The Need for Higher Association

by Sriman Puru: Das Adhikari

6 July 1999

Locananada Prabhu’s recent article is a re-print from the VNN forum.

I am posting to the news page the rest of our dialogue there. His post was not left unanswered .

I am offering for anyone interested in clearing away the cloud of illusion that is manifest by his soft ritvik position, which negates the importance of Sadhu sanga and leaves new devotees without any real hope for a bona fide spiritual master. The siksa from Srila Prabhupada’s books and tapes will benefit anyone who takes advantage of them . But the need for a bona fide spiritual master as declared by Lord Krsna in Bg. 4.34 will never stop to be a reality for anyone hoping to progress in Krsna consciousness. The bare facts are that Iskcon of today does not even teach its new members to read and study His Divine Grace’s books carefully. If they did they would leave iskcon in a flash and look for association with higher Vaisnavas and for association with a pure devotee. That is what Srila Prabhupada has written in his purports in so many places.

The need for such association is there for new and old devotees alike. Until we are on the highest platform of pure devotion, suddha bhakti, filled with Krsna prema we should always seek out pure devotees to help guide us. And if and when we reach our ultimate goal, then we will have their association eternally, from within our heart and within our purified mind. .

Locanananda:. . . "I am sure that you are already aware of the same principle of "acharya purusa" diksa relationships practiced in the Ramanuja sampradaya, another bona fide vaisnava lineage where the role of the founder is to act as the deliverer guru of those initiated in succeeding generations."

Puru:. . . Srila Prabhupada is the founder-acarya of ISKCON but not the founder of our gaudiya sampradaya. That position is held by Lord Brahma. and Ramanujacarya was instructed by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu Himself to establish the Sri Sampradaya as is explained in the Nabadwipa Mahatmya of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. The four catur slokas of the Srimad Bhagavatam and the kama gayatri first chanted by Lord Brahma guide our sampradaya to this day, but Lord Brahma is only delivering the followers in his line through the present living acaryas who appear in it. I believe you are confusing one principle with another. Srila Prabhupada cannot give living siksa any longer any more than he can give living diksa. Covered ritvik from you that is all.

Your older and more highly realized god brother Srila Gour Govinda Maharaj said you cannot get sabdha or association from a tape recorder. Can a tape answer your question if you have a doubt? No. It can only give you some record of what the acarya said, and that becomes like his books, shastra. Prabhupada is delivering through his instructions in his books and they tell us to find bona fide diksa and siksa guru. That is all. Look in first canto of SB and you will see this in many purports, the imporatnce of HEARING from the lips of pure devotees. Here is one sample previously mentioned:.

.. . .The Acharya or the Goswami must be well ecquanted with all these literary field. To hear and explain them is more important than reading. One can only assimilate the knowlege of the revealed scriptures by hearing and explaining. Hearing is called SHRABAN and explaining is called KIRTAN. Therefore these two processesnamely Shraban and Kirtan are two principal factors in the progressive spiritual life. One who has properly grasped the transcendental knowledge from the right source by submissive hearing only can properly explain the subject." SB 1.1.6

You are Srila Prabhupada's diksa disciple and you heard from him direct, so you can explain what you heard from him up to your capacity and realization. A new devotee does not have the same opportunity with regard to His Divine Grace as you did and must also hear from the lips of a pure devotee. The tapes and books are not enough. They have not inspired even the direct disciples sufficiently to keep the mission in tact, let alone uninitiated new comers. Ritvik is useless for them, either for diksa or siksa.

Locanananda:. . . " How Srila Prabhupada is currently able to enter the hearts of his followers and deliver them from nescience is not a subject for conjecture,"

Puru:. . . No certainly not, but the acaryas speak through each other and one must hear from the current acarya. If guru is one and merely has many forms, then a sincere sadhaka will seek out and find (Bg. 4.34) a bona fide acarya and not settle fo an officiating anything. Cheat the new devotees if you want to with this ritvik idea but not with silence from me on the matter.

