(Kadamba Kanana Swami, June 2012, Bhaktivedanta Manor, England, Higher Taste Seminar)
A lot of us think about this topic – THE HIGHER TASTE and actually I think that for most of us, it is not really the priority in our spiritual lives to meditate on taste. I think what is really more important for us is to try and be a faithful servant. To try and take shelter of guru or the principle of guru tattva. Guru is one, Srila Prabhupada said. Or that the principle of transcendental teachings are embodied in different personalities, at different points in time. And different gurus are therefore in our life – siksa guru, diksa guru and in general, the vaisnavas as a whole are acting in that way. And we depend on blessings… blessings from those personalities. And it’s there were we should focus. If we think like [quote]I want taste! How am I going to get this higher taste? I’m not getting this taste and I really feel that I want the taste but its not happening! And therefore I’m struggling and I’m trying and I want and I need. And its me! And I am the centre of the entire universe! And its about my feelings and my needs and my spiritual life, [/quote] then we are still on the platform of ‘I and mine”. In that case, our spiritual life will remain a struggle because we should come to the platform of simply inquiring, “What is the desire of my spiritual master. What is the desire of the vaisnavas?” and allow ourselves to be controlled.
Its very common that a spiritual master mostly sees smiling faces, in every direction he looks. Spiritual Master, “How are you?” Disciple, “Very well! Thank you so much.”
There’s a crowd of smiling faces because after all, a spiritual master is a very threatening personality because he has absolute authority. OH MY GOD! Even your parents don’t have that! You can argue with your parents but you cannot argue with the spiritual master. You might sort of politely, respectfully bring up a “but” and then bang!!! He might just cut it down. Therefore the best thing is to just say on the question, “How are you?” is “Fine!” and smile and then listen to the lectures and see what you catch from there. And then if he says, “You didn’t have any questions?” You say, “NO! All my questions are answered by the lecture!” That’s good. And then if you do have personal questions, you ask them to somebody else; a senior devotee and not to your spiritual master, for GOD’s sake not! But to another devotee, who is senior is more safe because you can decide if you want to follow it or not. [Laughs]
So in this wayyasya deve parā bhaktir yathā deve tathā gurau tasyaite kathitā hy arthāḥ prakāśante mahātmanaḥ
“Only unto those great souls who have implicit faith in both the Lord and the spiritual master are all the imports of Vedic knowledge automatically revealed.” (Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad 6.23)
We have to somehow or other become a dedicated servant – one who is ready to be formed and shaped just like dough or clay. Dough is such a thing that it allows itself to be shaped in different forms according to the creativity of the individual and we should be like that in the hands of the vaisnavas, as they desire. That’s not so easy. They may ask us things that are difficult. But this is what it means. In order to attain blessings, one has to become generous – the opposite of a kripana (a miser).
[Imitates a kripana with a miserly tone of voice] “Yes, I can do some service on Sunday between 3:30 pm and 4:35 pm. Yes, I can.”
No, not in that way. With an open heart, we must go before a vaisnava and ask, “How can I serve?” And he can say anything! And then we must do. He can ask us anything and we must give. So this vaisnava charity goes beyond the simple giving of some of our possessions. It goes about completely giving ourselves.