A talk given on 12 December
Sri Madhav Jiu Gaudiya Matha
On the occasion of
At the outset I seek the mercy of My Guru, Sri Srimad Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami. I offer my prostrated pranams to the revered Tridanti-pada, the revered Vaisnavas and all household Vaisnavas. You all have assembled here on the occasion of the great festival of Sri Vyas-puja or Sri Guru-puja. At present Sri Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti has been given an opportunity to establish a Matha or an asrama at Shauraputti in order to preach the Holy Name and the message of devotion.
It is through the untiring efforts of the respected Sri Subhala Sakha dasa adhikari Prabhu, also known as Sri Subhal-jana and his family, that it has been possible to set up this centre here for spreading the message of sanatana-dharma. I have come here before you as a humble servant of this renowned Sri Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti.
Today is the birthday for some people. In this world people on the occasion of their birthdays seek the blessings of their guardians in order to prosper but for us, those who are travelling along the spiritual path, the rule is somewhat different. WE have heard a lot about this until now. We know that our Guru tradition, our Gaudiya-guru tradition, has started from Lord Krsna. He has not been left out. Sri Krsna, Brahma, Devarsi, Badrayana, Sankyakana, Sri Madhva, Sri Padmanabha, Sri Manuhari, Madhavana . This is the guru tradition in whose praise we offer kirtana.
The Lord is right at the beginning. After Him come Brahma, Devarsi, Narada etc. Badrayana or Vyasadeva has been our starting point. In the same way, another name for guru-puja is Vyasa-puja. Why do we start form Vyasadeva? Why not from Sri Ksna?
Vyasa-puja is in recognition of Vyasadeva as our guru. Do we offer Krsna-puja through Vyas-puja? Yes, we do. In the recitals for Vyas-puja we take the name of Sri Krsna, but why do we put the name of Vyasadeva at the top of the guru-tradition? If we look into it we will see that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu recognized Srimad-Bhagavata as the pinnacle of all proof or evidence.
Sri Visvanatha Cakravarti-pad has said:
Herein, this Srimad Bhagavatam has been recognized as the pinnacle of all proof or evidence. We are devoted followers of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. If we look beyond this we will see that we are known as Brahma-Madhva-Gaudiya sampradaya. Then we find that Brahma is there. Madhva is Madhvacarya. The scriptures talk of for acaryas. The scriptures have predicted that four Vaisnava acaryas will spread the message of devotion in this world.
sampradaya vihina ye
mantras te nisphala matah
“In this Kali-yuga there is mention of four Vaisnava communities.”
It has been predicted that these four Vaisnava communities will spread the devotional message in this world. Why has Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu recognized Madhvacarya?
Madhvacarya has put great emphasis on reasoning. That is why Sri Caitanya has accepted his reasoning. The Lord and jiva, the two are separate. And therefore the theory of jiva-brahmaika, the oneness of the jiva & Brahman is totally wrong. To explain this Sri Caitanya has accepted Madhvacarya and his reasoning.
The messages preached by the four vaisnava communties have their deficiencies. In order to remove those deficiencies Sriman Mahaprabhu has preached acintyabhedabheda siddhanta. As a humble servant of Sri Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti, I have been invited to speak on this occasion.
The Lineage of Vaisnava Gurus
As I have told, today is the birthday for some people. The common man on such a day looks for the blessings and good wishes of his superiors. I also have the desire to talk about my gurus and their lives and their messages. But I do not have enough time and I have to find a shortcut. When I take this shortcut I see that the teachings and the advice and directions given by the lineage of gurus are not ordinary. Right from our birth till our death all the education that we receive, all the experience that we gain, all of them are of a perishable nature. The knowledge we receive helps us somehow to live our lives in this world. In brief it helps us to find food, to find some clothing, to get a roof.
That there is a world beyond all this, apart from this, that we are not trained to think about. Why? Just as this world exists, there must also exist the other world. Why don’t we learn to think about this other world? Are we destined to remain satisfied with our eating, our wearing clothes and our finding a roof over our heads in this world? Is there nothing else for us to do? Our scriptures ask these questions. And our scriptures give the answers.
