Question: In the current environment in China there are many problems, like drugs, cheating, crime, pollution, bad food etc. So in this unsafe environment how can we live happily?
Goswami Maharaj: When I speak at this time, I’m speaking from a philosophical point of view, from the perspective that Krishna is the solution to everything. When I sit in this chair, and before this deity and the Guru-varga, I’m speaking from that perspective. So you have to understand that. Otherwise you won’t understand why I’m saying these things.
It has to deal with understanding the nature of the world. All you’r really describing there, is the world. The way of the world. That’s the way the world is, always. It’s not that it’s China or India, or America or Thailand, this is the world.
A famous book in the English literature is called ‘the way of the world’. I believe it was written by William Congreve. That’s the title of this book or play.
And Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura, he also said once in one of his talks, “What is troubling us at present, what is that thing that is giving us trouble – it’s what we call ‘the world’. It’s life. And these things are always there, lying, cheating, stealing… that’s just the so called ‘way of the world.’ It’s always been that way, it is that way at present, and it will always be that way. Because were living in the world of exploitation.
We touched upon this last time we spoke. The world of exploitation, in the language of the Bhagavatam, it says, “jivo jivasya jivanam” (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 1.13.47). One living being, is living by exploiting another. That’s the mundane truth. The law of the mundane world. If you express it in Darwinian language it’s ‘survival of the fittest’. And it’s cruel and unfair, but that is the way of the world. So rather than trying to find some way to live in the world of exploitation harmoniously, or happily. When someone realises that this is what the world is. Or in the language of Srila Prabhupad in his Bhagavad-gita purport, he says, “When someone understands that the material world is constant source of perplexity at every step. Such a person should approach Guru, and try to get out of this world. Try to leave the world of exploitation and go further than merely renunciation, and enter the land of dedication.
Because one approach to this is – “Oh since the world is this way, it’s so unfair it’s so cruel, it’s so full of faults, flaws, injustice. So just renounce that world. Don’t be involved in it on any level.” That’s half true, but by our very nature, we have to do something. So merely to renounce is not sufficient. “Rasa-varjaṁ raso ’py asya paraṁ dṛṣṭvā nirvartate…” (Bhagavad-gītā: 2.59) Bhagavad-gita recommends ‘paraṁ dṛṣṭvā’; higher experience, higher seeing. The Sanskrit word ‘dṛśi’, like we hear the world ‘ṛṣi’, which means a saint, a sage, a Guru. “Jñāninas tattva-darśi…” (Bhagavad-gītā: 4.34) - there it is again - ‘dṛśi’ - those who are seeing, experiencing the truth. It’s not told they ‘create’ truth. They don’t create a political system, a social system, a financial system. A better way of exploitation, a more fair way of exploiting. That is not the solution. Or to exploit people very nicely, in a way that they are happy to be exploited. That is not the answer.
Tattva-darśi – those who have seen the truth, they experience something superior than the path of exploitation, as a means of fulfilment. And that can be summed up as the notion, that by acquiring, controlling and consuming that I will find fulfilment. Through consumption, consumerism. The acquisition, control and consumption of objects, I being a subject, living in the objective world. That by some reconfiguration of the objective world which is based upon exploitation, I will find harmony in my life, I’ll find peace, happiness etc. Or, through jñāna, knowledge, education, we will eradicate ignorance and bad tendencies.
When television was introduced in America, they said that ‘with this TV, it will be then end of ignorance’. You can now watch this on YouTube. When they are introducing television. And they are saying, “Well, what will we do with this magical box and device.” And they say, “With this, everyone will have one in their house, and ignorance will be eradicated. Everyone will be educated, and through the acquisition of knowledge, all these bad tendencies of lying, cheating, stealing, etc… will be eliminated, because everyone will be enlightened. So TV, the distribution of television will result in the enlightenment of the citizenry.
And it’s ironic that years later, one of the nicknames of TV in America was ‘The Boob Tube’. And ‘boob’ in this sense means an ‘idiot’. So this box that was supposed to enlighten the citizens who live in the democracy, because the basic principle of democracy is that an enlightened citizenry will… you know the rest. So an enlightened citizenry was not the effects of this television. So now, the idea has shifted from that. The French have a saying: ‘Plus ça change plus c'est la même chose’ – ‘the more things change, the more they remain the same’. So now, what’s the new idea? Is through organising the worlds information. So, they say, “Now through the internet we have a database with the subtotal of all human knowledge, and by having this,…” again the same idea is there that “…we will produce an enlightened citizenry, and that enlightened citizenry will elect the right people, make the right decisions etc.”
