Guardian of Devotion Press: The Beginning
So, Mahāyogī Mahārāj, dandavats. We’re continuing our series of broadcasts and can you tell, where was The Guardian of Devotion Press
situated? Was it in the San Jose Temple
Śrīpād Bhakti Vidhan Mahāyogī: Well, we began our publications in San Jose and so the temple at 62 South Thirteenth Street, that was our headquarters.
Interviewer: And so was the temple built around the publishing house? Or what was the team?
Śrīpād Bhakti Vidhan Mahāyogī: The temple we had in San Jose was a wooden mansion on a quarter acre of land, that was constructed by Bernard Maybeck. He is a very famous architect, who built the Palacio de Bellas Artes in San Francisco, CA. You can see it on the Google, it’s really beautiful building. And finally our printing press was physically housed in the garage, behind the temple, and we constructed some living quarters for the devotees also behind the temple. But in the beginning what we did was mainly prepress production. We did the editing, typesetting. In those days we didn’t have desktop publishing. So we did typesetting, stripping, we had to photograph the layouts. And then create negatives, and from the negatives a plate for the printing press, put that on the printing press and physically print the books.
The first publication — The Search for Sri Krishna
We printed, I think, we began physically printing our own books with Sri Guru and His Grace
, but Goswāmī Mahārāj, he’ll know. The Search for Sri Krishna
was, we formed (?) that out. He went to a publishing house called R.R. Donnelly & Sons, which was responsible for the one million copy run of the Bhagavad-gītā
for Śrīla Prabhupād
. So he went to them, dressed in his dhotī
and with his tilak
, Goswāmī Mahārāj. And he said, “We’re interested in publishing another book.” And we maybe that time really didn’t have the money to physically publish it, but we did our best to sort of bluff our way in, because R.R. Donnelly they don’t turn on the presses for the less than fifty thousand copies of your book. But we explained what we wanted done, and they said, “Yeah, great, let’s set it up.” The president of that company made a couple of phone calls and got us a smaller press on the Bay Area. And we printed three thousand of the original book.
But before we did that, we went to a mom-and-pop organization and published a sixteen page booklet, just to see if we could do it. And that was really the original Search for Sri Krishna
, talked about Reality the Beautiful, that was the introduction, where Śrīdhar Mahārāj
was talking about rasa
. Athāto brahma-jijñāsā (Vedānta-sūtra: 1.1.1)
, now is the time for searching into Reality
and what that is. But he points out that for the human soul
the real search is for rasa
, it’s not for the Eternity as such, but an Eternal relationship with Krishna
. Anyway, that was the history of.
SoThe Search for Sri Krishna
as I understand you started with just a whole bunch of cassettes with recordings of Śrīdhar Mahārāj, but how did you unfold it? Like now we’re working on our archive, how do you collect all of these and like…
Śrīpād Bhakti Vidhan Mahāyogī:
Yeah, that’s a good question. At that time Goswāmī Mahārāj
was preaching on the basis of the cassettes, so, he’d listen to a cassette in the morning and then in the afternoon preached that to the devotees and the next day listen to another cassette. So after a while he got a feel for what was going to be useful, and he’d say, “You know, I really liked what Guru Mahārāj was saying here.” And then I might say, “Yeah, I’ve heard something similar on another cassette.” And in this way we started listen to certain sections of certain cassettes, and then we could see, “Alright, here he is talking about Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu
, the nectarine ocean of rasa
. And here he is talking about rasa
also. But in a different way, he’s saying, “Search for the Divine.” So we brought those together and tried to create something.
Interviewer: Aha, and how did the idea of publishing the other books come? I’ve heard that the process of the first book was like going to India, going back, always consulting with Śrīdhar Mahārāj, so it probably took years of your life.
Śrīpād Bhakti Vidhan Mahāyogī:
Yes, it did in fact. I dedicated ten years of my life to publishing these books and we really put out about five major publications, so let’s say, two years for each title. And the first book, we were establishing Śrīdhar Mahārāj as someone who could speak on a very high level of Krishna Consciousness
and at the same time defeat the opposition. He could give something simple that an ordinary person could understand and at the same time take it to the highest level. So we begin the book talking about the search for truth
. And we end the book with Chaitanya Mahāprabhu
himself, questioning Rāmānanda Rāy
about the Ultimate Reality and the particular answers that Rāmānanda Rāy gives Mahāprabhu form the real essence of Gaudiya-vaiṣṇavism, which goes up to the highest level of service.
Interviewer: So it’s like a popular version of the Rāmānanda-saṁvāda, which Śrīdhar Mahārāj was specialized in.
One drop is enough to satisfy the Universe!
Śrīpād Bhakti Vidhan Mahāyogī:
The thing is the actual book itself is synthetic, it’s not really a popular version of anything. What Śrīdhar Mahārāj gives is very concentrated. Like if you have really concentrated orange juice you can make liters and liters of it. If you have highly concentrated orange juice maybe you can make a swimming pool of it.
