domingo, 5 de septiembre de 2010

Srila Gurudeva, the Guru of Magicians - Part 1, 2, 3, 4

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Sent: Wednesday, November 10, 2010 4:35 PM
Subject: Srila Gurudeva, the Guru of Magicians - Part 1

Part 1: Srila Gurudeva, The Guru of Magicians
by Syamarani dasi
Devotees all over the world, who are not at Govardhana, are hearing reports about Srila Gurudeva’s present pastime that are stirring their hearts. That is also true for us 1,200 devotees in Govardhana, who are sitting in the temple room, which is in the building adjacent to his own quarters. For a few moments each day at the beginning of class, we watch him on the large screen on the temple wall. Most times, he is lying on his bed, sometimes he is ‘sitting’ (because they have made the bed more upright), sometimes he holds up his hand in blessing, or even waves.
Seeing through the eyes of scriptures, we understand that, like his Master Sri Krsna, sri guru is a master magician. It is not possible that an uttama-adhikari devotee, who is always experiencing the sublime ecstasies of anubhavas, sattvika-bhavas, and vyabhicari bhavas – the transcendental sentiments of the devotee’s meeting and separation from his Master and Mistress Sri Sri Radha and Krsna – can simultaneously feel mundane pain. Rather, he is a magician who operates on our hearts.
One evening of Srila Gurudeva’s 2004 Badger Harikatha Festival, just before he began this lecture, his magician-disciple, Tamala-krsna dasa (Dr T), performed a magic trick in front of the 600 devotees present. He pointed to his shirt, showing us that it had no long sleeves, and he held out his hands to show us that he had nothing between his fingers. He then took a $5 bill from Srila Gurudeva and returned to him a $100 bill.
Srila Gurudeva commented, “There is something special that I am giving. I can perform greater magic than that magician. I am Guru of so many magicians. That magician may be able to transfer $5 into $100, but I can transfer it into millions upon millions of dollars.
To help us understand this phenomenon, let us look at Srila Gurudeva’s hari-katha lecture of Jan 13, 2001, given in Auckland, New Zealand:
“In Dvaraka, when Lord Sri Krsna was ending His manifest pastimes in this world, He sat at the shore of the ocean. There, it appeared that a hunter shot Him in the foot, and it seemed that He died. Only fools think so.
“Listen to this story, and then tattva (established philosophical truths) will come to you. Once there was a king and queen. One day a family of magicians came to the palace to perform a magic show. The father, his wife, and their two young sons who were nine and ten years old, made a marvelous magic show. The king and queen and the whole audience were very pleased. The queen gave the wife of the magician a wonderful golden necklace as a token of her appreciation, but both her sons wanted it. They each said, “I'll take it, Mother. No, I'll take it, Mother." The boys began to fight over the necklace, pulling it back and forth. They were of equal strength, and neither could win. They finally became so furious that they simultaneously pulled their swords from their sheaths and cut off each other&rs quo;s heads. Their mother was so grief-stricken that she took her sword and cut off her own head. Then, in total despair, not able to live under the circumstances, the father took his own sword and cut off his own head.
“You can imagine the horror of the king and queen and other spectators. The queen especially was feeling responsible, as she had given the necklace which caused the tragedy. The bodies and heads were taken away, and no one could stop thinking about the very sad affair. The next day, however, the queen received a letter from the father of the magicians. The letter stated, "Thank you very much for the gift that you gave us for our first magic show. Your necklace is with us and we are very happy. But we are waiting for our second gift. Where is the gift for our second show? Don't worry. We didn't die. Please come and see us." The astonished king and queen immediately went to the home of the magician family, where they were warmly welcomed, and they were very happy to see them all alive and well.
“There was another, even greater magician, named Visashekar, who preformed magic shows during the time of the British occupation of India. He was so famous that even the governor, the viceroy, and other chief government ministers would all come to see him.
“Once, in Calcutta, he called all the important government heads to come see his show at four pm. Being very punctual, they all came at exactly four o'clock and sat in the assembly. They waited for Visashekar, expecting him at any moment, for they were all very busy and important people who did not expect to be kept waiting. Five minutes passed, then fifteen, then half an hour. The men became very angry and said to each other, "Just wait until we get a hold of Visashekar. When he comes here we will punish that rascal for making us late for our important appointments." Finally, at five o'clock, a smiling Visashekar casually walked on stage. The men angrily began chastising him, "Why are you late? Why have you kept us waiting? Don't you know that we are very busy and important?" Visasheka r nonchalantly said, "What is the matter?" They replied, "You told us to come at four o'clock, and we have been waiting for an hour!" Visashekar said, "I am afraid you are mistaken. Look at your watches. It is just now four o'clock.” When they looked, all their watches said four o’clock. They were amazed to realize the magic show they had just witnessed.
“If an ordinary magician can do such things, why not Krsna? He created Brahma and Siva. Surely He cannot die. He only made is appear that He died when the hunter shot Him. It was like a drama. Even Krsna's devotees cannot die. Bhisma is an example. He could only leave his body when he desired it.”
     Part 2: Srila Gurudeva, Master of Mystics and Magiciansby Syamarani dasi

