Radhanath swami explains how transcendental messages are received properly in the chain of disciplic succession. This disciplic succession is called paramparä. Unless therefore Bhägavatam or any other Vedic literatures are received through the paramparä system, the reception of knowledge is not bona fide. Vyäsadeva delivered the message to Çukadeva Gosvämé, and from Çukadeva Gosvämé, Süta Gosvämé received the message. One should therefore receive the message of Bhägavatam from Süta Gosvämé or from his representative and not from any irrelevant interpreter.
Emperor Parékñit received the information of his death in time, and he at once left his kingdom and family and sat down on the bank of the Ganges to fast till death. All great sages, åñis, philosophers, mystics, etc., went there due to his imperial position. They offered many suggestions about his immediate duty, and at last it was settled that he would hear from Çukadeva Gosvämé about Lord Kåñëa. Thus the Bhägavatam was spoken to him.
Çrépäda Çaìkaräcärya, who preached Mäyäväda philosophy and stressed the impersonal feature of the Absolute, also recommended that one must take shelter at the lotus feet of Lord Çré Kåñëa, for there is no hope of gain from debating. Indirectly Çrépäda Çaìkaräcärya admitted that what he had preached in the flowery grammatical interpretations of the Vedanta sutra cannot help one at the time of death. At the critical hour of death one must recite the name of Govinda. This is the recommendation of all great transcendentalists. Çukadeva Gosvämé had long ago stated the same truth that at the end one must remember Näräyaëa. That is the essence of all spiritual activities. In pursuance of this eternal truth, Çrémad-Bhägavatam was heard by Emperor Parékñit, and it was recited by the able Çukadeva Gosvämé. And both the speaker and the receiver of the messages of Bhägavatam were duly delivered by the same medium.
To the great emperor Parikshit, who sat surrounded by sages on the bank of the Ganges awaiting death without taking food or drink.
bhaja govindaà bhaja govindam, bhaja govindaà müòha mate…
Sankaracharya taught us through his followers, that at the time of death there is nothing that can save us, no endeavour or no religious principle, except to remember the holy name of Govinda. “Nahi nahi rakshate dukhenu karane”. Maharaj Parikshit, the king of the world, who was endowed with all powers, all wealth, he was still young and strong. He was cursed to die in seven days by the bite of a snake bird, Takshaka. The king took this as the blessing of the Lord. He accepted it as the sweet will of the Lord, to give him the opportunity to detach himself from all other thoughts except the glorious pastimes and names of Sri Krishna. He performed his duty as long as Krishna required or Krishna requested him to do so. But at the right time he was ready to give it all up.
DO NOT BE ATTACHED TO THE FACILITIES OR THE SERVICE ITSELF BUT TO THE PERSON WHOM YOU’RE SERVING:
Radhanath swami further explains ,Within this society, we are given so many duties, so many responsibilities. As a brahmacari we may be performing the puja, may be out preaching various places. As a grihastha we may have our business, we may have our profession, our responsibilities to our families, or we may be a mother or a housewife, a teacher. There are so many varieties of responsibilities according to the varnashrama system. And each one is meant to be performed as a service to Krishna.
Dharmasya hi apavargasya na artho arthaya upakalpate
Na arthasya dharma aikantasya kamo labhaya hi smritah. (SB-1.2.9)
Krishna, in Bhagavatam, explains we should not be attached to the facilities or the service itself. But we should be attached to He, whom we are serving. So the real test of whether we are really performing our work for the satisfaction of Krishna, Guru is – if you are asked to do something else, if you are asked to give it up, are we attached to the person we are serving or we are attached to the facilities that we are getting for our service for our own personal interest? Once having something and being accustomed to utilizing it in our life, it is very difficult to live without it. If we do not have much, it’s easy to live without much. But the more we have, the more we become conditioned to think that we need it. Just like that story of the sage who was sitting at the bank of the river and in order to solve the problem of having to wear a loincloth that was wet, he gradually had to get married and raise a family and everything else, one thing leads to another in this material world. The more you have, the more you require maintaining and preserving what you have. The rat was eating his loincloth so he got a cat to keep the rat away. And the cat was hungry for milk and disturbing his meditation, so he got a cow to milk to serve the cat, milk. And the cow, of course, someone had to feed it and someone had to milk it. So he got a wife to take care of the cow and then he found he had to take care of his wife, he had to get a job and he had to get a home and he had to buy her saris and then… she wanted children and then he realized that one thing leads to another, better I just sit with my wet loincloth and live peacefully.
