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  • Dhama: Concentration of Auspiciousness | About Self-deceiving

    Chiang Mai 2017 - Dhama: Concentration of Auspiciousness | About Self-deceiving

    Author: Bhakti Sudhir Goswami Cycle: Chiang Mai 2017 Uploaded by: Priyanana Created at: 26 September, 2017
    Duration: 01:04:50 Date: 2017-09-25 Place: Gupta Govardhan Chiang Mai Downloaded: 1219 Played: 2162

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    nama-srestham manum api sachi-putram atra svarupam
    rupam tasyagrajam uru-purim mathurim gostha-vatim
    radha-kundam giri-varam aho radhika-madhavasam
    prapto yasya prathita-krpaya sri-gurum tam nato ’smi
    (Srī Muktā-caritām: 2)
    Goswāmī Mahārāj: Hare Kṛṣṇa. Yes, Prabhu, some question?
    Devotee: Yes, Mahārāj, question from Gupta Govardan. Vṛndāvan is the most holy place on this planet. Devotees who go on pilgrimage, they may not know how exalted and dangerous this place is. There are also newcomers during pilgrimage who know... who knows nothing about Kṛṣṇa. Is it better for people not to rush, but to get deeper understanding in Kṛṣṇa Consciousness then visit tam (dhām)?
    Goswāmī Mahārāj: Visit what?
    Devotee: Then visit ta..
    Goswāmī Mahārāj: What is what?
    Devotee: Is it better for people not to rush...
    Goswāmī Mahārāj: Not to rush, meaning what?
    Devotee: Rush into the, like... joining the pilgrimage and visiting the holy tam (dhām). And, instead of that maybe it is better for them to get deeper understanding in Kṛṣṇa Consciousness.
    Goswāmī Mahārāj: Trust no future, however pleasant! Let the dead Past bury its dead!Act,--act in the living present! Heart within, and God overhead! (The Psalm Of Life - Poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: 6). There's no guarantee that such an opportunity will come to someone, in the future. When it comes to coming in connection with Kṛṣṇa Consciousness, and substantial Kṛṣṇa Consciousness, we should not hesitate. There's no reason why we should delay that.
    As we say, this is the holiest place, then that means supreme auspiciousness. And, as we've heard the famous saying, subarse- sagram-aṣubhā-kolo-haram, that, that what is auspicious should be done immediately. And, that which is inauspicious, you should delay. So, we will never argue against, when the opportunity is there, for association with the highest dhām, the highest devotee, the holy name. What did we just say in the prayer, nama-srestham, the best of the holy names. sachi-putram atra svarupam, rupam tasyagrajam... madhu-purim (Srī Muktā-caritām: 2), madhu-purim means Mathurā-Vṛndāvan.
    So, at what point can we say, “Oh, now someone has the proper appreciation.” That is life-long culture, lives-long culture to properly understand what is the dhām. So, yes it is true, called... you know... the plus side of things is magnified so many times, the minus side is magnified so many times. But, therefore, we're advised to be under the shelter of a Vaiṣṇava.
    Just as when, Jagadānanda Paṇḍit, he wanted to go to Vṛndāvan and with Mahāprabhu's approval. And, gaining that approval, he also got this caution from Mahāprabhu, “That while there, always be under the shelter and guidance of Sanātan Goswāmī Prahbu.” And saying, “And the people who are there, revere them, keep a respectful distance, don't mix with them, don't imitate them. They're in a special category. But, always be under the care, shelter, care, guidance of Sanātan Goswāmī Prahbu.”
    Who incidentally is the sambandha-jñāna ācārya, the bhaktisiddhānta ācārya. Sambandha-jñān, that means understanding 'what is what', Prabhupād liked to say. Like to say that in various... ācāryavān puruṣo veda (Cu: 6.14.2), one who is connection with an ācārya, knows what? He says, “Knows what is what.” That means what is high, what is low, what is desirable, what is undesirable, what position something occupies, what place, where it will be. Gurudev use to think of many different things, unique type of thoughts. And, he said, “If there was a meeting of mantras, the personification of mantras, where would the sannyās matram sit?” [laughing]
    He didn't answer that, he just said, “If there was a meeting of all these different mantras, where would the sannyās matram sit?” So... means, understanding how to assess value; placement. That means to be under the guidance of the Vaiṣṇava. In fact, Narottam Ṭhākur, he says... what is it?..
    yuthai-vaishnava-ghan-vrindavan... vrindavan sthan. Wherever the Vaiṣṇavas are, the substantial Vaiṣṇavas, that's where you'll find Vṛndāvan. So, without them, even in Vṛndāvan, you will not have that appreciation, that's the implication. Whereas even, technically not literally in Vṛndāvan, in the association of a substantial Vaiṣṇava, you'll get Vṛndāvan.
