Srila Giri Maharaja “Krishna Consciousness and Householder Life”

BKG Ukraine

Date: 9/3/16

Dear Sriman Jagadananda dasa Adhikari,

Please accept my blessings and well-wishes.

I read your below email soon after I received it. Unfortunately I could not reply immediately. I also felt some of your concerns would work themselves out over time by the influence of your sadhana and, through your devotion, Krishna would reveal something within you to satisfy your heart’s inquiries.

It is the tendency of children to want immediate gratification. We are, in many ways, like children. When we discover the precepts of Krishna Consciousness through reading the scriptures, developing faith in Sri Guru, Vaishnavas, etc., we must be excited to learn that there is a source of answers for all our questions, doubts and concerns. Not only that, but the source is impeccable, infallible and absolute. Why then should I not get immediate and perfect answers to all the inquiries needed to feel fully satisfied?

We feel the need to surrender, following the Lord’s instruction sarva dharman parityaja… . Having heard His perfect instruction, with the obvious truth of it resonating with our heart’s desire to be a soul surrendered to the all-perfect, loving, beautiful and sweet Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna, which is also our obvious relationship with Him, we conceive of our tendency towards such surrender to be very strong and certain. Why then should all the results of perfect surrender not be immediately realized?

But if it were so (our tendency to surrender was strong and certain), then why have we not attained all that we have been told should be attained through surrender to the Supreme Lord?

The answers should also be obvious.

Surrender does not mean getting what I want, immediately upon wanting it. Surrender means doing the Lord’s bidding; as He wants it, and in accordance with His time table, not mine.

Next, how strong is our tendency to surrender? It may not be as strong as we think it to be. In an article of his (published in the Harmonist and Back to Godhead), Srila Sridhara Maharaja wrote:

To err is human. To err is inevitable for all, being not perfect. Still, no one wants to remain imperfect. There is an element within all that is animate that tends towards perfection. If it were not so, we would feel no want at all. Our tendency towards perfection is certainly very weak and limited; otherwise we could attain the goal at once. Our limited capacity and tendency for perfection makes room for the guide or guru.

So, we should think: “Our tendency towards perfection is certainly very weak and limited; otherwise we could attain the goal at once.”

Then, who will be the judge of our strength of surrender, our tendency towards perfection; ourselves, or our Divine Master? His decision is the only one we should rely upon, and we should always be very suspect of our own position, thinking always: “Our tendency towards perfection is certainly very weak and limited.”

Continuing the above thoughts, I refer you to this passage from Subjective Evolution of Consciousness:

. . . Krsna is the personification of ecstasy and beauty. And so the highest religious process for achieving complete ecstasy will be the search for Sri Krsna, Reality the Beautiful. But how should we search? Through devotion. And what is that? Dedication. What is dedication? Surrender, self-sacrifice – die to live. And what is living? To live in love, krsna-prema, love divine. The whole picture can be described in two words, krsna-prema. The search for Sri Krsna is sambandha jnana or understanding our relationship with the object of our fulfillment. Then what is that search, and what is the end of the search? In a few words, in a nutshell, we have described all these things on the title page of our book, The Search for Sri Krsna, Reality the Beautiful.


And this may be understood through the help of Sri Guru and his grace: it may be explained that the necessity of guru is there, it is universal. To err is human, but not to err is also an inner tendency. Sri Gurudeva comes to give us relief from our internal trouble. In this way the conception of guru may be developed. The necessity for guru can be inferred from the universal basis of nature which is present around us.

And from there it will gradually move to the absolute. Ultimately the conception of guru will come to Krsna. In this highest sense, Krsna is guru. Who can remove all our doubts, and satisfy all our inquiries? It is Krsna alone. Gradually our faith will develop and take us to the one who can clear all our doubts. We may have doubts upon doubts. One doubt may go and thousands of doubts may come, but guru is one who can clear all our doubts, bhidyate hrdaya-granthis chidyante sarvasamsayah (S.B. 1.2.21). Who can do away with all the suspicions in our mind; it is He who is full. In this way we must progress. The birth of our faith may be in intellectualism, but its goal is transcendental. The birth of our search and its destination will come to meet together. The birth of faith is from the potency of Krsna, and after moving through the whole of the infinite it will come again to the potency where we will take our eternal position.