So that is true that even in devotional service we are given so many facilities to perform our service, but bhagavatam explains—do not get attached to those facilities; you should be willing to do your service whether you have them or not. Srila Prabhupada, when he came to the west he had no facilities. The only facility he had was his faith in the words of his Guru. But as the years went on, he was given all facilities, every possible facility. But for such a great Vaishnava acharya, whether he had everything or nothing, really made no difference. He was simply going to serve Krishna and try to execute the order of the spiritual master.
So we should know that Maya is trying to trap us at every step into bondage of material attachment, even in the name of devotional service. Srila Prabhupada used tell us that — if you are living in a palace and you are asked to serve Krishna under a tree, you should not be attached to your palace. And if you are living under a tree and you are asked to serve Krishna in a palace, you should not be attached to your tree. Some devotees, they are very much attracted to a very renounced life where they have nothing, where they just sit on a lonely river bank chanting the holy names, remembering the pastimes of Radha and Krishna. But if it is Guru’s instruction that we fly in jet airplanes and drive in cars and live in big cities and endure all the pollution and headaches of dealing with management—that is actually surrender. We should not be attached to our river bank or our peace. That is an inferior form of devotional service. And at the same time if we have big big management post and all sorts of facilities and nice offices and were asked to just…to go somewhere where there are no facilities whatsoever, sit down and chant Hare Krishna—we should be willing to do so.
CONTRAST BETWEEN PARIKSHIT AND DURYODHANA TO UNDERSTAND REAL DETACHMENT BY RADHANATH SWAMI:
We are attached to serving the order of Krishna and we will accept whatever is favorable, but we must reject whatever is unfavorable. So Maharaj Parikshit, he was the king and he had every facility. He had armies, he had beautiful beautiful palace. Everything that the pandavas and the kurus fought so bitterly for was all given to him. You know how Duryodhana wanted that throne. Do you know what type of atrocities he did for the throne of hastinapur? He was so greedy for that… for that possession, that he was willing to attempt to kill his own brothers, cousin brothers. He fed Bhima, poison. His own aunt, Kunti Devi, who actually loved him and cared for him as much as his own mother Gandhari and actually Yudhishthir had greater love for him and respect for him than his own brothers, his own ninety nine brothers. He was so gentle, so loving, and so kind. He sent them to that house in varanabata and had it arranged that it be lit on fire so that they would all be burned to death. But by Vidura’s kindness they escaped. Another occasion he cheated them in a gambling match with the help of Shakuni and sent them to the forest for so many long years in exile. And there he did everything in his power to humiliate them, to belittle them, to torture them. He went looking for them; he was praying that the rakshasas would kill them. He did everything he could for one purpose, because he wanted to sit on that throne. He wanted that position; he wanted the title of being the emperor and all of the benefits that come along with such a position.
And ultimately when the pandavas came back into their glory after the exile, it was arranged—give the pandavas some place to rule otherwise there will have to be a terrible fratricidal war. And Duryodhana was so fearful that if he gave them anything that eventually they may take his position away from him. So he was willing to fight the war. He arranged eleven akshahini divisions of soldiers. The pandavas arranged for seven akshahini divisions of soldiers. During those days of the war of Kurukshetra, millions upon millions upon millions of soldiers were slain. Blood was flowing like rivers. Duryodhana lost all of his ninety nine brothers. But even after seeing that he continued to fight because he couldn’t conceive of giving up the facility he had of being the king, of having that nice throne, of living in that nice palace and having power and glory. He fought for that throne until his bitter death.
And here we have Maharaj Parikshit, who had all those facilities, everything in total, even in a superior position than Duryodhana because Duryodhana was still under Dhritarashtra. He was simply to become the king but Parikshit was full fledged king of the whole world. And when Duryodhana was king there was opposition against him. But for Parikshit maharaj, he had subdued every corner of the earth. There was no opposition. Everyone accepted him, embraced him as their leader and their ruler.
