23rd July 2019
Became your own guru
Blessings to all of you and well wishes to all those who are chanting. By end of this month, we had target of 700 devotees. And we did achieve that target during Pandharpur festival. We had many more, more than 700 chanters with us. Some were chanting on zoom and many were chanting physically with us, so we take that as our count and we have achieved our target. We declare that and we are happy. We achieved that target collectively. We did it, not I did it, so we did it thank you.
You have been told about glories of the holy name and you are asked to chant prescribed number of rounds daily following on the footsteps of six Goswamis of Vrindavan.
sańkhyā-pūrvaka-nāma-gāna-natibhiḥ [Sri Sri Sad-Gosvami-Astakam 6th verse]
They are also chanting their prescribed rounds. They had big prescription for themselves.
Namacarya Haridasa Thakura, he had also set up a big target of 300,000 holy names every day. So, citing those examples I am inspiring you.
Prabhupada also said, you are chanting your prescribed number of rounds daily, you have taken vow. But then you have to remind yourself of the vow that we have taken. In order to do that you have to be your own instructor or you have to be your own Guru. We will be talking more about these citing examples from Bhagavatam.
We had been talking of 11th canto few days back. I am also reminded of one statement of Lord Sri Krsna to Uddhava from 11th canto. Where He is strongly recommending, recommendation or advice to Uddhava is,
ātmano gurur ātmaiva
puruṣasya viśeṣataḥ [SB 11.7.20]
Wherein Lord is talking, atmano gurur atmaiva. Atma’s guru is atma. It’s like a code language. Atma’s guru is atma. Or eventually in practical sense on day to day basis, atma has to become his own spiritual master. Not that he ceases to be disciple, he continues to be a disciple and simultaneously he acts like his own guru, spiritual master. So, he plays two roles simultaneously. He continues to be disciple of his guru and also becomes his own guru, understand.
Guru also is that person who knows hita-ahita, what is beneficial, what is good for me and what is bad for me. One who knows this is spiritual master. So, becoming your own guru means you will have to think also, what is good for me and what is not good for me. Use the power of discrimination and chose to do the right things and follow those rights things.
Srila Prabhupada wanted his disciples to become independently thoughtful. Not always becoming over dependent on others spiritual master, siksha guru there are various kinds of gurus they keep guiding us, they are our friends. But ultimately the ground reality is we become mature, we grow up, we become responsible. We become independently thoughtful and remind ourselves do this, don’t do this. Like you are becoming your own spiritual master.
So, like here in Bhagavatam part of the verse which talks about ātmano gurur ātmaiva, atma is guru of atma. You are your own guru; you should be playing that role. Similar thing Lord has also said in Bhagavad-Gita. Just for your information, this portion in Bhagavatam which we just read is Uddhava Gita. Lord Krsna gave instructions to Uddhava, that is Uddhava-Gita. There is Bhagavad Gita, where Lord Krsna gave instructions to Arjuna. In there also in 6th chapter Lord instructed or advised to Arjuna,
uddhared ātmanātmānaṁ nātmānam avasādayet
ātmaiva hyātmano bandhur ātmaiva ripur ātmanaḥ[BG 6.5]
uddhared means to lift yourself up or liberate yourself up. Who will lift you up? You have to become your own lifter. You have lift yourself up, you have to make yourself free from bindings.
Make sure you yourself do not become the cause of your fall down or bondage or destruction. In the 6th chapter Lord is advising, that you have to take responsibility take charge of your own life.
uddhared ātmanātmānaṁ nātmānam, you have to lift yourself.
So, second part of the shloka is, ātmaiva hyātmano bandhur ātmaiva ripur ātmanaḥ.
Lord makes the statement, atma is friend of atma. Make sure atma does not become enemy of atma. Make your atma or yourself your friend and do not make yourself your enemy.
