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Self-Purification


(Spoken by His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj on 28 August 1981)

 

 

Question: When our Guru Maharaj's disciples took to the study of Sanskrit, we could say that in most of the cases they eventually became very offensive to our Guru Maharaj and in many cases also came to reject him. So, sometimes Prabhupad (our Guru Maharaj) said that a little Sanskrit is very dangerous.

A little Sanskrit or a little learning? 'Alpa vidya bhayankari. Scanty learning is always dangerous.'

'Bahu grantha kalabhyas varjan. Studying many scriptures should be rejected.' It is also recommended by Srila Rupa Goswami that trying to get taste hither and thither in many scriptures – trying to collect some slight knowledge from many schools of conceptions – is dangerous for your progress, because various conceptions will draw you to their own interest and create disturbance in your progress. So, curiosity to know, or hankering for the truth, is laudable, but after you have got the real path, the real ideal, if you move hither and thither to get the experience of this thing and that thing, that will, of course, hamper your cause.

We must keep it in mind that the highest thing that can help us to go towards our desired goal is service, not knowledge. It means we should make progress in the realisation of our negative nature, 'I am in want. I am in want of something.' We must have a very deep negative characteristic. That is saranagati (surrender) and dainya (humility). 'I am the most needy!' – our progress must be made following this line. This is the healthy line. Our general feeling should be, 'I am the most needy,' and that will attract the positive side, then only can we know Him; otherwise, reading, searching or satisfying your curiosity and inquisitiveness is not the way. Only try to increase the feeling that 'I am the most needy,' then He will be attracted to help you, and you will be able to know as much as He likes and in any way that He likes to take you in with Him. You will be able to understand everything. His nature is such.

Pranipat (surrender), pariprasnena (enquite), seva (serve). Pariprasnena (sincere enquiry to the guru) is allowed, but the main thing is that there must be dedicating, surrendering tendency. That is the real wealth of the sakti (the potency): the purity of the potency always consists in its submission to the possessor of the potency.

For preaching purposes, some scriptural knowledge is sometimes necessary, but that is another matter. Those who feel inspiration for preaching may consult different sastras to help their cause, it may even be necessary to see the sastra of the mayavadis and others, as Srila Jiva Goswami did. To refute the mayavadi scriptures, Srila Jiva Goswami had to study their books, but he felt some inspiration within himself that he was to discharge a duty that would require all this knowledge – a particular service had been put on his shoulders, so he had to do that. Otherwise, in a general case of a devotee, there should be inclination for self-giving to that domain, through a Vaishnav; there should be inclination for giving up your energy. Our energy should anyhow be utilised for the service to the Lord's interest. We should be utilised for His sweet will – that is our real, normal position, and this is where our proper life is (in giving up our selfish tendency to serve the sweet will of the Absolute). Our real position requires mainly that – there may be different colours in different particular positions, but the main thing that is necessary from us is that we should dedicate ourselves, we should march towards Him only with the help of the attitude of faith that 'He is my master, I cannot do anything independently.'

Srila Sridhar Swami says, 'Adau arpita paschad kriyeta. First surrender, then act.' Even when we just begin our life, for example, we listen to Srimad Bhagavatam, but if it is to be devotion proper or sravan (hearing of Srimad Bhagavatam), then our idea must be that 'Whatever benefit I derive from this hearing will go to my Lord Krishna, not myself.' We must not think even that 'By hearing Bhagavatam, I will be enlightened and will be able to do greater service.' Whatever we do, we must do it with the consciousness that 'I am doing it on behalf of my Master.' So, wherever and whatever we do, we must move with the idea that 'If there is any benefit, the beneficiary is only one – the Lord.' The beneficiary is He. So, it is for His interest that we must work. 'Whatever He wants me to do, I shall only do that, and I shall not do it to fulfil any personal ambition.' At the same time, if genuine inspiration comes within us that 'He wants me to become a preacher,' then in order to fight, we, of course, need to collect some weapons (we need some equipment, some dress, etc.). We can read with this spirit, but when we hear from here or there, when we collect knowledge or money for preaching, it must be for His account. That must be guaranteed first. The main thing to be judged is whether what we are doing is on His account or something else. The mood should be, 'I am doing it for His satisfaction.' It is a plain thing.

