Conversation Between Srila Gurudeva And Dr. Raman

by Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Goswami Maharaja

params.jpg Srila Gurudeva had a divine ability to get to the root of a question and to respond immediately with correctness born of expertise. He had a remarkable capacity for deftly handling persons fond of modern arguments, utilizing the very logic and examples of those with whom He was debating. Thus, whoever came near Him could not escape the influence of His charismatic personality. Those who have heard Him speak may recall the examples He cited while dwelling on Harikatha (topics about the Divine Lord). The following incident is referred to for the sake of those who have not had the good fortune to have been personally present.

In 1930, at the Sri Gaudiya Math at Bag Bazaar, the annual month-long celebration of Sri Krishna Janmastami (appearance day of Lord Krishna) was being held. On each day, a different renowned personality would preside over the gathering.

Some students of the famous scientist Dr. C.V. Raman would attend these meetings to listen to the learned Swamiji. On one occasion, they wished to know from Srila Prabhupada why such an internationally famous figure such as Dr. Raman had not been invited to preside at this function.

Srila Prabhupada replied that He had no objection whatsoever and cordially decided to extend an invitation to the great scientist.

Srila Prabhupada asked our Gurudeva to go and offer the invitation personally. Srila Gurudeva went to Dr. Raman's house, but he was not at home. His wife employed a bearer to take Srila Gurudeva to the laboratory on Circular Road, where Srila Gurudeva and Dr. Ramara met on the first floor. Dr. Raman was engaged in research in the corner of a large room. Since Dr. Ramara was not conversant in either Bengali or Hindi, the dialogue took place in English. Upon being asked by Dr. Ramana, Srila Gurudeva explained the reason for His coming. Having heard the reason, the scientist said, "I do not honor your 'krsto-bisto.' (Krishna-Vishnu) I will not give credence to anything that cannot be perceived by the senses and is fanciful by nature. Time is of great value to me. I am, however, willing to go to any conference which deals with science or education."

Srila Gurudeva: "Your students regularly attend our programs at Bag Bazaar Gaudiya Math. It is they who want you to preside over a session. Srila Prabhupada has instructed me to invite you. Please agree to our request."

Dr. Ramana: "Can you show me your God? If you can, then I will go."

Srila Gurudeva: "I cannot see anything beyond that wall, but would it be truthful to say that there is nothing beyond it?" The room in which they spoke had no windows. There were only walls, behind one of which stretched North Calcutta.

Dr. Raman: "You, perhaps, cannot see. But I will be able to see with the help of an instrument."

Srila Gurudeva: "There is a limit to the power of any instrument. You may be able to see as far as that power can take you, but does this mean that there is nothing beyond the limitations of the instrument?"

Dr. Raman: "Let it be. I will not give my time.

I will not dwell on anything that is not within the purview of my bodily sense experience. I ask you again, can you show me God? If you can, only then will I spare my time."

Srila Gurudeva: "You have arrived at what you consider to be a scientific truth. What will be your response if your students demand that you demonstrate proof of your conclusions as a condition for accepting you as their teacher?"

Dr. Raman: (emphatically) "I shall convince them of the truth!"

Srila Gurudeva: "First, convince them of the truth, and then teach them?"

Dr. Raman: "No, they will have to follow the same path of inquiry that I have followed. First, they will be required to study this subject in their Bachelor's program, and later in their Master's program. They must also work under me for five years. Then they will have realized the correct conclusion."

Srila Gurudeva: "Do not the great saints and sages of Bharata say the same things that you have said? Follow the path that they have followed to realize Atma-Paramatma-Bhagavan and find out for yourself whether or not God can be realized. You cannot impart your realizations to your students at the very beginning. They must follow a specific course. Thus, follow the path meant for God realization and experience the results for yourself. Try first and then negate it if you must, but is it wise to negate something from the very onset without even trying it?"

Dr. Raman did not immediately reply, but after some time he said: "I do not know anything about Krishna. What will I say at such a gathering? Would it not be better to invite someone who has knowledge of the subject?"

Srila Gurudeva was always so alert and quick to respond that no one could successfully say anything illogical in His presence. Such unique qualities cannot be acquired by scholarship alone. Only one who has been particularly blessed by the Guru can realize the truth, which flows through his very being.

(Excerpts from the Holy Biography of His Divine Grace Nityalila-pravista Om Visnupada Paramahamsa 108 Sri Srila Bhakti Dayita Madhava Gosvami Maharaj)

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