Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Sri Guru Reciprocates in All Rasas

Srila Gour Govinda Maharaja used to tell us, "If you have not seen the svarup (spiritual form) of your guru, you have simply been cheated." Of course that does not mean that you are not getting mercy. In spiritual life, cheating is also a kind of mercy, because it makes us cry, thereby intensifying our bhajan.

Realizing the svarup of our guru is the goal of the sadhakas, practitioners in our Gaudiya line. As Krishna says in the Gita, this realization is the topmost understanding -- raja-vidya; it is the most confidential -- raja-guhyam; but it must be realized -- pratyaksavagamam-dharmyam.

I have seen many persons who have put forth various speculated ideas about the svarup of their guru. Personally, I've never felt inspired by such an approach. To me, it just seems to lack dignity and grace. No where have we ever heard of someone realizing the eternal identity of their guru through the process of mundane empiricism. "O he said this. That must mean... He liked this song... He installed these kind of deities mostly, therefore..." etc etc.

Like Samba pretending before the rishis in Dwarka, I don't need to stuff something under my clothes to pretend that I'm pregnant. Thanks, but I prefer to wait for something real.

The following article by Srila Saraswati Thakur Prabhupada was in our recent (203rd) issue of Sri Krishna Kathamrita Bindu. Therein he explains that Krishna, as Sri Guru will reciprocate with you, in any particular relationship your heart aspires for.

Hari Hari!

Das, MD


Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur

There are different ways in which different persons whose faculty of spiritual consciousness has been aroused judge about their own requirements. Every enlightened person is privileged to have a sight of Sri Gurudev in accordance with his particular mode of judgment. Sri Gurudev is that real entity who thus reveals himself to the view of enlightened souls in a variety of ways. Sri Gurudev is the daughter of Vrishabhanu (Sri Radha) in the madhurya-rasa (the spiritual humor of the sweetness of divine amour). Realized by the method of the rasa of parental affection, Sri Gurudev reveals himself as Nanda-Yashoda. In the rasa of friendly affection he is Sridama-Sudama. In the rasa of the devotion of servants to the master, the lotus feet of Sri Guru act as Chitrak-Patrak. The consideration of all these asrayas, devotees, about the visaya, Krishna rises naturally in the heart as one progresses in the service of Sri Guru. These subjects do not manifest themselves in the course of any artifi¬cial process. They are aroused spontaneously in the consciousness of fortunate souls on the appearance of the disposition for spiritual service of the divinity. We have no other function than the service of Sri Guru. By means of the adulterated consciousness of the material world it is not possible to discuss the eternal pastimes of Godhead that are inaccessible even to Shesha, Shiva, Brahma, and similar great personalities.

I have been asked sometimes by different people why we do not give away the realized method of service to all. As for myself, I cannot understand how the condition of self-realized souls and that of novices may be supposed to be identical. It passes our judgment to understand how the service and realization of souls free from all defects can be practiced during the period of novitiate, which is full of many defects. If any person happens to belong to the order of self-realized souls he may kindly intimate to me the fact. I can then know about the specific nature of his realized self.

— Sri Chaitanya’s Teachings. Edited by Bhakti Vilas Tirtha Goswami. Sree Gaudiya Math. Madras. 1989. p 266.


Keshava Krishna Dasa said...

Dear Madhavananda Prabhuji,

This topic has been in vogue recently, and I tried my part to dim expectations of identifying the svarupa of the Guru through cicumstantial observations.

So this article certainly helps to put matters into perspective. In fact, there is mention in the Jaiva Dharma - I am unable to say where right now - of the Guru being a repository if you like, of all rasas for a disciple.

Impatience and curiosity can lead us in certain directions to the 'grail' of continual and disputed claims which cannot satisfy us. Indeed, once this article gets more airtime the debate will rage on.

Thank you, your servant Kesava Krsna Dasa.

Madhavananda Das said...

Dear Keshava Krishna Prabhu,

Thanks for your -- as usual -- thoughtful and well-written thoughts.

My guru maharaja spoke about this topic on a number of occasions. Some of the things he said, may not be appropriate for public discussion. But one thing general thing that he always emphasized, was that this has to come by realization. The desire to know our guru in this -- the most intimate, and ultimately true way -- should be a driving force in our bhajan.

Different devotees have different understandings about the identity and rasas of some of our previous guru-varga. I think that it's important to remember that in the inconceivable land of rasa they can all be correct.

But the main thing is, pratyaksa -- this is something that has to be realized. I fear that speculating about this will make everything cheap or "easy", (in Bengali, "sahajiya").

I also find it sad that some persons would consider this a topic of empirical debate. And that some do so is a statement of our times.

Your servant,
Madhavananda Das

Madhavananda Das said...

It's kind of like sneaking downstairs before your parents wake up on Christmas morning and secretly opening the presents they gave you.

It's a violation of their love. I prefer to wait until they give it to me.

Of course this analogy doesn't apply fully here. In this case, when we sneak down, we will either find nothing there, or worse we may imagine something that doesn't exist.

James Rappai said...

I would like to comment on that stage of Vaishnavism where the ‘svarup of their guru’ or of oneself is roll-played to enhance ones love for Krishna. Now, I know it would seem like a ‘disturbance in society’ which is indeed what all the objections to this ideology boils down to, but the question to ask is, do we need to worry about what the society thinks? My personal opinion is this whole thing, is very beautiful and would indeed enhance ones love for Krishna. For, if one were to ask oneself, what can I now do to understand, to appreciate and to claw up my way there to increase my love of Krishna, the answer that comes up is, roll-playing. Become a manjari, dress up like one and serve the divine couple.
Now, I know it is impractical, and lesser devotees will cheapen the whole ideology to gain mundane popularity, and so on, not to mention the fact that all of us will look like cross-dressers, so therefore I think that this roll playing ought to be done in the mind only. Do not externalize it. Play it to your hearts content in your mind and enhance your love for Krishna.
The simple fact is, if you want to reach anywhere near the level of attachment that Bilva Mangala Takur had for Krishna, you have to know or have had experienced infatuation in your life. If you haven’t pined for a girl in your life, become maddened after her, how in the blaze will you ever charted this very same course with Krishna? Which is why Chintamani played such an important roll in BMT’s life. She taught him infatuation, taught him to swim swollen rivers, scale insurmountable walls, showed him how to love. Chanting will of course do it, but if the pathways aren’t already burnt into mind, your reawakened love from the supreme will very likely flounder.
If on the contrary, we do not do have this pre-burnt pathway, then after a stage of evolution, and have no more avenues left to grow, we will be left to artificially try and extract what little juice is left in chanting, like indeed SDG is attempting.
The whole think is roll playing, including assigning a garb for the spiritual master, for at this stage, disciples and guru are partners in charting uncharted waters, and he needs you to do this for him.
I do not think that there will come a time when you will actually ‘realize’ your true roll. So I say, go for it, dress the part, but for heaven’s sake, do it in private! An optional initiation for this stage, the last one, ought to exist, and only those who desire to do so ought to get into it (like sanyas) and once they are so initiated, they should retire from society like the babajis.