The Theistic Exhibition at Dacca

Invocation of the Divine Transcendental Sound
The Theistic Exhibition at Dacca

As published in The Harmonist (Sree Sajjanatoshani)
Edited by Paramahamsa Paribrajakacharyya Sri Srimad Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Maharaj


THE Exhibitor's address in Bengali, which was delivered at the opening of the Theistic Exhibition at Dacca on January 6, is available to the public in the form of a nicely printed pamphlet. The address, of which the English version appears as a separate article, deals with several important aspects of this particular mode of service and t is well worth the while of all persons irrespective of caste, creed or color to ponder over the nature of the congregational worship Divinely ordained for the Present Age.

The worship of Sree Krishna in the visible form is not idolatry or, what is the same thing, a speculative affair of our blundering mind. The visible Archa (worshipped) is the actual Descent (Avatara) of the Absolute to the plane of mortal vision. The Holy Name in this analogous manner descends to the plane of the recipient aural faculty of the conditioned soul. But the Holy Name is Krishna and not any mundane Sound. The Holy Name, as articulated sound heard by the conditioned soul, is thus the Archa or manifestation of the worshipped Himself to the mundane aural faculty. The hearing and chanting of the Holy Name are also archana or worship of Descended Divinity, as practiced by the novice. But as the Name alone is available as Archa for worship by the ear and tongue in the conditioned state all other forms of worship necessarily become secondary and auxilliary, especially in the present Age. Kirtana or vocalisation is the only substantive and sufficient mode of worship of the Kali Yuga. The hearing of the Name is necessary for obtaining eligibility for the performance of the chant.

The archa as Icon cannot be served independently of the Name in the present age. In no Age is the Icon really and fully served by any other faculty independently of the aural. In all Ages the Divine Descent is always the Transcendental Sound or the Name. In the other Ages it is liberating Sound Who is approached by the specific modes of service ordained for each Age. In Kali Yuga this subsidiary method is superseded by the goal itself being ordained as method. This is not opposed to the methods prescribed for the other Ages. It is possible in the Kali Yuga to directly grasp the truth that there can be no archana unless and until the process merges into the significance of the divine chant of the Holy Name.

Sree Gaursundar has given us His Assurance that He descends in the Kali Yuga in Three Distinct Forms viz., (i) in His Human Form, (ii) as the Icon, (iii) as the Divine Sound or the Name. This may seem at first sight to be in apparent contradiction to the declaration of the Scriptures that the chant of the Holy Name is the only Dispensation of the Kali Yuga.

The service of the Holy Name is available only to the unconditioned or liberated soul. The service of Holy Name is performed by all the faculties of the soul. The Holy Name is heard, seen, smelt, touched and uttered by the soul in the state of Grace. There is no other function for the faculties of the soul except the service of the Holy Name.

During novitiate this is not possible. The novice cannot see, smell or touch the Name. what is he then to do with these faculties? The dispensations of all ages require that the novice is to serve those who serve the Name with all their faculties. This is true also of the Kali Yuga. But it is not possible for novice to have complete faith in the sadhu. He is liable to suppose that the service rendered to the sadhu is more or less different from service rendered to Sree Krishna. The sadhu, who is capable of serving Krishna independently of any Dispensation, is in a position to prescribe the specific form of the archana to the novice in accordance with the requirements of each

The Dispensation of the Age is not to be interpreted by the resources of empiricism. As a matter of fact empiricism can offer no interpretation of any Dispensation that would be either real or consistent. The worship of the Icon and vocalisation of the Name becomes alike a part and parcel of the congregational chant only by their employment by the sadhu for the purpose of the promulgation of the real tidings of the Scriptures. But lest this self-evident proposition be opposed by the consistent mentality of empiric controversialists, Sree Gaursundar, the Original Promulgator of the congregational chant, has definitely declared that He will appear, subsequent to His Disappearance, in the Two Forms of the Icon and the Name. This also does not mean that the sadhu is to confine himself to any mundane form for prescribing the service of Krishna to the novice.

The idolatrous instinct is natural to the conditioned state. There is no wonder, therefore, that attempts should be made to offer the idolatrous interpretation of the Dispensation of the present Age. This is done by persons who are unfit for the due performance of archana. Those who are not eligible for novitiate should not presume to take upon themselves the self-imposed task of dictating the duty to the sadhu. Those empiricists, who set up as authorities of the interpretation of the Scriptures, are divided into the two groups of Iconographers and Iconoclasts. The sadhu is able to bring about the Descent of Krishna in the visible form of the Holy Icon for correcting the aberrations of the mundane aural, ocular and dermal functions of the conditioned state.

