[ BY SJ. BHAVABANDHACHHID DAS ADHICARY. ]
SREE SAJJANA-TOSHANI OR THE HARMONIST OCTOBER 1929
ON many occasions the first question that we hear from one just stepping into the spiritual world is “What are my duties and how should I go on?” Desiring to lead a religious life he makes a routine of the daily affairs of life and resolves to go on accordingly. The principle is well and good. But before this can be properly followed one thing is to be carefully noted.
In the affairs of this mundane World we notice that a maid is not busy about making a routine of her daily duties as wife before her marriage. At the beginning, the girl and her relatives take care to establish her intimacy with the husband. The first and foremost affair after her arrival at the husband’s house is the establishment of relation with the husband and then she attempts to lead her life of serving her husband and his relations. If one without establishing due relationship with one’s husband, or without getting a husband at all, performs carefully all conjugal affairs after the manner of a harlot having no true aim, then the performance of those affairs does not bestow happiness on the performer but on the contrary takes her to hell, because her efforts are meant for satisfaction of passions. So the proper relationship with the husband should be established at the outset.
God-head is our eternal Lord. The spiritual Guide establishes our proper relationship with the Lord. So the Preceptor is called “the giver of the eternal knowledge of relation.” This eternal knowledge of relation is known as initiation or supreme knowledge.
The girl often imitates to play some part of domestic affairs before the establishment of conjugal relation with her husband. It is nothing but mere imitation, having no real aim, or play with dolls. The girl really cannot serve her husband by playing with dolls. It only gives some temporary and extraneous satisfaction to the girl. Again the domestic works of a harlot, having no relation with husband, are meant for nothing but satisfaction of passions. But each and every daily work of a virtuous wife who realises her relation with her husband being performed with the aim of pleasing her Lord, is legitimate and beneficial and renders the whole family peaceful.
Srila Viswanath Chakrabarti Thakur in his expositions of the Srimad Bhagabatam has shown the great difference that exists between the performance of daily domestic duties by devotees and worldly men. At morn worldly men attend the call of nature, wash hands and mouth, cleanse teeth, take bath, see, hear and talk of diverse things, but all these are for the enjoyment of the material world. The devotees on the other hand perform such works, but these are parts of their devotional services. The performance of domestic affairs by a devotee and a worldly man has no difference in their external appearances, but the difference is only in their internal attachments, devotedness and aim. The person having eternal knowledge of relation with God performs all his works for pleasing the Lord or with the aim of serving the Lord. But worldly people do such works for the satisfaction of their own selfish ends. A virtuous wife combs her hair, dresses herself, cleans the house, cooks food and does such other similar works for the satisfaction of her Lord but a harlot who is given to the satisfaction of her selfish ends does such similar works for satisfying her own.
So our primary object should be the establishment of our relation with the God-head. When the proper relationship is established we shall look to the settlement of our line of service and performance of such service. Realisation of ends cannot be achieved without knowledge of relationship. Again relationship cannot be firmly established without actual realisation of its nature. If a girl does not go to live under her husband’s roof and if after going there she does not serve her lord then her relation and attachment with the husband is not established. When the wife performs the works of her husband’s house sincerely and without sparing any pain, disregarding multifarious wants, disadvantages, diseases and mournings, having a spirit of firmness and attachment, it is only then the guardians and other relatives of the girl learn that the girl’s relation with her husband has been established. After this realisation the purpose of her life is fulfilled.
What does a virtuous wife want? She does not serve her husband for gaining praise from others, nor does she desire satisfaction of her passions by dressing herself. She does all these for the satisfaction of her husband. She wants to serve her lord for his pleasure only. Her requirements are only for the satisfaction of her lord. She delights in serving her lord, she never hankers after the fulfilment of her desires.
The wife of a Brahmin suffering from leprosy was at the head of all virtuous ladies. She served a harlot to please her husband. She stopped the Sun in his course, brought her deceased husband to life and fully performed all the foremost duties. Leaving aside the fulfilment of one’s desires and selfish mundane enjoyment to favour the Lord, is the primary aim of a devotional life.
The first and foremost duty of one seeking Absolute Truth is to place himself under the protection of the true spiritual Guide. Srimad Bhagabatam says he alone is the true Guru who does not only teach and preach but demonstrates practically in his own actions that the true Guru is the truest and dearest servant of the Absolute God-head and His Paraphernalia. He faithfully acts up to what he preaches. He thinks, speaks, acts in terms of pure unalloyed theistic service of the Absolute God-head only; he breathes in devotion and service and his very life is a living and animated example of all-round ideal and perfect service of the supreme God-head and His owns alike for every moment of His eternal life here and after. Such service premises a true, perfect knowledge of the Personal God-head and constant presence before Him. So he is well conversant with the Absolute God-head and his word is quite competent to dispel all darkness of ignorance and clear up all doubts of a sincere seeker and to carry him along to the holy feet of the Absolute God-head. At the time of taking shelter under the true-Guru, the erring judgement of this mundane world hinders the attainment of Real Absolute Truth. The Acharyyas preach that the seeker of Absolute Truth should give up the pseudo-Gurus and place himself at the feet of the real Guru. A seeker of Absolute Truth administering his daily life after the teachings of the true Guru and following his teachings with implicit faith and obedience and unconditional selfless service to him will advance in his devotional life.
The Shastras enjoin that he is the real Acharyya who not only demonstrates practically in his own actions what he teaches and preaches but also makes his disciples to act up faithfully to what he preaches. One who has gone astray is not true Acharyya, one who is greedy, suffers from wants, mourns for loss, does not demonstrate practically what he teaches, is attached to women, has no complete submission and unconditional selfless service to God-head can never be called a spiritual Guide. A devoted poet has written “If the spiritual Guide who is greedy for money and the disciple who is bent on worldly pleasures want to cross this ocean of the world by means of a boat of knowledge as strong as iron, it is sure that both of them will die.”
Some ignorant people are of opinion that the faults of a Guru turn into good qualities by the energy of disciple’s devotion. Such principles can never be established. One who has faults is always mean; he is not Guru. Guru can have no weakness, fault and misconception. He who can be chastised and admonished is the disciple, and who can chastise and admonish is the Guru. If Guru is chastised by the disciple, where is the weight of Guru? So a seeker of Absolute Truth without taking into consideration distinction of rank, colour, caste, or creed will appear at the holy feet of the spiritual Guide, the embodiment of the correct traditional knowledge of all Sidhantas or Principles.
We, at the dawn of our spiritual life will sincerely and with complete submission and self-surrender pray to God for receiving the protection of Sad Guru. The supreme Lord perceiving our earnestness and devotion with a view to guide us on the true path will send real Guru to us. Otherwise, it is improbable for us to find out Sat Guru by our fallible energy. If we guide ourselves by our own energy, we shall come across the pseudo-Gurus and being caught hold of by them by their temporary pleasing manners, run down to hell. Taking initiation from a non-Vaisnaba I shall go a long way off from the holy Feet of the Supreme Lord. The Lord Himself appears before him, who sincerely seeks to serve the Lord with implicit faith and obedience, as his Guide. The chief characteristic of the true Guide is that his mind is perenially alit with the mood of spiritual service radiant with the light of pure cognition and the whole compass of his thoughts wears the fresh charm of the constant endeavour to minister to the pleasure of the senses of Lord Krishna. Other characteristics are foreign. On many occasions a cheat can shew those external signs.
The first beneficial service at the dawn of our daily spiritual life is related here today. We shall relate other duties by and by. “The realisation of a thing follows the good beginning.”