Jaganatha-purī-dhāma is called Śāṅkha-kṣetra. Śāṅkha-kṣetra means when one is in this dhāma, he is protected within Bhagavān’s śaṅkha, conch. Kṛṣṇa has the Pañcajanya-śaṅkha. During the Mahābhārata war, when Kṛṣṇa blew on His conch shell, it struck fear in all the Kauravas. When Kṛṣṇa blows on His conch, all false ego and anarthas are dispelled from the heart.

Lord Nārāyaṇa touched His conch to Dhruva’s mouth and then Dhruva could eloquently eulogize the Lord with verses of the Vedas. This is called dhruva-stuti. Dhruva subsequently spoke the glories of Bhagavān for countless years.

Kṛṣṇa blows the Pañcajanya conch, and in Vraja, He plays on His flute. Both are spreading Kṛṣṇa’s message. In Vraja, Kṛṣṇa distributes messages on His flute for His associates in the five rasas. However, with the śaṅkha, Kṛṣṇa’s distributes one thing, dāsya bhakti.

If a disciple is not surrendered to the lotus feet of Śrī Guru, then Gurudeva does not check him, or give him any entrance into bhakti. The sādhaka may endeavor for millions of lives but he will not receive prema-bhakti.

The dāsya-bhāva, or mood of a servant, is present in śaṅkha Kṣetra. Kṛṣṇa has four dhāmas. Here we are in Jagannātha-dhāma, and this is śaṅkha Kṣetra-dhāma. The other dhāmas are gadā, padma or cakra dhāma.
Anyone who comes to this śaṅkha Kṣetra and offers himself, surrendering to Kṛṣṇa and Śrī Guru, receives tattva-jñāna:

ṛte ’rthaṁ yat pratīyeta
na pratīyeta cātmani
tad vidyād ātmano māyāṁ
yathābhāso yathā tamaḥ

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 2.9.34

The Supreme Absolute Truth (parama-tattva, or svarūpa-tattva) is the only real truth. One should understand that which is seen to be separate from this truth, or not existing within it, to be the product of the Supreme Absolute Truth’s illusory energy (māyā). The following example demonstrates this. Parama-tattva can be compared to the sun, which is an object consisting of light. The sun is experienced in two other forms, namely its reflection and darkness. Similarly, in regards to the Absolute Truth, reflection pertains to the living entities (jīva-śakti) and darkness to the material world (māyā-śakti).

All transcendental knowledge will come to the disciple who surrenders to Śrī Guru. The Vedic mantras flow from Kṛṣṇa’s śaṅkha. Similarly, Gurudeva gives guru-mantra, kṛṣṇa-mantra, gaura-mantra and gaura-gāyatrī, or the sannyāsa-mantra in his disciples’ ears. Guru-pāda-padma looks to see if the disciple is really near him, surrendered to him, or near someone else, and surrendered to someone else.

Vyāsa-pūjā means to surrender to the lotus feet of Vyāsadeva. Then he will give all tattva-jñāna and sat-cit-ānanda. Sat represents sandhinī, and sambandha-jñāna. Cit represents saṁvit and abhidheya. And hlādinī is ānanda-svarūpinī Rādhā Ṭhākurānī, and prayojanatattva.

This all comes from līlā-śakti. Līlā-śakti is svarūpa-śakti’s second expansion. When a sādhaka first comes to Śrī Guru, he receives nāma and mantra. When one chants, līlā-śakti connects one to the rūpa and svarūpa of one’s iṣṭadeva, such as Rādhā-Ramaṇa, Rāsa-Bihāri, and Rādhā-Giridhārī. Which svarūpa is one related to? Are you connected to dāsya-rasa, sakhya-rasa, vātsalya-rasa, or śṛīngāra-rasa? Upon surrendering to Śrī Guru and receiving nāma, mantra and śikṣā from him, one becomes inclined to the worship of his particular iṣṭadeva. All do not have love for Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. Some have love for Kṛṣṇa-Baladeva, Gaura-Nitāi, Gaura-Gadādhara, Gaura-Viṣṇupriyā, and some have love for Rādhā-Dāmodara, or Rādhā-Śyāmasundara, and so on.

Śāṅkha-kṣetra gives you spiritual knowledge. This knowledge is received by Śrī Guru, coming inside the heart and cleansing it. Kṛṣṇa gives this knowledge through Śrī Guru. Śrī Guru is like Kṛṣṇa’s śaṅkha, conch. Ideal prema comes from Śrī Guru, ideal love and ideal sound comes from Śrī Guru. How does this come? When does this come:

sarvopaniṣado gāvo
dogdhā gopāla-nandanaḥ
pārtho vatsaḥ su-dhīr bhoktā
dugdhaṁ gītāmṛtaṁ mahat

When a calf is born to a cow, milk naturally flows from the udders of the cow for her calf. Similarly, when a disciple is surrendered to Śrī Guru and has a good relation with Śrī Guru, Śrī Guru’s heart melts towards him. When he sees his dear disciple has come, then automatically hari-kathā will come from within Śrīla Gurudeva. Which kind of hari-kathā will come? This is not any kind of bogus kathā. It is more powerful than mantra śakti. It is thousands of times more powerful. When it goes inside, it purifies the heart of the disciple and makes it clean inside, like the śaṅkha. The disciple’s heart becomes śaṅkha dhāma, and it will be God’s playing center.

