Shrila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaj
Salt Spring Island, Canada, April, 2001, pm
I offer my thousands and thousands of humble obeisances unto the lotus feet of my spiritual and transcendental guru, nitya-lila pravista om visnupada Shri Shrimad Bhaktiprajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja, and the same to my siksa-guru, nitya-lila pravista om visnupada Shri Shrimad Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja. You know that Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. You know this. But you cannot worship Him first. Who must you worship first? Those who have told you who is that Supreme Personality of Godhead, what is this world, who you are, and why you should worship Krishna. The modern word for such a person is 'teacher', but the transcendental word is 'guru.' There is no one heavier than him; he is the most heavy, and therefore we should first worship gurudeva. We should first try to glorify gurudeva, and then Krishna will automatically be worshipped and glorified.
We are going to tell something about guru-tattva. In sastra it has been written that jagad-guru is Krishna Himself. guru is not less than Krishna. guru is the rupa of Krishna. Guru is the svarupa of Krishna. Have you heard this anywhere? In the first chapter of Chaitanya Charitamrita it has been written that Guru manifests in many forms. All Vaisnavas are guru. We should consider all pure devotees - not fallen devotees - to be guru. Among these pure devotees, he who is prominent - he is actually guru. guru is one, but he has two aspects.
Initially we meet a devotee who shows us the path. He tells us, "You are unhappy in this world - very, very unhappy. I want that you should be happy. You are not this physical body. You are something other than this. You cannot die; you cannot take birth. You are an eternal part of Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. You are like Him, but now you have forgotten Him, and that is why you had to come here." If he is questioned, "How can I achieve this perfection?" he answers, "I will take you to a Guru, a transcendental guru. He will teach you and give you so many things, and then you can serve Krishna and be happy. So come with me." In this way you are brought to a real Guru. That person who brings you is also a guru, and he is called vartma-pradarsaka. Those who give a way - a real way - to come to a qualified guru are also to be honored. We must honor them. If we do not honor them, our way will have an obstacle. Why are they acting as vartma-pradarsaka guru? Because Krishna has inspired them, "Go and bring Me this person." They have some link, and therefore we must honor them.
The real guru is called diksa-guru and siksa-guru. Who is diksa-guru? He gives mantra. What is the meaning of mantra? Mantra means the embodiment of Krishna. All mantras are embodiments of Krishna. Don't think that the mantras in our line are less than harinama. Don't think that this mantra cannot go to transcendental Goloka Vrindavan. Kama-gayatri and gopal-mantra are transcendental, and they give a relationship with Krishna. Kama Gayatri was previously brahma-gayatri. Then the personified Upanisads heard the glory of rasa-lila and the gopis' mood, and they developed a very thick greed to attain that. Thus, by the grace of Yogamaya, this brahma-gayatri became kama-gayatri. Kama-gayatri is also in Goloka Vrindavana in another shape. It is in the shape of kama. The intrinsic mood of Radhika is kama, and therefore kama is in the form of Radhika there. A guru must know and have realizations of all these truths.
Sometimes the diksa-guru is superior to the siksa-guru, and sometimes the siksa-guru is so much superior to the diksa-guru. For example, my guru is Shrila Bhaktiprajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja. I treat Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Thakura as my siksa-guru. Who is superior? Shrila Rupa Gosvami is my siksa-guru. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Himself is siksa-guru. Krishna Himself is siksa-guru. Is my guru superior to Rupa Gosvami, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Nityananda Prabhu, and Krishna? Can you say who is superior? You should know.
If you are only worshipping your gurudeva, and not his Gurudeva or his param-gurudeva, if you are not going to listen to Rupa Gosvami, if you are not going to listen to Nityananda Prabhu, if you are not even going to listen to Radhika or Rupa Manjari, then who are you? You are a nonsense bogus person and, in the words of Shrila Swami Maharaja, you are a rascal.
