July 6, 2010
Harernāmānanda dāsa: Śrīla Gurudeva, sometimes devotees wonder what is the meaning and significance of wearing Vaiṣṇava dress, because it is a five-hundred-year-old tradition.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: If a person wearing red (saffron) cloth commits any sin, he will easily be caught. It is for this reason that our ācāryas have given red cloth. Many kinds of persons can dress in white, but if one engages in nonsense while wearing this red cloth, at once he will be caught.
Geru raṅga (saffron color) contains something mysterious. It gives something to the body that makes the wearer better able to resist kāma (lust); that is why it has been given. But nowadays geru is not real geru; we use artificial color.
Harernāmānanda dāsa: Some devotees think that it is not necessary to wear kurtā, dhotī, or sārī. They say that it is acceptable to walk around in ordinary non-devotee clothing.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: No. They are wrong. All of our ācāryas were very, very careful. Rāmānuja, Madhva, and Viṣṇusvāmī have all taken daṇḍa and this cloth. They discovered that this geru raṅga helps in so many ways.
Śrīpāda Mādhava Mahārāja: Some think that for gṛhastha Vaiṣṇavas, with wife and children, there is no need for dhotī, kurtā, and sārī, and that they can wear things like half-pants [shorts].
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Illegal.
Harernāmānanda dāsa: Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja used to say that when we are wearing devotee clothes, everyone can see that we are for spiritual life, just like a policeman is known by his uniform. Everyone knows what his business is.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: This evening we will speak about Kṛṣṇa’s killing of Dhenukāsura, Kṛṣṇa’s destroying Indra’s pride, Kṛṣṇa’s chastisement of Kāliya, and perhaps Kṛṣṇa’s meeting the Yajña-patnīs. [To a sannyāsī] You, especially, can prepare to speak about Dhenukāsura.
Śrīpāda Āśrama Mahārāja: Śrīla Gurudeva, it is stated [in Padma Purāṇa], sampradāya-vihīnā ye mantrās te nisphalā matāḥ. [“A mantra received from an unauthentic source will not give any fruit.”] The mantra is meant for one to achieve the goal of bhāva, and ultimately prema. If a kaniṣṭha-adhikārī gives this mantra to a disciple, is there any effect?
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: A kaniṣṭha-adhikārī should not do so. He should take that person to a high-class Vaiṣṇava to be initiated.
Śrīpāda Āśrama Mahārāja: So, in a case where a kaniṣṭha-adhikārī gives the mantra to a disciple, is there no effect?
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: If he does this, what is there to say? Many kaniṣṭhas are doing this.
Śrīpāda Āśrama Mahārāja: Somebody may say that because in some societies there are no high-class Vaiṣṇavas, there is a need for kaniṣṭhas to give initiation.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: In fact, even those who haven’t reached the level of kaniṣṭha-adhikārī – those with no adhikāra at all – are giving ‘initiation.’
Śrīpāda Śuddhādvaitī Mahārāja: So, the fruit is not bhakti?
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Millions of persons are doing this. Those with nothing, not even the qualification of kaniṣṭha, are doing this, and nothing can be done about it.
Śrīpāda Śuddhādvaitī Mahārāja: But will the fruit of this initiation be bhakti, or sukṛti only? The disciples will not get bhakti – is this correct?
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: The result will be nothing.
Śrīpāda Śrīdhara Mahārāja: Śrīla Madhvācārya has not written any commentary to Brahma-vimohana-līlā.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Brahmā was Śrī Madhvācārya’s guru, so Madhvācārya considered, “My gurudeva can have no fault.” It is for this reason that he has not written a commentary to this pastime.
Śrīpāda Śrīdhara Mahārāja: Lord Brahmā is our guru also, so how are we to understand this ‘fault’ of his?
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Mahāprabhu was very liberal. He did not see this from only one angle.
Śrīpāda Mādhava Mahārāja: It was through Brahmā that Kṛṣṇa performed so many pastimes. Kṛṣṇa was able to fulfil the vrajagopīs’ desires, the mothers’ desires, and the cows’ desires.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: So many of Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes manifested from this one incident, so why should Śrīla Śrīdhara Svāmī refrain from commenting on it? Why should Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī or Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī leave this out?
Śrīpāda Mādhava Mahārāja: Or Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: They did not avoid writing commentaries on this pastime.
Śrīpāda Śrīdhara Mahārāja: Brahmājī is our ādi-guru (first, original guru). He is a great Vaiṣṇava. Being a great Vaiṣṇava, why could he not see the original cowherd boys and calves?
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: He was influenced by some māyā. He was born from a lotus flower, so some defect must be there. That was the defect. The influence of Kṛṣṇa’s māyā was so much greater than the power of Brahmā.