And when he was cursed, he was cursed to die, by Sringi the son of Samik Rishi, he accepted it as the blessing of the Lord. He was thinking that all of this throne, all of this family life, it is all so much disturbance that I have accepted as a service to the Lord because such great Vaishnavas as Yudhishthir, Arjuna they ordered him to take the throne and the responsibility and he accepted it, not because he wanted the possession, not because he wanted the title, but because he wanted to serve his superiors. He accepted it and he performed his work so thoroughly so well, we read in Srimad Bhagawatam what type of king he was! Although he was detached, his detachment did not in any way, shape or form minimizes his performance. Sometimes when we have a service and we are detached from the service and we are detached from the result, we just don’t care, we just do it half heartedly. That is not Bhakti. Bhakti means you do it wholeheartedly with all your God-given energy, you do it right. But you are willing to give it up, because you are doing it to please Krishna. You are not doing it for the sake of being the proprietor of what you do or the enjoyer.
So Parikshit Maharaj was such a king that he personally, he personally took his chariot and his horses with his armies and he traveled to every part of the world to make absolutely sure that the religious principles, that Krishna spoke in the Gita and that the rishis were protecting, were being followed by all the citizens. And when he came upon the personification of Kali, beating an innocent cow and a bull, he was so outraged that he personally, with his own hands, drew his sword and was about to kill that rascal. Maharaj Parikshit was in the front lines ready to defend the rights of every living being to become Krishna Conscious and to be protected. Such a king! There is no such thing as any politician today. He was willing to risk his own life, not the lives of so many hundreds and thousands of millions of the youth of his nation. He was willing to risk his own life to be right there in the front lines to protect the innocent and establish religious principles. He ruled the kingdom so thoroughly and so perfectly, why? Because it was the instruction of Yudhishthir Maharaj that you be the king and you do it right. And Yudhishthir Maharaj was a Vaishnava and to serve the order of a Vaishnava was his only motivating force because Krishna speaks through the vaishnavas.
Saàsiddhir hari-toñaëam. Whatever we do should simply be for one purpose – to please Krishna. But when he was cursed by this inexperienced son of a brahmana for no good reason at all, how did he respond? He could have retaliated. First of all he had tremendous mystic powers himself; he could have done something to reverse that curse or he could have sent his armies to that little hermitage of Samik rishi in the forest and he could have forced him to withdraw the curse. He could have killed them all in revenge. But he accepted; now I did my service as long as Krishna wanted me to do it and although I am still young and strong, it wasn’t like he was an old man who was at the time of retirement and was asked to give up his duties for a higher service and not willing to do it.
Srila Prabhupada so much condemned the modern politicians who just stay at office even at old old age because they just can’t give up the power and control, possession and respect that comes with it. And they just cling to their powerful position until death. Maharaj Parikshit, he could’ve continued on for many long years, but he accepted. I serve the order of my superior vaishnavas and now Krishna is telling me that I’ve done my role, I should go on to another service, so he gladly and gratefully gave it all up. He gave up all of his wealth; he just put on a loincloth. He gave up his throne, his palace, his family, his army, his facilities, his fame—his everything. He even gave up eating and drinking. He even gave up sleeping and he went to the bank of the Ganges. This is the example of real detachment.
COMPARISON BETWEEN PARIKSHIT AND ARJUNA TO UNDERSTAND ATTITUDE TO ACT FOR PLEASURE OF KRISHNA ALWAYS AND REAL DETACHMENT:
Now we, as devotees, seeing the example of Maharaj Parikshit, we must question our own willingness to give up whatever we were doing if it is the desire of Krishna. If we really want to come to that higher level of pure devotional service, are we willing to give up the particular service that we have now, if that is what is expected of us and all the facilities and all of the distinction that comes with it. Of course it is nothing but Maya to give up your service whimsically, on the basis of your own mind. Such a mentality is condemned. You have no right. That was Arjuna’s position. Arjuna wanted to become like Maharaj Parikshit, at his last stage, when he was on that battlefield of kurukshetra. Arjuna was ready to wear a loincloth and sit on the Ganges and associate with sadhus. But Krishna told no, this mentality is Maya, you must fight, and you must be a great warrior on this battlefield. Because it was the will of Krishna that he fights, he was willing to endure every type of inconvenience, every type of crisis and tragedy. In the process of this fight, he demonstrated such surrender.
