Hari-katha Articles Śrī Guru Mahimā: Glories of the Spiritual Master - Text 2

Śrī Guru Mahimā: Glories of the Spiritual Master – Text 2

guru-mūkha-padma-vākya, cittete kariya aikya
āra nā kariha mane āśā
śrī-guru-caraṇe rati, ei se uttama-gati
je prasāde pūre sarva āśā

Sri Prema-bhakti-candrikā, Chapter 1, Text 2

Make the words emanating from the lotus mouth of Śrī Guru-pāda-padma one with your heart, and do not allow any other desire to enter your heart. In other words, make your desires one with his. Rati, or attachment to the lotus feet of Śrī Guru, is the topmost goal in this human life. By his mercy, all of our spiritual desires are fulfilled.

Guru-mukha-padma-vākya, cittete koriyā aikya—when Śrīla Gurudeva sees that his disciple has a sweet relationship with all of his family members, the Vaiṣṇavas, then he will speak and reveal the confidential secrets of prema-bhakti that are present in his heart. How will the flow of nectarful hari-kathā come? You must be a snigdha-śiṣya, a very dear disciple that is the abode of Śrī Guru’s affection. If you are very close to Śrīla Gurudeva, his heart will automatically open up.

tasmin mahan-mukharitā madhubhic-caritra-
pīyūṣa-śeṣa-saritaḥ paritaḥ sravanti
tā ye pibanty avitṛṣo nṛpa gāḍha-karṇais
tān na spṛśanty aśana-tṛḍ-bhaya-śoka-mohāḥ
Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 4.29.40

In assemblies of saintly persons, unlimited torrents of pure ambrosia emanate from the mouths of great souls in the form of narrations of Kṛṣṇa’s character, pastimes, and qualities. Those who are never contempt when drinking these nectarine glories through the cups of their thirsty ears can never be affected by hunger, thirst, fear, grief, delusion, and other unwanted attachments.

Śrī Kṛṣṇa says:

sarvopaniṣado gāvo dogdhā gopāla-nandanaḥ
pārtho vatsaḥ su-dhīr bhoktā dugdhaṁ gītāmṛtaṁ mahat
Gītā-māhātmya 6

The Gītā-upaniṣad is like a cow, and her udder contains vast quantities of milk. Her calf is also by her side, but her milk is not for the calf. The milkman brings the calf in front of the cow, only so that she will give milk. In the same way, Arjuna was with Kṛṣṇa only so that He would speak the Bhagavad-gītā, which is really for the welfare of humankind.

The Upaniṣads are like a cow, but without a calf they don’t give any milk. Kṛṣṇa told Arjuna to be the calf and He would be the milkman. When the calf approaches, milk comes from the cows’ udders, and Kṛṣṇa would distribute that to all. This milk is jñānāmṛtam, the nectar of divine knowledge. Arjuna was in front of Kṛṣṇa and Kṛṣṇa gave him transcendental teachings. Arjuna was quietly lamenting, “Why has Kṛṣṇa said, ‘Surrender to Me’? I am already surrendered. What is more, I am His close intimate associate and friend. I cannot remember how many lives ago I surrendered to Him.”

To whom does Gurudeva give his nectar, heartfelt love, and everything? Snigdha-śiṣyasya—if anyone is very humble, quiet, and peaceful, this is not everything. Having surrendered everything to Śrī Guru also is not enough. But if someone always endeavors again and again to fulfill the heart’s desire of his Gurudeva, without announcing to all or doing so in front of all, Śrī Guru gives his mercy. You don’t need to be directly with Śrī Guru. Wherever you are, if you have a strong desire and mood to serve and please Śrī Guru, you will be very close to him. You will be the embodiment of your Guru’s love and affection, and you will distribute this to all others. Gurudeva will help such a disciple from wherever he is.

Ācārya Rāmānuja had many disciples. One day, one of his lady disciples came to him and said, “Gurudeva, my parents married me off to a cruel family very far away. They beat and punish me, and make me work hard throughout the day and night. When I can’t do everything, they torment me so much. Now what can I do, Gurudeva?”

Rāmānujācārya called his own, personal servant, who was very qualified, “Come here! Serve in this mātāji’s house.”

This is guru-sevā. If Śrī Guru tells you to do anything, that is guru-sevā. That disciple went to the mātājī’s house and performed all menial tasks, like cooking, washing cloth, massaging the feet of that mātājī’s in-laws, cleaning, and so on.

Did Ācārya Rāmānuja reject that disciple, become angry with him, or throw him out? No. Because he was following the instruction of his Gurudeva, always with a mood of desiring to please his Gurudeva, all the glories of his Guru Mahārāja entered into him, independent of the physical distance that was there between them. We have heard this story many times from Śrīla Gurudeva. After some time, the glory of this disciple was revealed.

