by Nisikanta Sanyal | 1933 | 274,022 words | ISBN-10: 818919500X
The present work is an attempt to offer a theistic account in the English language of the career and teachings of Sri Chaitanya (representing the Absolute Truth in His full manifestation). Sri Chaitanya came into this world to make all people understand that in reference to their eternal existence they should have nothing to do with non-Godhead. A...
I have tried to reproduce almost verbatim the account of Sri Thakur Brindavandas in describing the controversial triumph of Nimai Pandit over ‘the Conqueror, of all quarters’. Technical details of the controversy also have been handed down to us in the Narrative of the same event in the immortal work of Sri Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami.
The shloka which was condemned by Sri Gaursundar runs as follows:—
mahatvam gangayah satatamidamavati nitaram
yadesa shree-vishnoshcharana kamalotpattisubkaga
dvitiya shree lakshmiriva suranarairarchyacharana
bhabanibharturya shirasi bibhavatyad bhutaguna.
Sri Gaursundar pointed out in detail the defective disposition and use of words and the incorrectness of rhetorical embellishments used in the shloka, while admitting specific excellences. He observed that the five principal defects pointed out by Him were the most prominent ones; but there were also other and numerous minor defects. He said that the productions of the greatest poets such as Kalidas, Bhababhuti, Jayadeva, etc., were not also free from all defects; and so it was not necessary for ‘the Conqueror’ to be discouraged, inasmuch as he certainly possessed the poetic genius which is so rare.
The power of learning, that ever serves the Supreme Lord, does not mislead any one; but worldly learning always misleads her votaries. This is not the Age-long controversy of Theology versus Natural Science; as both of them are equally the products of the erring reason of man. The issue is the higher one. Is the Absolute attainable by empiric knowledge? Nimai Pandit held the view that empiric knowledge is necessarily defective, i.e., untrue, by the standard of the Absolute. Instead of helping us to find the Truth empiric knowledge produces a delusive belief in the sufficiency of itself, and thus acts as an obstacle in the way of the search of the Truth.
All mental speculation as a matter of fact is non-spiritual by its unavoidable neglect to make due allowance for inherent limitations. It is never possible for the reason of man to discover the Absolute Truth by its unavoidably limited speculative efforts. ‘The Conqueror of all quarters’ was, however, aware of this. He knew, what ordinary scholars will be hardly prepared to admit, that it was the goddess of learning who was the cause of his genius. If this were fully admitted by everybody then all differences, detectable in such knowledge, would be proved to be fictitious, and be at once seen as due to the operation of an invisible controlling Power who also produces and keeps up the idea of human merit as the resultant of human effort. The Conqueror’ was aware of the conditional nature of his knowledge. But ‘the Conqueror’ himself had not realized the utter delusiveness of all worldly learning. He accordingly aspired to the fame of being the acknowledged leading scholar of the world. The greatest theologians and the greatest scientists are but puppets in the hands of the goddess of illusion, if either of them suppose that they can know the Truth by their limited effort.
Sri Jiva Goswami prabhu is not a controversialist of the mundane stamp. His arguments can never be really grasped by even the greatest Or empiric thinkers of this world. Sri Jiva Goswami refutes his antagonists by arguments that are intelligible to empiricists for overthrowing the conclusions of a faulty system. He however, knew that he was actually the channel of communication of the one Living Indivisible Knowledge to all impartial understandings in the Form of the Articulated Transcendental Sound. Sri Jiva Goswami’s sole ambition was to serve as the unobstructive medium of the Divine Communication. He is, as a matter of fact, not in the scale of comparison with the empiric scholars of this world. All comparison between one empiric scholar and another is mundane and delusive. The futile speculation of one man is by its nature challengeable by the equally abortive rival speculation of another man. This opens the way to the vicious cycle of the endless and inconclusive controversy that passes in the name of theology. All this controversy is untrue and never takes us an inch in the direction of the Truth. In the picturesque language of Srimad Bhagavatam it is futile to expect the discovery of the grain by thrashing the empty chaff. Empiric knowledge has not legs to stand upon. It rests on unproved and unprovable assumptions. It assumes the principle of limitation itself as the basis of its search for the Unlimited! Can there be conceived a greater or more absurd form of self-deception than this?
‘The Conqueror’ was the favoured protégé of the goddess of the delusive empiric learning. All the empiric sciences accordingly yielded up their whole wealth (?) of hypothetical truths (?) to him, without any acquisitive effort on his part. The ideal of the empiric quest is the unrealizable wild-goose of the fable. Let us suppose that it is possible for one to know everything that it is possible or desirable for one to know and whenever one is in actual need of such knowledge. Will the possession of such power yield, or produce in such a person the inclination for, the Absolute Truth? If I could attain every facility that is conceivable to the human reason as desirable possession without any effort, would it be the really satisfactory state of existence that it is conceived to be? This was the actual condition of ‘the Conqueror of all quarters.’ But he felt as solitary as Faust himself ‘in his bad eminence’. But there is no Tempter except one’s own boundless vanity of the hankering for empiric knowledge. The attempt to shift the responsibility of our sons to the shoulders of a third party, is most disingenuous since it is so easy to explain our own responsibility for our sins without the profanity of any such deliberately dishonest assumptions!