Krsna consciousness means the infinite in the finite: the affectionate connection of the finite with the infinite helps him to live in infinity. The finite backed by the infinite may become infinitely resourceful. Our Guru Maharaja gave the example that if a poor girl marries a prince, although she may have nothing, by her affectionate relationship with the prince, she turns into a princess. So one who has nothing, only a friendly relationship, gets command over everything. This is the nature of Krsna consciousness.


One’s resources may increase in that way. Intrinsically, a jiva soul is insignificant; it is an infinitesimal point of a point of a point, but by coming in affectionate connection with the Absolute, he gets the facility of all the advantages of a life with the Absolute. Then he or she is in possession of the whole.

You have patiently awaited my response to your email. Such patience (dhairyāt) is an important part of our practicing life. Srila Rupa Goswami has pointed to patience, along with five other principals, as being essential to the practicing life of a devotee:

NoI 3
 
utsāhān niścayād dhairyāt
tat-tat-karma-pravartanāt
saṅga-tyāgāt sato vṛtteḥ
ṣaḍbhir bhaktiḥ prasidhyati


SYNONYMS
utsāhāt—by enthusiasm; niścayāt—by confidence; dhairyāt—by patience; tat-tat-karma—various activities favorable for devotional service; pravartanāt—by performing; saṅga-tyāgāt—by giving up the association of nondevotees; sataḥ—of the great previous ācāryas; vṛtteḥ—by following in the footsteps; ṣaḍbhiḥ—by these six; bhaktiḥ—devotional service; prasidhyati—advances or becomes successful.

TRANSLATION
There are six principles favorable to the execution of pure devotional service: (1) being enthusiastic, (2) endeavoring with confidence, (3) being patient, (4) acting according to regulative principles [such as śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ smaraṇam [SB 7.5.23]—hearing, chanting and remembering Kṛṣṇa], (5) abandoning the association of nondevotees, and (6) following in the footsteps of the previous ācāryas. These six principles undoubtedly assure the complete success of pure devotional service.

Therefore, continue to practice patience, along with the five other items mentioned in the above verse.

Your desire to practice full devotion, as expressed in your email:

Maharaja sometimes I feel like I live a double life. Like I am standing on the center line between two lanes of traffic. On one side I have to perform as the householder, the father, husband and provider and in the other lane, the lane I am most drawn, is the lane where I am free to just devote my self to seva. Keeping the balance between the two and trying to get them to intersect is a difficult task and I would love any advice you may have on how I can merge the two.

is certainly commendable, as is the feeling of responsibility towards your wife and children. However, the difficulty “to get them to intersect” is not exactly as you expressed it. That is, the “difficulty” is not that of fulfilling the responsibilities of a grhastha to his wife and children, but the difficulties inherent in practicing Krishna Consciousness, while living within the mundane environment of “this world.”
“Difficult”, however, does not mean impossible, nor even impractical. Neither should you at any time feel inhibited in being “free to just devote my self to seva.” Family life may be an impediment to seva, but it may also provide a facility for seva. Whether it is one or the other is independent of the ashram and fully dependent upon one’s inner feeling of urgency to serve the Supreme Lord and His devotees. One is always free to devote oneself fully to seva, despite any and all external circumstances. The transaction of seva is a spiritual one and, therefore, completely independent of any material circumstances.

There are many examples of grhastas who exhibited a greater capacity for seva than sannyasis or brahmacaris. One such devotee in our Mission is Sriman Uddharan dasa Adhikari. The following is an excerpt from a recent letter I wrote to him:

Yes, the simple life is the good life, as far as it goes. Bimalananda left here, citing the principal reason as being unable to live with the noise and disturbances of city life. But even Lord Brahma, living in the highest position in the material world, is not exempt from the problems of distress caused by the mind, senses, etc. So I tried, unsuccessfully, to convince Bimalananda that “Wherever you go, your mind will go with you, and with your mind, all the concomitant disturbances that must accompany it due to the samskara and karma associated with your birth.”

“Kolkata is the home of Kali, I will never go there.”, Srila Gorakishora dasa Babaji Maharaja told his disciple, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura, who soon went there to convert the home of Kali into the transcendental playground of the Sweet Absolute.

And where did Saraswati Thakura go? To one of the worst places in Kolkata, a place that was famous for prostitution and other vile activities. A disciple offered him a room in a rented house in Ulta Danga and, as Srila Govinda Maharaja tells it “He [Saraswati Thakura] did not look left, right or behind, only forward.” Krishna had given him some facility for preaching, and he immediately accepted it.

