Srila Giri Maharaja “The Acquisition of Knowledge is Not Our Goal”

BKG folded hands

Date: December 24, 2014

Dear Sriman Dayardra Nitai dasa,

Please accept my blessings and well-wishes.

I appreciate your very nice letter and have carefully noted its content.

I am pleased to know you arrived safely back in Altoona after your long nighttime drive.

I look forward to the opportunity to visit you in the future for some preaching programs at PSU. It will require some considerable preparation and expense to organize properly and I do not have those resources in hand at present. My current attention is towards preparing for my next visit to Ukraine and possibly Russia. There too, I would go immediately but for a broad range of responsibilities here that require my attention.

I recall you liked to hold your own kirtan programs. I encourage you to do this as much as possible. Now that you are connected to a bonafide parampara you should try as far as possible to follow the program outlined by the adi guru of our sampradaya, Sriman Mahaprabhu, who told us:

yare dekha, tare kaha ‘krsna’upadesa
amara ajnaya guru hana tara ei desa

the meaning of which is summarized as follows:

And Krsna consciousness is the highest relief work. Our guru maharaja used to say that there is a famine of krsna katha. There is a famine at present. But is the world suffering from a lack of food? No. The world is suffering from the famine of Krsna consciousness, Krsna talk, krsna kirtan. So we must try to open offices of food distribution so that we may distribute the food of Krsna consciousness to all souls. Mahaprabhu said “Whoever you come across, talk of Krsna (yare dekha, tare kaha ‘krsna’ upadesa).” Give them the food of Krsna consciousness, krsna katha. The world is filled with famine-stricken people. We must distribute food, give the life and breath of Krsna consciousness to whomever we meet by speaking about Krsna. — Srila Sridhara Maharaja, The Loving Search for the Lost Servant

If you can open an office of food distribution there in Altoona, that will be the greatest service you can offer to Sri Sri Guru Gauranga and to the conditioned souls of this world.

You should operate as an intern in a hospital. That is, with the knowledge you already have; use that to gain further knowledge by treating patients, while under the watchful eye of a senior physician.

You should also continue your own study by carefully going through the writings and teachings of our exclusive line, as found on our website, and also the books of Srila Prabhupada, Bhaktivedanta Swami.

Try to avoid going outside this range of study. There is no need and it is more likely to create confusion than lucidity. Every university has something to offer, but ours is the best in the field of spiritual knowledge because we are adhering strictly to the teachings of the greatest professors in the field of Krishna Consciousness.

Knowledge of Krishna Consciousness is not acquired in the same way mundane knowledge is gathered. As I mentioned on the day of your initiation, it comes by approaching one who has realized knowledge of the Absolute and then further following the process described in Bhagavad-gita, pranipat, pariprasna and seva which Srila Sridhara Maharaja defined succinctly as “Surrender, inquire, and serve.”

Actually, the acquisition of knowledge is not our goal. We must always remember that the knowledge acquiring proclivity, as found in the mundane academicians, will surely frustrate our attempts to proceed on the path of Krishna Consciousness:

So this is Vaisnavism, to follow the previous acarya. This is Vaisnavism. Mahajano yena gatah sa panthah [Cc. Madhya 17.186], dharmasya tattvam nihitam guhayam mahajano yena gatah…. Tarko ‘pratisthah srutayo vibhinna. Tarko, if you are very great logician, you can argue, “Oh why Krsna can be God? I can be God,” by logic you may defeat an ignorant devotee, but sastra says by becoming a big logician, you cannot understand transcendental knowledge. Transcendental knowledge you have to understand by submitting, pranipatena, tad viddhi pranipatena [Bg. 4.34]. First of all surrender. Tad viddhi. If you want to know this transcendental science, then you must fully surrender. This is first qualification. Tad viddhi pranipatena pariprasnena sevaya. Three things. First surrender; then if you cannot understand, then you question. Otherwise you have no right to question from a Vaisnava. — BVS, Bhagavad-gita 1.20 — London, July 17, 1973

Krishna is not a thing we can study until we know it fully by examining it under greater and greater magnification or submitting it to various destructive and subjective laboratory tests. He can never be fully known by us. He is not our object of study. We are His object and He is the super subject who has the unimpeded freedom to manipulate us in any way He chooses. He is achintya, inconceivable. What we can know unconditionally and fully is that He is our Master and we are His servants. That is enough for us. Philosophy and study should be pursued only so far as they help us and others to understand this point.

Please try to arrange sankirtana programs as much as possible and read and teach from Bhagavad Gita and the other books of my gurus, who are your grand-gurus (like grandfathers). Also, prepare nice prasadam and always be ready to distribute it to any guests or visitors who come to your home.

I will be happy to discuss any details you may have questions about, but the general program I have outlined, in accord with your capacity and understanding, if carried out with a sincere heart and desire to please Sri Sri Guru Gauranga, will surely bring the highest benefit to yourself and all those who come in contact with you.

I pray this finds you well in health and spirits.

Swami B.K. Giri