How the finite can approach the Infinite.

By Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj


Student: Maharaj, I am just getting over a sickness I experienced several weeks ago when I had a very high fever, and I seemed to be battling with my faith in the Lord. I am wondering why was I suffering in such a gross way? I seemed to be delirious. How does one maintain that faith that everything that is coming to us is for our good?

Srila Sridhar Maharaj: By previous acquisition.

amara durdaiva,—name nahi anuraga!
(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta: Antya-lila, 20.19)

[“My misfortune is that I have no love for Your Holy Name.”]

Everything is helpful, eagerly awaiting to help me, but my faith is such that the least demand that is necessary for that, the one thing in me that is necessary, I cannot produce: complete surrender. It is just a modest ticket I have to purchase, but I have no money. It is not a ticket of high order, but a most ordinary ticket I have to purchase, as though I want to enter a drama or the playground, but I have no money. The feeling is something like this.

tuya daya aichhana parama udara
atisaya manda natha! bhaga hamara
(Sri Gitavali: Sri Siksastakam: 2.4)

“Your grace knows no bounds, but my fate is the worst.”

When we shall come to such consciousness, we will be in the relativity of that thing. Otherwise, sincerely we cannot say or feel like this.

“I have something. I am someone.” That is ahankar, ego. When such ego finally dissolves, then these statements will come from within: “I have nothing. I am the worst, and You are the most benevolent. This is my hope, my Lord.”

That is our capital. What we think to be our capital is all negative. Our real capital is that we are a liquidator, “I am nothing. I have nothing. Everything belongs to You, and I also belong to You, my Lord, at the same time. Everything belongs to You, including myself, the most wretched person. I have nothing, no quality, nothing good, but I belong to You. I am Yours.”

To approach the Infinite, this should be the attitude of the finite. Complete merging, self-abnegation—this is mukti, not only liberation from mania, from imaginary pride, but to dive deep into this idea: “I am Yours. Everything belongs to You, myself also. I have nothing. You can do anything and everything with me. I am a slave. If You kill me, let there be no charge against You. You have Lordship over me. I hold such a position in relation to You.

marabi rakhabi—yo ichha tohara
nitya-dasa prati tuya adhikara
(Saranagati: 11.3)

“You have every right to do away to me. Thousands like me may be dissipated without any harm to Your Pastimes.”

This should be the attitude of a general’s most faithful suicide squadron. They will reach the most subtle type of existence thereby, which is indestructible. It is so fine it is indestructible, this fine ego, fine representation, of the finite in relation to the Infinite.

Within creation, so many gross things develop, and at the time of dissolution, these gross things are dissolved gradually. From gross to subtle, and then from subtle to more subtle and more subtle. The highest, subtle-most thing that remains is eternal. It cannot be traced to have any positive characteristic, and yet it is eternal. Towards such a negative, the positive will begin to come from the other side. Another structure is there, yogamaya, where every unit is of such type: they have no individual possession. Yet the Lord says, “Yes, I am Bhakta-paradhino: I am subservient to all My servants. They have purchased My heart. I cannot stay without them. By their serving attitude, they have purchased Me in such a way that I can’t stand without such friends. They are dedicated so intensely to Me that I can’t sustain Myself without them.”

In this way the world there is found. It is another thing, not a matter of right but a matter of dedication, which develops in another way. Dedication has the greatest force, but that is wholly of another type which we are unable to think of in this plane: the negative’s right.

‘mahabhava’—dui eka-rupa
(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta: Madhya-lila, 8.19)

The whole ecstatic Absolute feels helpless before this negative force as a whole. This is the defeat of the Lord before His servitors.


Spoken on 25 January 1983.

Listen to the original audio recording here.