Krsna consciousness, the spiritual conception of the highest level, descends by flowing down from one level to the next, just as from the peak of a mountain, the Ganges flows in a zigzag way, from one peak to another. Sometimes the water of the Ganges mixes with the current of the river Saraswati. That water is not to be considered Ganges water. When the water of the Saraswati joins the current of the Ganges, it is considered to be Ganges water. When the two rivers meet, the water that flows away from the Ganges is not the Ganges; but when the Saraswati's waters enter into the current of the Ganges, it becomes the Ganges. That water will purify us, whatever its point of origin may have been. There is a saying that whatever water is deep within the current of the Ganges riverbed, is the real Ganges water. That water will purify us, whatever its point of origin may have been.
The purifying potency of the water has nothing to do with the water we
can feel and see. What can we see with our physical eyes? The current
of the Ganges is pure. When the spirit and sanction is there, it is a
living thing, and can purify everyone.
So, the very gist of the guru parampara, the disciplic succession, is siksa, the spiritual teaching, and wherever it is to be traced, there is guru. One who has the transcendental eye, the divine eye, will recognize the guru wherever he appears. One who possesses knowledge of absolute divine love in purity--he is guru. Otherwise the guru parampara is only a body parampara: a succession of bodies. Then the caste brahmanas, the caste goswamis, will continue with their trade, because body after body, they are getting the mantra. But their mantra is dead. We are after a living mantra, and wherever we can trace the living tendency for a higher type of devotional service, we shall find that there is our guru. One who has that sort of vision awakened will be able to recognize the guru wherever he may appear.
Initiation into the mantra means to impart real knowledge and devotional sentiment from one to another. And that must be genuine. Nothing can be known about a homeopathic globule by an outer physical inspection, but the potency is within. So also within the mantra the important thing is the type of thought or sentiment which is imparted through that sound. The impersonalists have got the same mantra, and are also chanting, the holv name of Krsna, but that sort of name will vanish in the brahmajyoti. They won't be able to cross the Viraja, the river between the material and spiritual world. When the mayavadi chants the name of Krsna, Bhaktivinoda Thakura says that his chanting of the name of Krsna is just like thunder to the holy body of Krsna. It does not produce any soothing effect.
The Gaudiya Math deals with reality, not with the frame. We are trying to understand what is what in the spiritual thought-world. We are not enchanted or captured by the mere form. We are interested in the step by step development in spiritual thought. In his Upadesamrta (10), Srila Rupa Goswami has said, karmibhyah parito hareh priyataya vyaktim yayur jnaninas, tebhyo jnanavimukta bhakti-paramah premaika nisthas tatah. "Out of many materialists one may be a philosopher. Out of many philosophers, one may become liberated and take to devotional service. Out of many devotees, one may attain pure love of Krsna. He is the best of all." We are interested in understanding this gradation: what is the Viraja river, what is the spiritual sky, the planet of Lord Siva, the Vaikuntha world of Visnu, Lord Rama's Ayodhya, and then Krsna in Dwaraka, Mathura, and Vrndavana? We want to know the realistic view of the whole gradation of devotional thought. Krsna shows this gradation in the Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.14.15) where he says:
atma-yonir na sankarah
na ca sankarsano na srir
naivatma ca yatha bhavan
"Neither Brahma, nor Siva, nor Sankarsana of Vaikuntha, nor the goddess of fortune Laksmidevi, nor even my own self is as dear to me as you. You are my favorite, Uddhava."
We have to follow the spirit; otherwise after Jahnava devi, the wife
of Lord Nityananda, up to Vipina Goswami, from whom Bhaktivinoda Thakura
took initiation, there are so many unknown lady gurus. Through them, the
mantra came to Vipina Goswami, and from him Bhaktivinoda Thakura
received the mantra. We accept Bhaktivinoda Thakura, but should
we count all those ladies in our disciplic succession? What was their
Slaves of the Truth
We are slaves of the truth. We are beggars for the pure current of truth that is constantly flowing: the fresh current. We are not charmed by any formality. I will bow down my head wherever I find the river of nectar coming down to me. When one is conscious that the Absolute Truth is descending to him from the highest domain, he will think, "I must surrender myself here."
Mahaprabhu says to Ramananda Raya, kiba vipra, kiba nyasi, sudra kene naya, yei krsna-tattva vetta sei guru haya. "Wherever the truth appears, wherever the nectar of divine ecstasy descends, I shall offer myself as a slave. That is my direct concern." Whatever form it takes doesn't matter much; the form has some value, but if there is any conflict, the inner spirit of a thing should be given immense value over its external cover. Otherwise, if the spirit has gone away, and the bodily connection gets the upper hand, our so-called spiritual life becomes sahajiya, a cheap imitation.
