Serving the guru in his absence

Vishnujana Swami ‘s class on Nectar of Devotion 1973


…His Divine Grace, we all know many examples how he knows everything about relative and absolute truth. He is able to decide accurately at every moment what is to be done. He is able to know what is most auspicious to be performed at a particular moment when there are so many things that could be done.


Because he is in direct touch with Krishna and he knows what Krishna’s preference is. He is not bewildered, like Arjuna was bewildered in the beginning in the Bhagavad-Gita — “What is most auspicious? On one hand, I’m supposed to fight because I’m a kshatriya; on the other hand, they are my grandfathers, I am not supposed to kill them.”

He didn’t know what is most auspicious to be performed. You see? But when he controlled his mind and senses, being convinced by Krishna, by His instructions, then he agreed to act under Krishna’s instruction. Krishna sat on his chariot, “Arjuna, you kill him now.” “Oh, but Krishna, this one is not even with his weapons, he is not even on his chariot.”

Krishna said, “Kill him.” So he killed him immediately — a completely immoral act. He killed him, because the supreme morality is to act on the order of Krishna. So only one who has Krishna riding in his chariot and giving him instructions: “You shoot here,” “You do this now,” “You go here now,” “You get married,” “You don’t get married,” “You do this” — only he is able to know what is to be done, what is not to be done.

Others, they only do the wrong thing, always do the wrong thing. Krishna consciousness is not artificial. Either we come to the point of having that Krishna-sun arisen in our heart, thereby being able to understand Krishna’s desire and the relative and absolute, or we have to remain on the mental platform, speculating what is to be done, what is not to be done.

Now, in our beginning stages, it is not expected that we should have the Krishna-sun arisen within our heart immediately, and therefore the spiritual master acts as the external representation of Krishna and directly gives us instruction: “You do like this. You rise at this time. You bathe now. You take care of this detail, that detail.” In this way, if you don’t have the Krishna-sun arisen within your heart, you can be preserved — until that time when the Krishna-sun arises within your heart — by carrying out the same order coming down from the lips of the spiritual master.

So the spiritual master is the external representation of the Supersoul because he gives you instruction how to perform activity. Now an actual problem for most devotees is, “Well, Prabhupada isn’t always here to ask about so many details. Then how do we make any decision? Are our hands tied that we can’t do anything?” But we should understand this from the letters of our spiritual master, that he may give us a general instruction: “You manage nicely.” He’ll say like that: “You manage this nicely.”

So the details of how to manage he may not have given. And by inquiry of some older God brothers, he may not be able to find out in detail how it was done properly in the past. But you have to think like this: “Since my spiritual master has ordered me to manage nicely, therefore the details will be revealed to me if I carry out this organization on his instruction, without any other motive. Simply I have to make decisions in order to manage nicely on his instruction.” Prabhupada says in his letter that along with the order of the spiritual master comes the ability to carry it out.

So we should know with faith and conviction that if we carry out a general instruction from our spiritual master, without any other motive except to satisfy his order, then the details of that instruction will be revealed to us. This is the beauty of Krishna consciousness, that you actually get a tangible experience in this way of the transcendental relationship between yourself and the spiritual master that, “Even though he is not there personally giving me detailed instruction, I know what to do because I am acting only on his instruction. Therefore I know what decision to make.”

So even this may not come at first, because after all there are so many personal motives that enter in many times. But if we keep association with older Godbrothers, older devotees, then we’ll be able to see their example, how they are carrying it out nicely. Although they may not know so many details, they are not perplexed — they are making decisions, hundreds of decisions daily, with faith and conviction.

Therefore, I simply have to align myself with their activities and I will also become engaged and learn this art — how to carry out the order of the spiritual master with faith and conviction — and that along with his order comes the ability to carry it out. That the Krishna-sun will rise in my heart if I simply act on his order without any other motive, and the details of all relative and absolute truth will be revealed to me.

This is confirmed in the Srimad-Bhagavatam and Bhagavad-Gita: that even if the spiritual master does not instruct the disciple, Krishna Himself from within will give this disciple full instruction — if he is sincere to carry out the order. Sincere means to carry out the order with faith and conviction that everything will be revealed to me if I simply do this. And the order is not very difficult: chant Hare Krishna, eat Krishna-prasadam, go on street sankirtan, preach, spread Krishna consciousness, go on pushing forward.

Don’t be satisfied that, “Oh, now we have a nice temple. Everything is nice, now we can just sit back.” No, we have to go out and defeat the rascals, like Lord Chaitanya went out. He didn’t stay in the temple. He went out and He approached the scientists Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya, and Prakashananda Sarasvati — they were great impersonal scientists. He approached them and He defeated them, and converted them.

So since we are following in the line of Lord Chaitanya, we also have to do that. We can’t be satisfied that, “Oh, now we have a nice, beautiful temple.” No. Following in Lord Chaitanya’s footsteps means to go out and convert these rascals. That is Lord Chaitanya’s movement.

Vishnujana Swami ‘s class on Nectar of Devotion, Chapter Seven – Los Angeles — May 8, 1973