Yes, "Every wave is favourable"—with properly adjusted vision.

I received this question in response to an article of Srila Gurudev’s posted awhile ago:

In regards to your recent post of Srila Gurudeva’s beautiful words of encouragement. Please could you explain to me this: here he says:

“Whatever is considered good and whatever is considered bad in this mundane world—everything is bad here. Maybe that is affection, or maybe that is enviousness. Maybe that is apparently good or bad, but everything is bad.”

Then, my question is: in other places we are hearing, that ‘Everything is good’ and that ‘every wave is favorable’… how shall we explain or harmonize these two?

I thought I would post my response here for the clarification of any others who may have had the same question:

In response to the points that you brought up:

Here Srila Gurudev is referring to everything coming from the wave of the material energy—not how we will perceive and respond to it.

Srila Gurudev quotes this famous verse of Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta (3.4.176),

‘dvaite’ bhadrābhadra-jñāna, saba — ‘manodharma’
‘ei bhāla, ei manda’, — ei saba ‘bhrama’

“In the material world, conceptions of good and bad are all mental speculations. Therefore, saying ‘This is good’ and ‘This is bad’ is all a mistake.”

And similarly in Srimad Bhagavad-gita it is repeatedly pointed out that everything pertaining to the material energy should be seen with equal vision because it is all standing on a false platform; it is all within the plane of mundane duality:

sukha-duḥkhe same kṛtvā lābhālābhau jayājayau
tato yuddhāya yujyasva naivaṁ pāpam avāpsyasi
(2.38)

“Considering pleasure and pain, gain and loss, and victory and defeat to be one and the same—fight. No sin will be incurred by you.”

vidyā-vinaya-sampanne brāhmaṇe gavi hastini
śuni chaiva śvapāke cha paṇḍitāḥ sama-darśinaḥ
(5.18)

“The humble sages, by virtue of true knowledge, see with equal vision a learned and gentle brāhmaṇa, a cow, an elephant, a dog and a dog-eater.”

From a devotional perspective, everything coming from the material wave, whatever the material energy has to offer to us, whether superficially good or bad (wealth, poverty, beauty, ugliness, fame, obscurity, etc) is of temporary value and will ultimately take us away from Krishna so it should all be seen as unfavourable.

Everything coming from the spiritual wave, on the other hand, is positive and to be embraced, because however it may manifest, whether apparently favourable or unfavourable, it is coming from the plane of truth and can thus adjust us to Reality the Beautiful.

As Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur sings in Atma-nivedana,

tomāra sevāya, duḥkha haya yata,
seo ta’ parama sukha
sevā-sukha-duḥkha, parama sampada,
nāśaye avidyā-duḥkha

“All the distress I encounter in Your service is also my greatest happiness. Both the distress and the happiness that come from engagement in Your service are my greatest fortune; they both destroy the distress of ignorance.”

As we’ve heard from Srila Sridhar Maharaj, Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur in his final days was fond of the expression “Religion is proper adjustment.” So, yes, “every wave is favourable”—with properly adjusted vision. It is all about in what interest what we see and experience is being considered. For example, say you receive a million dollar job offer from a big corporation. You could make a lot of money, but in order to do so you would have to give up all association, service, preaching, etc. Therefore through the lens of spiritual vision you may reject the proposal as being unfavourable to your devotional life. Or on a more base level, say somebody offers you a hamburger, or drugs, etc. A relative or an old friend who loves us dearly may want to sit and discuss many topics with us which are no longer of any interest to us. On a more subtle level, in our day-to-day service life we have to constantly discriminate and make decisions as to what is favourable and unfavourable.

Pratikulya vivarjanah, “Rejection of the unfavourable” is actually one of the six limbs of surrender so it is quite a crucial part of our devotional life. This whole process however is not contradictory to the concept that “every wave is favourable”. Srila Sridhar Maharaj defines progress as “elimination and new acceptance”. Through the devotional lens, in the interest of a higher truth, to reject something which otherwise may be considered favourable, actually clarifies and strengthens our own faith and conception. To assert, “No, I reject this as unfavourable to my spiritual life” is actually a supremely positive moment because it is an embrace of higher truth, it is an embrace of Guru and Gauranga and all they are trying to give us.

This idea that “every wave is favourable” is not something to be applied in a passive way. This is a dangerous way in which this concept can be applied. It is not that everything should be accepted at face value in a passive way. Rather everything must be seen in terms of the higher interest and at times in order to assert the higher interest we may need to resist the mayic flow. Perceiving the environment in terms of the higher interest may entail a fight at times. Someone is coming to attack or insult Guru and Vaishnava and I will sit passively because “every wave is favourable”? That response brings us to the Brahman conception. No, I must assert myself in their interest and protect them. I will see this as a service opportunity and in that way “every wave is favourable.”

So the tricky part is knowing when to respond to situations in a passive or active way. And there’s no ‘one size fits all’ here, we will have to consider on a case by case basis, also factoring in individual capacity and responsibility.

I hope this is somewhat helpful. I’m also reminded of this short article I wrote a couple years ago, which is somewhat related.

Humbly,

—Vishakha dasi.

Systematic approach

Srila B.R. Sridhar Deva-Goswami Maharaj discusses the importance of developing a clear and systematic understanding of the nature of reality and the path chalked out by our Gurus.

