Serving in Separation

His Divine Grace speaking on the day before Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj’s appearance day in 1988, just a few months after his departure from this world.

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dhyāyech chhrī-guru-pāda-padma-nikaṭe sevotsukañ chātmanaḥ
I am ever-ready to carry out the order of Srila Guru Maharaj. This is my position. This is my dhyan, meditation. What meditation shall we do before worship? This type of meditation. My svarup, my form, is very nice: with a clean and pure heart I am always waiting beside Srila Gurudev for his order. This is my svarup.
vimalatāṁ nityaṁ vahantīṁ tanuṁ
dhyāyech chhrī-guru-pāda-padma-nikaṭe sevotsukañ chātmanaḥ

এইভাবেতে সেবা করার বিধি শাস্ত্র এইটা বলেছেন । [In this way the scriptures have stated the rule for engaging in service.] In this way we can worship the Deities or do anything ordered by our Sri Gurudev.

Tomorrow is a very auspicious day. We have come here from so far for worshipping our beloved Srila Guru Maharaj. It is necessary to make ourselves ready in this way: “I can do everything for my Gurudev; I am ever-ready to carry out whatever order he may give.” This mentality gives us our destiny.

এ রকম মনোভাবই আমাদেরকে ভগবানের সেবার দিকে টেনে নিয়ে যেতে পারে । নিজের ধ্যানটা ভূতশুদ্ধিটা সেইটি হচ্ছে গিয়ে সর্ব্বাগ্রে দারকার । এই ভূতশুদ্ধি করতে গেলে যে preparation-এর দারকার হয় সে preparation আমাদের গুরু মহারাজ পরম কৃপা করে প্রথম থেকে আমাদেরকে জানিয়ে দিয়েচ্ছেন । সেইটা কি ? সেইটা হচ্ছে গিয়ে first preparation হচ্ছে গিয়ে শরণাগতি: surrendering mood, not challenging mood । আমরা গুরু মহারাজকে সাক্ষাৎ ভাবেতে যেটা দেখি সেটা কিন্তু তাঁর শুদ্ধ স্বরূপ আমরা অনুভব করতে পারি মুখে বলে যতই বলে না কেন যে,

