Verbania, Italy - June 25, 2004
Tridandisvami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja
In his commentary to his own book, Sri Brhad-bhagavatamrta, Srila Sanatana Gosvami quotes the following verses:
athaitat paramam guhyam
su-gopyam api vaksyami
tvam me bhrtyah suhrt sakha
["My dear Uddhava, O beloved of the Yadu dynasty, because you are My servant, well-wisher and friend, I shall now speak to you the most confidential knowledge. Please hear as I explain these great mysteries to you.I am telling you the most hidden knowledge." (Srimad-bhagavatam 11.11.49)]
na rodhayati mam yogo
na sankhyam dharma eva ca
na svadhyayas tapas tyago
nesta-purtam na daksina
vratani yajnas chandamsi
tirthani niyama yamah
sarva-sangapaho hi mam
In the 11th Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam, Lord Krsna tells Uddhava, "O My dear Uddhava, you are very near and dear to Me. You are My friend, commander-in-chief and advisor, and we have so many other relationships as well. I am therefore going to reveal to you the most important and hidden knowledge."
"O friend, the association of My most elevated devotees cuts to pieces all desires for worldly sense gratification. That high-class mahat-sanga, association of pure devotees, can control Me. On the other hand, philosophical analysis, piety, yoga, chanting the Vedas, accepting the renounced order of life, performing severe austerities, giving in charity, non-violence, following instructions for discipline in the practice of yoga, taking vows, visiting and bathing in holy places chanting confidential mantras cannot do so."
You should also think like this. These activities cannot help you anywhere near as much as mahat-sanga can help. Mahat-sanga is the most favorable activity for advancement in devotion to the Lord. Controlling the mind and senses – along with mahat-sanga it is ok, otherwise not. If anyone has taken sannyasa but has no devotion or strong faith in the self-realized guru, the above-mentioned pious activities are all performed in vain. External activities alone cannot help you.
Performing Vedic fire sacrifices and developing gardens, children's schools and areas for cow protection also cannot help you. Daksina (bringing money to Gurudeva.) alone will not help. You will have to serve internally, in pure devotee association, so that pure bhakti will come to you. In that association you will learn how to control Krsna in no time.
Otherwise, fasting on the holy day of Ekadasi, worshiping demigods and even Deities of the Lord, chanting brahma-gayatri and other mantras, and taking bath in Ganga alone will not help you. Lord Krsna has also mentioned always telling the truth, not stealing, and being detached from the world. They will also not help you. They will control and attract you. Without mahat-sanga, even observing the Ekadasi fast will be like reward-seeking activity. You will thus be controlled, bound by the subsequent material pious results.
Mahat-sanga must be included in these activities in order for them to be beneficial to you. If you neglect mahat-sanga and you also neglect asat-sanga (association of materialists), even this will not be favorable. If one neglects asat-sanga and at the same time neglects sat-sanga, this is not only of no use, but it is dangerous. This is because one will again be attracted by asat-sanga. In fact, that person is still in asat-sanga, the association of his own polluted mind and heart.
Asancaya means not to collect anything, and Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami is an example of a devotee who did not collect material paraphernalia. If asancayah is done for bhakti or is a result of bhakti, and if it is done in mahat-sanga, then it is okay. Otherwise it is nothing. It is not okay. To collect paraphernalia is sancayah. Asancayah is good in connection with bhakti. Then it is favorable. If it is not for bhakti, it is not favorable. Brahmacarya (celibacy) will also not be favorable.
Mauna is the practice of silence. To be silent among worldly persons is somewhat good, but don't be silent in the assembly of Gurudeva and Vaisnavas. Chant Hare Krsna, ask those pure devotees questions with honor, and try to hear their harikatha. If you are always speaking hari-katha, this is real mauna.
Mahat-sanga will control you and cut all bad worldly attachments. Lord Krsna will come to you and you will be able to attain krsna-bhakti – krsna-prema.
