Glorification of Hari, Guru, Vaiñëavas
on Vyäsa-püjä Day by Déna-akiïcana
A presentation by
Çré Çrémad Bhaktivedänta Vämana Gosvämé Mahäräja,
on his Vyäsa-püjä day 7th January 2002
at Çré Keçava Gosvämé Gauòéya Maöha, Siliguòi
[NOTE: This page uses Balarama font (available here) for better transliteration of Sanskrit into English. Click here for a version without Balarama font.]
Today is a special day. On the ocassion of someone’s appearance day, an arrangement is made for the special worship of Çré Guru, Vaiñëavas and Bhagavän. Turyäçramigaëa (those in the sannyäsa order), coming in the line of Çré Vyäsa, perform the worship of previous gurus on their respective appearance days. The invocation and performance of Vyäsa-püjä on the guru’s appearance day, indeed, includes the worship of Bhagavän Çré Vyäsadeva and that of the whole Vaiyäsaki-sampradäya (that sampradäya in which Çrémad-Bhägavatam is spoken by Çré Çukadeva Gosvämé, the son of Vyäsadeva). Without following Vyäsa, there is no real fruit of guru-püjä. As His prakäça-vigraha, Çré Vyäsadeva is non-different from Bhagavän Himself. In order to reveal Himself, Bhagavän has manifested Himself in the form of transcendental sound as Veda-çästra. Furthermore, since the Vedas are incomprehensible by ordinary intelligence, there was a need to expand and explain them. Bhagavän Himself, as Vyäsa, performed the act of expanding the Vedas. He Himself is tattva-vastu, the Absolute Reality, and unless He makes Himself known to others, no one can know Him in truth.
Vedaiç ca sarvair aham eva vedyo vedänta-kåd vedavid eva cäham. Çré Kåñëa has said (BG 15.15): “I am indeed that ‘vastu’ (reality) that is established by the Vedas, I alone know the import of the Vedas, and I alone have manifested Vedänta. Therefore, without the anugatya (guidance) of Vyäsa, there is no other bona-fide or proper means to know Bhagavän.”
Çré Gurudeva, as the representative of Çré Vyäsadeva, reveals bhagavat-tattva. Through gurupüjä, Vyäsa-püjä is indeed accomplished, and this is the vaiñiñtya, (speciality) of the Vyäsänuga-sampradäya. Çré guru-tattva and çré vyäsa-tattva are the same. For this reason, Çré Vyäsa-püjä means to offer pädya to the lotus feet of Çré Guru. The disciple who knows the mano-’bhiñöaà of Çré Gurudeva, understands that the innermost desire of his guru is that he engages in perfect bhajana. That distinquished bhagavat-seva is not just an external offering, but it is the offering of pädya in a real way.
tad-vijïänärthaà sa gurum eväbhigacchet
samit-päëiù çrotriyaà brahma-niñöham
“To understand these things properly, one must humbly
approach, with firewood in hand, a spiritual master
who is learned in the Vedas and firmly devoted to the
Absolute Truth.” (Muëòaka Upaniñad 1.2.12)
The word tad-vijïänärthaà does not only mean tattva-jïäna, (knowledge of the Absolute Truth) but rather tattva-jïäna endowed with vijïäna, realization. In other words, one has to attain the tattvajïäna of prema-bhakti.
In many instances, the understanding of tattvajïäna leads to the conception of impersonal brahma, by which a jéva cannot attain deliverance from the spell of avidya, ignorance. The Transcendental Entity who is actually referred to by çästra by the word nirviçesa cannot be comprehended or conceived by those endowed with mundane understanding. If brahma is devoid of variety, then from where have all the specialities and varieties of this world come? The impersonalists have imagined a conception about brahma, the Transcendental Reality, however, brahma is not such an imaginary conception. Since in the very beginning of their tattva-jijïäsa, (inquiry about the Absolute), there is confusion in their attempt, therefore they can never attain auspiciousness for the soul.
Çré Vyäsadeva has said in the very beginning of his Vedänta-sütra: athäto brahma jijïäsa—“I do not know the identity of brahma and I do not know what is my relationship with Him. I want to know these truths. If this knowledge would have been within me, I would not have made such inquiry. I therefore need a teacher who can bestow such knowledge.” Therefore, the necessity of a genuine brahmajïa-guru is instructed within this sutra. Gurum eva abhigacchet. The words gurum eva declare that it is imperative to approach a guru, and without guru there is no other source by which one can know that brahma vastu. Abhigacchet, therefore, one has to do abhigamana to that guru. Abhigamana means approaching guru with service temperament and honest enquiry.
tad viddhi praëipätena
upadekñyanti te jïänaà
“Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master.
from him submissively and render service unto
him. The self-realized souls can impart knowledge unto you
because they have seen the truth.” (BG 4.34)
The explanation of abhigamana is found in this verse from Géta. Abhigamana means approaching guru with praëipata, paripraçna and sevä. Praëipata, self-surrender, is the first requirement. The second requirement is paripraçnena, honest enquiry with sincerety devoid of a challenging mood in order to know and understand the Truth. The third requirement is sevä, a serving temperament. If these are not present, there will not be proper reciprocation with him.
