To Love God
by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura
Reprinted from a Journal of Tajpur Dated Friday, 25th August, 1871.

Bhaktivinoda Thakura
Bhaktivinód Thákur
It was Christ Jesus who first said "Love God with all thy heart, with all thy mind, with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and love man as thy brother." This is an absolute truth indeed; but different men put different interpretations to this noble expression. The expressions of all great men are nice but somewhat mysterious. When understood they bring the truth nearest to the heart otherwise they remain mere letters that ‘kill'. The reason of the mystery is that men, advanced in their approach to the Deity, are in the habit of receiving revelations which are but mysteries to those that are behind them. The stages of progress are very much the same as the circles of spiritualism which, though not true themselves, explain a great deal about the gradual development of the soul.

We have understood some spiritualists to maintain that matter when sublimated converts itself to spirit. This theory is indeed against any inward conviction. Matter is matter, and spirit is spirit; one of them cannot form the other. Spirit is certainly of a superior existence; though we cannot fully understand in our present state of material imprisonment, what relation Spirit does exactly bear to matter, space and time.

Metaphysics apart, we decide that the human soul rises higher and higher and can understand things of which we have no idea at present. Subject to this important rule, Christ Jesus of Nazareth received and uttered the words quoted above. To readers who are a little above the scale of ordinary men, these expressions of Jesus teach that man should love God with all his heart (meaning the affections of the heart perceivable in all children as opposed to hate), with all his mind, (meaning the intellect which knows as opposed to ignorance of good things), with all his soul (meaning that principle of the human constitution which worships the Almighty and feels its own immortality), and with all his strength (meaning all active work). To the inspired, however, more things and better and more sublime meanings appear beneath these holy words of the inspired Jesus. He teaches man to love God and not to know, infer, hate, or think of God. He tells us that man in his absolute state is not the intellect or the body but is the pure soul itself.

The essence of the soul is wisdom and its action is love absolute. The absolute condition of man is his absolute relation to the Deity in pure love. Love then alone is the religion of the soul and consequently of the whole man. The pupil asks here, "What have I to do with the heart? — My heart loves ‘to see the sun smile, to eat the sweetest dish and to see a dance.' Jesus profoundly replies "Yes, you must love God with all thy heart, your heart now runs to things other than God, but you must, as you train a bad horse, make your feelings run to the loving God." This is one of the four principles of worship or what they call in Vaisnava literature, santa rasa.

Then the pupil says, "My Lord, the intellect takes me elsewhere from God, that is, it wants to take me to positivism; please instruct me what am I to do?" "Yes," replies Jesus, "You must love God with all your mind, that is, when you perceive, conceive, remember, imagine and reason, you must not allow yourself to be a dry thinker but must love. Love alone can soften the dryness of the intellect, you must develop the intellect on all good and holy things by means of love of truth, spiritual beauty and harmony." This is the second phase of Vaisnava development which passes by the name dasya rasa.

The pupil then inquires whether development of the affections and the intellect is quite enough for him. Then says the Lord "You must love God with thy soul also, that is, you must perceive yourself in spiritual communication with the Deity and receive holy revelations in your sublimest hours of worship." This is called the sakhya rasa of the Vaisnavas — the soul approaching the Deity in holy and fearless service. The disciple apprehends that he will be lost in such a position and will be unable to act. Then the Saviour tells him these words, "You must love God with all thy strength or will — you are wrong in concluding that you will loose your active existence — you will get it the more. Work for God and work to God, proceeding from no interested views but from a holy free will (which is alone the strength of man) and identifying with pure love, it will fully engross your attention." This is a description of bhakti in general. Then Jesus proceeds to tell us, "You must love man as thy brother." From this is inferred the fourth phase of love which is a feeling that all men are brothers and God is their common Father. This is vatsalya rasa in its first stage of development.

Bhakti (love) is thus perceived in the very first development of man in the shape of heart, then in the shape of mind, then in the shape of soul and lastly in the shape of will. These shapes do not destroy each other but beautifully harmonize themselves into a pure construction of what we call the spiritual man or the ekanta of Vaisnava literature. But there is another more sublime truth behind this fact which is revealed to a few that are prepared for it. We mean the spiritual conversion of the soul into a woman. It is in that sublime and lofty state in which the soul can taste the sweetness of an indissoluble marriage with God of Love. The fifth or the highest stage of Vaisnava development is this, which we call madhurya rasa, and on this alone the most beautiful portion of the Vaisnava literature so ably expatiates. This phase of human life, mysterious as it is, is not attainable by all, nay, we should say, by any but "God's own". It is so very beyond the reach of common men that the rationalists and even the ordinary theists cannot understand it. Nay, they go so far as to sneer at it as something unnatural. Oh God! Reveal Thy most valuable truths to all so that "Your own" may not be numbered with the fanatics and the crazed and that the whole of mankind may be admitted as "Your own."


The advent of Thakur Bhaktivinode
by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura
The Harmonist, December 1931, vol. XXIX No.6

Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta
Sarasvati Thakura
We avail of the opportunity offered by the Anniversary Celebrations of the advent of Thakur Bhaktivinode to reflect on the right method of obtaining those benefits that have been made accessible to humanity by the grace of this great devotee of Krishna. Thakur Bhaktivinode has been specifically kind to those unfortunate persons who are engrossed in mental speculation of all kinds. This is the prevalent malady of the present Age. The other Acaryas who appeared before Thakur Bhaktivinode did not address their discourses so directly to the empiric thinkers. They had been more merciful to those who are naturally disposed to listen to discourses on the Absolute without being dissuaded by the specious arguments of avowed opponents of Godhead.