Rascals are those persons who only want to hear from their guru, and not from their guru's superiors. They think, "My gurudeva is greater than Rupa Gosvami, Rupa Manjari, Nityananda Prabhu, Advaita Acarya, Gauracandra, and even Radhika and Krishna. My guru is superior. I will only hear from my gurudeva. Such persons are nonsense. We should consider all these things. If you are not ready to hear Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Thakura, Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, or even Rupa Gosvami, will your gurudeva be happy? You should realize this fact. Shrila Swami Maharaja has come only to glorify all his guru-varga, his entire guru-parampara. He has come to glorify Rupa Gosvami. He has come to glorify Gauracandra and Nityananda Prabhu, and especially Gaura. He has come to glorify Him by teaching that He is not different from Krishna. He is Krishna, taking the intrinsic mood and golden beauty of Radhika. Krishna is not actually taking, but begging, "O Shrimati Radhika, Please give Me Your mood. Please give me Your mood." Shrimati Radhika replies, "If You will place Your head at my feet, then I will give it to You." How does Krishna reply? He says, "O, my flute is here at Your lotus feet, and My head is here as well." You should know that your guru has come to give these transcendental truths. He was with you for only a very short time in this world. He wanted to give all these things - not anything else. He came only to give the message of Rupa Gosvami, but he saw that everywhere there were forests of mayavada and jungles of atheism and ignorance. He wanted to plant Tulasi - Vrnda. He wanted to plant the love and affection of Krishnacandra, as given by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Gaurasundara, and also His associates like Rupa Gosvami, Svarupa Damodara and Raya Ramananda. He became worried, however. He considered, "What can I do? Where should I give this? Should I plant this Vrnda on the stone? Should I plant these things on a barren land or on the sands of the ocean? Will that give fruit? If not, then what should I do?" He discovered a way. He asked Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, "What should I do?"
Mahaprabhu replied, "Oh, you should first make this barren land into a fertile land by cutting the jungles of all mayavada and other apasiddhantas."
When he came to the Western countries he saw that all were taking so many drugs - so many drugs. Almost all were mad persons, loving dog instead of God. Still he thought, "What should I do? I should give something." First he cut the jungles of all mayavada philosophy, atheism, material science propaganda, and so on. Next he explained that you should worship your own gurudeva first. It was something - a beginning for beginners. A, B, C, D. A is for apple, B is for ball, C is for cat, and D is for dog. However, when you pass the beginning primary school and enter high school or college, you should not think, "Oh, I will only study the thing I learned at the beginning. I will not obey all these professors. I only want my gurudeva and what he has told us. A means apple, B means ball, and C means cat. Why are you telling different things?"
"Narayana Maharaja comes and tells so many different things. We should not accept this. He is glorifying Rupa Gosvami, and he is teaching that we want affection for Radha-Krishna Conjugal. Why is he telling different things? Don't listen to Narayana Maharaja. It will be an offense." What is this? Ignorant persons speak like this. Don't think that I am teaching anything other than what your Shrila Prabhupada wanted and wrote. His voice has been recorded on his last day. He ordered me, "Help my disciples." After that he did not speak to anyone. You can get that cassette. Why did he order me in this way? Weeping, he requested this of me. If he had already told everything, then why did he request me in that way? If anyone does not have belief in my statements, he can acquire and hear the cassette.
At that time he spoke in Bengali so that others would not understand. If he were to say that all his disciples were ignorant, that they did not know very much, and that they were imperfect, they may have become upset. For this reason he spoke so many things in Bengali. He told me, "I brought them, but I could not teach them in full." If he had told them everything, and if they were so knowledgeable and expert, why have so many of the senior devotees, even those in the renounced order, fallen down? Where are they now? Where they are now is not Iskcon. They were not Iskcon, they are not Iskcon, and they will not be Iskcon.
Who is Iskcon? Brahma is Iskcon, Narada is Iskcon, and those in their line, like Shrila Rupa Gosvami, are Iskcon. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Himself is the head of this Iskcon. You should know it; He is Iskcon. Shrila Swami Maharaja has only changed the name. The name has been translated into English, but the substance is not changed. How can he change love and affection? How can it be changed? Can anyone change the love and affection of Radhika for the lotus feet of Krishna? Can anyone change the love and affection of Krishna for the lotus feet of Radhika? Can anyone change this? It is transcendental, never to be changed.
When Shrila Swami Maharaja was in the Scindia Navigation boat he had a heart attack, and then Krishna inspired him, "O, don't be worried. My hands are on your head." Shrila Swami Maharaja then came and performed a miracle. He thought within himself, however, "I have not done a miracle. Krishna in me, Chaitanya and Nityananda Prabhu inside me - They have done so." Don't think that I am instructing something other than Shrila Swami Maharaja, or that I am not in his line. We are both like puppets.
