Why take shelter of a Spiritual Master

Jaanvi, 19th January 2015

Dear all,

Many people in this world have no spiritual master, but are following all the good qualities of human being, moreover, helping needy people, social service, etc. Also, visiting temple and listening to spiritual talks. Now, where will they go after leaving this material body?

Sincerely,
Jaanvi

 

Priya Sutradhar, 19th January 2015

Dear Jaanvi mataji,

Hare Krsna. Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga! All glories to Prabhupad!
Gu means darkness and ru means brightness or knowledge.

The person who helps us to overcome the ignorance of darkness and bring us to the light of knowledge, he is called guru. It is said in Padma purana, that the guru by his power and devotion is capable of rendering a person absolute knowledge and purify him.

And lord Sri Krsna instructs in Bhagawad Gita, if you want to come to Me, if you want to know about Me, first of all go to a bonafide Guru. And if you don’t approach a spiritual master and try to learn scriptures like Gita own your own then all your efforts will prove to be futile.

HG Sriman Sankarshan Das Maharaj explains that “in Krishna consciousness we have a tripod, the three basic legs of bhakti that will solidly situate you on the spiritual platform. They are described as follow by Srila Prabhupada in Chapter Six of the Nectar of Devotion:
(1) Accepting the shelter of the lotus feet of a bona fide spiritual master.
(2) Becoming initiated by the spiritual master and learning how to discharge devotional service from him.
(3) Obeying the orders of the spiritual master with faith and devotion.

All the other items of bhakti are automatically included in these three principles. So if you will simply take shelter of the spiritual master, get initiated by him and always obey him, you will quickly and easily be elevated to the transcendental platform of pure devotional service. In other words, Lord Sri Krishna will become your property”

So dear mataji, in simple words we cannot be liberated from material bandage without the mercy of our spiritual master.

Even if you cannot undergo a formal ceremony, if the spiritual master accepts you and you follow his instructions, that’s initiation. Srila Prahbupada did not get formally initiated until after twelve years after accepting his spiritual master, yet he says from the first meeting, the actual initiation took place, as he accepted his spiritual master within his heart and his instructions as his life and soul.

And as far as the good deeds you mentioned are concerned,everyone is rewarded or punished according to his karma. And if the activities are in Krsna consciousness, Lord Sri Krsna says that anyone who renders even a small amount of service unto Him, it doesn’t go in vain. In this or next life Krsna blesses Him with sufficient intelligent and also makes situation favorable for Him by letting him take birth in a high or vaishnava family so that He can attain the Supreme.

I however have no knowledge. I just made an insignificant attempt to answer and shared what I have learnt from senior devotees. Forgive for any offense.

your servant,
Priya

Yamini Narang, 20th January 2015

Hare Krishna!

Please accept my humble obeisances at your feet.
All glories to Srila Gurudeva and Srimati Guru Mataji.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Dear HG Jaanvi Mataji,

First of all, I totally agree with what Priya said just except one thing that she mentioned.

She mentioned that we are rewarded or punished because of our karma. Actually prabhupada says that we are not rewarded or punished, we get reciprocation to our own deeds. Whatever we do, we get reciprocation of that.

And coming to your question, I know a prabhu he’s actually a very good human being, always eager to help others, social services, very positive, no grudges for anyone etc. In other words a very good person. He’s my uncle and his wife is a very good devotee so once we had a programme at some devotee’s place so she asked this question to the speaker “prabhuji, my husband is a very good person but not a krsna devotee so where will he go after leaving his body?”
And prabhuji said that if you’re having a very positive attitude, very down to earth attitude,you’re very good etc. But you are not serving the Lord then after some births you’ll get to know about the Supreme or as u have a very much service attitude so may be by Krsna’s arrangement you sometime may get a chance to serve a Vaishnava, a pure soul then by his blessings you’ll for sure become a good devotee someday may be in this birth or some other. Prabhuji mentioned a quote by HH Radhanath Swami in this regard “a devotee’s anger can turn all your good qualities bad” so prabhu said the same applies the other way.. If you can serve a Vaishnava and please him his blessings can turn all your bad qualities good. So we should grab any opportunity to serve devotees with both of our hands.