Locanananda: . . . " but according to the Srimad Bhagavatam, a pure devotee spiritual master is so empowered: tam sarva-bhuta-hrdayam"

Puru:. . . Yes, so everyone must find one and hear from him directly. That is the key. Kindly examine this purport if you will. SB 1.2.31

. . ".Parmamatma can be felt by the process of legitimate hearing and chanting of the transcendental subject. The transcendental subject is specially dealt in the Vedic literatures like the Upanisads and Vedanta and Srimad Bhagavatam is the bona fide explantion of the same Vedic literature. The Lord can be realised through the aural reception of the transcendental message and that is the only source of experiencing transcendental subject. As fire is kindled from the wood by another peace of fire siimilarly the divine consciousness of man can be kindled up by another divine grace. His Divine Grace the Spiritual master can kindle up the spiritual fire from the woodlike living entity by imparting proper spiritual messaged injected through the receptive ear. Therefore one is required to approach the proper spiritual master with receptive ear only and the Divine existance is thus gradually realised. The difference of animality and humanity lies in this process only. A human being can hear properly while the animal cannot." [SB. l.2.31 ] Translation and commentray by His Divine grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. No mention of approaching a tape recorder, VCR or book. But the bona fide spiritual master. Bas.

Locanananda:. . . munim anato 'smi.

Puru:. . .. .indeed.

Locanananada . . . " Most individuals are not inclined to analyze the philosophy in such depth. Many are simply happy to chant Hare Krishna and perform devotional service".

Puru:. . . This is a description of a lazy disciple.

Nana sastra vicaranakaika nipanau. . .

The six goswamis scrutinisingly studied the revealed scriptues for the benefit of humanity at large. This laxidasical attitude was not accepted by His Divine Grace. In Bg. 10.4-5 he reject blind following and always encouraged us to study his books.

What Movement are you trying to propagate?. The mindless chanting movement.?

And where are all of your god brothers?

And who is left in the Iskcon mandirs doing this chanting? How many left in the Brooklyn temple? How many bhaktas in Yajna Purusha's ahsram? How many can you name? How many going out on harinama with Suddha Niddhi? I can name six newly initiated students who are interested in more depth than you care to offer. Stay in the kiddie pool and we will try to learn to swim in the deep end.

Locanananda:. . . "They are not any less advanced or pure-hearted."

Puru:. . . Don't put these words in my mouth if you please. but they are certaily less thoughtful and not high quality students if they are not interested in Srila Prahupada's books.

Locanananada. . . " And they depend upon the Holy Name to reveal Himself in all of His glory when they reach the offenseless stage of chanting"

Puru:. . . And just how will they do that with insufficient guidance? Are you going to inspire them? Is the GBC going to inspire them? Will Ramabadhra prabhu inspire them? Will Rompada inspire them? Please supply a list of names if you wil who they are inspriingl. I can easily offer you my six after I compile a list. In Florida recently more than 100 devotees gathered each evening to hear from Srila Narayan Maharaja, perform kirtan and bhajan and take prasadam together ... You were not there, as were not many of your god brothers. Were you all chanting somewhere else and hearing hari katha from Srila Prabhupada's tapes and videos,

Locanananda:. . . " Those who are coming in contact with Srila Prabhupada are doing just that by studying his teachings and serving his mission. The spiritual master appears before the sincere devotee in an infinity of forms, and prominent amongst those forms is the form of the founder acharya."

Puru:. . . Our founder acarya departed in 1977. None can contact his vapuh anymore, only his siksa. Why you live in the past? Everything has gone well since 1977? What is his present manifestation?

Locanananda:. . . ." Anyone who has implicit faith in the words of Srila Prabhupada"

Puru:. . . Why you have replaced Srila Prabhupada's name in place of "the spiritual master" as though he is the only acarya worth hearing from? He is your diksa guru. You have special love for him. Cc. Adi lila 1.35 frees you to hear from other acaryas. Why you won't listen to your diksa guru and seek out siksa guru to help further guide your devotional development and education? .

