• What's really needed is to recognize the need for spiritual as well as material happiness
  • The yogi's interest is inner peace and self-realization and social harmony
  • Perfection means being in tune with reality
What's really needed is to recognize the need for spiritual as well as material happiness

Who am I

Success in life begins with knowing, "Who am I? What is the purpose of my life?" Knowledge of the self exists; but sincere seekers are rare. More rare are the great teachers of such wisdom. Since time immemorial, wise men have described our wonderful nature: spiritual, primeval, ever-existing, undying, unchangeable, imperishable. This selection of the writings of Jagad Guru Siddhaswarupananda Paramahamsa (Chris Butler) shares that timeless wisdom — inspiring, challenging , practical.



Edited by - Sri Srimad Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Maharaj

New Year

THE Harmonist is to-day entering on the fourth year of her service of all pure souls whose only function is to serve the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna by every faculty, in conformity with the teaching of the Lord himself embodied in all the Scriptures. The service of the Divinity in its unalloyed form of exclusive spiritual love is the hidden treasure of the scriptures. Few, indeed, of this mundane world ever attain to it. Love for God, contaminated and distorted more or less by the reservations of mundane considerations of selfish gratification, is to be ordinarily found in this world. But the present Age is too critical to be prepared to admit the validity of the alloyed form of the love of God. The alternative is, therefore, either to strive for the pure form of devotion or to reject the very principle of the spiritual function. The Iron Age is least disposed to abate its contentions against love, from instinctive deference to the principle of causeless love.

In former Ages men were less critical and less willing to be critical in matters of devotion to Krishna. This change of temperament has necessitated attempts to explain the fundamental principle of love itself to meet the objections of loveless critics. But the critics are confident that they have the advantage of the controversy. This is proved by the prevailing tendency in all counties in favour of mundane knowledge and mundane felicity as against cause less exclusive devotion to Krishna.

The controversialists cannot be expected to cease to be controversial without being beaten in controversy. But the wonderful progress of the physical sciences both in theory and applications has served to strengthen the belief of people desirous of material advantage in the possibility of mundane knowledge leading to unlimited mundane felicity. Mere defeat in logical controversy, even if it be really decisive and clear to the parties themselves, is not likely to destroy the faith in the physical science of a person who is strictly addicted to sensuous pleasure. The applied sciences have been able to capture the hearts of worldly people by their actual visible achievement in the form of pleasure giving values capable of apparent tangible demonstration.

The Locomotive Engine, the Airship and the wireless Telegraphy are offered as the most convincing arguments to reconcile humanity to any defeat that it may actually sustain in metaphysical controversy.

It would not, therefore, be wholly accurate to describe the present Age by such terms as 'controversial' and 'critical'. Those terms were more applicable to the mediaeval period. The present Age has been more aptly designated as materialistic. No theory is acceptable to a moderner, which is not productive of some form of ascertainable utility; that is to say, material, limited, definable, and desirable result. That theory is spontaneously voted to be worthy of attention which holds out the prospect of being able to improve to any appreciable extent the present worldly prospects of any person in such a way that his happiness, depending on transitory conditions of this world, may be appreciably increased thereby.

There is very little confident or independent thinking about conditions of prospects beyond this worldly life. The speculations about the other world are now-a-days intended to vindicate the findings of the physical science s and are really based on the assumption of so-called truths established by such enquiry. The next world is tacitly assumed to be a continuation of the present and also as inferable from the conditions of the phenomenal existence, by methods that have proved successful in acquainting us tentatively with the apparent secrets of the present life.

But whenever any new 'discovery' about the other world is advertised by such auxiliary science calling itself metaphysics it is received with ill-concealed scepticism by most persons. The age is apparently content with physical science. It does not expect nor desire the solution of its problems from the so-called metaphysical quarter. It is confidently looking forward to the progressive solution of all difficulty by the natural and inevitable development of the physical sciences, and in due course. It has ceased to be impatient for the truth It does not expect a miracle. It is not prepared at all to acknowledge anything except limited human contrivance and limited human experience. Neither does it believe in special Divine dispensations. It admits only one royal road, viz., that of progressive empiric knowledge, along which we are assumed to be predestined to travel perpetually towards the progressive goal of ever-widening mundane knowledge and ever-widening consequent mundane felicity.