    So, once again, this points to the importance of Vaiṣṇavas and being under their guidance, their influence, their shelter. Otherwise, we have no business... there's another place where Narottam Ṭhakur is saying, “Without this shelter, and some sanctioned purpose, then it's not advisable. But, if someone as the good fortune to join a parikramā, under the guidance of pure devotees, substantial Vaiṣṇavas, and their vision of the dhām.
    Then, they should take advantage of... they shouldn't delay, they should... even factoring in that they are relatively unacquainted... this is the best way to become acquainted with the dhām. And, it's understood, as Prabhupād would advise, a brief visit. We don't want to bring normal mundane mentality into such a place. So, how long we can maintain or sustain proper consciousness, saying, it may be limited without having some substantial service, so, then briefly visit.
    But, always, and only under the guidance, shelter of Vaiṣṇavas. The Vaiṣṇavas make everything meaningful. In one place in Caritāmṛtam, it says, “In Kali-yuga there're only two things, Vaiṣṇavas and Vaiṣṇava scriptures.” But, it's another way of saying, actually, in Kali-yuga there's only one thing, Vaiṣṇavas. We could say, “What about the Holy Name?” Oh, where do you get the Holy Name? What about the Deity? Where do you get Deity? Whether it's... kṛṣṇa-nām, kṛṣṇa-mūrti, the prasādam, everything, without the Vaiṣṇavas, without the devotees, none of these things are meaningful.
    Not only, they're not meaningful, may take us in the wrong direction. Or as Guru Mahārāj sometimes saying, “In the plane of fictitious devotion.” A hallucination, nothing substantial there, it's only through the agent, the sanctioning agent, that any of these things are meaningful or substantial to us. Otherwise, we have no capacity for appreciation. So, the real question is... in the association of whom, under whose care, shelter and guidance? When some... Śrīla Saraswati Ṭhākur is in Puri and some... whether they're disciples or followers of Ṣrī Gauḍīya Maṭh... they're saying...
    But, they... where he is, they go from there to have darshan of Jagannāth. When they return, he was saying, “Where did you go?” “Oh, we went to have darshan of... you know... Jagannāth.” He said, “Oh, you saw Jagannāth?” And they said, “Oh, yes.” “You saw Jagannāth?” “Yes...” “You saw Jagannāth?” Then they realized, no we did not see Jagannāth. He said, “Yes, that was you eye exercise.” Which shows one thing, he has a sense of humor. And we see Saraswati Ṭhākur, he's the personification of gravitas, of gravity. But, many times he's says things that are siddhāntically profound and humorous at the same time. So, what does he mean by 'eye exercise'?
    We can even see in the pages of the Bhāgavatam, it is saying... your... “First your eyes should look at the lotus feet, and then they should move up gradually up the form of the Lord, and this way, and that way, and then go this way and that way.” That means your eyeballs are going... they go down and then your eyeballs go up, and they go to the left and they go to the right. He's saying, “Your darshan, oh, eye exercise, you went for some eye exercise.” [laughing] It's funny, profound, and illuminating. The implication being, without being... there's no seeing... the eye... premāñjana-chchhurita-bhakti-vilochanena, santaḥ sadaiva hṛdayeṣu vilokayanti (Bs: 5.38). The eye of devotion, who possesses that? Who has that eye? When Mahāprabhu goes before Jagannāth... it's called... He's seeing Śyāmasundar-Kṛṣṇa.
    An incessant stream of tears are pouring from His eyes. Why? Because, rādhā-bhāva-dyuti-suvalitaṁ (Cc: 1.1.5), enveloped by the heart of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, He's seeing with Her Rādhā-vision; Her way of seeing things. And separation having reach the zenith point in Kurukṣetra, of which, Dvārakā Kṛṣṇa... Kurukṣetra, that means Puri. This sort of intense response is coming for Mahaprābhu. And we may say, in this regard also, that, that's true. The neophyte may impose mundane vision upon the Divine, and that's offensive, can be injurious.
    What do we call... where spiritual culture is about seeing the Infinite in the finite. Material culture, atheistic culture... culture... against the culture of theism, is to see the Infinite as finite. Spiritual culture, just the opposite, to see... what is it?.. yo māḿ paśyati sarvatra sarvaḿ ca mayi paśyati (Bg: 6.30), who sees me in everywhere and everything, is never lost to me, I'm never lost to him. Seeing the Infinite in the finite, that's Prahlād saw Nṛsiṁhadev in the pillar. The central conception of the Infinite traced to the finite.
    Atheistic culture seeing the Infinite as finite. Seeing the Divine as mundane. We know, that we have to be aware of that, cautious about that. But, we find in the case of Mahāprabhu, in His Puri pastimes, particularly, just the opposite. He sees the sand dune as Govardhan. He sees the ocean as Jamuna. Everything... there called bhram... were the four defects of the condition... bhram, pramād, vipralipsā, karaṇāpāṭava (Cc: 1.7.107). So, bhram means, you know, to err is human, to mistake one thing for another, that kind of thing.