From a Vedic point of view, there is 5 stages of knowledge, called pratyaksa, paroksa, aparoksa, adhoksaja and aprakrita. So, pratyaksa, we were talking about the word ‘dṛśi’ before – to see. So aksa, sometimes means the eyes, or what is seen. So ‘pratyaksa’ means your direct experience. You are seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, smelling and feeling. And on the basis of that, you’r making observations and conclusion, based upon what your see, hear, taste, touch, smell and feel. That’s pratyaksa.
But then you realise, “Oh the person sitting next to me is also doing the same thing, and so is another person, and all the other people I know; they are also seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, smelling and feeling. So if we share that, it will be beneficial to me. Because you’ve seen things I’ve not seen, etc. So if we pool the information together, that will help me, you, all of us to make better decisions, more informed decisions.”
But, if the basis of making a decision is acquiring, controlling and consuming for fulfilment, then were only going to use this shared information to exploit one another. To continue the exploitation. Rather than to keep it to a minimum, or reduce it.
So, pratyaksa, and paroksa. Para-aksa, means what was not seen by me, but seen by others. So, that’s the idea behind Google and the internet is to have the sum total of shared human experience. And it should include everyone who lived and observed before us. So we have the inherited wisdom of all the people who lived before us, like ancient civilisations. They have some knowledge, some wisdom that has been handed down. So we’ll include that, and that combined with modern knowledge… you understand the idea. That we will have a database which is the sum total of all human knowledge, experience, observation, good, bad and otherwise. And then by querying it, questioning it, we should get some response to our necessity.
But again, what is that necessity? What is it that were searching for? Do we think that a database will supply the answer to that search? If were looking for something, consumer goods or other kind of things, or for people to consume. It’s still within the realm of exploitation… then it may be helpful. But addressing what is known as ‘inner fulfilment’, it may not help that. Because for that, another substance is required. So for this, we have pratyaksa, paroksa, then were told the third stage which some subscribe to …where they say, “Actually, if we can create a tabula rasa, means a ‘clean slate’. I’ve acquired so many prejudices, and these prejudices are clouding my judgment. I have so many stereotypes about life, experience, etc. If I could cleanse myself of all of that, and start fresh, from a fresh position. Just like when there is an error, written on the board, a white board. If you write an error, you get an eraser and say, “Erase that. This is so far wrong, we need to erase that and start over.”
So this is one idea. That we’ll create a clean slate and start from there. And if we can do that, then we won’t have any acquired prejudices slanting or obscuring our experience and our observation of things. That’s another idea.
But Vaisnavism, begins with, as Guru Maharaj put it, “The infinite making itself known to the finite.” If we say, the finite cannot know the infinite by finite means. This is the beginning of Sri Guru and His Grace, where Srila Guru Maharaj very nicely, in a very rational way shows the necessity for Sri Guru, and by extension Divine revelation, or revealed truth. And he begins with a premise ‘to err is human’. So that’s how I will reframe your question. I’ll say, to sum it up what are you saying, that this human ‘erring’ tendency. Not to point the finger at others, “They’re like that, but we’re not like that.” No. To err is human. It is an innate human tendency. It all, whether you look at it from an eastern perspective, or a western perspective. The tendency to degrade.
So Guru Maharaj began his famous essay with this famous maxim ‘to err is human.’ He said, “To err, is inevitable for all, for everyone… being that were not perfect. But, interestingly, even though that is our condition, our situation, there is an element within us which seeks perfection.” This is what is interesting. Although we acknowledge that it’s a universal axiomatic truth, to err is human. We know were not perfect. Everyone will acknowledge that. Still, there is something within us that is seeking perfection. So that’s very interesting. It means, in the face of so much evidence, of so much statistical analysis to the contrary, a virtual impossibility. Still, we are hard wired to seek perfection.
Then, He makes the next point, “But, that tendency within us for perfection, it’s small. It’s weak. If it was great, then we would have what we want. But we find ourselves repeatedly in a less than perfect situation, dealing with our faults and shortcomings. But still, somehow hankering for perfection. So Guru Maharaj makes this point, this tendency we have is weak. I’ve mentioned this before, when Salvador Dali was asked if he believed in God or not. The famous surrealistic artist and sometimes ‘madman’. So they said to him, “Dali, do you believe in God?” And he said, “Yes, but I have no faith.” So, we could say it’s a clever retort. But, I think it was also a very honest, candid statement that is true for most people. There is some intuitive sense about God; now I’m equating perfection, with divinity. He said, “But I have no faith.” This tendency towards the cultivation of faith, which is essential to come in connection with divinity substantially, is very weak. As he said, “I have no faith.”
Therefore we need association. Sadhu, sastra, guru and vaisnava. In the form of Scriptures, revealed truth; those who can extract that and demonstrate it’s relevance in our lives.
So Srila Guru Maharaj concludes “This makes room, or points to the necessity that what will help us is outside of ourselves. That’s the next point which he makes. Otherwise, if it was just within us alone, we would have it already. We wouldn’t even be having this discussion. But it’s not like that. This weak tendency, we’re seeking perfection but it’s not very strongly developed. Were seeking a connection with Divinity really.
As i’ve also mentioned, in regard to the internet, and databases. You have things like ‘matchmaker.com’. It means, where you’r looking for your partner. Men are looking for women, women are looking for men. You’r looking for a match. So one such site is called matchmaker.com, and there are many such sites. Or it could be Facebook. Facebook was created for this purpose, originally. As if that was some kind of a revelation. But, my point in alluding to this is, that the way these things work is the person establishes some sort of criteria. Saying, “I envision my soulmate, my other half, match, as…” …and then they will put down some kind of, what we call ‘ideal criteria’. “Who is your ideal?” “My ideal will be like this, this, this and that.”
But, here I want to introduce the idea that ‘ideal’, is synonymous with the Absolute. That only the Absolute is capable of representing the ideal, really and truly, substantially. So when you seek an ideal, in a source other than the Absolute, that will necessarily end in disappointment, and frustration. Because you’r not dealing with the Absolute. So just as, we spoke about beauty. People have some ideal criteria of beauty. As one poet said, hundreds of years ago; and is still relevant today,
Beauty is but a flower,
Wrinkles will devour.
Brightness falls from the air,
Queens have died young and fair.
Someone wrote this poem 300 - 500 years ago. And it’s still true. So ephemeral beauty. Even if we find someone who is so beautiful, we see their beauty wither and deteriorate, and become less than ideal. Once they seemed to epitomise that ideal and personify that ideal, and then it withers and the person becomes disappointed. It’s one example. But we are taking ideal criteria and trying to impose them upon another person, place or thing. And then as we interact with that person, we can maintain that illusion, infatuation for some time, until the flower withers and wilts. The ideal starts to wilt. Then we realise that this person is less than ideal, in many ways. And then, the relationship leads to frustration, disappointment and disillusion.
So the spiritual project, is to direct these natural tendencies towards the Absolute, the actual ideal. And here by extension it means, divinity. And if we go beyond divinity in the general sense, and take divinity in the highest sense, it will lead us to the Krishna Conception; Reality the Beautiful. Nityaṁ nava-navāya-mānam, who is ever fresh, ever new. Who’s beauty is not wilting or withering. But, the same thing is there. If we remain in a position where were going to project ourselves upon the infinite, the same thing will happen.
So, were told above the aparoksa plane, is the adhoksaja plane. ‘Adha-aksaja’. We see that word ‘aksa’ again, which we said before means ‘eyes’. But in this instance, it means ‘senses’. So, adha-aksaja, this is different. Whereas the first plane, your seeing and observing (pratyaksa). Second one, ‘paroksa’, were sharing our observations and experience. The third one, cleansed of all experience. But the adhoksaja plane, what is it; it descends from the upper world, into this plane. Descending, and what does it do? It suppresses mundane experience, sense experience. So what is being experienced is beyond what can be seen by the eye, and the mind. That is not what the deity is, it is beyond what can be heard by the ear and the mind. Still can be heard, still can be seen, still can be felt, still can be touched. Everything is there, but it is ‘adhoksaja’ – beyond mundane experience.
Where do we get a hint of this possibility? Every night, when we dream. When we dream, there is full spectral range of sensual activity which takes place. So that means that there is another plane, and this is the lowest, we’re just talking about the mind, and subconscious. In that plane you can see, touch, taste, smell, feel, have dialogues and do all kinds of things. So it’s a hop skip and a jump from there, to the plane of atma. Why should we think that the atma, the soul world has no seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, or feeling? When it’s actually the nature of ‘atma’ to engage in different kinds of sensual activities.
