His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
I do not think that this is my temple—it is devotees' temple, it is your temple; and yet I see that when I was in London at the Green Street Temple in Gurudev's time, so many devotees would come and meet, they would help Gurudev, and at this moment I see that not so many are participating in this festival. But why? I may have made some big mistake, I may have made some offence to you, if it is so, I ask you all for forgiveness. At the same time, you all also have a duty.
You know what Gurudev said. I have so many faults, but Gurudev says that everybody is not pure, everybody has some fault—everybody has some bad quality, and everybody has some good quality. I may have so many bad qualities and because of that you may not be able to join the festival, but Gurudev told everybody—and you must follow Gurudev's order, you are disciples of Gurudev or Guru Maharaj—your duty is not to see my fault, you must help me and give me love and affection. That is your duty.
If you come for the festival, it is good for you. Do not think that this is my temple. From time to time, I hear from many devotees, "It is Acharya Maharaj's temple, we will not go there!" but you can see that even when the temple was established I could not come.
I may not be able to attend this day's programme, but my heart, mind and everything is there and I am very happy with those who have come and joined the festival. As for those who have not joined it, I am praying to them: please come and join, participate in this festival; please continue your spiritual life. You think that it is not necessary for you to come to the temple to practise Krishna consciousness, but this is not correct. You cannot practise if you do not get good association, sadhu-sanga.
You may think that those who are joining the festival are not sadhus, but who can recognise the sadhu? Who has the eyes? Even Brahma says, "I cannot recognise a sadhu," then how can you recognise who is a sadhu? Those who have assembled for the festival are making a festival—they are chanting the Holy Names, they are worshipping and serving the Deities, they are continuing their service to the temple and they make the temple.
Temple is not for enjoyment. Temple is not only just offering some bhog and doing some sankirtan—a temple is a preaching center. If you preach outside in the streets of London or in any other country, you must give people some address where they will go, so you should have an address, and that is Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math, London, Green Street and Hatton Cross. You must remember Gurudev's words, Prabhu: I am telling you all that you think that it is not necessary to go there, that Gurudev is not there, but you cannot see that Gurudev is still there. I can tell you that Gurudev is there. If you come and join the festival, if you participate in the festival, help the devotees, if you engage yourself in the service to the Deities, in the service to the devotees, it will be good for you.
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur says, "Nirjana-bhajan kevala kaitava: if you think you will stay alone and practise on your own, that is kaitav, atma-vanchana—you are cheating yourself." These are not my words, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur says this. If you stay alone, your mind will always disturb you, it will always go to kutinati [duplicity, deceit], it always goes here and there—the mind is not stable. That is why you must do sadhu-sanga [keep good association] for your practising life.
You should understand that Deity is not just a doll, it is not just made of some materials. The Deity is is Saksad-Vrajendra-nandan [Lord Krishna Himself]. You can read Chaitanya-charitamrita and see the stories of Saksi Gopal, Ksir-chor Gopinath, Mukunda's son Raghunandan (how the Deity took food from Raghunandan)—there are many stories like this that prove that the Deity has pran [the Deity is alive], the Deity is not a doll.
I am very sad today actually because I got the news last night that the pujari of the Soquel Temple had left his body. A pujari is the closest sevaite, the closest friend of the Deities... He had been doing this service constantly for many years in Soquel, and I think that his time has come and Gurudev called him because he needs him in his place for some puja, so he went there to do puja.
...This festival means getting some sadhu-sanga, good association and cleaning your heart. You can realise why it is necessary to have good association, why it is necessary to keep sadhu-sanga. Just like this festival, we are also making so many festivals here—Janmastami and Nandotsav are coming in a few days, and a few days ago we also made the disappearance festival of Srila Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj... So many sannyasis and brahmacharis from Mayapur joined the festival at Nrisingha Palli. You can understand it yourself: I am not at the main temple of Chaitanya Saraswat Math now, where, as you know, Srila Sridhar Maharaj's samadhi-mandir is, but no one came there from Mayapur, they all came to Nrisingha Palli and joined us. The temple in Nrisnigha Palli is small, and even though the samadhi-mandir of Srila Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj is not there, still they came and joined the festival on Srila Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj's disappearance day in Nrisingha Palli. So, there can be a place that is considered holy, but if there is no sadhu living there, then it is not a holy place.
What do we make festivals for? Such festivals give us so much energy to do service. That is why festivals are essential. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur made so many temples in every corner of India as well as in foreign countries, Gurudev also made so many temples, Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj also made so many temples. What did they make them for? They made preaching centres.
Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur writes,
Suppose you go to a holy place, but there is no sadhu there—if there is no sadhu-sanga, then what kind of tirtha (holy place) is that? Bhaktivinod Thakur says here that you must always keep good association. Those who have left everything—who have left all enjoyment in life, who only think about their Guru, about the Deity, who are sarvat-Krishna, who think for the benefit of the temple, think about the benefit of Gurudev's mission—they are sadhus.
There can be a holy place, but if there is no sadhu there, why will you go there? Why will you take the trouble of walking all the way there?
Vaishnav-seva. When you join the festival, you can distribute prasad, you can cook, you can cut vegetables, that is also Vaishnav-seva, Prabhu.
I am telling to everybody all over the world where there is a festival: leave, give up ego. Your ego is eating everything. Ego is abhiman, and abhiman is your worst enemy. Nobody is your enemy—your only enemy is abhiman. Abhiman is your enemy! That is why, please give up your abhiman. Maybe you are thinking, "I am senior to them," "I am a great Vaishnav," but what is Gurudev's teaching?
তৃণাদপি সুনীচেন তরোরিব সহিষ্ণুনা ।
trnad api sunichena taror api sahisnuna
"One who is humbler than a blade of grass, more forbearing than a tree, who gives honour to others without desiring it for himself, is qualified to always chant the Holy Name of Krishna."
(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, Antya-lila, 6.239)
Be humble, tolerant, give honour to others. Gurudev even explained the meaning of tridandi sannyas with this—he said that those who had these qualities could be a sannyasi. Mahaprabhu also said this in Chaitanya-charitamrita. Who can do much kirtan?
দৈন্য, দয়া, অন্যে মান, প্রতিষ্ঠা বর্জ্জন ।
dainya, daya anye mana, pratistha-varjana
Humility, compassion, honouring others, and giving up prestige—become qualified with these four qualities and chant the Name.
(Sri Siksastakam Giti, Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur)
Dainyata, be humble; be kind; give honour to others; and give up your name and fame (pratistha). You must think about yourself that you are a servant of a servant of a servant. Not more than that. If you think like this, it is good for you. If, however, you think that you are doing so many things, you did this, this, this and this, then it is your ego.
I would like to conclude here. This has been a very happy service today...
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