Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Not All Things Are Equal (by Srila Saraswati Thakura)

Not All Things Are Equal

by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvatī Ṭhakura Prabhupada

Question 1: Who is known as harijana*?

* ‘Hari’ is the Supreme Lord; ‘jana’ refers to those who are His people. In other words, harijana refers to the true devotees of God. A contemporary use of the word was introduced during India’s Independence Movement in an attempt to elevate the social status of those born in lower castes. For this reason, the original meaning will be elucidated here.

Answer: Nowadays, the word harijana is being used inappropriately. Truly speaking, harijana refers to the aprakrta bhaktas (transcendentally situated devotees) of the Supreme Lord, whose svarupa (true constitutional identity) has been awakened. In whatever lineage one may be born, by whichever identity one may be known externally, only one who has taken shelter of the lotus feet of sri guru and exclusively serves the Supreme Lord is harijana. Such persons have no duty or desire other than rendering service to the Supreme Lord.

To address those who are non-devotees, whose svarupa has not awakened, as harijana is both inappropriate and against scriptural injunctions. Although everyone is constitutionally an eternal harijana, as long as someone is still oblivious of their svarupa, they are not yet identified by that eternal characteristic. Let their svarupa be awakened and let them become engaged in hari-seva; then we shall have no objection to referring to them as harijana. It is true that every paddy seed contains rice, but paddy seed is not rice. Only after the covering is removed can it be called rice.

It is true that every living entity is haridasa, or harijana, but one can only be called haridasa when one is engaged in serving the Supreme Lord, and not before.

Question 2: Some say that everyone is equal. Are they right?

Answer: The real and the unreal, the devotee and the non-devotee, the sinful and the virtuous, the educated and the illiterate, the demigod and the Supreme Lord, the chaste and the unchaste, religion and non-religion, light and darkness, atma-dharma and anatma-dharma, devotion and non-devotion – how can these be equal to each other?

Everything is considered acceptable by those who remain unaware of internal realities and who have yet to enter into contemplation of the subtlest of subtle subject matters. An ignorant child may claim that his illegible writing must have meaning; for if the writings of knowledgeable men have meaning, then his scribbles must as well.

A foolish man will accuse someone who sees a difference between illegible scribbles and meaningful writing of being sectarian and partial. If one tries to discuss true principles in relation to the Supreme Lord and harikathā with those who are unaware of their internal imports, this mass demographic will reply, “Making people aware of the absolute principles and conclusions revealed in scripture is nothing but sectarianism; and refuting the false conceptions of others is nothing but criticism.”

Their opinion is, “I am ignorant, so it is best if I blend all conceptions together and say that everything is the same. That way everyone will be satisfied and I shall have no disagreement with anyone.”

Truth can never be the same as untruth, and devotion can never be the same as non-devotion. But for those who have no bhakti, who do not realize the necessity of serving the Supreme Lord, and who do not wish for their true welfare but only for material sense-gratification and worldly recognition, the pure and the adulterated are regarded as equal.

Question 3: How do pure devotees perceive sri guru?

Answer: Sri guru is known to ordinary men in one way and to intimate devotees in another. To the pure devotees, sri guru is experienced as the one who is dearest to their atma (parama-atmiya), as most dear to Sri Krsna, as the sole recipient of their affection, and as their eternal, worshipful master, their life and their everything. Sri guru is extremely dear to Sri Krsna and is non-different from Him; it is not possible to become the servant of Sri Krsna without serving sri guru. Only those who serve sri guru are truly devotees of the Lord, or true Vaisnavas.

It is not possible to have darsana of sri guru through eyes covered by iniquity. To see sri guru as an ordinary man is to not have true darsana of him. By perpetuating such a perception one only attains hellish realms. Sri guru is not insignificant; he is not a mortal man. He is isvara (non-different from the Lord), he is the dear-most associate of Sri Bhagavan, he is a mahajana (the greatest of men), he is the acarya (preceptor) of chanting the holy names, and he is krsna-prestha (the intimate beloved of Sri Krsna).

Question 4: Why is it that the obstacles in our path are not being removed and why are we unable to attain our cherished wishes?

Answer: We still consider sri guru, who is non-different from Bhagavan, to be an ordinary mortal being. Consequently, our tendency to perceive faults in him has not yet been dispelled. This is why we are unable to sincerely surrender at his lotus feet. We dishonour the words of the Vedas, the words of the Supreme Lord and the words of Srimad Bhagavad-gita when we consider sri guru to be an ordinary human being, the Vaisnavas as belonging to an earthly caste decided at birth, and the Lord’s deity form to be a sculpture made of stone, wood or earth. This is the reason for our deplorable condition.

Question 5: What are the innate activities of the jivas?

Answer: Vrajendra-nandana Sri Krsna is Kamadeva, the single-most worshipful primeval object for all souls. The jivas’s eternal duty, or natural activity, is to render service to Him. Due to forgetting this, the jiva sometimes becomes a nirvisesa jnani and thus considers himself to be the Supreme Lord by misconceiving the purport of “aham brahmasmi – I am supreme spirit”. Sometimes he becomes a material enjoyer and seeks the material fruits of performing varnasrama-dharma*. And sometimes he simply engages in enjoying the company of women and nothing more. This is why it is said, “O jiva, you should relinquish your false pride and your adoration and worship of women, along with your doting submissiveness to them. You should become the kinkari** of Śrī Rūpa Manjari and surrender yourself unto serving Srimate Radharanī. You should always remain engaged in serving Sri Krsna under the guidance of the damsels of Vraja.”

* The occupational duties of the righteous citizen (their dharma) fall into one of four divisions of work (varna) and one of four phases of life (asrama).

** Kim – what; kari – should I do? The loving servants of Rupa Manjari exist always in the state of seeking to engage in some meaningful service to Sri Sri Radha Krsna.

Question 6: Why do material desires arise even while chanting the holy names?

Answer: One attains spiritual welfare by chanting the holy names under the guidance of sri guru. One should not slacken in one’s chanting of the holy names due to the appearance of material thoughts while chanting. By progressively and regularly engaging in chanting the holy name, all of these useless thoughts shall gradually be dispelled. One need not worry for that. The final result cannot be achieved in the very beginning. As extreme love for sri krsna-nama manifests, greed for material thought shall diminish. How can one’s material thoughts diminish unless one has developed intense desire for sri krsna-nama? Only when one serves the holy name with one’s body, mind and words does nami – Sri Krsna (the one whose name we chant) – make His all-benevolent, true svarupa manifest before us.

Translated by the Rays of The Harmonist team
from Śrīla Prabhupādera Upadeśāmṛtam

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