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In a scrutinising way we are to find the differences between the layers of knowledge. They are, Bhū, Bhuvah, Maha, Jana, Tapa, Satya, Virajā, Brahmaloka, Vaikuṇṭha, Goloka. These are the layers of different position and different planes of charm. Ultimately we are charmed by something and become a slave to that. Everything has got its own specific charm, and we are to compare and to dismiss and accept, eliminate and accept. We are to understand what is the peculiarity of Bhūloka, and then what is Bhuvaloka, Mahaloka, Janaloka, Tapaloka, and Satyaloka within the jurisdiction of exploitation. Gradually exploitation is being lessened, decreased. In Satyaloka there is a slight attraction for pleasure, for exploitation. There is the least exploitation in Satyaloka. There is more concern for the eternal position of the soul, independent of material acquisition and enjoyment. They do not like the enjoyment of these material things; they are more self-sufficient. They are ātmārāma: they find more pleasure in the perception of their own self. Ramanti means the fixed pleasure, and where? In their own soul. More or less they can find the nature of their own soul, and they are satisfied with that. They are ātmārāma, self-satisfied. That is found in Satyaloka mostly. They can realise the position of their own soul, so they have no material body. No exploitation is necessary to preserve this material body, and they are charmed by the beauty of their own soul and more or less engaged there. Ātmārāma: who is finding pleasure in their own self, their eternal self. Then:
ātmārāmāś cha munayo nirgranthā apy urukrame
kurvanty ahaitukī bhaktim ittham-bhūta guo hari
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 1.7.10)
[“Those who are self-satisfied and unattracted by external material desires are also attracted to the loving service of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, whose qualities are transcendental and whose activities are wonderful. Hari, the Personality of Godhead, is called Kṛṣṇa because He has such transcendentally attractive features.”]
Those that are self-satisfied, that are found in the last extremity of this exploiting world, who are not dependent on the exploitation of this material world, they have got some charm over their plane, and they find Hari there. Hari is such that can attract the attention of those that are self-satisfied. Ātmārāma is a conception of liberation, liberation from the exploiting tendency of the environment. If they feel attraction for some other thing, then that thing must be superior to the human self; otherwise how is it that the attention of those that are self-content can be drawn to something else? That must be finer. So it is a proof that Hari is not this side of the world, but on the higher side. They feel causeless attraction for Hari. Then the ecstasy which we can get in association with Hari must be of a higher degree than what we find in our own self.
prāyea munayo rājan nivttā vidhi-edhata
nairguya-sthā ramante sma guānukathane hare
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 2.1.7)
[“O King Parīkṣit, mainly the topmost transcendentalists, who are above the regulative principles and restrictions, take pleasure in describing the glories of the Lord.”]
These are the proofs that Hari is not this side, within the natural production, as the Śaṅkarites, māyāvādīs say. It is nirguṇa, it is beyond this world. They do not care for satya, raja, tama [the modes of goodness, passion, and ignorance]. They are posing as such, and still they find satisfaction in the discourse about Hari. So Hari must be on the higher side.
tasyāravinda-nayanasya padāravinda
ki
ñjalka-miśra-tulasī-makaranda-vāyu
antar-gata
sva-vivarea chakāra teā
sa
kobham akara-juām api chitta-tanvo
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 3.15.43)
The scent of the tulasī which has contact with the holy feet of Nārāyaṇ disturbed these peoples who are ātmārāma, the chatuḥsan [four kumāras], who are self-sufficient, self-satisfied. Their attention is attracted by the sweet scent of the tulasī which has got contact with the holy feet of Nārāyaṇ. That snatched away their attention, so that must have some superior position. In this way it is proved within reason that Vaikunṭḥa is over Brahma, and not this side  of Brahma, as the Śaṅkarites, māyāvādīs, argue.
Śukadev also says:
pariniṣṭhito ’pi nairguya uttama-śloka-līlayā
ghīta-chetā rājare ākhyāna yad adhītavān
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 2.1.9)
“Oh Mahārāj Parīkṣit, you all know that I am well established in nirguṇ Brahma. My position has proved that I am beyond the charm of this mundane world. Cent per cent I have no charm for any material temptation, and still I have some special charm to hear about the līlā of Kṛṣṇa, Vṛndāvan. My attention was forcibly snatched towards that, so that must be on the other side, on the higher side of this world. That is not among the pleasing attractions of this mundane world. This is the sweetness, the elegance, of that Kṛṣṇa-līlā: it is aprākṛta [appearing humanlike, yet divine], it is adhokṣaja, transcendental. This is the proof: that those that have got no charm, the least charm for this mundane pleasure, are reverentially attracted towards those similar things that are very high on the other side of the Brahma, Parabrahma world, and not this mundane world.
Hallucination is dangerous: it may draw our attention to any side and every side. These are the sound calculations towards the transcendental līlā of Kṛṣṇa and we must strictly stick to this sort of judiciousness and judgement. Otherwise we may be misled, misguided. Who is Christ, who is Mohammad, who is Śaṅkara, who is Rāmānuja, and who is Chaitanya? What is their position and what are their subtle differences? We are to measure by these standards of subtle knowledge.
With great scrupulousness and discrimination we are to follow and examine all these specialties of these different layers or planes of existence. Otherwise, puzzled and perplexed, we shall accept anything and everything  in the name of anything and everything, We must make a strong, systematic, study, and the differences between the different layers of thought must be very accurately understood, improved, and followed. Otherwise we are in danger. At any moment anyone may say, “Oh I have finished all these things, it is all nothing! What Charvak says, that is well and good.” This reaction may come.
Generally, we must try to understand the nature of three planes: the plane of exploitation, the plane of renunciation, and the plane of dedication. Then we are to calculate. If you understand the proper evaluation of these planes in general, then in fine points you can also try to calculate how much renunciation, how much exploitation, how much dedication is mixed with it, and then make an evaluation. We must be well versed in the intrinsic knowledge of these three planes first, and then understand the gradation, and how the development is possible, in a mathematical way. Then we cannot be removed from our present fixed position. Otherwise, if we are uncertain, anyone may try to convince us and we will fall prey to their whimsical representation. No stability: today I am a Chaitanyite, the other day I am a Śaṅkarite, the other day I am a Buddhist, another day a Muslim, and another day I am an atheist.