But what Hari Charan always used to say, I forget what part of the Chaitanya-charitāmṛta
that’s from, but he always used to close every lecture that he gave, he was saying, “Eka-bindu jagat ḍubāya!” (Chaitanya-charitāmṛta: Antya-līlā, 15.19)
One drop of this can satisfy the Universe. That means this is so concentrated, that if you will come in contact with it, it will purify the Universe. So The Search for Sri Krishna is like that. It’s very highly concentrated devotional nectar if you like, and just by a little taste of that it will satisfy you, it will transform your life, and then you’ll go out and transform other people’s lives and gradually the transformation will be total.
Interviewer: Yes, I would like.
Śrīpād Bhakti Vidhan Mahāyogī: That’s how we felt.
Śrīla Śrīdhar Mahārāj meets the West
Interviewer: And talking about the opposition. There are very famous moments when Śrīdhar Mahārāj was meeting Śrīla Prabhupād, when he just first time came from America, or the disciple of Saraswatī Ṭhākur, who came from England, and he brought like ten questions that couldn’t be answered by him from the Europe, and Śrīdhar Mahārāj just cracked them like in half an hour.
Bhakti Lalitā Devī Dāsī: It was Bon Mahārāj, he had question no one could answer.
Śrīpād Bhakti Vidhan Mahāyogī:
Yes, Bon Mahārāj, when he returned from London, he was chagrined that he was unable to properly satisfy the opposition he met, and he expressed this to Saraswatī Ṭhākur
, saying, “They had questions, I couldn’t answer.” And then Śrīdhar Mahārāj step forward and said, “What are those questions? I can answer that.” And it’s true, he could answer that, and he still does, and his followers can answer those questions. Govinda Mahārāj could answer those question, any one who studies this line can satisfy, the questions and doubts, offered by even a latest scientists and philosophers who don’t believe in theism, unfortunately Śrīdhar Mahārāj was not available for preaching in the West at that time, we might have a different history. His nature, Śrīdhar Mahārāja’s nature, was not so much with standing before public and promoting the line of Krishna Consciousness, but he was more of a thinker. When he was upon he could satisfy any question.
Interviewer: So was this Search for Sri Krishna publication some kind of a message since Goswāmī Mahārāj brought Śrīdhar Mahārāj to the West?
Śrīpād Bhakti Vidhan Mahāyogī:
Well, you keep coming back to the same point, which is what’s the real purpose of that book? And so, it’s something like this, if you try to preach
Krishna Consciousness, you’ll meet opposition. And then you’ll have some questions, and then you’ll go somewhere and say, “I couldn’t answer these questions. How do I do it?” That’s what this Search for Sri Krishna
is meant for. That’s Guru Mahārāj actually answering those questions, that Bon Mahārāj had.“The scientists say this, how do we answer Darwin? How do we answer fossilism?”
And he would say, “Well, it’s very simple.”
“But how? Do we try to promote the idea that the Earth was created in seven days or something?”
“No. It’s very simple, you have to think does matter come from consciousness or does consciousness produce matter? It’s a very simple point. Look at the order and structure and design, does that come from nothing? How would that be possible? It doesn’t make any sense at all.”
Could chemical combinations produce consciousness?
So could a stone create a human consciousness
? According to certain scientific points of view, that’s what it’s all about. Guru Mahārāj uses the example of a stone, then scientists they don’t exactly say ‘a stone’, but they’re talking about chemicals. Chemical combinations, molecular structure, does that produce consciousness? Well, it never has. And with the best minds and the best computers and thousands of millions of Internet connections all (?) at the same time to work out a scientific way to produce consciousness, they can’t do that.
So what’s the solution of science
? The solution of science is to tell you, “Well, we have produced really good products in the past, trust us, and in future we’ll work it out.” But it still doesn’t solve the problem. On the other hand, Guru Mahārāj points out that anything that you see or feel or touch is a product of consciousness. And if you want the full argument, read the book, but is it easy to believe that a conscious mind can produce something? Yes, it is. We’re sitting in the house, who made the house? Consciousness. The cameras, the lights, the computers. All of this is a product of consciousness, even the body that I’m inside of, it’s been transformed by consciousness.
So how consciousness works on material energy? This is subject that scientist might dedicate himself to understanding. But how matter can produce consciousness? It’s a failed paradigm; you can’t get there from here. And Guru Mahārāj discusses that in his chapter on fossilism. So getting back to your point, the whole idea of the book is to try to give the devotees weapons that they can use for cutting through this kind of material ignorance if you like.
Interviewer: In Search for Sri Krishna there are many chapter but some of them like “Saints, Scriptures, and Gurus” and “Fossilism vs. Subjective Evolution” they are unfolded in the other books, like the second book, Sri Guru and His Grace, so how came the idea or necessity for the following books?
