Sri Guru and His Grace

Jason - September 5, 2004 4:22 am

Hare Krsna!


One book that was suggested more than a few times was "Sri Guru and His Grace" by Srila Sridhar Swami. I took it as a sign, something that I should read to hear some nice advice and a new perspective based on sastra for the understanding of the position of the spiritual master. As has been shown in other threads, often times in ISKCON, this had led to some serious misconceptions.


So, I've started to read Sridhar Swami's book and I'm pleasantly suprised! It's very sweet and informative. It's nice to know that there are other great acharyas with great books to read.


These are a few excerpts that I've found extremely different from anything that I have ever been taught. I think it would be nice if certain people in positions of authority within ISKCON could take some of Sridhar Swami's quotes to heart....I bet it would make all the difference.


From "Slaves of the Truth" p. 24...


"One who is awake will see, 'Here is my guru's advice. I find it here in this man. Somehow or other it has come here. How, I do not know, but I see my guru's characteristics, his dealings, and behaviour in this person.' When we are able to recognize and thing for its intrinsic value, the, wherever we find it, we cannot neglect it."


From Page 26....


"...One thing is coming down from the Supreme Lord, so the oneness of continuity is not to be ignored. Guru can be here; guru can be in another body also. The same teacher may come in a different body to inspire us; he may come to give us new hope and higher education. The substance should be given higher value than form."


Would it be safe to say that when Srila Prabhupada left the planet, his disciples that did take shelter of Srila Sridhar Swami were in a sense, seeing certain characteristics within Sridhar Swami and finding new hope? Seems logical to me. When persons in ISKCON would criticize them, implying that they were "turning their backs on Prabhupada", could it be argued that they were seeing the same inspiration and possibly higher education in Sridhar Swami?


From page 34....


"...because we are familiar with a particular figure and accept that as our guru we should not become misled. The important thing is what he says, his instructions....we shall have to eliminate the form, ignore the form; we shall always have to keep the spirit."


This is why I see no problem taking association from Tripurari Maharaja and his disciples here. What is being said and the instructions being given are not only in line (in often cases better) with sastra and the previous acharyas, but by me learning to see the teachings without regard to things like ISKCON, Gaudiya Matha, etc. I can see the teachings of my guru maharaja in the spirit as well. Often times, what Tripurari Maharaja teaches IS in fact "higher education" from what usually gets taught in ISKCON temples.


That's as far as I have read in the book so far. I would love to hear anything that you all might have to add.





Taruna Krsna Dasa - September 5, 2004 4:03 pm
Would it be safe to say that when Srila Prabhupada left the planet, his disciples that did take shelter of Srila Sridhar Swami were in a sense, seeing certain characteristics within Sridhar Swami and finding new hope? Seems logical to me. When persons in ISKCON would criticize them, implying that they were "turning their backs on Prabhupada", could it be argued that they were seeing the same inspiration and possibly higher education in Sridhar Swami?


Jason, this is right on. I will use Tripurari Maharaja, my Guru Maharaja, as an example. He didn't join Sridhar Maharaja until after ISKCON had told everyone they would be exiled from ISKCON if they associated with Sridhar Maharaja, or if they read any of his books. Tripurari Maharaja was going around the country preaching, and somehow got his hands on one of Sridhar Maharaja's tabooed books. Before reading it, he was a bit "skeptical" I guess you could say, because he was so blown away by what an advanced devotee Prabhupada was, and didn't think anyone else could compare. But he read the book by Sridhar Maharaja, and found the same power and bhava in Sridhar Maharaja, as he had found in Prabhupada, and was captivated. Then he left ISKCON because he knew he HAD to get the association for this great vaishnava.

This is as many details as I remember of how Tripurari Maharaja first went to Sridhar Maharaja.

I am happy you are finding such inspiration in Sri Guru and His Grace!



Taruna Krsna dasa

Jason - September 6, 2004 1:20 am

Hare Krsna!


Taruna Krsna prabhu, thank you for your response. The whole scenario surrounding ISKCON's decision to "exile" persons who took shelter from another vaisnava's books/person is so unreal. Especially considering the instructions of Srila Prabhupada on the matter.


This book is inspirational. For me, I really see some characteristics in Srila Sridhar Maharaja that may have been prevelant within Srila Prabhupada, but I don't readily see in Prabhupada's books; and definately not in the teachings of most persons in positions as "leaders" in ISKCON.


