by Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj

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Guru Tattva
Beyond Gratitude
</p> <p><em>Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj explains that the sur­rendered soul’s sen­ti­ments and ser­vice go bey­ond ‘thank­ing’ the Lord, Sri Guru, and the devotees.</em>

Srila Sridhar Maharaj: What is the meaning of the word thank? Whenever you depart, you always use this word, but I do not like this word very much.

Student: Thank expresses gratefulness.

Srila Sridhar Maharaj: Gratefulness?

Student: We feel grateful.

Srila Sridhar Maharaj: To thank means to express gratefulness? Then it presupposes, like dan [gift], that one is an owner or proprietor of something. Thanking presupposes the existence of a second party. Is it not? “I am a separate party, I have got something, and in return I express my gratefulness.” But are you a separate party? We are all one party of Mahaprabhu. He he he. “Thank you” and other expressions of gratitude do not make a good impression in my heart.

Student: What should be the real sentiment?

Srila Sridhar Maharaj: That we are highly benefitted. Something like that.

Student: A disciple should try repay his spiritual master, and in the Bhagavatam

Srila Sridhar Maharaj: I say otherwise. One must not think that he possesses property or other persons. He should think that everything is the property of his Guru and everyone is a servant of his Guru. We heard our Guru Maharaj say, “I should have done all the work. It is my duty to do everything for my master. But I cannot do so; I am unfit. So Krishna has sent so many persons to help me. They are extensions of my Guru who have come to help me in my work.”

Prabhupad used to see his disciples as Gurus in the right plane, and he said, “When I chastise a disciple, that is my pralapita vakya (artificial temperament).” Mahaprabhu also told to Sanatan, “Whatever I am saying to you is all my pralap.” Pralap means a madman’s speech. “I don’t know the meaning of all these expressions, but I feel strongly that Krishna, to grace you, is sending this flow through Me.” Prabhupad often said, “When I say that I know everything, that I can teach you, that I am superior to you, that is my pralap [babble]. I am beside myself when I speak this way. In reality, you are all extensions of my Guru who come to help me in my futile attempt of service to my Guru and Krishna.”

There is always direct and indirect vision. At least by indirect vision, we shall see that everyone is a servant of my Guru and Krishna. I may be a leader, a leader of a clan or group. My Guru Maharaj may have appointed me to lead a group, but the members of the group are not dirt beneath me, or meant only to serve me. They are servitors of my Gurudev and Krishna. We are to see in this way. Hare Krishna.

Am I clear? That will be more real thinking. Hare Krishna. It is awkward to think my followers are my servants or my property. Ishavasyam (Iu: 1): Krishna is everywhere; everything belongs to Krishna and those who are His own. I still cannot claim to become one of His own at the bottom of our heart, but what can I do? I must use whatever little capacity I have to serve Krishna as I am ordered and expected to by my Guru. That will be my solace and consolation.




Inner Appreciation
</p> <p><em>Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj defines sincerity.</em>

Student: For Mahaprabhu’s service, we have to engage in so many affairs in the material world. In the course of so many dealings it is difficult to keep our consciousness pure and free from personal motives.

Srila Sridhar Maharaj:

na hi kalyana-krit kashchid durgatim tata gachchhati
  (Srimad Bhagavad-gita: 6.40)

Sincerity is the best qualification. Sincerity is inner purity—shraddha.

Student: How do you define sincerity?

Srila Sridhar Maharaj:

sarala ha-ite gorara shiksha bujhiya la-ibe

Sincerity is inner appreciation for Mahaprabhu’s teachings. One who is sincere can recognise sincerity in others. One who is reasonable can appreciate reason in another person. Is it not? When one has a talent, one will see that talent in others. Sincerity can detect the absence of sincerity.

Hare Krishna. Hare Krishna. Gauraharibol.



Enquiry and Faith
</p> <p><em>Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj illu­min­ates the spirit of sin­cere spir­itual discussion.</em>

You see too much discussion may oppose faith. Ultimately everything is adhoksaja [transcendental]. Krishna is adhoksaja and approachable only through faith. He is not approachable by intellect, reason, or argument. Argument is necessary to help intellectual people to a certain extent. But to want that everything must come within one’s fist is drawback for a devotee. As much as possible we try to understand Krishna and explain Him to others, but at the same time we maintain within our subconscious that everything is backed by Krishna’s sweet will and that nothing can be measured.

maya tatam idam sarvam
  (Srimad Bhagavad-gita: 9.4)

I am everywhere; I am nowhere. Everything is within Me; nothing is in Me. Find my position through your intellect if you can, O Arjun.”

We must always keep this warning on our brain. Then we shall go to analyse, and analyse, and analyse. Ultimately we must think, “He is unknown and unknowable, and everything in His hand. He is everywhere; He is nowhere. Everything is in Him, and nothing is in Him.”

