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sri sri guru gauranga jayatah!

Rays of The Harmonist On-Line Edition

Year-3, Issue 9
Posted: 28 September 2010

Dedicated to
nitya-lila pravista om visnupada

Sri Srimad Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja

Inspired by and under the guidance of

Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja

The Disposition of a Suddha-bhakta

by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada

(Portrait of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada)

Question 1: Is direct service to srila gurudeva and direct association with him particularly essential?

Answer: Definitely. It is essential to have direct communion with sri gurudeva. Those who do not wish to directly serve and associate with sri guru are bound to become beguiled. Direct communion with guru is the first step on the path of divine service. Guru is to be served in every entity. If guru is not served, no one can be truly served. I must not hear anything until I am authorized to hear it by my divine master, sri gurudeva.

Question 2: Is it our identity that we are servants of the topmost rupanuga (follower of Srila Rupa Gosvami), sri gurudeva?

Answer: Yes. Those devotees of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu who have taken shelter of madhura-rasa (the mood of transcendental amour) proudly maintain the self-conception that they are the servants of the followers of Srila Rupa Gosvami. That is, they proudly identify as the servants of the topmost rupanuga, srila gurudeva.

Question 3: What is the greatest kindness?

Answer: “May your mind become absorbed in Sri Krsna.” This type of blessing, or well-wishing, is the only beneficence upon the world. Causing the consciousness of the living beings to become fully absorbed in Sri Krsna is truly the greatest kindness. And to bestow krsna-bhakti upon all souls is undoubtedly the topmost form of altruism. A devotee’s mind is perpetually busy, solely to engender such benevolence.

To know about the Supreme Lord is the topmost knowledge. The scriptures say, “vidya bhagavatavadhi – to know God is the apex of wisdom.”

prabhu kahe, “kon vidya vidya-madhye sara?”
raya kahe, “krsna-bhakti vina vidya nahi ara”

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Madya-lila 8.245)

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu asked, “Which form of knowledge and learning, amidst all knowledge, is the essence?” Sri Ramananda Raya replied, “Apart from krsna-bhakti, there is no knowledge.”

The Godless education that is being offered and assimilated nowadays does not yield any well-being for the residents of this world. On the contrary, it has produced, is now producing, and will continue to produce heavy burdens for them, and nothing else. Truly, the human race will only achieve its greatest welfare through the proliferation of Sri Caitanyadeva’s compassion.

Question 4: Whose fate is bright and favourable?

Answer: The fate, or fortune, of humans is of two types. The fate of one type of person is bleak while the fate of the other is bright. Only those whose fate is favourable and bright endeavour to engage in hari-bhajana, and they alone achieve hari-bhakti in this very lifetime. They do not have to wait for a future birth.

By taking exclusive shelter at the lotus feet of Sri Caitanyadeva, we will attain full spiritual welfare in this very lifetime. But even after taking to the path of eternal welfare, the living entity can fall down again as a result of bad association. Therefore, at every moment we must remain aloof from our covetousness of wealth, women and fame. By repeatedly hearing sermons on hari-bhakti, all forms of unfavourable thought will recede.

Question 5: Who is the most benevolent person?

Answer: The message of Sri Caitanyadeva is so true, so great, so wonderful and so magnanimous that no other subject matter can ever come close to comparing to it. Only the faithful servants of the message of Sri Caitanya, they who have denounced dharma, artha, kama and moksa (worldly righteousness, mundane prosperity, sense gratification and emancipation from suffering) are truly benevolent. Just one time, it is essential for us to reflect with an unbiased mind upon the vast intelligence, thoughtfulness and benevolence of the devotees of Gaura. “I will command others;” “let all others serve me.” May the compassion of Sri Caitanya-candra deliver me from these malevolent thoughts.

Question 6: Who should one give charity to?

Answer: If you want to offer your assistance to someone, or if you want to make donations, then, with a sense of duty, you should offer them exclusively to sri guru and the Vaisnavas. All credit is due to God-loving people alone. We should only place our faith in and serve those who are engaged in bhajana of the Supreme Lord twenty-four hours a day. We should never place our faith in those who do not engage in serving Sri Bhagavan, but rather busy themselves accepting service from others. It is improper to offer such people anything.

Question 7: What is the disposition of a suddha-bhakta (pure devotee)?

Answer: A pure devotee’s disposition is that he does not regard anything as being meant for his own enjoyment. Rather he sees that all objects in existence are meant for serving Sri Bhagavan. All living and non-living things exist only to serve Sri Krsna. Therefore, all our activities should tend toward His unalloyed service. “Hrsikena hrsikesa-sevanam bhaktir ucyate – serving the Supreme Master of the senses through all of one’s senses is called bhakti.” All our services must target Him only. It is necessary that through all of our senses we render service to Lord Hrsikesa – the Supreme Master of the senses. All are servitors of Krsna. Therefore, we shall not deprive them of their service. Let all of them offer their service to Krsna. Our only prayer should be that He may accept our service.

