Rajen Babu: Isn't the kanistha-adhikari qualified to give initiation into the mantra?
Srila Sarasvati Prabhupada: Where is the kanishtha-adhikari coming from? Who gave him the adhikara? A kanishtha-adhikari can never become a guru.
Rajen Babu: Can a madhyama-adhikari give diksa?
Prabhupada: He can only perform the initial duties of diksa. It is the uttama-adhikari maha-bhagavata Vaisnava who is actually the diksa-guru. There are two types of Vaisnavas – the ragatmika and the raganuga. Those who are from the eternal realm offer service to Sri Krsna directly. These ragatmikas serve Sri Varshabhanavi and Her direct expansions. Those who perform direct service to the ragatmikas and take shelter in them through the performance of smarana are raganugas. These are spiritual gurus.
A social guru does not understand Vaisnava dharma or spirituality. The attainment of selfish interests or the mundane interests of others is anatma-dharma – it is not atma-dharma or spirituality. Teaching the sitar is not the duty of the Absolute. Selfishness and spirituality are two separate things. The attempt to serve oneself is the antithesis of spirituality. Self interest means discriminating between sin and piety. Mahaprabhu married for the second time, and accepted Sri Visnupriya-devi. However, pondering how He would establish spiritual discrimination amongst His own followers, He renounced the world in order to teach the common people through His ideal example. This pastime of His intense search for Krsna is the ideal example to be followed by us.
Saksat and smrti – there is a difference between these two things. In the state of svarupa-siddhi, remembrance of Krsna (smrti) gives rise to the state of visualization (saksat-kara); the plane of vastu-siddhi gives rise to direct darsana of and service to Krsna.
Rajen Babu: What is the difference between svarupa-siddhi and vastu-siddhi?
Prabhupada: We must destroy the mind – it must be eliminated. The mind is the king amongst all the senses. The senses supply the mind with knowledge of the external world. Through such knowledge supplied by the senses, the mind sometimes engages in gross enjoyment and sometime in subtle enjoyment. The human soul has made the mind its agent to deal with the world of enjoyment. When this mind becomes engrossed in its own principles, then various anarthas arise. If one wants to attain real pleasure by removing displeasure, then the mind is to be destroyed. There is danger when the mind acts independently – chastising the mind is the first statement found in all the sastras. However, there is no way of chastising the mind except by serving the lotus feet of Hrsikesa.
By following the path of yoga and performing yama etc. an opposite result will ensue. Sriman Mahaprabhu explains how the mind ascends to the lotus feet of Sri Krsna –
hrdaya – mana, mora mana – vrndavana
mane vane eka kari’ jani
tahan tomara pada-dvaya, karaha yadi udaya
tabe tomara purna krpa mani
"For most people, the mind and heart are one, but because My mind is never separated from Vrndavana, I consider My mind and Vrndavana to be one. My mind is already Vrndavana, and since You like Vrndavana, will You please place Your lotus feet there? I would deem that Your full mercy." (Cc. Madhya. 13.137)
The shelter of Caitanyadeva's mind is Vrndavana, the place of Krsna's pastimes; it remains perpetually engaged in the mood of serving Krsna in five bhavas ((1) vibhava – that which is the cause of tasting rati (2) anubhava – bodily transformations which illustrate the emotions of the mind (3) sattvika-bhava – ecstatic symtoms which arise from suddha-sattva-or in other words, when the mind is overwhelmed with emotion in relationship to Krsna (4) vyabhicari-bhava – disturbing emotions originating from and serving to enlarge the sthayi-bhava (5) sthayi-bhava – that bhava or permanent condition of the heart which dominates the favorable and unfavorable emotions.)
When the mind ceases to serve Krsna, it remains settled in the material world on the plane of shanta-dharma etc. The nirupadhika (detached) mind is Vrndavana, and the sopadhika (attached) mind is the material world. Mahaprabhu was given the name Sri Krsna Caitanya because He distributes Krsna consciousness and makes people aware of Krsna. Anyone who has taken full shelter of Sri Krsna Caitanya should know that they have no other duty except for constantly cultivating Krsna consciousness and performing smarana of krsna-lila. Of course, this does not refer to artificial lila-smarana.
Forgetting the lotus feet of Krsna results in complete inauspiciousness, whereas krsna-seva creates all good fortune and destroys all types of obstacles.
ksinoty abhadrani ca sam tanoti
"For one who remembers the lotus feet of Krsna, all inauspiciousness soon disappears, and one's good fortune expands." (Bhag. 12:12:55)
When one attains the platform of svarupa-siddhi and one constantly fixes the mind on the lotus feet of Krsna, then when this subtle body (linga-deha) is completely destroyed along with gross or subtle impressions of material enjoyment and the gross body also expires, then direct visualization of one’s desired object is attained.