He is achintya [inconceivable]. Mahaprabhu said achintya-bhedabheda: Krishna is not within the fist of anyone. Everything is controlled by His sweet will. Our brain has been warned in this way. We try to discuss Krishna, but too much intellectualism hampers our faith. Our faith may be based on intellectual understanding, and in the madhyam-adhikar [intermediate stage of devotional practice] it is necessary. Thus Bhakti Vinod Thakur said that the madhyam-adhikar is a dangerous one. By deluding us with intellectualism, God may also forbid us from coming to perfect theism from the madhyam-adhikar. And a kanishta-adhikari [neophyte practitioner], if he comes in contact with an uttam-adhikari [advanced practitioner], can clearly pass over the madhyam-adhikar. So the madhyam-adhikar is a dangerous zone.

It is necessary, however, to a certain extent, to consolidate our faith.

siddhanta baliya chitte nā kara alasa
iha ha-ite kṛṣṇe lage sudridha manasa
  (Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita: Adi-lila, 2.117)

[“Do not be lazy in considering siddhanta within your heart. Doing so firmly attaches your heart to Krishna.”]

But we must always remember that the intellect should help to strengthen our faith. Shraddha [faith] can approach the infinite. The intellect can never approach the infinite. Only shraddha can, and how much shraddha we can hope to have? A bit; a bit of shraddha. “Nothing is impossible in the infinite.” On the basis of our experience, how much shraddha we can develop? When we discuss the shrota-siddhanta [scriptural truths], the positive thing that has been given to us, we try our best to use our experience to understand its wholesome character. But trying to do this too much will disturb our faith. The possibility for that is there. In the background we must always remember, “He is unknown, and His ways are unknowable. I cannot bring Him within my fist.”

The intellect should not disregard the characteristic of Krishna that shraddha can reach. Krishna’s jurisdiction should not be encroached on by the intellect. His sweet will should not be pushed. Krishna’s sweet will, His independence, should not be cornered. The intellect should not be indulged in that way. “He is all-in-all. He can make and mar.” This understanding will help us. Shraddha, faith, will help us!

Hare Krishna.

tad viddhi pranipatena pariprashnena sevaya
  (Srimad Bhagavad-gita: 4.34)

[“Learn divine knowledge through sur­ren­der­, enquir­y, and service.”]

Pariprashna [sincere inquiry] is allowed. Pariprashna means questions which help one’s faith, seeking conclusions which help one’s faith. So questions should be put forth only to corroborate one’s faith. With that caution we shall try to know anything and everything, but we should understand that we are limited and we are going to tackle the unlimited. This idea must never be forgotten at any stage in our discussion.

Hare Krishna Gauraharibol Gauraharibol Nitai Nitai.



A Sincere Fight
</p> <p><em>Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj describes the selfless spirit of Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur’s followers.</em>

Srila Sridhar Maharaj: In his last words Prabhupad also said, “Love, rupture, anything may come, but it must be for Krishna. It does not matter whether love, rupture, or anything else comes, it only matters that whatever comes is for Krishna.”

Student: So he knew, perhaps he knew.

Srila Sridhar Maharaj: Yes. When we went to the court, the lawyers sometimes said to us, “Many of you religious persons are coming to the court.” I told one of the pleaders, “We are not an order of sadhus who runs to the mountains in fear of maya, enters a particular cave, and goes on meditating. Our Guru Maharaj created the type of sadhu who will fight with maya, who will attack wherever there is a strong centre of maya, and destroy it. That is the totalitarian war we have begun with the illusory energy that has captivated so many souls. On principle, we are not afraid of any court of law or any other place. So many political factions fight with each other, but you do not see anything wrong with that. We are very realistic in our thought. We are not sadhus who are concerned only with theory. So many of our brothers are suffering from misunderstanding. We must help them, and take upon our heads whatever trouble will come to us as a result. We must march forward. We do not care for quarrel, or for peace, or for anything else. We must accept whatever is necessary to take on our head for the service of Krishna, for the service of Guru, to spread the Truth, the real truth. We must do whatever is necessary. Whatever comes as a result may come.”

According to our karma the environment is coming to us, but we must not be cowards and fly away from the battle. If I am sincere, nothing in the world can deceive me.

na hi kalyana-krit kashchid durgatim tata gachchhati
  (Srimad Bhagavad-gita: 6.40)

[“One who does good never incurs a bad result.”]

uddhared atmanatmanam
  (Srimad Bhagavad-gita: 6.5)

[“Deliver oneself with the mind.”]

Self-help. If I really want to help myself, no one can deceive me. Only I can deceive myself; no one else can. Sometimes I may be wrong, but the influence of that error will be checked if I am sincere.

sarala ha-ite gor­ara shiksa bujhiya la-ibe

Simplicity is never defeated. Whatever may come, we must go on with all sincerity.




