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Discussions specifically related with the various aspects of practice of bhakti-sadhana in Gaudiya Vaishnavism.

The function of Sri Guru in entering the lila - Guru as an integral aspect of revelation

Madhava - Mon, 24 Jan 2005 23:11:14 +0530
Here is yet another snippet from recent correspondence, this one concerning the importance of Sri Guru in our entrance into the world of lila.

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"Isn't it awfully presumptuous to think that we can just go there in our minds, expecting to be welcome, assuming that Radha and Krishna will accept our services?" To paraphrase that in another context, isn't it awfully presumptuous to assume that Hari cares at all to hear as we chant his name? Aren't we perhaps annoying him with all that mumbling and screaming? Shouldn't we perhaps just shut up and let him be in peace? And isn't it awfully presumptuous to think that he would actually be interested in watching you wave the stick of incense around?

The secret of the matter is that we have our inside man, or rather lady, I should say. Sri Guru is both the direct manifestation of Hari for our deliverance as well as a dear servant of his. If for the very purpose of our deliverance he has come, shall we not have the faith that the service he gives us will be accepted?

Dhyanachandra Goswami (DhP 87) speaks of our manjari-svarupa as being guru-prasAda-jananI, being born of the grace of Sri Guru. This manjari-svarupa is not a working model, as I said, but a direct and real parshada-deha (associate body), as dear to Radha and Krishna as any of their companions. Such a wondrous blessing Sri Guru has given to us! In such a form, filled with prema and indeed molded out of maha-bhava, if we approach Radha and Krishna for the purpose of their loving service, shall they not accept it?

Furthermore, serving as we are on the direct order of guru-sakhi, are Sri Yugal not obliged to accept it? Do not forget the fact that they are by their nature very loving and compassionate, their hearts being the most tender of all. Sri Radha, in particular, is the very embodiment of karuna, and is the very reason for the munificence of the Gaura-avatar who blessed us with splendid Vraja-rasa. She is very fond of all her dasis, and the other half of the equasion pretty much just has to accept whatever she desires, lest he risk a serious incident of divine maan. Moreover, why would Sri Yugal have sent their mercy in the form of Sri Guru to guide you in the matter of bhajana, if they would not be eagerly waiting for your audience among their inner circle of servants?

"But what will they say to you, how will they react to your services?" As I said, our vision at the time of sadhana is not so crisp as at the time of siddhi, and consequently our perception of all that unfolds may not be that vivid. However, we are not to force them to react in any given way, producing a mental imagery in which we attempt to move them about hither and thither. Rather than concocting, we are to leave all the space needed for them to reciprocate with us as they please.

If and when they respond to you, how will you know whether it is a mere mental concoction? You will know by the response within your heart, of the anubhAvas (emotional responses) following such reciprocation, if and when it occurs. If it shall not occur, let us plunge ourselves deep into prayer in anticipating the same. You will easily detect when your mind has taken over, and at that time it is a good time to conclude smarana and engage in other devotional practices. In due course of time the mind will be tamed and will happily act not as the master, but as the loving assistant of your devotional longings. With this purpose in mind, we should also meticulously study the bhakti-siddhanta found in the writings of our acharyas, to build a reliable foundation of intellect, the channels into which our moods, arising as grace descends, will flow.

The nitya-lila is certainly much more than we can ever imagine of it. When prema-siddhi is attained, the full darshan is revealed. At the attainment of bhava, the vision is very substantial and deep. Prior to that, our smarana-sadhana consists of beautiful glimpses of that realm revealed here and there in response to our sincere prayers.

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Advitiya - Tue, 25 Jan 2005 21:59:34 +0530
Very nice, indeed. Thank you, Madhava! Guru-sakhi! I heard for the first time.