Srila Thakur Bhaktivinode has taken the trouble of meeting the perverse arguments of mental speculationists by the superior transcendental logic of the Absolute Truth. It is thus possible for the average modern readers to profit by the perusal of his writings. That day is not far distant when the priceless volumes penned by Thakur Bhaktivinode will be reverently translated, by the recipients of his grace, into all the languages of the world.

The writings of Thakur Bhaktivinode provide the golden bridge by which the mental speculationist can safely cross the raging waters of fruitless empiric controversies that trouble the peace of those who choose to trust in their guidance for finding the Truth. As soon as the sympathetic reader is in a position to appreciate the sterling quality of Thakur Bhaktivinode's philosophy the entire vista of the revealed literatures of the world will automatically open out to his reclaimed vision.

Serious Misunderstandings
There have, however, already arisen serious misunderstandings regarding the proper interpretation of the life and teachings of Srila Thakur Bhaktivinode. Those who suppose they understand the meaning of his message without securing the guiding grace of the Acarya are disposed to unduly favour the methods of empiric study of his writings. There are persons who have got by heart almost everything that he wrote without being able to catch the least particle of his meaning. Such study cannot benefit those who are not prepared to act up to the instructions lucidly conveyed by his words. There is no honest chance of missing the warnings of Thakur Bhaktivinode. Those, therefore, who are misled by the perusal of his writings are led astray by their own obstinate perversity in sticking to the empiric course which they prefer to cherish against his explicit warnings. Let these unfortunate persons look more carefully into their own hearts for the cause of their misfortunes.

Service of the pure Devotee is Essential for Understanding
The personal service of the pure devotee is essential for understanding the spiritual meaning of the words of Thakur Bhaktivinode. The Editor of this Journal, originally started by Thakur Bhaktivinode, has been trying to draw the attention of all followers of Thakur Bhaktivinode to this all-important point of his teachings. It is not necessary to try to place ourselves on a footing of equality with Thakur Bhaktivinode. We are not likely to benefit by any mechanical imitation of any practices of Thakur Bhaktivinode on the opportunist principle that they may be convenient for us to adopt. The Guru is not an erring mortal whose activities can be understood by the fallible reason of unreclaimed humanity. There is an eternally impassable line of demarcation between the Saviour and the saved. Those who are really saved can alone know this.Thakur Bhaktivinode belongs to the category of the spiritual world-teachers who eternally occupy the superior position.

The present Editor has all along felt it his paramount duty to try to clear up the meaning of the life and teachings of Thakur Bhaktivinode by the method of submissive listening to the Transcendental Sound from the lips of the pure devotee. The Guru who realises the transcendental meaning of all sounds, is in a position to serve the Absolute by the direction of the Absolute conveyed through every sound. The Transcendental Sound is Godhead, the mundane sound is non-Godhead. All sound has got these opposite aptitudes. All sound reveals its Divine face to the devotee and only presents its deluding aspect to the empiric pedant. The devotee talks apparently the same language as the deluded empiric pedant who had got by heart the vocabulary of the Scriptures. But notwithstanding apparent identity of performance, the one has no access to the reality while the other is absolutely free from all delusion.

Mechanical Repetition Condemned
Those who repeat the teachings of Thakur Bhaktivinode from memory do not necessarily understand the meaning of the words they mechanically repeat. Those who can pass an empiric examination regarding the contents of his writings are not necessarily also self-realised souls. They may not at all know the real meaning of the words they have learnt by the method of empiric study.Take for example the Name "Krishna". Every reader of Thakur Bhaktivinode's works must be aware that the Name manifests Himself on the lips of His serving devotees although He is inaccessible to our mundane senses. It is one thing to pass the examination by reproducing this true conclusion from the writings of Thakur Bhaktivinode and quite another matter to realise the Nature of the Holy Name of Krishna by the process conveyed by the words.

Thakur Bhaktivinode did not want us to go to the clever mechanical reciter of the mundane sound for obtaining access to the Transcendental Name of Krishna. Such a person may be fully equipped with all the written arguments in explanation of the nature of the Divine Name. But if we listen to all these arguments from the dead source the words will only increase our delusion. The very same words coming from the lips of the devotee will have the diametrically opposite effect. Our empiric judgment can never grasp the difference between the two performances. The devotee is always right. The non-devotee in the shape of the empiric pedant is always and necessarily wrong. In the one case there is always present the Substantive Truth and nothing but the Substantive Truth. In the other case there is present the apparent or misleading hypothesis and nothing but un-truth. The wording may have the same external appearance in both cases. The identical verses of the Scriptures may be recited by the devotee and the non-devotee, may be apparently misquoted by the non-devotee but the corresponding values of the two processes remain always categorically different. The devotee is right even when he apparently misquotes, the non-devotee is wrong even when he quotes correctly the very words, chapter and verse of the Scriptures.

It is not empiric wisdom that is the object of quest of the devotee. Those who read the scriptures for gathering empiric wisdom will be pursuing the wild goose chase. There are not a few dupes of their empiric Scriptural erudition. These dupes have their admiring under-dupes. But the mutual admiration society of dupes does not escape, by the mere weight of their number, the misfortunes due to the deliberate pursuit of the wrong course in accordance with the suggestions of our lower selves.