The Need for Absolute Knowledge
</p> <p><em>Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj explains the fundamental position of surrender in the pursuit of absolute knowledge.</em>

vāsudeve bhagavati bhakti-yogaḥ prayojitaḥ
janayaty āśu vairāgyaḿ jñānaṁ cha yad ahaitukam
  (Srimad Bhagavatam: 1.2.7)

[“Devotion to the Supreme Lord quickly produces detachment and self-revealed knowledge.”] 

Spontaneous knowledge (ahaituki-jnan) will come in its full purity only when the Lord comes down to your heart and shows to you, “I am such and such.” Knowledge about the Lord is possible when He wills it. Knowledge about Him is real when He desires to reveal Himself to you. Your conjecture made up during so many lives in the mundane plane is all misconception.

To attain God, or to do His work, knowledge of the English language may be necessary, or may not be necessary. It is necessary if I am teaching an Englishman. I have to learn English in order to deal with persons who speak English. Similarly, if I want to convince and convert a man who has a strong sense of logic, then I need some knowledge of logic in order to talk with him. For no other reason is knowledge of English or logic necessary. I need to be knowledgeable if I want to make a man who is proud of his knowledge submit to  my words. In this way knowledge may be used in the service of the Lord under certain conditions.

siddhānta baliyā chitte nā kara alasa
ihā ha-ite kṛṣṇe lāge sudṛḍha mānasa
  (Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita: Adi-lila, 2.117)

Srila Krishna Das Kaviraj Goswami says, “Don’t sit idle and think that to be illiterate or foolish is the only condition needed to get the Lord’s grace.”

Knowledge should come to help me to make my position secure. To meet the negative tendencies that may spring up within me and stop them, some knowledge is necessary to a certain extent. But the real thing cannot come through knowledge. It comes only through submission, by sincerely waiting and showing Him that I am really qualified because I feel myself to be most insignificant: “I am a bona fide candidate for Your grace because I am the most in want.” This is dainyam. Only through sharanagati can we expect to have Him, and dainyam, sincere humility, is the first part of sharanagati.

jagāi mādhāi haite muñi se pāpiṣṭha
purīṣera kīṭa haite muñi se laghiṣṭha
  (Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita: Adi-lila, 5.205)

[“I am more sinful than Jagai and Madhai. I am lower than a worm in stool.”] 

tṛṇād api sun­īchena taror iva sahiṣṇunā
amān­inā mān­adena kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ
  (Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita: Adi-lila, 17.31)

[“The Lord’s Name must be chanted with humility greater than that of a blade of grass.”] 

Sincere helplessness, realisation of one’s helplessness, is trinad api sunichata [being ‘lower than the grass’].

dainya, ātma-nivedana, goptṛtve varaṇa
‘avaśya rakṣibe kṛṣṇa’—viśvāsa pālana
  (Sharanagati: 1.3)

Dainyam and atma-nivedanam: “I can’t stand alone; I am not able to stand independently on my own legs. I must seek the shelter of He by whose grace alone I can live.” In this way the tendency of atma-nivedanam [self-surrender] will naturally come from within because I feel that I cannot stand independently: I am that insignificant and thus desire shelter.

Then goptritve varana and ‘avaysha raksibe Krishna’—vishvasa palana. I must ardently and sincerely accept Him as my guardian and first of all I must have confidence that He will protect me: “I am not shelterless—my guardian cannot but save me.”

bhakti-anukūla-mātra kāryera svīkāra
bhakti-pratikūla-bhāva varjanāṅgikāra
  (Sharanagati: 1.4)

We are to accept what is favourable to the life of a devotee and forsake what is unfavourable to a life of a devotee. These are the characteristics of a real devotee.

Hare Krishna. Hare Krishna.

The finite wants the Infinite. The quest must be very unusual; it cannot be an ordinary thing. The finite wants to have the Infinite: necessarily this can only happen through submission, through prayer. It can happen only by showing that I am helpless: “Without You I can’t go on; I can’t do. I can’t do.” By gradually attracting His kindness and pity, my object may be fulfilled. There is no other way. There is no other way than to present myself before Him in a naked way: “I am such. I am the most needy. I am far away, and I am the most needy. Thus I have come to seek Your help. Without that I cannot be saved; I cannot live at all.” Such sincere craving is the real qualification of a devotee. He may be a good scholar, but this tendency must have the upper hand within him. He may have many qualifications in the worldly sense but only if this feeling is predominant in him will he get the Lord’s grace.

It is not that everyone who is graced with devotion to the Supreme Lord is poor in all worldly respects. Some may be highly talented or resourceful men who at heart are very humble and think themselves to be nothing.

niṣkiñchanasya bhagavad-bhajanonmukhasya
pāraṁ paraṁ jigamiṣor
  (Sri Chaitanya-chandrodaya-nataka: 8.23)

[Those who desire to cross over the ocean of material existence and serve the Lord feel] “I have nothing to boast. I have nothing. If I analyse myself, I see that I have nothing. I am the most needy. I am the most needy.”