Locanananada. . . " will very soon understand the import of all of the Vedic literature: yasya deve para bhaktir yatha deve tatha guroh..."

Puru:. . . undoubtedly but not without help from higher Vaisnavas. Unless you are able to hear direct from caitya guru. Then dandavat pranams to you and please enlighten me..

Locanananda:. . . "As a point of information, the term "officiating acharya" was introduced by Srila Prabhupada, our spiritual master, when he was specifically asked by the GBC how he wanted initiations to be performed when he would no longer be present."

Puru:. . . This instruction is ambiguous if not a manipulation from the mouths of men who cannot be trusted, due to their ambition, greed and lack of integrity. You have not produced anything from His Divine Grace's books. That is what I asked for and you have danced around the issue like all ritvik oriented so called philosophers.

Locanananda:. . . "There is no debate within ISKCON on this point, but some devotees like yourself have to turn a deaf ear to this order of the spiritual master to rationalize that there is no solution to the initiation question within ISKCON"

Puru:. . . There is no question that ISKCON has rejected the guru parampara in favor of a sectarian viewpoint that takes the position of acarya and manipulates it into something less than what the shastra explains it to be. In that way naked emperors can wear their non existant clothing and pretend to be something they are not. Upadesamrta Text 5 purport clearly explains that such "acaryas" cannot give anything but "insufficiient guidance toward the ultimate goal."

Locanananda:. . . . "We will now have to add to your list of diseases like haribolo virus, GBCitis, and ISKCONitis the disease of the inner ear infection that keeps us from hearing certain instructions spoken by the spiritual master."

Puru:. . . So thank you for your diagnosis, If you think that there is need for any "system" different than the one delineated by Krsna in Bg. 4.34 then please by all means try to find someone within Iskcon with the integrity to be honest about his position as kanistha, madhyama or uttama. Send me his name, and also let me know who he accepts at siksa guru. If he does not have siksa guru and thinks he can find all he needs from reading then he is also a ritvik who ignores sadhu sanga and will not be able to hear submissively from pure devotees. I turn a deaf ear to inconclusive and unsubstantiated claims as to what Srila Prabhupada's instructions were. You have still not presented any shastra or reference from his Divine Grace's books, only your unclear understanding form conversations poorly recorded and out of context. Not much more evidence than what I get from the ritviks.. You think ISKCON will repair itself then take the association of your kanistha god brothers and please do not try to rise higher . There is nothing esoteric about the study of Srila Prabhupada's Cc. purports. Srila Promode Puri Goswami has written that if you do not understand the ultimate goal of your bhajan then it is useless. You can think that bhakti is a simple matter of hearing and chanting the maha mantra. This may be true to some extent but without the association of saintly persons one cannot be inspired to chant offenselessly. Time to study more and spout less prabhu. Your realization appears to be limited by your association which is what exactly? ISKCON has rejected you. Why you believe vainly that Iskcon will change or that Iskcon has much of anything to do with His Divine grace anymore?

And we are not part of the Ramanuja sampradaya as a matter of fact. When did His Divine Grace instruct that we should follow their system? Siksa from His Divine grace is eternal and always available. But you also need living siksa guru. Don't you? And where is ther any shastric reference to support your idea that Ramanuja is the deliverer gurudeva of everyone in the Sri Sampradaya. He is the source of their siksa, no doubt, but so fare your supposition is not supported by shastra.

Or do you think you can understand the written word of your gurudeva without hearing from the present acarya. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura rejected that idea soundly. Perhaps you should listen to your grandfather as well.

Otherwise not, and stay kanistha forever and condemn all the devotees in Iskcon (and how many are left ?) to the same platform and take them all out on harinama and simultaneously ignore the purpose of Lord Caitanya's appearance. But you will not get bhakti that way. Only bhakti abhasa. If that satisfies you then chant and be happy.
Puru:. . . Indeed the real ISKCON is the eternal family of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

That family is inclusive not exclusive and is not hampered or delineated by institutional boundaries, walls or considerations, or any one acarya in particular as long as they are connected to the tree of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

VNN Forum post. . . "One of the merits of Srila Prabhupada's officiating acarya or ritvik representative of acarya initiating system is that the performer of the formal ceremony need not be an uttama adhikari . . . . . in contact with. . ."

