The finite jiva soul will find all that is necessary to nourish his innermost spiritual necessity in the agent of the Supreme Lord. Enthused by the words and association of the spiritual master, one easily makes progress on the path of dedication.
In Follow the Angels, Srila B. R. Sridhara Deva Gosvami Maharaja illuminates the path of dedication by describing in detail many of the finer points of understanding required for our advancement in spiritual life.
Srila Sridhara Maharaja speaks to his readers from the depth of his subjective experience of the Absolute Truth. The guidance we receive in Follow the Angels is indeed of incalculable value in the soul's march toward Eternity. We therefore pray that those who are greatly fortunate to read this book will hear His Divine Grace with the greatest care and attention-for as it is said in learned circles, "When wisemen speak,wisemen listen."
bhavanti purusa loke mad-bhaktas tvam anuvratah
"Those who follow your example will naturally become My pure devotees. You are the best example of My devotee, and others should follow in your footsteps." (Bhag. 7.10.21)
In Follow the Angels the author Srila B. R. Sridhara Deva Gosvami Maharaja, the illustrious Guardian of Devotion, guides the readers on the path of dedication shown by our predecessor acaryas such as Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada. To follow the path of the previous acaryas is indeed the way of success in spiritual life, whereas to obscure the path of the previous acaryas or to create a method of spiritual practice of our own fancy certainly implies failure.
In part one of Follow the Angels Srila Sridhara Maharaja discusses the Krsna Conception as the highest plane of truth attainable for a living entity. The basis of this conception is that Absolute beauty, affection, love and harmony are the highest goals ever discovered and that these exist in Krsna to the fullest degree. It is Krsna alone who can satisfy the innermost hankering of the soul. "Awake, arise! Search for your fortune!"
Srila Sridhara Maharaja explains that this requires a proper connection with a real agent or guru who has a direct connection with Krsna. The guru assures our future in spiritual life. The guru and Vaisnavas are the agents of the Supreme Lord and Srila Sridhara Maharaja explains that such agents are higher than the scripture and that all success can be achieved by service to such higher agents.
One must acquire an earnest desire to know the truth, which in due course will mature into pure spiritual attraction. Then a real taste for the truth will manifest-will be awakened in our heart. And all attraction for sense pleasure, fame, name, and money will vanish. When this spontaneous taste for the truth awakens within us, we are safe, but not prior to that.
In Kali-yuga the service of the Holy Name has especially been recommended, but first the name must be taken from a bonafide guru, and it should be chanted in the association of the sadhu or saint. In the acme of dedication there is only love, Vraja Vrndavana bhava. And there is preaching-preaching is sankirtanathe most effective way of chanting. Preaching is real service to the Holy Name, not just counting beads. These and many more illuminations on the Krsna conception are revealed in part one of Follow the Angels.
From part two of Follow the Angels, the title of the book has been drawn. Here we find that we have come to the fulfillment of our innermost demand, but a measure of caution is given, "Fools rush in where angels fear to tread." In part two, Srila Sridhara Maharaja advises that one should follow the angels and not make offense by rushing ahead when one is not actually qualified.
"One must go step by step. If we omit any step, we will be nowhere. We should be mindful of every step, and automatically that will take us in the right direction. Don't ever try to run very hurriedly. Try to remain a little down and back. That will forcibly take you to the goal, naturally. The higher Vaisnavas will take you there. You can't go there on your own."
For the greatest success in our spiritual life a proper posing in the relativity of the Absolute Truth is required. Don't try to rush ahead-do not become an offender. Stay a little distant and below. That will draw the greatest fortune for you. Pujala raga-patha gaurava-bhange, try to keep at a respectful distance. Keep the highest goal always above your head. Don't rush towards that position. It is not that cheap.
Srila Sridhara Maharaja says, "Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, has especially given this caution, Pujala raga-patha gaurava-bhange. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has distributed what He experienced in His deep trance, but we must be ready to pay for it. Sarasvati Thakura came for that purpose. Pujala raga-pathadon't go hurriedly. Fools rush in where angels fear to tread. Don't commit offenses. This is the highest prospect of your life after many lifetimes. We should always move expressly towards the goal of having the temperament of a servant. We should not venture to tread on the highest plane. Fools rush in where angels fear to tread. Don't be a fool; become an angel. Try to follow the angels." This is a fragment of the valuable advice given by Srila Sridhara Maharaja in part two of Follow the Angels.
In part three, Higher Talks, Srila Sridhara Maharaja reveals the highest ideal of guru-tattva: Gaura-Gadadhara in madhurya-rasa, and Radharani in Krsna-lila. If we raise our head a little higher and look up, then we shall find Radharani and Gurudeva. It is Radharani who is instrumental in accomplishing the function of Gurudeva from behind. The source of grace for the guru is coming from the original source of service and love.
Srila Sridhara Maharaja says, "We are requested not to see guru as limited in his ordinary personification, but as the transparent mediator of the highest function in his line. If only our vision is deep, we can see that according to the depth of our sraddha, our vision, guru-tattva is very peculiar, very noble, very broad, wide and very deep."
As an example of the higher vision of guru, Srila Sridhara Maharaja relates how his guru (Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura) saw Gadadhara Pandita and Svarupa Damodara in Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji respectively. Srila Sridhara Maharaja then carries his readers away with an unparalleled description of Gadadhara Pandita as a shadow of Mahaprabhu running after Him as if his heart had been stolen. Like a shadow, he is moving after Mahaprabhu. Srila Sridhara Maharaja compares Gadadhara Pandita to Rukmini. "So when Mahaprabhu plunders the spirit of Radharani, the rebellious vama nature, what remains is comparable to Rukminia passive seer, without any power to assert, only an onlooker. An onlooker, tolerating everything, a very pitiable condition that elicits kindness and sympathy from everyone." This and other higher talks one will find in part three of Follow the Angels.
It is with great happiness that Gosai Publishers present this publication and we trust that it will be well received by the devotional community for it contains the most valuable wisdom for progress in our spiritual lives.
Srila Sridhara Maharaja is renowned throughout the world as a saint and self-realized pure devotee of the Supreme Lord-we therefore bow down to his lotus feet and humbly beg forgiveness for any mistake that we may have made in our attempt to serve him.
Svami B. G. Narasingha