Our acaryas have expressed their desire for pure bhakti in their prayers. They prefer pure bhakti over going to Vaikuntha.
pasu-paksi ho'ye thaki swarge va niroye
tava bhakti rahu bhaktivinoda-hrdoye
[“Be my life in heaven or in hell, be it as a bird or a beast, may devotion to You always remain within the heart of Bhaktivinoda.” (Sri Siksastaka, Song 4)]
Our acaryas want bhakti and mahat-sanga. For them, without mahat-sanga there is no need of heaven or even the spiritual world of Vaikuntha. Suppose one person is hearing hari-katha in bona-fide mahat-sanga, and another person is in Vrndavana with the monkeys, taking bath in the Yamuna and performing parikrama of Govardhana – but is not in mahat sanga. Who is better? The person in mahat-sanga is better. A kanistha-adhikari, a neophyte devotee, cannot understand this fact, but Sri Krsna Himself confirms it.
mad-bhakta yatra gayanti tatra tisthami narada:
"O Narada, I am present wherever My devotees are chanting."(Padma Purana)
It is for this reason that Krsna is saying, "Life is only successful in the association of the mahat-purusa. It is only successful in mahat-sanga." What more can I tell about this subject? What to speak of having their association, even to hear the glorification of this kind of mahatma gives the fruit of bhakti.
Vidura has said:
srutasya pumsam sucira-sramasya
nanv anjasa suribhir idito 'rthah
padaravindam hrdayesu yesam
["Persons who hear from a spiritual master with great labor and for a long time must hear from the mouths of pure devotees about the character and activities of pure devotees. Pure devotees always think within their hearts of the lotus feet of the Personality of Godhead, who awards His devotees liberation." (Srimad-bhagavatam 3.13.4)]
Scholars of the Spiritual science have established this tattva. We must hear sastra, but in mahat-sanga; not here and there. Krsna takes rest in the heart of His devotees. He is always present in their hearts’ glorification of Him; so go to these persons. By their association you will attain devotion to Lord Krsna and your life will be successful.
Dhruva Maharaja prayed, "O Prabhu, to meditate on Your lotus feet and to hear Your sweet pastimes, a rasika-bhakta attains so much happiness."
sa vai pumsam paro dharmo
yato bhaktir adhoksaje
["The supreme occupation [dharma] for all humanity is that by which men can attain to loving devotional service unto the transcendent Lord. Such devotional service must be unmotivated and uninterrupted to completely satisfy the self." (Srimad-bhagavatam 1.2.60)]
That happiness cannot be achieved by brahman realization (realization of the impersonal aspect of Krsna.) What more can I say on this subject? The life of the heavenly demigods is finished after some time. Kala (personified Time) cuts off their heads and they come to this world again. However, those who are always serving in high-class association will not fall down; they will not die. In this verse, beginning "Srutasya pumsam sucira-sramasya…", Sri Vidura refers to "bhagavat bhakta-sanga" and "tad-bhakta-sanga." One is the mahat (self-realized pure devotee), and one is mahat-sangi sanga, the self-realized associates of that mahat. The second is better. Do you understand?
For example, Sri Caitanaya Mahaprabhu is mahat-sanga and Srila Rupa Gosvami is mahat-sangi sanga. The association of Sriman Mahaprabhu’s associate is superior, because that associate, His pure devotee, can better give you what Mahaprabhu came to give; the most elevated service to Him.
In his commentary, Srila Sanatana Gosvami quoted verses from scriptures like Sri Brahma-samhita, from so many Puranas, from the Upanisads and Srutis, and especially from Srimad-bhagavatam. He proved that pure devotee association is the root of all bhakti. By this, Lord Krsna can be controlled forever.
The root mahat-sanga is Gurudeva – if he is really a qualified and bona-fide Guru.
All the verses quoted by Srila Sanatana Gosvami in this regard are called rasayana (the most pleasing elixir, the reservoir of transcendental mellows), and at the end of his commentary on Sri Brhat-bhagavatamrta, he gives fully thickened rasayana. He quotes the words of Srila Sukadeva Gosvami:
jayati jana-nivaso devaki-janma-vado
yadu-vara-parisat svair dorbhir asyann adharmam
vraja-pura-vanitanam vardhayan kama-devam
["Lord Sri Krsna is He who is known as jana-nivasa, the ultimate resort of all living entities, and who is also known as Devakinandana or Yasoda-nandana, the son of Devaki or Yasoda. He is the guide of the Yadu dynasty, and with His mighty arms He kills everything inauspicious as well as every man who is impious. By His presence He destroys all things inauspicious for all living entities, moving and inert. His blissful smiling face always increases the lusty desires of the gopis of Vrndavana. May He be all-glorious and happy!" (Srimad-bhagavatam 10.90.48)]
Transcriber: Vasanti dasi
Typist: Anita dasi
Editor: Syamarani dasi