The previous speakers have tried to explain to us that the inner self or jiva is forever the servant of Krsna. I am asking you, “Are we to engage ourselves fully in just living in this world. Don’t we have some other special duty and responsibility?
Where sadhana-bhajana is Possible
If we look at this creation we find that the creator has created this infinite universe. He has created the trees, grass birds, animals, germs, demons, and human beings. All created by Him. But it is only in this human life that one can engage in sadhana-bhajana. In no other life form is sadhana bhajana possible. The ability to follow the path of devotion is not there in other life forms.
The Devas, gods and goddesses are, so to say, in an official way, great. Even for them (the devas), if they really want to love our Lord, they have no option but to take birth as human beings and through sadhana and bhajana then only they can progress in this direction. This is what has been written in or scriptures. That is why to be born, as a human being is a rare gift. Because without this human life one cannot do sadhana-bhajan. After having received this rare gift of human life if we keep ourselves engaged in the search of food and clothing and a roof we are just wasting time. The scriptures have said do not follow the path of jnana or the path of yoga or the path of karma. All theses are obstacles. You will not be able to reach the Lord through these paths. This is what is written in the Gita and in the Bhagavatam. Then what are we to do?
Patch-job solutions to Life’s ills
The traveller along the path of karma says, “I will do good deeds which will help me and my close associates to lead a comfortable life.”
The traveller along the path of jnana is engaged in the search for the one Brahman. The karmi is engaged in enjoyment of the gross things. The jnani is engaged in the enjoyment of subtle things. So too, is the yogi. If these are not the ways to be followed by us, if these paths do not lead to happiness, then which is the way for us? Everywhere in the scriptures we find that the same message is there. This is what Krsna Himself tells His dear friend Arjuna. “If karma, jnana and yoga do not lead us anywhere, the only way left is the way of devotion.
But how shall we take to the way of devotion if we do not have sincerity in ourselves, if we do not make an effort? The scriptures say tatvat karmani. We shall keep on doing karma until we are through with it. Mat-katha-sravanadau (Cc Madhya 9.266) The Lord is saying with regret, “The chained (bound) jiva will continue to wander along the karma- marga (the path of action and reaction) until he develops an interest in my advice and guidance—until he develops a taste for what I tell him.”
Sometimes he is in heaven, sometimes on this earth and sometimes in hell. Sometimes he is a god, sometimes he is a child, sometimes he is a servant, and sometimes he is the master. But whatever the particular situation, it is not good for him. So he must take the way of devotion. No matter how much you follow the path of knowledge or you do yoga, until everything is dedicated to the service of the Lord—until you do sadhana-bhajana—then all is a waste of time.
The talent that we may have, the intellectualism that we may possess, behind it all—everything—there must be devotion. Without devotion we cannot progress even one step. That is what is said by: vidya bhagavata vati—“The knowledge that we acquire in this world is all nastika knowledge, (atheistic).” Today our situation is such that our country, which is spreading the correct message to the whole world, is itself now dependent on others.
What is the Western world giving us? Whatever they say, we think that is right. And whatever our scriptures say, we think that is wrong. What the Lord has said Himself in the Gita, in the Bhagavatam –what he has given us by His direct speech—all that we take to be wrong. What the Western world says, we will follow that. That is our deplorable condition today.
But the Western world also tells us a number of good things that we do not want to follow. We want to follow them blindly. From where we get the good thoughts? Whatever is good and its essence are all there in our scriptures. Then why do we want to carry on our lives without the help of scriptures? In our day-to-day lives we think that we’ll be able to live happily and prosperously by eliminating what the scriptures teach us.
Food + Roof = Happiness?
But what is happiness, what is prosperity? Only our search for food, clothing and a roof? That cannot be true. The scriptures say only that THAT is not a human life. We human beings have out own speciality. That is what constitutes our humanity. Man is called a rational being. If we enhance the anthropomorphic animality in us, then where can we get rationality? Where will we get the humanity in human beings? If we only search for food, clothing and a roof, we are not discharging our duty as human beings.
Complex Questions – Beautiful Answers
The scriptures say you only have the form of a human being but the work you do is the work of ghosts. What is our duty in this human life? The scriptures say: katava gantra gaste putra.