Sometimes we think that when we surrender to Krishna, everything should go just right and if it doesn’t, we lose our faith. I’m doing this because Krishna has ordered me to do it, so why isn’t everything going in my way? Krishna, Arjuna wanted to just end the war right there. Before it started if he left, the war would be stopped. Everything would be given back to Duryodhana and there would be some artificial conception of peace. But on Krishna’s order he decided, I must fight. Then he endured so many hundreds and thousands of arrows in his body during that war and so many tragedies. His own beloved son Abhimanyu was ruthlessly murdered in that battle and Arjuna’s heart was broken to pieces because he loved his son, he was a Vaishnava. And Arjuna’s poor wife, Subhadra, how she wept and cried at the loss of her beloved son and what pain that caused Arjuna; not only the loss of the son but to see the grief of his beloved wife. We may think, if I’m doing this for you Krishna, if I’m surrendering to you, why did this happen? You are the controller! But he did not question that because he was a true devotee, he was willing to endure whatever came and continue on in his devotional service. He didn’t quit. He didn’t quit when things went wrong, he didn’t quit when his son was killed, he continued on under all circumstances and he fought. And ultimately Arjuna and his brothers were made king, but he just did it for Krishna. He was willing to tolerate anything for Krishna and his was willing to go on with his service for Krishna and he was detached. But don’t have a neophyte conception of detachment, it means you don’t care about your service or it means you can give it up in a second.
Some devotees are foolish, they think this is some sort of an ego, due to false ego they think this is some sort of a high position or they are not getting the proper respect that they feel they deserve in their service or they are not getting the proper facilities or they have to undergo certain types of crisises and tribulations, so they say “well, I’m detached, I don’t care about this, I’ll do something else”. This is bogus, this is nonsense, and this is Maya. This is not what Gita teaches. Krishna told Arjuna, you fight this war and you don’t be attached to honor or dishonor, to happiness or distress, to pleasure or pain, to success or failure, victory, defeat or birth and death. You fight for Me and you fight hard with all of your might. Give up your lethargy, Arjuna and fight. This is Krishna consciousness.
Sometimes devotees, especially brahmacaris have some argument or they have some difficulty or facilities, they are not right or their service is not going right or there is some conflict of some sort— I’m not attached to this ashrama, I’m not attached to this service, I’ll just go to Vrindavan or Mayapur and I’ll just chant and be a real devotee. This is nonsense. This is absolutely contrary to the teachings of the Gita. This is not the way to get the mercy of Guru and Krishna. This is simply surrender to your mind in the name of Krishna consciousness. This is not detachment, this is attachment. This is gross attachment to our own mental conceptions of what is Krishna Consciousness and what pleases Krishna.
tad viddhi pranipatena pariprasnena sevaya
upadeksyanti te jnanam jnaninas tattvaa- darshinah
—we’re supposed to have a guru because we’re supposed to know nothing and enquire submissively and execute his order. That is the path that Krishna gives for everyone.
We’ve even had people in this ashram, I remember, have said if anyone says that they want to go to Vrindavan just to do bhajan, I’ll never discourage him because that’s the highest thing. Of course, ultimately such people are kicked away by Radha Gopinath, who says these things, because it is nonsense. You can study the shastras for all your life but if you don’t understand the basic principle of humility and willingness to accept instructions from higher authorities, you make no true spiritual advancement, however many shastras you read or names you chant. Therefore we have to understand that this is not detachment, this is attachment to our own egoistic conceptions, attachment to our own unwillingness to undergo tribulation, difficulty and hardships for the sake of service to Krishna and Guru.