The paltry reason of man, when it takes upon itself to shape its own course, finds itself reaping the harvest of its deliberate folly. It could foresee well enough the inevitable consequences of its attempt to dominate the world, if it could only properly exercise the sense of its responsibility for its acts, which it undoubtedly possesses. The exercise of the egotistic principle, on the part of a being with limited faculties of knowledge, is bound to lead to discord and misery. The plea is sometimes advanced that the miseries of this world are unreal. They do not really affect those who possess sufficient firmness of disposition. This is the Stoic’s philosophy. But it is the most fatal form of all delusions. It is hardly prepared to deny the reality of misery in the case of those who do not possess the required imaginary firmness of disposition. It finds itself occupied in applauding the qualities of the unfeeling stone and the hardened criminal. This mechanical ‘unconcern’ is not capable of being recognized even by the limited intellect as the ideal of human perfection. The miseries of this world are not really ended by such suicidal policy. It is necessary to seek out the true cause of our miseries for effecting their real and lasting cure. Empiric science is, at any rate, free from the killing vice of callousness of the Stoics. Its defect is not that it at all undertakes to search for the Truth; but that it deliberately undertakes to do this in the evidently wrong way. The empiric optimist is, however, nevertheless cousin-german of the empiric pessimist. The forte of both is an egregious egotism which both of them mistake for the principle of their coveted individuality and personality and for which they heroically prepare themselves to take all fictitious risks. This is no doubt rank atheism. Which is the antagonist against whom all this preparation is directed. There is no Satan in this world except one’s own avoidable egotistic vanity.
‘The Conqueror of all quarters’ was happily disillusioned and gave up all worldly ambition to follow the true spiritual path. It is necessary to consider the means by which such a result was produced, as also the nature of the change itself. This great change was wrought by the Mercy of Sri Gaursundar. The goddess of learning directed ‘the Conqueror’ to the Feet of Nimai Pandit. The same goddess was thus performing a double and apparently contradictory function. She had herself hitherto produced the delusion from which she now chose to rescue her victim. For the previous sufferings of ‘the Conqueror’ the goddess was not to blame at all. She is ever contriving to save the perverse soul from the consequences of his suicidal folly, without allowing him to succeed in actually destroying himself. Her function is like that of the wise mother who deludes her wayward child with toys that have no intrinsic worth in order to wean the naughty child from the consequences, present and prospective, of his wantonness. The culpable egotistic sentiment is inherent in free cognition and is controllable only by the conviction of its possessor that it is wrong. This is at once the privilege and the danger of the soul of man poised between the spiritual and mundane worlds. The jiva possesses as his birthright perfect freedom to abuse his cognitive liberty. The empiric sciences of this world provide the scope for the abuse of his liberty. The sciences themselves are not to blame for this. As a matter of fact they are never created by, but are only communicated to, the mind of man. ‘The Conqueror’ had realized this truth. Modern scientists, as a rule, do not admit this. Nor do they admit its corollary that the empiric sciences only serve to conceal the Truth more effectively. This last fact was also unknown to ‘the Conqueror’. But inasmuch as he was fortunately immune from the more fatal of the above two defects he proved to be of a more governable disposition. Mother Saraswathi accordingly directed him to the Lord Who alone could deliver him from his ignorance. It is only by the positive Appearance of the Truth that untruth loses its power over us.
The Supreme Lord is the Sole Director of all the power of learning. We want our so-called acquired learning to serve our own selfish purposes, and not for serving the purpose of the Lord. But learning refuses to serve any one except the Lord. When she seems to serve us she only puts on a deceptive appearance, in order to delude us for our benefit, by the Will of the Lord. This deception is continued as long as we retain the least inclination to be her master. As a matter of fact we can never be her master. We serve her even when she seems to serve us although this is contrived by her with such consummate skill that we find ample scope for serving her purpose even by our vanity of being her master. It is our own irrational attitude that is solely responsible for the deception, that is thus provided by the Mercy of the Supreme Lord for our redemption.
The goddess of learning ever serves the Supreme Lord and she serves only Him. This is inconceivable to our limited understanding. We are ever striving to learn the so-called deluding secrets of Nature. Such striving would be meaningless if we didn’t expect to be rewarded with success in the shape of the attainment of material results yielding worldly facilities. The power to be able to compose impromptu verses is one of such facilities. The verses actually composed by ‘the Conqueror’ were in praise of the holy Ganges;and such performance might, therefore, appear to have been of a spiritual nature. But ‘the Conqueror’ was praising the Ganges only in order to win fame for himself. Every learned activity of empiric reason necessarily aims at some such definite selfish result. Empiric learning has its face always and necessarily directed towards the selfish interests of its ignorant victim.
