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Why do people say: “I am relatively happy; I do not need salvation or spirituality to improve my life?”

ANSWER Goswami Maharaj: That’s called illusion. There is no forsight or advanced vision. When you look at old picture of an old lady, a grandmother, you will see she was once a very beautiful girl. What happened to that beauty? Janma mrityu jara vyadi… gradually one becomes old, gets diseased and dies. We were told that Yidhishtir Maharaj was asked a question by Yamaraj, the lord of death: “What is the most wonderful thing in the world?” And Yudhishtir answered: “ahaniani bhutani gacchanti hani mayam shesha stavara icchanti kim ascharya atah param… Personally I do not see anything more astonishing than this, that everyone before us has died, all around us people are dying, everyday, if you read the newspaper, or you watch the news or listen to the radio, you hear about some one famous who has died, or some one who is not famous. We are surrounded by that. But still we are thinking ‘we won’t die’, not realizing that one of these deaths, one of those death reports will be about us.” We think that this is what I read about, see and hear but it does not really relate to my life. So, he says I cannot think of anything more astonishing than this.

So people are deluded about their present position. But that is also an exercise of their free will. Just like in the famous Bhagavadgita, Krishna presents a case to Arjuna by saying: “vramishyeta vishyeshena yateshcchasi tatha kuru …. Think about what I said and then do what you wish to do”, So that’s the position that Krishna takes. How can we take a position different than that? Some missioner preachers in their intensity press people a little but really it is a question of free will. The jivas [souls] are of marginal position, on the outskirts of a spiritual world adjacent to the world of misconception. And from there they make their choice – “jivera tatashtaha shakti bheda bhad parkas”. In the words of Milton “Paradise lost” the Satan says: “it is better to reign in hell than to serve in haven”. And this is our choice.





Does your Gaudiya lineage hold the view that sex within marriage with ones own spouse is intolerable and thusly makes one a fallen devotee unless it is for having children. Or do you tolerate sex with in marriage?




Please accept blessing of Sriman Gauranga Mahaprabhu.
Thank you for writing to Sri Chaitanya Sarasvat Math Canada with your sincere inquiries.

Gaudiya lineage holds view that any sincere seeker of the Truth is responsible for his individual development. Sincerity is invincible. Devotees of the math practice humility, respect of others and do not make judgments about someone’s else behavior. Mood of the Math is based on service to devotees engaged in service to the Supreme Lord regardless of their personal and spiritual position. We do not know the relationship of others with the Lord. How can we ostracize them based on our limited judgments?

Man gets married due to sexual desires. Being thus naturally situated he often gets more strength to serve and contribute to the Math. Sometimes one may stay in the temple as bachelor but in his mind thinking of women. But this is dishonest and disturbing.

We do not focus on rules to prevent sex but we focus on service. Thus we do not make judgment about someone’s spiritual commitment based on his personal life. In some religious organizations people are terrorized by rules, thus such rules become more important then the ideal. But devotional service to the self realized Guru Vaishnava is so potent that it removes tinges of material desires in the heart of the practitioner.

True devotee considers himself very fallen and worthless. He sees good in others and finds faults in himself. My spiritual teacher Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Goswami Maharaj sees friends everywhere and considers his religion as to finding faults in himself.

I hope this letter answers to some extend. Please fell free to write me more.

Vidya Sundar das




QUESTION What is your conception of God?
ANSWER Sridhar Maharaj: In Srimad Bhagavatam (1.2.11), the three main conceptions of the Absolute are given as Brahman, Paramatama and Bhagavan. Brahman is the all-comprehensive aspect of the Absolute, Paramatma is the all-permeating aspect of the Absolute, and Bhagavan is the personal conception of the Absolute. The general definition of the word Bhagavan is given,

aisvaryasya samagrasya, viryasya yasasah sriyah
jnana-vairagyayos caiva sannam bhaga itingana
(Vishnu Purana 6.5.47)

Bhagavan, the Supreme Lord, is thus defined as “He who is inseparably replete with the six inconceivable qualities of wealth, power, fame, beauty, knowledge, and renunciation.”
The characteristic of Bhagavan, as Lord Narayana, is that all kinds of potencies are personally controlled by Him. However, Srila Jiva Goswami has given a special and particularly fine interpretation: Bhagavan means bhajaniya guna-visishta. His nature is such that whoever comes into contact with Him cannot resist serving Him. No one can resist feeling moved to worship and adore His charming personality. As Lord Krishna, He attracts the love of everyone.