The Bhagavatam, in one of it’s famous examples it says, that sometimes we will see the moon is hidden, but clouds are illuminated. So you see the shining clouds, but you can’t see the moon behind the clouds. But the only reason you can see the clouds, is because of the moon. This is what the Bhagavatam is saying, the only reason you can see life in my eyes, in my face movements; these are the clouds. This eye, mind, body, these are all just clouds, subtle and gross, in front of the soul, covering it. It’s in the background, shining and bringing illumination in my eyes, your eyes and those of every living being. It’s animating them, giving movement.
So why should we conclude that only here in the mundane plane does the soul express itself in a personal way? By seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, tasting and feeling and being hard wired to seek loving relationships with other seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, tasting and feeling beings. Why? If that sort of potential, possibility and tendency is not present in it’s original nature and position.
So Srila Guru Maharaj introduced the conception of the Subjective Evolution of consciousness, and something he called chidābhāsa. So chit, means cognition. So the spiritual world is sometimes called the chit world. It’s made out of consciousness. And not just consciousness, but spiritually enriched dedicating consciousness. So that is the chit world, this is the so called achit-jagat. So, how is the chit subject, a spiritually conscious subject, going to navigate the achit world? It can just go and walk around here and do stuff? No. He introduces the concept of chidābhāsa, chayābhāsa, a shadow-like representation of the soul is necessary to function in the achit-jagat, the unconscious mundane world. What is the shadow like aspect of the soul? What is the shadow like representation?
bhūmir āpo ’nalo vāyuḥ
khaṁ mano buddhir eva cha
ahaṅkāra itīyaṁ me
bhinnā prakṛtir aṣṭadhā
Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence, ego. So, the mind at present, this is a shadow of the spiritual mind. The intellect at present, it’s a shadow of the spiritual intellect. This body, it’s a shadow of the spiritual body. The body, is the biological expression of the soul’s delusion. The soul in a deluded state, expressing exploiting tendencies trying to find satisfaction through exploitation, manifest generates in co-operation with the modes of material nature, “karaṇaṁ guṇa-saṅgo ’sya sad-asad-yoni-janmasu” (Bhagavad-gītā: 13.22) millions of material bodies.
Just like the RGB, on the computer monitor. Red, green, blue. You can make millions of different colours. So, the mode of Ignorance, mode of passion, mode of goodness, and their various combinations make millions of varieties of lifeforms, which are, “yantrārūḍhāni māyayā” (Bhagavad-gītā: 18.61).
The soul is like a passenger, seated on the machine of material energy. Like the Russian word for car, is ‘machine’. So this should be even a better example. Just like a car has a driver. That’s what in Bhagavad-gita, Krishna says ‘yantram’, that means ‘machine’ here. “Yantrārūḍhāni māyayā”. The soul is driving a body made out of material energy, varieties of combinations of the modes of nature.
And I remember, maybe the first time I used this example I was in Russia, in 1978. We had just put benzene in our car, and I thought, “Yes, just like the car, the machine needs benzene to run. But if the passenger thinks that will be helpful to them, it’s poison. So when the soul mistakes bodily necessities and such things as that, the fuel of the body he mistakes as being the food for the self, then that’s an unfortunate deluded condition.
So what is the fuel, what is the food for the soul? Sat, we mentioned. Chit. Sat means existence, like this chair exists. But it’s not aware of it’s existence. I’m aware of the chair’s existence. So I posses not only existence, but I’m aware of existence. Like the old decartian maxim – “Cogito ergo sum”. It’s usually rendered as, “I think therefore I am.” So it means, because I’m aware of my existence, I know I exist. So that’s ‘sat’, and ‘chit’. But when you become aware of your existence, there is a third prospect we become imminently aware of and endlessly fixated upon. And that is ‘anandam’. That means that we need pleasure, happiness, love, affection, beauty, charm, sweetness. It’s not enough just to exist. It’s not enough just to be aware of your existence.
So knowledge cannot deliver the goods. Jnana, is not the food of the soul. Sat, chit, anandam. Satyam, sivam, sundaram. Anandam is the food of the soul, sundaram is the food for the soul. Ecstasy, love, beauty. That’s what were seeking for. And were seeking an ideal of love. And people don’t understand… or maybe they do. Maybe they are so frustrated with trying to find love, they will take anything as a consolation prize. But generally when people think of love, they start thinking of an ideal. And that’s the starting point. Maybe later, they say, “I just need a dog.” Or… “I have a cat.” Which is ok too… I don’t want to get an email… I also love cat’s and dogs.