To chant or not to chant

A complete transcript and audio file of this talk can be found here
Why do we chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahāmantra? We cannot chant, but if I say you cannot chant, you will be hopeless. If you see one śloka then you will understand what you can do and what you cannot do. This is the vital and main śloka about Harinām-saṅkīrtan:
ataḥ śrī-kṛṣṇa-nāmādi na bhaved grāhyam indriyaiḥ
sevonmukhe hi jihvādau svayam eva sphuraty adaḥ
(Śrī Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu: Pūva-vibhāga, 2.234)
[“Although Kṛṣṇa’s Name, Form, Qualities, and Pastimes cannot be grasped by the material senses, through the spirit of dedication they manifest themselves on the tongue and to the other senses.”]
You cannot chant, because your tongue, your lips, and your body is mundane. Nāmādi means Nāma, Rūpa, Gūṇa, Līlā—Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s Name, Form, Qualities, and Pastimes: They are all transcendental, and your tongue is mundane. Nām nāmī abheda, Kṛṣṇa-nām and Kṛṣṇa are nondifferent: Kṛṣṇa is transcendental and Kṛṣṇa-nām is transcendental. This śloka mentions, na bhaved grāhyam indriyaiḥ: indriyaiḥ means senses. Pañcha indriyaiḥ are the five senses: eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and skin. Through these five senses you cannot contact the Name. Then how will you chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahāmantra, can you tell me? You are chanting, ‘Hare Kṛṣṇa Hare Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Hare Hare‘ through your tongue, and your tongue is mundane, but Kṛṣṇa is transcendental and Harinām is nondifferent from Kṛṣṇa. Na bhaved grāhyam indriyaiḥ: and the scriptures say that you cannot chant, because you have no transcendental tongue. You can immediately understand through this śloka that you cannot chant.
Then what will you do? Will you stop chanting? What is the solution? Sevonmukhe hi jihvādau Svayam eva sphuraty adaḥ: you do sevā, and chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa is also one kind of sevā, because that order was given by your Guru. If you do sevā of Hari-nām in this way, then Hari-nām will appear in your heart. Then, as much as possible, you must try to chant. This is the main thing.
prabhu kahena, —’kṛṣṇa-sevā’, ‘vaiṣṇava-sevana’
‘nirantara kara kṛṣṇa-nāma-saṅkīrtana
(Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta: Madhya-līlā, 15.104)
Mahāprabhu said, “Service to the Vaiṣṇava, service to Guru, can give you that transcendental form, and through that you can chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahāmantra.” Then, it is first necessary to give your service to Guru–Vaiṣṇava, and through that you will get everything. Your form will become transcendental.
We also see in the scriptures, in Chaitanya-charitāmṛta,
dīkṣā-kāle bhakta kare ātma-samarpaṇa
sei-kāle kṛṣṇa tāre kare ātma-sama
sei deha kare tāra chid-ānanda-maya
aprākṛta-dehe tā̐ṅra charaṇa bhajaya
(Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta: Antya-līlā, 4.192-193)
[“At the time of initiation, when a devotee fully surrenders unto the service of the Lord, Kṛṣṇa accepts them to be as good as Himself. “When the devotee’s body is thus transformed into spiritual existence, the devotee, in that transcendental body, renders service to the lotus feet of the Lord.”]
 Then, nobody has received initiation from their Guru: the meaning can come this way. Dīkṣā-kāle bhakta kare ātma-samarpaṇa: when you take initiation from your Gurudev you surrender, ātma-samarpaṇa, and immediately Kṛṣṇa in the form of your Guru takes you and makes your body transcendental, and through that transcendental body you can worship Kṛṣṇa. This is the meaning.
Where is that consciousness? Everything depends upon the mood of service. You can chant Hare Kṛṣṇa, but service is essential for Guru–Vaiṣṇava and Harinām, and service to Guru–Vaiṣṇava is more essential and more effective. Where is the proof for that?
In the scriptures we can see that Kṛṣṇa Himself said,
ye me bhakta-janāḥ pārtha na me bhaktāś cha te janāḥ
mad-bhaktānāṁ cha ye bhaktās te me bhaktatamā matāḥ
(Ādi-purāṇa)
“Who is My devotee may not be My devotee, but who is My devotee’s devotee must be My devotee. They are My devotee, I have no doubt. Ye Me bhakta-janāḥ Pārtha na Me bhaktāś cha te janāḥ: who is My devotee is not really My devotee, but who is My devotee’s devotee, they are My devotee, of that I am two hundred percent sure.”
Why is Kṛṣṇa saying that? Kṛṣṇa wants to satisfy His devotee. That is, the devotee is twenty-four hours a day trying to give satisfaction to Kṛṣṇa through their service. That is the nature of the devotee, and Kṛṣṇa naturally wants to give return to them. The rules in the mundane and transcendental world are the same: to every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. When Kṛṣṇa will take, Kṛṣṇa must give return; Kṛṣṇa will not digest that. But how will Kṛṣṇa give return to His devotee? The devotee is engaged twenty-four hours for the service of Kṛṣṇa Himself, and so Kṛṣṇa does not get a chance to give return to His devotee. Automatically Kṛṣṇa is feeling indebted to His devotee, and so He is in a hopeless position, “They are giving so much, they are giving all to Me, and I cannot give anything in return to them.” And what He is trying to give in return, that is coming in a double way return to Kṛṣṇa. So, who is serving the devotee of Kṛṣṇa gets the chance to serve Kṛṣṇa in that way, and Kṛṣṇa gives much encouragement to the devotee’s devotee, “Oh, what I cannot do, you can do that! Then really you are doing My job. What I want to do, you are doing that. Then I am your slave.”
Na pāraye ‘haṁ niravadya-saṁyujāṁ, this śloka is in Śrīmad Bhāgavat (10.32.22), and if you discuss it, then you can understand this immediately: here Kṛṣṇa Himself says, “I cannot repay My debt to My devotee. But My devotee’s devotee is always serving My devotee. Then service to Harinām, service to the devotee’s devotee, is very essential, and Prabhupād Saraswatī Ṭhākur organised that in a very broad way. Saraswatī Ṭhākur gave much attention for the service to Vaiṣṇava, for the service to Guru.
Etat sarvaṁ gurau bhaktyā puruṣo hy añjasā jayet (“Everything can be automatically done if one engages in the service of the spiritual master with faith and devotion.). This is in Śrīmad Bhāgavat, and also:
tasmād guruṁ prapadyeta jijñāsuḥ śreyah uttamam
śābde pare cha niṣṇātaṁ brahmaṇy upaśamāśrayam
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 11.3.21)
[“Therefore (because there is no lasting fulfilment in the material world), those who are in search of the highest good should surrender to a Guru who is adept in Sabda-brahma (revelations of the Divine, the scriptures) and Parabrahma (direct experience of the Divinity), and who is an abode of tranquility (unaffected by anger, greed, etc.).”]