These are our philosophical questions, the scriptures give beautiful answers to these questions. But if we do not ponder on these answers, do not practice them, then how will we know the correct answers? We know only about three lokas, or we may not know but we have heard about three lokas. But these three lokas are not really good lokas. Bhuvar-loka and Svar-loka—these are places for enjoyers. After these there are four more lokas. There, things are better.
Those who have gone through brahmacari-asrama and have become houeholder fore them there is one loka. Those who continue to follow their brahmacari asram for them there is one loka, there is one loka for varnaprasthi, one for sannyasis. All these four lokas are inert brahmanda. There is nothing good in this. Although there are a few sublte aspects in these seven lokas, inert gross and inert subtle that;s all ther e is in these seven lokas. Bhuh, Bhuvar, Svar, Maha, Jana ,Tapo, Satya. These are the seven. Atala, Vitala, Sutala, Talatala, Mahatala, Rasatala, Patala. These fourteen lokas are not really a good place to be in, because there you are chained. The scriptures say that is a prison. Does anyone call the prison a place for freedom? If someone ties me down with an iron chain. I am a prisoner. If I am tied down with a silver chain I am still a prisoner. If someone ties me down with a golden chain I am still a prisoner. This we must understand.
There is a good place too. There is a very high place, very high loka. Hhere we can reach with sadhana-bhajana. But we haven’t received that proper education. From our childhood, whatever education we have failing the examination to uphold the sancticity received that is all about food, clothing and a roof. Nothing more than that. Somehow we have determined how to survive in this world. That is our education. Today’s social structure the political structure everything is imparting that same education to us. We don’t get the education about ideals about morals.
Without ideals, Man becomes an encrusted Robot
But without ideals and morality a human being cannot be a human being. The Lord has created man with several classifications. There is the atheist who does not possess any morality, then there is the atheist who has some morality, and then there is the theist who also has has morality. With the development of human consciousness, real humanity has come to human beings. Why? Because then man can perform sadhana-bhajan and he can reach the highest loka.
When the creation came about, everything was neutral. We, who somehow fell down have come to this world, are enjoying or suffering according to our deeds, our karma. And those who have passed the examination of proper taste and proper education, they are nitya-mukta-they are always free. They have instantaneously gone to that highest loka.
Whereas they are nitya-mukta we are nitya-baddha. We are always imprisoned, even though we are imprisoned still with the help of sadhana-bhajana, we can also go that highest loka. That is what is said in the scriptures. In the Bhagavad-Gita the Lord tells his close friend Arjuna, “Arjuna, why do you get so much suffering here? Come to me. If you do come to Me, all your sufferings will disappear.”
Don’t we have to pass Someday?
All of us had our home there, in that loka. How have we lost our place there? Simply by forgetting about the Lord and by failing the examination to uphold the sanctity of higher taste. This is how we have arrived in this world. But must we always fail the test? Don’t we have to pass the examination some day? Don’t we have to aspire for the highest loka? Are we really living the best life here where we do not get the slightest peace and happiness?
Only a temporary remission of suffering is what is known as peace and happiness in this world. Is this the real happiness what we want?—the happiness we are after? Or have we accepted a mere consolation prize for our efforts?
We all are saying, “Oh, we are fine. Why do we want to hear about Krsna or other such names?” I am amazed at such talk. We do not need to be in this error all the time. If we can understand from our gurus, from Vaisnavas, from sadhus or from the scriptures that we are in a foreign land-we are in a prison—then we must make all efforts to free ourselves.
The Irony of Suffering
Yet, the influence of jada-maya is so great that instead of trying to free ourselves, we want to continue in this prison! A very old jailbird has been released from the prison, but he does not want to go. He turns to all the other thieves, dacoits and ruffians who re there in the prison, and cries out, “I don’t want to go, leaving you here” He does not understand that his real life is outside. He is crying to come back to the prison. Then, even when he is forced to go outside, he will vow to return, “I’ll come back here. If necessary, after I go out of prison I will again commit the crime of theft and dacoity and robbery so that I will come back to the prison.” This is our situation also. We do not understand what is good and what is bad. Our imprisoned status we consider to be a very good status. The status of peace and happiness. When the Lord has created us as human beings then we must establish our humanity. We must live as human beings. How do we live as human beings? By doing proper deeds as befits human beings. If we perform deeds as befits animals then we are not revealing our status as human beings! That is why the scriptures way, “You may have the form of a human being but the deeds you perform are the deeds of a ghost.”
