śrī śrī guru gaurāṅga jayataḥ!
nitya-līlā praviṣṭa oṁ viṣṇupāda
Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Prajñāna Keśava Gosvāmī Mahārāja
Inspired by and under the guidance of
Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja
Śrī Guru Is Present In All Things
by Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda
Question 1: Are genuine saints (sādhus) respected in this world?
Answer: In a world full of duplicity, only duplicitous persons are honoured. Genuine saints, who do not lead the masses along the wrong path, are not respected in this world. In modern times, simply getting cheated by those who mislead the masses through a pretentious form of spiritual discourse has somehow emerged as the religion of the age (yuga-dharma). And because the true saints wish to expose wicked and unholy persons (asādhus), those same unholy cheaters bewilder the masses by condemning the true saints as unholy, duplicitous and thieves themselves in a ploy to secure their escape. The illusory potency of the Lord, māyā, never allows the jīvas to be sincere (niṣkapaṭa) and to that end she has even devised various expert strategies for depriving the jīvas of the association of genuine sādhus.
Question 2: Is it possible to have darśana of the Supreme Lord without first having darśana of śrī guru?
Answer: Definitely not. Śrī guru is the fully transcendent (aprākṛta) temple of Śrī Bhagavān, and Bhagavān always resides within that temple. Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who is controlled by love, manifests Himself within sādhu-guru and remains there always. It is written in the scriptures:
śrutim apare smṛtim itare
bhāratam anye bhajantu bhava-bhītāḥ
aham iha nandaṁ vande
yasyālīnde paraṁ brahma
Others may serve the Śrutīs, Smṛtīs, the Mahābhārata and other scriptures, fearing material existence, but I shall worship Nanda Mahārāja, who is so great that the Supreme Brahman, the Absolute Truth Himself, plays in his courtyard.
Many people present themselves as being highly eager to have darśana of Bhagavān, but they do not understand that darśana of Bhagavān is only possible through darśanaguru. Without having darśana of śrī guru, having darśana of Bhagavān is not even imaginable. Even bhakti herself does not begin to manifest if the entity known as śrī guru is not present. of
Śrī guru is the sole medium by which we are connected to Śrī Kṛṣṇa and given direct audience of His lotus feet. And the way Śrī Kṛṣna demonstrates His infinite mercy is by sending the greatest Vaiṣṇavas, His dear-most servants, to this world. Indeed, śrī guruśrī gurudeva. is the personification of Kṛṇṣa’s infinite mercy. Only he who teaches us about serving the Deity and the Holy Name is
It is not sufficient to serve śrī guru only with awe and reverence from a distance. We must serve śrī guru with intimacy, that is, with deep love and faith (viśrambha guru-sevā), just as Śrīla Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī intimately served Śrī Svarūpa Dāmodara Prabhu.
Question 3: What will happen to me if I forget śrī guru?
Answer: The moment I deviate from śrī guru, the moment I become forgetful of he who keeps me attracted to his lotus feet at every single moment, I will, without a doubt, diverge from the Truth. And when I am thus separated from śrī guru, countless misgivings and deficiencies will engulf me. I shall simply spend my time bathing when I’m hot and bundling up when I’m cold. In other words, I will become more anxious to arrange for my own comfort than to serve śrī gurudeva.
If at the beginning of every year, every month, every day and every moment, I do not remember my gurudeva, who saves me from absorption in that which has no connection to my constitutional nature or are separate from kṛṣṇa-bhakti, then I will definitely fall into greater and greater difficulty. I will try to present myself as guru and will be swallowed up by the ill-mentality of believing that others should worship me as such. This alone is dvitīya abhiniveśa – infatuation with the worthless purposes of our unnatural state. To come and offer guru-pūjā just for one day is insufficient. It is our duty to serve gurudeva at every moment.
Question 4: Who sees shortcomings in the Vaiṣṇavas?
Answer: Only those who are averse to hari-bhajana, and who are purely dependent on their material senses – their eyes, ears, nose and so on – which are doomed to perceive only the external aspect of things, look for faults in the Vaiṣṇavas. In Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā, Śrī Kṛṣṇa has declared that a devotee of the Lord is never touched by inauspiciousness; he never perishes – na me bhaktaḥ praṇaśyati (Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā 9.31).
How can those who are engaged in exclusive bhajana of the Lord ever become degraded? Verily they attain only the greatest welfare. Because my vision is imperfect, I see faults in others. Thus I am unable to attain my own welfare.
If I become completely dependent on the observations and perceptions of my senses, then I will be deprived of service to Adhokṣaja – the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is beyond the reach of the senses – and I will be deprived of service to śrī gurudeva. It is because of my own dismal state that I allow my mind to happily dwell on the misfortune of others. I am only so attracted to finding faults in others because I myself am full of faults. If I am able to achieve my own welfare, then no time will remain for seeing faults in others.
Question 5: Is śrī guru present in everything?
Answer: Yes. The ācāryas who comprise our āśraya-jātīya guru-varga* are present in various forms in order to bestow mercy upon us. All these forms are manifestations of śrī gurudeva himself – he who imparts transcendental knowledge (divya-jñāna). The image of the jagad-guru is reflected in various idealistic entities. My śrī gurudeva is being reflected in every entity. The viśaya-jātīya aspect of Kṛṣṇa (Kṛṣṇa as the object of love) is one half of the Absolute Reality. The other half is the āśraya-jātīya aspect (wherein love of God takes shelter). The completeness of the Absolute Reality exists in the variegatedness of the transcendental pastimes of these two aspects. The complete perception of the viśaya-jātīya aspect is Śrī Kṛṣṇa, and the complete perception of the āśraya-jātīya aspect is my śrī gurudeva. The transcendental reflection of the āśraya-jātīya aspect in all the conscious cosmic manifestation is the manifestation of my gurudeva alone, in diverse forms. He who teaches us at every moment that we should engage in serving Bhagavān for our entire life is certainly śrī gurudeva. This very same gurudeva is reflected in the heart of every living being. He is present in every single entity in his āśraya-jātīya aspect.
* The line of pure gurus in whose hearts Śrī Bhagavān resides
Question 6: When does someone attain a sphūrti (momentary vision) of Bhagavān in his heart?
Answer: By good fortune, someone may perceive śrī gurudeva wandering in his heart – that is to say, he may have darśana of śrī gurudeva in his heart. Only in such a pure heart does the momentary vision (sphūrti) of Bhagavān take place. There is no other means to attain service to the Supreme Lord than serving and pleasing śrī guru, he who inspires us to engage in serving Śrī Bhagavān by all means and in every activity.
Question 7: If I do not completely surrender to the lotus feet of śrī guru, am I simply deceiving myself?
Answer: Definitely. I may consider that I have received mantra from guru, but in real terms, if I am not prepared to accept full shelter at the lotus feet of śrī gurudeva, then to whatever extent I act with duplicity, I will be cheated.
Translated by the Rays of the Harmonist team
from Śrīla Prabhupādera Upadeśāmṛta
Questions re-numbered for this on-line presentation
Śrīla Prabhupādera Upadeśāmṛta is a compilation of Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda’s instructions in question-and-answer form.