Guru kripa hi kevalam

Om Vishnupad 108 Tridandi Swami Sri Srimat Bhakti Sravan Tirtha Goswami Maharaj ki Jai !!

namo maha-vadanyaya
krishna-prema-pradaya te
krishnaya krishna-chaitanya-
namne gaura-tvishe namaha

Seven years ago, our beloved Baba left his body in the early hours of December 1, 2004 (Krishna chaturthi in the Vaishnava month of Keshava (Mrigashir), which this year 2011, falls on Monday 14th November. The tirobhava festival will be celebrated at his samadhi sthal in Sri Gauranga Ashram, Bhubaneshwar with naam sankirtan, yagna and anna-daan.

While we miss Him and remember Him every single day, in His disappearance, Baba has given us a great opportunity. And a great challenge.

The opportunity for us is to continue our service to Him and His mission. To reflect on the things He said and incorporate them into our lives. The opportunity to fulfill our side of the covenant and become worthy disciples.

The challenge is of course, to maintain our connection with Him even though He is physically not visible to our eyes.

Disappearance days are important

Taditionally Gaudiya Vaishnavas only celebrate the tirobhava (disappearance day). "Celebrate the avirbhava (appearance day) of Vishnu avatars and the tirobhava (disappearance day) of the Vaishnava," say the Gaudiyas. Therefore, elaborate ceremonies are usually held on the disappearance day of vaishnavas.

Standard Gaudiya Vaishnava texts mention hundreds of stavas, stutis, and varieties of bhajans to sing on the disappearance day. Most Gaudiya Vaisnava panjikas (yearly calendars) list only the disappearance days of the Vaishnava acharyas.

On the disappearance day of a pure Vaishnava Guru one should visit his samadhi if possible, or worship his image or deity, offer obeisance, circumambulation, naam sankirtan, songs, prayers, and maha-prasada or bhoga sweets.

In Vaisnavism, Srila Thakura Bhaktivinoda gives the following translation to Sri Vaishnava Pranama, "vanca kalpa tarubhyas ca krpa sindhu..." "Let us kiss over and over again the holy feet of the devotees of Krishna who are like wish-fulfilling trees, yielding the fruit of all our devotional desires. They are oceans of mercy and saviours of the fallen."

Union in separation

Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu taught us that the highest consciousness of Krishna or Guru is in the intense feelings of separation from Him. The supreme Lord is worshipped and loved in these two bhavas, in union and in separation.

And of the two, the great authorities in transcendental rasa have taught that feelings of separation in love are of a more intense nature than that of being in the presence of the Beloved.

The epitome of such vipralambha bhava or service in separation is the Gopis of Vraja. Mahaprabhu has taught us there is no better method of worshipping the Supreme Lord than that of the Gopis in their feelings of separation from Krishna while living in Vrindavana.

So it is with the Guru. When the Guru is amongst us, we celebrate festivals with Him. And when the Guru has disappeared, we observe the festival of His remembrance.

In this way to observe the appearance or disappearance days of great vaishnavas affords a valuable opportunity to cultivate sublime feelings of separation by longing to be in their divine association and drawing their grace on us.

It is through our attachment and dedication to our Guru and his mission that we stay connected to Him as well as to the whole Guru Parampara, which connects us to Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and His associates and ultimately to Bhagawan Sri Krishna Himself.

It is like grabbing a high-voltage wire that is powered by the original power-house. By firmly holding onto our guru through remembrance, faith and service, we have the grace and support of all the great and powerful spiritual authorities in the line. Even if our actions are faulty, but our intention is sincere, then the potency of the parampara can empower us with unexpected results, even miracles. It can act through us and miracles manifest through us or in the actions we sincerely try to do.

The disciple should never feel that he or she is alone in the physical absence of the spiritual master. The guru is always there in his subtle body, depending on the faith and sincerity of the disciple.

Guru kripa hi kevalam

With the passage of time, we may feel that our Gurudeva's teachings need to be updated with the times. Or that he did not give specific instructions in such and such matter. Such an offensive view will surely create a slow or even immediate disconnection between us and our guru and, thus, the whole parampara. If we but turn to Him with an ardent prayer we will surely get the answer.

We have to honour the spiritual master and his teachings and not change anything, thinking that we know better. We do not have the authority nor the spiritual realisation to change anything. The guru is omnipotent and eternal. He can still make himself and his will known to the sincere disciple in many ways. We simply have to have faith.

One should never think of the Guru as an ordinary human being. In the Srimad Bhagavatam, Sri Krishna states "It is I who appear as the Guru".

We cannot know the Guru through our own limited intellect; it is only when he mercifully reveals himself to us that we will achieve the great fortune of being able to have his vision. Therefore, the famous saying, guru-krpa hi kevalam (“the Guru’s grace is our only salvation”).

Nama om visnu-padaya krsna-presthaya bhu-tale
srimate bhakti sravan svamine iti namo namaha


Jai Guru

Jai Sri Radhey