CENTENARY ANTHOLOGY : PART 2
Srila Guru Maharaj—His Holy Teachings
All Glories to Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga
The Harmonizing Spirit
By Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj
Disciple: The more intense dedication becomes, the more disappointed I become. How is this possible?
Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj (Srila Guru Maharaj): You will find in Hegel's philosophy, "Die to Live." So you must not be a miser. You are to fully die as you are at present. You are to put your false self into the fire and allow the alloy to be eliminated. The pure gold will then manifest with its dazzling colour. Of course the soul does not die, but those alloyed things—the mind, body and so many other false aspirations—will be reduced to ashes by the fire of dedication. So die in order to live in the real world.
Disciple: If everyone had that spirit, Maharaj, there would be no breakups and factions as are found in so many religions and sects.
Srila Guru Maharaj: But everyone is not normal. There are differences. And those engaged in the abnormal cannot follow the perfect course. Everyone has some imperfection and defect.
The Lord's lila are for His satisfaction, but even there we find some differences in the group of the perfect servants although they are in their normal position in His domain, Vrindavan. So competition and fighting to satisfy the Lord's sweet will is acceptable.
Nothing can be bad in His domain. If fighting is satisfaction for the Lord then we can do that. We should not be disappointed to find differences, but we should try to find the common interest.
Disciple: But if we neglect Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's Mission of giving Prema-bhakti to the fallen souls, and instead fight only for our own selfishness and prestige, I think there is something wrong with that.
Srila Guru Maharaj: A course of treatment is given to a hospital patient but as one disease is located and treated, another disease may emerge. As that second disease is treated another disease may come out, and then another.
Sin is in the aspirants, not in those who are perfect. Those who come to Krishna consciousness are all patients. This is not a place of normal healthy persons, but it is a place for patients who are being purified through a course of treatment. And that process is called saddhana-bhakti.
Disciple: So where are the doctors, Maharaj?
Srila Guru Maharaj: There may not be expert doctors but there are so many students in the process of learning and they are practising accordingly. You cannot expect absolute knowledge everywhere. Research into nuclear fusion, whether in Russia or America, is always progressive as it is always in a middle stage, a relative position; furthermore it can be expected they may never find the full extent of nuclear science. But because progress is always in a relative position it does not mean the Absolute does not exist, also it does not mean that the campaign should be given up. No! Everything may be defective but still we are to continue.
Although all is not perfect, still we are to progress with our daily food and activities as we have to maintain ourselves and aspire for the maximum good. We have to make the best of a bad bargain with whatever is available to us. The absolute position is not easily attained. Everyone of us has to pass through relative positions towards the Absolute. There is elimination and acceptance everywhere—this is the meaning of progress, and we cannot avoid it. But elimination should not be done inconsiderately. At the same time our object will always be the higher aim.
sarva-dharman parityajya, mam ekam saranam vraja
(Srimad Bhagavad-gita 18.66)
Lord Krishna says, "Totally abandoning all kinds of religion, surrender exclusively unto Me. I will liberate you from all kinds of sins, so do not despair."
In every subject there is progress and we are not to blame others for whatever comes to us; rather the whole burden of this trouble is ours. No one else is to be blamed. Everywhere there is the hand of the Absolute. When there is a government a hooligan may be detained but if there is no order or government then criminals can run amok. There is the Absolute government and we cannot escape that law. According to our karma we do things to others and receive the reactions: it is controlled, it is not anarchy. So we are to suffer and enjoy the result of our own karma—the fruit of our own action—that is the law. When we think, "I am responsible for all my lawlessness," there will be a favourable time ahead and we shall be released. When a criminal sees that the punishment being dealt him is justified, with atonement he may be released and he may not commit any nuisance afterwards. Similarly, when we realize we are suffering from our own reactions, then we will come to the door of real salvation.
In order to illustrate that our own karma has created our present environment we can adapt the saying, "A bad workman quarrels with his tools," to: "A bad workman quarrels with his stools." We have earned such an atmosphere by our previous karma—our previous actions—and no one else is to be blamed. This is the advice of Srimad Bhagavatam and when, in fact, we come to realize this truth then our day of liberation will be near. Do you follow?
Disciple: Yes, I follow clearly.
Srila Guru Maharaj: So now you can make no further question? Where do you find your prospect?
Disciple: I am simply disappointed with politics and the differences between religious institutions.
Srila Guru Maharaj: Previously when Einstein came and spoke out against Newton, he was insulted, but later the community recognized, "Oh, Einstein is above Newton."
So do not forget you are in the infinite. There are many different parties and they may have many different convictions according to their capacity to understand the truth. They are of variagated nature and therefore there cannot but be variety and difference, and for some that may result in internal or external quarrel.
First the followers of Newton took their stand against Einstein, but gradually they found that what Einstein was saying was true and moreover he was giving a higher conception than Newton. It was not the third but the fourth dimension that was given by Einstein.
So the possibility of the future must be calculated within the present, otherwise any estimation is not proper. Things are always changing. The factor of change must be calculated within the present otherwise it is not complete.
