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  • Have Faith in Guru-Vaishnava, not in Yourself

    Chiang Mai 2016 - Have Faith in Guru-Vaishnava, not in Yourself

    Author: Bhakti Sudhir Goswami Cycle: Chiang Mai 2016 Uploaded by: Priyanana Created at: 13 July, 2017
    Duration: 01:08:10 Date: 2016-10-07 Place: Gupta Govardhan Chiang Mai Downloaded: 2850 Played: 4492

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    Goswāmī Mahārāj: Some questions?
    Devotee: Yes, a question online from Ofjer Yavitz. I can't right now surrender to Kṛṣṇa. I'm at this time fallen and filled with vices. What can I do? Can I help in supporting devotees? What hope do I have? Can you please give me some mercy.
    Goswāmī Mahārāj: Well, it sounds like you're a fit candidate for the mercy of Kṛṣṇa and His devotees. You're in a good position. As Guru Mahārāj sometimes say, “Silver may not feel so much necessity to become gold. But, iron will feel it more.” So, Śrīla Guru Mahārāj promotes the culture of negativity. And this is something very often misunderstood in the modern world, because of Humanism, New Age philosophies, with all this emphasis on, so called, being positive. So, you have to stop beating yourself up and, have high self-esteem and, be assertive to the point of being aggressive, just do it, go for it because you're worth it. Think positive. Someone even wrote a book, The Power of Positive Thinking. But, it's basically part of the canon of humanistic sloganeering. Establishing yourself as some sort of absolute center. Trying to expand the circumference of your exploiting tendency from there. As oppose to, the culture of negativity, which Śrīla Guru Mahārāj equates with humility. Dainya, ātma-nivedana, goptṛtve varaṇa (Śaraṇāgati: 1.3), dainya; hopelessness, helplessness, this is a realistic assessment of ourselves and our present situation. So, in Gītā, Kṛṣṇa says,
    catur-vidhā bhajante māṁ
    janāḥ su-kṛtino ’rjuna
    ārto jijñāsur arthārthī
    jñānī ca bharatarṣabha
    (Bhagavad-gītā: 7.16)
    Saying, four types of people, with some sukṛti, they take shelter of Kṛṣṇa. And then types are mentioned, circumstances.... ārto; they are need of... how do you say?.. economic development, jijñāsur; the inquisitive... ārto jijñāsur arthārthī, those were distressed... jñānī ca bharatarṣabha. In one of his purports, Śrīla Prabhupād says, and I'm paraphrasing, he's saying basically, that when you realize that life is a never ending series of humiliation it behooves, such a person, to approach a spiritual master; the Vaiṣṇava and take shelter there.
    So, it's a realistic assessment of being inextricably surrounded by karmic circumstances that we've generated. So much so, from a devotional point of view, the advanced devotees, they... they prefer adverse circumstances, because that will have a tendency to goad one, to push one, in the direction of perceiving the necessity of surrender and taking shelter of the lotus feet of Śrī Guru. Kuntī-devī in her prayers.
      edhamānamadaḥ pumān
    naivārhaty abhidhātuṁ vai
      tvām akiñcanagocaram
    (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 1.8.26)
    Is saying, these four material assets are maybe... may distract one from spiritual culture. Janma means good birth, high birth; janma. Aiśvarya; opulence, wealth, [janma aiśvarya] śruta; education, śrī; beauty. Although, these are generally considered material assets and desirable, she's saying, “They may not be so desirable because, in one is born in a good situation, wealthy, inherited wealth, highly educated...” Like once some students were visiting Śrīla Guru Mahārāj, one was from like San Francisco State... some school in San Francisco, it was a lady. And... there was other people. But, Guru Mahārāj says, “What subject are you studying, like, majoring in.” She said, “Philosophy.” And Guru Mahārāj said, “Oh, diving deep in ignorance!” [laughing] Not just, not satisfied with, you know... what do they call them?.. the survey, the survey course... we learned a little about this, that and the other thing. “Diving deep into ignorance.” [laughing] A PhD in ignorance, not satisfied with just generic, off-the-shelf ignorance, got to go deep into it. So, generally speaking, it's hard to approach such persons. Because, on the account their arrogance of their accumulated mundane knowledge, they're not open to spiritual truth. Or as, Prabodhānanda Saraswatī Ṭhākur, he has an interesting strategy.
    dante nidhāya tṛṇakaṁ padayor nipatya
    kṛtvā cha kāku-śatam etad ahaṁ bravīmi
    he sādhavaḥ sakalam eva vihāya dūrāt
    chaitanya-chandra-charaṇe kurutānurāgam
    (Śrī Chaitanya-chandrāmṛta: 8.90)
    He's saying, −approaching very humbly− “My dear sir, you're so learned, so exalted, and dignified person in society, generous in every way, and so, I have one request from you. And, I am sure in consideration of your exalted, generous nature, you'll grant that request.” “Oh then yes, what is that request?” “Forget everything you know, and kindly turn your attention to the lotus feet Gaurāṇga-Mahāprabhu.” “That is my only request, forget everything you know; everything you think you know.” That, which by knowing, keeps you isolated in ignorance. It's in Kuntī's, from Kuntī's perspective a potential disqualification. So, she's saying, “People who have the luxury of mundane assets, janma, aiśvarya, śruta, and śri, they find it difficult to approach you. What is Christ? The famous, one of the famous sayings attributed to him, that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter heaven. Something like that? Same principle. So, what is Kuntī saying? tvām akiñcana-gocaram (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam:, but the akiñcan and that can be described in various ways, Prabhupād put it very nicely. He said, “The materially exhausted.” Those who have exhausted all material possibilities. They've tried everything, it's not that haven't tried, or put energy into it. They put... expended so much energy. Like in the Mādhavendra Purī śloka, kāmādīnāṁ kati na katidhā pālitā durnideśās, teṣāṁ jātā mayi na karuṇā na trapā nopaśāntiḥ (Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta: 22.16.1-2), “I've been the most obedient servant of my lust, anger, greed, of my desires, my senses. I've served them so attentively and fully and non-stop for so long. And they won't give me a break. So, and I have not achieved happiness.” Of course, material science, technology, they're always telling you, happiness is right around the corner; it's in the next update; a couple of years from now; wait until you see what happens in the future; you know, the futurist. This has been going on for over a hundred years, since, the... I guess the advent of the industrial revolution... A series of writers, who are sometimes described as futurist. H. G. Wells was one of them, and, who wrote some interesting things no doubt.
