Try To Go Ahead
We must obey authority. Instructions from the authorities are important, and are always given in every community. However, we seek the truth. Those who do not care for that which is presented by the authorities, they will come out to seek the real, the complete truth, not the stereotyped thing. Everyone is more or less under a particular social binding. And it is told repeatedly in the Bhagavad-gita: sva-dharme nidhanam sreyah para-dharmo bhayavahah. Strongly here it is spoken, "Don't leave your own religion, the conception of your particular duty. Don't leave your present position. Rather you should die, and after death, some change may come. Don't leave your position."

"Maintain your present position, it is recommended strongly so that we may not fall down." Then, sarva dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja is also there. If we get the chance to advance towards Him, with a risk, we must try to go ahead, to attain perfection. But we must be sure that we are advancing, that we are in the realm of progress, not going down. That sort of faith is crucial. With a clear conscience we must try to forge ahead; it is not that in the name of advancement we are going back.

Generally we are justified here in our present situation, para-dharmo bhayavahah. We have taken our stand at present and accepted this duty, the consciousness of this duty. However, it is also stated, sarva dharman parityajya: "Abandon all other duties, and just come to Me." The real cause of advancement will come. One cannot but take the risk of going away.

Risk Means Progress
During the time of my Guru Maharaja, there were many who did not take sannyasa, the renounced order. Later on, however, they found they could go more swiftly towards the goal by taking sannyasa. To take sannyasa means to take a risk. To take a risk means to make further progress. One who takes risks is prepared for further progress. So, should we remain in the same position we held in the time of Guru Maharaja? Should we remain in that position? Or is it more desirable for us to try for perfect progress? If we choose to make advancement, we will have so many new insights and reject so many of the old.

According to our own progress, devotees cannot but see that some things are to be kept back and others to be invited to the forefront. This is what it means to go nearer, to make progress. We should have some sort of approximate knowledge of what is good, what is bad, what is Krsna, what is non-Krsna, and that will be realized more and more. "Oh, I could not detect this, but now I feel that this is also a valuable point in the light of the Krsna conception."

In this way, realization and advancement come. But one should not leave his former position without being sure of his progress: sva-dharme nidhanam sreyah para-dharmo bhayavahah. We must not take risks for something that is not our own. But when we do find that it is indeed our own, even though it may be a little far, we must take the leap. We will think, "My inner hankering has been searching for that thing alone. Now it is within my reach, so I must take it."

It all depends on our sincerity and proper understanding. Na hi kalyana-krt kascid durgatim tata gacchati. Sometimes we may fall down, but we will be able to understand that lower things are not desirable. We will think, "These desires are hunting me; for the time being they have even captured me, but after a while they will vanish." When they do, we will think, "Oh, what suddenly came and overpowered me? My real self-interest has been hampered. I must not allow myself to be affected by them again. I must be very alert."

In this way, sometimes the lower propensities may get the upper hand and so we go backwards, and sometimes we may go forward. We are always in the midst of battle. We are soldiers, always fighting for progress.

Progress is a Living Thing
Progress means elimination of old things and acceptance of the new. Progress means a living, new experience: bhaktih paresanubhavo viraktir anyatra ca. (Bhag. 11.2.42) When we are hungry we are weak. By every morsel eaten we feel satisfaction; the desire for eating diminishes. Weakness is removed and the discomfort of hunger is also removed through eating, morsel by morsel. With every step we shall have to feel whether we are making any progress.

bhaktih paresanubhavo viraktir
anyatra caisa trika eka-kalah
prapadyamanasya yathasnatah syus
tustih pustih ksud-apayo 'nu-ghasam

"Devotion, direct experience of the Supreme Lord, and detachment from other things-these three occur simultaneously for one who has taken shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, in the same way that pleasure, nourishment and relief from hunger come simultaneously and increasingly, with each bite, for a person engaged in eating." (Bhag. 11.2.42)

We must have a conception of what is Reality and what is progress. We shall have to understand what is imagination or hallucination and what is Reality. Our intensity and attraction for the goal will increase step by step; it won't diminish. It will have to increase if we are following the proper line. We must have some conception of that new goal, and our energy towards the goal will increase.

Progress can be measured by detecting this kind of transformation within. Paresanubhavo: somehow, a conception of the Supreme must grow clearer and clearer in us. What is He? Who is He? Viraktir anyatra: indifference to everything that is not related to Krsna must grow in us as well. We avoid what does not concern Krsna, and when it appears anyway, it produces some apathy or even irritation in us. The negative measure will be how much I am apathetic to everything that is not related to Krsna.

