Dedicated to nitya-lila pravista om visnupada Sri Srimad Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja
Inspired by and under the guidance of nitya-lila pravista om visnupada Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
The Panacea by Sri Srimad Bhakti Raksaka Sridhara Gosvami Maharaja
Ill fated are those who are very eager to find fault in others and who have no time to find fault in themselves. The other side of your necessity is not to find defects in others, but to find their attributes. Why do you allow yourself to engage in finding fault? There is ample place to find goodness in the devotees. Why are you not engaging yourself in that association?
Why is there the tendency to find fault in others? Could there be a more faulty person than yourself? Why do you engage yourself only in seeing the lower rather than fixing yourself in the higher? Upon doing so, you will find that the devotees are of a higher quality than yourself. Why not attend that section? Why, unfortunately, do you go to the lower section with your attention to find fault? On one side there are beautiful flowers, on the other side there is rubbish. Why do you inspect the rubbish instead of all the beautiful flowers?
You yourself stand in the witness box. You are the criminal. You are the culprit. Why should you look at the rubbish when so many beautiful flowers are there? You see injustices but you do not see justice? Why not merge to the positive portion? If one hand is working and the other is paralysed, shall I only attend to the diseased part, giving no attention to the working hand? I must care for the paralysed hand surely, but what already has full capacity, I must also utilize that. Why are you always looking towards feeling the pain of the diseased part and continuously preaching this, ignoring the healthy parts?
On one side there is good – God is there. Why do you go to Satan and keep company with satanic persons only, while there are godly persons? Why not to God’s side? On one side there is heaven and on the other side there is hell. God has no fault; yet by the fault of Satan, we must suffer? That reasoning has got no logic. You are suffering from your own misdeeds – that is the real logic. Neither God nor Satan is responsible for that. Therefore, concentrate on your own self, pray to the Lord and try to keep aloof from Satan.
You are holding a marginal position. Your limited free will is your capital. You should always utilize that towards the godly side, taking it away from the satanic side. This limited capital that you have, you are to begin your business with that. But you think that you will begin a business when you get a good capital. This is imagination! Whatever little capital I have got, I shall start my business with that. My attention, my energy, will help me in the future.
The best benefit of limited consciousness
A man on a journey has an accident and loses consciousness. But when he regains a little consciousness what will he do? He will utilize that consciousness, saying, “Take this body to my guardians, my home is there. O my friend, carry my body to my home.” That will be the best benefit of the limited consciousness that returned to him; he was able to use his good knowledge. Whoever takes care of this body affectionately, it will be put under their care.
So whatever awakening we have in consciousness, we shall utilize that by putting ourselves in the care of godly persons; only then is there value of devotion to God. Those who know the value of devotion to God, they are our near relations. They will appreciate this inner awakening, and they will take care of our devotional self – sadhu-sanga. When medicine or our own attempts cannot heal us, the doctor advises us to make a change. Then the air and the water naturally come to help improve our health. So, also, the atmosphere around saintly persons improves our spiritual health. Anyway, we should always remain in the company of devotees in the same sampradaya, the same line – but with superior devotees, so that we take the lower position. Such association is most desirable for any person aspiring to progress spiritually.
The gist of the advice given in Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu by Srila Rupa Gosvami is as follows: “We are to associate with those superior to us but in the same line of Krsna consciousness. They carry the same conception of the spiritual Truth, but they are superior to me. If I engage myself even as a sweeper in that camp, it will be highly valuable for my future spiritual life.”
Your free will is responsible
If you look and see injustice, then who is responsible? You are held responsible. What is bad, that is your share. You are to take the whole responsibility of misdeed in your hand. If you cannot feel this responsibility then you are insincere; not only you but everyone. Your free will is responsible for all misdeeds and misguided circumstances in the environment. This is the first principle of spiritual life. What is bad in me, I am responsible for that. You are responsible for seeing, for coming in connection with, that vision. There are good dealings in another sphere. Why have you come to see this misjudgement and mistreatment of so many who are quarrelling with each other? There are so many good dealings and you have not acquired a position to remain in that layer? Then why?
“I am responsible for all the undesirable things in me –that is a fact. My weak free will has taken me down into this present undesirable environment and no one else is responsible.” This fact you are to realize. If you ignore this, then you are in maya, misconception, illusion. When you sincerely realize this position, then your dark days will come to an end. When you feel that only you yourself are responsible for all these miserable things, then good days will awaken for you. This is the fact. It is not only a conception to achieve some end. It is not an imaginary conception to take help of in order to get out of the present condition. It is not like that; it is a fact. It is for everyone whether good or bad – he is responsible. Neither God nor Satan is responsible.
If suddenly I find myself in the prison house, then who is responsible? There are so many culprits, so many deceitful persons, so many thieves in the prison house. If I find myself in the midst of them, then who is responsible? I have acquired that position. There is also heavenly association but instead of that why am I put in the prison house where wherever I look I see culprits? Why am I here? Why am I not with heavenly association? Who is responsible? Who?