    But... E. M. Forster objected to all this rosy future talk. Like the poet said, “Trust no future, however pleasant! Let the dead past bury its dead! Act – act in the living Present! Heart within and God overhead.” He thought this idea that everything is just going to be wonderful in the future, he... this is around the end of the nineteenth century actually. He objected to that. He normally wrote other type, like romantics stories and things, A Passage to India, other things. But here, it was... he was annoyed by all this rosy futuristic propaganda. So, he wrote one story called The Machine Stops. And it's interesting, and remember this is at the end of the nineteenth century, maybe the beginning. And he's saying,.. he... it's a... like novella; long-short story. And, in this world, everything's controlled by this one machine. And you live in little cubicles underground. And the music just right, and the aroma is just right, everything just fine. A son visits his mother to express his interest in going above ground. But, while there, the music starts murmuring and the aroma's not so sweet anymore and the lights there's problems −and it's not Chiang Mai [laughing], but Chiang Mai-esque− And, so... long-story short −while it's a short... it's a long-short story− anyway, the machine stops. That was his point. What will you do when the machine stops? And all this perfect climate, environment, that you created with your technology, it's not there. What will you do at that moment? And, it's interesting, what he wrote. So, those who are materially exhausted, who, it means, they've stopped searching for inner fulfillment in the external world and the objective world. And they've concluded, that it can only be achieved in the internal subjective world. tvām akiñcana-gocaram (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam:, so, Kuntī saying, “Those who are materially exhausted, actually, they find it more easy to approach You.” And, then she takes it a step further, saying.
    vipadaḥ santu tāḥ śaśvat
      tatra tatra jagadguro
    bhavato darśanaṁ yat syād
      apunar bhavadarśanam
    (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 1.8.25)
    So, she saying, “Actually, when I reflect on my life, it seems when everything is going very well, then there's a tendency to be forgetful of Kṛṣṇa.” Or Guru, Vaiṣṇava, sevā, devotional... everything is going well; materially. A tendency to become distracted by that... and Jivā Goswāmī... and elsewhere, mentions that the outcome of good karma, for shorthand, is... you know... what is it?.. aśnanti divyān divi deva-bhogān (Bhagavad-gītā: 9.20.4), heavenly enjoyment. It's in Bhagavad-gītā, also. But is says, kṣīṇe puṇye martya-lokaṁ viśanti (Bhagavad-gītā: 9.21.2), but when you run out of your pious credits here, you come down again. But, so he's saying, the end results of pious accumulation, is entrance in the heavenly planets that are full of so much enjoyment, that it is not a desirable position for spiritual culture. Saying, rather... and then there's the consequence of very horrendous karmic activities that go very deep, and the lower species... something like that... undesirable. Saying, but the middle position of the human being, saying, that's the best position to be in. Where you have sort of a balance of enjoyment and suffering. It's... it's already baked into the karmic circumstances... on the path... on the basis of past performance. And, it's being updated in real time by the choices that we make. But, the Bhāgavatams, again says, [drinking] tasyaiva hetoḥ prayateta kovido, na labhyate yad bhramatām upary adhaḥ (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam:, since, that's already a given, that you're going to experience a certain amount of happiness and certain amount of suffering in this life on the basis of your karma, and I'm saying, can be modified somewhat by the... relative choices that you make. Why waste your time on that? Saying, better to spend your energy and trying for that thing that you can't, that's not available, bhramatām upary adhaḥ means wandering the length and breadth of the universe. What is that Mahāprabhu says to Rūpa Goswāmī?