Rajen Babu: What is vastu-siddhi?
Prabhupada: To attain Krsna directly. After svarupa-siddhi is vastu-siddhi. If the mind can be eliminated while one is alive, then at the time of leaving this body, you can attain eternal service in the transcendental Vrndavana and will never take birth again. However, by the will of the Lord, divine personalities such as Kasara Muni, Bhuta-yogi, Mahad, Bhakti-sara, Sathari etc. descend from Vaikuntha in order to liberate the jivas.
During Sri Krsna’s earthly pastimes in Vrndavana, His eternal associates also descended with Him. That is a different thing. They have no material birth. There are two kinds of associates – the sadhana-siddha and the nitya-siddha. The nitya-siddhas descend by the desire of Krsna in order to liberate the world.
Rajen Babu: Isn't it possible to take diksa at the lotus feet of a sad-guru and perform shravana and kirtana while remaining at home?
"The Absolute Truth is the ultimate reality, one without a second. This goal is exclusive devotional service unto that Supreme Truth." (Bhag. 12.13.12)
In the non-liberated world, sravana, kirtana and smarana are hampered – but this is not so in the liberated world. There, after attaining svarupa-siddhi, sravana etc. goes on without any kind of obstruction.
Therefore, while staying in this world of entanglement, apart from hearing from Sri Guru – who is a resident of the liberated world – and remaining close to his lotus feet and happily rendering service to him, any other place is infested with materialistic association where one has no hope for nourishment. Who will make us hear? How will we develop the proper qualification for kirtana? All these things must be taken into consideration.
Rajen Babu: Can one meditate upon service to Sri Gurudeva from afar?
Prabhupada: Meditation is not like that. Meditation etc. is not possible if even for a moment the thought arises to live far away from the lotus feet of our guru. Such a tendency is common nowadays. While following the customs of Vaisnavism such as asat-sanga-tyaga, there arises a cheating propensity amongst weak-hearted people to superficially perform service to Sri Guru (which lacks genuine and sincere effort) and to externally seek the association of saintly people. In fact, without the practice of hearing and chanting in association of sadhus, no one can ever advance in bhajana with such a superficial tendency.
sri-krsna-namadi na bhaved grahyam indriyaih
sevonmukhe hi jihvadau svayam eva sphuraty adah
"The mundane senses cannot conceive of Krsna's holy name, form, qualities and pastimes. When one renders service by using his tongue to chant the Lord's holy name then the Lord reveals Himself." (Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu 1.2.234)
These words of Sri Rupapada deserve special consideration.
Rajen Babu: Can we not listen to another Vaisnava?
Prabhupada: He should be respected if he is actually a disciple of a real guru. One may listen to those who have heard from a genuine spiritual preceptor. But wherever it is found that there is a conflict in opinion between him and my guru, then to see him as a ‘Vaisnava’ is a sure path leading to hell.
mannathah sri jagannathah mad-guruh sri jagad-guruh
"My Lord is Sri Jagannatha and my guru is the universal teacher."
It is not proper to associate with a person who has deviated even minutely from the suddha-bhakti-siddhanta preached by my Guru-Pada-Padma. The basis of hearing from him is that he himself has heard from Sri Nityananda Prabhu.
Rajen Babu: Is the study of spiritual books or periodicals also considered to be sravana and kirtana?
Prabhupada: In attempting to understand a book with my own realizations, I will actually understand something different due to my perception being covered with anarthas. Sri Damodara-svarupa has said:
bhagavata pada vaisnavera sthane
ekanta asraya kara vaisnava-carane
caitanyera bhakta-ganera nitya kara sanga
tabe ta’ janiba siddhanta-samudra-taranga
"Go and study the Bhagavata from a Vaisnava. Totally surrender at the feet of a Vaisnava. Always associate with the devotees of Sri Caitanya. Only then will you understand the waves of the ocean of devotional conclusions." (Cc. Antya 5.131-132)
Rajen Babu: And if I study while under the shelter of the lotus feet of a guru?
Prabhupada: If one cannot hear topics directly at the lotus feet of the guru, then one can study various books etc.
