Connecting Devotees Worldwide - In Service Of Srila Prabhupada
Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
There is a saying, Srila Prabhupada even used it. There is a saying that a preacher is least appreciated in his own hometown. And I guess that’s just normal. So we shouldn’t get too upset if that thing happens to us.
Anyhow, I see most the devotees seem to be rather new devotees, so I don’t know, you know, how much you gonna be able to put this dissertation to practical use now but we should remember that today’s disciple becomes tomorrow’s guru, isn’t it? So therefore it’s always good to be, let’s say edified and let’s say cautioned as to the actual purpose of our mission etc. So I have written a few words here just to try to consolidate my ideas so that I don’t carry on, and on and on and on for three hours.
On the occasion of this most celebrated event commemorating the appearance of our beloved Srila Prabhupada, I again earnestly offer my obeisances to the esteemed assembly of devotees and humbly entreat all of you to once more kindly, carefully and patiently hear a few selected straight forward, truthful and perhaps spicy words from the heart of a most lowly and insignificant Aindra Das.
Some may think me to be a bit brazen or rather audacious to say the things I do. Whatever it may be, I pray your broad mindedness will kindly recognize the relevance of this short dissertation as well as my intention to catalyze a greater depth of thoughtful discussion regarding the mission of His Divine Grace and the progressive viability of our evolvement with his mission.
Left to themselves, the fumbling raganuga dabblers will ever disastrously stumble along as unauthorized intruders into the path of rasa and their lobha and bhava will never crystallize. However, when, by the Lord’s mercy, genuine lobha (that means greed for attaining one of the vraja bhavas) appears in the heart, one gradually becomes enlightened in different ways. Uddhava says in Srimad Bhagavatam (11.29.6) “Krsna reveals Himself through the acarya (spiritual master) or through the agency of caitya-guru, the Supersoul.”
Thus some devotees attain knowledge about the moods of Krsna and His Vraja associates from the mouth of a rasika-vaisnava-guru, some from the mouth of a learned raganuga devotee, and some, whose hearts have been purified by the practice of devotional service, will have this knowledge directly revealed to them from within their hearts. From the stage of basic anartha-nivrtti, so atleast we should come to the anartha-nivrtti platform then this starts to have more relevance in our lives but it has relevance even now because it is meant to prod you, to push you, to do the necessary anartha-nivrtti to come to the platform where this begins to make perfect sense.
From the stage of basic anartha-nivrtti, when guru and Krsna will be satisfied with the intensity of our anxiety, our desperation, our ardent avidity, and our nistha for attaining our natural eternal mood of loving ecstasy, bhava-siddhi, there will certainly be further and further enlightenment by gradual revelation both from within and from without. Then practical attainment of our authentic, eternal prayojana, our requisite premika relationship as an assistant of Sri Guru in his or her eternal services to Radha and Krsna, will be sure and solid by Their grace. At that stage only, fullest empowerment to act as an agent of Krsna’s compassion, both internally as a vraja-gopa or gopi serving in His nitya-lilas and externally as a preacher moving within this psycho-physical dimension, becomes possible – not otherwise.
This material world will be repeatedly manifested and unmanifested for the rest of eternity. It is not that this insignificant point on the eternal time continuum is the all-important consideration. For all of eternity there will be innumerable fallen conditioned souls who will need to be delivered to the supreme perfection by the influence of someone’s highly qualified and most capable, fully self-realized, super-consciously empowered preaching efforts.
Furthermore, a most profound truth is that Krsna, being an extremely witty connoisseur, very often requests the emancipated jiva who has in the sac-cid-ananda spiritual body attained His pleasure pastimes at His abode of Goloka to return in the acarya-svarupa to this material cosmos as a nitya-muktavatara. Such a mukta-jiva may then act as the greatest emissary of the Lord’s compassion to the baddha-jivas bound by the network of Maha Maya's allurements.
