How to Approach Absolute Knowledge Part II



Now what is Initiation? And who is the fit person to give it?

It is that process by which Sree Gurudev admits one into the enlightenment region of Absolute Truth i.e., of the soul. Let us study the matter a little deeply from the philosophical stand-point.

We have seen the utter futility of the egoistic process of thinking to know the true nature of the self or soul. But wherein lies the crux?

Egoistic philosophy starts from a false data. Is not one’s self knowledge being always obscured by the interposition of four kinds of errors due to ignorance, misconception, misdirection and incapacity. No human being, as he is at present is, free from them. So whenever he tries to understand truth in an inductive way i.e., through his experiences some one of these errors must creep in. It is unavoidable in his present state of existence when he is subject to the cycle of action and reaction, suffering or happiness and is being tossed about on the waves of changing circumstances. So however great a thinker might one be in the worldly sense of the term, he can never get beyond his ego (i.e., baser self) if he keeps himself hide bound within the limits of sense perceptions. Absolute Truth must remain a sealed book to him. All his knowledge must receive egoistic colouring. Then is eternal ignorance the lot of man here below? Is he an insect to crawl and chirp for a while in the dark and then to be heard no more? No! From beyond this troubled region of doubts comes floating the message of truth and hope from Sree Gurudeva. Listen if you have ears! He says—Truth exists apriori otherwise your own self-existence in endangered. Of course knowledge of Absolute Truth is possible when your self-existence is admitted. But yourself, as it is at present, is not a thing self-sufficient and free, although you always aspire to be so. For a higher power, that of Maya, works on you. The world of Maya is too much for you. You remain engrossed in its phenomenal varieties; you groan under its tyranny. And in this trance, as it were, you forget that there can be anything beyond the senses. Yet, all this time and ever you live, move and have your being in Truth eternal as its organic part and parcel. The all-sustaining, all comprehensive Absolute exists. But by the very nature of your existence you only forget to recognise them being hemmed in by your measuring tendency through limits of senses. But in His infinite mercy God reveals Himself as He did to the first created being, Brahma.—

‘I alone was in the beginning; everything that is or is not should not be identified with Me and after the final dissolution of this creation I alone will remain.’

In the Katha Upanishad we find that “One eternal all pervading Over Soul dwelleth as the Lord, in every individual. The One through the manifestation of His power has become many. Those who have got peace and repose in their souls can behold Him and attain to eternal bliss but not others who are given to inferior pursuits.” And “Everything created receives life and light from Him?”

So the true nature of your self or soul is to be seen in the light of the Absolute Truth and in relation to Him. Then you will know its complete nature.

But is Absolute Truth to be identified with His creation as the pantheist in his too engrossing attachment to phenomenal nature would at once jump to such a conclusion from the above texts? No! The answer is empathically in the negative. The Upanishad itself has given us the meaning of such texts. Meanwhile let us see what the Srimad Bhagabata says. God says to Brahma—

‘Just as the elements do at the same time pervade creation and remain out side of it so all things exist in Me and I in them. But thereby I do not become identified with them and lose My separate identity.’

In one of the most glaring and solemn passages of the Swetaswatara Upanishad has this truth been clearly proclaimed to the world.—

‘Hear me ye sons of light eternal, living on earth and in other illuminated regions! Verily there exists that one eternal Personality, self-effulgent like unto the sun, beyond this dark region of death and ignorance! By knowing Him alone do ye gain salvation and enter into the realm of bliss. No other means exist to conquer death.’

As to how you can know Him the Upanishad says ‘You cannot have the knowledge of the Over Soul by means of reasoning, erudition or studying of the Vedas; only through mercy does He reveal His own person unto him whom He does accept as His own.’

Sreemat Bhagabat is more clear. Brahma, when praising Sree Krishna on the occasion of His so called seeming birth says—

‘We have heard that You manifest Yourself in perfectly pure form here below (no gross material qualities touching it so that people might obtain the fruition of their religious pursuits just as sacrifice, yoga, penance, meditations etc.) by offering worship unto that Body of Yours. For the fulfilment of all religions lies in Your worship.’

But too much accustomed as you are to sense perception, and so to the inductive process of thinking you cannot at first rely on this revealing process of Truth which is deductive. You think that your body along with your mind is the self, the senses are the only sources of knowledge and hence all knowledge must be sensual. Herein lies the root of all errors. Sri Sri Mahaprabhu Himself has said. ‘Misconception of soul lies in body and mind.’ But how is it possible for you to know that you are spirit and discard this original error for good? It is possible only when you come into constant vital contact with one who lives in spirit and truth. Sri Gurudeva does so. He is the manifestation of Absolute Truth on earth. For there exists supersensual and purely spiritual variety in God-head uncontaminated by any material quality. He knows God for he is God in that form. In essence and in spirit he is identical with Him but in action as manifested here below and in Baikuntha he has differentiated himself from Absolute Truth in a supersensuous way as the eternal servant of God. Bhagaban Krishnachandra says to Uddhaba—

‘Know that I Myself appear as the Preceptor. Do not take him as human and resent his authority as such he is full of the glory of all the gods.’