Puru: . . . NEVER!!! not in our sampradaya anyway! Try forming your own, but first come up with your own ritvik commentary on the vedanta sutra or forever hold your peice.

Puru:. . . Dear Locanananda Prabhu,

Also the idea that Srila Prabhupada established ISKCON as an entity indifferent and seprate from other Gaudiya institutions is bhogus. He certainly guided the management of ISKCON, but never intended that its members should consider themselves above and beyond help and guidance from other Vaisnavas. Vaisanva etiquette is no small matter. Vaisnava etiquette is not a KC version of Emily Post, but is deep understanding of how devotees should see each other and interact on the platform of love and not self righteousness.

This sectarian institutionalitis prevents devotees like yourself from hearing from pure souls in our line in the name of "loyalty to Srila Prabhupada." Time to read the man who Srila Prabhupada instructed us to consult on philosophy, Srila Sridhar Maharaj, for a broader view. Here is an excerpt from another perceptive Vaisnava acarya, Srila Narayan Maharaj:

Once I was travelling from Navadvipa by train. Acyutananda dasa and two other devotees were in the same compartment. An Indian gentleman asked Acyutananda, "Who are you? Are you Gaudiya Vaisnavas?" He flatly replied, "No, we are from ISKCON. We are disciples of Srila Prabhupada. We're not connected with other Gaudiya Vaisnavas." Upon hearing this, I became sorry. "I know that Swamiji would not tell you to speak like this, to say that you are not affiliated with the Gaudiya Vaisnavas. Perhaps you are not understanding correctly. If you declare this then you are like a kuputra, a disobedient son who is not a real son of his father." I told the persons who were asking that his Gurudeva was a Gaudiya Vaisnava, a very bona-fide and exalted disciple of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, and that he had taken sannyasa from our Gurudeva, Srila Bhaktiprajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja. I explained that we are all different branches in the same tree of the Gaudiya Vaisnava parampara.

The net result of not appreciating pure devotees wherever their fruit hangs from the Caitanya tree is hopelessness, illusion and so many diseases: GBCitits
haibolo virus
self delusion
to name just a few.

Puru:. . . Locanananda Prabhu,

I would like to know where in Srila Prabhupada's books we find the word "officiating acarya," or any reference to someone assuming the role of guru when he is less than really qualified. Upadesamrta and Cc. Adi lila are extremely clear on this topic and they do not discuss half way measures to establish make believe guru and disciple relationships. Our guru parampara began with Lord Brahma and is eternal. Not one of the acaryas in our line has ever changed it or deviated from its established truths. Guru, sadhu and shastra, not some management idea very unclearly if at all ever even stated by the founder acarya.

Also I would like to know where in Srila Prabhupada's books you have read that Harinama Sankirtana will in and of itself clear all misconceptions regarding tattva?

I have never read that any one of the nine processes of devotional service is exclusively responsible for releasing the jiva soul from his conditioning. Srila Bhaktivionda Thakura explains the science of bhakti in much more detail. He has written how chaya bhakti abhasa can be transformed into real suddha bhakti in his bhakti-tattva-viveka essays on Srila Rupa Goswamis' Bhakti Rasamrta Sindhu.

Conspicuous by its absence in your posts is any mention of sadhu sanga, or the direct association of pure devotees.

If you read in Srimad Bhagavtam l.l.6 in the last paragraph of the purport Srila Prabhuapda writes that "hearing is more important than reading." Where do you read in any of his books that sankirtan is more important than sadhu sanga?

Looks to me like you are being sucked in by the Titanic's undertow and have a case of haribolo virus. No matter how many maha mantras devotees chant, if they remain insubmissive to the meaning of the holy name and ignore hari katha from the lips of pure Vaisnavas, how will they ever progress from the kanistha platform? How will they ever chant anything but the shadow of the Name and how will they give up their anartha nivrttis?

