[Hari-katha inspired by the Guru-varga]
One must not think of Sri Guru as any ordinary mortal, nor neglect his instructions. As a disciple one may not be disrespectful to Sri Guru, but still not follow his instructions. It may be that one tries to follow his desire, but still does not think of how he will be pleased. One only acts for his own happiness and satisfaction. His own gain and loss. He makes Guru and Vaishnavas serve him.
Wherever I go, my enjoying tendencies come along with me. I want to enjoy Guru and Bhagavan. I want Guru to provide all arrangements for my enjoyment. Only then will I accept him as sad-guru. I will go to the temple and say, “Make me curd sabji and give me sweets.” Then when such a feast has been pre-arranged for me, when I arrive I say, “Oh, my Gurudeva is very qualified. These Vaishnavas are very nice. They understand how great I am, and they respect me.”
Am I Gurudeva’s servant, or am I making Gurudeva serve me? This attitude is aparadha to Guru and Vaishnavas. This is likened to a child whose faults and mistakes are at first tolerated by his parents while he is small and ignorant. Then when he is grown, he mistreats his parents saying, “You should daily wash my feet and drink the water. Clean my clothes and prepare nice food for me, otherwise I will beat you.” Then the parents’ hearts will find no peace.
Similarly, we come to the temple—to the door of Sri Guru, and engage the Vaishnavas in our own service. We expect them to respect us and give us gifts. We have them clean up after we eat. They do bhiksha, collect ingredients, offer bhoga and then feed us. If they do everything for us, then we declare, “My godbrothers are so good. The Vaishnavas are so good. This asrama is truly great.” Then we invite many other people to come and enjoy with us. We do not understand that all our yasa, our sukriti, and all our auspiciousness is being destroyed.
Rather than performing service, we feel great happiness in accepting service. We do not think we will have to repay this debt of accepting service from others; and when that time comes, we run and hide. This is the nature of worldly people.
Bhajana is not such a simple thing. Those who engage Guru and Vaishnavas in their own service have no chance of performing bhajana. Bhajana means to serve and act for the pleasure of Hari, Guru, and the Vaishnavas. One must consider, “Have I come to enjoy Guru or to serve him?”
If Sri Guru is pleased with you, he will give you everything. Although the wealth of the king is also for the prince, the prince should be qualified to receive it, otherwise he will destroy everything. If the disciple serves Sri Guru with faith and in full surrender, then Sri Guru will give him everything. Sri Guru thinks of the welfare of his disciples and the Vaishnavas think of the welfare of the devotees. Guru and Vaishnavas are not controlled by us, and will not act according to our whims.
The sadhaka and the disciple should never commit the offense of disrespecting Guru. This is called guru-avajna. If the disciple is serving his Guru, and that Guru does not show affection to him, or slanders him, then that is also his mercy. If Guru is hard on his disciple, it is for the disciple’s purification. So many people are wandering like orphans on the street, but Guru does not chastise them. He will chastise those whom he feels are his own. It is out of mamata, possessive affection. Those who have arrogance will not understand or accept this chastisement from Guru.
If we do not bathe in water, then what is the fault of water if we do not become clean? If we don’t wear clothes, the clothes do not bare the fault that we are freezing in the cold of winter.
Sri Guru comes to this world to help all living beings; he has no selfishness. Sometimes, disciples think, “Why is he not showing me affection and mercy? He is so kind to others,” but this just means that our qualification is for chastisement. We should wait for that day when we become qualified for Sri Guru’s affection. But so quickly we become disturbed. We have no patience.
Do not be a Guru bhogi; be a Guru sevaka. If you try to enjoy Guru and try to engage him in your own service then calamity will soon come to you. You will go so far away from Guru and Vaishnavas that it will be extremely difficult to return. Supreme welfare comes to the Guru sevaka, the servant of Sri Guru.
If we sincerely serve, Hari, Guru and Vaishnavas will give us so much mercy. They are very compassionate and never allow any misfortune to befall their dependents.
We should remember the examples of great Guru sevakas. We should meditate on how our previous acaryas served their Gurus and try to follow in their footsteps. Our service must be without selfish motive. If Guru is pleased, how can we be displeased? If we are not happy after our service, it means that we have not properly performed that service.
In the Gita, Bhagavan says, “You have the right to perform work, but no right for enjoying the fruits of your work.” If you think about only receiving the fruits of your actions or your service, then this is not service, it is karma and will lead to calamity.
karmany evadhikaras te
ma phaleshu kadacana
ma karma-phala-hetur bhur
ma te sango ‘stv akarmani
[You have the adhikara to perform karma, but you have no right to the fruits. You should never consider yourself to be the cause of the result of your actions, nor should you become attached to neglecting your duties.]
Do not think about tasting the fruits of your action. Bhagavan knows what He wants to give you and when the appropriate time to give it is. One need only wait patiently for whatever it is Bhagavan desires to give. The farmer does not eat the sprouts of the rice he is growing. He waits for it to grow, mature and dry out. Then he harvests the rice. One should not think to dig up the earth a few days after the seeds are planted saying, “Why haven’t they come up yet?”
Have faith and devotion for Guru. Rid your heart of hypocrisy, then an auspicious result will come of your sadhana and it will be supremely tasteful. Meanwhile, you must have fortitude. You cannot be impatient. Do not disrespect Guru by giving up your service to him. If you do so, you can never be happy in this world. Guru, engaging you in service is his great mercy.
It does not take long to give up your service, but it takes many lives to attain the chance to serve again in that way. Finding a pure Guru is very difficult, but to reject him or disrespect him only takes a moment.
