Don’t make any disciples

My Guru Mahārāja would say, “I have never made any disciples. Many think I have made disciples—but these ‘disciples’ are my guru-varga. These noble souls always engage in hari-kīrtana and hari-sevā. My inclination to serve is strengthened by seeing their ideal services.”

Don’t associate with anyone

According to my Śrī Gurupāda-padma’s second instruction, I have never associated with anyone. To associate with anyone means to accept something from them. Except what I have obtained from my Gurupāda-padma, I have never accepted anything from anyone. I don’t do anything according to others’ instructions.

Don’t ever enter Māyā’s abode

My Gurupāda-padma has forbidden me from entering Māyā’s abode. When my Gurupāda-padma spoke of ‘Māyā’s abode’, he meant Kolkata, the city of Kālī. I have never been to Kolkata, the place of Kālī’s activities. I only go to Śrī Gauḍīya Maṭha. Kālī has no place there because the Gauḍīya Maṭha is a replica of Vaikuṇṭha.

I have no relation with those, who being bereft of possessing a true understanding of My Gurupāda-padma’s glories, consider him to be a recipient of their favor. Their unceasing pride makes them think as such. Such people don’t have the slightest understanding of Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava dharma. My eternal auspiciousness will be assured by doing kīrtana of what I have heard from my Gurupāda-padma. Therefore, I have been duly engaged in this service.— Ÿ –

All of you can see the portrait of my Gurupāda-padma placed in front of you. He is not a person who instructs someone about material enjoyment. Yet, at the same time, he alone is the indisputable genius in every subject in this world. Sadly, because I am deprived and fallen, and because of my own weaknesses, not all of my Gurupāda-padma’s teachings have entered my heart. But in order to speak all the teachings that, by my Gurupāda-padma’s mercy, have somehow entered through the pathways of my ears, may I possess millions upon millions of tongues, millions upon millions of heads and millions upon millions of years to live. Then I will sing about the unparalleled compassion and benevolence of my Gurupāda-padma throughout the unlimited universes with millions and millions of tongues and millions and millions of heads for millions and millions of years. Only then will I have truly performed guru-pūjā. Only then will he be pleased with me and shower his perpetual blessings upon me so that I can sing the glory of his matchless compassion with another million tongues. On that day I will finally be liberated from singing about fleeting illusory matters. On that day I will be released from the captivity of all the mundane teachings
of this world. 

– Rūpānuga Guru

Considering my favorite worldly topics to be very important and valuable, I accept them deeply into my heart. Thus I remain madly infatuated with the unconscious world. However, my Gurudeva has repeatedly instructed:

śrī-caitanya-mano-’bhistam sthapitam yena bhutale

svayaṁ  rupah kada mahyam dadati sva-padantikam

Prema-bhakti-candrikā

When will such a master as Śrī Rūpa, who has propagated and established the deepest desire of Śrī Caitanyadeva’s heart throughout the world, personally give me the shelter of his own lotus feet?

When will I behold Śrī Gurupāda-padma’s extraordinary transcendental beauty and take shelter single-mindedly at his beautiful feet? When will such a day be mine? I have heard from Śrī Gurupāda-padma that those who adopt this mentality are Rūpānuga and are therefore very dear to Śrī Gaurasundara. And as for those who even endeavor to become Rūpānuga, Śrī Brahmā himself could not finish extolling their good fortune, even if he spent his entire life trying. Śrī Gurupāda-padma has eradicated all my doubts and instructed me on the matter of nāma-bhajana. Through this I came to know that one should not disobey guru—that is, one should not disobey śrauta-vāṇī, the divine message, which descends through the succession of bona fide gurus. Nor should one regard guru-bruva, or so-called gurus, as worshipful, and thereby disrespect Śrī Gurupāda-padma. One should know that without taking refuge of the non-dual Absolute Truth, Vrajendra-nandana, there is no auspiciousness for the living entity.

