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1. Sri Krsna- The God- The Jagadguru- His Pastimes

The timeless, enthralling, enchanting, mesmerizing philosophy of the Vedas declares the Atman (self) as indestructible, eternal with the potential to return to the original state of perfect knowledge and ever-increasing bliss that is free from the three modes of material nature. If one realizes that they are not the body but pure form of Sat-Chit-Ananda (Awareness, Knowledge and Bliss), one is free from the bondages of karma and birth and death. The scriptures (Yajurveda) also say, ‘Yatha Pinde, Tatha Brahmande’, -what is there outside in the universe is also inside us- To understand the universe, we need to understand and realize the pure self. However, realizing this ultimate truth means to study the scriptures, learn them, practise the methods prescribed and described in them with unflinching faith and devotion.

Is this possible without Guru? Well, the scriptures lucidly instruct that for spiritual progress, a Guru is must. Even in material life, we need teachers, guides to learn so many things. The Vedic Sanskriti considers Guru at par with Bhagwan. Without the guidance and direction of a Guru, the journey of realizing Atman and Bhagwan is almost unfeasible. But, does the modern life allow everyone to have a Guru? What to do if one is not able to find a Guru? Is there any other way which can show us the path or at least help us to find a Guru? Until we have a Guru, what can be done for the spiritual progress?

On the occasion of Janmastmi, let us try to know how Krsna is our Guru and how he accompanies us eternally irrespective of the fact that we are aware about it or not. Krsna is our eternal companion; we just have to realize it, though it is easier said than done. But, as our sages have said and as many of us are experiencing it in our everyday life, there is nothing more important than understanding, realizing and loving Krsna. 

There are 8.4 million species and migration of soul from one specie to another indicates how valuable human birth is for it has the potential and the purpose to realize and love the Brahman, Sri Krsna. Krsna- the meaning of this word is all attractive. Krsna – sound vibration of this word is sufficient to deliver us from the clutches of material existence and elevate our consciousness to unexplainable and unimaginable plane of spiritual realization. Sri Krsna- the name can merge us in the light of unlimited Vedic wisdom and unmatched spiritual ecstasy. Krsna, his words, his pastimes, his actions all are meant to assist the human endeavour of seeking the ultimate truth, Sri Krsna. Krsna is unlimited but, at the same time, bound by the rope of unconditional love of a devotee. Devotees of Krsna can never be without him for they are dear to him. The Vedic scriptures say that it is the mind that is the cause of either bondage or liberation. And, according to the same scriptures, in this age of Kali, the only panacea is the name of and devotion to the supreme, Sri Krsna.

Sri Krsna is the ultimate reality, the Impersonal Brahman and the Supreme Personality of the Godhead. In Bhagwad Gita (Chapter-15:15), Krsna says that he is sitting in everyone’s heart. Krsna says that he is the source of knowledge, memory and forgetfulness. Krsna is the author of the Vedas and that he alone is to be known by the Vedas. Krsna is the knower of the meaning of the Vedas. He is omnipotent and omnipresent. Krsna is there in every single atom as Parmatma. To realize him, his message needs to be understood and imbibed in us. His message is universal and a guiding light in this material tunnel.

A Guru is the one who gives knowledge, nourishes the soul and guides one for the journey of liberation, to realize Krsna. One, without Guru, is vulnerable and can easily be snatched away by material world (Maya). Our parents are considered as our first Guru. Krsna is the source and origin of everything, from him comes both animate and inanimate and he is present in everything. Krsna is the Guru of everyone and everything, Krsna is the Jagadguru!!

Undoubtedly, the foundation of Vedic civilization is preserved and propagated by guru. Adi Shankaracharya, Madhvacharya, Ramanujacharya, Nimbarakachrya, Vallabhacharya, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and many other saints have spread the message of Sanatan Sanskriti. Teaching of these great souls is like the rainwater which keeps the tree of Dharma alive and takes the adherent disciples to the ultimate truth. Those following the traditions and having bona-fide spiritual masters are fortunate souls as they have done their karma right and been able to get the shelter of a Guru. They say that one finds a Guru when one is ready, when one has performed most pious deeds in their past lives and reached at the stage that Guru will appear for them.