Arjuna, he demonstrated it. He was willing to fight. He was willing to endure heartbreak, pain and all sorts of disgraces on that battlefield because that was Krishna’s desire. But you can’t be attached to the service, you just be attached to whom you are serving. Parikshit had everything in such a wonderful package. But when that Brahmana cursed him, he understood that Krishna is telling me that I have performed my service and now it’s time to leave this world. So he left everything and he went to the bank of the Ganges. And there all the great saints and sages came to congratulate him for his detachment. He was willing to leave everything within a second’s notice. If it wasn’t what Krishna wanted, He had children; a father is naturally attached to their children, but he was only attached to those children because it was Krishna’s and it was service to Krishna to raise them. He also had a wife. He was attached to his wife only because it was Krishna’s and it was a service to Krishna to take care of her and he raised his children excellently, with great love and attention and he took care of his wife with great respect, affection, he protected her. His family was blissful living with him. And everything else his servants, his facilities; when it was no longer what Krishna wanted, within a second he left it without even thinking twice. He became a sadhu. He went to the bank of the Ganges.
HEAR FROM BONAFIDE SPIRITUAL MASTER AND DON’T BE WHIMSICAL OR PROUD.
mäm ekaà çaraëaà vraja
ahaà tväà sarva-päpebhyo
mokñayiñyämi mä çucaù
And there all the great rishis, saints, sages, narada, vyasa, devala, asita, they all were there. Bharadvaj muni, Parasara muni, wherever they were from whatever planet and whatever universe, they all appeared and they all started giving suggestions to Maharaj Parikshit who was enquiring, “What is my duty now?” We see, Maharaj Parikshit didn’t think he had such a high relationship with Krishna; he didn’t do anything on his own. He asked them “What is my duty now?”. If the great vaishnavas would have told him- “go back to hastinapur and be king”; as soon as he left kingdom and as quick as he was able to leave it he would have left that river bank and returned to hastinapur and become king. He never acted independent. He never had such pride to decide what I’m supposed to do, but he enquired from the great vaishnavas, “What is my duty now?”. And so many people were giving so many various opinions. As Srila Prabhupada is explaining that ultimately they all came to the conclusion that whatever Sukhadev Goswami says is final because he is in the proper parampara, disciplic succession and what he says is truth.
Maharaj Parikshit was a bonafide heir because he was genuinely humble, submissive and willing to do whatever his Guru told him to do, that was his qualification. And Sukhadev Goswami was a proper bonafide spiritual master because he was coming in disciplic succession of previous acharyas. He had heard submissively from Vedavyas and he was a living example of those teachings. So, Sukhadev Goswami took the elevated seat of the Vyasasan and Maharaj Parikshit, in the association of so many sages on the banks of the holy river Ganges, without taking food or drink, awaiting his own death, not with fear but with faith, he enquired submissively from Sukhadev Goswami.
RADHANATH SWAMI ON HOW FAITH CAN DESTROY ALL FEAR AND SUFFERING.
This is very important to understand that when a man is about to die, in such a short time as seven days, it’s our conditioned human nature to become fearful. How is it and why is it that Parikshit Maharaj had no fear? — Because he had faith. Faith is the gift of the Supreme Lord that can destroy all fear and all suffering of this world. And what was Maharaj Parikshit’s faith? He had faith that the words of the great vaishnavas would give him eternal life. He had faith that simply from hearing as a humble servant from Sukhadev Goswami that he would be given eternal life at Krishna’s lotus feet. That was his faith.
The disciplic succession continues with all of its power and all of its glory and when we hear from the great representatives of this great parampara of acharyas, the same gift is being offered to us as what was accepted by Maharaj Parikshit. There is absolutely no difference. One who is simply repeating the message without adulteration, without concoction, without creating, forming or manufacturing our own our own idealistic ways of presenting Krishna Consciousness, as it is when we hear this message as it is from the disciplic succession then we are given the same exact mercy that flowed through Sukhadev Goswami to Maharaj Parikshit. And if we just have faith in that mercy, if we have faith in those words then we can become free from all fear and we can transcend death itself. This is Maharaj Parikshit’s glory. This was his detachment. He proved that his only attachment in life throughout was simply to serve the vaishnavas and to serve the will of Krishna.