I am trying to preach, following in the footsteps of such acharyas in our line. I am trying my best to cultivate their outlook, follow it as best I can and encourage others to do the same.

But there is room for every sincere soul in our Mission. Srila Govinda Maharaja called Sri Sakhi Babu “a great Vaishnava”, maybe even “very great.” He did much to help Srila Saraswati Thakura’s preaching mission and later donated the land to Srila Sridhara Maharaja that would be used for the temple, grounds and building of what would later be known as Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math. I think it was his family that, after Sakhi Babu’s disappearance, donated the land for Srila Govinda Maharaja’s temple in Govardhana.

You and Srimati Lilavati Devi have contributed a great deal to the seva of our guru varga and have remained always steadfast to its principals. I’m sure you will continue in the same vein, whether you make your residence in the UK, France or Brahma Loka.

Sripada Sakhi Babu was a grhasta, yet his service to Srila Saraswati Thakura was far more than many sannyasis. The same was true for Sriman Kunja Babu, who Srila Sridhara Maharaja told us he considered to be the “co-founder of Gaudiya Math”, as his management, skills and seva proved invaluable to the tremendous missionary work of Srila Saraswati Thakura.

Arjuna was a grhasta, but very intimately connected with Sri Krishna. And, although married and producing children, was accepted as the topmost brahmacari by Lord Shiva. His service to Krishna is so great, and his relationship so exalted, that his intimate talks with the Lord, where he fully reveals (for our benefit) his most pronounced anxieties and doubts, serve as the very basis of the Lord’s lessons on surrender and devotion.
One of those lessons is instruction on how to control the restless and troublesome mind. If we are to be successful in our practicing life, we must control the mind through resolute determination to follow the instructions of both guru and Krishna. No change of ashram, location, or any other change of our material circumstances is necessary to control the mind. What is needed is a firm resolve to serve the Lord, which is acquired through faith:

 Bg 2.41
 
vyavasāyātmikā buddhir
ekeha kuru-nandana
bahu-śākhā hy anantāś ca
buddhayo ‘vyavasāyinām


SYNONYMS
vyavasāyātmikā—resolute Kṛṣṇa consciousness; buddhiḥ—intelligence; ekā—only one; iha—in this world; kuru-nandana—O beloved child of the Kurus; bahu-śākhāḥ—various branches; hi—indeed; anantāḥ—unlimited; ca—also; buddhayaḥ—intelligence; avyavasāyinām—of those who are not in Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

TRANSLATION
Those who are on this path are resolute in purpose, and their aim is one. O beloved child of the Kurus, the intelligence of those who are irresolute is many-branched.

PURPORT
A strong faith in Kṛṣṇa consciousness that one should be elevated to the highest perfection of life is called vyavasāyātmikā intelligence. The Caitanya-caritāmṛta states:

‘śraddhā’-śabde viśvāsa kahe sudṛḍha niścaya
kṛṣṇe bhakti kaile sarva-karma kṛta haya


Faith means unflinching trust in something sublime. When one is engaged in the duties of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, he need not act in relationship to the material world with obligations to family traditions, humanity, or nationality. Fruitive activities are the engagements of one’s reactions from past good or bad deeds. When one is awake in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, he need no longer endeavor for good results in his activities. When one is situated in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, all activities are on the absolute plane, for they are no longer subject to dualities like good and bad. The highest perfection of Kṛṣṇa consciousness is renunciation of the material conception of life. This state is automatically achieved by progressive Kṛṣṇa consciousness. The resolute purpose of a person in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is based on knowledge (“Vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti sa mahātmā sudurlabhaḥ”) by which one comes to know perfectly that Vāsudeva, or Kṛṣṇa, is the root of all manifested causes. As water on the root of a tree is automatically distributed to the leaves and branches, in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, one can render the highest service to everyone—namely self, family, society, country, humanity, etc. If Kṛṣṇa is satisfied by one’s actions, then everyone will be satisfied.


Service in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is, however, best practiced under the able guidance of a spiritual master who is a bona fide representative of Kṛṣṇa, who knows the nature of the student and who can guide him to act in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. As such, to be well-versed in Kṛṣṇa consciousness one has to act firmly and obey the representative of Kṛṣṇa, and one should accept the instruction of the bona fide spiritual master as one’s mission in life. . . .