Give Up Everything and Stay with Me

“My Gurudeva!” I am audacious to say “my Gurudeva.” Is my heart so qualified that I can utter this? How exalted are even the toenails of my Guru, and where am I, a dwarf on the lowest platform? How can I even serve Gurupāda-padma? While I sleep, I am robbed of Gurupāda-padma’s service. At that time I remain deeply immersed in selfish pleasure, and I spend the rest of my time feeding and dressing myself. Being bereft of service to Gurupāda-padma, I am unqualified, fallen, and weak. Therefore, had he not profusely showered me with his compassion, I would have even more aggressively exploited the very nature of his mercy than I was doing already. My Gurupāda-padma is the ocean of mercy, and even one drop of his mercy can drown me in an ocean of bliss. How merciful was he that he used to say to me, “Your scholarship, your purity and your aristocracy—give it all up and come stay with me. You will not have to go anywhere else. Whatever you need—a cottage, a house, a mansion, a palace—whatever scholarship and prestige you need, or whatever degree of self-control and renunciation you wish to attain, you will get it all by being here. Just come to me. Do not run here and there, impelled by desires like, ‘I must have a nice home, I must find a good means to achieve material success and I must become vastly learned’. Do not aspire to achieve that what ordinary people value so much.”

I Was A Fearsome Logician

I was a fearsome logician. But out of immense compassion he kicked my pride aside. Thus he showed me his mercy. If I were to try to find the limit of his mercy, I would not succeed even if I continued searching for unlimited lifetimes. In fact, no one will ever find its limit. I am in no way qualified to introduce myself as his servant. Still, he has suffused me with the hope that I can identify myself as his servant, and through that hope I can always stay alive. I used to feel that I was drowning in joylessness (nirānanda), and that I was absorbed in so many temporary activities. It is clear that I am weak, so I felt that when my Śrī Gurudeva would disappear I would go astray, for then I would not be able to hear his teachings. But today many, many incarnations of Śrī Gurupāda-padma have mercifully presented themselves before me.[1]

They do kīrtana in front of me, and they read the Bhāgavatam and explain it to me. When they reveal ever-fresh explanations in accordance with my Śrī Gurupāda-padma’s heart, they bring life back to my dying body. Only because of this, I regain consciousness and attain the good fortune of hearing and speaking hari-kathā twenty-four hours a day, every day.

If we ever become fortunate to attain the association of the devotees, then we must know that Śrī Kṛṣṇacandra is solely responsible for making this arrangement. He bestows fearlessness by the raised hand of Śrī Guru. Only those who are greatly fortunate avail themselves of this opportunity. Śrī Guru presents himself according to the degree of one’s surrender. My good fortune was very meager . I could not elevate myself even after learning many worldly subjects. I could not place my trust in those who helped me in worldly ways. Bhagavān has bestowed His causeless mercy upon me by placing me in the presence of my Gurupāda-padma. I came across the meaning of the word ‘Bhagavān’ while reading a story in school.

aiśvaryasya samagrasya

viryasya yasasah sriyah

jñāna-vairāgyayas caiva

sannam bhaga itingana

Viṣṇu Purāṇa 6.5.47

Bhagavān, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is thus defined by Parāśara Muni as one who is full in six opulences—who has full strength, fame, wealth, knowledge, beauty, and renunciation.

The Ideal Deity of Renunciation

Renunciation is something I had only read about in stories or had read instructions on in books like Vairāgya-śataka (‘A Hundred Verses Regarding Renunciation’), Śānti-śataka (‘A Hundred Verses Regarding Peace’) and Moha-mudgara (‘The Hammer that Demolishes Illusion’). But when the mercy of that most compassionate Lord, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, and of that most compassionate kārṣṇa (Kṛṣṇa’s devotee) both fell upon me, the personification of Bhagavān’s own renunciation (vairāgya) appeared before me.

Although it is not possible for such renunciation to inhabit a human form, I nevertheless had the opportunity to see it in Śrī Gurupāda-padma. Yet, despite seeing him, I have somehow remained in the same darkness. My body gives me obstacles and I am unable to serve Gurupāda-padma twenty-four hours a day. The deity of ideal renunciation, whom I personally beheld, was not the embodiment of renunciation that merely demolishes illusion, nor of pretentious renunciation—the renunciation he embodied was replete with the pinnacle of service to Kṛṣṇa, completely steeped in mahābhāva.

May he whose renunciation extends not only to wealth and women, but to personal prestige as well, be my object of worship. I aspired for the lotus feet of such a Śrī Guru, who would not accept even a single disciple. Still, I presented myself before him and begged for his mercy. He told me “I made one disciple previously, but that disciple cheated me and left, so I have decided not to make any more disciples.”

Although I was distressed by his reply, I made a firm vow: “I will see how many times I am rejected. Without his mercy I will not venture out into the world.”