guhyam äkhyäti påcchati
bhuìkte bhojayate caiva
“Offering pure devotees items in accordance with their
requirements, accepting prasädi, the remnant items given
by pure devotees, revealing to pure devotees one’s confidential
realizations concerning bhajana, inquiring from
them about their confidential realizations, honoring the
prasäda remnants given by devotees with great love, and
lovingly feeding them prasäda—these are the six symptoms
of loving association with devotees.”(Upadeçämåta verse 4)
Without complete préti, love for that guru, one will not be able to understand the moods
of his heart. Thus, without abhigamana a person cannot obtain tattva-jïäna, and he will
only waste time. However, one must consider the nature and speciality of the person he is
thinking to approach. Çästra says: çrottriyaà brahma-niñöham. The guru must be brahmaniñöha,
steadfast in the realization of Transcendental Reality, and coming down in çrauto-panthä, the line of aural reception.
The nature of brahma, the Transcendental Reality or Transcendental Entity, can only be known through çrauta-panthä, the line of aural reception. That Absolute Truth is not the subject of any kind of mental speculation, mundane argument or mundane logic. Acintyä khalu ye bhävä na taàç tarkeëa yo jayet, prakåtbhyaù param yaca tadacintasya lakñaëam. He is beyond prakåti, material nature, and He cannot be measured or grasped by mundane reasonings. Such material endeavor does not give any evidence of good intelligence, and therefore, besides çrauta-panthä, there is no other means to know Him or understand Him.
What is the meaning of çrauta-panthä? It is not like the paramparä of ignorant people, where someone says anything and his statements are ‘repeated’ by one person after another. In çrauta-panthä, the original speaker is Bhagavän Himself and the listener is one of His own special devotees, the recipients of His mercy. As mentioned earlier, unless brahma reveals Himself, no one can know Him perfectly—and this is confirmed by the great-grandfather Brahmä, the Creator of the universe:
athäpi te deva padämbuja-dvaya-prasäda-leçänugåhéta eva hi
jänäti tattvaà bhagavan-mahimno na cänya eko ’pi ciraà
“O Prabhu, O Bhagavän, without receiving a particle of Your
mercy, no one can know You, even if he searches You for an
unlimited period of time.” (SB 10.14.29)
éçvarera kåpä-leça haya ta’ yähäre
sei ta’ éçvara-tattva jänibäre päre
“If one receives but a tiny bit of the Lord’s favor by dint of
service, he can understand the nature of the
Personality of Godhead.” (CC Madhya 6.84)
Thus, only those who have received a particle of the
mercy of içvara can know His tattva. It is said in the
näyam ätmä pravacanena labhyo
na medhayä na bahudhä çrutena
yam evaiña våëute tena labhyas
tasyaiña ätmä vivåëute tanuà sväm
“The Supreme Lord is not obtained by expert explanations,
by vast intelligence, or even by repeated hearing. He is
obtained only by one whom He Himself chooses, and He
manifests His own form.” (Muëòaka Upaniñad 3.2.3)
If a person thinks that by his ample scholarship or sharp intelligence he can understand Bhagavän and imagine Him according to his whims, he is mistaken. Tena labhyaù—that
person only who is accepted by Bhagavän can attain Him.
Bhagavän personally communicated with Brahmä. Why? Brahmä engaged in intense efforts to know Bhagavän, but when he gave up the ascending path and surrendered, then Bhagavän revealed the Vedas to him:
kälena nañöä pralaye / väëéyaà veda-saàjïitä
mayädau brahmaëe proktä / dharmo yasyäà mad-ätmakaù
“The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: “By the influence
of time, the transcendental sound of Vedic knowledge
was lost at the time of annihilation. I Myself am the religious
principles enunciated in the Vedas. Therefore, when the subsequent
creation took place, I spoke the Vedic knowledge to
Brahmä.” (SB 11.14.3)
Krsna is saying: “In the beginning of the creation I revealed Veda, çabda-brahma, unto the surrendered Brahmä.” What is there in the Vedas? Dharmo yasyäà mad-ätmakaù: The Vedas contain the message and process of bhagavat-dharma, by which one can attain prema-bhakti unto Me:
yävän ahaà yathä-bhävo
astu te mad-anugrahät
“By My causeless mercy, let everything about Me, namely My
actual eternal form and My transcendental existence, color,
qualities and activities, be awakened within you by factual
realization.” (SB 2.9.32)
“O Brahmä! I bless you with tattva-vijïäna (realization) of My tattva (the established truths of Bhagavän) regarding Myself, My bhäva (nature), form, qualities and activities. Thus, çrauta-panthä has started from that tattva-vastu (Absolute Reality) Himself and the four Vaiñëava sampradäyas have manifested from Him alone.
