The Supreme Lord cannot be known through our intellectual efforts. Unless He gives us the power of knowing Him, we cannot know Him. It is His mercy. If He is not at all merciful to us, we wont be able, by our strenuous exertions, to approach Him. The thing is that we have to approach Him and He has to give us the facility of approaching Him. He is the Autocrat – He is the Despot – He has the fullest freedom. We cannot, by our flimsy little way of thinking and by any of our attempts, reach Him in any way. So craving is the only need in us by which we can surmount all these difficulties, the barriers and the impediments of these phenomena. The objective references of the reciprocated entities of our senses, will never disclose Him unless He is so lenient to show us that latitude as to be approachable by us. This is the only method by which we can approach the Absolute. It will be a tremendous task for us to have an access to Him through our intellectualism and labour and our senses confined to finite things. So we should show our aptitude for craving for His mercy. This is bhakti.
Bhakti represents devotion – transcendental devotion. Transcendental devotion need not be covered by our thoughts, fruitive attempts or desire for salvation. If we mix up bhakti with worldly ideas – finitudinal ideas- it will not lead us to the Absolute. Our ideas are wrong, they are quite inadequate for the purpose of leading us to the Absolute. Unless the Absolute condescends to be seen or worshipped by us, it would be quite useless to make efforts to approach Him. At the same time we need not be diffident to approach Him. We must not think that He is within our reach and expect that our prayer will be attended to by Him. So there are two cardinal points which we should examine. First of all He is Absolute. He should have a willing attitude to meet us and at the same we should also have some sort of hankering for Him, leaving aside all sorts of troublous agents which we call our associates – leaving these aside we are to approach Him.
If we want to zoomorphise, phytomorphise or neuterise Godhead, if we try to find any masculine or feminine feature in Godhead, if the neuter aspect of Godhead is welcomed, we would be simply missing the opportunity of having an access to Him – we would be simply led astray. Godhead is not necessarily neuter, masculine or feminine as we see here with our defective and temporal senses. We should simply submit to Him
mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja
ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo
mokṣayiṣyāmi mā śucaḥ
(Bhagavad Gita 18.66)
Sri Krishna is singing this for Arjuna’s purpose. He says He will give warranty of saving everyone of us if he or she submits to Him alone and none will have to run any risk of their own – all risks will lie in Him. He declares He will give us salvation. He is full – all sorts of inadequacies can be fulfilled by His true wishes. We can get rid of all our troubles if we simple submit to Him. As He should descend to meet us, so we should also be unalloyed and quite set free from all sorts of wrong associations we have imbibed during our social life, otherwise, carrying all these references of this mundane world, we cannot have access to the transcendental region.
We should not persist in our wrong ideas – in prayers such as ‘give us this day our daily bread’. We cannot have a morsel of bread unless He desires to give it to us. We need not waste our time that way. These prayers are not required for approaching Him. We are quite ignorant of what is to be asked from Him. We do not know what will be for our good. We should only crave for His mercy. This is the only attitude we should have. Sri Krishna is the greatest attractor. We should want to be attracted by Him. The thing is if we have diffidence to be attracted by Him, if we try to avoid or evade His conference of mercy on us, we should be simply entangling ourselves with the measuring temperament. Now we are very busy to measure with our senses all the finitudinal objects of this universe. This is the empiric education. This sort of empiric education is offered to us to impede our course towards the transcendental region. So we should be very careful not be deluded by the influence of the measuring tendency – we should be very careful not to be degraded by this. We should not accept the policy of retaliation – for by doing so we should be simply engaging ourselves for that purpose only.
We should be always careful not to be meddling with external ideas and thoughts. If we engage ourselves with all these things in order to have some enjoyment of our senses, we should surely be misguided by alluring friends of the phenomena. The finiteness of these things is quite inadequate for our purpose. We require the full thing – the Absolute. We should simply part with the wrong ideas and thoughts which we have incorporated with us. The phenomenon should be deleted – should be abandoned – during the course of our journey to the transcendental plane. The Absolute is He who does not require a finite object or a finite place. He has infinite, eternal knowledge. He has got eternal expansion. He is full of bliss. We are always hankering after bliss – but bliss can never be had here. So meddling with the undesirable objects of the phenomena, we cannot expect to reach that destination. So the only course is bhakti. We should not attempt karma, jïäna, rationalism, agnosticism, good action, charity and all such rubbish. They are the impediments of our approach to the object. The Object should be the Absolute.
— From conversation with Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur at Sri Gaudiya Matha, Kolkata. June 29, 1935, Transcribed by Anil Kanta Ganguly . Printed in “The Harmonist” July 12, 1935 ·