This must be the leading feeling of a devotee, whatever qualification he may have. He may be Brahma, he may be Shiva, he may hold any position, but to attract the attention and grace of the Lord this quality of feeling needy must be predominant. Otherwise one cannot attract Him.

Hare Krishna. Hare Krishna.



Only Truth Can Dispel Ignorance
</p> <p><em>Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj explains the dif­fer­ence between empiric and revealed know­ledge, and demon­strates that only the com­bin­a­tion of sukriti, faith, and scrip­tural know­ledge given by the Vaishnav effects the soul’s deliverance.</em>

Student: A devotee once said to me that, as a necessity for preaching, we need to describe to the Western rational mind how the soul is transferred from one body to the next, and how it enters into a father’s semen. He requested me to ask you about this.

Srila Sridhar Maharaj: To satisfy the curiosity of scientists?

Student: Yes.

Srila Sridhar Maharaj: When shraddha [faith] springs forth from sukriti [fortune], one may not care to know all these details. If you analyse this matter, you will find that there is no end to it. Approximate knowledge of it is sufficient to help you take to the path of devotion. Analysing things scientifically does not lead to an end. Knowledge of the Absolute does not come through scientific analysis. It never comes that way. Knowledge of the Absolute comes in an independent way, that is, through sukriti. It comes from that which is nirgun [supramundane]. The nirgun approaches the nirgun to take him to the nirgun [The soul approaches the Vaishnava to take him to the Lord].

Misunderstanding, made up of the modes of material nature, even knowledge in sattva-gun [the mode of goodness], cannot lead us to the highest plane—to the nirgun world.

sa vai pumsam paro dharmo yato bhaktir adhoksaje
ahaituky apratihata yayatma suprasidati
  (Srimad Bhagavatam: 1.2.6)

What is sukriti and how does it originate? It is ahaituki and apratihata. This means it is causeless—its cause cannot be traced within the mundane world, that is, the world of the modes of nature, the misconceived world. Sukriti is beyond this world. Sukriti comes from the Lord’s agent, the devotee, and only when it accumulates sufficiently can truth disperse one’s ignorance. No part of ignorance can dispel ignorance—only truth can dispel ignorance. So, that which is nirgun can save us from all shades of misunderstanding and take us to the nirgun world.

api chet suduracharo bhajate mam ananya-bhak
sadhur eva sa mantavyah samyag vyavasito hi sah
  (Srimad Bhagavad-gita: 9.30)

Here the Lord says that one who, according to the misconceived standards of morality and purity in the material world, is most disqualified, yet has a tendency for, and spontaneous flow of, exclusive attachment to Him, should be considered a sadhu. So, the nirgun flow must be considered; other things that may be present will vanish momentarily.

Sattva-gun may take one to the highest position but at that next moment one will return here. The concocted good or bad of the mundane world only move in a circle. Something that now holds the highest position comes back down to a lower position after only a moment.

abrahma-bhuvanal lokah punar avartino ’rjuna
  (Srimad Bhagavad-gita: 8.16)

[“All beings found within the plane of Lord Brahma downwards are subject to the law of action and reaction.”] 

Development in the misconceived area is no development at all. But even a little improvement towards the nirgun reality is of infinite value. It will never be destroyed and never leave you.

api chet suduracharo bhajate mam ananya-bhak
sadhur eva sa mantavyah samyag vyavasito hi sah
  (Srimad Bhagavad-gita: 9.30)

sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam sharanam vraja
aham tvam sarva-papebhyo mokshayishyami ma shuchah
  (Srimad Bhagavad-gita: 18.66)

[“Abandon all forms of religion and surrender exclusively unto Me. I will liberate you from all sin. Do not despair.”] 

These advices make us have a faith that consideration of the Lord cannot be compared with anything good or bad in the worldly sense.

dvaite’ bhadrabhadra-jnana, saba—‘manodharma’
‘ei bhala, ei manda’—ei saba ‘bhrama’
  (Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita: Antya-lila, 4.176)

[“In the mundane world all notions of good and bad are mental speculation. ‘This is good; this is bad’—all such thinking is misunderstanding.”] 

A good dream and a bad dream are both false. Do you follow? Neither the good nor the bad found in this illusory world have any value. Salvation from the glamour and charm of this world can come only from that which is nirgun, that is, from the Vaishnavas and the scriptures: Bhagavatam, Gita, and so on. Salvation springs from the nirgun world. We must be all-attentive towards that. Only that which is nirgun can help us, can snatch away our souls from the bondage of mundanity. The nirgun agents will come and snatch away the soul from the bondage of misconception; no sagun [mundane] agent can do that. He is a captive himself. Help must come from the nirgun plane.

