Advent of Sri Sri Baladeva
Thakur Brindaban, the first poet of spiritual Gauda has sung the praise of Baladeva Who is the source of all power in the beginning of his masterly treatise. There was necessity for the poet and biographer to sing the praise of Baladeva Who gives the power of uttering the Truth (kirtan). Baladeva can make the dumb speak and enable the cripple to cross mountains. Sri Gurudev wields the power of Baladeva.
In these days, ‘power’ or ‘force’ (bala) is the absorbing topis throughout the world. Those who have studied the history of the western countries are aware that a system bearing the name of Bolshevism came into existence in Russia in the year 1917 A.D. and it has been a subject of much heated discussion to this day. The principle of Bolshevism has existed since the creation of the world.—the designation was different but the fundamental principle is the same. The power of the masses, which the system represents is tending to dominate the society in all civilised nations who are all in favour of the ultra democratic principle. If one talks against it, he is likely to find no audience. What the Mahatmas of Sri Gaudiya Math have been speaking to the world for the last twelve years is taken in certain quarters to be their sectarian views as it does not claim to be the views of the masses. It is accordingly confidently maintained that it will not benefit us or the society in the least because we are of opinion that the voice of masses alone possesses lasting and effective power. Therefore, we say to the social person that if he wants to do any good to his society he must have patience for the opinions of the masses. It does not, however, lie in one’s losing oneself in the stream of temporary emotional excitements to which the mass is very liable. But if with patience and perseverance, we surrender ourselves to the feet of Sri Baladeva Who can make us strong and powerful that real power to do good will be given us. Thakur Brindaban has said that if you are really anxious for the power to serve God then you should endeavour to obtain the power of uttering the Truth (kirtan), otherwise you fail to secure the real thing. In India, the land of the Upanishad, where there should be no dearth of real power, it is very strange, indeed, that we do not understand how to obtain the same. Is sectarianism to say that no one but a Brahman has a right to the study of the Upanishads? No, it expresses a great truth if it is properly understood.
Two persons —Birochan on the side of the Asuras (demons) and Indra on the side of the ‘devas’ (Gods) —went to Brahmma to know about the truth of the Upanishads. When with offerings in hand, they came to Brahmma the latter said to them, ‘You have got some initial work to do. You will have to live in the house of your Guru (preceptor) and serve him for a period of thirty-two years.’ Acting on this advice both of them accordingly began to learn the knowledge of the Brahman. After thirty-two years of study with the Guru, Brahmma said, ‘The Brahman is the gross body.’ To this Birochan said, ‘Well, I have known that and finished my study.’ Thinking that the soul is identical with the gross body according to the Upanishads, Birochan began to preach it to the atheists, (asuras). Indra, however, enquired if there is any other underlying meaning. After another thirty–two years of service of Gurudev, Brahmma told him in reply that the ‘mind’ is identical with the Brahman. Finding Indra to be devoted to the service of Gurudeva, after another thirty-two years Brahmma informed him that the Jiva after being liberated from the physical (gross) and mental (subtle) bodies attain to his effulgent spiritual body. It is this excellent person who participates in the enjoyments, pastimes and pleasures of the spiritual world. According to the Vedas this is the best of all forms of salvation.
On perusal of the first chapter of the Gita we may think that we have been advised to engage in war. When we have read the second chapter, we understand that the knowledge of the soul is the object to be aimed at; but we do not enquire how to know him. On a reference to the third chapter, we think, that ‘to do religious works’ is the ultimate conclusion of the Gita; but we do not enquire of the Gita as to what kind work is meant. We have not the patience to learn what the Shastras are repeatedly indicating by their introduction, conclusion, repeated recitals and unprecedented effect. If we patiently read the Gita and try to ascertain the final object of its concluding Shloka, we understand that we have been advised to give up all forms of religion and surrender ourselves to the Feet of Sri Krishna alone. In order to fully grasp the purport and the true intention of the Shastras, we must have to hear with patience, understand with patience and act with patience. If, in course of serving our Gurudev with patience, we pray at his feet for strength, then only can we expect to obtain it by the grace of Sri Baladeva.
Where does the power lie? Sriman Mahapravu has said that all the powers of Godhead are concentrated in His Name. But we do not admit this to be so because we do not find its support in the voice of the masses, as we consider power to be identical with general concurrence.
What was the nature of the power that Hiranyakashipu got? He obtained the power of Baladeva in a perverted form. In the Puranas there was an ‘Asura’ of the name of Baladeva who was killed by Indra and from whose bones came out jewels and pearls. This ‘Asura’ Baladeva co-exists in competitive opposition to that Baladeva in whose lotus feet the entire principle of Divine transcendence and immanence and that of serving souls are centred. We are worshipping that perversion viz. the Asura Baladeva at present. It is our Sri Gurudev who can take us to the real power giving-God. Now-a-days attempts are being made by woman to be treated on a footing of equality with man. But we can only hope to be able to protect both with that spiritual power for which we should rightly aspire. You are aware that Dhatri Panna, Durgabati and Karmadeva possessed more than masculine courage and strength of purpose; but how long could it protect even them? If this power cannot save any of us for good is it worth our while to strive for such an uncertain protection?