Śrīpād Bhakti Vidhan Mahāyogī: Well, these are topics that devotees like to return to again and again. So if our first book was to introduce Śrīdhar Mahārāj, to give an idea of his basic concepts, to promote Gaudiya-vaiṣṇavism, to show that we do have a basis for what we’re saying, “Saints, Scriptures, and Gurus”, that’s a chapter about the Bhagavad-gītā, so the devotees were asking Śrīdhar Mahārāj, “What is the meaning of the Bhagavad-gītā basically?” And he gives a short summary of that, “Well, Bhagavad-gītā is important to us because here you have Krishna Himself describing the philosophy.” So we keep coming back to that again and again very naturally. But Search for Sri Krishna gives you a taste.
Sri Guru and His Grace
is a very different kind of production. There are some topics that are really not for the general public. Some topics are really more for devotees who are experienced and want to go deeper. So if The Search for Sri Krishna is more universal
and something you could translate into Hungarian and the people of Hungary would like it. Sri Guru and His Grace is a little bit more esoteric, because it touches on the topic of Guru, who can be a teacher?
This topic was very important to us because after the disappearance of Prabhupād many people didn’t know where to turn, they felt that they were becoming involved with people who are not qualified really as Guru so we wanted to understand more about the qualification of Guru. Who is really Guru, what is Guru-tattva? This is nice chapter in the Gaudiya Kanthahara
, called “Guru-tattva”, where that’s elaborated and Guru Mahārāj referred us to that again and again.
So also I think if was the French writer Stendhal who said, “I write books, that I need to read myself.” So at that time, I explained in our last interview, I was going through a spiritual crisis with my own Guru-disciple relationship. And I was burning with a passion to try to come to a conclusion, a closure, to really connect with a qualified Guru. And I felt that other people would profit from my experience as well. So that’s what drove me personally to do my best to crate a text that would expose the importance of Guru. And Goswāmī at the time was also fascinated by that as many devotees were. So if the first wave of disciples who came to Guru Mahārāj
, that couldn’t be answered, and they wanted some way to deal with the opposition, the second wave started thinking, “Well, you know, maybe here in Śrīdhar Mahārāj we have someone who is really a realized Guru and perhaps he can help us sort out some of the problems that we have surrounding the whole Guru issue.” Guru-bhakti is a very essential part of vaiṣṇavism
and Krishna Consciousness, so it was fitting in a appropriate that that was our second title.
Interviewer: It’s one of the wise sayings that if you want to really understand something everything comes for service, you need to like put it out, write it. But it seems to me that most of the time you were working in America, but how did you feel empowered by Guru Mahārāj and how did you gain the qualification to properly represent him in all these books? I’ve heard he was really appreciating the work that was done on these publications.
How did you manage to represent such a high concepts?
Śrīpād Bhakti Vidhan Mahāyogī: Well, the system was we would go to India for a couple of months in the time when it wasn’t so hot, which is probably February, March, April, Gaura Pūrṇim. By Gaura Pūrṇim it started to warm up and we would come home, armed with the cassettes. So I would watch Guru Mahārāj and sit at his feet and take notes and listen very carefully and other devotees would do as you’re doing, they’d make videos and tape recordings. But I did my best to really intently listen to everything that he said. And every day, at the end of the day, I would come downstairs, and devotees would be arriving from Kolkata, or from Nabadwīp, or they came back on a riksa from the Bajar. And they would say, “Well, what did Guru Mahārāj say, what was his talk?” And so I would represent that to them, and then some other person would ask me, “What did Guru Mahārāj say?” And I would represent that to him. So sometimes we neglect the teachings of our Guru Mahārāj and we forgot certain things, but if you serve the message if you teach that or preach it, it becomes part of you. So in a way by listening to Guru Mahārāj and then preaching what he said on the same day, and then maybe travelling back to London, or Germany our flight would always take us through London, through Germany, sometimes I went to Budapest, I went to Vienna, I went to Stockholm, and the devotees there would be curious, “What’s the new thing? What did Guru Mahārāj say now?” So I would be representing that.
By the time we got back to San Jose, CA, I would be familiar with fifteen-twenty five hours of new lectures by Guru Mahārāj on the subject that we were trying to penetrate, in this case Guru-tattva. And then we would start working on that book. So while it was still fresh in my mind, then we would go back to the cassettes, and could compare my note and what I remembered with what he actually said. And then we would carefully try to look up the Sanskrit quotes, the Bengali, and assemble a chapter. And then we would think, “Okay, on a given day, maybe he spoke for forty-five minutes and he touched on the importance of selecting a Guru for three minutes. But two days later he talks about the same thing, but this time for seventeen minutes.” And we would try to put that together in an interesting way, and that could be a chapter or a chapter title. So your question is how was I able to represent Guru Mahārāja’s message. Well, we studied his message personally by questioning and listening, then we saw how Govinda Mahārāj for example dealt with practical matters, also he would correct us, he would say, “Yes, Guru Mahārāj is saying this, but you should also understand that…” And it would form part of our consciousness about the message and later we would listen to the cassette and try to correct everything and put it down very carefully.