BE HONEST WITH YOUR SPIRITUAL AUTHORITY:
But this is a high level of consciousness that we should be striving for. We should be honest. If we really are just not willing to do it then better we are honest with our Guru or our spiritual authority in a mood of humility, than to artificially say we will but no we won’t. You’re given an instruction and you say “oh! Yes yes, anything you say, of course I’ll do it, I am a surrendered soul”, but then you know that you are not going to do it, or you make some excuse, some round about excuse by which you can keep delaying the process until maybe everybody forgets that I was given that instruction..(Maharaj laughs). Rather than trying to manipulate we should just be honest, we should say that “I am a very weak neophyte devotee, I’m really not very surrendered soul and because of my unfortunate condition of material attachment I just can’t do it. But I want to serve you, please I beg… please give me a service that in my neophyte condition I can do it.” That’s honesty, that’s humility.
The highest thing is to accept whatever instruction comes and actually be willing, at any cost to do it, if it means even our very life, what to speak of breakdown of health, disease and everything else. We should be willing to accept everything if that’s what Krishna and Gurudev want. That is the highest platform. Or if you are actually not willing to do that then better to be honest than to be duplicitous and say we will and in a round about way figure out ways not do it and still be thought of as a great advanced devotee. Better to admit I’m fallen, I’m a neophyte, I want to but just can’t. Please be merciful and give something that in my condition I can do. Yes – “just now coming, just now coming, see how advanced I am, I am willing to do anything, just now coming.” And they just plot out in such a way that if I just keep this “just now coming” long enough, people will forget what I’m supposed to do and then I won’t have to do it and I won’t have to take the humiliating position of being unsurrendered. This is very unhealthy condition. We should either surrender or be honest and just take to the process so sincerely so we can ultimately come to that platform of that faith and surrender.
We have to have faith that Krishna through His disciplic representatives, they know what’s best for us and not judge it materially. When Abhimanyu was killed Arjuna could have thought, “Well, Krishna didn’t really know what was right because this was not supposed to happen”. We have to have faith and we to pursue that faith till the end.
ALWAYS HAVE THE CONSCIOUSNESS THAT I CAN DO SOME SERVICE ONLY BY MERCY OR EMPOWERMENT OF GURU OR KRISHNA THROUGH THEIR INSTRUCTIONS.
Devotee: “Maharaj, we know that whatever the spiritual master tells us is right, we need to develop that faith that whatever spiritual master gives us the instruction is right. So, should we also have this consciousness along with that instruction then the spiritual master gives his mercy to empower us to carry out the instruction, and how do we gradually……because as you were explaining we feel that we might not be able to fulfill that particular task but we should be having faith that ……aaaa ok this instruction carries along with it the empowerment or the mercy of the spiritual master?”
Maharaj: That should always be our consciousness. If we don’t have that consciousness then we will be in the great illusion of taking credit for what we do. When we fulfill the order we will think–“see what I have done” and that consciousness spoils everything you have done in the eyes of Krishna. So we should always feel that whatever devotional activity we’re performing, it is all being done by the grace of the previous acharyas whose blessings are coming through my Guru to help me. And we should know that with the instruction comes the mercy by which we have the power to execute that order.
By material perception you may succeed or you may fail, that’s not important. It’s not that empowerment will come that you are success, the empowerment comes that you can try. And if Krishna wants you to be a success, you’ll be a success and if Krishna wants you to fail, you’ll fail but either case you make the same spiritual advancement if you give in everything of your life to try and Krishna will empower you to either succeed of fail. He’ll give you that much intelligence and strength. If you succeed or fail, you should know that Krishna did it, I’m just His instrument; I’m just His willing devotee. So yes, we should know that when we have an instruction we are also empowered through that instruction to perform that service. But don’t be attached to the results; be attached to the service and whom you are serving. Because Abhimanyu was also empowered by Krishna and he succeeded, he went back to Godhead. But by material sense perception he was defeated. Krishna could have empowered him to kill all those maharathis within a second, but He didn’t. He empowered him to die. But what is the difference, he pleased Krishna. Either we please Krishna in living or we please Krishna in dying we have to be willing.
Devotee: “When Sukhadev Goswami started reciting Bhagawatam that time all the senior sages and even Narada Muni and Vedavyas ji was present. What he must have felt, wasn’t he…. Got embarrassed…?”