Āra nā koriho mane āśā. Don’t think about yourself, me, or others. Consider, “How can I follow the advice and instructions of Śrīla Gurudeva throughout my entire life?” Then guru-mukha-padma-vākya—everything will come nonstop to you. This flow of nectar from Śrī Guru will never stop.

satam prasaṇgān mama vīrya-samvido
bhavanti hṛt-karṇa rasāyanāḥ kathāḥ
taj joṣaṇādaśv apavarga vartmani
śraddhā ratir bhaktir anukramiṣyati
Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 3.25.25

In the association of saintly Vaiṣṇavas, topics about Me are the cause of true knowledge of My valorous deeds, and they are very pleasing to the heart and to the ears. By serving these nectarine topics, the result of freedom from ignorance happens very quickly, first of all in the form of śraddhā, then rati, and in the end the awakening of prema-bhakti.

Fix your faith completely in the advice of Śrī Guru. Imbibe Śrī Guru’s vāṇī, or transcendental instructions. Don’t look and run here and there. When Śrī Guru’s heart melts, all his love and affection will come to you. You are the calf of Śrī Guru.

A calf will not go to a buffalo, goat, pig, elephant, or camel for milk. When a calf is born, he will not even take milk from another cow. He only drinks from his own mother’s breasts. And a cow will not give her milk to the calf of another cow.

Anything you hear from Guru-pāda-padma, keep that with you, like a seed, and practice it every day. After continual practice, this will become perfect. When you daily clean iron, it will shine like steel. If you daily smear a clay pot with ghee, it will become very strong and shiny.

Guru Mahārāja gives mantra and dīkṣā—daily practice that, remember and repeat those mantras. Gurudeva is rasamaya-vigraha, the embodiment of rasa. Anything that comes from his lips is sweeter than honey. This is very helpful for increasing one’s bhakti and bestowing bhakti-rasa. Therefore, very carefully accept the vāṇī of Guru-pāda-padma, his transcendental teachings. Never be hopeless. If you have no desire to follow the mantra and teachings of Śrī Guru, then you will never develop your bhakti.

Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī came to Caitanya Mahāprabhu and was offered in the shelter of Śrī Svarūpa Dāmodara. Dāsa Gosvāmī would come and pray to Mahāprabhu, “You never give me any instruction.” But Mahāprabhu would say, “You are with Svarūpa Dāmodara. What he says is good for you. If I tell you to do something and you don’t follow, then it will be problematic.” Śrīla Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī then requested Svarūpa Dāmodara to beg Mahāprabhu to give him just one small instruction even, and after that, Mahāprabhu told him:

grāmya-kathā nā śunibe, grāmya-vārtā nā kahibe
bhāla nā khāibe āra bhāla nā paribe
amānī mānada hañā kṛṣṇa-nāma sadā la’be
vraje rādhā-kṛṣṇa-sevā mānase karibe
Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Antya-līlā 6.236–237

Do not speak mundane topics or hear what general people have to say. You should not eat very rich, palatable food, nor should you wear very nice clothing. Do not expect respect, but honor all others. Always chant Kṛṣṇa’s names, and within your mind and heart, render service to Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa in Vraja.

Mahāprabhu told only four lines to Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī. Then, for the rest of his life, Dāsa Gosvāmī followed these instructions every day.

When Śrī Guru gives any order or speaks any word, don’t think this is ordinary. When Gurudeva gives an order, it means that, with that order, he came close to you in the form of his speech. Gurudeva is bhakti-rasamaya-vigraha. He gives bhakti-rasa through his instructions. If you accept them, those instructions become your property, your wealth, your life and soul. But if you don’t accept them, if you don’t keep them with you and are not trying to follow his advice, then you are very far away from Guru Mahārāja. Then you have lost everything.

Whatever Gurudeva says is truthful. If a disciple accepts this, this is bhakti-rasa.
Gurudeva is bhajanānanda and rasa-mādhurī—his heart is very soft and always absorbed in the sweet pastimes of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. All the Guru-paramparā is included in Śrī Guru—Param-guru, Parameṣṭhī-guru, Parātpar-guru, Paramparātpar-guru. Guru Mahārāja is not alone. His heart has a place for the Guru-varga and God. Don’t think, “My Guru Mahārāja is alone; other gurus are separate from him.” Mad guru jagad-guru—if I serve my Guru Mahārāja, I am serving all gurus. If I don’t serve my Guru Mahārāja, but rather run here and there trying to serve everyone, the result will be zero.

