PUJA or worship is a reverential submission performed by one in favour of another in the shape of service. A reverencer or reverer approaches a revered with fear arising from high respect or respectful awe through his words, body and mind. The verbal adoration, corporal prostration and mental humiliation are the conciliatory parts of the Puja to invite good wishes of the respected being. In the Puja a higher platform is always offered to a Worshipped, and generally the touching of the lowest part of his limb, i.e., his feet, the offering soothing encomiums and the cherishing of reverential feeling on the part of a worshipper are involved. When a respected entity can be had directly through our senses, we can render direct service to him without any intervention; but in the case of a distantly located object, we have to transmit our services through symbolised sounds, through lips and scripts only. In both the cases Puja can be conducted by a worshipper with gross articles, as well as through subtle medium of sound and through a submissive mentality which makes the worshipper consider himself situated in a lower office as a Laghu or less weighty, while the Guru or heavy object in an upper office in comparison to himself; [but?] the case becomes otherwise, when the mundane plane is changed for the transcendental one, which has quite a distinctive feature.
In this mundane plane, Puja is performed with a share of personal gain, when we are desirous of having something in return for us. Puja may as well be conducted for the attainment of our Salvation, where we want to annihilate all our desires, and even to become identical with the Object of worship, thereby to attain the full [impersonality?]; though no desire whatsoever is traceable in the actual annihilation, neither any gain for the Positive Entity of Godhead in the shape of service. So all these Pujas effect the merging of one's self, the Gurudev as well as the Personality of Godhead in one neutral position where their different entities are not traceable. These sorts of temporal services should never be confused with the Eternal Servitude or Love. Nevertheless the Puja, meant in a dignified position, should also never be confused with the true confidential service. So Paramarthic Guru and Paramarthic Guru-Puja are quite different from the activities of pseudo attemptors who have some other ulterior selfish and personal motives.
A Real Spiritual Preceptor is defined as One Who dispels the darkness of ignorance of our relative plane and opens our blind eyes by his prevailing influence. He is the One Well-wisher without a second to help us to concentrate our scattered activities in the Personal Absolute. So he has no deviated standpoint from the Prime Cause of evolution, sustenance and dissolution. He is the true and perfect guide to show us the transcendental track to approach the Eternal Full Knowledge and Incessant Bliss, ignoring all sorts of gradation of relativity, as well as the undisturbed all-engrossing acme of magnitude. His position will not permit a bona fide approacher, if latter is not insincere and apathetic, to be a possessor of a partial entity merely, hankering after the supplying of his own personal or selfish needs by means of perishable objects, full of contamination of ignorance and of interruption. His Eternal Personality is never to be ignored by means of any unethical principles which do not attend a thorough affection for his disciple while considering all the stages and aspects of his ward, viz., the disciple.
The Semitic ideas entertained by a section of so-called intelligent people in fixing preceptorship on an individual of a particular time and space on the basis of ultra-metempsychosis are no cogent ratiocinations by which the audience could be dissuaded from accepting the undeviated position of the Personal Absolute Truth. That sort of mentality is due to an apprehension of impeding the course of contamination and outside infection, and of obstructing the fallibility of disciples that promises to make up his shortness in future, instead of paying whole attention to the most urgent need. The apprehension of such speculations of the Absolute position will prove futile when we consider the fluctuations of different mentalities of intransigent sects or persons due to their unforeseen conditions which have been disclosed in details by assertive statements congenial to a particular locality and fulfilling a temporal purpose.
The deadened mentality produced by an association with insentients and less sentients cannot be enlivened, if a wrong interpretation prevails upon them to posit themselves in an incredulous position. The four-fold flaws or defect of (1) mistake, (2) inebriation, (3) imperfection or inadequacy of senses and (4) deception are companions of every conditioned life. As we are located in such a situation, all our final decisive conclusions are but products of a particular angle of vision. This hinges on associative reflex actions of fallen souls. In order to set us, fallen souls, free from this perverted position, we should crave the help of a transcendental agent who can vouchsafe our march free from the chains of those four-fold agents of irregularities. A bona fide regulator should he sought to give us eternal relief from the maladies and sought by bona fide rationalists in praying the Fountainhead.
The Prime Cause of all effects need not be mutilated or manufactured by our unblossomed prerogatives. We are limited entities, but the Unlimited Infinity minus our infinitesimality would give us, as a result, an almost infinite gulf. We earnestly require to search for and target the tie between us and the Unlimited Entity. And in fact that tie is not a rupturer of the harmony or a contending entity, but the most kind-hearted personality. We cannot expect to tide over those four-fold difficulties or pitfalls in our crossing the ocean of Samsara by catching the tails of puppies, I mean, the order suppliers of our mundane desires. We are no doubt eligible to receive mercy from the All-merciful, when we in our prayer show a clean heart free from all encumbrances of selfish or personal desires in the shape of unconditional surrender.
