Obedience Leads to Purification - Part 1

Hare Krishna Prabhujis and Matajis,
Please accept my humble obeisances! All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev!

We were discussing the following verse from Srimad Bhagavatam 3.11.11, during the Mangala arati program in Abu Dhabi.

tayoḥ samuccayo māsaḥ pitṝṇāṁ tad ahar-niśam
dvau tāv ṛtuḥ ṣaḍ ayanaṁ dakṣiṇaṁ cottaraṁ divi

The aggregate of two fortnights is one month, and that period is one complete day and night for the Pitaa planets. Two of such months comprise one season, and six months comprise one complete movement of the sun from south to north.

Here we see that the sun is moving according to the wheel of time - kaala-cakra which in turn is working under the direction of the Lord. This is described very wonderfully in Sri Brahma samhita (5.52):

yac-cakṣur eṣa savitā sakala-grahāṇāṁ
rājā samasta-sura-mūrtir aśeṣa-tejāḥ
yasyājñayā bhramati sambhṛta-kāla-cakro
govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi

The sun, who is the king of all the planets, full of infinite effulgence, the image of the good soul, is the eye of this world. I adore the Primeval Lord Govinda in pursuance of Whose order the sun performs his journey mounting the wheel of time.

The reason the sun is effulgent is because the sun works under the order of the Time which is the representative of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This complete obedience to the master is a very important quality we should learn and imbibe from the sun and if we perfectly realize our positions as servants of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and His representative, the spiritual master, we will also become effulgent like the sun. Since the sun satisfies the order of time, he is being worshiped. In Srimad Bhagavatam verse 7.12.11 it is stated guru-vṛttir vikalpena - to follow the orders of the spiritual master. Srila Prabhupada states in the purport, "In spiritual life, one must conduct one's whole life under the guidance of the guru. Only one who executes his spiritual life under the direction of the spiritual master can achieve the mercy of Krishna. yasya prasaadaad bhagavat-prasaadah... If one desires to advance in spiritual life but he acts whimsically, not following the orders of the spiritual master, he has no shelter." Our beloved spiritual master H H Mahavishnu Goswami Maharaj in his class on SB verse 1.9.31, quotes the wonderful purport to verse 1.5.24 of Srimad Bhagavatam wherein Srila Prabhupada has very nicely said - "Without being self-controlled, without being disciplined and without being fully obedient, no one can become successful in following the instructions of the spiritual master, and without doing so, no one is able to go back to Godhead." Maharaj insisted that obedience is a must. When we obey, we will advance in life. As soon as there is a challenging attitude, we forget about the progress. The dictionary meaning of the word obedience is - compliance with an order, request, or law or submission to another's authority. It is possible to obey authority if we develop the following three qualities:

1. Gentle
2. Submissive
3. Malleable

We can remember these three qualities with the acronym GSM. Just like how Global System for Mobile communication, referred to as GSM is used to communicate with others, the communication system to approach our Glorious Spiritual Master is to be Gentle, Submissive, and Malleable.

1. Gentle : HG Devakinandan Prabhuji in one of his lectures in Abu Dhabi explained the quality of being Gentle in an excellent way. Srimad Bhagavatam 1.1.8 says:

vettha tvaṁ saumya tat sarvaṁ tattvatas tad-anugrahāt
brūyuḥ snigdhasya śiṣyasya guravo guhyam apy uta

And because you are submissive, your spiritual masters have endowed you with all the favors bestowed upon a gentle disciple. Therefore you can tell us all that you have scientifically learned from them.

Srila Prabhupada writes in the purport, "It is essential, therefore, that a disciple be very much obedient and submissive to the bona fide spiritual master. Srila Suta Goswami fulfilled all these qualifications as a disciple, and therefore he was endowed with all favors by his learned and self-realized spiritual masters such as Srila Vyasadev and others." Maharaj says to be gentle means to possess the following qualities.

G - Grave: In order to be grave, Maharaj says that we have to remember the graveyard every day because that is the place we are finally going to go. The sun always remembers that all its effulgence is coming from the Lord and is simply obeying the orders of the Lord and thus is grave. The sun does not say that "Today I am feeling lazy. Let me rise at 9.00 a.m." The sun remembers that any time it does not obey the orders of the Supreme Lord, he would lose his opportunity to serve the Lord, and hence he remains grave always. We should also realize that Krishna is the Supreme controller and we are under His complete control. So we should also remain grave and alert in doing our service unto Him. If we are not grave, then we cannot be gentle.

E - Equipoised: One must be equipoised. The sun gives its light to all the places, to the rich or the poor, to the foolish or the intelligent, the valley or the mountain, in an equipoised manner. It does not discriminate. This absence of discrimination is an important quality we have to cultivate and see every living entity as a part and parcel of the Supreme Lord.

N - Nothing: We must understand that we are nothing and we have nothing. The sun evaporates the water from the ocean and rivers but ultimately helps to give it all back in the form of rain. Another point to be noted is that the sun evaporates water which is not potable but gives it back as pure rainwater.

T - Tolerant: Those who are tolerant, automatically they are gentle. During the time of an eclipse, the Rahu planet covers the sun fully. The sun accepts his position and tolerates even though the Rahu planet is insignificant in comparison to the sun.

L- Learned: All knowledge is revealed to one who is tolerant. The sun God is learned because Krishna gave him the knowledge of Bhagavad Gita so many millions of years ago.

E - Enough: We have to ultimately come to the conclusion that, "Everything that I have is enough. I do not need anything more." Even though the sun is evaporating and taking away all the water, he does not keep all the water with him. The sun is satisfied in its own position as the Lord's servitor.

Maharaj says, "once you are gentle, you can become submissive or otherwise it is not possible." The explanation on the other two qualities of being submissive and being malleable shall be offered in the ensuing mail Krishna willing.

Thank you very much.
Your humble servant,
Sajjanapriya Krishna das,
Abu Dhabi.