But, you know what I mean. Or, maybe you don’t know what I mean. Here’s what I mean. Statistically, you could make a case, like people always say, “Does God exist, or not?” Alright, does Love exist? Lets apply this criteria that they use to mount a case agains the existence of God, towards Love. “Oh, love that was something created by people to address the biological imperative so that people will reproduce.” But really it’s just in their mind. You can’t quantify it, you can’t express it in a mathematical expression. You can’t be sure that anyone’s actually had that. It’s just a feeling that people have, and they use this word (love). Nobody’s seen it, people say they have. But the same people who say they’re madly in love, they’re divorcing 2 months later, or 2 years later, or 20 years later.
So, I don’t want to get into that; you know, we could say, “Well, statistically 50% or all marriages end in divorce.” Even if we said, “Statistically 100% of all marriages end in divorce.” Still, someone will think, “No!! This is LOVE.’’ Even if so many times they were disappointed, and it ended in disillusion. We are so hard wired to seek Love and affection, we will believe in it, despite statistical evidence to the contrary. That’s the point I’m making. And believe me I’m not arguing in favour of the non-existence of Love. Im saying, that we are so hard wired for it, it must exist. But how to find it, how to connect with that.
Guru Maharaj would sometimes quote that Vedic aphorism, “śṛṇvantu viśve amṛtasya putraḥ” – Oh, you children. You are children of nectar. You are meant to live in the nectar world. Amṛtasya putraḥ. Not the mortal world of exploitation. That’s not your home. Listen to me, that means hear through ‘shabdha’. Through sound you can be liberated, through sound you can re-awaken to your actual identity as a child in the nectar soil. The amrita world, of immortality, full knowledge, bliss, ecstasy, happiness, love and affection.
And ‘OM’, all the the Vedic mantras they begin with OM, and end with OM. And Srila Guru Maharaj says, “What does that mean? – It’s a big YES, saying yes, what your searching for exists. What your heart is searching for exists.” And people will say, “No, no, no. When you believe in the Romeo and Juliette story, that’s for 14 year olds. It’s a Shakespeare play about two 14 year olds. Why do you think they’re 14? Because that can exist when your 14. But, when you get old, you’ll understand, when you get older. They express that every last person will overcome this naivety, this innate hard wired tendency we have to search for the ideal of love. We’re looking for the personification of the ideal of Love, and Affection and Beauty. Which by another name is ‘Krishna’. And so they’re telling us that He doesn’t exist. Or such a thing doesn’t exist, it’s just for 14 year olds. And so what your left with is the biological imperative. ‘Get on with it’.
And we’ve swallowed all this stuff. We forget that these people were just little babies themselves, a few years back. Now they have big titles, and their scientist, and they speak with synthetic voices. You know, if I had a synthetic speech generator, for what I was saying, you’d be very impressed. ‘The ultimate reality is beautiful’. You know, there would be 1000 people here. We’re idiots. The BoobTube did not enlighten us. We’re the bastard children of the enlightenment. It didn’t work.
So, that’s the bad news. The good news is ‘OM’. What your heart is searching for has existed all along, still exist’s and will continue to exist. And you can connect with that, through hearing. “Āmnāyaḥ prāha tattvaṁ harim iha paramaṁ sarva-śaktim rasābdhiṁ” (Daśa-mūla-tattva). The nature of the ultimate reality from where we all come is beauty, charm, sweetness, love and affection. But it’s obvious, were searching anywhere and everywhere… or as Gurudev would say, ‘many-where’. Looking for love in all the wrong places, as the song said.
So Guru Maharaj said, “So, children of nectar, you were born to taste nectar. You must not be satisfied with anything but nectar. So search for Sri Krishna, search for Reality The Beautiful. And enter a world where even lying is good. To go back to the original question. Where lying, cheating and stealing is nectar.
As Guru Maharaj told me once, “Krishna – Autocrat, Despot and Lyer.” And some devotee said, “Um, run that by me again.” The Supreme Truth, the Ultimate Reality is an Autocrat, Despot and Lyer. Autocrat, reality is for itself, by itself; Hegelian principle. Is not contingent upon any other, exists to fulfil His own purpose. And despot, if we were to try and check Him, by imposing our mundane morality, human limitations upon Him, then we’ll be the losers. in that human beings should regulate and impose human restrictions and human morality of conditional existence upon the unconditional. This is foolishness.