Our own personality should not incorporate any outside material to obstruct the full vision of the Personal Absolute, but can seek regulation from the Personality of the Absolute Who does not prevent Himself from disclosing His own Person when we are actually free from being overpowered with anything in our communion with Him. The Absolute will no doubt send an Agent to carry His Personality to our unalloyed personality, though susceptible to foreign invasions.
This Transcendental Mediator or Sri Guru Deva is a loving Agent of the All-love and kind to us who are seeking for a tie of love with the All-love. This Embodiment of Love will gradually lead our loving mood to that One Who is the Fountainhead and Mainstay of all aspects of eternal love. This messenger is the Pioneer Figure of Love, the Courier of the All-love, the Establisher of all relations of love and the Regulator of all our non-loving principles. If we ignore this fundamental principles we will be taking the prerogative on our own accounts and showing jealousy to our fellow-brothers.
The Harmonising Energy of the All-love can shower His blessings personally or through his Agents. Our perception of numerous units in this perverted world has given rise to lord it over them but that act is the very perspective of our wrong apathy towards concentrating our unconditional activities in and for the All-love. If we have a devotional aptitude for the Preceptor, we are sure to get at our Final Goal through him who liberates us by changing our wrong mentality in two processes.
The Deluding Energy of the All-love that is fully opposed to our eternal interest of love towards the Absolute shows a pair of pincers or shafts in order to grip us in her two-fold clutches, viz., that of dislocating and that of enwrapping. The Preceptor is found to combat, with her dislocating propensity and enwrapping aptitude against His disciples by means of His kind but sure treatment. So the sincere activities of the Spiritual Guru always tend to give permanent relief to his disciples from those two-fold clutches of Maya which have given rise to the measuring aptitude of disciples, thereby extending their knowledge of the Absolute and removing the foreign obstacles of double layers of dirts that cover them.
A mere flatterer's position to lull and indulge in wrong aptitude of a disciple should never be targeted in the selection of a real and true Guru, but a submissive temper with unconditional surrender on the port of a disciple to the All-love will invoke Him to condescend to our prayer. The cogent but loving potency of the All-love will then be operating on us to pacify the turmoil arising out of our baneful activities. The Preceptor will never cog us to fall into the extensive snare of Maya as He has no ulterior motive to dissuade us from having a sure access to the transcendental treasures. He will show us for our inspection or examination a comparative chart of the magnitude of time, space and entity. When we submit to measurement, we see no necessity of any outside help; but when we consider Him to be our most intimate friend coming down to us out of causeless mercy, and at the same time to be the bona fide and sure healer of our present maladies we find that He is identical in His activities with the All-love and that He is not only superior to us in every respect but He ever remains in the same direction with Godhead, possessed of a transparent entity to witness the Absolute; whereas, other so-called preceptors are always opaque as they impede our impressions of the Eternity, Full Knowledge and Incessant Bliss of the All-love.
Our own eternal function is to associate ourselves with the Eternal—to sever our connection with everything temporal, to engage ourselves in All Knowledge—to dispel all darkness of ignorance as well as to develop and progress with our inherent transcendental entheasm.
I myself have singular business with the singular All-love. I do not require the second person 'You' who have got some other position than my Object, viz., the All-love. I need not trouble myself with the company of 'him' who has no true kindness to me or who has no whole-hearted love for the All-love. So the Personality has a singular significance quite distinct from such Impersonation as we do here, owing to our apathy to the Personality of Godhead, which is improper in itself and which is, in other words, a contamination with incompatible concomitants. I myself should not be polluted by that discord which is always found in the plurality of this miserable manifestation, but I have every inclination to make my friends quite compatible with the All-love, provided you or they count me as one of you or them. I will then be in a position to designate my company in that plurality as all of us shall there have one aim and object and no conflicting discord due to our mutual rivalries. But I will be all the more pleased if I find another competes in my line to please my All-love in a better way perhaps than I can render. This lower gradation of myself will not harm or prejudice me in the least but will develop and augment the cause of my unalloyed devotion to and love for Him; I will rather regulate and conciliate my wrong elements harmoniously and count my co-sharer's singular service in the proper light of my Guru. My co-sharer, by rendering closer service to the All-love than my humble devotion, must needs draw more love for my Guru, and on my part I should please my Guru by non-interfering with the greater facility [of] closer service rendered by my co-sharer. My friends who have greater aptitude of love for the All-love Krishna [should?] not then despise me, but will [kindly?] count me as their humble friend [by?] their graciously allowing me to be [blessed?] with an unalloyed devotion to [and?] love for my own Guru Who is identically the same with the Predominated Counter-whole of the predominating Aspect of All-love. I will 'therefore' never be hostile and apathetic to those who have a loving tendency for the All-love, but I will reckon them as confidential members whom I should serve with all intimacy and love for their close services to Him in a plane where I have also got an humble position.
Gaudiya Mutt, Cathedral Madras,
26 February 1932