O Kuru-nandana, the intelligence of those who are on this path of bhakti is resolute and one-pointed, but the intelligence of those who are averse to bhakti is many-branched and inconclusive.
A materialistic businessman is one-pointedly focused on his business. Why not be one-pointed on your soul’s business.
bhaktir bhavati naiṣṭhikī
If I do not do bhāgavata-sevā, if I do not follow my Guru-pāda-padma, if I do not serve this mahā-bhāgavata, then where am I? I have lost everything.
Therefore, do guru-pūjā at every moment. Guru-pūjā does not only mean the rotating of paraphernalia; the offering of ghee, flowers, and incense. This is not pūjā. What is the meaning of pūjā? Pūjā is pṛthivī–dāna, pleasing the object of worship. How will Gurudeva be pleased? Our activities should be guided by this mood. When we strive to follow Gurudeva’s advice, rules, line, and everything, then he will give us the strength to do so. We do many things under the dictates of our mind, but we do not perform nityam bhāgavata–sevayā.
We should all make a serious promise to reserve a place for Guru-pāda-padma in our hearts. If one has the mood, “I will keep a place in my heart only for Śrīla Gurudeva, his beloved Lords, and eternal associates,” then Gurudeva will be present with us and will give us everything. We will be connected to the flow of vraja-rasa.
Śrīla Gurudeva urged us, “Be a rūpānuga. Follow the footsteps of Rūpa Gosvāmī.” We should ask ourselves, “Are we fulfilling this desire he has for us? Are we praying:
priya-svarūpe dayita-svarūpe prema-svarūpe sahajābhirūpe
nijānurūpe prabhur eka-rūpe tatāna-rūpe sva-vilāsa-rūpe
ādadānas tṛṇaṁ dantair
idaṁ yāce punaḥ punaḥ
dhūliḥ syāṁ janma-janmani
Śrī Dāna Keli Cintāmani 175
śrī rūpa mañjarī karārcita pādapadma
goṣṭendra-nandana bhujārpita mastakāyāḥ
hā modataḥ kanaka-gauri padāravinda
samvāhanāni śanakais tava kiṁ kariṣye
Śrīla Gurudeva explained this verse in his lectures, as follows:
When will that day come when Rūpa Mañjarī will call me and order me to do this sevā, when Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa are both tired from walking here and there in Vṛndāvana?” Rādhikā is more soft, so She is more tired. She has put Her head in Kṛṣṇa’s lap, and Her feet in the lap of Rūpa Mañjarī. Kṛṣṇa is gently massaging Her head. And sometimes with His pītāmbara He is wiping Śrīmatī Rādhikā’s face very affectionately.
And Rūpa Mañjarī is massaging Her feet very gently, softly and sweetly. Nearby Rati Mañjarī is standing and fanning with a cāmara. Rūpa Mañjarī calls her with her eyes, “Come on, come on. I will give you a remnant of mahā-mahā-mahā-prasādam. You should take these feet and gently massage them. I am going to bring water, very beautiful water because They are thirsty.” Saying this, Rūpa Mañjarī placed those feet in the hands of
Rati Mañjarī. “When will I have a chance to serve like this? When will Rūpa Mañjarī and Rati Mañjarī give me this remnant of this mahā-mahā-mahā-prasādam?” This is siddha-rūpeṇa.
Śrīla Gurudeva always recited these prayers. He taught us this.
But how have we forgotten? Why don’t we pray with these moods?
Why is this not our meditation? Chant harināma and always pray to Guru-pāda-padma. Consider, “How can I follow his footsteps?” Then you will not be distant from him. Try again and again and again. This is your sādhana. This is your meditation. This is your tapa, japa, and yoga.
śrī rūpa-mañjarī-pada, sei mora sampada,
sei mora bhajana-pūjana
The lotus feet of Śrī Rūpa Mañjarī are my dearmost treasure. They are the topmost object of my worship and inner devotional practices.
Why did Śrīla Gurudeva like these kīrtanas so much? He is giving the lesson of our paramparā.
sei vrata, sei tapa, sei mora mantra japa,
sei mora dharama karama
sei vrata, sei tapa, sei mora mantra japa,
sei mora dharama karama
Her lotus feet fulfill the goal of my vows and austerities, my harināma–japa, my actions, and my spiritual practices—all performed with the aim to please Śrī Rūpa Mañjarī.
