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The Faults You Find May Be Your Own

by Srila Bhakti Raksaka Sridhara Maharaja

We go to judge in the case of others: “Why should he receive all this mercy? He has got so many defects, so many disqualifications, an opposing attitude. Why should he be accepted or given any chance?” But we want mercy for ourselves: “Don’t come to judge me because then I have no hope, my Lord.”

This is jnana-sunya-bhakti, “If you come to judge me, I have no hope. Please grant Your grace, then I can have hope. I approach You to offer myself to make progress towards You. Please be very lenient; do not find fault with me.” But at the same time, in the same breath, we say, “Why should this disqualified man get any grace? Why will he get some mercy, some affection?”

That is hypocritical and it causes a great deal of difficulty within us. That is suicidal. It is vaisnava-ninda (criticizing devotees), and vaisnava-aparadha (offending devotees).

Those that are accepted by Him will gradually be purified, but we are very eager to point out faults in them. That is more dangerous for our own progress – suicidal. In my case, I want something higher, but in the case of others we can’t tolerate the same behaviour of the Lord. That is a very difficult position. Generally that is the basis of vaisnava-aparadha. One has been accepted by the Lord, and is gradually purifying himself, yet we give much attention to the fault that is still left, the difficulties still left in him. These faults particularly come to our attention.

Then, the results is that those faults will be transferred to me. These are the realities of the experience in this line: That if I especially mark the fault of another devotee, that will be transferred to me. It happens; in our experience and also from the sastra we have seen this.

So, one must be very careful not to make any remark generally, about the practices and activities of another Vaisnava. Only in the Guru’s case when he is empowered by the Supreme, he may correct his disciples. As the guardian, with a sympathetic eye, he can mark the defects in his disciple and help him to remove them.

There must be some affectionate heart within, not jealousy or anything of that type, but with good will he wants to remove the defects from the affectionate student. That is the sum of siksa-guru, or diksa-guru. From that position one may detect the fault of the students of this line, and help them sincerely, to get out of that. Otherwise, if we are attracted by those faults, they will come to us, and we shall have to pay for them, as a practical thing. This is based on reason, and scriptural advices.

We must be careful. We are also warned in the Vaisnava literature, that we must be careful about vaisnava-aparadha, which comes from the jealous spirit of competition or jealousy. It is very detrimental to our spiritual life, so, we all must be very careful, not to be especially attracted by any defect in others. If it comes to our eye, we may refer to the higher authority: “I doubt that this is the case with that gentleman, but please check this.” If we make too much of it, either in opposition or in any other way, that effect will be transferred to us. “I am being devoured. My mind is coming in touch with that fault, and that fault is devouring me as food.” It enters into the mental system of the critic, and it must get its satisfaction from there, as a reaction. This is a trade secret – this is also the secret of our devotional life. We must be aware, and we must be very careful about these practical difficulties in the path of our devotional life.

So, we have been cautioned, tat te ‘nukampam susamiksamano. This calculative judgement has been discouraged. Our standard of measuring things won’t stand there. So, jnana-sunya-bhakti, you are to learn a new alphabet here. In the devotional school, we will come in connection with the new alphabet; the old alphabet won’t do. Jnana-sunya-bhakti, give up all the pride of your past experience; your knowledge from experience in the mortal world, won’t do here, won’t be applied here.

This is in the case of infinite, autocratic goodness, all these things. With our mouths, we speak all these big things – absolute good, absolute truth, all these things – but we do not know their characteristics. He may be revealing Himself, and we must carefully note His nature.

Jnana-sunya, give up the pride of your own experience, and judgement. It is not like that; there is a new law, here in the land of autocrat, and goodness. The first step is to give up all the pride of our previous experience and begin a new life – jnana-sunya-bhakti. The laws of the infinite, not the laws of this finite world, apply here.

As a subject I acquired, but I shall have to enter that domain as an object of the subject. He is the subject, I am the object there. Possessing a particle of the spirit there. And that is also at His sweet will. At any time I may be dispossessed. That is not a democracy, but a monarchy, a dictatorship. To live in the land of dictatorship, and not in the democratic law. Jnane prayasam udapasya namanta eva: and to try our best to find mercy, grace, kindness and pity everywhere, because, whatever the dictator is doing is all good. We are to be trained like that.

He is the highest dictator, without fault. We may or may not understand, but it must behelpful for us – whatever is commanded by the dictator. There is no law on which we shall base our judgement, and give remark.

Our remark is absolutely not only useless, but it is faulty, injurious. Such consciousness we are to acquire, and it is not unreasonable - jnane prayasa. Newton said, “I am collecting only pebbles on the shore of the ocean of knowledge.” He was a man of this world. Still, he had the sincerity and courage for this statement: “Knowledge is an infinite ocean; and I am on the shore collecting some pebbles.”