The poet says, “When you have been born in this land of Bharata, then become an Indian. Which means you must perform sadhana-bhajana, you must follow morality and ideals. Even today’s modern poet admits that here in this land one day came the great Omkara sound and that sound resonated in the hearts of all. Another poet has not recognized our Lord, has not recognized His lila. But he writes, “Bring my head down to the dust of Your feet.” Then the poet admits that the Lord has fet. He admits that there is dust underneath the Lord’s feet. And he admits that he wants to take up that dust form underneath the Lord’s feet. That means he admits everything, the Lord, His feet, and the dust beneath his feet.
Cannot perfectly Understand
Brahma had perfect knowledge. Yet even then, Brahma admits, “I cannot understand the lila of the Lord. Pardon me, my Lord. I had too much of pride in my ability to understand everything, my ability to know everything. Even with my perfect knowledge I cannot know You. I cannot understand the entity that goes beyond our sense organs.”
The sense organs we have received are defective. Even then, we have so much of pride. We have eyes, but can we see everything? There is only a limited range of the visual spectrum, beyond which we cannot see. We have ears but beyond a limited range, we have no audition of anything. This is our present position in this world.
How did we become so proud?
We understand everything. We can learn everything. Where does this pride come from? From maya; biyate anaya iti maya (a dictionary expl.) We cannot have correct knowledge from speculation. There are many things beyond the purview of our sense organs about which we do not have any concrete idea. Then why do we have so much pride? That is what the scriptures teach us. The scripture is what the Lord says Himself. Nothing else can be called the scripture. The scripture is parokasa vani? The Vedas are the words that come out from the breath of the Lord. The Vedas are not written by man, they are indirect speech. We are small children of the Lord. But where to we have that understanding? The scriptures say:
snvantu visve amrtasya putrah,
We are the children of amrta, we are the children of the Lord. Then all the things of this world will become unnecessary, yet they are there. They are at the intermediary stage. Above them all is the guardian. We are the children of the guardian. These words are there in the scripture. Can that be denied? There is no way of denying it. If we all are children of the same Lord, then how do some of us become brahmana, some become ksatriya, some vaisya and some sudra?
Why Have we been Demoted?
Why don’t we want to listen to the scriptures, what is written in the scriptures? All this is written in the Gita, in the Bhagavatam. But we do not want to read or discuss all this. All the riches are there for us to take, but we do not want to touch them. But we must learn all this, we must understand all this.
To learn or understand all this we need a mediator. The mediator is sad-guru. He is the one who can help us learn and encourage us to understand. Guru-tattva tells us that there are many types of Gurus, diksa-guru, siksa-guru, bhajana-guru, the patha-pradarsaka-guru, caitya-guru, mahanta-guru. There are many siksa-gurus, all in different categories. Because we must acquire various aspects of learning. But if we do not start from somewhere. If you do not accept anything, then we cannot catch anything.
When we learned A,B,C,D as children we needed a guru. From A,B,C,D we came to small words. Do we want to deny all this ? Do we want to deny that we have to learn form those who know more than we do? Why do you want to ignore this fact? Des it show our intelligence? Can we find our everything only through the exercise of our own sense organs? Those who want to do that depend on their own sense organs only are known as atapaska (one who is not a tapasvi).
Whatever We set
our Mind to Learn
We must read and study to Achieve
They are known as inductionists. They are not deductionists. Like there is inductive logic and there is deductive logic. When we are in spiritual discussion, the same concepts appear there. That cannot be denied. Those who have entered the spiritual world, we cannot understand what they say. All the swamijis who have spoken for so long before me, they have spoken so many things about devotion, about sadhana-bhajana. How much did we understand? We hardly understood them because we have not learned how to follow their language. If we want to understand the language or philosophy then we must first learn philosophy. Without studying philosophy how shall we understand the language of philosophy?
