Search for the Divine
by Srila Bhakti Raksaka Sridhara Maharaja
The author of a particular book once criticized the intellectuals who wrote about Indian philosophy and a comparative study of world religions.
His objection was emphatic: “They could not approach the Eastern philosophy by the Eastern method. They approached the Eastern philosophy by the Western method and that is considered to be intellectualism.”
Eastern philosophy’s nature and method of dealing is revolutionary. That author also quoted from the Bhagavad-gita as we generally do, concluding the approach be Eastern – from the subjective to the objective in this case.
Otherwise it is all the study of reflection and nothing of the substance – the dealings of the shadow. And to think that by getting the shadow you have got the substance that is self-deception to the extreme. This progress is not upwards. This progress comes towards the lower side. Progress is not in the empirical method – the ascending method. No. Real progress is in the descending method – coming down from the Autocrat Himself.
They must improve their negative character so that the positive may come there easily. Pure negative character means taking leave from all aspirations of this mundane existence. It means, “I have no ambition for any mundane achievement. I am finished with all these worldly ambitions. I am disgusted with mundane achievement. Now I have come to search for something Divine. This then is the first attitude – pranipatena.
Then pariprasnena, inquiry is there, but never in a challenging spirit of trusting only in oneself and one’s past experiences. It is not that by taking the past results and thereby assessing the future, we shall be successful – that is not pariprasnena. Pariprasnena is a very earnest type of hearing with one’s whole self to utilize at His command. And the main substance is seva, “I want to live for Him. I am worthless and I am searching to be utilized by Him. There is absolutely nothing so valuable to me as the direct experience of myself. I have finished my life here tending to fleeting fantasies. My prospect is all finished here as this is all worthless living, to live in this world for this world.” This is an honest enquirer – pariprasnena.
“Life is worth living if it can be used by the higher agents. I have come to understand this: Service and acceptance will come from the upper side. This is progress. It does not depend on me that is, it is not under my control. He may or He may not accept me: He may or He may not give me admission. It depends solely on Him. Only some degree of surrender from my side is necessary.”
It is not that I am the subject and as a master I travel over the soil on this side. This is all an offence. It also stands as an obstacle to my real progress. I am not going to be master of any particular land or plane of live, but a slave, a kind of servant. It is not that I am giving some service and drawing some salary as if I am in an equal position. No, I am not selling my energy. Service does not mean selling my energy in order to get some remuneration. It is the service of a slave. I want to put my ego into the fire. The ego is the cause, the root of all disturbances in my life. It must be reduced to ashes and then, a new life will begin.
In a slave conference, will the slaves try to search for some right to their dealings with the master position? This is a laughing matter. It is ridiculous, especially in Krsna consciousness. It is all autocracy and no law - anarchy. So, this is more difficult to attain. The service is also of this kind. The result of the service I will not accept. I shall accept no salary of any kind. It will all go to my master.
jivera ‘svarupa’ haya-krsnera ‘nitya-dasa’
My constitutional position is that I am an eternal slave of the Lord. It is not that I shall get some remuneration by slavery and try to lead a life of independence. Slave does not mean master or owner of anything. No ownership is allowed there. As much as I shall be accepted as a good slave, I shall find that I have got no ownership in any plane of existence. Ownership, the demand of ownership, the standing of one’s ownership – that is the greatest enemy to him, that prospective bhakta – on this path.
If I am the owner of something, some knowledge or some substance, then that ownership should be given up. Whatever I hear from the sadhus, whatever I shall get, that will go to my master. Service of this nature becomes bhakti, devotion. All the nine processes are considered as bhakti, devotion, when they have such qualification. The benefit I shall derive from this culture of devotion will not come to me, but will go to my master. This may seem to be something imaginary to us at present, but it should be the basis of our inquiry. Otherwise, we shall add trouble to this mundane world of shadow – without getting any touch of the reality.
Our Guru Maharaja, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur, stressed that he did not like that one will only take the Holy Name, but he wanted that they should also partake in service. A serving attitude must be cultivated within us. The process is to dissolve the worldly ego. The ego is already present there. We do not have to acquire it, only dissolve it. The flow will then come from the higher side and we are fully dependent on that Divine Grace. We have nothing to do as it will come from the higher side. We are only to demand or want that. “I am needy, I am the most needy, I am extremely needy.”
This is what we shall try to accept and understand. This is the nobility of that special teaching of our Guru Maharaj in this age. Through dedication, the Lord will be attracted to you and you will progress by His grace and not by your energy. You are possessed by a ghost. That ghost must be driven out. Then, your normal condition will return.
