"I am nothing, but I have you"

The bhakta always feels, “I am very unqualified, but my Guru is highly qualified.”


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The bhakta always feels, “I am very unqualified, but my Guru is highly qualified.” This is their feeling, on two sides.
āpane ayogya dekhi’ mane pāṅ kṣobha
tathāpi tomāra guṇe upajaya lobha
(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta: 2.1.204)
“I feel I am very unqualified, I am a fallen soul, I have everything bad, but you are very glorious and you have all qualifications, you have transcendental power, and you can remove my darkness at any moment, so I do not want to leave your lotus feet. I may be a fallen soul, but from there I will see your lotus feet.”
Like the chatak bird: “I shall not go anywhere. I must see your lotus feet. I need your blessings.” We must always try to keep this type of faith in heart, and one day must come for our benefit. That day is our day, and we are waiting for that day. Then, there is no problem. I am always saying, “No problem.”
I know what is the problem for the conditioned souls. I am a conditioned soul, and so I know what is the problem for conditioned souls. But when I am looking at my divine master and his glory, then I can say, no problem. Within one second every darkness can go through his shining light. Then there is no problem. Only wait and see. Wait and see what Krishna’s play will be.
Sometimes fault can give us great benefit. Fault can benefit us but who is in garva-parvat [a mountain of pride] cannot get that benefit. A fallen soul may get very high benefit, but an auspicious soul may not get that, because an auspicious soul has some ego.
I am very satisfied with my Guru Maharaj. I am very satisfied, and I feel that that is sufficient for me. What feeling I have, I can say, but that will sound like a madman, so I do not want to say that; but if there is a chair, or a table, or a door in front of me, I will feel it. I will eat, and not feel it?—it is not possible. When I eat I must feel that my belly is becoming full, my health is becoming stronger, and my mind is going up.
Devotee: In Chaitanya-charitamrta there is the story of when Kalidas went to Jhaḍhu Ṭhākur and asked him for his prasad; Jhaḍhu Ṭhākur said, “You are a brahman, and I am not a brahman, so how can you take my prasad?” Then Kalidas quoted some verses about the position of a Vaishnava, but Jhaḍhu Ṭhākur said, “No, I am not a Vaishnava, these verses are not for me. What you are saying is true, but not for me.”
Srila Govinda Maharaj: His feeling must go in this way. Who is a Vaishnava, who is big, when he sees the very biggest thing he must think, “I am much smaller than this.”
Devotee: I know that with Harinam, if one has very bad samskar, it’s not important. But sometimes a person with bad samskar can be very strongly covered by maya, and so  sometimes I think that although Harinam is very great and the mercy of Guru is very great, because I am fool number one, a complete fool, Harinam and Guru must be keeping distance from me.
Srila Govinda Maharaj: Once this type of question came to Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur from his disciple, and Srila Bhakti Siddhanti Saraswati Thakur thrice asked him, “You feel you have nothing, no bhakti, that what you are doing is not really beneficial? You don’t feel that you are getting anything—this feeling is very strong in your mind?” Then Saraswati Thakur said, “Then you are getting something, and it is okay for you. Go.” This was on the roof of Bagh Bazaar Gaudiya Math, I heard from Guru Maharaj.
na prema-gandho ’sti darāpi me harau
krandāmi saubhāgya-bharaṁ prakāśitum
vaṁśī-vilāsy-ānana-lokanaṁ vinā
bibharmi yat prāṇa-pataṅgakān vṛthā
(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta 2.2.45)
[“I do not have even a trace of love for Krishna. Still, I cry to show that I have a great fortune. Without a glimpse of the face of that Flute Player, I carry on My meaningless, insect-like life.”]
When Mahaprabhu himself says, “I do not have even a little drop of prema for Krishna”, if Mahaprabhu is showing this feeling to us, then who are we? We must try to follow those feelings.
Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj speaking in December of 1989.
virachaya mayi daṇḍaṁ dīna-bandho dayām vā
gatir iha na bhavattaḥ kāchid anyā mamāsti
nipatatu śata-koṭir-nirbharaṁ vā navāmbhaḥ
tad api kila-payodaḥ stūyate chātakena
(Srila Rupa Goswami)
“O Friend of the needy, whether You chastise me or reward me, in the whole wide world I have no other shelter but You. Whether the thunderbolt strikes or torrents of fresh waters shower down, the chatak bird (who drinks only the falling rainwater) perpetually goes on singing the glories of the raincloud.”