Penetrating to the root cause
In this way, I am to try and understand that I am responsible for being here. First there must be the diagnosis, then the treatment and nursing. Nursing and treatment is good, but it must follow the diagnosis. The diagnosis is, “I am the culprit!” And the medicines must be applied accordingly. A thorough cure will be advantageous, not a patch-job. Then the thorough, wholesale treatment is like this:
tat te ’nukampam su-samiksamano bhunjana evatma-krtam vipakam hrd-vag-vapurbhir vidadhan namas te jiveta yo mukti-pade sa daya-bhak
My dear Lord, one who earnestly waits for You to bestow Your causeless mercy upon him, all the while patiently suffering the reactions of his past misdeeds and offering You respectful obeisances with his heart, words and body, is surely eligible for liberation, for it has become his rightful claim.* (Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.14.8)
* Translation A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Copyright Bhaktivedanta Book Trust
This is the magical cure for fault-finding. Srimad-Bhagavatam recommends the system of a magical cure. This is the diagnosis proper. Preaching must be on the basis of this truth. Otherwise, all is haphazard. The Srimad-Bhagavatam’s preaching is like this – deep penetration to the root cause of the disease.
Dreamless sleep induced by renunciation? That is not the conclusion accepted by the Srimad-Bhagavatam. The Srimad-Bhagavatam has accepted the wholesome organic life. It is unavoidable that we have to live with some particular paraphernalia. Complete retirement, entering into samadhi or dreamless sleep, is also not the conclusion of life. That is a temporary arrangement. But permanent adjustment must be for Him – everything for Him.
“I am for Him and not for myself. He is also holy, so accommodating and so good. I am for Him and that is my best prospect. My best prospect is with Him – the Absolute Good, the Organic Whole – and I cannot leave that. I cannot look after my separate goal. My goal must be part of the Whole; such adjustment is necessary. So if I am to live in a holy atmosphere, in an organic environment, then I shall always by cautious and careful to detect my own fault.”
Neither exploitation nor renunciation can give permanent solution. Dedication. The basis of dedication is that the eye is not faulty.
karmany evadhikaras te / ma phalesu kadacana ma karma-phala-hetur bhur /ma te sango ’stv akarmani
This means, “The whole of your attention must be towards the discharge of your own duty without caring for the environment. That is in My command. I am to look after that. You must give your whole attention to the discharge of your own duty.” And if all the units are wholly connected to discharge their own duty, then it will be heavenly. But we would rather find fault with the environment. “They are thieves and I shall also become a thief.” Should that be the conclusion?
The furnace of purification
Everything here is undesirable. I may not even know the extent of undesirability in me. There are many things underground and they will gradually come to the surface. I shall then find, “Oh! All these undesirables are in me?” They must go out and then the real gems will come forth. The gold should be cast into the fire. When the alloy portion vanishes then the real gold will be visible. Now the pure gold is mixed with some alloy.
So “die to live” – throw yourself into the fire. Your so called ego at present is mixed with alloy and that alloy must be destroyed by the fire of suffering. Fire means suffering, and the golden gems will then come out. Alloy is not a part of your body or your soul; it is acquired. The inner soul’s svarupa will then come forth. So, if you want to live a real, proper, noble and holy life, what you think you are at present, that must die.
“Physician, cure thyself”
And preaching will be part of your adjustment. If this environment is not suitable, then I shall try another environment that may be more suitable to me. That is a small thing. A small partial adjustment may vary differently from place to place. Anyhow, the main line must be “No complaints against the environment”. A bad workman quarrels with his ‘stools’; the origin is he – the workman. So there is no benefit in quarrelling over them. Before, that was food; and in his association it became stool. So shall we preach against the injustices of the environment? Never.
What is necessary you will feel from within – not as a pleasure, but as a duty – and only if it comes from above, if you find some inspiration for the cause of the higher conception, and not for your personal cause. If you criticize for your personal interest, then that fault will come back to you. It will enter into you. But if for purification and not out of envy you seek help from the higher, you will be purified. Otherwise the next moment you may find yourself in the same position. I am vulnerable. I criticize something to be so bad, but the next moment I may be left in such a deplorable position, thus becoming that which I just criticized. I do not know the ways of the infinite environment. I am a doll playing in the hands of the Infinite.
In the next moment, I may have to go from a human birth to a dog’s birth, a cat’s birth or an insect’s birth. They are descending into the mental system. So don’t criticize. Don’t be hungry to find the fault of others. But if some fault comes to you, then you may put it to the higher: “I heard something like this. Whether or not it is real, I don’t know. Please try to help me.” No enviousness, no spirit of competition that I am good and he is bad. No mischievous motives underground. Otherwise I shall have to suffer. So, “Physician, cure thyself” before you attempt to cure others. This is your primary duty; then you will really be able to cure others.
