Let me tell you also that this type of deception, this type of entrapment/problem only happens for those who consider themselves very intelligent, too clever. If you act according to my advice, then you’ll never be deceived like this. First you pray to Sri Krishna that you accept him as your Guru.
And pray to him “If you need to come in a visibly manifest form, then you come in that form and bestow cooling peace to my heart so that I can know that my Guru [who has appeared in a visible form] is that very same parabrahman [absolute truth]. How can I know who is a real sadhu by myself? Even Kalanemi appeared in a Sadhu’s disguise when meeting Hanuman.” Sri Krishna will guide you to where you need to be. We should ask this from Prabhu Sri Krishna.
We shouldn’t just accept a Guru because someone we know told us to, or just due to some influence. The other day someone said to me “I want you to be my Guru” and so I asked him “Why? Why? Is it by seeing my qualities, my form, my knowledge, hearing my lectures?” No. Never accept a Guru based on just these external aspects, because these will all be destroyed in time. However if you feel
“My heart is feeling cooling bliss. I found what I had been looking for. I will attain ultimate success through this Guru”… even then you should stop for a moment! You should still pray to Prabhu Sri Hari and ask “Is this all true? Is this right and what you want for me? And wait for the “Yes” within the heart, the real “Yes.”
Now let me tell you about my own experience with this. When I took shelter of Radhavallabhji, I took this with the permission of Prabhu, of the Lord. Very clearly. Then after this I wasn’t getting the answers to my questions, and so in such a situation it is normal for a disciple to become agitated. We’ll only feel at peace when our questions are answered. So since I was from the sannyasa-marga [Advaitin sannyasa path] and now this [Radhavallabhi] was the parama-rasa path, I wanted to see the siddhanta match, or at least see a suitable response for my questions on siddhanta.
For the tough questions that come up in the Sannyasis’ Vedantic path you really need someone who is a very realised soul, not just anyone. So I was so confused, what do I do and where do I go to resolve all of this? By bhava-avesh [emotive inspiration] Sriji Sri Radha had given me the instruction to become a Radhavallabhi but I still needed this thing, these explanations.
So on the 3rd day I was at Radhavallabh mandir and Gosaiji [Hit Mohit Moral Goswami] mentioned my Guruji’s name [Hit Gaurangi Sharanji] and asked if I had ever met him. I told him “No I haven’t”. Then Goswami said “You must meet him. He’s a rasa-siddha [rasa-perfected] saint of our sampradaya”. Even then upon Goswamiji’s instruction, I came to a private place and I said to Sriji [Sri Radha], “If this is what you want me to do, then you must create the enthusiasm in my heart, inspire me. Then I’ll know it’s your wish”. Then a great anxiety to meet him came within my heart! “I want to meet him quickly! O when can I meet him!?” Then I understood that Sri Radha was giving support to this, to my meeting him. I had gotten my ishta’s order.
So then I went to Laadili-Kunja and knocked on the door a few times. I was sold to him from the very first darshan! His eyes were watering, they were reddened and he was absorbed in Sri Priyaji. I knew everything will be alright now. I did sastanga-dandavat-pranam to him. Hit Gaurangi Sharanji saw my strange appearance; the dress of a Mayavadi/Advaitin Sannyasi, long dreadlocks but adorned with a Radhavallabhi tilak! He gave me respects but also said I should go now and that he’s busy. I was insistent however and kept saying “please Maharajaji, just one minute, just one minute”.
So he agreed and sat me down on an asana with great respect. He honoured me like a Sannyasi. He sat me close to him and asked me “What did you want to talk about?” I told him very briefly how I came from Varanasi, I got Sri Radha’s mercy and I’m now following the Radhavallabh path, but I have many unanswered questions. He said “Come tomorrow and ask me all your questions”. I told him, “Please, No Maharaja, I’m feeling too anxious, how can I wait until tomorrow?” Then Maharajaji held three of the fingers of my right hand and lovingly stroked them and said “Don’t you worry. Sriji is going to look after everything.” Then I had no questions left at all! [heartily laughing].