Good Karma & Bad Karma

Question: Everyone has some karma, and sometimes someone else’s karma is disturbing me. How can I understand when I should try to correct this other person’s karma? How can I know if it is correct or incorrect to try to modify another person’s karma? How can I understand how to act for my benefit and for the benefit of this other person?
Śrīla Govinda Mahārāj: Actually karma means action. It is the law of this material world, ‘To every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction’. This is Newton’s third law. As yet, no one has broken that law [laughter]. And there is good karma and bad karma. Good is what is giving us upliftment from the illusory environment to the transcendental plane. That is good karma. And there is some indication for that: what will be beneficial for everyone is good karma. And what is non-beneficial and what is harmful for others is called bad karma. Someone may be benefitted by that, but if it is breaking the society law, which has been made for the society’s benefit, we are considering that to be bad.
If our action, karma, will give us upliftment from the present level of the illusory environment to the transcendental plane, that will be very good karma. That is written in the scriptures. We see that there are so many religions in this material world within human society, but the target of all religions is to take us from a lower level to a higher level. And we can go up through our good karma. We see that indication within all religions. For that we are respecting all religions: all religions want our upliftment from this very lower level to a higher level. They are not only looking for their own benefit, but they are looking for the benefit of the human society, benefit of the dog society, benefit of the cow society, benefit of the plant society, even the benefit of the insect society: we can see that type of program within all religions. And we can practise that very easily if we  follow this Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
If we follow Kṛṣṇa consciousness, then we can easily practise and go to a higher level. And there the process is this: humility, tolerance, and giving honour to others. This is the first conditional process. These three qualities will make the whole world our friend. My karma will be more pious, and my practising will be harmless. Otherwise, someone will kill some goat, someone will kill this, someone will do that. Sometimes it may not be harmful for me, but it will be harmful for others. I have seen that it is a law here that you cannot cut down a big tree. You cannot cut it, you must maintain it. We are practising Kṛṣṇa consciousness in this way.
Question: How can you recognise what is good and what is bad?
Śrīla Govinda Mahārāj: What is good for everyone is good, and what is bad for everyone  is bad [laughter]. It is natural. But sometimes it happens here that we cannot understand that an activity’s result  will be good in the future, though at present it looks bad. Then what will we do? Previously crystal sugar candy was the medicine for jaundice, hepatitis. It is written in the Ayurveda. But who has hepatitis will taste that sugar candy to be bitter, pittopatapta-rasanasya. When he first takes it, he will get a bitter taste, not a sweet taste. But finally it will give them their super benefit, and the disease will go out. Karma is also like that: we cannot always see that karma will give a sweet taste. In that case we must arrange a sugar coated pill, and then the disease will go out. For some persons the bitter is necessary, and for some persons sweet is necessary. But if the action will finally give a good result, then that karma will be good. If the final result will come good for everyone, that is good.
Pittopatapta-rasanasya: when we give them sugar candy, they will not feel that the taste is good. But finally it will cure them and they will taste the sweetness. But what is good for everyone and good for others is good karma. The colour may be a little different, and everyone will not feel it is tasteful. Everyone may not feel it is good, but for the patient it is necessary to give that type of karma to him, “Do this, do that.” It is not necessary for them to fully to understand, but according to their capacity they will take it.
Question: Does this mean that however it is coming we have to accept this medicine?
Śrīla Govinda Mahārāj: Yes, but the medicine must really be medicine and it will come from a doctor. Then that will be beneficial.
Question: Will the medicine have effect in a short time or long time?
Śrīla Govinda Mahārāj: It is depending upon the person, and depending upon the situation of the disease, and how much we are attached.
Spoken by Srila Gurudev during his visit to Italy in September 2000
syāt kṛṣṇa-nāma-charitādi-sitāpy avidyā-
pittopatapta-rasanasya na rochikā nu
kintv ādarād anudinaṁ khalu saiva juṣṭā
svādvī kramād bhavati tad-gada-mūla-hantrī
(Śrī Upadeśāmṛta, verse 7)
“The holy name, character, pastimes and activities of Kṛṣṇa are all transcendentally sweet like sugar candy. Although the tongue of one afflicted by the jaundice of avidyā [ignorance] cannot taste anything sweet, it is wonderful that simply by carefully chanting these sweet names every day, a natural relish awakens within his tongue, and his disease is gradually destroyed at the root.”

Voices in the community: Soquel, California

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After years of extreme drug and alcohol addiction Hriday Govinda Prabhu left it all behind to embrace a life of exclusive service and dedication. He shares his heart-touching story in this interview.
“Where my parents failed, where the counsellors and the teachers, and the police officers failed and where I even failed myself because I was powerless, Krishna consciousness was the only thing with the potency to pull me from that muck and so now I owe it my life. I wouldn’t have a life without it. I have to give everything.”

Young blood, old blood

Wait and see. You are not getting any solution? Wait and see. Do not react immediately. If it is not palatable, then do not even say the truth. But do not tell a lie.

