The Vision of Guru

Jun 24 2003 - Krishna Talk 43

Devotee: It has been said that the disciple should see his guru as a direct manifestation of Srimati Radharani. Is such actually appropriate?

Narasingha Maharaja: It is a fact that the higher devotees may have such a vision of guru, but such big words do not look good in the mouth of the neophyte.

In Gaudiya Vaisnava-siddhanta Srimati Radharani is the highest conception of guru-tattva but many things are required before we are to come to that stage. If a neophyte devotee speaks such high things, îMy guru is Radharani,î but such a devotee is lacking in the qualifications of a pure devotee, then the higher conception from his mouth becomes a mockery.

First one should understand that our guru is all in all, he has given us everything for our spiritual advancement. Therefore, we are fully indebted to Sri Gurudeva. We must feel eternal gratitude toward Sri Gurudeva. Our gurudeva has given us the Holy Name of Krsna (the highest form of Reality), and the proper conception of chanting the Holy Name.

The Holy Name of Krsna is not simply an external sound vibration, internal conception is required, proper conception. The name of Krsna chanted by the Mayavadi and the Name of Krsna chanted by the Vaisnava are not the same thing. The former is nama-aparadha, like the milk touched by the lips of a serpent and the later is as pure as amrta, eternal nectar.

The Mayavada conception is that Krsna is formless, no features, no activities, no senses etc. and such a conception puts one in the category of a pasandi or an offender to the Supreme Lord.

Sri Gurudeva has given us the conception that Krsna is the supreme proprietor, the supreme enjoyer, and the dearmost friend of all living beings. Sri Gurudeva imparts to us the conception that we are the eternal servants of Krsna and that service to Krsna must be preformed with full surrender of kaya, mano, vakya or body, mind, and words. Such a conception places us on the threshold of pure devotional service.

Next Sri Gurudeva gives us the vaisnava-mantras (diksa-mantras) that assist us conceptually in the chanting of the Holy Name and aid us in our internal development, rasa.

Hari-Bhakti-Vilasa states that one who is initiated into the Vaisnava-mantra and who is devoted to worshipping the Supreme Lord is a Vaisnava. To be accepted as a Vaisnava is indeed no small affair and to discard or neglect the diksa-mantras that Sri Gurudeva has given us is paramount to spiritual suicide.

It is stated in Gopal Bhatta Goswamiís introduction to Sat-Krya-Sara-Dipika that one who has given up his diksa-mantras will have to be reinstated (re-initiated) into the status of a Vaisnava:

kevalam sri guru govinda tastad bhave tat patnyas tad bhave tat putrat, tad bhave satirtha guru-bhratus tad bhave sajatiyananya sarana sadhutah punah panca-samskara-purvaka sri bhagavan-nama-mantra grhanam punah samskaratisaya suddhasya tasya sri visnu-pujanam tannamadi sravana-kirtana-smarana-vandanadi purvaka mahotsavadikam varniyam

“One should again accept Name and mantra from oneís own spiritual master. If the guru is not present (left his body), one should accept from the guruís wife, son or respected godbrother or from any other pure sadhu having similar qualities. Thus, becoming exceedingly pure by having accepted the panca-samskaras again, he should offer obeisance to and worship Lord Visnu, by fully engaging in hearing, chanting and remembering the Name, form, qualities and pastimes of Lord Visnu.î

Therefore, we should be most attentive to the Holy Name of Krsna and to our diksa-mantras, as if they were our very life and soul.

If we think that we have the higher realization but we do not chant purely and we neglect our diksa-mantras, then we are sure to fall down. Actually if that is our position, we are already fallen.

Next, we should understand how Sri Gurudeva has placed us in connection with the service of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and his foremost eternal servants. To enter Krsna-lila is very, very difficult. But one who has achieved the service of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is automatically accepted in Krsna-lila. The foremost service to Mahaprabhu is to spread His sankirtana movement (this includes book distribution and all other aspects of the Hare Krishna Movement). Not only is such a devotee accepted in Krsna-lila but also such a devotee will find that he has been automatically transferred to the service of the lotus feet of Srimati Radharani in Vrndavana.

yatha yatha gaura-padaravinde vindeta bhaktim krta punya rasih
tatha tathot sarpati hrdy-akasmat radha padambhoja sudhambhu-rasih

One who is extremely fortunate may get the mercy of Sri Gauranga. As much as we devote ourselves to the lotus feet of Sri Gauranga, to that extent we will automatically be able to taste the nectarine service of the lotus feet of Srimati Radharani in Vrndavana. The more one engages in the service of Lord Gauranga, the more one finds oneself in Vrndavana, tasting the nectar of the service of Sri Radha. (Caitanya-candramrta 88)

Then we must understand and appreciate how Sri Gurudeva has brought us in connection of the Lordís associates such as Svarupa Damodara, Rupa Gosvami, Sanatana Gosvami, and so forth.

