AFFECTIONATE GUIDANCE: CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO
The Voice of Sri Chaitanyadev
anyera hrdaya—mana, mora mana—vrndavana
The illusory environment is always attacking and disturbing the jiva-souls in so many ways. But Prabhupad Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati started the cleansing process, like Gundicha-marjjan, the cleansing of the Lord's Temple. This was his first work in this world.
The heart must be made like Vrindavan. It won't do to keep a jungle in the heart. Many disturbing elements are in the jungle, but there is nothing like that in Vrindavan. Everything in Vrindavan is perfectly pure. So we must worship the Supreme Lord purely. To mix with maya for our sense pleasure and invite God in our heart is gross hypocrisy. With great force, Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur and Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur did everything in their power to smash such hypocrisy.
Their first work was to preach the Name. In Bengal so many would chant the Name, but in a hashish-smoking party. Some would chant for hours on end. There was no dearth of such Harinama in Bengal, but the qualification of real purity was absent. Because of this, Mahaprabhu's Sampradaya or religious succession became completely adulterated. People uttered the name 'Vaisnava' with hatred. The groups known as Neda, Darabesa, Sani, Aul, Baul, Karttabhaja, etc.—they all made such a hodgepodge of Mahaprabhu's high and confidential teachings of divine perfection, that Mahaprabhu was no longer respected by the people. If anyone said, "A Vaisnava is at the door," the head of the family would say, "Oh, give him a little rice and send him off." Such was the conception the common people had of Vaisnavas.
But the real Vaisnava-dharmma is jaiva-dharmma, the nature of the soul, the divine life of the soul. Bhaktivinod Thakur wrote his book Jaiva-dharmma to bring genuine Vaisnava religion out to the world.
jivera 'svarupa' haya—krsnera 'nitya-dasa'
(Chaitanya-charitamrta: Madhya-lila, 20.108)
Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has taught, "The real identity of the soul is as an eternal servitor of Krishna. He is Krishna's marginal potency, present simultaneously distinct yet non-distinct from Krishna."
And it was this type of transcendental knowledge that Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami brought here. That was already present but hidden in the Scriptures or holy books, and he revealed it. Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami's unique contribution was the daiva-varnasrama- dharmma, or Godly socio-religious society, according to the proper interpretation of the Scriptures: daiva-vanasrama-dharmma, hari-bhakti yara marmma, sastra yukti karila nischaya. The so-called 'religion' that goes on in the material world is demoniac or asura-varnasrama, but the daiva-varnasrama-dharmma always strives to worship the Lord. There are many devotional duties, but their aim is exclusively the satisfaction of the Lord.
Sravanam kirttanam visnoh smaranam pada-sevanam, or hearing, chanting, remembering, etc., are all duties for no other purpose but worshipping the Lord. The execution of these functions is known, in its primary stage, as daiva-varnasrama. The bodily calculation of considering a brahmana's son a brahmana, or a sudra's son a sudra, etc., is false.
chatur-vvarnyam maya srstam
"The four social divisions are created by Me, and divided according to man's qualities and works."
Prabhupad Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur showed us that genuine socio-religious organisation of varnasrama-dharmma must worship the Lord, and above varnasrama-dharmma is Vaisnavism or jaiva-dharmma, the divine life or religion of the soul. This is the line by which Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami established real Vaisnavism in the world. A Vaisnava is never inferior to a brahmana. A Vaisnava is always superior to a brahmana. That is his real position. The position of a Vaisnava is never merely 'next' to a brahmana. The Vaisnava lives in the other world—the transcendental world of service, seva-maya-bhumika, or nirguna-bhumika, the transcendental plane. And varnasrama-dharmma is in the saguna-bhumika, the plane of mundane qualities. But the attempt to rise above the mayik plane comes within the purview of varnasrama-dharmma.
"Almighty Visnu is worshipped by the person whose practices conform to the social and religious duties (varna- dharmma, asrama-dharmma). (In this world) there is no other way to propitiate Him." (Visnu-purana: 3.8.9)
Such a teaching guides the world toward the worship of Lord Krishna. But the Vaisnavas live in the transcendental world. For example, if you take Prasadam, you are not taking mere rice, vegetables, water, etc. You are taking what was offered to Krishna. You cannot be responsible for any sin. The devotee offers everything for Krishna's pleasure.
