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Srimad Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja - Rays of The Harmonist Monthly On-line Edition




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sri sri guru gauranga jayatah!
Rays of The Harmonist On-Line Edition
Year-4, Issue 7
Posted: 18 August 2011

Dedicated to
nitya-lila pravista om visnupada
Sri Srimad Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja

Inspired by and under the guidance of
nitya-lila pravista om visnupada
Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja

Upamanyu – The Ideal Guru-sevaka
by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada

(Portrait of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada)

The great acarya Ayodadhaumya Muni had a disciple named Upamanyu. He once instructed Upamanyu to take the cows out to graze every day and return to the asrama with them at sunset. So, following the order of his guru, Upamanyu used to protect his guru’s cows and take them out to graze every day, and when he returned at sunset, he would offer prostrated obeisances to his gurudeva and then sit before him with folded hands.
One day, seeing that Upamanyu was very healthy, his gurudeva asked him, “O my son Upamanyu, you are becoming very healthy and strong. What have you been eating every day?”
“O Gurudeva,” Upamanyu replied, “I have been maintaining myself by begging alms.”
“Listen carefully,” said the acarya. “It is quite improper for you to accept anything you collect as alms without my knowledge or permission.”
So from that day on, heeding his guru’s order, Upamanyu began offering any grains he collected as alms to his gurudeva, but the acarya would always take all the alms without giving anything to Upamanyu.

* * *
One day, as usual, Upamanyu returned with the cows at dusk and offered obeisances to his gurudeva. But when the acarya saw that his disciple was still very healthy looking and actually quite strong, he asked him, “O my son, I take all the food you beg, without giving anything to you, but still, I see that you look so healthy. What do you eat?”
“O my lord,” Upamanyu replied, “after I give all the alms I have collected to you, I go out begging a second time so that I can eat a few handfuls of food.”
“Just see!” exclaimed the acarya, “this behaviour is not dharmic for a gentleman, nor is it a proper action for him. By this you are depriving other beggars of their lot. Furthermore, by this act you will gradually become very greedy.
Upamanyu took the instruction of his guru on his head and continued grazing his guru’s cows every day.

* * *
Then one day, when Upamanya returned from cow grazing at dusk and offered obeisances to his guru, the acarya again asked, “O my son Upamanyu, I take all the alms you collect as you wander here and there, and I have forbidden you to collect separately for yourself, yet you look even healthier than before! What are you eating these days?”
“I have been maintaining my life by drinking cow’s milk,” Upamanyu replied.
“But I never gave you permission to take any milk,” the acarya exclaimed. “You have done a great injustice by doing so.”
At this, Upamanyu begged his guru for forgiveness, and continued his service of taking the cows out to graze everyday. Some days later, when Upamanyu returned from cow grazing and prostrated before his gurudeva, the acarya again asked,
“Upamanyu my son, you give all the alms you collect to me without eating any of it. You never go out a second time to collect for yourself, and I have forbidden you to take cow’s milk. How is it that you still look so healthy? What are you eating now?”
“After the calves drink milk from their mothers’ udders, I collect the foam that has seeped out of their mouths,” explained Upamanyu.
“The calves are very peaceful. In order to show you some mercy, they do not drink all the milk they need, but rather leave some for you on their mouths in the form of foam. You are stealing their food. Do not do this anymore.”
Upamanyu took the instruction of sri gurdeva on his head and continued his guru-seva.

