All glories to Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga
"Everything is existing within Consciousness"
An article by Sripad Bhakti
Swarup Tridandi Maharaj,
London Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math
"Everything is existing within Consciousness." This statement of Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj, understood properly, can help us much in our spiritual journey. Srila Sridhar Maharaj -- known to his disciples and followers as Srila Guru Maharaj -- was, by the admission of his own Sri Gurudev Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur, a 'man of substance,' and, as a gentleman once described him, a 'man of eternal mind.' His explanations of Vedanta philosophy and Mahaprabhu's teachings always came first from the basis of consciousness. When he would have talks with his Godbrother Sripad Jajavar Maharaj, in their philosophical discussions Sripad Jajavar Maharaj would take the side of analysis and Srila Guru Maharaj always that of consciousness. He would represent everything in a unified way because consciousness is the substratum of everything, and that consciousness is personal. As Lord Krishna says: "After many lifetimes, the wise man (jnani) surrenders to Me, understanding Me, Vasudev, to be the cause of all causes and all that is." (Srimad Bhagavad-gita 7:19)
Srila Guru Maharaj liked to describe Krishna and His energies as the 'Organic Whole.' In these days of holistically minded philosophical speculation this kind of statement is quite apt, no doubt, but he qualified it by carefully showing that Krishna, as the Organic Whole, is not thereby only the sum of all the parts -- the New Age mind-set would accept this much -- but that He is more than that, and infinitely so. One of Srila Guru Maharaj's oft quoted parts of Sri Gita is where Krishna says to Arjjuna: "I am in everything, and everything is existing in Me." Thus far, our New Age friend is happy. But then Srila Guru Maharaj would continue -- almost, we can imagine with a twinkle in his eye -- with Krishna's following statement that, "I am nowhere, and nothing is in Me. Just see My mystic opulence." Now the pantheist has to fall silent.
Krishna is fully independent, the Supreme Enjoyer: in Srila Guru Maharaj's words, the "transcendental Autocrat."
In America in 1966, concurrent with the anti-war demonstrations, Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj printed his leaflet 'The Peace Formula' for mass distribution. Based on Srimad Bhagavad-gita 5:29, he wrote there that one could understand God if he could understand three things: that He is the Enjoyer of everything; that He is the Supreme Controller; and that He is the dearest friend of everyone. Only in this way could there be real and lasting peace in this world. And Srila Sridhar Maharaj has pointed out the beauty of this apparent dichotomy: the Supreme Enjoyer and Controller of infinite universes is living in our own heart as our beloved friend, so, "Have no apprehension, Arjjuna." He is not so far above His creations that He has no connection with them, as the Deists imagine.
Once when explaining how the living being arises from the deepest ignorance to awaken to God consciousness in the human form, Srila Guru Maharaj showed how this awakenment begins by his realisation of the common denominator between himself and others -- consciousness. (He has of course explained also about the further fulfilment of consciousness in anandam, bliss.)
Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj, having imbibed the teachings of Srila Sridhar Maharaj over many years of his holy association, explains them in his own, dynamic way for the benefit of the new generation of followers: "We need to clean ourselves through Krishna-kirttan, and this is the process in this Age, Kali-yuga. When we will chant the Maha-mantra, when we will meditate on the Gayatri-mantram, feelings will come to us. We can promote ourselves with these feelings to the conscious level." (October 3, 1999)
B.S. Tridandi Swami
23 June 2002