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Translations of various devotional texts.

Guru, Sadhus and Shastra as one - from Prema-bhakti-chandrika

Madhava - Fri, 29 Apr 2005 23:12:29 +0530
The following words of Prema-bhakti-chandrika illuminate the unity in principle of guru, sadhus and shastra. However, there is an important concern: What if the guru teaches differently from the two? The situation is wisely solved in this excerpt from Sri Ananta Das Babaji Maharaja's commentary on the 12th verse of the text.

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sAdhu zAstra guru vAkya, hRdaye koriyA aikya
satata bhAsibo prema mAjhe |

I will make the words of the saints, the scriptures and the guru one within my heart;
Thus I will always float in prema...

Srila Narottama Thakura Mahasaya has described the nice practice of the nine types of devotion. The saints and the scriptures have described these nine types of devotion in many different ways. For instance, Srimat Rupa Gosvamipada has extended these nine types of devotion into sixty-four types in his book Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu. Again, all the sadacara (rules of devotional conduct) and whatever relations they have with everyday bodily affairs must be followed according to the words of the sadhus, sastras and guru by the sadhakas who desire their own welfare. This has been described in the first half of this tripadi. Previously, in the fourth tripadi it is written— guru mukha padma vakya, hridi kori mahasakya. Through this couplet it is learned that Sri Guru's words about rules and prohibitions must be firmly kept within the heart.

Here one may ask: "What if Sri Gurudeva gives an unjust order, which is not in accordance with the teachings of the saints and scriptures or which is not favorable to bhajana? Are such orders also to be followed without consideration?" To erase such doubts the blessed author says: sadhu sastra guru vakya, hridaye koriya aikya, When the words of Sri Guru are compatible with the scriptures that help one to attain the Personality of Godhead and the words of the virtuous sadacari sadhus, then they must be followed without consideration. When one has taken shelter of a bonafide Guru who follows the scriptures and the sadacara then his orders can never be contrary to the words of the scriptures and the saints. Therefore scriptures like Srimad Bhagavata have advised to take shelter of the lotus feet of a Sri Guru who is sabda brahma nishnata, learned in the Vedic scriptures and para brahme nishnata, or devoted to the Personality of Godhead, so that such dilemmas can never take place in the spiritual life of a sadhaka.

Anyway, if Sri Gurudeva gives some unfair order which is contrary to the words of the sadhus and the sastras, the sadhaka should think he is testing him, wanting to know how loyal the sadhaka is to the sadhus and the sastras. Thus he will discard that order and anxiously pray to the lotus feet of Sri Guru. If Sri Gurudeva still insists in his unfair order to the disciple, the disciple should know it as a hard test of Sri Guru and, considering himself to be unable to understand such a test, should keep a distance and do bhajana in allegiance to the sadhus and the sastras. He should still not act according to the Guru's instructions if they transgress the words of the scriptures and the saints, nor should he show disbelief or disrespect towards Sri Guru.

There are many Vedic scriptures, some of them mainly describe fruitive activities or non-dualistic philosphies, and even in the devotional branches of the scriptures many different means are described to attain the Lord. It is impossible for a sadhaka to practise all these different ways, therefore whatever the saints of one's own tradition, who follow the scriptures of one's own tradition, say, must be accepted by a sadhaka who aspires for his own welfare, provided they are compatible with the words of the scriptures and the Guru. The purport of this is that whatever Sri Gurudeva orders is to be accepted when it is in congruence with the scriptures and saints of one's own tradition.

Again those scriptural injunctions are to be accepted that are in congruence with Sri Gurudeva and the saints of one's own tradition. And again, the words of the saints are to accepted when they are in congruence with the words of Sri Guru and the scriptures. If the words of one of them, either Guru, sastra or sadhu, are not in line with the words of the other two, then they can not be accepted. When the three are inter-compatible they are to be accepted, hence the blessed author has said: sadhu sastra guru vakya, hridaye koriya aikya, satata bhasibo prema majhe — "All bhajana-instructions that are favorable to attaining love for Krishna should be firmly kept within the heart and will thus swiftly remove all obstacles to bhajana and cause prema to appear. When prema appears this essential ingredient of the Lord's existence- and pleasure-potency will become indescribably relishable. prema will then bless the loving devotee by making him relish the Lord's sweetness and always keep him floating in an ocean of relishing sweet bhagavad rasa — satata bhasibo prema majhe.