By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
(Hamburg, September 5, 1969)
Devotee: Nama oṁ viṣṇu-pādāya kṛṣṇa-preṣṭhāya bhū-tale, śrīmate bhaktivedānta-svāmin iti nāmine.
Prabhupāda: Spiritual master is not that a particular man is spiritual master. Spiritual master is a truth. So what is that truth? The truth is saṁsāra-dāvānala-līḍha-loka-trāṇāya kāruṇya-ghanāghanatvam... The whole world is in the blaze of material pangs, threefold miseries. And a person who is authorized to deliver people from that material pangs, he is called spiritual master. The example is given in this verse, saṁsāra-dāvānala. Dāvānala is the Sanskrit word. The English equivalent is forest fire. Just like in the forest in this part of the world there are sometimes forest fire, and government has arrangement to pour water from up. There are so many arrangement. But forest fire there is, a fact. And what is this forest fire? The forest fire... Nobody has got any interest to set fire in the forest, but it takes place automatically. And when the forest fire is there, all the animals within the forest, they become so much disturbed. They cannot escape. They die, especially the snakes. Because snakes are always envious, so they are first off to be burned into that forest fire. They cannot go very swiftly. Others, tigers and other beasts, they go away. But the snake, they crawl. They cannot get out. Mostly they burn. So this example is given to this materialistic life as forest fire because nobody wants any disturbance, but disturbance is created. Actually I am seeing. Since I have come to this part of the world in 1965, so many boys are chased by the government draft board. You see? They belong to the independent nation, and formerly they were independent. And what is this nonsense independence? You see? Simply nonsense. There is no independence. But we are thinking, "I am independent." "Oh, that nation has become independent. I shall become independent." Just like one of my students said he wanted to be anarchist.
So these false notions, isms, are going on. People are being misled. You see? Andhā yathāndhair upanīyamānāḥ [SB 7.5.31]. Practical experience: In my country, India, I was also a student of Gandhi. In 1920 I joined the noncooperation movement and gave up my education because Gandhi's program was to boycott the British educational institution. So most of the university students... I was also. I passed my final examination, B.A., but I gave up. I did not appear, and I joined this movement. Fortunately, in 1922 I also met my Guru Mahārāja, and he, on my first visit, I do not know why, he told that "You should preach this Caitanya philosophy to the outside world." I replied that "We are dependent nation. Who will hear us? In the world, nobody hears any person who is coming from dependent nation, so we must have first of all independence." A young man I was at that time, and I was also misled in so many ways. But my spiritual master saved me, Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī Mahārāja.
So the spiritual master's duty is to save the living entities who are so much embarrassed by the forest fire. That is the duty of spiritual master. Saṁsāra-dāvānala-līḍha-loka... The whole world is blazing, and just like in the blazing fire of the forest, the animals are going here and there, and some of them are dying, the whole world is like that. And how that blazing fire can be extinguished? You cannot send there this fire brigade, or you cannot get some pots of water and try to extinguish that wide fire. It is not possible. Then how to extinguish it? The extinguishing is possible when there is cloud overhead and there is incessant pouring of water. Then the forest fire extinguished. No artificial means, no scientific means. Fire brigade or this fire extinguisher, we have invented so many things, but when there is forest fire all these things are nonsense. Nothing can be used. The only use, means, is when there is pouring, incessant pouring of water from the cloud. That is made of God. That is not in your hand. You cannot produce cloud. Some arrangement of God's arrangement, the cloud, is there. Ghanāghanatvam. The example is given, "Charitable just like the cloud." Why this example is given? When cloud pours water, it is so sufficient that there is no comparison. But if you want to pour water, a bucketful of water, how long you will do it?
So spiritual master means he must be just like the cloud. How it is possible? It is possible. It is possible in this way, provided he follows the disciplic succession of spiritual master. Then it is possible. He must inherit the power from the superior source. Then it is possible that by his teaching, by his lessons, the forest fire which is burning within our heart, it can be extinguished, and the person who receives such spiritual instruction bona fidely, he becomes satisfied. This is the process. So,
vande guroḥ śrī-caraṇāravindam
Now, this spiritual master's succession is not very difficult. Of course, my students, they offer me so much respect, but all these respects are due to my spiritual master. I am nothing. I am just like peon. Just like peon delivers one letter. He is not responsible for what is written in that letter. He is not responsible for what is written in that letter. He simply delivers. But a peon's duty is that he must sincerely carry out the order of the postmaster and deliver the letter to the proper person. That is their duty. Similarly, this paramparā system is like that. Every one of us should become a spiritual master because the world is in blazing fire. Now, of course, time is very high. So to understand the spiritual master... Spiritual master is not a new invention. It is simply following the orders of the spiritual master. So all my students present here who are feeling so much obliged... I am also obliged to them because they are helping me in this missionary work. At the same time, I shall request them all to become spiritual master. Every one of you should be spiritual master next. And what is their duty? Whatever you are hearing from me, whatever you are learning from me, you have to distribute the same in toto without any addition or alteration. Then all of you become the spiritual master. That is the science of becoming spiritual master. Spiritual master is not any... To become a spiritual master is not very wonderful thing. Simply one has to become sincere soul. That's all. Evaṁ paramparā-prāptam imaṁ rājarṣayo viduḥ [Bg. 4.2]. In the Bhagavad-gītā it is said that "By disciplic succession this yoga process of Bhagavad-gītā was handed down from disciple to disciple. But in course of time that disciplic succession is now lost. Therefore, Arjuna, I am teaching you again the same philosophy."