If a person is determined in his service, then Bhagavan and Guru will give him their full mercy. We must have this firm dedication in our service. If we cultivate a field, plant seeds there and give them water, then definitely a crop will come, but we must have patience. We must also protect that crop.
We must serve Sri Guru, and also endeavor to please the Vaishnavas. We must have the help of the Vaishnavas. They can protect our service and faith. We must stay in their shelter. Performing service to Guru is no ordinary matter. Service to Bhagavan is no ordinary thing. Although we may come in contact with Sri Guru’s lotus feet, we sit in our rooms and let day and night pass by uselessly. If we were to truly serve Sri Guru, then millions of lifetimes of our past sins would be mitigated and we would obtain unparalleled auspiciousness. That disciple who is disinclined to serve Sri Guru, and who is lazy and remains in his room in a vegetative state, will never receive an auspicious result. As long as we are present in our bodies, we should endeavor to serve and please Sri Guru. There is never a need to turn away from guru-seva. However much happiness and distress we find, we should grind our bodies like candana and engage in guru-seva. Bhagavan Himself will then walk behind us to make sure we have no trouble. Every step we take, Bhagavan will be protecting us.
Those who take responsibility will be personally looked after by Bhagavan who will take the weight of all our troubles. And those who take no responsibility, who wander uselessly, why should Bhagavan go behind them? If they have no weight of responsibility on their heads, then Bhagavan will allow them to do as they please. They will simply wander aimlessly in this world of suffering.
We think, “I am doing everything,” but we do not realize that Sri Guru and Bhagavan are the power behind all that one does in service. Those who endeavor to serve, soon understand this. Yet we are intoxicated by arrogance.
gauravam suddha rauravam
prathistha sukara vistha
sarvam tyajam hari bhajet
We are poisoned by our own desire for prestige. We think, “I’ve done so much hard labor, but Gurudeva does not even show me affection. Alas! We long for prestige but this is simply sukara-vishtha. It is the stool of hogs.
We should think, “I have received the good fortune of being able to serve Sri Guru and Bhagavan. I am so fortunate. If I was lame, blind or deaf, I would have been unable to serve? I would have been rotting on the side of the street, begging for pennies. How can we be happy if we disrespect Guru and give up his service. If we engage our lives in guru-seva we will have everlasting happiness.
Haridasa Thakura said, one who has the fortune of becoming the disciple of a genuine sad-guru should be very careful with regard to serving him. Sri Guru descends from the spiritual world on the order of Bhagavan to distribute supreme auspiciousness to all living beings. One who takes shelter of such a genuine Guru and sincerely serves him with all his endeavors, will be liberated from this world and will always be in the association of Bhagavan. He will be plunged into the ocean of ultimate bliss.
The disciple of a bona fide Guru will be tested in many ways to see if he is sincere. To find sad-guru is an extremely rare thing. If, having received the great fortune of finding sad-guru, we are neglectful,ungrateful, and desire our own prestige in the place of his pleasure, then we are most unfortunate.
Don’t waste your life. There is no need to take advice or counsel from wicked persons. Only serve Bhagavan and Guru under the guidance of Vaishnavas. If any disturbance or suffering comes to us in the performance of our service, we should know that it is destroying millions of lives of past sins and offenses. We must never leave our service. What is the use of doing so? Our life will pass like millions of other lives have done before.
If we remain engaged in guru-seva our entire life, then even after we leave our bodies the devotees will remember our service. They will think about us with affection. However, one who gives up his service and wanders around will never be remembered. Upon giving up his material body, the servant of Sri Guru will attain a transcendental body.
We should take a great vow that we will never give up service to Sri Guru and to not worry about anything else. Bhagavan and Guru will test us to see if we give them up. Then if we pass the exam, they will show us great love. Even now they have so much love for us, but they want to cleanse us of our material contaminations and help us progress, therefore they must purify us.
Haridasa Thakura then says, “Do not take association of wicked people. They may allure you with sweet words and respect, but this is the arrangement of Kali to lead us onto the path of dissent. People speak so sweetly, but this sweetness does not go further than their teeth.
While the Vaishnavas may speak words that seem bitter to us, they are thinking of our welfare. The Guru-varga are not pretentious. They do not cheat anyone. They do not perform black magic on people to make them their servants. They instruct people to perform devotion of the Lord. Many obstacles may come on the path of bhakti and bhajana, but they tell us not to become dejected and hopeless.
All perfection is in the service of Sri Guru. He is ready to do everything for us, therefore never disrespect him or be ungrateful. Never think of him as a mundane mortal.
Some people go to preach and receive rice, money, and other kinds of donations from people. They develop so much affection for those who give them something, but have no love for Guru. They never pray to him. They never say, “Gurudeva, these people have done some service. Please accept it.” They lose perspective and become mad. If they were to pray in this way, then those who have given something would receive auspiciousness. Otherwise, if they become attached to them, then it will only increase the anarthas of both parties.
Therefore, at all times and in all activities, pray to Sri Guru and Vaishnavas. If you try to show love to anyone independently you will suffer. If you independently try to take responsibility for the lives of others then who will protect you from maya? This is the danger of independence.
Bhagavan knows everything and is very merciful. Whatever you do, whatever suffering you may be experiencing, always pray to Sri Guru and Bhagavan. Sastra has prescribed the service of the spiritual master and the Supreme Lord. One who does this will receive happiness in this life and for all eternity.
[CC-by-NDNC Bhakta Bandhav]