Association: Root of (Mis?)fortune

His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Srila Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj
15 October 2018, Dum Dum Park, part 1


I am giving first an obeisance to my beloved Gurudev, Om Vishnupad Jagad-Guru Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj, to all of my Guru-varga, all of my godbrothers and godsisters, all of my friends and well-wishers.

First we must understand what is good association, what is bad association. When somebody is talking to you, what kind of talk are they doing? Is it actually beneficial to your spiritual life or harmful? You must understand this; you can ask your Guru also—he can explain it to you; you can also read Gurudev's books, Guru Maharaj's books—everything is told there.

If you do not have Gurudev's mercy, then you cannot understand the Guru, you cannot have the mercy of Vaishnavs, you cannot even recognise who is a Vaishnav, and you end up making some Vaishnav aparadh, going against your Guru. If you have mercy, then you can understand Gurudev easily—you can understand what he wants to do, what is his desire, we can easily understand his mercy.

Those who are always covered by the illusory environment cannot understand their Guru, their Gurudev's mercy, cannot understand the Lord and the Lord's mercy. Maya will always try to take us away from the service of the Lord, it is her duty to always engage us in her service, but Gurudev always engages us in the service of the Lord and Vaishnavs. If we are covered by illusion, by the illusory environment, then we cannot understand what is Gurudev's mercy.

I also read one very nice story in one of Srila Sridhar Maharaj's books. Once, two sadhu sannyasis went to Haridwar and were sitting on the bank of the Ganges. Suddenly, one of the sadhus saw something black floating in the swift current of the Ganges. The sadhu said to the other sadhu, "Please, go to the Ganges. There is not much water here, you can go there and take the blanket out. We will dry it and can use at night." (You know that it is cold in Haridwar.) The sadhu did that—he jumped into the Ganges and as he was about to catch the blanket, the blanket caught him! It turned out that the blanket was actually not a blanket—it was a bear (bhaluk, ভালুক). The bear got caught in the current of the Ganges and wanted to get out, but he could not because the current was too strong. So, when the sadhu came near thinking it was a blanket, the bear caught the sadhu and they began to fight—the sadhu wanted to leave the bear (still thinking it was a blanket), but the bear grasped him well and did not let him go because he wanted to get out of the Ganges. Then, the other sadhu shouted from the bank, "Hey, leave the blanket, it is not necessary. Come out!" The sadhu replied, "I want to leave the blanket, but the blanket is not leaving me!"

That is the moral of the story—we want to leave maya, but maya always attacks us; we want to leave the mundane condition, but the mundane condition cannot leave us properly. We often say,

মায়ারে করিয়া জয় ছাড়ান না যায় ।
সাধুর-গুরুর কৃপা বিনা না দেখি উপায় ॥

mayare kariya jaya chhadana na yaya,
sadhur-gurur krpa vina na dekhi upaya,

"It is not possible to conquer maya by illusory environment (by engaging in maya), but it is only possible to get relief by the mercy of Guru, Vaishnav."

('Ki rupe paibe seva', Srila Narottam Das Thakur)

You cannot conquer maya without the mercy of the sadhu. Then, you must understand that if we do not take proper guidance from the sadhu—if we do not accept what the sadhu is telling us properly, if we do not realise it properly—then we cannot get the mercy of the sadhu and Vaishnavs, we cannot get the mercy of the Guru also.


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Practical Questions
How to treat 'non-devotees'? How to always remember Krishna? Why cannot we follow the instructions properly? How to survive in the material environment? How can we connect our daily activities with Krishna?


Ki jani ki bale
'Everything is Yours. I am only a servant. Certainly You will deliver me. I have embraced Your feet and no longer belong to myself.'
কি জানি কি বলে

The question is not what you want—the question is what your Guru wants.