The harmonist does not fully agree with this prevailing outlook of the age. She is trying her best to supplement the current view by offering a great and startling fact for the consideration of the Age in the shape of actual conduct based on the knowledge of the Absolute. She is systematically offering to the world a narrative of the conduct of Sri Chaitanya Deva and His followers as embodying the condition of living relationship with the Absolute.

The soul does not require, or really desire, the multiplication or elaboration of mundane felicity that is promised and apparently yielded by the physical sciences. All worldly felicity is realisable, however dimly, as lying off the plane of the soul. Such felicity is not only essentially trivial and disappointing but also providentially ephemeral. It would be foolish to desire any modification of their nature. They are as they should be. Empiric science is therefore rightly content to watch and submit to what is essentially unmodifiable. It tries to regulate the conduct of individuals by the mere extension of their experience of the operation of Nature. The physical sciences never promise anything but the sense of felicity resulting from fulfilment of the conditions of slavery. They know of no method nor end except the trivial and the transitory which are declared by the Scriptures to be the cause of all the apparent misery of the soul.

The Harmonist is not a pessimist nor an optimist. She admits the reality and necessity of spiritual conduct. She is confident of her ability to remove the prevailing misunderstandings regarding spiritual conduct by the grace of her spiritual teacher who is the eternal associated counter-part of the Supreme Teacher Sri Chaitanya or the Absolute Enlightenment Himself. The Absolute alone may reveal Himself to us as the only Lord of our souls by Whose exclusive service alone the soul may find her real and lasting satisfaction.

Sri Chaitanya or the Supreme Teacher is identical with Sri Krishna the Supreme Attractor, Lover, Recipient of the soul's eternal homage of reciprocal love. Sri Chaitanya leads us by the hand towards the knowledge and love of Himself as teacher. As soon as we love Sree Chaitanya as Teacher we attain to love of Sri Krishna as the Sole Recipient of the soul's eternal, willing, loving homage taught by Himself. Sri Chaitanya confers on us the service of Himself as the eternal Supreme Teacher, which is identical with love of Sri Krishna, the eternal and only Lover of our souls. The spiritual teacher is the eternal associated counterpart of Sri Chaitanya and, on the realisation of the nature of our real self as the eternal servants of Krishna by following His teachings, we are enabled to recognise the spiritual teacher as being identical with the best beloved of Sri Krishna, whose eternal function is to devise constant and fresh employment for our souls in the loving service of the Supreme Lord.

The Harmonist defines the scope and nature of empiric knowledge represented by the sciences treating of phenomena. The Harmonist is indirectly and secondarily concerned with such knowledge which is the deluding unwholesome reflection of the true knowledge. She insists on her right to be heard by all pure souls as the loyal exponent of the Absolute Truth. She maintains that the knowledge of the Absolute Truth revealed by the spiritual teacher automatically solves all difficulties in the only way that is really acceptable to our souls and implores a patient hearing for the message of the natural function of our souls recorded in the Scriptures and taught by Sri Chaitanya.

The Eternal Gift of Jagatbandhu


Jagatbandhu Dutt, or J. B. D., is building in Calcutta the loftiest and the most beautifully designed Temple in Bengal, with residential quarters, for the Gaudiya Math, at a cost of over a quarter of a million of rupees, as eternal gift to the feet of the spiritual preceptor, his Divine Grace paramhansa paribrajakacharya Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur.