Baladeva thought, “Why are all these things going on?” He told Kṛṣṇa, “O Prabhu, without Your mercy, no one can understand Your pastimes. Even I cannot understand; what to speak of Brahmā and others?
Śrīpāda Nemi Mahārāja: Are the gopīs with whom Kṛṣṇa dances married to the same cowherd boys with whom He plays in the daytime?
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: [To Brajanāth dāsa] What did he say?
Brajanāth dāsa: At the time of Brahma-vimohana-līlā, all the gopīs married the gopas. Then, after the līlā was over, did they remain married to those gopas?
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Yes. They married only one time, not two. After that one time, they simply thought, “This is my husband.”
Śrīpāda Śuddhādvaitī Mahārāja: Gurudeva, in the Upadeṣāmṛta of Śrīla A. C. Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja, at the end of Purport Five, he says not to take a guru if he is not uttama-adhikārī. He also says, “Don’t become guru if you are not uttama-adhikārī.” Then he says that both the kaniṣṭha-adhikārī and madhyama-adhikārī may also take disciples, but that such disciples cannot make much progress due to insufficient guidance. The question is this: Below which level would you say that one should not venture to take disciples?
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: It is not written anywhere. But I think that, at the least, one requires the qualification of a madhyama-madhyama devotee in order to give initiation.
Śrīpāda Śuddhādvaitī Mahārāja: Does his giving of the dīkṣā-mantra have the power to give divya-jñāna (transcendental knowledge)?
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: It is not as powerful as if Nārada would give it. If Nārada gives initiation, at once, in a second, divya-jñāna will manifest. But we are not like him.
Śrīpāda Nemi Mahārāja: What are the symptoms of a madhyama-madhyama-adhikārī, Śrīla Gurudeva?
Śrīpāda Mādhava Mahārāja: He is asking: what is the qualification of a madhyama-madhyama? Is it ruci, or āsakti, or niṣṭhā, or what?
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: [He must have come] up to āsakti. And, if bhāva comes…
Śrīpāda Śuddhādvaitī Mahārāja: The definition of divya-jñāna is that the guru is putting the form of Bhagavān in the heart by the mantra, like a seed. From that seed manifests bhagavatā sambandha viseṣa jñānaṁ ca (Bhakti-sandarbha, Anuccheda 283), meaning specific realized knowledge of one’s relationship with Bhagavān. At which level can guru know this?
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: If I know, and you know, why will that madhyama-madhyama not know? However, realization of that knowledge will come at bhāva. Without bhāva, or rati, realization will not come; but even at that level the realization will be as though ‘covered with glass.’
Śrīpāda Āśrama Mahārāja: So, does ‘up to āsakti’ mean ruci? Is ruci not madhyama-madhyama? ‘Up to āsakti’ begins from where?
Śrīpāda Śuddhādvaitī Mahārāja: Ruci.
Śrīpāda Āśrama Mahārāja: [To Śrīpāda Śuddhādvaitī Mahārāja] He didn’t say ruci with his mouth. You said ruci.
Śrīpāda Śuddhādvaitī Mahārāja: [To Śrīpāda Āśrama Mahārāja] But it is understood in all śāstra.
Brajanāth dāsa: Gurudeva said, “Āsakti.”
Śrīpāda Śrīdhara Mahārāja: If we look closely, we see that so many gurus take disciples although those gurus’ anarthas have not gone. They have not passed anartha-nṛvrtti, yet they are taking disciples. How can they do this?
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Nowadays there is no consideration of qualification at all – nothing. All are allowed to give, especially unqualified persons.
Śrīpāda Āśrama Mahārāja: Śrīla Gurudeva, you said, “up to āsakti.” Do you mean niṣṭhā-ruci madhyama-madhyama, or only ruci-āsakti madhyama-madhyama?
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Ki sab? [Bengali phrase, meaning, “What is it that you continue to ask again and again?”]
Śrīpāda Āśrama Mahārāja: If one is not madhyama-madhyama and he gives dīkṣā, what reaction will he receive?
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Good result (gati); there is no harm in this. Kṛṣṇa will do what is needful.
Śrīpāda Āśrama Mahārāja: No, I am not referring to the madhyama-madhyama. I am asking about one who is less than that.
Brajanāth dāsa: What is the result of an unqualified guru giving dīkṣā?
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: He should be qualified.
Śrīpāda Āśrama Mahārāja: But what if he is unqualified? Then?
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: What will be the result? You know.
Śrīpāda Śuddhādvaitī Mahārāja: So madhyama-madhyama begins at ruci; yes?
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Do you know the meaning of māna (honor) and sammāna (honor, or respect)? The desire for these things will grow. That unqualified person will thus think, “I am the only guru,” and then he will fall down.
[Excerpted from the Gaudiya Vedanta Publication “Walking With a Saint 2010”]