He Pulverized My Pride

When I came before that very Gurupāda-padma, I could understand by his mercy that what I had considered to be the topmost ideal and the best way of life was to him the lowest of all. Although my ideal was extraordinary compared to the ideals of the people of this world, my Śrī Gurupāda-padma showed me one conception that was truly and absolutely transcendent. Prior to this revelation, I had studied many books by impersonalists expounding the idea of ‘neti, neti, ’ a systematic negation of mundane attachments and designations.[2] Now I had found an actual exemplar of it. Śrī Gurupāda-padma told me, “The ideal you now seek is not your true ideal.” 

I used to think that my Gurupāda-padma’s calibre of renunciation was second to none, but that his erudition was somewhat lacking. He pulverized my pride in my book knowledge by the mallet of his mercy and made me understand that my topmost ideal was in fact the most despicable. When these words of his entered my ears, when I received his mercy, my tiny brain did not have the strength to hold that divine knowledge. He had given an opportunity to a fool and a know-it-all like me to hear such a profound matter. 

My Gurudeva would reside on the banks of the Gaṅgā at various places of Nadīyā. His behavior resembled that of someone who was delirious. He had abandoned eating what he had cooked; neither would he accept anything that was issued forth from the hands of a materialist. He would also never eat anything in a temple owned by a materialist. He would soak rice in water and honor the prasāda. He would also sometimes cook the rice. He would mostly be unclothed. And, when he needed some cloth, he would visit the cemetery, and use the cloth that covered the deceased’s body. Many preparations would always be present in front of him. Many gṛhastha-vaiṣṇavas and wealthy people would give much money and expensive clothes to my Gurudeva. He would then place the money in many knots he had tied using a cloth. He would then become restless to find the money. The ignorant would think that he was greedy for wealth. If anyone would give him expensive clothes, he would praise that person and also instruct him on how insignificant such presentations were.

He used to say, “I have never become a Vaiṣṇava. All those who have offered these presentations, desire that these offerings be used in the service of the Vaiṣṇavas. Therefore, only the Vaiṣṇavas have the right to accept these presentations.”

After speaking these words, he would send all the money and clothes to Vanamālī Rāya Mahāśaya and he would then write to him and ask, “Have you used whatever I have sent in the service of the Vaiṣṇavas?”

Vanamālī Rāya would then be continuously absorbed in the service of the Vaiṣṇavas in Vṛndāvana. 

My Gurupāda-padma never became involved in any matter of this world, but he pretended to bestow his mercy upon an unqualified person like me. The renunciation of the world’s most renounced personalities cannot compare to even a tiny fraction of a hundredth part of his renunciation. Śrīla Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī Prabhu’s renunciation was fully manifest in my Prabhu. If the account of his life is published in the world, if my guru-varga[3] publishes an account of his transcendental life in simple language and propagates it everywhere, then the entire world will be vastly benefited. My Gurupāda-padma did not only say that one should give up wealth and women, rather he instructed that even the urge to portray oneself as a great saint must be renounced. He was a Bhāgavata Paramahaṁsa. Paramahaṁsa-dharma can never remain if the shelter of the paramahaṁsa-saṁhitā Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is not sought.

In regard to my Śrī Gurupāda-padma’s non-duplicity, and selflessness, I have heard innumerable pastimes. I have personally witnessed these qualities in his transcendental life. I have seen that my Gurupāda-padma embodied all the ideals, and moods of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. 

Open Your Eyes

People say that today is the disappearance day of my Gurupāda-padma. However, I consider that today is his appearance day, and that I may worship him for eternity by glorifying him with a million mouths and millions of other senses. May all our senses be engaged in fulfilling the innermost heart’s desire of Śrī Rūpa Prabhu, who fulfilled Śrīman Mahāprabhu’s innermost heart’s desire.

Compelled by compassion, my Śrī Gurupāda-padma has appeared in this world to bestow upon me, by the collyrium of knowledge, the divine realization that I am the servant of Nanda-nandana. Due to my ignorance, I had come to believe that enjoying the objects of the senses was my duty and purpose in life. Thus I had completely lost sight of my real duty. But my Śrī Gurupāda-padma has appeared in this world to dispel the darkness of my ignorance. Unable to see that supreme object, which is impossible to see with these eyes—eyes that simply obstruct what I am meant to hold in my sight eternally—and unable to see that supreme object, which is the only thing worth seeing, all I can see is the sensual veil that covers my eyes. Thus all I see is sense gratification within this transient world.