So you can see that books are very good representation of Guru Mahārāja’s teachings on the subject of Guru, who is Guru? Who is fit to be a Guru? When can you leave a Guru, how do you serve? All these different questions, it’s a very dangerous book.
Interviewer: Yes, that’s why we like it.
Different Gurus in different stages of life
Śrīpād Bhakti Vidhan Mahāyogī:
The most dangerous thing in that book is a few very dangerous ideas, one idea is that it maybe necessary to have different Gurus in different stages of your life.
That’s a very painful, dangerous thing to say. But it’s true. When you’re six years old, maybe your mother is your Guru
, or your father, or you have a favorite person in the elementary school, a favorite teacher in your primary school. And she is everything, she teaches you everything. She teaches you how to put a plant, put a little seed in the styrofoam cup that has some earth in it, and put water on it, and have to wait for days, when the seed sprouts. And that’s a marvel; it’s a wonderful thing. So this teacher, she’s everything to you, she takes off your shoes, when it snows ourside, ʼtakes off your boots, and puts them in a warm place, and tells you, “It’s time to go to sleep now.”
But later you have to go to a more advanced school and perhaps to teach you the history of your country, geography, science, but even that will be a simple idea, they give you a simple idea of the science. They tell you that, this is the velocity of the falling object. And later you go to the University, and they say, “Well, in quantum physics is more difficult to work out.” So you leave behind Newton and have to embrace Einstein
. And it’s a deeper conception. So throughout your whole life you’re accepting different Gurus. At one point, if you tell your teacher in the school, “Well, my mother said this.” Sometimes your teacher will say, “Your mother was wrong.”
And that’s a conflict, how can I accept that my mother is wrong, she is my Guru. But you elementary school teacher will say, “Well, maybe she was...” They try to adjust things.
In the same way even in Krishna Consciousness, when we are young devotees, we meet some devotee in a harinām-kīrtan
party, and he tells us, “Chant Hare Krishna
and be happy, it’s cool, it’s ecstatic, it’s a good vibration.” And you accept that person as your Guru, and you think, “They know everything, they know what prasādam
is, they know what Rādhā-Krishna is, they know what the Bhagavad-gītā is, they know Sanskrit, they know everything!” But it maybe that later you find out find out that this person is really the man who sweeps up the kitchen in the temple and he is not really the highly qualified devotee, that you may have thought he was. And you accept some sannyāsī
as your spiritual guide. But then later he tells you, “Actually, I am not the one, the real Guru is Avadut Mahārāj, or Govinda Mahārāj, or Śrīdhar Mahārāj.” So there is a constant evolution in your Guru-disciple relationship. That may involve seeing your absolute Guru from a relative point of view, at one point in your life, that’s a very disturbing things. There is dangerous material in The Search for Sri Krishna
. Another incredibly dangerous idea is the idea of the śikṣā-guru paramparā
Interviewer: And also there are other three books, to continue the light run through for the whole series. What was the…?
Live current of Truth isn't limited by the hierarchy
Śrīpād Bhakti Vidhan Mahāyogī:
Let me talk about the śikṣā-guru paramparā
, because that’s what I just brought up. Śikṣā-guru paramparā
, it’s fascinating, because the word śikṣā
, actually, probably in Bengali, (?) they don’t really pronounce it that way. But it means instruction. So there are some paramparās
, or disciplic lines that formulate their line on a basis of... Well, there is a Sun God Vivasvān, and after him Ikṣvāku, and then Manu, and then Vyās. And our line comes directly from that, one Guru initiates a disciple, and he initiates another disciple, and he initiates another disciple, and that man is my Guru. So, “I’m the servant of the servant of Krishna Himself, my line goes directly back to Him.” That’s a particular point of view. In India that might be more represented by Rāmānuja line or the Mādhava line. Because the āchārya
of the Rāmānuja line, he’ll say, “Well, my Guru was initiated by the student of the student of the student of Rāmānuj, who was the original.” So you think, “Well, okay, this is a pure product, what I’m getting is pure, because it’s received, it goes from father to son, to son, to son like that.” India is a fascinating civilization, because in this sense it’s an unbroken civilization that goes back to the beginning of time, where if you find a wood-carver, you’ll see, that his father carved wood before him, and his father and before him his father, and somebody is following the same school. So this is a very appealing idea to us.