Selfishly utilizing bricks to build my own home is inappropriate, but if I utilize those same bricks to construct a temple for Sri Bhagavan, I will be greatly benefited. Inert objects are perfectly utilized only when they are engaged in serving the Supreme Lord. When they are employed by the living entities to procure sense gratification, then they have certainly been misused. Our senses should be directed to His service. All objects are essentially properties of Godhead. They are never meant for the enjoyment of conditioned people. It is wrong and misguided to think that these things are created for us. Nothing is for our sensuous enjoyment. Everything should be properly adjusted for the service of Godhead.

The existence of every inert object in this world only becomes meaningful when it is engaged in serving Sri Hari. For example, consider these bamboo canes. If they are used to prepare a pavilion for listening to harikatha, then they have actually been utilized properly. We must use all objects solely to serve the devotees and temple of Sri Hari. All the actions of a devotee are designed to please Bhagavan and to serve Sri Hari, guru and Vaisnavas. A pure devotee does not do anything for his sensuous enjoyment. A pure devotee never performs any activity for himself or for his bodily relatives, but he performs all sorts of activities exclusively for the Absolute. He is always true to the service of the Supreme Lord.

Question 8: Who can attain krsna-prema?

Answer: Only they who sincerely and subserviently accept the guidance of sri gurudeva, who is non-different from Sri Rupa Gosvami, will receive the mercy of Sri Bhagavan. They alone will be able to attain krsna-prema.

Question 9: Who should be served?

Answer: Sri guru and Bhagavan are beings who exist beyond the purview of the material senses. Those who have attained harmony in adjustment to the Absolute Person see guru as isvara, the controller, and as devata, the divine. Sri guru is the servitor aspect of the personality of Godhead (sevaka-bhagavan) or the embodied vessel of love of Godhead (asraya-vigraha). This is why the guru is simultaneously Bhagavan and bhakta. Even though the guru is Bhagavan, he is also the most beloved of Bhagavan.

guru* purna-sakti, krsna purna-saktimana
dui vastu bheda nai, sastra paramana

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Adi-lila 4.96)

Sri guru is the Lord’s complete energy, and Sri Krsna is the almighty. The verdict reached by assessing the testimonies of sastra is that there is in fact no difference between these two absolute beings.

* The verse ordinarily begins radha purna-sakti.

It is essential that we exclusively serve that God-loving guru (bhagavat-bhakta guru) who is engaged in the service of Bhagavan twenty-four hours a day. And along with our service to sri guru, it is necessary and beneficial for us to serve those Vaisnavas who have guru-nistha – that is, unshakable faith in sri guru and determined steadfastness in serving him. But it will be of no use to serve numerous others on the assumption that they, too, are lovers of God.

Nowadays, due to the influence of Kali, we find many hypocrites and atheists masquerading as bhaktas and Vaisnavas. It is for this reason that I have stated that one should only serve guru and Vaisnavas, for only by serving the pure devotees will one achieve genuine spiritual benefit. However, if a devotee, in the course of time, becomes a non-devotee, then one should not continue to busily accept pains to serve him, because by serving a non-devotee one will only achieve inauspiciousness.

It is imperative that we exclusively serve a bhagavat-bhakta guru and receive guidance from him alone. And upon taking shelter at his lotus feet, one should serve him with deep faith. The essence of all scriptural injunctions is visrambhena guroh seva. Visrambhena means ‘with deep faith and intimacy’. By rendering service to sri guru and the Vaisnavas with deep faith and profound affection, one will certainly achieve eternal welfare, and Krsna will surely become pleased. The guru should never be considered a mortal human being. Since he is in fact flawless, one should not try to perceive any fault in him.

Time is fleeting and good fortune does not last forever. Therefore, as long as time remains in a person’s life, it is necessary for him to utilize the opportunity and facility to engage in hari-bhajana in the association of genuine devotees.

Translated by the Rays of The Harmonist team
from Srila Prabhupadera Upadesamrta
Questions re-numbered for this on-line presentation

Srila Prabhupadera Upadesamrta is a compilation of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada’s instructions in question-and-answer form.


Special On-line Edition: On the disappearance day of Sri Srimad Bhakti Pranana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja, 22 October 2010
Next Issue – Year 3, Issue 10: “The Emporium of Everything”, 28 October 2010
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