Maharaj: You are asking me what Sukhadev Goswami felt? I don’t know what he felt; I only read what he says… (Maharaj laughs)… But through what he says we can get some understanding of how a vaishnava feels. Because he was given the order by his superiors to speak, he was not feeling that “I am speaking”, he was simply feeling that “I am speaking on their behalf, under their instruction because I am their menial servant”. Is there any other questions?
WHOM SHOULD WE BE ATTACHED TO OR SERVE?
Devotee: “When you were saying that we should be attached not to the service but to the person whom we are serving, but often we’ve seen in the past and this is an ongoing problem that if we don’t have the proper understanding and maturity then there also may be an imperfect condition attachment to the person, without really seeing him as a via media, a transparent via media. So that is also a potential situation for a potential fall down. How do we….”
Maharaj : the person is Krishna, the person that we are serving is Krishna and the proper spiritual master is that person who is representing Krishna, who is representing the previous acharyas in disciplic succession. Krishna’s word and Krishna’s will is coming through parampara. Jiver ‘svarupa hay krisnera nitya-das’ (Madhya, ch. 20, p.840). We are eternally the servant of Krishna. He is the Person we are serving. And if someone is properly representing Krishna, then through that person ‘only’ can we serve Krishna. We cannot serve Krishna directly. That person is accepting anything for himself then we cannot serve him. If that person is speaking anything from himself, we cannot serve him. We can only serve those transparent via mediums who are bringing us to the real person we are meant to serve and that is Krishna; to be the servant of the servant of the servant. Srila Prabhupada defined a proper spiritual master as a transparent via medium and we must understand that very carefully that we are not just serving a human being according to his particular personality but we are serving all the previous acharyas up to Radha and Krishna in Vrindavan through pleasing him and serving him. So we want to please the Guru as a person but we have to understand that his personality is a transparent via medium, his words are a transparent via medium to Krishna. And if his personality, his activities, his words are not properly representing as it is, our disciplic succession, then we should know that we are going to make no spiritual advancement in this association. That is the difference between a personality cult and a proper disciplic succession of truth.
(Devotee asks) “Often the… the problem would be in the perception of the devotee himself or herself. Like, Prabhupada was a transparent via media, in spite of that there were devotees who after he left couldn’t somehow continue. So the problem may be with the devotees. How you know though we’re said we are told that we should see him as via media but how do we really can recognize that the person is pure devotee representing purely, but somehow our attachment is for… we can’t define it well enough because everyone is serving we are also serving and then how do we know really that we are not serving for the wrong reasons or we are attached only personality basis?
(Maharaj answers) “Srila Prabhupada gave us books. He said books are the basis. It’s the basis of every aspect of the Krishna Consciousness movement. We must understand Prabhupada’s books and if we do understand Prabhupada’s books we will understand who is presenting what Prabhupada presented; that is disciplic succession. Is he preaching the same philosophy in the same way as Srila Prabhupada? Is he living according to the principles that Srila Prabhupada writes, a proper vaishnava authority should live? If he is representing Prabhupada properly, if he is living according to Prabhupada’s teachings, we can understand that Prabhupada would come through him and with Prabhupada will come Bhaktisiddhanta, Gaur Kishore das babaji, Bhaktivinoda, Jagannath das babaji, Narrotam das thakur, Srinivas acharya, Rupa, Sanatana, Raghunath of Vrindavan and ultimately Swaroop Damodar, Nityananda prabhu, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu up to Ishwara Puri, Madhavendra Puri, Madhavacharaya, Vedavyas, Narada Muni and Radha Govinda of Vraja. If that person is properly repeating Prabhupada’s message and making it practical in our life then Krishna is coming through. And if that person is not following the regulative principles that Prabhupada taught, if that person is not repeating the philosophy that Prabhupada taught, then we should know that we can’t be sentimental about this, we can’t just be attached to his physical form or his…or how he is nice to me. There is no spiritual potency anymore.