QUESTION What is a guru? What does a person need one?
ANSWER Sridhar Maharaj:
In the Srimad Bhagavatam, the guru is described by the Lord as His own direct manifestation. acaryam mam vijaniyan, navamanyeta karhichit na martya buddhyasuyeta, sarva deva-mayo guru (Bhag. 11.17.27) [Lord Sri Krishna said to His devotee, Uddhava:]

"You should know the bona fide spiritual master as My very Self. Never dishonor him. The nature of gurudeva is everything that is godly, and he should never be envied by ascribing one's mundane conception of place, time, and circumstances upon him." Furthermore, the Lord's finest potency is Srimati Radharani. Of course, there are many other eternal associates, but the highest order of devotional service is represented in Srimati Radharani. The Lord is therefore saying, "My worship is shown by Me. I, as My finest potency, worship Myself. Iti matva bhajante mam - understanding this conception, the devotee will come to worship Me, always under the direction of My best worshiper - My finest potency and representation - Radharani, or gurudeva. Crossing Her, the highest and most desirable form of service to Me is not possible." Radha-dlasyam, the servitorship of Srimati Radharani, is indicated here.

Only those who are blessed with divine intelligence will be able to appreciate this, and not persons with self-aquired intelligence from this mayika (mundane*) quarter, the world of misconception.

(...)"If I am sincere in my search for God, then God will also come to me from his side, and where we meet, he should be considered Guru."(...)

* - entry by editor

For more on this subject please read an article by SriSrimad AC Bhakti Vedanta Swami Maharaj, or dowload a book:


QUESTION Why is life unfair? How can we account for that?
ANSWER [from "Subjective Evolution of Consciousness - The Play of the Sweet Absolute", p.128. ]

Srila Sridhar Maharaj: Fair and unfair are both false. They are just like a dream. One may have a good dream or a bad dream. In either case it is only dreaming. So one should not waste energy to remove the unfair and to increase the fairness. Fair, unfair - it is all false, completely false. In the Chaitanya Caritamrita (Antya-lila, 4.176) it is written:

‘dvaite’ bhadraabhadra-jnaana,saba – ‘manodharma’
‘ei bhaala, ei manda’, - ei saba ‘bhadra’

"In the material world, conceptions of good and bad are all mental concoctions. Therefore, saying, 'This is good, this is bad: is a mistake.” The basis of this calculation is false. Our real interest is not them. It is a false scent we are pursuing. Our fulfillment is not to be found in that direction at all.
In this material world there is very little distinction between fairness and unfairness. Everything in this world is based on cheating. Everyone is cheating. There may be cheating of different kinds, but all are cheating. My fairness or unfairness is an illusion. One may have a good, hopeful dream, or a dangerous dream. But both are dreams. Both are false. And fairness within this world is also false; it is a mental concoction. And what is apparently evil within the relative conception of evil is also false. Why allow ourselves to waste time in a wild goose chase? After all, these relative conceptions, of fair and unfair, good and evil, are all false. Whether there is a good hope or a bad hope, all hope within the plane of misconception is based on mental concoction.

Student: But there are so many people that are starving in the world. It seems unfair.

Srila Sridhar Maharaj: What to speak of starving, we are in a cave, imprisoned in a cage. That is not desirable for the soul at all. The whole world - suns, stairs, moons, oceans, mountains - all are vanishing, and again coming and going. You may be the lord of all you survey, but you are a lord the cremation ground - a master of the cremation ground, only to deplore. "Oh, everything is passing away. Every second everything is passing away!” In Gray’s elegy he wrote,

The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power,
And all that beauty, all that wealth e’er gave,
Awaits alike the inevitable hour;
The path of glory leads but to the grave.

Everything here leads only to the grave end will be finished.

Student: I guess what I want to ask is how we can account for these inequities. I know that you are saying that there is no distinction. But why is there suffering?

Srila Sridhar Maharaj: The cause is the misuse of the free will of the jiva soul. The misuse of the wealth given to you.

Student: Given by the Supreme Power?

Srila Sridhar Maharaj: By the Supreme Power. As a part of a particular potency, you have free will eternally existing within you. And by misuse of your freedom, you have selected to become a king in the mortal world, just as Satan is portrayed in Milton’s Paradise Lost. He wanted to reign in hell rather than to serve in heaven. The free will - the weak, vulnerable, childlike free will - misused. We came here to be a monarch of all we survey: to reign in hell. Inherent adaptability is an innate feature of the soul. We could have selected service in heaven. Then our desires would have been fulfilled. But we have selected the wrong thing. We have moved in the wrong way. We wanted to be monarch. We could not select slavery in the higher realm. We selected monarchy in hell.
This material world is hell, the soil of affliction. And here we face affliction in variegated ways. These are mainly classified as birth, death, infirmity, and disease. These undesirable things must be there in hell. There is a subtle difference. If you are to live in heaven, then you must live there as a surrendered soul. That is a much higher soil than this. And ultimately see that to serve in heaven is infinitely better than to reign in hell.