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Gaudiya Vaishnava reflections

By Syamarani dasi

Srila Gurudeva has unlimited intelligence in guiding the activities of his disciple [*see footnote], and in his present pastime in this world is solely to guide us into his heart. He has taught us that when as a disciple’s sadhana become increasingly deep, that disciple’s feelings of separation from his Gurudeva intensify. In this way, Srila Gurudeva is inspiring us all to strengthen our spiritual practices. And this is happening.
On many levels, devotees are experiencing separation at this time. Those who wanted to come to India to see him but could not raise the money or avail the time are experiencing feelings of separation, as are those who came to India but could not see him, those who saw him just briefly, and even those who see him often. What is this all about?
Srila Gurudeva wants to bring us to the highest level of a separation mood for him. This is beautifully described by him in this excerpt of one of his discussions on Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami’s Vilapa-kusumanjali, given in Vrndavana, India, in the early 90’s:

“The sadhaka should cultivate vipralambha-bhava, thinking, “I am not seeing Krsna, I am not seeing Srimati Radhika, I am not seeing Vraja, I am not seeing anything!” He should always feel separation as Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami has shown here — separation from Krsna and especially from Srimati Radhika.
“In many verses Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami has also lamented in separation from Srila Rupa Gosvami. At the time of Rupa Gosvami’s entrance into aprakata-lila, the un-manifest pastimes, he composed this verse:

sunyayate maha-gostham girindro ‘jagarayate
vyaghra-tundayate kundam jivatu-rahitasya me

Now that I no longer have the sustainer of my life, the land of Vraja has become empty and desolate, Govardhana Hill has become like a great python, and Radha-kunda has become like the gaping mouth of a ferocious tigress.
“He has also lamented in separation for his siksa-gurus, thinking, “I’m so unlucky. First Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu departed from this world and left me behind. Afterwards I lived constantly with Sri Svarupa Damodara, and he also left. Next I caught hold of the lotus feet of Sri Gadadhara Pandita, but he also departed. Then, experiencing that every place and every dust particle of Jagannatha Puri reminded me of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Svarupa Damodara, Gadadhara Pandita and all their associates, I fled to Vrndavana.”
“Although our Gurudeva has also entered his aprakata-lila, we remain in this world in a very pleasant manner. On special days, like his appearance day and disappearance day, the occasion comes that we may remember him. At that time, however, we are involved in arranging the festival and there is very little chance to realize that separation. Only while we are speaking something about him, a drop of tear may come in our eye – and it may not come. If the festival is very elaborate, there will be no tears. So many functions must be managed, such as the abhiseka, puja, and distribution of maha-prasadam to Vaisnavas. We arrange these festivals mainly for the people in general, for those who have no intimate relation with him. But we should do something so that a feeling of separation will come within our own hearts, and that is called bhajana.
“Only those special persons who have realized their immense obligation and indebtedness to Gurudeva for all they have received, and who have rendered abundant service to him with visrambha-bhava, intimacy, will feel separation. They will weep. Such devotees will not consider, ‘I’m so low and my Gurudeva is in such a high stage.’ Awe and reverence will not be there; otherwise one cannot weep. Sastra states, visrambhena guror seva – the sevaka performs such intimate service to Gurudeva that Gurudeva remains always pleased with him. The guru will not consider for even a moment that, ‘He is my servant and disciple.’ Instead he will feel, ‘He is my heart.’ Sri Isvara Puri, the disciple of Srila Madhavendra Puri, and Govinda, the disciple of Sri Isvara Puri, were servants of this caliber. Although this is a rare relationship, it is absolutely necessary for raganuga-bhakti. Without a relationship like this, we weep like Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami.
“Separation from Gurudeva will be experienced on different levels. When we consider how merciful he was and how much greater he is than ourselves, we feel a certain type of sentiment. However, when we remember how near and dear he was and how much he loved us, then we will weep profusely for him.
“The gopis can weep so much more than Nanda Baba. Yasoda Ma can also weep more than Nanda Baba, but the gopis can weep even more than Yasoda. This is because their relationship with Krsna is more intimate. We should have this kind of relationship with Sri Krsna, Srimati Radhika, and also with our Gurudeva, Sri Rupa Manjari, Srila Rupa Gosvami, and all others like them. Then we can weep for their mercy. If we have yet to develop an intimate service relationship with our Gurudeva, then surely we cannot imagine our relationship with Rupa Manjari or Srimati Radhika and Krsna. Our entire advancement depends upon on how intensely we serve our Gurudeva, and all other relationships and experiences develop on that platform. If we can weep for Gurudeva, we can weep for Srimati Radhika. If we cannot weep for our Gurudeva we cannot weep for Her. That is my experience. Whatever we know, we know from Gurudeva, and therefore we should weep in our hearts for him.”

*Footnote – “Agadha-dhisinam dvijam: the acarya is a perfect brahmana and has unlimited intelligence in guiding the activities of his disciple.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 6.7.15 purport by Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Prabhupada)


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