"Adorned with the garlands, scents and clothing enjoyed by You, and partaking of Your remnants, O Lord—we, Your servitors, can conquer Your maya."
In this way, the eternally living and ecstatic (sach-chid-ananda-maya) element that is present within is again fully manifest. Similarly, Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami once again revealed to the world that which is eternal and ever-fresh. Before his appearance, people might have been chanting the Name of God, but how did they chant it? In his time, he was the inaugurator of the genuine chanting of Harinama.
prthivite yata katha dharmma-name chale
Totalitarian war against maya. What passes in this world in the name of religion—everything is false. You are jiva-soul. Krishna is like the great sun, and you are like a sunray. The sun-ray must always be 'attached' to the great sun. That is his nature. Krishna is like a big exalted magnet, and you are like iron. Therefore, He is called Krishna, meaning Krs-: to attract, and na: to give joy. He attracts us, and gives us ecstasy (karsan venu-svanair Gopir Gopinatha-sriye 'stu nah).
This is Prabhupad Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur's gift. Many Acharyyas such as Sankaracharyya, Buddha, Ramanuja, Nimbaditya, Madhvacharyya, came and distributed the mercy of the Lord, but the supreme position was given by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. That was suppressed by the illusory environment, and Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami came, cleansed and revealed that divine gem. He clarified to the world the real position of Vaisnava-dharmma. Now nobody can accuse Vaisnava-dharmma of being a lower-class religion or conception. It can only be admitted to be greater than the greatest.
He established, especially in Bengal, the renounced order of the Vaisnavas, tridanda-sannyasa. Previously the custom was eka-danda-sannyasa of the mayavadis. He established many things in a new light, in the pure line. The chanting process, the preaching process—he renovated everything and established the proper line, according to the Vedic culture, to take us to our supramental destination.
Once, along with Srila Guru Maharaj, we visited his Godbrother Sauren Babu. A big pandit who was very much opposed to Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami also came to that meeting. Guru Maharaj gave his lecture, and after that, on the invitation of Sauren Babu, that pandit gave his lecture. He admitted, "We can now understand that we were wrong, and Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Prabhupad was right. In my youth, I heavily opposed his preaching, but that was my great wrong. I now can say that he was upholding genuine righteousness, and all of us who opposed him were wrong. The gosani, pandits, sahajiya—all were wrong." At that time so-called Vaisnavism was very 'low-classism.' But after Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Prabhupad it again rose to its high, glorious position.
You will see two lines of a special song at the front of our nat-mandir:
matala harijana kirttanan-range
This verse is the personification of Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami. What is the worship he showed us? And how is it executed? Both are shown here. Before, if a Vaisnava came to the door, everybody would think he was naked but for a kaupin; or at least his cloth must be dirty. And he wore beads and tilak. Matha neda kopani pada, nake tilak galay mala. This was how Bhaktivinod Thakur described the pseudo-Vaisnava. Eho ta' ek kalira chela: like a servant of Kali, a devil. This whole anomaly was smashed by Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami. He established big maths (monasteries) and mandirs (temples). He engaged all the fruits of technology and materialism—motor cars, printing presses and so many things—for spreading Krishna consciousness all over the world.
His preaching began at Ultadanga Junction Road, in Calcutta. There was a two-storied building, with only one room upstairs. Downstairs there were four rooms where four Vaisnava families lived—all his disciples—and with their donations they kept him in the single room upstairs. I have seen that room personally. His preaching began from there. Later, he rented another house for preaching. Despite that humble beginning, the world can now see the result of the preaching of Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami.
As described by Srila Vrindavan Das Thakur, Mahaprabhu has said,
prthivite achhe yata nagaradi grama
"My Name shall be preached in as many towns and villages that be in the world."
As predicted by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, we can now see devotees chanting and dancing all over the world in the Name of Nitai-Gauranga. The Hare Krishna Mahamantra has spread all over the world. No doubt, this knowledge is transcendental, but it is necessary to properly follow the line of Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur. Otherwise, after a few years, or fifty or a hundred years, all will fall into the pit of 'sahajiyaism' (imitation). We must be ever cautious to follow the principle of Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur Prabhupad.
