Śrī Śrī Guru Gaurāṅgau Jayataḥ
c/o Śrī Bankebihārī Dāsādhikārī
Jaleśvara Road, Subhāṣa-nagara
PO: Mayanāguḍi (Jalapāiguḍi)
My dear…, [The recipient’s name was not published.]
The idea that the conditioned soul shall forever remain in a state of material bondage and will never endeavor to liberate himself is baseless. While the living entity is in a materially conditioned state, all his thoughts, moods and activities are inherently full of mundane conceptions. To transcend this material or mundane state is indeed the primary objective of performing sadhana-bhajana.
Direct audience (darsana) of Sri Guru, the Vaisnavas and their instructions and directions is certainly the most valuable treasure for a spiritual practitioner (sadhaka). One only receives the opportunity and good fortune of their divine association as a result of spiritual merits accumulated over many, many lifetimes.
It is of great benefit if all our pride, our distress, our lamentation and so on are centered solely around Sri Guru and Vaisnavas, because sri guru and Vaisnavas are our only true kinsmen and our only real well-wishers in the prison-house of this material world:
tava nija-jana parama-bāndhava, samsāra-kārāgāre
‘Ohe! Premera Ṭhākura Gaura’, Verse 6
by Śrīla Bhaktivinioda Ṭhākura
Sri Gaura, Your associates are my greatest kinsmen in this prison-house of material existence.
Our so-called relatives and friends in this material world lend no importance whatsoever to these emotional states of ours, but the most munificent, all-knowing, Vaisnavas understand and accept our moods and emotions and they feel aggrieved upon seeing the pain of others (they are para-duhkha-duhkhi). They are very intelligent and know very well how to bring steadfastness (nistha) and determination to the devotional practices (sadhana-bhajana) of the conditioned living entities.
The Vaisnavas are firm and resolute in regard to the principle of rejecting unfavorable association (duh-sanga). However, they are conquered by the one-pointedness of a devotee who cries for them bitterly, with a heart full of intense yearning. In response to that yearning, the Vaisnavas manifest the benevolent nature of their own innate moods.
Therefore they are our only shelter, our only hope and the ultimate place of refuge, in all circumstances. Sri Bhagavan Himself may break His vows for the sake of His devotees; the bhaktas are equally ready to sacrifice everything for the sake of fellow bhaktas and for the service of Bhagavan. This is the pinnacle of the innermost stage of direct perception and mutual love and affection that is achieved between the bhakta and Bhagavan.
Unless sambandha-jnana, [realization of one’s transcendental relationship with Sri Bhagavan] is awakened in one’s heart, saranagati, or self-surrender, is not possible. Only he whose mind and heart have become attached to Sri Hari, Sri Guru and the Vaisnavas will feel an anxiety and eagerness in his heart to have direct audience of them (darsana). Certainly, all these subjects are realized only according to one’s qualification in sadhana-bhajana. Sri Bhagavan will someday mercifully bestow upon you the qualification to realize all of this. Who can foretell in what form the drops of His divine mercy will be showered upon someone?
[Unpublished name] recently engaged in a particularly inventive service here at the matha, one he was not appointed to by any of the matha authorities. While thus engaged he pursued his own personal self-interest. When a servant is unable to or averse to following the instructions of sri guru and the Vaisnavas, and does not deliberate on those instructions, how can he possibly attain any welfare?
“Gurura sevaka haya manya apanara – the servants of sri guru are worthy of my respect.” If one does not take this consideration seriously to heart, and if he does not follow it in totality, it is not possible to stay in the matha and render service there. It is certain that such a person will subsequently enter worldly existence. He who constantly looks at the faults in others and engages in criticizing them, will very quickly find himself in a state of downfall. All his welfare, both in this world and in the next, will be destroyed.
On the krsna-navami-tithi (the ninth day of the waxing moon) in the month of pausa [the author’s appearance day], I shall not be staying in Siliguri matha. At that time a preaching program has been arranged somewhere else. When I go out for preaching, it is not always feasible to say with certainty exactly where I will be staying. I can only indicate a rough outline of the itinerary.
When the day comes that people are able to offer true, sincere faith unto Sri Bhagavan instead of worshipping a person or group, then their path to real welfare will become fixed. These days, the desire to attain material gain and to be worshipped and publicly recognized has extended its reach far and wide like an all-devouring blazing tongue. That desire has predisposed the conditioned living entity to indulge in trying to occupy the position of the Supreme Lord.
Sunyavadis (those who follow the doctrine of voidism), nirvisesa-brahmavadis (those who follow the doctrine of undifferentiated monism), cid-jada-samanvaya-vadis (those who try to establish unity between the spiritual and mundane), jiva-brahmaika-vadis (those who proclaim that the infinitesimal soul and the infinite spirit are one and the same) and pancopasakis (those who worship five deities – Surya, Ganesa, Sakti, Siva and Visnu) are all representatives of atheism. While pretending to serve the Supreme Lord, they busily try to occupy His position themselves. Therefore, my only desire is that Sri Guru and Vaisnavas will always be glorified, and that their divine glories will be broadcast everywhere. Only then will there be true welfare for the entire world.
In the realm of sadhan-bhajan, offences are like fatal errors and mistakes. One must very carefully and thoroughly abandon all offences against the holy names of the Supreme Lord (namaparadha), offences against His transcendental abode (dhamaparadha), and offences while rendering devotional service (sevaparadha). But it is extremely difficult to abstain from all of these in a very short span of time. Therefore, one should offer prayers to Sri Nama Prabhu and to Sri Dhama so that we can reside in Sri Dhama, chant the holy names and become free from our tendency to commit offences.
Attaining the dust of the lotus feet of sri guru and Vaisnavas and receiving their causeless mercy is the only way we will be able to realize our true ability and qualification and become established accordingly. In the realm of spirituality, material qualifications are useless and indicate conceit. My children are desirous of having my darsana. Are you also one of them? A loving father always thinks of his children’s wellbeing. Even if the father stays very far away, he can bestow auspiciousness upon his children. This too is a subject of experience. Accept my affectionate blessings.
Your eternal well-wisher,
Śrī Bhaktivedānta Vamana
Translated by the Rays of The Harmonist team
from Śrīla Vamana Gosvāmī Mahārājera Patrāvalī