Sri Upadesamrta: Text Four, Part One
The following is another installment of our classroom series: Sri Upadesamrta, with Illuminations by Srila B. R. Sridhara Deva Goswami, published by Gosai Publishers, 2009. View past installments, here.
guhyam akhyati prcchati
bhunkte bhojayate caiva
Offering gifts and accepting gifts, revealing one’s mind in confidence and inquiring confidentially, accepting prasada and offering prasada – these are the six symptoms of love shared by devotees.
Illumination by B. R. Sridhara Deva Goswami
These are the six kinds of association with a sadhu. Higher association is only possible with a serving attitude, otherwise there is no sanga. Lower association means exploitation and enjoyment, but higher association can only be achieved through service. By proper association the quality of your service will increase. Sadhu-sanga and sadhu-seva is of the utmost importance. The Gaudiya Matha stresses the importance of sadhu-seva—serving the sadhu. Whatever you do by the command of the higher devotee will, through him, surely connect you with a higher conception of the Absolute. Whatever you do, do it with that connection from above and carry out his order.
Offering Gifts and Accepting Gifts
Dadati pratigrhnati—we shall come to present new things to the sadhus and try to live by the old remnants left by them. Giving something for the service of a sadhu and taking his prasadam—whatever he gives, we accept that. We can increase our attraction and love for a person in such a way by giving him raw items and by accepting his prasadam. To give items to be utilized by him, and whatever is necessary for ourselves. I won’t try to take anything new, but only that which has been rejected by the Vaishnava or guru, whether it is a garland, clothes, different decorations, or whatever. We shall try to live by the remnants of the Vaishnavas. We shall present new things to the sadhus, and we shall try to live by their remnants—tena tyaktena bhunjitha. Give and take. Give and take eternally, internally and externally, whatever my position. In taking we get a higher thing from him. Raw materials we supply, and we get remnants from him. In this way I can improve my position. If we accept the energy of worldly men then generally our minds will become polluted and impure. And if the mind is impure, then the remembrance of Krishna will not be very clear.
visayira anna khaile malina haya mana
malina mana haile nahe krsnera smarana
If one eats the food of a materialist, one’s mind becomes polluted. When the mind becomes polluted one cannot remember Krishna.1
When I accept the elaborate energy of a materialist, then the poison of his mind comes with his energy, with his money and all these things. The energy comes carrying the mentality of the owner. To accept that means to digest that. But one who is able to digest it can utilize it. Visasya visam-ausadham: poison is medicine to poison. Poison can also be utilized as medicine. The divine agent can utilize poison as nectar, otherwise it will kill the person who is taking the energy of the materialist.
Only madhukari-bhiksa, collecting from a particular person, will take away his sin or virtue. Anything that comes with his energy is transmitted. We are feeding on him, exploiting him and that exploitation must have a reaction. Madhukara—just as bees collect every particle of honey from here and there. They do not care so much, they do not look to get any return for that—a small particle perhaps, it does not matter. If we collect our food in that way then there is no possibility of some reaction coming. Madhukari-bhiksa has been recommended for the tyagis. But we Gaudiya Matha people collect their energy as much as we can utilize. Our aim is a little different—we want to help them and we do not collect it for our personal purpose. It is for the general service of the Lord and his devotees. In an organic way we help them. We will use the energy from impure sources and, by hook or by crook, utilize that in the fire sacrifice that is lit in a grand way for the satisfaction of Krishna and his activity. What is that activity? The chanting of his name on a big scale. Sankirtana-yajna, a great sacrificial organic attempt has been accepted and we are to collect things for that. And because I am also rendering some service, as remuneration I may take something. For the purpose of service I am to maintain my health and I shall take only what is necessary. This is yukta-vairagya. We are not taking anything for our personal utilization so we do not feel any contamination. One will suffer if he collects another’s energy for his own selfish purpose, but if he can utilize the energy of someone for the service of Krishna in the congregational chanting of his name to purify the whole world, then there is no apprehension of being contaminated by that energy.
Whatever we receive we should think it is from our guru. I am eating the remnants of my Gurudeva. I am doing some service and as a servant I am entitled to take some remains. Tena tyaktena bhuñjitha ma grdhah kasya svid dhanam—we have no greed for others property, but it is all being utilized for their benefit in the sankirtana-yajna. And as a servant I have some duty to discharge, therefore I am to keep my body fit and for that purpose I am taking the avasesa (remnants).
tava mayam jayema hi
By decorating ourselves with the garlands, scents, clothes and ornaments that you have already enjoyed, and by eating the remnants of your food, we, your servants, will certainly conquer your illusory potency.2
Uddhava says that there are ways of getting out of this mayika entanglement. “Only by honoring your remains can we conquer maya. I am grateful to you and none else in this world. I am your servant and must live on the remains after you have taken. Thereby, by this single attempt, we can conquer the whole world. There is no glamour for anything in this world for us.” That is the nature of the attempt of this organized preaching of the Gaudiya Matha. You can even accept a kingdom, but not for yourself but for God. And from whomever they take, he is benefited. With this angle of vision we will be individually responsible for our transaction with the outside parties.