We have also seen that our Guru Maharaj could never accept anything but pure Vaisnavism. Many compromises have been seen in so-called Vaisnavism, but Guru Maharaj would never mix such 'alloys.' His talks were always completely straightforward, in the line of the pure, unalloyed devotion that was distributed in the world by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Thus, it is clear that Guru Maharaj purely distributed unalloyed devotion all over the world.
We have all seen that when Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad toured all over the world for preaching, he would regularly return to India and meet with Guru Maharaj. Guru Maharaj was his very intimate friend, and he also took Guru Maharaj as his Siksa-guru. He would come to see how Guru Maharaj was keeping, and give him a report about the progress of his preaching work. And Swami Maharaj said to Guru Maharaj, "I am bringing raw materials from the West—you please purify and use these materials for the service of Mahaprabhu and Lord Krishna."
For the general preaching, Swami Maharaj distributed the Hare Krishna Mahamantra all over the world. That is general preaching. But it is not that he did not know what good preaching is—he well knew. But he had to check himself, like Mahaprabhu. When many people came to see Mahaprabhu's dancing in His intoxication of Divine Love, He would come to bahya-dasa, that is, He would check Himself.
So we see that Swami Maharaj brought many fortunate souls, from many countries, to Krishna consciousness. He thought that a special group would necessarily require higher spiritual education. He mentioned this to Guru Maharaj. "I am bringing raw materials—you please rectify them and use them for Mahaprabhu's Service."
Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami came into this world and distributed real Vaisnavism. And by his grace, we have our Guru Maharaj. He is the Guru of both Srila Swami Maharaj and Srila Guru Maharaj. We can never come to the end of singing the glories of such great souls. How can we fully glorify the character of the supreme Vaisnavas? It is impossible to do them justice. We try, but time checks us.
Anyway, today, this day of Sri-Krishna-panchami is most auspicious. We can only pray at the lotus feet of Srila Prabhupad Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur that he may be pleased with us—and no doubt he is always pleased with us, otherwise how could we have a place in his sampradaya? Especially in the line of his very dearmost Srila Sridhar Maharaj.
We have come under the guidance of Srila Guru Maharaj, so we have no doubt that we are very, very fortunate. But that is not the end of our work. We must proceed towards our destination. The blessings of Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur and the Vaisnavas are always necessary. Everybody's well-wishes are necessary for our practising spiritual life.
Sriman Mahaprabhu has said,
trnad api sunichena taror iva sahisnuna
Mahaprabhu has very kindly given us three rules. "Trnad api sunicena; do not disturb anyone—consider yourself lower than a blade of grass; taror iva sahisnuna: like a tree, tolerate everything in his mundane world; amanina manadena: the life of service is the eternal property of the exalted jiva-soul, or the liberated soul, and that is also the property of everyone—so you must respect everyone, without expecting respect in return. By following these principles, always sing the glories of the Supreme Lord Hari." We have received these instructions by the grace of Sriman Mahaprabhu Chaitanyadev and Prabhupad Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur.
The purport of such teachings has its own subtle connotation, which must be in the proper line. We cannot follow the proper line of thought without taking shelter in the lotus feet of a genuine Guru. Such are the teachings of Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami. Previously, many sastras, many types of Vaisnavas and religions were to be seen in the world, but only after the appearance of Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami was it openly clarified that the only necessity is a life of service to Krishna, under the guidance of the genuine Guru and Vaisnava.
May Srila Prabhupad Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur be gracious upon us. Srila Guru Maharaj wrote many Sanskrit verses about him. They are so exalted that if we enter into the purport of only one of them, hours can pass unnoticed. After the departure of Srila Prabhupad, Srila Guru Maharaj wrote this sloka about him:
Guru Maharaj himself said that if Srila Prabhupad were present to hear this sloka, he would have said that his entire personality had been embraced in only four lines. Revealing his own identity, Guru Maharaj wrote:
"I eternally bow unto the lotus feet of Srila Prabhupad, who is the dearmost attendant of Vrsabhanu-nandini. By taking the dust of his lotus feet (charanasrita-renu-dharah) I have now become Sridhar Maharaj. The dust of his lotus feet is so glorious—it purifies everything in an astonishing and miraculous way: mahad adbhuta-pavana-saktipadam—glorious, wonderfully purifying lotus feet."
Section 1 — 'Siddhanta'
Section 3 — 'Our Devotional Line'
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