“Physical presence is sometimes appreciable and sometimes not, but vani continues to exist eternally. Therefore we must take advantage of the vani, not the physical presence. Bhagavad-gita, for example, is the vani of Lord Krishna. Although Krishna was personally present five thousand years ago and is no longer physically present from the materialistic point of view, Bhagavad-gita continues.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Chaitanya Charitamrita, Concluding Words)
Friend1: You hear this lamentation sometimes. At least I do, anyways. It’s in relation to finding a spiritual master.
Friend2: A bona fide guru, the person who provides the second birth, making you a genuine dvija.
Friend1: Twice-born. That is the specific advantage of the human birth. While it is nice that you find a way to defend against wild animals using advanced weaponry, the vulnerability to death is the same.
Friend2: Known as kala in Sanskrit, time is the all-devouring agent. You are correct, though. The human birth is not auspicious because of the intelligence applied in survival. Otherwise, the tree would be considered the superior form in the evolutionary cycle. The tree can stand in the same place for thousands of years, unaffected by severe weather conditions.
Friend1: The lamentation is that someone else has found a guru they can trust. My friend is set; their spiritual leader did not fall down. They were a “pure devotee,” if using that terminology.
Friend2: That means there are no hints of material desire mixed in. That guru wasn’t interested in advancing to a higher planetary system or perfecting mystic yoga practice. They don’t even want liberation; they are ready to serve wherever the Supreme Lord places them in the future.
Friend1: Obviously, if you read the history documented in Vedic literature you will find that hardly anyone is a pure devotee. To become a perfected being is rare; requiring many lifetimes to even take up the endeavor:
बहूनां जन्मनाम् अन्ते
ज्ञानवान् मां प्रपद्यते
वासुदेवः सर्वम् इति
स महात्मा सु-दुर्लभः
bahūnāṁ janmanām ante
jñānavān māṁ prapadyate
vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti
sa mahātmā su-durlabhaḥ
“After many births and deaths, he who is actually in knowledge surrenders unto Me, knowing Me to be the cause of all causes and all that is. Such a great soul is very rare.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 7.19)
Friend2: The illusory energy of maya is known to be strong for a reason.
Friend1: If I can’t find someone today, who will guide me along the path of eternal life, I will feel dejected. I might curse at my misfortune. Others were able to be saved, but not me. I might even be jealous of Arjuna.
Friend2: Why is that?
Friend1: Because he heard directly from Krishna, who is Bhagavan. The Supreme Personality of Godhead spoke directly to him on the battlefield. Arjuna had no room for doubt, though he was kind enough to reassure everyone through the request of the visual of the virata-rupa, the universal form.
मन्यसे यदि तच् छक्यं
मया द्रष्टुम् इति प्रभो
योगेश्वर ततो मे त्वं
manyase yadi tac chakyaṁ
mayā draṣṭum iti prabho
yogeśvara tato me tvaṁ
“If You think that I am able to behold Your cosmic form, O my Lord, O master of all mystic power, then kindly show me that universal self.” (Arjuna, Bhagavad-gita, 11.4)
Friend2: Okay, but there is no reason to be jealous.
Friend1: Why is that?
Friend2: For starters, you know about the incident. You are aware of what took place. You have access to the exact same words used. The original language remains intact. The Sanskrit shlokas that you can memorize and sing were repeated by spiritual leaders hundreds and also thousands of years ago.
Friend1: Through the parampara system.
Friend2: His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada explains that Bhagavad-gita is the vani of Krishna. That instruction is eternal, though the physical presence may no longer be available. In that sense, Krishna is still teaching to this day.
Friend1: Because of the vani.
Friend2: Yes. The relationship with the spiritual master is the same way. One person may have direct contact, through vapu. They may serve in a way to offer physical comfort. But there will eventually be separation. The vani, however, remains. It never dies. The great spiritual leaders of the past continue to rescue countless souls through their Divine instructions, which are ultimately rooted in the teacher of Arjuna, who is complete knowledge personified.
Arjuna the wisdom heard,
When for guidance deferred.
To Shri Krishna before standing,
Authority as guru commanding.
Though ages ago occurring,
Still to that dialogue referring.
Meaning others too can connect,
Through vani contact direct.