Vrindavana, October 27, 1972
Pure devotees reside in in the ocean of transcendental loving service to
the Lord, and have no business with other processes that are
like the rivers that gradually reach the ocean.
Pradyumna: (reading) “Srila Rupa Goswami begins his great book by offering his respectful obeisances unto Sri Sanatana Goswami who is his elder brother and spiritual master, and he prays that Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu may be very pleasing to him.”
Prabhupada: Srila Rupa Goswami wanted to please Sanatana Goswami. Our duty is to please the superior, not the public. We are giving service to the public according to the direction of the superior authority. We do not manufacture any program of service. Just like Caitanya Mahaprabhu is Krishna Himself, still, He was following the authorities. He referred to the Brahma-sutra. Brahma-sutra-padais caiva hetumadbhir viniscitaih: “The knowledge is especially presented in Vedanta-sutra with all reasoning as to cause and effect.” So this is the way that any bona fide spiritual propaganda must be: following the footsteps of previous authority.
Process of Purification
At the present moment, it has become fashionable to manufacture some idea, but that is not the Vedic way. The Vedic way is to receive the message through the parampara system. Evam parampara-praptam imam rajarsayo viduh: “This supreme science was thus received through the chain of disciplic succession.” [Bg. 4.2]. Sanatana Goswami was personally taught by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu for two months continually in Benares, Varanasi; therefore, he’s our authority. The Gaudiya Vaishnava sampradaya follows the principles of Hari-bhakti-vilasa written by Sanatana Goswami. In the Hari-bhakti-vilasa, Sanatana Goswami recommends, tatha diksa-vidhanena dvijatvam jayate nrnam. Diksa-vidhana, by the process of diksa, any human being can be elevated to the position of a bona fide brahmana. The very word vidhana is used, meaning bona fide process.
There is another good suggestion: yatha kancanatam yati kamsa-rasa-vidhanena. Rasa means mercury. The branch of chemistry coming from mercury is called rasayana-shastra. Actually, rasayana-shastra, chemical composition, begins from mercury and sulphur. So rasa-vidhanena, by chemical interaction of sulphur and mercury, if you add tin and copper, then it becomes gold. You can manufacture gold, provided you know the process of mixing copper, tin, and mercury via medium of sulphuric acid. Sulphuric acid is the mother of chemicals. Without sulphur, you cannot make any chemical composition. Therefore all chemical compositions are called sulphate, sulphite, like that. So, Sanatana Goswami gives this idea of chemical composition. It appears that he knew how to work with chemicals.
yatha kancanatam yati
dvijatvam jayate nrnam
We are trying to follow Sanatana Goswami. In this age, Kali-yuga, the diksa-vidhana is performed according to pancaratriki-vidhi, not vaidika-vidhi. Vaidika-vidhi is very strict. Unless one was a bona fide son of a dvija, initiation was not given. There was no initiation to the sudras; only to brahmana, kshatriyas, and vaisyas. This was the Vedic process. In Kali-yuga it is understood that everyone is a sudra, so vaidika-vidhana cannot be applied. Therefore pancaratriki-vidhi is accepted: Narada-Pancharatra. Rupa Goswami says in his Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu,
aikantiki harer bhaktir
Hari-bhakti, devotional service to the Lord, must be approved by sruti (the Vedas), smrti (the Puranas), and other corollary literatures, Bhagavad-gita, Mahabharata, Manu-smrti, the laws given by Manu, Parasara, etc. Otherwise, any show of devotional service is simply a disturbance. So pancaratriki-vidhi. Otherwise anyone can manufacture his own path as supported by some very big missionary activities: yata mata tata patha. You can manufacture your way of religious principles, but that is not the Vedic way. The Vedic way is evam parampara-praptam [Bg. 4.2]. Although we are initiating people from low-grade society, still, we are following the principles of pancaratriki-vidhi, injunction of the Goswamis. Therefore it is bona fide.
So, Rupa Goswami first offers his respectful obeisances to his elder brother, Sanatana Goswami, because Rupa Goswami accepted him as spiritual master.
Pradyumna: “He further prays that by residing in that ocean of nectar he may always feel transcendental pleasure in the service of Radha and Krishna.”
MERGING INTO BRAHMAN
Prabhupada: Yes. “Ocean of nectar.” The mayavadi philosophers generally give the example that all rivers flow to the ocean. It doesn’t matter which course they follows; they all merge into the ocean. So that is ultimate liberation.