sampradäya-vihénä ye manträs te niñphalä matäù
çré-brahmä-rudra-sankä vaiñëavaù kñitipävanäù
The four Vaiñëava sampradäyas, Çré-sampradäya, Brahmä-sampradäya, Rudra-sampradäya and Kumärasampradäya—these are four çrauta-panthäs, and everything else is açrauta-vicära. Everything that is not heard in the line of aural reception is self-imagination. Those who only accept one aspect of brahma—the nirviçeña (varietyless and impersonal) aspect—are followers of açrauta-panthä. In the srutis where the impersonal aspect of Bhagavän is mentioned, however, in the very same çrutis, the truth of His personal aspect is also explained:
yä yä çrutir jalpati nirviçeñaà
sä säbhidhatte sa-viçeñam eva
vicära-yoge sati hanta täsäà
präyo baléyaù sa-viçeñam eva
“Whatever Vedic mantras describe the Absolute Truth impersonally only prove in the end that the Absolute Truth is a person. The Supreme Lord is understood in two features—impersonal and personal. If one considers the Supreme Personality of Godhead in both features, he can
actually understand the Absolute Truth. He knows that the personal understanding is stronger, because we see that everything is full of variety. No one can see anything that is
not full of variety.” (CC Madhya. 6.142)
Thus, although there are two simultaneous considerations, the personal aspect is indeed more important. The personal aspect is the svarüpa-lakñana, intrinsic characteristic of brahma, and the impersonal aspect is just a tatastavicära, extrinsic characeristic. The impersonal aspect is
vyatirek-vicära, the indirect (negative) aspect. Nirviçeña means devoid of mundane or material characteristics, and çaviçeña means endowed with apräkåta-viçeñatä (transcendental
characteristics), apräkåta-rüpa (transcendental form), guëa (qualities), and apräkåta-viläsa (transcendental pastimes). Indeed, both considerations have the same meaning. Where is any disagreement or contradiction between the two thoughts?
Those who see a contradiction in these two considerations, accepting the impersonal aspect alone to be paramärthika (spiritual), and thinking the personal aspect as false or temporary, imposes whimisical meanings to the statements of the Vedas. They are not brahma-niñöham,
steadfast in the nature of brahma. They are offenders. By accepting one aspect of brahma and rejecting the other, considering it as unfavorable, does not prove someone’s brahmaniñöhä.
However, Çré Gurudeva is brahma-niñöham; he can reconcile both considerations in an excellent manner.
tasmäd guruà prapadyeta
jijïäsuù çreya uttamam
çäbde pare ca niñëätaà
“Any person who is seriously desirous to achieve real happiness
must seek out a bona fide spiritual master and take shelter of
him by initiation. The qualification of a spiritual master is that
he must have realized the conclusion of the scriptures by deliberation
and arguments, and thus he must be able to convince
others of these conclusions. Such great personalities, who have
taken complete shelter of the Supreme Godhead, leaving aside
all material considerations, are to be understood as bona fide
spiritual masters.” (SB 11.3.21)
Those who want to know and understand the topmost, complete and eternal auspiciousness, and how to attain it, should surrender to a guru who is expert in the realization of çabda-brahma (the Vedas) and para-brahma (Bhagavän). Çabda-brahma means näma-brahma—väcaka- brahma, the transcendental sound vibrations of the names, etc., of Bhagavän, and para-brahma means nämibrahma—väcya-brahma, Bhagavän Himself. Çabda-brahma paraà brahma mamobhe çäçvaté tanü, väcyam väcakamity udeti bhavato näma! svarupa-svayaà, the bona fide guru is a realized soul. He is well-versed, in both of these svarüpas of Bhagavän. He is not a professional priest nor is he a platform speaker. He is tattva-darçi—he sees tattva-vastu and realizes it. Tattva-vastu means Bhagavän and His näma, rüpa, guëa, parikara, lélä and dhäma. Tattva-vastu includes all of these, and Çré Gurudeva is a tattva-darçé.
Sré Kåñëa has described that only that gurudeva who is realised in the Absolute Truth, is in fact His own svarüpa:
äcäryaà mäà vijäniyän
äcäryaà mäà vijäniyän
One should know the äcärya as Myself and never disrespect
him in any way. One should not envy him,
thinking him an ordinary man, for he is the representative
(sum total) of all the devas. (Çrémad-Bhägavatam 11.17.27)
Here, one should not consider that çré gurudeva is directly Kåñëa Himself. Those who interpret in this way have been condemned by çästra as wicked and possessed of a hellish mentality. Although Bhagavän and His associates are in truth non-different, it does not mean they are the same entity. Bhagavän’s eternal associates (nityaparikars) render service to Him, and gurudeva is he who manifests such service to Bhagavän (bhägavata-seväprakäçaka). Therefore gurutva, the quality of being guru, is fundamental in an eternal associate.
yadyapi ämära guru—caitanyera däsa
tathäpi jäniye ämi täìhära prakäça
Although I know that my spiritual master is a servitor of Çré Caitanya, I know Him also as a plenary manifestation of the Lord. (Caitanya-caritämåta, Adi 1.45) Just as sunlight cannot be separated from the sun and is therefore non-different from the sun, similarly gurudeva
cannot be separated from Bhagavän. Furthermore, just as sunlight is subordinate to the sun, gurudeva as guru-tattva is subordinate to Bhagavän; he is Bhagavän’s sevaka-tattva. For this reason, çästra describes gurudeva as non-different from Kåñëa.
