Guardiões da Devoção
Faith in the Absolute
by Srila Bhakti Raksaka Sridhara Maharaja
Srila Sridhar Maharaj: Faith in Krsna, the Absolute Truth, is innate in every soul. Faith is coexistent with the soul, but at present it is covered by maya. Maya means miscalculation, misunderstanding, and wrong interest. Because our faith is covered, we cannot trace it out, but it is there within us. Only when we have come in connection with a real saint will our inner faith awaken.
Faith is within us but at present it is suppressed, and so we give more importance to some local and temporary interest, ignoring our eternal interest.
This is the condition of the soul in bondage. Our eternal interest within has been covered by the local, temporary interest. So, because we have forgotten our eternal self-interest we have to suffer.
Any self-interest is limited. Local means limited. The Rupee, which is valuable in India, won’t have any use outside of India. The Rupee is a local currency. On the other hand, gold has value everywhere; gold is the central basis of all local currencies. In the same way service to the Supreme Lord is the Absolute interest, without which all local interests are valueless. So, we are all servants of the Supreme Absolute Centre and His service is our eternal interest.
As a servant of the Absolute, I may assert His interest wherever I may be posted. By serving the Absolute interest, all local interests are automatically served. But a servant of India has different interests than a servant of Russia, a servant of America or a servant of Japan. These are all local interests. So, these local interests must be given up. We must learn what is the Universal interest and awaken to our inner plane of life, which is fully in harmony with that Universal interest. We must follow that path, for that is higher, more tasteful and more reasonable in all respects. That is a perfect life. Serving the Universal interest is the real meaning of religion and the ultimate religion is Bhagavat Dharma. If we serve any partial interest then another part will revolt. We must serve the Universal interest which is already within us; that will be useful and successful everywhere.
Anyone may say that they have sraddha or faith, but faith has its criterion. If someone asserts that his faith in some local interest is as good as his faith in the Universal interest, it will not pass the examination of the experts. They will examine him. They know the symptoms of real faith, its criterion, its jurisdiction and its characteristics. Apparently there are so many different kinds of faith: Christianity, Islam, Yoga, and so many other religious creeds. If a person has some religious creed, he may assert “This is my faith”. It may be a particular creed, but Absolute faith has its separate existence. Only real Krsna consciousness represents those who have Absolute faith.
Some people say, “Krsna is a particular form with a human figure. How can that be a universal representation of the Absolute truth? Krsna consciousness is also a local, narrow type of belief. You say that Krsna is the Absolute but He has a particular figure. We don’t say that the Absolute is limited to a particular figure. He is beyond the range of our eye and ear experience, our mental and intellectual experience. He is all-comprehensive and all-permeating.”
This is Brahman conception of the Absolute. Brahman means all-comprehensive. Everything is contained within that. Brahman means the broadest knowledge, which can complement all possible parts of knowledge. Above that is the Paramatma conception. Paramatma means the all-pervading, smallest of the small. Beyond the atom is the proton and the electron, and the smallest of the small: Paramatma. Paramatma means the smallest of the small, and Brahman is the biggest of the big.
Bhagavan is of a different type. Bhagavan, or the Supreme Lord Krsna, is He who attracts the attention of everyone. He is neither the biggest nor the smallest, but He who can attract all attention. That aspect of the Lord in its most extreme form is Krsna, and He is so sweet that He can attract everything. There may be so many atoms both big and small, but gravity attracts them, gives them some form and they become the cosmos. In the highest sense, attraction means not only physical attraction but wholesale attraction in body, mind and soul.
The centre of the highest attraction is Krsna. Krsna means ‘One who can attract everything and give the highest satisfaction in return’. Although He may come within our visualized experience, that experience has no connection with this world. He is transcendental. Krsna can play in the rasa dance, and appear simultaneously at the side of every gopi, by expanding Himself into innumerable doubles, so that, by the side of each gopi there is one Krsna. Brahma stole Krsna’s calves and cowboys, but by His will everything was kept up. There was no loss to Krsna, so infinite is He in character. But because we are finite, He approaches us in an easily comprehensible way, in a way that we can visualize Him. Otherwise, our eyes are useless in trying to perceive the infinite.
If something is very dazzling we cannot see it. Our eyes have their limits. If a light is very intense we cannot see it, or if a light is very dim we cannot perceive it. We can only perceive the middle part of the spectrum. Similarly, if a sound is very loud our ear cannot grasp it, and if a sound is very soft also, our ear cannot catch it. Our ear can function only within the limitation of a certain sound range. Everything which is above or below our sense perception is of no use to us, and so Krsna appears to us in the middle, in so many ways. He appears to us in a certain colour, a certain figure. He appears in sound as the name Krsna; He appears for the eye experience as the Deity; for the ear experience as the name Krsna; for the tongue experience He appears as prasadam. In different ways our senses can have a corresponding relationship with Him.
Once, I went to preach in Karachi, in 1935 or so. The president of the AryaSamaj came to see us and his first remark was, “If the finite can know the infinite, then he is not infinite. You are worshippers of dolls, idols; you say that you can know God, but you are a finite soul. The infinite can never be known by you”. That was his argument. “You vaisnavas preach doll worship, idol worship. Your transaction is only within the limited world. You don’t know anything about the unlimited”. With this basis, he attacked us. But I immediately replied, “If the infinite cannot make Himself known to the finite, then He is not infinite”. So, in the vaisnava creed, or in any other creed, we should always keep in mind that everything depends on Him. He can come down to our level, but we cannot go up to His level.