    brahmāṇḍa bhramite kona bhāgyavān jīva
    guru-kṛṣṇa-prasāde pāya bhakti-latā-bīja
    (Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta: Madhya-līlā, 19.151)
    Those incredibly fortunate souls, wandering, suffering... enjoying... reactions of their karmic, karma... fortunate souls come in contact with Kṛṣṇa's agent... saṁsāre ’smin... saṁsāre... the word... kṣaṇārdho ’pi, sat-saṅgaḥ sevadhir nṛṇām (Śrī Chaitanya-caritāmṛta: Madhya-līlā, 22.85.1-2). Here sevadhir means treasure. Saying in this saṁsāre world the most valuable treasures is to get the association of the devotees of Kṛṣṇa. And, we find them more appreciable when we're coming from an acknowledged, hopeless, helpless, circumstance. And Kuntī says, “So... what... but what I do find, upon reflecting on my life's activities, and with the Pāṇḍavas and all of our pastimes, is when I'm in the greatest adversity, then I'm very Kṛṣna conscious. I'm real, I'm thinking exclusively of Kṛsna. I'm praying to Kṛsna in the most earnest way, when the circumstances are most adverse.” And... then so she makes peculiar conclusion, saying, “So, I think adversity is better for me than those other good things.” And we can say, “Well, we're not like that,” We're not going to, like... “Boy, I really hope things go wrong for you. [laughing] And me too, if I'm lucky.” [laughing] No, it's not like that, I mean, she's Queen Kuntī. She's an extraordinary person. But see, just to know that there's someone who can think such things and express them from her heart and it's real, it's not opposing, is amazing and worshipable. You think, oh, that's a devotee, that's a real devotee. She's thinking anything that interferes with my remembrance of Kṛsna is undesirable, however, apparently desirable it might be from a material point of view. So, Śrīla Guru Mahārāj says as an overview, “... The desirable for the position for the devotee to be in is one of negativity.” The culture of negativity which he equates with humility. Now, what does that mean? Because, there's stereotypical humility. You know, particular posture and way of speaking and... But, Jīva Goswāmī not showing that kind of humility. Neither is Vṛndāvan das Ṭhākur. And they are humble. So, there's more then the appearance of humility.
    So, in principle, what we understand is Guru Mahārāj saying, −that, well, I say these words on the basis of what I've heard from him− is that, humility is realized in relation to the proximity of greatness. He gave examples. When we acknowledge, we realize we're in the proximity of greatness and particularly, infinite greatness. Two examples he gave: 1) When you're standing on the shore of an ocean, and you're thinking... and we've done this... you know, “Wow, the ocean is so vast and we're so small.” Automatically those feeling descend. Or we look in the sky... or now you could look at the sky through the Hubble telescope and you know that's floating through outer space. And you see, they show pictures of other galaxies, and then sometimes they show you the size of the earth in relation to all these other stars and galaxies. And, you think, “Wow, it's so tiny and insignificant.” Automatically these feelings descend. So, what we understand in principle, is humility is the natural outcome of the proximity of greatness. That's the principle. So, what to speak of, infinite greatness; the supreme Lord. And, the supreme Lord in His most accessible form through the association of devotees. So, automatically these feeling will descend and that will inspire the heart of the devotee to offer themselves in service. For the self offering to be meaningful, there has to be service. Otherwise, they may just be flowery words. But, less anyone thinks that... [drinking] oh, and to add to that Guru Mahārāj saying, “So, what is negativity?” “It attracts the positive.” Arrogant self assertion, pratiṣṭhā, that's repulsive to Kṛsna. But, the culture of negativity, to be in want, to feel earnestly some need, some necessity, that attracts Kṛsṇa. Kṛsna being the positive, here negativity is a good thing. We can't have stereotypical thinking, this you know, positive good; negative bad. Sometimes, in some scenarios, but not in this one. In this one the positive is Kṛsna and the negative... the negative position is that of the devotee. Sometimes Guru Mahārāj describes, “Kṛsna the supreme positive, Rādhārānī supreme negative.” We know from an unbiased scientific point of view, negativity has it's value. Like, how are all these electrical instruments working? There's positive and negative, we learn these things when we're a child. You don't have to be, like you know, an electrician or a physicist. But, we understand something about positive and negative energy, how they work together to produce something very powerful. So, it's a very sensible way to think, actually. And, to underscore this point, I can mention once I was in... where is the place where Malini is from?... [inaudible devotee] no, no, Malini... [inaudible devotee]... Novosibirsk... yes, ok. What does that mean? Like New Siberia, or something like that. [laughing] Anyway, I was there and in the winter time. So, it was like really, it was like minus 30 or something. That was interesting to me. [laughing] Everyday I would be chanting japa in the afternoon and look out the window and there's like, everything's white, like Śvetadvīp. And, you say, “Where's Śvetadvīp located?” In Russia. [laughing] Everything's... and beautiful white, that type of... and you know... where just the trees are white, the grass... everything you see is white.
    And I was thinking about this and the concept of superconductors. Because, generally people think, well negative that's not a good thing, you know. Don't beat yourself up, you can't have low self esteem if you're going to be a success in the world, all of that kind of thing. And I was thinking, well, how to show the power of negativity? Through superconductors and − I'm not a scientist but this is just, you know, a simple reference−. You take certain ceramics and bring them toward absolute zero, which is about, minus 350 degrees. We're in minus 30, minus 350. They achieve a state called superconductivity, the become superconductors of current. So, as I thought about that, I said, “Why, because, like when we have the copper wire or something we're touching the... it's warm. There's heat, you know, we're told it's resistance. It's expelling the heat because there's resistance to the... some resistance to the current.” It's like Ohm's law, not O-M, but O-H-M. [laughing] Resistance to the current and is generating heat, and that kink of thing. But, when the super... ceramic goes to minus... almost absolute zero, it achieves a state of superconductivity, means now there's zero resistance to the current. So, it becomes a superconductor. So, if you're following this, that devotee through the culture of humility, like Kavirāj Goswāmī,
    jagāi mādhāi haite muñi se pāpiṣṭha
    purīṣera kīṭa haite muñi se laghiṣṭha
    (Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta: Ādi-līlā, 5.205)
    Extreme negativity. But, he becomes a superconductor through which Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛtam passes. Like, when Guru Mahārāj says, “Swami Mahārāj wholly emptied himself of any other desire, then the desire to fulfill the order Saraswatī Ṭhākur, in the line of Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākur, Mahāprabhu.” That means, zero resistance. Sometimes... and what type of humility? Humility that approaching absolute zero, that level of negativity. If we're following Guru Mahārāj's example about negativity. Then what would happen we you achieve absolute zero?... superconductivity. And, we were hearing the other day, certain devotees of Mahāprabhu, there's the āvirbhāve where he appears... where like Nityānanda's dancing, Śacīmātā's cooking, Rāghava Paṇḍita, and a fourth... I forget... maybe Nṛsiṁhānanda... there's different ones... but, well he's another example. He's a example of the avesh, I believe, not, that's Nṛsiṁhānanda, he beccomes Pradyumna... he was Pradyumna Brahmacārī then Nṛsiṁhānanda. Mahāprabhu actcually... His heart is wholly emptied of... so, to what degree? Mahāprabhu, Himself appears there and resides there. This is inconceivable. Because, we're going, the Lord lives in the heart of His devotees, we're telling, He also lives the house of His devotees. [laughing] But, here it's not in some... like paramātmic sense that He is in the heart or through... he's avesh, he's actually there. So, through... this is not the result of low self-esteem. But, this type of negativity, is the automatic outcome of the... their depth of penetration into the positive. They have so much appreciation, that so low they conceive themselves. That's what it is. It's the... we measure depth, vaiṣṇavatā, and penetration in Kṛsna conception in the inverse, to the degree that they're expressing want, or being without. Again, Prabodhānanda.