Despite having many possessions and great power here in this world, I am most insignificant because worldly things have no value”, such a feeling of grief and emptiness within the heart, such realisation that everything in this world is futile, makes one fit for the nirgun plane. One’s possessions in this world are like things possessed within a dream—they have no value.

When an earnest man prays for help from the nirgun world, from the world of cent per cent truth, then help from that world comes to him. Nothing from the sagun world is qualified to help him. Deception cannot free one from deception. A black marketeer may exchange goods with another black marketeer, a thief may exchange goods with another thief, but none of them are the owners of the goods.

Hare Krishna. Hare Krishna. Gauraharibol.




Bhakti Tattva
The Spirit of Sacrifice
</p> <p><em>Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj explains the dif­fer­ence between a civil­isa­tion based on karma and a life of bhakti.</em>

The plane of action and reaction, the plane of exploitation, is a suicidal civilisation. The whole civilisation is rotten to its core. In the civilisation of exploitation people exploit nature for the apparent good of human society, but by doing so they incur a debt from nature which must be paid back to the farthing with interest. Yet they do not believe this—they do not believe they will have to clear their debt to nature. Still it is there, as is the calculation of their debt, like calculations recorded in a computer. So this civilisation is no civilisation; it is anti-civilisation. The whole thing is rotten. It is a camouflage-like deception; a treachery to the soul’s world, to the living world. The whole civilisation is a suicidal treachery.

Plain living, high thinking.” “Make the best of a bad bargain.” These should be our policies. Somehow we have come here; now we are to use our time and energy in such a way that with the least amount of exploitation we can get out of this world. The real solution for our life has been given in Bhagavad-gita.

yajñārthāt karmaṇo ’nyatra loko ’ya karma-bandhanaḥ
  (Srimad Bhagavad-gita: 3.9)

[The Lord says:] “Karma, spending your energy here, will surely bind you within this material environment. Yajnarthat, only if you act in the spirit of yajna, sacrifice, will you be relieved of the reactions to your actions.  What sort of sacrifice? Not sacrifice for the sake of yourself, or your country, or your society. Nothing less than sacrifice for the sake of the Infinite, that is, Myself, Vishnu.”

Yajna vai Vishnu. Hari, the Supreme Lord, is Yajneshvar, the rightful enjoyer of all sacrifices, the absolute owner of everything. You must have a proper connection with Him. Not an imaginary connection, but a real connection you must have with Him, then the reactions to whatever you do will not bind whatsoever.

hatvāpi sa imān lokān na hanti na nibadhyate
  (Srimad Bhagavad-gita: 18.17)

There is even a plane in which, if we stand there, we can destroy many planets, many universes, but remain unaffected. Na hanti na nibadhyate, a pure agent of the Absolute neither kills nor has to suffer any reaction for his actions. If someone who has exhaustively eliminated all selfish thinking walks, where does he get his inspiration? Where does his inspiration come from? The Centre, the Absolute. The Centre inspires him to act, and then he acts. So, no matter what a cent per cent agent of the Absolute centre does, he does not have to undergo any reaction to his actions, whatever their nature may be.

yajñārthāt karmaṇo ’nyatra loko ’ya karma-bandhanaḥ
tad-artha karma kaunteya mukta-sagaḥ samāchara
  (Srimad Bhagavad-gita: 3.9)

[The Lord says:] “Do, and do it for Me.

karmaṇy evādhikāras te mā phaleṣu kadāchana
  (Srimad Bhagavad-gita: 2.47)

You are created only to work; you are not created to enjoy the fruits of work. Your constitutional position is that you are to work. You are a potency. Your duty is to exercise your power. But the results of your work are Mine.

ahaḿ hi sarva-yajñānāḿ bhoktā cha prabhur eva cha
  (Srimad Bhagavad-gita: 9.24)

So don’t look at the results of your activities. Simply do everything that is imposed on you; do your duty. Go on acting, with a sense of duty. A doer should never sit idle. Idleness is your greatest enemy.

mā te sago ’stv akarmaṇi
  (Srimad Bhagavad-gita: 2.47)

I am afraid that you may have some apathy to activity. If so, then you are doomed—you are gone to the world of annihilation, renunciation, inconclusiveness, and destruction. Ma te sango, You should work for Me. That is your position and Mine. Don’t be afraid of that. Why should you be? I am your friend; I am your guardian; I am your well-wisher. Everything is in My control. I am the enjoyer of everything, but you are My own, you are My friend. So you must not be apprehensive about your future in any way. It won’t be hampered. Rather, it will be improved when it is in My hand. So have no apprehension. Go on, and work on My behalf. If you live that way, if you observe that policy, you will be best benefitted.

In other words, you should intelligently use Me for your good. That is the best type of intelligence.”

