Today is the fifth day of the dark half of the lunar calendar during the month of Phālguṇa. The last śukla-pañcamī (fifth day of the bright half of the lunar calendar) was the appearance day of Viṣṇupriya Devī. Later, kṛṣṇa-pañcamī is the appearance of kṛṣṇa-śakti, Śrī Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Prabhupāda.
During the time when Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura had a government service and was engaged in reforming the service of Jagannātha-Deva, Śrīla Prabhupāda appeared in his house on this day in Puruṣottama-kṣetra. At the time of his appearance his umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck just like a brāhmaṇa thread. Observing this at a later stage, many inferred that this was because he revealed to the world the proper application of the brāhmaṇa thread, what it is and why we perform the upavīta-saṁskāra, or upanayana (thread ceremony).
The sights we see through the eyes we possess are actually illusory perceptions. The scriptures give the real angle of vision. Whatever you are seeing through these mundane eyes is very partial and limited; but the proper estimation, the real estimation is there. There is the general estimation of the world, of the environment, and that is extended for one who possesses complete knowledge.
Upanayana – another vision is there. That is divya-dṛṣṭi, jñāna-cakṣura. One needs to learn how to see from this angle of vision. Whatever you are able to see with your mundane eyes is not the true character of this world. Its real identity must be trained to be perceived by eyes that are guided by the ears that have gained proper direction through hearing to understand what is what. This is upanayana. Upanayana-saṁskāra is given via the medium of gāyatrī. In Manu-saṁhitā it is said that a brāhmaṇa has three births –
māturagre’dhi-jananaṁ dvitīyaṁ mauñji-bandhane
tṛtīyaṁ yajña-dīkṣāyāṁ dvijasya śruti-codanāt.
“Śruti states that a brāhmaṇa receives his first birth from his mother. His second birth is by receiving the sacred thread and his third birth is through the process of dīkṣā.” (Manu-saṁhitā 2.260)
In the entire world there is no process like the varṇāśrama-dharma of Bhārata-varṣa, which creates a regular life within human society. This is a stepping-stone that, if applied step by step, enables one to move outside this brahmāṇḍa. This means not only moving beyond the attractive confines of this earth to that of the sun-planet or other planetary systems – it means to move beyond the attractive confines of the entire brahmāṇḍa where we are presently sinking due to our being charmed by the spirit of exploitation. The brahmāṇḍa exists within this charm of exploitation. Whatever is manifested here, plays a role in the world of exploitation more or less. One must endeavour to see beyond this mundane sphere by moving out of it, in other words, by transcending the objective world of sense perception seen through the medium of the eyes. What is the position of the brahmāṇḍa which I can perceive within the universe? It is very meagre, very mean, very limited. Our boundary of experience can be far more expansive than this. It can be categorically different than this. Here we have only seen the soil of enjoyment. With the help of upanayana it is essential to attain the true perspective from outside, to experience it and understand its identity.
What is gāyatrī saying? Gāyatrī, the mother of the Vedas, has given her main sūtra explaining that whatever different levels you are able to see, feel or think of in this world made of matter, you must move directly towards their original Creator –directly from the object to the subject – the one who is its cognisant master and its observer. We must move from the position of being seen to that of the role of a spectator, a seer. There exists his adorable world. The subject here which is able to perceive the object has a world above him (the subject). Here you are engrossed in the subject and the object – the perceived object and the master perceiving it. But there is a world above the perceiving master which is adorable, worhippable and worthy of his bhajana.
It is vareṇyam bhargo – that spiritual and worshippable dhāma which you can perceive of as full of effulgence and knowledge. Cinmaya-dhāma – it is most desirable and worshippable to you and is meant to be served. Just as you are observing in this world, the bhoga–dhāma, there is a sevā–dhāma beyond it, whose shadow is this world of enjoyment. That sevā–dhāma is real – sevyārthakam bhargo. And there is the Lord of that bhargo, the very Lord of the svarūpa-śakti, its Master. And the service that is going there is unparalleled – you can attain the opportunity to serve Him and receive a life of service to Him through obedience to Him. With the help of the eyes, eyes directed and inspired by the Vedas, we can have darśana of the world beyond this world. With the help of this gāyatrī, the basis of brahminical religion, knowledge and culture, we can move above to the abode of service (sevāmaya-dhāma) that exists there. And as a result of serving Him, He further enhances the foundation of service. That is His position. In that way He is beautiful, He is divine – deva. Deva means beautiful; deva means līlāmaya (replete with eternal pastimes); the one who radiates beauty and bliss at all times. All these waves emanating ananda or bliss from the centre are expanding everywhere and will also benefit you and enhance your endeavour. This is the basis of varṇāśrama, the aim of which is to give the visionary eye, the upa-nayana (higher vision).