Tustih pustih ksud-apayo 'nu-ghasam: the inner hunger should be fulfilled as well. "Yes, I am feeling fulfillment." We should have the conviction that we are walking in the right direction. We should have inner sanction of our clear conscience. "Yes, yes, I am doing right." We will feel inner satisfaction.

If we make progress towards the east, the west will be left behind and we shall see new things in our view. If these things are good, our encouragement will increase more and more; we shall make progress—tustih pustih ksud-apayo 'nu-ghasam. Anu-ghasam, pustih, with every morsel we shall feel stronger. Tustih, satisfaction will come. Ksud-apayah, our hunger will gradually cease. These three things must be there; then we are in a real, progressive life.

The Only Reliable Agents
We must always be alert to search within, whether we are enticed by any of the agents of maya, misconception. The agents of maya won't leave us for a moment. "Oh, you have so many commitments here. Why are you going? You must first clear these commitments, then we shall allow you to go." In different ways these agents will come and try to take us back. "You have so many commitments here, an incurred debt, and now you are trying to fly away? Absconder! We won't allow you to abscond." In various ways they will come.

One should not believe them. Only believe the scripture, sastra. Only fear the sastra and the sadhu. They will plead for us; no one else. The agents of maya are everywhere in our midst. The sastra and the sadhu are the only reliable agents. Go to the agent of your ambassador's quarter. Take shelter. When visitors from a foreign land find any danger in their life, they go to their own ambassador's quarter. They will take shelter in that quarter. If their bodies are in danger, they will take shelter with their own. Similarly, in the world of maya and misconception we should try to take shelter of those with the proper devotional conception. The agents of maya will hesitate to enter there.

It cannot be denied that a kind of energy is necessary to maintain one's present position. But when we are determined to push forward, progress becomes all-important. A seeker after the truth will search after newer and newer planes, and that means living and accommodating new experiences. We are to become more and more accommodating, earnest and eager.

sva-dharme nidhanam sreyah para-dharmo bhayavahah

The advice is given: "Try to maintain your position even at the cost of your life." Then, at the next moment: "Go ahead. March on." (Gita 3.35) We are first advised to maintain our present position so that we may not fall back. But that does not mean we are not to make progress. Sva-dharme nidhanam sreyah, To firmly maintain our position does not mean that we are not to go forward.

sarva dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja

"Give up all considerations and take the risk of marching onwards." (Gita. 18.66)

That first advice was given only to reinforce this final order. First, maintain the current position, and then press onward! These are the relative and absolute considerations. A living spiritual conception must be of that nature. The dire necessity is that we address the question of how to maintain and improve our present position.

Dedicated Risk
Die to live, that is the theory to be followed. If we prepare to die a hard death, we shall find that we will gain thereby. In this way we are to measure the quality of our effort: the more dedication, the greater qualitative elevation. No risk, no gain; more risk, more gain. Such is the rule with exploitation and its opposite, dedication. Exploitation is lawless and ruthless, and dedication is risky. But dedication must be to the good, to the Absolute good. Otherwise everything is lost.

Higher knowledge is only allowed when one has this attitude: Tad viddhi pranipatena pariprasnena sevaya. (Gita 4.34) If you have a desire for the higher domain, you must present yourself in this way, with this approach: pranipat, surrender; pariprasna, honest inquiry; and seva, service. You are for Him; He is not for you. He is for Himself. Reality is by Itself, and not for you. Reality cannot be dependent on any other thing for His existence, or to fulfill His purpose. He is independent in the beginning and in the end. He has created the past and the present by Himself, and in the future He is meant to maintain His existence for His own purpose. He is not subservient to any other purpose. Otherwise He is not Reality. Reality is for Itself, Reality is by Itself. If we want to live a proper life, we'll have to die as we are at present with our false ego. That is the basis of Vaisnavism proper.

The Real Spirit
Exploitation and renunciation, bhukti-mukti-sprha; these two are great enemies of devotion: the tendency to exploit and the tendency to renounce. When one has eaten too much, as a reaction one wants to abstain from eating. Liberation, moksa, is only a reaction to exploitation. It may appear that we are in a quest for duty, money, sense-pleasure, and liberation (dharma, artha, kama, moksa), but this is an external and partial examination of our experience. With a deeper assessment we will find that we are eagerly searching only for rasam, sundaram, the fullest satisfaction, the perfect beauty. Dharma, artha, and kama cannot satisfy our inner hankering. Even moksa, liberation from the present hankering is not the goal.

Mere liberation from the negative is artificial. Life must have its fulfillment; everything has its fulfillment and necessary position. Life is not meant for nothing, and zero cannot be the sum total of our existence. The conclusion is infinite, not zero. Mere liberation—to remain in a long, deep slumber—is destructive and inconclusive. It cannot be the object of creation or the object of our existence.