What is Shastra?
What are the Scriptures? They are nothing but the record by the pure devotees of the Divine Message appearing on the lips of the pure devotees. The Message conveyed by the devotees is the same in all ages. The words of the devotees are ever identical with the Scriptures. Any meaning of the Scriptures that belittles the function of the devotee who is the original communicant of the Divine Message contradicts its own claim to be heard. Those who think that the Sanskrit language in its lexicographical sense is the language of the Divinity are as deluded as those who hold that the Divine Message is communicable through any other spoken dialects. All languages simultaneously express and hide the Absolute. The mundane face of all languages hides the Truth. The Transcendental face of all sound expresses nothing but the Absolute. The pure devotee is the speaker of the Transcendental language. The Transcendental Sound makes His appearance on the lips of His pure devotee. This is the direct, unambiguous appearance of Divinity. On the lips of non-devotees the Absolute always appears in His deluding aspect. To the pure devotee the Absolute reveals Himself under all circumstances. To the conditioned soul, if he is disposed to listen in a truly submissive spirit, the language of the pure devotee can alone impart the knowledge of the Absolute. The conditioned soul mistakes the deluding for the real aspect when he chooses to lend his ear to the non-devotee. This is the reason why the conditioned soul is warned to avoid all association with non-devotees.

To understand one must hear from a pure devotee
Thakur Bhaktivinode is acknowledged by all his sincere followers as possessing the above powers of the pure devotee of Godhead. His words have to be received from the lips of a pure devotee. If his words are listened from the lips of a non-devotee they will certainly deceive. If his works are studied in the light of one's own worldly experience their meaning will refuse to disclose itself to such readers. His works belong to the class of the eternal revealed literature of the world and must be approached for their right understanding through their exposition by the pure devotee. If no help from the pure devotee is sought the works of Thakur Bhaktivinode will be grossly misunderstood by their readers. The attentive reader of those works will find that he is always directed to throw himself upon the mercy of the pure devotee if he is not to remain unwarrantably self-satisfied by the deluding results of his wrong method of study.

The writings of Thakur Bhaktivinode are valuable because they demolish all empiric objections against accepting the only method of approaching the Absolute in the right way. They cannot and were never intended to give access to the Absolute without help from the pure devotee of Krishna. They direct the sincere enquirer of the Truth, as all the revealed scriptures do, to the pure devotee of Krishna to learn about Him by submitting to listen with an open mind to the Transcendental Sound appearing on His lips. Before we open any of the books penned by Thakur Bhaktivinode we should do well to reflect a little on the attitude, with which as the indispensable pre-requisite, to approach its study. It is by neglecting to remember this fundamental principle that the empiric pedants find themselves so hopelessly puzzled in their vain endeavour to reconcile the statements of the different texts of the Scriptures. The same difficulty is already in process of overtaking many of the so-called followers of Thakur Bhaktivinode and for the same reason.

The person to whom the Acarya is pleased to transmit his power is alone in a position to convey the Divine Message. This constitutes the underlying principle of the line of succession of the spiritual teachers. The Acarya thus authorised has no other duty than that of delivering intact the message received from all his predecessors. There is no difference between the pronouncements of one Acarya and another. All of them are perfect mediums for the appearance of the Divinity in the Form of the Transcendental Name Who is identical with His Form, Quality, Activity and Paraphernalia.

The Absolute appears on the lips of a pure sadhu
The Divinity is Absolute Knowledge. Absolute Knowledge has the character of indivisible Unity. One particle of the Absolute Knowledge is capable of revealing all the potency of the Divinity. Those who want to understand the contents of the volumes penned by the piece-meal acquisitive method applicable to deluding knowledge available to the mind on the mundane plane, are bound to be self-deceived. Those who are sincere seekers of the Truth are alone eligible to find Him, in and through the proper method of His quest.

In order to be put on the track of the Absolute, listening to the words of the pure devotee is absolutely necessary. The spoken word of the Absolute is the Absolute. It is only the Absolute Who can give Himself away to the constituents of His power. The Absolute appears to the listening ear of the conditioned soul in the form of the Name on the lips of the sadhu. This is the key to the whole position. The words of Thakur Bhaktivinode direct the empiric pedant to discard his wrong method and inclination on the threshold of the real quest of the Absolute. If the pedant still chooses to carry his errors into the Realm of the Absolute Truth he only marches by a deceptive bye-path into the regions of darker ignorance by his arrogant study of the scriptures. The method offered by Thakur Bhaktivinode is identical with the object of the quest. The method is not really grasped except by the grace of the pure devotee. The arguments, indeed, are these. But they can only corroborate, but can never be a substitute for, the word from the living source of the Truth who is no other than the pure devotee of Krishna, the concrete Personal Absolute.

Bhaktivinoda's greatest gift
Thakur Bhaktivinode's greatest gift to the world consists in this; that he has brought about the appearance of those pure devotees who are, at present, carrying on the movement of unalloyed devotion to the Feet of Shree Krishna by their own wholetime spiritual service of the Divinity. The purity of the soul is only analogously describable by the resources of the mundane language. The highest ideal of empiric morality is no better than the grossest wickedness to the Transcendental perfect purity of the bonafide devotee of the Absolute. The word 'morality' itself is a mischievous misnomer when it is applied to any quality of the conditioned soul. The hypocritical contentment with a negative attitude is part and parcel of the principle of undiluted immorality.

Those who pretend to recognise the Divine Mission of Thakur Bhaktivinode without aspiring to the unconditional service of those pure souls who really follow the teachings of the Thakur by the method enjoined by the scriptures and explained by Thakur Bhaktivinode in a way that is so eminently suited to the requirements of the sophisticated mentality of the present Age, only deceive themselves and their willing victims by their hypocritical professions and performances. These persons must not be confounded with the bonafide members of the flock.

Hypocritical followers are deceived
Thakur Bhaktivinode has predicted the consummation of religious unity of the world by the appearance of the only universal church which bears the eternal designation of the Brahma Sampradaya. He has given mankind the blessed assurance that all Theistic churches will shortly merge in the one eternal spiritual community by the grace of the Supreme Lord Shree Krishna Chaitanya. The spiritual community is not circumscribed by the conditions of time and space, race and nationality. Mankind had been looking forward to this far-off Divine Event through the Long Ages. Thakur Bhaktivinode has made the conception available in its practicable spiritual form to the open minded empiricist who is prepared to undergo the process of enlightenment. The key stone of the Arch has been laid which will afford the needed shelter to all awakened animation under its ample encircling arms. Those who would thoughtlessly allow their hollow pride of race, pseudo-knowledge or pseudo-virtue to stand in the way of this long hoped for consummation, would have to thank only themselves for not being incorporated in the spiritual society of all pure souls.

