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[Posted June 9, 2006]

In the Absence of the Spiritual Master

Excerpt from conversation with Srila Prabhupada, March 16, 1974, Vrindaban 740316RC.VRN

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Harikesa: ...communication, the only way of talking to the spiritual master to communicate is verbal talking, the only way in which one can communicate with his spiritual master?

Prabhupada: No, there are more.... [break] (?) ...instruction of spiritual master, that is actually communicating.

Devotee: Hm. [break]

Harikesa: ...which I've always been afraid to ask, because I don't know if it's proper, but you being the external manifestation of Supersoul, if we are having questions, doubts, when, in your absence, if we are receiving indications, is there any possible way that someone who is so conditioned can have any understanding of proper action in your absence? In other words, if I am in your absence and I am in great doubt, and I am praying to Supersoul to please save me somehow, if I receive some action which I must do or some course of action becomes obvious, should I trust that, considering that you're communicating with me, or...?

Prabhupada: That depends on purity. If one has become pure, without any material desire, then that is possible. But if there is some material desire, we cannot expect direct communication.

Harikesa: So I have much material desire.

Prabhupada: I do not say you or he. This is the process. This is the process.

Harikesa: But in the meantime...

Prabhupada: Huh?

Harikesa: ...until we have reached the pure state...

Prabhupada: In the meantime it is not possible...

Harikesa: Not possible.

Prabhupada: ...directly.

Harikesa: So we must communicate with you verbally or through letters.

Prabhupada: Not with spiritual master here. You cannot concoct, "Now I am getting directly." No.

Harikesa: So the nature of the communication with the spiritual master in our state is only through...

Prabhupada: Spiritual master... Krishna is also spiritual master.

Harikesa: Oh.

Prabhupada: But Krishna sends spiritual master, His representative, as you can appreciate, externally, directly. Otherwise, Krishna is already spiritual master. He could give you instruction from the very beginning. But why He is sending His representative? What is the use?

Harikesa: We're not able to...

Prabhupada: Ah, because unless we are completely purified, Krishna will, does not talk directly. Therefore you have to understand Krishna through the spiritual master.

Harikesa: So when we are having doubts, the only possible way, no matter what the indications are, are simply follow your instructions in all circumstances.

Prabhupada: Yes.

Harikesa: Right. [break]

Prabhupada: Krishna wanted instruction of guru, not directly.

Harikesa: Krishna's...

Prabhupada: That, that I was explaining in the morning.

Harikesa: Yes.

Prabhupada: Yes. Chaitya-guru. One has to take the order of Krishna through the media, via media of spiritual master.

Harikesa: So all of my activities, unless they are directly following your order, are more or less a concoction of my mind.

Prabhupada: Yes. [break] ...office, you cannot contact the proprietor directly. There are subordinate officers. Through them you have to take the proprietor's help. The office master is there. You have to satisfy the office master. You cannot directly approach the proprietor. If you satisfy the office master, then your promotion and other things is all right. But if you want to... I have got practical experience. One of my friend, he was working in office. So the proprietor was there and many other employees were there. So that my friend, he suggested something to the proprietor, and the proprietor immediately dismissed him: "Oh, this man want to suggest me. Dismiss immediately. Give him his pay he will require.'' In that I have got practical experience. He later on became so sorry. Now it is the process. So this is practical. We should not try to approach directly Krishna. That is not the right way. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu says, gopi-bhartuh pada-kamalayor dasa-dasa-dasanudasah: [Chaitanya-charitamrita Madhya 13.80] "I am the servant of the servant of.'' So you have to serve your immediate master, dasa-dasanudasah, servant of the Supreme Lord. If you want to jump over the original master, that is not good. Then you will be dismissed like, like my friend.

Harikesa: Associating with you is so wonderful, and yet...

Prabhupada: Just like here in Vrindavana, I was here, as I am sitting here. I was sitting here in this very place. That was [indistinct]. And when I was hungry I could take my food there, same place. So that is one thing. Just like there are many persons, but because my spiritual master wanted, so I, at seventy years old, when I thought, "Now I shall go," I went, to serve the order of my spiritual master. Otherwise I am sitting here in Vrindavana. I am old man, I was chanting. Therefore, because that is my first business.

Harikesa: Were you just waiting to finish your books?

Prabhupada: Yes. I was just creating the situation how I shall serve my spiritual master.

Harikesa: Oh.