The so-called disinterested pursuit of knowledge for its own sake, so loudly advertised by the empiric pedants, is a misnomer as applied to the inductive and deductive processes of the mental principle professing to engage itself in unraveling the so-called mysteries of the mundane world. It is not at all disinterested.. Behind it all lies the insincere conviction that knowledge will bring power to its possessor. It is the possession and enjoyment of power over Nature that can be the only logical goal of all worldly learning. However proud we may be of this learning it is permissible to question the conclusion that it has any real use for us. Is not the whole affair an example of repeating a foolish experiment even after its exposure? We are apt to assume that our knowledge is the cause of the so-called progress of mundane civilization. We are punished and disillusioned by the ever-present possibility of the wheels of this worldly civilization irrevocably going back at any moment. If knowledge has to be kept up to the teaching of experience by the process of its constant revision, is it not thereby proved to be always really inapplicable to any event? If what we are pleased, on insufficient grounds, to call the cause of an event, turns out to be no such thing, can we blame anybody excepting ourselves for neglecting this foregone conclusion?
The laws of Mathematics, we say, have proved perfectly reliable ever since the dawn of human civilization, and are accordingly inferred to be absolutely true; and it is also expected that they will remain true for all time. There are certain so called fundamental principles which are also supposed to be true. All this is, on the face of it, self-contradictory. What then is the real value of this experience? The whole position is entirely relative to the nature of our present senses and shares all their defects. The senses do not give us the correct information. Our unbiased reason tells us that they cannot also give us the true information, as the temporary have no capacity of apprehending the Absolute Reality. The knowledge, that our senses yield, is one of the changing phenomena of this world. It cannot understand itself.
If it were possible to know the Truth would we still have the temporary use of our empiric knowledge? ‘The Conqueror’. at any rate, gave up once for all any further acquisitive effort. He must have realized the utter uselessness of such knowledge. We learn that he lived to write theological works that have come down to us embodying his reasons for forsaking the empiric quest. So his activities did not stop altogether. But a race of theological writers and priests by themselves do not supply the ideal state of worldly existence. The world is sufficiently bad as it is. But it would be worse by such a change for the reason that even material civilization is preferable to fanatical barbarism. But are we absolutely sure that material civilization or material barbarism is producible by the effort of the will of man? The philosophical answer should be in the negative.
But if we change the form of the question and ask, ‘Is the knowledge of the Absolute Truth attainable by man?’ we at once find the right track. ‘The Conqueror’ was evidently satisfied that it is possible to know the Truth. Our responsibility in the matter is very great indeed. If the Truth is knowable we cannot be excused if we deliberately neglect to find Him. It is said that the Truth is to be found in the Scriptures.
This is denied by the Upanishads which declare that there are two kinds of learning or knowledge, viz.,
- the transcendental knowledge, and
- knowledge that is not so.
The Vedas and all branches of study are classed as the text books of non-transcendental learning. The transcendental learning is declared to be that by which the Transcendental Truth is known. The Bhagavatam declares that if a person, who is thoroughly versed in the Scriptures, be not conversant with the transcendental, then his efforts in the acquisition and preservation of such learning have no more value than the labour that is wasted in tending a dry cow. A distinction is made between the phenomenal and the transcendental. Learning as such, whether in the form of Theology or otherwise, is lumped together as non transcendental. The knowledge of the Scriptures is not differentiated from that of any other branch of study. Neither is knowledge condemned. It is declared that non-transcendental knowledge is subordinate to the transcendental and that the possession of the transcendental knowledge automatically and perfectly settles our relation to nontranscendental knowledge and teaches us the proper use of empiric knowledge. We need not be haunted with the impertinent fears of a conspiracy for the suppression or preservation of material civilization. The question at issue does not affect our material prospects which are quite safe in the hands of Providence. But the method to be pursued seriously concerns the prospects of the individual soul for regaining his natural spiritual condition.
Transcendental Knowledge cannot be acquired by the inductive or deductive empiric processes. The first step that is to be taken in the direction of the attainment of such knowledge, is to try to be convinced of the necessity of submitting to receive Him at the Hands of the Supreme Lord. Godhead Himself is the Absolute Knowledge. He alone can make Himself known to us. He is Free in His Choice to make Himself known to us. We also may or may not want to know Him. We do not really want to know Him so long as we do not want to serve Him. The Supreme Lord may be known only by the method of complete submission. Perfect submission is an indispensable condition of the attainment of such knowledge. The necessity and nature of complete submission is not conceivable except by the Mercy of the Lord. The Lord is spontaneously All-merciful. We come under the Influence of His Mercy the moment we are at all really inclined to submit to Him. This inclination is sometimes produced by the shock of utter worldly humiliation. It was so in the case of ‘the Conqueror’. It came to him as the consequence of his defeat in controversy by the Lord. The Mercy of the Supreme Lord often comes in the shape of defeat and humiliation. No one except the actual recipient of the Divine Favour can perceive His Appearance. We gather all this from the writings of Keshab Bhatta himself who was favoured by the Supreme Lord.