These plain words need not be misrepresented, by arrogant persons who are full of the vanity of empiric ignorance, as the pronouncements of aggressive sectarianism. The aggressive pronouncement of the concrete Truth is the crying necessity of the moment for silencing the aggressive propaganda of specific untruths that is being carried on all over the world by the preachers of empiric contrivances for the amelioration of the hard lot of conditioned souls. The empiric propaganda clothes itself in the language of negative abstraction for deluding those who are engrossed in the selfish pursuit of worldly enjoyment.

But there is a positive and concrete function of the pure soul which should not be perversely confounded with any utilitarian form of worldly activity. Mankind stands in need of that positive spiritual function of which the hypocritical impersonalists are in absolute ignorance. The positive function of the soul harmonises the claims of extreme selfishness with those of extreme self-abnegation in the society of pure souls even in this mundane world. In its concrete realisable form the function is perfectly inaccessible to the empiric understanding. Its imperfect and misleading conception alone is available by the study of the Scriptures to the conditioned soul that is not helped by the causeless grace of the pure devotees of Godhead.

Bhaktivinoda Thakura's Appearance Day Lecture
by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Founder - Acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness.
(September 23, 1969, London, England)

A.C. Bhaktivedanta
Swami Prabhupada
So today is a very auspicious day, Thakura Bhaktivinoda's birthday. Here is the picture of Thakura Sac-cid-ananda Bhaktivinoda. He was one of the acaryas of this disciplic succession from Krsna. We have got a succession table from Krsna, genealogical table. There are two kinds of genealogical tables, one by the semina -- father, his son, his son, like that. That is material genealogical table. And there is one spiritual genealogical table, disciplic succession. Just like Krsna. Krsna, the original father, Supreme Personality of Godhead, He spoke the Vedic knowledge to Brahma, Lord Brahma. He spoke to Narada. Narada spoke to Vyasa. Vyasa spoke to Madhvacarya. So in this disciplic succession, Lord Caitanya, from Lord Caitanya, the six Gosvamis, and similarly, coming down, down, Bhaktivinoda Thakura, then Gaurakisora Dasa Babaji Maharaja, then my spiritual master, then we are next generation, my disciples.

So there is a disciplic succession. And the acaryas, they're authorities. Our process of knowledge is very simple. We take it from the authority. We don't speculate. Speculation will not help us to come to the real knowledge. Just like when we are in difficulty, in legal implication, we go to some authority, lawyer. When we are diseased we go to a physician, the authority. There is no use, speculation. Suppose I am in difficulty in some legal implication. I simply speculate, "I shall be free in this way and that way." That will not help. We have to go to the lawyer who knows things, and he gives us instruction that "You do not do this, then you'll be free." Similarly, when we are diseased, if I speculate at home that "My disease will be cured in this way and that way," no. That is useless. You go to an authorized physician, and he will give you a nice prescription, and you'll be cured. That is the process of knowledge. But in the modern age people think that "I am free, I am independent, and I can make my own solution." That is rascaldom. That's not good. So Arjuna, when he was talking with Krsna as friend, but when he saw that there was no solution talking like this, he surrendered to Krsna. He said, sisyas te 'ham, aham: "Myself, I surrender unto You as Your disciple." Sisyas te' ham sadhi mam tvam prapannam. Prapannam means surrender. So that is the Vedic injunction, that if you want to know transcendental knowledge or science. Transcendental means beyond the scope of your direct perception.

So spiritual knowledge is beyond the scope of our sense speculation. Beyond the scope. Just like when a soul, a spiritual spark only, leaves this body, you cannot see. Therefore, atheistic class of men, they speculate, "There may be a soul, there may not be soul." Or, "The bodily function was going like this, now it stopped. The blood corpuscles now cease. It is no more red, it is white, therefore life." These are speculation. This is not actual knowledge. Actual knowledge you get from the authority, Krsna. He says, tatha dehantara-praptir dhiras tatra na muhyati. Just like the soul is passing through different stages. Dehino 'smin yatha dehe. Deha, deha means this body. Asmin dehe, in this body, there is dehi. Dehi means who is the owner of this body. That is soul. That is passing through childhood, boyhood, babyhood, youthhood, old age. Everyone, you can perceive that you were a child, you were a baby, you were a boy. Now you are young or old man. So you are there. So as you are passing through different types of bodies, similarly, when you give up this body you accept another body. What is the difficulty? Tatha dehantara-praptir dhiras tatra na muhyati. There is no question of becoming astonished, how transmigration of the self, soul, takes place. The vivid example is there. Simply you require little intelligence. That intelligence is developed through the instruction of acarya. Therefore, Vedic injunction is not to acquire knowledge by speculation. That is useless. Athapi te deva padambuja-dvayam janati tattva prasada-lesanugrhita eva hi, na canya eko 'pi ciram vicinvan. Ciram vicinvan. Ciram means for thousands of years you can speculate; you cannot understand what is God. That is not possible. But if you receive knowledge from the devotee, he can deliver you. Therefore Vedic injunction is that tad-vijnana... In order to understand tad-vijnana... Vijnana means science. If you want to know the transcendental science, then you must approach a guru. Tad-vijnartham. In order to, if you are at all interested to understand the spiritual science. Tad-vijnanartham sa gurum eva abhigacchet. You must approach guru. Guru means this disciplic succession, as I have explained.