So, he said, “ok, Autocrat, Despot… but Lyer?” And Guru Maharaj said, “Yes, because your not ready to hear the truth. So he’s adopted the position of a Lyer, to gradually bring you to the truth. “Parokṣa-vādo vedo ’yaṁ bālānām anuśāsanam…” (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 11.3.44) – the way you teach a child, through installment. And, with a fair amount of lying. Do I have to explain that?
Chinese devotee: You have answered all the questions.
Goswami Maharaj: Oh, it answered all of them. Good. I could’ve done better, I admit. Just to tie this off. Because people will say, “Oh, Maharaj is saying that we should lie to the children.” What I mean by that, we are saying in the solar system, the sun is fixed, not moving. And then there are these 9 planet’s orbiting the sun. But then later, a few grades later we say, “You know that sun that is fixed and not moving, with the 9 planets orbiting it, actually, together with those 9 planets, it’s pivoting around the pole star. But if we say from the beginning, “The sun is moving, planets are also moving…” it’s confusing. That’s what we mean by not giving the whole truth in the beginning, and we use the word ‘lie’.
Question: You mentioned about living in the world of consciousness, the plane of consciousness, that the spiritual world is a plane of consciousness. Srila Guru Maharaj has explained also that there is a world of faith, a plane of faith.
Goswami Maharaj: Right, that’s why I said not just consciousness, but dedicating consciousness.
Question: So how does faith, relate with consciousness. What is faith and how does it relate to consciousness?
Goswami Maharaj: We know that consciousness in the general sense is something which allows… Guru Maharaj’s word I think would be ‘adaptability’. So you can be a believer, or a disbeliever. What enables dis-belief, is the same thing that enables belief. It’s consciousness. So, He likes to compare it to atmosphere. We have the earth’s atmosphere. Does anybody know the different levels – I forget. The stratosphere, the troposphere, the ionosphere. What is the sequence? Anyway, you get the idea. So, Guru Maharaj is saying the air only goes up so far. At a certain point there is no longer air.
Goswami Maharaj: It doesn’t matter, we’re just saying, even if you get in an airplane. Or if you walk up the mountain, there is less air as you go higher, until there is no air etc. So, Guru Maharaj will say, “So how can you reach these other planets through ether?” And in this sense, we could say for like, people who are sticklers for information; ether we mean in the older sense of the word, as this substance that was pervading everything. So, he means to say, the mind is like an atmosphere, by comparison. Intellect would be another one. So the mind can go so far. The intellect can go so far. But to reach the spiritual plane, you need faith.
And faith, as we’ve heard from him elsewhere is an extension from Srimati Radharani. And now it gets a little bit technical. We can say this, as she’s illuminating Krishna, she’s revealing Krishna. In one place Guru Maharaj says, “Faith is the halo of Radharani.” So what does that mean in a practical sense? What is revealing Krishna, illuminating Krishna Conception. And if we take this in a substantial way, we will say necessarily ‘service’. Not just the transfer of data, or information. Krishna looks like this… here’s a Puranic description of what Krishna looks like. That may generate a mental image, or an intellectual image, but the rupa of Krishna, nama, rupa, guna, lila, the actual rupa (form) of Krishna, will come through, “sevonmukhe hi jihvādau svayam eva sphuraty adaḥ” (Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu: 1.2.234) – through a service connection. So, “seva-mayo ‘yaṁ loka; śraddhā-mayo ’yaṁ loka” – are sometimes synonymous.
So, through the cultivation of faith, and what does that mean? It’s not like, we can say, “Yeah, I’m doing that.” “Śraddhānvito ’nuśṛṇuyād atha varṇayed yaḥ…” (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 10.33.39) It’s something that descends from this plane. The famous Upanishadic sloka, “nāyam ātmā pravachanena labhyo na medhayā na bahunā śrutena…” (Kaṭha Upaniṣad: 1.2.23) You won’t get this because you read a lot of books, you googled, you “bahunā śrutena”, you heard from many sources. “Nāyam ātma pravachanena labhyo na medhayā…” being very intelligent. “Na medhayā na bahunā śrutena, yam evaiṣa vṛṇute tena labhyas tasyaiṣa ātmā vivṛṇute tanuṁ svām,” but He reveals Himself to whom He chooses, and through whom He chooses and to what degree he chooses.
