Sri Bhakti Siddhanta Vani Number Three
In this post we are presenting an answer given by Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur in which he extolls the supreme position of Guru-Vaishava-anugatya with captivating humility and clarity.
Question: How does actual service to Krishna (Krishna-seva) happen?
Answer: Actual service to Krishna (Krishna-seva) happens only through the service of Krishna’s devotees, viz. Guru and Vaishnava. Sahajiyas are not able to understand this. They think, “One who worships Krishna (directly), he is the greatest” and thus they consider themselves Vaishnavas, take service from others and themselves abandon the service of Guru and Vaishnava. However, one who has heard the teachings of Sri Chaitanyadev and the Goswamis knows that truly truly the service of Krishna (Krishna-seva) happens only through the service of Krishna’s devotees, viz. Guru and Vaishnava.
Those who abandon the service and guidance of the sadhus and Sri Guru (Sadhu-Guru-seva and anugatya) and feign the service of Krishna (Krishna-seva) and the service of the Holy Name (Nam-bhajan), make offenses (aparadha) with every step they take. Whenever one is making offense (aparadha), they are not chanting the Holy Name of Krishna (Krishna-Nam) or engaging in the service of Krishna (Krishna-seva). On the contrary, all surrendered devotees who proceed under the guidance of Guru and Vaishnava and serve them (practice Guru-Vaishnava anugatya and seva) (in truth) serve Krishna and chant the Holy Name of Krishna, by the mercy of Guru and Krishna. Only those who serve Krishna’s devotees, viz. Guru and Vaishnava with faith and affectionate love (adara and priti) receive the mercy of Sri Chaitanyadev and the Goswamis.
(At the time) when my conception was, “I am greatly learned in mathematic scriptures, I am greatly learned in philosophical scriptures,” by good fortune I obtained the association (darsan) of Sri Gurudev. When he then struck down my great truthfulness, my pure, ethical life, my scholarship and so forth, knowing them to be trifling, I understood, “I cannot conceive how great this personality is who can strike down (all) my great virtues!” By him striking me down, I was able to understand, “There is no one so lowly or abominable as me; this is my nature. This great soul (mahatma) is not attributing any value to scholarship, ethical character, and any of the things I am considering to be supremely desirable.” Then I understood, “What invaluable things must be present within this great personality!” Then I considered, “Either he is extremely merciful or he is extremely egotistical (ahankari).” Then I humbly prayed to the Lord for mercy. Thereafter, by the mercy of the Lord, I was able to understand that apart from the mercy and service of this type of great personality who is devoid of desire for anything of this world (Nishkinchan Maha-Purush) there is no other road towards my welfare. When I properly understood in this way, I then received the shelter and abounding mercy of Sri Gurudev and thus became fulfilled.
Through the strike I have received from Sri Gurudev, I have understood that if the people of this world are not struck down in the same way, they will not become conscious, their proper awareness will not come about. So I am saying to everyone, “I am the greatest fool; among all the people present in this world, I am the greatest fool; you all should not be a fool like me, you all should not remain absorbed in calculative (illusory) subjects, (but rather) you all should enter into subjects of the spiritual world (Vaikuntha-katha), (then) you will become great personalities.” I am speaking to you all the good words of he whom, by the mercy of the Lord, I have understood to be the supreme good (param-mangal)—Sri Gurudev.