Our Prospect Depends on Sadhu Sanga

By Srila B.S. Govinda Deva Goswami

“Beyond Viraja River is the holy dhama Vaikuntha, above that is Sri Gokula, known as Vrndaranya. Vrndavana, jewel of our hearts, mine of divine gems, what a joy to see that holy beauty! In the middle a miracle, dark lord of forest trees appearing like a sapphire Tamala. And there is a golden vine, queen of all the dhama, appearing, she’s supremely gracious; she’s the joy of ecstasy—‘Mahabhava’ is her name, as she charms the charmer of the world.”

—Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura

“The essence of ecstasy is love; the essence of love is heart; and the acme of heart is called, ‘mahabhava.’ And the personality of mahabhava is our queen, Sri Radha Thakurani. She is the mine of all good. She is the jewel of Krsna’s beloved.”

Caitanya Caritamrta, Adi, 4.68–69

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Srila Krsna Dasa Kaviraja Goswami composed these great things. We are not actually in the practice of reading them constantly, but I have heard such things from Guru Maharaja. These matters are very elevated for us. But there is our goal, and she (Radha) is actually our guru, our divine mistress. Her form is being described here. Although these are very high matters it is necessary for us to remember them from time to time. We have our future prospect, and that is very high. Srila Kaviraja Goswami has quoted in Sri Caitanya Caritamrta, Madhya, 8.70:

krsna-bhakti-rasa-bhavita-matih, kriyatam yadi kuto ’pi labhyatetatra laulyam api mulyam ekalam, janma-koti-sukrtair na labhyate

Real devotion to Krsna is very rarely attained. If you see that type of devotion anywhere, purchase it with your hankering, your laulyam. Only your hankering can give you your share of that property. That is the only price. Otherwise, you cannot achieve it even after billions of lifetimes of merits. So hunger is necessary for that, and hunger will come if you make your stomach empty first. First, take some purgative and cleanse yourself. Then gradually hunger will come. This cleansing means sadhu-sanga. Through devotional association, you will get everything.

Those who have heard about Devahuti, the mother of the Lord when he appeared as Kapiladeva, may know about this story. Devahuti was asking Kapiladeva, “My son, I know that you are Bhagavan, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but how shall I reach you? The munis, rsis and yogis have so many processes, but I have no capacity to follow them. My body is a woman’s body, and a woman has no right to practice in the Vedic scriptural way. Then tell me, my son, how shall I get devotion to your lotus feet?”

Kapiladeva said, “Don’t worry, it is very easy. It is not necessary to read many books, perform yajna or fire sacrifice, etc. Nothing like this is necessary for you. I am telling you only one point and you are to follow this:

satam prasangan mama virya-samvido, bhavanti hrt-karna-rasayanah kathah
taj josanad asv apavarga-vartmani, sraddha-ratir bhaktir anukramisyati

“By the association of the sadhus, talks revealing my super glories take place. Those talks are nectar to the pure ear and heart. Continue affectionately in this way, and rapidly you will gain first faith in myself who am the way to purification of all evils. Then heart’s devotion, and finally divine love or prema-bhakti will graciously appear within your heart. Mother, associate with the sadhus and follow their directives. Then you will understand everything. Why? The sadhus are always trying to satisfy me, and you can see how they satisfy me by having their association. If they are affectionate to you, they will give that consciousness to you and you will easily get my grace. This is the only way. Whoever follows it reaches me very quickly, and this is also my direct advice in the scriptures.”

Srimad Bhagavatam, 3.25.25

In the Eleventh Canto of the Srimad Bhagavatam, we find the sloka:

ye vai bhagavata prokta, upaya hy atma-labdhaye
anjah pumsam avidusam, viddhi bhagavatan hi tan

“The ways for even the ignorant to reach him have been told by the Supreme Lord; know those ways to be bhagavat-dharma.” (11.2.34)

If Bhagavan says, “I like fried potato,” and I give him fried potato then he will be satisfied. It is not necessary to think about what will satisfy him if he tells us what he likes. So this is the directive of Bhagavan, the Supreme Lord. He is telling you what to do, “do this, do that.” This is bhagavat-dharma.