The instructions of kāruṇa-ghana-vigraha Śrīla Gurudeva, who is the personified form of compassion and love, are full of divine power. Someone may say, “Your Gurudeva gave you advice, but other sādhus don’t accept this. What he told you is not according to śāstra. He is saying something different from scripture and sādhus.” Don’t arbitrarily lose faith. Submissively request your Gurudeva for help in understanding his instructions. Guru-pāda-padma will then clarify his instruction.

One mother had two sons. She fed one many sweets and the other bitter neem juice. The son who was given neem complained to his mother, but she forcefully administered neem to him. He was very sick and his digestion was failing. His stomach was filled with worms, therefore neem juice was necessary. The other son, on the other hand, was weak and needed nourishment; by eating rich foods, he would become strong and healthy.
Guru-pāda-padma knows everything. He gives advice to different disciples according to their individual position, so that they can advance, come close to Śrī Guru and God, and be capable of service. Any order Guru Mahārāja gives is not cruel; it is beneficial.

Some say, “Your Guru Mahārāja did not give rādhā-mantra or Nityānanda Prabhu’s mantra.” They try to cheat the faithful. Anything Guru Mahārāja gives is appropriate for the disciple. Nārada Ṛṣi gave the mantra ‘oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya’ to Dhruva, who chanted that mantra, not going to any other guru to check if this mantra was correct for him.

By chanting this mantra, accepting it from Nārada Ṛṣi— guru-mukha-padma-vākya, cittete koriyā aikya—he achieved the darśana of God after six months. Before this, knowledge of performing proper sādhana came, and he was able to perform strong austerity. He then became respected throughout the world. Even now he has not been forgotten. Why?

Because he followed his Guru Mahārāja. Prahlāda Mahārāja was tortured and tormented. Hiraṇyakaśipu tried to harm him in many ways, but he never went far away from his Guru Mahārāja or harināma. Thus he is now famous in the three worlds.

So first take dīkṣā from a kṛṣṇa-tattva guru, a spiritual master adept in knowledge of Kṛṣṇa. After dīkṣā, hear from Śrī Guru about kṛṣṇa-tattva, prema-tattva, rasa-tattva, and so forth. This is very sweet. Hṛt-karṇa-rasāyanāḥ kathāḥ—this is nectar for the ears and heart.

Anything that Guru Mahārāja says is absolute truth. Follow that in your life. Then you are called a disciple, a follower of discipline. If disciples have deep faith, love, and loyalty to Śrī Guru, then Śrī Guru’s heart will melt and all transcendental knowledge will appear in those disciples’ hearts.

After taking harināma and dīkṣā from Śrī Guru, the disciple must continuously serve Śrī Guru-pāda-padma. Viśrambheṇa guru-sevā. Fulfilling the desire of the bona fide guru and being under his guidance is called guru-sevā. Śrī Guru doesn’t tell anyone to serve him directly without serving God. Guru instructs all to serve God, and he helps them to do so.

Present with Śrī Guru are his family members: all the devotees, śāstra, and God Himself. Guru-pāda-padma teaches everything. If you act independently, then bhukti (material enjoyment), mukti (liberation), and siddhi (mystical perfections) will come to you and you will go very far away from Guru-pāda-padma. Your memory and heart will be lost, replaced with material opulence. Therefore, the disciple must perform viśrambheṇa guru-sevā, service to the spiritual master with an affectionate and personal relationship.

But how can this be done if the disciple is not physically present with Śrī Guru? Who will give him instruction and inspiration? How can one understand if what he performs is service to Śrī Guru and whether Gurudeva accepts it or not?

Guru-tattva is not a small matter. Guru-tattva is very deep. Where do the teeth come from? The body. The power of the teeth to chew comes from the body. Who maintains the body? Where does the body’s power come from? Don’t think Guru-pāda-padma is only a physical body or an ordinary person with a confined or small personality. If the disciple does everything for the pleasure of his spiritual master, Śrī Guru will understand.

Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī Prabhu wrote that one must offer everything to Śrī Guru-pāda-padma. Sarvasvaṁ gurave dadyāt, “Everything should be offered to the spiritual master” (Sanatkumāra-saṁhitā 104). Continuously serve and offer everything to Śrī Guru, whether you are performing nāma-saṅkīrtana or doing anything else. Your view, goal, aim, and object must be only for the pleasure of Śrī Guru. If anything comes to you, you must offer this to your Guru Mahārāja. He knows everything that you do and your intents behind it all. If you serve Guru-pāda-padma with love and affection, viśrambheṇa guru-sevā, then, by the blessings of Guru-pāda-padma, your action will be pure and accepted by God. On the other hand, if you follow someone other than Śrī Guru and work for him, this is not worthy of being offered to God. God will not accept it. Gurudeva has power. He is authorized. Śrī Guru offers everything that comes to him to God.

