Follow the Angels
By Srila B.R. Sridhar Dev-Goswami, originally published in Follow the Angels: The Path of Dedication.
The practices (acharan) of mahajanas are more valuable than our human calculation. The physical truth, the material truth, does not have much value. After all, it is only based on a strong false attitude of mind. So, such “truth” should not be given greater respect than the intuitive practices of the pure devotees. The intuition of a pure devotee should be given preference to the calculated truth of ordinary persons here. Faith has no connection with the so-called reality of this world. It is completely independent. Sraddhamayo ’yam loka: there is a world which is guided only by faith. Faith is everything, and it is of infinite nature; it is all-accommodating. The world of faith is all-accommodating: everything may be true there by the sweet will of the Lord. Faith is the air, the breath. Calculation has no actual value. It is inconclusive and destructive in its ultimate goal. So, it should be rejected. The knowledge of the materialists—the fallible calculations of the exploiting souls—has no value whatsoever.
In the world of the infinite, faith is the standard—the only standard—to move hither and thither, just as the compass is the only director in the ocean. When seamen cannot see anything, their compass is their only guide. In the world of infinite, faith is our compass.
The footsteps of the great personages that have travelled the way—the way marked by the holy footsteps of those that have gone to the highest quarter—should be our only guide.
Yudhisthir Maharaj also says,
tarko ’pratisthah srutayo vibhinna
nasav rsir yasya matam na bhinnam
dharmasya tattvam nihitam guhayam
mahajano yena gatah sa panthah
(Mahabharata: Vana-parva, 313.117)
The broad line chalked out by the tread marks of those that are going to the divine world is our surest guide. All else may be eliminated because calculation is fallible. Above all, justification comes from the Absolute Infinite: any form of justification can come anywhere at any time. We should have this broadest view.
“Vaikuntha” means no limitation. We are in a boat: we are floating in a boat on the infinite ocean. Anything may come to help us or not help us. We shall proceed with good faith, optimistic good faith, in our leader, Gurudev. Guru-karnadharam: the Guru is the guide. In the infinite ocean, I have boarded my small boat and the destination is uncertain to me, inconceivable to me, but it is conceivable to my Gurudev. I will go on with that sincere faith within me.
svayam samuttirya sudustaram dyuman
bhavarnavam bhimam adabhra-sauhrdah
bhavat-padambhoruha-navam atra te
nidhaya yatah sad-anugraho bhavan
(Srimad Bhagavatam: 10.2.31)
I am in midst of a horrible ocean with so many waves, sharks, whales and other things—a ocean filled with danger. The sadhus’ footsteps are my only hope. We are to depend on that. Their footprints are like lighthouses along the infinite ocean guiding us to the goal.