Krishna and our predecessor acharyas have offered us many lessons like those outlined above. It is important that we understand them with reference to the jiva soul and not his apparent material connections.

SB 3.28.4
 
ahiṁsā satyam asteyaṁ
yāvad-artha-parigrahaḥ
brahmacaryaṁ tapaḥ śaucaṁ
svādhyāyaḥ puruṣārcanam


SYNONYMS
ahiṁsā—nonviolence; satyam—truthfulness; asteyam—refraining from theft; yāvat-artha—as much as necessary; parigrahaḥ—possessing; brahmacaryam—celibacy; tapaḥ—austerity; śaucam—cleanliness; sva-adhyāyaḥ—study of the Vedas; puruṣa-arcanam—worship of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

TRANSLATION
One should practice nonviolence and truthfulness, should avoid thieving and be satisfied with possessing as much as he needs for his maintenance. He should abstain from sex life, perform austerity, be clean, study the Vedas and worship the supreme form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

PURPORT
The word puruṣārcanam in this verse means worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead, especially the form of Lord Kṛṣṇa. In Bhagavad-gītā it is confirmed by Arjuna that Kṛṣṇa is the original puruṣa, or Personality of Godhead, puruṣaṁ śāśvatam. Therefore in yoga practice one not only must concentrate his mind on the person of Kṛṣṇa, but must also worship the form or Deity of Kṛṣṇa daily.


A brahmacārī practices celibacy, controlling his sex life. One cannot enjoy unrestricted sex life and practice yoga; this is rascaldom. So-called yogīs advertise that one can go on enjoying as one likes and simultaneously become a yogī, but this is totally unauthorized. It is very clearly explained here that one must observe celibacy. Brahmacaryam means that one leads his life simply in relationship with Brahman, or in full Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

Those who are too addicted to sex life cannot observe the regulations which will lead them to Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Sex life should be restricted to persons who are married. A person whose sex life is restricted in marriage is also called a brahmacārī.

The word asteyam is also very important for a yogī. Asteyam means “to refrain from theft.” In the broader sense, everyone who accumulates more than he needs is a thief. According to spiritual communism, one cannot possess more than he needs for his personal maintenance. That is the law of nature. Anyone who accumulates more money or more possessions than he needs is called a thief, and one who simply accumulates wealth without spending for sacrifice or for worship of the Personality of Godhead is a great thief.

Svādhyāyaḥ means “reading the authorized Vedic scriptures.” Even if one is not Kṛṣṇa conscious and is practicing the yoga system, he must read standard Vedic literatures in order to understand. Performance of yoga alone is not sufficient. Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura, a great devotee and ācārya in the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava-sampradāya, says that all spiritual activities should be understood from three sources, namely saintly persons, standard scriptures and the spiritual master. These three guides are very important for progress in spiritual life. The spiritual master prescribes standard literature for the prosecution of the yoga of devotional service, and he himself speaks only from scriptural reference. Therefore reading standard scriptures is necessary for executing yoga. Practicing yoga without reading the standard literatures is simply a waste of time.

The verse above reads as one might expect would be the instruction of a guru to one of his brahmacari disciples. In fact, it is so. But the guru in this case is Lord Kapila, and the brahmacari is not a male student of His, but His mother, Srimati Devahuti. Why then should we consider the material body, or material circumstances to be determiners of one’s inner spiritual practicing life, or even the outer symptoms of it?

The instructions given above by Lord Kapila apply to every practitioner of Krishna Consciousness without regard to his ashram, be it brahmacari, grhasta, vanaprastha or sannyasa.

I often think about walking away from the householder life and joining the math full time . . .

What you have mentioned above: “joining the math full time” is expected of all those who receive spiritual initiation. What is the difference between “joining the math full time” and accepting the instructions of the spiritual master as one’s life and soul? As soon as one accepts the latter, the former is automatically included.

I have accepted the fact that the chances of my knowledge growing to the level your holiness and many others have reached will probably not occur.

There is one Bengali proverb, guru-māra-vidyā. “Guru, you learn from him first of all, then kill him. Don’t care for guru.” This is demonic. By the grace of guru you learn something. Then when you learn something, then you become greater than him, don’t care for guru. This is demonic. Even if you have learned something, you must feel always obliged, ataḥ padarśayat(?).
. . .