Unfortunately we’re not talking about carving wood, we’re talking about Spiritual Truth
. So you can look at the Catholic Church for example and see that, okay, one pope gave it to the next man and he named the next pope, and they had a council, and a council nominated the next cardinal. So there is hierarchy
. But the truth does not necessarily follow a hierarchy, and that’s a very dangerous idea as well.
It’s something like in a history of music. There was Bach, J.S. Bach was a great composer. But who was his student? Or, maybe his children. He had, there was a Christian Bach, who was one of the children of Bach, was also a great composer. Johan Sebastian Bach, I may not be pronouncing that correctly for the German disciples, but if you look at the history of music, who was really the follower of Bach? Is it one of his children? No. It’s Mozart. You can look at Handel, and he produced some good stuff. But really if you want to say, what’s the next great light in classical music? It’s Mozart, there is no question about that, he takes the principles of harmony that were used by Bach, and he extends them and creates something new. If you want to see, who is the disciple of Mozart, you can look at his music students, and people who learned from him, and maybe Mozart himself will say, “Salieri here, he is the next in a line, he really understands my conception.” But if you look at music you have to say, “Beethoven.” So it’s Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven. Was Mozart an initiated disciple of Bach? Not really. Did he take the principles of Bach and moved them to a higher level? Absolutely.
So if you ask Beethoven, who is the greatest composer in music, what does he say? He say, “Well, I am.” And I say, “But what about Bach?” And then he says, “Oh, but Bach he is music.” He is not a composer, he is music. So in the same way, real spiritual truth it may not pass exactly from one Guru to one disciple in the way that we’re told,
and this is a revolutionary and a dangerous idea, we should of course obey the disciplic succession, and if our Guru tells us, “Follow him, he has the idea.” We should trust what he says. But in the end these things will be judged by history, history will tell us, “Okay, the great follower of Bach was Mozart.” So in the same way, if you look at the disciplic succession from Chaitanya Mahāprabhu you can say, “Well, okay, there is Rūpa Goswāmī and Sanātan Goswāmī and Raghunāth Dās, and after that was Kaviraj Goswāmī. And Narottam Das Ṭhākur
, was he initiated by Kavirāj Goswāmī? Not really. But who has the great idea? Who can really represent Gaudiya-vaiṣṇavism after Kavirāj Goswāmī in Bengal? It’s Narottam Das Ṭhākur.
So there are those who say, “No, you must follow the children of the Goswāmīs.” But we don’t accept that. So we have the śikṣā-guru paramparā. And this is another dangerous idea, that’s in the book. And I’m sorry I don’t need to speak to much at length.
Interviewer: No, sorry. I just, it sounds like some of the new flows, that’s named the meritocracy. Like there was by the birth, and judging people all other ways, but now they say, it’s meritocracy, how much do you do, how much you benefit the society, or paramparā. Judge by this.
Śrīpād Bhakti Vidhan Mahāyogī: Well, this is like I say, it’s for history to judge in a way, if you really look at the paramparā, and you say, “Okay, well, who succeeds Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākur, it’s still young for us to give the true judgment of history, because only fifty, I don’t know, how many years have passed since his disappearance? You would know.
Interviewer: Forty first.
Śrīpād Bhakti Vidhan Mahāyogī: When did he disappear in nineteen thirties I think.
Bhakti Lalitā Devī Dāsī: Forty one.
Śrīpād Bhakti Vidhan Mahāyogī: Okay, so that’s more than fifty years now, I think fifty, cause I was born in 1953. So something like seventy years have passed and you can look at the line of Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākur and say, “Well, who really succeeded him?” Was it the man that he named in his will? Was it somebody who, even though he did name him in the will, he told everybody, “This man understands me!” Because you can say, “Oh, the person, who’s named in the will, he is the important one.” Or you can say, “Oh, no. That’s a legal document. Remember, legal documents have legal purposes. He is doing for the management, the person, who really understood him was so and so.”
Unique features of Śrlila Prabhupād and Śrlila Śrlidhar Mahārāj
But look at Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākur
, and who really succeeds him? We think, I think, because I am his disciple of course, I would say, Bhaktivedānta Swāmī Prabhupād
, he is the stand out follower of Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākur, cause, I would not be sitting here today, it weren’t for Prabhupād coming to New York and chanting Hare Krishna in Tompkins Square Park in 1975. I wouldn’t be here, he brought it to the West. He had that genius. He had that power. As a consequence of what he did, the waves of that ocean, that he gave are still crashing on distant shores. Like in China, right now China is just beginning to become interested in Krishna Consciousness. That’s one billion human beings. If one billion human beings decide, “Yes, you’re right, eka-bindu jagat ḍubāya
, one drop of this can satisfy the Universe, then that changes everything, but who initiated that was really Swāmī Prabhupād, okay. So if you look at Bhakti Siddhānta Ṭhākur you have to say, “Alright, it’s going in that direction.” But you cannot discount Śrīdhar Mahārāj either. Because if you go to Prabhupād and you say, “This is really great what you’re teaching, where did you get this? Are you a big follower of Saraswatī Ṭhākur?” In his humbleness Prabhupād will say, “Well, it wasn’t possible for me to attend every lecture given by Saraswatī Ṭhākur, I met him a couple of times and he told me, “If you ever get money, print books.”