The goddess of learning ever serves her Lord. She directs the erring empiric scholar to the Real Knowledge when he is at all inclined to serve the Truth. The endless experiments with the finite, that now-a-days absorb all intellectual efforts of man, are not undertaken for the purpose of finding the Truth. Very few of those who busy themselves with the acquisition of worldly learning and fewer still of those who attain fame and success(?) in such pursuit, attain to the inclination to suspect the utter worthlessness of empiric scholarship in itself. They seldom seriously put the question to themselves, ‘What shall we do with this deluding and changing knowledge?’ Most people take it for granted that empiric knowledge is desirable because it is valued by all people of this world. It is supposed to increase our chances of happiness (?) It is only those, who do not feel sufficiently satisfied by the prospect, who ask the further question, ‘What is the value of the proposed happiness itself?’
It is in this last form that the call for the quest of the Absolute makes its first appearance to the individual consciousness. So long as the lure of worldly prospects continue to dominate the mind one can hardly be expected to pay any serious attention to the voice of the higher reason that is always speaking to everybody from within. It is only when a person actually shapes his external conduct in conformity with such prompting that he is in a position to obtain the realized Mercy of the Supreme Lord. Vanity in all its forms stands in the way of our real conversion to the free spiritual service of the Absolute.
Sri Gaursundar showed His Extraordinary Mercy to ‘the Conqueror of all quarters’ by defeating him in controversy in such a way that the vanquished was enabled to realize, for the first time in his life, his own utter helplessness in the Presence of a mere Boy Who taught nothing higher than vyakarana. This proved to be an exceptionally favourable spiritual conjunction for ‘the Conqueror’ who was actually enabled to realize its supreme significance for himself by the grace of the goddess of learning whom he had worshipped so long for a vain purpose.
It is likely that really great scholars may be in a slightly better position than others to be able to realize the utter worthlessness of all empiric scholarly achievements. But it is rarely that this saving truth is rightly grasped and acted upon by any one in this world of his own accord. The spiritual instinct, the effective hankering for the unalloyed Truth, is not the result of any worldly merit or demerit. But as soon as the first dim reflection of the light of Truth begins to irradiate the dark chambers of the mind, it automatically drives out the desire of all worldly possession. The mind realizes that the Truth has made His Appearance, not as the result of the intensity of its professed quest for the Truth of Whom it had no idea previously, but in spite of its bungling activity calculated to shut Him out altogether.
The process of spiritual enlightenment is not of the nature of the last term of a continued mathematical series, neither does it result in the destruction of all previous experience. It should rather be regarded as the fulfillment of all previous activities. With the Appearance of the Absolute, however, there is an end of all deficiency, unwholesomeness and ignorance we now know the Full Truth, and, in this sense, enlightenment is its own fulfillment. It also disillusionizes. The whole body of the old knowledge is seen to be utterly insubstantial and positively delusive. The shadow had all along been mistaken for the substance. The nature of the shadow is truly realizable only after one’s acquaintance with the substance. There is then no more chance of the shadow being mistaken for the substance.
It is no doubt a rude shock to be awakened in this manner. ‘The Conqueror’ confessed that the first suspicion that he had of the actual Approach of the Truth, was caused by his absolute collapse at the very Sight of the Lord. The darkness, which had been so fondly cherished, was found powerless to oppose the Advent of the Living Light. The first experience of the transcendental requires to be carefully distinguished from the invasion of hallucination. The transcendental is not anything that is opposed to the laws of physical Nature. It is not any thing abnormal. It is not a monstrosity. It neither confounds nor stupefies, but enlightens. It does not destroy anything except ignorance. We understand for the first time the real meaning of all those things with which we had been already familiar. All this happens without any initiative on one’s part and by the mere Sight of the Truth Who is no other than the Divine Person Himself.
The goddess of learning told ‘the Conqueror’ that he had at last gained the real reward of his devotion to her by obtaining the Sight of the Lord. But, as a matter of fact, Sri Gaursundar was being actually seen by all the people of Nadia, who failed to experience any such spiritual consequences. There is a difference between worldly seeing and spiritual seeing. The term ‘seeing’ has to be used to express the new process in order to make the fact at all intelligible to the ignorant people of the world: But spiritual seeing is very different from although certainly analogous to the process of worldly seeing. In the former the Object to be seer takes the initiative, while in the latter the initiative seems to lie with the person who sees. That, which we seem to see on our own initiative, is the shadow. In such seeing we approach only such objects that are bound to show themselves to us the moment we choose to look at them. The object has no option but to be seen. Nay, it is bound to submit itself to the inspection of our senses as soon as we are in a position to choose to inspect. This process of knowing applies only to matter, limited existence or the shadow. The substantive Reality is spiritual and possesses the initiative.
Why do we never see the soul of man? Because we are content with the sight of the material case which seems readily enough to submit to our sensuous inspection. The material eye sees, can see, only matter. The soul does not see matter as substance. He is not under the necessity of curtailing or distorting his naturally perfect vision. One is no loser if his faculty of vision ceases to be eclipsable by the interposition of an opaque body. The soul sees, through all obstacles, the object. He sees the obstacle as the enveloping shadow of the substance. There is thus no loss of cognitive power by the spiritual process.