The other side must be researched, the cid-vilasa (the transcendental dynamic plane). And where can we get that? Here in this world is exploitation, and there it is just the opposite, dedication. Both exploitation and renunciation must be eliminated, and we should live in the third plane.

That third plane is the life of dedication. A life of duty, not to any part, but to the whole: "I live for the whole, and that whole is a part of Lord Krsna." This is what it means to be a lover of the beautiful. In that way we have to understand, and march onward. And that is full in itself, perfect. Neither of these two—the negative and the renunciation of the negative—can bring real positive gain. The positive is not a mere withdrawal from the negative experience. The positive has its own characteristics. We must come in contact with the positive, sat-cit-ananda, satyam, sivam, sundaram. We must commit ourselves in all phases, whatever is possible for us.

It does not matter much whether one is a householder or one is a sannyasi. What is to be seen is how much one has intensely engaged oneself in the service of the Lord. In this vision, a householder may be above a sannyasi. During the time of Mahaprabhu there were many grhastha devotees, but that was only their external form. Their real spirit was all for Gauranga.

Service is necessary. In whatever position one may be, it does not matter much. Grhasthas have one position, but when necessity comes they can sacrifice the whole for Krsna. Wholesale dedication, reverence for the whole; it does not matter in what position one is living there. The internal hankering, the fire, the dedication within, those are necessary. They may not be found in a sannyasi but may be found in a grhastha, vanaprastha, brahmacari, or anyone. We want the substance and not the form: the fire within, the fire burning because of separation from Krsna.

Higher Backing is Necessary
When we wander in this world, we acquire so many debts, earn a reaction. Whatever action we undertake, we incur some opposite reaction. They are stored in a very subtle form in our mind, and whenever we find ourselves in this or that situation, they'll be set in motion. Whenever we like to do anything, mostly we do it. Attraction for so many different things will dictate our actions wherever we go. We have taken this loan, now only if we clear the loan, then we can go. So many things in the environment will come and stand in the way. Our previous tendency is always trying to draw us back, the acquired tendency. Hundreds and thousands of debts come to block our way. It is not very easy to make progress. We lack sufficient strength, so above all we must have some divine favor.

Mama maya duratyaya, it is stated in Bhagavad-gita: "My external potency is hard to overcome." Maya, the illusory potency, misconception, that is also backed by the Lord. At our sweet will we cannot dismiss her; it is not possible. If we go to fight with her alone, we will be defeated. We will find ourselves outnumbered. But if we have some certificate, some recommendation from the Lord, then Maya will release us and show us the way out.

Mama maya duratyaya mam eva ye prapadyante: "This divine energy of Mine, consisting of the three modes of material nature, is difficult to overcome. But those who have surrendered unto Me can easily cross beyond it." (Gita 7.14) If we surrender sincerely unto the Lord, then Maya will not be courageous enough to give opposition to us. When a jiva soul is liberated, Maya comes with a very submissive attitude, "Why do you leave me, my lord? Please stay with me. I shall try to please you in all respects. Why do you leave me?"

The mukta-jiva, the liberated soul, comes to the status of Siva, Mahadeva, and Maya offers him all respect. But when we are still under her clutches she plays with us; she won't allow us to get away. So many debts we have incurred here, there. We are roaming eternally, wandering within Maya's domain and entering death. Wherever we are, we are eating and seeking comfort, and incurring further debt. That loan must be repaid. It is not a very easy thing.

Only when backed by Divinity, by a power higher than Maya, does she become gentle and not come forward with much disturbance. Mam eva ye prapadyante mayam etam taranti te, "Those who have surrendered unto Me can easily cross beyond this maya." The sadhaka's progress depends on the degree of surrender and the degree of acceptance coming from the higher plane. It is not a very easy thing.

We must be fully purged of the enjoying spirit to become members of the Infinite world. No hint of exploitation should be traced in us. We should not run after any type of enjoyment, including the enjoyment of associating with God. We must be fully purged of the enjoying spirit. If a trace of enjoyment remains in us, we shall have to remain in one of the planes of this brahmanda, this universe. And if any tinge of renunciation or retiring spirit is in us, we will not be allowed to enter into the world of Infinity, Vaikuntha. Kuntha means limitation, and Vaikuntha means the unlimited world. We want to be members of the Infinite world. 'Finite' only refers to the attempt of our separate interest to measure the Infinite. When our ego wants to measure a portion of the Infinite, considering it our personal possession, then whatever we see with our separate interest is maya, misconception and misunderstanding. All such things must be dissolved. And the attitude of renunciation, "If I can't enjoy, I shall stop work; I shall go on strike," that type of reactionary mentality must also be abandoned.