    vancito 'smi vancito 'smi
    vancito 'smi na saṁśayaḥ
    viśvaṁ gaura-rase magnaṁ
    sparśo'pi mama nābhavat
    (Sri Chaitanya-chandramrta: 46)
    He's saying that, vancito 'smi vancito 'smi (Sri Chaitanya-chandramrta: 46.1) , “I've been cheated, I've been cheated, I've been cheated.” Of this, there was no doubt. Gaurāṅga Mahā... viśvaṁ gaura-rase magnaṁ (Sri Chaitanya-chandramrta: 46.4) Mahāprabhu inundated the world in a flood of Kṛsna prem. Like Hari Charan Prabhu... eka-bindu jagat ḍubāya ( Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta: Antya-līlā, 15.19.2), that would always appear in his talks toward the end. Saying, “Mahāprabhu flooded the world with Kṛṣṇa prem and I wasn't touched by a drop.” But, Guru Mahārāj says, “We can't believe this, Prabodhānanda Saraswatī Ṭhākur.” Saying so, “What we will say is, oh, he possess such an appetite that a flood is like a drop cannot... is not enough.” That's how we... we can't believe Prabodhānada Saraswatī when he says that. But, that's his feeling, his expression. And, Rādhārānī, herself, makes such expressions. And, Rūpa Goswāmī in praise of Śrīmatī Rādhārānī,
    am api kalayantim prana-koter abhistam
    ati-guru-kirtim radhikam arcayami
    (Sri Radhikastakam 7)
    Anyway, hari-pada-nakha-koti-prstha-paryanta-sima is the part I want to address. Saying, she... what is her conception... this is how you measure. She says, “The... like we always hear the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa, of Ṣrī Guru, the Vaiṣṇava; lotus feet. And, although, it can mean many things, one of the things it means is, we're approaching the least aspect. The feet will be taken to be the least aspect.” That's the proper approach. And back to Kuntī, just to show how supremely intelligent she is, she has a verse where she says...
    namaḥ paṅkaja-nābhāya
      namaḥ paṅkajamāline
    namaḥ paṅkaja-netrāya
      namas te paṅkajāṅghraye
    (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 1.8.22)
    You should offer obeisances to the lotus feet first. But, she knows, she's a queen and she's socially superior to Kṛṣṇa. And... and she doesn't want to embarrass Him. But, she wants to give a heartfelt prayer. So, she says, “namaḥ paṅkaja-nābhāya” (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: Paṅkaja is a word for lotus. So, she saying, “I offer my obeisances to Your lotus navel.” Which is an illusion to like, out of that lotus navel comes, you know, Brahmā comes from Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu, it's high praise. “I offer namaḥ paṅkaja-nābhāya, namaḥ paṅkaja-māline (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: and You're wearing a garland of lotuses, I give them my obeisances.” Namaḥ paṅkaja-netrāya (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: “And Your lotus eyes are so beautiful, I'm giving my obeisances to Your lotus eyes.” And, then at last, she says, Namas te paṅkajāṅghraye (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: “And, I'm giving my obeisances to Your lotus feet.” In that way, she's actually transgressed one type of etiquette in favor of another. She doesn't want to embarrass Kṛṣṇa, because this is a aprākṛta-līlā. So, she starts that way and concludes with the lotus feet. But, normally we begin there. One way or another we're going to get there. So... why?.. because there're the least aspect, that's the appropriate way to make approach.
