Step towards the ultimate goal
After transmigrating through various species of life and being transferred to different universes, he may attain the association of the Lord’s devotee by which the material life of a wandering soul will finally cease [Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 10.51.53]. Certainly, then we can consider ourselves fortunate. There’s no doubt we have some sukriti, however if we don’t have sukriti then the pure devotee offers us this sukriti. Just like His Divine Grace A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda said, “I am giving you sukriti.” That is a fact. The sādhu offers us sukriti.
Śrīla Gurudeva always emphasised that if someone with a simple heart, without duplicity, serves sādhu and guru, and by following his order, he can progress rapidly in bhakti-yoga. That means he can earn the sukriti that will help him to make spiritual progress. If we don’t have enough sukriti, we cannot put faith in a sādhu, the holy name, mahāprasāda or Kṛṣṇa. Therefore, for example we chant the relevant prayer before accepting mahāprasāda to develop faith.
In the commentary of Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura [Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 3.5.45] and also in the purports of Śrīla Prabhupāda, it is mentioned; the offender loses the chance to receive the Lord’s mercy in the form of His pure devotee.
A common man performing sinful activities, generally never commits offence towards a sādhu, because he is at once influenced by the presence of a pure devotee. If we don’t have enough past sukriti and if we are not simple enough, it is very difficult to understand a sādhu and his position. To give us this bhakti-sukriti, Kṛṣṇa sends His representative, a pure devotee. That pure devotee opens kṛṣṇa-samsāra in this world, and gives us the chance to achieve sukriti by serving Kṛṣṇa through him. Then we must ask ourselves; how we must approach a pure devotee. Unless we approach a pure devotee without any offence, we cannot achieve the ultimate benefit.
In the Bhagavad-gītā [4.34], The process is mentioned; how we should approach Śrī Guru.
1. If we have some pious karma while we are suffering in this material world [Bhagavad-gītā 7.16] within the mind the intelligent question may arise; ‘‘why am I suffering?’’ This is called brahma-jigyasa. Many people are suffering, but why do they not inquire about their suffering?
2. When we want to know the cause of our suffering, we must seriously pray to the Lord: ‘‘Please help me!’’ He is residing as the Supersoul within everyone’s heart, He knows exactly what help we need. We want to know how we can eradicate our material miseries. He helps once, twice, and after our problems are solved, we forget the Lord. Once again we become a falling prey to the enjoyable sense objects, we will suffer, and land up crying.
3. Eventually we will feel hopeless and homeless in this world. We are wiping our own tears with our own hands. No one is there to console us. In addition to our sufferings on the outside, in the inside we are full of unsatisfied material desires. On the outside, there’s one type of suffering, which is facing several material problems and in the inside, another type of suffering, which is hankering. Our condition is just like a pickle within a glass jar. Inside, there’s salt and oil and on the outside, the scorching sunlight.
4. Still, even after facing all these conditions, we make nice material plans and projects, which is something Kṛṣṇa knows very well. He knows our shameful affairs. Just like the mother sees how sometimes her small child eats some sweet and is crying due to the ants in the sweet bits. Similarly, Kṛṣṇa knows our conditions and our weaknesses. As our only well-wisher, Kṛṣṇa doesn’t want to see our weaknesses, instead He wants to see our simplicity and sincerity. Every condition soul has some weaknesses, someone may have for eating, someone may have for sleeping, others for money and women. Still Kṛṣṇa wants to help us, but only through our sincerity and simplicity.
5. In spite of these strong material desires, if we are simple and sincere, Kṛṣṇa’s first shower of mercy is that He makes our material plans and projects a failure
[Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 10.88.8]. When we don’t have any money, to us it feels like our breathing has stopped. In that condition we may ask ourselves, who is our friend? We face stressful situations, one after another. And through this way, our hankering for material desires decrease.
6. In such a condition, a simple hearted person achieves the second shower of mercy from the Lord. That is mentioned in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam [10.88.9]: When he becomes frustrated in his attempts to make money and instead becomes friends with my devotees, I bestow my special mercy upon him.
After a long term of suffering, Kṛṣṇa hears the conditioned souls’ prayers and by His arrangement he will certainly meet a sādhu who can help him out of that condition.
7. By associating with a sādhu, having a simple heart and hearing consequently from him, the conditioned soul first develops faith.
8. And thus, as he becomes closer to the sādhu and when he understands the mood of the sādhu, he tries to please Kṛṣṇa through him.
9. By this association with the sādhu, the conditioned soul develops greed in knowing how to get Kṛṣṇa.
10. To fulfil that greed, he takes shelter at the lotus feet of the pure tattva-vit sādhu and learns how to perform hari-bhajana.
11. At this stage the conditioned soul is still struggling with anarthas. Seeing the pure devotee twenty-four hours a day and performing loving services for the pleasure of Guru and Gaurāṅga, helps him in; slowly giving up laziness, sleepiness, unnecessary talk, the ability to control speech, and many more anarthas.
12. Engaging in sādhu-saṅga without duplicity, results in the removal of the cheating mentality and hankering for name, fame, prestige, etc. from our hearts.
13. Without association of a pure devotee, we will not have any power to change our saṁskāras(past bad habits), neither will we be able to let go of the attachment for material objects. The constant association of a pure devotee has the power to change our nature.
14. If we follow the pure devotee with a simple heart and when are constantly engaged in Kṛṣṇa’s service by following in his footsteps, only then we can achieve self-realization.
15. By constantly following a pure devotee, knowing his mood and character, we have to aspire to know how we can develop such a mood ourselves. For that achievement we have to constantly pray for sādhu’s mercy, and try to follow him sincerely.
16. We must always have the aspiration to associate with advanced devotees.
All these points, one by one, must be followed to know how to appropriately approach and achieve the pure devotee’s mercy.
In conclusion we have to pray to the Lord for sādhu-saṅga, one who inculcate the real mood.
Your servant and well-wisher,