    But... it's... what he describe... what Mahāprabhu's vision of things, it's mentioned the word bhram by Kavirāj Goswāmī. But it's saying, what is His bhram, mistaking the sand dune for Govardhan. So, at every step, He's mistaking some finite thing to be the Infinite, which is spiritual culture in earnest. But, for Him, to the nth degree, to an Infinite degree, seeing the ocean as Jamuna. Hearing the breeze, the breeze and the bamboo, when the breeze goes through the bamboo, some of the bamboo they have holes in them. And we have so much bamboo in here. So, in the breeze they can go through the bamboo, and what happens, [whistling sound] starts sounding like a bamboo flute.
    Rādhārāṇī, Mahāprabhu they're taking the breeze to the bamboo flute to be... the bamboo... to be the flute song of Kṛṣṇa, running towards that. She smells the aroma, she's running, leaping into the breeze that's carrying the aroma of Kṛṣṇa. Mahāprabhu, His heart is a bhāv-mūrti of Rādhārāṇī; the heart of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. Similar things are compelling Him in His movements. We say, “This is the Kṛṣṇa Consciousness movement.” That is, Kṛṣṇa Caitanya movement, Kṛṣṇa Consciousness movement. He stays... His room is called Gambhīr, which means, like, deep, the deep... the depth... the ultimate depth... the deep... to think... His room.
    Guru Mahārāj says, “Dive deep into reality.” Mahāprabu's room is called The Deep. The deep dive into the deepest dive into reality, the deepest, the highest reality. And, in that room, there are no windows. He's not there for the view, that type of seeing; for seeing, but not that type. It underscores what's going on, that it's all internal culture, really. And, there's three doors and they have dīrghārgala, means these... we've seen them... bolts, “deadbolts” they sometime say. But, it means a big bar, by which, you shut the door, keep the door closed.
    And, there're devotees posted outside the door, and, they hear Mahāprabhu inside. He's experiencing deep separation from Kṛṣṇa, He's taking kṛṣṇa-nām loudly, but sometimes crying pathetically, piteously in separation from Kṛṣṇa. It's the heart of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī in separation, separation zenith point. How pitiful and pathetic is that wailing and the lamentation, kṛṣṇa-viccheda, kṛṣṇa-viraha (Cc: 1.14.1). The separation from Kṛṣṇa, bāhye viṣa-jvālā haya, bhitare ānanda-maya, kṛṣṇa-premāra adbhuta carita (Cc: 2.2.50).
    Śrīla Gurudev, Śrīla Govinda Mahārāj would sometimes say, to underscore this point, “What is Mahāprabhu's tasting matter?” We hear, in this room, the deep, Gambhīr, the association of Svarūp Dāmodara, Rāmānanda Rāy, who are they? Lalitā and Viśākhā descended. If Kṛṣṇa is going to take the position of Rādhārāṇī, who can better serve Him, Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabu; radhā-bhāv-mahāprabhu, who can better serve and assist Him then Lalitā and Viśākhā. So, they descended as whom?.. Rāmānanda and Svarūp; Svarūp-Rāmānanda.
    And how are they serving? When these ecstatic emotions appear in the heart of Mahāprabhu, they're singing certain ślokas from the Bhāgavatam and also, Caṇḍīdās, Vidyāpati, Rāmānanda's song; Jagannātha-vallabha-nāṭak, Kṛṣṇa-karṇāmṛtam, Gīta-govinda. Like, Śrīla Govinda Mahārāj, Śrila Gurudev, he liked this verse from Kṛṣṇa-karṇāmṛtam, kastu... it's describing Kṛṣṇa [laughing]... kasturi tilakam lalata palake, like we go, lalāṭe keśavaṁ dhyāyen (Cc: 2.20.202)... kasturi tilakam lalata palake... [long pause] what is the last line?.. gopala cudaamanih... gopastree pariveshtito vijayate gopala cudaamanih.
    How beautiful Kṛṣṇa... Gopal cudaamanih... He's the... when He's surrounded by the vraja-gopīs, it's describing the beauty of Kṛṣṇa's face, His tilak, everything about him. And, saying how beautiful He looks when surrounded by the vraja-gopīs. Gopala cudaamanih means the crown jewel. So, there're like so many jewels and He's the crown jewel, nasaagre navamouktikam, karatale venum, kare kankanam, saying, “How beautiful His fingers look when they're playing upon the flute,” sarvange haricandanam, and all the candan... the... on His Divine form, muktavali, and wearing a necklace of pearls. Just how beautiful Kṛṣṇa looks.