In the end we all have to return back home, Back to God head, we have to go into our original identity, the eternal one. So it depends on our karmas when we get that wonderful opportunity to be able to try to go back home. We are really blessed that we got Srila Prabhupada, the savior of this world. We should follow him very sincerely. He has put in a lot of effort to revolutionize this world and we all should assist him and his wonderful disciples in spreading Lord Chaitanya’s message to the fallen souls in this world and make this Hare Krishna Movement even more successful.

I’m the most fallen soul on this planet. Just tried to share a very little knowledge I had. Please forgive for any offenses committed.

your insignificant servant,
Yamini.

 

Sudarshan Das, 20th January 2015

Hare Krishna,

Such a wonderful question and such wonderful replies!!

Priya Mataji has very beautifully answered the question. I just wanted to mention that someone without a Spiritual Master is like a dog with no master. They do not have the care and protection that a dog with a master has. So getting initiate is a must have. However for those who were not able to attain the perfection stage they are not losers. This is the beauty of putting efforts into a Spiritual goal.

Please refer to the following verses from the 6th Chapter:

Question:
Bg 6.37 — Arjuna said: O Kṛṣṇa, what is the destination of the unsuccessful transcendentalist, who in the beginning takes to the process of self-realization with faith but who later desists due to worldly-mindedness and thus does not attain perfection in mysticism?
Bg 6.38 — O mighty-armed Kṛṣṇa, does not such a man, who is bewildered from the path of transcendence, fall away from both spiritual and material success and perish like a riven cloud, with no position in any sphere?
Bg 6.39 — This is my doubt, O Kṛṣṇa, and I ask You to dispel it completely. But for You, no one is to be found who can destroy this doubt.

Answer:
Bg 6.40 — The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Son of Pṛthā, a transcendentalist engaged in auspicious activities does not meet with destruction either in this world or in the spiritual world; one who does good, My friend, is never overcome by evil.
Bg 6.41 — The unsuccessful yogī, after many, many years of enjoyment on the planets of the pious living entities, is born into a family of righteous people, or into a family of rich aristocracy.
Bg 6.42 — Or [if unsuccessful after long practice of yoga] he takes his birth in a family of transcendentalists who are surely great in wisdom. Certainly, such a birth is rare in this world.
Bg 6.43 — On taking such a birth, he revives the divine consciousness of his previous life, and he again tries to make further progress in order to achieve complete success, O son of Kuru.
Bg 6.44 — By virtue of the divine consciousness of his previous life, he automatically becomes attracted to the yogic principles – even without seeking them. Such an inquisitive transcendentalist stands always above the ritualistic principles of the scriptures.
Bg 6.45 — And when the yogī engages himself with sincere endeavor in making further progress, being washed of all contaminations, then ultimately, achieving perfection after many, many births of practice, he attains the supreme goal.

your Servant,
Sudarshan Das

 

Haldhar Das, 20th January 2015

Hare Krsna mataji,

Qs. Many people in this world have no spiritual master, but are following all the good qualities of human being, moreover, helping needy people, social service, etc. Also, visiting temple and listening to spiritual talks.

It’s a very nice question and personally I feel it’s relevant to everyone as everyone thinks himself the epitome of good qualities. Regarding visiting a temple actually and spiritual master importance, one can answer by pondering over what he was before coming in contact with Iskcon devotees and what he is now.

Some years before I got an acquaintance with such a person, who always used to talk of organizations doing social services etc. and he used to regularly donate there. I wanted to help him in diverting his energy to the source of every energy, so I became friendly with him, with time made him understand the real cause, the best welfare activity, that prevalent social service these days or such welfare activities targeting the body or the outer shirt only whereas our various welfare activities are for the eternal soul which by serving the suffering soul are serving the body automatically like Food For Life Program, Bhakti Vedanta Hospital, Gurukul Institutes etc. So gradually gradually he was convinced and somehow I get him enrolled to “Discover Yourself Course” and now he is not only a regular donor but also fortunately listens to spiritual talks from pure devotee only.