However, the modern times are challenging. The age is such that one is pushed more and more into the entanglement of materialism. The pure dormant desire to evolve and achieve the pinnacle of spiritual liberation and devotion is only in the seed form for the most. The pollution of superficial modernity leaves no chance for the seed of devotion to germinate. Offending no genuine guides of this age, many self-styled Gurus are ‘accommodative and customized’. The funny part is that, in this age, the disciples do not mould themselves according to the instructions of the Guru; it is the other way around. There is a reason for this as well. What many modern Gurus offer is the product that keeps us away from the feeling of guilt for not adhering to the standards and not following the instructions of scriptures. It is a feel good thing to be considered a disciple of a modern Guru and, at the same time, it is easy to have an all-adjusting Guru. Then, there are seekers who are ready for the hard-work to find and serve a Guru but what they get is exploitation and thereby pushing many sincere seekers to lose faith in the process and abandon the spiritual quest.

Krishnashtakam, authored by Adi Guru Shankaracharya mentions, “Krishnam Vande Jagadguru” (Salutations to Krishna who is the master of the universe). Jagadguru Krsna has not left any single soul alone. By surrendering to Krsna, accepting him as Jagadguru and following his wisdom of Bhagwad Gita and Srimad Bhagwatam, one can attain eternal peace and happiness and also be a source of inspiration and motivation for others. If one does not have a physical Guru in this modern age, one should not feel dejected. Worship Krsna, remember him, meditate on him and his pastimes, ask for his help and he will send the guru at right time and help cross this material ocean.

Why is Krsna the Jagadguru? He is Jagadguru for his message is universal and eternal. His teachings are never-perishing. The sheer idea of supreme personality being our Guru and sitting there with us in our heart gives goosebumps!!! He is witnessing our actions, guiding us, giving suggestions, every single moment he is with us. We are never alone because he is with us. By reading and remembering the delightful and spellbinding Krsna’s pastimes, which are described vividly with love and devotion in Srimad Bhagwatam, one can be with Krsna all the time. All his words and pastimes have lessons for us to learn Gyan (knowledge), Karma (action) and Bhakti (devotion) and live our life in a specific way to liberate ourselves.

He is the Guru, heavier than the heaviest when it comes to wisdom, bolder than the boldest when it comes to love, mightier than the mightiest when it comes to protection. He is the Guru, who is there in everyone’s heart. A physical presence of Guru is not possible for eternity, but the Jagadguru Krsna is with us, living every moment with us, observing every action of ours, only suggesting us what to do and not to do, never pushing his desires or ideas on us. Although, due to our ignorance and material desires, we have forgotten him, but, despite we being so delusional, he has been showering his mercy and being there with us. He is the truthful voice of our conscience and conscious. Krsna is the one who always guides us towards the righteous path. He is the friend, who, when inquired, always gives us the correct direction. It is a different matter that we sometimes accept his direction, and sometimes, due to our inflated false ego and overrated illusory intelligence, ignore the Jagadguru Krsna’s advice and the Jagadguru himself. Krsna is the Guru who is never angry on us, never excited, never agitated.

He is always calm, like a soothing breeze of Vrindavana, like the placid pure water of Yamuna, like the melodious sound of his flute, Krsna, the Guru, is within us and outside, he always cares for us and with this caring nature, he directs, suggests us to use best possible discretion to perform karmas. Walking on his shown path to perform karma is undoing of our past karmas. He is so merciful that he is even ready to remove the infinite Karma of a devotee and burn it at a speed faster than light. But, it is we the sceptics who are not ready to surrender to him, unwilling to follow his message, his words and are always trying to imprudently conquer the unconquerable Maya!!!

We, stuck in the clutches of Maya, completely ignore the Guru Krsna. We are so ignorant of this Guru that we feel that he cunningly plays hide and seek with us. We think that this play of hide and seek by him is deliberate; hence, many of us foolishly lose faith in him, blaming him for not being with us. No, this is not the case. Sri Krsna, the Guru is always there but our material desires and actions carried out for selfish reasons shroud him and make us delusional. Some of us are preposterously accusing him for all our suffering while, on the other hand, massaging our ego when having tiny moment of success and happiness and perform Karma without Gyan given by him. Little do we recognize our folly and misuse the free-will which is also given by him to us.

How can it be that knowing the fact that the creator of the universe, the Ishwar, is there with us as our Guru can allow anyone to feel alone and bemused even for a quark of a second? Well, even Arjuna had the same issue, right in the battlefield of Kuruskshetra; he had forgotten who his charioteer was. If Arjuna could do this, it is perfectly understandable why we do so. But, there is a solution to it and that is to remember Krsna, ask him with pure heart for help. Love him unconditionally and he will reciprocate. Krsna is a Guru who is so fun loving, caring, guiding, protecting that if one is ready to take his shelter, perform duties prescribed by him, one is certain to be delivered. The bewildered Arjuna did the same and Krsna delivered him.