When we are conscious of the real substance of Krsna consciousness, the real wealth we are receiving from our spiritual master, then our spiritual life cannot be sahajiyaism, imitationism. We must be aware enough to detect our guru's advice when we find it in another. One who is awake will see, "Here is my guru's advice, I find it here in this man. Somehow or other, it has come here. How, I do not know, but I see my guru's characteristics, his dealings, and behavior in this person." When we are able to recognize a thing for its intrinsic value, then, wherever we find it, we cannot neglect it.
There is an example of this in an instance regarding Aurobindo Ghosh, of Pondicherry. He was the first leader of the Anarchist Party and practically the founder of the revolutionary movement in Bengal. In 1928, a case against him was proceeding in Calcutta High Court. A famous attorney, Mr. Norton, was in charge of the prosecution. Aurobindo had absconded, and when the case was going on, he was not to be found anywhere. Norton was concerned. How to find him? Aurobindo's English was very good English. He had been educated in England from childhood, and could speak English even better than many Englishmen. Norton began to search through different papers and magazines for Aurobindo's writing. Finally, he found Aurobindo's style of writing in the Amrita Bazaar Patrika, a Bengali newspaper. "Here is Mr. Ghosh!" he said. The editor of the Amrita Bazaar Patrika was summoned to court to find out whether Aurobindo Ghosh had written the article. Norton examined him:
"This is your paper. You must know who has written this article. You are the editor."
"Yes, I know."
"Do you know this man, Aurobindo Ghosh?"
"Yes, I know him. I consider him to be one of the greatest men in the world."
"As the editor of this newspaper do you know who wrote this article?"
"Yes, I know."
"Has Mr. Ghosh written this article?" "I won't say."
Norton asked him, "Do you know what is the punishment?"
"Yes. Six months imprisonment." "You are ready for that?"
"Yes, I am ready for that." Holding up the newspaper article, Norton said, "Here is Mr. Ghosh! I rest my case."
He saw Aurobindo in his writing, and in a similar way we must see, "Here
is my gurudeva !" Our spiritual master would also sometimes
say of one of his disciples who had departed, "Bhaktivinoda Thakura
came to me, but l could not recognize him." Those whose divine vision
is awakened are always seeing signs of divinity everywhere .
One Krsna in Many Gurus
We must have the vision to recognize the presence of our guru's temperament. Mahaprabhu says madhavendra purira sambandha dhara jani. When Mahaprabhu met the Sanodiya brahmana, upon seeing his movements, he at once detected that this brahmana must have some connection with Madhavendra Puri. He said, "Without his connection, I could never find such symptoms of transcendental ecstasy. It must come from Madhavendra Puri." So, we must know Krsna consciousness in truth. It is said acaryam mam vijaniyan, the spiritual master is not to be differentiated. One thing is coming down from the Supreme Lord, so the oneness of continuity is not to be ignored. Guru can be here; guru can be in another bodv also. The same teacher may come in a different body to inspire us; he may come to give us new hope and higher education. The substance should always be given a higher value than the form.
First understand the degree of purity in Krsna consciousness. The followers of form are only imitationists; they want only to exploit Mahaprabhu and not to serve him. They are our worst enemies. They are traitors; they have taken the garb of Mahaprabhu's sampradaya, and they are saying something bogus. This is cheap marketing; they are extensively selling adulterated things very cheaply. They have no inner necessity to attain the purest thing (pujala ragapatha gaurava-bhange ). Although he was such an exalted Vaisnava, our guru maharaja never presented himself as a great devotee. He always used to say, ''I am a servant of the servant of the Vaisnavas. That was his claim. And he would say, "The higher devotees are my guru, they are so exalted." First come and practice all these things, and then you can hope to reach the goal. It is not so easy, or so cheap." "Out of many liberated persons, a pure devotee of Lord Krsna is extremely rare." (koti-mukta-madhye 'durlabha' eka krsna-bhakta ).
Krsna consciousness is an internal thing, and those who cannot see the internal truth will make much of the external cover. We do not support that. Rather we are interested in the real spirit. All the opposing elements who are interested in externals cannot touch us. Dogs may bark, but the barking of a dog has no importance. Because they make so much of the outer thing, they have no real purification of the heart to accept the pure thing, to discriminate what is purity, or what is love of Godhead, prema, after which even Brahma and Mahadeva aspire.next