Sad-guru Knows What advice to Give
Whatever we want to learn we must read and study about it. But that is not what is happening today. The spiritual inquiry is something different. And in that inquiry, you cannot ask for explanations. The sad-guru knows to whom to give the advice, what advice to give, and whether or not the person will listen to that advice. According to that judgement the sag-guru will give him the correct and appropriate advice. The advice will be according to the greed of the recipient. You cannot say everything to everyone. Then there will only ambiguity—everything will be confused. Our problem is that we want to hear everything, learn everything, understand everything.
We say that the Lord has given us the ability to understand and reason about everything. But that is not the correct statement. We must really understand why we want to enter unnecessary arguments. Why do I want to show my pride in every matter? The teachings are there for our benefit. Let us leave aside spiritual teachings, or the welfare of our inner selves. We do not want to follow the discipline of this outside world also.
Paramartha means the Lord, paramartha means the devotee, paramartha means devotion. Knowledge, knower and the known. But with this attitude we have destroyed everything. We do not want to have anything to do with this noble lineage.
Sickness in the Religion of Equality
We want to make everything the same. We are not sure whether we want to make the good the bad or the bad the good. What is it that we want to change? Everywhere we hear about equality. Can anyone explain what equality is? It is only in the religion of the self that true equality? It is only in the religion of the self that true equality can come. It cannot come in any other religion. And these are all the words from the scriptures. Why are the politicians borrowing these words from the scriptures? Equality, liberty, fraternity. These are all words from the scriptures, not from politics. Why is it necessary to borrow from the scriptures?
A few hundred years ago Raghunandana Bhattacayra wrote a book on smrti which is different from the traditional scriptures, but he could not maintain his difference all alone. Wherever convenient, he deviated from the scriptures. Wherever convenient he came back to the scriptures. But is not proper tattva-darsana. Tattva darsana or tattva-siddhanta is forever the same. It does not change according to convenience.
We Follow Because We Get Some Benefit
We live in this country India. We all follow the constitution of India. Why do we do that? We do that because we get some benefits. Some benefits from the laws of the land. The scriptures are the spiritual constitution. If I am asked why should I follow the spiritual constitution? The answer is because I get some benefits. If I do not follow the spiritual constitution no one will accept that I am a human being. That is why I must follow the spiritual constitutions. All questions are answered in the spiritual world if we discuss them with proper application of mind. If we do sadhana-bhajana regularly, then all faults, errors or wrong notions which bind our lives, stand corrected. We can lead a higher form of life, higher level of life. Not that it will create any inconvenience for us in our search for food and clothing and a roof. But on top of the search for food, clothing and roof, we also need to follow morality and ideals.
God gives us our daily bread. Isn’t there the same arrangement made for everyone. Yes it is. But I do not understand. That’s why I make some special requests for myself, needs for myself. But if I follow the tradition of devotion, nothing will inconvenience me. But if I want to come away form devotion, then I may live in this world but I do not show that I am a human being. It can not be proven then that I am a human being. This is what the Lord Himself has said. The Lord, the Almighty, He Himself has proclaimed this. Obviously no one has the power to say anything overruling what the Lord has said, because He is the Lord and our freedom is subject to our dependence on the Lord. Then where do we get all this pride, all this egoism? We are running everywhere in the name of freedom. I remember the year India achieved this freedom.
In the same year my Gurudeva wrote a poem at Devakara. He wrote: “Today India is free. A million voices together roar, ‘Jay Hindi!’ They are all immersed in their feeling of happiness but alas! Where is the real freedom? Has the jiva become free from this world? Has he become free from the chain of maya?
Do Not Keep
Yourselves Tied Down
to the search for Food, clothing, etc.
His is tattva-darsana. You must read, study and discuss this. Do not keep yourselves tied down to the search for food, clothing and a roof. Our very special request; do inculcate discussions on tattva-darsana. Everything is there in the scriptures. We do not have to toil too much. Why? Because those who know more than us, they have already gone through the ocean of the scriptures and from there they have taken out the cream for us. Therefore we do not have to go through all that toil. You look at all the lives that go past that go by. All that is temporary, decaying. They get destroyed.
Just come to the path of sadhana.