Do we think like this in regard to Guru-pāda-padma? Sādhana starts when this mood is fixed. The platform will then be made. Now, those that newly come think that they cannot meet with Śrīla Gurudeva. But this is not true. All his followers are present. His books are present. Everything is present.
One time, in Devānanda Gauḍīya-maṭha, when Śrīla Gurudeva had newly joined, he said in his class, “I know Prabhupāda Sarasvatī Ṭhākura.” All of Prabhupāda’s disciples that were there complained to Param Gurudeva about this, saying, “Gaura Nārāyaṇa claims that he knows Prabhupāda, that he has seen Prabhupāda.”
Param Gurudeva called for Śrīla Gurudeva and asked him,
“Do you know Prabhupāda? Have you seen him?”
“Yes,” Gurudeva said.
“Why are you saying this?”
“It is the truth. These Vaiṣṇavas have seen Prabhupāda with their eyes, but I have seen him with my ears by your mercy. You have told me all about Prabhupāda. I believe in your words and have faith in you. Thus, you have shown me Prabhupāda.”
One who has faith in Śrīla Gurudeva should describe his glories and divine nature to everyone and bring people near Śrīla Gurudeva through this method. Then people can be the followers of Śrīla Gurudeva, just as Śrīla Gurudeva instructed us to be the followers of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī Prabhu. People will see Gurudeva by hearing his glories and teachings. They can meet with him and receive his mercy by remembering him. He has not gone from this world. Before, he was present in one form, but now he is present everywhere, waiting to see who has love for him and wants to follow his mood.
One time I asked Śrīla Gurudeva, “Everyone is chanting the mahāmantra. Is this really helpful for the conditioned souls? Please tell me.”
“Why should I tell you?” he said.
“I am always with you. I am not with anyone else.”
“Do you have faith in me?”
“Yes, please tell me what is most helpful for the jīvas.”
“What do you think?”
“I think chanting guru-mantra and guru–gāyatrī is very good. I will chant these all the time. Then I will always be with you.”
Śrīla Gurudeva laughed. He said, “My Guru Mahārāja spoke like this to Prabhupāda.”
Param Gurudeva, at that time Vinoda, had said, “Gurudeva, you have given me kṛṣṇa-mantra, gaura-mantra, and other mantras, but will
you not give me guru-mantra? Will I have to go to another guru for the guru-mantra?”
Smiling, Prabhupāda then gave him the guru-mantra.
Śrīla Gurudeva gives guru-mantra, but should this become secondary? He gave us the mahāmantra also, but this does not mean guru-mantra is secondary. We chant it a few times a day and then forget about it. Then who do we stay with? Ghosts? Witches? Will Kṛṣṇa so easily come to deliver us?
Āre Bābā! Seriously chant guru-mantra! Chant it continuously.
Śrīla Gurudeva’s eternal svarūpa will then manifest to you. Why have you lost your Gurudeva? What is the meaning of this? Guru–mantra and guru’s svarūpa are non-different. Therefore, Gurudeva gives guru-mantra and says, “Chant this mantra, and I will never be distant from you.”
But we do not chant this mantra and are then naturally always disturbed. If we are always chanting guru-mantra, then all auspiciousness will easily come. The svarūpa of the mahāmantra will be revealed to us. We will have darśana of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa only by Gurudeva’s mercy. Why? Gurudeva is always chanting the mahāmantra. He is chanting śuddha–nāma, but we are not.
Who is the most helpful for us in this world? Is the mahāmantra the most helpful? By which medium did the mahāmantra come to us? Who gave it to us? Did Kṛṣṇa give it to us? Did Mahāprabhu give it to us? Did any other sādhu come and give it to us? Only our Guru-pāda-padma is with us.
We must follow only him. We shall chant his mantra.
I said, “If I chant your mantra will you be pleased?”
Śrīla Gurudeva said, “Nityānanda Prabhu will be happy and Baladeva Prabhu will give you cit-bala, spiritual strength.”
“But will you not give anything?” I asked.
“Yes…I have some love for my Guru Mahārāja, therefore you will receive love for your Guru Mahārāja.”
This is called guru–śakti and guru-bhakti. If you have no guru-bhakti, you have nothing.
prathaman tu guruṁ pūjyāṁ
tataś caiva mamārcanam
kurvan siddhim avāpnoti
hy anyathā niṣphalaṁ bhavet
Śrī Kṛṣṇa says, “One must always worship one’s Guru first and only then worship Me. If one follows this process properly, one will naturally attain all perfection, but if one neglects this process everything will be fruitless.”