We can only attract Him to come down to our level by improving our negative tendency. We should pray, “O Lord, I am so mean. I am the most fallen of the fallen, the lowest of the low. Without Your help, I am nothing. Please be satisfied, be propitiated with me.” That is possible only through saranagati, self-surrender. Through saranagati, we can attract the superior plane to descend to the lower plane. He has the power. He can take me to His domain. He is all-powerful, but we cannot force our entrance into that domain. We have no natural right to do that. We are made of lower stuff. He is adhoksaja, transcendental. Adhoksaja means that plane of existence which can keep the world of experience in a lower position. The world of experience is pushed down by the adhoksaja plane. That subtle plane of existence can come down to us, but we cannot go up. Only if He takes us there, can we go up. With a passport, we can go to the verge of our jurisdiction, to the border, but if we have a visa, if a visa is allowed, then we can enter into the domain of another land. So, the human mind and intellect can have no touch of the adhoksaja realm.
A few days ago, there was a rumour of flying saucers. It was thought that from a more civilized land, they came in a small plane and wandered over this world. From earth, the airforce gave chase to the flying saucers, but they disappeared. Where they have gone, no one can trace. They returned disappointed. The flying saucers can descend there, to connect with this planet; the airforce can follow them to some extent, but the flying saucers disappear beyond their vision. The adhoksaja or transcendental plane is something like that. There is a subtle plane that can come down to our gross mind and intelligence, but we cannot go up there.
The mayavadis and the Buddhists say that we can withdraw from this world of experience and dissolve into the world of soul. They say that the non-differentiated spiritual plane is the ultimate end. But Ramanuja and the other Vaisnavaacharya say that there is another plane of existence, which is more subtle, more efficient and more powerful. The soul, which we may think of as the sun or moon, is a gross thing in comparison to that realm. Just as the flying saucer can come here, the transcendental plane can descend to the plane of the soul, and then the soul can have experience. But if it withdraws from our experience, then the soul cannot do anything, but the recollection will be there. He will remember that something wonderful, some wonderful experience came to touch his heart. Again, how can he have such an experience? When Mahaprabhu was coming from Gaya, he suddenly saw Krsna with His flute, and then Krsna disappeared. But Mahaprabhu’s heart was fully captured by the sweetness and the extraordinary impression of His appearance. He said, “I can’t stand it; I can’t live. Oh, My friends, if you want Me to live, then show Me that land of beauty. The beauty that I suddenly experienced when I was coming back from Gaya; how sweet it was! It captured all the nerves of My soul. I can’t stand to live. Oh, My friends, if you want Me to live, then show Me that land of beauty”.
So, he managed anyhow to again show that sweet figure. It is so sweet. That is the impression, that is the consciousness, that is the thought, that is the idea. That area is superior even to the soul, it is most fine. That is a plane of concrete reality, but we are only chewing the cover; we are not getting a touch of the spirit within. What we experience by our eyes, by our ears, by our tongue, is only the cover and not the spirit within (na te viduh svartha-gatim hi visnum). Prahlada Maharaj says that we are making much of the outer cover of the world, of the universe, but the sweet substance that is within, we cannot have a trace of that. But the grace is coming down by the will of that Almighty; that supreme knowledge and beauty is the uppermost.
Beauty and harmony are the highest. Even knowledge searches after beauty. One who wants knowledge wants to be the gainer by calculation. He wants to gain something, but what is that something? What is it that knowledge is searching after? He is searching after sweetness and beauty, for harmony and ecstasy. And that is present there in the highest sphere, the highest layer that can come down. Now, we are in a neglected position, we are so weak; how will it be possible to attain that plane? How will it be possible to get permanent nationality there? How is it possible? We must begin in a particular process.
The agents are coming. Contact with them and watch the light. Find out what is necessary to live in that country; prepare yourself. Above all, you must accept the interest of that plane as your interest. There, in that plane everyone wants to serve Krsna, to please Krsna. He is the centre. We must try to be trained, so that if you are taken there, you will know what to do. So, the agent is necessary. He will teach us. From Him, we will get the knowledge, and in this way we will train ourselves and then the correction will come and we will be able to go there. By their grace, we will go there and we will be utilized there in the service of the Lord. So, self-abnegation is necessary.
First, we are all self-aggrandizing units. So, self-abnegation is necessary. Then self-aggrandizement should be banished, self-seeking must go, local interest seeking must be given up and the universal interest, especially in the plane of Krsna’s satisfaction must be taken up. How will we get such a training? Through the saints, the scriptures and the guru. By following some regulations, we shall gradually be able to secure some service in that plane, and we shall be taken there. It is a reality; it is not a concoction. It is not imagination.
Why should we run after a phantasmagoria? It seems that apparently we are searching after something imaginary, leaving behind the concrete world, but this world is not the concrete reality. That is the defect. We see in our everyday experience that everything is vanishing here. We do not want this; we want to live eternally. It is our nature to live eternally. But, although it is undesirable, still, we have to die. It is inevitable. So, in the vision of a sober judgement this world is not concrete. It is all disappointing. It is all cheating; maya. Ma-ya; that which is not.
Maya means to be engaged with a particular thing that is not. That thing which is not what we conceive it to be. So, this world is not concrete; first we have to understand that. We have to understand that this is not substantial. Everyone is here for some time and then they are passing away. So, if we want to conquer death, then we have to seek that inner world where this body may not go; this mind will not be utilized there. Within, there is the soul, and within the soul lies the unique function to serve the sweetness, Krsna. That should be evolved, awakened and with the proper agent of the Absolute, the spiritual master, that aspect of our inner eternal self will be taken to the plane of infinite resources and our hearts’ fulfilment will be reached
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