    ayi nanda-tanuja kiṅkaraṁ
    patitaṁ māṁ viṣame bhavāmbudhau
    kṛpayā tava pāda-paṅkaja-
    sthita-dhūlī-sadṛśaṁ vicintaya
    (Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta: Antya-līlā, 20.32)
    Mahāprabhu's prayer, Śikṣāṣṭakam, “I'm Kṛṣṇa kiṅkar, I'm Your eternal servant, somehow I've fallen in this bhava-sindhu”, −not the bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu. The bhava-sindhu, the ocean of ignorance; nescience. “Please, save me and properly fix me as one atoms of dust at Your lotus feet”. So, it's a way of making the... that's the proper approach, the least entrance. Gurudev, would sometimes put that song... the Maa Kali song where the devotees would say, “Oh, Mother give me a place in the back of your temple, like in the corner, way in the back. And when the ārati is going, I'll be back, I won't create any disturbance.” Seeing, that's the proper way is to be in a remote position. But, here Rūpa Goswāmī is praising Śrīmatī Rādhārānī, so it's going to get to the extremes. Hari-pada-nakha (Sri Radhikastakam 7), She's saying, “So, the lowest part... is the lotus feet. But... what's... if you had to go further in that conception there, what would be the least part of the feet? Would be the nails. That would be the least part. So, she's saying, “Hari-pada, means the lotus feet of Hari”. Hari-pada-nakha, that's what it is. So she's saying, hari-pada-nakha-... prstha... kalayantim. She's saying, “I consider...” Or Rūpa Goswāmī saying, “She considers the...” −oh, prana-koter abhistam− “She considers the least aspect of Kṛṣṇa to be more valuable then the highest aspect of herself.” Prāṇ, that means your life. Saying, multiplied millions of times. So, she is saying, “If you multiply my life millions of times, it's not equal to the nails on Your holy lotus feet.” That betrays her vision of how beautiful and loving and wonderful is Kṛṣṇa. “You're so wonderful that my own life multiplied millions of times is not that valuable.” So, always through inversion, if thematically, consistently we see this connecting thread in all these different prayers that I've mentioned.
    So, If a devotee is genuinely feeling themselves as fallen, in want, in need, they're in the best position to receive some grace. Also, we hear, the great devotees saying, praying to the higher that if you want to test the purifying capacity of Your mercy, Your grace, I don't think there's a more fit subject then myself. Because, others are not so fallen. So, if You really want to test it, You should test it on me. [laughing] So... And, it's a very appealing prayer, and it's very realistic, at the same time. We don't think of them that way, but from... it is a realistic approach for us. Once, Śrīla Gurudev said, maybe more then once... He said, “There's only two things we're sure of in this world: 1) is that we are fallen, and 2) is that Kṛṣṇa is merciful to the fallen.” So he said, “These things we know, we're fallen, and Kṛṣṇa is merciful to the fallen, so that puts us in a good position to receive His mercy and His grace.” So, Guru Mahārāj would say, “According to one's inner sincere hankering for truth, −mercy you can add− that would bring one necessarily in connection, with a certain level of theistic concept and subsequent association.” So, na hi kalyāṇa-kṛt kaścid, durgatiṁ tāta gacchati (Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā: 6.40.2) if we're sincere, that will be reciprocated, must be. Hare Kṛṣṇa
    Devotee: A question from Dhanan Jaya Prabhu and Malini dd.
    Goswāmī Mahārāj: There you go. [Devotee laughing] From Novosibirsk or somewhere else. Anyway.
    Devotee: It doesn't say. We here that the faith of Guru in his disciple is more real than the faith of the disciple in his Guru. Please, explain how to understand it properly.
    Goswāmī Mahārāj: Well, first I should say there's a famous verse.
    yasya deve parā bhaktir
    yathā deve tathā gurau
    tasyaite kathitā hy arthāḥ
    prakāśante mahātmanaḥ
    (Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad: 6.23)
    So, it's saying the kind of faith you have in Kṛṣṇa; divinity. If you can have that kind of faith in Vaiṣṇava, in Guru, then everything will be revealed to you. So, we find that in the example of Kṛṣṇa Kavirāj Goswāmī, that his relative did not have proper faith in Vaiṣṇav. So, when Miniketan Ram came, Parsada of Nityānanda Prabhu, who should be taken as Nityānanda Prabhu himself, he... on the plea, “Oh, I'm worshipping the Deity”, he ignored him. Guru Mahārāj said, “What should be done with the permission of the Deity attend to the Vaiṣṇava.” I mean, Kṛṣṇa He's all about His devotees. He won't be pleased, if in the name of being dutiful to some formality, we neglect the Vaiṣṇava. tasmai deyaṁ tato grāhyaṁ, sa ca pūjyo yathā hy aham (Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta: Madhya-līlā, 19.50.3-4) And Kṛṣṇa said, “They... they deserve the same treatment as me.” So, he... and we're told this is the plight of the third class devotee. They can see, they believe in the Deity, but they diminish the position of the Vaiṣṇava. They think the Vaiṣṇava is something less. When Guru Mahārāj, before joining Gauḍīya Maṭh, and he came in the temple, and say it's like, either Gaura Pūrṇimā or Janmāṣtamī, we'll say Janmāṣtamī, and he's saying, “You know, Kṛṣṇa and the Deity, Kṛṣṇa's within the Deity.” He's saying to the pūjārī, but he's setting a trap for him actually. And the man goes, “What do you say, the Deity, you know, deha-dehi-bheda īśvare kaile... (Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta: Antya-līlā, 5.121.2), the Deity is Kṛṣṇa directly, not within, is Kṛṣṇa.” He said, “Oh, and now upstairs your Gurudev is there, with his intimate servitors and the Lord is about to appear, like at midnight. But... so, you're saying Kṛṣṇa's here, but they're all with him.” [laughing] That's why Kṛṣṇa said, I mean Guru Mahārāj asked that question, to trap him. And he said, “But, that man was trained by Saraswatī Ṭhākur and Gauḍīya Maṭh. And he said, “Kṛṣṇa will be appearing in greater magnitude and accessible in our Gurudev.” [laughing] Saying, so, “Yes, Kṛṣṇa's here, no doubt, but what is our capacity to appreciate that.” That is the situation. He's there in the Deity, but we have so many thoughts about that. arcye vishnau shila-dhir gurushu, nara-matir vaishnave jati-buddhir (Padma Purana). But... so, we can understand in principle. But, so, Guru Mahārāj is saying, “Really, darshan means to present yourself to the Deity. To be seen by the Deity. The Deity has that seeing capacity, that we can understand. To what degree that we can see the Deity as Kṛṣṇa. There's something wanting in ourselves, in our vision. But, so, therefore, we approach the Vaiṣṇava. Kṛṣṇa is appreciable and more accessible in the Vaiṣṇava.