“But I lived in Kolkata, and I had a pharmacy in Kolkata, and upstairs from the pharmacy, there was this other disciple of Saraswatī Ṭhākur, who had his ashram
there and that was Bhakti Rakṣak Śrīdhar Dev-Goswāmī
. And if you really want to know, actually I learned a lot from him, so he is my śikṣā-guru
.” So you can see there is a very powerful electric current, coming from these two great Gurus, and who will be the greatest disciples of Prabhupād and Śrīdhar Mahārāj, well, we have Govinda Mahārāj
. And the person best qualified to speak about Govinda Mahārāj is probably Bhakti Lalitā
, who is sitting here. So I won’t try, we’re short on time, and I’ll just take some more question.
Who is my Guru? Particular spiritual taste
Interviewer: Yes, so Sri Guru and His Grace in the end it’s the book for disciples and when it comes to disciples it’s always like, “Your choice, and it’s up to you, you choose your Guru for you, that you will devote to.” And connected with this we have a question from Kamala. Let me read it, “Dandavats, Mahārāj. You mentioned selecting a Guru it’s seems self-evident that aspiring new devotee has no real understanding of Guru-tattva, yet they need such understanding in order to discriminate between authentic and bogus Gurus, so if they make a mistake in their choice, is that part of Krishna’s plan for them or is it just due to their insincerity?”
Śrīpād Bhakti Vidhan Mahāyogī: Well, first of all I’d like to say hello to Kamala, and Hare Krishna, and dandavats, after all these years, it’s good to hear from you. Anybody who is listening by the way or watching, please, send your comments and questions along, because we want to hear from you.
This is a very fascinating question, how do you know a really Guru, when you see one? You may have to make a few mistake along the way. Bhakti Vinod Ṭhākur in his book, The Life and Precepts of Chaitanya Mahāprabhu, he talks about ruci. He says, “There is some kind of innate flavor, that you can get from Krishna Consciousness, from being associated with the genuine vaiṣṇava line.” And once you have a little bit of that flavor, you know what that is, and you how to recognize it. And sometimes it’s stronger, and sometimes you can find it more concentrated, and sometimes it’s very week. Just like we know what pure water is, everyone knows, what pure water is. If somebody gives you a glass of water, and they say, “This water is pure water.” And you drink it and you taste something that’s not really supposed to be there, it’s a little bitter, it’s a little salty, it’s too sweet. Then you feel like, we’re not really getting something genuine. You can understand, Krishna say in fact in the tenth chapter of the Bhagavad-gītā, He say, “Raso ’ham, I am the taste of water.” But more to the point, He’s saying, “I am rasa.”
, you can have a little flavor of the real thing, and you’ll know it, when you see it, you’ll know when you come across it. And so it maybe stronger in some Gurus, than in others, or it maybe absent completely in some Gurus, so when you find the particular spiritual taste
, which comes with Rādhā-Krishna, Chaitanya Mahāprabhu, bhakti
, you can distinguish that, and you will find, what is genuine, if you struggle to get more of that same taste. And if you come in contact with someone who gives you that, stick with them, and see if they’ll take you higher. And then they may take to someone who has even more powerful concentration of ruci or rasa.
And then you’ll know, this is really Guru-tattva. And on the other hand, if you find that what was at once strong is becoming a weaker and weaker signal, then you have to search out where is the true light, where is the true signal. Just like this broad cast that we’re doing is a radio signal. Some people will find, “Oh, the signal is breaking up, I am not in a good spot. I need to move my laptop to a closer Wi-Fi connection.” So find where Wi-Fi connection is the strongest. You will understand, “Oh, I’m connected, wow, whoa, this is a fast connection!” And you will understand, “Eeeh, there is something here, but it’s not so strong, but I’m getting something.” Like that. Guru-tattva will make itself known to you, if you really search for. I hope that helps you. Thank you, Kamala. Any other questions from anyone out there? We will be very happy to hear from you.
Interviewer: Yes, the next actually feedback, more feedback that a question came. The first part of it. I think that’s limitations of livestream. But Anusya is writing, “Dandavats, Mahārāj. You may remember from 62 S Thirteenth Street, when I was called Ananga.
Śrīpād Bhakti Vidhan Mahāyogī: Ananga! Oh, yeah!
Interviewer: It is wonderful to see you and hear you after all these years. …but I want to let you…the end of the question. That’s it, she’s sending her dandavats.
