With Whom to Associate?
[The following is an excerpt of a bhāva anuvāda of a darśana with Śrīla Bhakti Vijñāna Bhāratī Gosvāmī Mahārāja on January 24, 2014 in Jagannath Puri. Editors’ input: Additional text has been included in square brackets to facilitate the flow of content.]
Mādhava-priya Prabhu: We have heard this pastime from you and now she has posed the question: In Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, how Kālidāsa, a relative of Śrīla Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī, used to take the remnants of the Vaiṣṇavas?
Śrīla Mahārāja: First he would serve them and then accept their remnants.
Mādhava-priya Prabhu: So Kālidāsa used to take the remnants and that made him qualified to receive the mercy of Śrī Caitanyadeva.
In the Śrī Upadeśāmṛta it is instructed – dadāti prati gṛhṇāti– to offer to Vaiṣṇavas and to receive offerings from them; the same conception has been shown in this verse.
Moreover, it is mentioned that if such exchanges are done with pure Vaiṣṇavas, then it is supremely auspicious for the individual concerned. So now the question is, whether ‘pure Vaiṣṇava’ indicates uttama-adhikārī, or, can this be implied to mean ‘someone senior to ourselves’?
Śrīla Mahārāja: We can associate with someone who is more advanced than us. For instance, say there is a junior student, can he not learn from a senior student? So, isn’t there any benefit?
However, Bhagavān will arrange for association in proportion to our adhikāra.
Mādhava-priya Prabhu: Say you are in a neophyte stage, even if you get the association of an exalted devotee…
Śrīla Mahārāja: They won’t be able to understand…