    So, this maybe a reference to something I said before. Which was that, sometimes Śrīla Guru Mahārāj and Śrīla Gurudev, they're offering praise. And, that is based upon the depth of their spiritual... vision to see your reality potential, your servitor identity. They have some capacity to see that. So, sometimes Gurudev would say, “Oh, if you knew how wonderful your future is, your future prospect”. He knows who Guru Mahārāj is, the Rūpānuga-Dhara, and where this is going. He thinks, “So, if you'll be attentive to your duty and your sevā present, such a wonderful destination is there. So they're seeing in that sense, we can say, svarūp, servitor identity and serving potential. The... what was the question again... phrase?
    Devotee: We hear that the faith of Guru in his disciple is more real than the faith of the disciple in his Guru.
    Goswāmī Mahārāj: Yeah, so there... we have, just like in the case of the Deity, same as the Vaiṣṇava, our faith is limited. But, we're with a loving affectionate guardian who has more faith in us than we have in ourselves. So, on two counts, we don't have proper understanding of Guru, we don't have proper understanding of who we are and what our potential is. But, if we're in connection with substantial agent, Vaiṣnava, they have that vision. And, if we will just submit ourselves to their guidance then gradually, by their grace, some... they can also gift us with appreciation. When I asked Śrīla Guru Mahārāj some questions along a particular line. How we could come to appreciate, it might have been specifically Ratha-yātrā pastimes, but not limited to. And he said, “Accumulated, by your accumulated sukṛti, you're acquired the capacity to appreciate these things.” But, to be more specific, in the association of the Vaiṣṇava, Vaiṣṇava Guru, sādhu-saṅga sato vṛtteḥ, by associating with those who's superior, we become upgraded in the process. When we associate with those who are superiorly developed and evolved in faith it helps grow our faith. So, association, superior association, will help evolve the faith of the disciple in Śrī Guru. Yes, anything else?
    Devotee: A question from Vasudev Prabhu.
    Goswāmī Mahārāj: I'll tell you a story Gurudev told me also. Where he said... maybe it was Durvāsā approached Vasiṣṭha for some particular spiritual knowledge. And Vasiṣṭha said, “Oh, that is the specialty of Ananta Dev”. And, it's either Durvāsā or Vasiṣṭha Rishi ... one of them, anyway, so, he... by his mystic power he goes to Ananta Dev. And Ananta Dev, he's holding all the planets, you know, on his head, like that. And he says, “This is giving me a headache, can you help me?” Saying, but I will... and he said, “You know, at least, take like a planet or something... And he can't so that... and he's saying, “You know, summon all your mystic power.” And he... he can't even hold one planet. So, Ananta say's, “Is that all you got?” “Any sādhu-saṅga?” He said, “I... well, I met with Vasiṣṭha Rishi, it was just for a moment, that's all.” “Then use that.” Then suddenly he's able to hold planets. He's like... “This is amazing.” And then, Ananta Dev say's, “How can I help you?” He said, “Well there's this specific spiritual knowledge than I'm interested in hearing, and I've approached you. And Ananta Dev says, “Actually, Vasiṣṭha... Rishi is the expert for that.” And now... he sent me... you know... then by his mystic power he goes back. Now, he's upset and he approaches Vasiṣṭha Rishi and said, “Why didn't you tell... Ananta Dev says you're the expert in this.” “Why didn't you instruct me before?” And he said, “Because, you had no faith in me.” “But, now that you heard from Ananta Dev, now you're ready to hear something.” “Now, with his certificate, you have some faith.” “But, before you had no faith in me, so I would not give that instruction.” “But, now that you have some faith, I will give that instruction.” So, sometimes Śrīla Gurudev himself, said, “By so much intimate dealing with Guru Mahārāj, and whatever, he'd be thinking in a particular way”. And, he said, “And, Guru Mahārāj's god-brothers would come.” “And they would be hearing from Guru Mahārāj, and expressing so much appreciation and saying how hearing from him was like hearing from Saraswatī Ṭhākur himself, and Saraswatī Ṭhākur said he's his spokesman, and Bhakti Vinod Ṭhākur is manifesting his higher conceptions through him.” So many things... he said, “From them I understood more and more the greatness of Guru Mahārāj.” So, in many ways... but... so... when we were saying, Mahāprabhu, He introduces Rūpa Goswāmī to the devotees. And, from one point of view, we can think, “He needed an introduction?” But, He's doing that, and they're all assembled there, these are there pastimes. And, then He saying, “That introductory śloka to your drama, please recite that, and tuṇḍe tāṇḍavinī ratiṁ vitanute tuṇḍāvalī-labdhaye (Vidagdha-mādhava: 1.15.1). And they're like “Oh, these are so wonderful.” And, they're seeing, he has some certification from Mahārprabhu. So, this will make everything they hear from him, take on a different color.