So only going to temple(which one? Following the path shown by acharyas?) does not make one devotee, it’s the motive what one has signifies his real position and regarding listening to spiritual talks Sanatana Goswami says hearing from a non-devotee is like drinking milk being touched by a serpent. So we have to see from the light of the scriptures what a good human being is. Scriptures says, human life starts from enquiring about one’s real position

By chance, I was today morning reading from Srimad Bhagvatam Canto 4th , chapter 25th and verse 5th is answering your question fully on the subject matter i.e. fruitve activities and spiritual master. So I am putting the same below for reference:

While the princes were undergoing severe austerities in the water, their father was performing different types of fruitive activities. At this time the great saint Narada, master and teacher of all spiritual life, became very compassionate upon the King and decided to instruct him about spiritual life. (So we should be compassionate also towards such people)

Narada Muni asked King Pracinabarhisat: My dear King, what do you desire to achieve by performing these fruitive activities? The chief aim of life is to get rid of all miseries and enjoy happiness, but these two things cannot be realized by fruitive activity. (we may too ask as per time , place & circumstances what do they desire to achieve by these fruitive activities)

“The King replied: O great soul, Nārada, my intelligence is entangled in fruitive activities; therefore I do not know the ultimate goal of life. Kindly instruct me in pure knowledge so that I can get out of the entanglement of fruitive activities.” (This shows that such people may be ripe for injecting Krsna consciousness in case they have not become too arrogant with doer mentality or they are doing the same in ignorance or without any ill motive etc.)

Sri Narottama dasa Thakura has sung:
sat-sanga chadi kainu asate vilasa
te-karane lagila ye karma-bandha-phansa

As long as a person is entangled in fruitive activities, he is bound to accept one body after another. This is called karma-banda-phansa, entanglement in fruitive activities. It does not matter whether one is engaged in pious or impious activities, for both are causes for further entanglement in material bodies. By pious activities one can take birth in a rich family and get a good education and a beautiful body, but this does not mean that the distresses of life are ultimately eliminated. In the Western countries it is not unusual for one to take birth in a rich aristocratic family, nor is it unusual for one to have a good education and a very beautiful body, but this does not mean that Westerners are free from the distresses of life. Although at the present moment the younger generation in Western countries has sufficient education, beauty and wealth, and although there is enough food, clothing, and facilities for sense gratification, they are in distress. Indeed, they are so distressed that they become hippies, and the laws of nature force them to accept a wretched life. Thus they go about unclean and without shelter or food, and they are forced to sleep in the street. It can be concluded that one cannot become happy by simply performing pious activities. It is not a fact that those who are born with a silver spoon in their mouth are free from the material miseries of birth, old age, disease and death. The conclusion is that one cannot be happy by simply executing pious or impious activities. Such activities simply cause entanglement and transmigration from one body to another. Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura calls this karma-bandha-phansa.

King Pracinabarhisat admitted this fact and frankly asked Narada Muni how he could get out of this karma-bandha-phansa, entanglement in fruitive activities. This is actually the stage of knowledge indicated in the first verse of Vedanta-sutra: athāto brahma-jijnasa. When one actually reaches the platform of frustration in an attempt to discharge karma-bandha-phansa, he inquires about the real value of life, which is called brahma-jijnasa. In order to inquire about the ultimate goal of life, the Vedas (Mundaka Upaniṣad 11.2.12) enjoin, tad-vijnanartham sa gurum evabhigacchet: “In order to understand the transcendental science, one must approach a bona fide spiritual master.”

King Pracinabarhisat found the best spiritual master, Narada Muni, and he therefore asked him about that knowledge by which one can get out of the entanglement of karma-bandha-phansa, fruitive activities. This is the actual business of human life. Jivasya tattva-jijnasa nartho yas ceha karmabhihḥ. As stated in the Second Chapter of the First Canto of Srimad Bhagvatam (1.2.10), a human being’s only business is inquiring from a bona fide spiritual master about extrication from the entanglement of karma-bandha-phansa.