çuddha-bhaktäù çré guroù çré çivasya ca bhägavatäsaha
abhedadåñöià tatpriyatamatvenaiva manyante
One should consider the pure devotee, çré gurudeva and Lord Çiva as non-different from Bhagavän, due to their being His priyatama, dearest beloved. (çruti)
uktas tathä bhävyata eva sadbhiù
kintu prabhor yaù priya eva tasya
vande guroù çré caraëäravindam
All the scriptures proclaim çré gurudeva as säkñät hari, the direct potency of Çré Hari. He is thus considered by saintly authorities to be His non-different representative. Because çré gurudeva is so dear to the Lord, being His confidential servitor (acintya-bhedäbheda prakäça vigraha, the inconceivable, different and nondifferent worshipful manifestation of the Lord), I offer prayers unto his lotus feet. (Çré Gurväñöakam 7)
Thus, it has been described everywhere that gurudeva is most dear to Bhagavän. It is for this reason that he is nondifferent from Bhagavän. Çréla Sarasvaté Prabhupäda has therefore said that one aspect of Kåñëa is viñaya-jätéya (the object of love) and the other aspect is äçraya-jätéya (the abode of love). In these two wonderful aspects of revelry, variegatedness finds its completeness.
Çré Kåñëa is viñaya-jätéya in full and çré gurupäda-padma is äçraya-jätéya in full. Therefore, gurudeva has been described as kåñëa-svarüpa. He has not been described as Kåñëa Himself. Why is this?
kåñëa bhakte kåñëera guëa sakali saëcäre
All the transcendental qualities of Kåñëa gradually develop in Kåñëa’s devotee. (Caitanya-caritämåta,Madhya 22.75)
In çruti it is stated båhatväd båhannatväd brahma: “That which is great and which makes others great”. Brahma is the infinite aspect of the Absolute Truth (båhat-tattva) and He bestows the quality of infinity upon those who take his shelter. Therefore, he is brahma. In the association of the infinite, minuteness is removed, just as by the influence of light, darkness is cast out.
sürya-sama mäyä haya andhakära
yähäë kåñëa, tähäë nähi mäyära adhikära
Kåñëa is compared to sunshine and mäyä is compared
to darkness. Wherever there is sunshine there cannot
be darkness. As soon as one takes to Kåñëa consciousness
the darkness of illusion immediately vanishes.(Caitanya-caritämåta, Madhya 22.31)
bhidyate hådaya-granthiç chidyante sarva-saàçayäù
kñéyante cäsya karmäëi mayi dåñöe ’khilätmani
When the sädhaka directly sees Me as Paramätmä situated
in the hearts of all living entities, the knot of the
false ego in his heart is pierced, all of his doubts are
cut to pieces, and his desires for fruitive activities are
completely nullified. (Çrémad-Bhägavatam 11.20.30)
In the association of the bhägavata (the pure devotee), the knot of all types of avidyä is removed from the heart, all doubt is cut asunder, and all karma is destroyed. In this way, all types of insignificance in the jéva are removed and gurutva, the quality of greatness which is inherent within Kåñëa, is transmitted into that jéva. Parama durmati chila, täre gorä uddhärila, tärä haila patita-pävana: “When delivered by Gauräìga Mahäprabhu, extremely wretched
and sinful persons became the deliverers of the fallen.”
(Gauräìga-niñöhä, song 37 in Prärthanä).
According to the logic of “nagna-mätåkä”, although a mother was naked when she took birth, it would be offensive to accuse her of always being naked; similarly it is an aparädha to judge a bhakta’s previous insignificance.
kibä vipra, kibä nyäsé, çüdra kene naya
jei kåñëa-tattva-vettä, sei ‘guru’ haya
Whether one is a brähmaëa, a sannyäsé, or a çüdra, if he is fully conversant with all the truths regarding the transcendental knowledge of Çré Kåñëa, he can become a guru. (Caitanya-caritämåta, Madhya 8.128)
Gurutva, the quality of greatness, is not ascertained by external mundane vision. One’s gurutva manifests to the same degree that his eternal function (svarüpa-dharma) develops within him. It has therefore been said, çüdra kene naya, “whether one is a çüdra or not.” Is a bhagavadbhakta a çüdra? Never!
na çüdrä bhagavad-bhaktä te tu bhägavatä matäù
sarva-varëeñu te çüdrä ye na bhaktä janärdane
A devotee should never be considered a çüdra. All the devotees of Bhagavän should be recognised as bhägavatas. However, if one born in a brähmaëa, kñatriya or vaiçya family is not a devotee of Çré Kåñëa, he should be considered a çüdra. (Padma Puräëa)
Atri Rñi has given this clear conception: bhagavadbhaktas can never be called çüdras. They are all bhägavata and transcendental brähmaëas, because no type of lamentation ever exists in them. Çocana iti çüdraù, “One who laments is known as a çüdra.” It is therefore a great aparädha to call bhagavad-bhaktas, who are free from all types of lamentation, çüdras.
