~ Jagad Guru Chris Butler (Siddhaswarupananda Paramahamsa)

In the Gita, addressing His bosom friend Arjuna, Bhagaban Sri Krishna has said, ‘My dear friend, this Illusory Energy consisting of the three-fold mundane quality is supernatural and may hardly be overcome. Even the gods and the sages (Rishis), not to talk of men and other lower beings, can hardly get rid of her infatuating influence. Only those who make absolute surrender to Me may overcome her.’ Hence it is that Srila Narottam Thakur has said, that the Illusory Energy though vanquished can not be got rid of, except by the grace of Shadhus. Barring the devotees who have completely surrendered themselves to the feet of Sri Krishna, no one has the power to get rid of this Illusory Energy of Godhead consisting of the threefold mundane qualities of ‘Sattwa’ ‘Rajas’ and ‘Tama’.

The offense against the holy Name according to the Padma purana is tenfold,viz. - (1) Scandalizing sadhus augments one's offence against the Name, because the Lord's Name (Sri Krishna) cannot brook the slander of those sadhus who always take the holy Name and preach the glory of the Name to the world. So calumny of sadhus is a grave offense against the holy Name; (2) those who think that Vishnu is quite different from His Name, Form, Qualities and Actions; or those who consider the gods such as Shiva etc. as rivals, that is independent of, or identical with, the Supreme Lord Vishnu, commit an offence against the holy Name; (3) those who consider that, Sri Gurudeva who possesses the true knowledge of the Name is a being of this world and find fault with him in the belief that he is an erring mortal thereby commit offense against the holy Name; (4) denouncing the Vedas and the Vaishnava Puranas is an offence against the holy Name; (5) to think that the glorification of the Name of Hari is exaggeration of praise is an offence against the holy Name; (6) it is an offense against the Name to think that the Names of Godhead Himself are fictitious unreal and imaginary; (7) it is an offence against the holy Name to commit sinful acts fortified by the belief that the taking of the Name will destroy those sins and such offence cannot certainly be expiated by such practices as abstinence, strict observance of rituals, meditation, contemplation, penance and austerities, artificial yogic processes etc...

In the light of the spiritual principle which the varnasrama system was meant to serve, by scientific interpretation of the Scriptures that have a bearing on this issue, from what has already been said it would appear that the Brahmana, who is at the head of the institution, is himself in need of constant control from persons who are placed above the institution. The paramahansa is not subject to the guidance of the Brahman. On the contrary it is the Brahmanas who must always look up to the paramahansa for enabling them to perform their duty towards other sections of the organised community in the sense required by the Scriptures.

In any scheme of revival of the spiritual varnasrama organization the initiative and absolute control of the paramahansa is the one essential condition. But how will it be possible to find out the real paramahansa? It will not do to try to elect him by the democratic method. The Scriptures declare that the paramahansa is delegated the requisite power of getting himself accepted as autocratic organiser of spiritual society when such is the will of Godhead.

The spiritual community of individuals possessing the higher life can have no organisation nor objectives that are definable in terms of limited, mundane relationship. Complete freedom of the individual is the distinguishing characteristic of such a society. In the spiritual community one individual is related to another exclusively by the bond of service. No one seeks to dominate over another. The humblest of servants possesses the highest natural authority which does not require to be defined and declared by any code of so-called written ‘laws’. The pure heart instinctively recognises the need and accepts the helping guidance of another pure heart in rendering unconditional, exclusive service to the common Master. The daiva varnasrama ‘institution’ thus consists of one varna or class viz., that of the spiritually disposed (Brahmanas).

The regulations embodied in the Varnashrama system provide for the literary education of the people under proper safeguards. The scriptures were also taught as literature. Such study of the scriptures under a competent teacher enabled the most successful student to appreciate the Truth up to the level of the teachings of the four Vaishnava Acharyas who preceded Sri Chaitanyadeva. The empiric method by proper handling may impart a symbolic idea of the nature of reverential service of Godhead in terms of the conditions of this world. But the empiric method can never lead to the actual plane of the Absolute which is situated beyond mundane platform.

But it was only the most successful of the twice-born pupil who could be made to reach this lofty altitude of imperfect but genuine reverence for transcendental Godhead. The natural tendency of the empiric study of the Scriptures is to sink the aspiring learner into the depths of intellectual nihilism. This tragedy is set forth in the writings of Sri Sankaracharya.

At present all those persons who are born of Brahmana father and mother claim the exclusive right of being invested with the holy thread of sacrifice at their option and thereby acquiring the status of the twice-born as a matter of course. This is given out by these hereditary caste-Brahmanas as being in accordance with some Grihya Sutras and Dharma Shastras. These caste-Brahmanas affect to regard themselves as the authorised protectors and regulators of society by scriptural authorisation. They also contend that this arrangement has been eternal and has come down intact from the time of the Rig-Veda, our available oldest record. It is necessary to consider the genesis of these claims in the light of actual religious history and scriptural evidence.

In this material world there is always difference between the thing itself and its name, form, attributes and action. For example when I say ‘a table’ the word ‘table’ is not the thing itself and is quite different from it; but in the spiritual world it is a veritable truth that there is no such difference between an object and its name, form, attributes and action; or, in other words, they are identical. In the material world this difference between the thing and its name, form, attributes and action etc., is due to the prescence of maya or ‘illusion’. But in the spiritual sphere or Vaikuntha there is no such ‘illusion’ or screen intervening between the object and its name, form, attributes and action. In Vaikuntha the Word is Brahman or God Himself. The word ‘Vaikuntha” means that from which maya or ‘illusion’ is expelled. It is purely spiritual.

THE way to God-Realisation is supposed to be laid up with great barriers and insurmountable difficulties-high mountains, abysmal valleys, roaring cataracts and thundering storms. Not altogether unjustified are these fears; for God-Realisation is not to be had merely for the asking and the doors to the kingdom of the Lord will not part at the mere repetition of some mystic words that opened to Alibaba the doors of the hidden treasure in the forest. But this difficulty is in no way peculiar to God-Realisation alone. The way to the attainment of any mundane object is likewise beset with innumerable hardships. The world, howsoever, transitory and shadowy in existence is not a dream-land in which the characters of the Arabian Nights perform their magic exploits and get what they desire without much effort or ado. If we want to achieve any mundane object, we have not only to desire but to will and act. Everything in the mundane world has got its price and we must pay the same before we may have it. The nobler the object we aspire to achieve the higher the price we must pay. We must put in the required effort and make the necessary sacrifice. To no worldly achievement does the way lie through a bed of roses. Everything is too dear for mere wish, and rightly has it been said that if wishes were horses even fools would ride. Every desire must excite efforts in order to achieve its end. Even for the sake of bread one must exert himself. The law of human life is, "In the sweat of thy brow shalt thou earn thy bread", and no man can evade this law with impunity.