Guru-bhakti must come before kṛṣṇa-bhakti. Gurudeva is not only Baladeva Prabhu’s expansion. All gurus are not Baladeva Prabhu’s or Nityānanda Prabhu’s expansion. Some gurus come to this world by the order of Rādhārānī, and they are Rādhārānī and Rūpa Mañjarī and Rati Mañjarī’s direct followers. Not all lines are the same. Kṛṣṇa Himself is surprised and marvels at how Śrīmatī manifests Her group in this world and attracts everyone to Vraja to serve Him.
Not all lines are the same. Different lines send people in different directions. Many people came after Nayana-maṇī-mañjarī and Vinoda Mañjarī. Who is a true follower of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s line?
The understanding of this is very rare. We are therefore very fortunate. Guru-bhakti is not only the backbone of bhakti, it gives us spiritual strength and bliss.
In śāstra, there are prayers such as:
gurur brahmā gurur viṣṇur
guru devo maheśvaraḥ
gurur sākṣād parabrahma
tasmai śrī-guruve namaḥ
Does this mean that guru is Brahmā, Śiva, Viṣṇu, or Sākṣād-Parabrahma? What is the meaning of this prayer? A disciple or follower that offers himself completely to Guru-pāda-padma attains the protection and care of Brahmā, Śiva, Viṣṇu, Parabrahma, and all other powerful personalities. These personalities take you in their lap and bless you. They say, “I will take care of you. Why? Because you have taken shelter of sad-guru! You are very lucky.”
Rāmacandra Kavirāja was the disciple of Śrīnivāsa Ācārya. He stayed with Narottama Ṭhākura, but how strong his relation was with his Gurudeva! His Gurudeva went in samādhi to Rādhā-kuṇḍa to find Śrīmatī’s lost nose ring. Rāmacandra Kavirāja also went there with his siddha-svarūpa and joined his Gurudeva in mānasī-sevā. Together, they searched for the nose ring and when it was found, they came back together. How strong his relation with guru is!
How can we have relation with Gurudeva if we do not chant his mantra and always remember him? If our hearts have no room for him, then we are bogus disciples. I do not like this. I desire that everyone pray to him, chant his name, and follow his footsteps and desire. What does he want for us? What is his line? Let this be our focus.
Śrīla Gurudeva is present now also, protecting us, and helping us move forward on the path of vraja-bhakti. He is preparing us for the birth of our soul in Vraja, where we will blissfully serve Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa under guidance of the Vraja-devīs. Birth from the womb of the mother is birth of the body, but not of the soul. For the birth of the soul,
guru is the father, and Gāyatrī is the mother—guru pitā gāyatrī mātā. Through saṁskāra, spiritual initiation, Guru Pitā and Gāyatrī Mātā accept one, and give spiritual birth to the soul. The soul is now very small, like a dormant seed inside the body, where it is a prisoner, bound by its karma. When the conditioned soul accepts the shelter of sad-guru and receives the gāyatrī–mantra as its spiritual mother, then Gurudeva and Gāyatrī nourish one and help one develop in spiritual existence. If one gives up Guru Pitā and Gāyatrī Mātā, then one will be like an orphaned child. The flow of spiritual life will stop. One will run to accept the offerings of Māyā-devī.
Those who follow Gāyatrī Mātā and Guru Pitā will never be separated from their spiritual life and will certainly attain svarūpa-siddhi.
By remembering Śrīla Gurudeva and Gāyatrī-devī, we receive spiritual strength and knowledge, and will never be attached to mundane objects. Whatever action we do will be beneficial for attaining our svarūpa–siddhi. We will not do anything for this mundane world. And we will not be attracted to mundane objects. But we must seriously chant our
guru-mantras, gāyatrī–mantras, harināma, and always remember Gurudeva and try to follow his line.
Śrīla Gurudeva is a matchless ācārya in our Gauḍīya-paramparā. He never dies or takes birth. He appears in this world to give lessons to the people of this world, and when he performs the pastime of disappearance, then he keeps the jīvas attracted to him, and never lets them go separate from him. The jīvas, however, are independent, and try to separate themselves from Guru. If they do so, then the result of their actions is disastrous.
Srila Gurudeva ki Jaya! (Excerpted from the Bhaktabandhav book publication, “Sri Guru Darshan”. Available from: firstname.lastname@example.org )