Bad temperament stands in the way
In conclusion, my advice is that you should try to be submissive to the Vaisnava devotees. Submissiveness to them will promote your spiritual merit. We shall also pray, “O Lord, my bad temperament stands in the way of my association with the devotees; please remove it.” Association with the devotees of the Lord is a primary necessity. It improves our position with the higher, so we shall always remain in prayer to the Lord, “O my Lord, this bad temperament in me, this inconsiderate thinking and this feeling concerning the outer world, is disturbing my association with the higher Vaisnava devotees. They are the real source of improving our own inner wealth. So please purify me by dismissing all these tendencies in my mind which the devotee sections do not adore.”
We shall always try to be in such a position that the servants of the Lord will like our company and service. They will utilize me, for this is my primal necessity. If they do not like my presence due to some contamination in me, then it will be a loss to my spiritual life. So we shall have to repent.
mat-samo nasti papatma / naparadhi ca kascana parihare ’pi lajja me / kim bruve purusottama
Dear Lord, let me inform You that no one is more sinful than me, nor is there any offender like me. Even if I wanted to mention my sinful activities, I would immediately become ashamed. What to speak of giving them up! (Vijnapti Pancaka 1) bhumau skhalita-padanam / bhumir evavalambanam tvayi jataparadhanam / tvam eva saranam prabho
Just as the ground is the only support for those whose feet have slipped, so also You alone are the only shelter, even for those who have offended You. (Vijnapti Pancaka 3) “If we slip and fall on the ground, then the ground is the only help by which we can stand erect; we cannot leave the ground.” We shall sincerely pray, “O Lord, I am committing a mistake regarding You, I am ignoring You; but I have no other alternative to get out of this disadvantage. Except by Your help, I cannot correct myself. Under no condition can I leave You, my Lord. If I commit a mistake against You, an offence against You, still, I can only be purified by Your help. I have no other alternative. Please forgive me and help me so that I may be saved by Your most intimate associates, for without their grace I may not be able to enter Your domain of Divine Love. It is only through the devotees that I may go. I have no other alternative. There are so many agents. If I am disappointed by one agent, then in a mild temperament I may try another without speaking much against that previous party.”
It is better that we consider ourselves to be faulty. To put blame on another’s shoulders is ultimately not considered to be very happy or valuable. We should try and learn to blame ourselves. What is coming from outside I have no concern. The Lord can see and He sees everything. He is seeing who is responsible. But I won’t try to put the blame on another’s shoulders. It will not be fruitful.
“I am responsible for this disgraceful condition”
I shall gain if I can find fault within myself and not complain to others about the environment. The environment should be considered to be within His jurisdiction, and it is really so. I am concerned with seeing the defect in myself only. If I attain success, I shall try to attribute it to others – to the grace of the devotees. If there is any failure, then I shall try to find the cause within myself. Through this process we can make real valuable progress and that is the most universal process of progress – to find fault with our own selves. I am responsible for this disgraceful condition, but if there is any good then that is coming from Him. He is all-good. He is watching the environment and is in full control. So this is included in Him, in God’s party. One party, myself; another party, God’s. He controls everyone and He is conscious of their activities.
This position would be very advisable. If without looking at the fault of others I can search myself and find out that the fault is with me, not with them, then this is the key to success in spiritual life. Srimad-Bhagavatam has advised us to go on this way. You will thrive, but when you are finding fault with others then you will become a loser.
This verse from Srimad-Bhagavatam (tat te ’nukampam su-samiksamano) is very effective, very true and safe in all respects. It is also His grace to be able to see that the environment is always helpful to you even in punishment. When the mother is punishing the child, it is from the guardian’s side – but it is for the good of the child.
You will be purified in this process, in time
So on the whole the Lord and His paraphernalia are not vindictive. Yet the punishment comes; to correct you. They are fully aware of your defects and your real interest. They are all-affectionate. You are responsible. In this process, in time you will be purified to the highest degree. So don’t go to quarrel with the environment. The environment which you are presently facing is a product of your own karma. So the environment is produced by your own action. You cannot lodge any complaint against it as you yourself are responsible. This is true. If in this life you can accept such a truth in your sadhana, then in no time you shall prosper because divine grace will be attracted most intensely towards you.
om tad visnoh paramam padam sada pasyanti surayo diviva caksur atatam tad viporaso vipanyavo jagrvamsah samindhate visnor yat paramam padam
The suras (pure devotees) always behold the supreme abode of Bhagavan Sri Visnu, just as the unobstructed eye sees the sun within the sky. (Rg Veda) His vigilant eye, like the sun, is seeing everything and He is omniscient. His presiding guardian eye over our heads is always looking for us. We shall be able to draw His sweet attention, His divine grace, towards us very soon if we take this miraculous process of seeing the defect within us –blaming ourselves and not the outside environment.
(Courtesy – Sripada Bhakti Podayana Hrsikesa Maharaja) CC-BY-SA Rays of The Harmonist – “Vasatu mano mama madana gopale”, No.11 (Karttika 2002)