The soul, in his normal state of uneclipsed spiritual condition is privileged to have the sight of the reality. This privilege he forfeits the moment he begins to function in this material world. His faculty of vision is eclipsed, as he now sees through the coloured glasses of the material eyes, which function is on the level of the plane of this world. But he is no gainer by the change as his knowledge of his own self is also correspondingly obscured. The conditioned soul functions in this world by allowing himself to be personated by a material substance which he is compelled to mistake for himself. But his adventitious second self is not really his servant, but always behaves as his master and makes him undergo in proxy the disappointments of his unnatural identification with its insubstantial existence. It is no privilege or widening of existence for the substance to be reduced to the serfdom of a shadow.
The All-soul is never subject to any such obscuration. It is only the jiva soul, who is a detachable particle of the Potency of the All-soul, who is liable to succumb to His limiting Power. ‘The Conqueror’ had the spiritual vision of the Lord. The people of Nadia also saw the Lord but with their material eyes and necessarily as an entity of this world. But ‘the Conqueror’, no sooner did he see the Lord, then he believed Him to be more than human. In fact the Lord made Himself known to Him at the very first sight. No one can recognize the Lord unless He makes Himself known. This applies to all spiritual entities. They have an unstinted sight of one another in the Lord so long as they serve the Lord by the boundless measure of the perennial requirements of such service. The Lord strictly reserves the right of remaining unrecognized by all till He chooses to make Himself known to any one out of His own causeless mercy.
As soon as the Lord permitted ‘the Conqueror of all quarters’ to have the real Sight of Himself all the learning of which he supposed himself to have been the master, came forward in the living form of the Spiritual Power that ever serves the Lord, and made Herself known to him as She really is. The goddess of learning is that Power whereby the Lord makes Himself known to the cognitive faculty of the jiva. She is part and parcel of the Divinity Himself. But she is not Herself the Master. She is Power and not Possessor of Power. She is, however, Power with Personality and Function under the Supreme and Exclusive Direction of the Divine Will. In this She resembles souls in the state of Grace. ‘the Conqueror’ had been unable to know Her Real Nature as long as he had been trying to make use of Her for purposes other than the service of the Lord. But when the Lord was pleased to be merciful to ‘the Conqueror’ the goddess, by the Will of the Lord, instead of misleading now, made known to ‘the Conqueror’ the Real Nature of the Lord, which is, indeed, the legitimate function of all learning. ‘the Conqueror’, who had supposed that he was master of all the Shastric learning, now discovered that he had misunderstood everything. He also realized the fact that no one can know the Lord by one’s own aspiring efforts.
The Goddess directed Her votary to make his unconditional submission to the Lord without delay. When the Lord asked him why he, ‘the Conqueror of all quarters’, had chosen to submit to Him, Keshab Bhatta replied that everything is fulfilled by serving the Lord. The spiritual service of the Lord, resting upon the principle of complete submission, is the summum bonum This is realized only by the causeless Mercy of the Lord as conditioned souls are naturally disinclined to unconditional submission to another’s personality. This was also the stumbling block in the way of the scholars of Nabadwip. They did not believe in the Personality of the Lord. But unless the Lord is a Person how is it possible to serve Him at all? The Lord, of course, is not a person like conditioned souls. The empiric idea of personality is that of a limited and erring mind joined to a gross physical body. It is not, therefore, at all surprising that there should be a sincere and universal repugnance, on the part of empiric thinkers, to admit such personality in the case of the Supreme Lord. But the Personality of the Lord and of His servants are neither material nor mental. Therefore the objection does not apply.
The Goddess of Learning did not also direct ‘the Conqueror’ to submit to an abstract principle, which would be a fraud. The so-called submission to an abstract principle is rendered to a variable concoction of one’s own erring mind. When we pretend to submit to an abstract divinity (?) we thereby only make a show of submitting to our own pedantic fantasies. As a matter of fact we are disinclined to submit to a real person as such submission appears to us to be incompatible with a free rational individual existence.
So submission to the Supreme Person is equivalent neither to submission to an abstraction nor to a conditioned soul. The Personality of the Supreme Lord is such that by submitting to Him we are delivered from the necessity of following the indeterminate abstract concoctions of our own sensuous minds and the similar fancies of others. We have in this world no choice but to submit to one of these two alternatives and we choose to call the process by the epithets of liberty (?) and rationalism (?) against the elementary principles of our own logic. Actual unconditional submission to the Transcendental Personality of the Supreme Lord is the only cure of this misfortune to which we are thus necessarily subject in the conditioned state.
