My dear son, Kapila, after all, I am a woman. It is very difficult for me to understand the Absolute Truth because my intelligence is not very great. But if You will kindly explain it to me, even though I am not very intelligent, I can understand it and thereby feel transcendental happiness.
Knowledge of the Absolute Truth is not very easily understood by ordinary, less intelligent men; but if the spiritual master is kind enough to the disciple, however unintelligent he may be, then by the divine grace of the spiritual master everything is revealed. Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura therefore says, yasya prasadad, by the mercy of the spiritual master, the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, bhagavat-prasadah, is revealed. Devahuti requested her great son to be merciful toward her because she was a less intelligent woman and also His mother. By the grace of Kapiladeva it was quite possible for her to understand the Absolute Truth, even though the subject matter is very difficult for ordinary persons, especially women.
In this verse Devahuti shows us the process for understanding transcendental subject matters. It is not by challenge but by submission. The entire bhakti process is a process of submission. That is also Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s teaching:
If one is interested in advancing in chanting Hare Krsna, Caitanya Mahaprabhu advises that one be humbler than the grass and more tolerant than the trees. One should not be very proud of his intelligence but should give all respect to others. In this way, one can chant Hare Krsna offenselessly. Although Devahuti was the mother of Kapiladeva, she presented herself as a humble woman. It was not that she considered herself superior because she was His mother.
We have to please the spiritual master by service, and the entire bhakti process depends on the attitude of service. The transcendental nature of Krsna is not possible to understand with our blunt material senses. Krsna’s name, form, qualities and pastimes are all divya, divine. Our present material senses have to be purified by engagement in the Lord’s service, and our first engagement begins with the tongue. It is with the tongue that we can chant the transcendental names of the Lord. This is not very difficult, and this path is open to everyone—even women, vaisyas and sudras. After describing all the faults of Kali-yuga, Srimad-Bhagavatam (12.3.51) states:
“There is one special advantage about this age of Kali-yuga, and that is that people can attain liberation and return home, back to Godhead, simply by chanting the Hare Krsna maha-mantra.” Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said:
harer nama harer nama
harer namaiva kevalam
kalau nasty eva nasty eva
nasty eva gatir anyatha
We should try to avoid the ten offenses in chanting the holy name, but anyone who chants Hare Krsna sincerely is purified. Ceto-darpana-marjanam bhava-maha-davagni-nirvapanam [Cc. Antya 20.12] (Siksastaka 1). This is the easiest process by which the mirror of the mind can be cleansed. If Krsna sees that someone is sincerely chanting Hare Krsna, He will help. He is within everyone, and He can understand whether one is sincere or not. Krsna helps a sincere devotee internally and externally. Internally He helps as paramatma by giving intelligence from within. Dadami buddhi-yogam tam. Externally He helps as His representative, the spiritual master. Therefore Caitanya Mahaprabhu says: guru-krsna-prasade paya bhakti-lata-bija. “By the grace of Krsna, one gets a bona fide guru, and by the grace of the guru, one gets Krsna.” (Cc. Madhya 19.151) Thus the sastras have given us a very easy way to appreciate our transcendental life. That is the Krsna consciousness movement.
Devahuti has submissively accepted her son as her guru. She wants to understand Krsna perfectly, by the grace of Kapiladeva. It is very important to receive the causeless mercy of Krsna and the spiritual master. By Krsna’s mercy, we receive a spiritual master, and by the spiritual master’s mercy, we receive Krsna.
Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura has greatly stressed the mercy of the guru, and it is an actual fact that if we satisfy the guru by our service, he will give us his blessings. This is a very great opportunity, for the guru is the confidential servant of Krsna. The guru never claims that he is Krsna, although he is worshiped as Krsna: saksad dharitvena samasta-sastrair uktas tatha bhavyata eva sadbhih **.
All the sastras describe the guru as being on an equal basis with Krsna, for he is the representative of Krsna. Therefore he is worshiped as Krsna. Being the most confidential servant of Krsna, the guru is very dear to Krsna; therefore if he recommends someone to Krsna, Krsna accepts the person. The guru is the confidential servant of Krsna because he canvasses from door to door, saying, “Please become Krsna conscious and surrender unto Krsna.” Krsna tells Arjuna that such a person is very dear to Him. The bona fide guru tells people to surrender not unto him but unto Krsna. Thus one has to surrender unto Krsna through the via media of the guru, not directly. This is the process. The guru does not accept respect from his disciple for his personal self but conveys this respect to Krsna. If we cannot receive the mercy of the guru, Krsna is very difficult to approach directly.
