Calcutta, India — Tuesday, October 14th
Srila Gurudeva's grace
I arrived at the Sevak Bhavan too late to see Srila Gurudeva last night. I did see Srila Gurudeva, briefly, late this morning. (His Divine Grace is not feeling well so there was no morning darshan.)
At 11:30 Deva Bandhu Prabhu knocks on the door to my room and says, "Srila Gurudeva is calling you to lunch." This is an unexpected honor: to be invited to Srila Gurudeva's veranda to have lunch with His Divine Grace and the other senior Vaishnavas.
Srila Gurudeva is served first, and with a "Jaya Guru Maharaj!" begins eating. When we are served, I see that it is simple fare: kitchuri and pumpkin pakoras. As we are about to respectfully begin relishing this glorious maha-maha-prasadam, Srila Gurudeva tries to forestall us.
"They will bring prasadam from the temple." With a dismissive gesture towards his plate — almost as a warning! — Srila Gurudeva says, "This is my food..."
I almost laugh out aloud, because Srila Gurudeva must be joking, right? He is, in effect, saying: "I am a sickly old man, so I must eat this bland food, but you do not have to. Soon my assistants will bring many dishes of Krishna's opulent prasadam from the temple next door, so if you wait just a little while longer, you can enjoy a much nicer feast..."
One look at Srila Gurudeva's serious expression, however, quickly wipes the beginnings of a grin off my face. Srila Gurudeva is so incredibly humble, it is sometimes too painful to see. He is genuinely apologizing because we have been served his simple "food," and advising us to wait for the "real" prasadam that will soon be brought from the temple...
But this simple fare is precisely what we have come for!
If Gurudeva is eating kitchuri and pumpkin pakoras, then that is all we want. We have not come to eat nice things; we have come for Srila Gurudeva's mercy.
So none of us sitting at the table follow Srila Gurudeva's advice. (You could say that we know which side our bread is buttered on!) Rather, we begin eating with gusto, because we know that
Prasadam is transcendental, and it descends from the spiritual world to this material world through the agency of the guru. Srila Gurudeva is our medium between this world and that world. Everything that he does is on the transcendental platform because his consciousness is always absorbed in that plane of reality (jnaninas tattva-darsinah) and he draws our consciousness up into that super-subjective conscious plane (upadeksyanti te jnanam) by his mercy, by his prasadam.
Srila Gurudeva is Krishna's prasadam to us (acaryam mam vijaniyan) and it is only by the grace of that prasadam (Srila Gurudeva) that we get the grace of Krishna (yasya prasadad bhagavat-prasado).
And how do we know this? By Srila Gurudeva's grace, of course!
Layout by iMonk — October 14th, 2008.