A Grand Disciple’s Heartfelt Offering To Srila Prabhupada On His Disappearance Day
Jaganmohini dd: Dear Param Guru Srila Prabhupada,
Please accept my humble obeisances at your lotus feet.
All glories to Your Divine Grace.
‘Krishna Consciousness is to make a person independently thoughtful and act accordingly.’
This instruction of yours which I heard several times from my spiritual master, founder director of BI and your beloved servant, H.H. Bhaktisvarupa Damodara Swami, has been largely echoing in our thoughts this year. It was also simultaneously facilitated by different circumstances and association inside and outside your mission that we were put up with during recent years. In the process of reflection and deliberation, we revisited some of your essential instructions and messages and tried to assimilate them for our personal spiritual growth.
I am presenting the same for the pleasure of your Divine grace.
As a pure devotee and empowered servant of Lord Krishna, you have given standard and contextual instructions through your books and your true representatives. While there has been always debate on the application of general and contextual instructions and about following your instructions in ditto to prove oneself as a follower of your divine grace, nonetheless it has been noticed that your true representatives’ are able to follow your footsteps and serve your instructions effortlessly without being disturbed by controversy and debates and changing interpretations.
This is convincing us of the scriptural truth as expressed in the verse of S.U. 6.23
yasya deve para bhaktir yatha deve tatha gurau
tasyaite kathita hy arthah prakasante mahatmanah
“Only unto those great souls who have implicit faith in both the Lord and the spiritual master are all the imports of Vedic knowledge automatically revealed.”
In other words, proportional to one’s surrender to a pure devotee or a bonafide guru and Lord Krishna, the meaning of scriptural injunctions coming through acharayas will be revealed to a servant for their devotional application. It is part of the process to grow in this bhakti path and so I wonder how can one force the application of one level of surrender to another level of surrender? Instead all efforts need to be put to improve upon one’s surrender or develop implicit faith in Lord and His pure devotees.
There are several grandisciples and followers of your divine grace like me, who couldn’t hear your vani directly or receive direct instructions from you, but have accepted your books as equivalent to associating with you through your vani. At the same time, several contextual instructions as given in your book or recorded elsewhere are better presented to us by your true representatives who has heard directly from you.
This is my personal confession, that I started understanding your mission, your purpose of appearance and your expectations from your(now and future) followers to assist your mission; all these elements in a profound way only from our close association with my guru, your true and beloved representative.
In your purport to BG 2.68 you said
‘One who has understood this – that only by Krishna Consciousness is one really established in intelligence and that one should practice this art under the guidance of a bonafide spiritual master is called sadhaka or a suitable candidate for liberation.’
In this spirit, I have learnt through the eyes of my guru that you have given us the following priceless pillars which serve as a strong foundation in one devotional’s journey and that one need to put full effort to preserve and protect and nurture them.
1. Daily Chanting of Holy names and offering prayers with appropriate emotions.
2. Service as directed by a true representative of Lord
3. Practicing serious Personalism with Deity and True representatives of Lord
4. Scriptures study with reasoning power
5. Right association
Indeed all the five are inter-related and extremely supportive to one another, but scripture study with thoughtful reasoning can prevent one from speculative service and superficial personalism with Deity or True representatives of Lord.
Regarding service, you have clearly given in your purport of BG 2.41 that:
‘Service in Krishna Consciousness is, however, best practiced under the able guidance of a spiritual master who is a bonafide representative of Krishna, who knows the nature of the student and who can guide him to act in Krishna consciousness. As such to be well versed in Krishna Consciousness one has to act firmly and obey the representative of Krsna, and one should accept the instruction of the bonafide spiritual master as one’s mission in life.’
Today there is a thin or blurred line separating a genuine service as expressed by your divine grace above and manufactured service which is extrapolated as service to your divine grace or your true representative. Ultimately acharayas like your divine grace have given us(especially grand disciples and future followers) scriptures to assist us in evaluating our own devotional growth. Hence one need to use one’s reasoning power to discriminate the services; if they are coming from true representative of Lord or if they are sense gratification/mental speculative engagements in the name of service to your mission or your true representatives. Also those who are given the responsibility to engage people in your mission need to ensure that they first transform themselves as true representatives of your divine grace(as given in the above purport) or pass on the credit to true reprsentatives, else such services can hardly impact on the growth of a sincere sadhaka.
The point is only a true representative of Lord can identify the nature of a student and accordingly engage him and a sadhaka also must become independently thoughtful to judge if he is rendering service to your mission.
Undoubtedly practicing a non-transactional Personalism with Deity and true representatives of Lord blesses the sadhaka with required intelligence to judge about the genuineness of his service to your mission.