[This type of mentality can lead us to the Lord’s service. Self-meditation, self-purification (bhuta-suddhi), is first of all necessary. Our Guru Maharaj most mercifully taught us from the beginning the preparation that is necessary when we go to perform such self-purification. What is that? That first preparation is saranagati, the mood of surrender, and not the mood of challenge. What we see directly of our Guru Maharaj is him, but we cannot perceive his pure form, regardless of whatever we may say or not.]
sākṣād-dharitvena samasta-śāstrair
uktas tathā bhāvyata eva sadbhiḥ
kintu prabhor yaḥ priya eva tasya
vande guroḥ śrī-charaṇāravindam
Bhagavan Himself has come very mercifully in this world in the form of my Gurudev. If I can take this conception closely in my heart, then I must be satisfied and successful.
Tomorrow we want to worship our Guru Maharaj, but for that we must peform bhuta-suddhi (self-purification), and then we can properly worship our Guru Maharaj. How is it possible? By the grace of Guru Maharaj, we have got so many books, we have got so many instructions from our Guru Maharaj’s tapes, and we have the living source of Guru Maharaj, the devotees who are always engaged twenty-four hours a day worshipping according to Guru Maharaj’s order. We can have some association, and we can understand and properly worship our Guru Maharaj in this way.
Srila Guru Maharaj wants to offer us to his worshippable beloved Gurudev, and in that way everything goes to the service of Sri Sri Radha-Krishna. But if we cannot maintain saranagati properly, then we also cannot worship Sri Gurudev properly. In the Gaudiya sampradaya we can see the highest example of saranagati, the surrendering mood. Before Mahaprabhu, we can also find the proper saranagati mood in the Ramanuja sampradaya. We can see that saranagati is very exalted there, and our Guru Maharaj quoted many slokas of the Acharyas of the Ramanuja sampradaya, like Yamuna Acharya and Kulasekhar Acharya, in the Prapanna-jivanamrtam scripture. Srila Thakur Bhakti Vinod also included their expressions about saranagati in his songs.
In Srimad Bhagavad-gita (18.66), Bhagavan Sri Krishna has glorified saranagati and given us super hope with the verse,
sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja
[“Abandon all duties and surrender to Me.”]
And also,
yat karoṣi yad aśnāsi yaj juhoṣi dadāsi yat
yat tapasyasi kaunteya tat kuruṣva mad-arpaṇam
(Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā: 9.27)
[“Whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you sacrifice, whatever you give away, and whatever austerity you perform, do that as an offering to Me.”]
Saranagati is the highest thing in our life. Guru Maharaj always told us, “If you can surrender yourself properly, you must get the feelings and seva of your worshippable Deities. Then it is necessary to think today that we must make some preparation for worshipping our Guru Maharaj, and we can do that by being ready to carry out his order. The only thing that he wants is the spreading of Krishna consciousness all over the world. We can also attain our auspicious fortune if we try to fulfil his order and serve him through his paraphernalia present here in Nabadwip Dham, Koladwip. We must be the gainer.
When Guru Maharaj was present, the final result of all the service in the Math would come to me. The devotees would report something had happened, and Guru Maharaj would think, “Govinda Maharaj has done it.” When I would express that I had not done it, but it was done by Hari Charan Prabhu, or Krishna Saran Prabhu, or another devotee, Guru Maharaj would say, “Oh yes, yes, you have done it!”
In this way I was sometimes very fortunate, and sometimes I was very unhappy. Another devotee did so much, but the pratishtha, the fame, would come to me. At that time I could not understand that Guru Maharaj had one line, and he wanted everything to go through me: “If Govinda Maharaj said it is okay, then it is okay.” If any devotee wanted to start something, Guru Maharaj would tell them, “Ask Govinda Maharaj.”
In this way Srila Guru Maharaj gave me an opportunity to do some seva, but at that time I was not fully conscious because I felt that Guru Maharaj was doing everything and we were his instruments. Now a heavy duty has come to us; we cannot say anything wrong now. At that time everything we said was right; everything belongs to Krishna, and everything was going to Guru Maharaj, and he would manage everything. He was my caretaker and everyone’s caretaker.
We had no fear at that time, but now we must be very conscious about our position in our transcendental Krishna conscious practising life. This is necessary, and we think that it is for this reason that Guru Maharaj disappeared. If Guru Maharaj is always present in front of us, then we are always depending on Guru Maharaj. Now Guru Maharaj wants to hiddenly see our activities. This is the thinking that has come to me now. Guru Maharaj gave me some charge, and he wants to see what I am doing now, and what is my progress report. This is not only for myself, but it is for everybody. He wants to know what our progress report is. He is hiddenly waiting.
If we can see Guru Maharaj properly, then we can see that he is present everywhere, in the form of his devotees, in form of his disciples, in form of his paraphernalia, and also in the form of my disciples. In this way he is looking to see how my progress report is going. This is the feeling coming to us in the absence of Guru Maharaj, and I think that it is a very correct and good symptom.
Good symptoms must come to us. It is very hopeful. Guru Maharaj was always in Krishna consciousness and Krishna Himself came for our benefit in the form of Guru Maharaj, but his whole life he practised Krishna consciousness in order to teach us. Then, when we were not fully conscious, he disappeared, and he wants to see what we learned from him. He left many things for our practising of Krishna consciousness. One thing is enough for us, but he has done many things for our devotional life. It is necessary to go forward very consciously now.
Guru Maharaj is always with us. When I was feeling very great separation from Guru Maharaj, the news came that the London Math was in some trouble. The London Math was Guru Maharaj’s Math: he did not claim any Math, but his Guru Maharaj ordered him to preach in London, so when an opportunity came for a centre in London, he thought, “This is my place; something must be there in my name.” In this way he felt, “The London Math in my Math.” Then when some difficulty came there, my mind was diverted from feelings of separation to the London Math. I could understand that this was Guru Maharaj’s policy: when I was feeling the deepest separation, I could not do anything and was only thinking, “Guru Maharaj is not here, Guru Maharaj is not here!” At that time Guru Maharaj said, “Guru Maharaj is not here? Guru Maharaj is always with you all. You think for seva.” Then Guru Maharaj created that seva. If we have this vision, then we can see everything as the mercy of our Guru Maharaj.
Guru Maharaj has given so many engagements to us. We are trying to fulfil his desire in Chaitanya Saraswat Math, in the Kolkata Math, in the Hapaniya Math, in the Puri Math, and now he has given us another duty for his Union in Separation Temple, his Samadhi Mandir. In this way Guru Maharaj is trying to develop our faith, and our transcendental thinking and practising life. He wants it to grow, and it must grow in this way. We are so fortunate if we can see the mercy of our Guru Maharaj in this way.
We have puppy brains: our nature is that we begin practising Krishna consciousness very fast, and then immediately come back and go in another direction. This is the position of our minds. From that position Guru Maharaj wants to take us for his seva and for our destiny, and for that reason he has given us his separation; but through his paraphernalia, through his Deity, through his disciples, and through his godbrothers, we can always feel union with him. If we try to see properly, then we can see this by the grace of our Guru Maharaj.
vāñchha-kalpa-tarubhyaś cha kṛpā-sindhubhya eva cha
patitānāṁ pāvanebhyo vaiṣṇavebhyo namo namaḥ