Who then can we call a çüdra? Sarva varëeñu te çüdra ye na bhakta janärdana. “If one is not a devotee of Çré Kåñëa, he should be considered a çüdra even if he was born into a brähmaëa, kñatriya or vaiçya family.” Çüdras have no bhakti or inclination towards Bhagavän. They are constantly gripped by lamentation, illusion and fear. Bhagavad-bhakti alone removes these obstacles. Unless the jéva takes shelter of bhagavad-bhakti, his lamentation (çüdratva) cannot be dispelled.
There is no place for such lamentation in bhägavadbhaktas who are knowers of the science of Kåñëa (kåñëatattva-vettä). Does someone who knows the science of Kåñëa possess only theoretical knowledge? All theory may be on someones lips, but there may be no improvement within his heart and he may not have embraced the science of Kåñëa even partially. Is a person who knows the science of Kåñëa something like this? No.
One who knows this science is naturally and firmly fixed in practice, not merely in theory. There is no contradiction between his words and his deeds and he is intrinsically surrendered exclusively to Kåñëa. Only a bhägavad-bhakta such as this is spoken of here. All of his senses are constantly engaged in Kåñëa’s service, so he is never disturbed by the six urges.
väco vegaà manasaù krodha-vegaà
etän vegaà yo viñaheta dhéräù
sarväm apémäà påthivém sa çiñyät
A wise and self-composed person who can subdue the
impetus to speak, the agitation of the mind, the onset
of anger, the vehemence of the tongue, the urge of the
belly and the agitation of the genitals can instruct the
entire world. In other words, all persons may become
disciples of such a self-controlled person.
He who has conquered these six urges is jagad-guru, spiritual master of the entire world. To totally disengage the senses by performing the process of präëäyäma such as exhalation and inhalation of breath (recaka and püraka), retention of breath (kumbhaka), control of the
senses (yama) and various regulative principles (niyama), is not actually controlling the six urges. Proper engagement of the senses is real control of the urges.
yamädibhiù yogapathaiù kämalobhahato mundaù
mukundasevayä yadvad tathäddhätmä na çämyati
It is true that by practising restraint of the senses by the yoga system one can get relief from the disturbances of desire and lust, but this is not sufficient to give satisfaction to the soul, for this satisfaction is derived from sevä to Mukunda. (Çrémad-Bhägavatam 1.6.34)
Kåñëa-bhaktas alone can conquer the six urges; they are the real jagad-gurus, preceptors of the world. Kåñëaà vande jagat guruà, “I worship Çré Kåñëa who is jagadguru.” Çré Kåñëa alone is the original jagad-guru. By His greatness (gurutva), everyone else attains greatness. He bestows upon others gurutva, the quality of being great.
yäre dekha, täre kaha ‘kåñëa’-upadeça
ämära äjïäya guru haïä tära’ ei deça
Whomever you meet, teach them about Çré Kåñëa, and
in this way, under My order, become a guru and
deliver the people of this land. (Caitanya-caritämåta, Madhya 7.128)
kabhu nä bädhibe tomära viñaya-taraìga
punarapi ei öhäïi päbe mora saìga
Your life will not be obstructed by the waves of the
desires for sense enjoyment and you will again
receive my association at this very place. (Caitanyacaritämåta, Madhya 7.129)
Thus, investing his potency in those who are under His shelter, Bhagavän sends them as guru to this world for the welfare of the jévas. Unless the potency of Bhagavän is transmitted to the jéva, he does not attain the quality of guru. Due to the lack of this potency, the insignificant jéva thus falls into the waves of materialism. But this does not happen to a guru who is empowered by the çakti of Kåñëa. It is therefore said, kabhu nä bädhibe tomära viñaya-taraìga.
“The waves of materialism will not hinder you.”
In this context, Çréla Sarasvaté Prabhupäda has said:
“Give up hiàsä (malice, envy and violence) and be compassionate to the jévas. Do not act as guru to commit violence. Do not act as guru to sink into materialism; but if you can, become my sincere servant and attain My potency. Then you will have nothing to fear.”
This means that the potency of Bhagavän is transmitted into the bhägavat bhakta who is free from deceit. Without obtaining that potency, one’s compassion for the jévas becomes jéva-hiàsä, violence to the living entity.
What does jéva-hiàsä mean? Çréla Prabhupäda explains: “The word jéva-hiàsä means being narrow-minded or miserly in propagating çuddha-bhakti, and giving shelter or speaking to please mäyävädés, anyäbhiläñés (those who act for personal, selfish motives) and karmés.” Jéva-hiàsä actually means to give fuel to the jéva’s desire for liberation and their hunger for sense enjoyment, to conceal the impartial truth of the çästra, and to support the whims of the mind. Karmés, jïänés and yogés, are selfish and unsurrendered, and they follow the ascending process. Dressed as guru they commit great jéva-hiàsä. It is never possible for the function (dharma) of the spirit soul to manifest through their endeavours of karma, jïäna, or yoga. They are non-Vaiñëavas. In many instances they accept Viñnu, but only for their own gain. They consider Viñëu to be a temporary designation; hence their acceptance of Him has no value.
