A State of Utter Hopelessness

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by Swami B.G. Narasingha

This article was written by Śrīla Narasiṅgha Mahārāja on the occasion of Śrīla Bhakti Pramoda Purī Gosvāmī’s Vyāsa Pūjā in 2002 wherein Mahārāja discusses the disappearance of Śrī Guru and how a true disciple feels in his absence.

The appearance and disappearance of Śrī Guru may be compared to the rising and setting of the sun. When Śrī Guru appears, he gives us the hope of attaining the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa in pure devotional service, and when he disappears from our mortal vision he takes away all our material attachments.

From the moment of the disappearance of Śrī Guru, the bona-fide disciple has no hope or desire to maintain his attachments to material life. In such a state of utter hopelessness the bona fide disciple takes the deepest shelter of the lotus feet of Śrī Guru.

śrī-guru-gaurāṅga mano’bhīṣṭa sthāpibāre
śiṣyera hṛdaye ārti jāge tīvrākāre
bhāṣaṇe lekhanī-mukhe tāhāi prakāśi
kārye han tat-para ālasya vināśi

“Separation calls into the disciple’s heart a deep anxiety to fulfill the desires of Śrī Guru and Gauranga. As I speak about this in my speeches and writings, I become inspired to overcome my lethargy and dedicate myself fully to that purpose.”

Śrī Guru is the dearmost servant of Kṛṣṇa, the dearmost servant of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, the dearmost servant of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, and the dearmost servant of the followers of Śrī Rūpa and Raghunātha. Thus the bona-fide disciple desires only the shelter of the dust of the lotus feet of Śrī Guru.

śrī-rūpera pada-dhūli jānaha svarūpa
sei se sarvasva tāhe nā hao virūpa

“Know that your true identity is to be a speck of dust at the lotus feet of Śrī Rūpa. Don’t go against this identity, which is your greatest treasure.”

The bona-fide disciple must make the order of Śrī Guru his life and soul. For without following the order of Śrī Guru one cannot make progress on the path back to Godhead. If the bona-fide disciple pleases Śrī Guru by following his instructions he easily achieves the supreme destination.

na guror apriyaṁ kuryāt tāḍitah pīḍito ‘pi vā
nāvamanyeta tad-vākyam nāpriyam hi samācaret

“Never do anything unpleasant to your spiritual master, even if you are humiliated and beaten. Never disregard his words, and never act in a way that is displeasing to him.”

ācāryasya priyaṁ kuryāt prāṇair api dhanair api
karmaṇā manasā vācā sa yāti paramām gatim

“Do things that are pleasing to your spiritual master with your life and your wealth, with your work, your thoughts, and your speech, and you will go to the supreme destination.”

Remembering the following words of Śrīla Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākura, a bona-fide disciple serves Śrī Guru, always keeping his instructions within his heart.

guru-mukha-padma-vākya cittete kariyā aikya
āra nā kariha mane āśā
śrī guru caraṇe rati, ei se uttama gati
je prasāde pūre sarva āśā

Fix your mind on the words emanating from the lotus mouth of the spiritual master. Place your hopes in nothing else. Affection for the guru’s lotus feet is the ultimate goal, for by his mercy all of one’s aspirations are realised. The Upaniṣads have spoken thus:

yasya deve parā bhaktir yathā deve tathā gurau
tasyaite kathitā hy arthāḥ prakāśante mahātmanaḥ

“Only unto those great souls who have implicit faith in both the Lord and the spiritual master, who is His manifestation and not different from Him, are all the imports of Vedic knowledge automatically revealed. (Śvetāsvatara Upaniṣad 6.23)

On this most holy occasion of Śrī Vyāsa-pūjā of Oṁ Viṣṇupada Paramahaṁsa Parivrājakācārya Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Pramoda Purī Gosvāmī Mahārāja, we remember with great affection how his appearance gave, to the multitude of fallen souls, the hope to one day serve the lotus feet of Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa in pure devotion. And with great pain in our heart we also remember his humble departure from the scope of our mortal eyes. Now when darkness has seized the world and caused a flood of ignorance to emerge, we remember his affectionate instructions never to deviate from the shelter of the Holy Name of Kṛṣṇa. With this humble prayer I prostrate myself at his lotus feet and pray that he will remove all my many impediments on the path of pure devotional service.

vairāgya-vidyā-nija-bhakti-yogam
apāyayan mām anabhipsum andham
bhakti-pramodaḥ purī-nāmni khyātaḥ
kṛpāmbudhir yas tam aham prapadye

“I offer my most respectful obeisances to His Divine Grace Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Pramoda Purī Gosvāmī Mahārāja, the dearest servant of Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Gopīnātha and Śrī Śrī Gaura-Gadādhara, who out of His causeless mercy has forced me to drink the nectar of pure devotional service filled with knowledge and renunciation, although I am unqualified and unwilling to do it.”

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