Published on July 30th, 2011 | by Harmonist staff3
Chastity to Sri Guru
Below, Srila Sridhara Maharaja responds to an inquiry regarding the meaning of chastity for a proper disciple.
Chastity is faithfulness to the cause for which we have come. It is a relative term. Chastity in the absolute sense is unchangeable adherence to the Absolute. There also may be relative chastity, such as when someone sincerely pursues his interest in a particular plane. However, that type of sincerity is not complete. We think sincerity is only complete when one comes to accept the Supreme Absolute. Other forms of chastity are all relative. No knowledge separate from Krishna consciousness is chaste. And within Krishna consciousness also we shall not think that by beginning, by getting the touch of Krishna consciousness we have acquired the whole thing. When we get the pure conception of Krishna consciousness the hazy conceptions will vanish. As we attain different stages of realization in pure Krishna consciousness, to that degree we become more and more chaste.
Chastity means our adherence to the truth. The truth that we have come to realize, that truth is in Krishna consciousness. Krishna consciousness is not a limited thing that one can capture in his hand and swallow. It is of infinite character. There is gradation and there is room for progress in Krishna consciousness. We will say that one is chaste due to his own sincere progress, not due to adherence to the figure, the formal conception. Vyaso vetti na vetti va (Vyasa might know, or he might not know). Such a strong expression is also there. All rights reserved. Krishna consciousness is unlimited, but still there is the possibility of conceiving its purity in its unadulterated form, and the acaryas are giving that to us. In the beginning a new student who gains admission to a college cannot expect to know anything and everything. We need to have systematic, properly adjusted knowledge.
There are many amongst our group who heard Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura Prabhupada’s advices and words, but only partly. One day a senior man and sannyasi repeated something Srila Prabhupada had said. Although it related to a particular time and place, he wanted to utilize that in a universal way. I gave some objection: “Maharaja, Srila Prabhupada told this, it is true, but this is not the whole thing. He explained other things also, therefore we have to harmonize. We cannot ignore the other part of his advice.”
So we have to come into adjustment and systematic understanding of the words of Sri Gurudeva. The partial aspect may sometimes lay stress on a particular point and who has attentively caught that, he might only take that and nothing beyond. But systematic knowledge of the whole must be understood. In a progressive life, the plane where one devotee may want to withdraw from to make further progress may be the goal of attainment for another devotee. What may be the object of attainment for the kanistha-adhikari, a madhyama-adhikari may withdraw from in an attempt to climb higher, as in ascending a staircase step by step.
Under the guidance of one Guru there are so many different sections of disciples. All the students may not be equal in their realization. One can understand to a certain extent, another can understand something more, and another can understand even more. In this way there may be gradation. Even the senior disciples may fall back and the juniors may go up. That is also possible. We have seen and you can also see now. Many of the older ones have gone away and the newcomers are showing greater energy. You may find that amongst yourselves, as we also found amongst ourselves. There are no stereotyped rules. It is a living thing.
Form and substance are two different things. And here is the main difficulty in our progress: sreyah sva-dharmme… progress means to deal with these two difficulties, to stick to one’s former position, and beyond that, to make progress—advance. If advancement is not sure, it is judicious to stick to the former position. If there is any doubt of progress one should stick to the former position. But that is not progress. Progress means to leave the former position and go ahead. Only one who is hopeful of a bright future, should leave the former position and go to advance. Those who are of doubtful mentality, suspicious mentality, it is better for them to stick to their former position where they already have a consolidated foundation. They should take their stand there. According to his own progress he cannot but see that some things must be rejected and some new things in front must be invited to come near. This is progress. [With these principles in place we can cultivate absolute chastity to our beloved gurudeva, recognizing that which he represents and therefore recognizing his many manifestations along the progressive course of our spiritual life.]
This is the deeper understanding of the foundations sloka of SB, “satyam param dhimahi”. So our chastity is to the truth. That is how we have to adjust the relative details that a particular manifestation of divinity (through the acarya). Sridhar Maharaja ki Jai!
At the end of the article when Pujyapada Srila Sridhara Maharaja says, ‘recognizing his many manifestations,’ is he speaking of siksa gurus?
Yes and more. This is referring to all manifestations of Sri Guru, siksa, caitya, in the environment around us.