śrī-guru karuṇā-sindhu, adhama janāra bandhu
lokanātha lokera jīvana
hā hā prabhū kara dayā, deha mora pada-chāyā
ebe jaśa ghuṣuka tribhūvana
(tuya pade lainu śaraṇa)
Sri Prema-bhakti-candrikā, Chapter 1, Text 4
O Gurudeva! O ocean of mercy! O friend of the fallen souls! You are the master of everyone and the life of all people. O Lord! Be merciful upon me and give me shelter at your lotus feet. May your fame spread throughout the three worlds. (Or, I take shelter of your lotus feet.)
Śrī guru karuṇā-sindhu. How is Gurudeva the ocean of mercy? Gurudeva perceives the position of conditioned living entities, and his heart melts. He knows the lamentable position of the conditioned souls. He is the embodiment of compassion. He prays to God on behalf of the living entities, saying, “How can I help the jīvas? How can I change their mundane natures and bring them to You?” He then goes to the living entities and requests them, “Please come to God.”
Gurudeva goes to all, without consideration of who is low or fallen, and helps everyone. God is ātmārāma and aptakāma, self-satisfied. He has no troubles, worries, or needs. Still Śrī Guru-pāda-padma will go house-to-house and request all, “Serve God,” but people will not do so. Therefore, to increase the living entities’ desire for service, Śrī Guru and the Vaiṣṇavas will go to everyone and request them to give something in service of God. For example, they may approach a farmer and ask, “Can you give some grains, flowers, and fruits for God?” If the farmer does, they will offer whatever he gives, first to God and then to the devotees.
In this way, the farmer gets some sukṛti, or pious merit. The farmer had no taste for service, for coming to the temple, or for associating with the Vaiṣṇava. He has no sukṛti, and without sukṛti it is impossible to come to God. Therefore, Śrī Guru goes everywhere and, in one way or another, gives sukṛti to all. By this, people’s inclinations to serve God gradually awakens.
Once there was a sadhu who went to a house and requested a donation, “Bhikṣām dehī.” A lady came to the door and shouted, “Hey! Get out! Don’t come here anymore. You are young and strong. Work as my servant in this house, and I will pay you; otherwise, get out!”
“No, please give me some bhikṣā. I did not come for myself. I came to help you.”
“Me? Nonsense! Get out!”
“No, I won’t leave. Please give something. I will not leave until you do.”
“I will beat you with stones!”
“Give whatever you like.”
She then took some stones and raised her arm to throw them at the sādhu, shouting, “I will kill you. Get out!”
“No problem. You have so much in store, like pride, lust, and anger. Anything you have, give that. I will take it and go.”
“Oh,” she shouted, “now you are taunting me?”
She threw the stones at the sādhu and hit him.
“Very good,” he said, “I will take these and go.”
He picked up the stones and left. The next week he came to the same house again and shouted, “Bhikṣām dehī.”
“You have come again,” the lady shouted.
“Yes. That day you gave me stones; today you will certainly give something more.”
“Oh! You aren’t leaving? You don’t understand me. Now I will teach you a lesson for coming begging again and again at my house.”
“This is God’s house, not yours.”
“God’s house?? I built this with my hard labor, and you say it is God’s house!”
“No, no, you will leave after some days.”
“Don’t give me instruction!”
“Fine, but I won’t leave until you give me something.”
She took a dirty rag from inside her house and flung it at the sādhu. He took it, carefully washed and dried it, then used it to make a lamp with oil and offered it to God’s Deity. With the stones, he cleaned his pots that cooked for God’s Deity.
The third time he came to the house, calling, “Bhikṣām dehī,” the woman had a dog prepared, and she set it on the sādhu. The dog ran, barking and biting at his heels.
She shouted, “This time I won’t give you anything, rather, my dog will take your flesh.”
“No problem, you are very rich,” the sādhu replied. “You have collected so many mundane things. Please give something, anything.”
She thought, “This person is very crazy. He comes again and again to disturb me. How can I get rid of him?”
She took a little wheat flour mixed with sand and some rice full of stones, and gave it to the sādhu. The sādhu went back to his āśrama and thought, “This flour is not fit to offer God or to be eaten by anyone.” He then fed it to many ants on the road. The ants took the flour and left the sand; they had no problem. The rice he put on the ground and many birds came and ate it.