Qs. Where will they go after leaving their material body?
It’s already answered above. But we may ask them, where are you heading to (in a mood to help them)? Like Narada Muni being compassionate asking above – “My dear King, what do you desire to achieve by performing these fruitive activities?”

Thank you.

your servant,
Haldhar Das

 

Jaanvi, 21st January 2015

Dear Matajis and Prabhujis,

Thanks for sharing all your answers, very enlightening and helpful.

Sincerely,
Jaanvi

 

Sridhar Das, 22nd January 2015

Hare Krishna Mataji!
Please accept my humble obeisances!

The judging factor for whether an activity is spiritual or not, is:

dharmaḥ svanuṣṭhitaḥ puṁsāṁ
viṣvaksena-kathāsu yaḥ
notpādayed yadi ratiṁ
śrama eva hi kevalam

“The occupational activities a man performs according to his own position are only so much useless labor if they do not provoke attraction for the message of the Personality of Godhead.” (SB 1.2.8)

Social service, planting trees, feeding the poor, constructing hospitals, digging wells, etc. are great pious acts!

However, the Chaitanya Charitamrita states:

kṛṣṇa-bhakti-rasa-bhāvitā matiḥ
krīyatāṁ yadi kuto ’pi labhyate
tatra laulyam api mūlyam ekalaṁ
janma-koṭi-sukṛtair na labhyate

“Pure devotional service in Kṛṣṇa consciousness cannot be had even by pious activity in hundreds and thousands of lives. It can be attained only by paying one price — that is, intense greed to obtain it. If it is available somewhere, one must purchase it without delay.” (CC Madhya 8/70)

On Jan 20th Srila Gurudeva clarified that if one accepts Srila Prabhupada’s teachings and neglects initiation, that’s committing the third offence: Disobeying the orders of the spiritual master. Initiation is must therefore!

In fact it has repeatedly been emphasized Srila Gurudeva, The tripod of bhakti from The Nectar of Devotion:

1) Taking shelter of a bonafide spiritual master
2) Getting initiated by the spiritual master
3) Following the instructions given by the spiritual master

It is IMPOSSIBLE to attain attraction for the message of Godhead without surrender to the instructions of a spiritual master. Any tasks therefore not directed towards surrender unto the lotus feet of Lord Krishna’s beloved devotee is srama eva hi kevalam, useless labor.

In fact Srila Gurudeva has repeatedly also emphasizes every now and then from the Adi Purana:

ye me bhakta-janah partha
na me bhaktas ca te janah
mad-bhaktanam ca ye bhaktas
te me bhakta-tama matah

“Those who are My devotees are not My devotees, but those who are the devotees of My devotees are My devotees.”

Reading with Srila Gurudeva and Srimati Gurumataji on 20th, we also read (from SB 2/4/10 purport):

“Therefore, not only is a devotee of the Lord more powerful than the Lord, but also worship of the devotee is considered more effective than direct worship of the Lord (mad-bhakta-pūjābhyadhikā).”

Therefore, if one doesn’t consider it important to surrender to such a surrendered devotee of Krishna, how can he be Krishna’s devotee for he is neglecting Krishna’s most important instructions? To not surrender to bonafide guru means to surrender to maya.

“Out of many millions of wandering living entities, one who is very fortunate gets an opportunity to associate with a bona fide spiritual master by the grace of Kṛṣṇa. By the mercy of both Kṛṣṇa and the spiritual master, such a person receives the seed of the creeper of devotional service.” (CC Madhya 19/151)

Therefore any such person should be considered unfortunate and if favourable, must be approached and offered help, having taken residence at the lotus feet of guru ourself first.

YET, Krishna is tough to be understood. As it was once pointed by His Grace Mahabhagavat Prabhu, who knows how Krishna may promote during death. But this surely is rare.

your servant
Sridhar Das

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Author: Mahabhagavat Das SDA

I am a formally initiated disciple of His Grace Sriman Sankarshan Das Adhikari. My spiritual master was initiated by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada in 1971. He is the author of the famous Ultimate Self Realization Course. Check it out at www.joincourse.com.

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