On the occasion of Śrī Haridāsa Śāstrī Mahārāja‘s Tirobhava Mahotsava (Disappearance Day celebration) at Kalidaha on October 14th, a new book was published and presented:
Śrī Guru Darśanam – An Anthology of Questions and Answers
with Śrī Śrī Haridāsa Śāstrī Mahārāja Navatīrtha
When an authentic, qualified guru and a sincere student meet, knowledge is transferred from guru to the student. This was the traditional paramparā system of education in India, which is only found in very few places in India today. One such place was Shri Haridas Niwas at Kalidaha in Vrindavan. The founder of this āśrama was Śrotriya Bhagavan-niṣṭha Śrī Śrī 108 Śrī Haridāsa Śāstrī Mahārāja.
He dedicated his life to rendering service to cows and his deities Śrī Śrī Gadādhara Gaura and Rādhā-Govindadeva, chanting, contemplating Kṛṣṇa’s līlās, writing books, teaching his disciples, and meeting visitors. He had a graduate degree in all six schools of Hindu Philosophy (ṣad-darśana), in Jyotiṣa, Sāhitya, and a postgraduate degree in Nyāya. He wrote and published more than 80 books in Sanskrit, Bengali, Hindi, and English.
After a whole day in his cowshed he regularly taught śāstra in the evening and had question and answer sessions. Babajī Śrī Satyanarayana Dasa used to record them. Since Mahārājajī did not speak English, Babajī used to translate the replies in Hindi extempore into English for the non-Hindi speaking students. These tapes later were transcribed and arranged according to topic. It took several years to compile them into a properly edited anthology from A-Z.
The 135 topics discussed in this compendium cover a variety of practical, social and philosophical aspects of bhakti and related subjects and give deep insights into the realizations of an advanced devotee and the process of uttama-bhakti. These topics range from Academia, Ayurveda, Chanting, Dīkṣā, Doubts, Envy, Guru-Tattva and Jñāna to Līlā-smaraṇam, Paramparā, Rasa, Sexual Desires, Siddha-praṇālī, Surrender, Vedic Culture and Women.
The book will be available in about two weeks and can be ordered from http://www.sriharidasniwas.org and our Jiva Institute online-store or email directly to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Quotes from the book:
“Bhakti is an action. It is not just a change of dress, like putting on tilaka, kanthī-mālā and wearing a dhoti. It is a change in oneself. If that change is there, one will naturally know it. It is not that you can perform some yajṅa or sacrifice, and then you will go to heaven. Bhakti is that which you experience directly. It is a religion of direct perception, and there is no cheating involved. But if one is cheating, then there is no benefit.”
“The relationship of guru and disciple is present in other paths as well, but it is only for a limited duration. Just as in the varṇāśama system, where the brahmacārī had to go and live in the gurukula, where he remained under the instruction of his guru, listened to his teachings, and worshiped him, but only for a limited period. Once his education was complete, he became a householder, and then he did not have much of a relationship with the guru. On the path of bhakti however, the guru is the central point, because the guru is Kṛṣṇa. The type of relationship you develop with the guru is the type of relationship that you have with Kṛṣṇa. You have to be truthful and completely transparent in your dealings with him. Therefore, although the guru-disciple relation was there on the other paths as well, it was only for a limited purpose, and for a limited goal. Here in bhakti it is an eternal relationship and a direct relationship with Kṛṣṇa through the guru. So it is special. Just as bhakti is special, the guru-disciple relationship is also special.”
“If you see a person who is taller than you, then you will realize that you are short in front of him. Or if you meet a person who has better qualities and better qualifications, then you will realize your position, and you will have natural humility. In the same way, if you understand the Lord, who is the personification of the mantra, then you will understand His qualities. Only then will real humility manifest. If you have a guru, and you are surrendered to him, and you understand that the guru is not just an ordinary person or human being, but a personification of God, then naturally there will be humility. Then only it is possible to chant. “
“Rūpa and Sanātana Gosvāmī were highly learned people, even before they met Caitanya Mahāprabhu. They were very intelligent and also materially well-placed. They were not poor or frustrated with their life. But they gave up everything, came here to Vṛndāvana, wrote books and propagated the philosophy. Obviously, such people cannot be cheaters, and they are not confused, bewildered or imagine and make up a philosophy. They are not crazy nor do they have their own axe to grind. They had plenty and were very qualified to earn money. Since they took to this path of devotion, propagated it, and wrote books about it, this cannot be because of some sentiment, imagination or some material motive. They must have experienced something and out of compassion they wanted to give this knowledge to others because they understood and realized that it was beneficial for others.”
“Uttama-bhakti is the only process that is simple and straightforward, and it removes the problem right at the root, because it is based on favorable service to Bhagavān. Once a person takes a vow and follows the instructions of the guru, he is on the right path. This happens only by the grace of Bhagavān. It does not come by deliberation, or because someone preached to you. Therefore, no reason can be given as to why somebody likes uttama-bhakti, because it is not based on anything material. It is causeless. Why does someone like to do service? There is no reason for it, because if there is a reason, then it means it has a material cause.”
“Mañjarī-bhāva does not depend on the body or any other designation. To attain mañjarī-bhāva, you have to surrender to the guru and be truthful. The gopīs are householders. Mañjarī-bhāva is meant for all human beings, and it does not matter whether one is a gṛhastha or a renunciate. Mañjarī-bhāva is a consciousness. You have to intensely desire it and want it, then you will get it.”
Śrī Haridāsa Śāstrī Mahārāja