    Guru Mahārāj said, Saraswatī Ṭhākur said in the Braja Maṇḍala Parikramā, “Guru should not be seen as sādhan-siddha, but nitya-siddha whose descended from the upper world in this plane.” Why? sākṣād-dharitvena samasta-śāstrair (Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura: Gurv-aṣṭaka), to be seen as Kṛṣṇa. You can't... someone... you can't think... well, when did he become Kṛṣṇa? No, Kṛṣna's Kṛṣna. Kṛṣṇa descended, ācāryaṁ māṁ vijānīyān, nāvamanyeta karhicit (Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta: Ādi-līlā, 1.46.1-2), saying, for the maximum development and growth of the disciple, have to see Guru as nitya-siddha. Full faith, even in the primary teacher. Full faith, that will yield the greatest amount of progress. So... but, that will be achieved in different ways. Gurudev saying, “Oh, I heard when I saw how many... the god-brothers praising and appreciating Guru Mahāraj, that made my faith even greater.” We thought who could appreciate Prabhupād more then his disciples, then we heard Guru Mahārāj talk about him. And, now it's commonly accepted, but Guru Mahārāj revealed and declared him a śaktyāveś-avatār. Now, everyone will say it, but Guru Mahārāj revealed that. Our faith got deeper. We will think, “Oh you're hearing from someone else, your faith will become less.” No, our faith got deeper by hearing from him about the glories Śrīla Prabhupād. So... and Guru Mahāraj's praise of Śrīla Gurudev and like that Vaiṣṇavas expressing appreciation for one another. Anything else?
    Devotee: So yes, a question from Vasudev Prabhu. My friend told me about Kṛṣṇa Consciousness, but he doesn't want to accept Guru or to start the spiritual practice himself. Saying if he doesn't satisfy his desires now, later they will distract him during the practice. Could you please comment on this.
    Goswāmī Mahārāj: Well, it's a reasonable proposal, but Nārada told Vyās that it's better to go for it. He's saying, “Kṛṣṇa Consciousness is so valuable, while the opportunity is before you, you should make the attempt.” “And, even if later, you're distracted by unfulfilled desires or whatever it might me you think, still, what you gain is irreplaceable −what's the other word meaning it could never be destroyed... irr... something... anyway− it can never be destroyed, it's permanent. And he's saying, “It's substantial.” So, even if during that brief period, you gain 1 percent, 2 percent, that's with you permanently. Where's even... if someone goes back in the world again, they're basically just wasting their time. They're not accumulating or achieving anything of lasting value. And, he further says, “And not only that, but the taste of Kṛṣṇa Consciousness, will always be haunting them. They'll be remembering that and it will bring them back again. So, really, while the opportunity is before you, you should take it. And, you know, it's like a leap of faith, and let the consequences be what they may, later.
    Oh, Bhakti Vichār Jajavar Mahārāj was the last sannyas disciple of Śrīla Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswatī Ṭhākur. And... he... Saraswatī Ṭhākur wanted him to take sannyas. But, there was some hesitation on his part. And, he started taking the counsel of other god-brothers. And saying, “I don't know if I'll be able to maintain... and maybe later −like we said− unfulfilled desires”. I believe his a brahmacārī up to this point, and different considerations, like similar to this. And, then he came to Guru Mahārāj and then Guru Mahārāj could understand that there was some... some difficulty here. He would... his coming... he wasn't approaching Saraswatī Ṭhākur, Saraswatī Ṭhākur was suggesting he take sannyas, and he was hesitating. So, Guru Mahārāj went to Saraswaṭī Ṭhākur and told him what the situation is. He taking counsel from... and they're basically telling him, “Yes, that's a realistic... you know... yeah... don't try too go to far, take too much... you have to factor in all these different things.” And, Saraswatī Ṭhākur called him in and he said, “By taking sannyas, the spiritual world that's the abhaya pad, the fearless world, like, Vaikuṇṭha, without anxiety.” He's saying, “That's where you'll be taking shelter.” He's saying, “Actually, this world you should be afraid of, and your time here.”