    And, then surrounded... as beautiful as He looks when He's surrounded by the vraja-gopīs, He looks even more beautiful. So, Mahāprabhu, He likes to hear Kṛṣṇa-karṇāmṛtam, these ślokas being selected by Rāmānanda, Svarūp Dāmodar. But sometimes, in His Divine madness, He's... His forms transform... He's leaving that room. Even though, the doors are closed and there's no windows, they hear nothing, then they become worried. Hearing Him wailing, lamenting, crying for Kṛṣṇa is painful enough... but, if they hear nothing... at least then they know He's in the room. Or sometimes rubbing his Divine lotus face into the walls, to the point where He's bleeding, they find Him the next day.
    But, if they hear nothing, they become worried. They think... the last stage of separation is death. That's the tenth stage of separation is death. So, they're thing, “Did the separation become so intense, that Mahāprabhu is left the world.” They're very worried, they get Svarūp Dāmodar. Svarūp Dāmodar will open the doors and they see no Mahāprabhu to be found. So, they... some... they go searching for Him with torch... torches; torch-lit search party. Sometimes they find Him in front of Jagannāth Temple. One time we're told, at the southern gate... the eastern gate, the Siṁha-dvāra... southern side means Nṛsiṁhadev's entrance side.
    And, they find... because the intensity of separation... sometime, like we see people in this world, they're experiencing something so intense, they hold themselves, like this. They're trying to tolerate the intensity of what's being experienced. But, in His case, what are we told? The arms enter the body, the legs enter the body, the head enters the body, like a tortoise. And, when... they... the one search party, they go and see what looks like a golden pumpkin. And, there are these cows who are licking the golden pumpkin. It's Mahāprabhu in this extraordinary divine, ecstatic, transformed state. And, they're trying to pull the cows away, the cows don't want to go. They're licking sweetness personified.
    And, other times, His body goes in the other... ecstasy takes a transformation in the other direction, elongation by this much. Each joint, if you can think about that, like, here, here, here, here, all separated by this much. He's already over two meters tall in His normal condition, then all these joints separated by this much. Where we're told one night, when He goes to the different forrest... the gardens. They're in Puri at the time, and each one represents some different van in Vṛndāvan. And, on one particular night, what He relishes hearing also the ślokas of the rāsa-līlā, those five chapters.
    And think of... sometimes Mahāprabhu starts explaining them. But, like the Gadādhara Paṇḍit Bhāgavatam, this is rādhā-bhāva-dyuti-suvalita (Cc: 1.1.5), enveloped by the heart and halo of Rādhārāṇī, guru-rūpa-hariṁ gauraṁ, rādhā-ruci-rucāvṛtam (Pj: 1.3), what sort of explanation will be given, from Her perspective. Because, we're told, He could not, as Kṛṣṇa, although He is omniscient, He cannot estimate the position of Rādhārāṇī and vraja-gopīs, what their actually experiencing... going... understanding that theoretically. To understand it, to feel it, He has to take their position.
    So, He's hearing these rāsa-līlā section of the Bhāgavatam with his devotees. And... [dandavat …]... and, sometimes He's explaining, sometimes Svarūp Dāmodar, Rāmānanda, they're singing, explaining. And, somehow hearing about their pastime in the Jamuna, He vanishes and no one know where's He's at, He's gone to the ocean, taking it to be Jamuna. And then, in that Jamuna, He's in a near death-like trance, seeing what He will later describe as a dream-like condition. He's seeing the water sports pastimes, the jala-keli of Rādhā, Kṛṣṇa, and vraja-gopīs.
    And, what is that doing? His body, we're told, is sometimes plunged deep in the water, sometimes surfacing, coming to the top, plunging again, for hours. Six hours, seven, eight hours, to the point, where after being in the water for so long, it's... His golden form is... turned white. Sometimes it turns white also. Then we're told, one particular night, that... and we've seen also, the fishermen in Puri, they fish at night, some of them. A fisherman, he's there on his boat and he's pulling his net, thinking, “Oh, I've caught some major fish here.”
    He's pulling the net in, and when he pulls the net, there's this ecstatically transformed divine form of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, separated all, it's very huge and long. And, he finds when he touches the body, he becomes infused with kṛṣṇa-nām and kṛṣṇa-prem. And, he thinks he's lost his mind, that he has become ghostly haunted. And, he goes to the shore, there's Mahāprabhu on the shore, in the net. And, the man's running away madly chanting kṛṣṇa-nām. And here comes Svarūp Dāmodar and his torch-lit search party. And, they find this man and he's saying, “Don't go there, don't go there, there's a very powerful ghost. I need to find an exorcist.” And, Svarūp Dāmodar saying, “Actually, I am a big exorcist.”
    “You've come to the right place, tell me about this ghost.” “Just by touching Him,” he said, “I... I... to save myself I started chanting Nṛsiṁha mantra, but I found, as I chanted the Nṛsiṁha mantra, the ghost... his power became greater and greater.” [laughing] Svarūp Dāmodar is very interested. And, Svarūp Dāmodar, he chants some mantras, slaps the man three times, and says, “Now you're OK.” [laughing] “Take me to the ghost.” And they take him there, and then the devotees are wailing, crying... Oh. They see Mahāprabhu in the net, His body separated in that way. His eyes turned upward, like someone who's left the world. And, their hearts are breaking, they surround Him.