* * *
One day while grazing the cows, Upamanyu became extremely hungry and thirsty. He did not know what to do. If he failed to somehow maintain his life, he would be abandoning his service to his guru. Thinking this way, he ate some akanda leaves (calotropis gigantea), not realizing they were extremely poisonous.
Almost immediately he became completely blind. Alone and unable to see, Upamanyu wandered about helplessly until he fell into a well.
Meanwhile, when dusk came and went and Upamanyu had still not returned, the acarya became worried. He told his other disciples, “I ordered Upamanyu not to eat any type of food. Now I am worried that he has become too malnourished to return.”
Saying this, the acarya took several of his disciples and entered the forest to look for Upamanyu, loudly calling his name as they searched. When they came near the well, Upamanyu heard the calls of the acarya. In a loud voice, but with abundant humility, he narrated the story of how he came to be at the bottom of a well.”
When the acarya heard of Upamanyu’s condition, he told him to offer prayers of eulogy to the twin Asvini Kumaras, the doctors of the demigods, and informed him that the disease that had blinded him could be cured by their mercy.
The Asvini Kumaras were very satisfied with Upamanyu’s prayers. They appeared before him and offered him a small cake to eat, explaining that it would cure the disease that had blinded him.
Upamanyu replied, “I cannot take this cake without first offering it to Srila Gurudeva and receiving his permission.”
The twin Asvini Kumaras said, “Previously, your gurudeva also offered prayers of eulogy to us. We were very pleased with him at that time and therefore gave him a cake. He ate that cake without the permission of his guru, so, as his disciple, you should act just as your acarya did. You should also take this cake and eat it.”
Upamanyu folded his hands and spoke to the Asvini Kumaras, “I humbly request you, please do not ask me to eat this cake without first offering it to Srila Gurudeva.”
The Asvini Kumaras were so pleased to see Upamanyu’s intense guru-bhakti. They said, “You will regain your vision and you will also attain supreme auspiciousness.”
Upamanyu immediately regained his sight and was brought out of the well. He returned to his gurudeva and fell at his lotus feet, explaining all that had happened. The acarya was so pleased that he blessed Upamanyu: “You have passed the examination,” he said. “Now, all the Vedas and dharma-sastras will forever remain on the path of your memory and you will attain supreme auspiciousness.”

* * *
This narration from the Mahabharata provides us with an example of the ideal guru-sevaka. The real guru-sevaka will never personally enjoy any object belonging to his guru. Service alone is his nitya-dharma, or eternal, constitutional function. However severe and intense sri guru’s instructions may be, the true guru-sevaka contentedly follows them without deviation. While serving his guru, such a disciple forgets his personal happiness. Indeed, he will even gladly sacrifice his very life to serve his guru. The true guru-sevaka thinks as follows:

tomara sevaya duhkha haya yata
sei to parama sukha
seva-sukha-duhkha, parama sampada
nasaye avidhya-duhkha

Saranagati (2.8) by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura
Whatever suffering I endure in the course of serving you, I experience as the greatest happiness. In the course of serving you, both happiness and distress are the highest wealth, because they destroy the misery of ignorance.
The disciple who follows his guru’s orders and teachings, rather than imitating his actions and practices, will never be deprived of his guru’s mercy. Rather than taking the Asvini Kumara’s advice to imitate the actions of his guru, Upamanyu followed his guru’s order. He refused to eat the healing cake without his guru’s permission.
An intelligent person knows to follow the orders and teachings (vani) of great personalities. By this alone, all of his most cherished spiritual desires are fulfilled. None but those who perform service to sri guru with this mentality can pass even the most difficult test the world puts them through. All the deep and secret truths of the scriptures manifest in their hearts alone and remain situated on the path of their memory forever! Solely by the mercy of sri gurudeva, the highest auspiciousness – service to Sri Krsna – will be obtained.

Translated by the Rays of The Harmonist team
from Upakhyane Upadesa

Upakhyane Upadesa is Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada’s instructions through the medium of scriptural moral tales.

Special On-line Edition: On the appearance day of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, 10 September 2011
Next Issue – Year 4, Issue 8: “Accepting Disciples – Becoming a Disciple”, 17 September, 2011
Visit Rays of The Harmonist Monthly On-Line Edition at purebhakti.com for a complete list of articles
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Rays of The Harmonist On-line; Year 4, Issue 7, "Upamanyu – The Ideal Guru-sevaka", by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License to ensure that it is always freely available.
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