mood of enjoyment in relation to paraphernalia meant for serving Śrīla Gurudeva has definitely been awakened.
It is comparable to considering that which is worshipful for us (sevya-vastu) – that entity who is heavy with significance (guru-vastu) – to be insignificant, or light (laghu-vastu). Such mentality can never lead to auspiciousness for us.
Question 4: Does śrī guruever deprive us?
Answer: Definitely. Śrīla Gurudeva is fully aware of our foolishness, of our deficiencies and limitations, our improper conceptions, our wavering principles and everything else. In fact, he makes arrangements to cure us according to the degree and nature of our ailments.
Only he who, having been approached, nullifies the need to listen to anyone else or to approach any other person can be called sad-guru. Bhagavān – who is the embodiment of the origin of auspiciousness, from which all auspiciousness is born – has completely entrusted my welfare into the hands of śrī gurudeva. If I surrender myself to that śrī gurudeva one hundred percent, he will bestow all spiritual welfare upon me. And the symptom of a surrendered soul is to bow down and dutifully accept whatever arrangements śrī gurudevamakes for him without reservation.
However if I indulge in dishonesty, double-dealing, a false show of devotion or hypocrisy, then he will deceive us. He will say, “You have not become a disciple yet. You will not accept chastisement but your heart is full of sins. And because you are taking advice from hypocrites, you have not yet prepared your ears to hear my words. You therefore remain deprived.”
Question 5:Where did my troubles begin?
Answer:I am seeking auspiciousness for myself but in reality I have determined that which is inauspicious to be auspicious. We often call upon a doctor to cure our ailments and are prescribed medicine and a particular diet by him. But if I tell him, “You should arrange medicine and a diet in accordance with my desires and tastes,” then I am myself taking the role of doctor. Can our diseases really be cured this way?
Similarly, if I approach sad-gurubut do not thereafter listen to his instructions, if I continue to behave according to my own will, how will I attain any welfare? It is clear, therefore, that if we only accept that doctor who approves of our wishes, we will find ourselves in great difficulty. If our doctor does not prescribe the medicine and diet that is truly beneficial for us, but instead prescribes things according to our own desires just to please us and collect a fee, then, although we may achieve some momentary happiness, our disease will not be cured.
Question 6: How can bhaktibe attained?
Answer: First of all, bhakti can only be achieved by associating with a bhakta (one who posseses bhakti), and by no other means. There is nothing more auspicious for the jīva than attaining Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Such an auspicious attainment only comes as the result of extremely good fortune, and the jīva becomes truly fortunate only after his desire to wander throughout this material universe is finally and completely extinguished.
When the jīva’s original nature (ātmā-dharma) thus begins to manifest by the influence of śrī guru’s mercy, he attains the seed of bhakti. The mercy of śrī guru and the mercy of Śrī Kṛṣṇa are non-different, and true mercy is prasāda – that which they compassionately bestow in a state of profound bliss.
Śrīla Gaurāṅgadeva has said:
brahmāṇḍa bhramite kona bhāgyavān jīva
guru kṛṣṇa prasāde pāya bhakti-latā bīja
Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Madhya-līlā 19.151)
All living beings wander throughout the universe, but some extremely fortunate souls receive the seed of the creeper of bhakti by the mercy (prasāda) of Śrī Kṛṣṇa in His form as śrī guru.
Serving the Master by becoming His servant is indeed bhakti. Bhakti means to strive exclusively for the happiness of the Master. On the other hand, rendering service to the Master in order to secure one’s own pleasure cannot be called bhakti.
The seed of such bhakti can only be attained from śrī gurudeva. We are the gardeners of our heart. We must carefully plant this seed and nourish it with the water of śravaṇa and kīrtana (hearing and chanting).
“I am a servant. To render service is my dharma, my eternal occupation.” To establish oneself in this truth is the sole meaning of becoming the gardener of the heart. Śrī Kṛṣṇa, out of His causeless mercy, personally appears before us in the form of śrī gurudeva in order to confer upon us the seed of the creeper of bhakti. After receiving that seed from śrī gurudeva, I shall exclusively engage in serving Śrī Kṛṣṇa. If I become indifferent towards rendering service, then I will invariably find myself in great difficulty. By the power of śrī gurudeva’s mercy, all impediments on the path of bhajana will certainly be removed. Thereafter, everything will become favourable.
To listen to the words emanating from the lips of śrī guru or a sādhu is called śravaṇa. Reading or reciting scripture in pursuance of the instructions of śrī guru or a sādhu also constitutes śravaṇa. It is a certainty that we will face numerous difficulties if we deviate from the lotus feet of śrī guru even for a moment. Śravaṇa and kīrtana are the water that nourishes the seed, and the soul who has taken shelter of the lotus feet of śrī gurudeva is the gardener who waters it. Our only duty is to always engage in the intimate service of Śrīla Gurudeva.
To associate with sādhu-guru is our one and only duty. It is important to nurture the bhakti creeper with due care. One should engage in the service of the Lord with great expertise. Deviating from this principle leads to the rise of unlimited forms of difficulty.
Question 7:Are we living or dead?
Answer: The jīva is the servant of Bhagavān. Rendering service to Bhagavān is his sole occupation (dharma). Service is the only truly awakened state of any conscious being, and it is the only state in which he is truly alive. Only he who is engaged in serving Bhagavān can be considered alive; one who is indifferent to such service is virtually dead.
Apart from serving Śrī Kṛṣṇa and His associates, there is nothing else worth doing. The jīva is the servant of that Śrī Kṛṣṇa who takes the form of śrī guru. By acting according to our own whims and fancies, we shall never attain the ultimate goal of life. Rather, we will simply remain in a state of being dead even while we are still alive. He who is predominantly inclined to engage in material activities (karma-kanda) is considered virtually dead. And solely because of this condition of his, he never takes interest in true action. Rather he remains solely interested in action on the plane of impermanence (asat-kārya).
Remaining bereft of service to the “Real Being” (vāstava vastu), is like being dead. Those who live under the control of māya instead of Śrī Krsna are as good as dead despite apparently being alive. It is not the occupation of the soul to endeavour for prosperity in the form of physical and mental opulence. Such endeavour is for those who are bereft of life – in other words, such behaviour is only suitable for unconscious beings.
Bhakti is the only happiness. Everything else is the absence of happiness. Bhogīs (sense enjoyers) and tyāgīs (false renunciants) are both lifeless, distressed and restless. Only the selfless devotee is truly alive, happy and peaceful.
Translated by the Rays of The Harmonist team
from Śrīla Prabhupādera Upadeśāmṛta
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.