So Bhaktivinoda Thaura is an ideal guru. He was not a sannyasi. He was grhastha, householder, living with family, wife, children. Still, he was guru. So anyone can become guru. Not that a sannyasi can become guru. A householder also can become guru, provided he knows the science. Caitanya Mahaprabhu, when He was talking with Ramananda Raya... Caitanya Mahaprabhu was a sannyasi, very highly born in brahmana family, very learned scholar. So He was talking with Ramananda Raya, a grhastha, governor of Madras. And He was questioning, and Ramananda Raya was answering. That means he was taking the part of guru, and Caitanya Mahaprabhu was taking the part of a disciple. So he was hesitating, Ramananda Raya. He thought himself that "I am a grhastha. I'm not even a brahmana. Besides that, I am dealing in material affairs. I am governor, politics. And Caitanya Mahaprabhu is a sannyasi, born of a high-class brahmana family. So it does not look well that I shall teach Him." So he was hesitating. Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, "Oh, why you are hesitating?" He said,

kiba vipra
, kiba sudra, nyasi kene naya,
yei krsna-tattva-vetta, sei guru haya.

He said, "Don't hesitate. Either one may become a brahmana or one may become a sudra." Kiba vipra, kiba sudra. Vipra means brahmana, and sudra. Sudra is the fourth-grade human being. Brahmanas the first-grade. So kiba vipra, kiba sudra. He may be a first-grade human being or the lowest grade human being, or he may become a sannyasi or a grhastha. It does not matter. Anyone who knows the science of Krsna, he can become a guru. This is the verdict. Because spiritual science does not belong to the bodily platform, it is on the spiritual platform. It is very nice. Just like when you go to a lawyer or to an engineer or to a physician. You do not inquire whether he's a brahmana or sudra. Simply you have to know whether he's a lawyer. That's all. Whether he's a physician actually. If he knows the medical science, he may be a brahmana, he may be a sudra, he may be a sannyasi, he may be a householder. It doesn't matter. Your business is with a physician, with a lawyer. Similarly, your business is to understand Krsna. So anyone who knows Krsna perfectly, you have to go there. Tad-vijnanartham sa gurum evabhigacchet. It is Vedic injunction. It is not that you have to approach a sannyasi or a grhastha or an Indian or American. No. Gurum. And guru means who knows the science of Krsna.

So, this Bhaktivinoda Thakura was grhastha, very responsible officer, magistrate. And he was so exalted that he would come from his office generally at five o'clock, then take his supper and immediately go to bed. Immediately. Say at seven o'clock in the evening he goes to bed, and he wakes up at twelve o'clock. So suppose he goes to bed at seven o'clock in the evening and wakes up at twelve o'clock at night. It is sufficient sleep, five hours. One should not sleep more than five to six hours. Minimize as far as possible. The Gosvamis used to sleep not more than one and a half hour, or two hours. Sleeping is not very important thing. Even big politicians, they used to sleep for two hours. So especially in spiritual line, they should minimize as far as possible eating, sleeping, mating, defending. Minimize. Gradually it comes to nil. Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami, he was eating only a little piece of butter every alternate days, not daily. So this Bhaktivinoda Thakura, regularly he was coming from his office, and after taking his supper immediately he goes to bed, and wake up at twelve o'clock, and he used to write books. He wrote. He left behind him about one hundred books. And he excavated the birthplace of Lord Caitanya, organized how to develop that birth site, Mayapur. He had so many business. He used to go to preach about Caitanya's philosophy. He used to sell books to foreign countries. In 1896 he attempted to sell Life and Precepts of Caitanya in the McGill University in Montreal. So he was busy, acarya. So one has to adjust things. Not that "Because I am grhastha, householder, I cannot become a preacher. "It is the business of the sannyasi or brahmacari." No. It is the business of everyone. The whole world is suffering for want of knowledge. The present civilization is animal civilization. They do not know anything beyond eating, sleeping, mating and defending. That's all. This is animal civilization. Animal does not know beyond these four principles of life: eating, sleeping, mating and defending. That's all. No. Human life is meant for something else: "What I am? What is God? What is my relation with God? What is this material world? Why I am here? Where I have to go next?" So many things one has to learn. Athato brahma-jijnasa. This is human life. Not that eat and sleep and have sex life and die someday like cats and dogs. Therefore, there is need of acaryas, teachers, for propagating spiritual knowledge, Krsna consciousness. Bhaktivinoda Thakura, although he was a grhastha, householder, a government officer, magistrate, but he was acarya. So from his dealings, from his life, we should learn how one can become a preacher in any stage of life. It doesn't matter what he is.

There was one incidence, very interesting. When he was magistrate in Jagannatha Puri. The system is, Jagannatha temple is a very big establishment. In the temple fifty-six times daily, bhoga is offered. And you'll find in the temple always at least five hundred to one thousand people gathered. And they come from outside, and prasada is ready. If you go and ask in the Jagannatha temple that "We are one hundred men come from outside. We want prasada," yes, immediately ready. So it is a huge temple. This is one temple, but there are many other thousands of temple in India where prasada is distributed. Now it is minimized by our present government. They think that it is unnecessary expenditure. They are minimizing. But not unnecessary expenditure. They do not understand. Formerly, in India there was no necessity of hotel. Anyone goes anywhere, even in a village, he goes to a temple, prasada is ready. There is no need of going to a hotel. You pay or don't pay. If you say that "I want little prasada," "Yes, take it." That is the system still. There is the Nathadvara temple in Rajasthan. You pay two annas only. Two annas means one cent. You get sumptuous prasada for two mens, all very nice prasada, still. So prasada distribution in temple is longstanding usage. So Bhaktivinoda Thakura... The Jagannatha temple is managed by a body, and it is the custom that the local magistrate of the district, he becomes the president, or manager.