A more comprehensive formula for the cure of our material entanglement would seem in order, than just everyone go out and bang the mrdunga and clank the kartals. No one minimizes the importance of harinama naga sankirtan. But Mahavisnu can offer this to the jiva souls. Mahaprabhu offered something far more deeper by His example in Nilacala during his hast 18 manifest years. He performed Harinama with 10,000 strong. No harm to perform harinama. In this day and age under present circumstances can you gather even 100 men? Even 50? Even 25? How about 10?

After the Lord left Nabadwipa his harinama pastimes changed to other more internal manifestations of pure bhakti. He received instructions from Ramananda Raya and Svarupa Damodara. Harinama was not the only thing that He taught by His divine example.

We both know many devotees who go out on harinama and still can't understand spit about guru tattva, or jiva tattva and are still comitting Vaisnava aparadha.

If Iskcon is Srila Prabhupada's "body" then what about His Divine Grace's soul? He said so many times, aham brahmasmi. I am not this body. Maybe we have to rewrite the phrase for some "I am not this institution."

So sometimes the VNN Foum gets hot and heavy. Name calling and ad homenim attacks, knee jerk responces and even tempers sometimes flare. But since my godbrother or someone has chosen to post his forum remarks I though it only fair to present mine as well for anyone who is interested.

Locananadna prabhu and I have been good friends for many years. We do not see guru tattva in the same way. We do not see the need for siksa guru in the same way. We no longer serve together, and have different understanding of how Iskcon will ever function, while we still share concern and hope for the propagation of Srila Prabhupada’s mission. It is with a sad heart that I find myself juxtaposed to him on these issues, but I can only take shelter of Srila Sridhar Maharaj’s remarks in Sri Guru and His grace,and my own realization . Above and beyond all I pray for the mercy of my beloved diksa gurudeva His Divine Grace Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhuapada and my beloved siska gurudeva His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktivedanta Naryan Maharaj as well.

Srila Sridhar Maharaj has written:

God Consciousness vs. Society Consciousness

Responding to the necessity of the times Srila Sridhara Maharaja lucidly explains the absolute societal conception of Krsna consciousness:

Devotee: Within a religious mission, sectarian policies may appear to bar the path of progress and pragmatic concerns take precedence over spiritual ideals. Should one risk leaving the formal institution or should he try to remain within and work out the problems?

Srila Sridhara Maharaja: Progress means elimination and new acceptance. So, when there is a clash between the relative and the absolute standpoint, the relative must be left aside, and the absolute accepted. The example is given of a socialist in a country of capitalists. When there is a clash, one will not express their creed for the sake of peace. But to maintain the purity of their faith for the socialists they will try to leave and join the socialists.

Higher Ideal

So, the absolute and the relative are two different classes of interest. And we find more importance in the absolute interest. We must be sincere to our own creed. The form is necessary to help me in a general way to maintain my present position. At the same time, my conception of the higher ideal will always goad me to advance, to go forward, and wherever I do, I must follow the greater model, the greater ideal. Spiritual life is progressive, not stagnant. We are in the stage of sadhana, and we want to go ahead, not backwards. The formal position will help me to maintain my present status, and my extraordinary affinity for the ideal will goad me towards the front. The search for Sri Krsna is dynamic and living, so adjustment and readjustment is always going on. And we should also change our present position accordingly, so that we may not have to sacrifice the high ideal for which we have come. Einstein had to leave Germany and go to America for his high ideal of life. And so many similar instances may be found in the world. The ideal is all in all. The highest ideal in a man is his highest jewel. Our most precious gem is our ideal.

Many things are recommended in the scriptures, but they are meant to promote us towards the truth in an indirect way (sva-dharme nidhanam sreya). [Bg 3.35] It is recommended at a certain stage that for the sake of our close friends, we should give up our ideal. But in the Bhagavad-gita, Krsna's final instruction is sarva dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja "If it is necessary to maintain the highest ideal, you must give up your friends. Surrender to me. I am the real purport of the scriptures." The highest kind of idealists give up their country, their family, their friends, and everything else, but they can't give up their ideal.

