Srila Gurudeva (The Supreme Treasure)

by Swami Bhaktivedanta Madhava Maharaja | 2010 | 179,005 words

This page relates ‘Sampradaya (disciplic succession)’ of the book dealing with life and teachings of Srila Gurudeva, otherwise known as Shri Shrimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja. Srila Gurudeva is a learned and scholar whose teachings primarily concern the spiritual beauties of Bhakti—devotional service and the qualities and pastimes of Shri Krishna.

The Sampradaya (disciplic succession)

श्री-भगवान् उवाच
इमं विवस्वते योगं प्रोक्तवान् अहम् अव्ययम्
विवस्वान् मनवे प्राह मनुर् इक्ष्वाकवेऽब्रवीत्

śrī-bhagavān uvāca
imaṃ vivasvate yogaṃ proktavān aham avyayam
vivasvān manave prāha manur ikṣvākave'bravīt

Bhagavad-gītā (4.1)

The Blessed Lord said: I instructed this imperishable science of yoga to the sun-god, Vivasvān, who instructed it to Manu. Manu in turn instructed it to Ikṣvāku.

Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa Himself introduced the authorized succession of bona fide spiritual masters (sampradāya-dhārā). Without this authorized sampradāya, jñana-tattva or bhakti-tattva could not be manifest in its pure form in this material world.

In Śrīla Gurudeva’s Sārārtha-varṣiṇī Prakāśikā-vṛtti on Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā, he states:

An incarnation of Manu appears in every manvantara, Svāyambhuva Manu being the first. In the current Vaivasvata manvantara, Manu’s father, Vivasvān, was the first to receive instructions on jñāna-yoga. In the above śloka from Bhagavadgītā, Śrī Bhagavān has introduced the concept of the authorized succession of self-realized spiritual masters (sāmpradāyikadhārā). Without this sāmpradāyika-dhārā (also known as āmnāya-paramparā), neither the principles of jñāna-tattva, nor bhakti-tattva can manifest in its pure form in the material world. The gravity, antiquity and significance of the subject are specifically proven only by sāmpradāyika-dhārā. The guruparamparā that bestows complete knowledge of bhagavattattva is called āmnāya or sampradāya. Mantras that are not received from a bona fide sampradāya are fruitless. In Kaliyuga, there are four Vaiṣṇava sampradāyas: Śrī, Brahmā, rudra and Sanaka or Kumāra sampradāya. Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the original source of all sampradāyas. Only from Śrī Kṛṣṇa does knowledge of bhagavat-tattva flow into this material world: “dharmaṃ tu sākṣād bhāgavat-praṇītam–real dharma comes directly from Śrī Bhagavān” (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 6.3.19).

As stated in Bhagavad-gītā, Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa first instructed this jñāna-yoga to sun-god, Vivasvān, who then instructed Manu, who in turn gave these divine instructions to Ikṣvāku. Thus, the system of guru-paramparā is an ancient and reliable tradition that ensures the lineage (sāmpradāyikadhārā) in which divine knowledge (divya-jñāna) has been preserved up to the present day. Whenever this dhārā is broken, Śrī Bhagavān again arranges for divya-jñāna to manifest in the material world. Great devotees (mahā-bhāgavatas) such as Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura, Śrīla Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa, and others in the guru-paramparā of the Brahma-Mādhva Gauḍīya sampradāya realised divya-jñāna and instructed the common people through their enlightened commentaries. even a person who is highly qualified in material knowledge can never understand the real import of Bhagavad-gītā unless he is properly situated in the paramparā.

It is important to protect oneself from self-made commentators, otherwise it will not be possible to realise the true meaning of Bhagavad-gītā. Although milk is pure and nourishing, it acts like poison when it has been touched by the lips of a serpent. Similarly, although topics of Śrī Hari are supremely purifying, it is destructive to hear such topics from non-devotees such as impersonalists, or from those who consider the body to be the self. In this connection, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has said: “māyāvādī-bhāṣya śunile haya sarva-nāśa–If one hears the commentary of the impersonalists, everything is destroyed” (Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 6.169).

This disciplic succession, or sampradāya, is also called āmnāya, the paramparā that bestows complete knowledge of bhagavat-tattva.

In Kali-yuga, there are four Vaiṣṇava sampradāyas namely:

  1. Śrī,
  2. Brahmā,
  3. Rudra
  4. Kumara.

Any mantras that are not received from these bona fide sampradāyas are considered fruitless and as such they will not deliver the proper result.

The Supreme Personality of Godhead Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the original source of all sampradāyas, as He Himself reveals in Bhagavadgītā. Śrī Kṛṣṇa first instructed the sun-god Vivasvān, who then instructed Manu, who in turn instructed Ikṣvāku. In this way this ancient lineage, the sampradāya-dhārā or guru-paramparā has been preserved up to the present day.

Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī, a great devotee in our line, asked Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu the following key questions for our eternal benefit: “Who am I and why are the three kinds of miserable conditions always troubling me?” (Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 20.102).

Since Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī was fit to propagate pure bhakti, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu replied, “The living entity is the marginal energy of Lord Kṛṣṇa, simultaneously distinct and not distinct from the Lord. As such, he is the eternal servant of Lord Kṛṣṇa. This is his eternal constitutional position” (Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhyalīlā 20.108).

We are by constitution, pure living entities. The living entity or spirit soul is not this gross material body; nor is it the subtle body, made of mind, intelligence, and ego; it is eternally part and parcel of the Supreme Soul, Śrī Kṛṣṇa. That spirit soul, however, has been covered by the illusory energy of the Lord (māyā), and has thus forgotten that factually he is an eternal servant of Kṛṣṇa” (Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 22.24).

Once in Hawaii, 2004, Śrīla Gurudeva said, “Śrīla raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī is the epitome of guru-sevā. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu placed him in the hands of Śrī Svarūpa Dāmodara, and he served his guru with his heart. He did not just massage him; this external sevā will not do so much. It is necessary to please gurudeva by massaging his heart; this is what is needed. How can we please guru? How did Śrīla rūpa Gosvāmī please his gurudeva, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu? Knowing His heart, he wrote Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi, Lalitā Mādhava, Vidagdha Mādhava, and other books.

Mahāprabhu was extremely happy when Śrīla rūpa Gosvāmī wrote the following verse, showing that he knew the mood of his spiritual master:

यः कौमार-हरः स एव हि वरस् ता एव चैत्र-क्षपास्
ते चोन्मीलित-मालती-सुरभयः प्रौढाः कदम्बानिलाः
सा चैवास्मि तथापि तत्र सुरत-व्यापार-लीला-विधौ
रेवा-रोधसि वेतसी-तरु-तले चेतः समुत्कण्ठते

yaḥ kaumāra-haraḥ sa eva hi varas tā eva caitra-kṣapās
te conmīlita-mālatī-surabhayaḥ prauḍhāḥ kadambānilāḥ
sā caivāsmi tathāpi tatra surata-vyāpāra-līlā-vidhau
revā-rodhasi vetasī-taru-tale cetaḥ samutkaṇṭhate

Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā (1.58)

That very personality who stole away my heart during my youth is now again my master. These are the same moonlit nights of the month of Caitra. The same fragrance of mālatī flowers is there, and the same sweet breezes are blowing from the kadamba forest. In our intimate relationship, I am also the same lover, yet still my mind is not happy here. I am eager to go back to that place on the bank of the reva under the Vetasi tree. That is my desire.”

These are some aspects of guru-tattva. Now the question may arise, “How does the soul become free from māyā?” By the grace of śrī guru the answer is given in what follows and throughout the pages of these books.

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: