Śukadeva Gosvāmī has spoken directly at times, and indirectly at other times. Only the bona fide devotees who sincerely serve their holy master and rasika-vaiṣṇavas can understand and follow the import of his statements. Or else, they will be unable to understand. And for many lives, they will be in the same class of devotion and their bhakti will turn dry. Consequently, they will give up the line of devotion. Bhakti is like a current, if a dam is made and placed before this current, the current will be checked and stopped. So, our bhakti should always flow like a forceful current and this current should not be stopped by any obstacles.
Svāmījī and our Guru-varga embody this dynamic current of bhakti. This current originated from Kṛṣṇa who passed it down to Brahmā and this current culminates in the presence of our guru. If we want to control this current by many rules and regulations, then the current will be stopped. Bhakti is not bound by any artificial rules and regulations. Bhakti is bound by her own rule and regulation—love and affection. By control, everything will be spoiled. Bhakti is not controlled by any artificial rules and regulations, she is controlled by her own transcendental rules and regulations. If this current of bhakti is unchecked, it will flow and reach the lotus feet of Śrīmatī Rādhikā and Kṛṣṇa. We see in the pastimes of Kṛṣṇa that no one could control the gopīs. People think that the gopīs went in the opposite direction of morality, because they left their husbands, children, and Vedic dharma. They even gave up their shame. But, no rules and regulations could control them. They were determined to meet Kṛṣṇa and although the forest had no path; they found their way through and reached the spot where Kṛṣṇa was present.
So, bhakti should never be controlled. We should only be careful to not let any water of misconceptions adulterate this pure flow of bhakti. There is nothing else there for us to control. We will only need to facilitate this flow of bhakti. What is this water of misconceptions that we should protect our bhakti from? This bad water symbolizes the misconceptions of karma, jñāna, and other false ideologies. These detrimental ideologies should never be entertained by the devotees. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī and Jīva Gosvāmī have done marvelous sevā. They never checked bhakti, but rather, protected her embankments. Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura, Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, Śrīla Prabhupāda Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja, and our Guru-varga are so generous! Before he took sannyāsa, Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja was often residing in Mathurā. There, he would sit with me, and engage in kīrtana with me. We would engage in many services together.
He told me once, “If I go to the Western countries, I will build boarding houses. There, I will accommodate students and I will allow them to do anything, but they should engage themselves in harināma-saṅkīrtana also. If they want to consume eggs, meat, and wine, or anything else; they may do so, but I know surely that by the transcendental effects of harināma, after some days, very soon, after a two or three days, they will forsake these deplorable habits. They will quit these habits by their own accord; there will be no need to order them around or control them. They will join the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement and they will all be very good devotees.”
Svāmījī was so liberal! These are some of the specialties of bona fide ācāryas. You cannot have these transcendental qualities if you try to control everyone. You try to control your divine master also. You tell your Gurudeva, “Oh don’t go there! You should be situated here and do this. You should not associate with those devotees.” These are not the services of a bona fide disciple. A pure devotee has not come to make a sectarian group, he has only come to strengthen the Kṛṣṇa consciousness of the devotees that will enable them to go to Goloka Vṛndāvana. He has only come to help them. He has not come to impose rules and regulations over devotees and to rule over them. It has been written in Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta:
Guru sevaka haye mānya apanara. A devotee should think, “Anyone who serves Gurudeva, even if a dog serves him, I am indebted to it. I will try to serve these servants of my Gurudeva in all respects.”
You have forgotten this Vaiṣṇava etiquette and that is why many problems are coming and you are in a crisis. You should try to follow proper Vaiṣṇava etiquette. If a person chants the names of Caitanya Mahāprabhu, Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, and he has a little bit of śraddhā, faith, to Svāmījī or any Vaiṣṇava; he should be honored so much. If you want to serve Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, Caitanya Mahāprabhu, you must follow this Vaiṣṇava etiquette and if you don’t want to serve Them, you should artificially follow the rules and regulations. By this, you will get money and some devotees to control over. But, you will not develop your divine love for Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. If you want divine love, you should certainly follow what has been written in Caitanya-caritāmṛta. You should follow Rūpa Gosvāmī and our Guru-varga.
You should not think, “I will only follow my Gurudeva. I will only serve him and I will cut the head of all others.”
[CC-by-NDNC Bhakta Bandhav]
15 May 1996 Radlett