Conversations with Srila Gurudeva in a submissive demeanour reveal the most confidential secrets of Vaishnavic consciousness. Srila Gurudeva reveals the highest mood of a perfect Vaishnava through his own example and presents a model which all serious practitioners in the movement of Sriman Mahaprabhu should aspire for.
A Vaishnava is a Vaishnava first by internal mood and then through action as a result of that mood. External manifestation of the insignia like tilaka, Kanthi mala, chanting bag, shaved head etc is optional and takes an auxiliary position compared to the internal mood of a Vaishnava. A Vaishnava is one whose basic quality is that of attachment to the Sadhguru and through the Sadhguru to the Lord. A Vaishnava can never roam free and act self-styled as a practitioner. He has to be an “anugat” or one who is practising seriously under the auspices of a perfect spiritual master associated with the main Parivaras of the families designated by Sriman Mahaprabhu. The mood of the Vaishnava is simply that of service and nothing else. Care for other Vaishnavas even at the cost of one’s own discomfort is indicative of the Vaishnava’s high attainments. Only a Vaishnava in this mood is qualified to know anything about the supra-mundane tryst of the divine couple. Sadhana is an important limb of spiritual achievement and yet Vaishnava “shishtachar” (discipline) and “Sadachar” (rightful actions) constitute the heart of such Sadhana. On a general scale one should be cognizant of the following areas of discipline and action.
Perfect obedience to spiritual master:
One should obey the spiritual master “as it is” or “as he expects”. One should not try to apply one’s intelligence and try to interpret the Sadhguru’s words according to one’s convenience. It is important for the Vaishnava to understand the words of the Sadhguru as the master desires and apply his instructions without duplicity. There should be no reason for a Vaishnava to paraphrase one’s crooked intentions in the form of doubts and put it in front of Sadhguru. This in itself will constitute or take the form of a serious “Aparadha”. It is important for a Vaishnava to be absolutely transparent to the Sadhguru and lay oneself bare in front of him and thus try to earn the love of one’s spiritual master. Sincerity and dedication to the Spiritual master is the only way by which the Sadhguru’s heart will melt and enable the floodgates of mercy to open.
Love and Support the Vaishnavas:
Vaishnavism is the antonym of selfishness. One needs to be cognizant and sensitive to the mood and the needs of other Vaishnavas even if the other Vaishnava may be a kanishtha. When a Vaishnava thus becomes sensitive to the needs of the other Vaishnavas (Sajatiya) this will elate the Sadhguru and his mercy will shower. A Vaishnava is one who keeps the interest of the associates in the forefront. This should be the general attitude of a Vaishnava. He should seek the guidance of the Sadhguru at all times and build one’s Service consciousness.
Developing the ability to see the big picture
A Vaishnava is a person who is most intelligent. He is a person who has the ability to see that which ordinary people are unable to see. A Vaishnava sees everything in relation with the Lord and sees himself as a servant at all times. This attitude can be developed if one avoids association with materialistic people and takes association with Sadhus who have dedicated their lives to the service of the Lord. Through continued association, the dirt of materialistic thinking shall automatically fade and one will be able to envision one’s position and the position of the world in the proper perspective. The smallness of one’s selfish self-centred myopic view is the cause of all suffering. A Vaishnava is one who has broken the shell of self-centredness through his ability to depend on the Lord at all times. A Vaishnava is one who has gained the heart of the Lord through surrender and service. This is the heart that has untainted love towards all jeevas; a heart that endeavours to give the Lord to the society through one’s own example.
Tolerant but absolutely non-secular
The word secular is not applicable for a Vaishnava. A secular person can never develop a high mood of service. A Vaishnava is passionate about his practices towards the Lord and Guru. He is a perfect devotee. All his actions are dovetailed to the service of the Guru and the Lord. The Vaishnava is extremely tolerant towards all yet he does not accept other moods. The mood of service will only develop if one is one-pointed towards the ultimate goal or Prayojana of Seva Prapti.
The manifestation of the spiritual world can happen only when the Vaishnava becomes capable of manifesting all the spiritual moods on this materialistic plane first. One is simply deceiving oneself if one thinks that one can chant the Holy Names based on one’s whims or accepting some pseudo-process promulgated under the umbrella of organizational preaching and still enter the Spiritual domain. This is simply not possible. Unless one is able to flower into an authentic Vaishnava atleast in the eyes of the Sadhguru and through the Sadhguru in the eyes of the Lord, entry into the spiritual kingdom will remain a distant dream!
Mood of humility
Above all the mood of humility is the utmost vital behavioural organ of a Vaishnava. A person who does not have this organ cannot qualify as a Vaishnava in the eyes of the Sadhguru and the Lord. This humility is of the kind that, the Vaishnava is withdrawn in one’s senses and does not hanker for recognition or appreciation. He is one who only gives respect to others and does not expect anything in return. Even in the eye of adversity, a Vaishnava wants to see one’s surrounding in happiness more than one’s own happiness. The mood of putting all others before oneself even in service to Guru or other activities where the Vaishnava experiences elation to see others serve and relish is foremost in a true Vaishnava. Last but not the least, a Vaishnava lives for the satisfaction of the Sadhguru and the Lord and tries to revel in the satisfaction of other Vaishnava. This facet is that which establishes the Vaishnava completely in the spiritual domain.