Then we shall be face to face with the positive side only. What is the positive side? It is the wave from the center, lila, the play of the Absolute. That wave is fulfilling the desire of the Supreme Lord, and we will be face to face with that. If the tendency for separate interest or reactionary renunciation remains in us, we cannot come in contact with that eternal flow to satisfy the Absolute. When we are free from these two kinds of whims, we can connect with the eternal flow where all points, everywhere, are active to satisfy the center. Such a plane is not dry; it is happy, constructive, and nourishing. We shall be able to feel it. Only a fleeting contact with it will make us understand that we do not want a particle of anything else. This is our homeward journey, and any other want or demand will keep us in a foreign country filled with birth, old age, infirmity, and death.

Life Nectar of the Surrendered Souls
If you are sincere, you will get a recommendation from above. Na hi kalyana krt kascid durgatim tata gacchati, "One who is engaged in auspicious activities does not meet with destruction either in this world or in the spiritual world. One who does good is never overcome by evil." (Gita 6.40) If one is attempting to advance sincerely, the Lord is omniscient and He sees everything. He can't but give some backing. And then one's way is cleared in accordance with one's sincere surrender. That is saranagati, surrender.

We hear so many stories of the surrendered devotees, and we are encouraged to surrender ourselves. In Prapanna-jivanamrta, Life Nectar of the Surrendered Souls, there are many quotations from very dignified sadhus, saints. If we read them we can get encouragement from so many devotees in so many different stages. They are speaking like this, their sentiment is like this: by all means, surrender. If we can surrender, encouraged by their example, then according to this surrender, release comes from above. Saranagati, that is the thing.

Judge A Man By His Ideal
One who has a good ideal is in possession of the most valuable wealth. On the other hand, if one hankers only for kanaka-kamini-pratistha—money, sense gratification and popularity—they are in animal consciousness. These are properties of animal consciousness. A radical change must be effected in us if we really want a life worth living. This is the singular meaning of our ideal.

We should be judged by our ideal. The greatness of the ideal we are trying to realize should be marked. If our ideal is great, we are great, because if we are sincere, tomorrow, or very soon thereafter, we will attain our cherished objective.

Our ideal is the all-important factor. We may not attain our ideal very easily. It is not inferior merchandise to be disposed of cheaply in the marketplace of guru and disciple; it is most valuable. And whatever the cost, it does not matter.

We should feel within us, "I want no less than the highest thing, that advaya jnana, that Autocrat. That all-good Autocrat, the Supreme commander of everything. I want Him and nothing less. And I shall live and move; I shall feel within that whatever I shall do—at every second—I am meant for that. I am meant for my ideal. I have no more time to waste, to hesitate for anything else. If every moment, I move in every way, with the ideal in my heart, I shall always make some progress towards the goal. If I can just stay in touch with my ideal, that will guide and inspire me. In any and every action, whatever I shall do or undo, my ideal will be overhead. And that will gradually take me out of all these entanglements and enticements. One day, I shall be face to face with my desired ideal."

Bhakti Causes Bhakti
Bhakti is its own cause and nothing else. Nirguna (the spiritual mode) comes from nirguna, and saguna (the mundane mode) cannot produce nirguna. Nirguna is gunatita, beyond material conditioning. Guna means quality. Disease cannot produce health; removal of the disease is health proper. We must think that nirguna is health, and saguna is a diseased condition. Sattva, rajas, and tamas: these three modes of material nature are three kinds of disease.

Suppose one is in delirium, the initial treatment must come from the sober section. Those that are in misconception cannot help provide the proper conception. It must come from those with the proper conception. First we must have sukrti, or ajnata sukrti, accumulated unintentional merit. When sukrti is sufficient, it produces sraddha, faith. And when sraddha emerges, then conscious cooperation begins. Before that, when the patient is helpless, there is some passive treatment. Afterwards, when consciousness has been awakened, the patient can begin to cooperate with the doctor, and the treatment can go on.

When one is fully engrossed in misconception, some intervention from the plane of nirguna might come to utilize our energy in service, for our sukrti. Krsna bhakti janma mula haya, sadhu-sanga: "The root cause of devotional service to Lord Krsna is association with advanced devotees." (C.c. Madhya-lila 22.83) From the unknown accumulation of sukrti, there is some connection with the nirguna. That arouses sraddha within us, and sraddha emerges to the surface. Then, we can cooperate with the doctor and the conscious movement towards God begins.

The stages after sraddha may be divided into five. Sravana then varana then sadhana, then apana, then prapana; five stages. The first stage is sravana, the stage of hearing. This means hearing from the agents of the Divine, and also includes reading. The sravana from the sadhu is more powerful. After sravana-dasa begins the practical stage. One takes initiation, and attains recognition from the agent of that domain. And then one leads a regulated life. After sravana comes varana, acceptance. One first has to listen and then to accept the creed practically, to come within the regulated life. Varana means acceptance. Apana-dasa is the stage of realization, and prapana-dasa the stage of full self-surrender and distribution to others.

