Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura
A Lecture given in Mayapur, India: February 18, 1930
[The following discourse was given by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada himself on his Vyasa-puja day in 1930. It was taken from Rays of The Harmonist. Vol. II. No. I, printed in the 1990's. avaialbe for download in the Harmonist download section of this site.
caksur-unmilitam yena tasmai sri guruve namah
["Obeisances to Sri Gurudeva who has opened our sealed eyes, blinded by the darkness of ignorance, with the spike of the collyrium of knowledge."]
Today is the day of the worship of Sri Guru, and I have come here today for this purpose. I am a person blinded by ignorance. Ignorance is an object resembling darkness. I am the servant of Visnu - I have no other function except the service of Visnu - this mode of thought is being obstructed by the darkness of nescience. I have become blind for the present. Absence of light is darkness; absence of knowledge is ignorance. The only knowledge is the darling of Nanda, who is replete with all knowledge. I, who am averse to the service of the darling of Nanda, am blind.
Darkness assuming form envelopes my eyes. It is for this reason that my function of vision is inoperative, and that there has appeared in me the tendency towards various other activities. By means of my senses - namely, hands, feet, eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and skin - I am engaged in a variety of work. Because of this, a multitude of diverse dangers confront me. By attempting to walk with these feet I often stumble and fall. By trying to discuss with this mind, I am invoking manifold evil by not being able to understand the real subject of knowledge.
In such an hour of peril, Sri Guru, being moved to pity, manifested in this world. This has been done in order that he may impart to me the knowledge that "You are the servant of the darling of Nanda," and to dispel the darkness of ignorance.
My loss of sense of duty has led me to embark on the enjoyment of worldly objects, and to think such enjoyment is my duty. With this eye I see what is not my duty to see. I see only the bondage that obstructs me from my vision of He whom I ought to see by all means. By being deprived of His sight, I see only this bondage of material enjoyment.
The lotus feet of Sri Guru have imparted to me the light of spiritual knowledge, by removing that bondage of my eyes. Moving aside the bondage of my wrapped eyes and making the lids of my eyes open slightly, Gurudeva instructed me, saying, "Open your eyes a little and see." All these days I had been thinking that I can see by keeping my eyes closed.
For this reason I am performing the duty of offering obeisances to the lotus feet of Sri Guru, by giving up my worldly vanity. This is the first object of offering my worship. To give up the vanity that thinks "I see," "I enjoy," is called "offering obeisances." While I was cherishing the wicked notion that I am the master, Sri Guru opened my eyes and removed my misjudging judgment. I was following the blind, under the lead of the knowledge of other objects. The lotus feet of Sri Guru made me realize that it is my duty not to follow the blind.
I did not possess that judgment of worshipping the lotus feet of Sri Guru for many years. The service of Sri Guru is verily my only duty, the function of the principle of my individual self. This also I have been enabled to understand only by his grace. After obtaining the sight of the lotus feet of Sri Guru, I have no longer such judgment that I have any other function except serving the feet of Sri Guru.
By his mercy, that dearest servant of the Supreme Lord, in order to rescue me from the clutches of worldly vanity, made me cognizant of the service of the darling of Nanda. It was only at that moment that I could realize that there is no other function of the jiva's own self. There is no other blessing except the endeavor to please the senses of the darling of Nanda. He alone is both the only mode and the only goal of all my activities. Sri Guru is His most beloved.
The service to the lotus feet of Sri Guru cannot be performed by an unskilled person like me, by any of the instruments such as body, mind and speech. If Sri Guru infuses in me the power, or looks upon me with approval, then I can gain his favor, and I can then obtain the fitness for serving him.
I could understand the subject of the summum bonum only on the day Sri Guru placed his feet, which are obtainable with difficulty even by the gods, on the head of an unworthy person like myse lf and baptized me with their dust. I then submitted to them the auspicious wish that I might be a fit recipient of the potency that is wielded by them.
In my vanity I could not fancy that the lotus feet of Sri Guru could be really so great. But if I narrate to you the good fortune attained by them, this may be conducive to the worship of Sri Guru by yourselves also.
Srila Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami has prayed, "I am most unworthy. I am more sinful than Jagai and Madhai; more insignificant than the maggot germinating in filth. The goodness of the person who even chances to hear my name, wears off. He who even utters my name reaps sin. Who is there in this world to have mercy on me, with the single exception of Sri Nityananda Prabhu?" *[See Endnote 1]
I have no resources to show my gratitude towards one who has acted the part of the most merciful of all persons, for the purpose of conferring on such an unworthy person the gift of fi tness. It is not possible for me to repay his kindness in any way. Sri Guru is the counterpart of Godhead - possessing a singleness of purpose to serve Godhead. Every act of his is the highest ideal of the service of Godhead. As long as this vision suffers any impediment, the scales have not fallen from my eyes.