However, Śrī Gurupāda-padma removes the veil from my eyes and grants me true sight by divine knowledge. He pulls away the veil that covers my eyes, slightly parts my eyelids and instructs me, “Open your eyes and look.” For so long I thought I could see with my eyes shut.

So, I am abandoning my pride and offering namaskāra to Śrī Gurupāda-padma. This indeed is the ingredient of my worship. The act of renouncing the arrogant conception that I am the seer and enjoyer is called ‘namaskāra’. When I was nurturing the misconception that I am the doer, Śrī Gurupāda-padma opened my eyes and dismissed my notions of reality, which were improperly conceived.

Driven by some other knowledge, I was following the blind. Gurupāda-padma made me realize that I must not follow the blind, that I must follow Śrī Gurupāda-padma, who is possessed of divine vision, and that to worship Śrī Gurupāda-padma was my duty.

Service to Śrī Gurupāda-padma is
the Real Activity of My Being

By Gurupāda-padma’s grace, I have developed the conviction that service to him is my one and only duty and is, in fact, the real activity of my being. And after having darśana of Gurupāda-padma, the conviction that there is any necessity of doing something other than serving him was totally dispelled. Just to rescue me from the clutches of arrogance, Bhagavān’s beloved servant, His most cherished companion, revealed Nanda-nandana’s eternal service to me, for he was overwhelmed by compassion. Only then could I understand that in relation to the living entity’s true identity, there is no duty and no source of auspiciousness apart from satisfying the senses of Nanda-nandana. The son of Nanda is the sole object of the living entity’s spiritual practice, and attaining Him is the one and only goal; and Śrī Gurupāda-padma is Nanda-nandana’s very dearly beloved.

Service to that Gurupāda-padma cannot be performed by inept persons like me; not by body, not by mind, not by words, and not by any other type of instrument. However, Śrī Gurupāda-padma infuses me with potency, and looks at me with loving eyes. Perhaps if I can obtain his grace, then by his causeless, heartfelt mercy, I may achieve the qualification to serve him. I am not speaking theoretically. The day Śrī Gurupāda-padma placed his lotus feet, which are unattainable even for the demigods, upon the head of such an undeserving person as me and bathed me in their dust was the day I was first able to understand what my supreme auspiciousness was.

A spiritual master such as Śrī Gurupāda-padma wields the power to give service to the Supreme. May I have the ability to assimilate that awesome mercy. From that day, I certainly sought to receive such incomparable auspiciousness from Śrī Gurupāda-padma.

Śrī Gurupāda-padma is an exclusive servant of the Lord. If I cannot obtain his mercy, if I cannot obtain divine knowledge, then I will not even be able to comprehend the glory of Gurupāda-padma. Śrī Gurupāda-padma is eternal. May I not be bereft of his company for even a moment. Within even a moment of time, my bond with Gurupāda-padma can be broken. So, may I never abandon Gurupāda-padma for even one eleventh of a second, enticed by some mundane temptation. May I never cheat myself of my connection to Gurupāda-padma on account of heeding useless advice from worldly people who are fully averse to him.

Śrī Gurupāda-padma can protect me from all these deceptive perils, so at the beginning of every year, of every month, of every day, and of every moment, it is my duty to worship that Śrī Gurupāda-padma.

My Gurudeva is present in various forms. If he did not exist in so many forms, then who would protect me? Those who my Gurudeva took to be his own are my saviors. But as for those who blaspheme my Gurupāda-padma or anyone who gives shelter to those who blaspheme him, may those inauspicious wretches never cross the path of my vision. 

At every moment, he draws me to his lotus feet to keep me there. The moment I stray from Gurupāda-padma, the moment I forget Gurupāda-padma, is the moment I verily fall from Truth. By not remembering Gurupāda-padma, many hindrances will overcome me. I will then become entirely busy in trying to overcome those very hindrances. As a result, I will leave my Gurupāda-padma’s service and become involved in trivial pursuits. Therefore, if I do not remember Gurupāda-padma at the onset of every year, month, day and moment, I will surely meet with more and more peril. I will desire to be Guru and will adopt the wicked mentality that others ought to call me Guru and worship me. Thus I will have succumbed to meaningless infatuations. So it should not be that I came to perform guru-pūjā only today. It should be that at every moment we are engaging in an eternal guru-pūjā.