But if you give some analogy, you must consider other similar points. The more the supporting points, the more perfect the analogy. So rivers merge into the ocean but the surface water mixing with the ocean is again evaporated by the scorching heat of the sun and will again fall down and glide into the ocean. So this is called avagamana coming and going. But Vaishnava philosophy is not to merge into the water, but keep our identity and go deep into the water, so you may not be evaporated. The fish and the aquatic animals within the water are not evaporated. They are not going to become cloud and again fall down. Therefore Rupa Goswami says, “He further prays that by residing in the ocean of nectar he may always feel transcendental pleasure.”
Our philosophy is to go back to home, back to Godhead. Not in the spiritual sky, paravyoma, because there is chance of falling down. Why chance? It is sure. Those who are merging into the Brahman effulgence, the shastra says, they again fall down. Aruhya krcchrena param padam tatah patanty adhah [Bhag. 10.2.32]. The jnanis undergo severe austerities, penances to merge into the existence of impersonal Brahman but they fall down again. Anadrta-yusmad-anghrayah. Because they did not care for the shelter under the lotus feet of Krishna, they have to come back to this material world. You can go with high speed to the moon planet or Venus planet, but if you have no shelter to stay there, you come back to this earthly planet.
You may merge into the Brahman effulgence, just like the airplane that goes very high and, at a certain point, becomes invisible, merged. But actually, it is not merged. Our eyes just cannot see it any more. Therefore, Jiva Goswami has explained this merging principle: just like a green bird enters into a green tree, it appears to the imperfect eye that the bird is gone. But the bird is there; just because both the tree and the bird are green, it appears merged. The spiritual living being does not merge into the spiritual sky. The individuality is there. This individuality, fragment of the Supreme Brahman, is eternal, sanatana. Spirit cannot be cut into pieces. We are fragmental parts. That means eternally we are individual. Nityo nityanam chetanas cetananam (Katha Upanisad 2.2.13). We are one of the nityas. There are innumerable nityas and chetanas, the living entities, part and parcel of the supreme living entity, Krishna, are all individual.
LIBERATION THE VAISHNAVA VIEW
Krishna also says in the Bhagavad-gita, “My dear Arjuna, do not think that I, you, or all these soldiers and kings who have assembled in this battlefield, they were not existing in the past. They are existing at present and similarly they will exist in the future.” That is stated in the Bhagavad-gita. So where is the question of merging and loss of individuality? The individuality remains. It remained in the past, it is continuing at the present moment, and will remain in the future also. This is clearly explained in the second chapter of Bhagavad-gita. So merging does not always mean losing one’s individuality. Therefore the theory of merging into the existence of impersonal Brahman is to stay there for some time and again fall down. Just like the example that the water of the rivers merge into the ocean, evaporate into the sky, and falls. Again, goes through the river, and merges. Bhutva bhutva praliyate: Again and again, all living entities come into being, and again they are annihilated. [Bg. 8.19]. So our philosophy is going once into the ocean, and no more coming back. Tyaktva deham punar janma naiti mam eti so 'rjuna: after the annihilation the devotees will go back home, back to Godhead [Bg. 4.9]. If we once go in the spiritual world, we do not like to come back. We stay with Krishna and dance with Him, or play with Him, or serve with, as tree, as plant, as water, as cows, as land, as cowherd boys, as father, mother, or as gopis. Once we go to Krishna, we live forever with Him in either of these capacities. Let me live in Vrindavana in any capacity. “He further prays that by residing in that ocean of nectar he may always feel eternally continually, without any cessation . . . .” Anandamayo ‘bhyasat (Vedanta-sutra 1.1.12). To remain anandamaya. That is the principle of Vaishnava philosophy. Go on.
Pradyumna: “Let us offer our respectful obeisances to all the great devotees and acharyas or holy teachers, who are compared with sharks in the great ocean of nectar and who do not care for the various rivers of liberation. Impersonalists are very fond of merging into the supreme, like rivers that come down and merge into the ocean. The ocean can be compared with liberation and the rivers with all the different paths of liberation. The impersonalists are dwelling in the river water, which eventually comes to mix with the ocean. They have no information, however, that within the ocean, as within the rivers, there are innumerable aquatic living entities. The sharks who dwell in the ocean do not care for the rivers which are gliding down into it.”
Prabhupada: Yes. The big-bodied sharks and crocodiles have no place in the river. They constantly remain in the ocean. Go on.
