Devotee: Maharaj, what is the meaning of chastity for the proper disciple?
Srila Sridhar Maharaj: Chastity is faithfulness to the cause for which we have come. It is a relative term. Chastity in the absolute sense is unchangeable adherence to Krsna consciousness. There also may be relative chastity, such as when someone sincerely pursues his interest in a particular plane. However that type of sincerity is not complete. We think sincerity is only complete when one comes to accept Krsna consciousness of Godhead. Other forms of chastity are all relative.
No knowledge separate from Krsna consciousness is chaste. In Krsna consciousness also we may not think that by beginning, by getting the touch of Krsna consciousness we have acquired the whole thing. When we get the pure conception of Krsna consciousness the hazy conceptions will vanish. There are also different stages of realisation in pure Krsna consciousness and by its degree of awakening we become more and more chaste.
Chastity means our adherence to the truth. The truth that we have come to realise, that truth is in Krsna consciousness. Krsna consciousness is not a limited thing that one can capture in his hand and swallow. It is of infinite character. There is gradation and there is room for progress in Krsna consciousness. We will say that one is chaste due to his own sincere progress, not due to adherence to the figure, the formal conception.
vyaso vetti na vetti va
Such a strong expression is also there, vyaso vetti na vetti va. All rights reserved. Krsna consciousness is unlimited. Still there is the possibility of conceiving its purity in its unadulterated form, and the acharyas are giving that to us.
In the beginning a new student who gains admission to a college cannot expect to know anything and everything. We need to have systematic, properly adjusted knowledge.
There are many amongst our group who heard Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur Prabhupad’s advices and words, but only partly. One day a senior man and sannyasi, repeated something Srila Prabhupad had said. Although it related to a particular time and place, he wanted to utilise that in a universal way. I gave some objection: “Maharaj, Srila Prabhupad told this, it is true, but this is not the whole thing. He explained other things also, therefore we have to harmonise. We cannot ignore the other part of his advice.”
We have to come into adjustment and systematic understanding of the words of Sri Gurudeva. The partial aspect may sometimes lay stress on a particular point and who has attentively caught that, he may only take that and nothing beyond. But systematic knowledge of the whole must be understood. In a progressive life the plane where one devotee may want to withdraw from to make further progress, may be the goal of attainment for another devotee. The object of attainment for the kanistha-adhikari, a madhyama-adhikari may withdraw from in his attempt to climb higher, as in ascending a staircase step by step.
Under the guidance of one Guru there are so many different sections of disciples. All the students may not be equal in their realisation. One can understand to a certain extent, another can understand something more, and another can understand even more. In this way there may be gradation. Even the senior disciples may fall back and the juniors may go up. That is also possible. We have seen and you can also see now. Many of the older ones have gone away and the newcomers are showing greater energy. You may find that amongst yourselves, as we also found amongst ourselves. There are no stereotyped rules. It is a living thing.
Krsna is there. He says that He has not finished Himself in His own sastras. “What I have given in the sastras, you must do that, but one who crosses that to come to Me is My higher servitor.” So, Krsna is living and He is above all. A transaction, a trade may be made by cash or by loan. Whether trading, or purchasing with cash, or purchasing with a loan, He is there, He is master, He is autocrat. His dealings should not be limited even by the Scriptures.
He says, “Even crossing the Scriptures I exist, even though those directions are given by Me.”
ajnajaiva gunan dosan, mayadistan api dvakan
dharmman samtyajya yah, sarvvan myam bhajet sa ca sattamah
So, directions are of different classes. And Krsna says, “Sometimes it will be necessary to show devotion to Me, even crossing My own laws.” We must also consider the realisations of higher devotees. So many things are there, but the main thing is faithfulness. To die for the cause. Die to live! Simplicity means to be independent of ancient prejudices, to be empty, to be un-possessed of the mal-possession. To be clear. To be free of foreign possession, that is simplicity.
Formal and substantial. They are two different things, and here is the main difficulty in our progress. Sreyah sva-dharmme… Progress means to deal with these two difficulties, to stick to one’s former position, and beyond that, to make progress – advance. If advancement is not sure, it is judicious to stick to the former position. If there is any doubt of progress one should stick to the former position. But that is not progress. Progress means to leave the former position and go ahead. Only one who is hopeful of his bright future, should leave his former position and go to advance. Those who are of doubtful mentality, suspicious mentality, it is better for them to stick to their former position where they already have a consolidated foundation.
They should take their stand there. According to his own progress he cannot but see that some things must be rejected and some new things in front must be invited to come near. Progress means this.
In his book Brhad-Bhagavatamrtam, Srila Sanatana Goswami has given sambandha-jnana, the knowledge of the relationship between ourselves and the Lord. We have to follow that closely. That means proper adjustment. At first we shall have some sort of approximate knowledge and that will be realised more and more. Taking our stand in a particular position if we look out we will be able to say, ‘this is here,’ ‘this is there,’ ‘this is lower,’ ‘that is higher.’ In Krsna consciousness we must understand sambandha-jnana.
What I do not find to be my own I must not take risk for that. But when I find ‘this is my own’ even though it may be a little far, then I must jump there. This is my own and my inner hankering is only searching for that thing, and if I find that is within my reach, then I must jump there. It depends on our sincerity and our proper understanding.
There are many who cannot control the temptation from within to exploit the Guru or Krsna – guru-bhogi, krsna-bhogi – and create some facilities for their own personal exploitation. That is also possible. A real student, a bonafide student, must be alert on all sides whether non-Krsna is coming in disguise. We must try to recognise that and save ourselves. If we are sincere no one can disturb us.
Vibhisan said:. “We must be very careful about the maya-tactics of the opposing party.” Hanuman was keeping Rama and Laksman in a room made of his tail, and Vibhisan warned Hanuman: “Be very careful! Mahiravana will come and try to deceive you in disguise.” Then at last Mahiravana came in the garb of Vibhisan himself and took them away.
There is a good possibility that maya will approach us. We have to be very careful to protect those valuable tendencies within us and maintain our taste and the vision of our inner awakening. We must maintain that and if possible make some progress in our line. That is our interest. ‘God save me from my enemies.’ And, ‘God save me from my friends’ – that _expression is also there. You must be alert that as a friend someone may not go to deceive you. You must be so much careful. At your own risk pray to the Supreme, the Chaitya-guru, for giving you the right direction: “What is what? What is to be accepted?” It is a crucial point.
I don’t want to take the responsibility. Mahaprabhu and Krsna also do not take the responsibility. Even though Krsna can control everything, He also says: “You are free.”
In the Srimad Bhagavad-gita Krsna instructs: “I have said what I had to say. Now, Arjjuna, you decide what you want to do. Vimrsyaitad asesna. Think it over exhaustively. Think it over to the best of your ability and then decide what step you are going to accept.
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