tad-vijñānārthaṁ sa gurum evābhigachchhet
samit-pāniḥ śrotriyaṁ brahma-niṣṭham
(Muṇḍaka-upaniṣad: 1.2.12)
[“To understand these things properly, one must humbly approach, with firewood in hand, a spiritual master who is learned in the Vedas and firmly devoted to the Absolute Truth.”]
Through that sevā we can chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahāmantra. There is no other way.
We cannot stop to chant, however: that is also one kind of sevā. You can do sevā through your hand and through your mind, but you can chant Hare Kṛṣṇa everywhere and all the time. Also, if you do not follow some minimum rules and regulations, then you will forget the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahāmantra, and the tulasī beads will fast every day. You will try to make some excuse, “Oho, I cannot chant today because I have so much sevā!” For that reason Guru Mahārāj said, “You can chant a minimum of four rounds.”
Srila B.S. Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj, speaking in Miami, USA, on 16 July 1992 during His Divine Grace’s first world tour.
~~~~~~~~~~~
This excerpt is in response to the following question:
Devotee: I would like to hear something from your lotus lips on a controversial topic: it is said that Śrīla Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākur asked his disciples to chant sixty-four rounds, and then sometimes we heard that it was down to thirty-two. Then our Swāmī Mahārāj Prabhupād said you should try to chant at least sixteen rounds. Now you are saying a minimum of four rounds. And I can see that these rules of the chanting is one thing, but you are stressing love and affection; not ignoring the rules, but indicating something above the rules. Maybe you can give us some understanding on how this all can be harmonised.
A complete transcript and audio file of this talk can be found here
 

Imitationism

An audio file and full transcript of this talk can be found here.
Devotee: You told us an example of Gaura Kiśor Dās Bābājī, about the pregnant woman and a woman who’s not really pregnant but just imitating.
Śrīla Śrīdhar Mahārāj: Imitation. Imitation is not realisation. We are to know it as a general thing that imitation, the outward imitation, is not proper realisation. One who takes the dress of a sannyāsī is not a real sannyāsī, but it is a mockery. That is rather offensive: to take a particular position without having realised it. If I take the dress of a king or a police officer I will be punished. If I take the dress of a police officer or anyone else to deceive the public I should be punished. In the spiritual world no such punishment is seen from this plane, but punishment asserts there on the higher plane. But now there are agents who make us careful about the imitationists: “Don’t mix with them. Try to understand what is the real symptom of a real thing. Don’t approach the sham, the adulterated goods. Don’t approach to purchase the adulterated things. All that glitters is not gold. Glittering is not the only qualification of gold, there’s something more.” Something like that. Do you follow?
Devotee: Yes.
Śrīla Śrīdhar Mahārāj: It is a general thing, but it is very difficult to understand the highly valued things. There is every possibility of there being imitation. Imitation comes in the market, why? To get more money. Highly valued things will have most, greater imitation; and the imitationists are more dangerous than the ordinary exploitationist.
You know of the Rāma Rāvaṇ Yuddha [battle between Lord Ramachandra and the demon Ravan]? Have any of you heard of Mahirāvaṇ? When Rāma was engaged in fighting with Rāvaṇ in Laṅkā, many of the heroes of the Rāvaṇ group had been killed, and then Rāvaṇ, disappointed, remembered that one of his sons was living underground in the lower world, a subterranean world. The son, Mahirāvaṇ, was informed of his father’s desire and he came to see Rāvaṇ and heard, “So many things have happened. Almost all the stalwarts are killed in the battle with Rāma.”
After hearing everything, Mahirāvaṇ also went to advise Rāvaṇ, “Why have you engaged yourself in this unfortunate battle? There is still time. You may be saved if you respectfully return Sītā Devī, His beloved wife, the only wife He has got. Generally the kings have got any number of wives, but He has got only one wife. How beloved She is to Him, and you have taken Her. It is very deplorable, father. You give Her back to Rāma and make a truce with Him.”
But Rāvaṇ was enraged, “What do you know? I have called you only to help me, not to instruct me.”
“Then of course, if you desire so, I am ready to sacrifice my life.” Mahirāvaṇ was a highly qualified magician and he planned to carry Rāma-Lakṣmaṇ to his subterranean palace.
Vibhiṣan, the brother who had sided with Rāmachandra, cautioned Rāma: “The most dangerous mystic hypnotist, magician, a son of Rāvaṇ, has come, and something inconceivable is going to happen. You, Hanumān, Sugriva, keep Rāma-Lakṣmaṇ in a very guarded position. I suppose he will try his best to steal Rāma-Lakṣmaṇ from our midst. I think his plan will be such, so guard Them in every way, especially in the night when They will sleep.”
Then with Hanumān they constructed a temporary room and Hanumān was guarding: he was on night guard always.
And Vibhiṣaṇ was surveying the whole battle position of the army and patrolling, and now and then coming: “Hanumān, are you ready? None have entered?”
“Yes. Some came to enter. One came in the form of Kauśalyā, Rāma’s mother: ‘I can’t see Rāmachandra. I can’t keep my life any more. Please show my affectionate son, Rāma.’ In this way I dismissed her: ‘No. Where has Kauśalyā been for so long, and only today you have come? I don’t believe in you.’ Then someone came as Rāmachandra’s father-in-law, Janaka; and in this, that, in so many forms.”
“Be very careful, even if your father comes don’t allow him to enter. Guard very strictly.” In this way Vibhiṣaṇ was warning, and patrolling the whole position.
Then, when so many had attempts failed, that Mahirāvaṇ had a new plan. He took the figure of Vibhiṣaṇ himself, and came, “Hanumān, are you looking very carefully? Very careful you should remain. If your father himself comes don’t allow him to enter.”
“No, no.”
“But are They safe? Are you sure?”
“Yes, They are safe.”
“Let me go inside and see whether They are in safe order or not.”
Hanumān thought, “Vibhiṣaṇ is my guide. He told about this mischievous plan and he is the most interested person.” He allowed him to enter.
Then Vibhiṣaṇ again came in his patrol, “Hanumān, are you alert?”
“What is this? Just a minute ago you entered the room and told—”