Pradyumna: “The devotees eternally live in the ocean of devotional service, and they do not care for the rivers. In other words, those who are pure devotees always remain in the ocean of transcendental loving service to the Lord and have no business with the other processes which are compared to the rivers that only gradually come to the ocean. Srila Rupa Goswami prays to his spiritual master Srila Sanatana Goswami for the protection of Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, the ocean of the pure nectar of devotional service, from the argumentative logicians who unnecessarily meddle in the science of service to the Lord. He compares their arguments and logic to volcanic eruptions in the midst of the ocean.”
WHERE LOGIC FAILS
Prabhupada: Yes. Acintyah khalu ye bhava na tams tarkena yojayet (Mahabharata, Bhisma-parva 5.22). Simply by arguments, logic, you cannot understand Krishna. That is the Vedic injunction. You cannot establish the truth by simple logic and arguments because somebody who is a greater logician may come and defeat you. Tarko 'pratisthah srutayo vibhinna. And due to different countries and different circumstances, one scripture is different from another. If you read the Vedas, you’ll find not a contradiction, but something that appears to the neophyte as a contradiction. Just like we cite the example that animal stool is impure, but cow dung is pure. By logic you can say, “Cow dung is also the stool of an animal. How is it pure?” But in the Vedas you’ll find such things. Therefore by simply studying without surrendering yourself to the spiritual master, you’ll find contradictions and you’ll be bewildered. Srutayo vibhinna. They are not vibhinna, but to our limited knowledge, sometimes they appear as vibhinnam, different. Nasau munir yasya matam na bhinnam: And you won’t find a philosopher who does not agree with other philosophers.
Therefore, dharmasya tattvam nihitam guhayam mahajano yena gatah sa panthah [Cc. Madhya 17.186]. We have to follow the footsteps of great acharyas. That is the way. These mahajanas described in the shastra are like Lord Brahma, Lord Siva, svayambhur naradah sambhuh kapilah kumaro manuh [Bhag. 6.3.20]. So you follow any one of these great personalities.
Brahma is the greatest personality within this universe, and his sampradaya is known as Brahma-sampradaya. Similarly Lord Siva has Rudra-sampradaya, and there is Kumara-sampradaya, Laxmi-sampradaya. Sampradaya-vihina ye mantras te nisphala matah: If you do not follow any bona fide sampradaya, then your path of spiritual advancement will be baffled. You will simply waste your time. Viphalam matah. So we should follow the footsteps of great acharyas. Then our progress is positive. There is no fear.
So take shelter of the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, just like Rupa Goswami has described that he wants to take shelter of the ocean, deep into the ocean, and he doesn’t care for the rivers.
Whirlpools are compared to arguments. Sometimes these logicians create argumental calamity in the process of devotional service. But Rupa Goswami recommends that we should not be deviated by the arguments of karmis, jnanis, and yogis. Let them do their own business. We do not care for them. We give them respect as far as possible, but we don’t accept the path of karma-jnana-yoga. Anyabhilasita-sunyam jnana-karmady-anavrtam [Brs. 1.1.11]. We should not be deviated by the process of karma-jnana-yoga. We should be fixed up in suddha-bhakti, the path of pure devotional service. That is the recommendation of Srila Rupa Goswami. Go on.
Pradyumna: “In the midst of the ocean such volcanic eruptions can do very little harm. Similarly, those who are against devotional service to the Lord and who put forward many philosophical theses about the ultimate transcendental realization cannot disturb this great ocean of devotional service.
“The author of Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, Srila Rupa Goswami, very humbly submits that he is just trying to spread Krishna consciousness all over the world, although he humbly thinks himself unfit for this work. That should be the attitude of all preachers of the Krishna consciousness movement, following in the footsteps of Srila Rupa Goswami. We should never think of ourselves as great preachers, but should always consider that we are simply instrumental to the previous acharyas, and simply by following in their footsteps, we may be able to do something for the benefit of suffering humanity.”
Prabhupada: Yes. Just like Narottama dasa Thakura says, tandera carana-sevi-bhakta-sane vasa. Our main business is to serve the acharyas. Caitanya Mahaprabhu and His direct disciples, the Sad-Goswamis, and their disciples. Rupa-raghunatha-pade haibe akuti. That is required.
tandera carana-sevi-bhakta-sane vasa
janame janame mora ei abhilasa
So we are attempting to create a society of devotees all over the world, without any discrimination of caste, creed, or color. One must be a devotee of Krishna. Yei krishna-tattva-vetta sei guru haya [Cc. Madhya 8.128]. One must know the science of Krishna then he can preach to others. Sei guru haya. That is our purpose.
Thank you very much.