Dhanurdhara Swami October 5th, 2002
Vasant Falls, New York
Taking the mood of the spiritual master
Disciple means one who takes the mood of his guru. A friend of mine recently told me a story concerning His Grace Aindra Prabhu that took place 10 years ago, when they were practically the only devotees left in Vrindaban during the summer for the 24-hour kirtan. He related how, one evening, Aindra came into his room and threw his japa beads on the bed, groaning with sincere self-disparagement, “363 rounds behind! I have no taste for chanting!”
My friend thought to himself. “No taste for chanting? He is chanting day and night in the temple kirtan, practically without rest. No wonder he is behind in his japa!” My friend was relating this story to me to show how different spiritually advanced disciples of Srila Prabhupada have diverse tastes for service. He then used the example of His Holiness Mahanidhi Swami, another Vrindaban sadhu, who was fully immersed in japa meditation, in contrast to Aindra who was so deep in kirtan. I added that His Holiness Niranjana Swami is constantly traveling and preaching about the holy name, His Holiness Radhanatha Swami leads ecstatic nocturnal kirtans, and His Grace Bhurijana Prabhu is absorbed in the Bhagavatam, but all are sincerely serving their spiritual master and becoming attached the holy name. If we see a quality or devotional proclivity in the spiritual master, then certainly we can imbibe that, but more important is to absorb their core mood of surrender to the mission of Srila Prabhupada. Today I want to clearly outline what that core mission is so that my disciples may meditate on it clearly, for often our conception of his mission becomes skewed by our own attachments. The outline I am presenting, one I feel distinctly represents Srila Prabhupada’s mission and thus, obviously, mine, was not, however, written by him. It is the upadeshavali, the mission statement, of his Godbrother and sannyasa-guru, Srila Bhaktipranjan Kesava Maharaja. When I read it, however, I am confident that it will resonate in your hearts as a thoughtful and clear exposition of the mission of our acaryas as exemplified by Srila Prabhupada. I am not giving his full mission statement but a few salient points. I have also edited them.
- Pure devotion is attained by intimate service to the lotus feet of Sri Guru.
- Actual guru-seva means service to the spiritual master, Sri Hari, and the Vaishnavas.
- The anga (item) of bhakti known as kirtan is the best and most complete practice of devotional service.
- Only through the medium of kirtan are the other limbs of bhakti accomplished.
- Preaching hari-katha, always and everywhere, is the best kirtan.
- In doing so, one should never give pain to any living entity in body, mind, or words.
- Rendering service to Vraja Krishna, the possessor of all sakti and the origin of all avataras, is the primary duty of all living entities; all other activities are secondary.
Final message: The essence of devotional service: Take the mission of the spiritual master as one’s life and soul!