Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Approaching the Spiritual Master (Srila Sridhar Maharaj)


Excerpt from Sri Guru and His Grace



We must be careful to get proper direction. That direction has been given by Krsna in the Bhagavad-gita (4:34):

                                       tad viddhi pranipatena
                                       pariprasnena sevaya
                                      upadeksyanti te jnanam
                                      jnaninas tattva darsinah

"To understand transcendental knowledge, you must approach a self-realized soul, accept him as your spiritual master, and take initiation from him. Inquire submissively and render service unto him. Selfrealized souls can impart knowledge unto you, for they have seen the truth."

Here, Krsna has given us the standard by which we can understand what is what, from a bona fide source. The standard to measure truth or untruth must come not from a vitiated, vulnerable plane, but from a real plane. And to realize that, we must have these three qualifications: pranipat, pariprasna, and seva. Pranipat means we must surrender to this knowledge, for it is not an ordinary class of knowledge, which as a subject we can make our object; it is supersubjective. We may be the subjects in this mundane world, but we will have to become objects to be handled by the superknowledge of that plane.


Pranipat means that one approaches a spiritual master, saying, "I am finished with the experience of this external world; I have no charm for anything in this plane, where I have already traveled. Now I am offering myself exclusively at your altar. I want to have your grace." In this mood we should approach that higher knowledge.

Pariprasna means honest, sincere inquiry. We must inquire not with the tendency of discussion or in the mood of argument, but all our efforts should be concentrated in a positive line to understand the truth, without the spirit of doubt and suspicion. With full attention we should try to understand that truth, because it is coming from a higher plane of reality that we have never known.

Finally, there is sevaya, or service. This is the most important thing. We are trying to gain this knowledge not so we can get the help of that plane, not so we can utilize that experience for living here; rather we must give our pledge to serve that plane. Only with this attitude may we approach that plane of knowledge. We shall serve that higher knowledge; we won't try to make it serve us. Otherwise, we won't be allowed to enter into that domain. Absolute knowledge won't come to serve this lower plane. We must offer ourselves to be used by Him, not that we shall try to use Him in our own selfish way, to satisfy our lower purpose.

With the mood of service we shall dedicate ourselves to Him; not that He will dedicate Himself to satisfy our lower animal purpose. So, with this attitude we shall seek the plane of real knowledge and receive the standard understanding. And then we can know what is what, and have a proper estimation of our environment.

Absolute knowledge has always been imparted by this process alone, and never by the intellectual approach. Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta used to give the analogy of the bee: honey is in a bottle, the cork is in place, and the bee has taken his seat on the glass. He tries to taste the honey by licking the bottle. But, just as the bee cannot taste the honey by licking the outside of the glass bottle, the intellect cannot approach the world of spirit. We may think that we have attained it, but that is not possible: a barrier is there, like the glass. Intellectual achievement is not real achievement of higher knowledge. Only through faith, sincerity, and dedication can we approach that higher realm, and become a member. We can enter that higher plane only if they grant us a visa and admit us. Then we can enter that land of divine living.





No comments:

Post a Comment