So Bhaktivinoda Thakura was manager in that sense, because he was magistrate. The managing committee was being presided by him. So there was a complaint. In Orissa, this Jagannatha temple is situated in Orissa. Utkala. Utkala, this state, was originally belonging to Dhruva Maharaja. His son's name was Utkala, Maharaja Utkala. Anyway, so this Utkala, there was a pseudo yogi. He declared himself that... Just like you'll find nowadays also, there are so many rascals declaring that "I am incarnation of God." And they know some mystic power, play some jugglery, and foolish people take them: "Oh, he's God." So there appeared one like such pseudo God, Visnu, in a village of Orissa. And he was dancing rasa dance, and foolish people were sending their daughters and wife to dance with him. You see? There were so many. Not only that. People are so foolish, they do not know. They want to be cheated, and these cheaters come. He declared that "I am God. I am Visnu." So there were sane men also. They took objection, "What is this nonsense? This man is dancing with ladies and girls." So they filed a complaint. At that time it was British rule. They complained to the governor or the commissioner, very high officer. The commissioner knew that Bhaktivinoda Thakura... His name was Kedaranatha Datta. Datta. Kedaranatha Datta, his household name. So the commissioner of the division, he knew that Kedaranatha Datta is a religious man, and he's magistrate in charge. So he handed over the case for inquiry, "What is this complaint? You please inquire and do the needful." So he was a pure devotee, and he understood that "This rascal is a bogus man, cheating people. I must inquire." So he went to the village in plain dress with some constables, police constables. They were also in plain dress. And as soon as he approached that rascal yogi, he said, "Oh, you are Kedaranatha Datta. So, very nice. You are... I shall make you king of India. Please don't try to bother me." Because he could know that "He has come to inquire about my rasa-lila."

So Bhaktivinoda Thakura first of all said, "Sir, you are such a great yogi. Why you are in the village? Why don't you go to Jagannatha Puri? There is temple and Lord Jagannatha is there. Better you go there and see the Lord and be happy. Why you are in this village?" "Oh, Jagannatha? Ah, that is made of wood. I am personally the Supreme Lord. That is made of wood." Oh, then Bhaktivinoda Thakura, he was a devotee, he became fire. He was insulting. Arcye sila-dhar gurunu nara-matu. According to sastra, if somebody thinks... Just like here is Deity. If somebody thinks, "Oh, it is made of stone." It is stone to the eyes of the nondevotee, but it is personally Supreme Personality of Godhead to the devotees. It requires the eyes to see. So devotee sees in a different angle of vision. Just like Caitanya Mahaprabhu, when He entered Jagannatha temple immediately He fainted: "Oh, here is My Lord." And the nondevotee is seeing: "It is wood, a lump of wood." Therefore, to the nondevotee, He remains always as wood, but to the devotee He speaks. That is the difference. Premanjana-cchurita-bhakti-vilocanena. If God is everything, why wood, through wood and stone, God cannot manifest? If God is everything? According to Mayavada philosophy. That's a fact. God, omnipotent. He can express Himself even through wood and stone. That is God's omnipotency. That is called omnipotency. Not that God is unable to express Himself through wood and stone. Then how He's omnipotent? Omnipotent means His potency can be expressed through anything. Because anything, everything is the expansion of God's energy. Parasya brahmanah saktis tathedam akhilam jagat. The whole world is manifestation of different energies of God. Therefore, just like through the energy of electricity the electric powerhouse, although far, far away from this place, was expressing. There is electricity. Through this glass, through these wires, the power can be expressed. There is a process.

So Bhaktivinoda Thakura became very much... because a devotee cannot tolerate blaspheming another devotee or God. So as soon as he said that "Why shall I go to Jagannatha Puri to see the wooden Jagannatha? I am personally Visnu," Bhaktivinoda Thakura immediately ordered his constables, "Arrest him. Arrest this rascal." So he was arrested. And when he was arrested, he had some yogic mystic power. All the constables, Bhaktivinoda Thakkura, and his family members became affected with high fever, 105 degrees fever. So when he came back, his wife became very much disturbed that "You arrested Visnu, and we are all going to die. We have now high fever." Bhaktivinoda Thakura replied, "Yes, let us all die, but this rascal must be punished." This is the view of pure devotee. So he was put into the custody. And there was a date fixed for his trial, and all these days Bhaktivinoda Thakura himself and his family especially, they were suffering from high fever. Maybe that yogi was planning to kill the whole family. But it was going on as fever. So on the trial day, Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Kedaranatha Datta, when he came to the bench the man was presented, the so-called yogi, and he had big big hairs. So Bhaktivinoda Thakura ordered that "Bring one barber and cut his hair." So no barber dared. The barbers thought, "Oh, he's a Lord Visnu. If I offend, as he's suffering from fever, so I shall also die." So Bhaktivinoda Thakura ordered that "Give me the scissor. I'll cut." So he cut his hairs and ordered him to be put into jail for six months, and in the jail that Visnu incarnation managed to take some poison, and he died.

