is a lecture, translated from Bengali, given by Srila Bhakti Raksaka Sridhara Deva Gosvami on the occasion
of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura’s appearance day at Sri Caitanya
Sarasvata Matha on 24th February 1981.)
Today is the fifth day of the dark half of the lunar calendar during the month of Phalguna. The last sukla-pancami (fifth day of the bright half of the lunar calendar) was the appearance day of Visnupriya-devi. Later, krsna-pancami is the appearance of krsna-sakti, Sri Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Prabhupada.
During the time when Bhaktivinoda Thakura had a government service and was engaged in reforming the service of Jagannatha-Deva, Srila Prabhupada appeared in his house on this day in Purusottama-ksetra. At the time of his appearance his umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck just like a brahmana thread. Observing this at a later stage, many inferred that this was because he revealed to the world the proper application of the brahmana thread, what it is and why we perform the upavita-samskara, or upanayana (thread ceremony).
The sights we see through the eyes we possess are actually illusory perceptions. The scriptures give the real angle of vision. Whatever you are seeing through these mundane eyes is very partial and limited; but the proper estimation, the real estimation is there. There is the general estimation of the world, of the environment, and that is extended for one who possesses complete knowledge.
Upanayana – another vision is there. That is divya-drsti, jnana-caksura. One needs to learn how to see from this angle of vision. Whatever you are able to see with your mundane eyes is not the true character of this world. Its real identity must be trained to be perceived by eyes that are guided by the ears that have gained proper direction through hearing to understand what is what. This is upanayana. Upanayana-samskara is given via the medium of Gayatri. In Manu-samhita it is said that a brahmana has three births –
"Sruti states that a brahmana receives his first birth from his mother. His second birth is by receiving the sacred thread and his third birth is through the process of diksa." (Manu-samhita 2.260)
In the entire world there is no process like the varnasrama-dharma of Bharata-varsa, which creates a regular life within human society. This is a stepping-stone that, if applied step by step, enables one to move outside this brahmanda. This means not only moving beyond the attractive confines of this earth to that of the sun-planet or other planetary systems – it means to move beyond the attractive confines of the entire brahmanda where we are presently sinking due to our being charmed by the spirit of exploitation. The brahmanda exists within this charm of exploitation. Whatever is manifested here, plays a role in the world of exploitation more or less. One must endeavor to see beyond this mundane sphere by moving out of it, in other words, by transcending the objective world of sense perception seen through the medium of the eyes. What is the position of the brahmanda which I can perceive within the universe? It is very meager, very mean, very limited. Our boundary of experience can be far more expansive than this. It can be categorically different than this. Here we have only seen the soil of enjoyment. With the help of upanayana it is essential to attain the true perspective from outside, to experience it and understand its identity.
What is Gayatri saying? Gayatri, the mother of the Vedas, has given her main sutra explaining that whatever different levels you are able to see, feel or think of in this world made of matter, you must move directly towards their original Creator –directly from the object to the subject – the one who is its cognizant master and its observer. We must move from the position of being seen to that of the role of a spectator, a seer. There exists his adorable world. The subject here which is able to perceive the object has a world above him (the subject). Here you are engrossed in the subject and the object – the perceived object and the master perceiving it. But there is a world above the perceiving master which is adorable, worhippable and worthy of his bhajana.
It is varenyam bhargo – that spiritual and worshippable dhama which you can perceive of as full of effulgence and knowledge. Cinmaya-dhama – it is most desirable and worshippable to you and is meant to be served. Just as you are observing in this world, the bhoga-dhama, there is a seva-dhama beyond it, whose shadow is this world of enjoyment. That seva-dhama is real – sevyarthakam bhargo. And there is the Lord of that bhargo, the very Lord of the svarupa-sakti, its Master. And the service that is going there is unparalleled – you can attain the opportunity to serve Him and receive a life of service to Him through obedience to Him. With the help of the eyes, eyes directed and inspired by the Vedas, we can have darsana of the world beyond this world. With the help of this Gayatri, the basis of brahminical religion, knowledge and culture, we can move above to the abode of service (sevamaya-dhama) that exists there. And as a result of serving Him, He further enhances the foundation of service. That is His position. In that way He is beautiful, He is divine – deva. Deva means beautiful; deva means lilamaya (replete with eternal pastimes); the one who radiates beauty and bliss at all times. All these waves emanating ananda or bliss from the centre are expanding everywhere and will also benefit you and enhance your endeavor. This is the basis of varnasrama, the aim of which is to give the visionary eye, the upa-nayana (higher vision).