Prabhupada: Not that I was trying to directly contact Krishna. That was not my business. This is required. If anyone wants to contact directly Krishna, that is not possible. [break]

Guru dasa: If there is a devotees who are not yet purified, if the devotee is not yet purified, why is the temple president a representative of you? If we are not at the purified stage, then why is the temple president a representative of yourself?

Prabhupada: To carry his order. That is purification. If you create your own atmosphere, then you become impure. If you simply carry out the order of your spiritual master, then you will be benefited. If you do your own business, that is not good. You can not do anything which is not ordered by your spiritual master. Of course, everyone should have sense. It is not that we are dull, stone. Unless it is moved, it cannot... You have got moving power. But the basic issue should be to carry out the orders of his spiritual master. That is your president. Otherwise you are not.

Harikesa: Sometimes we have the experience of someone in authority who is obviously not following your instructions.

Prabhupada: Hm?

Harikesa: Sometimes we have the experience, someone in authority who is obviously not following your instructions.

Prabhupada: That you have not to judge.

Harikesa: Ah.

Prabhupada: You are not to judge. You should be, you should know that this man is appointed, and he gets here by spiritual process. I must follow. You cannot judge him.

Harikesa: Oh.

Prabhupada: That is not your business, judging.

Harikesa: Then we simply wait for further instructions from you and keep....

Prabhupada: No further instructions.

Harikesa: Ah.

Prabhupada: So long he is president you must follow him. If he is wrong, that will be corrected by the spiritual master.

Harikesa: Right.

Prabhupada: You cannot correct him. Otherwise obedience is the first discipline. If you do not obey the representative, authority, then there cannot be any discipline. Then everything will be topsy-turvy.

Harikesa: You would rather have us follow the temple president...

Prabhupada: Huh? Yes.

Harikesa: ...than to...

Prabhupada: If he is wrong, that cannot... He will come out.

Harikesa: Ah.

Prabhupada: So the steps will be taken by the spiritual master. You cannot, do not try to rectify.

Harikesa: Our advancement is the same?

Prabhupada: Huh?

Harikesa: Our advancement...

Prabhupada: Yes.

Harikesa: ...is going on.

Prabhupada: You follow, evam parampara-praptam [Bhagavad-gita 4.2], gopi-bhartuh pada-kamalayor dasa-dasanudasah [Cc. Madhya 13.80], servant of the servants of the servant of, then this is our.

Guru dasa: That's the consideration. Advancement is [indistinct]. [break]

Harikesa: I know I am making mistakes.

Prabhupada: Why do you preach?

Harikesa: That's my question.

Prabhupada: Stop preaching.

Harikesa: Ah.

Prabhupada: If you know your mistakes and you're preaching, why this nonsense preaching?

Harikesa: Preaching must be perfect.

Prabhupada: Yes. Perfect means as you have heard from your spiritual master. [indistinct] We are not perfect, none of us, but if you perfectly follow the orders of the perfect, then you are perfect. You should not think that "I have become perfect." Chaitanya Mahaprabhu also said, guru more murkha dekhi [Cc. Adi 7.71]. He presented Himself as fool number one. So we should always keep ourself as fool number one, that "I am not perfect. I am fool number one." But whatever I am doing I am carrying the orders of the perfect. That is my credit. I am not perfect. Suppose I give you ... five thousand dollars. That is not my money. I am not rich man. But the money is paid by somebody else and I deliver, that's all. That is my perfection. If I don't touch it, I do not take from five hundred dollars a paise even, and I deliver it, that is my perfection. I may not be rich man, but if I deliver this amount to you, in perfect order, that is my perfection.

Harikesa: Sometimes, due to my conditioning, I cannot exactly understand what you are saying.

Prabhupada: Yes. If you cannot understand what I am saying, then you should ask repeat. Try to understand [indistinct], that "I cannot understand this, and explain." Put it to the immediate president or any Godbrother. If he still, if he cannot explain, if he feels unable, he can inquire to me. In this way.

Harikesa: What if I don't know, I haven't understood? What if I think I have understood but I have actually not?

Prabhupada: There are many things like that. So you should try to understand it fully. Why should you understand it haphazardly? You must try to understand fully. [break]

Harikesa: ...position to criticize his Godbrothers, no matter what?

Prabhupada: You can criticize, if you are right. You cannot criticize wrongly.


In the Absence of the Spiritual Master/ Inside Nam Hatta

© 2004 - Hansadutta dasa
World Sankirtan Party

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