[Excerpt from Srila Gurudeva: Around the World, U.K. 1996 (Radlett, 23 May), the second book in a series of volumes on Srila Gurudeva’s world preaching tours.]
[Syamarani didi reads a devotee’s question to Srila Gurudeva]
Many devotees over the years in ISKCON have felt a lack of warmth and Krsna-centeredness. Still, I and others who I have spoken to feel that just as the child’s shoe represents the child, so ISKCON institution represents Prabhupada. Maharaja, you have come to help ISKCON, but many devotees feel disturbed by the apparent difference in some of the details of practicing devotional service. And it may cause more diversity than unity.
Srila Gurudeva: I want to speak the truth. A disciple is he who understands his bona fide guru’s moods. When a disciple matures, his mood will be equal to the mood of his Gurudeva. Hence, he would have realized the moods of his Gurudeva. It has been told in our sastras and Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati would also often state that, “To understand God — Deva, you should be a deva; you should be of a godly nature. Then you can understand the moods of God.”
So, I think the disciples of Svamiji, especially those who were senior and had served him since many years, were trying to know the moods of his heart. But, they were checked and controlled by disciples who weren’t bona fide. So, they are not clearly realizing the moods of Svamiji and that is why they are failing in their endeavors. The superior devotees, who know the moods and heart of Svamiji, should descend in our category. Some disciples of Svamiji didn’t understand his instructions. Thus, they tried to advance by themselves and tried realizing Svamiji’s moods. They didn’t take shelter of Svamiji’s books.
Externally, they had seen him. Some disciples tried to know the moods of Svamiji; but not all. So, I speak based on what I have seen and realized by being in the disciplic line for fifty years under the able guidance of Srila Saravati Prabhupda’s disciples like my Gurudeva and Svamiji. I have been in close contact with Svamiji ever since I met him.
Svamiji has written everything in his books, but some devotees have not carefully and deeply read his books. Using his own writings and books as a reference, I will show those certain devotees that I am in the same line as Svamiji. Whatever I speak, I do so with the intention of helping them advance in their knowledge of pure devotion. But they want to drag me into their category; but this will never happen. They should advance in their devotion to understand the moods of Svamiji. If I apparently speak something different from what Svamiji has said, then they can duly inform me of what I have spoken differently. But, I will prove to them that what I say can never be different from what Svamiji has said. But, I don’t wish to get involved in this. I want them to understand Svamiji’s moods, and for this purpose I will employ the means of harmony. It is apparent that not all disciples of any bona fide guru can understand the moods of their Gurudeva’s.
So, it is very rare for a disciple to understand his guru’s heart. Outwardly, many have seen Svamiji. Some of them have tried to go near the moods of his heart, but they have been controlled so much. The devotees who exercise control don’t want to be in harmony with the others, especially with those who are senior. Seniority doesn’t depend on age and when the devotee got initiated. Devotion doesn’t depend on learning; devotion depends on the degree of one’s surrender to his guru. Devotion is directly proportional to the service rendered by the disciple to his guru. You cannot know what devotion is by worldly knowledge; worldly knowledge is apparent. So, we should try to answer from the books of Svamiji.
Some devotees claim that I am of a different mood regarding jiva-tattva. But, I am in the line of Svamiji. What I speak is the same as what Svamiji has said regarding jiva-tattva, Krsna-tattva, maya-tattva, and unalloyed love and devotion to Krsna. What I speak is not different from what Svamiji has stated in any way.