Keshab Bhatta admitted that the Personality of the Lord is inconceivable to the empiric reason and is the Truth of all the Scriptures Those empiric philosophical systems, which try to establish the Nature of Godhead by the process of inductive reasoning based on the experience of this world, can really arrive at no definite conclusion. Keshab Bhatta realized that he had known nothing by his so-called erudition, and that it was not possible for him to know the Truth except by the Mercy of the Lord. He also realized that he was now enabled to understand, against the conclusions of all empiric philosophy, that the Son of Sri Jagannath Misra is the Supreme Lord, that his own past profession of submission to the Supreme Lord had been a terrible self-deception, that it was only now that he was privileged to obtain the chance of really submitting to the Supreme Lord Himself in the Person of Sri Gaursundar, that such submission was at once the cause and the result, the indispensable concomitant, of spiritual enlightenment by the Grace of the Lord.
The episode of the defeat and conversion of ‘the Conqueror’ is the firstrecorded instance of the deliverance of a conditioned soul by the mercy of Sri Gaursundar. We would, therefore, be well advised if we try to consider carefully how this Mercy was obtained. The process has been described above in detail by the grace of Thakur Brindavandas. We have seen that the Mercy of the Lord was not earned by any worldly merit. It was altogether causeless. We can, therefore, obtain some sort of the idea of its nature by the careful consideration of this actual instance. Does such knowledge help us in any way in attaining the spiritual life? It does so negatively, by destroying current misconceptions on the subject, if we give the Narrative an impartial hearing and thus prepare our minds for receiving the Truth when He actually makes His Appearance in the person of the devotee of the Supreme Lord, who teaches us the Truth by his own conduct. We can, however, understand the words of the bona fide devotee by the method of personal submission to him. Sri Gaursundar is the Supreme Lord Himself. He appeared in this world in the character of His devotee in order to establish the necessity of submission to the servant of the Lord if one really wants to obtain spiritual enlightenment. The episode of ‘the Conqueror of all quarters’ will have, therefore, served its real purpose if it establishes to one’s satisfaction the necessity of this procedure to be followed even by those who are supposed to be masters (?) of all the knowledge of this world.
But how is it possible to recognize the transcendental personality of the devotees of the Lord? This, of course, depends entirely on the Mercy of the Lord Himself, which can be secured by serving the Goddess of Learning not with the object of gaining any worldly advantage but for the purpose of receiving spiritual enlightenment. In the case of ‘the Conqueror’ he had all along been using his learning to procure reputation and wealth. He was now disillusioned by the causeless Mercy of Sri Gaursundar. The devotees of the Lord are ever engaged in endeavoring to reclaim all conditioned souls from the state of bondage to the limiting Energy. The bondage is devised by the punitive Power of the Lord, who is the negative aspect of His Beneficent Power. The devotees of the Lord are the agents of Positive Beneficence of Divine Power, appearing in this world to deliver all bound souls by affording them an opportunity of actual submission to the agents of the Lord, i.e., to themselves. The bound jiva is seldom inclined to-submit to any person other than himself. The inclination to submit to a devotee may be produced by attending carefully to the Narrative of the Activities of Sri Gaursundar as interpreted by His associates and followers for the benefit of all conditioned souls.
It was only after he had submitted to the Feet of the Lord that ‘the Conqueror’ attained the spiritual life. He became a devotee of the Lord. ‘The Conqueror of all quarters’ was freed from his accumulated ignorance and at last became really learned by learning the service of the Lord.
Keshab Bhatta belonged originally to the school of Nimbarkacharya and is the author of ‘Kramadeepika’ in which work he lays down the principles of the service of Sri Radha Krishna in conformity with the Teachings of Sri Gaursundar and the verses of the ‘Dasa-SIoki’ of Nimbarkacharya. He was followed by Gangalya Bhatta and other disciples. At a subsequent period, Keshab Kashmiri, who is not to be confounded with Keshab Bhatta, and others gave up the path of Sri Gaursundar and established an independent school. But Sri Sanatana Goswami and Sri Gopala Bhatta Goswami, in recognition of the fact that Keshab Bhatta was enlightened by Sri Gaursundar, have collected material for the Vaishnavite canon from his work, the ‘Krama-deepika’ referred to above.
As the result of the Mercy of Sri Gaursundar, Keshab Bhatta was enabled, by the operation of the Spiritual Power of the Divinity, to be simultaneously endowed with all excellences in the shape of devotion to the Lord, realization of the Divine Nature, and aversion to anything other than the Lord. Keshab Bhatta now became humbler than a blade of grass, discarding for good’ all the vanities of ‘the Conqueror of all quarters’.
The followers of Sri Gaursundar adopt the conduct that is prescribed by the Scriptures for the truly enlightened viz., the genuine Brahmanas. They give up all military, economic, or other worldly ambitions, and, in fact, all hankering for fame and honour, accepting thereby in their hearts the ideal of the Tridandi Bhikshu. This conduct should not also be misunderstood. The achievements of this world also appear in their true.perspective to one only after he realizes his own spiritual nature. They cease to have any direct attraction for such a person who gets disentangled from the progress or decay of material civilization. He is freed from the influence of the hopes and fears of this world. But he is constantly engaged in serving the Lord by means of those very entities on the transcendental plane. The attitude is everything and is spiritual. The external conduct of the devotee is not properly intelligible to worldly people as it is not directed to any worldly object for any purpose that is intelligible to worldly people. The conduct of the devotee, however, is neither sentimental nor visionary, but part and parcel of the Eternal Reality Himself.
