When Thought Awakens
Jagabandhu das: “The Bhagavata teaches us that God gives us Truth as He gave it to Vyasa: when we earnestly seek for it. The soul receives a revelation when it is anxious for it. The souls of the great thinkers of the bygone ages, who now live spiritually, OFTEN approach our enquiring spirit and assist in it’s development. Thus Vyasa was assisted by Narada and Brahma. Our Shastras, or in other words, books of thought, do not contain all that we could get from the Infinite Father. NO BOOK is without it’s errors. God’s revelation is Absolute Truth, but it is scarcely received and preserved in it’s natural purity. We have been advised in the 14th Chapter of the 11th Skandha of the Bhagavata to believe that Truth when revealed is Absolute, but it gets the tincture of the nature of the receiver in course of time and is converted into error by continual exchange of hands from age to age. NEW REVELATIONS, therefore, are continually necessary to order to keep Truth in it’s original purity. We are thus warned to be careful in our study of old authors, however WISE they are reputed to be.
Here we have full liberty to reject the wrong idea, which is not sanctioned by the peace of conscience. Vyasa was not satisfied with what he collected in the Vedas, arranged in the Puranas, and composed in the Mahabharata. The peace of his conscience did not sanction his labors. It told him from within, ‘No, Vyasa! You can’t rest contented with the erroneous picture of Truth which was necessarily presented to you by the sages of bygone days. You must yourself knock at the door of the inexhaustable store of Truth from which the former sages drew their wealth. Go. Go up to the Fountainhead of Truth, where no pilgrim meets with disappointment of any kind.’
Vyasa did it and obtained what he wanted. WE HAVE ALL BEEN ADVISED TO DO SO. Liberty then is the principle which we must consider to be the most valuable gift of God. We must not allow ourselves to be led by those who lived and thought before us. WE MUST THINK FOR OURSELVES and try to get further Truths which are still undiscovered. In the Bhagavata we have been advised to take the spirit of the Shastras and not the words. The Bhagavata is therefore a religion of liberty, Unmixed Truth, and Absolute Love.
The other characteristic is progress. Liberty certainly is the father of all progress. Holy liberty is the cause of progress upwards and upwards in eternity and endless activity of Love. Liberty abused causes degradation, and the Vaishnava must always carefully use this high and beautiful gift of God.” (Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur, The Bhagavata Speech, 1869)
It would seem that we depend upon nearly exclusively and primarily prefer more the no doubt August, Exceptional and Flawlessly Perfect Guidance of the Scriptures and those other impossibly WISE souls who have lived before us. However, Sri Guru, the Saints and the Scriptures can only Emphasize, Demonstrate and Illuminate the Way. Hopefully, this will inspire me to Contemplate the pragmatic contemporary application of Their Beautiful Lessons. My Teachers cannot go the Way for me, or force me to do so against my personal recalcitrance. I must go the Way myself with the Benefit of Their advice. Or Not.
Within the confines of organized religion and institutionalized idealism it appears that it is often forgotten that the mind is the digestive organ with which I am hopefully fortunate enough to actually assimilate according to individual capacity the gist of the Infinite Essential Information which has Descended to offer Compassionate Assistance to myself and all others in our aspirant inner evolutionary journey towards Real Love. The real development of such genuine Unconditional Affection will become apparent by my manifest dealings with the countless souls with whom I might happen to have proximous confluence upon the Way. If my mind is unable to process the spiritual nutrition come to give me nourishment by Divine Grace, I will suffer from philosophical indigestion and the Ultimate Teachings of Divine Love will have little impact upon me and my subsequent dealings with others in the world. This will cause my consequential philosophical existential expressions to be a hollow pretense and my spiritual continuity to be a mere sham. The non-reflective mindlessness of my formal affiliations and ostensible spiritual associations will appear cultish and I will engage in endless hostile discussions, quarrels and battles under the thinly veiled guise of so-called spiritual priority, “religious” righteousness and ecclesiastical organizational privilege.
“When thought awakens, the thinker is no more ignorant and is capable of obtaining an Absolute Idea of religion. This is a Truth, and God has made it such in His infinite Goodness, Impartiality and Mercy. Labour has it’s wages and the idle must never be rewarded. ‘Higher is the work, greater is the reward’ is a useful truth. The thoughtless must be satisfied with superstition till he wakes and opens his eyes to the God of Love.” (Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur, The Bhagavata Speech,
Much has been said about the Superexcellent Teachings of the Saints and Scriptures and the Gorgeous Commentary of Sri Guru. “Gurudev said this… and… Gurudev said that…” But what did Gurudev mean? And where is the Absolute Love he primarily taught and emphasized with the sacrifice of his very existence? Must it again become hidden for future spiritual archeologists and devotional stalwarts like Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur to excavate from the ruins of misconception? Or can Real Krishna Consciousness rise like a phoenix from the ashes of associative apocalypse?
Myself I’m just an upadharmist trying to learn how to avoid cruelty to other living beings, become humble and prideless, tolerant and respectful to all others regardless of their chosen path. Dharma is marginalized when merely phrased as Hindu dharma. From the extremely beautiful Introduction of Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada’s Transcendentally Gorgeous Bhagavad-gita As It Is: we can know the true definition of real dharma which is about the intrinsic constitutional position of the eternal soul beyond changeable exoteric designations like Buddhist, Christian, Muslim or Hindu.
However, it’s also important to remember that the full bloom of Mahaprabhu’s Teachings eventually ontologically blossom to a level much higher and deeper even than mere Sanatan-dharma to the point of Sva-dharma. And then onwards and upwards throughout all eternity until at last the soul finds highest and deepest inner fulfillment in it’s profoundest degree of ultimate unconditional affection and absolute surrender as best exemplified by the intense devotional mood of She; the Dearmost Devotee of Lord Krishna who Sukadev Goswami wouldn’t mention in the Bhagavatam. Out of highest fervent regard for She Whose Holy Appearance Anniversary is celebrated tomorrow.
In Sanskrit single words with deeper intrinsic meaning often seem to fail being easily translated in single English word equivalents. Like how “prema” can’t really be translated as “love” because it means something more than our usual contextual reference. For that I use “profoundly unconditional affection.” For Sraddha, instead of “faith” or “trust,” I like “irrevocable sublime conviction” (and mostly contemplate what great transcendental emphasis automatically occurs when removing the “S” from the beginning of the word). Sadly, the same thing occurs when removing the first three letters from the word “aparadha.” As if an offense against others were somehow an offense against Her.
Re: avoiding offense to God and high souls. I find it best to try to avoid offense to all souls altogether—while respecting some more than others because of their true devotion to God and His saints. And apologize if I have offended you or any others.