śrī kṛṣṇākariṇī cha sā
  (Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu: Purva-vibhaga, 1.17)

ktvā hari prema-bhāja
  (Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu: Purva-vibhaga, 1.41)

This is the extraordinary power of devotion: devotion can convert the Autocrat, the Supreme Lord, into the loving friend of anyone who takes to the path of devotion. Devotion has such wonderful power: it can make Hari, the Absolute Good, loving and affectionate towards you. It can force the Lord to favour you, to befriend you, to act in your favour. This is the capacity of devotion, svarup-shakti prem. The highest stage of devotion, prema, is so powerful. Such extraordinary power is in her hand that she can force the Autocrat to work on the behalf of His beloved servants.

Kritva harim prema-bhajam, this is the natural fortune we have. If you march on in pursuit of mastership over the world, then the demon of the reactions to your actions will come, break your neck, and drink your blood, but bhakti, she can put the Infinite at your hand, bring Him within your fist.




Free Love
</p> <p><em>Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj explains loving relationship with between the soul and the Lord found only in the Rupanuga Sampradaya.</em>

Student: Maharaj, Rupa Goswami was the Acharya of sambandha-jnan or abhidheya?

Srila Sridhar Maharaj: He was the Acharya of abhidheya. Sanatan Goswami is the Acharya of sambandha-jnan, and Raghunath Das Goswami is the Acharya of prayojan. Abhidheya—how we can reach the highest goal, the means to the end—was mainly given by Rupa Goswami. What is that  end? That was given by Das Goswami. What is the purpose of our life and our relation with the environment? That was given mainly by Sanatan Goswami. …

Parakiya has been dealt with mostly by Rupa Goswami. Sanatan Goswami dealt with scriptural, law-abiding devotion, and a tinge of anuraga, free love. Rupa Goswami showed and proved that pure, free love is the only way to attain the Absolute in its highest position.

vaikuṇṭhāj janito varā madhu-purī tatrāpi rāsotsavād
vṛndāraṇyam udāra-pāṇi-ramaṇāt tatrāpi govarddhanaḥ
rādhā-kuṇḍam ihāpi gokula-pateḥ premāmṛtāplāvanāt
kuryād asya virājato giri-taṭe sevāṁ vivekī na kaḥ
  (Sri Upadeshamritam: 9)

Superior to Vaikuntha is Mathura, where Krishna took birth. Superior to Mathura is Vrindavan, where Krishna performed His Rasa-lila. Superior to Vrindavan is Govardhan, where Krishna plays with Sri Radhika confidentially. And superior to Govardhan is Radha Kunda, which Krishna floods with the ultimate nectar of divine love. Which realised soul will not serve Radha Kunda beside Govardhan Hill?”

In Christianity we are given the Fatherhood of Godhead, but here we are given not only Sonhood of Godhead but His fullness: the Consorthood of Godhead. We are to realise this.

Parents are a particular kind of servant. Filial affection is really service. We can’t ignore this, nor is there need to do so. The Lord must be in the centre, not on the circumference. “He is the Creator. He is the Father. He is above all, up on a perch.” No. He is in the centre. He is always in the centre, and our central thought is in what is called here lust. The centre of our being is love and affection; not in knowledge or power. He must have His central position in the domain of love. From there He controls everything. The controlling of the whole must be from the domain of love, not from power or knowledge. We are to realise that. If we can do so, then we will understand the wealth given to us by Gaudiya Math, Mahaprabhu, and Bhagavatam.

We are to understand that jnan and karma, knowledge and power, are of lower importance. They are a cover of real life; they are not part of real life. Love is our real life; jnan and karma must be subservient to love and beauty. This is the situation of Reality. We are to understand that. Then we will understand what devotion is. Otherwise, we will become a sahajiya, an imitationist—we will simply go on with the fashion of wearing tilak and the garb of a Vaishnava. If at heart we can realise the position of real love, then the faculty of knowledge will be seen as a luxury, a fashion.

It is impossible actually. A finite being can never measure the Infinite. Jnan is sheer folly. It is a ludicrous thing. You, a finite being, want to hold the Infinite in your fist? It is a ludicrous attempt. And karma is our enemy. Any karma we perform digs our grave. The energy with which we serve here digs our grave. It is not connected with the Absolute. Only sharanagati, the method of free love, by which the Infinite will become inclined to come down to us, is a realistic attempt for our development. All else is absurd and injurious—a madman’s gesticulation.

Hare Krishna.



Parakiya Bhajan
</p> <p><em>Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj explains how spiritual aspirants should understand the principle of parakiya-bhajan in their practicing lives.</em>

sarva-dharmān parityajya
  (Srimad Bhagavad-gita: 18 .66)

[“Abandon all religion.”] 

ājñāyaivaṁ guṇān doṣān mayādiṣṭān api svakān 
dharmān santyajya yaḥ sarvān māṁ bhajet sa cha sattamaḥ
  (Srimad Bhagavatam: 11.11.32)

[“Realising the qualities and faults of the socio-religious system which I have instituted, one who completely abandons it and serves Me is the best of all sadhus.”] 