And also we must understand through great sadhus who actually have a higher vision and a higher understanding than ourselves, whether this person is actually really living and teaching what Srila Prabhupada taught. And that is why Srila Prabhupada, within the ISKCON movement, created GBC and advanced vaishnavas because the trusted devotees, perhaps managerially mistakes are made that all right sometimes, but collectively they have a deep understanding of Gaudiya Vaishnava Siddhanta and Srila Prabhupada’s books that they can find out whether a person is deviating or not, whether a person is actually presenting the truth. And we have seen by our own experience that they are right (Maharaj laughs…). Sometimes the truth hits us much later but they could see it long before. But sometimes its Krishna’s arrangement to cover you over for some time, so that Radha Gopinath’s temple would be here (Maharaj laughs) and… (Maharaj laughs again)… but then when He uncovers you should be willing to accept that yes actually this is the standard.
There are many great sadhus who have higher vision than us in the Gaudiya Vaishnava system, if they are confirming that this person is properly representing this disciplic succession and we see what is being taught in Prabhupada’s books are being presented here then we can have complete faith, we shouldn’t doubt, we shouldn’t have reservations, we should just have complete faith and willing to surrender our lives. Hmm? Does that answer your question?
DON’T BE SENTIMENTALLY ATTACHED TO GURU, DEVELOP ATTACHMENT TO HIS INSTRUCTIONS:
(The devotee tells) “May be I didn’t properly put it. Suppose after that, if we have total faith, but then how do we know that after that person goes, like Prabhupada went or any other Guru, that we wouldn’t leave just because the person is not there?” (Maharaj) hmm? “Those who are serving Prabhupada and those who left after Prabhupada left… I mean… many of them or most of them had total faith in Prabhupada but somehow after Prabhupada went how come that faith didn’t remain? So…aaa… they had no doubt about Prabhupada’s purity but then the fact that they went after Prabhupada left meant that apparently they had not really seen…their own perception was something wrong, so now also how to….
(Maharaj replies) Not that it was wrong; it’s that it was weak. There’s a difference between weak and wrong because most all of those devotees who came to Srila Prabhupada, they never left Prabhupada, they just could not continue with strength to carry on his mission. Because as has been said they did not have a proper attachment to his instruction, to his vapu. They were so much depending on his physical presence that they really hadn’t developed what he wanted us to develop and that is attachment to his instructions because his instructions are eternal and he is personally present eternally in his instructions. But his physical presence, from the very beginning of the movement, Srila Prabhupada was telling us that “I am going to leave you any day but these are my instructions and they will be with you forever and I am personally present within my instructions. Live by these instructions.”
Srila Prabhupada, he remained awake through most of the night, every night, why? Because he knew that any day Krishna is going to take his physical form away but he will personally remain with all of us in the form of his books forever. He considered his books more important than his body because one will remain with us always and one will be taken away. In the late 1960s when he had that heart attack in New York City, he just gave a few instructions and basically he told those devotees that “These instructions can carry you back to Godhead and will be with you forever but I may leave now.” But when Krishna gave him more time he wrote more and more and more and more because his word is forever.
And Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur’s appearance… disappearance day Srila Prabhupada was crying and he said that “I am an old man and I can leave you any day, I definitely will leave you quite soon. Please carry on this mission of my spiritual master. Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati has given me this mission and I am pleading with all of you that after I leave, carry on this mission”. That is his instruction. That instruction is forever. Those who did not develop attachment to his instruction, they became very weak after he was physically taken away by Krishna. Therefore in the presence of our spiritual masters we should learn how to really go deeply into the philosophy and the instruction and the spirit of bhakti, so that when that person is taken away by one form or another by Krishna, he will always be living in our heart pushing us forward through his words. Srila Prabhupada lives forever in the hearts of anyone who is taking his instructions as their life, his disciples, his grand disciples, his great grand disciples and disciples in this disciplic line for all time to come, he will live personally forever wherever people is following his instructions. But the practical application and inspiration of those instructions must come through someone who is representing him on this earth that is disciplic succession that is the sacred principle of our spiritual path.
Very few people have left this movement. But many people, very many people are not very actively engaged in the missionary activities because of weakness due to uncontrolled mind and senses or weakness in faith to the extent that they can carry on but they still believe that Krishna is God and they still believe that Srila Prabhupada is His representative. So in that sense they really haven’t left the movement. They are just temporarily in a more or less inactive state. But we see that if those devotees come in contact with an inspired representation of what Prabhupada really taught many of them become activated again, they feel Prabhupada’s mercy again, calling them back into the missionary spirit that he wanted us all to carry on.