He said, “This is jīva-sevā. At least she will get some sukṛti.”
When he came next, that day the lady was very happy. Her grandson had been born, and she had arranged a big feast. Meeting with the sādhu, she smiled at him and said, “I will give you something so that you will never return. I will give you four laddus.”
“Does your house have no more stones or rags? Okay, give your laddus.”
“This is my last gift to you.”
She went inside and came out after some minutes with four laddus. He took them and saved them in his āśrama for any guests that might come.
That day, many relatives of that lady came to her house to celebrate the birth of her grandson. As her son was returning home from working afar, he became very thirsty near the sādhu’s āśrama. Seeing the sādhu, he asked for some water, which the sādhu happily gave. The sādhu then asked, “Would you also like some sweets?”
The sādhu gave him two laddus, but within moments after eating tem, the man fell down on the ground and began to roll around in agony.
“Where are you from?” the sādhu asked.
In pain, the man somehow gave his address and said, “My son was recently born. I was on my way to see him.”
The sādhu went to the house of the lady who gave the laddus and told her, “Your son came to my āśrama and fell ill. Go bring a doctor.”
The lady rushed for help and brought a doctor to the āśrama. They administered medicine and told the lady, “Your son has been poisoned.”
“Poison?” she exclaimed. “This wretched beggar must have poisoned him to steal his wealth.”
The doctor asked the sādhu, “Did you feed this man anything?”
“Two laddus. This lady gave me four laddus, and I gave him two. I did not know he was her son.”
The doctor checked the remaining two laddus and said, “This lady gave the sādhu poisoned laddus.” But, who were they really for? They came to her own son. Her son was at the point of death. If the sādhu had not immediately arranged for the doctors, he would have been finished. The lady lamented, “I have so much anger. Because of this, I have endangered my own son by trying to poison the sādhu.”
When her son recovered, he told his mother, “How is your nature? How long will you live in this world? Sādhus do not beg for themselves. They come to beg your impurities, cleanse your sinful nature, and bring you to God.”
The jīvas don’t want help. They don’t want to do bhajana. They think, “This is my house, my property, and it is for my enjoyment. I will enjoy everyone and everything.” Sādhus are not like this. They are very kind. They spend every moment of every day helping others, bringing lost souls to God, engaging them in bhakti, bhajana, and sevā.
You should have the same devotion for Śrī Guru as you have for God. By being devoted to Gurudeva, you will develop a sweet relationship with God. Gurudeva is karuṇā-sindhu, an ocean of mercy. He is always ready to help all, independent of what their nature or condition is. Even if someone insults or torments him, he will not keep these bad things with him. If later that insulting person comes back, Gurudeva will again speak sweetly with him and bless him. Śrī Guru has no anger fire. Śrī Guru is so merciful! Even God may sometimes give punishment.
Once, early in the morning, a person came running to Hanumān. Hanumān said, “Why did you come?”
“Prabhu, I am surrendered to you. Please give me shelter.”
“No problem. Stay here. But why are you scared?”
“Your Prabhu, Rāma, is chasing after me with arrow and bow to kill me.”
“He wants to kill you? Therefore you came to me? Okay, no problem.”
Lord Rāma ran up with arrow and bow, and asked Hanumān, “Did any person come to you?”
“Where is he?”
“In this room.”
But how could Rāma go inside the room? Hanumān was standing, blocking the door.
“I will kill him,” Rāma said.
“First kill me,” Hanumān said. “Then You can kill him.”
“That is not possible.”
“Then how will You kill him?”
If you take shelter of Śrī Guru, even if you have millions of faults and anarthas, Śrī Guru will never administer punishment. Even God will be afraid to punish you. You will always be forgiven. Why? Because you are a follower of Gurudeva, you are in Śrī Guru’s shelter. When an ignorant child does something wrong, the father will not become angry, or if he does, he himself will beat and correct the child; but if anyone else comes and beats his child, the father will fight with that person! So if Guru gives shelter, what will God do?
In Hari-bhakti-vilāsa (4.360), it is stated:
harau ruṣṭe gurus trātā gurau ruṣṭe na kaścana
tasmāt sarva-prayatnena gurum eva prasādayet
Even if Lord Hari is displeased, the spiritual master may still award protection; but if the spiritual master is angry, there is no one to give protection. Therefore, one should please Śrī Guru and serve him by all the endeavors of one’s body, mind, and words.
