Insights From The Harmonist

Selected articles from the magazine
Edited by Paramahamsa Paribrajakacharyya
Sri Srimad Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Maharaj
Published between 1927 - 1936

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...

The very first stepping stone to enter into the world of Absolute Truth is initiation in some form or other. Every great (spiritual) teacher has recognised this fact in all ages. The Vedas are plainly emphatic about it:

“Rise up (from elevationism), awake (from salvationism) enlighten (free from ignorance and misappliance) after accepting (boon) from the Absolute.”

The sublime truth of the Upanishads was handed down through ages from the preceptor to the devoted disciples.

“Unto him alone is the Absolute revealed by sages who has supreme faith in, and are devoted, equally, to the preceptor and God-head.” None else can gain it.

AS a concrete instance of the difficulties that beset the path of the humanitarian in relieving human misery let us consider the cases of two typical charitable activities.

The operation of famine relief has to be frequently undertaken by the Government of India. There is no duty which that Government regards with greater dread and misgiving than this humanitarian task. Indiscriminate charity is out of the question in meeting a calamity on any scale. The policy which has been ultimately adopted attempts to create reproductive employment in the affected areas that may guarantee specific improvement in the economic outlook of the locality liable to be visited by famine. This is the adoption of the undiluted economic ideal of conduct towards an unfortunate affair. But as loss of revenue in various ways is unavoidable and as the Government of India is not a purely charitable institution it is officially recognised that the best insurance against the recurrence of actual distress during a famine lies ultimately in the hands of the people themselves. Railways and canals that are built as a means of fighting the calamity have in view the improvement of production and means of transport enabling the people themselves to undertake to obtain food and other necessaries out of their own improved resources. It is on the industry, foresight and thrift of the people that the state has to rely in the long run for the prevention of the calamity and for fighting it successfully when it actually makes its appearance. No one will seriously question the wisdom of these measures. But can they be described as an example of conduct inspired by the principles of charity and humanity for their own sake? Or are they not rather an effort to get rid of all such obligation?

It is probably the most hopeful trait of the Western mentality, that it has been capable even now of expecting to be enlightened by “Men from the East". There is a spiritual tradition behind this attitude, but the exploitation of the Scriptures of India by the well-meaning Savants of the West has not so far resulted in giving any really new angle to the thought and activity of the Western world. On the contrary it is India which has been palpably influenced not only by the material civilisation on the West but also, in no small measure, by the speculations of European scholars in the domain of Indian philosophical and religious thought.

An Appreciation.

THE author has made a work so chequered and speckled, such a tessellated pavement of authoritative texts, such an exquisite wickerwork of the profound secrets of the Shastras and the fascinating anecdotes of Lord Gauranga that the causal eye is easily riveted and the more does the reader proceed with the study of the work the more is he drawn towards the sublimity of a life of unalloyed devotion, the fetters of his heart are loosened and his attraction for sensual enjoyment wanes. Had it been full of abstruse reasonings only, it would have taxed the brain of the reader who would have found no interest in it and shelved the book for a lighter and more interesting one.

THE revealed word of the Veda communicated by the transcendental teacher to the disciple who is seriously prepared to listen the utterances in the spirit of complete submission can alone convey the Absolute Truth i.e., Itself, to souls with unlimited capacity of receiving the truth.

This says Sri Chaitanya, is the fundamental teaching of all really spiritual scriptures. Let us try to understand a little more fully the implications of the above. It assumes that the Veda or revealed knowledge exists in this world; that transcendental teachers are available in this mundane plane; that we can have no access to the Veda except by submissive listening to the uttered words of the transcendental teacher.


  1. O! Born of Moslem parents, Haridas!*1
    And trained in youth in Moslem creed,
    Thy noble heart to Vaishnava truth did pass!
    Thy holy acts the candour plead!
  2. Is there a soul that cannot learn from thee
    That man must give up sect for God?
    That thought of race and sect can ne'er agree
    With what they call Religion broad?

Numerical determinations are often found to create difference in the idea of unit but harmony can cement the gulf in counting them in one category. The manifested world often shows a threefold division when observer, observation and observed are considered in their respective locations but they are viewed for one purpose only if the harmonious spirit prevails to unify them. Years roll on, seasons change and months differ. The Harmonist marches with the same tie of love in her passing through the tracks of time, space and of objects. She has no other ambition than to bring peace among individuals, to remove temporal discrepancies and to extend the limitation. The Harmonist is not an advocate of untiring worldly activities neither is she a renouncer of material prosperity. She does not encourage the idea of annihilation in nondifference neither does she prove to be identified with the indivisible whole. The schools of elevation and salvation have not taught anything to incorporate her own identity with the acquisionists nor to merge info nonentity. It would be a sheer mistake if the Harmonist is classed in the same line with seekers of insentient or sentient pleasures. She does not claim to gain anything or to lose herself in persuasion of any misguided thought current among the sojourners of the sensual atmosphere.