If there is no need for Prabhupada's disciples to continue hearing from a bona fide guru, then why are they falling? Why? I know more than you, much more than you. I know him since 1946. Some of his sannyasis used to come to me, but where are they now? They were forbidden to continue hearing and properly understanding their gurudeva. If they will come again and serve their gurudeva, then they have a chance - otherwise not. True Iskcon is a society of pure devotees, and among those pure devotees guru is prominent. That guru is actually the rupa and svarupa of Krishna.
Aranya Maharaja: Shrila Gurudeva is quoting from Shri Chaitanya Charitamrita, Adi-lila chapter one.
guru krsna-rupa hana sastrera pramane
guru-rupe krsna krpa karena bhakta-gane
["According to the deliberate opinion of all revealed scriptures, the spiritual master is nondifferent from Krishna. Lord Krishna in the form of the spiritual master delivers His devotees."]
The diksa-guru, that spiritual master who tells you, "You are not this body; you are part and parcel of Krishna," and initiates you with diksa mantras - gayatri mantras - he is called krsna-rupa, the direct manifestation of the form of Krishna. It is Krishna Himself who is delivering the jivas by the embodiment of his mercy in the form of krsna-rupa.
siksa-guruke ta' jani krsnera svarupa
antaryami, bhakta-srestha,--ei dui rupa
["One should know the instructing spiritual master to be the Personality of Krishna. Lord Krishna manifests Himself as the Supersoul and as the greatest devotee of the Lord."]
Then there is siksa-guru, the instructing spiritual master. He is called krsna-svarupa, the svarupa of Krishna. There are two forms of Krishna as siksa-guru: one siksa- guru is in your heart all the time. He is Krishna in the heart. He is also manifest outwardly as those Vaisnavas who are supermost, most excellent and perfect. So Krishna helps the devotees by diksa-guru, the krsna-rupa, and siksa-guru, krsna-svarupa.
Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: You can understand this by the following example. Shrila Sanatana Gosvami is the diksa-guru and siksa-guru is Rupa Gosvamipada. Can you tell who is superior and who is inferior? It is difficult for beginners, for the kanistha-adhikari. Madyama-madyama or madyama-uttama-adhikaris can reconcile all these things. Try to be at least madyama. Though one may have taken initiation from Shrila Swami Maharaja 30 years before, he may still be kanistha adhikari - not madyama. Otherwise, there would be no confusion or falling down. A pure devote can never fall down. This is the reason they did not want to listen to anyone other than Shrila Swami Maharaja, but they should listen to grow.
I am his friend; I am his siksa-disciple. He is my siksa-guru. In another sense, I took sannyasa from my Gurudeva, Shrila Bhaktiprajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja, earlier then he did. Your Prabhupada took sannyasa soon after me - five or six years after- and therefore we are god-brothers also. He is junior and I am senior in sannyasa order, but he is so much senior because he is the god-brother of my Gurudeva. He is my siksa-guru, and not less than my diksa-guru. Though we are friends, I honor him in this way.
We used to take prasadam on the same seat. When he was penniless, I used to give him my chadder to sit on, and we discussed so many things. He was very fond of my singing and he used to play on the mrdanga while I sang. I sang, "Shri rupa manjari pada, sei mora sampada, sei mor bhajana pujana, sei more pranadhana" and "Radha krsna prana mora, jugala-kisora." He always liked to hear me sing. He used to give Shrimad Bhagavatam classes from his writings, and we used to hear him. I took him as my siksa-guru. He was always my friend. He wrote to me, "Your relation with me is a transcendental relation - like my relation was with my Shrila Prabhupada, Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura."
Before Krishna called him back, Mahaprabhu called him back, he presented Shrila Baladeva Vidayabhusana Prabhu's commentary on Gita, and he made it easy for all of you. By his order and my Gurudeva's inspiration, I translated Shrila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura's commentary. His commentary and my commentary are part one and part two. If anyone will realize first his Gita, they can next know the commentary of Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura.
Is it the true process given by your Prabhupada that sannyasis should give up sannyasa? Never. I want that all should be very strong, never to fall down. Never give up your guru's line. Who is guru? Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Shrila Rupa Gosvami, Shrila Sanatana Gosvami, and all the Gosvamis. We should not give up their line.