Kapiladeva was saying, “Bhagavata-dharma is what is practiced by the real sadhu. You follow that. You need the association of sadhu and this is my final advice to you, mother. That is, satam prasangan mama virya-samvido, bhavanti hrt-karna-rasayanah kathah. They are hearing about me—sravanam; they are glorifying Me—kirtanam; they are remembering me—smaranam. Sravanam, kirtanam, visnoh smaranam. They are trying to serve me in every way possible. Also pada-sevanam, arcanam, vandanam, dasyam, sakhyam, atma-nivedanam; serving my feet, prayer, servitor-ship, friendship and self-surrender. They are offering everything to me. They try to do everything with my association. If you associate with such sadhus then you must also do that. There is no other work there in their association. So you must be benefited if you take advice from the sadhu and follow the sadhu’s character.”

This is the first and last advice, and very simple advice, of Bhagavan Kapiladeva. And in the Eleventh Canto, the Lord himself also defines bhagavat-dharma. So what is followed by the Vaisnava and written in the Srimad Bhagavatam is bhagavat-dharma. Then in the next verse we find:

yan asthaya naro rajan, na pramadyeta karhichit
dhavan nimilya va netre, na skhalen na pated iha

If you take that path you have no fear from anywhere. Just run—whether your eyes are open or closed it doesn’t make any difference, you won’t fall down. We cannot guess from here how much joy and ecstasy is there and how much happiness and enjoyment. We are trying to guess but we can’t because our puppy brains can’t conceive it.

Everything is explained in the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu by Srila Rupa Goswami; that is called the Science of Devotion. There, Srila Rupa Goswami has said,

yavatitya bhavanavartma, yas chamatkara-bharabhuh
hrdi sattvojjvale badam, svadate saraso matah

What can we guess about that plane? It is living. The slightest idea of that ecstasy you cannot guess with your puppy brain. What can you think? You can try to imagine how great the sky is, but how will you imagine it? In your estimation only two kilometers or two miles is great. But your brain can think, “Yes, the same sky is in America and in India,” so some kind of broader conception is possible. Still even that is less than a mustard seed. ‘One mustard seed’ means fourteen worlds, up and down. All those planes together are called one brahmanda or universe, and that is like no more than a mustard seed in the presence of the divinity. Then how much can you guess?

If you can surpass the ideas of your entire consciousness then perhaps you can consider what kind of wonder that ecstasy is. Our brains are always agitating this way and that, trying to understand, but we cannot guess what kind of wonder that is, but it is. And the sages and seers—the munis and rsis—they feel for us, and for our benefit they have compiled the sastra to guide us, especially Srila Vedavyasa.

So it is not helpful to try to understand this with our tiny brains. Only when that ecstasy will come and conquer our hearts can we feel it. And we must wait for that, not try for it. This is the way to taste it. When he will come, my heart will be fulfilled within a second. That is the ecstasy, the essence given in the perfect philosophy of Vedanta.

raso vai sah rasam hy evyam labdhvanandi bhavati

If you want that ecstasy you can try to worship that plane. Then you will get it by the mercy of the real associates of Krsna. That is the main thing. But there’s no need to be hopeless; much hope is here, especially in this Kali Yuga. Mahaprabhu said, “harer nama harer nama harer namaiva kevalam” chant the Hare Krsna Maha-mantra without offense and you will get everything.

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One Response to Our Prospect Depends on Sadhu Sanga

  1. Amazingly awesomely inspiriting post, full of wonder and encouragement. Though our goal is very high, we can all seek the association of advanced sadhus as the way for our real spiritual progress, wherever we find them. Certainly we can and should read the books of our acharyas, and yet, to observe, serve, and hear from a vital, spiritually alive sadhu with real taste for what they teach and how they live, who walks among us is the most potent in my experience. However, some don’t think any such sadhus exist other than their guru, who may have entered the lila. Or they may simply criticize others who are different from their guru and promote sectarian ideas. Thus, they limit themselves and have to be satisfied with where they are spiritually at today.

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