by Srila Bhakti Raksaka Sridhara Maharaja
Devotee: The disciple sees his Guru as absolute, but others may see the same person in a relative conception. So, is the Guru relative or absolute?
Srila Sridhar Maharaj: Generally, the advice is that in the beginning the disciple will look towards his Guru as the representative of the Supreme Lord Himself. But when he makes some progress and inner enlightenment begins, he will gradually find that Krishna, the Absolute, has a particular system – an organic whole – and He has His potencies of different varieties. According to the disciple’s inner awakenment he will have fitness for a particular class of service. That will be considered and he will be taken, under guidance, into that particular type of service.
When one sees his Guru, gradually, according to his innate capacity and quality, he will find dasya-rasa, sakhya-rasa, vatsalya-rasa, or madhura-rasa. The government grants the service. He will face some examination, some test, and he’ll be put in a particular department where he will find his immediate boss under whom he will serve and be guided. That is the general situation and he will find his maximum gain there.
At first the whole system is as if one. Then a devotee will find himself in a particular part of that system arranged according to his fitness and awakenment. Then finally he will be posted as a servitor to a particular Guru under whose guidance he will do anything and everything required of him.
At first Guru is seen to be Krsna Himself, and then he will be seen in a further way. Radharani and Yasoda are heading their particular sections, and in madhura-rasa the parampara comes via Rupa Manjari to our Gurudeva. There is oneness – unity – but more efficient service may be drawn from a particular point rather than a higher point. Everyone has their particular capacity in service and if they serve from there they will be best utilised. If located in a higher circle for which he has no such fitness, enmity will be created and he will be the loser. Do you follow?
Devotee: It is still not so clear to me.
Srila Sridhar Maharaj: Acharyyam mam vijaniyat (Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.17.27) – In the beginning stage we are told that the Acharyya, the Guru, is Krsna. Then Raghunath Das Goswami, the Acharyya of prayojana – the ultimate goal -, says that the Acharya’s position is not that of God Himself, but it is that of His most favourite – mukunda-presthatve. Ultimately we find that Krsna’s dearmost in the department of His potency, and that is Guru.We have to harmonise between these two approaches.
saksad-dharitvena … kintu prabhor yah priya eva tasya
(Sri Sri Gurvastaka 7)
In the beginning it is mentioned in the sastra that Brahma means the Absolute as a whole, but by clearer vision we see that there are Narayana, Vasudeva, Ramacandra and so many Form of the Lord. And by even clearer estimation we will find Krishna to be within.
One time when Krishna was in a conference with Lord Balarama and Uddhava, they saw a mass of light approaching them. Then after a little time a figure became visible within that mass of light. Then after the light mass approached even closer, they could see the figure of a male person. And when closer still, they could see, “Oh, this is Devarsi Narada who has come.”
In this way from far off you may get a conception of the whole, just as by viewing the Himalayas from a distance you can see many things. But as much as you approach, you will find just specific parts, but with more clarity. And when you actually arrive, you will find your Lord and your friends, and you will mix there. At that time you do not find the whole of the Himalayas, but you are located in a particular position. And there, not with the whole, you will find that the desired end of your life has been fulfilled.
Similarly, when you approach Krishna from afar, He is sat, cid, ananda – He is infinite. Then as you approach Him, because you are small, you will be located in a particular position. In this way according to your fitness you will be taken into a particular position of service. There you will engage in whatever service is required of you, and from there you will draw the fullest satisfaction of your nature.
Guru means guide. At first we are guided by attraction to “wholesale” Bhagavan – Krishna – and this helps us to make progress towards him. Then the more we gain, the more the big hazy vision is eliminated and a particular place becomes more clearly revealed. In this way our vision, actions and everything about us will become located in a particular part of the Infinite. And by carrying out my specific duty there, we will draw our highest benefit.
In the department of rasas – santa, dasya, sakhya, vatsalya, madhura – you shall gain admission in a particular section of service according to your capacity. In each rasa there are also so many subsections and different departments of service, and according to your innermost fitness and capacity you shall be given a place there. Ultimately you will be told, “Do your duty here!” and you will see to that duty. Whatever your immediate guide, your Guru, asks you to do, you will do that and thereby receive your best benefit. Religion is proper adjustment.
There are so many Acharyas, even in the Gaudiya Mission. You have come to your particular Guru in the Mission and under him there are many different departments of service. Some are selling books, some are delivering lectures, and so forth, and according to your own fitness you are given service in a particular department. But still you are in connection with the whole Mission. Wherever you are posted you are connected with the whole, but you have your specific duty in a particular place.
You joined the Gaudiya Mission but it is a huge thing, with so many departments, so many Maths, and so many duties, but where is that Mission?
At first it is a hazy thing, a big thing, then after you were admitted you were taken in and placed in a particular direction. Your attention was directed towards some post, you went there and gradually you were given some duty to discharge. The whole of the Mission is yours, but still you have a particular department and a particular duty, and that will increase more and more. It is possible that you may become the personal secretary of your Gurudeva, or a preacher, or a cook for your Guru Maharaj. And some may be asked to go to other places to preach. Sometimes those may be dangerous places for the devotees, but someone also has that kind of duty. Adjustment is necessary. First there is entrance within a Mission, then adjustment begins. Religion is proper adjustment according to the fitness of the man who is given admission. Do you follow now?
Devotee: I follow, but I still have some query.
Srila Sridhar Maharaj: What query can you still have?! You will be placed according to your fitness and necessity. Necessity is of different types, and according to your fitness you will be given a particular duty. What difficulty is there in understanding this? Proper adjustment means that you are approaching the infinite, but you cannot swallow the infinite within you. You are detached, you are infinitesimal, and you are approaching the infinite, so you have to be located in a particular position of the infinite. You are to adjust in this way. You cannot devour the whole of the infinite within your belly. Do you like the idea of devouring the whole of the infinite within your belly? Therefore you have to be located in a particular infinitesimal position, and you will draw the maximum remuneration from that. If you are in some other place you will be the loser. According to fitness, adjustment comes to us. It is quite reasonable, and our duty is to pay full attention there.
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