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.
I am not very knowledgeable of the śāstras, but the answer from the Guru we comes incomplete – there are many examples when the guru appears in absentia to the disciples and makes himself known in many different ways.
Bhagavān assumes the form of the guru.
If a sādhaka remembers his guru all the time and even at the time of death his mind is focussed on his guru.. as it is easier to remember Guru than Kṛṣṇa. What would be his destination after death?
I would think.. since the Guru is none other than Krsna himself that one goes to Krsna if he sees Guru at the time of death. I am guessing here.
Guru is Krishna.
There is no difference whether one remembers one’s guru or Krsna.
These answers make me uncomfortable. I would rather see people note that the disciple’s concept of “guru” is crucially important. I know very very few people who have an accurate concept of guru and actually perceive and experience what it means that “guru is none other than Krsna himself.” “there is no difference…” or “guru is Krishna.” To be honest, I can think of only one person that I personally know who I believe really comprehends this truly (and it is most certainly NOT me). If we come up with ideas like “it is easier to remember Guru than Krishna,” do we comprehend either of the two at all? If Guru is Krishna then how can you even cognize Guru unless you can cognize Krishna??? Please consider that.
To be blunt, I think that if I am remembering guru, not Krishna – then I am not truly remembering either of them. My destination will be to deal with whatever misconceptions I have about both.
The “Vāsudeva sarvam iti” realization begins to dawn with first beginning to see the guru as Krishna in a human form. It is a practice undertaken after having carefully — based on one’s experience with the guru and not any other factor — analyzed the person one chooses to be one’s guru. Clearly, one must have gained spiritually from the to be guru.
Disciple’s concept of guru, if anything other than guru being Krishna himself, would be a function of the disciple’s conditioning.
Guru is “accepted” as Krishna, we can’t cognize Krishna. We don’t know what Krishna is like. Krishna reciprocates as per one’s bhāva.
Of course, such mindset is extremely rare: sa mahātma sudurlabah.
“I wish I was as quick as Bābājī to realize that a logical explanation is tangential, but…
I don’t see the problem in the example of “When the time comes to leave the material world, he meets a devotee”.
The proposal is that grace is universally available, but the individual can be receptive or non-receptive to it. How does the above quote impact on this in any way?
Does the questioner feel that the devotee “turns the pot around for you”? Why? Nowhere is that said. Everyone will have experiences that catalyze our inspiration to “turn our pot around.” The most profound experience, which will inspire a person to “turn it around” in the most profound way, would be to meet a Bhāgavata-Bhakta.
I would request the questioner to interpret as follows:
When the heart strongly desires to open itself to Krishna’s love, then Krishna (as always) facilitates THAT desire. There is always a mechanism for the facilitation. In this case the mechanism is for the individual to meet a Bhakta.”