So this is one of the incidents. There are many incidences. He was very strong man. He punished many pisacas in the tirthas who exploit visitors. So, this is the position of devotee. In spite of his becoming a responsible magistrate, a householder, still, he was acarya. So we have to follow the acarya. If we at all, if we are at all interested in spiritual science, then we must follow the Vedic instruction, tad-vijnanartham sa gurum eva abhigacchet. We must approach. You cannot have spiritual knowledge simply by speculating. Impossible. Simply waste of time. Srama eva hi kevalam. You must go to the... In the Bhagavad-gita, therefore, it is recommended, acaryopasanam. Acarya-upasana. Not only worshiping the Lord, but also the acarya. Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, guru-krsna-krpaya paya bhakti-lata-bija. Guru, acarya, and Krsna. One should seek favor of both of them. Not that "I am now seeking favor of Krsna. What is the use of guru or acarya?" No. You cannot overlap acarya and go to Krsna. That is not possible. Krsna will not accept you. Just like if you want to see a big man you should go through his secretary, through his orderly, doorkeeper; similarly, our process is acaryopasanam, go through the acarya. That is the injunction of the Vedas. Tarko 'pratistha. If you want to enter into the spiritual world, you cannot get through simply by arguments. Because there is no limit of argument. I place my argument in one way. Another man, who is better arguer, he places his argument in a different way. So if you simply go on arguing, it is not possible. Tarko' pratistha. It will never help you. Argument. Srutayo vibhinnah. If you think that "I shall read scriptures and I shall understand God," no, that is also not possible. Srutayo vibhinnah. Scriptures are also different. Because scriptures are made according to time, circumstances, people. Just like Bible. Bible Lord Jesus Christ preached in the desert, Jerusalem. Or where it is? People who were not so advanced. Therefore his first instruction is "Thou shall not kill." That means they were very much engaged in killing affairs. Otherwise, why is this instruction? And actually, it so happened that they killed Jesus Christ. So that society was not very enlightened society. So a scripture for a society which is not very enlightened and a scripture for a society which is very enlightened must be different. Just like a dictionary. For the schoolboy, a pocket dictionary. And for a college student, international, big dictionary. Both of them are dictionaries. But the small pocket dictionary is not equal to the big dictionary. Because it is different made for different classes of men. So scriptures are made according to different classes of men. There are three classes of men: first-class, second-class, and third-class. The third-class man cannot understand the philosophy and scriptural injunctions of the first-class man. That is not possible. Higher mathematics cannot be understood by the small schoolboys who are simply trying to understand "Two plus two equal to four." But "Two plus two equal to four" is equally good to the higher mathematics student. But still, higher mathematics and lower math is different. Therefore it is said, srutayo vibhinnah: the scriptures are different. So if you simply try to understand what is God by reading scriptures, you cannot achieve. You must approach a guru. Just like a medical book. It can be available in the market. If you purchase one medical book and study and you become doctor, that is not possible. You must hear the medical book from a medical man in the college, medical college. Then you will be qualified. And if you say, "Sir, I have read all the medical books. Recognize me as a medical practitioner," no, that will not be.

So, srutayo vibhinnah. Scriptures are different. Arguments, that is also not helpful. One man may argue better than me. Then philosophy. The philosophy, it is said, nasau munir yasya matam na bhinnam. One philosopher is differing from another philosopher. Just now today Syamasundara has purchased one book about different philosophers. So that you also cannot ascertain what is truth. Mahajano yena gatah sa panthah, you should have to follow the great acaryas. Then you will... tad-vijnanartham sa gurum eva abhigacchet, srotiya brahma-nistham. Tasmad gurum prapadyeta jijnasu sreya uttamam. Anyone who is inquisitive to understand higher truths, he must surrender to guru. Tasmad gurum prapadyeta jijnasu sreya uttamam. One who is inquisitive, who is now inquiring about transcendental subject matter. Tad viddhi pranipatena pariprasnena sevaya. So all the sastras says, in our Vaisnava sastra also, Rupa Gosvami says, adau gurv-acaryam: "In the first beginning, you must take shelter of a bona fide guru."

So this Bhaktivinoda Thakura's birthday, we should adore, we should worship, because in the modern age he reintroduced the disciplic succession. From Caitanya Mahaprabhu... Five hundred years ago, Caitanya Mahaprabhu taught this philosophy, but within two hundred years... Because this material world is so made that whatever you introduce, in due course of time it will deteriorate. You make a nice house, but after one hundred years, two hundred years, or nowadays, even after fifty years, it becomes dilapidated. That is the nature's law, kala. Time will destroy everything. Now, British empire, such a big, vast empire, now it is finished. The kala, the time, will make everything finished. That is material. Anything material, it has birth, it has growth, it has got some opulence, then dwindling, then finished. That is the way of material. So we are interested in spiritual subject matter. Therefore the process is adau gurv-acaryam. One has to accept a bona fide spiritual master. That is our process. Without accepting a bona fide spiritual master, we cannot make any progress. It is impossible. So Bhaktivinoda Thakura happens to be acarya, one of the acaryas. And he has left behind him many books. Caitanya-siksamrta, Jaiva Dharma. These are very important books. They're in Bengali, in Sanskrit. And many songs. He has prepared many books of song. The song, Ei nama gaya gauracand madhura svare, that is Bhaktivinoda Thakura's song. So we are trying to present Bhaktivinoda Thakura's books also in English translation. Gradually you will get it. So our adoration, our worship to Bhaktivinoda Thakura today because he may bless us to make peacefully progress in Krsna consciousness. Acarya-upasana, simply by the blessings of the acaryas we can make very rapid progress. Vedesu durlabham adurlabham atma-bhaktau. If we... Yasya prasadad bhagavat-prasadah... We sing every day. By the mercy of the spiritual master, acarya, we immediately get the blessings of Lord. Immediately. Yasya prasadad. Yasya means "whose"; prasadad, "benediction." By the benediction of the spiritual master. Yasya prasadad bhagavat-prasadah. If spiritual master, acarya, is pleased, then you should know that Krsna is also pleased. You should know through. This is not very difficult. Just like you are working in office. If your immediate officer, boss, is pleased, that means the proprietor of the firm, he's also pleased. Although you do not see him. This is fact. Your immediate boss, if he's pleased. So similarly, we, our business, this spiritual line, is guru-krsna-krpa. We have to first receive the merciful benediction from the acarya, and then Krsna will be pleased and He'll also give His blessings. Mad-bhakta. There is a version in the Srimad-Bhagavatam, mad-bhakta pujyabhyadhika. He says, Krsna says, that "If anyone worships Me directly and if anyone worships Me through the acarya, he's better devotee who is coming to Me through acarya." Mad-bhakta pujyabhyadhika.