So what will lead to that? Sevonmukhata. By making one’s approach through service. With a service attitude. Infused with serving tendency. Then there can be revelation. Without that it’s just academic. You can get a superficial Krishna Conception.
Question: So in one place, Srila Guru Maharaj said that faith, is the eyes of the soul. The eye with which we can see God, is the eyes of faith.
Goswami Maharaj: Yes, and so where do you get that eye? “Ajñāna-timirāndhasya jñānāñjana-śalākayā, chakṣur…” you get it from Guru. Sadhu, shastra guru, vaishnava. Shastra chakshus, sadhu chakshus. Seeing through them. They are extending the seeing. So we told the other day, Guru Maharaj is saying you were extended the capacity to appreciate. That means, “paraṁ dṛṣṭvā nivartate” (Bhagavad-gītā: 2.59). How will you have the superior experience? It’s a matter of grace. So what was that article? Sri Guru and His Grace. What is grace compared to? Guru Mahraraj said, “Sunshine.” Just having the eye is not enough. You need light. Grace, is the light by which the eye of the soul sees.
So, if you say that is faith, then where do you get that? Grace. Sri Guru and His Grace. It’s something descending, it’s something being extended to someone, the capacity to see, to appreciate. Otherwise we will think that it is self generated.
Remember Guru Maharaj’s famous example, when Krishna’s trying to make a diplomatic solution, before the battle of Kurukshetra. So, at the Kuru-sabha, at one point, when diplomatic negotiation breaks down it occurs to the other side, “Well, Arjuna chose Krishna, if we just capture Krishna, they’re finished.”
So they go to apprehend Krishna, and He expands Himself into innumerable Krishnas, and they’re not sure which one is the original, which one is a fake. But with Krishna, they can all be real. Vilas-vigraha, prakash-vigraha… they’re not fakes. It’s not a yogi’s trick. And then He’s showing the Virat Rupa (universal form) and now they’re not only bewildered, but they are astonished. “Virāḍ aviduṣāṁ tattvaṁ paraṁ yogināṁ…” (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 10.43.17) And so, as it is in that time of Mahabharata, greater India, even at these negotiations there are so many sages there. And they are seeing this Virat Rupa of Krishna, His Universal Form like He showed to Arjuna in Bhagavad-gita. As they say in Thailand, ‘same same, but different’. So, it was same same, but different. Because He is ever fresh, always showing Himself in a new way each time.
So the sages start offering praise. And Dhritarashtra who is the blind King, sitting on the throne; he hears something extraordinary going on. They’re saying, ‘’Oh Lord, your innumerable forms are so glorious and wonderful…” They’re offering prayers, similar to those in the Bhagavad-gita, praising all these innumerable forms, avatars, manifestations being shown by Krishna. And this arouses, awakens the curiosity in Dhritarashtra to see this, it’s driving him crazy. He’s blind, and, “Everyone else can see this, but I can’t see it.” Imagine that. If you ever wanted to see something!
So he prays to Krishna, “Oh, you are so great. Actually we all know that, this is a play. But if you would just remove my blindness for a moment, so I can see what they are seeing. And then I’ll go back to being blind again. But just for a moment, let me see what they’re seeing.” That’s his plea, his prayer.
And Guru Maharaj said, Krishna says to him, “It’s not necessary to remove your blindness.” And this is the point. He says, “That’s not necessary. That is not Krishna Consciousness. If I say you will see, if I will that you will see this, then you will see it. As a blind man, you will see it. The physical blindness is not the impediment to you seeing this. It’s wether I will, that you see it, then you can see.” And Guru Maharaj said, “And the blind man saw!”
That’s what it is. Otherwise we are told, what is the Bengali saying about Owls in the presence of the sun. Who’s divine eyes are awakened, they see signs of Divinity everywhere and in everything. But otherwise if that divine eye is not awakened, then like an owl in the presence of the sun, they see nothing.
So it’s a gift. Sri Guru and His Grace. The grace of Sri Guru. Spiritual seeing, the extension of faith. Which is our only means to approach that plane. As Guru Maharaj told, “Doubt is a function of intelligence.” So too much intellectual analysis creates doubt. Doubt disturbs faith. And faith is our only means of access to this plane. So we pray, for Sri Guru and His Grace.