Note

Spoken on 31 October 1988.

Reference

divyaṁ śrī-hari-mandirāḍhya-tilakaṁ kaṇṭhaṁ sumālānvitaṁ
vakṣaḥ śrī-hari-nāma-varṇa-subhagaṁ śrī-khaṇḍa-liptaṁ punaḥ
pūtaṁ sūkṣma-navāmbaraṁ vimalatāṁ nityaṁ vahantīṁ tanuṁ
dhyāyech chhrī-guru-pāda-padma-nikaṭe sevotsukañ chātmanaḥ

“Meditate that the Lord’s Temple (your body) is decorated with shining tilak, your neck bears a beautiful tulasī-mālā, your chest is adorned with the Names of Śrī Hari and sandalwood paste, you are wearing fine, new, clean cloth, and in your pure, eternal form, you are at the lotus feet of Śrī Guru, eager for service.”

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
 

Beginning of Kartik

Srila Gurudev speaking on the first day of Kartik, 14 October 1989.

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It is my duty to serve the devotees. I can do that properly or improperly, but I must try to serve. Service is our life. Without service we cannot maintain our spiritual life. Srila Guru Maharaj gave us that responsibility, and then he disappeared. ‘Disappeared’ means that he is present within us, looking to see what we will do, if we will wholeheartedly try to maintain our spiritual life and try to practise proper Krishna consciousness. In the scriptures we can see many things for practising Krishna consciousness and one of the most valuable things is this month of Kartik. During this time we will try to closely engage ourselves twenty-four hours a day with our service and the program as given in the scriptures.
This month is called niyam-seva, which means that we will try to serve Kartiki Devi, and Damodar Sri Krishna and Radharani with their associates and paraphernalia with rules and regulations. This month is also called Damodar-vrata. We will try to offer one month of regular service to Guru Gauranga Gandharva Govindasundar, with time to time bhoga, time to time worshipping, and taking our prasad in a regulated way.
śrāvaṇe varjayech chākaṁ dadhi bhādrapade tathā
dugdham āśvayuje māsi kārttike chāmiṣaṁ tyajet
(Sri Hari-Bhakti-Vilasa 117.15, from Skanda Purana, Nagara Khanda)
[(While following chaturmasya) one should give up eating leafy vegetables in the month of Sravana (July-August). In the month of Bhadrapada (August-September), one should give up yogurt. In the month of Asvina (September-October) one should give up milk and in the month of Kartika (October-November), one should give up eating white dal.]
These are the rules of chaturmasya very shortly, but in Kartik month there are some special regular worshipping instructions in the scriptures, and you know that: we must wake up at 4 o’clock, 4.15 we start the arati, kirtan, bhajan, parikrama, etc. And we must regulate our principal diet, prasadam. Without prasad the devotee is not taking anything, but that is also regulated this month. But what is the regulation for? It is because the devotee does not want to spend much time for themselves: they mix dal and vegetables in a pot, boil, they are offering to the Deity and taking that. If we can maintain this nicely for the whole month it is very good, but our service to Guru and Gauranga and also Radha Govindasundar is always leading us and so sometimes we cannot properly maintain the whole month; and also in raga-marg that is excusable. But when something is excusable then always we want an excuse from the Deity, and that is not good. We shall try our best, but if it is not possible then it will be excusable.
In niyam-seva mas, the month of niyam-seva, we will always remember Damodardeva, Krishna, and the service of Radharani. The higher devotees are especially remembering the asta-kaliya-seva this month. The higher devotees are always remembering and trying to serve that way, but in this month they are especially trying to remember. And we heard from Srila Guru Maharaj that in his last days Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur spent this month in Jagannath Puri and every day would hear the asta-kaliya-lila. That is for the higher devotees, not the ordinary devotees like ourselves. Our duty will always be what Guru Maharaj wants, in that way.
We can only see twenty-four hours engagement in spiritual life in Vaishnavism. They have no other engagement: they are always trying to serve the Lord and the associates of the Lord and also the Vaishnavas. Mahaprabhu gave a very simple instruction to us: anything you do, you must do with Krishna-sankirtan, with the mahamantra, and that seva will be fulfilled.
We can also see in the vidhi-marg that when we are doing sacrifice, a fire sacrifice or another program in vidhi-marg, then lastly we are praying this way:
yadāsaṅga kriyā karma jānatā vāpy ajānatā
pūrṇaṁ bhavatu tat sarvaṁ śrī-harer nāma-kīrtanāt

