The Only Way to Get Kṛṣṇa Consciousness
Śrīla Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswāmī Mahārāj
Śrīla Gurudev explains the importance of chastity.
(Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta: Madhya-līlā, 22.87)
[“It is the duty of a Vaiṣṇava to avoid bad association.”]
We follow what our Guru Mahārāj, Śrīla Bhakti Rakṣak Śrīdhar Dev-Goswāmī Mahārāj, follows. We do not want to know who is good, who is bad, or who is better than others. Why? It is not necessary to criticise anyone. Only we will be chaste to our Guru Mahārāj, and we will follow our Guru Mahārāj’s conception. Bās [“That is enough”]. That is clear to me, and Śrīla Guru Mahārāj taught us in that way. Otherwise, we will deviate: different opinions, conceptions, and principles can make our mind deviate. We do not want that.
Śrīla Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Goswāmī Ṭhākur was a famous and great devotee in India. He received the title ‘Siddhānta Saraswatī’ for his work in jyoti-śāstra [astrology] in Benares. When he debated with a great jyotiṣī [astrologer] there, he defeated him so strongly that the man, who was elderly, passed stool in the assembly. Śrīla Siddhānta Saraswatī attacked him through jyoti-śāstra, and the man could not answer him. The man was completely defeated in the meeting, and Śrīla Saraswatī Ṭhākur got the title ‘Siddhānta Saraswatī’ because of this. Later, his name become Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī. Anyhow, he was a great jyotiṣī; everyone respects him for this.
Śrīla Guru Mahārāj was also a jyotiṣī, but Guru Mahārāj was not famous for being one. Many people do not know he how great a jyotiṣī Guru Mahārāj is; he did not show it.
One day Śrīla Guru Mahārāj asked Śrīla Prabhupād Saraswatī Ṭhākur, “We see in this age that viśuddha-siddhānta is the finest calculation, so why are we not following it?”
Śrīla Saraswatī Ṭhākur’s answer was very fanatic: “Yes, I know this calculation is better than PM Bagchi’s, but Śrīla Bhakti Vinod Ṭhākur follows PM Bagchi, and we are followers of Śrīla Bhakti Vinod Ṭhākur. So, we follow PM Bagchi.”
This means that externally PM Bagchi is wrong when compared to viśuddha-siddhānta. But Śrīla Bhakti Vinod Ṭhākur accepted PM Bagchi. It is a very serious topic. Bhakti Vinod Ṭhākur followed PM Bagchi, and at that time viśuddha-siddhānta had not been developed. Viśuddha-siddhānta was made in my time. PM Bagchi was before viśuddha-siddhānta, and in his time Bhakti Vinod Ṭhākur followed PM Bagchi. Prabhupād Saraswatī Ṭhākur also followed PM Bagchi. But when viśuddha-siddhānta come out with calculations that were better than PM Bagchi, Śrīla Guru Mahārāj asked Śrīla Prabhupād, “We see that viśuddha-siddhānta is better than PM Bagchi, so why are we not following it?”
Śrīla Saraswatī Ṭhākur answer was clean and clear: “We are not followers of viśuddha-siddhānta or PM Bagchi: we are followers of Śrīla Bhakti Vinod Ṭhākur. Bhakti Vinod Ṭhākur followed PM Bagchi, be it wrong or right I do not care.”
Prabhupād Saraswatī Ṭhākur was a great jyotiṣī—he knew everything about the accuracy of the calculations—but he chose to follow Śrīla Bhakti Vinod Ṭhākur. Śrīla Guru Mahārāj was very happy to hear his answer.
We cannot judge our Guru. We have no right! Before accepting our Guru, we have the right to question, “Am I going in the right way or the wrong way? Is this Guru good or bad?” We have some things to consider in this way. But once we are initiated and surrendered to Guru, that surrender should not be just for show: it must be pure. I am always telling our friends, “Chastity and sincerity will give you the supreme position.”
Someone may be very bad or very good; that is not a factor. If he has chastity and sincerity, he will win the race. This is the fact and my feeling. I have experience about this, and many things are behind it. I am always telling this to my friends because there is no other way to get Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
PM Bagchi’s astrological calculations are based on traditional methods of calculating the positions of planets in the sky according to the scripture Śrī Sūrya Siddhānta. When scientists began to chart the movements of physical planets in the sky, their observations did not match the calculations given in PM Bagchi’s pañjikā (almanac). A group of Indian astrologers then adjusted the traditional equations and tables used to calculate the positions of the planets in the sky to match what was observed by scientists. This new method of calculation has become known as dṛk-siddhānta (calculations based on what is seen) or ‘viśuddha-siddhānta’ (calculations that are truly accurate). Fully aware of all factors involved—materially and spiritually, Śrīla Bhakti Sidhhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākur instructed that Śrīla Bhakti Vinod Ṭhākur’s preference should be respected above all. On this subject, Śrīla Bhakti Rakṣak Śrīdhar Dev-Goswāmī Mahārāj commented, “Śraddhā [faith] is more true. The practices of the mahājanas are more valuable than human calculation. Physical truth, material truth, does not have so much value.”