The most intimate associate of Sri Gauranga in his vipralambha-lila (pastimes of separation) in Jagannatha Puri is Svarupa Damodara. Svarupa Damodara is Lalita in Krsna-lila, the most favorite friend of Radharani. Other than Svarupa Damorara very few devotees could understand the mind and heart of Sri Gauranga, especially when the Lord entered deep within the feelings of separation.

Sri Rupa Gosvami is the manjari-gopi in Krsna-lila named Rupa Manjari and in Gaura-lila Sri Rupa is connected with the innermost feelings of the Lordís heart through a vicarious relationship. Sri Rupa did not live personally with the Lord nor was he present for many of the Lordís pastimes at Gambhira, where the Lord manifested extreme feelings of separation for Krsna. But Rupa Gosvami was connected to the Lord through the Lordís instructions and through His service. Thus Sri Rupa was able to understand the Lordís heart when He danced and chanted in front of Lord Jagannatha in a most unusual way. For such, Sri Rupa Gosvami was appointed as the head of the Gaudiya-sampradaya and authorized to distribute raganuga-bhakti, spontaneous love in the mellows of sweet devotion.

Not only are we to understand that Sri Rupa is the head of our Gaudiya-sampradaya but also we are to understand that entrance into the Lordís intimate domain is possible for the jiva only by the same method as shown by Sri Rupa, humble submission and strict obedience to the Lordís instruction while serving in separation. This is our method of raganuga-sadhana.

It is an important point to understand that the indirect method of approach is a superior means to the end (dasa, dasa, dasa, dasanudasa) and Sri Gauranga has recommended such a path for all jivas.

The direct approach to Krsna is flawed from the outset because it clashes with the very nature or constitutional position of a jiva. By nature and constitutional position the jiva requires shelter, asraya. And this is particularly true when it comes to rasa with Krsna. A jiva does not have the capacity to directly associate with Krsna in any given rasa and again, particularly in madhurya-rasa. The jiva requires the shelter and recommendation of the Lordís parsadas, eternal associates. So Mahaprabhu has recommended this method.

gopi bhartuh pada-kamalayor dasa dasanudasah

“Our position is that of the servant, of the servant, of the servant, of the followers of the Vaisnavas (gopis).î

Sri Sanatana Gosvami was the older brother of Sri Rupa and he has given us the vaidhi, rules and regulations, in adjustment to the path of raganuga-bhakti.

So Sri Gurudeva has brought us in connection with these three important personalities in Gaura-lila and by doing so he has increased our good fortune many millions of times. We must gain such appreciation for Sri Gurudeva before we can understand his highest status.

If we have not understood all these matters concerning Sri Gurudeva then we have not actually understood what he is or what he represents. Simply shouting îjaya gurudevaî with no proper understanding is only giving lip-deep service.

Then we are to appreciate that Sri Gurudeva has brought us in connection with the most holy of holy places, Sri Mathura-mandala, the residents of the Dhama, Sri Radha-kunda, Sri Giri Govardhana and lastly Sri Gurudeva has placed within us the great hope that one day we will get the divine service of Sri Sri Radhika Madhava-sundara in Their eternal abode.

Raghunatha dasa Gosvami has said in his prayer that he has received all these things from Sri Gurudeva and so he bows his head with all respect at the lotus feet of Sri Guru.

nama-srestham manum api saci-putram atra svarupam
rupam tasyagrajam uru-purim mathurim gostavatim
radha-kundam giri varam aho radhika-madhavasam
prapto yasya prathita-krpaya sri gurum tam nato ’smi

Later on, in the absence of Sri Gurudeva, Dasa Gosvami has said that the world is empty and vacant, he says that without the presence of Sri Gurudeva the great Govardhana Hill seems like a big python coming to devour him. And Radha-kunda, the holiest place on Earth, seems like the gaping mouth of a ferocious tiger.

sunyayitam mahagostham girindvo ajgaraye te
vyaghra tundaya te kundam jivatu rahitasya me

"Now that I do not have the association of the sustainer of my life (Sri Rupa), Vraja seems completely empty and desolate, Govardhana Hill seems like a huge python and even Sri Radha-kunda seems to be like the gaping mouth of a ferocious tiger." (Sri Prathanasraya Caturdasakam, Verse 11)

Srila B. R. Sridhara Maharaja has commented that such a feeling of separation as felt by Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami will naturally come into the heart of a sincere disciple who experiences separation from Sri Gurudeva.

So before we make much of boasting and declare that our gurudeva is Srimati Radharani we should first try to follow in the footsteps of Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, our prayojana-acarya, and appreciate the proper conception of Sri Gurudeva beginning from the first step and gradually, with proper qualification, come to the ultimate realization.