'Renunciation Means Yukta-vairagya
Whatever service someone performs on our behalf is not suddha-bhakti, pure devotional service, if we do not do it ourselves. If we give some money to help a suddha-bhakta perform the holy duties, if we supply resources, or ask our students to conduct the worship, but we do not serve directly, it is not suddha-bhakti.

By his own hand, Ambarisa Maharaja cleansed the temple and engaged in other devotional activities, giving the responsibility of the government to the ministers. He did not send any representative to serve in the temple of the Lord. That he did by his own hand, and he delegated to others the government of the country. Similarly, one should practice devotional service directly, not through some representative. That is not recognized as suddha-bhakti. It is laxity, negligence.

Renunciation must always be yukta-vairagya, full dedication of all available energy and resources. According to our present condition, whatever will help us invest our highest energy for the cause, that we should take from this world.

No Spiritual Help From the Mundane
Concentration induced by drugs is artificial. All contributions from the mundane cannot but be artificial and of lower nature. We must not become excited by intoxication, but accept only as much medicine as needed to maintain our normal health. If we believe that with the help of some medicine we shall create more energy, thinking that this is the easy way, it is not only useless, but harmful as well.

This is part of the materialist's conception, the idea that matter has preceded God. The fossil is alleged to evolve to the human species, and the conception of God grows among humans. According to the materialists, the fossil is the cause of our God-conception, the fossil is the father of God.

In the same way, to think that mundane intoxication can give birth to the happy ecstasy of the conception of the Absolute beauty and sweetness, this is atheism.

No material thing can help us to make progress in the spiritual world. They might help to keep the body fit, but material things cannot make any contribution for the improvement of our spiritual position. We should make "the best of the bad bargain." We are already committed to material causes and from that only the negative aspects will be attained. Without food we cannot live, that much we shall have to accept, but we should not think that this will help us spiritually. This will keep our normal health, and from that plane we shall serve.

We shall search for Sri Krsna, take the Holy Name and do some service, all from the normal plane. This is yukta-vairagya, proper detachment—not more, not less. We should take neither more nor less. Either one will be detrimental to our cause. All sorts of temporary excitement and risk should be avoided.

On the normal plane, we have earned our previous karma, and from there we should begin. We should not be attached to those things that are detrimental to our normal life. Although presently they seem to be helping, they are not making a real contribution. We should understand that this applies not only to intoxication, but even to money.

dhana-sisyadibhir dvarair ya bhaktir upadyate
viduratvad uttamata hanya tasyas ca nangata

We may think that devotion may be earned by spending money, by using one's son or wife for the cause of devotion. "I am helping my wife to practice devotional activities, so I shall get the benefit," or "I am utilizing my son for devotional purpose, so by virtue of this I shall acquire devotion," or "My sisya, my disciple, is becoming a good devotee, so as a guru, I must get something through him." (Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhuh, Purva 257) These things are not real devotion. Dana, sisya, are only bodily thought. By giving money to the devotees, by helping the devotees, we may get some benefit, but it is not suddha-bhakti. It may be sukrti, but not pure devotion. This is because money or these other things do not belong to us. Due to misidentification, we falsely think that we are masters of this or that. Our whole selves should be devoted.

Enter Only for Service
We are to learn the theory and science of gratitude. "I am grateful to you and to everyone in the environment," the very domain is of that character. Everyone thinks himself to be a thief, "I am a trespasser. Only by the grace of the environment can we have a position here. They are all well-wishers except for myself." This should be the temperament. We should sometimes be forgetful of ourselves in the intensity of our service.

We cannot enter that domain as subjects. Even if we approach Him as investigators, we can know Him only as much as He permits. There, all are our masters. We cannot be masters there; we can only be servants. If we want to enter into the highest position, we shall accept the position of the slave of the slave. Only then can we get the chance of entering into that domain. It is not unreasonable.

We are to think, vaikunthera prthivy-adi sakala cinmaya (C.c. Adi-lila 5.53). "The environment of that land in which I aspire to live is made of better stuff than I am." We are to enter into a super-subjective domain. The attitude of all the newly recruited persons there should be: "I am not of subjective character. I am of marginal potency, tatastha, but I am receiving permission to enter the super-subjective area where everything holds a higher position than I." Everyone there is of that consciousness. "The air, the earth, the trees, everything holds a higher position than I, but still I have been given permission by the Supreme authority to wander here. I have been given some service, and I am eager to render that service to this land." With this attitude in the background, one should live there, and in the foreground one will become accustomed to discharging his particular duty. "I have come and I am treading on a soil whose intrinsic value is really superior."

