Empowered by Guru? The rasa of Srila Prabhupada

[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] “Does any disciple have the right to correct his guru’s explanations, words, writings or anything about him? No. If you don’t understand something, you can ask him in this way: “If I am qualified to understand, kindly explain this.” If any disciple thinks, “I am superior and I know better than my Gurudeva,” he is actually not a disciple, but rather a demon. Before accepting a Guru one can consider whether or not he is qualified, but after accepting initiation, one should obey. One has no right to change any of his Guru’s words. If he changes them, where is anugatya, the taking of guidance?”

Often preachers in Gurudeva’s sanga have quoted statements like these, as a veiled insults towards KBM. This is the kind of subtleness I really appreciate, a beauty of barbed communication. I write a blog, so I can’t help that I love words, phrases and how they dance together.

“Sometimes we think, “Oh, I know more than my Gurudeva. I know that he does not understand what I’m understanding.” Sometimes we think like this, but this is an offense, and this is why we don’t realize anything. This is why transcendental realization never comes to us…….Don’t have any doubt in your bona fide Gurudeva; otherwise you’ll be ruined. All your transcendental faith will be ruined forever. I see doubts in some persons, and become very worried for them.”

Srila Gurudeva Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja

A lot of the main arguments to Gurudeva’s sanga hinges on the absoluteness of Gurudeva’s words.

Srila Sridhara Maharaja has also stated: “So, the absolute and relative principles are always clashing. They will seem to fight with one another, but the absolute should be accepted and the relative should be sacrificed.” Therefore, where there is an apparent contradiction in the instructions of the guru, it is the first duty of the disciple to reconcile contradictions, to avoid “having to take” a relative view of Guru. This may seem difficult, but, as Srila Prabhupada has written, “it is quite possible for the Absolute to reconcile all opposing elements.”

Guru is one, Guru is Absolute by Nemi Maharaja

This is what Gurudeva has spoken on the controversy between Vaishnavas:

“Whatever is spoken by pure Vaisnavas is true and utterly free from any bias or party spirit, but there is a mystery surrounding their apparent verbal disagreements. Those whose intelligence is materalistic and lacks the spirit of devotion cannot fathom the deep secrets of the loving controversies between pure Vaisnavas, and thus they wrongly conceive of such great personalities as philosophical adversaries”…”Different visions of the variegated pastimes in Goloka are realized according to one’s level of qualification. Thus, it is difficult for one to establish a fixed conclusion to determine which aspects of those varieties of visions are illusory and which are pure. Therefore, there is no need to argue and counter argue about this matter, because it will NOT elevate one’s qualification. The truth of Goloka is filled with inconceivable bhava, and any attempt to investigate this inconceivable reality by the mind would prove as unproductive as threshing empty husks. Hence, one should disregard the method of empirical knowledge, and strive for realization through the practice of unalloyed devotion.”
Raga vartma-candrika by Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja
Surely, we are to accept Guru as absolute, but I often find myself questioning what is truly meant by their words. To me it seems like quotes that are absolutes have many levels of understanding connected to them. I see more than black or white, absolute or relative. I see shades of grey and a multitude of colors.
So even though I well understand the points made about how we are not supposed to think we know more than Gurudeva, I still think this is just one shade of the truth, one color of many. Why?
Because a disciple can receive inspiration from His Guru and reveal something His Guru did not.
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ei bhakti-rasera karilana, dig-darasana
ihara vistara mane kariha bhavana
CC madhya 19.235
“I have simply given a general survey describing the mellows of devotional service. You can consider how to adjust and expand this.”

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