    And these are famous last words, like, let me pursue... I'll take up Kṛṣṇa Consciousness later. Good luck with that. Suddenly, twenty-five years have gone by, if you're still alive, or more. And, then dwindling capacity, everything. Read the songs of of Bhakti Vinod Ṭhākur, Āmāra Jivana, and others. Where he's saying, “I wasted my life doing this, that and the other thing, and now at the fag end of my life... when, you know... My senses have lost their vitality and I'm dwindling capacity. Now I'm shamelessly trying to take shelter of You.” That's still better than not. And, that's not the case of Bhakti Vinod Ṭhākur, he's portraying our position. But, it's famous last words, you know... and just the opposite should be true. Pursue Kṛṣṇa Consciousness now. And your desires, I bet, you know, they might be around later on some level. Saraswatī Ṭhākur said on the Gaur-pūrṇimā time, that when the people were going home and it was a time to say something, you know like, thank you for coming to the festival and have a safe journey and may Kṛṣṇa bless you, something like that. And he started saying, “Don't cheat me!” And they're like, “What?” “Don't cheat me!”...“What?” And he said, “Why did you come? What's brought us together? It's some mutual understanding of the pursuit of Kṛṣṇa Consciousness, and now you're going home.” He saying, “I say, that if your house, you get a message says, 'your house is on fire'” −this is Saraswatī Ṭhākur− He said, “Let it burn to the ground, because it's that house and everything in it, that's keeping you bound in this world. Absent that, you could take full shelter. So, if your house is on fire, let it burn to the ground, but stay and dedicate yourself today.” So, Kṛṣṇa, what does he tell Arjun, after so many possibilities are discussed, sarva-dharmān parityajya, mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja (Bhagavad-gītā: 18.66.1-2), take the leap of faith, surrender to Me. And if anything bad is going, you think, happen on the consequence... as a consequence to that, I'll take care of that. So, just the opposite is true. This opportunity may not be there. That's what we said, saṁsāre ’smin kṣaṇārdho ’pi, sat-saṅgaḥ śevadhir nṛṇām (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam:, it's the most valuable treasure that you can possibly acquire in human existence. That opportunity is before you now. Don't delay and making the attempt for any reason. They're all tricks of maya to distract one. It's better, make the attempt, offer oneself. Make the attempt to pursue Kṛṣṇa Consciousness. And, if it's short lived, still you got something infinitely more valuable then any sort of worldly accumulation. So, Guru Mahārāj said, “When Kṛṣṇa and Arjun −Arjun is very intelligent discussing in Bhagavad-gītā, he's thinking... he puts it even more interesting way, Arjun. He says that, “What if I put my energy into the spiritual life and the culture of Kṛṣṇa Consciousness, but I don't achieve it? Or a high level of it. And, I could have put that energy into developing myself materially. So, it seems like I lose out −you know− it's not the best of both worlds, but the worst, like I didn't get Kṛṣṇa Consciousness and I didn't develop myself materially, −you know− I'm twice a loser.” And, Kṛṣṇa's saying, “You have to understand the all auspicious nature of the culture of Kṛṣṇa Consciousness”. One percent, two percent, it's permanent. It will always be with you, śucīnāṁ śrīmatāṁ gehe, yoga-bhraṣṭo ’bhijāyate (Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā: 6.41.3-4), birth. Saying, it can even continue into your next birth. Saying, why someone is born in... family circumstance, where at an early age, they get the opportunity for spiritual culture. It's on account of their past position. Saying, but in summary, Guru Mahārāj liked to quote this line, where it said, na hi kalyāṇ−kalyāṇ means auspicious− na hi kalyāṇa-kṛt kaścid, durgatiṁ tāta gacchati (Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā: 6.40.3-4). And, Guru Mahārāj rendered it in this way, he said, “The sincere will emerge victorious, sincerity is invincible.” If, we're sincere in our approach, then we'll be successful.
    So... and yet... so, to finish it, Jajavar Mahārāj did follow that advice and he accepted sannyas from Śrīla Saraswatī Ṭhākur, and kept it his whole life. Had a beautiful Maṭh in Mayapur... where is it?.. across the... I forget were it is. Oh, that's another Mahārāj, I forget where Jajavar Mahārāj... but, he has a Maṭh in Bengal. And... was favorite, one of Guru Mahārāj's favorite would come a visit Guru Mahārāj every year, for like, a month or so, stay at the Maṭh. get Guru Mahārāj's association. Many talks Guru Mahārāj was giving, Jajavar Mahārāj had a great memory and there was so many ślokas. And, sometimes if Guru Mahārāj couldn't think of a śloka, he'd turn to him and ask. Na hy ekasmād guror jñānaṁ, −what is it?− su-sthiraṁ syāt su-puṣkalam (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam:, I remember that one... from the Bhāgavatam, and others. He'd sit next to Guru Mahārāj and Guru Mahārāj, “What is that śloka?” He'd immediately present that. Hare Kṛṣṇa.
    akāmaḥ sarva-kāmo vā
      mokṣakāma udāradhīḥ
    tīvreṇa bhakti-yogena
      yajeta puruṣaṁ param
    (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 2.3.10
    Śukadev is saying in the second canto, “Whether your akāmaḥ; desire less, sarva-kāmo; filled with desires, mokṣa-kāma; interested in liberation, whatever your position is go to Kṛṣṇa for that. And, like Dhruva, if you achieve that, come in connection with Kṛṣṇa then svāmin kṛtārtho ’smi varaṁ na yāce (Hari-bhakti-sudhodaya: 7.28.4), he's saying, “I was looking for broken, shards of glass and I found the most valuable jewell.” So, we should never underestimate the power of Kṛṣṇa and the mercy of Kṛṣṇa. But, Mahāprabhu told Das Goswāmī in the midst of indra-sama aiśvarya, strī apsarā-sama (Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta: Antya-līlā, 6.39.1), opulence like Indra the King of Heaven, wife like a super-model from the heavenly planets, and Das Goswāmī wants to get freed from that. And what is told, Nityānanda Prabhu, he was saying, “Kṛṣṇa's mercy is very powerful.” [laughing] But, he's saying, “But, I think your mercy is even, you know, greater.” “I need the mercy of the Vaiṣṇava.” He's saying, but “Kṛṣṇa, by Kṛṣṇa's mercy anything is possible.” So, it's actually the answer to all these questions. So, if we think, “Well, when I access myself, this is the conclusion I come to.” Yes, so therefore, place your faith in the lotus feet of Guru and Vaiṣṇav, Guru and Gaurāṅga. Say, “Yes, by my own, likely to have some inauspicious outcome. Therefore, I'm offering myself to You. Please, instruct me, tell me, I don't know what to do, what's good for me, what's bad, I don't know these things. So, I'm placing my faith in the advice of Guru and Vaiṣṇav. Sādhu, Śāstra, Guru and Vaiṣṇav and I'm going to earnestly proceed along those lines.” And as Guru Mahārāj said, “And, if you're sincere, you will emerge victorious, you will be successful.” “Sincerity is invincible.” Hare Kṛṣṇa