There is something special that I am giving. I can perform greater magic than that magician. I am Guru of so many magicians. That magician may be able to transfer $5 into $100, but I can transfer it into millions upon millions of dollars. (Srila Gurudeva, Badger, Calif., May 22, 2004)

With our material eyes and ears, we may see or hear or read that Srila Gurudeva is weak or in pain – and that is his intention, so that we can increase our loving service to him. At the same time, in order to help us perfect our loving service, it is his intention to bring us to proper siddhantic understanding of his identity. We can understand a token of Srila Gurudeva’s powers by the following Harikatha discourse, which he gave in Badger on the same day as the above quote.

“Once, the sages Visvamitra and Vasistha were quarrelling. Visvamitra told Vasistha, ‘You should address me as Brahma-rsi, because I have become an exalted, realized brahmana.’ Vasistha said, ‘I will address you as Rajarsi, a saintly ksatriya, because you have come from a royal family.’  He refused to praise Visvamitra as a Brahma-rsi, because he considered he would become proud, and that pride would not be beneficial for him.

“Visvamitra then boasted that his performance of austerities was a great thing – greater than any other achievement. Vasistha disagreed. He insisted that sadhu-sanga was the greatest achievement.

“They went to Ananta Sesa-naga – the great serpent incarnation of the Lord on whose innumerable hoods millions of universes rest – and presented their situation to him. Visvamitra asked him, ‘Please, you decide if Vasistha is telling the truth, or I am. Am I greater than Vasistha, or is Vasistha greater than me?’

“Lord Ananta replied, ‘This is a very deep and heavy topic. At present, I am carrying the burden of entire universes upon my hoods. O Visvamitra, I am extremely tired. I want to rest one of my hoods. Please take my burden for a moment, and then I will answer. Please arrange that when I remove my hood, the universe will not move from its position. It should remain unwavering and not fall.’ Visvamitra said, ‘Oh, that is a very insignificant task.’ He then gave the fruit of all his performances of yoga and austerities, but he could not take the burden of Ananta for even a moment. As soon as Ananta began to remove his hood, there were severe earthquakes, hurricanes and other natural disasters.

“Ananta then asked Vasistha, ‘Can you take my burden?’ Vasistha replied, ‘I am giving you the result of only half a moment of the sadhu-sanga that I have attained. If I have had any elevated Vaisnava association, then may the universe remain calm and quiet and unwavering.’ Then, although Ananta removed his hood from underneath the universe, it remained calmly in its place, hovering in space without moving.

“Ananta said, ‘Now, Visvamitra, I have given my answer, and you yourself can judge what it is. Vasistha has given only half a moment's result of sadhu-sanga, and by that I became free from the burden. You could not arrange that for me.’

“So, even a fraction of a second of sadhu-sanga may change your entire life and make you happy forever. This is mahat-sanga.”

If the result of great sadhus’ association produces such a powerful effect, what to speak about the power of the sadhu himself. Srila Gurudeva is not invalid, and he has never had any material disease. He is a heart-wrenching magician with all mystic powers who, out of his beautiful love for his disciples and all living beings, appears to be invalid in order to increase the loving service of the disciples.

“A Vaisnava is always protected by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but if he appears to be an invalid, this gives a chance to his disciples to serve him.” (Sri Caitanya-Caritamrta Adi-lila 9.11 purport)

Part 3: Magician on Stage
By Syamarani dasi

In order to help us understand Srila Gurudeva’s present divine pastime, our Parama-gurudeva, Sri Srimad Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja is waiting to give us his mercy. In this excerpt of his article called “Remembering Srila Prabhupada,” taken from Rays of The Harmonist (No. 16 Karttika 2006), he takes the position of a conditioned soul, and in this way he teaches us how to see and how not to see, how to think and how not to think. 