So this is the process. Simply if we... Therefore Vedic knowledge is called śruti. One has to hear it properly, assimilate it, and then practice it in life and preach the same thing. Then everyone becomes spiritual master. Caitanya Mahāprabhu says, āmāra ājñāya guru hañā tāra 'sarva-deśa: "O My dear disciples, I tell you that you, all of you, become spiritual master. Simply you carry out My order. That's all." "And what is Your order?" "The order is the same: yāre dekha, tāre kaha 'kṛṣṇa'-upadeśa [Cc. Madhya 7.128]. Just like Kṛṣṇa gave instruction in the Bhagavad-gītā, and if you simply place the instruction received from Bhagavad-gītā as it is..." I am publishing Bhagavad-gītā As It Is because in the market there were so many Bhagavad-gītā misinterpreted, but that is not the process of presenting Bhagavad-gītā. Bhagavad-gītā should be presented as it is. In the Bhagavad-gītā it is simply said that Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. But most books which you have seen in English lang..., they are trying to make minus Kṛṣṇa. That is their attempt. So what sort of Bhagavad-gītā is that? That should not be done. Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme. You should speak that Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme. That is the preaching of Bhagavad-gītā.
So today is called Vyāsa-pūjā. Vyāsa-pūjā means the Vyāsadeva, Veda-vyāsa, who wrote the Vedic literature, he is the supreme spiritual master because he has given us the spiritual knowledge. In the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam it is..., nārāyaṇaṁ namāskṛtya naraṁ caiva narottamam, devīṁ sarasvatīṁ vyāsam [SB 1.2.4]. So Vyāsa. So this platform is called "the seat of Vyāsa." So spiritual master should be representative of Vyāsa. Then the instruction is complete, and the benefit is assured. So I do not wish to take much of your time. We will now distribute prasādam. And one thing, coincidence, the Vyāsa-pūjā means to observe the birthday of the spiritual master. That is called Vyāsa-pūjā. And so today, this Nandotsava day, fortunately, seventy-three years ago I was born on this date. So this date, Nandotsava, is also a very fortunate occasion, because after Kṛṣṇa's birth, Mahārāja Nanda, the father of Kṛṣṇa, he celebrated a utsava, a ceremony, and this day is called Nandotsava. So a little I shall speak about Nandotsava. Nanda Mahārāja, he was a little elderly when Kṛṣṇa was born, and some of his friends came to congratulate, "My dear friend, you have got a son in your old age," and Nanda Mahārāja said amongst the friends that "How can you say I am old? An old man cannot beget a child. I am young man." So these things are stated in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. And all the villagers... Because, you know, Vṛndāvana is a village, a big village, and Nanda Mahārāja is the head of that village, Vṛndāvana, so all the people came to congratulate the child, and this is called Nandotsava. So one brāhmaṇa, he has spoken a nice verse in this connection. He said that śrutim apare smṛtim itare bhāratam anye bhajantu bhava-bhītāḥ. There are different kinds of Vedic literature: śruti, smṛti, Mahābhārata, Vedānta. So he says, "Let others read śruti, Vedic literatures, Vedānta-sūtra and Upaniṣad, and so many there are in Vedic literatures. Let others read that. But I have come here..." Aham iha nandaṁ vande: "I have come to worship Nanda Mahārāja. Nanda Mahārāja." "Why you have left everything and you have come to worship Nanda Mahārāja?" Yasyālinde paraṁ brahma: "Because in his courtyard the Supreme Personality of Godhead is crawling. The people are searching after what is God, and God is crawling in his yard. So therefore I do not find anyone more than Nanda Mahārāja, so I offer my respects to Nanda Mahārāja."
So this is the feeling of a devotee. Generally, those who are followers of speculative process, or jñāna-mārga, they finally reach to understand that he is one with the Supreme Absolute Truth. Ahaṁ brahmāsmi. But the devotional service is so nice that a devotee is not satisfied that "I am one with the Supreme," but by his service he becomes greater than the Supreme. Just like Nanda Mahārāja. He is not anxious to become one with God, but he underwent so great penances that he became the father of God. That is possible. A devotee is so great that he can pray the Supreme Lord as his son. Of course, it is a very subtle science for understanding of spiritual knowledge. So today Nanda-mahotsava is celebrated because the father of Kṛṣṇa... Ajo 'pi sann avyayātmā bhūtānām īśvaro 'pi san, in the Bhagavad-gītā it is said. Although God is unborn and He is the Supreme, still, by love, He accepts one of His devotees as His father and appears as his son. So today is very nice day, that Kṛṣṇa has appeared. The Supreme Lord has appeared as the son of Nanda Mahārāja. So there is some arrangement of prasādam on account of Nanda Mahārāja. So you can distribute and enjoy.
Sri Vyasa-Puja Lecture Conclusion
Prabhupāda: All this eulogization about me, people, outsider, may think that "This man is being flattered and he is hearing his own eulogization." But that is not the fact. It is the test, how they are receiving the message sincerely and they (are) expressing their feeling. So it is going to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As it has come through the channel of disciplic succession, all these praises will also reach to Kṛṣṇa through that disciplic succession. So it is not personal thing. These things are required. Just like in the military training, they are taught by the officers in a different way, in so many ways. Similarly, this is also training of Kṛṣṇa consciousness so that the feeling of pure consciousness will reach to Kṛṣṇa. I thank you all very much for your improving in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. And... I am a sannyāsī, you know. I came here empty-handed. So you are providing me. What can I do for you? I shall simply pray to Kṛṣṇa. Another thing, that don't be satisfied that you have understood. That's all. No. This should be distributed. Just like in my old age I have come to your country carrying the order of my spiritual master to distribute it. You are all young boys and girls; take this message and distribute it. The whole suffering humanity will be happy. That is our mission.
Thank you very much.