By Mahanidhi Swami
To serve and not to be served is the constitutional position of the jiva, the living entity. Forgetting his real eternal nature, the conditioned soul becomes the false master of the material world. He plays the role of God and tries to enjoy his senses in every way imaginable and unimaginable. Though he tries very hard to be the supreme enjoyer, in reality the conditioned soul becomes a completely bound slave of Maya. Ironically, the more one strives for lordship, freedom and pleasure, the more he increases his bondage of servitude and misery.
For a fortunate soul, the spiritual master, Sri Guru, appears in his life to remove the darkness of misconception and establish him in the light of eternal truth. Sri Guru proclaims, “O lost soul! Verily, my dear friend, you are actually the eternal servant of the Supreme Lord Krishna (jivera, svarupa haya nitya krishna dasa).” Ahh…… A new life begins. Joy awakens and the highest divine prospect descends to lighten the burden of a million previous births.
But who is the spiritual master? What is his relationship with Sri Krishna and Srila Vyasadeva, the compiler of all Vedic thought? And lastly why and how is Sri Guru worshiped in a ceremony commonly known as Vyasa-puja?
Since the Vedas contain all the knowledge and mantras one needs to achieve both material happiness and spiritual perfection, why can’t one just study the Vedas by himself, without a spiritual master, and attain all material and spiritual perfection? Besides, it is said that the Supreme Lord is within everyone, so why does one need a spiritual guide to realize God?
The sacred books alone are not the revelation. The acaryas, spiritual teachers, are a necessary part of revelation. The Vedic texts preserve the spoken words of the Supreme Lord and various liberated saints known as rishis. But alone, the books cannot speak personally to us.
God is transcendental sound and He must be heard. Therefore, the Vedic literature is called Shruti, which means that which is heard or communicated orally from the beginning; sacred knowledge orally transmitted by the spiritual teachers from generation to generation. The word Shruti also means the ear organ or the power of hearing.
The transcendental sound spoken by a God realized soul, the spiritual master, to the surrendered disciple disposed to rendering unconditional service to Sri Guru, is not the same as the transcendental sound written in or read in the sacred scriptures, the Vedas. The personal factor, Sri Guru, provides the essential link connecting the covered consciousness of the disciple and the Absolute Truth. The Supreme Lord engages select persons to act as His delegated, empowered representatives, the spiritual masters, who act in this world to dispel the ignorance eclipsing the original, pure and brilliant consciousness of the conditioned souls.
By His own will the Absolute Truth appears on the lips of a surrendered devotee. But the Absolute Truth, which is fully experienced as Sri Krishna the transcendental autocrat, forever reserves the right of not revealing Himself to the mundane senses of the conditioned soul attached to material sense enjoyment. Personal submission to the living pure devotee is the key to spiritual perfection. The spiritual preceptor is the empowered representative of Srila Vyasadeva, who is none other than Lord Narayana Himself.
Mundane scientists research the phenomenal world to make discoveries to improve the quality of human life. Similarly, one may argue that, “Since God is within everyone, why can’t a spiritual seeker independently research within himself, and thereby gain transcendental knowledge and realization of God? Why does one need a spiritual master?” Such statements reveal one’s ignorance about the essential nature of the Absolute Truth and transcendental knowledge of Him.
In summary, the Absolute Truth is the fully conscious, supreme Absolute Person. In other words, God is the supremely conscious individual. Connection with the Absolute Truth depends solely on His sweet will, which God expresses by sending his agent, the spiritual master, when I am qualified with transcendental faith and surrender.
(Excerpt from Tribute of Love by mahanidhi swami)
Jai Jai Sri Radhe!