The only important part of this verse is, that don’t learn guru-māra-vidyā. Even if you become more learned that your guru, you should not exhibit it before your guru. You should always remain a fool number one. Just like Caitanya Mahāprabhu showed Himself by His example. Guru more mūrkha dekhi ‘karila śāsana [Cc. Ādi 7.71]. Caitanya Mahāprabhu was not mūrkha, but He has taught us that before guru, we shall always remain a mūrkha. That is advancement. Not that “I know more than guru. I don’t care for guru. Now give me blessing that I can find out some better guru.” This nonsense, if you don’t find… If your guru is not perfect, then why you are asking blessing to find out another?


So anyway, this guru-māra-vidyā should be avoided. That is the instruction in this verse we can get, and that is the Vedic way. It is not that Draupadī is speaking, but Caitanya Mahāprabhu is also speaking… Caitanya Mahāprabhu was very strict on this point. As soon Vallabhācārya spoke that “I have written a better comment than Śrīdhara Svāmī,” immediately Caitanya Mahāprabhu become offended. He said, “Oh, you have become more than Śrīdhara Svāmī? You don’t care for Svāmī?” So he remarked immediately, svāmī yei jana na māne veśyara bhitare. That is the system. You cannot overrule ācārya. Ācārya… Ācāryopāsanam. Ācārya should be always worshiped. Even if you, by ABCD, you have become more learned than the ācārya… That is not possible, but if you foolishly think like that, still, you should not exhibit your foolishness, that you know more than the ācārya. That is Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s… By His life example, He has taught us that the more we remain ignorant, foolish before the ācārya,or before the guru, that is more we advance. Real success is how one is faithful to his guru. That is real success. Yasyadeve parā bhaktir yathā deve tathā gurau. It is not by education or grammatical knowledge you can learn anything. No. It is by the grace of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. And that grace comes down through the grace of guru. That grace also does not come directly. We should not be neglecting this point.

yasya deve parā bhaktir
yathā deve tathā gurau
tasyaite kathitā hy arthāḥ
prakāśante mahātmanaḥ

[ŚU 6.23]

Things become revealed by devotion, not by so-called education. No. Ciraṁ vicinvan. Na cānya eko ‘pi ciraṁvicinvan, prasāda-leśānugṛhīta eva hi [SB 10.14.29]. By little prasāda, satisfaction… In many places these things are stated. Yat kāruṇya-katākṣa-vaibhavavatāṁ gauram eva stumaḥ. Kāruṇya-katākṣa. Not complete kāruṇya, but katākṣa, simply little glancing, he becomes so great, kaivalyaṁ narakāyate tridaśa-pūr ākāśa…

Therefore Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura says, yasya prasādād bhagavat-prasādaḥ **. Not that bhagavat-prasāda is achieved by education and grammar. No. Yasya prasādād bhagavat-prasādaḥ **. By the mercy of guru one can achieve. That is just like a common word, “If you love me, love my dog.” So you cannot approach Kṛṣṇa without loving His dog, His servant. Satāṁ prasaṅgāt. A person who is trying to distribute the message of Kṛṣṇa, he is very, very dear dog of Kṛṣṇa. Na ca tasmān manuṣyeṣu kaścin me priya-kṛttamaḥ [Bg. 18.69]. He is very… It doesn’t matter how far he is advanced in education, how far he has learned grammar. These are not the things. The things is how far he is working to carry out the mission of Kṛṣṇa. Then one has to receive Kṛṣṇa’s mercy through the bona fide servant. Kṛṣṇa cannot be bluffed by so-called education and grammar. Kṛṣṇa is not so… Bhaktyā māmabhijānāti [Bg. 18.55]. He never says “By grammar or by education one can understand.” Never says. Bhaktyā māmabhijānāti yāvān yaś cāsmi tattvataḥ. We should be educated, we should be very careful, but real thing is bhakti. Anyābhi… Bhajate mām ananya-bhāk, sādhur eva sa mantavyaḥ [Bg. 9.30]. Api cet su-durācāraḥ. Many places it is said. Tad-vāg-visargo janatāgha-viplavo yasmin prati-ślokam abaddhavaty api [SB 1.5.11]. Even a bhakta writes something which is not very grammatically, rhetorically correct… Tad-vāg-visargo janatāgha-viplavaḥ, nāmāny anantasya yaśo ‘ṅkitāni yat. But because he has tried to broadcast the glories of the Lord, even not in perfect language, that is his qualification.