If we are fully dependent on Him, then whatever is necessary will come automatically. This sort of self-abnegation and preparedness of service is necessary. Whether He is selecting me as a servant or not, that depends on His sweet will. “I have nothing to do but only to try and make myself fit for His Grace. I am the worst of all; I am the most needy and worst of all. I am haunted by so many undesirable objects of the senses. So, I am not worthy. I am the poorest of the poor, the neediest of the needy.”
The negative side is our normal position as we are in this organic whole. Your position is something like this. The hair can be divided into a hundred parts and then one part is again divided into a hundred. You should think your position like that in this universe. So, you do not want to lord it over because as a result of that, you are suffering. Give up that current forever. Come to the normal position and again you will find that you are not a master, but are in a helpless position. Then help from the upper side will come. This is not a hypocritical attitude, but genuinely, sincerely, you will find that you are helpless.
In the name of bhakti to gather some intellectualism or some mystic power will surely be misguiding to us. If we can trace any progress within us, then we are considered nowhere. These things are not trustworthy in the ordinary sense.
One time, two or three celibate devotees wanted to say something to our Guru Maharaj, but they hesitated. Our Guru Maharaj asked them, reading their attitude, “You want to say something to me, but you hesitate to do so?”
“You say what you have to say to me.”
They said, “We have done service in the mission for more than twelve years but we don’t find any progress. This is what we came to report to you.”
Then my Guru Maharaj said, “Do you say this rightly, sincerely? Sincerely you say that you have made no progress after ten or twelve years?”
They replied, “Yes, yes, of course we sincerely feel what we say.”
Then he asked again. “But is it that you want to abandon the mission?”
They said, “No, we don’t want that, we couldn’t abandon the mission.”
He then said, “Alright, then you are in a healthy position. Go on continuing your duties.”
What should we understand from this? What should we understand in this exchange? Is it very difficult that after ten years of service in the mission, they say that I have got nothing? What benefit can we get from understanding this? The benefit is, “You are saved from the disease that, ‘I got something. I have got something in my possession’ – this is mania!
Nothing can be got here from our position. Everything is in His control. You should look out for that disease – “I have got something.” But they are telling, “But still, I have lost so many years in the mission, and also serving without any remuneration. We are giving our energy and we do not get anything in return.”
And our Guru Maharaja, how very peculiar is this? “Selflessly working without any benefit – then, that work keeps me in a good position. Therefore, I ensure that you are healthy and not in a diseased condition. You are in top spiritual health because you are working and getting nothing – still, you are giving your service without any return. You are in a good position and you are in the best of health.”
To say that we have got something, that is dangerous. We must work without any remuneration in return. Can you conceive of that? How? Our real progress is made in that line of conquering the organic whole, the Autocrat. And, His nature of progress is of this kind. So, it is not within the jurisdiction of our satanic intellect. Our intellect means satanic – in opposition to God. We do not want to be a separate god here, like so many different devas. Seva, only unconditional service will save us. And what do we want? What are we given? More tendency to serve.
What is prema? What is love? That sacrifice that service is rewarded by more intense hankering for service. A self-giving attitude, that is the remuneration. It will be increased in us more and more. Your serving tendency will be increased. The appreciation of slavery will be increased. If you work as a slave, the appreciation of slavery will be more intensely at His disposal.
Self-forgetfulness is of a dynamic character. Self-forgetfulness in totality demands self-forgetfulness. Then we shall be able to feel the deepest plane, the flow of the deepest plane, that plane of the Autocrat, within us. Our present ego will not allow us to go to the deeper plane, the most fundamental plane of the irresistible flow. It is so subtle, so sweet and we can go, we can reach that destination. Nothing can oppose us. We can attain that fundamental flow. Self-forgetfulness is of such dynamic character.
If particularly we want to look at our progress, then nothing comes within our vision. Whenever we are particular to feel, “What is the consequence of my energizing in this life?” “What is my acquisition after long engagement in a particular duty?” If we want to look for some acquisition or qualification – then we are finished. He loves to come of His own accord. The Lord is not attracted by the qualifications of anyone. No qualification is sufficient for Him, in any case, our so-called qualifications are paltry by His standards.
So, “Die to Live.” We are to die a real death, not as a fashion or imitation. No. Our Ego is really to die. There is no charm in the environment where we live, only dissatisfaction. There is no friendship with any environment except with the devotees, the agents of a deeper plane who tell us, “We have nothing, we are His property. We may be utilized in any way He likes, taking us to the dignified nobility of our birthright, our human existence. We do not want anything but to be utilized by the Higher if possible. We always feel unfit because of the reaction of our sinful life. However, this process, this path is still recommended for us
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