In this world, people have presented many doctrines about spiritual life and religion without an understanding of the basic relationship between the individual soul and God. It is said in the timeless Indian classic, The Bhagavata Purana, "due to their different natures, human beings have a variety of understandings." Under the influence of material energy people differ in their perception of reality and thus conflicts inevitably arise between them.
A true saint, fixed in the eternal spirit of devotion to God, can harmonize all conflicting points of view and produce lasting peace. Such a saint is capable of synthesizing all opposing philosophical positions from a transcendental vantage point, viewing all differing conceptions as gradations of the one absolute truth. The Gaudiya tradition of love is universally applicable; under its influence alone all quarrels and conflicts can be eliminated-therefore society should adopt it. The art of sadhana is the unique path to lasting world peace.
guru vaisnava bhagavan tinera smarana
tinera smarane haya vighna-vinasana
anayase haya nija vanchita purana
"I meditate on the guru, the Vaishnavas, and the Lord. By remembering them, all obstacles are destroyed and one quickly attains the fulfillment of all desires."
(Chaitanya Charitamrta 1.1.20-21)
With these words, Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami begins his Chaitanya Charitamrta. This prayer is his mangalacaratia, or auspicious invocation. Following in Krishnadasa's foot-steps we invoke the mercy of gurudeva. By remembering Krishna, "the abode of all good fortune," in accordance with the directions of His devotees, it is possible to quickly attain the Lord's mercy.
yasya prasadad bhagavat-prasado
yasyaprasadan na gatih kuto'pi
"The guru is the best of Krishna's devotees and non-different from His beloved Radharani. Therefore when guru is pleased, Krishna is also pleased."
The conclusion of the mahajanas is that there is no way of gaining the Lord's pleasure other than through the guru. Thus, we pray that our beloved gurudeva be pleased with us and that the devotees of Krishna, all of whom, as His expansions, are non-different from Him, will also look upon us with pleasure. We pray that their combined mercy will result in our obtaining the great fortune of Krishna's satisfaction. May Sri Guru, Gaurariga, Gandharvika, and Giridhdri be ever glorious, and may they bestow all auspi-ciousness upon us.
In the Mahabharata, King Yudhisthira and the other Pandavas were challenged to answer questions by Yamaraja, who had disguised himself as a heron. Of the five brothers, only Yudhisthira was able to answer all the questions, thus passing Yamaraja's test. In answer to the question about the genuine spiritual path, the eldest Pandava stated that only the path followed by the mahajanas was free of all obstacles and that everyone should there-fore cast aside all intellectual criticism and simply follow that path. Anyone who disregards the path of the mahajana's for another will soon find that they are no longer headed toward the divine abode, Goloka, but rather in the completely opposite direction-toward a hellish existence. It is therefore necessary for us to ascertain who the mahajanas are, find the path they have left for us, and learn how we should follow it. This path is the "art of sadhana"-the means to achieving the supreme goal of spiritual life.
While recounting the story of Ajamila in the Srimad Bhagavatam's sixth canto, Sukadeva names twelve mahajanas, all of whom are said to know the inner secrets of the path to God. These mahajanas are Svayambhu, Narada, S'ambhu, the four Kumaras, Kapila, Manu, Prahlada, Janaka, Bhisma, Bali, Vaiyasaki and Yamaraja. The Kapila spoken of here is the son of Kardama and Devahuti and not the atheistic author of Sankhya philosophy. All of these great personalities were followers of the path of devotion and all of them demonstrated, each in his own way, the excellence of this path.
bhagavan brahma kartsnyena
trir anviksya manisaya
tad adhyavasyat hutastho
ratir atman yato bhavet
"Lord Brahma, for instance, carefully studied the Vedic literature three times and came to the conclusion that attachment to the Supreme Self is the Vedic literature's ultimate goal."
(Srimad Bhagavatam 2.2.34)
Just as munis read a scripture two or three times over in order to understand it properly, so Brahma also decided to play the part of a seeker, even though he is all-knowing. He thus took on the character of a muni-just as it is said in the .rutis, sa munir bhutva samacintayat, "He became a muni and started to think carefully" Brahma carefully stud-ied the Vedas three times in their entirety just to show how difficult it is to extract the essence of the scriptures and find their ultimate meaning. When Brahma completed his study he came to the conclusion that attachment to the Supreme Lord Hari, or bhakti-yoga, is the genuine fruit of such scholarly research.
na by ato 'nyah Sivah pantha
visatah samsmrtav iha
bhakti-yogo yaw bhavet
"There is no more auspicious a path for the souls who have entered the world of repeated birth and death than the path which leads to Lord Vasudeva's devotional service."
(Srimad Bhagavatam 2.2.33)
Although there are many paths to liberation, none is more reasonable, easily performed or safer than the process by which one pleases the Supreme Lord and, as a result, attains devotion or love for His lotus feet. There is no doubt that direct devotional service is superior to other processes such as karma-yoga, by which one offers the results of one's activities to the Lord.
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