So, by the grace of Gurudeva; only by the grace of Gurudeva, can ignorance be dispelled. Keep this truth of Gurudeva’s grace firmly fixed in your mind as told in this kīrtana by Śrīla Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura. ‘Guru-mukha-padma-vākya, cittete koriyā aikya,’ you should know that the teachings that come from the lotus mouth of Gurudeva should always be kept in your heart. By only giving due consideration to the words of Gurudeva, will we cross māyā. By properly practicing bhakti, śraddhā will come first, followed by niṣṭhā, ruci, āsakti, bhāva, and prema. If prema has not blossomed in your heart, avidyā will not be removed completely. And it maybe that you will return to your old ways again. We have seen many devotees who started practicing the limbs of devotion like chanting and remembering. They served Svāmījī for many years like twenty or twenty-five years. But, why did they fall down? They fell because of the existence of ignorance. When Prabhupāda left this material world and went to serve his spiritual master in Goloka Vṛndāvana, his disciples were unable to obtain the association of a good, bona fide Vaiṣṇava. They were unable to listen to realized souls.
They were chanting and performing many other services; but without any taste. If they had continued to serve their spiritual master and were fixed in the determination that, “My holy master is always present and he is giving instructions, power, and energy in our hearts,” then they may have developed their Kṛṣṇa consciousness and achieved taste for chanting harināma. But, this did not happen. After Svāmījī’s departure, most devotees never had the chance of being in the association of very realized souls. When prema will manifest in the heart, māyā will be conquered and avidyā will be totally destroyed. Thus, we will be qualified to first enter Kṛṣṇa’s prakaṭa-līlā, manifest pastimes. Afterwards, we will enter Goloka-Vṛndāvana and serve Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa eternally.
Some say, “You should be qualified to first attain prema and then avidyā will go,” while some say the opposite. They say, “First be qualified, grow up and become of firm faith. Then taste will come, and when avidyā will be removed totally; we will have prema-bhakti enter our hearts.” But, this understanding is not correct. It is correct to some extent, but it is not totally correct. It has not been written in any of the scriptures that the devotee should first become qualified by having all his ignorance removed and then prema-bhakti will enter his heart. When we chant, māyā will go, otherwise her influence will not go. As much as our hearts is permeated with bhakti, to that extent, anarthas and avidyā will be removed. The understanding that states, “First anarthas, offenses, and avidyā will go and then bhakti will come,” is not factual. This effect has not been seen anywhere.
We should have unflinching faith in our guru-vākya, the words of our spiritual master. You should of the fixed determination that by the service of Gurudeva and by listening to his mukha-padma-vākya (the hari-kathā that emanates from his lotus mouth), we will surely have prema-bhakti.
Radlett 18 May 1996
[CC-by-NDNC Bhakta Bandhav]