There are many things that we may not understand in our young age, but when we get experience and old age, then many things will become clear in front of us. Time can give us some consciousness. That is my experience.
Simply,  Srila Guru Maharaj said, “Wait and see. You are not getting any solution? Wait and see. Do not react immediately. If it is not palatable, then do not even say the truth. But do not tell a lie.”
satyam brūyāt priyam brūyāt ma brūyāt satyam apriyam
(Manu-samhita: 4.138)
This is Guru Maharaj’s advice. You must tell the truth, and palatable truth. What is not palatable, do not tell that. This type of realisation will also come through experience and age. Young blood cannot tolerate, but old blood can tolerate so many things. Then, what is necessary is to connect with some fuse, and then the whole line will be activated. It is existing within the hand of Krishna, and He has given that to His representatives. Try to get it in the proper channel, and not in any ‘massacre’ way, but with humility, with tolerance, and giving honour to others. Everyone will be your friend and well wisher. This is the advice of Śrīman Mahāprabhu, Śrīla Guru Mahārāj, our Param Guru Mahārāj, and also Prabhupād A. C. Bhaktivedānta Swāmī.
Srila Gurudev speaking in Italy, September 2000, during His Divine Grace’s sixteenth world tour.

The real prescription

They want to know how many hands Mahavishnu has, they want to know how many legs Nrsimhadev has, they want to know how Nrsimhadev is eating. They are reading so many big, big things somewhere, and someone is hearing, “Prabhupad said this, Prabhupad said that”; someone is telling, “This scripture said this, this scripture said that”—but nothing will come for my spiritual benefit!

The following response came in a very particular way: after patiently responding to repeated technical questions regarding the tatastha-sakti and the nature of the jiva’s fall to the material world, His Divine Grace suddenly segued into a discussion about the difficulty some devotees face with drugs and habits of intoxication, and how they can best overcome this. When a listener then asked Srila Gurudev for further advice on this point, Srila Gurudev responded with a strong reprimand on the knowledge-seeking attempt in devotional life—clearly speaking not to the immediate question at hand (which had really already been answered), but rather to the previous persons who had persisted in pressing His Divine Grace for details on the nature of the jiva’s fall.

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 Question: We are living in this Western society and more or less we are all like victims, prone to fall prey of the material environment. What is the remedy? We need some forceful advice, some stronger medicine, to help us become free of this.
Srila Gurudev: It is difficult to give forceful advice. I can give that stronger medicine. I know that medicine, but I cannot give that. That is not only your question, it is my question to myself. I need to do good for my friends. Who is taking initiation from me is my disciple and I have responsibility for my disciples. I must try to give relief my disciples first. That is my duty.
The remedy is a very simple remedy, given by Srimad Bhagavat, and I can say it to whoever is under control of me. If he or she will follow me blindly then they will get the remedy. It is very simple. Krishna gave that method to the devotees, and Mahaprabhu Himself happily accepted that remedy. But if I shall say it [publicly] in the meeting no one will learn happily. No one will learn my teachings. My disciples will learn, because I am with them from the beginning; but I also have some general responsibility for others, and their prescription must be another prescription. But actually, the real prescription is what was given by Srimad Bhagavat, what was given by Mahaprabhu. That is the real prescription, but who will learn it, who will hear it, and who will follow it?
They want to know how many hands Mahavishnu has, they want to know how many legs Nrsimhadev has, they want to know how Nrsimhadev is eating. They are reading so many big, big things somewhere, and someone is hearing, “Prabhupad said this, Prabhupad said that”; someone is telling, “This scripture said this, this scripture said that”—but nothing will come for my spiritual benefit! We are publishing so many big, big books, showing our knowledge, “I am doing this, I am doing that”, but I am not taking any instruction from my instructor or any instruction from my friend.
I am living in the ‘higher plane’, that is the egoist temple. But it is first necessary to blast that egoist plane.
jñāne prayāsam udapāsya namanta eva jīvanti 
This sloka is the remedy. Mahaprabhu gave this, and Mahaprabhu accepted this.
sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaranaṁ vraja
Even this verse Mahaprabhu did not happily accept. If you read Ramananda Ray and Mahaprabhu’s conversation you will see.
It is not necessary to know everything. It is not necessary to make any confusion with any hazy matter. No benefit will come to us through that. Benefit will come if we are surrendered to the Lord, and not only surrendered,
jñāne prayāsam udapāsya namanta eva
jīvanti san-mukharitāṁ bhavadīya-vārtām