The worship of the Icon is known as archana. But as a matter of fact archana is not available till the worshipper has had some dim realization of the Nature of Transcendence. It is this realization that supplies the substantive basis of the real faith of the novice, without which is not possible to understand at all one's connection with the worshipped. Archana cannot be performed by the resources of empiricism. Any attempt to perform archana by the mere force of traditional habit of empiric augment would amount to the practice of the very worst form of offence against the Divinity, viz., 'Idolatry'. Says the Shastra, 'There cannot be a worse blasphemy against Vishnu than to think that His Form is mundane.' Empiric conceptions regarding Godhead are as much mundane as the forms of clay that are worshipped by the idolatrous worshipper of mundane images. The worshipper of an idea is no less idolatrous than the worshipper of sticks and stones. Neither of them are eligible for the archana of the Holy Icon.

The mercy of the sadhu can alone inspire the right faith in the transcendental nature of the worship of the Archa. The mercy of the sadhu produces such faith by effecting the abrogation of all ideas and principles of conduct that are manufactured by the ignorant mind for the worship of Godhead, but which are really tissues of delusions. The sight of the transcendental personality of the sadhu produces intuitive faith in the transcendence of his activities. A person who is favored by the real sight of the Vaishnava is automatically relieved from the necessity of idolatrous speculations and performances that are practiced in the name of worship of Godhead all over the world by persons Who are disposed to rely on the resources of their mundane faculties.

But archana is not to be confounded with bhajana. Kirtana that is performed by the sadhu is bhajana. All the activities of the Paramahansa are on the level of the kirtana of the Name. But the conditioned soul has no faculty by which he can realize the nature of the kirtana of the Name that is practiced by the Paramahansa. Neither is the performer of archana in a position to understand the ways of the Paramahansa. But the performer of archana understands the necessity of worshipping the Icon under the absolute direction of the Paramahansa. He is in a position to do so because he knows truly that transcendence is located beyond the scope of his faculties. It is not till the performer of archana is fully liberated from the domination of the deluding function of the mundane faculties of the conditioned state by the continuing mercy of the sadhu that he is enabled by the same agency to obtain access to bhajana or transcendental

Sree Gaursundar did not teach nor practice the archana of the Name. The performance of the archana of the Name is not available till Sree Krishna is pleased to manifest His Descent as the Name in the form that is audible to the mundane faculty. This Descent of the Name as Archa has been brought about by the mercy of the Acharyyas and in an elaborate manner by the organizers of the Theistic Exhibition at Dacca in pursuance of those activities of the Acharyyas. Sree Gaursundar by His word and career made the service of the Name available to the aural faculty of all persons without exception. Those who received His mercy were most fortunate and were in a position to pass it on to others.

After His Disappearance the Archa and Name appeared on the mundane plane. The Name could now be taken by any and every person. The Archa was equally available to the worshipper. This Divine Sanction does not abrogate the function of the sadhu as the unconditional guide of all spiritual activities. It only points to the incomprehensible direction of his transcendental activities. The exhibition is, therefore, explained and thereby fulfilled by the vocal activity of the sadhu. It is calculated to lead up to faith in the transcendental nature of the devotee of Krishna. It is not a hypothetical performance like the exposition of the teaching of the shastras by those who are not on the plane of bhajana. It is part and parcel of the bhajana of the bonafide sadhu who is in direct touch with the Divinity through the unbroken line of the Acharyyas.

Kirtana incorporates the process of archana. Archana, leading up to kirtana on its plane of bhajana, expands itself into the provisions for the teaching of the novice that are made by the sadhu, as his subsidiary function, by the Will of Krishna. The deliverance of conditioned souls is not the only, nor, the primary, significance of the activities of the sadhu. It is auxilliary and secondary. The sadhu is constantly engaged in performing the Kirtana of Krishna on the transcendental plane of bhajana. Why he chooses to incorporate conditioned souls as ingredients of his bhajana, is a proposition that admits of no answer except the assurance of the Scriptures. Its real significance is open only to the view of persons who are placed on the transcendental level of the sadhu. The dimmest reflection of the truth reveals itself to the loyal servants of the sadhu. This is the reward of those conditioned souls who join in these performances by their innate tendency for the unconditional service of the Absolute.

Kirtana, on the plane of bhajana, has been made available by the causeless Mercy of the Supreme Lord Himself to the wrangling atheists of this controversial Age. Kirtana should not be supposed to be identical with any limited mundane performance, although it mercifully manifests itself to the aural faculty of the conditioned state. The real nature of the function is to be approached by carefully pondering over the transcendental meaning of the actual utterances of the sadhu. It is imperatively necessary to do this as the kirtana of Krishna is alone capable of reconciling and explaining the apparent differences of the modes of worship enjoined by the revealed Scriptures of the world. The attainment of the function of kirtana on the level of bhajana will then be realized as being both the fulfillment as well as the method of all spiritual endeavor laid down in the Scriptures.

The Editor delivered His address on the occasion of opening of the Theistic Exhibition at Dacca in order to put himself and his audience into the line of succession of the Acharyyas by the invocation of the Divine Transcendental Sound, in his office to the servant of the Acharyyas. It is necessary to direct the attention of all to the words spoken on that occasion in the hope that by such co-operation the Truth might be induced to reveal His Transcendental Form by clearing up all current misconceptions.