Having become the recipient of the fullest extent of Krsna’s mercy, only the said emancipated jiva, as a fully enlightened gopa or gopi, has the most splendid, incomparably beatific experience of the brightest absorbing prema contrasted against the black background of previous material existence characterized by abject forgetfulness of the Lord.
The nitya-siddha-jivas as well as Krsna’s divine svarupa-sakti-tattva counterparts, and even Sri Krsna Himself, being always transcendentally situated and ever free from the influence of the modes of material nature, can never have such an extremely enhanced contrastive experience of the extent of the Lord’s compassion. Only the emancipated jiva fully evolved to the acme of individually achievable transcendency can most perfectly empathize with the plight of the conditioned soul. And only such a thoroughly unfettered devotee, having perfectly completed the progressive course of vraja-bhakti-bhajana, can bring about in Krsna an enhanced appreciation of His own golden quality of benevolence – an appreciation otherwise unfeasible in the spiritual world.
It is only the emancipated jiva, therefore, who truly realizes what bliss is in store for the conditioned soul upon achieving the highest perfection, and as such, the emancipated jiva is the fittest to instrumentally deliver the fallen souls to their highest end. Having the fully actuated sac-cid-ananda-siddha-deha, the emancipated jiva remains ever beyond the degrading influence of the modes of material nature. He or she may, therefore, remain perpetually within the material world if required for assisting the Lord’s preaching mission, apparently descending to the second-class or madhyama-adhikari devotional status without running the risk of falling down to the material platform.
Every disciple wants Guruji to be such a fully empowered parama-maha-bhagavata-avatara, coming down from the spiritual world to deliver discipleji to the lotus feet of Krsna. We will have the rest of eternity to collect the thousands and millions of disciples, if that’s what Krsna wants. Not that we push the panic button, childishly play makeshift lifeguard guru jumping into the ocean of material existence to “save” the “drowning” souls, become overwhelmed by the tidal wave of maya, and heroically get ourselves drowned in the process.
Are you still with me? It is a little distracting you’re right.
It’s nice that we in all our spiritual infantility intelligently rely on the power of our guru’s fully self-realized purports in the matter of assisting his preaching mission through the solid medium of transcendental book distribution. That is, no doubt, a tremendous credit. In the end, however, it would surely be preposterous to expect the books to be fully Krsna conscious for us, wouldn’t it?
Transcendental book distribution certainly serves to puissantly inculcate ideal spiritual standards upon humanity. That is the mercy of the acarya-parampara – to give us some meaningful engagement along the way.
Nevertheless, we should not idiotically ignore the obvious implication that it is we who have to personally learn and gradually realize the full gamut of progressive pure devotional experience. This must necessarily be accomplished by the practical application of appropriate, authoritatively approved internal rupanuga methodologies, notably illustrated in the writings of Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami and Visvanatha Cakravartipada.
The point is that practically every one of us at some juncture was on the receiving end of the book distribution effort.
Can I see a raise of hands of how many devotees received the book and that is what induced them to come forward to join the Krsna Consciousness movement? Did anyone ever receive a book? So the question is, here it is, book distribution effort, we were on the receiving end, practically every one of us was on the receiving end of the book distribution effort, at some point.
“Book distribution effort” means that the books were distributed to someone, and we happened to be the “someones” to whom the books were distributed. Why were the books distributed to us? The idea should be that the books were distributed to us to induce us to go to the highest end of realizing our eternal relationship with Krsna in one of the vraja-bhavas. Unless and until we actually go to that end, the purpose of the book distribution that was done to enable us to receive the book won’t be perfectly fulfilled.
Therefore we have to go to that end to make the book distribution effort a complete success. An intelligent and thoughtful book distributor should sincerely consider, understand, appreciate, and in due course apply this principle in practical life. Otherwise, what is the meaning of the whole affair?
How can we deem our transcendental book distribution a complete success unless the “someones” become fully absorbed in relishing the vraja-bhavas as a result of having gained an attraction and greed for them by deeply imbibing the sastras’ essential message?