Regarding relationship with Lord Krishna or His True Representative, you have said in your purport to BG 2.66
‘If one is not KC, there cannot be a final goal for the mind. Disturbance is due to want of an ultimate goal….One who is engaged without a relationship with Krsna is always in distress and is without peace, however much he may make a show of peace and spiritual advancement in life. Krishna Consciousness is a self-manifested peaceful condition which can be achieved only in relationship with Krishna.’
Undoubtedly, you have given your followers maximum facilities to nurture and advance our personal relationships with Lord and His true representatives. This is indeed a unique practical application of bhakti-yoga which you have gifted us to raise our consciousness to love of God and has no parallel in any other school of thoughts or spiritual path. One of the opportunities you have introduced is through festival celebrations and dham visits not just whole year round, but every year and in every life establishing the fact that there is no expiry date for such relationship. This can be better appreciated only when we seriously examine different transactional relationship in one’s life and that it necessarily comes with an expiry date where the relationship expires once the purpose oriented transactions are over. It is true that due to predominant transactional relationship that one is engaged in the mundane world, one lacks proper understanding of personalism in relation with spiritual world. Hence, we find one relates with Deity in the same spirit and thus make a show of peace and spiritual advancement as mentioned in your purport. Also sometimes after the disappearance of a true representative of Lord, one’s relationship with him becomes weak and gradually wanes away.
Unfortunately today our era is dominated by mechanistic technology and we fear many educated tech-savy spiritual aspirants are likely to become victims of impersonalism. Knowing the benefits of instant technology one shall dream big of instantly reaching the spiritual world without having adequate insights about the journey only to be frustrated at a later phase of their life. Due to addiction, it is not going to be easy for them to draw a line to know the limits of technology. Participating in time consuming discussions over social network with no substance is already growing and relating with Deity through technology is also on the rise. If one is not evolved sufficiently, one is likely to associate with the shadow of personalism available through technology and make your mission appear cheaper with a separatist mentality. Co-existence of varied spiritual paths and faiths that advances soul civilization within human culture is the need of the hour. Revelation and appreciation of personalism happens only proportional to one’s internalization of personalism, hence one’s dealing with external world, contra-personalists or atheists from other faiths need to be tuned accordingly. Dry debates, arguments and open criticism of renowned impersonalists from past or present in big assembly or public gatherings will only defame your name. I have read your personal instructions where you never approved such criticism in public as you felt it is futile and that it would create more enemies for your mission.
Under the circumstances, your books and scriptures shall serve as a true guide to make one independently thoughtful. At the end of it, knowing the value of human life, it becomes an individual’s quest to undertake his bhakti journey with full responsibility and simultaneously become accountable for the use of one’s own sweet free will. Unlike mundane career journey, this bhakti journey cannot be attained through bribery or through one’s wealth or any other material prowess that normally inflates one’s ego, corrupts one mind and enables one to reach on the top of one’s mundane pursuit.
Srila Prabhupada, you had been so kind, loving and very merciful, that you are showering your grace to several followers though they have never associated with you. You are global transformational guru who has built an inclusive house for everyone to co-exist with their respective identities without conflicting with one another and without defaming your name but serving a common purpose. It is up to us, how we take advantage of varied right association that you are providing. You are truly reflecting the meaning of God’s empowered servant.
Thank you for listening to our prayers we offered on behalf of our father during your appearance day in August 2013. Kindly guide my aged ailing father to be attracted to chanting holy name on beads. Kindly bless him, so that he leaves this world peacefully and serve your mission in his next birth.
Thank you Srila Prabhupada for showing us a tested path towards love of God, what more can we ask you in this low human birth especially in kaliyuga. Indeed the gift you have given to your followers is priceless and matchless.
Srila Prabhupada, I belong to that category of grand disciple who has taken close association and direction of your beloved servant, my guru, to present Vedic knowledge in an academic format among the academic community on behalf of your BI mission. This service is indeed helping us to understand you and your mission in proper perspective and seek your close association. By the mercy of both of you, during recent years we had the opportunity to give talk/present more than two dozen papers on invitation and participation at National and International conferences at different campuses, and most of them have also been published. I along with my good husband Subal Shyam das, are thus making humble effort while facing constant challenges, to keep your Divine grace as well as my guru in the centre of our service and our life. But without your special grace, our effort shall indeed be futile. I beg for your mercy to help us foster the mentioned five pillars to sustain our devotional journey.
Your directions and special blessings are required today so that all hurdles covering the BI mission are removed. Today, on this auspicious day of your disappearance day, I earnestly pray at your Lotus feet to bless us with good health which I struggle with and guide us in this important journey so that we improve and are able to offer insignificant service within our capacity to enhance your BI mission.
Jai Srila Prabhupada
Your insignificant grand disciple