In the spiritual arena Bhagavan Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu came and manifest the fifth dimension which was above and beyond all previous conceptions but still accommodating them all. Prior to that the fourth dimension—Vaikuntha—was given by Ramanuja; the third dimension was given by Sankaracharya and the second dimension was given by Buddha.
Buddha recognized the existence of the subtle body, and concluded that with the dissolution of that subtle body nothing remains. Then Sankaracharya said, "The subtle body is only a reflection of a further thing, Brahman, which is itself true and eternal; and this world is also a reflection of that. With the dissolution of that reflection, the individual soul dissolves forever and nothing but Brahman remains." There are in fact so very many differences between the propounders of the main conceptions of reality and also to a certain extent there are differences amongst their disciples.
Sankaracharya and Buddha both preferred that the ultimate goal be non-differentiated, unknown and unknowable; and they finished there. Do you wish to go there? Elimination of all diversity may be a very peaceful position—a deep slumber—and that is their goal. There are many followers of that creed, but their sacrifice is of a lesser degree than those who dedicate themselves to the higher plane.
Ramanuja said, "But there is another world on the opposite side!" This material world is the world of exploitation, and beyond that is liberation—Brahma-nirvana—but on the other side of that is the positive plane which is purely subjective and is full of dedication: that is the fourth dimension, Vaikuntha, the land of Visnu.
Then Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu gave the additional conception, explaining, "Calculative dedication in Vaikuntha is one thing but spontaneous dedication to Krishna in Goloka is another; and the highest ideal is not spontaneous dedication to power and majesty, but to beauty." And this has been clearly proved.
Sankaracharya said, "All is one, there is no variety." But Mahaprabhu pointed out, "If there is no variety, how can the question of unity arise?" If there is variety, then there must be the question of unity. So in this world we are to make proper adjustment.
We want higher sacrifice, living dedication and tolerance for the Central Truth. That Truth we see as personal and with His own will—and we must admit that, if we want to have entrance into that world.
Dedication to Krishna is nectar and exploitation of this material energy is poison, and what the followers of Sankara and Buddha want is the middle position where everything is harmonized into death—the plane of cessation of difference. That is Brahma-nirvana, the final peace devoid of trouble where all are buried in eternal slumber. If you prefer, then you can go there. But what you find in this world is the reflection of the original whole, perverted into exploitation. On the other side is dedication. In the group of servitors practising pure dedication, even their quarrel becomes beautiful. Whatever is found here is found there totally. Try to understand this general principle.
A poison may be utilized as medicine when applied properly. The mayavadis (impersonalists) cannot find any harmony in difference but they can only find harmony in the conception of non-differentiated Brahman consciousness. They cannot keep up the beautiful harmony in variety held by the Vaisnavas; rather they consider that everything must be merged into one to solve the problems of the world. Other than that they have no solution but only disturbance.
With the qualifications of humility, patience, forbearance, and no tendency to seek self-glory but rather to glorify others and honour their respectable existence, we can live happily with our neighbours and the whole environment. Mahaprabhu has given this solution to us and we are to equip ourselves in this way.
Why should you think your neighbour to be undesirable? You are not to complain against the environment but you are to control yourself and come to the proper understanding. With proper adjustment you will find everything to be harmonious: the desired land of your life. At home you shall find everything.
Do you know of Judas in the Christian teachings?
Disciple: Yes, he betrayed Jesus.
Srila Sridhar Maharaj: When Jesus was praying in the garden before his crucifixion, Judas approached him with the scribes and priests in order to betray him, by identifying that Messiah with a kiss. Suddenly Jesus cast his glance towards Judas in such an impressive way—he penetrated Judas. Judas thought to himself, "I am caught, I shall be responsible for Jesus Christ's demise, but still Jesus's vision to me was something like: 'I am exploiting you, Judas. It is not that you are exploiting me, rather I am utilising you as a traitor to show the greatness of my life to the future world.'"
Jesus had already said (at his last supper), "Amongst these twelve disciples one will betray me." He knew. Judas was there then and Jesus had cast his glance towards Judas. Then later, when Judas came with the soldiers and scribes to the garden of Gethsemene to capture him, Jesus once again cast his glance towards Judas and was thinking, "You think you are exploiting me for some money but I am exploiting you for eternity. You have to stand out as a sinful person against me, I knew you were a traitor, but I did not disclose you. I still took you within my group of followers knowing full well that I am exploiting you." The look of Jesus was like that.
Judas was crazed. He threw away the sack of silver. He ran to the authorities and said, "I have committed the worst sin, I cannot tolerate it!"
Judas's energy was drunk, his spirit was drawn. Just like in jujitsu, when someone attacks the opposition with great force, if the opposition suddenly withdraws, it causes the attacking person to fall on his face—Judas found himself in that sort of position. Jesus was exchanging love for betrayal. It was the sort of love that disarmed and sent Judas mad, "I treated him so wickedly, yet his look is not one of vindictiveness but of infinite gratitude. That sort of look Jesus cast upon me."
In perfect vision, in the full-fledged consideration, every atom is helping the Pastimes of Krishna. Whether it is direct or indirect—and although it seems to be indirect at present, a deeper vision will reveal that it is coming towards direct service.