Unless we obtain the grace, unless we gain spiritual enlightenment, we cannot realize the greatness of his lotus feet. When I set myself to discourse regarding Sri Gurudeva, I find that he manifests himself in this world for the establishment of the heart's desire of Sri Caitanya, for rousing me into the waking state. Our previous acarya Thakura Narottama has revealed this: sri caitanya mano' bhistam stapitam yena bhutale / svayam rupah kada mahyam dadati sva-padantikam - "Oh, when will Sri Rupa himself, by whom the heart's desire of Sri Caitanya has been substantiated in this world, vouchsafe me the close proximity of his own feet?"
After I had the good fortune of obtaining the sight of the lotus feet of Sri Guru, I had the opportunity of discoursing about these words of the best of teachers, Thakura Narottama. The lotus feet of Sri Guru manifest in this world for establishing the heart's desire of Sri Caitanya.
What is the nature of the heart of Sri Caitanya? Sri Caitanyadeva had said, "The hearts of other persons are their minds. My mind is Vrndavana. I deem My mind and the divine woodland where Krsna loves to stroll as the same."
The holy Vrndavana is really the heart of Sri Gaurasundara. Only those who are saved from the clutches of evil can realize the nature of Sri Vrndavana. The word "abhista" in the verse of Thakura Narottama means literally "to desire in every way". He is referring to that which is desired by Caitanya in every way, that which Caitanya wills, and the teaching that He imparts for making the unconscious conscious. He prays, "When will Sri Rupa Gosvami Prabhupada, who has established this teaching of Caitanya in this world, place me in the close proximity of his lotus feet for the same service of the Lord?" The word "svayam rupa" may also mean "the personal form of the divinity, the darling of Nanda". In that case he prays, "When will Sri Krsnacandra, drawing my soul to His, take me to the proximity of His lotus feet?"
In Sri Krsna's personal form is concentrated the principles of real existence, consciousness and bliss. With this bag of bone and muscle, this carcass of flesh and blood which has been born of parents for the purpose of suffering pain, for undergoing the threefold-misery in the prison of this world, for my aversion to Krsna - with this bundle of flesh and bones one cannot go to His presence.
Nor is it possible to approach the proximity of the feet of the personal divinity with the current of mental thought engrossed in external objects of sensuous perception, in which there is consciousness of any other object than the darling of Nanda. When the external objects of this world - house, body, air, fruits and flowers, this whole world - tell me, "Master, we wish to serve you," then I think, "Very well, let me be the lord of these."
The air-god is an object of my highest worship. Inhaling him with my nose and fancying him to be an object for ministering to my pleasure, I try to absorb him into my lungs. Why? In order to maintain my life, I have conceived the desire of becoming the lord pf my senses. I cannot understand that this eye is preventing me from seeing the unique and incomparable beauty of the darling of Nanda by holding external color and form; nor that the external sound is the obstacle of my catching the sound of Krsna's flute.
I am not able to find the strength to surmount this obstacle until Sri Guru, full of en dless mercy, manifests himself to me. I have been unable to feel any liking for the lotus feet of Sri Caitanya, the darling of Sri Nanda, and for the feet of Sri Rupa Gosvami - Sri Rupa Manjari - whose endeavors are fast bound to the lotus feet of Sri Caitanya. Alas! Indeed, where is another person whose fate is as blasted as mine?
Others work towards establishing the tidings of aversion to the darling of Nanda in this wicked world. But Sri Guru, the best beloved of Sri Caitanya, out of mercy, is trying to establish Sri Caitanya in my heart. When will the lotus feet of Sri Guru graciously allot me a place in their close proximity? When will Sri Guru make me enter the community of the followers of Rupa? When will the Vaisnavas, making me bathe in the shower of the dust of their feet, accept me as their servant? When shall I be able to behold that blessing, by bathing in the particles of feet-dust of the Vaisnavas - that blessing by which I shall b e able to obtain the mercy of that beauteous person Himself? Sri Baladeva Nityananda, who is the manifestation of Godhead's own Self, is Himself endeavoring to serve Krsna by cherishing that self conception.
There can be no service of Gaura if one is enveloped by the faculty of aversion. Sri Guru is that very person who, focusing in himself the manifestation of Krsna's own transcendental form, is engaged in establishing the heart's desire of Sri Caitanya in this world.