    They clean the sand from Him, take the wet clothing, put some dry clothing... They start chanting, so earnestly... kṛṣṇa-nām. And then, Mahāprabhu, He has three states, described antar-daśā, ardha-daśā, bāhya-daśā, His internal state, half-internal/half-external, and external. And, we should be caution and understand, when it says external, it doesn't mean external consciousness, as we may perceive that. This means, some consciousness of the external world, so that He can move, navigate, function in the external world.
    He's generally trying to check His divine sentiments, particularly during the day. But, here the devotees Svarūp Dāmodar led party, they're taking kṛṣṇa-nām earnestly, in a very deep heartfelt way there. And, gradually Mahāprabhu is coming out of that state, and then this half-internal/half-external, He starts revealing what He saw and how beautiful that world was, that plane. And, one thing we should know as well, is that, the is Mahāprabhu himself, śrī kṛṣṇa caitanya, rādhā-kṛṣṇa nahe anya (Cc: 1.7.11, purport). But, He's saying, he's describing it as a dream.
    It's Mahāprabhu Himself, enveloped by the heart of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, and describing in this deep trans... this is a dream. He used that word, but we have the charlatans, the imitationist of this world, they're in that plane... they're doing so many things... Prabupād said once, the taxi cab driver, who drove him to Vṛndāvan/Dehli, talking about his experiences. And, he's mocking that as being ridiculous, absurd, like that. It is to mock, actually, the genuine devotees and genuine substantial spiritual experience, and what to speak of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, Himself. But, He describes this as a dream.
    And, He's saying, what He heard in that plane, the ornaments of Kṛṣṇa... just the sound of the ornaments, remember in that plane, vaikuṇṭhera pṛthivy-ādi sakala cinmaya (Cc: 1.5.53), everything, from the ground up, is cinmaya.
    cintāmaṇiś caraṇa-bhūṣaṇam aṅganānāṁ
    śṛṅgāra-puṣpa-taravas taravaḥ surāṇām
    vṛndāvane vraja-dhanaṁ nanu kāma-dhenu-
    vṛndāni ceti sukha-sindhur aho vibhūtiḥ
    (Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛa: Madhya-līlā, 14.228)
    Karṇāmṛtam also saying... the... what's opulence there is, the vibhūtiḥ of Goloka, and He's saying, “The cows are kāma-dhenu, the trees are kalpa-vṛkṣa, and the gopīs are wearing cintāmaṇi gems for jewelry. So, Mahāprabhu is saying, “The sound of that jewelry and Kṛṣṇa's jewelry, was so beautiful. And, then, you all made some noise and brought me here, and that was the end of my happy dream.” Then we can say... but... what is that... He said, “The big noise.” What is that noise? The kṛṣṇa-nām, the sudhā-nām of Svarūp Dāmodar and all these great devotees. “In compared to that, you all made a big noise and brought me here. How sweet was the sound of their ornaments.”
    And also, what a beautiful way to describe that plane. The preferred method of revelation is … a inference and subtlety, then, so many things can be understood from that. If that sound is so beautiful, how much beautiful are the other sounds of that plane. But, Śrīla Guru Mahārāj having described that, then just like we're talking about the transform... ecstatic transformation going one direction, then another direction. He took this in another direction. Saying that, “This shows the power of kṛṣṇa-nām. It's so great, sometimes... you know, it's greater than Kṛṣṇa Himself. The name of Kṛṣṇa, the power of kṛṣṇa-nām, that it was given preference over direct participation in līlā.”
    So, “Directly participating in līlā and the power of kṛṣṇa-nām to bring Him, that sort of pull.” So, these sort of things are described by Kṛṣṇadās Kavirāja Goswāmī Prabhu in Ṣrī Caitanya-caritāmṛtam. Only through the eyes of such devotees, can we have a genuine or substantial glimpse of the spiritual reality, including the Dhām, always and only this way, by their grace. Gauḍīya Darśan means, how they see. We're only capable of eye exercise.
    The, premāñjana-chchhurita-bhakti-vilochanena (Bs: 5.38), their eyes are... how do you say?.. anointed with kṛṣṇa-prem. Through premik eyes only can reality been seen. Otherwise, we're left with the superficial aspects of experience. And, to impose the lower upon the higher, can be an offense, can be detrimental. So what do we think, oḿ ajñāna-timirāndhasya jñānāñjana-śalākayā, cakṣur unmīlitaḿ yena tasmai śrī-gurave namaḥ (Srī Guru Praṇāma), acquire proper angle of vision. That we acquire when we're safely situated at the lotus feet of Śrī Guru.
    Goswāmī Mahārāj: Any other question?
    Devotee: From Gupta Govardhan, also. Could Mahārāj please elaborate on self-deceiving. I thought we don't want to deceive ourselves, but only we are too ignorant and to faithful enough to choose the right path.
