Questions About Prema and Changing Gurus

Q1:- Possessiveness of Krishna happens at Prema, but is the seed of it in Sādhana?

In sādhana our relationship to Krishna is only a theory that we try to emulate or live up to. Maybe we have a theory that Krishna should be our sweetheart, for example. It is just a theory, not a reality. And we practice seeing the world and ourselves through that theory. In prema, it becomes a manifest reality.

Q2:- As you mentioned that Hanuman doesn’t lack anything but then in comparison to Gopi Prema there is lack. But then isn’t Prema a completely subjective thing, so how can we objectify the different Rasas?

Sugarcane is sweeter than coconut. That doesn’t mean everyone likes sugarcane more than coconut.

Objectively sugarcane is sweeter. Subjectively, some like coconut better.

Q3:- Shouldn’t a Dasya Bhakta be getting complete satisfaction in relation with Bhagvan as much as a Madurya Rasa Bhakta?

Yes, just as a coconut fan gets complete satisfaction from eating coconuts, and isn’t wanting for the taste of sugarcane.

Q4:- Can the initial interest/attraction for Krishna be just very generic meaning one is just attracted to His sweetness or may be greatness or some other aspect, like Bhakti is the best thing that one can do?

Yes, while knowledge of Krishna is vague, attraction is vague. The more knowledge increases, the less vague. The more knowledge matures into experience, the more concrete.

Even in prema, the rasa can go first into śuddha-svacca-rati (a generic love) and later mature into something more specific. We will cover this when we cover the sthayi-bhavas.

Q5:- Can the initial attraction(Shraddha) to Krishna be an attraction to experience the Bhakti of a Vrajavasi – to how that particular Vrajavasi feels for Krishna and experiences Krishna on account of that feeling; rather than being attracted to a specific Guna or Rupa of Krishna?

Technically this is OK, and is rāgānugā-śraddha. But they way many people think of this is a lot like saying you want to know what a sugarcane fan experiences, but you are not interested in sugarcane.

Q6:- If someone gets attracted to say Prasadam or some other feature of an organisation promoting Krishna Bhakti, then could such an attraction be categorised as Shraddha in Krishna Bhakti?

They have śraddhā for prasādam, not for bhakti or anything else. If their understanding of prasādam is very deep, śraddhā for it can be the gateway for śraddhā for bhakti and Krishna.

Śraddha for Thing A is Śraddha for Thing A. Maybe it will lead to Śraddha for Thing B, but unless and until it does, there is no Śraddha for Thing B.

Q7:- If at a particular point one finds that one is not able to nurture one’s Krishna Bhakti in a particular organisational set up, though one may have started from there, then can one switch tracks?

Yes. Best to do it with blessings from the persons in the organization you are leaving. That may not be possible (due to their attachments), but we should at least make a sincere effort for it.

Q8:- Would such switching of tracks be tantamount to being an Apradhi thereby not letting one experience Bhakti? 

Don’t unnecessarily use round-about logic – determining A by evaluating B. Use direct logic whenever possible: Evaluate A to figure out A. Evaluate B to figure out B.

Being an aparādhī is being an aparādhī, switching organizations is switching organizations. A person may be one, the other, both, or neither.

If you realize you made a mistake in identifying your guru, try to get that person’s blessings for your change. As I mentioned, its unlikely that you will get such blessings without a great deal of equivocation and strife. This just confirms that you were correct about their spiritual stature, as this reluctance to bless and wish well is a clear symptom of a petty self-concept still plagued by personal and socio-political attachments and ambitions. However we should sincerely try to make it an unoffensive transition, done with blessings from the person formerly considered the guru.

Q9:- How can it be decided if a person is an Apradhi? 

Aparādhā as a noun means “hate.” If you feel hatred towards bhaktas or bhakti, that is anartha, and if you express it, that is aparādhā as a verb.

People who have a lot of anartha are very easy to offend, because they have much self-interest. We should try to tiptoe around them, or even humiliate ourselves to placate them, but it is too exhausting and distracting to do that forever, so we should try our best to leave their company on amiable terms.




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