“In the Hari-bhakti-sudhadaya there is another example, forwarded by Maharaj Dhruva. He says there, ‘My dear Lord, I have practiced austerities and penances because I was desiring to receive something from You, but in exchange You have allowed me to see You, who are never visible even to the great sages and saintly persons. I had been searching out some pieces of broken glass, but instead I have found the most valuable jewel. I am therefore fully satisfied, my Lord. I do not wish to ask anything more from Your Lordship.’” (The Nectar of Devotion, Ch 46)
“This issue has been spinning in my mind for a while. Likely due to recent events, I have come upon a conclusion. Maybe other people already realized this long before me, but the pattern is easily discernible now. It is almost unmistakable; I can spot it right away.
“I am referring to the issue of censorship. As soon as someone decides to censor information, I take it to mean that the offending party is telling the truth. I am not referring to spam postings or ludicrous and crazy ideas. If someone has an innocent question they ask of someone in power, common decency says to at least try to give a response.
“We have so descended into an animal society that the people aren’t even allowed to ask the question anymore. If they publish factual information, like the previous words of a public health official, if it doesn’t agree with the current narrative then the information will be taken down. It is the equivalent of reporting on the temperature for a given day, publishing into the public domain, and then later citing the previous work as a reference.
“The demons in positions of power will today block that information from the public. They will try to erase the recorded history, if possible. It is a really bad situation, if you ask me. The practice is not limited to material life. In spiritual institutions they are busy rewriting the published books from the acharya. They then remove all records of the original works. People newly interested in the subject matter might not ever find out.
“If you blow the whistle on criminal behavior in one of the temples, the authorities will kick you out. No questions asked. No chance to apologize or give a rebuttal. This is the work of criminals. They do not want the truth to get out. It is said that the truth does not mind being questioned and that a lie does not like being challenged.
“I was thinking about how this relates to spiritual life, in general, and particularly the verse from Bhagavad-gita [4.34], where the recommendation is to approach a bona fide spiritual master. The words are spoken by Shri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
“Be submissive in service and humble in your inquiries. But if you are selling something, in this case a way of life, then why be afraid of questions? Why should someone be apprehensive in raising their doubts? If the guru gets angry at the disciple, does that not put them in the category of the ordinary criminal, who doesn’t want their lies exposed?”
The idea is that we should avoid absurd inquiries. His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada uses the example of asking the guru to show you God. That is the first question when approaching them. No service. No attempt to understand the vital components to this large and complex puzzle that makes the complete picture.
Right away, upon the initial meeting, insist that the spiritual teacher show you everything, which is one way to define God. If the guru should fail, then the disciple turns away, rationalizing that there is no God. This is an absurd inquiry precisely because something of the highest value is not so cheap as to be sold on a street corner, ready for any person to pick up, no matter what state of mind they are in.
Rather, the real guru welcomes every kind of legitimate question and challenge. They are not afraid of being challenged to show God. The disciple will begin to see, but only after they serve and please the spiritual master. Only after they agree to follow some basic principles and lifestyle changes will they be put on the path towards liberation.
There will come a day when they see God not only in a single place at a single time, but at every moment of the day, wherever they turn. They see God in the beautiful horizon, in the dark raincloud about to drop torrents of water, in the vast and endless array of trees in the park, planted and coordinated by nature, and in the love and support of friends and family.
They learn to see God everywhere, and that vision was made possible through the connection to the guru, who is not a miser. Dhruva Maharaja met the Supreme Lord face-to-face after a long and difficult struggle in austerity and penance. Though he began with a personal motive in mind, by the time he met Vishnu the nature changed. He no longer wanted what he originally sought.
There were no absurd inquiries in meeting Vishnu. There was no direct challenge. Dhruva understood who was before him. He did not forget that wonderful experience, and it shaped his existence moving forward.
To person telling a lie,
With posed questions to try.
But censor and away to throw,
Close but not the truth to know.
Spiritual guide genuine inquiries accepting,
Only way for entrenched ignorance rejecting.
Absurd and useless wasting time,
From humility God soon to find.