The type of Viñëu we see worshipped in païcopäsanä (worship of five deities, namely Sürya, Gaëeça, Çakti, Çiva and Viñëu) has no eternality at all. Such worshippers neither understand their eternal relationship with Viñëu nor accept their identity as His eternal servants. Therefore their Vaiñëavism is impure. Such païcopäsakas are nirviçeña-brahmavädés, or those who consider brahma to be impersonal and unvariegated. They consider the personal aspect of Godhead who has features and unique qualities, to be subservient to the material qualities of mäyä. Therefore they are offenders.
präkåta kariyä mäne viñëu-kalevara
viñëu-nindä ära nähi ihära upara
One who considers the transcendental body of Lord Viñëu to be made of material nature is the greatest offender at the lotus feet of the Lord. There is no greater blasphemy against the Supreme Personality of Godhead. (Caitanya-caritämåta, Adi 7.115)
Since their svarüpa, constitutional identity as Vaiñëavas, remains covered, they have no escape from inauspiciousness. How then can they remove the inauspiciousness of others? For this reason çästra states:
avaiñëavopadiñöena mantreëa nirayaà vrajet
punaç ca vidhinä samyag grähayed vaiñëaväd guroù
One goes to hell if he accepts mantras from a non-
Vaiñëava guru, that is, from one who is devoid of
kåñëa-bhakti. Therefore, according to the rules of
çästra one should take mantras again from a
Vaiñëava guru. (Hari-bhakti-viläsa 4.144)
A hellish destination is the only reward for receiving a mantra from a non-Vaiñëava. For this reason one must again accept the mantras and the proper conception of them from a Vaiñëava guru. What is the fate of a non- Vaiñëava guru?
yo vyaktir nyäya-rahitam anyäyena çåëoti yaù
täv ubhau narakaà ghoraà vrajataù kälam akñayam
He who poses as an äcärya but gives false instructions that are opposed to the sattvata-çästras, will reside in a terrible hell for an unlimited period of time, and so will the misguided disciple who mistakenly listens to such a false guru. (Hari-bhakti-viläsa 1.62)
Both he who explains çästra for his own gain in a way that contradicts the actual meaning, and he who hears that opinion, will on the account of impropriety reside in hell for an unlimited period of time. Bhagavad-bhakti alone destroys all the inauspiciousness of the jéva. Karma,
jïäna and yoga exist in excellent harmony only when they share the common purpose of bhagavad-bhakti. There is no duality.
yat karmabhir yat tapasä jïana-vairägyataç ca yat
yogena däna-dharmeëa çreyobhir itarair api
sarvaà mad-bhakti-yogena mad-bhakto labhate ‘ïjasä
svargäpavargaà mad-dhäma kathaïcid yadi väïchati
Through the power of bhakti-yoga, My bhaktas easily
obtain whatever results are obtained with great difficulty
through fruitive activities, austerity, knowledge,
renunciation, practice of yoga, charity, religious duties
and all other auspicious types of sädhana. My bhaktas
are free from all ambition, but they could easily be
promoted to the celestial planets, or attain liberation
or residence in Vaikuëöha, if they desired such things.
“Whatever is separately obtained through the performances
of karma, tapasyä, jïäna, vairägya, añöaìga-yoga
and other voluntary religious observances is easily
obtained by My bhaktas.” Therefore there is all perfection
in bhakti. This is the verdict of Bhagavän Himself and it
is free from partiality or bias. The glory of that Vaiñëava
guru who manifests and propagates such bhagavad-bhakti
is like the glory of Viñëu Himself.
yasya deve parä bhaktir yathä deve tathä gurau
tasyaite kathitä hy arthäù prakäçante mahätmanaù
All the confidential purports of the Vedas are fully
revealed to that great soul who has the same paräbhakti
for his gurudeva as he has for Çré Bhagavän.
(Çvetäçvatara Upaniñad 6.23)
He who has the same parä-bhakti for a Vaiñëava guru as he does for Bhagavän, is a mahätmä, a mahä-bhägavata. In the appropriate manner, the true meaning of çästra is revealed only to him. For this reason it is stated, mannäthaù çréjagannätho mad-guruù çréjagad-guruù. “My master is the master of the universe and my guru is the guru of the universe.” Unless there is niñöhä, or firm faith, in both viñaya- and äçraya-tattva, all confusion remains.
Viñaya-vigraha Bhagavän is the controller of all controllers, the omnipotent Lord of all lords (sarvveçvareçvara). In the same way äçraya-vigraha çré gurudeva is not an ordinary jéva, but the sum total of all the devas (sarvadevamaya). He is éçvara in that he has the qualities of the supreme controller. If one does not adopt this understanding he will consider gurudeva to be an ordinary human being. Then there will be a great danger for him because his own attachment to worldliness or mundane qualities will never be removed.