Sree Gurdeva remains on earth as the devotee and servant of God-head Krishnachandra. All his activities, his body, mind and soul are, constantly engaged in His service. No worldly extraneous work however exalted from a mundane point of view, can make him deviate, from this one all engrossing Divine duty. And whatever he does, he does not as anything super-imposed by the world but as the natural outcome of his own divine character. His mind, his senses, his limbs are concrete embodiments of Godly service.

There is a class of thinkers in India, mainly followers of Shankara, who identify the Over Soul if any, with the individual human soul. They do not believe in the independent identity of God-head and eternal specification of souls free from matter. After salvation this individual soul or the imperfect idea of it becomes the fullfledged God. We do not here enter into any criticism of this school of thought. But according to this theory Sri Gurudeva can have no absolute existence. He is something ephimeral and terrestrial so any service rendered unto him cannot have any permanent value. He can be resorted to as a temporary expediency for the so called spiritual advancement. So when this class of thinkers preach faith in their so called Gurudeva they do so either in self deception or in ignorance. But a true theist regards his Gurudeva as the most beloved one of Krishna Chandra—an Eternal and Absolute counter-part like him. In his highest mature state of spiritual life he only aspires to become a co-worker with Sree Gurudeva in the service of God-head which is the eternal function of the individual soul.

From what has been said above it is quite clear that no consideration of so called worldly caste or colour can enter into the consideration of this question. Sree Gurudeva alone is the true Brahmin for he knows and serves Parabrahma with all his body, mind and soul. No social prejudices should be forwarded to lower him by the privileged self-seekers. That will only be beating against the rock—the rock of Truth. For the caste of the servant of God is fixed by Bhagaban Krishna Chandra Himself as He has said in the Gita. ‘Woe to the individual or society who grudge this Divine dispensation. But know it for certain ye caste-privilege hunters, that it is in His infinite mercy to society that Sree Gurudeva condescends to come into the designation of any caste. You must know him as God’s manifestation on earth although he likes to call himself His servant.’

Now, what is Initiation? God is All Embracing, Absolute Spirit. He is to be worshipped in spirit and in truth. Initiation which introduces the devotee into the realm of this worship is essentially a spiritual function. So-called professional Gurus turn it into a social or family rite. But that is the worst abuse of a divine rite. True sincere seekers after truth must not be blinded by them. No kind of sin attaches to him if he renounces such a false preceptor and goes to the right person. That will be rather a great merit on his part. Sripad Jiva Goswami Prabhu has enjoined it.

“The true preceptor is to be resorted to even by discarding a customary one.”

But now-a-days, specially in Bengal, a class of amateur religionists has cropped up. These men aim at making a name for themselves under the pretexts of religious practices. They resort to this kind of sham Gurus for the purpose as these hired preceptors are always ready to pamper their material propensities and do not disturb their egoistic life of enjoyment.

But with true initiation the disciple’s past life begins to dwindle away. A sincere devotee dedicates himself whole heartedly to Krishna at the time of his initiation through Sree Gurudeva and becomes himself spiritual like unto his God and Lord.

‘At, initiation the disciple surrenders himself completely at the feet of Sree Krishna Chandra Who accepts him and makes him like unto Himself? There is nothing material in the relation between Sree Gurudeva and his disciple whose life now takes a new shape. He is reborn in spirit. In his inspired vision the disciple perceives his true relation with God. No more does he run after Maya whose influence begins to diminish henceforth. God Says, in the Gita, ‘My insurmountable energy which is manifested in measurable senses of man cannot be overcome by human effort until he resigns himself fully to me and this is effected by initiation only. So the Shastras say.

‘One becomes a Brahmin through initiation.’

The first sign of this new life is that all his activities are turned towards the service of God; consciously he can do nothing that goes against it. And this is Bhakti-yoga. This yoga is practicable only under the constant guidance of Sree Gurudeva. As Baladeva Bidyabhusan Prabhu says in his annotation of the Gita.

Because every Jogi sticks spontaneously to the instructions of his guide. Religious dyspeptics who in their pride of egoism think that they can obtain this yoga even without bowing their head at the feet of anybody in flesh and blood, though he be God’s own, only deceive themselves. They can never succeed. So it has been said by God Himself.

“Those who worship Me but do not pay due regard to My Bhaktas are never themselves My devotees. But whoever worships My Bhakta are really devoted to Me.”

Such futile attempts only lead to intellectual or sentimental egoism or too much ritualism that being also another form of ego-worship.

So a sincere seeker after the Truth should beware of a hundred and one pitfalls in his way to the lotus feet of Sri Gurudeva.

The way to Truth is beset with difficulties. But no brothers! There is no cause for despair! True this is Kali, Iron or Imperfect Age. Yet like God Himself, Sree Gurudeva also comes down to you in his infinite mercy. Have you not the good fortune only to say unto Him—“My Lord, hold Thou my hand.” Ah, don’t you mark the signs of deep sympathy for your difficulties on earth, on his face beaming in its eternal effulgence? He is love and mercy embodied.

My Master! Your divine solicitude and anxiety to free society from its perversions of ignorance and to reinstate man to his divine heritage—as the servant of Krishna Chandra melt my heart. Let me wash your path with grateful tears. May I not prostrate myself in the dust you tread with your lotus feet and kiss it?