Hari-katha Articles IN THE SPIRITUAL WORLD ARE WE STILL STUDENTS?

IN THE SPIRITUAL WORLD ARE WE STILL STUDENTS?

By the causeless mercy of Guru-pada-padma and the Vaisnavas, we are present in Sri Vrindavan dhama. By hearing about Sri Krsna’s pastimes in His place of His rasa-lila we achieve the power to transcend this world. The Lord is distributing His transcendental rasa for those jivas who are under the influence of maya, so they can perform sadhana-bhakti and enter the spiritual world.

Many people do sadhana in this world, but what do they want? They only want material facilities and the various objects of material enjoyment. However there are those who perform sadhana-bhakti only with the goal of entering the spiritual world. This is the real qualification of exiting this world and entering the spiritual world.

After getting this eligibility to enter the spiritual world what should we do? Children are sent to school, but by attending that school for one day they do not yet obtain the qualification to graduate. We mature gradually and by only going to school we will not attain full maturity. Once we have completed our schooling we still need practical experience.

When students go to school they have to take shelter of the teachers, but even on doing so they still cannot attain all qualifications in one day. Time and study is required. A person is called a student if he is under the Ksatri umbrella of a teacher.

FAKE PANDIT – FAKE GURU

Once a boy went to a King and said, “Oh King, make me into a pandit – a wise and learned person.” The King said; “I will give you all proper arrangements to learn, study and be educated, however it will take some time.” The boy said; “No. Make me into a pandit in one day! You are a King, you should be able to do it with no problem. Oh King, why can’t you do this?” The King thought; “It is not possible like this. What can I do with this brahmana boy? He is very obstinate.”

If someone is a very foolish person or ignorant, they cannot be made into a wise sage overnight. However foolish people are they are very stubborn and will not listen to the advice of anyone. Whatever a foolish person thinks, whatever their understanding is, they consider it to be the greatest. This is the symptom of a fool.

This boy would not accept anything else. The King called his minister and the minister told him; “Ok, I will make him into a pandit in one day.” What did the minister do? He said to the boy; “Shave your head and leave a very big sikha. Put on very big tilaka on your forehead, all the way back to your sikha. Wear a big thick brahmana thread, like a rope, and put a very big turban on your head. Then take a big stick in your hand and we will walk through the different villages of the kingdom. I will go with you and I will announce you everywhere saying; “Oh Panditji Maharaja.” You should then reply, “Oh you are a pandit. Your mother is a pandit, your father is a pandit, your sister is a pandit,” and then speak condescending words to me and yell at me. Then you will become famous as a pandit everywhere and everyone who sees you will call you “Panditji.”

They went into the different villages like this and wherever they went the minister would say; “Oh Panditji.” And the boy would reply with bad words saying; “Oh you are a pandit. Your mother is a pandit, your father is a pandit, your sister is a pandit.” They then went from one village to the next doing the same.

The next day the boy went out alone and saw everyone was calling him “Panditji Maharaja.” He thought, “Oh my life is now successful! Everyone thinks I am a great Pandit!” It is said that this is like a ponga pandit, which means a false guru.

STUDENTS OR STUPID

So now we have become students. It does not mean that in one day we can become teachers. Are we ‘students’ or ‘stupid’? We are like very foolish children, and we should not consider ourselves to be great and wise elders. We have come to this world to be students and to learn how to enter the spiritual world and live there with the associates of God. To enter that world we must first become qualified and matured. Those who are actually wise say; “yogyata vicare kichu nahi pai,” – ‘looking at myself I see no good qualities. Oh Gurudeva without your mercy I cannot attain anything.’

That person who is truly wise knows they know nothing. They think, “Oh I am unqualified, foolish and have no good qualities. Oh Lord, without Your mercy I am nothing.” But those who are very foolish and stubborn will put on big tilaka, wear a big tulasi mala on their neck, shave their head with a big sikha, and then walk around with their head high in the air and their chest sticking out. They will show everyone, “Oh I am such a great sadhu. You should offer me your pranams.”

In truth these people have nothing. It is like they are showing themselves to be a big, big businessman, but they have no money. Such people have no wealth of prema in their heart, so what can they give to anyone?