Lord Hari may get angry and think, “This person has so many anarthas. I will punish him,” but Gurudeva will tell the Lord, “No. Will You forgive him or not? If You don’t forgive him, he will suffer, and when Your child is suffering, You will also suffer.” Śrī Guru is therefore the ocean of mercy.
Take the example of Nalakuvera and Maṇigrīva. They performed so many sinful activities, but Nārada Ṛṣi did not punish them. Rather, without any cost or condition, he sent them directly to Vraja-maṇḍala! If he had not done so, they would have had to suffer more, life after life. After coming to Vraja-maṇḍala, receiving the darśana of the Vrajavāsīs and drinking their caraṇāmṛta, Nalakuvera and Maṇigrīva went to the eternal abode, Goloka Vṛndāvana, and there they became Snigdhakānta and Madhukānta. Every day, from six to nine in the morning, the Vrajavāsīs gather to hear their classes. Kṛṣṇa Himself hears their classes. They became divine masters, like gurus! This is the special mercy and power of Śrī Guru. Guru turns everyone into gurus, not into disciples. He distributes his own love to his followers, not waiting for anything in return.
He has nothing to take, only to give. If you don’t have a bona fide guru, everything is useless. Nothing will ever happen. You will never be forgiven.
Adhama janāra bandhu. Śrī Guru is the giver of eternal happiness, for he gives the bliss of service to God. Without Śrī Guru’s mercy, nothing can happen. He is an ocean of mercy for all the jīvas, and anyone who cries out: “Ha Gurudeva! Please save me! Please accept me!” will have no more trouble in life.
Lokanātha lokera jīvana. Here, Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura remembers the holy name of his dīkṣā-guru, Śrī Lokanātha dāsa Gosvāmī, who is an associate of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. The name ‘Lokanātha’ can actually indicate two personalities. It is a name of Supreme Lord, meaning ‘He who is the master of all,’ and it is also a name for someone who is very near and dear to that Lord and distributes His love and mercy By Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura praying lokanātha lokera jīvana, he is indicating how his Guru Mahārāja is both dear to the Supreme Lord and also dear to the jīvas of this world.
Suta Gosvāmī prays in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.2.2):
yaṁ pravrajantam anupetam apeta-kṛtyaṁ
dvaipāyano viraha-kātara ājuhāva
putreti tan-mayatayā taravo ‘bhinedus
taṁ sarva-bhūta-hṛdayaṁ munim ānato ‘smi
“My guru, Śrīla Śukadeva Gosvāmī, is very intimately related to all the living entities, being situated within their heart.” Why has Suta Gosvāmī spoken like this? He knows that God is within everyone’s heart and that Śukadeva Gosvāmī, who is kṛṣṇa-priyā, or very near and dear to Kṛṣṇa, is never separated or distant from Kṛṣṇa. Thus Śrī Guru, just like Paramātmā, is situated within the heart of all the living entities. So here, Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura is glorifying his divine master in a similar way: “My Gurudeva is Lokanātha, the dear care taker of all the people. He is a close friend of all the jīvas who are suffering in this world, and he is never separated from Kiśora and Kiśorīji, Rādhā-Vinoda, not even for one second.”
Lokera jīvana. Why is he the life of all the people? All the conditioned souls have forgotten about their true benefit and happiness, which is service to God, and thus they have placed themselves a great distance away from God. As a result, they are always afflicted with suffering. By this constant suffering, the soul becomes covered, almost as if lifeless. In this state of ignorance, the baddha-jīvas think that they are aware and full of life, but in actuality they are like dead. Gurudeva, Lokanātha affectionately retrieves these lost souls and brings them back to the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa. He nourishes these weak jīvas with soul food and bestows a new birth, a new home, and a new family upon them. He gives true life, which is full of happiness and nourishment, and which will not end. Without this new life, the weakened soul would remain half dead and continue to lifelessly wander in the cycle of birth, death, and suffering. Therefore, Gurudeva is lokera-jīvana the life of all jīvas, or he who gives true life to conditioned souls.
[CC-by-NDNC Bhakta Bandhav]