For example, once, Gurudeva was sitting and many visitors gave him sweets, fruits, and other gifts. Gurudeva opened packages of sweets and gave them to those sitting close to him, without first sending the sweets to the temple for the pūjārī to offer as bhoga to Ṭhākurajī. “Gurudeva,” one person asked, “is this prasādam? You did not offer it. How is it prasādam?”

Gurudeva responded, “A conditioned soul who just joined the temple, who has not offered himself to Śrī Guru and God, is the temple pūjārī. If I would give this to him, he would ring a bell, place tulasī on the preparation, and then bring it back after five or ten minutes. Would God accept that offering or not? How can you understand? If Gurudeva gave order to the pūjārī to offer it, and the pūjārī properly follows his guru’s instruction, then God will certainly accept it. But what if the pūjārī doesn’t follow Gurudeva or the instruction of any high-class Vaiṣṇava? He himself has no love for God. He thinks, ‘This is my duty. I must offer the bhoga and return it. Then I will be free to do as I please, and will also get a share of the sweets.’ Śrī Guru-pāda-padma on the other hand has fully offered himself at the lotus feet of God, and thus, if anything comes to him, he immediately offers it to God.”

Ordinary people have no knowledge of this. Therefore they have doubts. If one person closes the temple doors, offers bhoga, then does ārati, brings the offering back, and distributes it to everyone, people think, “This is called prasāda.” But if it was directly offered to Śrīla Gurudeva, and Śrīla Gurudeva looked at it and accepted it, then it means he has offered it to God.

At Pānihāṭi, Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī distributed yogurt and flat rice to tens of thousands of people. Nityānanda Prabhu went to all the devotees present, checking their clay pots with prasādam. He would take handfuls of yogurt and flat rice, and make a motion as if he was giving it to someone, but no one could understand what He was doing. Then Nityānanda Prabhu sat with His own plate and had another plate placed next to Him. From this, He would take some prasādam and feed it to Mahāprabhu, but people could see Mahāprabhu with their material eyes. Thus they could not understand who was accepting. Only Śivānanda Sena, Rāghava Paṇḍita, Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī, and a few fortunate people had the spiritual vision required to have darśana of Mahāprabhu.

If anything comes to Śrī Guru, he immediately offers it to his beloved Kṛṣṇa and Śrīmatī Rādhārānī, in a chain, through Rūpa Mañjarī, Lalitā, Viśākhā, and so forth. Then, when Gurudeva touches this, opens and distributes it to others, no one should doubt and think, “This is not prasādam.”

yasya prasādād bhagavat-prasādo
yasyāprasādān na gatiḥ kuto ’pi
dhyāyaṁ stuvaṁs tasya yaśas tri-sandhyaṁ
vande guroḥ śrī caranāravindam
Gurvāṣṭakam 8

The prasāda of Śrī Guru-pāda-padma is the prasāda of God. Without the mercy of Guru-pāda-padma, God will not accept anything. Nothing will be pure. You may meditate, do sādhana and do so many austerities, but these things in themselves are not bhakti-yoga.
Once, in a temple in Vṛndāvana, the pujārīs would offer one liter of milk in the morning and evening to the Deities. They said they were making this offering on the order of their Gurudeva. I said, “Your Gurudeva is present today. How much milk did you give him? Tell me.”

“I gave him one liter.”

“This is not the truth. You are drinking the milk you offer with your followers. Guru-pāda-padma is present. How much do you give him directly? You didn’t give Gurudeva anything. You think milk is favorable for you, so according to your choice you offer it to the Deity and drink it.”

Gurudeva has many disciples, there are so many devotees, but not many care for each and every one of them. If someone cooks very nicely, offers it to the Deity, and then relishes all the offerings himself, together only with his own followers, like a picnic or a party, that is not called guru-sevā. All over the world, everyone is in the family of Guru-pāda-padma and God. Anything I have should be shared with everyone.

When you offer something to Śrī Guru (yasya prasāda), this will be God’s prasāda (bhāgavata prasāda). Otherwise, you are only enjoying guru’s prasāda; this is actually guru-bhoga. You will think, “Gurudeva gave me this property, this is for myself. I am authorized, the owner.” Śrī Guru-pāda-padma doesn’t teach this. He is not narrow-minded or a miser. He has a great, open heart. He has over-world-power-love, with which he controls even God. He has everything. Therefore, our Guru-varga has said, “I am so indebted to Śrīla Gurudeva that even a dog from his village is dear to me, what to speak of his followers.” Taking care of them and giving them affection pleases Gurudeva.