“Oh, we are finished, Hanumān, finished!” They went: no Rāma-Lakṣmaṇ there. “The demon has taken away those sleeping masters of ours. What to do, Hanuman? But there is the door, there is a hole, and if you can go there, there is a subterranean town.” And Hanumān went, and there is a story how he killed that demon and took out Rāma-Lakṣmaṇ on his shoulders here.
That Vibhiṣaṇ’s imitation: we want to aspire after the highest thing, but if imitation is there, what loss can be effected on us, on our fortune. So we must be careful about the imitation. And Bābājī Mahārāj has warned in a plain way that śuddha-bhakti is very rare, it is not very cheap. What we have come after by our inconceivable great fortune, it is not so cheap. We must try to follow, to be acquainted with the steps: Bhūr, Bhuvar, Svar, Maha, Jana, Tapa, Satya, Virajā, Brahmaloka; then Vaikuṇṭha, Paravyoma, then Goloka, in this way. We must not omit the steps, and must try to know something about the nature of those steps. Then, when the sound is coming we can recognise, “Oh, it must have come from that plane: it is a vibration which can only be produced from that plane.” In this way we must acquaint ourselves. The Name, the mantram, it may be everywhere, even in a book you can find, but why the sound comes from a Guru? Who is living in that plane, the sound of that plane will come from them, and that will come within us and awaken us. Just as with homoeopathic globules, externally they are all one and the same, but, nāmākṣara bahiraya batu nāma kabhu naya (“The Name does not appear within the letters of the Name”—Prema-vivarta). The meaning must have such depth which when it will exert, it will take me to Goloka.
brahmāṇḍa brahmite kona bhāgyavān jīva,
guru-kṛṣṇa-prasāde pāya bhakti-latā-bīja

[“Wandering throughout the material universe, the very fortunate living entity who receives the grace of Guru and Kṛṣṇa receives the seed of the creeper of devotional service.”]
mālī hañā kare sei bīja āropaṇa,
śravaṇa-kīrttana-jale karaye sechana  

[“When a person receives the seed of devotional service, he should take care of it by becoming a gardener and sowing the seed in his heart. If he waters the seed gradually by the process of śravaṇ and kīrtan, the seed will begin to sprout.”]
upajiyā bāḍe latā ‘brahmāṇḍa’ bhedi’ yāya
Bhūr, Bhuvar, Svar, Mahar, Janar, Tapar, Satyaloka, brahmāṇḍa.
virajā,’ ‘brahmaloka,’ bhedi’ ‘paravyoma’ pāya
Vaikuṇṭha Paravyom, Nārāyaṇ’s domain.
tabe yāya tad upari ‘goloka-vṛndāvana’,
‘kṛṣṇa-charaṇa’-kalpavṛkṣe kare ārohana
(Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta, Madhya-līlā, 19.151–4)
[“The creeper of devotion is born, and grows to pierce the wall of the universe. It crosses the Virajā River and the Brahman plane, and reaches to the Vaikuṇṭha plane. Then it grows further up to Goloka Vṛndāvan, finally reaching to embrace the wish-yielding tree of Kṛṣṇa’s Lotus Feet.”]
The creeper of devotion will grow and pierce through the different planes, atmosphere, and go direct to Kṛṣṇa-pāda-padma, Kṛṣṇa conception of Godhead, and there it will take its place and that will surround him. His holy feet, generally, at His feet means His own paraphernalia. And gradually Kṛṣṇa will locate him in a proper serving school and then give him engagement fully in His holy service. That is sambandha-jñāna.
Sambandha, abhidheya, prayojana: in three groups we are to understand the thing. Sambandha: place, purpose, position, all these things; and destination, prayojana; and abhidheya means the means to attain the goal. We are to understand under these three heads. Sambandha-jñāna, and prayojan, and abhidheya: under these three classifications we are to understand, we are to realise the nature of the whole thing which we aspire after.
Spoken by our Param Gurudev Srila B.R. Sridhar Deva-Goswami in Sri Nabadwip Dham, on 9 January 1982.

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
Reference
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.”

Lord of the cows

“May that Lord of the cows be satisfied by us. Who is Indra when compared to Kṛṣṇa? Kṛṣṇa is the master of Indra. And yet He has appeared as the master of cows; the Supreme Absolute Truth has accepted a simple position as the keeper of cows. Superficially, He is a mere cowherd boy. But let that cowherd boy, who holds within Him the power of controlling the whole universe, be satisfied with us. We want to worship that Lord who has taken the humble position of the king of the cows.”

Excerpt from Loving Search for the Lost Servant by our Param Gurudev, His Divine Grace Srila B.R. Sridhara Deva-Goswami.
deve varṣati yajña-viplava-ruṣā vajrāśma-varṣānilaiḥ
sīdat-pāla-paśu-stri ātma-śaraṇaṁ dṛṣṭvānukampy utsmayam
utpāṭyaika-kareṇa śailam abalo līlochchhilīndhraṁ yathā
bibhrad goṣṭham apān mahendra-mada-bhit prīyān na indro gavām
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 10.26.25)
The very gist of the Govardhan-līlā, the very substance of the Pastime, is represented in this verse. The milkmen in Vṛndāvan used to observe a sacrifice to satisfy the king of heaven, Indra, at whose command the rain, clouds, and other subtle elementary powers move. The main wealth of the cowherd men is the cow, and the cow’s main food is grass. Only rain can produce grass, and so the cowherd men used to perform sacrifice to satisfy the subtle power who is supposed to be in command of natural substances like rain.
By satisfying Indra, favourable rains would come and there would be sufficient grass. The cows could then graze easily on the grass and generate milk profusely. The gopas, the cowherd men and their families, used to make different preparations from the milk, sell them in the marketplace, and in that way earn their livelihood.
As the grazing ground in one place was finished, they would move from one forest to another. Only for the purpose of obtaining grass for the cows, Kṛṣṇa’s father Nanda Mahārāj and the cowherd men would wander from one place to the next. In this way, they lived sometimes in Vṛndāvan, sometimes in Nanda Grām, and sometimes in Gokul.
Once, Kṛṣṇa wanted to assert Himself and modify the worship of Indra. He wanted to establish His own domain, Vṛndāvan, in its pristine glory.
Although He was only a boy, He was a boy of extraordinary capacity. He was only seven years old. But in the Padma-purāṇa, it is said that the development or growth of special personalities is one and a half times that of ordinary persons. Although Kṛṣṇa was only seven years old by ordinary calculation, He was eleven according to general calculation.
Kṛṣṇa said, “Why should we perform this sacrifice to Indra? We have a direct concern with Govardhan Hill and not Indra.” He announced this idea to the gopas, and somehow, willingly or reluctantly, the gopas submitted to the advice of Kṛṣṇa. Nanda Mahārāj was influenced by affection for his son, and, because he was the king, he told them, “This time we shall worship Govardhan Hill and not Indra.”