For this reason the phrase gurudevatätmä has been used (i.e. Çrémad-Bhägavatam 11.2.37). Only that person who knows his gurudeva to be devata and regards him as ätmä
meaning priya (“dear like his own self”), is gurudevatätmä.Unless one becomes gurudevatätmä, he cannot render intimate service to guru (viçrambeëa guroù sevä); and unless one becomes gurudevatätmä one cannot perform kåñëabhajana.
täte kåñëa bhaje, kare gurura sevana
mäyä-jäla chuöe päya kåñëera caraëa
If the conditioned soul engages in the service of the
Lord and simultaneously carries out the orders of his
spiritual master and serves him, he can get out of the
clutches of mäyä and become eligible for shelter at
Kåñëa’s lotus feet. (Caitanya-caritämåta, Madhya 22.25)
The relationship between kåñëa-bhajana and guru-sevä is inseparable.
Çästra describes many kinds of guru: caityaguru, vartma-pradarçaka-guru, çravaëa-guru,
bhajana-çikñä-guru, mantra-guru and so on.1 Caityaguru bestows the ability to discriminate in regard to what is and is not favourable for bhajana. He gives genuine transcendental knowledge only to those who have a sincere inclination to perform bhajana with affection. “Dadämi buddhi-yogaà taà yena mäm upayänti te – I bestow the transcendental knowledge
by which they can come to me” (Bhagavad-gétä 10.10). On the other hand, when the jévas have selfish ulterior motives, caitya-guru remains silent, and through His mäyä He makes them wander in the karmic cycle of birth and death.
håd-deçe ’rjuna tiñöhati
O Arjuna, Éçvara is situatedin the heart of all jévas
and is causing them towander in the cycle of
birth and death by Hismäyä, as if they are
mounted on a machine.
When the jéva becomes ready to renounce his absorption in mäyä, the indwelling Lord (antaryämi), awakens the jéva’ sense of wisdom regarding kåñëabhakti and externally He manifests as a mahantasädhu, a great saint. At that time the successive appearance
of the vartma-pradarçaka-guru, çravaëa-guru, dékñä-guru, bhajana-guru and so on occurs in the life of that jéva. Çréla Sarasvaté Prabhupäda said, “The abodes of love (äçraya-jätiya) – that is, our guru-varga – appear in various forms to bestow mercy upon me. All are the special manifestation of gurupäda-padma, the bestower of transcendental knowledge.”
Often the vartma-pradarçaka-guru and the çravaëa-guru are the same person. If the çikñä-guru
did not instruct us on how to take shelter of gurupädapadma and on how to behave towards him, we would gain nothing auspicious. He teaches the importance of the dékñä-guru and how to worship him. We must submissively obtain the mantra from the dékñä-guru, the bestower of sambandha-jïäna, and we receive instructions on the process of bhajana from the bhajana-
çéksä-guru. The dékñä- and çikñä-guru are one; they are never different. Both are the manifestation of gurupäda-padma, the bestower of transcendental knowledge. If someone perceives a difference between them due to their mundane conception, they commit a great offence. Until the conception that gurudeva is a mortal being is dispelled, such thoughts cause disturbance. If one is not particularly vigilant in dealing with such thoughts, his pitiable condition will never be rectified. For this reason it has been said:
çré guru caraëa padma
vando mui sävadhäna mate
With great care I worship and serve çré guru’s lotus
feet, which are a treasure house of unalloyed premabhakti
for Çré Kåñëa.
On this special day (vyäsa-püjä ), I remember the super-human (atimartya) character of my gurupädapadma. His foremost characteristic (vaiçiñtya) is his unparalleled guru-niñöhä. He is the glowing example of gurudevtätmä, perceiving gurudeva as being devata and regarding him as more dear than one’s very own ätma, or soul. At every moment he is so eager for gurusevä.
This can only be compared to the highest chastity of a wife for her husband. In every respect he offers his own soul, mind, body and everything at the lotus feet of Çréla Sarasvaté Prabhupäda. My çré gurupäda-padma dedicated his life to his guru just as Çré Kureça, the disciple of Çré Rämänuja, set such a glowing example by offering his life for guru-sevä. Offering his own life, my gurupäda-padma protected Prabhupäda from the challenging
uproars of people with demoniac mentalities.
Prabhupäda also manifested a pastime to reveal the incomparable guru-niñöhä in the heart of gurupädapadma. 2 When the guru-niñöhä of the mahopadeçaka (great scholarly instructor) and mahä-mahopadeçaka (very great scholarly instructor)3 disciples is compared to the guru-niñöhä of a mere upadeçaka paëòita (instructing scholar)4 quietly engaged in performing
deep and intimate service, it is like a glow-worm before the sun. By this pastime Prabhupäda destroyed their boastful pride.