We want freedom from the danger of seeing Srila Gurudeva as a mortal being, and we want to become one with his heart and his mission. We are fortunate to have the following words of our merciful Parama-gurudeva to guide us:

"The eternal form of the acarya deva is composed of knowledge and bliss, and remains constitutionally unchangeable – just like a dramatic performer [who appears to go through various transformations during his performance, but remains the same unaltered person].

"On the stage of this world, the acaryadeva merely acts out birth, death and so forth, all of which we can perceive using our knowledge-acquiring senses. The birth and death of an ordinary living entity is filled with pain and suffering, but the appearance and disappearance of the spiritual conscious form of the atimartya acarya, who is beyond the control of the material nature, is full of joy.

"To astonish his audience, a magician may use a weapon to execute a pesrson standing before him. An ignorant child cries upon seeing this, but those who know better understand that the killing is merely an illusion and do not lament for the person 'slain'.

"While the unbearable disappearance pastime of the acarya is like a stage act, an ignorant person like me who does not comprehend this cannot be consoled. Thus, I perceive his disappearance pastime, which is full of joy, to be extremely painful and heart-rending. Thus, while the servants of Sri Guru are feeling true separation, I am lamenting like a sudra.

"I have heard from you all that viraha, separation, enchances the elegance of service; and when anything that stimulates remembrance of one's object of worship appears on the path of one's vision, it progressively makes one's attachment for that object unflinching.

"Separation looks to enhance the highest pleasure of one's worshipable object. In the state of lamentation, however, the bound jiva becomes bewildered, and thus inactive: his energy and capacity disappear and he becomes afflicted by grief. Due to the absence of service, one cannot see in him any transformation akin to an enhancement of joy. Thus, I – like an ignorant fool, a sudra – have become overwhelmed by lamentation. I am unable to discover any enthusiasm within. 'Hrsikena hrsikesa-sevanami' (to serve the master of the senses with my senses') has become a formidable task for me.
What to Speak of Srila Gurudeva (Part 4)
By Syamarani dasi

