BID 7: Kierkegaard
Now, if one is actually anxious to know about God, he has to approach a guru, who is God’s servant and His representative. Unless one approaches a bona fide guru, he cannot understand the nature of God, or man’s relationship with Him. So accepting a guru is not a fashion but a necessity. However, a guru is not a person who simply manufactures gold or juggles words just to attract foolish people and make money. An actual guru is one who is fully trained in the ocean of spiritual knowledge, or Vedic knowledge. Vedic words are not ordinary material sound vibrations. They are completely spiritual. The Hare Kṛṣṇa
man—manā bhava mad—bhakto
mām evaiṣyasi yuktvaivam
“Engage your mind always in thinking of Me, become My devotee, offer obeisances to Me, and worship Me. Being completely absorbed in Me, surely you will come to Me.” This is God’s demand. And if we carry it out we attain perfection.
ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva—pāpebhyo
However, we do see examples of pure love in the Vedic descriptions of Vṛndāvana village. There the men, women, animals, fruits, flowers, water, and everything else exist only for the sake of loving Kṛṣṇa. They are not interested in any return from Kṛṣṇa. Now, that is real love (
dadāmi buddhi-yogaṁ taṁ
“To those who are constantly devoted to serving Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me.” Our ultimate goal is to give up this material world and go back home, back to Godhead. Prayer is just one form of service. There are nine kinds of devotional service that we can perform, as explained by Prahlāda Mahārāja in the
śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ smaraṇaṁ pāda-sevanam
arcanaṁ vandanaṁ dāsyaṁ sakhyam ātma-nivedanam
Whether you perform all nine processes or some of them or only one of them, you can progress in spiritual life. For example, when a Christian or a Muslim offers prayers, his service is as good as the Hindu’s service to the Deity in the temple. God is within, and when He sees that we are sincerely serving Him, He takes charge and gives us directions by which we can swiftly approach Him. God is complete in Himself; He is not hankering after our service. But if we offer Him service, we can become purified. When we are completely purified, we can see God and talk with Him. We can receive His instructions personally, just as Arjuna did in the
Once Indra, the Lord of heaven, was forced to take on the body of a hog, and he had to come down to earth as that lowly animal. As a hog, Indra had a hog wife, hog children, and so on. After some time Lord Brahmā came down and told him, “ My dear Indra, you were once the Lord of heaven. You once possessed great opulence. Now that you are a hog, you have forgotten your previous exalted position. Please leave this filthy life and come with me.” Yet despite Brahmā’s pleadings Indra was not convinced. He said, “Why should I go with you? I am very happy. I have my wife, children, and home.” Seeing that Indra had become very much attached to his hog existence, Brahmā began to kill all his hog children. Finally, Brahmā killed Indra’s hog wife. When Indra saw that his wife was killed, he despaired: “Oh, you have killed my whole family!” It was only then that Indra agreed to go back to the heavenly kingdom with Lord Brahmā. Similarly, Kṛṣṇa sometimes creates a situation in which the living entity will despair and, out of despair, turn to Him and fully surrender unto Him.
mattaḥ parataraṁ nānyat kiñcid asti dhanañjaya
mayi sarvam idaṁ protaṁ sūtre maṇi-gaṇā iva
“O conqueror of wealth, there is no truth superior to Me. Everything rests upon Me, as pearls are strung on a thread.” Kṛṣṇa is the ultimate truth—the supreme goal—and completeness means coming to Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
tad viddhi praṇipātena paripraśnena sevayā
upadekṣyanti te jñānaṁ jñāninas tattva-darśinaḥ
“Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto Him. The self-realized souls can impart knowledge unto you because they have seen the truth.” This is the process. It is not that we continue on our own way, hoping to take the right path through experience. If you do not know the right direction, your endeavors will be frustrated. This material world is like a vast ocean, and in the middle of the vast ocean you do not know where to direct your ship. If you simply have a ship without a captain, you will go one way and then another and simply waste your energy. A captain is needed to give direction. That captain is the guru. If Kierkegaard accepts Christ, then he is accepting some guidance.