MADHU BINDAVAH

ATTENTION TO THE FOUNDATION

The necessity of gratitude in aspiration for the Divine.

By Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj

Student: Guru Mahārāj? I have a question. In a verse in the commentary on the 23rd verse of the third chapter of Prapanna-jīvanāmṛta, it is described in a commentary by Śrīla Bhakti Vinod Ṭhākur, “Abandoning all these processes, I glorify the qualities of the personality of Faith by whose mercy devotion can be obtained.” Can you please explain the personality of ‘Faith’?

Śrīla Govinda Mahārāj: 

sakala chhāḍiyā bhāi śraddhā-devīra guṇa gāi
yā̐ra kṛpā bhakti dite pāre

karma, jñāna, tapaḥ, yoga sakala-i ta’ karma-bhoga
karma chhāḍāite keha nāre
sakala chhāḍiyā bhāi śraddhā-devīra guṇa gāi
yā̐ra kṛpā bhakti dite pāre

[“Duty, knowledge, austerity, yoga—all are simply suffering in karma, and none can free you from karma. Abandon them all, brother, and sing the glories of Śraddhā Devī, whose mercy can give you bhakti.”]

Śraddhā Devī: faith.

Student: It has been translated as ‘the personality of Faith’.

Śrīla Śrīdhar Mahārāj: In one word, it is faith that is producing all these things. First, we must have faith, and by the grace of faith we may have so many things. So, he is trying to concentrate all his attention and devotion towards the very foundation. It is just as Rāmānanda Rāy said, “When again the Yugala-mūrti [Divine Couple] will come to be revealed in my heart, I shall try to worship sei ghaṭī-kṣaṇa-pala [those seconds, minutes, and hours]. Without minding what the time is producing, I shall give my attention only to the time that can produce that.” In this way, attention is given to the basis.

ihā̐ mālī seche śravaṇa-kīrtanādi jala
(Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta: Madhya-līlā, 19.155)

[“From here, the gardener sprinkles the water of hearing, chanting, and so forth.”]

Here, the creeper of devotion has grown up and reached the

feet of Kṛṣṇa, so far the progress has advanced, but the mālī, the gardener, should be more attentive to pouring water on the root of the creeper—to the foundation. Then automatically they will be enlivened and will get the result, but not directly.

vichakṣaṇa kari’ dekhite chhile
haya ā̐khi-agochara
(Śrī Śikṣāṣṭakam: 8.2)

[“But when I look to see Him more clearly, He disappears.”]

If I give attention to the upper side more, it will disappear. I should always be attentive to dāsya, service, towards the foundation. Then, indirectly everything will come to me.

vichakṣaṇa kari’ dekhite chhile
haya ā̐khi-agochara

Wherever I shall try to derive some consequence direct from the effect, it will disappear. But when I engage myself only in service, the lowest service, then that will grow more and more.

Dainyam [humility] means to make yourself lower. By taking the Name, automatically other things will come, but if you neglect the foundation, everything will disappear. That is the idea. Always your attention should be drawn towards the lower form of service. Rādhārāṇī says, “He wants to enjoy Me, but My attention is always to serve Him, not to be a partner in His enjoyment.” That should be our attention always, dāsya, pouring water on the root. That is the nature of śuddha-bhakti [pure devotion].

sakala chhāḍiyā bhāi śraddhā-devīra guṇa gāi

[“Abandon them all, brother, and sing the glories of Śraddhā Devī.”

So, it is all a product of Śraddhā Devī. If she is withdrawn, everything gone, finished. So, I shall try my best to maintain my gratefulness, thankfulness, to that very foundation by whose grace I may hope to have so many things. They are not mine. They belong to Śraddhā Devī, to the svarūp-śakti. I am taṭastha-śakti, and all wealth belongs to her: Yogamāyā, svarūp-śakti, Śraddhā Devī. By her grace, I think that I have gotten so many things, but they belong to her. So, I should not be ungrateful to her. All throughout my attempt, I may be fully awake only through her grace. It is all extended grace that I get, not a matter of right. I must be conscious of this fact. It is the wealth of my Gurudev, of śraddhā. I should be wakeful to this truth. And this concludes in pārakīya again. It is very clear there: “It does not belong to me. At any time I may lose it; it is very rare. Only a chance is being produced. I am not fit for that. I have no right to that. It is so rare.” With such attention we shall try to connect, fully awake to the fact.

sakala chhāḍiyā bhāi śraddhā-devīra guṇa gāi
yā̐ra kṛpā bhakti dite pāre

[“Abandon them all, brother, and sing the glories of Śraddhā Devī, whose grace can give us devotion.”]

Source

Spoken on 8 July 1982.

Listen to the original audio recording here.

Reference

punaḥ yadi kona kṣaṇa kayāya kṛṣṇa daraśana
tabe sei ghaṭī-kṣaṇa-pala
diyā mālya-chandana nānā ratna-ābharaṇa
alaṅkṛta karimu sakala
Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta: Madhya-līlā, 2.38)

“If Kṛṣṇa gives His darśan to Me again some time, I will decorate those seconds, minutes, and hours with garlands, sandalwood paste, and various jewels and ornaments.”

Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj is the foremost modern exponent of the conception of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and the school of Srila Rupa Goswami. Subtle and profound yet vivid and practical, his representation of both the broadest and deepest spiritual truths has and continues to fortify and nurture the faith of spiritual aspirants the world over. For more information on Srila Sridhar Maharaj, please visit his biography page.
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