So our, this Vaisnava philosophy, process, is to go through the acarya. Servant of the servant of the servant. We should try to become servant of the servant. Gopi-bhartu pada-kamalayor dasa-dasanudasah. Dasa-dasanudasah. We should not approach the Supreme Personality of Godhead directly. That is not good. That will not be... In the Vedic injunction also it is said, yasya deve para bhaktir yatha deve tatha gurau. If one has got unflinching faith in the Supreme Personality of Godhead, yatha deve, and similar faith in guru... Of course, we must accept bona fide guru. Then it is disciplic succession. And that is also not very difficult to select, who is bona fide guru. Bona fide guru means he presents himself as servant of God. He does not pose himself falsely that "I am God." This is bona fide. It is not difficult to find out bona fide. But this is the test. If anyone says that "I am guru, I am God," then he cannot be guru. Because he has no knowledge. How he is God? But he can cheat some people. That is different thing. You can cheat all people for some time and some people for all time, but not all people for all time. That is not possible. So these kinds of guru, who poses themself that "I am God," he's a false guru. The bona fide guru will say that "I am servant of the servant of the servant of Krsna," or God. Servant of. That is the business of guru. He serves Krsna as Krsna desires; that is his business. That is also not very difficult. Krsna says, Krsna desires, sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja, that "You give up all other engagement; just surrender unto Me, and I'll give you protection." Krsna says. So guru's business is that "You simply surrender to Krsna." What is the difficulty? Simply repeat the same thing. Not for himself, but for Krsna. He's bona fide guru.

So our this Krsna consciousness movement is very bona fide because we say the same thing as Krsna says. We don't make any addition, alteration. Not like big scholars like, "It is not to Krsna..." Krsna says, man-mana bhava mad-bhakto mad-yaji mam namaskuru, and the scholar interprets, "It is not to Krsnaa." Just see...foolishness. Krsna directly says, "unto Me." He says, "Not to Krsna." Misleading. Such misleading guru will not help you. So therefore to find out a bona fide guru means that he does not change the words of Krsna. That is his position. He places everything as it is, and he has understood thoroughly the science. Jijnasuh sreya uttamam. Guru, what is the symptom of guru? Tasmad gurum prapadyeta jijnasuh sreya uttamam. Those who are inquisitive to understand higher scientific knowledge, uttamam. Uttama means higher. Uttama, madhyama, adhama. There are three words. First-class, second-class, third-class. So spiritual knowledge is uttamam. Anyone who is inquisitive to understand first-class knowledge, he requires to go to a guru. Those who are interested in third-class knowledge, they do not require any guru. Third-class knowledge means animal knowledge: how to eat, how to sleep. How to make arrangement for eating, how to make arrangement for sleeping, that is third-class knowledge. Because the animals also try for this kind of knowledge, how to eat, how to sleep. Therefore this kind of knowledge is third-class knowledge. And second-class knowledge is "What I am?" Athato brahma-jijnasa. The Vedanta. That is second-class knowledge. And first-class knowledge, when he actually understands what he is, he is eternal servant of Krsna, and engages himself in the service of the Lord, that is first-class knowledge. And therefore, as soon as he comes to the first-class knowledge platform, he becomes happy.

brahma-bhuta prasannatma na socati na kanksyati
sama sarvesu bhutesu mad-bhakta labhate param

So after being liberated from the material concept of life by the blessings of Krsna and guru, one comes to the platform of first-class knowledge, where he engages himself directly in the service of the Lord. That is first-class knowledge. First-class knowledge means beyond liberation. Second-class knowledge is trying for liberation. Third-class knowledge means in bondage, like animal. The animals, they are bound up by the particular type of body and has no, I mean to say, possibility of becoming liberated. That is animal life. But human life is better than animal life because he, if he likes, he can make himself liberated from this bondage of material body. That is the facility. He can understand himself what he is. He can understand what is God. He can understand the relationship between God and himself. He can understand what is this material world. Because there are thousands of books of knowledge. Take it from Bhagavad-gita. Everything is there. And it is meant for human being, not for the cats and dogs. Cats and dogs cannot understand, but a human being can understand.

So this Krsna consciousness movement is to enlighten people to utilize his very nice life, human form of life, utilize it properly. To utilize it properly means to revive his dormant Krsna consciousness. The Krsna consciousness, or God consciousness, is there already. It is developed in human form of life. But it is now covered because due to our association with this material world for unlimited years background. We are coming through different species of life. Millions and millions of years passed away. Suppose I was a tree sometimes. I was standing up for ten thousand years in one place. We have passed through. That's a fact. That is evolution. Now we have the opportunity of light. If you don't use this opportune moment and again go back to the cycle of evolutionary process, jalaja nava-laksani sthavara. So this is a great science. Unfortunately, there is no opportunity for the people to study this science in school, colleges, or universities. They are simply teaching people that "You work hard and gratify your senses." That's all. Therefore a section, younger section, they have been disgusted. They have refused to cooperate with this society on account of this disappointing education. And it will increase. Because this sort of education cannot give peace or prosperity to the people. Problems are increasing. Therefore, our request is that if you want to decrease or completely finish all the problems of life, take to Krsna consciousness in the process of disciplic succession and you'll be all happy.

Thank you very much.