Those, who imagine the pursuit of sensuous enjoyment to be the sole object of life, naturally regard the dedication of learning, health, wealth and other qualifications for the augmentation of such enjoyment as their legitimate and successful use. But the insignificance and ephemeral character of the result achieved is clearly demonstrated by the phenomenon of death. Death snatches its victim from the scene of his enjoyment and shifts him to an unknown and unknowable destination. As soon as one is enlightened in regard to the real nature of his self he is enabled to realize the triviality of his so-called happiness and possessions of this world. Such a person is privileged to understand the unwholesomeness of all worldly knowledge and activities as a help for such enjoyment. One is enabled to realize the self and his proper relationship with the ephemeral objects of this world by the Mercy of the Supreme Lord. On the appearance of self-knowledge one automatically understands the nature of the transcendental service of the Lord as being the only proper function of the soul. From this moment he is enabled to be constantly engaged in such service and to dedicate his learning, health and wealth and every other qualification to this purpose.
It is not the duty of the soul either to be addicted to the things of this world or to renounce them altogether, as both courses lead nowhere. The duty of the soul is to try and find out the everlasting plane and to learn to function on that plane by giving up the fleeting prospects of the Epicurean and Stoic alike. Such course is the only one that exactly suits the requirements of the soul. The soul can be satisfied with nothing less than the immutable reality. The fact, which the soul in the state of bondage does not realize, is that the immutable reality is not to be found by the pursuit of fleeting worldly enjoyment, nor by simply abstaining from such pursuits. There is a third and the real method viz., that of service of Godhead.
The nature of this service has to be learned from those who are themselves wellestablished on the spiritual plane. It can be learned by all persons who are sincerely desirous of knowing it and are prepared to give a really patient hearing to the exposition of methods and duties constituting the mode of endeavour for such enlightenment. This attitude is not possible in one who is not convinced of the unsatisfactory character of the correlated methods of enjoyment and renunciation of the things of this world, that are consciously or unconsciously followed by all conditioned souls including the pseudoreligionists. Only one who is thoroughly sincere will be disposed to accept the method that is laid down in the spiritual Scriptures and all that such a method necessarily implies.
When the spiritual plane is actually attained one is in a position to realize for himself, in a clear and conscious manner, the true nature of the cosmic and super-cosmic processes and his own place and function in the whole scheme of the Universe. The realization of this should be possible in this life if one is prepared loyally to undergo the necessary training. It cannot of course be equally easy of attainment for all. There are very few persons who are fully prepared to accept the Truth on His Own terms. On those who are really so prepared the communication of the Truth acts with wonderful suddenness, because they really offer no resistance to His Entry into their hearts. But most of us are not really prepared to welcome the Truth even when we profess to cherish Him. This is the condition of the average honest person of this world. It is claimed in these pages that such persons are sure to benefit by listening patiently to the exposition of the Career of Sri Gaursundar from the lips of the real devotee. They will thereby gradually acquire the effective desire for living up to the Truth. No worldly merit or demerit can either help or retard the process of spiritual enlightenment. It is situated wholly beyond the range of every form of worldly conviction and is, indeed, likely to be more easily grasped by those who are less under the sway of their formed convictions.
Those who have absolute faith in worldliness and perpetual ignorance are enamoured of the deeds of the heroes of this world. But we have also the testimony of all teachers of the Religion to the utter hollowness of all worldly achievements. A child may oppose the reconstruction of a house that is uninhabitable on the ground that the masons are plotting its destruction. But he is nevertheless necessarily wrong. Our worldly life requires to be thoroughly overhauled and reconstructed on a sounder basis. Those who are unduly attached to the rotten house by reason of either ignorance or malice, need not be regarded as wise. Empiricists are engaged in the attempt of trying to live safely and comfortably in the badly built falling house by opposing the process of imperative reconstruction. They do so partly for the avowed reason that it will be impossible to retain any measure of rottenness in the edifice after it has been thoroughly overhauled. They are right no doubt; but they are less alive to the consequences of their perversity. The policy is sure to bring the whole house down and crush them to death. There is absolutely no chance of their being able to live safely and comfortably in the rotten structure at any time.
The deceptive triumphs of material civilization have failed to solve the old problem of the uncivilized times why everything of this world is fore-doomed to pass away. Those savages were not content with the conditions of their existence any more than we are with ours and also mainly for similar reasons. If an enchantress is pleased to provide us with an endless stock of the most beautiful things that make their appearance only to pass away, should we suppose that our requirement has been really fulfilled? It is no less necessary for us than it ever was for those savages to pause and consider well whether the achievements and convictions of material prosperity have any real value in the scale of our absolute requirements. The quest of the Truth is not for those who are content to remain ignorant by the lure of the dissipating enjoyment of the moment.
