Rūpa-kiśora dāsa: Can you please illuminate a little more about the meaning of initiation? We have a concept that it is sort of regimented – like we are entering into something akin to a business contract.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: I have explained this many times. I gave you initiation, but you refused to accept its significance. You have no śikhā, and now you are wearing a tie. You have heard so much hari-kathā, but everything is now spoiled. You have entered gṛhastha life from the life of a brahmacārī; all right. But you must follow the Kṛṣṇa conscious principles such as waking up early in the morning, performing āhnika (utterance of the gāyatrī-mantras), reading, chanting, and also preaching. Then you are a disciple. Please take off this tie in my presence.
Rūpa-kiśora dāsa: You want me to take it off now?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Yes, take it off, and be my sincere disciple. Otherwise, I will tell my daughter, your wife, to reject you. (To his wife) If he does not follow, you should reject him.
(To all) Thank you all. Try to come to our classes, where you will hear so much hari-kathā and surely be inspired.
Rūpa-kiśora dāsa: One last point regarding understanding Kṛṣṇa and guru: We are always told that we should have unconditional love for guru and Kṛṣṇa. My question is this: Does guru and Kṛṣṇa have unconditional love for us?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: (To Prema-prayojana dāsa) You explain first.
Prema-prayojana dāsa: We have heard from Śrīla Gurudeva and from Bhagavad-gītā and other texts that Kṛṣṇa is very humble, merciful, and kind. At the same time, He does not interfere with the independence of the living entity. Kṛṣṇa says in Bhagavad-gītā (4.11):
ye yathā māḿ prapadyante
tāḿs tathaiva bhajāmy aham
manuṣyāḥ pārtha sarvaśaḥ
O Pārtha, in whichever way a person renders service to Me I reciprocate accordingly. Everyone follows My path in all respects.
He says there, “As you offer your love to Me, I will reciprocate with you.” And at the end of the Gītā He says:
iti te jñānam ākhyātaḿ
guhyād guhya-taraḿ mayā
yathecchasi tathā kuru
Thus I have explained to you still more confidential knowledge. Deliberate on this fully and then do what you wish to do. He never said, “You have to do it.” Love can never be by force. It can only be by free will, given voluntarily. Guru and Kṛṣṇa have unconditional love for the living entities, but this does not mean that they will reveal the transcendental spiritual world to a person whose heart really doesn’t want it.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: The sun shines in the sky. Does it make any condition before giving its nourishing light and heat?
Rūpa-kiśora dāsa: No.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: But if one does not come in front of the sun and instead remains in the shade, how can the sun give that person its heat and light? You may think that this is conditional, but really it is not. Kṛṣṇa, guru, and Vaiṣṇavas give their mercy in this way.
Sañjaya dāsa: Suppose a disciple has taken initiation but is not interested in practising or endeavouring for bhakti.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Not all sādhakas are on the same level. Those who are very new may not have taste in chanting harināma. They simply keep and serve the Ṭhākurajī of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa at home. They are called kaniṣṭha, beginners. They don’t understand philosophical truths. Later, when such knowledge manifests, they will become qualified to enter the stage of madhyama, to become an intermediate devotee, and when they progress further, they will advance to uttama, the topmost stage of devotion.
Sañjaya dāsa: Does gurujī love all his disciples equally?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: The rays of the sun are sama-darśī; they offer themselves equally to all, in the sense that they are the same everywhere. But, if you close the windows of your house, those rays cannot enter. The Supreme Lord is unlimitedly more equally disposed to everyone than even the rays of the sun. Yet, He seems to give up that equal vision and take the side of the devotees.
He has nothing to take from anyone or give to anyone. As much as one performs His bhajana, the closer one gets to Him. If one does not perform bhajana, He will be far away.
Śrīpāda Mādhava Mahārāja: His question is whether gurudeva is sama-darśī, not the Supreme Lord.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: He is equal to all, but to those who completely surrender and serve him day and night, how can he see and treat them the same as others? One who performs bhajana, devotional service to Kṛṣṇa, in that way – how can Kṛṣṇa be equal to him?
Kṛṣṇa broke His promise for Bhīṣma. During the battle at Kurukṣetra, He promised that He would not lift a weapon. At the same time, Bhīṣma took a vow: “If I cannot make Kṛṣṇa lift a weapon, then I cannot be called the son of Śāntanu!” Bhīṣma is a jñānī-bhakta (the pure devotee who is aware that Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and full of all opulence).
If we consider all these things while performing bhakti, we can understand the nature of Kṛṣṇa’s reciprocation with His devotees in accordance with their love for Him.
śrīmad-bhāgavataṁ purāṇam amalaṁ yad vaiṣṇavānāṁ priyaṁ
yasmin pāramahaṁsyam ekam amalaṁ jñānaṁ paraṁ gīyate
tatra jñāna-virāga-bhakti-sahitaṁ naiṣkarmyam āviskṛtaṁ
tac chṛṇvan su-paṭhan vicāraṇa-paro bhaktyā vimucyen naraḥ
[Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is the spotless Purāṇa. It is most dear to the Vaiṣṇavas because it describes the pure and supreme knowledge of the paramahaṁsas. This Bhāgavatam reveals the means for becoming free from all material work, together with the processes of transcendental knowledge, renunciation, and devotion. Anyone who seriously tries to understand Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, who properly hears and chants it with devotion, becomes completely liberated.]
In order to properly practice bhakti, it is essential to deliberate on the proper tattva siddhānta.
dharmaḥ projjhita-kaitavo ’tra paramo nirmatsarāṇāṁ satāṁ
vedyaṁ vāstavam atra vastu śivadaṁ tāpa-trayonmūlanam
śrīmad-bhāgavate mahā-muni-kṛte kiṁ vā parair īśvaraḥ
sadyo hṛdy avarudhyate ’tra kṛtibhiḥ śuśrūṣubhis tat-kṣaṇāt
[Completely rejecting all religious activities which are materially motivated, this Bhāgavata Purāṇa propounds the highest truth, which is understandable by those devotees who are fully pure in heart. The highest truth is reality distinguished from illusion for the welfare of all. Such truth uproots the threefold miseries. This beautiful Bhāgavatam, compiled by the great sage Vyāsadeva [in his maturity], is sufficient in itself for God realization. What is the need of any other scripture? As soon as one attentively and submissively hears the message of Bhāgavatam, by this culture of knowledge the Supreme Lord is established within his heart.]
Devotee: Can kṛṣṇa-bhakti come into my heart only from the heart of a pure devotee?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: This is the only way.
Devotee: Does guru-bhakti come by itself, or by the mercy of guru?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Those who have guru-bhakti can give it. If one does not have guru-bhakti, what does he know about bhakti? He doesn’t know anything. If he knows kṛṣṇa-tattva and has love for guru, he can then give bhakti to others.
May you all attain kṛṣṇa-bhakti.
* “Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is also full of such narrations about the relationship between the Supreme Lord and His devotees; therefore the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is very dear to the devotees, as stated in the Bhāgavatam itself. Śrīmad-bhāgavataṁ purāṇam amalaṁ yad vaiṣṇavānām priyaṁ. In this narration there is nothing about material activities, economic development, sense gratification or liberation. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is the only narration in which the transcendental nature of the Supreme Lord and His devotees is fully described. Thus the realised souls in Kṛṣṇa consciousness take continual pleasure in hearing such transcendental literatures, just as a young boy and girl take pleasure in association” (Bhagavad-gītā 10.9, purport by Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja).
Walking with A Saint – Morning Walks and Conversations by
Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja
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