In the Bhagavad-gita, [3.35] Krsna says, "It is better to die while performing one's duty that to try to do another's duty." That is one stage of understanding: the relative consideration. The absolute consideration is also given in the Bhagavad-gita: sarva dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja [Bg. 18.66]. Krsna says, "Give up everything. Come to Me directly." This is the revolutionary way. This is absolute. And this is relative: "Stick to your own clan. Don't leave them." That is the national conception. There is nation consciousness and God consciousness; society consciousness and God consciousness. God consciousness is absolute. If society consciousness hinders the development of God consciousness, it should be left behind. This is confirmed in the Srimad-Bhagavatam (5.5.18):

gurur na sa syat sva jano na sa syat
pita na sa syaj janani na sa syat
daivam na tat syan na patis ca sa syan
na mocayed yah samupeta mrtyum
Even a spiritual master, relative, parent, husband, or demigod who cannot save us from repeated birth and death should be abandoned at once."

What to speak of ordinary things, even the guru, may have to be abandoned. One may even have to give up one's own spiritual guide, as in the case of Bali Maharaja, or one's relatives, as in the case of Vibhisana. In the case of Prahlada, his father had to be given up, and in the case of Bharata Maharaja, it was his mother. In the case of Khatvanga Maharaja, he left the demigods, and in the case of the yajna patnis, (the wives of the brahmanas) they left their husbands in the endeavor to reach the Absolute Personality.

We need society only to help us. If our affinity to the society keeps us down, then that should be given up, and we must march on. There is the absolute consideration and the relative consideration. When they come into clash, the relative must be given up, and the absolute should be accepted. If my inner voice, my spiritual conscience decides that this sort of company cannot really help me, then I will be under painful necessity to give them up, and to run towards my destination, wherever my spiritual conscience guides me. Any other course will be hypocrisy, and it will check my real progress. If we are sincere in our attempt, then no one in the world can check us or deceive us; we can only deceive ourselves (na hi kalyana-krt kascid durgatim tata gacchati) [Bg. 6.40]. We must be true to our own selves, and true to the Supreme Lord. We must be sincere.

Disappearance of the Guru

Devotee: After the disappearance of the spiritual master, how should the disciples continue the mission?

Srila Sridhara Maharaja: You must not neglect your conscience. Otherwise you have no faith in your own cause. There may be disturbances but we should not leave the preaching of Mahaprabhu, despite all differences. Disturbances must come, and we must undergo them. Still, we must remain sincere; we must face the difficulty in a proper way. It has come to train us to go in the right direction.

The Fire has Come to Test Us

What we have received from our spiritual master we understood only in a rough estimation. Now, things have come in such a way that we have to scrutinize ourselves in every position. We have to analyze ourselves. Atma-niksepa, self-analysis has begun. We are under trial. What we have received from our spiritual master, in what way have we received it? Properly, or only showingly? The time has come to purify us, to test whether we are real students, real disciples, or his disciples only in face and confession. What is the position of a real disciple? If we live in a society, what is the depth of our creed? In what attitude have we accepted his teachings? How deep-rooted is it within us? The fire has come to test whether we can stand. Is our acceptance real? Or is it a sham, an imitation? This fire will prove that.

So, this is the real field of sadhana, or practice. Our practice, our advancement needs these difficulties. Otherwise, we may not know what is progress, and we will become hypocrites, and give the adulterated thing to others. So, to purify ourselves, it is necessary that so many disturbances come.

And God has no error. He commands the environment. It is not our responsibility. The responsibility of the environment does not rest upon us. If I am sincere, then I have to adjust myself with this environment and put my faith before Him. "Everyone may leave me, but I shall stand alone!" With this attitude we must march on, whatever the circumstances may be. Then the recognition may come in my favor, that "Yes, under such trying circumstances he is still there." Our superiors will be pleased with us.