In The Bhagwad Gita, Krsna has explained in detail how one should live the life. The wisdom in the book is self-explanatory but if one needs help, the purports of many scholars are easily available. If one is ready to read his message, ready to try to understand it by contemplation and meditation and put his words in action, ready to surrender to him with all humility and devotion, Krsna will provide them the necessary intelligence to make them realize that Krsna is Bhagwan and also Jagadguru, helping us with every breath.  His transcendental pastimes described in Srimad Bhagwatam are also a way to comprehend the mercy of Krsna. But, in true sense, the Guru Krsna is asking us to love him unconditionally, to remember him, trusting his words, surrendering to his wisdom. Once this is done, he promises to take care. In Bhagwad Gita, he assures that the one, who is surrendered to him completely performs selfless actions prescribed by him, does not need to worry as Krsna gives them intelligence to navigate the path of karma. One needs to perform the selfless action and see the magic of this cowherd, the Bhagwan, the Guru.

Krsna the Guru teaches us that while trying to find and feel Krsna in our heart, we must remember that all he needs is pure unadulterated love. Many realized souls proudly say that even an infinitesimal step taken towards Krsna by us will force Krsna to travel billions of miles towards us. His transcendental pastimes are not mere mythological dreams and fantasies. They are in fact the path to understand and to reach at the Supreme Personality and Supreme Reality. Reading them, meditating on them, contemplating on them will take one to Krsna.

Take, for instance, the Damodara Lila where mischievous Krsna spills all the butter and milk and runs away from Mother Yashoda. The angry mother Yashoda tries to catch him. There is no way that Krsna would be ready to be caught by the anger and agitation of material mind. However, the love of mother Yashoda for Krsna is unconditional; hence, Krsna accepts to be caught by the mother. Next!!! She tries very hard to bind baby Krishna with a rope to a grinding mortar. Little could she apprehend that she was trying to bind the unlimited!!  When Krsna sees the tired and puzzled mother Yashoda, he, out of his Karuna , reciprocates and accepts to be bound by the rope of motherly love. The message is clear from the Jagadguru. Approach him with love and surrender to him, he will listen to you and guide you.

Arjuna, who is friend of Lord Krsna, feels helpless and hopeless right in the middle of battlefield of Kurukshetra. Arjuna declines to fight and presents arguments to avoid his karma. Krsna, the Friend, the Guru, the Bhagwan makes Arjuna recognize the reality by speaking the Bhagwad Gita. The universal message in it is that when one has no way to go, one does not know what actions to perform, simply by surrendering to Krsna, accepting him as a companion and following the words of Bhagwad Gita and Srimad Bhagwatam, one can easily steer through this ocean of material nature.

Today, on this auspicious Janmastmi, which is celebrated as the birthday of the unborn, the eternal, infinite source of everything, let us all pray to Krsna and rejoice Krsna so that Krsna may open our eyes, minds and souls to make us comprehend that Krsna is the only one who is there with all of us. He loves us all. A tiny step towards Krsna with love and devotion will render Krsna with only choice to reciprocate with infinite love.

May we all have eternal realization that Sri Krsna is the Impersonal Brahman, is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and he is also our Jagadguru.

Krishnam Vande Jagadguru!!!

Jai Sri Krsna!!!

Hare Krsna!!!

(Editor’s Note:

मर्त्यस्तयानुसवमेधितया मुकुन्द-
श्रीमत्कथाश्रवणकीर्तनचिन्तयैति ।
तद्धाम दुस्तरकृतान्तजवापवर्गं
ग्रामाद् वनं क्षितिभुजोऽपि ययुर्यदर्था: ॥

“By regularly hearing, chanting and meditating on the beautiful topics of Lord Mukunda with ever-increasing sincerity, man attains the divine kingdom of the Lord, beyond the realm of death. For this purpose, many persons, including great kings, abandoned their mundane homes and took to the forest” – Srimad-Bhagavatam

The essay competition on the occasion of Janmashtami is our sincere endeavor to harness the Kirtana and Sravana forms of Bhakti by encouraging authors to pen articles exuding Bhakti and thereby affording the highest spiritual bliss to our readers.)

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