śṛṇvatāṁ sva-kathāḥ kṛṣṇaḥ
hṛdy antaḥ-stho hy abhadrāṇi
vidhunoti suhṛt satām

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 1.2.17

By hearing the līlā-kathā of Bhagavān, all misfortunes of the jīvas are dispelled. Those who possess an ardent desire to obtain unalloyed prema-bhakti at the lotus feet of Śrī Kṛṣṇa must certainly hear His līlā-kathā repeatedly and incessantly.

The sādhaka cannot purify his heart. The sādhus vāṇī enters the heart of the sādhaka and purifies it. The words and playing programs, or requests and prayers of mundane people are stocked in the heart, making it like a garbage center. In old age, the throat, ears and nose become blocked. Why? People are always collecting mundane garbage in this world, hearing worldly talks and it fills their mind and heart. To clean this, one must take shelter of the sādhus. One who does not do so can never be purified.

Hariḥ puraṭa-sundara-dyuti kadamba sandīpitaḥ—Hari is described to be like a lion. When a lion roars, large elephants run in fear. The sādhu’s sad-vāṇī, transcendental speech, is like the blowing of the śaṅkha, conch. It is a lion-like roar, which banishes the fearsome offenses and anarthas dwelling in the heart of the sādhaka. When this comes and goes inside the heart, through the ears, it cleans the heart and creates a place for God to reside and engage in loving pastimes.

One cannot feel any peace in this world without the merciful speech of the genuine vaiṣṇavas. A person may take so many pharmaceutical drugs to alleviate his aches and pains, but nothing will give permanent help, and nothing will cleanse his heart and mind of contaminations. The only method to clean the heart is the blowing of the divine conch, or the speech of the Vaiṣṇavas. Kṛṣṇa beats with His gadā, club, and plays with His lotus, and cuts with His cakra, but these cannot clean the anarthas in the sādhakas’ hearts. Only the śaṅkha is capable for this task. This is called bhagavad-vāṇī; vāṇī-vaibhava.

Śrīla Gurudeva is not gone. His vāṇī is present. This is connected to līlā-śakti and is called vyāsa-pūjā. Only if vyāsa is present can he be worshipped. How can one worship vyāsa, do vyāsa-pūjā, if he is not present? How can he accept any of one’s offerings if we have no faith in his transcendental nature? Is Gurudeva gone? Where has he gone? He has not gone. He is with us, always taking care of us and attending all our programs. This is his vāṇī vaibhava, and is the program of līlā-śakti. This is called vyāsa-pūjā.

Nityānanda Prabhu started the process of vyāsa-pūjā by worshipping Caitanya Mahāprabhu, within whom all incarnations and all of God’s family members are present.

Guru doesn’t say, “Serve me. Follow me. My advice is all-in-all.” But if you don’t serve him, follow him, and accept his instructions as your life and soul, then how will you ever progress? Who teaches this? Those who teach are called Vaiṣṇavas.

Nityānanda Prabhu taught the process of worshipping vyāsa, and how to receive his mercy and to reach his company and have a relation with him. Nityānanda Prabhu taught how to achieve this relation. He is the root of all gurus and this is His duty and subject matter. Śrī Guru teaches vyāsa-pūjā and who is the real vyāsa.

Jagannātha, Baladeva, Subhadrā and Sudarśana are present in this śaṅkha Kṣetra. The power of the śaṅkha is present here. Mahāprabhu came and stayed here for 18 years. He taught from here. This place is for training and learning. Once one is qualified, he can go to Vṛndāvana.

We are very lucky. Faith is our property. If faith is lost, then we are poor. And if we go distance from the Guru-varga, then we are orphans. When with the Guru-varga, sat-cid-ānanda is with us. Guru and vaiṣṇavas will always be with us. Anywhere you see devotees performing hari-kathā, kīrtana, and following bhakti, Kṛṣṇa’s mercy is present with them.

There should be no māyā kīrtana, politics and other things. There should be no kīrtana of mundane reality: earth, water, fire, air, and ether. Then there will be no problem in life. All līlā-śakti will help one there. “What is good for us? What should happen next?” She arranges everything. But we must follow our own class and duty. Do not lose your duty. Chant harināma, perform kīrtana, attend hari-kathā, honor mahā-prasāda. Don’t forget or give up the rules and process of gauḍīya vaiṣṇavas.

Kṛṣṇa and the Guru-varga help the devotees who are engaged in hari-bhakti. They increase our desire to follow bhakti, and make us related to those places. One should never insult any of the Guru-varga. Remember this very well. The disciple should feel, ‘mad-guru jagad-guru,’ my guru is the master of the entire world. But this does not mean that another guru is not a Vaiṣṇava. Whoever respects Śrī Guru will respect Vaiṣṇavas. And one who respects Vaiṣṇavas will respect the Guru-varga. This is the truth.

Srila Gurudeva ki Jaya! (Excerpted from a Bhaktabandhav book publication, “Sri Guru Darshan”. Available from rasik@bhaktabandhav.org )