The Scriptures have declared that the gift is the form of the eternal function. Diverse people have understood the word gift in diverse ways. According to different standards of judgment of the ignorant, the pedants and the really erudite scholars, the natural meaning of gift is liable to be understood in quite different senses. In the seventeenth chapter of the Geeta Lord Krishna has declared three possible interpretations of this word corresponding to the nature of the platform on which the giver happens to stand. The first is the enlightened gift which is gift for gift's sake without any desire for reward or compensation, due regard being had to the proper nature of time, place and person,-when, where and to whom-the gift is made. The second kind is the charitable gift painfully made with an expectation of rewards either here or in the next world. The third variety is the indiscriminate gift contemptuously made without any regard for time, place or person receiving the same.

The above three kinds of gifts express the three mundane qualities of Sattwa, Rajas, and Tamas. The ignorant as well as the pedant are equally in favour of these three kinds of gifts. Gift properly made signifies relinquishment of, or aversion to, worldly, transitory enjoyments. The time and the place, the giver and the receiver of these three kinds of gifts being themselves comprised within the three corresponding attributes of mundane Nature, these charities are, themselves also necessarily transitory, insignificant and misplaced.

But the exceptionally fortunate man who receives his Divine eyes from the gracious associated companions of that jewel of benefactors, Sri Chaitanya Deva, does not fall within the category of these three classes. Enlightened with the Divine knowledge he becomes super learned. The Kumara Purana has declared three kinds of gifts, viz., 'Nitya' (eternal), 'Naimitika' (causal), and 'Kamya' (born of selfish desire). The fourth (turiya) which is the pure form of gift lies beyond the pale of these three attributes. That which is given to the enlightened Brahmans without a view of any return of reward or the enjoyment of the fruits therefore, is the eternal gift. That which is given to the learned for purification from sin is called causal gift and that which is given for the sake of getting sons and grandsons, victory, fortune, heaven and the fruits of religious observances, is the covetous gift. The fourth or pure gift is that which is given with the spiritual object of service to those who are conversant with the knowledge of the service of the Brahman, solely with a view to the enjoyment of Godhead. This form is the most propitious of all. In India, the land of the eternal religion, the glories of the eternal gift have been proclaimed from time immemorial in the spiritual Scriptures and the distinction between eternal, causal and covetous gift has been fully explained. But in this world the number of those that are prepared to practise the pure and auspicious form of the gift are very, very few indeed. Persons desirous of enjoying the fruits of their actions, liberationists, Yogis desirous of merging with the Divinity and similar other speculators are never tired of proclaiming the glory of the three mundane forms of charity. Only the most magnanimous associated counterparts of the Supreme Lord Sri Chaitanya practise and proclaim the pure and non-evil-producing form of the eternal gift.

In the Srimad Bhagabatam we find it stated that although the presiding deity of this Iron Age has many faults, still that which could not have been possible of attainment to individual souls in the Ages of 'Satya', 'Treta' and 'Dwapara', has been available to all by means of chanting the Names of Krishna. It is identical with Divine Love which was not given to any in the other three ages but which has been lavished on all by Sri Chaitanya Deva in this Iron Age irrespective of caste, creed or colour, time or place. If any-body out of his own good luck due to his devotional activities of previous births can find his way to make a gift of his transitory fortune towards that truly charitable performance inaugurated by Sri Chaitanya Deva, viz., the distribution of the spiritual love to all, the gift of such a person should be considered to be the purest (Suddha Sattwik) and best of all gifts. Such gift can purify in every way all generations, being completely immune from the triple mundane qualities of mixed Sattwa, Rajas, and Tamas.

The Scriptures maintain that gifts should be made to the deserving and not to the undeserving. But who is really a deserving person in the eyes of the Scriptures? The Scriptures themselves say that he who can save himself and others from falling into the bondage of this world is the deserving person.' No non-theist can be a fit recipient of the eternal gift, because he is being drifted hither and thither by his deliberate aversion to the Feet of God. How can such a person save his giver? They would be like one blind man leading another. For the same reason neither the elevationist nor the fruitive workers can be the proper recipients of the eternal gift, because they are ever liable to fall from even the highest position attainable by meritorious worldly activities. The liberationists cannot also claim to be the deserving recipients of the eternal gift, because according to Sreemad Bhagabat, 'alienated from the Feet of Sri Krishna they are liable to fall from their exalted position, attained through the knowledge of the Brahman as indistinguishable from themselves.' The greatest Yogis who desire to merge with the God-head, such as Viswamitra, Shaubhari and others have been found to have been liable to fall from their high positions in spite of their success in realising apparently unswerving connection with the Oversoul. They cannot also therefore be the fit recipients of the eternal gift as they cannot save others from the fall to which they themselves are liable.