Mahaprabhu said, “Yes, this is some remedy.” We may have so much knowledge about Bhagavad-gita, about Bhagavat, about Veda, Vedanta, Upanisad, but what is the use of that?
Once a friend of my friend, a magistrate in Puri, was abusing our sampradaya, saying, “If someone has not read Govinda-bhasyam how can he be considered a sannyasi of the sampradaya?” I was very disturbed. In my house he was abusing the Vaishnava sannyasis and I could not tolerate it. I came out from my room and told him, “Oh ‘Mr eligible person’, I read Govinda-bhasyam and how many hands do you see on me? How much hands have you seen on me? You read Govinda-bhasyam, and how many hands have you got? How many hands does your guru, who taught you Govinda-bhasyam, have? Has everyone got chatur-bhuj [a four-handed form]? How much progress have you made after reading Govinda-bhasya? You are a lawyer, you are dealing with material law, and illegally or legally you are doing that. How many hands have you got, that you can abuse the Vaishnavas?”
The fact is this: we may know everything of the scriptures but if we do not know how to swim we will drown in the river. That is the fact in front of us. I am initiating some persons: I want to give them the process through which they can gain liberation from this material world and join in the transcendental world. I am giving them the seeds of what I have heard and what I have received, along with my wellwishes, my blessings, and everything, and they will be promoted with that.
It is necessary to follow a real practising life, and that will come through tṛṇād api sunīchena [being more humble than a blade of grass], taror iva sahiṣṇunā [being tolerant like a tree], amāninā [not expecting respect], mānadena [giving respect]. How much are we following that? We need to preach this to them first. Leave your egoistic tendency.
jñāne prayāsam udapāsya namanta eva jīvanti 
Mahaprabhu said it. Srimad Bhagavat said it.
If we want a real practising life it is not necessary to read so many things. It is not necessary to know so many matters. Only how to swim, that is necessary to know! I want to cross the river. But we want to know, “Why is the sun coming out on the east side, and why is it setting on the west side, and why is the air flowing all over the world, why is this star giving that result, and why is that star giving that.” We are trying to collect so much knowledge but we are not trying to collect how to swim.
It is my advice to my friends who are depending upon me, “Be serious for your practising life.” It is not necessary to read so many things. I told you, those three books are sufficient: Srimad Bhagavad-gita, Brahma samhita, and Chaitanya-charitamrta. If someone is a preacher, then under guidance of his Guru, if necessary, he will try to preach something. But always with these three qualities of humility, tolerance, and giving honour to others. Otherwise, the result will not come to us.
Srila Gurudev speaking in Italy, August 1999, during the Fourteenth World Tour.
jñāne prayāsam udapāsya namanta eva
jīvanti san-mukharitāṁ bhavadīya-vārtām
sthāne sthitāḥ śruti-gatāṁ tanu-vāṅ-manobhir
ye prāyaśo ’jita jito ’py asi tais tri-lokyām
(Srimad Bhagavatam: 10.14.3)
“In whatever position they may be, those who give up the endeavour for knowledge, surrender to the sadhus, and dedicate their lives bodily, verbally, and mentally to their talks of the Lord, can conquer the Lord, who is otherwise unconquerable.”
Spoken by Srila Gurudev in Italy, August 1999, during His Divine Grace’s fourteenth world tour.

Open wide your heart

What are the waves of the infinite, what sort of wave will come to touch you from the infinite, the centre of infinite, of love, beauty? Wait and see. Be clear, open, unbiased.

For the satisfaction of Srila Gurudev and the Vaisnavas, we are happy to inaugurate this new series of excerpts from the talks of the Guardian of Devotion, our beloved grand-guru, His Divine Grace Sri Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Deva-Goswami.

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mayā tatam idaṁ sarvaṁ jagad avyakta-mūrtinā
mat-sthāni sarva-bhūtāni na chāhaṁ teṣv avasthitaḥ

na cha mat-sthāni bhūtāni paśya me yogam aiśvaram
(Srimad Bhagavad-gita 9.4–5)
“I am everywhere, everything is in Me; I am nowhere, nothing is in Me. I am not a madman. Try to have an estimation of Myself, Arjuna, what am I.” Has such a bold statement ever come in the world of philosophy? (Chuckling) “I am everywhere, I am nowhere, everything in Me, nothing in Me. Try to ascertain, what am I. This sort of straight, simple, and most perplexing, and impossible possible together. I am there.”
jñāne prayāsam udapāsya namanta eva
jīvanti san-mukharitāṁ bhavadīya-vārtām

