Systematic Knowledge & Real Progress

Sep 25 2021 - Krishna Talk 236
Vyasadeva

(From a lecture by Srila Sridhara Maharaja given on 23rd February 1982)

Systematic knowledge, that is, knowledge properly adjusted, is required. Otherwise there are many amongst our group, who heard Prabhupāda's advices and words, but only partly. One day, my god-brother,  a senior man told that, “Prabhupāda had said this.” It was something which was of a provincial consequence. However, he wanted to utilize that in a universal way. I gave some objection, “Yes, Prabhupāda said this. That’s alright. But this is not the whole thing. He told this also. So we have to harmonize. We cannot ignore the other thing, other part of his advice. So we shall have to come in adjustment. That is systematic understanding of his words." So, only partial aspect he laid stress, pertaining to a particular point. He accepted that and nothing beyond that. So, systematic knowledge of the goal must be understood.

In a progressive life, when one wants to take the next higher step, there are others on that higher step that are ready to lift the foot from there, and to put it on a further higher step. That which is the kaniṣṭha adhikāri’s object of attainment, the madhyama adhikari is perhaps withdrawn from that, and is trying to climb on to the next. In this way, under the guidance of guru, so many different sections of śiṣyas, but all may not be equal, they are of variegated nature. One can understand something, another something more,  in this way, there may be gradation. But even the senior disciple may fall back, and the junior may go up. That is also possible. We have seen that. So many older one’s have gone away, and newcomers are showing greater energy. You can find amongst yourselves, and we have also found it. There are no stereotyped rules; It is a living thing. 

Kṛṣṇa is there, and He has not finished Himself. In his own śāstra, He says, "What I have written, that you must do. But, even crossing that, those that try to come to Me, they are my highest servitors.”  He is the Master, an Autocrat. His dealings should not be limited to the scripture. He says, even crossing scripture, I exist —

ājñāyaivaṁ guṇān doṣān
mayādiṣṭān api svakān
dharmān santyajya yaḥ sarvān
māṁ bhajeta sa tu sattamaḥ

“Having taken complete shelter of My lotus feet, a saintly person renounces mundane religious and social duties and worships Me alone. Indeed, he is the best of men.” (SB 11.11.32)

Though those directions for different classes are given by Me, still, sometimes it will be necessary to show devotion to Me, even crossing My own laws. They will be the higher devotees. 

So many things are there. The main thing is faithfulness, to die for the cause. Die to live. Saral hoile gaurār śikṣa bujhiya loibe — Simplicity — Simplicity means to be independent of prejudices. That is to be simple, to be empty, to be unpossessed, of the null position, to be clear, to be free of foreign possession, that is simplicity. 

Formal and substantial, these two things are the main trouble towards progress. sva-dharme nidhanaṁ śreyaḥ — progress means to deal with these two difficulties. To stick to one's formal position and then to make progress. If advancement is not sure, it is judicious to take the formal position. If there is any doubt of progress, one should stick to the former position. However, that is not progress. Progress means to leave the former position, and go forward. But only the one who is hopeful of a bright future, should leave the formal position and advance. Those of doubtful mentality, suspicious mentality, it is better for them to stick to the formal position, which is their already consolidated foundation, and to take a stand there. 

During the time of Guru Mahārāja, there were so many who did not take sannyāsa. But later on they found taking sannyāsa will take them speedily towards the goal. To take sannyāsa means to take risk. To take risk means  further progress. Should one hold that same position where one was at the time of Guru Mahārāja? Should one stick to that same position? Or should one try to make progress? If one makes progress, he will see so many things new, and so many things to be rejected. According to one’s own progress, one cannot but see that some things are to be kept back and some things in the front, and to be invited. To go nearer. Progress means this. 

What is good, what is bad, what is Kṛṣṇa, what is non-Kṛṣṇa — some sort of approximate knowledge we should have. And that will be realized more and more. "Oh, I could not detect this. But now I feel that with Kṛṣṇa conception this is also a valuable point.” In this way — realization and advancement.  But, without being sure of progress, one should not leave one’s former position. sva-dharme nidhanaṁ śreyaḥ para dharmo bhayavaḥ — What I do not find as my own, I must not take risk for that. But when I find, although it may be a little far, that this is my own, I must jump there. When I feel that, it is my own, and my inner hankering is searching just for that thing, then I must jump and take it. All this depends on our sincerity, and our proper understanding. 

Na hi kalyāṇa kṛt kascid durgatiṁ tāta gacchati — sometimes one may fall down, but he'll be able to understand that, “These are not desirable. But, they are hunting me, and for the time being they have captured me.” But after they vanish, then one thinks, "Oh, that suddenly came and overpowered me. My interest is hampered. I should not be affected by them again. I must be very alert.” In this way, sometimes the lower propensities may get the better hand, and one may go down, and sometimes one may go up. But we are always in the midst of battle; we are a soldier, always fighting for progress. 

We should have our stand in a proper plane, only then by viewing outside, we can see who is in what position. Saṁbandha jñāna. Sanātana Gosvami has  given it in Bṛhad-Bhāgavatāmṛtam. We are to follow that closely.  

Religion means proper adjustment. Taking our stand in a particular position, if you look around casting a view, you will be able to see, "Oh, this is here, this is there, this is lower, this is upper.” In this way, we must have saṁbandha jñāna, in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. What is Kṛṣṇa, what is Nārāyaṇa, what is Baladeva, what is potency. We must have some sort of conception of all these things.  Just as in the army, the General, perhaps from an aeroplane, will have a look where his men are posted. 

