Question: If the Guru leaves this world and attains the nitya-līlā of Radha-Govinda, how does he actually hear the prayers of his disciples? He is only aware of his nitya-seva to Kṛṣṇa and is unaware of the prapañca (material word)? So do the prayers of the disciples fall on deaf ears? How should we understand this?
Answer: The guru is a representative of Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa says that He is the ācārya:
ācāryaṁ māṁ vijānīyān, SB 11.17.27. Kṛṣṇa also tells Uddhava that the guru is his very self, mad-abhijñaṁ guruṁ śāntamupāsīta mad-ātmakam (SB 11.10.5).
In the spiritual world, there is a samaṣṭi–guru, who is a form of Kṛṣṇa. He listens to the prayers, which is as good as your guru listening to them. There is no difference.
Different Kinds of Faith
Question: SB 11.25.7 says: Faith in atma is in sattva, faith in prescribed karma is in rajas, faith in irreligious activities is in tamas, but faith in my devotional service is beyond the gunas.
What does faith in atma mean in this context?
Answer: Faith in atma means faith in the distinction between atma and anatma.
Question: Is karma yoga in sattva?
Answer: Yes, if it is niskama karmayoga.
Question:Niskama karma yoga is for atma sakshatkara. This is possible through worship of Bhagavan (internal within Karma yoga). If this is the case does that still mean knowledge of atma is sattva?
Answer: If it is only knowledge of atma distinct from matter, then it is sattva. But if it is knowledge of atma as a servant of Bhagavan, then it is nirguna.
Question: You recently gave the example of rain, which is like God’s grace. In order to receive it, there has to be a proper receptacle. An upside-down pot does not collect any water, and to turn it around takes some endeavor, which has to be made in order to receive the rain / grace.
I am a little confused here, because in this example, grace is available to everyone equally, but there are also statements in shastra like that to King Mucukunda (“When the time has come for someone to leave the material world, he meets a devotee”), which imply very specific and individual grace. Is there a distinction between general and specific grace?
Answer: My simple reply is that: It needs grace to understand grace.
This is the shortest answer I can give on grace by grace. The problem is the same that I have spoken of repeatedly. We are trying to find/give rational explanations to a trans-rational phenomenon. We absolutely have no faith in the Vedanta Sutra, tarka-apratisthanat (1.2.11). But that does not change the truth.
Although our attempt to explain logically may be a good one, it will never be perfect, and completely satisfactory. I can find flaws in all such explanations, even if given by me. In Hindi, we have a nice saying—a dog trying to scratch its own tail. The dog goes in rounds and rounds without success. He never gives it up because the tail looks so much within the reach.
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Daily Bhakti Byte
If you chant one round in Vrindavan it is equal to chanting 100 rounds outside. It is not just one-sided though. You have to remember that if you make a mistake here, it is also 100 times. If you perform a sinful activity here, then there is no solution for that. You must suffer heavily. If you do some mistake here it implicates you heavily. If you do something good here then you will benefit.