Śrīpād Bhakti Vidhan Mahāyogī: Dandavts to you, Ananga Manjari, thank you for saying hello. I am astounded, this connection with devotees is bringing warmth tom y heart, and giving me oxygen, and I can breath. If the heart doesn’t have oxygen, the heart dies. And so the association with devotees, it’s like oxygen. So getting back t the other question about Guru-tattva, if there’s no oxygen in the room, you’ll know, and you know, when you can breath, so find out the oxygen.
Interviewer: The end of the message came, “I wanted to let you know, how much joy you’re bringing to my heart.”
Śrīpād Bhakti Vidhan Mahāyogī: Oh, as we say in Mexico, ‘igualmente’. [sp. equally, likewise]
And going back to the first book published Search for Sri Krishna
, one of the memorizable quotes from it, is about that when you go on the road of Krishna Consciousness, the search for Sri Krishna, you feel, that’s your inner hankering is being diminished, it’s being satisfied, it says, “In this world we’re getting this and this and everything, but still our hunger doesn’t diminish. But on the road of Krishna Consciousness you get the inner satisfaction
, you were searching for so long.”
Śrīpād Bhakti Vidhan Mahāyogī: Yes, is that a question?
The Golden Volcano of Divine Love: Who is Chaitanya Mahāprabhu?
Interviewer: And also, is it, it’s just a promotion of the books. So can we get to say something about the last three book, because there are some books of introductory meaning, but some books of very deep, like Subjective Evolution of Consciousness.
Śrīpād Bhakti Vidhan Mahāyogī:
Okay, well, you know, we did, The Search for Sri Krishna
kind of, we were thinking, “This will be an introduction.” Of course, many people read that and say, this is too high, this is for intelligentsia, we can’t understand it, it’s not an introduction.” So then we thought, “Well, what’s really introductory?” The Guru. Try to unerstand that. But we come from the Gaudiya-vaiṣṇava line and our real sympathy, our real loyalty is with Chaitanya Mahāprabhu. So the next book we discovered was the Golden Volcano of Divine Love
. In a way, these books are also discoveries, because Śrīdhar Mahārāj is there in Nabadwīp Dhām
, on the banks of the Ganges, and this what he’s giving. So if we listen we find that he gives, Chaitanya Mahāprabhu. So the Golden Volcano of Divine Love
, the title has to do with Chaitanya Mahāprabhu’s inner feeling, now who is Chaitanya Mahāprabhu
? That’s really the subject of our book. The idea is, we were discussing this morning, Śrīdhar Mahārāj used to like the expression, “Die to live.” It’s Hegelian, “Thesis, synthesis, antithesis.” So I asked Gopa Kiśor, “What’s the greatest thesis?”
Interviewer: Supposedly, it’s Krishna.
Is God an old man in clouds?
Śrīpād Bhakti Vidhan Mahāyogī:
No, it’s not supposedly, we believe that it is. We have it from our Guru, that this is Reality
, and I feel, this is real. So we can say, “Yes, the highest thesis is Krishna
, God, Krishna.” “How is God? Is God an old man in clouds, who is too old to have a good time? He is just suffering. He is tired, he’s a heart problem, He’s got high cholesterol and He can’t remember when He created the world very well, because it was so long ago. Adam and Eve now they are having a good time. So the Earth was created for their pleasure. No?”
According to what we know, if you think about it, Reality is by Itself and for Itself, so God must be having a good time, in fact, everything is for His pleasure. In Sanskrit we call this ‘puruṣ’. Puruṣ means Lord, but it also means the subject, He is not the object, ‘prakṛti’ means object, so the Lord is enjoying Himself, His Prakṛti. The relationship between Puruṣ and Prakṛti, that’s thesis and antithesis.
So if Krishna is the thesis, what’s the antithesis?
Śrīpād Bhakti Vidhan Mahāyogī:
So you have Rādhā-Krishna, you have the Supreme Positive and the Supreme Negative involved in some constant relationship, which is given take on a highest level of Divine Love
. When we say, ‘negative’
we don’t mean this in a pejorative sense, this is a complement to the positive. What we find in the positive is power, what we find in the negative is love. So the combination of power and love, or the relationship between the lover and the beloved. So now Hegel
he also talks about the master-slave relationship, and this is interesting, because what he says is, “If one is the master and another is the slave, what happens is sooner or later by service, the master is conquered, and the slave becomes the master.” By serving the master, the slave has control over the master and the master becomes helpless. So Rādhārāṇī’s love is like that, it’s so powerful, it overpowers God Himself. And this is a strange thing to say, because we’re not supposed to promote slavery, but this is also in the Golden Volcano of Divine Love
, talks about divine slavery. But this is a Hegelian concept. That when the thesis meets the antithesis the relationship is so powerful, that it created a synthesis. So what would be the synthesis
Krishna wants to find out what is service
Śrīpād Bhakti Vidhan Mahāyogī: Chaitanya Mahāprabhu
. Chaitanya Mahāprabhu is meta, ‘meta’
means if you go outside yourself and try to reflect on how you’re thinking, metacognition. So if Krishna using His divine intelligence or will, looks outside the Rādhā-Krishna relationship and tries to analyze it, what He will find, that the Rādhā part is even better than the Krishna part. Why? Because through service Rādhā is experiencing more ānanda
, than Krishna. The one who serves has a greater taste, rasa
, then the one who is being served. Try it sometime, be a sannyāsī
and accept service, you'll find that after a while, it’s dry, it’s tiring, it’s punishing. Whereas serving somebody it’s sweet, it’s happy.