Those who, for the happiness of Śrī Guru-pāda-padma, bring new people to Śrī Guru—who first serve and teach them, care for then, make them qualified, and help them in all ways—is this not guru-sevā? It is! If you bring a jīvas back to God, this is not the result of your own power. The power and strength of Śrī Guru-pāda-padma are at work here. The disciple must therefore offer everything to the lotus feet of Śrī Guru-pāda-padma. Then one is one-pointed and directly related to Śrī Guru.

If you think, “I am the doer. I did everything. All things are going on by my power,” this is not viśrambheṇa guru-sevā. If you think like that, you are cheating others, having separated yourself from Gurudeva. You have stolen some part, and are keeping and hiding it, but Gurudeva is antaryāmī, the all-seeing witness. He knows everything that you do. Have an open and clean heart. If you have knowledge, give that. If you understand śāstra, give that. Anything you have is for sharing with everyone. Every second you have is for guru-sevā.
Viśrambheṇa guru-sevā. If anyone has knowledge of guru-tattva and faith in Śrī Guru, he will continuously serve Śrī Guru with love and affection.

Kṛṣṇa instructed guru-tattva to Uddhava, saying, “Gurudeva is sarva-devamaya, the embodiment of all the qualities of the demigods.”

You should carefully and seriously perform guru-sevā. Gurudeva knows everything and accepts your service. When you first wake in the morning, you should worship Śrī Guru-pāda-padma. Wash his lotus feet and take his caraṇāmṛta. You should arrange pure water from the holy rivers for Śrī Guru’s bath. Then, you should massage his feet and smear sandalwood oil and arbata on him, bathe him, dress him, apply tilaka on him, and so forth.

To welcome Gurudeva, the devotees should start saṅkīrtana. Service should not be performed silently. You can sing, ‘Śrī guru-caraṇa-padma,’ ‘Gurudeva! kṛpā-bindu diyā,’ ‘Gurudeva! baḍa kṛpā kari,’ and so forth.

While chanting guru-mantra, internally serve Śrīla Gurudeva. If anyone asks you your Gurudeva’s name, first offer praṇāma, folding your hands and prefixing your Gurudeva’s name with ‘Aṣṭottara-śata Śrī’ or ‘Oṁ Viṣṇupāda’, and then you can say his name. Don’t directly speak without respect, like you would address an ordinary person. “What is your Gurudeva’s name?” “Oh, he is Rāma dāsa. He is Halava dāsa.”

With your mind, speech, and body, do everything for the pleasure of Gurudeva.

Some things are favorable and some things are unfavorable. Try to follow the advice of Śrī Guru. Don’t use his bed, shoes, or personal items. Don’t think, “Gurudeva gave this to me, now I will use it all for myself.” Or, “Now Gurudeva is not here, I will sleep on his bed. I will wear his shoes, use his umbrella, and wear his cloth. This is Gurudeva’s prasāda, I should take it.” No, these things are worshipable. They are not for our enjoyment. Daily perform saṅkīrtana, welcoming Śrī Guru-pāda-padma. This is like calling him. In front of Śrī Guru or the temple Deities, don’t shout loudly or quarrel. Don’t fight or bless anyone, and don’t offer praṇāma to anyone in front of Śrī Guru. A disciple should not even give blessings or offer praṇāma to another in front of the deity of his Guru. And certainly you should not insult anyone, torture, beat, or perform any such nonsense act. Don’t swing on a seat in front of Śrī Guru or allow others to come and worship you, washing your feet and taking your ‘caraṇāmṛta.’ If Gurudeva sits on a nice vyāsāsana, don’t make yourself a nice, fancy seat, thinking, ‘I am not less then Śrīla Gurudeva. I was only two fingers short of him. Now Gurudeva has left and I am four fingers up.’

When your Gurudeva comes or goes, or on his appearance or disappearance day, invite other devotees to welcome and respect him. When people come and speak the glories of Śrīla Gurudeva, drink in their glorifications—this is guru-prasāda. Don’t only hear the glories of your guru from his close followers. Respect all his followers. Then you will be blessed and will never feel disconnected from your Guru Mahārāja. You will always be with him. If you don’t serve and respect the Vaiṣṇavas and have a relationship with them, you will go very far away from Guru Mahārāja. Why? Will the Vaiṣṇavas curse you for not respecting or staying with them? No. They have love for Gurudeva. By serving them, the love for Gurudeva that they have in their heart will come to you. Never think, “I follow only Gurudeva! I don’t need any other Vaiṣṇavas. Why should I serve and follow them? I am a great scholar.” You don’t know. Every disciple has some love, affection, and faith for Guru Mahārāja in his heart. If you serve them, stay with them, and respect them, then their love, affection, and faith will come from their heart to yours.