Give up your attempt of measuring Him, but through faith try to approach. You are finite, so how much faith may you have about infinite? Very little. So don’t think that you will be deceived, that your faith will deceive you. You are a teeny person; what is the length and breadth of your faith? In the infinite anything is possible. So don’t be afraid of your blind faith when you come in the search of Krishna, infinite. Only faith can take you there, and no knowledge. It is clearly stated in Bhagavatam. Never approach with the instrument of knowledge. That will deceive you. But through faith Adhoksaja can come down. And if you doubt He may not care to come down to you.
Open, spread wide your heart to receive Him, and prepare yourself for what sort of wonderful lila He may come to show you. Be so much broad. And wait. What are the waves of the infinite, what sort of wave will come to touch you from the infinite, the centre of infinite, of love, beauty? Wait and see. Be clear, open, unbiased. Don’t go to measure with your teeny examples from this finite world of nasty nature.
tatra laulyam api mūlyam ekalam
Only your hankering can help you to have a touch of that magnanimous divine thing. If you go to challenge He will not care to come. What is the loss to Him? You are deceived. Go forward with your heart within.
jñāne prayāsam udapāsya namanta eva
jīvanti san-mukharitāṁ bhavadīya-vārtām
sthāne sthitāḥ śruti-gatāṁ
Brahma says “jānanta eva jānantu, those that say they know something, let them enjoy self-deception thereby, but manaso vapuṣo vācho vaibhavaṁ tava go-charaḥ, I could not enter into the very negligent slight point of your acquaintance. This is my finding.” Brahma says like that. “Those puffed up fools, they may talk about anything, they can know this, they can know that, everything can be known, let those fools dance with their foolish tendency. But I am sure that no instrument can have any slight touch of Him.” He is always new, always new, of new characteristic. He is infinite. Finite and infinite are of opposite character.
When we went to preach in Karachi the Arya Samaj thought, “We have got a prey, Vaisnavas are idolaters.” The president came to attack, and he told me, “If the finite can know the infinite then He is not infinite.” It came to my mind immediately, “If infinite cannot make Himself known to finite then He is not infinite.” Just opposite. He made a handshake, “Namaste.”
That is only our solace, that the infinite can make Himself known to the finite. And finite cannot know infinite. So we always foster that characteristic of the infinite, His grace. That should be our fare, our attitude. We have come not to deal with a limited thing. My aspiration is not so base, and mean. I have come in the relativity of the infinite so my behaviour must be according to that.
tṛṇād api su-nīchena
taror api sahiṣṇunā
amāninā māna-dena

The negative tendency should be increased to attract the positive. “I can’t stay without Your least connection.” With that we have to invite him. “I am din and poor and mean, I am so and so, the meanest fellow, there is no one meaner than myself.” That is the way.
Our Prabhupad used to give an example: in a fair it is seen that a bamboo post is there and it is smeared with oil and ripe plaintain fruit, so it is very slippery; and there is a man on the side who says that if one can climb up he will be given such a reward. And everyone, wherever he catches the pole, he comes down. He cannot go up. The aroha pantha [ascending path] is like that. We cannot go up. It is slippery. We can come down, but we cannot go up.
So we are brave enough to deal with such a thing, we have such audacity. But still the position is there, that it is possible by His grace, the line of His grace; He wants to distribute Himself in a particular line: srauta pantha, guru paramparya. Our necessity is exclusively there with the srauta paramparya, guru paramparya. The knowledge, and the bhajan, everything comes down from infinite to finite and never aroha pantha, from finite to infinite. That should always be the backbone of our movement. So whatever we shall go to do we shall look up to Gurudev, “If you do, it may be done. I have nothing, I am nowhere Sir, I am nowhere.”
Once I found in the history of Ramanuja that he had a sitting with a mayavadi pandit for fourteen days and could not defeat him; he came frustrated to Varadaraja [Deity of Lord Vishnu worshipped in South India], “What am I, I can’t defeat in discussion. For so many days I am trying to argue, but I am nothing, nowhere. I should not go on with my head erect as an acharya of the sampradaya.” He prayed at Varadaraja’s temple. And the next day, no sooner had he begun a slight talk, than that gentleman expressed his defeat. He clearly showed, “Yes, I have understood what you have said. I am wrong, and what you say is right.” Easily that man was defeated.
So, devotees are always expectant upward, “By Guru’s will: I have got nothing. Nothing. He may do through me. If I go to assert myself I shall not only be defeated, but I shall also be lost. But when I shall go to show even a proud attitude in the name of my Guru, and sincerely, then it will be bhajan. It will help me and others also.” The tendency will be to take power from above; the attempt of the acharyas will always be to bring things from above, from their guru. “By your grace.” Always dependent. He can never say, “I am in possession of the potency, power.” No.
jagāi mādhāi haite muñi se pāpiṣṭha
purīṣera kīṭa haite muñi se laghiṣṭha

[“I am more sinful than Jagāi and Mādhāi and even lower than the worms in the stool.”]
mora nāma śune yei tāra puṇya kṣaya
mora nāma laya yei tāra pāpa haya
(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta: 1.5.205-6)

[“Anyone who hears my name loses the results of his pious activities. Anyone who utters my name becomes sinful.”]
The conception of the ego of the negativity is so intense. “I am such. But Nityananda Prabhu is great, He is patita-pavan, and so I have got.”
ye yathā patita haya tava dayā tathodaya
tathā āmi supātra dayā
“I can claim because I am the most fallen. I think I realise that I am the most fallen. I have got the greatest claim for your grace, mercy.” That should be the attitude of a real devotee. As mean as one conceives, has a conception of himself, so great he is in the eye of the devotees. Dainya. Hankering, laulyam, hankering, arti, that is their wealth, the wealth of the devotees, it is there. “I am proud of the power of my Gurudev and never of myself.” That should be the attitude of the devotee.
Spoken by Srila Param Guru Maharaj, 28 February 1981, Sri Nabadwip Dham.