The elevationists think that the hereditary, professional priests are the proper recipients of eternal offering. But according to Sreemad Bhagabat those who cannot save the soul from spiritual lapse, cannot be the fit recipients of the eternal gift. King Bali instead of bestowing his gift on his atheistical hereditary family Guru, considered Vishnu to be the only fit Recipient of the gift of his all. There are many who consider their-blood relations as the proper recipients of their charity. But how can they, who cannot save even themselves, claim to be able to save those from whom they accept any gift on the strength of their temporary relationship? It is for this reason that Mahatma Bivishan, instead of considering his own brother Ravan to have been the fit person, placed himself wholly at the disposal of Bhagaban Sri Ramchandra and dedicated his all for the worship of His Feet. We usually consider that our mother, father, wife or husband or the gods preside over the good things of this world as the proper recipients of our gifts. But in the eyes of the Scriptures they cannot claim to be so, if they cannot protect our souls. This consideration led Prahlad Maharaj to consider Nrisinha-Vishnu as the proper Recipient of his worship in lieu of his father Hiranyakashipu and he accordingly surrendered himself with body, mind and speech to the lotus Feet of the Supreme Lord, without desiring anything in return; because he knew that he who asks for anything of God in return of his service, is no servant at all but a trader. In this way Bharat, instead of taking his mother Kaikeyi to be the deserving person, considered the Feet of Bhagaban Sri Ramchandra as the only Recipient of his gifts and surrendered his all to Him. The consorts of those Brahman priests who were helpers of the sacrifice of their husbands, in place of their virtuous husbands, considered Sri Krishna to be the sole Enjoyer of all sacrifices, deceived their husbands and behind their back, made a gift of their all to Krishna and Baladeva. Maharaj Khattanga, in the last moment of his life, in place of gods like Indra and others elected Sri Vishnu, the God of all the gods to be the sole Recipient of his gift and offered everything he had to His Feet. Hence according to Srimad Bhagabat, the crest-jewel of all Scriptural evidence, those who do not serve, Krishna viz., the elevationists, the liberationsts, the Yogis, the hereditary professional priests and pseudo preceptors, blood relations, father, mother, husband and the lesser gods cannot claim to be the deserving recipients of our gift, as none of them can save our souls from falling into this worldly bondage.

According to the same high authority the devotee of Vasudeva alone who are firmly and lovingly attached to His Feet and hence are not liable to fall from the spiritual condition, are the only persons who can save our souls from this worldly bondage. For this reason they are the only deserving recipients (patra) of all gifts. Of the devotees of Vasudeva, Sri Gurudeva, the transcendental preceptor, being the Divinely authorized Saviour of the fallen, is the most deserving recipient of our gifts. The transcendental Preceptor, unlike the sacerdotal pseudo-gurus, is not a preacher of the performance of worldly deeds. Neither like the elevationists, renunciationists or Yogis who desire the idle bliss of union with the Oversoul, is he prepared to renounce the worship of the lotus Feet of the Supreme Lord, Sri Krishna, for the purpose of his selfish enjoyments by intercepting for his own use the gift of his disciples intended for the sole Recipient of all gifts. The transcendental Preceptor is in the habit of appropriating all that our souls ignorantly suppose they possess in this world by enabling them to offer the same at the Feet of Sri Krishna Who is the sole Enjoyer of everything. Or, in other words, by taking away from us every transitory thing to which we may be unnaturally attached he purges our hearts of all mundane desires and makes us susceptible to the perennial advent of the Absolute Truth.