A story about how to understand what surrender means‏

April 23, 2014 in Damaghosa Dasa by KHD

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Kuresh, the famous, intimate disciple of Srila
Ramanujacharya once asked his guru the meaning
of the well-known Bhagavad-gītā verse 18.66:
sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja
ahaṁ tvā sarva-pāpebhyo mokṣayiṣyāmi mā śucaḥ
“Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender
unto me. I will deliver you from all sinful reactions.
Do not fear.”
Yudhisthir hears from Bhishmadev
Ramanuja replied to him, “A person who gives up
all independent desires and serves his guru absolutely
for an entire year can fully understand the meaning
of this verse, and no one else.”
“But life is so uncertain,” said Kuresh, “How can
I know whether or not I will live for another year?
Please bestow your mercy upon me by making the
meaning of the verse manifest in my heart even now.”
Ramanuja considered his request for a while and
then replied, “If you live for one month by begging
alms from door to door, without knowing where your
next meal will come from, then you will begin to realize
the meaning of full surrender. At that time, I will
instruct you in all the meanings of this glorious verse.”
For one month Kuresh lived as his guru had instructed.
When the month had passed, he gained
realized knowledge from Ramanuja about the nature
of surrender to Krishna.
We should understand the difference between information
collection and gaining realized knowledge. The
latter only comes through offering respect, submissive
inquiries, and rendering service to a devotee and not
by mere reading.
Srila Prabhupada once described:
Just like some rascals say, “What is the use of accepting
a guru?”Of course, they have got very bad
experience. …It is not that, “If I like I can go to a
guru, and if I don’t like I can study books at home
and learn everything.” No, that is not possible.
It is practical. Just like if you purchase a medical
book, study at home, and then begin to practice,
you will be called a quack. The government will
not recognize you. …Similarly, someone may say,
“I have read Bhagavad-gītā a hundred times.”
But if you ask him what is Krishna he cannot say
because he has not approached the ācārya. This is
the difficulty. He might have read Bhagavad-gītā
a thousand times but he will not understand a
single word because he has not approached. (From
a lecture in Mumbai on 5 October 1973.) — MD

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