By our sadhana we can cross beyond this world and enter the spiritual world. That is the real fruit of sadhana. This world is the abode of inert matter. Everything in this world is temporary and nothing is fixed. Everything here is very insignificant compared to the spiritual world which is the ultimate destiny of the soul.

SHELTER OF NITYA SIDDHAS

The soul is cetana – conscious, but we are living in this world of dull matter, and it is not our real home. The real purpose of our sadhana is to go to the spiritual world, which is the real home of the soul. To be a real student of sadhana-bhakti we must get the shelter of the liberated associates of the Lord. When we are under the shelter of these nitya-siddhas, we can achieve real eligibility and proper understanding of how to enter and then serve in the spiritual world. There are many examples in scripture.

By the merciful curse of the Narada Rsi, the two sons of the Demigod Kuvera, Nalakuvera and Manigriva came to Vraja. When Krsna freed them from Narada’s curse of taking the form of trees, they achieved a divine forms and did parikrama of Krsna and offered Him obeisances.

Did Krsna accept them as His sakhas? Or His close friends? No! Krsna told them when Narada Rsi was given liberation, he was instructed to preach the glories of the Lord all over the universe. That was Narada’s seva, or service. Nalakuvera and Manigriva were also given another service.

STILL A STUDENT AFTER LIBERATION

Upon achieving perfection there is also a sadhana, you should understand this. In this world you study like a student, but when you go to the spiritual world it is like graduating from this world to the spiritual world. We may also have a post-graduate course and some service and responsibility there. When Narada Rsi was liberated he received this service, and Nalakuvera and Manigriva also received a service. So even when we enter the spiritual world there is study that is necessary, and we must be under the guidance of higher personalities there. Krsna wanted to help the sadhana-siddhas who had entered the spiritual world to be related and connected with the nitya-siddhas – the eternal associates of Radharani. So He arranged some process to give them more lessons.

When we become liberated there is one kind of enjoyment. Dharma-artha-kāma-mokṣa, moksa is not an ordinary thing. If you become liberated from everything then what is your responsibility, what is the purpose of being freed of bondage? When you get freedom from bondage then people are very happy, “Oh I have no worries, no responsibility, no tension,” but that is also not eternal. The Lord arranged a process to give them His own transcendental rasa by opening the storehouse of His nectar by revealing His own transcendental pastimes in the forests of Vrindavan, nearby the Yamuna River under the banyan trees.

Excerpted from the up and coming Bhakta Bandhav publication, “Rasa Pancadhyayi”

[CC-by-NDNC Bhakta Bandhav]

