June 14, 2010
Śrīpāda Āśrama Mahārāja: In Bhagavad-gītā (9.30), Kṛṣṇa says:
api cet su-durācāro
bhajate mām ananya-bhāk
sādhur eva sa mantavyaḥ
samyag vyavasito hi saḥ
[Even if a man of abominable character engages in ananya-bhajana, exclusive devotion to Me, he is still to be considered a sādhu, because his intelligence is firmly fixed in bhakti to Me.]
If we see that a devotee has a fall-down, we cannot say what is in his heart or whether the fall-down was accidental or premeditated. But if guru gives an order to that devotee for rectification and the devotee repeatedly fails to follow the order, can we still apply api cet su-durācāro, sādhur eva sa mantavyaḥ to that devotee?
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: No, he is not in that category of sādhu.
Brajanāth dāsa: This is Amogha-līlā Prabhu, a disciple of Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja. He knows Hindi and Sanskrit.
Amogha-līlā dāsa: I want to start a gurukula. My idea is that this school will attract people from other faiths as well as Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas. I want to make it an interfaith gurukula in which the students from other religions are invited to come and attend. They would study their scriptures and do their own religious worship in their place. Is this a good idea?
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Good.
Sthāyī-bhāva dāsa: Śrīla Gurudeva, this is my nephew Rohan. His sister is your disciple Nandini.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: What would he like?
Sthāyī-bhāva dāsa: He wants your blessings.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Maṅgalam bhavatū.
Cirañjīva dāsa: Gurudeva, what is the proper mood for hearing hari-kathā?
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Śraddhā, or firm faith. If you have śraddhā, you will be able to properly hear, and you will receive the association of qualified speakers from whom to hear.
Śrīpāda Āśrama Mahārāja: If a devotee has some fall-down and his guru is giving him some instructions for rectification, but the devotee is not following those instructions, and yet he is continuing to give hari-kathā, is that hari-kathā effective for the listener?
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: The result of such hari-kathā will be zero, and also problems will come.
Śrīpāda Āśrama Mahārāja: But one may consider that so much information is being given in that hari-kathā. Is it a fact that for one who hears that hari-kathā, an unfavorable effect will come in the heart?
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Abhimāna (false ego, a bodily concept of life) will be transferred to the listener.
Jñāna-śakti dāsa: Śrīla Gurudeva, I have a question about the origin of Daśa-mūla. We understand that the Vaiṣṇavas depicted in Jaiva-dharma are factual, not fictional, because Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura wrote Jaiva-dharma from his samādhi trance. My question is that did Daśa-mūla originate with Raghunātha dāsa Bābājī [the guru who is speaking Daśa-mūla in Jaiva-dharma], or with Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura?
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura wrote down what he realized in his heart.
Devotee: When we see the world and we live around the negativity of the world, how do we not get desensitized by the evil and the mistakes of us human beings on this planet?
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: For a qualified person, nothing in this world is negative and no one is an enemy. Someone will see that something is very good, and others may see the same thing in other ways. One’s vision depends on his qualification in bhakti.
Śrīpāda Sajjana Mahārāja: Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja says that the environment is always favorable.
Haridāsa dāsa (from Canada): We are always asking you questions, Śrīla Gurudeva. Do you have any questions for me about our school [in Navadvīpa]?
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: No, no questions. Those who have the qualification (adhikāra) for participating in the school will do so – not all. Those who have the inclination for that will do so.
Devotee: Śrīla Gurudeva, it’s my birthday today.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: [Placing flowers on the devotee’s head] Maṅgalam bhavatū (may your life be auspicious), kalyānaṁ bhavatū (may your well-being be established), kṛṣṇa-bhakti bhavatū – may kṛṣṇa-bhakti come in your heart.
[To Nanda-gopāla dāsa] Where are your horses?
Nanda-gopāla dāsa: In Fresno.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Who is there looking after them?
Nanda-gopāla dāsa: A lady there is looking after them.
Haladhara dāsa (from Alachua): Jaya Śrīla Gurudeva.
When Uddhava was sent by Kṛṣṇa to Vṛndāvana, he found the residents of Vṛndāvana in dire separation from Kṛṣṇa. Was Kṛṣṇa also simultaneously meeting with the gopīs and Nanda Mahārāja and Mother Yaśodā in pastimes that Uddhava was not aware of?
Śrīpāda Mādhava Mahārāja: He is saying that Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes were going on in so many universes where Kṛṣṇa was meeting with the Vrajavāsīs. He is asking whether or not Uddhava knew this fact.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: If we know, how will Uddhava not know?
Haladhara dāsa: Would Uddhava not be covered by Yogamāyā?
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Uddhava knows that Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Lord. He is an aiśvarya-bhakta, not a mādhurya-bhakta, so he knows.
Kiśorī-mohana dāsa: Gurudeva, in the abhidheya-tattva chapter of Jaiva-dharma, Raghunātha dāsa Bābājī explains that after receiving dīkṣā from śrī guru, the disciple should inquire about śuddha-bhakti (pure devotional service) and arcana (Deity worship). My question is that why has arcana been mentioned separately from śuddha-bhakti, as if given separate significance?
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: [To Śrīpāda Padmanābha Mahārāja] You should answer.