To break the law should be the main characteristic of a Rupanuga Vaishnav. What I have conceived about this parakiya principle is important. I have thought it out in a particular way.

The pati, husband, is supposed to have full control over the wife, lordship. To disobey him, to be ungrateful for him, and seek comfort or pleasure in another place, is to leave our obligation. All our past activities have the right to exact their demand from us. Our karma, our jnan—wandering in the world we have incurred so many obligations in so many places. That is to be considered on one side: those demands that want to exert their mastership over us, to exact the payment due to them. These demands should be considered as our pati, husband. They have their demand to realise from us. So, to disobey this ‘husband’ and go to Krishna, to direct our free will towards Krishna, that is parakiya-bhajan.

The total demand on us by the environment, that is one side, and the other is directing our free will towards God, Krishna. This is pati-vanchana [deceiving the husband]. If we have borrowed money from a moneylender we are obliged to him. To disobey him, to get out of our obligation to him, is not publicly possible. So from our innermost heart we must clearly direct our free will towards Krishna. Because in our previous life we have acquired so many anti-Krishna tendencies that have captured us, we must direct out free will away from them by any means, without their awareness, and dedicate it to Krishna.

Wherever we are, and to whatever extent we are indebted, burdened, we can remove our free will from the circle of such obligations and direct it to Krishna. From our innermost hearts, our desire and prayer is for that. I am in the midst of an unfavourable environment: the husband, the mother-in-law, the sister-in-law, and the society, even the scripture, are all against, all against me. Deceiving them, I shall stealthily take my free will and, with the help of a particular group, approach Krishna.

I think that all the obligations are represented mainly by arya-patham and sva-janam (Sb: 10.47.61), society and the scriptures. This includes almost everything. They are all on one side and I must take my free will, deceiving them stealthily, and dedicate my heart to Krishna. I must pray, “My Lord, with Your own agent, take me out. Take me out.” We must be bold enough to courageously disobey our past obligations and approach Krishna with our innermost prayer and interest. Our desire must be to dedicate ourselves to Vrajaraj, Krishna, and His own.

Student: Maharaj, for a woman it is easy to develop this mood.

Srila Sridhar Maharaj: No. It is rather the opposite. It is perverted. It will be very difficult for them because the same perverted thing will come to occupy the position of the genuine thing. A woman’s position is more dangerous. Apparently it may seem that it will be easy. Of course, to some extent, it is easier, because Mahaprabhu has given more grace to women and sudras [labourers], those who have no rights in the ordinary sense. Nevertheless, we should be cautious: the womanly nature of this mundane world should not be compared with, or mistaken for, the womanhood of that plane.

Student: Maharaj, what I meant was that as long as we have false pride because we are males, we cannot develop this mood. We have to give up this feeling that we are the purush [enjoyer].

Srila Sridhar Maharaj: We are not the enjoyer; we are to be enjoyed. That is the negative conception. That should be done.

Student: What is the first thing to be done?

Srila Sridhar Maharaj: We are to be handled, and we are not to handle. We should adopt this posing; offering ourselves passively, not actively. We are active in the sense that things inside us are changing, but from Krishna’s side, we seek grace.

virachaya mayi daṇḍaṁ dīna-bandhu dayāṁ vā
  (Stava-mala: 1.16.1)

[“O Friend of the fallen, You may punish me or You bless me, as You wish.”] 

This prayer is open; it makes no claim. Yet underground a claim is being established. Through this non-claiming attitude, claim is being established there. As much as we can develop a non-claiming attitude, automatically our claim is established there. The degree of our non-claiming attitude really establishes our claim there in that wonderful land. Dedication means such.

There we thrive. And here we die. “Die to live”: that is the theory. That is a very good expression of Hegel. “Reality is for itself”, and “die to live”. “Krishna, the ‘all-consumer’, everything is for Him.” And “die to live”: if you want to live you will have to die. Learn to die if you want to live. Dissolve your ego. Die means to dissolve your ego and then the covers, one by one, will be thrown out, and the inner jewel will come out in its pristine glory with its finest rays.

Gaur Haribol! Gaur Haribol! Gaur Haribol! Gaur Haribol! Nitai Gaur Haribol!




Resounding in the Heart
</p> <p><em>Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj explains the ideal behind the term</em> brihat mridanga.

Our Guru Maharaj, Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur, liked book preaching. He called it the brihat mridanga. When a mridanga resounds, it invites the people around it, “Come to hear the chanting of the Divine Name.” Similarly, books go from man to man, house to house, informing people, “These things are occurring. Come and join.” The ‘sound’ made by books, however, works more efficiently than the sound by made the mridanga. So our Guru Maharaj called them the brihat mridanga. The inundation upon people made by books is more intense and more perfect than that made by the mridanga.