    Goswāmī Mahārāj: Śrīla Guru Mahārāj said, “We should not be overly confident in our own assessment of things, our own judgement. And, with good reason. That's why we're in predicament we're in at present, is being overly confident on our own assessment or judgement of things. Would we rather serve in heaven or reign in hell? We find reigning in hell appealing. Still, we're holding out hope against hope, it's just around the corner, self-assertion, establishing ourselves as absolute centers, exploiting agents, and trying to extend the circumference of our exploiting capacity.
    Śrīla Saraswati Ṭhākur says, “The mind is like an evil guardian.” We think the mind is us. That what we think... the mind, we're one. That's it, we are our minds. Our minds are... you know... perfectly represent us. You think, no... the mind is an evil guardian of jīva; of the soul, and plunders her wealth. As I've mentioned, the stereotype of the orphan children. We find it in literature, in movies, the orphan children are assigned an evil guardian, who's smiling and appears to be affectionate, and benevolent, and have their interest... and, the whole time, it's only trying to rob them of all of their wealth.
    That's how the mind should be seen. That's why one of the reasons Saraswati Ṭhākur would say... to begin the morning with the song Āmār Jīvana. And say... just like... emona durmmati, saṁsāra bhitare (Dainyātmikā: 1), this mind, look at the mess you've got me in. He's saying, “You should beat your mind into submission every morning.”
    uddhared ātmanātmānaṁ
    nātmānam avasādayet
    ātmaiva hy ātmano bandhur
    ātmaiva ripur ātmanaḥ
    (Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā: 6.5)
    It's... can be bandhur; friend or ripur; enemy. When it's not assisting us in Kṛṣṇa culture, it's enemy. So, this judgement that we make, is it pure? How do... when we decide... what we decide... it's on the basis of what? To begin with, limited experience of the limited. And then, what Śrīla Guru Mahārāj calls, “Acquired prejudice and acquired tendency.” So, in the midst of acquired prejudices and acquired tendencies, with limited experience of the limited.
    How valuable or beneficial will that choice be? So, we're told, what is the basis of spiritual life, tad viddhi praṇipātena, paripraśnena sevayā (Bg: 4.34). When Śrīla Gurudev came to the lotus feet of Śrīla Guru Mahārāj, what did Guru Mahārāj say? “Are you prepared to listen to me and not your own mind?” It's like the old joke, are you going to believe me or your own eyes. [laughing] We think, “Um, that's a tough one.” That's the problem as we think that's a tough one. If, you're in connection with Sādhu, Śāstra, Guru and Vaiṣṇav, then the default position should be to defer to Sādhu... the vision what's revealed by Sādhu, Śāstra, Guru and Vaiṣṇav.
    Otherwise, we're back to the four defects, bhram, pramād, vipralipsā, karaṇāpāṭava (Cc: 1.7.107). To err is human, we make mistakes, we misread, we misjudge. Like, certain instruments, they need to be properly calibrated to give you a proper reading. So, ego; ahaṅkār, ruins the calibration. So, when everything's being filled... how do say it?.. assessed through a filter of false ego, then what sort of result can we expect from that?
    If we haven't properly identified who we are, then how can we know what is our self-interest? This is the beginning of Sanātan Śikṣā, Mahāprabhu instructions to Sanātan Goswāmī. The first... Sanātan Goswāmī says,
    ‘ke āmi’, ‘kene āmāya jāre tāpa-traya’
    ihā nāhi jāni — ‘kemane hita haya’
    (Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta: Madhya-līlā, 20.102)
    He says, “Who am I? And why am I suffering tāp-tray, the three-fold types of miseries; ādhyātmik, ādhidaivik, ādhibhautik?” And then he says... he says, “Ihā nāhi jāni (Cc: 2.20.102), if I don't know this, kemane hita haya (Cc: 2.20.102), then how can I know what's good for me?” So, that's a starting point. So, then... what do we say in the song of Saraswati Ṭhākur... which says, vaiṣṇavai pratiṣṭhā, tāte kara niṣṭhā (Vaiṣṇava Ke: 4), we concern ourselves with the opinions of Vaiṣṇavas. There's a group of thinkers called Pragmatist, they assert, they say, “We should concern ourselves with the opinions of those who matter.” This is an interesting statement, actually.
    Say, “We should concern ourselves with the opinions of those who matter.” And we'll say, “Yeah, we can agree with that.” But, then the all important thing is, who matters? They will say, “Well, what do you mean?.. the Gods or something... you know... what is this Greek mythology, we don't even know if there are any Gods... come on.” So, the way they use to go, “Well... you know... I mean would... what would Zeus do?” [laughing] “Would Zeus like it?” [laughing] We don't know. We don't know if there's any Zeus or not, so forget that. But what we do know, I know you, you know me... and we know other people.”
