Srila Guru Maharaj—His Holy Teachings

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All Glories to Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga

Chapter Seven

The Willing and the Able


By Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj


Devotee: When we play a recording of our Gurudeva, are these sound vibrations actually transcendental or does the sound have to be heard from the person directly?

Srila Guru Maharaj: When I joined newly I was sent with a particular sannyasi to Benares. I appreciated his explanation of the Scriptures such as Srimad Bhagavatam. One day he told me, "Now the atmosphere here has been created in such a way that if I am ordered to construct a centre of our own, purchasing land, etc, then I can do, but that will not be sanctioned by the authorities, because in that way I would become increasingly glorified: I would gain more pratistha."

Presently I wrote in a letter to my Guru Maharaj: "This Maharaj has created a good, favourable atmosphere here. If he is ordered to construct a centre of our own, perhaps he can do. I think Benares is an important place, a meeting place of all different religious sections, so I feel we should have our own centre here. I pray that you may encourage this sannyasi to arrange for it to happen." We were at that time in a hired house and the Deities were also established there.

The reply did not come directly to me, but the general-secretary wrote to me, "We already know that his preaching is very successful. You try to listen to his analytical explanation of Bhagavatam and enrich yourself by that." No mention was made about the point I had made. After some time our Srila Prabhupad went to Benares for some other purpose, and perhaps when I was alone he suddenly said to me, "What will be the effect of karma-kanda? Karma-kanda is to use our energy for our own satisfaction, and not meant for the satisfaction of Krishna. What is the necessity of connecting something according to our whim? Only we shall do what Krishna will desire, and that will be service." He gave an example: "Suppose a Vaisnava or the Lord, has instructed, 'Bring me some flowers,' and I collect the flowers but as I am about to give them to him he says,'No, no. I do not want flowers, bring me some water.' If even at that time I press him, 'Oh, already you have ordered me to bring flowers, please accept these,' it will be karma-kanda. It will be thrusting my will upon him, it will not be service." Because he is independent he may order something—and again he may cancel that same order. He is in such a position that he is not bound by his own previous expression, he is independent of that. The will is everything and he can express his will and he can withdraw his will. His position is such. Independent. His independence is of such quality and characteristic. Similarly, the highly powerful brahmanas can give a curse such as one that will cause full forgetfulness—and they can withdraw it too.

Karna went to Parasurama disguised as a brahmana. Then Parasurama taught him everything about weapons. One day Parasurama went to sleep putting his head on the thigh of Karna. Indra, in the form of a worm, then pierced through the thigh of Karna and bit into the head of Parasurama. Parasurama started, "What is this?" Blood flowed and smeared over his body. Parasurama then confronted Karna, "You are not a brahmana! A brahmana cannot tolerate like this, therefore you must be a ksatriya. Why have you come to me? You have taken all this education about weapons from me by falsehood, therefore I throw a curse that at the time of your greatest need you will forget everything." He thereby withdrew all the learning he had given. Free-will is of such nature that it may sometimes give a commitment, but if necessary it may withdraw from all commitment.

There are so many political heads of a nation who sometimes give commitments and try to oblige. They try to oblige but, if necessary for the good, they may retract that and guide by ordinance. Similarly the Scriptures are something like that. The sastras are written by the Mahatmas who give instructions through the medium of so many symbols in the form of letters of the alphabet. That has some value, but that value is not to the same degree as we find in the writer: it is something less. Similarly if the will, the centre from which the vibration is passing, is still in connection—i.e. if consent is there—it will work. Our Guru Maharaj gave Harinam initiation to a man in Dhaka who was due to pass away within a few days. He spoke the Mantra over the phone, his consent was there so it was effective. And when instruction is given as in a book, or recorded on a tape recorder and broadcast in many ways, it has its value, but the power-house is above all.

maya tatam idam sarvam, jagad avyakta-murtina
mat-sthani sarva-bhutani, na chaham tesv avasthitah

(Srimad Bhagavad-gita, 9.4)

"Everything is in Me, and I am nowhere: nothing is in Me." Achintya-bhedabheda-tattva. He can withdraw, and also He can pervade through everything. It is His will. Many people may read the sastra, but if there is any curse upon someone he will not receive any benefit by such reading, or even from the Original Person or by any faithful connection with Him. He will be barred.