Once, Śrī Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa were shot by the magical arrows of Meghanātha and They became bound by snakes. Garuḍa was summoned by Hanumān. When he came, the snakes all fled in fear, and Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa were relieved. Garuḍa then had some doubt: “How can Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa be God if They were bound by snakes? How is this possible?” Māyā caught him and he got this doubt. Suffering, he moved everywhere. He went to Brahmā, Viṣṇu, and Śiva Ṭhākura, asking what to do, but got no help from them. Śiva Ṭhākura said, “I don’t know anything. I can’t help you. Go to Kāka Basundi.” They all said, “I can’t help you.” If doubtful people come to you and you talk with them, you can also lose your faith. Finally, Garuḍa went to Kāka Basundi, who related his own experience: “I also once made an offense to Lord Rāma.”

If you don’t approach the Vaiṣṇavas when you have a little doubt, this doubt will increase more and more. By being with the Vaiṣṇavas, you will never have problems. Garuḍa was very senior. He is the king of birds and the Lord’s personal carrier, yet he was sent to Kāka Basundi, who is a lowly crow. How can your problems be solved? If you stay with the Vaiṣṇavas, strength and energy will come from them. They speak hari-kathā, the glories of God.

On the appearance and disappearance days of the Guru-varga, the Vaiṣṇavas speak on the Guru-varga’s glories. By hearing these discussions, you can understand the greatness of the Guru-paramparā and through this also see your own shortcomings. If the Vaiṣṇavas don’t speak, how can you understand what is in their heart?

Harināma and dīkṣā should only be given to those with faith. First inspire strong faith in people and after that you can give them harināma or dīkṣā. If you give harināma-mālā to someone who has no faith, this will be nāma-aparādha, a great offence.

Also, never independently take anything—like water, fruit, or any food—without first offering it to Śrī Guru-pāda-padma. Wherever you are, always offer everything first to Śrī Guru, and after that you can take something. By doing this, you will be related with Śrī Guru. Any cloth or dress you wear, first offer it to Śrī Guru and then wear it. These are the instructions of Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura and śāstra.

Śrī-guru-caraṇe rati, ei se uttamā-gati, je prasāde pūre sarva āśā. Guru Mahārāja teaches kṛṣṇa-tattva, bhakti-tattva, prema-tattva, rasa-tattva. He tells, “Follow these rules of bhakti.” If you do so, rati will come for the lotus feet of Śrī Guru. The sādhaka will then be colored with anurāga.

Gurudeva is bhajana-vigraha. He knows how much bhajana you do. This is his pūjā. Chanting your harināma guru-mantra as well as serving the devotees and the dhāma are called guru-pūjā. Don’t think that simply taking paraphernalia and offering flowers, sandal paste, bhoga, and tilaka is guru-pūjā. Prema-tattva, bhakti-tattva, guru-tattva, vaiṣṇava-tattva—collect all this knowledge, practice it in your life, and then teach it to others. Through this, Gurudeva will understand how much desire you have for bhajana. This bhajana is Gurudeva’s pūjā. This is uttamā-gati. Rādhā-Mādhava’s sevā is uttamā-gati, the supreme objective and destination. Otherwise, only externally offering fruits, flowers, cloth, or decorating many things is called abhinaya, it is simply an act, or drama. It is not reality. If you have a relationship with Śrī Guru, have deep faith in him, and serve him following his advice, then everything will automatically be revealed to you. Desire for prema-sevā will come. You will definitely achieve this rati. Then you will be a real disciple.

This rati comes after bhāva. Should you have rati for Śrī Guru? Yes. Gurudeva is very near and dear to Kṛṣṇa. He is His expansion. In the Gauḍīya line, Śrī Guru has the svarūpa of a mañjarī, a personal maidservant of Śrīmatī Rādhārānī. When you are close to Gurudeva, that rati, or love, automatically comes. Ei se uttamā-gati, this is the highest line, process, and attainment. Remember this. Don’t have hope for anything else.

If problems or disturbances come in your guru-sevā, should you leave that sevā and run away? No. How can you understand what guru-sevā is? Your godbrothers and godsisters will come to help without any condition or invitation, just like when a farmer plants flowers in a field, honeybees come without invitation when those flowers blossom. The farmer also doesn’t have to tell his customers, “Come and buy my flowers and fruits.” Guru-pāda-padma opens this center for performing pure bhakti, and people automatically come. This line is nonstop. Never become disturbed and never think Gurudeva is not present.

How can one make a relationship with Śrīla Gurudeva now, while he is not physically present? If anyone chants mantra and worships the deity, he will be related to Gurudeva. If anyone chants and worships Gurudeva, Gurudeva will be present with him. That disciple’s heart is the temple of Śrīla Gurudeva. The Lord is present there. Also, if anyone arranges a festival or program for Śrī Guru, God will send people to get benefit there. The Guru-paramparā, Bhagavān Himself, and Śrī Guru will be there with you. So never be hopeless.

