Whether it’s a time of separation from Sri Guru, a time to get a proper introduction or perspective on guru-tattva, time for a reality check or to assess and reconceive everything what we thought we knew and subsequently broaden our vision — the time has come again for Sri Guru And His Grace.
In the pages of his book, Srila B.R. Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj gives us the completely non-sectarian, impartial and authoritative truth about guru. This book came out at a time of great necessity, and once again we are finding that very same necessity. Who is guru? God consciousness vs. society consciousness. Gradation of gurus. Surrender to guru. Separation of guru. All of these subject matters and much more are eloquently and concisely brought to light by Srila Sridhar Maharaj.
In the wake of the disappearance of our guru we may find that we will be forced to go on to another stage, to go further and deeper in our conception of guru. We may experience something like growing pains in our spiritual development. In the midst of so much heartache and tragedy a revolution of consciousness can emerge as we grow. An apparent curse can actually become something positive or favorable and push us to a higher plane of understanding. We may either progress, become stagnant or regress, and progress in the only option for a sincerely aspiring devotee. Then we may come to embrace in our hearts not just one guru but a plurality of gurus.
Srila Sridhar Maharaj explains how in the beginning, in the lower neophyte stages, we are cautioned to stick to the advice of our own initiating guru, not to go here and there taking advice from anywhere and everywhere. However in a more intermediate and higher stage of spiritual development, when we are fixed in the truth, when we have a genuine taste for the truth, at that time we are brought to the plane where we can perceive guru in everything. He said, “Ultimately we must understand that we have to enter into the land of the gurus. Everyone should be respected as guru that gives impetus to me to search for Krishna, to serve Krishna. They will all help to carry me to the center. And this is the most fortunate position: to see everyone, everywhere as guru, to see that no one is our servant, and no one is indifferent to us. That is our highest fortune: to attain that highest spiritual environment where everyone is our guru. Here, everyone is our servant; even our father and mother. We want to draw something from everyone in this world of exploitation. And by renunciation everything is eliminated; it is a deserted position. If we are to enter into the land of eternal prospect, then we must learn to see that all are our guru and we are servants. They are all gurus and they are all our well-wishing guardians. In that plane, we shall imbibe help from everywhere. Their benediction and their grace will come from everywhere. They are all well-wishers, all guardians; they all guide us towards the highest attainment of our fortune. There cannot be any objection to that.”
Srila Sridhar Maharaj explains, “Krishna says, acharyam mam vijaniyan, “Ultimately it is I who am the acharya.” It is the function of divinity, and in different stages there may be different forms. Different acharyas may work at the same time.”
Sri Guru is not limited to a certain form or society. As Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj said, “There does not arise any question of discriminating my Guru from yours or anyone else’s. There is only one Guru, who appears in an infinity of forms to teach you, me and all others.”
Gaudiya vaishnava culture is non-sectarian, a divine culture of unrestricted faith and love which are the principles upon which the entire foundation of our sampradaya stands. If that is lost then everything is lost. “We are the messiahs of free faith” and are “slaves of the truth” and we can’t lose sight of these essential principals. Srila B.R. Sridhar Maharaj said, “We are beggars for the pure current of truth that is constantly flowing: the fresh current. We are not charmed by any formality. I will bow down my head wherever I find the river of nectar coming down to me. When one is conscious that the Absolute Truth is descending to him from the highest domain, he will think, “I must surrender myself here.”
So by our sharanagati,surrender to Sri Guru we can become fit recipients of his grace and receive enlistment in the humble service of the servants of the holy lotus feet of the Supreme Absolute Truth.
We are eternally indebted and offer our heartfelt appreciations and humble obeisances to Srila B.S. Goswami Maharaj for extracting all of these beautiful truths from Srila B.R. Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj, my beloved Srila Param Guru Maharaj, and bringing this book, and many others, into print for the benefit of all fortunate souls.
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