A child reveres his mother, but he may be taken on her lap. Such is the example of our situation when we enter Vaikuntha and Goloka. "The whole atmosphere is higher than I and is to be revered, but still they have embraced me and taken me in their lap—svarupa-sakti—and I have been asked to do some duty there. The whole environment is to be revered, and I am allowed to live there only as a matter of grace, not as a matter of right."

We are tatastha, and as a matter of right we may be cast in Brahmaloka, the marginal potency, so we must become conscious of this fact. Before enlisting our name in the Krsna consciousness school we must have this primary knowledge. "We have the opportunity to enter a revered land, the land of God's throne. Only for a particular service am I entering the temple that holds a superior position. Wholly for service I am entering, and by their gracious nature they are drawing me there. I am being taken on my mother's lap. I take the dust of her feet upon my head, but she is taking me upon her lap."

Slave of the Slave
We are not independent. Constitutionally we are slaves of the slave, and there we thrive. We are to appreciate that slavery is our fortune. But this is a hard nut to crack, to accept this. How can slavery be for our gain, for our fortune? Krsna is so great that His slavery is of a high, noble order. He is so good, so great. Without that sort of disposition it is impossible for us to approach Him, to have any intimate connection. He lives in such a high sphere that it is impossible to meet Him. Only by the acceptance of His intimate slavery can we hope to enter that domain. It is so high for us, so very high. We should really try to understand how slavery is the highest attainment. Just calculate how much higher is the position that Krsna holds.

Divine slavery is spontaneous and happy. The very atmosphere is so happy, that if by any means we can enter into that atmosphere, we cannot but be happy, according to our best understanding, our best feeling and conception. It is all-satisfying; slavery is the highest attainment. How high that must be! We are to conceive in that way, what sort of inconceivably higher type of life is possible there: the beauty, the charm, the love. At the same time, the inverse is true.

However much dedication is directed at Krsna, a proportional dedication comes from Krsna. A finite person gives his whole energy. If the Infinite gives some small portion, that is more than enough. To have the chance of giving and taking in that sphere is desirable, it is a great fortune.

There are other incarnations of Krsna that are more or less busy with some official activity, either here in this world of maya or in Vaikuntha. But Krsna has no duty. He is always free, always enjoying freedom. He has no definite aim, at His sweet will He moves here and there. He is so free, and with the attitude of a radical. Free temperament, His sweet will playing freely. And He can give anything and everything at His pleasure.

Svarupa Damodara and Srivasa Pandita had a discussion in Puri. Srivasa Pandita was espousing the cause of Vaikuntha. He was speaking in favor of Laksmi Devi, describing Her grandeur, beauty and splendor. "What is there when we cast a glance towards Vrndavana? There are only flowers and a creeper and some peacocks tails here and there."

Svarupa Damodara could not contain himself; he could not tolerate this. "Srivasa, you don't remember? You also have some connection with Vrndavana. Don't you know that where there is much grandeur one becomes tired of that majesty? But Vrndavana is so plain, so humble, so simple. That is the place for the highest realized souls. They are all kalpataru (wish-fulfilling). The kama-dhenu (desire fulfilling cow) will supply whatever is necessary. But naturally the residents are rather disgusted with the vanity of the life of grandeur and splendor."

That is aprakrta kevala, the highest stage of existence. It is the display of the Absolute good or beauty. It is His play in the form of this human nature; that reaches the supreme position, the supreme charm there. It includes everything, its amplitude is endless and all embracing.

It is a sin to be culpable, but that is also included in that highest plane, in the highest pastimes. Nothing is neglected. This shows the greatest beauty-the highest having a touch of that which is negligible, that which is hated. We are accustomed to hate, to approach with hate, contempt and apathy. That is also harmonized in such a beautiful way. There is no room for rejecting anything, there it is the fullest play of the Absolute. The play there is fully dressed, dressed to the extreme. Thieving and quarreling, all these apparently mundane and hateful things are beautifully adjusted there. The most ample and deepest essence of harmony has evolved to accommodate and adjust all these things. So, it is very sweet and very wonderful.

The deepest beauty has been drawn out to make all these beautiful things more beautiful. The best quality things are taken out to allow these blamable things to also play their part, to enhance the beauty. Everything is beautiful. It is beautiful that the Master is stealing. He is quarreling; He is doing so many objectionable things. He is all-enjoyable. All that could take us away from His consciousness, they are utilized there. We have no room to run away. Where should we run? Coming in contact with that, you shall run away from there?