He alone is powerful who attains realisation of self and becomes established in the self. We cannot gain strength unless and until we get rid of inconclusive mental speculations. What apparently enormous strength Napoleon gained! But he had to yield feebly to a weak female. Does it prove the excellence of the power of Science that it decapitated millions the other day? The intellectual giants of the West declared the other day that the time is not distant when we shall see the great conflagration of a suicidal war between capital and labour. Is this the real fulfilment of our aspiration for power by the exercise of which men can destroy everything that which we are seeking? Or, is that the real ‘power’ of which the Sadhu Mohatmas speak and which can make a man fully wise and free? But we are evilly disposed to prefer the acquisition of the gross material force. The Upanishad has said that the soul cannot be realised by one which is devoid of true power. The soul cannot be realised by brute or physical force. Party-factions will bring us no good. Then and then only we shall be in a position to acquire real strength when we shall be in the attitude of service towards the real power-giving-God Sri Baladeva and his alter ego Sri Gurudeva. But we shall fail in that if we keep aloof from Him by the abuse of our ‘free-will’ as amply testified to by history and science. Therefore if we want to acquire actual strength, we must take shelter in Him who is the Repository of all power.
By sucking the self-same water of the river, a neem-tree and a mango-tree on the bank of the Ganges produce fruits of different tastes. Ignorant people take the word ‘power’ in the sense of something gross and material. Guided by the ordinary conventional meaning they take it in the sense of physical or mental strength, while those guided by the truly rational meaning understand it in the true sense of soul-force. He who desires to obtain the soul-force can attain to it by the grace of Sri Baladeva. But the present world will ask, ‘What good will come of the worship of Baladeva?’ The Sruti has said, ‘The soul can not be realised by one who is powerless’. We shall have to know the Thing through service, and if we agree to surrender ourselves to the guidance of Sri Gurudeva then only we shall know the purport of real power.
By means of the external garb some have tried to identify the state of surrender to Sri Guru Deva with Sannyas (renunciation of the world). No good will accrue to us unless we brand ourselves with the mark of the whole time service of Sri Gurudev. By ‘sannyas’ is not meant the wearing of a saffron robe. It will not do unless we take leave of the attitude of reliance of the vox populi. The learned and intelligent person who, being thus branded, will make the attempt through atonement, penance and service of Sri Gurudeva, will be in a position to enter that spiritual realm of Baladeva, the abode of His eternal pastimes where there is nothing unwholesome. Sri Baladeva, the power-giving-God, appeared in this world to infuse strength into all of us to give away the Divinity in the form of transcendental sound or the holy Name the Fountain-head of all strength, to conditioned souls from door to door. Baladeva is the same as Nityananda and is no other than the alter ego of Sri Krishna, the Supreme Godhead, and exercises the plenary power of Krishna. It is not that He can-not pose as the husband of many wives or as a thief of apparently the worst type. He possesses the nature of the Spiritual Despot who can perform ‘Rasalila’ and He is on a footing with Krishnachandra Himself and can drink the wine without offence. The power of the Absolute rests with Baladeva and nothing can defile Him who is the repository of all power. He who is reluctant to acknowledge the absolute freedom of will of Godhead has no faith in Him. People may wonder why after taking to Sannyas (renunciation of the world), Nityananda again married twice without committing the deadly offence of lapse into worldliness thereby. He performed the ‘pastime’ of an abadhuta (super ascetic) but He is nevertheless the receptacle of all power. He can indulge in amorous dalliance with millions of spiritual milkmaids. Nityananda Pravu came into this world to give freedom to all sentient beings, a power that transcends all power of this world and is the power of Nityananda, the power of ‘Sabda Brahman’, the power of Kirtan. But the pity is that we may have no faith in this. He gave away the free gift of spiritual love to high and low and even to beasts and birds, a thing which was not given before to the Gods, Brahmma and his peers. But why is not even a drop of the ocean of love showered upon us? Because we do not surrender to Him with open hearts free from all hypocrisies. It is for that reason that Sri Gurudeva, the inseparable associated counterpart of Nityananda, come to us at times and admonish us to endeavour to obtain real strength. Nrisingha, Vamana and the other Appearances of the Divinity are but the partial although Divine manifestations of the Fountain-head Himself. When the greatness of Lord Nityananda will be proclaimed at the door of every conditioned soul, only then will the real good of the world come, not only in Bengal but all over the universe. The first Gaudiya poet has sung, ‘One who intends to dive deep into the ocean of devotion by crossing this mundane world, let him serve and worship Nitaichand.’ Even we, the people of Bengal, care very little for this advice. We are striving after brute force but do not care to obtain the real power. What could Prahlad not do by the grace of Nrishinghadeva, a partial Divine manifestation of Sri Baladeva! He was not in the least agitated by the frowns and ferocities of Hiranya Kashipu, the mighty king of the ‘asuras’. By the grace of Nrishinghadeva all the obstacles to his devotion were completely eradicated.
If we desire to become the real conquerors of the world and be saved from the hands of impious atheists, the real demons, then we must engage in the worship of Nityananda Pravu who is no other than Sri Baladeva Himself. When the people of this world will so engage themselves, it will be then and then only that real peace and happiness will reign over the world, that real swaraj will be established and real freedom will come. Therefore, we should take care as to how we can secure the grace of Sri Baladeva and his other self Sri Gurudeva.