Dear Mr. Ross,
Please accept my regards and well wishes in remembrance of my Divine Masters.
Please let me know if it is possible to approach a Vaishnav through you?
This is not a question I can answer for you. The answer is dependent upon your faith.
I have accepted three great gurus as my initiating and principal instructing spiritual masters. My initiating guru is Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. My principal instructing spiritual masters are Srila B.R. Sridhara Maharaja and Srila B.S. Govinda Maharaja. The latter, Srila Govinda Maharaja has ordered me to give initiation to those I consider to be sincere seekers.
I could say “Yes.” to your question because Srila Govinda Maharaja has expressed his confidence in me that I am a suitable person to connect sincere souls with His Divine Grace and with the spiritual line of the other gurus I mentioned above.
However, my “Yes.” to you, in reply to your question, is almost meaningless without the backing of your personal faith in my answer. But if you had that faith, you would not need to ask the question.
I may say “Yes.” you can “approach a Vaishnav through” me, but what is the guarantee I am not saying that for the purpose of cheating you? On the other hand, if I say “No, you cannot ‘approach a Vaishnav through’ me.” you may dismiss me and go away believing I have no real connection with a Vaishnava. That would be an offense to Sri Guru on my part for, in essence, I would be denying my connection with my gurus.
In either of the above cases my answer serves no useful purpose for you because it is you who must decide for yourself whether or not you can “approach a Vaishnav through” me.
There is another problem I see with your question. You wrote, and it is true, “In order to know real love of God, we are told we must ‘approach a self-realized soul. He can impart Knowledge to you, for He has seen the Truth.’” The verse you are referring to is this one:
tad viddhi praṇipātena
upadekṣyanti te jñānaṁ
tat — that knowledge of different sacriﬁces; viddhi — try to understand; praṇipātena — by approaching a spiritual master; paripraśnena — by submissive inquiries; sevayā — by the rendering of service; upadekṣyanti — they will initiate; te — you; jñānam — into knowledge; jñāninaḥ — the self-realized; tattva — of the truth; darśinaḥ — seers.
Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized souls can impart knowledge unto you because they have seen the truth.
The actual verse is a little different from what you wrote, as it does not directly mention “In order to know real love of God” but rather, you will gain jnanam, knowledge (of the Absolute Truth) from one who is jnaninas, self realized by dint of having direct perception of the truth: tattva-darshinah.
Such a person can only be a Vaishnava, for only a Vaishnava (a devotee of Krishna) knows Krishna (Absolute Truth) in His fullness.
When you find such a Vaishnava, one who is realized in the Absolute Truth, the question of whether or not you can “approach a Vaishnav through” him will not arise, for you have already found a proper Vaishnava whom you can approach directly.
You can think “It takes a Vaishnava to know a Vaishnava.” Therefore, when you find a genuine Vaishnava of a higher type (one through whom you could approach a Vaishnava) you will realize your searching has ended, for you have found the object you were seeking. Because he is spiritually connected with the transcendental plane of devotion and devotees, through your connection with this particular Vaishnava all other connections with devotees of that plane is automatically achieved.
I am pleased to know you are seriously interested in the subject matter of “real love of God” and wish you all success in your search to find it. It is the only worthwhile goal of human life.
If I can be of any further assistance to you in this matter I will try to answer any questions relevant to it.
I pray this finds you well in health and spirits.
Swami B.K. Giri