The Real Acharyya and Our Duty.

[By Brahmachari Kirttanananda]

As truly said in the Bhagabata, one must, in order to know and realise the Absolute Truth, first of all serve and worship the Holy Feet of the Real and True Master (Sat Guru).

To truly worship His Holy Feet, one must be nearest of Them, and to be nearest is to transcend Maya, or all mundane existence. This is a condition which is absolutely indispensable, but most difficult of fulfilment for fallen beings. For the Real Master ever lives by the inscrutable Will and Power of Personal Godhead in the Transcendental Region of Eternal Existence, Knowledge and Bliss, although simultaneously He seems or appears, in our materialised perception, to live and move in this phenomenal world of ours as a mortal man in material form. This is due to the misfortune of fallen souls embodied in matter when their spiritual form with spiritual senses lies hidden by their finer and grosser material forms. As they transcend matter and discover their spiritual eternal forms, their true perception and right worship of the true master with their spiritual senses,—and through Him that of Godhead,—commences. People in their fallen and ignorant state cannot properly understand and realise this transcendental character of the Vaishnava-Acharyya—the Nearest and Dearest Constant Servant of the Supreme Absolute Lord Sri Krishna the Personal God-head, and His Messenger, Preacher and Messiah in this world for the time. Does not then the worship of people fettered by Maya reach the Holy Feet of Sat Guru? Yes, surely there is hope for them, and that a most encouraging one. For the Sat Guru comes down for them, and in His unbounded mercy He does not accept their worship, however low and imperfect, and by His most gracious acceptance He purifies and makes it perfect,—only when they quite sincerely seek after and take refuge in the Holy Feet of the Acharyya and completely surrender themselves to His mercy.

Full resignation is a thing most difficult and inconceivable to people, worldly ignorant and wise-acres alike. For, in matters spiritual, they are both equally ignorant. They, in their empirical wisdom, are apt to reason that such surrender is nothing but foolish slavery and therefore self-strangulation! To submit to the absolute mercy and control of a Guru, another human being (?), is but to impede all freedom, and hamper all onward progress of a man: it is the lowest depth of degradation and is nothing short of living death! Ah! The illusion of Maya! Ah! The darkness of ignorance! Here lies the crux of the whole thing. Here is the question to live or to die. This is how Maya or Nescience wages her eternal war against transcendental knowledge. But the Messiah of Harmony i.e. Sat Guru ever comes down when the world needs Him most, and He always comes down in the hour of its extreme need, to save lift and redeem the fallen people from the clutches of pedantic Ignorance, and to announce most empatically once again to the world the Message of the Eternal Absolute Truth,—“That Maya or Illusive Power of Godhead is insurmountable by men by themselves; it is only when they take shelter in the Eternal and Transcendental Feet of Godhead that they can overcome her. That the question of submitting or not to an Acharyya that confronts a man is but the acid-test put by Maya to test the sincerity or otherwise of the man under her control who wants to free himself from her bondage to return back to his Eternal Home, and to live the eternal life of unalloyed bliss. That submission to a Guru or Acharya is no suicide,—it is but seeking to live a true and eternal life free from all misery, and full of permanent and ever-increasing transcendental Joy-in-Service.”

Without submission to His transcendental light and guide, and without His assistance, how else can one dispel the gloom and travel the way? Even in this finite material world within the reach of their senses, people can hardly learn anything without any help of some sort or other from another, and yet how much little they know of the vast Nature! To think and to say that one can make his way, independently of any extraneous help, from matter to spirit, from this finite mortal to the infinite immortal region beyond the range of the material senses, and can know and perceive Godhead Who is the Discloser and Protector of the Infinite Universe, is certainly preposterous and sheer arrogance.

It is only the exceptionally fortunate that realise the necessity of approaching or taking initiation from the Sat Guru and believe in His spiritual character. But this fortune is not the one of piling up riches and of beastly enjoyment in the material world. It is the fortune of sincere belief and reliance in the Personal God-head and His dear Devotees,—in the Supreme Lord Vishnu and the Vaishnavas,— a fortune earned by truly selfless and devotion-inspiring deeds in the past. In short, it is a fortune of true theism or belief,—a rare treasure in this world.

