The Hammer - 31
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© 2004 - Hansadutta das

The Hammer For Smashing Illusion

Shankaracharya's famous "Bhaja Govinda"

By Hansadutta das
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Text 31

Being completely devoted to the lotus feet of the spiritual master, free yourself soon from the cycle of birth and death. Then, by controlling the mind and senses, you will certainly see the Supreme Personality of Godhead residing within your own heart.

Have a Look Inside Your Heart

The concluding verse of this text explains that one should be completely devoted to the lotus feet of the spiritual master. We cannot actually understand spiritual life, any more than a child can understand the nature or character of mature adult life. Therefore a child is always being guided by his father, mother and teachers. The child's only asset or only hope in becoming a mature gentleman is his attachment and loving relationship with his well-wishing father.

A child becomes attached to his father, the father gives good instructions and guidance to his child, and one day the child actually matures, understands and appreciates how his father has protected him, educated him and trained him to come to this stage of maturity. Similarly, the disciple cannot really understand the spiritual master or the character of spiritual life, but the disciple can become attached to the spiritual master. The spiritual master deals with the disciple in such a way to increase his attachment more and more.

Gradually, by the grace of Krishna, the disciple matures and realizes everything in due course. "For one who has unflinching faith in the words of his spiritual master and in the words of the shastra, all the imports of Vedic knowledge are revealed." ( Svetashvatara Upanishad 6.38)

Getting Blessings

In the beginning of devotional service, we are simply following the instructions of the spiritual master mechanically. We have some attachment for the spiritual master, but we don't have very much understanding or realisation. Sometimes we feel the spiritual master is neglecting us or forgetting us or giving us instructions which are too difficult to carry out. But a disciple should be convinced that the spiritual master is fully aware of the disciple's situation and knows how to deliver the disciple from the cycle of birth and death.

Therefore the disciple should be prepared to accept any and every instruction of the spiritual master and have faith that the spiritual master knows perfectly well the best engagement and situation for the disciple. That kind of faith must be there, because as Vishvanath Chakravarti says in his prayers, yasya prasadad bhagavata-prasada/ yasyaprasadan na gatih kuto 'pi:

Simply by satisfying the bona fide spiritual master, Krishna is immediately satisfied, and the disciple advances automatically. If the spiritual master becomes dissatisfied, one cannot make any advancement in spiritual life. (Sri Sri Gurvastaka, Verse 8)
Everything depends on satisfying the bona fide spiritual master. Simply by his blessings, the disciple automatically makes progress. Therefore, worship of the spiritual master is actually more important than the worship of Krishna. That is our philosophy. Without the spiritual master, no one can approach Krishna. We cannot go to Krishna directly. We must go through Krishna's representative.

Criterion for Judging Spiritual Advancement

Spiritual life does not depend on scholarship, austerity, penance or renunciation. It depends on one thing: pleasing the spiritual master. Every disciple has some particular ability and character. The spiritual master knows how to deal with each disciple in such a way that he makes progress. What is good for one disciple may not be good for another disciple. The disciples should not become jealous or envious of one another, thinking that one disciple has a better engagement than another. That is a mundane angle of vision. In devotional life, every engagement is as good as every other. It is not that translating books is more important or more spiritual than washing pots or earning money is more spiritual than performing deity worship. In devotional service, every activity is as important and valuable as any other activity. Our standard of measuring a person's spiritual advancement is not how much or what he does, but in how he does what he is asked to do by the spiritual master. That is the criterion for judging a person's spiritual advancement. Hare Krishna.

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Rittvik Representative of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

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