The “Someones” – Who? – The we “someones.” “Work now; samadhi later.” That’s all right. But what work – and how much later? How later does later have to be before later can be considered later enough? Later after some future God-knows how many births?
Restoration of one’s constitutional topmost vraja-prema-saturated quality of para-duhkha-duhkhi compassion toward others as our Srila Prabhupada has, following in the wake of the immaculate moods of the gopas and gopis of Vrndavana, and achievement of full-blown self realization in terms of the jiva’s highest potential are in effect one substance. Prema and compassion are essentially tantamount in that prema deliberately expresses itself as the service endeavor to facilitate the happiness and relieve the distress of Krsna and His devotees, not excluding the fallen potential devotees of this prison world of threefold suffering.
Particularly in the higher rasas, in the higher vraja-rasas – srngara, vatsalya, and some varieties of sakhya – a natural, supramundane sense of superiority in relation to Krsna as a lover, son, or friend may be noticed, wherein the devotee is seen to rightfully manifest daya-bhava (mercy) as a consequence of karuna (pathos) toward the Lord.
Such occurs in response to suitable uddipanas (stimuli) due to the intoxicating nature of intensified rati for the visaya-alambana (object of affection), which naturally covers a raga-bhakta's knowledge of Radha-Krsna’s omnipotence. This is not very astonishing.
As the highest features of prema exhibited in the stages of sneha, mana, raga, anuraga, bhava, and maha-bhava are unachievable in the present material body (sadhaka-deha), it is no laughing matter that one should progressively attend to the internal culture of the moods of Vraja, for without doing so, one could never hope to manifest the suitable eternal spiritual body (siddha-deha) essentially required for prema’s maximum expression.
Actually, the highest premika compassion evincible by any jiva can only be gained in the company of Krsna’s eternal retinue after joining His manifest earthly lilas in this material world.
When that degree of prema brims over to compassionately inundate the rotting lives of this prison world’s doleful denizens, then only can topmost empowered preaching be done by anyone. As such, it would behoove any aspiring preacher who wants to realize his or her highest preaching potential to go to that end, even if it demands a concentrated, purposeful dedication of considerable time and energy in this lifetime to preparatory antaranga-bhajana with that long-term aim in view.
Wherever we find a realized exemplar of the full array of unalloyed devotional wisdom, the personage’s external institutional rank or social status notwithstanding, there we will behold a perfectly holistic representative of Lord Caitanya’s sankirtana movement.
Perceptive truth-seeking people yearning for genuine spiritual substance are not impressed by any level of histrionic, institutional-upadhi-reinforced razzle-dazzle sermonizing.
It may be argued that “Well, we, on various levels, are all representing the movement in the making.” “Movement in the making” means to progressively move the bungling bhaktas from the position of unaccomplishment to the position of accomplishment, from imperfection to perfection, from impurity to purity.
The idea is that the movement is like a hospital gradually moving everyone toward the healthy pure devotional ideal – not that one should idealistically expect everyone in the hospital to be perfectly healthy and pure. That’s all right. We shouldn’t unjustly cast aspersions upon the sincere patients (sadhakas), though they, with all their frailties, have yet to be fully disinfected. The point, though, is that the doctors should be healthy and pure.
The movement’s acaryas (leaders) coming in the acarya-parampara should be pure and selfrealized. It is not that there shall be no subsequent generations of acaryas. All the disciples are instructed to come up to the decontaminated, liberated standard of acarya. The offenseless suddha-nama-bhajana/sankirtananandi practically manifesting the pure attributes of an acarya, who clearly ascertains, follows, and, from the realized position, propagates the scriptural conclusions, as per the decisions of the previous acaryas, is to be considered a truly viable link in the sampradaya's disciplic succession.