Cleaning the mirror of the heart

Every moment will be joyful in your life. Dedication to the Lord and chanting the Holy Name, the nondifferent form of the Lord, can give us all auspiciousness.

Question: I would really like to hear about Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and how we can serve him.
Srila Gurudev: Mahaprabhu first indicated to beginners that you will get all the benefit of your spiritual life if you can chant the mahamantra properly. Your mind is like a mirror covered with dust, and through chanting that dust will be removed and you will see your true form. The suffering that we experience from so many things in this material world will also reduce and finally go out.
cheto-darpaṇa-mārjanaṁ bhava-mahā-dāvāgni-nirvāpaṇaṁ
Through your chanting feelings of God will reveal in your heart, you will see your beautiful divine form, and your mood of service will give such happy light in your spiritual environment. You will get very close association with your Lord, like the feelings between a husband and wife.
cheto-darpaṇa-mārjanaṁ bhava-mahā-dāvāgni-nirvāpaṇaṁ
śreyaḥ-kairava-chandrikā-vitaraṇaṁ vidyā-vadhū-jīvanam
When that divine form of the Lord as Harinam reveals within your heart then automatically joy will come, and every moment when you are chanting the Holy Name, the feeling of God’s association will come to you.
prati-padaṁ pūrṇāmṛtāsvādanaṁ
Every moment will be joyful in your life. Dedication to the Lord and chanting the Holy Name, the nondifferent form of the Lord, can give us all auspiciousness.
Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu advised the conditioned souls in this way.
prabhu kahe—kahilāṅ ei mahāmantra
Of all mantras this is the best mantram in this age of Kali-yuga. Other practising processes will not be so fruitful. Meditation, chanting, and congregational chanting of this mantram, and service to this mantram, will give all good results to us.
Then if we want to satisfy Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu we will first try to chant the Hare Krishna mahamantra, and if we can do that continuously that is very good.

Be humble, be tolerant and give honour to others

Mahaprabhu gave eight verses as advice for the conditioned souls, and in the third verse He explained how attachment, love, and affection will grow for chanting the Holy Name. He gave this advice: if you can be humble, be tolerant, and give honour to others then you will be worry-free from your circumstances.
You can believe and you can live within the faithful plane. Faith is necessary. That is the first basis of this conception. Not only in the line of Krishna consciousness, but the first advice of all religious conceptions is, “Be faithful”. At first, beginners may not be able to maintain their faith because they are not seeing anything and not getting anything in their hand. They do not have practical knowledge and experience. For that reason strong faith will not come immediately. But through realisation, through association, through hearing, through reading, faith will become more and more strong. In different ways our faith will grow more and more, but the scriptures say that association is the best. If good association is not available then we can practise through reading the books, chanting the Holy Name, hearing from an expert, and so on.
We must try to realise our previous activity, our present spiritual situation, and our future prospect. It is necessary to take advantage of the value of the present time.
Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu will be happy if we follow His directive to chant the mahamantra without offence. The mahamantra Himself is Radha and Krishna. Both Their Names are present within this mantra with a calling mood. Even within some processes in this material world we can see that sound can take form: now when you are talking to someone by telephone it is also possible to see their form, their mood, and so on. So, if we can chant properly They will reveal in our heart. We cannot say that it will happen immediately but anyone can get it, and if someone is sincere with their practice they will get some feelings from the beginning.

When Mahaprabhu said that there is no alternative other than chanting the Holy Name of the Lord, then it is not necessary to go left or right or anywhere else. Be steady, be faithful, and try, and success must come to you.

We are trying but not properly trying, because we are always mixing with material things, and it is natural. If we can chant without offence then proper purification will come and we must be benefitted through that. Time is a factor: it is in front of me and must give me some disturbance. But if we can see the eternal time that is nothing by comparison.
When Mahaprabhu said that there is no alternative other than chanting the Holy Name of the Lord, then it is not necessary to go left or right or anywhere else. Be steady, be faithful, and try, and success must come to you. And because “Hare Krishna” is Radha–Krishna then if They reveal in your heart you will automatically join with the Pastimes of Krishna-lila. That is the gift of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu: Krishna-prema, love for Krishna, affection for Krishna, and service for Krishna. When it will reveal in your heart then Krishna will also reveal with that mood.
In this way, many things in many places have given us the clue of practising life. But at first beginners must try with faith.
Srila Gurudev speaking in Italy, September 2000, during his Sixteenth World Tour.