I'm really getting the sense that Sridhar Swami was a bit more practical/sympathetic than Prabhupada in his preaching. I don't want to say anything against Srila Prabhupada, I love him dearly....but the differences are there. I'm noticing that Sridhar Maharaja uses words/concepts like "absolute vs. relative", "spirit vs. law" and self-analysis (atma-niksepa) a lot. It's almost as if Sridhar Goswami's "style" of preaching would go over a little better in some of the yoga center preaching that I have done in the past. It seems a little more accessible. *(I feel like I'm not using the right words here at all and instead I'm sounding offensive...please forgive me.)


Anyway, I will continue to point out the things that are REALLY standing out to me when I read this book, and I would love to hear some people comment further so that I can understand about him even more.



God Consciousness vs. Society Consciousness (p. 43)


"Krsna says, 'Give up everything. Come to me directly.' This is the revolutionary way. This is absolute. And this is relative, 'Stick to your own clan. Don't leave them.' ....If society consciousness hinders the development of God consciousness, it should be left behind."


It seems obvious that Maharaja isn't just refering to society at large in this statement. I would venture to guess that one could substitute just about any institution/organization/denomination in place of the word "society" and the purport would be the same. If the organization started, ends up being a threat to bhakti, then it should be abandoned. For instance, Christ's teachings were/are the foundation for the REAL Christian church. After his departure, some of his disciples chose to alter the teachings and start their particular missions. Now, 2000 years later, people are leaving the "Christian" church because the teachings aren't there. What's being taught today is something that is "hindering the development of God/Christ consciousness". I also think it's really cool the way that Sridhar Maharaja points out that Krsna's proposal, the absolute way, IS IN FACT quite revolutionary.


I believe that there was a devotee named Arthur who recently posted some question recently. Perhaps this would be a GREAT book for prabhu to read. It's hitting on some EXTREMELY powerful points about the position of guru/association, etc.


Page 74 -


I love this example of the disciple as the lotus flower, the spiritual master as the water on which the flower floats, and Krsna as the sun. When the spiritual master is no longer present, it's possible for the lotus (the disciple) to burn up from the sun's potency (Krsna). The guru acts as a "sunscreen". He never diminishes the position of Krsna, rather, he is the medium that allows the disciple to catch a glimpse without being overwhelmed! Such a cool description.


Pages 76-77


"If within your society, you want a natural growth of the disciples regard for the guru and the Absolute truth, such room must be allowed in your constitution....


Now, some in ISKCON would take this statement and say, "See, even your guru has given validity to our desire to encourage ISKCON newcomers to view Srila Prabhupada in his rightful position, so why do you criticize us for doing so?"


However....Srila Sridhar Maharaja goes on to say....


"Law is not everything. The law of your society should be accomodating to nurture divine sentiment....law should promote faith."


I find it interesting that Maharaja used the words "divine sentiment". Such feelings are proper to have for one's spiritual master. Often times, due to rampant fanaticism, persons don't acquire that feeling...they repeat what they've heard only because they know no different and that's not the sentiment that is spoken of here.


One other thing and then I will stop....I promise


Sridhar Maharaja talks about when the spiritual master is no longer present before us, what becomes our real "field of sadhana". He describes how this includes the difficulties, frustrations, quarrelling devotees, etc. He says that we NEED these difficulties to progress otherwise we may take things for granted. So, how to remedy these things? Self-analysis (atma niksepa). Are we following the teachings and scrutinizingly putting them into practice?


This is all so amazing.....


I'm all ears.





Jason - September 6, 2004 1:38 am

OK....I officially can't stop reading this book. I ordered a few other books from Krsna Culture and then I got this one from Mandala and now I can't put it down....


Here's an actual question:


Srila Prabhupada has said in the past that if the guru falls down, then he wasn't guru in the first place. This has been taken by certain vaisnava groups and used as their rallying cry.


Sridhar Maharaja has this to say....(paraphrasing)


When guru is in the mood of vatsalya-rasa, guardianship over disciples, relations with godbrothers can decrease and discrimination can arise....tendency is sure to come...


"There is the possibility of going down from the plane of acharya."


Can someone please explain the seeming contradiction?