To provide proper satisfaction of the Lord's pastimes (lila-tripti), everything, every movement should be done for His satisfaction. It does not matter what it is,it can take any form or appearance – the only criterion is, 'Is it for His satisfaction?' As Hegel says, reality must be by itself and for itself. We are to accommodate that within us. He does not exist to satisfy any other thing – everything is done for His satisfaction, for His end. If we act in this way, then there will be harmony, beauty and love. Love means sacrifice for the beloved. So, love divine for the Absolute means everything should be done to satisfy my Absolute Master, my Owner, my Creator. I saw once in some paper that it was said there, 'A man is designed and destined by God.' It means that both the creation and the future are in the hands of the Absolute. So, in any way, we belong to Him cent-per-cent. This consciousness must be aroused within us, and all our activities must be guided by this principle. 'Am I doing this to satisfy Him? Does what I am doing satisfy Him?' We must analyse ourselves, of course, to the extent that we can conjecture, understand, feel or conceive it. 'Is what I am doing for Him? Will it satisfy Him or something else? Am I doing it for Him or for my country, my society, my parents, my colleagues, etc.?'

Sometimes, from a distant position, we cannot ascertain in a realistic way what would really satisfy the Lord. In this case, we may take the help of a superior friend – we can consult a similar-minded godbrother who has made more progress than we. Such a friend can ask me, 'Read this book, you will find there some material that will help you in your way. Collect the fare. The journey is long, so try to secure the fare from this and this place.' This must be done also only to help us on our way. Actually, service under the direction of a superior Vaishnav is more desirable than to search for direction in any book, but when we do not have such a guide, then we shall have to consult authentic books of Vaishnavs to collect the energy, or fare, for our journey. We need the help of mahajanas (great souls) and the sastras (sastras are also a kind of guru). 'Sadhu-sastra-krpaya krsnonmukha haya. One becomes devoted to Krishna by the mercy of saints and scriptures' (Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, 2.20.120). To make sure that our activity is in the line of service, to insure ourselves, we shall consult a fairly progressed Vaishnav, and if that is not available or reliable, then we shall consult reliable books of our gurudev, then goswamis, Bhagavatam, Gita, and other devotional scriptures. But we must always keep in mind that whatever we do, we must do it with the spirit of service and dedication.

The whole plane where we are to enter is that of dedication – neither exploitation, nor renunciation. Exploitation means self-aggrandisement, pratistha. Labha (gain), puja (worship), pratistha (name and fame) are upasakha (unwanted branches); they must be avoided. To have the tendency of exploitation – to desire to make yourself big – is detrimental in the plane of dedication. Servants must always very scrupulously maintain, keep and protect their faithfulness. None can deceive us, none can check our progress except ourselves, so we must scrutinise and analyse our own inner temples and brush aside any undesirable things found there. This is Gundicha-marjan, as Mahaprabhu showed. There are many types of undesirability within us, and it should be brushed aside, then we can progress and come closer to our Lord, for service (or rather, He will take us closer according to the quality of our service).

So, generally, service must be the spirit of everything, whether we study or collect money or men. This serving spirit should be always kept intact.

Question: You mentioned the Gundicha-marjana. Our Guru Maharaj says that Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur explains that even though one may become free from the desire for fruitive activity, sometimes some subtle desires for fruitive activity come into one's heart.

It is mentioned in the commentaries that Mahaprabhu first collected bigger pebbles, then smaller trash, such as sand (representing finer, fleeting desires), and then, He washed the temple with water. That was His Gundicha pastime, which is also reflected as cleansing one's mind. By doing this, we can cleanse our mental temples. Desire is classified into two sections: very subtle and small, and a little bigger and gross. So, first, all gross elements are removed, then all subtle elements are removed, and then the temple is washed. By doing that, we can cleanse the temples of our own hearts. There is this implication.

Similarly, karma (reaction incurred as the result of some material actions) is also analysed according to different stages as pralabdha and apralabdha. Pralabdha means that which is ripe and attached to be finished in this particular body, or life. Apralabdha means that which is deposited to be enjoyed or suffered in a future life. Apralabdha-karma is further divided into three sections: kutan, bijan and phalonmukha. Kutan is a very primitive layer that cannot be detectable or differentiated (we cannot discern what is there because it is as if covered thickly by a sheet or a film). Then comes bija and then phalonmukha – we can understand that something is the result of our particular bad karma and something is the result of our good karma, but the result is only floating for now, it will have a chance to fructify next life. So, there are suksma (subtle) and stula (gross) elements. First, all gross things should be removed, then all subtle should be attended to and cleansed, and then the whole temple is washed through faith (sraddha). It is mentioned in the scriptures that such cleansing can help the temples of our hearts, of our souls...

 

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