What Lord wants to say here? Atma is friend of atma. Here He is referring to mind. Make the mind your friend. Let your mind be your soul’s friend, make sure your mind doesn't act like your enemy. Of course, the intelligence is also part of yourself, part of your subtle body- mind, intelligence and false ego is subtle body. Here the intelligence could act like a friend. Mind will act as friend if mind listens to intelligence and you have to be intelligent. By intelligence one has power of discrimination. This is good for me and this is not good for you, who tells you? Your intelligence tells you; discrimination is possible with the help of intelligence. Intelligence is also part of yourself, or that is also your atma. Atma intelligence has to tell mind atma- do this and don’t do this.
So, if you are independently thoughtful, intelligent or you have sharp intelligence then the mind will give direction or we could also say mind will become disciple of intelligence. Intelligence becomes guru and instructs the mind, “Do this and don’t do this.” So, like this we become our own guru. Intelligence becomes our guru or mind becomes our guru, subtle part of our self. That way we stay Krsna conscious, that way we keep chanting with attention and we lift ourselves up.
Of course, ultimately Krsna remains our guru, krishnam vande jagatgurum. We are talking about our intelligence becoming our mind’s guru. Our mind becomes our guru, our friend. But then we have to get that intelligence to guide us to become our guru. Where that matured intelligence or thoughtfulness comes from? That comes from our own guru and ultimately from Krsna.
dadami buddhi-yogam tam
yena mam upayanti te [BG 10.10]
Those who endeavor to serve Me, remember Me all the time. They also want to serve Me without motivation all the time. Those who are busy like this, wanting to serve all the time without motivation. To such people I give intelligence so that person can come to Me. You could see the source of intelligence is Lord and guru is between you and Krsna and he is providing us intelligence and guiding us and feeding us and respecting us on behalf of the Lord.
Everyone does remain our guru. Krsna remains our guru our initiating spiritual master remains our guru. Other spiritual masters are our guru. But in the midst of all of them at the ground level that is what Krsna is talking to Uddhava. You have to become your own guru also. So, you have listen to your mind, intelligence and that way listen to Lord in the heart and listen to your guru or remind yourself about the guru’s instruction.
And play role of ātmano gurur ātmaiva, atma is guru of atma. Krsna is that guru, your spiritual master is that guru, you also have to become you own guru. And if you do not endeavor or become you own guru, then you may get disconnected. You may be short-circuited. Krsna is where He is and your guru is where he is but you are doing your own thing.
Your mind is your enemy. You are listening to your mind then you are into, “oh, I think, oh according to me” this is gambling, mental speculation. You are not following one of the regulative principles. Your false ego is in action. That means you have not remained your own guru. You are not reminding yourself. You are not instructing your own self.
Bhaktivinoda Thakur he advices, you should keep your mind in control and you should remember the instructions of the spiritual master and ultimately of Lord. Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur, says to control the mind, to tame the mind you should beat the mind with broom. You may have to do that repeatedly. In the morning take the shoe and beat the mind till it becomes obedient and willing to listen to you.
Here, Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur says use the broom, use the shoe, this should be taken as use your brain, use your intelligence. Let intelligence beat your mind. It’s not just physically or literally lifting the broom or taking the shoe and beating your mind. Here intelligence is acting your own guru if you are listening to intelligence, which you have received from your guru and Gauranga. Intelligence keeps guiding your mind and in that sense, you are acting as your own spiritual master while keeping intact your relation with your spiritual master. You don’t have to abandon your spiritual master, oh now I am my own spiritual master. I don’t care, I don’t need. That is not the case that Lord is talking to Uddhava. You have to become your own guru means you have to remind yourself about your guru’s instruction.
This is thought for the day you could read that verse from a Bhagavatam, Krsna’s instruction to you is become your own guru, grow up, take charge of your life, become responsible. Keep guiding yourself. All your actions should be intelligently taken as per the instruction given by your guru and Gauranga in most responsible manner. You are disciple and you are guru at the same time. You could further discuss this point in temple istagosthi, in bhakti vriksha get-togethers. You could think discuss and share your realizations about this point, how to become your own guru. It’s very beneficial if you take up this role of your own guru.