om ajnana-timirandhasya jnananjana-salakaya
caksur unmilitam yena tasmai sri-gurave namah
I was born in the darkest ignorance, and my spiritual master opened my eyes with the torch of knowledge. I offer my respectful obeisances unto him.
yasya prasādād bhagavat-prasādo yasyāprasādān na gatiḥ kuto 'pi
dhyāyan stuvaṁs tasya yaśas tri-sandhyaṁ vande guroḥ śrī-caraṇāravindam
"By satisfaction of the spiritual master, the Supreme Personality of Godhead becomes satisfied. And by not satisfying the spiritual master, there is no chance of being promoted to the plane of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. I should, therefore, meditate and pray for his mercy three times a day, and offer my respectful obeisances unto him, my spiritual master."
The whole process, however, depends on perfect knowledge of the soul beyond the conception of the body—not theoretically but practically, when there is no longer a chance for sense gratification manifested in fruitive activities. One who is not firmly fixed in mind is diverted by various types of fruitive acts. (A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami purport of this verse)
vandanā korite mui kato shakti dhori
tamo-buddhi-doshe mui dambha mātra kori
(Sri Vaisnava Vandana by Devakīnandana dāsa 9)
What power do I have to glorify them? Afflicted by ignorance, I only exhibit conceit.
Dear Srila Maharaja, I offer my unlimited dandavat pranams to your lotus feet. To those who take shelter at your feet, fear becomes unknown.
In the same way I offer my unlimited dandavat pranams to my diksha-guru, Nitya lila pravista om Visnupada astottara- sata Sri Srimad Bhakti Vaibhava Puri Goswami Maharaja, to all guru-parampara and to all Vaisnavas and Vaisnavis.
A year has passed since you are no longer manifested to our material eyes. You have now "hid yourself" to observe all of us who have come in contact with you and admired you. We have made yourself the object of our affection and faith. You had the power to turn around the lives of all of us who have taken you as a point of reference, just as the sunflowers in the field, all stand in alignment, turning their corollas according to the movement of the sun.
When you were visible to our eyes all your teachings seemed clear and understandable to us. You have satisfied the thirst that many of us had for answers to our endless questions. With the patience of a hundred young mothers, you answered all of them and reconciled thousands of doubts.
This precious anniversary marking the end of the first year that you have "hid yourself" is a very important occasion that gives us the opportunity to see how much we have understood of your teachings, in other words, how much we have applied your teachings in a practical way in our day to day life. Because if we have heard so much from you, if we have divulged your teachings to other people and we have considered your teachings to be quite significant, then a clear and evident improvement must be experienced in our lives.
Once you explained to us that those who are not experienced swimmers can be more easily overwhelmed by the countless waves on the shore of the ocean. But experienced swimmers know that by diving with their heads down and swimming directly under the water of the ocean, the violence of the waves that are on the shore is easily overcome. Once the swimmer exceeds them, he will find himself in the open sea where peace reigns with infinite tranquility. These waves can be compared to the infinite material desires, or to the impulses of our senses towards the objects of the senses, but in this case I would like to focus and compare these waves to the continuous motion that our minds undergo due to the spontaneous function and characteristics of being conditioned souls, that is to accept and reject. We identified so much in this function of our mind that we try to fit spiritual matters also in this duality of. And so we begin to scan everything with this unit of measurement: the Hari Katha that we listen to, the Vaisnavas we meet, the prasada we serve, the scriptures we read, in short everything is recolored through the colors of this function of our material mind to accept and reject. Only realized souls are beyond it. And all our doubts arise from this identification with our material mind.
Once they asked you what your favorite Vaisnava was. And you answered that you would not have a definite answer for this question because every preference would have created discrimination. In addition you said that your venerable Srila Gurudeva had taught you to love all his godbrothers more than himself. In fact, you further explained that you yourself witnessed how your Srila Gurudeva served each one of his godbrothers with so much ardor and affection and with his own hands. From this answer we can understand that on the spiritual level there is no question of better or worse, there is no space for our materialistic way of thinking. But we are sometimes so determined to want to let a round object enter a square slot. We really hold on tightly to our material way of thinking.
'ami to vaisnava', e buddhi hoile, amani na ho'bo
ami pratisthasa asi', hrdoya dusibe, hoibo niraya-gami
(Krpa koro vaisnava thakura by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura verse 2)
If I think "I am a Vaisnava," then I will never become humble. My heart will become contaminated with the hope of receiving honor from others, and I will surely go to hell.
Srila Maharaj, this one year that you "hid yourself" from our material eyes, what have we understood of the instructions you left us? What did we understand about the life that you led? What have we understood about the feeling that with so much effort you tried to inculcate in our hearts and leave to us as your heirs? Actually your impeccable life is a matchless example of all the teachings of Srimad Bhagavatam but if we, who received the causeless fortune to approach you, directly or indirectly, do not try to absorb your feelings and your teachings, then what value have we had of meeting you? Obviously, coming into contact with your Divine Person is never fruitless. But how far is the fruit of bhava bhakti from us if we are still imbued with discrimination among the Vaisnavas?
Srila Maharaja, you are the glorious ripened fruit and embodiment of the Vaisnava seva. Not only did you serve all the Vaishnavas that your venerable Srila Gurudeva ordered you to serve, but you served all of us who approached you, without thinking or wondering who our Guru was, from which math we are coming. You welcomed us all in the same way, not only with an open and compassionate heart, but also with a great enthusiasm to accept every donation we aspired to give. You have accepted us all from different institutions and you have treated your own disciples equally as those of other Acaryas. I am sure many people who have dealt with your personality are understanding this feeling that I am trying to express now in simple words and they had experience of your special form of mercy.
Srila Maharaja, after your departure from this world, we all must have realized that the diversity that exists between the Vaishnavas and the gurus and Acaryas should not be a reason for refusal or dissociation on our part but rather a reason to appreciate the variety of function that is a typical characteristic of the spiritual world. Your teachings should have inspired us to respect all the Vaishnavas and realize that each one of them represents a precious aspect of the Akhanda-guru-tattva. Unfortunately the method to reconcile seems to be unknown to us conditioned souls. Maybe it's just a transitory moment, but I have to admit that since you "hid yourself" from our material eyes, in my humble opinion if you permit me to express it, by analyzing myself and the situation surrounding me, understanding about guru and Vaisnava tattva has not improved enough. On the contrary, new doubts have arisen in the minds of many of us and more sentiment and tendency of division and sectarianism are manifesting between the devotees of different sangas.
So today, on this most auspicious occasion of one year celebration of your departure from this material world, I pray with humility at your lotus feet, to give us the strength to destroy this forest fire of Vaisnava aparada. To grant to all of us, and to me first, the power, the courage and the determination to follow the path of pure bhakti, which is sometimes crooked, sometimes hidden and sometimes unrecognizable easily due to our not lack of surrender. This mind has the tendency to accept and reject continuously. But the time will come that the purity of your teaching and conduct will win over our ignorance, if we surrender properly to you.
tomara kinkora, apane janibo, 'guru'-abhimana tyaji'
tomara ucchistha, pada-jala-renu, sada niskapate bhaji
(Krpa koro vaisnava thakura by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura verse 3)
Give me the mercy that I can renounce the false conception of my being guru and can be your servant. Let me accept without duplicity your remnants and your foot-bath water.
Aspiring to become your servant with the heart in line with yours
dasanudasi Kalindi dasi