Our Guru Mahārāja appeared with the aim of giving this extensively. What is the aim of this upanayana-saṁskāra? It is an additional eye to see the world with that vision. Whatever you see is the world of mortality – janma–mṛtyu–jarā–vyādhi duḥkha-dośānudarśanam. Whatever you are seeing with your eye and mind is the arena of death. Marana avadhi ja’rā mana (‘Something only has value till it dies’). It is the land of mortality. But everyone wants to overcome death; everyone’s innate tendency is to live. No one can deny it and there is the possibility of it. That type of tendency that exists in you is not impractical – there is also the possibility of realisation of this. Therefore move towards that direction. Overcoming all these apparent temptations, advance towards having a practical and beautiful life. That is why you have specifically been given eyes –
Later, Guru Mahārāja assisted it by giving it special identification in the form of arranging tantrika (pañcarātrika) initiation. That is the reason he came. His intention of coming to this world was to reveal the higher reality with the help of such eyes –upa-nayana. And he has shown this to the world that whatever Mahāprabhu Śrī Caitanyadeva has said, and whatever Śrīmad Bhāgavatam’s Vyāsadeva has said in the last and greatest of his books – that is our ultimate goal. This has been declared boldly, solemnly and loudly by Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura.
Regarding this, he had an uncompromising attitude which he never desired to trade with anything. This was the uniqueness of his life. And in doing this, the entire world and the entire present culture in vogue today stood against him. So-called big religious organisations with their religious preaching and endeavours opposed him. The old school of thought, whose stereotype customs have became distorted and perverted with time also stood against him. They considered his preaching to be a concept fraught with imaginary, unrealistic, impossible speculations, initiating a group of people who are ambitionists in order to create chaos. But gradually, when it spread in a very vast way, their impressions changed to a certain extent. Many who used to identify themselves as being under the shelter of so-called Vaiṣṇava religion also misunderstood it, but at a later stage they accepted that they had been mistaken. “At first we thought that he is neglecting the old religious dedication and discrimination when he first started preaching the old message in a very innovative manner. But that was not the case. He gave new life to it.” In this way many great men accepted the unique endeavours of Prabhupāda.
He declared what Mahāprabhu said – that divine prema is the only aim. Bhukti, mukti and other desires like dharma, artha, kāma etc, which have been praised as the supreme goal in the scriptures, are only for less qualified people.
Whatever way the leaders of the society, the jñānīs and yogīs have explained and defined mukti as the highest achievement is lowly. Their conceptions of mukti are condemned. They only give meagre results and are no more than obstacles to the highest achievement. Overcoming these explanations, the way Rāmānujācārya has given his interpretation is the actual foundation. From the Vedic standpoint, amongst the Vedic authorities, whatever the Rāmānujācārya sampradāya, as well as Madhvācārya, Viṣṇu Svāmī and Nimbārka have given as matter pertaining to preaching is the real basis of Vedic wisdom. From there we must focus on what Mahāprabhu has said. That is our highest achievement. Guru Mahārāja has propagated this in all ways possible. In every way – lectures, kīrtanas, exhibitions, magazines, books – in this way with all types of methods he has preached.
Once in Purī, I addressed his lotus feet, “Prabhu, the all-round preaching endeavour you have made, we have never witnessed anything like this ever before.”
He replied, “Do you think so?”
I said, “Yes, prabhu. What to speak of thinking, I am witnessing it directly.”
So like this he made an all-round endeavour.