     On many occasions, Srila Gurudeva has explained that we can understand the greatness and power of a devotee by the greatness of his worshipful Deity (istadeva). The more complete and powerful the Deity is, the more complete and powerful the devotee.
     For example, Sri Prahlad Maharaja’s worshipful Deity is Lord Nrsimhadeva, who is Sri Krsna’s plenary portion and the personification of Krsna’s disc weapon. Prahlada is a jnani-bhakta, a maha-bhagavata devotee who has knowledge of his Lord’s omniscience and omnipotence. The Lord arranged to show us Prahlada’s greatness by having Prahlada’s father poison him, throw him off a cliff, hurl him into a great fire, and place him in a pot of boiling oil – but Prahlada was not at all disturbed. He remembered Krsna, he was blissful, and he preached Krsna consciousness.
     Srila Haridas Thakura, a combination of Prahlada Maharaja and Lord Brahma, was beaten in twenty-two marketplaces, so severely that his skin and muscles were practically ripped to shreds – but he was not disturbed. In fact, he told his prosecutors, “Even if you cut me into thousands of pieces, I’ll never give up my chanting the holy names.” The men who were given the charge of beating him by the Muslim Kazi became afraid, thinking, "If this man is not dead, then the Kazi will punish us." They begged him, "If you do not die, we'll be dead. Our life is in great danger." Haridasa Thakura then ‘died’ and was brought before the Kazi, who became most pleased. Haridäsa Thakura was then thrown into the river Ganges, and he came out on the opposite bank unharmed and very beautiful.
     What to speak of great Vaisnavas, Srila Gurudeva told the history of Kumarila Bhatta [see footnote 1], a smarta brahmana who showed amazing power in the face of reverses. Kumarila Bhatta attended a Buddhist university, where, much to the annoyance of the other students, he defeated his Buddhist teacher in philosophical argument. The other students were angered by this insult to their teacher. “Kumarila Bhatta is not a Buddhist,” they said to each other. “Perhaps he is a Vaisnava, or a member of some other sect,” and they conspired to kill him. They accosted and seized him, and took him to the top of a tall building. “We are going to hurl you to the ground,” they told him. “But if your God is really true and if the Vedas are also true, you will be protected. If not, you will simply die.” Kumarila Bhaööa concurred, “If the Vedas speak the Absolute Truth and if my God is real, then surely no harm wi ll come to me.” They threw him onto the ground below and then ran down, fully expecting to find him dead. Instead, they saw him walking, talking and uninjured, except for a broken finger. They firmly took hold of him and asked derisively, “You did not die, but if you were fully protected, why did your finger get broken?” Kumarila Bhatta replied, “I made the mistake of saying ‘if’ my God is real.” “Had I not said ‘if,’ I would not have been injured at all.”
     More powerful than all such smarta-brahmanas, or even all other devotees, are the Vaisnavas whose worshipful Deity is Sri Sri Radha-Krsna. In his last days, Srila Madhavendra Puri, the grand-spiritual master of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, manifested a pastime of such illness that he could not move at all. Two of his prominent disciples saw him in two different ways.
     Ramacandra Puri thought that Srila Madhavendra Puri was in material consciousness. Seeing his Gurudeva weeping and not knowing that he was weeping in ecstatic separation from Krsna, Ramacandra Puri thought that his lamentation was mundane. He would tell his Gurudeva, “O Gurudeva, do not lament. Just meditate on Brahman (the Lord’s impersonal feature).” Hearing this instruction, Sri Madhavendra Puri ordered him, “Immediately leave this place, you sinful rascal! Do not show your face to me. If I die seeing your face, I shall not achieve my life’s goal.”
     Sri Isvara Puri, on the other hand, understood that his Gurudeva’s body was transcendental, full of knowledge and bliss. He never considered him to be an ordinary human being, who experiences physical or materially emotional pain. He lovingly served his Gurudeva with care and attention, sang kirtana to him and recited the pastimes of Radha and Krsna, and even cleaned up his stool and urine with his own hands. What was the result? Sri Madhavendra Puri embraced him and blessed him that he would be enveloped with pure love of Krsna. As a result of this blessing, Sri Isvara Puri became the spiritual master of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
     Mahaprabhu appeared in the Brahma-Madhva Sampradaya, and by His contribution that line of parampara became our Brahma-Madhva-Gaudiya Sampradaya. The adi-guru, or first guru, of our sampradaya is Lord Brahma. Empowered by Lord Krsna Himself, Lord Brahma is not only the secondary creator of the universe, but he is personally manifest as a mountain in Varsana called Brahma-parvat. In the form of that mountain, Brahma is not only able to witness the pastimes of Sri Sri Radha-Krsna there, but he is able to experience the happiness of having Their sportive pastimes enacted upon his heads.
     Pure rupanuga Gaudiya Vaisnavas are the most powerful of all devotees, because their worshipful Deity is Srimati Radhika. Srimati Radhika is the worshipful Deity of even Sri Krsna [see footnote 2], the source of all incarnations and worlds, and She is in fact the personification of Krsna’s power. Even Krsna is controlled by Her loving power. Srila Gurudeva has often recited the Gita-Govinda verse in which Krsna says to Radhika, “Please place Your lotus feet on My head.” And He says the same to the maidservants of Srimati Radhika. In Vrndavana, 1992, Srila Gurudeva told a few siksa disciples, “You are pursuing Krsna, but you don’t know that if you become a playa-dasi of Srimati Radhika, then Krsna will pursue you.”
     Srila Rupa Gosvami is indeed the embodiment of rupanuga Gaudiya Vaisnavism. In Goloka Vrndavana, he is Sri Rupa Manjari. To instruct us, he assumes the role of an ordinary sadhaka, praying for the time that he will be the maidservant of Radhika, guarding the doorway of Her kunja. He yearns for the day that Radhika orders him, “If any black person comes, do not allow Him entrance.” He says, “I will vigilantly guard the door, and when Krsna comes I will scornfully say, ‘Where have you been!? You are late. You can just go back to where You just came from, because no cheater will be allowed in to see my Svamini.” Then Krsna will have no choice but to How down before me and beg my mercy to allow Him in. At that time only will I take him to the lotus feet of my Svamini, my Mistress, Srimati Radhika.”