The relative and absolute considerations are always coming in clash. The absolute should be accepted and the relative sacrificed. Still the relative is necessary. After graduation from primary school another teacher is accepted for higher education, but that does not mean that the primary teacher is neglected or insulted. For our own interest, whatever we find which is akin to what was given to us by our guru maharaja whatever we find that will enlighten us further, and whatever will help us to understand more clearly what we heard from our guru maharaja, must be accepted. Is my realization a living thing, or is it dead? Anyone who has come in connection with the infinite cannot but say this: "I am nothing." That should be the salient point.

We have left all social concerns and so many other shackles. For what? For the Absolute Truth. And wherever I shall find that, I must bow down my head. And if a great soul shows us, "This is the path to where you will find your thirst quenched. The line is in this zigzag way," we must accept that for our own interest. We are worshipers not of this form, but of substance. Wherever I feel the presence of my Lord in an intense form, I must be attracted to that side. Krsna says, sarva dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja. Wherever we shall find Him, we must run in that direction. My interest is with Him. Not that we can challenge, "Why did Krsna appear here, and why is He appearing there?" If a man in a boat is passing through the current and finds himself in danger, then from whatever side help may come, he must run to that side.

If we are worshipers of Siva, when we understand the special superiority of Narayana, should we stick to Siva? And then Krsna? In the Brhad-bhagavatamrta the story is told of how Gopa-kumara, by chanting his Gopala mantragradually leaves one stage and progresses to the next. There, the gradation of devotion is traced from the karma-kanda brahmanato a devotee king, then to Indra, then to Brahma, then to Siva, from him to Prahlada, then to Hanuman, then the Pandavas, then to the Yadavas, to Uddhava, and finally the gopisIn this zigzag way he is passing. In the sincerity of his quest, his thirst is not being quenched until he goes to Vrndavana. So, the Brhad-bhagavatamrta has shown us the line of guru paramparaor the real line of our quest, of our search.

Sincere Hankering for the Truth is Our Guide

If we are sincerely searching after real truth, then wherever we go may be a contribution to our experience for further preaching in the future. We may cross many guru paramparasbefore ultimately attaining the Vraja-lila of Krsna, as given by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

Sometimes the father may not be our guardian. Our uncle may be our guide, and not the father. It is possible. The line of interest is to be considered the most important. So, our line is the siksa guru parampara.

I am thankful to those that are helping my spiritual understanding not only in a formal way, but in the real sense. Whoever is untying the knots of our entanglement in this material world, giving us light, and quenching our thirst for inner understanding and satisfaction is our guru. In this way, we live on the contribution of all these spiritual masters. They are all our siksa gurus All the Vaisnavas are more or less our instructing spiritual masters.

And our own sincere hankering for the truth will be our guide. That is guru parampara So the real disciplic line provides practical knowledge in support of the divine love which is coming down. We must bow our heads wherever we find support of that. We should not become formalists, but substantialists; not fashionists, not imitationists, but realistic thinkers. That should always be our temperament.

And what sort of saintly persons shall we try to mix with earnestly? In the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu 1.2.91) Rupa Goswami has said, sajati-yasye snigdhe sadhau sangah svato vare. Those who are in our line, who have the same high spiritual aspirations as we do, and who hold a superior position. To associate with such saintly persons will help us the most to progress towards the ultimate goal.

There may be some obstacles, but if at heart we are sincere, the environment cannot deceive us, because God's inner help is there, cooperating with our sincere, inner need (na hi kalyana krt kascit durgatim tata gacchati [Bg. 6.40]. What we want from our innermost hearts cannot but come true, because Krsna knows everything. There may be some obstacles, but by Krsna's help, they shall all be eliminated and our innermost aspiration will be crowned with success.

The formal societal position helps one to maintain their present status while our affinity for the high ideal will always push us to advance in Krsna consciousness. In the Srimad-Bhagavatam 5.5.18 it is stated that whatever hinders our advancement must be left behind, even society consciousness. The society is there to help us, not hinder us. Our process is Krsna consciousness not society consciousness.

- - -[Shri Guru & His Grace: ] Shri Narasingha Chaitanya Matha

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