Gurupäda-padma had so much guru-niñöhä in the tattva-siddhänta of Prabhupäda that it astounded people. When there was an attempt to challenge the vicäradhärä (“current of conception”) of Çréla Prabhupäda, gurupäda-padma roared like a lion, strongly refuting
them: “I do not know the previous gosvämés, but I accept the vicära-dhärä of Çréla Prabhupäda as the unmistakable truth and I shall try to know and understand the previous gosvämés in light of Prabhupäda’s vicära-dhärä. Äcäryera yei mata, sei mata sära /ära yata mata yänka chärakhära – ‘The opinion of the äcärya is the sum and substance. Let all other opinions
be destroyed.’ This is my conclusion.” To this all bowed their heads in amazement. This incident is very instructive.
There are many instances where the words guruniñöhä and guru-bhakti are inappropriately used. Niñöhä for those who are gurus in name only is inevitably degraded. Guru means “he who is vastavavastu, non-different from reality, and kåñëa-vastu, non-different from Kåñëa”. The so-called gurus in the various apasampradäyas are not kåñëa-svarüpa. The niñöhä and bhakti attributed to them is simply the product of the jéva's ignorance. Therefore, our attempts to put our faith in such persons can never be termed ädau guru-niñöhä or guru-bhakti.
The guru-niñöhä of gurupäda-padma towards Prabhupäda is the identification of his internal confidential relationship with him, and his deep relationship with västava-vastu. Gurupäda-padma knew very well that there is no mistake in the conception (vicära) of the previous gosvämés. J évas gripped by ignorance are susceptible to understanding these conclusions incorrectly. However, if one adopts the ideal, or the line of thought of Prabhupäda, it is impossible to come to the wrong conclusion.
If one who had had any connection with Prabhupäda came to gurupäda-padma, be he a temple devotee or renunciant, a householder, or an ordinary person, gurupäda-padma would become overwhelmed with bliss, and thereby open-heartedly manifest his intimacy with Prabhupäda. Gurusevaka haya mänya äpanära – “The servant of guru is honourable for us.” Gurupäda-padma would feel grateful and indebted to anybody with any kind of service relationship with Prabhupäda, and since Prabhupäda is the only object of his heart, he would even offer that person financial assistance. His affection was bound in his relationship with those connected to Prabhupäda. On the other hand he was as hard as a thunderbolt with those who, on the pretext of performing sevä for Prabhupäda, acted against him. All this is quite natural and comes from a feeling of relationship.
Gurudeva is the sole custodian of the entire service of Çré Rädhä-Govinda. Whatever sevä is performed to Çré Rädhä-Govinda is indeed service to gurupädapadma. Gurudeva is so adjusted with the pleasure of Kåñëa that his only bliss is to give pleasure to Kåñëa. He has no other source of happiness. Therefore, by rendering service to Kåñëa for His pleasure, service to çré
gurudeva is indeed performed, and therefore everyone is in fact the servant of gurudeva. Gurupäda-padma would feel indebted to anyone who was connected with that line of service, even if it was only for a moment. This is because Prabhupäda is the only wealth of his heart.
This unprecedented guru-niñöhä of gurupädapadma is his primary quality. His countless other qualities, specialties and characteristics are all subordinate to this main quality. For want of time it is impossible to appreciate or discuss all these divine characteristics. Vyäsa-püjä means to take shelter at the lotus feet of guru and offer pädya at those lotus feet. I have tried to accomplish this to the best of my ability. May gurupäda-padma be pleased with me by his causeless mercy. This is my humble prayer. All of you please bestow your blessings upon me so that çré gurupädapadma should remain pleased with me.
väïchä-kalpatarubyaç ca kåpä-sindhubhya eva ca
patitänäà pävanebhyo vaiñëavebhyo namo namaù
I offer praëämas unto the Vaiñëavas who are just like
desire trees, who are an ocean of mercy, and who
deliver the fallen, conditioned souls.
1 Caitya-guru is Paramätmä in the heart of all beings. The vartma-pradarçaka-guru is he who first introduces one to the line of pure bhakti. The çravaëa-guru gives one initial instruction in bhakti, while the bhajana-çikñä-guru gives one detailed instructions on how to achieve success in bhajana.
The mantra-guru, also known as the dékñä-guru, initiates one into the viñëu-mantra, a process known as dékñä.
2 This refers to the time Çréla Bhakti-prajïäna Keçava Gosvämé Mahäräja swapped clothes with Çréla Bhaktisiddhänta Sarasvaté Prabhupäda to protect Prabhupäda from an angry mob bent on killing him. For a full account of this pastime, refer to Äcärya Kesaré Çré Çrémad Bhaktiprajïäna Keçava Gosvämé: His Life and Teachings by Tridaëòisvämé Çrémad Bhaktivedänta Näräyaëa Mahäräja, pp 40–44.
3 Titles given by Çréla Bhaktisiddhänta Sarasvaté Prabhupäda to a number of his followers
4 Title attributed to Çréla Bhakti-prajïäna Keçava Gosvämé Mahäräja
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