When something is dedicated for the service of Krishna it is a conscious unit. Will a man allow his wife to serve another gentleman? Will she allow? Everything is meant for Krishna consciousness, and not for any other consciousness. Only for him. Everything here is exclusively meant for Krishna and no other god. We are not materialists. Everything is conscious and fresh. And no other spirit is allowed except to fully dedicate oneself to the Lord. Every flower born here is only to satisfy Krishna. Radharani will curse us if we try to utilize it for the service of others. They are all meant for this. They will curse us. Here in the temple also – trespassers may pluck flowers, for medicinal purposes they will take some things, but it pains my heart. They are all meant for the service of Krishna. For medical purposes some people may take a root or something. I ask them, “Go to Mahaprabhu, take his permission, then take it.” If it is necessary and it cannot be avoided then I tell them, “Go, you get his permission first.”
Once I heard at the Yogapitha, the appearance place of Mahaprabhu, there was one kadamba tree. At that time Prabhupada was coming out to go to Calcutta and one devotee said, “A new flower has come on the kadamba tree, it has not been given to Prabhupada.” He took a flower and ran towards the car of Prabhupada.
Prabhupada asked, “What is this?”
“A new flower from the Yogapitha temple tree.”
“A new flower?”
“We have come to show you, Prabhupada, and we shall give to Mahaprabhu.”
“Then go and show it to Mahaprabhu. Take his permission and then bring to me. I am going away now. If I was staying, you could put it in my hand and I could show him. But I am going away, now go and show him and then bring it to me. You have got to take his permission.”
That is prasada. Anugraha—dedicated. To show to him is to dedicate. Then we can take the prasada. He is our shelter. This is the key to our life—tena tyaktena. After offering to him, then you use it.
bhunjate te tv agham papa
ye pacanty atma-karanat
Saintly persons are liberated from all types of sins by accepting the remnants of foodstuffs offered in sacrifice. However, those who cook for themselves eat only sin.3
Whenever you dedicate anything to your own self, you create sin. You create disharmony in the environment. But if you offer it to the center, Yajna—to Visnu, and then you use, harmony is maintained. Everything is created to serve Krishna—everything. You must dedicate anything and everything to him and then you can take the prasada remaining. Isavasyam idam sarvam: everywhere, everything is in the possession of the Supreme Entity, everything belongs to him. There should be no disturbance to the law and order. The law and order of the whole should be kept intact. You live here as a loyal subject. You all live as loyal subjects, not illegal—physically or even mentally. Thought, word and deed—you must be a loyal subject in this kingdom of the Lord. That is what is required from us. Then there is peace and harmony and no reaction. Otherwise there will be reaction and you will have to suffer for that.
Revealing One’s Mind and Inquiring Confidentially
Guhyam akhyati—I should reveal my innermost feelings to the sadhu, “From my innermost heart I feel these many particular things within myself. Are these feelings good or bad? And if bad, what is the remedy?” We shall place our inner heart before him so that he may examine us and proceed accordingly. Whatever the innermost feeling is, that should be divulged to a sadhu. I must reveal everything of my entire heart to him and also hear what is conceived within his heart. The private things within my heart must be disclosed, and I must acquire the private things within his heart. I shall inquire about the inner wealth within his heart. Prcchati means inquiry. We will ask his advice and put questions which are necessary for me at this stage. “What is the secret of your holy life? Please tell me and I shall try to follow that example in order to get out of my present circumstances. In your case how did you gain relief?” We shall try to collect the secrets for success in life from a sadhu.
tad viddhi pranipatena
upadeksyanti te jnanam
Such knowledge should be achieved through submission, inquiry and service to those who are wise and have seen the Supreme Truth.4
Pariprasna. Honest, sincere inquiry is always allowed, but not with the tendency towards tarka, argument. Not with argument—all our efforts should be concentrated to understand in a positive line without leaving a state of doubt or suspicion. With all attention you shall try to understand, because it is coming from a higher source where I am not known.
Pariprasna will be the outcome of surrender. “I am hopeless, I can’t ascertain the truth, it is a dire necessity for me but I can’t help myself.” With this hankering and with no hope of any remedy, I shall most humbly try and start to inquire modestly. I shall try to know, “What is this? What is that? What is the meaning?” The mood should not be that, “I shall finish knowing about this matter.” That sort of attitude will not allow us to enter into the real domain. Nor should we inquire simly out of curiosity or a desire for philosophical mastership or anything of that kind. Its only necessity is for the satisfaction of the Lord. Reality is by itself and for itself. It must be for himself. For His interest this prasna (inquiry) is necessary. Inquiry should be made only to satisfy Krishna and the devotees of Krishna—for his cause, not for my cause if it is independent of his satisfaction.
Another most important thing is that it is also necessary for service. Service is the only important thing. “What is necessary? What will be necessary to render proper service?” – that sort of pariprasna is required. A dire necessity for service, for discharging my duty. I want to serve the cause, not to lord it over. If the spirit within is to lord it over, everything will be spoiled. It is not a plane of us being masters. It is not something that we can use according to our whim. We are putting ourselves into the fire—what I am, that will vanish and from within my higher, divine self will come out. What I am presently is a nasty thing, but what is within me, that is divine and noble. With this hope we shall go.