A gentleman who read the Gaudiya wrote an article in praise of our Guru Maharaj.

jīva moha-nidrā gata    jāgā’te vaikuṇṭha dūta
    ‘gauḍīya’ pāṭhāo ghare ghare
uṭhare uṭhare bhāi    āra ta’ samaya nāi
    ‘kṛṣṇa bhaja’ bale uchchaiḥsvare
      (Acharya Vandana: 15)

Generally souls are sleeping under the influence of ignorance, and to rouse them you send your weekly paper, the Gaudiya, from door to door. It is the messenger of Vaikuntha, the infinite world, and it pushes open doors to be heard. It loudly calls the people, ‘Utha re utha re bhai ara ta’ samaya nai Krishna bhaja’ bale uchchaihsvare: There is no time! Awake! Arise! Come to the Absolute! Why are you are sleeping in ignorance? Such a great prospect waits for you. Come and serve Krishna!’ That is the Gaudiya’s news.”

Prabhupad founded this weekly newspaper, the Gaudiya, and even a daily newspaper, the Nadia Prakash. Madan Mohan Malaviya, the majority leader of India at the time, remarked, “What is this? A daily religious newspaper?” Prabhupad answered him, “In this mundane world there are so many daily papers. We are told that in America there are not only morning  and evening papers but newspapers published every hour. In Vaikuntha there is a thousand times more news than there is in the mundane world. So why is printing one daily paper about Vaikuntha a wonder? Thousands of daily papers about Vaikuntha may be continued, that much news comes from Vaikuṇṭha. The news of Vaikuntha can overflood this mundane world. Vaikuntha is infinite, and this world is finite. When a ray from the infinite world comes to the finite world, what can it do?”

Later Madan Mohan Malaviya said to Prabhupad, “Every village should have a centre for your activities.” Our Guru Maharaj answered, “What do you say? I want to establish a temple of the Lord in every man’s heart.”




Srila Krishna Das Kaviraj Goswami
The Key to the Theological Kingdom
</p> <p><em>Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj glor­i­fies Srila Krishna Das Kaviraj Goswami and his</em> Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita <em>to the extreme.</em>

Faith in the Gauranga is rare, and to have faith in Gauranga is costly. If you can somehow gather that, you will be benefited more so than you will be by directly negotiating with Krishna.… But to put faith in Gauranga will be difficult until we can understand Him ontologically. We cannot proceed with only the help of our worldly experience. Gauranga is not accepted by such large circle as Krishna is accepted. Many higher scriptures are in favour of Krishna-avatar, so a wide circle accept Krishna as Lord. A narrower circle accepts Gauranga as God, and there are not so many scriptures supporting Him. So it is difficult to have faith in Him. But if one can somehow come closer to Gauranga, he will be a greater gainer.

In the conception of Kaviraj Goswami there is something more. There you will find very charming, heart-touching things that give us a clear conception. In Sanskrit Kavirag Goswami wrote the Govinda-lilamritam. There he described the ashta-kaliya-lila, the full twenty-four hour engagement of the gopis with Krishna. In Bengali he wrote Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita.… These two books have made him immortal and given him a very very high position amongst the sadhus. Kustari Manjari is his name in Krishna-lila, Kaviraj Goswami Prabhu.

His birthplace was between Katwa and Ekachakra, Nityananda Prabhu’s place, about two miles north of Bardhman station in Jhamatpur. I once went to visit that place. All through my request to ISKCON was to try to improve that place. That place is most important according to me, the place of he who has given Mahaprabhu proper to us.…

Chaitanya-charitamrita is the most valuable theological literature the world has ever seen.… Our Guru Maharaj said that every single part of Chaitanya-charitamrita is aprakrita: composed of the purest, highest material. No part can be disregarded as less valuable. All its parts are of equal value. In other books there are some things which are substantial and other things which only help to support the substantial things: there are so many stories and other things added. Even in Bhagavatam there are so many stories which may not be necessary for us, stories that are devised only to support the original thought. But in Chaitanya-charitamrita never a letter is to be found which does not have the highest value. Such is impossible! In anything that is to be composed, there is generally a necessity for elements of different types. Differing elements are generally necessary for the construction of a particular thing. But Chaitanya-charitamrita is the wholesale golden temple of something more.

Gaura Haribol! Gaura Haribol!

If one has gone through Chaitanya-charitamrita, one has everything within one’s fist—Bhagavatam, Mahabharata, the Vedas, and all the other scriptures. One will be able to attain the Central Truth. Nothing in the theological world will be unknown to him. One will get the clue of adjustment in the theological world. If one can go through Chaitanya-charitamrita in the right way, one will have the key of the theological kingdom in one’s hand. In a gross or subtle way, all the conceptions of the theistic world have been represented in Chaitanya-charitamrita in their own position. The outlook, the adjustment is such: it is fine and perfect there, in Chaitanya-charitamrita.

Gaura Haribol! Gaura Haribol! Gaura Haribol! Gaura Haribol!