Jagai and Madhai came at first to physically beat Nityananda Prabhu. Yet later they became submissive. They ended up singing the Holy Names of Nityananda and Gauranga, showing an example to the public. They showed, "We, the worst rogues, are converted into honest men by the mercy of our benevolent Lord." They enhanced the beauty of the conduct of the Lord by sacrifice. To play the negative role, great sacrifice is required. They gave away their own fame to make the Lord glorious forever. The depth of our vision will detect these things.
We will see so much direct service even from the indirect section. Maya and Satan are also rendering service to God. Without darkness, light cannot be perceived. To play the part of darkness, to show the greatness of light, sacrifice is required. Satan is illuminating God's greatness. He is apparently negative but Satan's contribution makes God so magnanimous. If Satan did not exist then how could we understand the goodness and greatness of God? Everywhere there is the Grace of God.
Mahadev, Lord Siva, sometimes repents and mourns, "Oh Lord, what can I do? You are Absolute and You have engaged me to accept the position of leader of the opposition party. I am going against You because I am giving encouragement to the demons. This most unfortunate post has been given to me by You, but since Your order is unchallengeable, then what to do?! I am following Your order, but my heart is not satisfied my Lord!" So, Siva is a devotee, but sometimes he gives opposition to Krishna or Visnu. He encourages the demoniac powers against the Lord. In an indirect way He fights against Krishna with his followers the bhutas (ghosts and demons).
Ignorance is not accidental, it is earned by our previous action—man is the architect of his own fortune. The bad weather I am meeting with at present has been earned by myself. Do not complain against the environment. Utilise it as best you can and try to see the Grace of the Absolute therein. The anomaly I am facing at this present time is the product of my own action, no one else is to blame.
Not only is that true; but from another viewpoint it can also be seen that the Grace of the Lord is always present everywhere—eager to help me—coming in the guise of an apparently unfavourable environment according to the vision of my present experience. That is the necessary medicine for my disease, the medicine to cure my madness. It is like medicine dispensed by the Lord. He is everywhere with His sympathetic hand extended to us in the circumstances of most intense danger. To have this attitude is to have the key—the solution that solves our unfavourable circumstances, our unfavourable position.
The Lord is not vindictive, He does not want to punish us. Punishment has come only to teach us. The punishment is there but coming from the affectionate hand to teach us, to improve us, to help us. We have to see all dangers like that.
So, set yourself right—not others—and real peace you will find. And never try to enjoy the result of your actions. This is the key to a successful life, and happiness will flow from that. You will find the Infinite is your Friend.
Everything is a part and parcel of the Original, therefore God is manifested in everything. And it is not that we can sacrifice or negate everything and only God remains, otherwise why are we here? Our individuality and existence is real. So both sides must have some recognition. Harmony between them is truth proper. This is the conception of Mahaprabhu. There is polarity and also there is unity and harmony, and that is all-important. Dislocation is unhealthy. Proper adjustment is necessary. Maya means dislocation. Provincial, local interests are clashing with each other as well as with the Absolute. But proper adjustment comes through achieving understanding of the Absolute. Such understanding brings true harmony. All these things should be discussed and understood.
Disciple: How can we practically understand and apply the principle of harmony?
Srila Guru Maharaj: In your conception what does harmony mean?
Disciple: I understand that, strictly speaking, harmony is a musical term referring to different musical tones which are in balance with each other.
Srila Guru Maharaj: In a choir or an orchestra many instruments are being played or many singers are singing so the variety will be a credit to the harmony. Different types of instruments are being played but there must be harmony there, and the highest harmony depends upon how the many different instruments are being played in tune. Hundreds of different instruments are playing, preparing the music—yet they must all be attuned to the conductor. So sacrifice, dedication in its highest degree, will be of such a nature that it can accommodate and tolerate all difference. Therefore, by toleration, harmony will increase. The highest type of harmony can tolerate any type of opposition. It is all-accommodating. In this way, the highest conception of dedication means there is the accommodation of an infinitely numbered variety within it; and its sweetness will increase more and more.
So there are different instruments making different tunes from different strata of sound but they are all tuned to one. Plurality is connected to one centre and is giving some sweet, soothing feeling of sentiment. Similarly we can see that the earth and all the planets are each moving in their individual ways but they are connected to another force. The moon is moving around the earth, and there are so many planets moving in relation to other planets which in turn are moving in their own way, but all are moving around the sun. Variety meets unity in different planes of movement. That is harmony. This applies everywhere, including the plane of colour and the plane of sound. Many branches meet together in the trunk of a tree; the trunk harmonizes the many leaves.
Disciple: In the Absolute sense does discord bring harmony?
Srila Guru Maharaj: In the highest Absolute there is room to accommodate everything, otherwise it cannot be Absolute. If we consider something to be absolute but can still find something to be outside of that, then it cannot be Absolute. The Absolute accommodates everything. In Him, the enemy is not an enemy! The Centre is everywhere, there is no circumference. In that plane only God can be traced everywhere—and He cannot be our enemy.
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