Acharyatrika Prabhu (Kunja-vihari Vidyabhushana):
darsane mukhe aise krsna-nama
tanhare janiha tumi vaisnava-pradhana
"One whose very presence induces others to chant the name of Krsna should be understood to be a first-class Vaisnava." (Cc. Madhya 16.74)
One must only perform sravana and kirtana while situated at the lotus feet of that person upon meeting whom, the name of Krsna instantly manifests on ones lips; and while one is in the presence of such a person, all other thoughts are removed and bad association can never influence us.
Prabhupada: Sravana is eternal. Sravana continues even after the attaining svarupa-siddhi. Once, Thakura Haridasa was performing solitary chanting of the holy name of Hari in a hut deep within the jungles of Benapol. At that time, in order to diminish the glories of Haridasa, an immoral woman was sent to that place by the conniving landowner Ramacandra Khan, and she entered the Thakura’s hut expressing her evil intentions. Then the Thakura told her, "I have taken hari-nama diksa. I will talk to you after that diksa is over."
In other words, the actual purpose of Haridasa was that this diksa will never end and I will not listen to what you have to say. On hearing hari-nama chanted from the holy mouth of the Thakura, the consciousness of that immoral woman changed.
vaisnavi haila parama-mahanti
bada bada vaisnava tanra darsanete yanti
"In this way the prostitute became an advanced devotee. Great Vaisnavas would come for her darsana." (Cc. Antya 3.132)
When the Thakura left Benapol and went to Phuliya, he instructed the prostitute to remain in that hut and to perform hari-bhajana with intense renunciation.
One’s consciousness becomes purified through the process of sravana. Then we become like this:
kanera bhitara diya, marama pasila go
akula karila mora prana
"Who forced me to hear the name of Syama? It has entered into my ear and touched the very essence of my being, overwhelming my life airs!" (Candidasa)
Thakura Bhaktivinoda has sung:
ye dina grhe bhajana dekhi, grhete goloka bhaya
"That day that I see the worship of the Lord in my home, the abode of Goloka seems to manifest there." (Saranagati 3.6)
Rajen Babu: Can we fall down even after having taken diksa?
Prabhupada: Yes, if we become indolent.
Rajen Babu: After diksa, will I notice that the tendency to enjoy material pleasures has decreased?
Prabhupada: Of course.
jnanam yato dadyat kuryat papasya samksayam
tasmad dikseti sa prokta desikais tattva-kovidah
"Great scholars who are expert in spiritual science call the process by which divine knowledge is given and sins are eliminated as diksa." (Hari-bhakti-vilasa 2.7)
This diksa never ends. There is also no end to the attacks of bad association. It is not simply a question of receiving the mantra in the ear:
"One must serve the spiritual master with intimacy and affection and follow the path of the sadhus." (Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu 1.2.74)
One must follow the guru by the process of seriously inquiring about the nature of bhajana (bhajana-riti-prashnah), forsaking all types of sense-enjoyment in order to cultivate love for Krsna (sri krsna-pritaye bhogadi-tyagah) etc. If one shows a lack of sincerity in properly understanding this due to the pride of receiving diksa, then what possibility is there of removing anarthas? One must be in touch with the real thing.
diksa-kale bhakta kare atma-samarpana
sei-kale krsna tare kare atma-sama
"At the time of diksa when a devotee fully surrenders then Krsna accepts him as good as Himself." (Cc. Antya 4.192)
sei deha kare tara chid-ananda-maya
aprakrita-dehe tanra charana bhajaya
"When the devotee’s body is fully transformed into a spiritual substance, then with that spiritual body he worships the lotus feet of Krsna." (Cc. Antya 4.193)
After surrendering oneself at the lotus feet of Sri Guru, through the process of sravana etc, pure devotion arises within one’s pure consciousness. If after accepting this material, one continues to serve the spiritual master, then gradually the thirst for gratifying one's own senses reduces and the thirst for serving Krsna’s senses intensifies.
anatma-dharma – Those activities that are against the nature of the self.
atma-dharma – Activities that are the nature of the true self.
gurutva – Literally means heavy, or in this case, strong or superior.
laghutva –Literally 'lightweight' or in this case, superficial.
raganuga – Those devotees that take shelter of the path of spontaneous devotion.
ragatmika – The eternal residents of Goloka whose devotion is saturated with deep attachment for the Lord.
rati – The stage of transcendental attachment.
saksat – Direct experience of the Lord.
santa-dharma – The path of neutrality.
smrti – Remembrance of the Lord and His pastimes.
svarupa-siddhi – The stage when bhava manifests; one becomes free from the influence of matter and one’s spiritual identity is revealed.
vastu-siddhi – The stage where the devotee actually enters the pastimes of the Lord.
yama – The various observances found in the process of yoga