tad-vāg-visargo janatāgha-viplavo
yasmin prati-ślokam abaddhavaty api
nāmāny anantasya yaśo ‘ṅkitāni yat
śṛṇvanti gāyanti gṛṇanti sādhavaḥ

[SB 1.5.11]

The sādhus, they are not interested about rhetorical or grammatical adjustment. The sādhu wants to see who has spoken. If he’s a Vaiṣṇava, then his word will be accepted. Caitanya Mahāprabhu strictly prohibits, that is, one is not a Vaiṣṇava, don’t hear from him. Avaiṣṇava-mukhodgīrṇaṁ pūtaṁ hari-kathāmṛtam, śravaṇaṁ naiva kartavyam.”But he’s such a learned man,” or “He writes so nicely, correctly.” But because he’s not Vaiṣṇava, one should not hear from him. “Why? It is so nicely written.” No. Sarpocchiṣṭaṁ yathā payaḥ. Milk is very good food, everyone knows. But as soon as it is touched by the lips of a serpent, it is poison immediately. Therefore it is forbidden. And one who has no knowledge how to respect guru, how he can become Vaiṣṇava? Chāḍiyā vaiṣṇava-sevā nistārapāyeche kebā, Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura says. If you don’t become a faithful servant of Vaiṣṇava, there is no possibility of your liberation. Chāḍiyā vaiṣṇava-sevā nistāra pāyecha kebā. Tāṅdera caraṇa-sevi-bhakta-sane vāsa, janame janame haya ei abhilāṣa. This is Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura’s… Our determination should be to serve the previous guru and ācārya. Evaṁ paramparā-prāptam [Bg. 4.2]. That is our determination. Tāṅdera caraṇa-sevi. Our service… Not directly Kṛṣṇa. Because to serve Vaiṣṇava is more than serving Kṛṣṇa directly. Mad-bhakta-pūjābhyadhikā [SB 11.19.21]. Kṛṣṇa likes that. He doesn’t accept anyone’s service directly. That is a gross mistake. Therefore Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura is teaching us… [break] …trying to become one with Kṛṣṇa or one with the gopīs.These are all Māyāvāda philosophy. Tāṅdera caraṇa-sevi. You have to serve the servant of Kṛṣṇa, tad bhṛtya dāsa-dāsa-dāsānudāsaḥ [Cc. Madhya 13.80]. That is the way. Not directly.

—Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada: Lectures, Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.7.44

The key to acquiring knowledge of Krishna is found in this verse from Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (1.2.234):

ataḥ śrī-kṛṣṇa-nāmādi na bhaved grāhyam indriyaiḥ
sevonmukhe hi jihvādau svayam eva sphuraty adaḥ.


“No one can understand the transcendental nature of the name, form, quality and pastimes of Śrī Kṛṣṇa through his materially contaminated senses. Only when one becomes spiritually saturated by transcendental service to the Lord are the transcendental name, form, quality and pastimes of the Lord revealed to him.” (Padma Purāṇa)

Transcendental loving service of the Lord practiced under the guidance of a pure devotee is the only means by which we can acquire real transcendental knowledge.

What I have given above are the philosophical points I see as necessary responses to your letter. To answer some of your direct questions I will respond in a separate letter.

In consideration of all of the above, and in relation to your present circumstances, it is my desire that you continue to serve in the association of your wife and children, looking after their well-being, both spiritual and material, accepting them as blessings from above to assist you in your search for Sri Krishna.

In this matter, vipralambha seva comes to our relief. We should appreciate the beauty of the search for Sri Krishna as much as attaining the final goal. We are fully dedicated to the belief that our highest attainment is a relationship with Sri Krishna in the mood of vipralambha seva, union in separation. The search for Sri Krishna is, at the very least, even for the neophyte devotee, tangentially connected to that mood of seva. Therefore, we should welcome all the misgivings that accompany our search as impetus to continue with even greater enthusiasm, hope and faith. If we are sincere, our misgivings will never completely vanish, as there will always be the lingering doubt that “Krishna is not mine, He belongs to another.” This doubt cannot be avoided, but can be used as motivation to redouble our dedication and devotion to such an extent that we will think, “Although Krishna is not mine, I will serve Him in such a way that He will want to accept me as His.”

I pray this finds you well in health and spirits. Please convey the same, with my blessings, to your good wife Srimati Malini Devi dasi and your beautiful children Siddharta and Lily Ann.

Your ever well-wisher,

Swami B.K. Giri