Our Guru Maharaja appeared with the aim of giving this extensively. What is the aim of this upanayana-samskara? It is an additional eye to see the world with that vision. Whatever you see is the world of mortality – janma-mrtyu-jara-vyadhi duhkha-dosanudarsanam. Whatever you are seeing with your eye and mind is the arena of death. Marana abadhi ja’ra mana (it only has value till it dies). It is the land of mortality. But everyone wants to overcome death; everyone’s innate tendency is to live. No one can deny it and there is the possibility of it. That type of tendency that exists in you is not impractical – there is also the possibility of realization of this. Therefore move towards that direction. Overcoming all these apparent temptations, advance towards having a practical and beautiful life. That is why you have specifically been given eyes –
Later, Guru Maharaja assisted it by giving it special identification in the form of arranging tantrika (pancaratrika) initiation. That is the reason he came. His intention of coming to this world was to reveal the higher reality with the help of such eyes –upa-nayana. And he has shown this to the world that whatever Mahaprabhu Sri Caitanyadeva has said, and whatever Srimad Bhagavatam’s Vyasadeva has said in the last and greatest of his books – that is our ultimate goal. This has been declared boldly, solemnly and loudly by Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura.
Regarding this, he had an uncompromising attitude which he never desired to trade with anything. This was the uniqueness of his life. And in doing this, the entire world and the entire present culture in vogue today stood against him. So-called big religious organizations with their religious preaching and endeavours opposed him. The old school of thought, whose stereotype customs have became distorted and perverted with time also stood against him. They considered his preaching to be a concept fraught with imaginary, unrealistic, impossible speculations, initiating a group of people who are ambitionists in order to create chaos. But gradually, when it spread in a very vast way, their impressions changed to a certain extent. Many who used to identify themselves as being under the shelter of so-called Vaisnava religion also misunderstood it, but at a later stage they accepted that they had been mistaken. “At first we thought that he is neglecting the old religious dedication and discrimination when he first started preaching the old message in a very innovative manner. But that was not the case. He gave new life to it.” In this way many great men accepted the unique endeavors of Prabhupada.
He declared what Mahaprabhu said – that divine prema is the only aim. Bhukti, mukti and other desires like dharma, artha, kama etc, which have been praised as the supreme goal in the scriptures, are only for less qualified people.
Whatever way the leaders of the society, the jnanis and yogis have explained and defined mukti as the highest achievement is lowly. Their conceptions of mukti are condemned. They only give meager results and are no more than obstacles to the highest achievement. Overcoming these explanations, the way Ramanujacarya has given his interpretation is the actual foundation. From the Vedic standpoint, amongst the Vedic authorities, whatever the Ramanujacarya sampradaya, as well as Madhvacarya, Visnu Svami and Nimbarka have given as matter pertaining to preaching is the real basis of Vedic wisdom. From there we must focus on what Mahaprabhu has said. That is our highest achievement. Guru Maharaja has propagated this in all ways possible. In every way – lectures, kirtanas, exhibitions, magazines, books – in this way with all types of methods he has preached.
in Puri I addressed his lotus feet, “Prabhu, the all-round preaching endeavor
you have made, we have never witnessed anything like this ever before.”
He replied, “ Do you think so?”
I said, “Yes, prabhu. What to speak of thinking, I am witnessing it directly.”
So like this he made an all-round endeavour.
