Atyahara

His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Srila Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj
speaking online to devotees in São Paulo, Brazil
22 September 2019, Kolkata, part 1

 

I have been reading today Srila Rupa Goswami's Nectar of Instruction (Upadesamrita). I have heard about atyahara, prayascha, prajalpa, niyamagraha, laulancha, janasangancha before, I have read also what Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur says about it in his scriptures. Here too, Srila Rupa Goswami says,

বাচো বেগং মনসঃ ক্রোধবেগং
জিহ্বাবেগমুদরোপস্থবেগম্ ।
এতান্ বেগান্ যো বিষহেত ধীরঃ
সর্বামপীমাং পৃথিবীং স শিষাৎ ॥

vacho vegam manasah krodha-vegam
jihva-vegam udaropastha-vegam
etan vegan yo visaheta dhirah
sarvam apimam prthivim sa sisyat

"A sober person who can tolerate (1) the urge to speak, (2) the mind's demands, (3) the actions of anger and the urges of the (4) tongue, (5) belly and (6) genitals is qualified to make disciples all over the world."

(Sri Upadesamrta, 1)

Actually, in our spiritual life, much patience is necessary. Patience is a great quality of a devotee. Those who have patience are dhirah (steady, sober).

I used to think before that atyahara means eating too much, but here Srila Rupa Goswami and Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur explain it very nicely. If you translate the word 'atyahara', it means 'eating too much', but it is not only that. Atyahara means not only eating too much, it also means collecting or keeping too much for your own enjoyment. If you deposit something for the future, it is also atyahara. Atyahara refers to five senses—eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and skin. If you hear some gramya-katha with your ears, if you listen to anything except Krishna-katha, that is also atyahara. If you see some bad things with your eyes, that is also atyahara. If you smell some bad things with your nose, that is also atyahara. If your tongue eats more than it is necessary for your stomach, that is also atyahara. So, atyahara is not only eating too much.

Atyahara, prayascha, prajalpa, niyamagraha, laulancha, janasangancha are the main obstacles in our devotion life, they are very bad for the devotional life. Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur says that through these obstacles so many bad elements come to our heart—because of them we do many bad things for our own ego. Srila Saraswati Thakur told also,

অত্যন্ত সংগ্রহে যার সদা চিত্ত ধায় ।
অত্যাহারী ভক্তিহীন সেই সংজ্ঞা পায় ॥

atyanta samgrahe yara sada chitta dhaya
atyahari bhakti-hina sei samjna paya

"Those whose hearts always run after collecting too much have no devotion and are called atyahari (hoarders)."

So, what is the definition of atyahara? It means keeping something for your own interest. Those who do it are called atyahari.

 

 

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Vandana
Why do we recite the vandana of Vaishnavs, Nityananda Prabhu, Gauranga Mahaprabhu, Radha-Krishna, Tulasi Devi? Vandana means ahovat korte, calling them, praying them for mercy, 'Prabhu, we are going to chant your glorification. Please give us some mercy.'

 

Sujanarvuda-radhita-pada-yugam
'He is the eternal shelter of the souls surrendered unto Sri Gaura and the Guru of the world. He is dedicated to the service of his Guru, Srila Gaura Kisor, and completely devoted to Srila Bhakti Vinod. Eternally I offer my obeisance to my master's feet.'
সুজনার্ব্বুদরাধিতপাদযুগং

We want something, but we must understand what the Guru wants.
If Gurudev does not want something, we should not do that.

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