Pass on the Credit

26th Jun 2013
Sudarshana devi dasi

Hare Krishna Prabhujis and Matajis,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva.

Recently we came across a thought provoking story. There was a young student-archer who was learning archery from an elderly guru. Out of his interest he started to practise it intensely daily. He became such an expert that he could shoot an arrow into a tree and then break that arrow into two with the next shot. He began to boast that he was a greater archer than his guru. One day his guru, a venerable old man in his 70's, asked the youth to accompany him on a trip across the hills. On the way up, they came near the edge of a cliff. There was a single log piece which connected this cliff to the adjacent one. The guru walked to the center of the log, took his bow and taking an arrow shot it into a tree on the other side. His next shot broke the first arrow into two, effortlessly. "Now it's your turn," he said, walking back to where his student was standing. The youth stepped gingerly on the log and very slowly and carefully made his way to the middle. But his heart was in his mouth. He knew that if he lost his footing, he would plunge to his death. His hands trembled as he strung an arrow into his bow. Preoccupied with the danger he was in, he found it hard to focus on the target. Consequently when he let go of the arrow, it missed the tree altogether. Whimpering, he turned around. "Help me!" he shouted to his guru. "I'll fall!" The old man walked up to him, took his hand and stepping backwards led him to safety. Neither of them said a word on the return journey but the boy had much to think about. He regretted for under-estimating his guru and later he sought forgivance for the same.

This is a very important lesson for us. The spiritual master being bonafide representative of the Lord, must be respected as much as we respect Krishna. Just because Guru does not exhibit certain qualities explicitly, does not mean that Guru doesn't know anything and that we know everything. We should never ever think that we know more than the Guru. In Guruvashtakam Srila Vishvanatha Cakravarthi Thakura says,

sākṣād-dharitvena samasta-śāstrair
uktas tathā bhāvyata eva sadbhiḥ
kintu prabhor yaḥ priya eva tasya
vande guroḥ śrī-caraṇāravindam

The spiritual master is to be honored as much as the Supreme Lord, because he is the most confidential servitor of the Lord. This is acknowledged in all revealed scriptures and followed by all authorities. Therefore I offer my respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of such a spiritual master, who is a bona fide representative of Sri Hari [Krishna].

Our tendency is to boast whatever little quality we have. But Guru uses his qualities in the service of Lord, considering that Krishna is using him as an instrument. And in certain instances, the Guru displays his qualities just to correct his disciples. Many a times our beloved spiritual master HH Mahavishnu Goswami Maharaj used to ask for devotees to recite some verses during the classes. And later when devotees recited, Maharaj will appreciate and encourage the devotees very nicely. Maharaj very well knew and remembered all the verses all the time. But Maharaj asks the devotees to recite, just to enthuse and increase the attraction of devotees towards the scriptures and for their spiritual benefit. So we should never think that just because our spiritual master is asking us for some verse reference, or some question means that he has become dependent upon us or less knowledgeable than us.

Even while engaged in spiritual services like kirtan, cooking or Bhagavatam discussion, we should always remember to be grateful to the acharyas and spiritual master who has given us this gift of devotional service. If not for them we will not be able to sing, cook, recite or speak or write or do any service. So whenever we get some appreciations for service, we must simply pass on the credit to the parampara through our spiritual master, for they are the right persons to receive the credit. But instead if we take credit, then we are sure to be doomed.

Thank you very much.
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva,
Sudarshana devi dasi.