But the Acharyya comes down to free the world from this all-devouring atheism which is nothing but a trap beautifully and temptingly spread out by Maya to catch the unwary, and the pseudo-theistic masters and servants. He declares and preaches most assuredly and empathically that theism proper consists of the belief in the Absolute Supremacy of Krishna, the Concrete Personal Absolute God-head, His Eternal and Spiritual Name, Form, Qualities and Pastimes—all identical One Whole, as quite different from and opposed to material names, forms, qualities and actions of this world, which are different from one another, as well as of the complete submission and unconditional selfless service to God-head through perfect and implicit obedience to the Guru or Acharyya Who is the Trusted Representative of the Supreme God-head on the earth. And again lip-deep belief is no belief: it must be a living faith inspiring and moulding the whole life and all actions of the believer. Anything falling short of this standard in whatsoever degree will be a mixed thing and no true belief.

To serve and not to be served is in the very constitution of a Jiva, and it is when he forgets his real nature that he proceeds to usurp the function of a proprietor and enjoyer of the world. In other words, he then becomes a master of the world or plays the role of Lord Krishna and tries to enjoy the world by means of his senses in all possible ways. But the world as well as he is, in substance, God-head’s possessions or properties and a possession or property of His has certainly no right to claim and enjoy it as his own. And yet enjoyment is not his lot. In his fancied enjoyment he only becomes an all-bound slave of the world of Maya. The more he strives after lordship and enjoyment, the deeper and worse becomes his bond of servitude. But alas! No amount of reasoning and admonition will deter the poor Jiva from the wrong path; for his perversion and ignorance clouds his vision.

A seeker of the Absolute Truth has another great barrier to encounter. If he ever realises by the Grace of the Lord the supreme necessity of a true Guide to the Kingdom of Godhead—the Realm of the Absolute, where and how is he to find Him out? There is no dearth of so-called pseudo-Gurus in the world—particularly in India, the land of Dharma or Truth, where the noblest office of the Guru—which is at the same time the highest service of the Absolute Godhead and benevolence to all beings,—has been abused to the extreme and exploited for mean selfish ends by impostors and ungodly persons. Intelligent people have seen through the game and lost all faith in the institution.

At this crises the Real Guru comes down to rescue people from this distrust, to open their eyes to the sure characteristics of a true Guru, and to kindle their dormant faith in Him. He does not only teach and preach but demonstrates practically in His own actions that the true Guru is the truest and dearest servant of the Absolute Godhead and His Paraphernalia; He faithfully acts up to what He preaches; He thinks, speaks and acts in terms if pure unalloyed theistic service of the Absolute Godhead only; He breathes in Devotion and Service, and His very Life is a living and animated example of all-round ideal and perfect Service of the Supreme Godhead and His Owns alike, for every moment of His Eternal Life here and after. Such service premises a true and perfect knowledge of the Personal Godhead and constant presence before Him. So He is well conversant with the Absolute God-head and His Word, and is quite competent to dispel all darkness of ignorance and clear up all doubts of a sincere seeker, and to carry him along to the Holy Feet of the Absolute Godhead. He admits, acknowledges and honours the supreme and only authority of communion with God-head viz. the Vedas i.e., the legacy of transcendental Knowledge of God-head which has originally emanated from Himself, and has been preserved perfectly and uninterruptedly through the long unbroken undivided chain or line of accredited Gurus or Acharyyas from time immemorial down to the present day. When this true significance of Tradition and Guru unfortunately for the fallen sinks into oblivion, the Acharyya or Sat Guru resurrects it for their eternal good and benefit. Indeed the Acharyya or Sat Guru is truly an embodiment of the correct traditional knowledge of all Siddhantas or Principles.

Here too the seeker’s long chain of obstacles does not terminate. It has been very truly observed—“The path of True Devotion towards and Disinterested Service of the Supreme Lord Krishna is beset with millions of thorns.” And it is said only in the fitness of the thing; for, we all know that a precious treasure is most cautiously guarded. Maya, the Illusive Power of the Absolute God-head and His ignored maid-servant, i.e. His lower Energy zealously protects the path of true devotion against casual intruders—those who are averse to the selfless service of Godhead, although she is ever a ready help to an earnest and sincere servant of her Master, the Supreme Lord Krishna. She will thrash out even the least and last of all impurities, i.e. selfish desires of the fallen lying concealed or disguised in their innermost recesses of mind escaping all human detection.

