17th July 2020

Guru - An ocean of mercy!

Hare Krishna! We have participants from 781 locations. Thank you for observing Caturmasya and chanting extra rounds on Ekadasi yesterday. As you have chanted you would have become happy. You must have experienced bliss. Like when we eat, nobody has to tell us that we have enjoyed the meal. sei annamrita pao (prasāda prayer)

rāja-vidyā rāja-guhyaṁ pavitram idam uttamam pratyakṣāvagamaṁ dharmyaṁ su-sukhaṁ kartum avyayam

Translation This knowledge is the king of education, the most secret of all secrets. It is the purest knowledge, and because it gives direct perception of the self by realization, it is the perfection of religion. It is everlasting, and it is joyfully performed. (BG. 9.2)

Similarly, Nobody has to tell us that we have become happy while chanting. The Lord's devotional service is very pleasing to perform. When we render devotional service then we become blissful. As we do sadhana, our śraddha (faith) increases and we move towards nishtha (loyalty). Then we have to further move towards prema (love).

Śrila Vishwanath Cakravarti Thakura ki jai!

Śrila Vishwanath Cakravarti Thakura was a great ācārya and nitya mukta. The Lord's associates appear as ācāryas, like Śrila Vishwanath Cakravarti Thakura. He has composed Gurvastakam. We sing this at the time of mangala arati.

vande guroḥ śrī-caraṇāravindam

The Gurvastakam was attracting my mind when we were singing it in today's mangala arati. This is the composition and emotions of Śrila Vishwanath Cakravarti Thakura in which he glorified the spiritual master. We need to sing it understanding its meaning. One understanding is that it is the glorification of a spiritual master.

saḿsāra-dāvānala-līḍha-loka- trāṇāya kāruṇya-ghanāghanatvam prāptasya kalyāṇa-guṇārṇavasya vande guroḥ śrī-caraṇāravindam

Translation The spiritual master is receiving benediction from the ocean of mercy. Just as a cloud pours water on a forest fire to extinguish it, so the spiritual master delivers the materially afflicted world by extinguishing the blazing fire of material existence. I offer my respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of such a spiritual master, who is an ocean of auspicious qualities. (Verse 1, Sri Gurvastakam)

We say that we worship the lotus feet of Guru. How is the Guru? He is gunarnava, arnava means ocean. Guru is the ocean of qualities. He has mainly mentioned mercy in the first verse. The whole world is blazing with fire and who will extinguish it? Guru's mercy can extinguish it and we can eventually become liberated. If there is a forest fire then it can't be extinguished with a bucket of water. At such times, we need ghanaghanatvam, water pouring clouds to extinguish the forest fire, davanala, anala means fire. In the same way, whatever fire is there in our lives can be extinguished by the Guru's mercy.

mahāprabhoḥ kīrtana-nṛtya-gīta- vāditra-mādyan-manaso rasena romāñca -kampāśru-tarańga-bhājo vande guroḥ śrī-caraṇāravindam

Translation Chanting the holy name, dancing in ecstasy, singing, and playing musical instruments, the spiritual master is always gladdened by the sankirtana movement of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Because he is relishing the mellows of pure devotion within his mind, sometimes his bodily hairs stand on end, he feels quivering in his body, and tears flow from his eyes like waves. I offer my respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of such a spiritual master. (Verse 2, Sri Gurvastakam)

In the second verse, he is mentioning kirtana, dance, instruments being played and ecstatic symptoms like shivering, crying which can be seen when Gurus perform kirtana. Mahāprabhu performed kirtana and our gurus and ācāryas are following Him in the disciplic succession and teaching everyone to follow. Ecstatic sankirtana and emotions while performing kirtana are being mentioned over here.

śrī-vigrahārādhana-nitya-nānā- śṛńgāra-tan-mandira-mārjanādau yuktasya bhaktāḿś ca niyuñjato 'pi vande guroḥ śrī-caraṇāravindam

Translation The spiritual master is always engaged in the temple worship of Sri Sri Radha and Krsna. He also engages his disciples in such worship. They dress the Deities in beautiful clothes and ornaments, clean Their temple, and perform other similar worship of the Lord. I offer my respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of such a spiritual master. (Verse 3, Sri Gurvastakam)

In the third verse, Śrila Vishwanath Cakravarti Thakura mentions Deity worship. Spiritual master engages everyone in the service of Deities, cleaning of a temple, dressing of Deities, etc. We are also known as the 'kitchen religion'. Wherever there are Deities, there will be a kitchen where 56 bhoga is being prepared and offered to the Deities. Deity worship is incomplete without kirtana and dance. Guru and ācāryas themselves worship Deities and engage others in Their worship and other activities. There might be Radha Krsna, Gaura Nitai or Jagannatha Baladeva Subhadra in the centre and everyone else engages in their service.