Let us consider jiva-tattva first. Those who have superficially heard Svamiji say, “The jiva has come from Goloka-Vrndavana.” In Caitanya Caritamrta and other books, Svamiji has stated like this. But, he has not said so factually. Anything cannot be accepted as evidence of a solid truth; we will have to judge what has been said by six fundamental characteristics. These characteristics are upakrama, upasangar, arthavad, abhyasa, arthapati, and sansir***. Yasoda calls Krsna a thief, but we shouldn’t accept this as a fundamental truth. We will have to consider why Yasoda has called her son as a thief by referring to the scriptures like Srimad Bhagavatham. At the beginning of a pastime, Krsna has been called a thief. He has also been called a thief at the conclusion of the pastime. Then we will think of Krsna as a thief. But, Yasoda has called her son a thief jokingly. So, it cannot be taken factually. Hence, in Srimad Bhagavatham, it has been stated that Krsna is a thief. Similarly, Srila Svami Maharaja has stated that the jiva has fallen from Goloka Vrndavana. Our Gururvarga, consisting of Svamiji, my Guru Maharaja, and Srila Prabhupada have quoted a sloka from the Caitanya Caritamrta to describe the conditioned state of the jivas:
krsna bhuli’ sei jiva anadi-bahirmukha
ataeva maya tare deya samsara-duhkha
They have explained that the jivas have forgotten Krsna. But when did the jivas forget Krsna? To understand our relationship with Krsna, it may be said, “The jivas used to know Krsna. They were with Krsna, serving Him. Later, they forgot Krsna.” Those who are learning the abcd’s of Krsna consciousness must be told as such. Otherwise, they will never know the truth. If they hear these statements repeatedly, it will not be incorrect to tell them that the jivas have come from a middle realm called tatasta-sakti where Karanabdhisayi Visnu lives. When the jivas become more matured in their understanding, they can be told that the jivas have never come from anywhere. The sun and its rays are eternal and related to each other; similarly Krsna and the jivas are eternal and inseparably related. Tatasta-sakti has been described for the beginners. There are two kinds of jivas—those who have never seen the material world and those who have never seen or been to the transcendental world.
You should make a note of what I am saying. I am in the line of Svamiji. Hence, by reading the purports of Svamiji, you can judge by yourself and realize that Svamiji and I are speaking the truth. There is no difference between what we state. We are of the same mood for not only jiva-tattva; we share the same views on all the aspects of the transcendental realm and the existence of the jivas. As the disciples mature in their devotional understanding, Guru gives them different instructions.
But, some disciples think, “Oh he is speaking differently from what he has said earlier.”
But, there is no difference at all. The platform of understanding is the same, it is not mixed. Guru has sown the seeds of devotion and they yield fruits. The fruits are non-different from the seed, because the seed is their source. But if anyone says, “The fruits are different from the seeds,” then we must understand that he is not so intelligent. His understanding is like that of a child. I will answer all your questions and clear all your doubts. What I speak is the same as what Svamiji has said. Svamiji wanted to tell you and give you many more understandings, but he reserved them for later. Now that you have gained a better understanding of devotion, it is appropriate for you to understand these conclusions of bhakti. My mood is to convey Svamiji’s message to you all.
Now you should hear more questions.
Devotee: I will read short excerpts from Srila Prabhupada’s different purports on the Srimad Bhagavatham that state how the jivas have never fallen from the transcendental abode. This is from chapter fifteen, text forty eight. I will read the purport, which is as follows:
“From Vedic scriptures it is understood that sometimes even Brahma and Indra fall down, but a devotee in the transcendental abode of the Lord never falls.”
This excerpt is from third canto, chapter sixteen, text twenty six.
Srila Gurudeva: You must read Prabhupada’s purports.
Devotee: These are all excerpts from Srila Prabhupada’s purports.
Srila Gurudeva: The devotees who doubt my words should deeply study Svamiji’s books. I think they haven’t read his books deeply and carefully. You should make a note of these excerpts and see for yourself that there can never be difference between what Svamiji and I say. You will realize, “What Maharaja is saying is the same as what Prabhupada has said.” You should read the excerpt.
[Devotee reads the purport]
“The conclusion is that no one falls from the spiritual world or Vaikunta, for it is the eternal abode.”
Devotee: The next excerpt is from the fifth canto, chapter eleven, text twelve.
“This ordinary living being is of two kinds—nitya-baddha or nitya-mukta. One is eternally conditioned and the other eternally liberated. The eternally liberated living beings are in the Vaikuntha jagat, the spiritual world, and they never fall into the material world.”
Devotee: The next excerpt is from the seventh canto, first chapter, text thirty-four. I will read the translation of the verse also because it discusses the same question.
The translation of the verse is:
“Maharaja Yudhisthira inquired: What kind of great curse could affect even liberated visnu-bhaktas, and what sort of person could curse even the Lord’s associates? For unflinching devotees of the Lord to fall again to this material world is impossible. I cannot believe this.”
Srila Gurudeva: Yudhisthira Maharaja himself could not believe that the devotees fall from the spiritual world. None of the residents of the spiritual world can fall down and become entrapped within the confines of this material world.