There really can be no feasible makeshift or stopgap “blind uncle” vicar. Disciplic succession means from acarya to acarya or acaryas, not from acarya to umpteen gazillion blockheads who, being too spiritually gutless to grasp the recognized esoteric method of unalloyed devotional realization, prefer to parade about, presumably on the plea of para-upakara, preaching any retarded shabby so-called philosophy that blunderbusses out from their internally bankrupt, institutionally bamboozled, busy-bodying brainlessness.
Just as the series of crystal-clear lenses of a telescope brings a distant image within the purview of our eyes, in the same way, a sampradaya's transcendental heritage is brought into the scope of our understanding through a transparent medium, a chain of pure and spiritually potent representatives of the acarya-parampara. Dusty, foggy, flawed, warped, or impotent lenses will not do. A chain of lenses is as clear and reliable as its faultiest lens. To act as transparent medium means to allow others to clearly perceive the descending radiance of the bhagavata-siddhanta by purely exemplifying the perfect application of the principles of bhagavata-dharma (as per sambandha-abhidheya-prayojana-vicara) on the basis of scriptural evidence and personal attainment.
Acarya, in the Gaudiya line, really means one who is fully Krsna conscious, who purely teaches the path of unalloyed devotional conduct (both external and internal) by personally imbibing and practically demonstrating the unalloyed, unconditional loving devotional ideals of the Vrajavasis.
Whether a nitya-siddha avatara appears in this world as an acarya, or a sadhana-siddha, having attained perfection in a previous life, is reborn by the will of the Lord to act as acarya in the service of the sampradaya, or one or more individuals in the present life gain the spiritual fitness to exemplify the principles of vraja-prema-dharma for the benefit of others, the role of sampradayic acarya is not a matter of institutional rubber-stamping. There’s no question of institutional rubber-stamping. The rubber-stamping of gurus is, in fact, quite against the principles of sampradaya. It indicates neither purity nor high-caliber Krsna consciousness. There actually has to be purity, and where there is purity coupled with realized siddhanta-based raga-mayi unalloyed devotional expression, rubber-stamping or no rubber-stamping, there we may hope to see the actual current of the sampradaya.
No amount of institutional legislation has ever in the past ensured that the budding disciples will not get any other than sad-guru, nor does such presently offer any reasonable assurance to that effect, nor can such ever feasibly promise a foolproof approach to sad-guru in the future. Glaring testimony of this statement rests in the much-less-than-unblemished post-founder-acarya institutional track record. What more need be said?
One gets sad-guru by the grace of God. Having accumulated suitable sukrti by lifetimes of inadvertent contact with agents of bhakti, a fortunate jiva becomes inclined toward the service of the Absolute. When Krsna, who is seated as Paramatma within the heart, directing the wanderings of every living entity since time immemorial, deems one the object of His mercy, then only, by His arrangement, is it possible for one to get the feet of sad-guru – not otherwise. By the mercy of Krsna, one gets guru, and by the mercy of a genuinely elevated Vaisnava guru, one gets Krsna.
The institutional rubber-stamping of guru as well as the recurrently observed herding of unsuspecting fledgling devotional candidates into institutionally endorsed liaison with chic-awash, locally lionized, ecclesiastically rubber-stamped guru figure-heads simply boasts of a preposterous overestimated shot at managerially manipulating, governing, or meddling with the entirely independent will of the Absolute.
In reality, though, God’s will is quite beyond the grip of any theocracy’s ostensibly ironclad administrative edicts. Those who are God-sanctioned to get the feet of sad-guru will definitely succeed by dint of Providence’s inscrutable transcendental system – even without the “aid” of materially concocted religio-legislative contrivances.
And, despite all the well-intended precautionary legislation, those not destined to get sad-guru in the present life, though associated with one or another preaching organization, will be frustrated time and again, even after repeated futile attempts.