(Śrī Hari-bhakti-vilāsa)
[May whatever offences I have knowingly or unknowingly committed be completely absolved by chanting the Holy Names of the Lord.]
“I do not know whether I have done this properly or not, but it must be fruitful if I chant the Hare Krishna mahamantra.” And the priest, or whoever is doing the sacrifice, will lastly chant the Hare Krishna mahamantra and then consider that it is fully satisfied. Everything that we do, we will do with Krishna Nam-sankirtan.
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
With this mantram whatever we do will be fulfilled and satisfying to Krishna and Guru–Gauranga.
We are conditioned souls, and so our practice will start from a lower stage and go to a higher stage. This month, however, gives us the special facility to follow the higher devotees’ program. We are praying and we are chanting many things in this month: Radharani’s glorification, Krishna’s glorification, the glorification of Guru Gauranga, etc. The way in which the higher devotees are worshipping Radha–Krishna, we are singing that during this month. We are chanting the songs that Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur wrote that are related to this month. We are not always singing this song Radhe jaya jaya Madhava dayite, or Deva bhavantam vande, but in this month we are getting that facility, by the blessings of Guru, Vaishnava and Bhagavan. There are also many hidden lila of Radha–Krishna, which in this month we are getting a chance to chant. When we are getting the chance we must be cautious about that, otherwise sahajiyaism can attack us. Sahajiyas are always singing about Radha–Krishna lila; they are not very interested to sing the Vaishnava prayers, and are only interested to sing the Radha–Krishna lila, but that is pushing them to hell, not to heaven. In this way Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur preached to all the conditioned souls, “If you want to try to follow proper Vaishnavism, you must follow a good Vaishnava who is practising properly according to the guidelines of Vaishnavism. We cannot ignore the vidhi-marg, and ignoring the vidhi-marg is not good for the conditioned souls; but when the conditioned souls by blessings and mercy have fortunately received the qualification to worship the higher Vaishnavism, then they are doing that; and this month is giving that chance, to see and cautiously follow that higher Vaishnavism.
We must try to follow the vidhi, but Krishna’s nature is that he wants to break the vidhi, and this play goes on between the devotee and Krishna. In this mundane world that shadow is going: somebody wants to maintain vidhi-marg, and somebody wants to break that vidhi-marg. Krishna’s nature is that he always likes the raga-marg and he is the worshippable Deity of raga-marg. He doesn’t say “Don’t follow the vidhi”; Krishna is always telling “Follow the vidhi-marg”, but showing the raga-marg. For the conditioned souls it is very helpful to follow the vidhi-marg, but if we engage ourselves in vidhi-marg that may close our raga-marg future. Then, we shall follow our Guru and Mahaprabhu’s real followers, and then our activity must be perfect.
From this day we will start continuously worshipping and offering bhoga under our guardian, and guardian’s rules for worship to Guru Gauranga Radha Govindasundar and we shall cautiously maintain the proper intensity for that. After seven days Guru Maharaj’s appearance day is coming and we are expecting many devotees will come. We shall try to do some program every day.
This is the starting day of Kartik-vrata. In the time of Guru Maharaj we heard and we are always following this Kartik-vrata from purnima to purnima [Ed: full moon to full moon; some persons follow from ekadasi to ekadasi.]. And bhog tyag, tyag tyag; tyag means renunciation, the order of renunciation. For ourselves we must do some tyag in this month and that time we must engage for the service of our Lord and Guru Gauranga Gandharva Govindasundar.
We are singing many songs this month but it is necessary to carefully do that. I have seen the tendency within a few devotees that they want to know everything within one day. They are very eager to know everything. I do not know if you will believe it or not, but until now I have not read Ujjvala-nilamani, or Govinda-lilamrita, which are our worshippable books. I am in the position of an acharya, and it is necessary for me to read them, but I am afraid.
I was in a village where there were always many men discussing Radha–Krishna-lila, and so I know something about that from them. But when I joined Guru Maharaj’s mission, Guru Maharaj said it will come gradually in your heart, don’t try to forcefully catch it. If you do that you will not see the real thing, you will be cheated. We shall try to wholeheartedly practise our Krishna consciousness in a very humble way, and try to follow what guidelines our Guru Maharaj gave us, and we must be successful, with his blessings and mercy.
Today is a very auspicious day: it is also the disappearance day of Murari Gupta, Sharadiya Rasa Yatra, and also shonibar [Saturday], Mahaprabhu’s birthday. Then we must follow the guidelines of our Guru Maharaj, and every day wake up in the morning, early in the morning and worship, chant Hare Krishna mahamantra and engage in Nama-sankirtan.
This audio file was originally published on scsmath.com
 