Whatever suffering you get in this world, the suffering that has come from the Lord, you must not get angry with the Lord. Whatever He has done is for our benefit. Why? Because the Lord only wants our benefit. But we have to pass some examinations. We must sit through these examinations. There is no escape. So we must study hard, sit for the exam and pass the exam. There is no way you can go through the exam by adopting unfair means.
First Deserve, Then Desire
So first of all you need sadhana-bhajana. You cannot get anything from the Lord just by asking Him. First you must sit for the examination. And pass the examination. If you do not wish to sit for the examination, even then there is no question of our passing or failing the examination. Have you seen what the students do before the examination? They suddenly become great devotees. They take the flower from the puja, put it in their pocket and they think the Lord will surely make them pass the examination “Never mind that I did not study the whole year.”
But that is not correct. We must do our own part. We must do our studies well. We must sit for the examination, we must write for the examination. Who is the examiner? The examiner is the Lord Himself. He can do anything. He has all the powers. The Almighty Lord has His mercy on all of us. But we do not understand that. We do not understand His mercy. But just like His mercy, He also disciplines us. His disciplining us comes from His love for us.
Again we do not understand. It is perhaps because of this that the Lord gives us suffering. He is in a lot of trouble because or us. And He has a lot of mercy for us. He cries for us. Do you know what the Lord is called? He is called the bhakti-bhaktiman, one who is a devotee of the devotee. And what is the devotee called? He is called bhagavat-bhaktiman, the devotee is the devotee of the Lord.
Instructions Too Valuable to Miss
The Lord has
devotion for the devotee. Parvati is asking the god Siva: "Whom shall I pray
Lord Siva replies,
visnor aradhanam param
Why did he recommend Visnu? He could have easily said to pray to someone else. Why did he not do so? Why did he ask that Visnu should be prayed to first? Why did he ask that Krsna be prayed to? He could have said, "Pray to some other god." Siva is the topmost guardian. And Parvati is asking, "Is there anything bigger than Him?"
tasmat parataram devi
"One who serves the Lord, or who teaches about serving the Lord,, to serve such a person is performing an even greater feat than serving the Lord Himself." The proper medium is the guru-vaisnava. This is what is said in the scriptures. Parvati ask Siva her first question, "From where have you and I come?" Siva replies,
danaiva hetu bhutena mahesvari
sarva bhutanam sa eka paramesvara
"You and I have come from the Lord."
isvarah paramah krsnah
anadir adir govindah
sarva karana karanam
Who gave this answer? Brahma.
The second question was, "To Whom shall I pray?" The third question was, "On whose name shall we do japa?" In the scriptures, in the Vedas, in the Upanisads, the answer is given
Hare Krsnna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
This may sound like Bengali but it is actually Sanskrit. What did Siva tell Parvati? Rama rameti rameti rame ramei. Siva said, "Parvati you take thousands names of Visnu.
Sivani Parvati said, "But that takes a lot of time,"
"In that case you just take the name of Rama."
Sivani then started repeating, "rama rama rama."
The Gradations of Nama
But there is a way to make it even shorter. Sahasra nama nama punya nama tri. Taking the name of Rama once is equal to taking the name of Visnu a thousand times. Taking the name of Krsna once is equivalent to taking the name of Rama thrice. Therefore Parvati, You take the name of Krsna. Sivani Parvati then started repeating, "Krsna, Krsna, Ksna," But that is not the correct way of doing it. There is a proper process, procedure. What is that?
Hare Krsnna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
For everything there is the proper law, proper process, proper proceeding. We must follow that. Everything is there, we must follow it.
krpa-sindubya eva ca
Sri Srimad B.V. Vamana Maharaja
Re-typed by Puru Das Adhikari from:
pp. 14-24 Vishva-Vaisnava-Raj-Sabha
Tanscendent Volume Four Gaura Purnima Issue 2000
For more information about Srila B.V. Vamana Maharaja you can read:
A Collection of Devotional Essays
by Srila B.V. Narayana Maharaja
The Appearance Day of
Srila Bhaktivedanta Vamana Maharaja
This book is available on line in several places. For more information contact me At email@example.com and I will be happy to point you to the source information.