Beyond Ego and Prejudice
His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
We pray all the devotees of Chaitanya Saraswat Math will come again. I know some are a little disheartened, some want to stay alone, some live in a family as householders, but we do not look who is a householder, who is a brahmachari, who is a sannyasi.
গৃহী হউক ত্যাগী হউক ভক্তে ভেদ নাই ।
grhi ha-uka tyagi ha-uka bhakte bheda nai
"There is no difference between devotees—be they householders or renunciants. If someone makes distinctions between them, they go to the hell of boiling oil.
(Sri Sri Prema-vivarta, 17.22)
If somebody differentiates, "They are householders and we are sannyasis," or, "They are householders and we are brahmacharis," it is not right. Householder devotees also have good qualities—they actually have more good qualities than us and they have more knowledge about Krishna consciousness than us. I believe that. Whether somebody is a senior devotee or a junior devotee, it does not matter as long as they practise properly. There are people who say that Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur was a householder [implying his inferior position], but in his time all the sannyasis paid obeisance and respect to him. In Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur's time also, the Math secretary was Kunja Babu. Externally he was a householder, but all the sannyasis would give their obeisance and paid their respect to him. Later, he took sannyas and became known as Pujyapad Srila Bhakti Vilas Tirtha Maharaj.
In this regard, I want to tell everyone—please leave, give up your ego. I have told many times that ego like a wall—when the sun rises, if there is a wall, the light will not be able to come through it, but once you remove the wall the light will come through. Ego is like a wall. Chaitanya Saraswat Math is your Gurudev's temple, Guru Maharaj's temple, it is not anybody's personal property. Because of our ego we think, "I am the Acharya," "I am the manager," "I am the so-and-so in charge." We may say this, but this is actually not correct. In fact, we are all servants—somebody is the guardian, somebody is senior, etc. You can give respect to everyone in this way. These are the main things and we must understand these things.
We were reading this song [from Siksastakam] yesterday:
pasu paksi haye thaki' svarge va niraye
Whether a bird or a beast, in heaven or in hell, let devotion to You remain in the heart of Bhakti Vinod.
(Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur)
Next birth I may become a bird or a beast, it is not a problem for me—we do not want to be Brahma, we do not want to be Indra. We do not think about this. One time, Gurudev told me, "If Brahma comes to you, you must say, 'I have no time to talk to you because I am very busy—my Gurudev is going to take bath and needs water, I must bring a bucket of water for my Gurudev.'" That is the main thing.
So many things will come to you, even Indra will come: there are many ships, many boats, but you must take the boat where Gurudev is the captain—that boat will take you to the proper place. Sometimes, some buses look very nice and beautiful, but you do not know where those buses go. There are many trains at the Howrah station in Kolkata—some trains go to Benares, some trains go to Gaya, some trains go to Prayag, Allahabad, Kashi, Mathura, etc.—but if you are going to Vrindavan, you must take the train that goes to Vrindavan.
The main thing is that the highest place for us is Govardhan. Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur, Srila Rupa Goswami, Srila Raghunath Das Goswami say that the highest place is Radha Kunda, but we have no quality or qualification to stay at Radha Kunda. Our Guru-varga (who are Radharani's parsadas, associates) can stay there, but we must stay in Govardhan—from there, we will go to Radha Kunda and serve our Guru and Guru-varga. That is the main thing for us.
If we are to go to the highest place, we must want to be servants of the devotees. The highest place is not only Vrindavan—the highest place is where the sadhu is. You may think that you must stay in Vrindavan to be in the highest place, but monkeys also live in Vrindavan—and they steal your spectacles, food, etc.
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur also said, "I have come to Vrindavan, but I have not seen any sadhus there." This was said by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur. Once, a devotee of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur said to him, "Prabhupad, I have seen so many siddha purushes in Vrindavan!" to which Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur replied, "Yes, there are so many siddhas there, it is correct—patal siddha, aloo siddha, begun siddha, etc." 'Siddha' means great (as in 'siddha purush', a great man) and 'siddha' also means 'boiled' (as in boiled potato, boiled patal, boiled eggplant). What he was saying is that there are so many boiled things, but it is very rare to find a siddha purush in Vrindavan. This is what Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur told.
So, you cannot recognise a sadhu if you only look at his external behaviour, his external dress or what kind of food he eats. You must go inside, then you can understand a sadhu. If you have the mercy of a sadhu, then you can understand that sadhu or Guru. Without mercy you cannot understand a sadhu, a Guru, or a Vaishnav. It is necessary to understand this. I think that if you have the strongest faith in your Guru and if you practise properly, then you will be able to recognise a sadhu, Guru, or Vaishnav. That is the main thing.
Jay Om Vishnupad Jagad-Guru Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj ki jay.
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