The Qualification for Seeing God

Excerpts from the Holy Biography of His Divine Grace Nityalila-pravista Om Visnupada Paramahamsa 108 Sri Srila Bhakti Dayita Madhava Gosvami Maharaj
Srila Bhakti Dayita Madhava Gosvami Maharaja is the Spiritual Preceptor of His Divine Grace Sri Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Maharaja, who related these excerpts originally in Bengali. A full English edition of this biography will be available from GOKUL in the near future.

In this text, the title "Srila Gurudeva" refers to Srila Bhakti Dayita Madhava Gosvami Maharaja.

Notable among the many places Srila Gurudeva visited in the zillas of Gowalapada and Kamarupa are Bijni, Bhatipada, Hauli and Barapeta. At one particular large gathering at Hauli, many Hindus and Muslims were present. Srila Gurudeva had requested the listeners to save their questions until after the speech so as not to cause any interruption, but nonetheless, a maulavi spoke up during the lecture saying, "Has anybody seen either the atma or the paramatma? What proof is there that you are not cheating everybody with false talk? Although many did not think it appropriate for Srila Gurudeva to answer at that time, He decided to respond immediately within the gathering itself. Otherwise, there would be those among the ignorant who would think that He did not have a suitable reply.

The maulavi had a book in his hand. When asked by Srila Gurudeva what it was, the maulavi replied in his own language (Urdu) that it was a "kitab" (book) and told Him its title. Srila Gurudeva was quite conversant in many languages such as Assamese, Bengali, Hindi, English, etc. His eyesight was also perfect. Nevertheless, He asked, that as He Himself could not read the name of the book, how was He to know for sure whether or not the Maulavi Saheb was being truthful regarding the title of the book? Those who were near the maulavi scrutinized the book and loudly confirmed that what the maulavi had said was true. To this, Srila Gurudeva replied that these people had grouped together with the maulavi for the purpose of deluding everyone else. Slightly taken aback, the maulavi now wanted to know the speaker's motivation for making such a statement. Srila Gurudeva responded by saying that when He looked at the title of book, all He saw were some footprints left by a crow after it had walked over some spilled ink. Embarrassed, the maulavi said that surely, Srila Gurudeva did not know the Urdu language. Srila Gurudeva admitted that He did not. The maulavi then wanted to know how Srila Gurudeva could possibly dispute the title of the book without knowing how to read the Urdu script?

Taking advantage of this open conversation with the maulavi, Srila Gurudeva explained that even though one may have experience in many other areas, it is still necessary to study Urdu properly in order to understand it. Even if one has perfect eyesight but has no actual understanding of Urdu, then the form, sound and meaning of the language possess no content. In the same way, despite having many other skills, special knowledge is required to know about the atma and paramatma. Learning can be of two types: that of the flesh, and that of real knowledge. The eyes of the flesh see nothing but the material world. To see beyond it requires an altogether different type of vision, that which is blessed. It is in the very heart of the seeker that knowledge manifests itself.

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