All glories to Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga

Approaching the Infinite

"As much as we shall have a real approach towards the infinite, we cannot but consider ourselves to be the meanest of the mean. The standard of Vaisnava qualification is measured in this way."

by His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Rakshak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj

~From Sermons of the Guardian of Devotion, Vol I


"The Vaisnava is all in all, and I am nothing." Such a feeling grows infinitely in the Vaisnava. "I am nothing, but he is everything - he is a Vaisnava; Guru and Vaisnava really hold Krishna-bhakti. They are the stockists. But I am empty-handed; I have nothing." This is the nature of the association of the finite with the infinite. As much as we shall have a real approach towards the infinite, we cannot but consider ourselves to be the meanest of the mean. The standard of Vaisnava qualification (Vaisnavata) is measured in this way. And this is not lip-deep, but the sincere dealing of the innermost heart. When Srila Krishna Das Kaviraj Goswami says, purisera kita haite muni sei laghistha - "I am lower than the worm in stool" - this is not mere imitation, but his heartfelt truth. Acharyya-abhimana, the assertion of the Guru over his disciple, is a different posture. That is assertion, but only for the service of the Vaisnava; the sincerity is maintained therein. The Guru's assertion is not selfish assertion. His assertion is only for the sake of saving the public and upholding the prestige of the Vaisnava. So that is proper adjustment with reality, in twofold senses: to establish the real position of a Vaisnava, and at the same time to save the ordinary persons from the danger and the reaction of false attempt or false thought. So that kind of assertion is not egoistic. Rather, we should know that as sacrifice in the dynamic sense.

In Visva-Vaisnava-Raja-Sabha, our Guru Maharaj tactfully managed in this way: he asked one of his disciples to speak something in praise and appreciation of another disciple. And he especially asked this of disciples who were a little antagonistic to one another. He asked them, "Speak something in praise of your 'friend.'" Why? To try to mark the bright side, the svarup, and to try to ignore the apparent side. He instructed, "You try to speak something in praise of your friend, your apparent opponent." The Guru's order was given, and so the disciple had to speak something in praise. Necessity is the mother of invention; he had to dive deep into the bright side of the other person and try to bring that side out. Thereby, the Vaisnava atmosphere of giving and taking was aroused and the apparent, mayika side was gradually ignored, disregarded and dissipated. Something similar happens in kirttan as well. Why is kirttan so powerful? Because when we are requested to speak something, we cannot but utilise our best attention to speak. We have to assert our best ability in the attempt to gather the proper information to speak something about the Supreme Lord. So, also, in the case of the Vaisnava, as in the case of the Lord, we must approach the svarup, the inner side, the inner aspect, the bright side - and ignore the apparent side; and thereby we will thrive. There, the real mutual relationship will be aroused. Once a year in the Holy Dham of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, it was the practice of our Guru Maharaj to preside in a meeting under the banner of Visva-Vaisnava-Raja-Sabha (Universal Assembly of the Topmost Pure Devotees), and there his method was such: "Try to praise the Vaisnava."

So, to appreciate the nobility of a Vaisnava may be difficult, but if we can do so, we may have a chance to reach a standard of real devotion to a certain extent. It is said by the Lord in the Adi Purana, "One who 'loves Me' does not really love Me; but one who loves My servitors - his love for Me is more real; it is true and of absolute character." We must try to appreciate the character and conduct of the Vaisnava, and thereby we can raise the standard of our own life of dedication.


Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math, Nabadwip
| Main Centres | What's New?