The defect is not one of intellect, it extends to all the faculties which also have their due share in the performance of conscious activity. The self-imposed sway of empiric knowledge, which supplies no definite answer to our fundamental questionings, is responsible for all the misfortune of humanity. Empiric knowledge does not take man an inch towards the Truth. On the contrary it leads its votaries by an accelerated pace towards sin and death by its justification of the false ideal of a life of dissipation alternating with that of barren asceticism, the twin forms of egotistic worldliness. It ever whispers into the ears of man, that in this present depraved condition he seems also to like so much, that he need not depend on nor submit to any other authority than his own, that he is the master of his body and mind and through them of all things of this world which, he is assured, have been intended solely for ministering to his corrupt pleasures. These conflicting ideals of empiric knowledge require to be smashed as the first step in any plan for rescuing fallen humanity from the fell clutches of the Enchantress..
This was being done by Sri Gaursundar during the period of His Professor-life at Nabadwip and also in the subsequent period when He traveled for this sole purpose all over the country as a Sannyasin. Those who suppose that it is against principle of humility to oppose the untruth or neglect to vindicate the Truth, are the emissaries of the Deluding Power. The attitude of humility is to be practiced by all means because we cannot know the Truth by our own unaided effort. Empiric knowledge errs by ignoring this basic principle of spiritual conduct. By, submitting to empiric knowledge not humility but insolence in its undiluted form is practiced. Those, who are loyal servants of the Truth, are necessarily opposed to empiricism which is verily the embodiment of insolent denial of the supremacy of the Truth. Worldly people practice this masked insolence under the name of humility for deceiving themselves as well as their victims. But it should be easy to distinguish between true humility and the counterfeit ware. The uncompromising assertion of the principle of real humility is to be found in the resolve not to tolerate any of those countless insincere shifts devised by suicidal worldliness, under the connivance of empiric knowledge, for ruining humanity by masking them in the borrowed phraseology of Godliness.
This was admitted by ‘the Conqueror of all quarters’. He was satisfied by being defeated in controversy by the Lord Himself. This extraordinary result would not have been produced if he had been worsted by an ordinary mortal. The process of controversy itself would have been a quite different one. ‘The Conqueror’ realized that his untruth had been confronted by Truth and was, therefore, utterly powerless to assert itself. He felt that he had been dabbling with words which might please and amuse but were really mere empty sounds signifying nothing. This utter hollowness of all so-called worldly knowledge is demonstrated to all sincere persons by Truth Himself in the form of the words of the devotees of Truth. On the lips of one who really serves the Absolute it is the Absolute Truth Himself Who makes His Appearance in the Form of the Divine Transcendental Sound. Divinity as Sound has Power to convey the knowledge of Himself to a soul who is prepared to receive Him as Sound against every specious obstructive argument.
The arrogance of the devotee of the Lord is thus the perfection of true humility. Those who realize this are freed from the fetters of the Deluding Energy inasmuch as they are thereby proved to have no interest of their own as against the Truth. Those, who can be angry with the follower of Truth under any circumstance, are necessarily under the spell of empiric untruth which always differentiates the external conduct and the internal motives. But a votary of Truth is always necessarily above duplicity of this kind. This is realizable only by those who are themselves also wholly sincere.
Impertinent fears for the future of the world never disturb the devotee of the Lord nor deflect him from the constant service of the Truth. This detachment should not be confounded with idleness or indifference to duty. The alertness and industry of the ‘worldling’ neither help nor retard the march of events of this world which is wholly controlled by a very much superior Power called in our shastras ‘Maya’ or the limiting Potency of Godhead acting in perfect obedience to the Will of the Supreme Lord. The empiricist, in his childish atheistical folly, chooses to imagine, against the clear impartial testimony of his own rational faculty, that he is the creator and controller of the forces of Nature. On the basis of this sacrilegious folly he builds up a science of conduct in keeping with this basic principle. It is the business of the devotee to strike at the very root of this folly in order to demolish the flimsy structure which has power to draw to itself so unaccountably the whole attention of most people of this world. There is no rational ground for doubting that a structure which is built on Truth is sure to prove a more suitable arrangement than one which is reared on untruth backed by insincerity. It is a fatal delusion, indeed, which has led rational beings to the strange conviction that they can manage to live well without Truth and that it is, therefore, their duty to oppose the Truth on the plea of possible (?) damage to the existing systems of untruth.
The devotee is sent into this world by the Lord in order to establish spiritual conduct by demonstrating the unstability of the worldly life, its prospects and achievements. It is never possible nor rationally, desirable to try to build our lasting home in this world. They are mistaken who suppose that this life has to be lived for its own sake. Such people are sure to be surprised by death in the midst of their preparations for settling down in right earnest. This life is a preparation for the eternal life and should be lived accordingly. That conduct is fatal which in any way obstructs or delays the process of spiritual enlightenment. We should not allow ourselves to be diverted from the true purpose of this life by the temptations and disappointments provided by the Deluding Energy of the Lord, which are intended to help the process of our spiritual training if only they are rightly understood.