A Perspective on Srila Gurudeva’s Present Pastime
By Syamarani dasi
By his recent pastime in this world, Srila Gurudeva is bringing his sincere followers closer and closer to him. Thousands of devotees are spending their whole days wondering, “How is Srila Gurudeva? What service can I do for him? How can I develop my eternal relationship with him? What can I do to strengthen that, so I never have to feel separation from him?” In this way, the devotees are trying to become more fixed in their bhakti. The devotees are understanding with increasing clarity that their time and money belong to Srila Gurudeva, and are making a greater effort to practice what Srila Gurudeva has taught them, by praying with greater intensity than ever before and by applying themselves to their sadhana with heartfelt endeavour. Some are even researching and purchasing various medicines and healthy nutritious items for him. And some have come up with ingenious ways of getting to India. Indeed, devotees are flying in from all over the world to be near him at this time. As our hearts become filled with concern and as the subsequent desire to render service to Srila Gurudeva grows, we are prompted to contemplate the depth and nature of the guru-disciple relationship. Srila Gurudeva’s every act is an act of mercy, to help us develop in our spiritual life. Following this line of thought, it is only logical to conclude that this pastime, also, is meant to increase the relationship that comes with understanding who he really is: an unlimitedly powerful personality, every cell in his body being fully devoted to his Gurudeva and Radha and Krsna, completely free from material infection, and replete with all mystic and spiritual perfections. Therefore, he is not only capable of controlling his own ‘condition,’ but he is able to control God himself by his love. These two considerations are not mutually exclusive. The perfect example of this is Paramagurudeva Srila Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja. He was willing to give his life to protect the life of his Guru Maharaja, Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, and at the same time, he knew his Guru Maharaja as not needing anyone else’s help. Srila Gurudeva told the following story in Parama-gurudeva’s biography, regarding Paramagurudeva’s heroic deed in protecting Srila Prabhupada during Navadvipa-dhama parikrama:
“Srila Prabhupada went on foot in the parikrama…At one point, the parikrama party gathered in front of the temple of Praudha Maya in Kuliya Dvipa and the devotees listened to Srila Prabhupada relating the glories of Sri Navadvipa Dhama. Just then, the so-called brahmanas and caste gosvamis of Kuliya Navadvipa attacked. They hurled bricks, stones, hot water and soda bottles, and their assault caused pandemonium everywhere. The pilgrims were running here and there to protect their lives, and no one cared for anyone else. The violent mob was searching for Srila Prabhupada in order to kill him, but Sri Vinodabihari Brahmacari (Parama-gurudeva) immediately took him to a nearby bhakta’s house for protection. There, Sri Vinodabiharé quickly put on Srila Prabhupada’s sannyasa dress and took his danda, giving his own white clothes to Srila Prabhupada to wear. After that, he sent Srila Prabhupada to Sridhama Mayapura, and the mob did not recognize Prabhupada in his disguise. Meanwhile, the police arrived…The corrupt police suppressed news of this event, but the famous magazine Ananda Bazara published an account of the atrocity…All the Vaiñëavas were amazed at Sri Vinodabihari Brahmacari’s remarkable guru-nistha (his fixed service to his guru), and the incident was discussed everywhere. This is how Sri Vinodabihari reacted fearlessly when some injustice or atrocity threatened Srila Prabhupada or challenged Srila Prabhupada’s views.
PICTURE ABOVE: Srila Gurudeva is at our far left, with the sannyasa danda, Parama-gurudeva is prominently seated in front, and standing on our far right, in the separate frame, is Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada.
At the same time, Parama-gurudeva understood his Guru Maharaja’s true transcendental position. He never abandoned his conclusive philosophical understanding. He never considered his Gurudeva a mere mortal, who feels the fears, pains, and pleasures of this world. Here is an example his understanding, as quoted in his Rays of the Harmonist article (Kartika 2006, Issue 16) called “Remembering Srila Prabhupada.”
“The eternal form of the acarya deva is composed of knowledge and bliss, and remains constitutionally unchangeable – just like a dramatic performer [who appears to go through various transformations during his performance, but remains the same unaltered person].”
For our benefit, he is presenting himself as a conditioned soul:
“Due to my misfortune, I never became qualified to perceive the body of Srila Prabhupada as a transcendental, eternal deity full of knowledge and bliss – although you [my god-brothers] all educated me on this repeatedly. Upon noting my mundane conception of him, Srila Prabhupada would, from time to time, sweetly and knowingly enact being ill…In reality the transcendental body of Srila Prabhupada cannot be diseased or possess any abnormality – but at that time I could not understand this even slightly…I could not realise anything about the transcendental nature of Srila Prabhupada, having been cheated of his real mercy – and thus I have been deprived forever. Such is the result of not allowing his fully conscious words to enter my ears. This indeed is my extreme misfortune.”
We want to follow in the footsteps of our Parama-gurudeva. In order to traverse the path to understand who our Srila Gurudeva really is, what is his actual ‘situation,’ and how we can enter eternal service to him, it is essential to see him through the eyes of scriptures. In Srila Prabhupada Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja’s Nectar of Devotion, Chapter 21, we find this statement regarding the necessity of seeing through the eyes of scripture.
“A person who acts exactly according to the tenets of scripture is called sastra-caksus. Sastra-caksus means one who sees through the eyes of the authorized scriptures. Actually, any man of knowledge and experience should see everything through these books. For example, with our naked eye we perceive the sun globe simply as some glaring substance, but when we see through authorized books of science and other literature, we can understand how much greater the sun globe is than this earth and how powerful it is. So seeing things through the naked eye is not actually seeing. Seeing things through the authorized books or authorized teachers is the correct way to see.”
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