[Devotee reads the purport]
In Bhagavad-gita (8.16) the Lord clearly states, mam upetya tu kaunteya punar janma na vidyate: one who is purified of material contamination and returns home, back to Godhead, does not return to this material world. Elsewhere in Bhagavad-gita (4.9) Krsna says:
janma karma ca me divyam
evam yo vetti tattvatah
tyaktva deham punar janma
naiti mam eti so ‘rjuna
“One who knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again in this material world, but attains My eternal abode, O Arjuna.” Maharaja Yudhishthira, therefore, was surprised that a pure devotee could return to this material world. This is certainly a very important question.
Devotee: The next text states:
“The bodies of the inhabitants of Vaikuntha are completely spiritual, having nothing to do with the material body, senses or life air. Therefore, kindly explain how associates of the Personality of Godhead were cursed to descend in material bodies like ordinary persons.”
The purport is:
“Therefore it is to be understood that when Jaya and Vijaya descended to this material world, they came because there was something to be done for the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Otherwise it is a fact that no one falls from Vaikuntha.”
Srila Gurudeva: Yes. Have all of you understood?
Jaya and Vijaya never fell from Vaikuntha. They knew that their master wanted to taste vira-rasa, the mood of chivalry. They thought, “Except for vira-rasa, He has tasted all the rasas. But now, He wants to taste the mood of chivalry, Our Prabhu is facing this problem. Hence, we must solve His problem. We should fight with Him and satisfy His desire. But, we cannot fight with Him on friendly terms. We should possess an opposite mood. Without Prabhu’s grace, we cannot be of an opposite mood.”
So, they prayed to Prabhu Narayana.
He told His dear servitors, “Yes, I will give both of you a chance to satisfy My desire.”
So, He called the Catusana, the Four Kumaras—Sanak, Sanat, Sanatana, and Sanandana to His abode. They didn’t come to the Lord’s abode by their own volition; they were inspired to come by the will of Narayana. By Yogamaya’s influence, the Kumaras became angry with Jaya and Vijaya. Therefore, they cursed them to become demons for three consecutive births. On being cursed, the two brothers became very glad. But externally, they seemed to be worried.
Narayana immediately came and told His servants, “Don’t be worried.”
He also told the Four Kumaras, “You acted by the will of Yogamaya. I wanted to wrestle; I wanted to taste vira-rasa. Hence, I arranged for you to be angry.”
In one form, Jaya-Vijaya were always present in Vaikuntha. In another form, they assumed the form of the demons. In comparison to eternal time, they manifested their demon forms for only a moment, as if they just came and went. We cannot calculate a minute’s time of the eternal world. So, when Jaya-Vijaya assumed the forms of demons, they did so for only a moment of eternal time. They then gave up their demon bodies and returned to Vaikuntha, becoming one with their original, spiritual forms. Do you understand? Hence, Svamiji has stated this in his purports. There must be some explanation to understand the views and moods of Svamiji. Anyone cannot understand his moods on their own. We were very lucky to have associated with Svamiji since many years. We have gained much from Gurudeva and Svamiji. By their guidance, we can go deep into their writings. Now, I see that devotees cannot go deep into Svamiji’s moods, because they are controlled. Bhakti cannot be controlled. To enter the moods of Svamiji, we must be broad-minded.
Devotee: There is another important point here. Gurudeva explains that if one attains bhava-bhakti in this life and gets his svarupa-siddhi, then he can go to where Krsna is performing His pastimes in the material world and meet Krsna for the first time. Srila Prabhupada confirms that in this statement from the Krsna book:
“The mature devotees who have completely executed Krsna consciousness are immediately transferred to the universe where Krsna is appearing. In that universe, the devotees get their first opportunity to associate with Krsna personally and directly.”
This is from Krsna book chapter 28.
Srila Gurudeva: I know of many instances within Svamiji’s writings, where he establishes the nature of the spiritual world. He has established the infallible nature of the spiritual world in mainly the Krsna book, Caitanya Caritamrta, and the Srimad Bhagavatham. He has also quoted Srila Jiva Gosvami’s writings. I know of many teachings of Jiva Gosvami where he establishes the supremacy of the Lord’s abode because I read his Sat-sandharbas under the guidance of my Gurudeva. I haven’t explained or quoted what I have realized because I want to answer or quote what Svamiji has himself stated in his books. I can also quote what Srila Rupa Gosvami, Baladeva Vidybhusana, Vishvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, and Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura have stated in their writings like Jaiva-dharma. I know so much that the devotees who claim the fallible nature of the spiritual world will not be able to grasp or answer my questions.