The mahamantra:
hare kṛṣṇa hare kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa hare hare
hare rāma hare rāma rāma rāma hare hare

Related reading

Discussion of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s Siksastakam verses in Revealed Truth
Article on the mahamantra

Falling down, getting up

Facing our shortcomings with hope and determination: words of love and wisdom from His Divine Grace.
We have attachment with this mundane world and with our body; it must be, because we are fallen souls. But we promised our Guru, “I must practise Krishna consciousness.” Taking diksa [initiation] means a promise, “I promise Gurudev, I promise Mahaprabhu: yes, any circumstance may come to me, but I will not leave your lotus feet.” And you have still not left: you are running, but only wake up from that illusion. You can see everything, and that is necessary. To always fall down somewhere is not good. Sometimes falling down is a possibility. And what loss is there? There is no loss. When a boy is running on the ground he will fall down on the ground. What loss does he have? He is not going underground; he will take help from the ground, and again he will run. This is the conception of Guru Maharaj, and not only Guru Maharaj: it is the conception of Srila Rupa Goswami Prabhu and Srila Sanatan Goswami Prabhu. They are the golden pillars of the sampradaya of Mahaprabhu.

My only shelter is your lotus feet. I may fall down, but will I sleep there?

Rupa Goswami Prabhu said,
bhūmau skhalita pādānāṁ bhūmir evāvalambanam
tvayi jātāparādhānāṁ tvam eva śaraṇaṁ prabho
“Oh Prabhu, you are my shelter. Tad api kila payodah stūyate chātakena. What shall I do? In the future, if I do not have your lotus feet I have no shelter. Then where shall I go? I cannot go to Brahmaloka [plane of non-differentiated spirit] and I cannot go to Svargaloka [plane of heavenly enjoyment]: my satisfaction is not there, my end is not there. My only shelter is your lotus feet. I may fall down, but will I sleep there? It is not possible. I am a living entity, a jiva-soul. I have willing, I have feeling, I have thinking. This is my property, and with that property I shall worship your lotus feet.”

What happened, happened. We don’t care.

Service to the Vaishnavas, and service to Guru is our only life’s goal. Then, what happened, happened. We don’t care. What have we seen? Many big, big rishis and big, big munis are sometimes falling down. But they are not completely attached with that environment. Vishvamitra Rsi also fell down. Sometimes willingly, sometimes unwillingly. Sometimes they willingly fall down. But our shelter is not there, our shelter is the lotus feet of Krishna. That is our only shelter.
You know everything, and that is the problem. That is why your heart is not satisfied with anything else. I have so much love for everybody, especially yourself. You know that love. When you come I feel it is my own atma, my own soul coming. That is how I see you.
It is not necessary to abuse anybody. We will only think, “My fortune gave me that type of environment and I fell down there. But I will not stay there forever.”

Everything belongs to my Gurus, and has been made by them, prepared by them. I can say that I am only mud, and they can make a Deity or make a dog.

I am the example. I am always telling to the devotees, I am the example. You know me. You see me, and what one Guru can do. I am looking at my Guru and I am surprised to see how it has come out. I am a very fallen soul, so how did my improvement come out this way,  and not only in a very small way? When I consider that I get so much strength. That is why I sometimes say, defeat is not in my life. Victory is always with me, because Guru Maharaj is with me.
My body, my mind, my age, everything belongs to my Gurus, and has been made by them, prepared by them. I can say that I am only mud, and they can make a Deity or make a dog. They can make anything, but my position is like soft mud. I did not know anything when I joined with Guru Maharaj’s mission, but after that everybody gave respect, and why? Not for my qualification, but for my Guru Maharaj’s qualification. When everybody is giving me respect I am thinking, “Oh, it is Guru Maharaj’s respect, it is going to Guru Maharaj.”
Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur said,
guru-jana-śire punaḥ, śobhā pāya śata guṇa
When anybody gives some respect, when anybody comes for service to Krishna I am thinking it is because of Guru Maharaj’s quality. By his mercy it is possible. And I have seen Guru Maharaj’s form, and how merciful Guru is.
Srila Gurudev speaking in Govardhan, March 1991
This talk is continued in the post ‘The pillar of success’
virachaya mayi daṇḍaṁ dīna-bandho dayām vā
gatir iha na bhavattaḥ kāchid anyā mamāsti

nipatatu śata-koṭir nirbharaṁ vā navāmbhas
tad api kila-payodaḥ stūyate chātakena
(Srila Rupa Goswami)
“O Friend of the needy, whether You chastise me or reward me, in the whole wide world I have no other shelter but You. Whether the thunderbolt strikes or torrents of fresh waters shower down, the chātak bird (who drinks only the falling rainwater) perpetually goes on singing the glories of the raincloud.”
ohe prabhu dayāmaya, tomāra charaṇa-dvaya,
śruti-śiropari śobhā pāya guru-jana-śire punaḥ,
śobhā pāya śata guṇa, dekhi āmāra parāṇa juḍāya
(Gītā-mālā: 1.1.1)
“O merciful Lord! Seeing Your feet become more beautiful atop the heads of the scriptures and a hundred times more beautiful atop the head of my Guru soothes my heart.”