Sri Krsna, Brahma, Narada, Vyasa, Madhva, Padmanabha, Nrhari, Madhava, Aksobhya, Jayatirtha, Jnanasindhu, Dayanidhi, Vidyanidhi, Rajendra, Jayadharma, Purusottama, Vyasatirtha, Laksmipati, Madhavendra, Isvara, Advaita, Nityananda, Isvara's "disciple" Sri Caitanya - this is the successive order of preceptors. Sri Krsna has established the preceptorial order of this world. When will Krsna, drawing me into Himself, make me and object of His grace?
There is no func tion or object of endeavor for the individual soul, other than the service of Sri Radha-Govinda. I have observed this judgment and conduct only by the mercy of my Sri Guru. The worship of other gods, and so on, is also not the object of the endeavor of the individual soul.
The heart's desire of Sri Caitanya alone is also the limit of the desire of the individual soul. Words on any other subject are only a contrivance for the production of evil. This teaching also has been imparted by Sri Guru alone. Sri Guru is serving the darling son of Nanda at all times, by all senses, in every way. There is no other function of Sri Guru even for the space of a single moment, than such service. Unless we behold this, we do not really accept the protecting guidance of Sri Guru.
The darling son of Nanda, who is the sole object of worship by means of His centripetal attraction, has kept the attracted so effectively drawn towards Him that they do not experience any other desire. Such service is the only natural function of the soul. We, who are empowered by the limiting energy (maya), by the idea that we are not predominated parts of the divinity, are being engrossed by His deluding external power.
What endless variety of pretences have been put before us by the deluding energy in order to seduce us to the ambition of lording it over the material world, to impress on us that we have need of this connection with matter! The deluding energy has been appearing before us like a harlequin wearing a variety of masks.
We belong to the class of servants, as particles of the predominated energy of Godhead. We are not the concentrated or plenary forms of the predominated power. We shall lapse into the worship of the form of the false ego if we cherish the offensive desire of masquerading as the holy concentrated forms of power, by giving up the inclination of serving Godhead by submission to the true concentrated personalities of power.
We are dis-associable particles. If we are not separable, how else can we learn to be averse to Sri Hari? These manifold misunderstandings have appeared in me by reason of my cherishing the idea that Sri Guru, the best beloved of the bestower of freedom from ignorance, has no relationship of kindred with me. I think that these misunderstandings are my enemies.
Those who help me towards the aptitude for service of Krsna are my only friends. Those who help me augment my aversion to Krsna are my most deadly enemies. Forgetting this judgment I become busy with activities for procuring vegetables, fish, fuel, and so on, for the maintenance and nourishment of those kindred of mine who are averse to Krsna. Forgetfulness of the service of the lotus feet of Sri Guru, the best beloved of the bestower of freedom from worldly bondage, is the cause of this.
Those who are comparatively less fortunate maintain that the worship of Sita-Rama is th e best of all. Those who are less fortunate than even these, regard the worship of Sri Sri Laksmi-Narayana and the fourfold enveloping expansions (vyuha) as the highest form of worship. Those wretched who are wholly devoid of any such thing as good fortune, get enveloped in abstract indefinite thinking and, ignoring even the unknowable existence of the spiritual, regard the dogma of the void as the highest of all. There are also a few who propound the hypothetical views of skepticism and agnosticism. In this manner one gets anxious to secede from the lotus feet of Sri Guru, in that proportion that his aversion to Krsna increases.
One welcomes as his guru that degree of aversion to Krsna which happens to characterize himself. By this process, the individual soul attains to diverse conditions ranging from that of contracted consciousness to that of a stone. Sri Guru is engaged in establishing the heart's desire of Sri Caitanya as soon as such misfortune overtakes u s. I feel no hankering for the sight of the beauty of the lotus feet of Sri Guru who is so merciful. My thoughts wander away in all directions, in search of sensuous gratification, seeking how the belly may be well filled, how it may be possible to enjoy the world in an effective manner, how bodily ailments may be cured, how physical health may be maintained, and so on, and so on.
The words of Sri Gaurasundara, those words that Sri Guru always repeats to us, declare that in the case of a person who does not want any personal advantage, who is inclined to serve Godhead, who is anxious to get across the ocean of the world to the further shore of the spiritual realm, for such a person to appreciate worldliness and women is, alas, more harmful than swallowing poison.
When Sri Guru bestows on us the mantra (which relieves one from the mental platform), in which he has been instructed by the Supreme Lord's own, it is only then that we realize the fact that th e service of the lotus feet of Sri Guru is the only cause of all well-being.
For the present I will serve Sri Guru starting from the commencement of every year to its close, throughout the whole of the year. I will serve him in future births. If, as the result of my service I attain the state of liberated life someday, I will serve the son of Sri Nanda by continuing to be the recipient of the lotus feet of Sri Guru.
Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami says in his supplication to Sri Radhika that he had indeed passed some time in a state of expectation which is replete with the ocean of bliss. If She will not give him Her mercy, what does he care about life or residence in Vraja, or about the slayer of Baka (Sri Krsna) Himself? Similarly, if I do not obtain the protecting support of Godhead appearing in the role of His servant, what will it avail me to live in Vraja or to attain Krsna? If the fortune of obtaining the sight of the best-beloved of Krsna is to be missed, I am prepared to give up my little life this day. Where is there any more use for preserving the inanimate body?
What manner of other duty may possibly exist for me that is making me run after it by giving up the service of the lotus feet of Sri Guru? Is the evil fortune of triple misery, which is afflicting the innumerable individual souls of the world, ever acceptable to me? No sooner does vulgar talk come to prevail then it produces addiction to this world as a result. Sri Guru tells of the holy name, then he tells of the divine form as worldly desire begins to subside, of the quality of the divinity on further diminution of such appetite, and he draws us fully to the lotus feet of Sri Krsna by telling us of His activities (lila) and the distinctive nature of individual service when the aptitude for worldliness is still further attenuated. After that we serve the son of Nanda, the highest personality of divine activities, by entering into His pastime.
Is this service obtainable by the physical body derived from parents, by the second birth by means of gayatri, by admitting to the study of the scriptures or by subsisting on my mental function?
It is from Sri Guru alone that this function may be gained. His lotus feet are eternal. May I never undergo an interruption of relationship with his lotus feet, even for a single moment. May I be never loosened, even for a moment, from the bond that unites me to his lotus feet. May I never for a moment quit my hold of his lotus feet by being tempted by any fascination of this world. May I never be deprived of His lotus feet by listening to the advice of any other, worthless person.
The succession of preceptors commencing from Sri Krsna - Brahma, Narada, and all of them - are my Sri Gurudeva. My Gurudeva designates his preceptor as his Gurudeva. All of them are preceptors of the same chain. There is no difference in them. There is no diff erence in their utterances. The good fortune that I have gained by obtaining the sight of om visnupada Sri Sri Gaurakisora Prabhu, my mahanta Gurudeva *[See Endnote 2], I find no language to express. I have observed in him the renunciation of Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami in all its perfection. If there be a millionth part of his renunciation in any person, such a person is blessed, indeed; he is most highly blessed. He will be in a position to serve Krsna in the spirit of familiar confidence by climbing upon Krsna's bosom and shoulders.
It is my eternal function to serve the lotus feet of Sri Guru at all times and by means of all the senses. A great day of rejoicing for me has arrived inasmuch as those belonging to the disciplic line of om visnupada Sri Srila Jagannatha dasa Babaji Maharaja have come here to bless me. This high fortune has not been mine before now. All of you belong to the order of my Gurus. I have wasted your priceless time, devoted to the servi ce of Krsna, by speaking a number of incoherent words, but I have said these words only for worshipping Sri Gurudeva.
Sri Gaurasundara says, "Krsna is Master. He is the autocrat. He is full of activity by His will. All glory, above all things, to His self-willed activities. May He accept my service or reject it as He wishes. I will be prepared to offer Him my exclusive service without guile, at all time and in every way, with body, mind and speech. If He spurns me with His feet I shall know that it is my want of worth."
May the ephemeral world not deflect me for a moment, never make me averse to the lotus feet of my Sri Guru. May Sri Gurudeva be pleased to accept my service. May I never have to associate with evil-minded persons.
I do not know what part of my attempt to worship Sri Gurudeva may be accepted by him, but it fills me with hope that He is more merciful to the undeserving. Holding fast to the hope of his causeless merc y, I will be all the more eager to serve. All of you belong to the line of my Guru. May you have mercy on me that I may be enabled to serve him. I offer my prostrated obeisances at your feet.
jagai madhai haite muni se papistha
purisera kita haite muni se laghistha
mora nama sune yei, tara punya ksaya
mora nama laya yei, tara papa haya
emana nigrna more keba krpa kare
eka nityananda vinu jagat bhitare
["I am more sinful than Jagai and Madhai and even lower than the worms in the stool. Anyone who hears my name loses the results of his pious activities. Anyone who utters my name becomes sinful. Who in this world but Nityananda could show His mercy to such an abominable person as me?"
(Srila Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami - Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi-lila 5.205-207)]
There are two kinds of siksa-guru: caitya guru (the Supersoul) and mahanta guru.
siksa-guruke ta' jani krsnera svarupa
antaryami, bhakta-srestha,--ei dui rupa
["One should know the instructing spiritual master to be the Personality of Krsna. Lord Krsna manifests Himself as the Supersoul and as the greatest devotee of the Lord." (Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi-lila 1.47)]