Summary: Through several places we may get knowledge and understanding but through Guru we get mercy and through rendering service to Him we get realization of the knowledge and through realization we get attracted towards Krsna. One of the important expressions of service is in following the instructions of Krsna and His devotees and Krsna has instructed us to accept spiritual master through examples. Service goes up, to Krsna, through the disciplic succession and mercy and grace come down to us through the disciplic succession.
Audio Transcription: Answer is to get mercy. Spiritual advancement is not just about knowledge or getting understanding. It’s about getting mercy by which our desires get attracted to Krsna. If we just have an intellectual conception of spiritual life, wherein we think that once we know and understand; there’s knowing and at that time, the knowledge enters the ears and then there’s understanding when the knowledge enters into the head and then there’s realization when the knowledge enters into the heart.
Only when there’s realization then our heart becomes attracted to Krsna. When our heart becomes attracted to Krsna, then we can return back to Him. We can develop our love for Him fully and return back to Him eventually. So we’ve to render service to the Spiritual Master or to the Spiritual Master’s representative and through the service we get the grace and through grace, we get mercy. That mercy is not something mysterious. That mercy is actually attraction to Krsna. So, we need a personal connection with the disciplic succession, with the spiritual tradition – the sampradaya, which will connect us with Krsna. The hierarchy or the flow is that knowledge comes down the disciplic succession and the service goes up the disciplic succession. Knowledge comes from Krsna through the Parampara, to the spiritual master and to us and then service goes from us to the spiritual master up to Krsna. Then from Krsna through disciplic succession, comes grace or mercy. And that mercy evokes our attraction towards Krsna in our own hearts and enables us to develop our personal relationship with Krsna.
We may think that I may serve different devotees at different places and I can make spiritual advancement thereof also. That’s true. We can and we should serve the devotees wherever we get the opportunity to do that. But the important point is that the essential expression of service is in following the instructions of Krsna and His devotees. And Krsna Himself, through the example of taking initiation from Sandipani Muni, through his example as Ram taking instructions from Viswamitra and Vasista, He shows actually that He wants us to take the shelter of our spiritual master. Therefore what we do is primarily we take shelter of the spiritual master and it’s like entry into the university. Spiritual master is the one who gets us into the university and then we can move forward, take instructions from various places and serve various people. Unless we serve under the guidance of a particular person or at least that person’s representative and follow the process, make spiritual advancement in-terms of developing our attraction towards Krsna, we can’t attain the fruit of spiritual knowledge. That’s love for Krsna. So we can get knowledge and understanding, but we need realization, we need attraction to Krsna and that comes through rendering service to Krsna through spiritual master. One of the important services to Krsna is following his instruction to accept a spiritual master and one of the most important forms of service to the spiritual master is to serve wherever He wants us to do through various opportunities we may get for services. So, it’s not that the spiritual master is the only connection with Krsna for us, but He is like the pivot around which all our connections with Krsna are established. That’s why it’s important for us to take initiation. Initiation enables us to receive Krsna’s Grace and become attracted to Him.
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