Everything will remind me about my Master. The beauty has flowed to the farthest extremity so as to embrace everything, and we have no place to run away. We are captured, completely captured. In whatever way our attention may be diverted, that possibility is already captured there. Where should we run? There is no room. There is complete dedication, attraction. We are captured wholesale. There is no way out! Mahaprabhu, Gauranga Sundara, Gurudeva, Sri Gurudeva; all are there.

When I left the mission of my Guru Maharaja after his disappearance, I came here quite helpless. I had to find my shelter and so I began to search the books that I had. What I received from my Guru Maharaja, I began to research the references in the scriptures. I tried to dive deep, to collect the very basis of real devotional life. I found that it is saranagati, surrender; and wherever I found the verses recommending and relating to that, I tried my best to collect them and compile the nectar in the life of one who has fully surrendered himself to the feet of the Divine Lord. That is Sri Sri Prapanna-jivanamrtam.

Paramananda Brahmacari was perhaps the seniormost of all our godbrothers. At the age of 13 he came to our Guru Maharaja. He was one of the earliest disciples of our Guru Maharaja, seniormost. Paramananda said that he read one chapter of Prapanna-jivanamrta every day. In Prapanna-jivanamrta we have collected many valuable passages from many saints and arranged them according to specific categories. There are so many sayings of so many great devotees and they are all very beautifully arranged and placed there.

In my study I found that saranagati alone is sufficient to produce all sorts of development in bhakti. Nothing else is necessary, so try your best to pursue saranagati, and automatically everything will come to you from the other side. Your business will only be to adhere to saranagati to the most intense degree possible.

Saranagati is enough, but without it devotion cannot stand. The greatness and the substance of saranagati has been sung, praised and appreciated in such a way. The surrendering disposition is the very basis. "I am for You. You may utilize me, or You may neglect me, still I am Yours. You may accept or reject me, but You are my master. You are independent and may deal with me in any way You like. You can put me in eternal hell, or You can take me on Your lap. You have every right over me." With such a heart we must approach our Lord. That is noble, that is divine. We can find the highest degree of divinity in our self-effacement, our self-surrender. That is the real expression of the negative towards the positive.

The negative cannot exist without the positive, and so too the positive cannot exist without the negative. In the words of our Guru Maharaja, Radha and Krsna are the predominated and predominating Moieties. Two Moieties-two halves of the one whole. One predominated and one predominating, but both have equal importance in their existence. One cannot stand without the other, and the fullest expression of this principle is Radha-Govinda.

Our mantra, our guru-parampara, the Rupanuga-Sampradaya, all point towards this principle. In support of this we find dasya-rasa, sakhya-rasa vatsalya-rasa, and others. But the principal direction is towards madhurya-rasa. They are leading us to the full rasa. All others are partial, subordinate and subservient-supplemental to the main rasa, madhurya-rasa. But that supplemental service is also necessary. Madhurya-rasa does not stand alone. It must have its paraphernalia: the friends, the parents, all must be there with this rasa. Those who have an inner liking for such rasa are so fortunate! Vasudeva Datta has said,

yadi gaura na ha'ta, tabe ki haita, kemane dharitam de
radhara mahima, prema-rasa-sima, jagate janata ke?

"If Mahaprabhu had not appeared then how could we sustain our lives? How could we live? What type of ecstatic rasa has He imbibed that we have been able to have a little taste? Without this our lives would be impossible. Who else could take us to the acme of realization of the position of Srimati Radharani? She is the greatest victim to the consuming capacity of Sri Krsna. She stands as the greatest sacrifice before Krsna's infinite consuming power. Rasaraja-Mahabhava—the rasa is there, and She is the drawer of that rasa from the storehouse. She has such negative capacity that She can draw out the rasa to the highest degree both in quality and quantity."

Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja said, "My guru is Radharani. She will be very gracious to You, Krsna, if You help me in discharging the order of my Gurudeva, if You help me in my propaganda work."

krsna taba punya habe bhai, e-punya koribe jabe
radharani khusi habe dhruva ati boli toma tai

"If You seek anything, if You are in want of anything, Krsna, then that is the good will of Radharani. And She will be pleased with You if You help me, because I am attempting to carry out the order of one whom is none other than Srimati Radharani personified. So You must help me."

Krsna had no alternative but to come down to him and help in his propaganda work. He had to come. Svami Maharaja was such a great friend of mine! He went away, but he is still with me through you. He is so kind to me! He is forcibly engaging me. Where else shall we get such a good friend, such a kind friend?

Seva Must Originate From Above
If we thrust something on the higher authority then that is karma-kanda. The origin of our motivation must not be within. That must come from Hari, guru, or Vaisnava. And we must carry it out. We should not be the creators of the wave of command. We must carry out the news that comes through the wave from above, from Hari, guru, or Vaisnava. We are only to carry out orders and not to make any.