The ever-kind heart of the Acharyya moves to see their plight, and He goes out personally to redeem and lift them up all without any distinction of rank, colour, caste, creed or sex. With this end in view He sends out in different directions preachers in different bands who are His trusted followers. They go from door to door and deliver to all ears, willing or unwilling, by entreaties and persuasions, the message of the Great Lord Sri Chaitanya-Deva—that all manifestations, both animate and inanimate in this world, are in substance eternal servants, possessions or properties of the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna, and belong to His Eternal Kingdom; sincere and all-time service of God, and un-interrupted singing of His Transcendental Name—Hari, Krishna, Rama, all identified with His Person or Form—is the eternal and only function of all souls, and therein lies their Supreme Good and Bliss. Whenever this Message becomes long forgotten, and it loses its import where not forgotten, and is darkened with filth of abuses, the Sat Guru or Acharyya comes down to purge it of all impurities, and re-instate it in its real true colour and eternal glory. With this object in view He is advised to re-establish a really theistic mission for preaching the True and Eternal religion of Love and Harmony and establish under it many preaching centres for missionary activities at different places of the Globe. He often invites one and all and affords them opportunities to listen to inspiring and animating discourses, religious, patriotic and philosophical, to chant and sing uninterruptedly the Hari-Nama or to listen to the same, and to partake of the Maha-Prasada. For the same object He brings out publications of religious and scriptural books, and scatters broadcast the Holy Message of Peace and Harmony, of Devotion and Service to the Supreme Personal God-head in as many languages as possible and thereby affords ample opportunities to the people at large all over the world to hear, sing and realise God-head. In short, all His energies and efforts are constantly and solely directed towards rendering real undying and non-evil-producing service to humanity.

The ignorant but pedantic world’s belief—of course due to perversion and ignorance,—is that the religion of sacrifices to various gods, that are to be found in the Vedas, is the true Vedic and Sanatana Dharma; that Vaishnavism like others is but sectarian religion, and is an offshoot of much later growth of the Vedic Religion, if it is at all Vedic; further, that it is a religion advocating corruption and immoral love, and prevails in the uneducated lower class people! People would sneer at the very name of Vaishnavism and at the sight of a Vaishnava. This is surely a great obstacle in the path of true devotion, for people generally ignorantly identify pure devotion of pure Vaishnavism with its prevalent perverted corruptions. Hence, even true Bhakti was quite at a discount in comparison with Karma, Yoga and Jnana. Under the circumstances there are very few people who would take to Bhakti and willingly court derision.

But the preachings, teachings, writings and publications, and the last but not least of all, the soul-inspiring example of the real and true Acharyya gradually dispel popular ignorant notions of pure Vaishnavism, the Religion of transcendental Devotion, Love and Service to the Supreme Lord Krishna. The Acharyya explores all the Shastras or Scriptures and particularly the devotional ones; He often brings out their true significance and proper relation with one another, and puts them before the intelligent public. He shows and proves beyond cavil that the Eternal Vedic Religion is the Religion of Pure Unalloyed Devotion to and selfless service of Vishnu, or in other words, it is Vaishnavism. Vaishnavism is no offshoot but the main root. It is the Real Theism and absolutely pure monotheism. The Vedanta, the cream of the Upanishads, expounds and establishes it. Corruptions are corruptions, and are but the sequence of illiteracy and immorality of ignorant people. Vaishnavism, the Religion of Pure Unalloyed Devotion and Selfless Service to the Absolute Personal God-head Vishnu is furthest above all such impurities of the earth,—it is the religion of purely divine and universal love. It does not tolerate the least of corruption and immorality of any sort. Where there is even a shadow of them, there is no Vaishnavism. It is no sectarianism,—it is the universal religion without the least distinction of time, space and individuals. It is the religion of all souls alike. For it is not created or built up by any human being upon empirical reasoning and imagination. It rests entirely on the transcendental realisation and observation of the Absolute which is soul’s infallible unerring reasoning. Vaishnavism is the panacea of all maladies and disturbances of the world. When the whole world will take refuge at the Holy Feet of the Supreme Lord Shri Krishna-Chaitanya, and His Holy Name will be sung on every lip in every house-hold of all towns, villages, and countries of the world, then and not till then, the Kingdom of Himself will come on the earth, if it is ever to come. Shri Chaitanya-Deva Himself prophesised that His Name would spread throughout the length and breadth of the world. He therefore sends His Own—His Associated Counterpart, the Holy Acharyya with the Mission and Message to fulfil His Prophecy. We with fervent hope look forward to that day when His words will be fulfilled!