Question: Sometimes the Western devotees ask the advanced devotees a repeated question, “Have you seen Krishna?” The devotees will answer differently sometimes, but from Srila Guru Maharaj we hear, “I do not have the audacity to say I have seen Krishna.” I’ve heard that recently you also made a statement that for a long time you have been in connection with Krishna consciousness and you’ve not seen Krishna, or Mahaprabhu. But my question is this: there must be some experience. It’s not that there’s no experience. There must be some experience. Otherwise, it will be a dry thing, simply following like in vidhi-marga. Even though one may say I have not come face to face or seen Krishna or Mahaprabhu, still you must have some experience in your practice to know you are on the right path. Isn’t it?
Srila Govinda Maharaj: If I am trying to go to Delhi, I will read from a guidebook to be sure I am on the right path. On either side of the main road, there will be many channels and subways, but I need to go from here to Delhi, and when I am sure that I want to go to Delhi, then I shall go and take that road. On the way, I will cross Bandel, then Burdwan, then Asansol, then Dhanbad. I will see so many symptoms on both sides of the path that will tell me, “Yes, I am going forward.”
This is enough for me; it is not necessary for me to immediately see Delhi. When I see on both sides, “Yes, I can see this, I can see that, I can see that”, then I must be hopeful, “Yes, I am going the right way and one day I must reach Delhi.” And when I reach Delhi, a guide will also be necessary there. Otherwise, I will not know what is where. So, I will also search for a guide there. In this way our destiny must give us our desired fulfilment.
If I immediately want to see Krishna or Mahaprabhu, I can see everything but I will not be able to digest it, and it is not necessary. I can see Delhi in a photo, and I can read about the environment of Delhi in books.
I cannot immediately go to Delhi, but it is possible to go by flight in two hours. There is sadhana-bhakti and raga-bhakti, and other ways to go there. When I came and joined with Srila Guru Maharaj, I immediately went to Puri with Guru Maharaj because Guru Maharaj needed me with him. That is how I could go. Otherwise, I did not go to Kalna in perhaps twenty-five years. Kalna is twenty-five kilometers from here, but I did not go there. Katwa is twenty-six or twenty-eight kilometers, but I did not go there because I had no scope to go.
When the super devotee gives us a chance to serve him, then we can easily go to Puri and Vrndavan. Within six months, I saw all the tirthas [holy places] of Vrndavan and Puri. Why? Guru Maharaj wanted me for his service. In this way I could go there.
Srila Swami Maharaj Prabhupad told me many times, “You come with me, and I will show you all the centres around the world, and you can give report to Guru Maharaj about how they are going.” At that time I had no scope to go with Swami Maharaj because Guru Maharaj was sick, and I could not leave Guru Maharaj, so I told him, “Yes, Maharaj, later. Later I shall see.” I did not get the scope to go that time. If I got the scope to go, then I could easily go, but it is possible only with the association of a higher devotee.
I have not ridden in an airplane, and I have no hankering to ride an airplane. If any chance will come, I can ride, that is not a problem, but I need the seva of Guru Maharaj and if it is necessary for seva, then I must go. The chance must also come to me.
Spoken on 8 August 1989.
Listen to the original audio recording of this talk here.