When one receives the license from that higher plane, one can issue orders. God gives the license: "Yes, whatever you think, I will be at your back. I have constant connection with you and I supply the wave to your center, instructions of a permanent character. From that capital you will be able to transmit this wave to others."

The command must come from the center, the higher position, and be implemented by those below. The nature of harmony requires this system of control. The center is one, advaya-jnana. He is the Absolute autocrat. Advaya-jnana means the dictation from a particular quarter and carrying out the orders according to the degree of capacity of the different centers. Then the result is connected with the Absolute.

I must not venture to command anything to anybody, but if I have received that sort of order from the upper region, then and then only may I transmit that command. I may be a transmitter but not the absolute creator of any desire of any will. My spoken word may be a sub-center, but not the absolute center. There are many sub-centers, reliable sub-centers.

In Gurudeva, Radharani and Baladeva were permanently present, and now also there may be other recognized centers of command. I can communicate with them and carry out their orders. In that way we can keep our connection with the higher authority, the Absolute. We are very eager to keep our connection with the Absolute harmony, eager to have direction from above and act accordingly. By necessity of harmony this sort of conduct is required. A Vaisnava must have this submissive nature.

Whatever power we have, however small, place it at the disposal of the highest beauty, love divine, and it will be distributed. We will also be inundated with the highest quality and degree of joy and fulfillment. Such a life of devotion has been recommended as the key to our progress. Prahlada Maharaja, who is a suddha-bhakta, a pure devotee of the primary stage, santa-rasa, has warned us of the contamination of the trading disposition.

We should not attempt to conduct business transactions with God and His agents under pretense of devotion. It is a great danger in our approach to pure devotion (na sa bhrtyah sa vai vanik). We must scrutinize ourselves and abandon this trading temperament. At its root is pratistha—the quest for self-establishment, name and fame. Genuine devotion is devoid of such a tendency.

And we will have to go down sometimes. To go up, carry out the orders of the higher authority. Always maintain that sort of tendency. Setting aside our own sentiment, always look with earnestness towards whatever order we may get from above. That should be our guide, the guide of anyone in the center. And that will maintain harmony and unity in the organization. It is always necessary to maintain the health of the system. When a very elevated Vaisnava speaks like that he is setting the example for us. That should be our attitude, and he is also of that attitude: always hankering, increasing our hunger to get direction from above at every moment. And it is infinite. Every center cultivates that hankering.

There is also acarya-abhimana: some sum is already deposited with some condition, that it be spent for a particular purpose. Then as if it were his own money, he distributes it—that is acarya-abhimana. There are so many instructions within a box, some previously deposited direction. The acarya-abhimana is going ahead with those directions. The inspiration always comes to his heart: do this, do this, do this. Like a soldier he advances further and further, and by doing that he is internally carrying out his orders.

He is moving rationally, but internally he is connected with the higher plane: assertion on one side and submission on the other. Begging from the higher power and distributing to the lower section, that should be the duty of every person in the mission. Yare dekha, tare kaha 'krsna'-upadesa. "If you adhere to this business I will supply the capital to you." Be sincere in your dealings. The current is always there; it is a dynamic thing. The wares, the dynamo must be healthy, wholesome. There is no want of current. The mediator must be all right. The current is infinite.

Dedication Beyond Calculation
The calculation of good and bad in the misconceived area is necessarily all false, completely false. Dvaite bhadra-bhadra-jnana, saba mano dharma. On the other hand, whatever is good and bad in the plane of Krsna consciousness, both are ultimately good. We must try to learn what is the intrinsic value of good and bad. Sumati means a good disposition, but good in its fullest conception must come from devotion to Krsna, from Krsna consciousness.

Exploitation and renunciation, both are bad, and only service, dedication to the central principle of Divinity can really be called good. Service is of two kinds: calculating and surrendered. Surrendered service is the highest type of service, and that is found only in Vrndavana. Divine slavery to the extreme. This type of service means to accept slavery as our highest position.

He is so good, that if we can be connected to Him in slavery we will receive infinite good. Whatever degree of slavery we are able to accept, then we may attain such height of goodness. It is quite reasonable. Otherwise we cannot have any entrance into that holiest land. We can gain admission only when we offer our service to the extreme point of slavery. And that slavery must be unconditional.

Slavery in that domain is far, far better than mastery in this land of exploitation, where the reaction can only be very, very bad. And the middle plane, the land of renunciation, is neither good nor bad; it is nothing—zero—a freezing point. It is very hard to conceive of this beneficial divine slavery, but nothing short of that will give us entrance to the holy domain.

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