So the absolute standpoint is given in the Bhāgavatam, Veda Vyāsa’s last revealed scripture. He has given, kṛṣṇas tu bhagavān svayam. Taking our stand there, we are to get a view of the environment and make our decision on who is where, and what is what. 

Bhaktivinod Ṭhākura has written, keśava tuwa jagata vicitra — A market of variegated things are displayed, shown in this world. So many merchants are surrounding us. 

Tuwā pada-vismṛti,  ā-mara jantranā, kleśa-dahane dohi’ jāi – Your separation, separateness from you, from your conception, has put me into such a trouble that I am always being burnt by different types of pains. 

Kapila, patañjali,  gautama, kanabhojī, jaimini, bauddha āowe dhāi’– They do not know what is the real trouble within me, that I am burning from your separation. They do not know that. They are producing different types of medicines very eagerly, “Oh, take this, take that. So many doctors are coming eagerly to give relief, to remove my pain. But my pain is separation from you, that they do not know.”

Tab koi nija-mate, bhukti, mukti yācato, pāta-i nānā-vidha phāńd — They think, “Yes, I know the type of pain you are suffering from. That pain will vanish, if you accept this.” In your name they come to remove my pain from your separation. They do not know, but still they think they can remove my pain. In this way they come and approach. But, ultimately we shall find that they are either an exploitation group (bhukti) or renunciation group (mukti). Jaimini etc, they come to offer some higher level of exploitation. And the renunciationists, they come to offer liberation. They cannot surpass the jurisdiction of these two categories. But their method of approaching is of a different and of a capturing type. They want to entrap us in variegated charming ways. 

so-sabu—vañcaka,  tuwā bhakti bahir-mukha, ghaṭāowe — But all of them, they are all common in at-least one way, that they are all against Your devotion. They have got no real recognition for You. This is certain. I have found this. Therefore, I have to save myself from my friends. They come to give me relief but actually they only aggravate the disease.

Vaimukha-vañcane,  bhaṭa so-sabu — Now Bhaktivinod Ṭhākura is coming with his own contribution, “Then why are You (Kṛṣṇa) giving intelligence to all these professors to misguide the people? It is for testing. It is for segregation, so as to help the real thinking man. Your plan is like that. You send them to test who is bonafide in his quest about You. And those who are superficial, they are taken away by them, leaving the devotees to go on smoothly without any disturbance of so-called friends.

Niramilo vividha pasār, danḍavat dūrato,  bhakativinoda bhelo, bhakata-caraṇa kori’ sār — So I, the servant of your servant, Bhaktivinod, I am guarded by your glimpse of right knowledge, to understand who is who. So I honourably give some respect to them and get away, saying “Yes, I am alright now, let me off.” And I want the feet dust of Your devotees. The pure holy feet dust of Your devotees. That is the only medicine to do away with my trouble, the pain, the pangs of separation. That is my real disease. And, the feet dust – vinā mahat pāda rajo-’bhiṣekam, and niśkincanānām na vṛnīta yāvat – holy dust of your devotees, that is the only medicine to remove my pain. I have found this my Lord, only by Your grace. 

This is the eliminative capacity — anyabhilasita-sunyam, jñāna-karmādy-anāvṛtam – This elimination is also amongst the devotees. Amongst all that came to Swami Mahārāja or our Guru Mahārāja, many of them have gone away, and many are very weak. Many are trying to go up, and many are busy exploiting Swāmi Mahārāja. That is not impossible. They want to exploit Swāmi Mahārāja, his good name, his credit, his goodwill. Many know what their position is by measuring the real standard within. But there are many who can not control the temptation of exploiting, they are guru bhogi. Kṛṣṇa bhogi wants to exploit Kṛṣṇa, wants to exploit guru and his men, only to fulfil personal desires. That is also possible.

A real student, bonafide student needs to be alert from all sides, that the non–Kṛṣṇa may come in different dress, and he must try to save himself from that. Once Hanumān was keeping Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa within a room made of his tail. Vibhīṣaṇa warned, “Hanumān, be very careful. Mahirāvaṇa will entice you, and take away Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa by enticement. He will come in different forms. Beware!” But at last the demon came in the garb of Vibhīṣaṇa himself and took them away from Hanumān. Possibility of  Māyā’s approach is very spacious and comprehensive. So we have to be very careful to maintain the value, the tendency and the outlook of our inner arrangement. We have to be very careful to maintain that and if possible, to make progress in the right direction. That is our interest. So, “God save me from my enemies,” that is a general thing, and, “God save me from my friends,” that is also there. And I myself am also included in that. As a friend, I may also deceive you! You must be so much careful. At your own risk you must pray for the supreme, the caityaguru for giving the right direction as to what is what, and what is to be accepted. This is a crucial point. I don’t want to take the responsibility. Mahāprabhu and Kṛṣṇa have also not taken the responsibility. You are free — vimṛśyaitad aśeṣeṇa yathecchasi tathā kuru. Kṛṣṇa, who can compel everyone to agree with Him, he also says, “You are free. What I had to say I have said. Now, you Arjuna, decide what you have to do. Exhaustively, to the fullest capacity of yourself, you discriminate and decide, what you should do.”