The aim of kirtana is not merely a tune or rhythm meant to attract people’s attention. There must be connection with the real object of worship it is aimed at. The process is to practice, discuss and tell to others in such a manner that He is satisfied with it. Yare dekha tare kaha krsna-upadesa (explain Krsna’s teachings to whoever you meet) – that is the real truth. Whatever is the current scenario is actually very feeble, but since we are entangled within it we are thinking it to be very intense and powerful, in spite of it being a very weak substance in reality. If krsna-katha, bhagavata-katha is presented properly, it can be seen that maya is not what it appears to be. How it came and captured me? Intrinsically ignorance is weak. Once knowledge arises ignorance has to flee like a thief. Therefore, even if the vast majority of people make mistakes under the influence of ignorance, for one situated in true knowledge, it looks very paltry and tiny. It can be simply blown away; it hardly has any power. It is weak and has already committed suicide and is doomed for self-annihilation. Ignorance is always ready to be annihilated. It only needs to be given the proper connection! Therefore there is no need to fear it. Those who are under the spell of ignorance and dancing to its tune may consider it as something very big and may declare it loudly. But for those outside of its spell it is very insignificant and weak. In this way our Guru Maharaja dealt with it bravely.
He has more or less categorized all levels of ignorance into the realm of enjoyment and renunciation (bhoga and tyaga) and has endeavored diligently to rectify them. And he has taught his followers in the same manner – to fight against ignorance. That is totalitarian – bhukti and mukti, dharma, artha, kama and moksa. Also, to move higher, you also have to struggle against vaidhi-bhakti (devotion based on scriptural regulations) and develop and culture anuraga-bhakti (spontaneous devotion), which is our innate tendency.
You are a foreigner in your own land. That is your home where, if you go, you will get strength, you will meet your relatives and you will be able to feel that you have returned home, like the feeling of a boy that has returned to his own home. If someone was a little eager to hear Guru Maharaja, he would say that,” Finally he is trying to return home.” When someone found his words sweet he said that. “Now he wants to return home. Till now he was tormented by travelling in a foreign land and now the boy wants to return home. He is listening attentively to the news of his own home.” This is our own, but it seems foreign to us under the influence of acintya-sakti (the Lord’s inconceivable potency). This is one’s very own, so there is nothing to fear. Go along with enthusiasm and bravery. March together. As Mahaprabhu has said – hari-kirtana bahubhir militva yat kirtanam. “Apart from that, whatever you are seeing or experiencing – attack it! Break it! In this way work here” – Prabhupada said like this. And to the last he did this. And he has also explained his aim. His aim was rupanuga-bhajana. In this regard, he has shown no compromise or constraint for those who have no taste for radha-bhajana, radha-dasyam, radha-kinkarya. If I try to explain the way he did all these things it will take too long. But in short it is krsna-bhajana in madhurya-rasa under the shelter of Radharani – this is the highest thing that he has declared. Now, in a multitude of ways, his teachings are being discussed and preached.
Through his disciples he did this, and amongst his principal disciples many have started vast preaching programmes. Amongst them all, our Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja’s endeavor is incomparable. For those of us who identify ourselves with Prabhupada’s cause, we cannot but be grateful to him for the way he has told the world about this great treasure of Mahaprabhu. This is because the way that he has served our Gurudeva is very extraordinary. Without being empowered by Krsna’s sakti it is not possible. This is our firm belief. Bhaktivinoda Thakura, after having a divine vision, predicted that such thing would soon become a reality. It was Bhaktisiddhanta Prabhupada who gave it a preliminary start and Bhaktivedanta Prabhu has taken it further ahead.
prthivite ache yata nagaradi
sarvatra pracara haibe more nama
"In every town and village, the chanting of My name will be heard." (Sri Caitanya-bhagavata, Antya 4.126)
With this banner he travelled all across the world. By such an endeavour he has become very adorable to us. And his followers who are present here and elsewhere – we cannot but be very lovingly disposed towards them. They have come to our country, the place of Mahaprabhu, from so far and from such diametrically opposite cultures due to the fate accrued in their previous lives. And making it their own, how enthusiastically they are executing their service activities! This is truly praiseworthy. Those that praise them will attain auspicious blessings, and due to such sukrti they will achieve a higher destination as a result of their appreciation. In this way they will be benefitted.
Many of them are present here today and they will share some of what they have realized as a result of their sukrti and subtle intelligence hearing from their Srila Prabhupada, from hearing at the lotus feet of their guru, and from the sastra. Gaura-haribol!