Voices in the community: Sao Paulo, Brazil

Between October 2014 and July 2017, in poor health and with insufficient funds, but with a strong desire to satisfy Sri Guru, Damodar Prabhu of Sao Paulo, Brazil boldly demolished his family home and built a beautiful temple in its place. In this in-depth interview Damodar Prabhu also speaks about his beginnings in Krishna consciousness, challenges faced in service life, and the special relationship he had with His Holiness Sripad B.V. Tapasvi Maharaj (Bhuvan Mohan Prabhu).

1 hour mp3 audio file
Portuguese and English with translation by Raseswari Devi Dasi.
 
 
 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The activating principle

Sincerely, earnestly, desperately, we offer ourselves at the feet of Śrī Guru-Vaiṣṇava, wholeheartedly considering it to be our greatest fortune to be utilised by them, for their divine purpose, in the least way.

“Religion is proper adjustment”—we have been told by our Param Gurudev, Om Viṣṇupad Śrīla Bhakti Rakṣak Śrīdhar Dev-Goswāmī Mahārāj, that this was a favourite expression of Śrīla Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākur in his final days. In Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā Lord Kṛṣṇa describes this as the art of yoga: yogaḥ karmasu kauśalam (2.50); samatvaṁ yoga uchyate (2.48). The question arises, adjustment to what? What will be that central, fundamental, guiding principle to which moment by moment, day by day, all persons, places, and things will be adjusted and seen in relation to? For the Vaiṣṇavas, that can only be one thing: the sweet will of the Lord.
Why?
yato vā imāni bhūtāni jāyante,
yena jātāni jīvanti,
yat prayanty abhisaṁviśanti,
tad vijijñāsasva tad eva Brahma
Because He is that source from Whom everything has come, by Whom everything is maintained, and into Whom everything will again enter.
For those attracted to the sweetness of the Rūpānuga line, however, this is not enough. Rather, as told by Śrīla Jīva Goswāmī, bhajanīya guṇa-viśiṣṭa: simply by virtue of His infinitely charming qualities and nature, one is irresistibly bound in absolute, loving adherence to satisfying His least whim. Thus, “Whatever wave has come from that centre of absolute beauty, love, and charm, and in whatever outward manifestation or expression it has assumed and entered my limited sphere of experience—I will take it on my head with full faith and optimism”—such are the feelings of the true Vaiṣṇavas.
But again a question arises: how to ascertain that all-important will of the Lord?
The scripture of course, the Lord’s own word in recorded form, comes forward to help in a passive way. The scripture, the holy book, will give us understanding of sambandha-jñāna, what is what and who is who, understanding of how to approach the Lord along with understanding of what is pleasing and not pleasing to Him, and understanding of what we can hope to attain as a result.
As the scripture will also tell us, however, connection with the sādhu, the living scripture, is essential.
tad viddhi praṇipātena paripraśnena sevayā
upadekṣyanti te jñānaṁ jñāninas tattva-darśinaḥ
(Srimad Bhagavad-gita: 4.34)
If we want to receive a genuine connection with that knowledge which is supersubjective to ourselves, which embodies the Lord Himself, it must come in the proper channel, it must come from one of the Lord’s own.
In the words of our Śrīla Gurudev, Om Viṣṇupād Śrīla Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswāmī Mahārāj,

