murkha tumi, tomara nahika vedantadhikara
'krsna-mantra' japa sada,--ei mantra-sara
murkha tumi—You are a fool; tomara—Your; nahika—there is not; vedanta—Vedanta philosophy; adhikara—qualification to study; krsna-mantra—the hymn of Krsna (Hare Krsna); japa—chant; sada—always; ei—this; mantra—hymn; sara—essence of all Vedic knowledge.
" 'You are a fool,' he said. 'You are not qualified to study Vedanta philosophy, and therefore You must always chant the holy name of Krsna. This is the essence of all mantras, or Vedic hymns.
Sri Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja comments in this connection, "One can become perfectly successful in the mission of his life if he acts exactly according to the words he hears from the mouth of his spiritual master." This acceptance of the words of the spiritual master is called srauta-vakya, which indicates that the disciple must carry out the spiritual master's instructions without deviation. Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura remarks in this connection that a disciple must accept the words of his spiritual master as his life and soul. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu here confirms this by saying that since His spiritual master ordered Him only to chant the holy name of Krsna, He always chanted the Hare Krsna maha-mantra according to this direction ('krsna-mantra' japa sada,-ei mantra-sara).
Krsna is the origin of everything. Therefore when a person is fully Krsna conscious it is to be understood that his relationship with Krsna has been fully confirmed. Lacking Krsna consciousness, one is only partially related with Krsna and is therefore not in his constitutional position. Although Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is the Supreme Personality of Godhead Krsna, the spiritual master of the entire universe, He nevertheless took the position of a disciple in order to teach by example how a devotee should strictly follow the orders of a spiritual master in executing the duty of always chanting the Hare Krsna maha-mantra. One who is very much attracted to the study of Vedanta philosophy must take lessons from Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. In this age, no one is actually competent to study Vedanta, and therefore it is better that one chant the holy name of the Lord, which is the essence of all Vedic knowledge, as Krsna Himself confirms in the Bhagavad-gita (15.15):
vedais ca sarvair aham eva vedyo
vedanta-krd veda-vid eva caham
"By all the Vedas, I am to be known. Indeed, I am the compiler of Vedanta, and I am the knower of the Vedas."
Only fools give up the service of the spiritual master and think themselves advanced in spiritual knowledge. In order to check such fools, Caitanya Mahaprabhu Himself presented the perfect example of how to be a disciple. A spiritual master knows very well how to engage each disciple in a particular duty, but if a disciple, thinking himself more advanced than his spiritual master, gives up his orders and acts independently, he checks his own spiritual progress. Every disciple must consider himself completely unaware of the science of Krsna and must always be ready to carry out the orders of the spiritual master to become competent in Krsna consciousness. A disciple should always remain a fool before his spiritual master. Therefore sometimes pseudospiritualists accept a spiritual master who is not even fit to become a disciple because they want to keep him under their control. This is useless for spiritual realization.
One who imperfectly knows Krsna consciousness cannot know Vedanta philosophy. A showy display of Vedanta study without Krsna consciousness is a feature of the external energy, maya, and as long as one is attracted by the inebrieties of this ever-changing material energy, he deviates from devotion to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. An actual follower of Vedanta philosophy is a devotee of Lord Visnu, who is the greatest of the great and the maintainer of the entire universe. Unless one surpasses the field of activities in service to the limited, one cannot reach the unlimited. Knowledge of the unlimited is actual brahma-jnana, or knowledge of the Supreme. Those who are addicted to fruitive activities and speculative knowledge cannot understand the value of holy name of Lord Krsna, which is always completely pure, eternally liberated and full of spiritual bliss. One who has taken shelter of the holy name of the Lord, which is identical with the Lord, does not have to study Vedanta philosophy, for he has already completed all such study.
One who is unfit to chant the holy name of Krsna but thinks that the holy name is different from Krsna and thus takes shelter of Vedanta study in order to understand Him must be considered a number one fool, as confirmed by Caitanya Mahaprabhu by His personal behavior, and philosophical speculators who want to make Vedanta philosophy an academic career are also considered to be within the material energy. A person who always chants the holy name of the Lord, however, is already beyond the ocean of nescience, and thus even a person born in a low family who engages in chanting the holy name of the Lord is considered to be beyond the study of Vedanta philosophy. In this connection Srimad-Bhagavatam (3.33.7) states:
aho bata sva-paco 'to gariyan
yaj-jihvagre vartate nama tubhyam
tepus tapas te juhuvuh sasnur arya
brahmanucur nama grnanti ye te
"If a person born in a family of dog-eaters takes to the chanting of the holy name of Krsna, it is to be understood that in his previous life he must have executed all kinds of austerities and penances and performed all the Vedic yajnas." Another quotation states:
rg-vedo 'tha yajur-vedah sama-vedo 'py atharvanah
adhitas tena yenoktam harir ity aksara-dvayam
Taking advantage of these verses, there are some sahajiyas who, taking everything very cheaply, consider themselves elevated Vaisnavas but do not care even to touch the Vedanta-sutra or Vedanta philosophy. A real Vaisnava should, however, study Vedanta philosophy, but if after studying Vedanta one does not adopt the chanting of the holy name of the Lord, he is no better than a Mayavadi. Therefore, one should not be a Mayavadi, yet one should not be unaware of the subject matter of Vedanta philosophy. Indeed, Caitanya Mahaprabhu exhibited His knowledge of Vedanta in His discourses with Prakasananda Sarasvati. Thus it is to be understood that a Vaisnava should be completely conversant with Vedanta philosophy, yet he should not think that studying Vedanta is all in all and therefore be unattached to the chanting of the holy name. A devotee must know the importance of simultaneously understanding Vedanta philosophy and chanting the holy names. If by studying Vedanta one becomes an impersonalist, he has not been able to understand Vedanta. This is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita (15.15). Vedanta means "the end of knowledge." The ultimate end of knowledge is knowledge of Krsna, who is identical with His holy name. Cheap Vaisnavas (sahajiyas) do not care to study the Vedanta philosophy as commented upon by the four acaryas. In the Gaudiya-sampradaya there is a Vedanta commentary called the Govinda-bhasya, but the sahajiyas consider such commentaries to be untouchable philosophical speculation, and they consider the acaryas to be mixed devotees. Thus they clear their way to hell.
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