Indra insulted
And so the gopas, the milkmen of Vṛndāvan, followed Kṛṣṇa’s advice—some reluctantly and some willingly—and they began the sacrifice for Govardhan Hill. This news reached Indra, who thought to himself: “A boy of special capacity lives there. Now He has taken the leadership of Vṛndāvan and stopped this ancient sacrifice to me. For a long time it was the tradition of the gopas to perform sacrifice to satisfy me, and now one boy is the cause of stopping my sacrifice!” He was very much enraged. Indra ordered the clouds and the wind and the lightning to attack the residents of Vṛndāvan.
According to Vedic understanding, all the elements are personified. In ancient days, the Āryans and rājarṣis, elevated human beings and great sages, used to see everything as persons. They saw everything in a personal way. They thought of the creepers, the trees, and everything else in the environment as persons. They understood that they were all persons who, according to karma, are wandering through the different species of life.
Once, I was asked by a professor of biology about alternatives to Darwinian evolution. I advised him that evolution from consciousness to matter may be understood on the basis of Berkeley’s theory. Whatever we think of is really part of our consciousness. And consciousness means person. Everything that we may be conscious of is a person. We may think of the wind as an inanimate object, but it was thought of in the Vedic line as a person. Lightning, wind, clouds, and rain are all persons. Whatever we consider to be elementary matter, gross and subtle, was all considered by the ancient seers of the truth to be persons.
Indra commanded the wind, the clouds, and the rain to go and devastate the whole area of Gokul Vṛndāvan. “The residents of Vṛndāvan have insulted me!” He said. “They have rejected me, have stopped worshipping me, and are instead worshipping that mountain, that hill of Govardhan. I can’t tolerate this insult! Go and devastate them.” By the order and wrath of Indra, the master of all the higher subtle elements, heavy rain began to fall. And so thunder, hail, and rain simultaneously attacked the whole of Vraja Maṇḍal.
Consequently, all the residents of Vṛndāvan were thrown into a great disaster. Misery, pain, and sorrow afflicted the animals and the protectors of the animals, the gopālas. So, the helpless—the women, children, and animals of Vṛndāvan—had no alternative but to take refuge of Kṛṣṇa. They all came to Kṛṣṇa for relief. They cried, “O Kṛṣṇa! Now what are we to do? You influenced us to stop the sacrifice meant for Indra, and now Indra, being vindictive, has begun to afflict us in this very heavy way. How can we live? Please save us!” They all came to Kṛṣṇa for protection. Seeing this, Kṛṣṇa had much pity for them. Being merciful upon them, He smiled a little, thinking, “They have all come to Me for relief.”
At that time, with only one hand Kṛṣṇa lifted up the Govardhan mountain. For Him, it was a very easy thing; with only one hand, He uprooted the hill and lifted it up as a child lifts a toy ball. And holding up that great mountain, Kṛṣṇa gave protection to all those who were living in Gokul. The men, women, and children of Vṛndāvan brought the cows and all their worldly goods and took shelter beneath Govardhan Hill.
The whole cowherd society was given shelter under that hill. In this way, by lifting Govardhan Hill, Kṛṣṇa gave protection to the residents of Vṛndāvan, and crushed the pride of the lord of heaven, Indra himself.
And so Nanda Mahārāj prays in this verse, “May that Lord of the cows be satisfied by us. Who is Indra when compared to Kṛṣṇa? Kṛṣṇa is the master of Indra. And yet He has appeared as the master of cows; the Supreme Absolute Truth has accepted a simple position as the keeper of cows. Superficially, He is a mere cowherd boy. But let that cowherd boy, who holds within Him the power of controlling the whole universe, be satisfied with us. We want to worship that Lord who has taken the humble position of the king of the cows.”
From this verse of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam, we can understand the position of the Lord’s Pastime at Govardhan. It is also described here that when the Vraja-vāsīs worshipped Him and engaged in sacrifice for His satisfaction, they saw Govardhan Hill as the Supreme Person, extending His hands, accepting the things offered to Him, and feeding Himself.
At that time, Kṛṣṇa pointed out, “You see! You thought that Govardhan Hill was only a heap of stone. No—it is living, it is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.” At that time, Kṛṣṇa revealed Himself as Govardhan Hill and showed how it is also His extended self. According to authorities in our line, Rādhā Kuṇḍa is the extended self of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, and Govardhan is the extended self of Kṛṣṇa. And so we worship a stone from Govardhan Hill, a part of Giridhārī, as Kṛṣṇa Himself. We may understand from this that a part of the infinite is infinite. And yet so feeble is our ordinary vision that although Govardhan-śilā is a part of the infinite, and therefore also infinite, to our material vision it is only a piece of stone.
This Pastime shows that a thing may appear to be ordinary stone, but its possibility is infinite. In the general sense, Einstein’s theory of relativity has announced that anything we see is that thing plus something more. In his own scientific way, he explains that the reality of a thing includes its possibilities, its prospect—reality is not at a standstill.
Reality is not limited to what is seen or conceived by our senses. Our vision or estimation of anything may be limited, but unknown to us, its prospect may be unlimited. Everything has infinite possibility. We do not even know what infinite possibility a particle of sand may have. We do not know what sort of possibility may exist within a leaf of a plant. It may appear ordinary, but it may contain invaluable medicinal properties.
God the beautiful
A part of the infinite is also infinite. The Govardhan-śilā represents Kṛṣṇa as the master and keeper of cows. Within Govardhan is that mild and soft conception of God the beautiful. We beg for His mercy, His affection, and His gracious glance upon us.
That may save us from the negative influence of this material environment. When we try to put a stop to our material form of life and take our course towards Godhead, Kṛṣṇa consciousness, neglecting the imperative duties that are upon us, so many difficulties may come to trouble us, to trap us in our journey towards the ultimate truth. But if we stick to the order of Kṛṣṇa, He will protect us. Kṛṣṇa confirms this in Bhagavad-gītā:
sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja
ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo mokṣayiṣyāmi mā śuchaḥ
He says, “Abandon all other conceptions of duty and just surrender unto Me. Have no fear. I shall protect you and free you from all sinful reactions that might arise from neglecting your ordinary duties.”
Different material tendencies and mental impulses may attack us—even Indra himself, the king of heaven and the controller of all ordinary activities, may attack us—but if we are attentive towards our goal, if we are careful to read the order of Kṛṣṇa, He will protect us in the shade of His lotus feet. He will give us shelter under the shade of Govardhan Hill, where no Indra will be able to touch our heads. And with full faith that Kṛṣṇa will give us protection, we should try to take shelter under Govardhan Hill and pray: “O Kṛṣṇa, give me protection from all the difficulties that may come to attack me because of my leaving behind my ordinary obligations.”
Although many anomalies may try to catch us, Kṛṣṇa will protect us. And in His representation as Govardhan Hill, that wonderful master of the cows will save us from all sorts of difficulties. How is this possible? God works wonders. His ways are unknown and inconceivable.

Die to Live

All the ideals, high ideals we have ever accumulated or come in association to will all be given up. Not only our physical acquisition but our mental acquisition, all our mental prospects ever acquired—all given up. Dissolution of the whole mind, body, and only soul, naked soul will be taken to that land, with the help of so many saints of that calibre.

You can find the full audio recording and transcript of this talk here
ā-viriñchyād amaṅgalam
One is to look, with very neglected dignity, at even the post of the creator of this world. Lord Brahma, who can create this world, but is in the relativity of this mortal, nasty, world. Who has created, and who is master of this world, but is in the relativity of this nasty world, his position is also condemnable, what to speak of the ordinary persons.
karmaṇāṁ pariṇāmitvād ā-viriñchyād amaṅgalam
[vipaśchin naśvaraṁ paśyed adṛṣṭam api dṛṣṭa-vat]
(SB 11.19.18)
[“An intelligent person should see that any material activity is subject to constant transformation and that even on the planet of Lord Brahmā there is thus simply unhappiness. Indeed, a wise man can understand that just as all that he has seen is temporary, similarly, all things within the universe have a beginning and an end”.]
You and I, what is our position? Meagre. Even the creator of this whole mundane world is also surrounded with the inauspicious, reactionary consequences of life.
Then, next is “Shivo ’ham, Shivo ’ham, Shivo ’ham”. After Brahma there is Shiva: “Shivo ’ham: I do not care for material comfort, but independent of material comfort as a soul I can live.” That temperament. “Shivo ’ham: I don’t care for any material achievement, I am sufficient in myself. Atmarama, I am self-sufficient. I don’t require any exploitation of this world or of any world.” That is the marginal position.
But the domain over the head of that Shiva is so high, and so charming: when he comes in connection with that, “Oh, I want to enter as a slave to that holy and magnanimous land. I want to be a member, the lowest member of that land. Even an ant’s position in that noble domain is something to be envied, in Vaikuntha. And then over Vaikuntha is Goloka, deeper, the most comprehensive and most subtle, all-pervading. Goloka: a solid circle. It is the highest and subtlemost plane ever found. That is the foundation of all different variety of planes we can experience. Goloka: that is beautiful, that is love. Beauty and love are similar things: they are sweet and beyond power and power-seeking.
This has been definitely brought down for us by Mahaprabhu, Nityananda, and Srimad Bhagavatam, the last treatise of Vedavyas, the giver of the greatest magnitude of revealed truth in this world. Revealed truth in different forms, in its greatest magnitude and detail, was given by Vyasadev, from Badarik Ashram. And the key to that, to the highest cabin, was given first to his son Sukadev. And Sukadev tried to impress the then scholars of India with that highest ideal in the whole theological world. Sukadev did that successfully, and next there was another sitting in Naimisaranya, where 60,000 brahman scholars met just before this Kali-yuga, the iron age. In the assembly of Sukadev there was one present who was srutidhar: having once heard, he could remember eternally. That is srutidhar: only once hearing it is recorded final. There was one such peculiar scholar present, Suta, Ugrasrava: Ugrasrava, whose aural reception was extraordinary, revolutionarily extraordinary. Once one impression was caught, it was final. That Ugasrava, sruti, whose hearing is of a very, very higher degree, the highest degree. He was present in that assembly and he caught it and distributed it to the sixty thousand brahmanic scholars gathered in Naimisaranya just before the beginning of this Kali-yuga, the iron age. That is Bhagavatam.
When these four sittings were completed—one Narad to Vyasa, second Vyasa to Suka, third Suka to Pariksit in the scholar’s assembly, and fourth from Ugrasrava-suta to Saunakadi Rsis—then with an introduction of three slokas, Vyasadev sent it to the market: janmādy asya yato ’nvayāt (1.1.1), dharmaḥ projjhita-kaitavo ’tra paramaḥ (1.1.2), and nigama-kalpa-taror galitaṁ phalaṁ (1.1.3). These three poems introduced Bhagavatam: one about sambandha-jnan, what is what; the second what is the means to the end; and the third, what is the proper conception of the end, of the destination. Where we are, who am I, where am I, what am I—in this way, sambandha-jnan. And second abhideya, what is the means to my end. And third, what is the conception of the proper end of life. Different from all other recommendations from different theological scriptures. This is the speciality of this book: mainly, after liberation, how one can live a dignified life. It is meant for them.
Nirmatsarāṇāṁ satām: they must be free from all jealousy, Vyasadev said. It is meant for those particular saints who are completely free from any trace of jealousy. Nirmatsar. Jealousy means who cannot tolerate that any other than he will be in a higher position. That is jealousy. That is the test. At every step you are to feel without prejudice that everything in your paraphernalia is holding a higher position than you. If you are jealous then you can’t advance a single step there. Jealousy is fully eliminated if you are ready to tolerate that everyone you come across is holding a higher position than you. And you should not mind anything from that. No reaction. If you can tolerate that everything, every dust of that plane is superior, holding a superior position to you, that all are Prabhu, and you are the slave; if you can accommodate yourself in such a way then you will have a very higher place where you can enter and live. But nirmatsarāṇāṁ satām, this is not for the ordinary saints. The jealousy must be exhaustively eliminated. “When you feel that everything is superior and that you are the lowest, then you can hope to come to study this and you will be able to understand what I say; then you can have everything there, you can progress, and you can freely live and move there. But that temperament is the minimum demand from you, and that finishes everything. This demand finishes everything.”