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GOVARDHANA PARIKRAMA WITH SRILA GURUDEVA

Immersed in the mood of the gopīs, Śrīla Gurudeva then bathed Girirāja and offered him āratī with the tears of his eyes. And then, while the devotees danced and sang the glories of Girirāja, Gurudeva bathed him with yogurt, milk, honey, ghee, sugar, and water. The party then continued on parikramā of Girirāja, passing Ānyora Gāoñ, where Kṛṣṇa brought the Vrajavāsīs to worship Girirāja instead of Indra. Here, upon receiving the thousands of preparations prepared by the residents of Vraja, Girirāja assumed a colossal form and, with four arms, devoured all the offerings. He then called out, ‘Āno re! Āno re! (Bring more! Bring more!)’ Kṛṣṇa satisfied Girirāja by giving him a Tulasī leaf. The village Ānyora Gāoñ is thus named, for it is the place where Girirāja manifested and accepted offerings. After Ānyora Gāoñ, the Parikramā proceeded to Govinda-kuṇḍa, named thus from the time that Indra begged Kṛṣṇa’s forgiveness for his offense, bathed Kṛṣṇa with the milk of Mother Surabhī, and named Him “Govinda.” Govinda-kuṇḍa is famous as the place where Kṛṣṇa, in the guise of the cowherd boys, married all the gopīs during the year when Brahmā kidnapped the boys and calves and kept them hidden in a cave. When observed thousands of wedding ceremonies going on at Govinda-kuṇḍa, She perceived that all the boys marrying gopīs were actually Kṛṣṇa. In a fit of jealousy, She hid in a nearby kuñja. After taking ācamana at Govinda-kuṇḍa and hearing hari-kathā, Kṛṣṇa came to pacify Her and laid His crown at Her feet, from which this place came to be known as Mukut-silā. Further along, on the left side of the parikramā path, comes the beautiful Śauri-kuṇḍa, where, after Kṛṣṇa placated Śrimatī Rādhikā, the Divine Couple bathed. From there, the Parikramā came to Pūñarī. Pūñarī marks the southern border of Govardhana and is thus named because it is like the tail, pūñch, of Girirāja, who is likened to a cow with her neck turned into her stomach. At Pūñarī, the party completes parikramā of Govardhana’s eastern side and begins parikramā of the western side. The pilgrims then proceeded to Navala-kuṇḍa and Apsarā-kuṇḍa, adjacent ponds where Kṛṣṇa and the gopīs bathed and assumed the appearance of gāndharvas of heaven before performing the springtime Rāsa, on the western side of Girirāja. Upon crossing the rāsa-sthalī, the Parikramā took darśana of the cave of Rāghava Paṇḍa and then went to Surabhī-kuṇḍa and Airāvata Kuṇḍa, where mother Surabhī and Indra’s elephant carrier, Airāvata, respectively bathed Śrī Kṛṣṇa with milk and water from the Gaṅgā. The party then came to Jatīpurā, where Śrī Mādhavendra Purī found Śrī Nāthajī. When Madhavendra Purī came to Govardhana, he was offered milk by a cowherd boy and, after drinking it, he had a dream of the same boy, who revealed Himself as the Deity Gopāla. This Deity had been concealed in the depths of the jungle by His priests when there was a threat from invaders. Upon waking, Madhavendra Purī searched for Gopāla with the Vrajavāsīs and, after eventually finding Him, arranged for a mahā-abhiṣeka. He then arranged for the first masse observance of Annakūṭa since the time of Kṛṣṇa. This Annakūṭa was repeated every day for over a month, each time sponsored by different wealthy families from Mathurā and Vraja. Jati means a sannyāsī and Jatīpurā is thus named in reference to Madhavendra Purī.

SRILA GURUDEVA was BHAKTABANDHAV – "Friend to All"

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HOW CAN WE PERFECT OUR BHAJAN AND ENTER OUR ETERNAL FORM – SIDDHA-SVARUPA?

Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī says, “Aho! These senses and family are so attractive. Young age! Wealth! An opulent kingdom! I had everything. This is mahā-andha-kūpa, a deep, dark well. How can I escape from this? This is impossible for me. O Gurudeva! You are so kind. You are an ocean of mercy. He Gurudeva! On one side my nature pulls me, ‘Come, come, there is a nice bed, wife, and all enjoyment! Young age, wealth, everything is available to enjoy.’ On the other side you throw your rope of mercy into this well of family life and pull me up, saying, ‘Hey! Don’t look at this side.’ You sent Haridāsa Ṭhākura, Balarāma Ācārya, Advaita Ācārya, and the Gosvāmīs.”Haridāsa Ṭhākura never went near any king. This is not the nature of sādhus. It is impossible! He would not go to the homes of wealthy men and beg for any wealth. But he went to the home of the aristocrats Hiranya-Govardhana just to see Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī.When I came to Mathurā, Śrīla Gurudeva taught me, “Never go and beg, ‘Oh, give me one paisa, one rupee.’ Only beg for the mercy of Guru and Vaiṣṇavas, the powerful transcendental personalities in Vraja-maṇḍala, and the Gosvāmīs. Pray to them. Don’t be greedy for anything mundane.” In this world, if Guru and Vaiṣṇavas don’t help us, then the illusory energy of the Lord defeats everyone; it smashes us and makes us into halavā and chutney. Then people lick, eat and destroy us, and pass us out like stool. If Guru and Vaiṣṇavas protect us, our backbone will be strong, and our health and wealth will be God’s property, dedicated only for His service.Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī prays, “How is your mercy? Aho! You took me out of this deep well, and offered me at the lotus feet of Caitanya Mahāprabhu and Svarūpa Dāmodara. I could not understand this at that time. You are not cruel to me, but very kind. Caitanya-candra is the independent Lord.But you prayed for my sake; He then accepted me and always took care of me. He offered me to Svarūpa Dāmodara, who then taught me everything; all this is your mercy.”Dāsa Gosvāmī first offered obeisances to guru, then to śiksa-guru, and Caitanya-candra. This is the proper process. He says, “Without water, a fish suffers and will leave its body in a minute. The soul is inside the body and is always suffering without love and affection. After sometime it leaves the body, but you watered me with bhakti-rasa, saving my life, saving my soul. And you took me out of the small well of suffering in family life and brought me to the great ocean of Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s unlimited mercy. And He offered me to Svarūpa Dāmodara. Now there is no shortness of anything. How much water is present in a small well? One day this will be dry and short. But the great ocean of Caitanya-candra’s mercy will never be finished.”Only Guru-pāda-padma who is rāgānugā can give this anurāga to his disciples. He is perfectly able to protect and save them.Ordinary gurus have no spiritual power. After sometime the disciples leave their guru, and guru leaves his disciples, and everyone runs here and there. Why? They have no link, there is no one watering the soul, they have no rasa. Thus they are dry and suffer.Our beloved Śrīla Gurudeva is not like this. He bestows bhakti-rasa and gives us life and nourishment so that we can grow and one day attain our svarūpa-siddhi. He arranges so that we can obtain this rasa. This is the nature of a pure guru. Mundane gurus give initiation, take some donation, fill their pockets, and then run away, not thinking about the progress of their disciples’ souls. Our Guru-varga is not like this. Therefore this line is running on.Babies don’t understand the help and nourishment of their mother’s breast milk. Anything the Guru-varga gives to the conditioned souls is like pure nourishing milk, but the ignorant souls have no knowledge of this great mercy. However, when they meet with śiksa-guru, he can teach and make them qualified; then they can understand guru’s glory.If we don’t hear this Vilāpa-kusumāñjali, then how can we understand guru and bhakti? And those who say, “Don’t read, you have no qualification,” actually think, “Oh! You are hiding and suffering in deep and dark wells, rotting there in the sewer plants of material life. This is good for you.”Is this called spiritual instruction? No. If anyone is not greedy for this, then how has he come to guru? If you have no desire to cross māyā and enter the eternal world, then why have you come to this line? Why have you come here? The Guru-varga strongly teaches us. Therefore this book is present, Dāsa Gosvāmī is present, his advice is present, his philosophy and example is present. By following this, spiritual power will come to you; love, faith, and respect will come. Then you will never lose anything. Then you won’t think, “I have lost my Gurudeva. My Gurudeva has departed.” What is the meaning of departure?Gurudeva is eternal, God is eternal, and relation with them is eternal. How does this question come to you?Is Gurudeva ash or smoke? Is he dust or anything mundane? No. To understand our Gurudeva’s glories we must come near the Gosvāmīs, who will teach us the nature of Gurudeva and how Śrīla Gurudeva is present even now, bestowing his mercy.Saṁsāra-phukāra kāne nā paṣibe: we will then not hear the talks of ordinary people. Gurudeva will protect us. He makes a protected area for his sincere disciples so that mundane people don’t come and torture them with their mundane desires. They will not come and say, “Come, come with me, make relation with me. I will be your lover. You are my friend. Let’s go to the park and the movies.”By drinking this bhakti-rasa, you will have no more desire or thirst for material life and shall follow bhakti very seriously.Pray everyday with this Vilāpa-kusumāñjali. For those who pray, entering eternal life is not hard, but if we don’t follow this line, we will waste millions more lives wandering in māyā. (click on the title to see more)

Bhakti Mixed with Empiric Knowledge

The meaning of the word jñāna in the current verse might be stretched, and thus interpreted in such a way as to suggest that bhakti mixed with these three limbs of jñāna is called jñāna-miśrā-bhakti (devotional service to Śrī Kṛṣṇa with a desire to enjoy the fruits of transcendental knowledge), but that would not be correct...

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