One Mahārāja said that “Bābājī Mahārāja used to love this devotee very much.” After listening to Mahārāja, Śrīla Sarasvatī Ṭhākura said, “Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja’s love was not like this. It is not proper to say that Bābājī Mahārāja loved someone just because someone stayed with him or served him. Neither is it proper to say that Bābājī Mahārāja loved someone just because he apparently accepted their service. His real love can be obtained even if someone is residing thousands of miles away from him. Yet, his real love may not be received even if someone is in close physical proximity with him. By receiving his love, one’s attachment to saṁsāra will slacken, and one will no longer contemplate on what is beneficial or harmful. Anurāga, or attachment for para-tattva, will spontaneously arise in his heart.”

The same Mahārāja then requested a certain devotee to plead to Śrīla Prabhupāda on his behalf. He requested Śrīla Prabhupāda to award him his love and service. Śrīla Prabhupāda then said, “Our line of thought is different from your mood of service. We offer our obeisances to such persons from far. Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja and I never associated with such persons; we always maintained our distance from them. A sādhu’s association is indispensable. But such association also depends on one’s qualification. It is not that only physical proximity guarantees one sādhu-saṅga because sādhu-saṅga can also be received by the sincere devotee even if he is far away from the sādhu. A person may not really be associating with a sādhu even if he is staying with him in the same building. Still, a sincere devotee will make full use of the opportunity of staying near a sādhu. While those who are not sincere will not be able to avail themselves of such an opportunity—then what to speak of being far away from the sādhu?”

After sometime, Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja started living in a public bathroom of a Kuliyā dharmaśālā. Someone arranged for the bathroom to be cleaned. I thought, “What if Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja is staying in a bathroom because of an offense I have committed?” When I visited Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja after six months, I saw that another person had occupied a bathroom next to his.

He asked me, “Are you wondering if you will be able to see Bābājī Mahārāja?”

I told him, “If he doesn’t give me his darśana, I will not be able to meet him. You should go and inform him of my arrival.”

After hearing of my arrival, Bābājī Mahārāja stepped outside and told me, “You should bring Śrī Bhaktivinoda Prabhu from Kali’s kingdom Kolkata to Godruma. Some people are trying to cause trouble.”

I asked Bābājī Mahārāja, “Are you testing me? If I have attained the good fortune of carrying your foot dust on my head, then I will not be defeated by the inconceivable pastimes that both of you (Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura and Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja) are performing. Does Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura reside in any place except Śrī Rādhā-kuṇḍa for even a moment? And do you reside in any place except Rādhā-kuṇḍa? The conditioned souls are always absorbed in women, wealth, and prestige. Therefore, you are residing in this bathroom to show these conditioned souls the utter insignificance of these desires that are likened to stool. Yet, the dust of your lotus feet is never cheated by your real mood of residing in such a place.”

Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja then told me, “Yes, yes. I know that Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura and you are the direct manifestations of Śrīman Nityānanda Prabhu. Whatever Śrī Bhaktivinoda Prabhu and you do, happens by the will of Śrīman Mahāprabhu. How can an insignificant soul understand the actions of you both? One must have such staunch faith in Śrī Gurupāda-padma. Because of not being able to understand the actions of Guru-Vaiṣṇavas, the envious become all the more degraded.”

Srila Gaura Kishora das Babaji Maharaja ki Jaya! Srila Bhaktisiddanta Sarasvati Thakur Prabhupada ki Jaya! (Excerpted from the up and coming Bhaktabandhav book publication, “Four Rūpānuga Vaiṣṇava Ācāryas of the Śrī Gauḍīya Sampradāya“. contact: rasik@bhaktabandhav.org for more info on availability.)

 

 


[1] Here, Śrīla Prabhupāda refers to his pure disciples, or sad-sisyas, as incarnations of his Gurudeva.

[2] The phrase ‘Na iti, na iti,’ or ‘It is not this, it is not this,’ is the answer to the question, ‘Is this brahma ?’ In other words, if someone seeks the Absolute Spirit through empirical investigation, he will inevitably engage in negating all perceivable objects and designations, deeming them non-absolute.

[3] Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda here refers to his disciples as his guru-varga.