I told one sahajiya,
vaikuṇṭhera pṛthivy-ādi sakala chinmaya
(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta: 1.5.53)
“In Goloka, and also below in Vaikuntha, everything is made of spiritual dust. All atoms are spiritual, and that is of higher quality than you, soul, who wants to enter there.”
So you are to enter into that domain, and then you can hope to get the company of the Narayan-bhakta, and then higher up in Goloka Vrndavan. It is not a matter of joke, a matter of luxury, so easy. So deserve, then have. No deserve, no having. It is only imitation here, plodding in the mud and thinking I am in the divine lake of Radha Kunda. Death means ‘Die to live’. Death means not only this physical, but mental death, and the death of all our ambitious aspirations. Death means, die to live. Living is also wonderful living. Living is also a wonderful, strange thing in comparison with the present living. There is living. Living along with all good, all high, all divine, all superior. How happy living. Wherever I am breathing, everything is of higher quality than my own self. How happy. How elevating. But have we such courage, boldness to live there, to die a wholesale death? To die a wholesale death of all our experienced life, to be severed from all the valuable things we ever gathered experience of?
Is it possible for us? It is not so easy. All the ideals, high ideals we have ever accumulated or come in association to will all be given up. Not only our physical acquisition but our mental acquisition, all our mental prospects ever acquired—all given up. Dissolution of the whole mind, body, and only soul, naked soul will be taken to that land, with the help of so many saints of that calibre. It is stranger than a dream. Reality is stranger than a dream, than fiction. Our standard of prospect should be raised so high.
If we can have some conception of the truth then we will feel that what we aspire after at present is all sinful, nasty. “Why should I be a master of so many?” We hate slavery, but we will be able to understand what a dignified position it is to be a slave to such wonderful goodness, to a wonderful master. It is possible, not impossible to peep into that higher position of truth. We will be eager to cast ourselves at the feet of those holy persons.
Mahaprabhu once told in Puri to Sanatan Goswami,
sanātana, deha-tyāge kṛṣṇa yadi pāiye
koṭi-deha kṣaṇeke tabe chāḍite pāriye
(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta: 3.4.55)
“Sanatan, if it would have been possible that by giving up this body I can get Krishna, then in a moment I am ready to sacrifice this body crores [ten millions] of times. In a moment I want to invite, to welcome death crores of times, die to live, if by doing so I can get my Lord Krishna.”
What kind of standard: where is Krishna, of Mahaprabhu’s conception? Mahaprabhu says, “In a moment, ei kṣane, in this moment I am ready to die crores of times, if by the result of that I can get Krishna; but no, Krishna is not so cheap.” What benefit is there by physical death? This is to give up a dress, a flesh and bone dress. What charm is there? There is something more. Some positive life is there. It is not that by negative sacrifice of all that we possess we can go. It is not that if we can have a naked body we can go. No. Some positive attraction for that, that is the real thing. Sraddha, sadhu-sanga. Serving tendency: that is the visa. Not a passport. I can collect any number of passports but a visa is necessary. The sanction of that place is necessary. But they are very broadhearted, very generous, very loving, and infinitely resourceful. Infinite resourcefulness is there.
Now England is trying its best to oust the foreigners. For so long they were liberal, but now a party has raised that so many foreigners have come to live in England and they are making the original British people’s life intolerable. So there must be some check over the immigrants.
But there [Vaikuntha, Goloka] is infinite, and no such limitation is there: “All may come, but come with good will. With good will, with standard good will you should come. You are all welcome, it is infinite, but you are to give up all your anti-tendencies of this land, and to keep them outside. You come, you come for the interest of us; for the whole country, you come. For the Lord, you come. You are all welcome, very earnestly and affectionately welcome. He is Lord of all of us, he is not only the Lord of a particular section, but he is the Lord of all, a loving Lord, an infinite Lord. His love is infinite, his ways are infinite, everything is infinite. So there is no possibility that our portion will be lessened if you come and partake of the service. No. Come. We rather want more; if more may be engaged his service, we will be happy, more happy, more happy. But service, mind that; service must be for his satisfaction. That is the criterion. We are all seeking, searching for his satisfaction, not any one of us, and if we find that lacking there, then we will turn into your enemy. With this idea all can come.”
Spoken by Srila B.R. Sridhar Dev-Goswami, 2 January 1983
This post is a continuation of the article Paradise Lost
You can find the full audio recording and transcript of this talk here

Sri Vaishnava Toshani Vol 3 No 1

Sri Vaishnava Toshani, May–June 1994, Vol 3 #1 is presented here.
pdf edition
ePub edition
Contents:
I Have Only One Successor
by His Divine Grace B.R. Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj 
I Am Your Unknown Friend
by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad
Safely On The Path Of Devotion
by His Divine Grace Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj
The Serving Mood
by Swami B.P. Janardan
The Path Of Divine Descent
by Swami B.A. Sagar
Religion Means Proper Adjustment
by Swami B.S. Tridandi
Letters
Response by Srutasrava Das
The Beauty Of His Smile
by Braja Mohini Dasi
Previous editions uploaded:
Jan–Feb 1992 Vol 1 No 1
March–April 1992 Vol 1 No 2
May–June 1992 Vol 1 No 3
Nov–Dec 1992, Vol 1 #6
May–June 1993, Vol 2 #2
Sept–Oct 1993, Vol 2 No 3

Voices in the community: Soquel, California


mp3 audio file
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.”