Friday, March 12, 2010

Behaviour of a Disciple

I read this article from BCS Istagosthi and I wanted to share it with others because it really says everything I feel from my heart but can not explain to others. Sometimes people tell me that I'm just introverted and introspective so therefore it is hard for me to make friends with people, even devotees or aspiring devotees as they may be and that somehow is the root of my depression. I know, however, that I'm not "just depressed" my problems are so easily sorted out, telling me that I'm just lonely and depressed doesn't address the actual issue. The only place they make sense is in my heart and mind, when I try to manifest those emotions into words, I feel choked or suffocated, stifled. Still, my heart feels a void, my dreams are unfulfilled and I know its because I have not actually pleased my spiritual master. Hopefully I can move forward from here and with the help and guidance of Sri Guru from within the heart, I will one day achieve my goal of satisfying my Guru and therefore my heart will also be at ease.

In Hari-bhakti-vilasa, verse 2.147, Srila Sanatan Goswami quotes
Sammohana-tantra:

gopayed devatam istam gopayed gurum atmanah
gopayec ca nijam mantram gopayen nija-malikam

One should hide one's ista-deva, one should hide one's guru, one should hide one's mantra, and one should hide one's japa-mala.

Wise persons keep their valuables in a confidential place. Similarly, an intelligent sadhaka does not advertise his or her guru, nor do they broadcast themselves as disciples of their guru. Considering themselves as low, fallen, and unfit to be considered disciples, sincere devotees do not want to advertise who their guru is.

Srila Thakur Bhaktivinode has described that there are two types of disciples, the antarmukha-sisyas and the bahirmukha-sisyas. Antarmukha literally means "inward-facing". It refers to someone who is introspective. Bahirmukha literally means "outward-facing", and refers to someone who is absorbed in external things.

Antarmukha-sisyas are desirous of bringing pleasure to their guru. Their focus is on following the guru's instructions. The antarmukha-sisyas practice gopayed gurum atmanah. They keep their guru and their relationship with him confidential. An antarmukha-sisya is not interested in advertising himself as a disciple of his guru, but prefers to follow the guru's instructions. His meditation is to try to understand what will please his guru. The antarmukha-sisya is anartha-mukta-avastha, he is free from anarthas. His vision of guru is known as sevya-darsana. He sees that guru should be served and pleased.

Bahirmukha-sisyas are disciples who practice the opposite of gopayed gurum atmanah. They are absorbed in advertising their guru and in making a show of themselves as being big or intimate disciples. Such a disciple is also known as guru-giri, or one who makes a business out of guru and one's relationship with guru. They are not absorbed in the inner intention of guru. Srila
Bhaktivinode Thakur has described persons who act on such an external platform as dharmadhvajis ("religion flag-wavers"), meaning those who make a hypocritical or pretentious show of religiosity.

Following the logic of atmavan manyate jagat (everyone thinks like I do), the bahirmukha-sisyas consider that their guru thinks like they do. Because they are motivated by the desires for fame and adoration they think that their guru also wants such things. The bahirmukha-sisyas are
anartha-yukta-avastha, they have anarthas, material desires, in their hearts. Because of those anarthas they only see guru in terms of their own pleasure. This vision is known as bhogya-darsana. They think that making a big show of devotion will impress their guru and enable them to come close to their guru. Their idea of guru-bhakti is to loudly proclaim to the world,
amar guru jagad-guru - "My guru is the best or the only one and any other guru is lesser." They think that such publicizing will please their guru.

For some devotees, pushing their guru is an easy way to avoid facing the reality of their own lack of advancement. They want respect, and they think it is easier for them to get it by broadcasting themselves as a disciple of a great personality than for themselves to manifest the qualities of a
vaisnava. However, this kind of cheating mentality will never attract the attention of saintly persons. They are not impressed with whom we have taken initiation or instructions from. Rather, they want to see what is our own level of realization.

Since such neophytes equate the showing of respect to themselves with the showing of respect to their guru, when they become chastised or fail to receive the honor and recognition they want, they accuse the devotees, "You have offended my guru!" In this way, Kali, the personification of this age of quarrel and hypocrisy, is able to enter the movement of Sri Chaitanya
Mahaprabhu and cause dissension, distracting them from their real business of chanting and distributing the holy names.

So Srila Sanatan Goswami's instruction gopayed gurum atmanah - "One should hide one's guru" - is advising devotees to go deeper in their relationship with guru by basing that relationship on following the instructions about service and bhajan that their guru has given.
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