    So, whose opinion matter, the people we know, like each other. And we also know, that some of our friends, or un-friends or whatever, they may not be best at expressing themselves or representing themselves. So, they make the case for literature. Saying, in literature and art, you know, high literature, there, these great writers, like arbiters of those whom the opinion matters, they express the opinions of many different types of people, who may not be best at expressing it themselves. What about the gardener here, the person cultivating the rice field, the rickshaw wallah, the tuk-tuk man, this type... the other, you know. So, these great writers, they represent a wide spectrum range of, you know, human beings in their work.
    One critic goes so far as to say −it's a hook to try and get you to read his book− but he says, “Shakespeare invented the human.” That will get your attention. And, then he explains, what he means to say... is these archetypes, you know... Shylock, Falstaff, Romeo, Juliet... all the, you know... Macbeth, Hamlet, all these character types we've come to know through him, it's broaden our palette of how we conceive of different people. And, that's good, because you should concern yourself with those whose opinion matters. And, this is how we can decide what's... how to compromise, and what's best for everybody. And what is Divine, we don't know... come on. We talk about it, we say... “But we don't know for sure, but, we do know each other for sure.”
    So... that... your opinion matters, my opinion matters... then... so, this is how democracy should work. But, Guru Mahārāj reminds us, the Latin expression, Vox Populi is not Vox Dei. The voice of the people is not the voice of God. Or as he puts it elsewhere, “The some total of the finite is never equal to the Infinite.” So, is it possible... what if we say... Saraswati Ṭhākur says, “vaiṣṇavai pratiṣṭhā, tāte kara... (Vaiṣṇava Ke: 4),” we believe we should concern ourselves with those whose matters. But, as Guru Mahārāj says, “It should be the normal thinking persons.”
    If everyone else, however near and dear, is under the influence of acquired prejudice, acquired tendency, and is a hostage to karmic circumstance, and their vision of things is distorted or perverted by misconceived self-interest, then... taking a poll of their opinions and basing actions, outcomes, on the basis of people who are admittedly, ignorant, ill-informed, and they have misconceived themselves. Then, as Sanātan Goswāmī Prabhu says, ihā nāhi jāni — ‘kemane hita haya’
    (Cc: 2.20.102). Then, if I don't know this, who I am, what I am, then how can I know what's beneficial for me? So, what Guru Mahārāj calls, terms, “The normal thinking person.”
    That means, like, śāstra-vidhim, whose thinking is regulated by śāstra. What is śastra? Āmnāyaḥ prāha tattvaṁ (Daśa-mūla-tattva) , as we've heard it, revealed truth. Not what... Guru Mahārāj said, “Knowledge above mortality. What's descended into this world through Divine agency.” And, someone says, “Well, I doubt that.” Guru Mahārāj said, “The Infinite is not Infinite if it cannot make itself known to the finite.” That is the fundamental... The fundamental thing to be understood to engage in Theistic culture is accepting the prospect, the potential that the infinite can make itself known to the finite. That allows for revealed truth.
    And, as Guru Mahāraj put it in the beginning, what became the introduction to Śrī Guru and His Grace, his original essay, where he speaks very rationally... by saying... you know... “To err is human.” No, that's an axiomatic truth. No one is going to argue with that. To err... although, I think... where does it come originally, from Milton; Paradise Lost , "To err is human, to forgive is divine," or... I believe it's him. But, anyway, that might be my 'err' [laughing] in identifying where the quotes comes from [should be Alexander Pope; An Essay on Criticism]. But, anyway, he says, “To err is human.” And then he says, “To err is inevitable for all being not perfect.” At least, in English, I don't know if in other languages... it's probably there... that the expression... you know... people... when they do something wrong and disappoint people, in terms of their expectations, and they respond with, “Nobodies perfect.”
    That's suppose to be like, yeah, right, OK. [laughing] Or... yeah... but, sometimes people take that and the say, “Well, no one knows the answers to these questions.” And, what I say to them is, “No one you know.” Personally, nobody knows. Maybe no one you know. Anyway, nobodies perfect, and Guru Mahārāj is saying, “So, to err is human, to err is inevitable for all.” Because, he thinks... “Then I won't do anything!” I'll try that as a strategy to avoid making mistakes. That in it itself, is a huge mistake. He said, “To err is inevitable for all, being imperfect.” But, then here comes the interesting part, and which is appealing, he says, “But, still there is an element within us that seeks perfection.”