[CC-by-NDNC Bhakta Bandhav]

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Classification of Anarthas – San Francisco 05 July 1996

Once, during the dead of night, someone was singing Śrī Gīta-Govinda written by Śrī Jayadeva Gosvāmī very sweetly, very far away from the Śrī Jagannātha temple. Listening to this kīrtana, Jagannātha-deva came out of His temple and crossed the five sealed gates and ran towards the direction of the kīrtana. In His ecstatic love filled trance, Jagannātha-deva was oblivious of the thorns that were present on the path and the thorns scratched His body and tore His clothes. When the priests opened the seal and entered Jagannātha’s room in the early morning, they saw how Jagannātha was scratched all over His body and His clothes were torn. The priests asked each other as to why this happened and they became so worried. They went to the king and informed him and told him that this must have been because of some aparādha and wrongdoing. The king offered many stava-stutis and when he slept, Jagannātha-deva appeared in his dream and told him, “Someone was singing Śrī Gīta-Govinda, listening to which I was unable to control Myself. I ran to embrace the person and the path was beset with thorns, that is why My clothes are torn and I have been scratched.” The king awoke and announced in the kingdom that none should sing this kīrtana anywhere outside the precincts of the temple, especially during the night. What is this? If kṛṣṇa-kīrtana is going on irrespective of kīrtana being sung with the sweetest of melodies or not, a bona fide devotee will listen to the name of Kṛṣṇa and at once fall flat on the ground. So we should carefully know all these things and try to have ruci. Even if there is no tāla or svara (sweet melody) in the kīrtana of a devotee who has ruci, we should respectfully listen to his kīrtana. When ruci matures, āsakti (attachment) comes. Āsakti is also of two kinds; āsakti to bhajana and āsakti to bhajanīya (Kṛṣṇa and His asscociates). First āsakti to the process of devotional service comes. One who has this āsakti is of the conviction that, “Without sādhana-bhajana I cannot remain alive.” His life and soul is bhajana. After that, the attachment is transferred to Kṛṣṇa and His associates. We should know and try to follow all these things and as a result, śuddha-bhakti will come and we will progress accordingly.

Transformation of Sakti

In one sense we can see that the jivas are not different from Krsna, but at the same time they are different. The jivas have come from sakti, they are a transformation of sakti; they are not full manifestations like svamsa. There is some difference and some non-difference. The jivas have some qualities of parambrahma, but not all. They cannot create...