     Besides sharing the above statement about Srila Rupa Gosvami, Srila Gurudeva said in a darsana in Vrndavana in the 1990’s that our Srila Prabhupada Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja is also one of those ‘guards’ in Svananda Sukhada Kunja.
     In the late 1960’s, the great rupanuga Gaudiya Vaisnava acarya, our Srila Prabhupada, performed a pastime of having a heart attack. When he recovered, he wrote letters to two of his disciples about a third disciple, who had been massaging him, cooking for him, and rendering so many other services to him. He wrote that that disciple had been thinking that Prabhupada’s existence was dependent on him and that Prabhupada really needed him. As a result, that disciple was again allured by Maya. He had not appreciated the reality of the situation: it was Prabhupada who was giving him the mercy by allowing him to serve him; it was not the other way around. Srila Prabhupada did not have a body made of material blood and bones.
     Srila Narottama dasa Thakura, another great rupanuga Gaudiya Vaisnava acarya, was initiating brahmanas, although he was not a brahmana himself, having been born the son of a king. His preaching was so powerful that many brahmana families became his disciples, which caused disturbance in caste brahmana sectors, for those who neither understood Vaisnava principles nor the glory of Srila Narottama dasa Thakura. They alleged that his initiating brahmanas was against scriptural injunction, and they challenged him to a debate.
     Srila Gurudeva explained that before the debate Srila Narottama dasa Thakura became paralyzed – he had made himself like that. All his disciples went to him and prayed, “O Thakuraji, O Gurudeva, if you die now, giving up your body and going to Lord Krsna, all the brahmanas will say it is because you are initiating brahmanas. They will say you have suffered and gone to hell. So we pray that you become completely cured.” Hearing this, Narottama dasa Thakura became like a young man and began to run here and there. This was observed by those very brahmanas who were declaring that he was destined for hell. Some of them became paralyzed, some became blind, some were bitten by snakes, etc. Eventually they approached his lotus feet and apologized. He excused them, and again enacted being paralyzed.
     Sri Krsna has such great compassion for the souls of this world that He Himself comes in the form of the spiritual master. Krsna manifests two forms in this material world in order to deliver aspiring devotees. Internally He manifests as the Supersoul and externally as the topmost devotee.
     Even those pure devotees who are not Gaudiya Vaisnavas, who do not have the Srimati Radhika as their worshipful Deity, have so much mystic power as a small by-product of their devotion. One example: Referring to the history of King Citraketu in the sixth canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam, Srila Gurudeva said that to teach the King a lesson for the benefit of the King and the benefit of the world, Angira Rishi took the form of the king’s newborn son and lived with him for a few years. That ‘son’ then died, was ‘brought back to life’ by the words of Narada Rishi, and then spoke transcendental knowledge to ‘his father.’ The King was liberated and became a perfect devotee, and the world advances in bhakti by reading and hearing that narration under proper guidance.
     A second example: Visvamitra Muni wanted to teach his disciple King Hariscandra a spiritual lesson and make him qualified to have Lord Ramacandra appear in his dynasty. He therefore appeared one night in the King’s dream, and later on manifested as a snake that bit and killed the king’s son, who was later brought back to life. [See footnote 3]
     And what to speak of the powers of Gaudiya Vaisnavas. Once, in a January, 2001 darsana in New Zealand, Srila Gurudeva told his audience, “Even Krsna can never control me, because I am already under the control of Srimati Radhika. Radhika is so powerful. If Krsna will be angry upon me, I will say, "Why are You angry? You should not be angry. My Svamini is Radhika, You know." Then Krsna will say, "Oh, your Svamini is Radhika? Then, namaskara to you."
     In Sri Radha-krpa-kataksa, an exquisite glorification of Srimati Radhika, it is stated: “Meditation on even one of Your toenails grants an infinite variety of perfections.” Although it may not be perceptible to us conditioned souls, the fact remains that our rupanuga Gaudiya Vaisnava acaryas have these perfections.
     Knowing Srila Gurudeva’s divinity and being filled with a mood to care and serve him are not mutually exclusive, as we can see in the story of Sri Madhavendra Puripada and Sri Isvara Puri above. We give our one hundred percent attention to caring for Srila Gurudeva with love, as if we are actually needed by him, and at the same time we know that he is fully independent and that it is we who need him.
     We can have full faith that if we take full shelter of such a bona fide guru as Srila Gurudeva, surrender to his instructions and serve his mission together – as if we are needed to assist, and at the same time knowing that the mission will be spread by his power and the power of his guru-parampara, not ours – we will certainly make our lives successful.

[Better late than never: I am offering my millions of thanks to Srimati Vaijayanti-mala didi. She edited and thus improved all the seven or eight articles I then submitted to and on the subject of Srila Gurudeva’s identity and present pastime of apparent illness. It was also she who chose the two extracts of the writings of Parama-gurudeva, Srila Bhakti Prajana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja, from the Rays of the Harmonist Magazine, which were the basis of two of the articles.]

[footnote 1: quoted in Srila Gurudeva’s English commentary of Gopi-gita ch. 3]
[footnote 2: Srila Gurudeva’s comment on Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi-lila 4.83]
[footnote 3: Please see Srila Gurudeva’s booklet, Secrets of the Undiscovered Self for more details on this history]


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