So, I want to reconcile in a harmonious fashion that I am in the same line of Svamiji. I have the same mood as he does. I want to glorify Svamiji in unlimited ways. Certain devotees have not realized what he wanted to tell. But they fear that I speak while being situated in another line of thought. All our spiritual masters are in the same line. And Svamiji is also in the same line. He has said what Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura has stated. He has not spoken his Guru’s instructions entirely; he has spoken of some instructions of his Gurudeva. For instance, I cannot give the wealth of the entire teachings of my Gurudeva; I can only give a little of his priceless teachings. So you should realize that I don’t speak differently from what Svamiji has said. Perhaps some of you have been hearing from me for the past ten days; I wish to ask them if what I have said in my classes are against the principles of Svamiji, or Srimad Bhagavatham? Have I spoken on the esoteric nature of the Gopis’ love and devotion for Krsna? What have I explained? No one can give any example from my classes that proves contrary to what I have said. If there were many senior, advanced devotees who deeply knew the import of Svamiji’s teachings, then I would have spoken on many features of the realm of devotion; so much so, that they cannot reach or dream what I have to say within a hundred births. I know this.
Svamiji used to always shower much love and affection on me. He wanted to always be with me. Why? He would see me as an equal in every respect. But, I don’t feel that I am equal to Svamiji. I consider myself to be the dust of his lotus feet; but he wanted to regard me. Although I wasn’t qualified to be apologized to, he apologized to me. He would treat me like his bosom friend. But I would consider him as my Siksa Guru.
[Srila Gurudeva to a devotee]
Are you satisfied by my answers? If you have any more doubts, I will tell the devotees to give you a copy of the book. I think that you didn’t have a chance to hear these truths, but now, you will realize. A Siksa Guru is required. Without the help of a Siksa Guru, we cannot know the moods of the Diksa Guru because they are on the same level. A third class devotee will not be able to reconcile this.
[Break of audio]
Devotee: The jiva-tattva issue was not one of my questions. But, I understand that you spoke on this for a purpose. If GBC says anything, I will know what to say because you have kindly given the answer. In the future if anyone says to the devotees, “Srila Narayana Maharaja has a different point of view on this issue,” they will give a befitting answer, because now they have your tape and they know what to say.
Srila Gurudeva: I request you to realize that Svamiji and I are of the same mood for not only this subject; we are of the same mood in all respects. You should believe me when I say that I am not of a different opinion. Certain devotees have been misguided; they haven’t gone deeply through his books. Superficially reading books will not do anything. By being under the guidance of a Siksa Guru, we will know all these subtle points of devotion. Therefore, in Caitanya Caritamrta, it has been stated that the Diksa Guru and Siksa Guru are the rupa and svarupa of Krsna. So, we should not deny the existence of Siksa Guru.
Devotee: We have heard that if you give first and second initiations without the need to follow the rules and regulations.
Srila Gurudeva: This is quite false; this is a white lie. You can realize by your own observance that none of my disciples have fallen from the path of devotion. But, why are the disciples of certain gurus leaving the path of devotion? If the gurus are not bona fide, this is bound to happen. I chant one lakh of harinama daily; do you know this? I should not tell this, but I want you to know this. What to speak of my disciples; anyone who comes in contact with me chants one lakh of harinama. They don’t chant less than fifty rounds. The devotees who make these accusations are wrong in their understandings. But, I cannot be wrong; like Svamiji, I have so much faith in Krsna.
Svamiji told me, “I will start a boarding house, where the members will be allowed to take meat and eggs initially. But, they will be bona fide in time.”
So, I have confidence in me that when I see a person, I can judge if he is a bona fide candidate for initiation or not. Hence, I give initiation after due consideration. Do any of my disciples take meat, wine, onion, garlic, or eggs? All of my disciples chant more than fifty rounds. You can ask my disciples themselves. So, their accusations are quite false. By engaging in this propaganda, they are committing an offense. To speak against any Vaisnava is quite wrong. I have come from Srila Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja who was the sannyasa guru of Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja. Svamiji saw some specialty in our Gurudeva; hence, he accepted sannyasa from him. Svamiji has much love and affection for me. Considering him to be my bosom friend and Siksa Guru, I served him so much. I think they haven’t served Svamiji as I did. So, if I am in my Guru’s line, except for these certain devotees, all the Gaudiya Vaisnavas will never speak like this. So many Acaryas are with me — Vamana Maharaja, Tirtha Maharaja, Trivikrama Maharaja, and many others.
[To read or download the full upcoming book as a pdf, visit www.patreon.com/bhaktabandhav]