Śrīla Gurudeva then described how Kṛṣṇa established Ugrasena Mahārāja as king. Then he said, “Nanda Baba was waiting at his camp outside the city and weeping, thinking, ‘When will Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma come back to me? They have not yet come.’ Finally, on the next night, Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma came back to Nanda Baba. Embracing Them, he took Them both on his lap and began speaking to them with great affection. ‘Oh, I have been waiting so long for You.’ Kṛṣṇa is very tricky. When He was with Devaki and Vasudeva, He had told them, ‘I am your son,’ and when He was with Nanda Baba He said, ‘O Father, I am definitely your son.’ As Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma sat on the lap of Nanda Baba, Kṛṣṇa said, ‘Father, Vasudeva and Devaki are saying to Me, “You are our son. You are our son.” And all the Mathurāvāsīs are saying likewise. I wanted to come to you earlier, but all the residents of Mathurā obstructed Me from coming to meet you.’ “Balarāma said, ‘Listen, Father, those parents who give up their baby cannot be called real parents. Rather, those persons who look after the child, like the eyelids protect the eyes, are the real parents. One who merely gives birth is not the real parent, but one who protects and nourishes like a parent is the real parent. You are certainly My real father, and Yaśodā is My real mother.’ In the course of the conversation, Nanda Baba said, ‘What do You want? What is Your decision?’ “‘You were saying that I should stay here in Mathurā alone, without Kṛṣṇa, but that is completely impossible,’ Balarāma replied. ‘Even if Lord Brahmā, the creator of the universe, comes to Me thousands of times with the instruction, “Be without Kṛṣṇa. Be without Kṛṣṇa,” I cannot be without Him.’ Nanda Baba never thought of Kṛṣṇa as the son of Vasudeva and Devakī. He was thinking, ‘No one will ever criticize me for taking my own son away from here. However, if I take Balarāma as well, I will be considered very selfish for taking Vasudeva and Rohiṇī’s son. I will be considered very unfair.’” At this point in his lecture, Śrīla Gurudeva requested one of his disciples to lead a kīrtana in relation to the Vrajavāsīs’ separation: tuhū se rohili madhupūra. After the kīrtana, before a tearful audience, Śrīla Gurudeva continued, “The essence of this pastime is very difficult to understand, and its most confidential. Externally, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam describes that after hearing the arguments of Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma, Nanda Baba was pacified by them. They gave him many of their golden ornaments, and Nanda Baba, with tears of affection in his eyes, returned to Vṛndāvana. But how could this have possibly happened? Did Nanda Baba sell Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma? Did he travel all the way from Vraja to Mathurā to collect wealth? This is quite impossible, because prema, pure devotion, never takes— always gives. Therefore, the hidden meaning of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam statements, as revealed to us in the commentary of Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura, should also be understood. “Kṛṣṇa had promised at the time of going with Akrūra from Vṛndāvana to Mathurā that He would definitely return. Śrī Kṛṣṇa is satya-saṅkalpa; He always speaks the truth. However, we cannot see any dire evidence in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam that Kṛṣṇa did indeed return to Vṛndāvana. We hear that Balarāma returned for two months, but we don’t hear that Śrī Kṛṣṇa ever returned. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam describes that many years later, at the me of the solar eclipse, Kṛṣṇa went to Kurukṣetra with His 16,108 queens, and He met the Vrajavāsīs there. The Bhāgavatam describes only that Śrī Kṛṣṇa went back to Vṛndāvana by being carried in the minds of the vraja-gopīs, but not that He Himself directly returned. So, was Kṛṣṇa’s promise broken? There is a Padma-Purāṇa reference, which we accept as true, which states that after Kṛṣṇa killed Dantavakra, when there were no more enemies of Kṛṣṇa left on the Earth planet, Kṛṣṇa took all the Vrajavāsīs back to Goloka Vṛndāvana, but that He simultaneously stayed on Earth in His form as Dvārakādīśa-Kṛṣṇa, the Lord of Dvārakā. But this Padma-Purāṇa reference does not prove Kṛṣṇa’s words true—that He honored His promise—because it does not say that He personally returned to Vraja. Therefore the question remains: was Kṛṣṇa’s promise broken? “How are we to reconcile this? Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Lord. Everything is possible for Him. He performs all His pastimes under the dire shelter of His Yogamāyā potency, His transcendental spiritual deluding potency. How should we understand this pastime? What the Bhāgavatam describes must be true—that Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma came at night to meet Nanda Baba, who, after conversations with Them, took the golden ornaments from Them, and, weeping and weeping, returned alone to Vraja, leaving Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma in Mathurā. “But Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma each manifested two forms, and thus there were two prakosts, or chambers, of Their pastimes. Like two different rooms in a house, there were two different sections of Their pastimes. In another prakost, another section or manifestation of Their pastimes, They accompanied Nanda Baba back to Vṛndāvana on the bullock cart, in great ecstasy. “Two manifestations were in play at that time; that is how we understand this pastime. Both these pastimes happened simultaneously. In this way, Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura has reconciled the apparent inconsistency. “In truth, Kṛṣṇa cannot give up Vṛndāvana for even a moment, as it is said in śāstra: vṛndāvanam parityajya padam ekam na gacchati. He never takes one step out of Vṛndāvana; He is always there. This being so, who went to Mathurā and Dvārakā? In one prakoṣṭa—as Vasudeva-nandana—Kṛṣṇa went there; Vrajendra-nandana Śrī Kṛṣṇa did not go. “Here is another, very important point which supports Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura’s explanations: When Kṛṣṇa instructed Uddhava to go to Vṛndāvana to console Nanda Baba, Mother Yaśodā, and the gopīs, Uddhava asked Him, ‘How can I live without You? I cannot live without You.’ Kṛṣṇa replied, ‘I am partly here in Mathurā, but I am always fully in Vṛndāvana.’ When Uddhava entered Vṛndāvana, he saw some bulls fighting over some cows; and he saw that the gopīs had burnt ghee lamps emanating a very beautiful fragrance. He saw Kṛṣṇa herding the cows, and he saw that the cows’ hooves had kicked up the Vṛndāvana dust which now covered his golden chariot. It was as if Kṛṣṇa was fully there in Vṛndāvana. “Thus, in one pastime manifestation Nanda Baba returned to Vraja alone and weeping, and in another, overjoyed, he returned to Vraja with Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma. In this way, Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura has reconciled the apparent contradictions and revealed the hidden pastimes.


Kṛṣṇa Himself followed this Keśava-vrata to develop relationship with the Vraja-devīs. He thought, “I am Viṣṇu, I am Nārāyaṇa, Nṛsiṁha, Rāma,...

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Their meditation was strengthened and they continuously served Him and met with Him in internal consciousness, antardasa, as they constantly did kirtana of His names, forms, qualities, and pastimes. Our Guru-varga have manifested many commentaries on this mysterious topic...

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