It is stated in Bhagavad-gita that knowledge of Krsna is received through the parampara, the disciplic succession. Evam parampara-praptam. The guru offers the same respects to his guru, and his guru offers respects to his, and so it goes all the way to Krsna. Thus the mercy of Krsna comes down through the parampara system, and the respect offered to Krsna is offered up through the parampara system. One has to learn to approach the Supreme Personality of Godhead in this way. Thus if we want to approach God, we have to take shelter of the guru in the beginning. Devahuti is begging the mercy of Kapiladeva in order to understand the way to approach Krsna. She approaches Him very humbly saying, “My dear Kapila, You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but I am a woman, and my intelligence is not very sharp. Nonetheless, I want to understand these sublime transcendental subjects from You. It is possible by Your mercy.”
The process of approaching and understanding the Supreme Personality of Godhead was also discussed between Ramananda Raya and Caitanya Mahaprabhu. First, Ramananda Raya explained the process in terms of varnasrama-dharma. He said first of all that human life is meant for approaching Lord Visnu through the rules and regulations governing varnasrama-dharma. Caitanya Mahaprabhu replied that it is very difficult in this age to execute the rules and regulations of varnasrama-dharma. It is very difficult to be a brahmana in this age, and it is practically impossible to revive the old varnasrama-dharma culture. Caitanya Mahaprabhu therefore said that this method is not very practical. Caitanya Mahaprabhu has been called by Srila Rupa Gosvami “the most munificent avatara” because He distributes love of Krsna free of charge. First of all, we cannot even understand Krsna; therefore there is no question of loving Him. If we do not understand someone, how can we love him? The love is very far away, but Caitanya Mahaprabhu is so kind that He distributes krsna-prema, love of Krsna, to whomever will take it. In His life, Caitanya Mahaprabhu cried for Krsna and showed how one should be mad after Him.
“O Govinda! Feeling Your separation, I am considering a moment to be like twelve years or more. Tears are flowing from my eyes like torrents of rain, and I am feeling all vacant in the world in Your absence.” (Siksastaka 7)
Without Krsna, one should see everything as vacant. This is Radharani’s frame of mind, but this is not possible for an ordinary living being. It was possible for Caitanya Mahaprabhu and a few devotees, His immediate disciples like the six Gosvamis, who were following in His footsteps. They worshiped Krsna in separation and sought Krsna everywhere.
he radhe vraja-devike ca lalite he nanda-suno kutah
sri-govardhana-kalpa-padapa-tale kalindi-vane kutah
ghosantav iti sarvato vraja-pure khedair maha-vihvalau
vande rupa-sanatanau raghu-yugau sri jiva-gopalakau
“I offer my respectful obeisances to the six Gosvamis, namely Sri Rupa Gosvami, Sri Sanatana Gosvami, Sri Raghunatha Bhatta Gosvami, Sri Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, Sri Jiva Gosvami and Sri Gopala Bhatta Gosvami, who were chanting very loudly everywhere in Vrndavana, shouting, ‘Queen of Vrndavana, Radharani! O Lalita! O son of Nanda Maharaja! Where are you all now? Are you just on the hill of Govardhana, or are you under the trees on the bank of the Yamuna? Where are you?’ These were their moods in executing Krsna consciousness.” (Sad-gosvamy-astaka 8)
The Gosvamis never said, “We have seen Krsna.” This is the recommended process—worship in separation. We should awaken our lost Krsna consciousness in this way and become mad after Krsna in our separation from Him. This is called krsna-prema, and this love was distributed by Caitanya Mahaprabhu. We should not try to understand Krsna by our small knowledge. Since we are imperfect, how can we speculate on Krsna? There are many people like jnanis and theosophists who try to understand the Absolute Truth by speculation, but this is not possible.
athapi te deva padambuja-dvaya-
prasada-lesanugrhita eva hi
janati tattvam bhagavan-mahimno
na canya eko ’pi ciram vicinvan
“My Lord, if one is favored by even a slight trace of the mercy of Your lotus feet, he can understand the greatness of Your personality. But those who speculate in order to understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead are unable to know You, even though they continue to study the Vedas for many years.” (Bhag. 10.14.29) Even if one speculates for many years, he cannot understand Krsna. One has to receive the mercy of Krsna through the spiritual master, and this is the path recommended by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Sthane-sthitah sruti-gatah tanu-van-manobhih (Bhag. 10.14.3). Another name for Krsna is Ajita. No one can conquer Krsna, but Krsna can be conquered by His devotee. One should be submissive and say, “Krsna, I am very poor. I have no means to understand You. Please be merciful upon me. Please allow me to understand You and surrender.” This is wanted. Krsna is very merciful, and when He sees that someone has surrendered, He will help from within.
Link to this page: https://prabhupadabooks.com/tlk/13/tlk_vs_30