So, even in reference to the knowledge of this world, if it can be stated, what to speak of that knowledge of infinite, unknown and unknowable. Unknown and unknowable. We must have courage. Just like Columbus, he brought his ships to the shore of America. He had the courage. We have to float our little boat in the ocean of the unknown and unknowable. And the laws will be of that type. The laws of the higher ocean, that may not be applied in the strait, or in the local sea.

A thoroughly new thing we are to study – the revealed truth. If we go to measure the infinite with the law of the finite, then it will be hopeless for us to try. We are to invite, think purely of that land, that standard, of the unknown world. One devotee says, in Bhagavatam:

svayam samuttirya sudustaram dyuman
bhavarnavam bhimam adabhra-sauhrdah
bhavat-padambhoruha-navam atra te
nidhaya atah sad-anugraho bhavan

(Srimad Bhagavatam 10.2.31)

The saints have crossed that insurmountable ocean, that dreadful ocean with dreadful waves and so many aquatic animals. By Your grace they cross that ocean, then again send back that boat, the boat which is compared with the lotus feet of the Lord. By the help of Your lotus feet they cross that ocean, by the grace of Your holy feet. Again that boat they send back here, for others to cross the same ocean. They give us their experience about the ocean, how, and which way they crossed, and what difficulty they had, and where. Your devotees are so magnanimous, after using the boat of Your holy feet, to cross, they again send it back for us.

Because their friendship for the people is very clean and pure, You are always in favour of those devotees. So, my request, You can’t refuse. You allow Your lotus feet again to come this side, and take others across.

Knowledge is our enemy, because knowledge in this world is misleading, the basis is misleading. However spacious it may be, it is a negligible part of the infinite. All misleading, misrepresentations we have collected, gathered, pushed in our brain, all full of maya, misunderstanding. They are our enemies, we have to clear them up, and replace them with fresh things, which are indented from the other world, by pure sources. But the theoretical thing is one, and the practical thing another.

Srila Rupa Goswami says in Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (1.1.36),

jnanath sulabha muktir bhuktir yajnatipunyatah
seyam sadhana-sahasrair hari-bhakti-sudurlabha

By cultivating our knowledge of soul, we can easily attain mukti, that is, emancipation or liberation from this miscalculation. Though it is not so easy, still comparatively – easily one can renounce everything, considering the wicked nature of the environment. Elimination, elimination, elimination – all elimination. Then, just to reach a thing like sound sleep, that is mukti: permanent sound sleep. We can gather our objects of enjoyment by yajna – altruistic action. If we take altruistic action, then as a reaction, it will come back to us for our satisfaction, our pleasure.

But our real devotion to Hari is not so easy. Sadhana-sahasrair, a thousand types of aspirations and practices, still it is sudurlabha – may or may not be acquired. Because, that is friendship with the autocracy, the acquirement of friendship with the autocracy. Our enjoyment, that is labour and leave. If we give some labour, loan to another, that may come back to us. So, by the help of our labour, and the distribution of that labour, we can easily get future enjoyment.

And also by practicing our disgust, our sincere disgust with the present moral environment, we can encourage our ego towards salvation, towards complete renunciation, by cutting off all connection with the environment. Just like sound sleep, samadhi. But to have affectionate connection with the autocratic infinite, that is rarely acquired, hari-bhaktih-sudurlabha. And the gradual process of how one can acquire that, that is also traced in the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu of Rupa Goswami:

klesaghni subhada moksa-laghuta-krt sudurlabha
sandrananda-visesatma sri-krsnakarsini ca sa

(Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu 1.1.17)

If we come in the line of devotion proper, the first result we shall experience is klesaghni: that all the afflicting tendencies in our mind, gradually diminish. Then, subhada, so many things, the proposal of subtle, finer happiness will come, perhaps to deceive us from this path. Moksa-laghuta-krt: the third result we shall trace is that mukti, mere renunciation, the result of renunciation, that is, relief from the negative side, is being considered to be a very small achievement. The mere withdrawal from the negative side is not much. This consciousness will awake within you.

Sudurlabha, if we can only feel, or experience that the goal of renunciation is not much, of a lower order, then will we get bhakti? No, not for certain. There is no guarantee. It is still far from us.