“Only when we hear from the sādhu are we receiving something in the proper channel, receiving something descending down from Goloka Vṛndāvan through the hearts of our paramparā’s Gurus which is perfect and necessary for our spiritual life. Only when we hear in the proper channel from the sādhu is there a transmission of the power which reveals the essence of the scriptures’ words in our hearts.”

That essential ingredient, the activating principle of our spiritual life, is the good will of the Vaiṣṇava, the good will of Śrī Gurudev. The Vaiṣṇava thus assumes the position of that absolute, reliable centre around whom and for whom we will adjust and readjust ourselves in every time, place, and circumstance, large or small, significant or apparently insignificant:

“With humble and prayerful mind if we try to show our allegiance, to surrender to the smallest advices of the Guru-Vaiṣṇava, that is the door through which we can enter that world. Our submissive acceptance of the smallest meanings of the words coming from Guru-Vaiṣṇava—that is the door by which we can enter Vaikuṇṭha and Goloka.” (Śrīla Śrīdhar Mahārāj)

Thus Śrīman Mahāprabhu, citing Yudhiṣṭhir Mahārāj’s famous conclusion (mahājano yena gataḥ sa panthāḥ), chooses to overlook scriptural stereotype and instead follow the precedent set by Śrī Mādhavendra Purī,
dharma-sthāpana-hetu sādhura vyavahāra
(Cc 2.17.185)
“A devotee’s behaviour establishes the true purpose of religious principles.”
Sincerely, earnestly, desperately, we therefore offer ourselves at the feet of Śrī Guru-Vaiṣṇava, wholeheartedly considering it to be our greatest fortune to be utilised by them, for their divine purpose, in the least way.

“Cast yourself wholly at the feet of the Vaiṣṇava proper and try to be utilised by him. Be aloof to your own ego. Take it off and allow a Vaiṣṇava to work in the workshop of your heart, allow him to handle things there.” (Śrīla Śrīdhar Mahārāj)

Spiritual busi-ness

Service is making service, and money is making money. And Guru is the service maker, the super service maker.

We have seen many things in our life. From Srila Swami Maharaj’s first life to last life, and also from Srila Guru Maharaj’s first Chaitanya Saraswat Math to the present worldwide mission, we have seen many things. We are looking at everything and have seen many auspicious souls, and many inauspicious things. Many things are coming and going in this mundane world. Watching is necessary. We are watching what is going and what is coming, and in that way we can understand. If it does not come in our lives how will we understand?
Everybody does not know what bhakti is. Somebody is hearing something and writing one book. “I am writing a book, Maharaj; give me blessings, give me permission.” I am thinking, “How foolish this man is.” But in another way he is very auspicious, because he is trying in that way. Maybe when he is thinking, “I am a master” that is foolishness, but when he is thinking, “I am student” that is good no doubt.
But I am trying in another way: what is in front of me, I am trying with that. Somebody is doing business with a little fund, somebody without capital, somebody with big capital, but everybody is trying to do some business. ‘Business’ word is also a very nice word. I do not know the full meaning, but I know the meaning of ‘busy’. To always have some engagement, that is busy. To always have some engagement with wealth is business. Then he is keeping busy himself with that engagement. And that is also service.
You must do something, but it is necessary to choose whether that is good or bad. You must do something; you cannot stop your running. Any way you must run, so when you run, run for your destiny. That will be very good for your life.
When we have got something, then there is no cause to be hopeless. Try to do some seva, then you will feel this. Sevā sevā tairī kare: service is making service. When I shall serve, that service will make my service again.
Devotee: Like business—money makes money.
Srila Gurudev: Service is making service, and money is making money. And Guru is the service maker, the super service maker.
Srila Gurudev speaking in Govardhan, March 1991

