Submissiveness – To Whom Is It To Be Directed?
by Damaghosa das —
What follows is a few quotes from Srila Prabhupada where he nicely explains how important is the one quality of submissiveness. We hear it briefly given in BG 4.34 about approaching a bona fide spiritual master in service and submission and then our natural spiritual inquires will be fruitful, being blessed by the pleased spiritual master.
So to whom should this submissiveness be directed? Only to one’s initiating spiritual master or to anyone who gives us spiritual guidance? There are basically two types of gurus-diksa (initiating) and siksa(instructing) and Srila Prabhupada explains that they both are equal. One can even get guidance from somebody as low as a prostitute-as did Bilvamangal Thakur, and advance in spiritual life. These things are to be considered thoughtfully by the serious student, without malice or envy.
CC Adi 1.35 Purport:
One should always remember that a person who is reluctant to accept a spiritual master and be initiated is sure to be baffled in his endeavor to go back to Godhead. One who is not properly initiated may present himself as a great devotee, but in fact he is sure to encounter many stumbling blocks on his path of progress toward spiritual realization, with the result that he must continue his term of material existence without relief. Such a helpless person is compared to a ship without a rudder, for such a ship can never reach its destination. It is imperative, therefore, that one accept a spiritual master if he at all desires to gain the favor of the Lord. The service of the spiritual master is essential. If there is no chance to serve the spiritual master directly, a devotee should serve him by remembering his instructions. There is no difference between the spiritual master‘s instructions and the spiritual master himself. In his absence, therefore, his words of direction should be the pride of the disciple. If one thinks that he is above consulting anyone else, including a spiritual master, he is at once an offender at the lotus feet of the Lord. Such an offender can never go back to Godhead.
Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī is the ideal spiritual master, for he delivers one the shelter of the lotus feet of Madana-mohana. Even though one may be unable to travel on the field of Vṛndāvana due to forgetfulness of his relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he can get an adequate opportunity to stay in Vṛndāvana and derive all spiritual benefits by the mercy of Sanātana Gosvāmī. Śrī Govindajī acts exactly like the śikṣā–guru (instructing spiritual master) by teaching Arjuna the Bhagavad-gītā. He is the original preceptor, for He gives us instructions and an opportunity to serve Him. The initiating spiritual master is a personal manifestation of Śrīla Madana-mohana vigraha, whereas the instructing spiritual master is a personal representative of Śrīla Govindadeva vigraha. Both of these Deities are worshiped at Vṛndāvana. Śrīla Gopīnātha is the ultimate attraction in spiritual realization.
CC Adi 1.55 purport:
The entire material manifestation develops and exists because the Supreme Personality of Godhead enters it as Paramātmā, or the Supersoul. The Personality of Godhead in His all-pervading feature of Paramātmā enters every entity, from the biggest to the most minute. His existence can be realized by one who has the single qualification of submissiveness and who thereby becomes a surrendered soul. The development of submissiveness is the cause of proportionate spiritual realization, by which one can ultimately meet the Supreme Lord in person, as a man meets another man face to face.
Because of his development of transcendental attachment for the Supreme Lord, a surrendered soul feels the presence of his beloved everywhere, and all his senses are engaged in the loving service of the Lord.
…..Bilvamaṅgala Ṭhākura actually entered into the transcendental pastimes of Lord Kṛṣṇa. He has recorded his transcendental experiences and appreciation in the book known as Kṛṣṇa–karṇāmṛta. In the beginning of that book he has offered his obeisances to his different gurus, and it is to be noted that he has adored them all equally. The first spiritual master mentioned is Cintāmaṇi, who was one of his instructing spiritual masters because she first showed him the spiritual path. Cintāmaṇi was a prostitute with whom Bilvamaṅgala was intimate earlier in his life. She gave him the inspiration to begin on the path of devotional service, and because she convinced him to give up material existence to try for perfection by loving Kṛṣṇa, he has first offered his respects to her. Next he offers his respects to his initiating spiritual master, Somagiri, and then to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who was also his instructing spiritual master.
CC Adi 1.91:
PURPORT– …In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, a distinction between real religion and pretentious religion has been clearly made. According to this original and genuine commentation on the Vedānta–sūtra, there are numerous pretentious faiths that pass as religion but neglect the real essence of religion. The real religion of a living being is his natural inborn quality, whereas pretentious religion is a form of nescience that artificially covers a living entity’s pure consciousness under certain unfavorable conditions. Real religion lies dormant when artificial religion dominates from the mental plane. A living being can awaken this dormant religion by hearing with a pure heart.
Simply hearing submissively will free one’s heart from all the faults of ignorance, and thus one will achieve deep love for Kṛṣṇa. This is the path of peace.
SB 4.12.32 purport:
Dhruva had a feeling of obligation to his mother, Sunīti. It was Sunīti who had given him the clue which had now enabled him to be personally carried to the Vaikuṇṭha planet by the associates of Lord Viṣṇu. He now remembered her and wanted to take her with him.Actually, Dhruva Mahārāja’s mother, Sunīti, was his patha-pradarśaka-guru. Patha-pradarśaka-guru means “the guru, or the spiritual master, who shows the way.” Such a guru is sometimes called śikṣā–guru. Although Nārada Muni was his dīkṣā–guru(initiating spiritual master), Sunīti, his mother, was the first who gave him instruction on how to achieve the favor of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is the duty of the śikṣā–guru or dīkṣā–guru to instruct the disciple in the right way, and it depends on the disciple to execute the process. According to śāstric injunctions, there is no difference between śikṣā–guru anddīkṣā–guru, and generally the śikṣā–guru later on becomes the dīkṣā–guru. Sunīti, however, being a woman, and specifically his mother, could not become Dhruva Mahārāja’s dīkṣā–guru. Still, he was not less obliged to Sunīti.
The Nectar of Devotion — Vrndavana, October 29, 1972:
Prabhupāda: Guru–kṛṣṇa–kṛpāya pāya bhakti–latā–bīja [Cc. Madhya 19.151]. We have to acquire this energy through the mercy ofguru and Kṛṣṇa. So Kṛṣṇa is within as caitya–guru, and when we are serious He comes out as the spiritual master. Śikṣā–guru,dīkṣā–guru. So there is no difference between śikṣā–guru and dīkṣā–guru and Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa manifests Himself externally asśikṣā–guru and dīkṣā–guru.