Of this there is ample precedence. The shining example of devotees authentically empowered by krsna-sakti to undeviatingly represent the teachings of the predecessor acaryas will itself suffice to satisfy all institutional requirements. Aspiring sampradayic adherents need only be siddhantically edified and alerted as to the standard sastric criteria for ascertaining the fitness of guru. That much institutional governance is legitimate. Deviants and imposters will automatically be shunned and fall into disrepute.
No amount of artificially imposed ecclesial governance in the matter of guru appointment under any clumsy pretext can change for half a hairbreadth the God-sanctioned progress of a jiva’s sojourn through eternal time.
To advocate otherwise on the plea of administrative safeguard and quality-control is to indecorously vaunt one’s lack of faith in the inescapable will of the Supreme and the acaryas’ actual instructions concerning the principles of disciplic succession.
It is true that the highest realization is to take all risk, to go out of one’s way to save the world. That is our mission, for sure. Still, even so, still higher than that, ultimately, the very highest realization, the profoundest mission, is to save oneself. First make yourself spiritually fit. Doctor, heal thyself! First chant and dance in ecstasy like a madman, then worry about saving the rest of the world.
Higher than becoming guru is to become an accomplished, fully self-realized disciple, and that hardly implies that one should pompously pose as a king with no clothes to passionately impress the little neophytes with how much one might have superficially garnered from the lines of letters on the pages of piles of books.
Nowhere is it mentioned in any sastra that neophytes and intermediate devotees achieve prema by initiating hundreds and thousands of disciples. It is really best not to accept any disciples at all. I repeat, this is Srila Prabhupada’s instruction from a purport of Caitanya-caritamrta, it is really best not to accept any disciples at all. Better by far we humbly endeavor to chant suddha-nama via the intent prosecution of yuga-dharma nama-sankirtana with a view to achieve ultimate raga-maya perfection at the feet of Sri Guru. Then we may hope to become truly empowered instruments in the hands of the predecessor acaryas.
We must always remember it is not that authority constitutes Truth. Truth constitutes authority. That is Guru-parampara. Diplomatic affairs tend to dismantle brahminical culture. They who prefer to bend, water down, compromise, or obscure the truth to suit various inveigling materially conceived managerial agenda on the plea of propagating the Krsna consciousness movement are not truthful brahmanas, then what to speak of being paramahamsa Vaisnavas.
It would serve us well to remember that our beloved guru-maharaja, Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, after having spent nine preparatory years in Vrndavana, went out to benefit the people of the western world as a fully self-realized spiritual master; not as a “fake it till you make it” relatively unimpressive, struggling neophytic, superficially polished cyber-preacher, having little if any actual cognition, by way of divine revelation, as to the details regarding his highest potential vraja-svarupa.
On this holy occasion of Srila Prabhupada's Vyasa-puja festival, I humbly request everyone who claims to be his follower: "Please don't be distracted by superfluous pursuits. Our human lives are very very short. Moreover the current of world affairs is extremely precarious. The urgency is paramount. If we actually want to become empowered representatives of His Divine Grace, then let us please boil down the milk, making it thick and sweet by seriously concentrating our endeavors, focusing our attention as much as possible on the essence of what our Srila Prabhupada is ultimately all about." (Bells ring) Confirmed.
Whatever we understand about Srila Prabhupada according to our individual maturity, level of purity, capacity and angle of vision, we should know beyond a shred of doubt that our Srila Prabhupada is a topmost Vrajavasi, very very very dear to Srimati Radharani. And by his mercy, we can also become similarly dear to her if we deeply understand his mission, sincerely take shelter of the yuga-dharma nama-sankirtana and try our best to follow in his footsteps without material contrivance or mental concoction.
If my words have somehow in anyway ruffled anyone's feathers please forgive them, please forgive them, my words. They are only doing their duty to represent my inner feelings and realizations as per the perception of reality allotted to me by the Lord of my heart. Purity is the force, I thank you for tolerating my meager existence. Harer namaiva kevalam. Om tat sat. Srila Prabhupada ki jai!
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