This is the prataap [power] of the Guru. Guru destroys the doubts even before formal Guru Diksha. My heart was surrendered. Whatever you see now, whatever I can talk about Vrindavan-rasa, it’s the prasadi-remnants that I’ve taken from him. So whatever is Bhagavatik [inspired by Bhagavan], there’ll never be doubt in it. And that’s why when I found my Guru like this, in this way, I find that not even one word of his [My Gurudev’s] is open to being doubted. Whatever he says nourished my heart, gave coolness to my heart. When I heard people elsewhere saying “In our sampradaya it’s like this, or it’s like that”…then I wasn’t sure, but whenever Gurudev spoke I got full satisfaction. So if Prabhu [Sri Hari] isn’t the one who makes the arrangement for you to meet Sri Guru, then you’ll still feel lost, because finding such a calibre of Guru, realised and free of worldly attachment is very difficult. If one isn’t realised, how can they help you become realised? Experience of Ultimatereality isn’t bestowed just by having knowledge of Books. So these days, Bhagavan’s lila is that out of many thousands, hardly one has Bhagavad-prapti [Attainment of the Absolute] as their goal. Gurus these days just learn how to do satsangh [give lectures] and through this they can get some money, people are pleased, they’ll get some honour, some respect and this goes on very nicely for them. And those people who are serious about spiritual life, they gave up all this material rubbish even in the stage of sadhana! What to speak about when they became realised. All this worldly gain is garbage. The realisation in the heart of a realised saint will forcefully come into your heart when they speak and you’ll realise that “This IS the truth!
Performing unalloyed Bhajan is the truth!” You won’t need to make great endeavours to try to understand this intellectually by your own efforts. Their words have so much power because it’s coming straight from the practical experience of their heart. And so their words will sting your heart and intoxicate it and perform bhakti just how they want you to. This is the power and svarupa of the Guru. Let’s not get confused by hearing the unevolved opinions we hear here and there. If it’s not working out for us in some path, under someone’s guidance then we should give our mental respects, create some distance between them and move on forward spiritually…but with Prabhu [Sri Hari’s] consent. With the Lord’s consent, you’ll feel good within the heart as you take steps forward.
A sincere heart will always get signs/indications from Bhagavan as to whether they are walking on the right path or the wrong one. If you feel fear, worries on a path then you should understand that “Something isn’t quite right here for me” and where you feel that “Even if I run with my eyes closed, I will get to my destination” then know that your path is totally clear. Our human life is way too precious. If the purpose for which we made a relation with the Guru isn’t being fulfilled, then run to wherever it IS being fulfilled. Guru is waiting for you there too, in another form. There’s only one tattva [absolute reality], not 100 or 200 tattvas.
Everywhere there is only one absolute reality, there is no other. If we stay stuck at the place where we no longer have shraddha [faith], then our devotional life will suffer, because we won’t be able to follow the bhajan path and we’ll start seeing faults and criticizing, making offences. Instead of this fault-seeing [dosh-darshan], go wherever you see divinity [bhagavad-darshan]. This spiritual path isn’t for weaklings who give up and just stay miserable where they are. When you find the place where you get supreme peace, then you can sit down there and stay there. You can declare “Yes! Now I have found my place”.
Srila Prabhupada himself says:
“Gentlemen, the offering of such an homage as has been arranged this evening to the acaryadeva is not a sectarian concern, for when we speak of the fundamental principle of gurudeva or acaryadeva, we speak of something that is of universal application. There does not arise any question of discriminating my guru from yours or anyone else’s. There is only one guru, who appears in an infinity of forms to teach you, me and all others.”Srila A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami, Feb 1936, Bombay, India
Contact Hari Radhacharan das for more on Sri Harivansh and the Radhavallabha Sampradaya.
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