Free service

If I need one glass of water and I say to you, Give me one glass of water, you can give it to me no doubt, but that is second class service. You have freedom and you can understand through your realisation, “Now you need a little water.” If you will serve with your full freedom then that will be very good for the Lord.


Download mp3 audio file.  21 mins, with Italian translation by Krishna Kanta Devi Dasi.
This audio file starts at the beginning of Srila Gurudev’s talk, which is presented in the article Real Friendship.
When Kṛṣṇa mercifully gives His divine rays of mercy upon us, we will understand what is what. Kṛṣṇa is making harmony for everyone, and everyone’s heart, and everything. To make that harmony He is sometimes destroying a little, sometimes making a little, and sometimes making a little adjustment.
yadā yadā hi dharmasya glānir bhavati bhārata
abhyutthānam adharamsya tadātmānaṁ sṛjāmi aham
(Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā: 4.7)
When the religious world becomes very disturbed, I Myself manifest there as an incarnation and make harmony as soon as possible, so that it is again running in the line of Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
But Kṛṣṇa has given us freedom, and He will not take back that freedom. That is His great mercy. If I need one glass of water and I say to you, Give me one glass of water, you can give it to me no doubt, but that is second class service. You have freedom and you can understand through your realisation, “Now you need a little water.” If you will serve with your full freedom then that will be very good for the Lord.
Everyone has very good qualities: Kṛṣṇa has given everyone fifty qualities, and more qualities can also come by the grace of Kṛṣṇa. If you merge into the rāga-mārga, then more than Kṛṣṇa’s quality will come to you. But that is so far. What is existing in vidhi-mārga is not a little bit. Everything is possible by our freedom if we use it wisely and properly.
Kṛṣṇa consciousness is like that. Here is love, here is affection, attachment, and hankering for service is the inspiration, and always activated with the devotee. It is not necessary to unnecessarily advise others there. Everyone is doing their own duty. Where some deficiency is seen, it is also created by Yogamāyā for the divine Pastimes of Kṛṣṇa. For the happiness of Kṛṣṇa some deficiency is created by Yogamāyā sometimes, somewhere. But the free will of the devotees is always supplying service for the satisfaction of Lord Kṛṣṇa. That type of world is Goloka Vṛndāvan. Even time is waiting for service. Here time is always passing, and whether you do or don’t do time will pass. But there everything is existing within the mood of service, and so time is also not passing without the inspiration from Yogamāyā. It is written in Brahma-saṁhitā,
sa yatra kṣīrābdhiḥ sravati surabhībhyaś cha sumahān
nimeṣārdhākhyo vā vrajati na hi yatrāpi samayaḥ
(Śrī Brahma-saṁhitā: 5.56)
Half a moment is not passing without service, and without giving inspiration to all for service.
That is the target of our Rūpānuga sampradāya. And that wave, by the grace of Śrī Chaitanya Mahāprabhu, by the grace of Mādhavendra Purī, by the grace of Lord Kṛṣṇa, and our Guru-paramparā, has come down as the wave of the spiritual service world. It is necessary to connect with that wave in any way. Rūpa Goswāmī Prabhu said,
kṛṣṇa-bhakti-rasa-bhāvitā-matiḥ
krīyatāṁ yadi kuto ‘pi labhyate
tatra laulyam api mūlyam ekalaṁ
janma-koṭi-sukṛtair na labhyate
(Padyavali: 14)
[“Purchase ecstatic devotion to Krishna wherever it is available! The only price is hankering. It is not attainable by acting piously (practising vidhi-bhakti) for ten million lifetimes.”]
You can connect with that wave if you have extreme hankering and greed for that.
Spoken by Srila Gurudev in Italy, September 2000.
This is a continuation of Real Friendship