    That we also cannot deny. So, then this is a peculiar circumstance. Acknowledging, we commit mistakes, to err is human, we will commit these mistakes inevitably because we're imperfect. But, we're all the while seeking perfection. Why? Why do we still seek what is perfect? Just like in relationships... they go... it use to be... you know, this percentage of relationships end in dissolution or divorce. And we got from 25 percent, 40, to 50, maybe it's crossed 50. So, you could say, “Statistically speaking, this is not likely to work out.” And people will say, “But we're in love.” [laughing]
    “This is real love, this is going to work.” No, statistically speaking, it probably won't. What will they say, “Well, we'll take our chances anyway. It's such a valuable thing, we'll take that risk.” Because, we are so hard-wired to seek love. We want this perfect loving relationship, that even if the statistical evidence argues against it, still we'll take the risk. So, we're hard-wired to seek perfection, all the while acknowledging that we are imperfect. He's saying, “And, if it was something you could confer upon yourself, then you would have it by now.” If... this was something... oh, they're saying, “Oh, it's all within you...” they say.
    If that were true, then who'd have it, but you don't have it, if you're honest, you don't have it. So, then that would seem to indicate, it's something other then yourself that can grant, confer, perfection. And, who or what would that be in you... perfection itself. So, he's saying, “This sort of revelation... or... to the imperfect, comes from the perfect.” And he qualifies this further by saying, “Actually, it's just the part of the perfect, that appears to be imperfect for sometime.” As the Vedas say, asaṅgo hy ayaṁ puruṣaḥ (Bau: 4.3.16), the soul's never actually contaminated.
    That's why we call it māyā or illusion, where it's comparable to a dream-like state. Nothing actually touches or pollutes the soul. So, it's part of the perfect that's, mamaivāṁśo jīva-loke, jīva-bhūtaḥ sanātanaḥ (Bg: 15.7), a part of the perfect, appears to be imperfect. So, it is the function of the perfect or the Infinite to reveal itself to the finite. And, the preferred agency, Sādhu, Śāstra, Guru and Vaiṣṇav. So, those who are serious about spiritual culture, they concern themselves with who's opinion matters.
    But, whose opinion matters, is that opinion which is aligned with Sādhu, Śāstra, Guru and Vaiṣṇav. We're told, the famous example... you know... if the Guru or Vaiṣṇava says, “That a rope is a snake, we see a snake, that a snake is a rope, we see a rope.” And we're told that, Abhīrām Ṭhākur tested Śrinivās Āchārya in this way. And of course, he's Śrinivās Āchārya, he passed with flying colors. But, that underscores how dependent we are upon the vision of the Vaiṣṇava. How much faith there must be, then everything is revealed.
    yasya deve parā bhaktir
    yathā deve tathā gurau
    tasyaite kathitā hy arthāḥ
    prakāśante mahātmanaḥ
    (Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad: 6.23)
    The kind of faith that you have in Kṛṣṇa or Divinity, when you can have that in Guru and Vaiṣṇav, and it's real, then prakāśante, then everything is revealed to that person. So, the true test indicated from the very beginning of the Bhāgavatam; nirmatsarāṇāṁ satāṁ (SB: 1.1.2), is not... what... it's a given that you should acknowledge and recognize Kṛṣṇa and His position. But, he's saying, the secret to Kṛṣṇa conception and Kṛṣṇa culture, nirmatsarja−nirmatsarāṇāṁ satāṁ, is to not be envious of Kṛṣṇa's devotee. And not just the negative. To be non-envious, means an inversion to praise them in a heart-felt way.
    In a way that's real and substantial. Because, who is the ultimate devotee, it's Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī herself. And, there is no greater source of Kṛṣṇa then Her. That means, there's no greater source of reality, no greater source of ecstasy, no greater source of a higher existential plane, then Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. And there's no greater acknowledgement of that, then the fact that Kṛṣṇa Himself... enveloped in heart and halo of Rādhārāṇī, rādhā-bhāva-dyuti-suvalitaṁ naumi kṛṣṇa-svarūpam (Cc: 1.1.5) That Kṛṣṇa Himself, descends in this world enveloped by by her heart, and He's preaching gopī-bhāv and rādhā-bhāv.
    (yadi) gaura nā hoito, tabe ki hoito,
    kemane dharita dehe
    rādhāra mahimā, prema-rasa-sīmā,
    jagate jānāta ke
    (Yadi Gaura Nā Hoito: Vāsudev Ghosh, 1)
    Kṛṣṇa's descended in the world to tell everyone how great Rādhārāṇī is and Her consciousness, which is otherwise known as, Kṛṣṇa Consciousness. She is Kṛṣṇa Consciousness personified. And, when He takes Her position, guru-rūpa-hariṁ gauram, rādhā-ruci-rucāvṛtam (Pj: 1.3), then He becomes Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabhu. And Gauḍīya Darśan means, His way of seeing things, her way of seeing things, Śrī Rūpa's way of seeing things; Śrī Rūpa, Sanātan, Dās Raghunāth. Hare Kṛṣṇa.
    Bs: Śrī Brahma-saṁhitā
    Cc: Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛa
    Bg: Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā
    Pj: Srī Srī Prapanna-jīvanāmṛtam
    Cu: Chāndogya Upaniṣad
    Bau: Bṛhad-āraṇyaka Upaniṣad
    SB: Śrīmad Bhāgavatam