The aim of kīrtana is not merely a tune or rhythm meant to attract people’s attention. There must be connection with the real object of worship it is aimed at. The process is to practice, discuss and tell to others in such a manner that He is satisfied with it. Yāre dekha tāre kāha kṛṣṇa-upadeśa (‘explain Kṛṣṇa’s teachings to whoever you meet’) – that is the real truth. Whatever is the current scenario is actually very feeble, but since we are entangled within it we are thinking it to be very intense and powerful, in spite of it being a very weak substance in reality. If kṛṣṇa-kathā, bhāgavata-kathā is presented properly, it can be seen that māyā is not what it appears to be. How it came and captured me? Intrinsically ignorance is weak. Once knowledge arises ignorance has to flee like a thief. Therefore, even if the vast majority of people make mistakes under the influence of ignorance, for one situated in true knowledge, it looks very paltry and tiny. It can be simply blown away; it hardly has any power. It is weak and has already committed suicide and is doomed for self-annihilation. Ignorance is always ready to be annihilated. It only needs to be given the proper connection! Therefore there is no need to fear it. Those who are under the spell of ignorance and dancing to its tune may consider it as something very big and may declare it loudly. But for those outside of its spell it is very insignificant and weak. In this way our Guru Mahārāja dealt with it bravely.
He has more or less categorised all levels of ignorance into the realm of enjoyment and renunciation (bhoga and tyāga) and has endeavoured diligently to rectify them. And he has taught his followers in the same manner – to fight against ignorance. That is totalitarian – bhukti and mukti, dharma, artha, kāma and mokṣa. Also, to move higher, you also have to struggle against vaidhi-bhakti (devotion based on scriptural regulations) and develop and culture anurāga-bhakti (spontaneous devotion), which is our innate tendency.
You are a foreigner in your own land. That is your home where, if you go, you will get strength, you will meet your relatives and you will be able to feel that you have returned home, like the feeling of a boy that has returned to his own home. If someone was a little eager to hear Guru Mahārāja, he would say that,” Finally he is trying to return home.” When someone found his words sweet he said that. “Now he wants to return home. Till now he was tormented by travelling in a foreign land and now the boy wants to return home. He is listening attentively to the news of his own home.” This is our own, but it seems foreign to us under the influence of acintya-śakti (the Lord’s inconceivable potency). This is one’s very own, so there is nothing to fear. Go along with enthusiasm and bravery. March together. As Mahāprabhu has said – hari-kīrtana bahubhir militvā yat kīrtanam. “Apart from that, whatever you are seeing or experiencing – attack it! Break it! In this way work here” – Prabhupāda said like this. And to the last he did this. And he has also explained his aim. His aim was rūpānuga-bhajana. In this regard, he has shown no compromise or constraint for those who have no taste for rādhā-bhajana, rādhā-dāsyam, rādhā-kainkarya. If I try to explain the way he did all these things it will take too long. But in short it is kṛṣṇa-bhajana in mādhurya-rasa under the shelter of Rādhārāṇī – this is the highest thing that he has declared. Now, in a multitude of ways, his teachings are being discussed and preached.
Through his disciples he did this, and amongst his principal disciples many have started vast preaching programmes. Amongst them all, our Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja’s endeavour is incomparable. For those of us who identify ourselves with Prabhupāda’s cause, we cannot but be grateful to him for the way he has told the world about this great treasure of Mahāprabhu. This is because the way that he has served our Gurudeva is very extraordinary. Without being empowered by Kṛṣṇa’s śakti it is not possible. This is our firm belief. Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, after having a divine vision, predicted that such thing would soon become a reality. It was Bhaktisiddhānta Prabhupāda who gave it a preliminary start and Bhaktivedānta Prabhu has taken it further ahead.
pṛthivite āche yata nagarādi grāma
sarvatra pracāra haibe more nāma
“In every town and village, the chanting of My name will be heard.” (Śrī Caitanya-bhāgavata, Antya 4.126)
With this banner he travelled all across the world. By such an endeavour he has become very adorable to us. And his followers who are present here and elsewhere – we cannot but be very lovingly disposed towards them. They have come to our country, the place of Mahāprabhu, from so far and from such diametrically opposite cultures due to the fate accrued in their previous lives. And making it their own, how enthusiastically they are executing their service activities! This is truly praiseworthy. Those that praise them will attain auspicious blessings, and due to such sukṛti they will achieve a higher destination as a result of their appreciation. In this way they will be benefitted.
Many of them are present here today and they will share some of what they have realised as a result of their sukṛti and subtle intelligence hearing from their Śrīla Prabhupāda, from hearing at the lotus feet of their guru, and from the śāstra. Gaura-haribol!