So Krishna thinks, “I want to find out about this, what would that be like? How could I try this out for myself?” So he comes in the form of Chaitanya Mahāprabhu, to discover what is service. And what he discovers this is a higher position. So Milton said, “Better to serve in heaven, than to reign in hell.” We prefer a service position. But the devotees are even more extreme. We say, “I can serve in hell, doesn’t matter, put me where you want. If I get a chance to serve Krishna, I’ll be happy.” So even if we have to go to hell to preach Krishna Consciousness, we’re ready for that.
Interviewer: Goswāmī Mahārāj sometimes refer to the neophyte devotees as a nectar seekers. But on the Samādhi [Mandir] of Śrīla Śrīdhar Mahārāj, it’s Samādhi of Love in Separation.
Śrīpād Bhakti Vidhan Mahāyogī:
Okay, this is a really good point, because many people they come to Krishna Consciousness, thinking, “Wow, this is cool, get high naturally. You don’t need the psychedelic drug, this is the new crack cocaine, you can just take this and whew, you can go to the top.” And what happens is it’s true, you get this ruci
if you like, that we were talking about before, which attracts you. But real realization on a path of Krishna Consciousness, it has to do with service.
And you’re not serving because if you serve you get ānanda
, it’s not a give-and-take, it’s not, “I am gonna do this, and then I’ll get that.” You serve because you have to. Like real musicians, they are musicians, because they have to be musicians, they don’t know anything else. They can’t make any money, they are not successful, it doesn’t matter, that’s what they do, they’re musicians, it’s their dharma
So if you have the taste for Krishna Consciousness, you have to serve Krishna, so ultimately you are not interested in bhukti, mukti, or anything, all you want is to serve, you’re not even interested in Divine Love. If you’re thinking, “Well, let me see, if I do this sādhana-bhakti, and I practice the ritual, I cook the prasādam, and I serve the devotees, then later I’ll get something, I know I’ll get something. I’ll leave this planet, and I’ll go to the higher world. And I hate this planet, because it stinks, and everything here is terrible and bad.” That’s not a good attitude, see. You have to develop a service attitude, where you don’t care how terrible everything is, all you want to do is to serve. And that’s a very difficult place to get to. But that’s what the higher devotees are busy doing, while we’re trying to puzzle through our daily life.
I am very, as we say in Spanish, we have this word apenada, it means embarrassed. So I am sitting here pontificating in a room with the ten people, and I’d like to take the opportunity to thank the devotees here, who are giving back to me what I tried to give years ago and perhaps lost to some extend, so I want to personally thank my interlocutor, who’s off camera, Gopa Kiśor for creating this dialogue. Real truth often come out through dialogue, because if I’m only talking and thinking that I have the truth, it’s very stale. But if you can give me something back there is more dynamic. And I’d like to thank Bhakti Lalitā for her presence, and for reminding us all of Govinda Mahārāj, Amia Sindhu for travel arrangements, Aurora for the trip from Mexico, and Yuvati, who took us to the market and knows Chiang Mai in and out. And our director Indulekha, Rāmākanta, who is behind the controls at the production. Lilavati, there she is, who is always expert in serving everybody, I don’t know how she does it. And Nalina Sundari, and Pavan Krishna, who is making the whole experience in Chiang Mai really worthwhile. So if you’re watching this production and liking anything, please, send your comments, tell your friends, watch the…
Interviewer: Upcoming series of our events, we’ll have only two more broadcast, Monday and Wednesday.
Śrīpād Bhakti Vidhan Mahāyogī: Next Monday, next Wednesday we’ll do this again and then I will disappear. So goodbye Chiang Mai and goodbye Hare Krishna. “Ooooh, no, no!” Anyways, we’re very happy to come here and work with all of you, and we’ll work with you in the future, I’m sure.
Interviewer: There is one part at the beginning of Search for Sri Krishna is shamelessly expressing Himself and glorifying His devotees and Krishna Consciousness. So I think in the following we can talk about Loving Search for the Lost Servant, which I think fits very good to your story, and we’ll keep our viewers with this.
Śrīpād Bhakti Vidhan Mahāyogī: So stay tuned, boy and girls, ladies and gentlemen and vaiṣṇavas of all ages.