“Abandoning everything, I have come to Your feet”

Srila Gurudev singing Ki jani ki bale in the year 1989.
Download mp3 audio.
ki jāni ki bale tomāra dhāmete
ha-inu śaraṇāgata
tumi dayāmaya patita-pāvana
patita-tāraṇe rata [1]
I do not know by what force I have taken shelter within Your abode. Surely it is by Your mercy alone, for You are ever seeking the purification and deliverance of the fallen souls.
bharasā āmāra ei mātra nātha!
tumi ta’ karuṇā-maya
tava dayā pātra nāhi mora sama
avaśya ghuchāre bhaya [2]
O Lord! You are merciful. This is my sole hope. There is no one who needs Your mercy more than I. Certainly You will dispel all my fear.
āmāre tārite kāhāra śakati
avanī-bhitare nāhi
dayāla ṭhākura! ghoṣaṇā tomāra
adhama pāmare trāhi [3]
There is no one on earth who has the power to deliver me. O merciful Lord! It is Your declaration that You deliver the lowest, most sinful persons.
sakala chhāḍiyā āsiyāchhi āmi
tomāra charaṇe nātha!
āmi nitya-dāsa tumi pālayitā
tumi goptā, jagannātha! [4]
Abandoning everything, I have come to Your feet, O Lord! I am Your eternal servant, and You are my maintainer and protector, O Lord of the universe!
tomāra sakala āmi mātra dāsa
āmāra tāribe tumi
tomāra charaṇa karinu varaṇa
āmāra nahi ta’ āmi [5]
Everything is Yours. I am only a servant. Certainly You will deliver me. I have embraced Your feet and no longer belong to myself.
bhakati-vinoda kādiya śaraṇa
la’yechhe tomāra pāya
kṣami’ aparādha nāme ruchi diyā
pālana karahe tāya [6]
Weeping, Bhakti Vinod takes shelter at Your feet. Forgiving his offences and giving him a taste for the Name, kindly maintain him.
(Śrīla Bhakti Vinod Ṭhākur)

Good news

Srila Gurudev singing Emana durmati, in the year 1989.
Download mp3 audio.
(prabhu he!)
emana durmati saṁsāra bhitare
paḍiyā āchhinu āmi
tava nija-jana kona mahājane
pāṭhāiyā dile tumi [1]
O Lord! I am very wicked-minded and have fallen into this material world, but You have sent a great soul, Your associate (to rescue me).
dayā kari more patita dekhiyā
kahila āmāre giyā
ohe dīna-jana śuna bhāla kathā
ullasita ha’be hiyā [2]
Seeing me so fallen and being merciful, he came to me and said, “O humble soul, listen to this wonderful message and your heart will rejoice.
tomāre tārite śrī-kṛṣṇa-chaitanya
navadvīpe avatāra
tomā hena kata dīna-hīna jane
karilena bhava-pāra [3]
“Śrī Kṛṣṇa Chaitanya has appeared in Nabadwīp to deliver you. He has brought many humble souls just like you to the shore of the ocean of material existence.
vedera pratijñā rākhibāra tare
rukma-varṇa vipra-suta
mahāprabhu nāme nadīyā mātāya
saṅge bhāi avadhūta [4]
“To fulfil the prophecies of the Vedas, He has appeared with a golden complexion as a brāhmaṇ’s son bearing the name ‘Mahāprabhu’ and driven all of Nadia mad with divine love in the company of His brother Nityānanda.
nanda suta yini chaitanya gosāñī
nija-nāma kari’ dāna
tārila jagat tumi-o yāiyā
laha nija paritrāṇa [5]
“Śrī Chaitanya, who is Kṛṣṇa Himself, has distributed His own Name and delivered the world. Go also and accept your deliverance.”
se kathā śuniyā āsiyāchhi, nātha!
tomāra charaṇa-tale
bhakati-vinoda kādiyā kādiyā
āpana-kāhinī bale [6]
O Lord, hearing this message, Bhakti Vinod has come to the soles of Your feet. Crying, he tells his story.
(Śrīla Bhakti Vinod Ṭhākur)
(prabhu) ei bār āmāy dayā kara
O Lord, give Your mercy to me this time.
patita pāvan nitāi-gaura ei bār āmāy dayā kara
O Saviours of the fallen Śrī Nitāi and Śrī Gaura, give Your mercy to me this time.
(tomār) śrī charaṇe śaraṇ nilām ei bār āmāy dayā kara
I have taken shelter at Your feet; give me your mercy this time.
tava dāser anudās kari’ ei bār āmāy dayā kara
Make me the servant of Your servant; give me Your mercy this time.
sapārṣada gaurahari ei bār āmāy dayā kara
O Gaurahari with Your associates, give Your mercy to me this time.
sapārṣada gaurahari ei bār āmāy dayā kara
O Gaurahari with Your associates, give your mercy to me this time.
hari he hari he hari he hari he
O Lord!
nitāi gaura hari he hari he hari he
O Nitāi, Gaura, Hari!