Śrīpāda Padmanābha Mahārāja: Śuddha-bhakti has nine limbs: śravaṇam, kīrtanam, viṣṇu-smaraṇam, pāda-sevanam, arcanam, vandanam, dāsyam, sakhyam, and ātma-nivedanam. In the practice of bhakti, all the nine limbs, including arcana, are practiced. These limbs may also be practiced in bhakti which is not pure, but here it refers to entering the path of śuddha-bhakti, uttama-bhakti.
In the performance of those nine limbs, the process of arcana is there. Not only that, but in the five most important of the sixty-four limbs of bhakti, the arcana process is there – worshiping the form of the Lord. So arcana is there as one of the five most powerful processes of bhakti-yoga.
Kiśorī-mohana dāsa: But why is it mentioned separately?
Śrīpāda Mādhava Mahārāja: Arcana is emphasized for beginners, in order for them to know some discipline; it requires a regulated life. You have to wake up before maṅgala-āratī, take your bath, and do your āhnika (utterance of the gāyatrī mantras). You cannot think, “Oh, maṅgala-āratī is going on, but I will keep sleeping.”
When we joined the maṭha, arcana was the first thing Gurudeva taught us, and then cooking and all other Vaiṣṇava services. First we have to do arcana, which includes performing all our prescribed devotional activities at the proper time.
Kiśorī-mohana dāsa: Thank you.
Devotee (from Mumbai): Gurudeva, in the third canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Lord Kapila is explaining about the catur-vyūha (quadruple) expansions of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, namely Aniruddha, Pradyumna, Saṅkarṣaṇa, and Vāsudeva. In the purports, Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Prabhupāda explains that Aniruddha is in charge of the mind, Pradyumna of the intelligence, and Saṅkarṣaṇa of the false ego [and Vāsudeva of consciousness]. He wrote that if one worships Aniruddha one’s mind is purified, by worshiping Pradyumna one’s intelligence is purified, by worshiping Saṅkarṣaṇa one’s false ego is purified, [and by worshiping Vāsudeva one’s consciousness becomes purified], and thus one can become Kṛṣṇa conscious.
So my question is, how does one worship Aniruddha, Pradyumna, Saṅkarṣaṇa, and Vāsudeva? Is this worship required for us?
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Some worship is needed for that quality of bhakta; and for those who are more qualified, there is no need.
Śrīpāda Āśrama Mahārāja: Is this because all incarnations are included within Kṛṣṇa, who is Svayam Bhagavān?
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Yes.
Where are you from?
Devotee: I come from Mumbai and I am living in Florida.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Whose disciple are you?
Devotee: I am a disciple of Śrīpāda Bhakti Svarūpa Dāmodara Gosvāmī Mahārāja.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Oh, good.
Devotee: Śrīla Gurudeva, if you are the successor of Śrīla A. C. Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Prabhupāda, why did you write your own version of Bhagavad-gītā?
Brajanāth dāsa: It is not his own version. It is the commentary of another ācārya. Different ācāryas have commented on Bhagavad-gītā. One ācārya is Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura, and another is Śrīla Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa.
Śrīpāda Mādhava Mahārāja: Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja translated the commentary of Śrīla Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa Prabhu, and Śrīla Gurudeva translated the commentary of Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura, who is the guru of Śrīla Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa Prabhu.
Devotee: So we should read both?
Śrīpāda Mādhava Mahārāja and others: Yes.
Vṛndāvana dāsa: What is the importance of brāhmaṇa-dīkṣā?
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Without dīkṣā, one will not achieve divya-jñāna (transcendental knowledge). He will not be able to properly understand kṛṣṇa-tattva (the established truths about Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s identity as the Supreme Being), jīva-tattva (the established truths regarding the unlimited living entities), māyā-tattva (the established truths regarding Kṛṣṇa’s deluding material potency), prema-tattva (the truths regarding pure love of God), or rādhā-tattva (the truths regarding Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s supreme potency and dearmost beloved), and his anarthas will not go away. So, this brāhmaṇa-dīkṣā is essential.
Devotee: Is this transcendental knowledge revealed in the heart, or is it actually heard from the spiritual master?
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: It will come from guru.
Devotee: When we sing saṁsāra-dāvānala-līḍha-loka in the morning, whom do we meditate upon? The dīkṣā-guru (initiating guru), the śikṣā-guru (instructing guru), or the sannyāsa-guru (the guru who initiates the disciple into the renounced order of life)?
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: You meditate on the guru who is most prominent for you. Dīkṣā-guru should be meditated upon, but if śikṣā-guru is more qualified, then he should also be meditated upon.
Śrīpāda Padmanābha Mahārāja: When Śrīla Bhakti Rakṣaka Śrīdhara Mahārāja was asked the same question, he explained that if the disciple’s dīkṣā- and śikṣā-gurus are both elevated souls, he will consider the guru from whom he perceives he has received the most spiritual benefit to be his most prominent guru.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Okay.
Tribhaṅga dāsa: Gurudeva, how can I know what is best for my bhakti without having to consult you at every step?
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: You should have full faith in gurudeva. If one has no faith, he will not realize anything, and if one has full faith in gurudeva, everything will be revealed.
Śrīpāda Mādhava Mahārāja: Gurudeva, two years ago you said that loyalty is the key to success. If one is loyal to the words and instructions of Gurudeva, then he will automatically know how to proceed.
Brajanāth dāsa: Also, Śrīla Gurudeva said that if the disciple has any question and he meditates on Gurudeva, then Gurudeva will manifest the answer if that disciple is sincere.
[Excerpted from the Gaudiya Vedanta Publication “Walking With a Saint 2010”]