catur-vidha-śrī-bhagavat-prasāda- svādv-anna-tṛptān hari-bhakta-sańghān kṛtvaiva tṛptiḿ bhajataḥ sadaiva vande guroḥ śrī-caraṇāravindam

Translation The spiritual master is always offering Krishna four kinds of delicious food [analyzed as that which is licked, chewed, drunk, and sucked]. When the spiritual master sees that the devotees are satisfied by eating bhagavat-prasada, he is satisfied. I offer my respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of such a spiritual master. (Verse 4, Sri Gurvastakam)

In the fourth verse, catur-vidha, vidha means kinds. There are 4 methods of honouring prasāda - licking, chewing drinking, and sucking and that food is offered to the Lord. When they see others offering and honouring prasāda then spiritual masters are pleased.

śrī-rādhikā-mādhavayor apāra- mādhurya-līlā guṇa-rūpa-nāmnām prati-kṣaṇāsvādana-lolupasya vande guroḥ śrī-caraṇāravindam

Translation The spiritual master is always eager to hear and chant about the unlimited conjugal pastimes of Sri Sri Radhika and Madhava, and about Their qualities, names, and forms. The spiritual master aspires to relish these at every moment. I offer my respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of such a spiritual master. (Verse 5, Sri Gurvastakam)

In the next verse, it has been mentioned that spiritual masters keep on discussing Radha Krsna's name, form, qualities and pastimes and share with their disciples. This is their number one activity. prati-kshanasvadana-lolupasya, they relish hearing and chanting and encourage others to do the same and relish this nectar.

nikuñja-yūno rati-keli-siddhyai yā yālibhir yuktir apekṣaṇīyā tatrāti-dākṣyād ati-vallabhasya vande guroḥ śrī-caraṇāravindam

Translation The spiritual master is very dear, because he is expert in assisting the gopis, who at different times make different tasteful arrangements for the perfection of Radha and Krishna’s conjugal loving affairs within the groves of Vrindavana. I offer my most humble obeisances unto the lotus feet of such a spiritual master. (Verse 6, Sri Gurvastakam)

Spiritual masters in their spiritual bodies are very vigilant to render various confidential services to the Lord as the Gopīs serve the Lord. Just as there are various arrangements in this world in this sankirtana movement or Deity worship, he engages everyone in the service of the Lord.

sākṣād-dharitvena samasta-śāstrair uktas tathā bhāvyata eva sadbhiḥ kintu prabhor yaḥ priya eva tasya vande guroḥ śrī-caraṇāravindam

Translation The spiritual master is to be honored as much as the Supreme Lord because he is the most confidential servitor of the Lord. This is acknowledged in all revealed scriptures and followed by all authorities. (Verse 7, Sri Gurvastakam)

In the seventh verse, it is mentioned that the spiritual master represents the Lord and therefore is to be honoured as the Lord. This is said in all the scriptures.

yasya deve parā bhaktir yathā deve tathā gurau tasyaite kathitā hy arthāḥ prakāśante mahātmanaḥ

Translation Only unto those great souls who have implicit faith in both the Lord and the spiritual master are all the imports of Vedic knowledge automatically revealed. (Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad 6.23)

One should worship the spiritual master in the same way one worships the Lord. Who is such a spiritual master? kintu prabhor yaḥ priya eva tasya, He is very dear to the Lord. In this way, the spiritual master has been described in both ways, that is saksad-dharitvena, he is the Lord and on the other hand, kintu prabhor yah priya eva tasya, he is very dear to the Lord.

yasya prasādād bhagavat-prasādo yasyāprasādān na gatiḥ kuto 'pi dhyāyan stuvaḿs tasya yaśas tri-sandhyaḿ vande guroḥ śrī-caraṇāravindam

Translation By the mercy of the spiritual master one receives the benediction of Krishna. Without the grace of the spiritual master, one cannot make any advancement. Therefore, I should always remember and praise the spiritual master. At least three times a day I should offer my respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of my spiritual master. (Verse 8, Sri Gurvastakam)

In the last verse, it has been explained that if we please our spiritual master then we can please the Lord, as the spiritual master is a representative of the Lord and If we don't please our spiritual master, then there is no way forward for us . In such a case, one won't be able to receive the mercy of the Lord and return to Godhead. It is advised that one should remember the spiritual master three times a day. Actually ideally one should remember the spiritual master all the time. Śrila Prabhupāda said, 'My spiritual master is always next to me and guides me.' He always remembered his spiritual master who inspired him to do many things.

We should sing Gurvastakam by understanding its meaning which will benefit us. This way we can please our Guru and the Lord.

Śrila Prabhupāda ki jai!