Durvasa cursed Sakuntala, "You are neglecting me by engaging in deep meditation upon your husband. I am a respectable guest but you ignore me. I therefore curse you that if you are introduced to your husband, he will not be able to remember a single thing about you."

Then three friends of Sakuntala came and petitioned, "Oh, Rishi, be propitiated by us, please withdraw your curse." As a result, he modified it so that if any reminding token is shown to the husband, he will be able to remember her.

The will, the intention, is the important part. What is coming must not be cut off from the source, the power-house. Not only the power-house keeper through whom it came, but also the faithful group, the associated clan, they can have some such power to stop as well as to open. It is not that if I have the tape recording I have received everything from him: that I have full possession of his property. It cannot be done like that. Still mainly it is conducted in such a manner through the Scriptures: the various sages have written so many sastras for us to read. However, our attention must be qualified to read such Scriptures. Mere reading is intellectualism and that will not do. We are to read in a proper way—pranipatena pariprasnena sevaya (with humility to the Guru who knows the truth, relevant inquiry to him and service to him), and yaho bhagavat pada vaisnaver sthane. Through His agent, if we properly read, then it will be beneficial, otherwise due to our deceptive nature we shall try to caste our own opinion in the name of the sastra as Sankaracharya did. He interpreted the Vedas but he did not try to draw the real meaning of the Vedas. He caste his own opinion into the Vedas and gave that to us.

Mahaprabhu said of him, "Sankaracharya has not accepted the teaching of the Vedas as it is. He modified the teachings of the Vedas by his own intellectual experience, therefore their real purpose is not found in his writings." This was the charge against Sankaracharya by Mahaprabhu.

Rupa Goswami and Sanatan Goswami did not only write what Mahaprabhu taught directly to them, but, by the blessings of Mahaprabhu they were able to express more. He told them, "I am inspiring you. I am giving some good-will to you that will help you face all possible difficulties when the necessity comes for you to refute the opposing elements. It will work at that time, my good-will will be with you. It will come to your relief at the very time when you are in need." That was expressed by Mahaprabhu to both Rupa and Sanatan.

Well-wishing without the help of sound is also possible. There is assertion in different planes to help the surroundings. To think good of someone has its value. If the Guru thinks good about the disciples, they may thrive thereby and achieve the real object of their search. Both parties have some part to play: one party must do the willing, and the other must have the receiving quality and attitude, then it will be transmitted from one place to another. If the door is closed on one side there will be no effect. If there are the qualities of a Guru in one and the qualities of a disciple in another, when they both come together the transaction begins.

Electricity cannot pass through anything and everything. Some things are non-conducting. The sincere receiving attitude from the disciple is a necessary part otherwise no effect can be shown. If seeds are cast on stony ground no crops will grow. When current passes through a medium that cannot cent-per-cent transmit, it becomes modified. In this way modification comes from Guru to disciple: some colour is added and that is passed on and again added to, generation after generation.

Many disciples may hear from one Guru, but according to the variegatedness in their capacity of reception when they in turn will give delivery there will be some sort of difference. At first the teaching was one, but now there is a jungle. Krishna says in Srimad Bhagavad-gita,

imam vivasvate yogam, proktavan aham avyayam
vivasvan manave praha, manur iksvakave 'bravit
evam parampara-praptam, imam rajarsayo viduh
sa kaleneha mahata, yogo nastah parantapa
sa evayam maya te 'dya, yogah proktah puratanah

(Srimad Bhagavad-gita 4.1-3)

"I first gave this instruction of karma-yoga to Vivasvan, then from him to Manu who gave it to his son Iksvaku. Coming down in this way it has gradually vanished. Now again I am saying that same old thing to you." The spiritual truth becomes coloured by our prejudices. It becomes contaminated and modified by mundane thought.

On the banks of the Ganges there may be neem trees, tamarind trees, mango trees, etc. They all draw the same Ganges water for nourishment but the produce of one is bitter, another is acidic, and another gives sweet fruits. They all are nourished from the same source but according to their nature their produce vary.

Both Indra and Virochan are students of the Brahman conception of "so 'ham." Indra thought "so" means the atma, and Virochan thought like a demon that "so" means this body. "So 'ham"—"I am that." But who is "that"? Within the same class some thought it to refer to the soul, but some thought it to refer to the body, thus they evolved their varying conceptions according to their local prejudices.