Sandrananda-visesatma, then if somehow by chance we come in connection with that thing, with that reality, then we will find some fundamental awakening of happiness. That infinite happiness is approaching us, coming towards us. Sri-krsnakarsini ca sa. If we can continue our devotional activity in a proper line, then we will find, that He is coming to us as Krsna Himself. In the conception of Krsna consciousness, the Krsna concept, He is coming to you – as Krsna. Krsna means the embodiment of all desirable types of ecstasy, in full. That is approaching …. Or we are being allowed to have His nearer conception for the fulfilment of our devotional activities in life. In this way, things progress.

Die to live! Dive deep into reality! Jnana-sunya-bhakti – that is the world of surrender, the area, of surrender is so high, noble, great, and fulfilling. That can come; that only can take us to the plane of love, affection. We hope to see and to live in that plane of affection and love. Not only this mundane affection and love, but the love of the absolute. Then, complete surrender; at His disposal – at His mercy – complete surrender to His mercy is required.

The reaction comes as love. Your highest contribution of faith towards Him, then He will be awakened, and will come to accept you, in His lap. So, no risk – no gain. And risk towards the whole, devotion proper. Not the sum total of some activities, or some sort of studies, no. Practically it is concerned with the soul, the inner existence of us. Giving and taking must take place from the innermost part of our heart, to play with that thing. Not superficial knowledge, or this bodily labour, or mental labour. They are all superficial. The dealing of the heart-to-heart, and that is wholesale, because there is no immeasurable world, and no death: eternal.

So, jnane prayasam udapasya. Our moha, our mania for knowledge, and for worldly energy – bodily or mental energy, and the knowledge about so many falsified things, we are proud of that in this world. But He can withdraw everything. The scientist has discovered, invented a particular law, but if He will withdraw from there, it will be nowhere. It is backed by His will.

So many things are there. “Let there be water; there was water. Let there be light; there was light.” If we can find some faith in this, then, what? Everything is designed and destined by Him. So, what is the utility of some provisional incident? He can make or mar. The law may be changed into opposite, by His sweet will.

The origin of the world is such an independent designer, like a great hallucination master, magician, or hypnotist. Hypnotism is also a very negligent part. The greatest hypnotist – everything depends on His mental strength. He can show anything and everything.

The blind Dhrtarastra ordered Him, “You remove my blindness; I’d like to see Your great, noble figure that others are seeing.”

“No, no. Blindness is not necessary to be removed. Only I say it, and you will see Me.” Without His removing the blindness, Dhrtarastra saw, by His will, He ordered: “Yes. You can see Me with blindness.” Being blind he could see. Then, what sort of sight is He? So eyes are not indispensable to see Him. Or our mental preparation backing up the eye; that is also not needed. He ordered, “You see Me,” and he (Dhrtarastra) could see without eyes. Without the mentality of sight, he could see. He was janmandha, blind from birth. He had no idea of any colour, any figure; because he was janmandha – born blind. But still, he could see, by His order. His position is such.

And if we try to approach Him, then what sort of attitude, or mentality we should have? With earnestness we shall approach Him. What will be the fare to make journey towards that land? It is easy; it is difficult. Easy because it is our in-born tendency from within, it is home. But now we are far from home. It is home, my own thing; so there is hope that I may reach there one day. It is my home, I won’t find satisfaction anywhere else, so, I have to go there – my home. But I am far from the home comfort. That is the difficulty: I have lost it. Any questions on this?

Jnane prayasam udapasya, scholarship is poison. Are you ready to admit this? What you have gathered that is all nonsense, plodding in the mud. It is all misrepresentation, knowledge of misrepresentation. The bag is not filled with money, but filled with some brick-bats. The brain is filled up with all misleading things. Are you ready to admit this? Not so soon. What do you say?

So much importance we have given. Many of us boast of our knowledge, our experience. But the bhakti-school is putting the hammer on the head of knowledge. Rather, ignorance is better than knowledge? Can you accept that?

Knowledge is more dangerous than ignorance. Because, educated people are comparatively proud; and they are more confident that they are holding a higher position, to remove them from that position is very difficult. Qualitatively in this world, they are in a higher position than the ordinary labourers. So, they are confident that “We are in a superior position.” To remove them, from that proud position is more difficult, than to remove a man, an ordinary labourer, from his ignorance.

It is easy to educate an uneducated person, but to educate an educated person it is more difficult. He has firmly fixed himself there. “This is a superior thing.” He won’t budge an inch from that position easily.

Ordinary persons, misguided souls in the street, their company is a little better; but the company, the influence, of the so-called scholars is more dangerous. That sort of subtle poison, is very difficult to remove. They are proud, “I know I hold a higher position than the ordinary mass.” That sort of ego, that fine ego, is very difficult to remove. Ordinary persons think, “Yes, we are culprits.” The ordinary religious man thinks, “Yes, I’m a religious man.” It is very difficult to remove him from his so-called religion, so-called faith.


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