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Heart of Devotional Life

His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Srila Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj
Kolkata-Worldwide, 26 April 2020, part 2


নৃদেহমাদ্যং সুলভং সুদুর্লভং
প্লবং সুকল্পং গুরুকর্ণধারম্ ।
ময়ানুকূলেন নভস্বতেরিতং
পুমান্ ভবাব্ধিং ন তরেৎ স আত্মহা ॥

nr-deham adyam su-labham su-durlabham
plavam su-kalpam guru-karnadharam
mayanukulena nabhasvateritam
puman bhavabdhim na taret sa atma-ha

"Those who get this human body but do not try to practise Krishna consciousness, do not try to cross the ocean of material existence, are suicidal (atmaghati). In this human body there is only one way how you can bring benefit to yourself—this body is like a boat and you must accept a Guru as the captain of this boat. What does the Guru do next? When you surrender at his lotus feet, when within your heart you take shelter in him, he gives you mercy that works like a favourable wind. In this way, propelled by that favourable wind of the Guru's mercy, this boat can take you to your destination. However those who cannot understand who is the captain, what is the mercy of devotion, who do not know what is favourable to devotion, what that favourable wind is, are suicidal."

(Srimad Bhagavatam, 11.20.17; translation quoted from Sri Guru Tattva: The Captain of Your Boat)

We have got this human body—somebody's life can be very short, but if we can practise Krishna consciousness with this human body, and if we can start practising Krishna consciousness as soon as possible, then we can reach our goal. It does not matter when you take initiation—somebody can take initiation at thirty, fifty, some boy or girl can take initiation at nine or ten, at fifteen; if you start practising from that time, if you can become a good receiver, if you follow what Gurudev told, what our guru-varga told, what Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur told, what Chaitanya Mahaprabhu told, if we can follow their instruction, if we can follow their practising life avoiding our bad habits, bad qualities and keeping our good qualities, then we can get the result quickly.

We must always avoid offences—Vaishnav-aparadh, dham-aparadh, seva-aparadh, Nama-aparadh. I remember Guru-Vaishnavs' pastimes a lot, I read their biographies, remember their lifestyle—I study the lives of Srila Sanatan Goswami, Srila Rupa Goswami, Srila Jiva Goswami, Srila Raghunath Das Goswami, the life of our Gurudev, Guru Maharaj, Srila Prabhupad's lifestyle. We must understand what they want.

Our service is through our Gurudev. Actually, if we preach something, we must preach for our Gurudev. If Gurudev is pleased with our service, with our preaching, that is our happiness. The Lord Himself has come to this world as a guru—if we can follow his instruction, we can fulfil his desire, that is good for our spiritual life. We can leave this world at any moment, at any time, and we do not know how many days we will be alive—we do not even know if we will stay in this world until tomorrow; but even if we stay only until tomorrow, we can still chant the Holy Name, we can remember our guru-varga, their instruction—that will be good for us.

There are nine kinds of devotional processes, nava-vidha bhakti: sravanam—hearing, kirtanam (chanting), smaranam (remembering), pada-sevanam (serving the holy feet of the Lord), archanam (worshipping the Lord's Deity), vandanam (offering prayers to the Lord), dasyam (serving the Lord as a servant), sakhyam (serving the Lord as a friend), atma-nivedanam (offering yourself wholesale to the Lord). So, there are different services—archan-anga seva, kirtan-anga seva, sravan-anga seva, etc., but we must do whatever service Gurudev has given us. For example, I like kirtan-seva (service of chanting kirtans), but Gurudev has given me archan-seva (service of worshipping Deities), then I must do archan-seva. Gurudev has told me, "You must cook," but I want to be a good speaker because if I become a speaker, then everybody will be giving me garlands, everybody will be clapping me. We want to be speakers, but we do not want to listen first. When you are a speaker, you can get a good and a little higher chair, you will get one big garland, everybody will give you 'jay'—this is why we always want this kind of service, but if Gurudev tells me to do cooking service, then we become disappointed because a cook will not get a garland, and nobody will give me a big 'jay' because I am just a cook. This is not the way to do service. When Gurudev gives you some service, you must receive that service without any hesitation, without any questions. You may not be habituated to doing the kind of service Gurudev tells you to do, but you must still try to do it—Gurudev will give you power and mercy and you will succeed in that service.

The whole world is now afraid of coronavirus, but if we are to be proper surrendered souls, then we must understand that one day or another we will all have to die—be it from a coronavirus, some other virus, or any other thing. This is not a question. The question is that as many days we have got this life for, we must use this life in a proper way. 'A proper way' means you must do properly what Chaitanya Mahaprabhu told, what Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur Prabhupad told, what our guru-varga and Gurudev told. Any kind of problem can come at any time, at any moment,

জীবন অনিত্য জানহ সার
তাহে নানাবিধ বিপদ-ভার ।
নামাশ্রয় করি' যতনে তুমি
থাকহ আপন কাজে ॥

jivana anitya janaha sara
tahe nana-vidha vipada-bhara
namasraya kari' yatane tumi
thakaha apana kaje

"Understand the essence: life is temporary and filled with all sorts of adversity. Carefully taking shelter of the Name, engage in your work."

(Gitavali, Arunodaya kirtan, 1.3, by Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur)

Life is uncertain (a-nischit, অনিশ্চিত), so we must use our life for the service of the Lord, for the service of our Guru and Vaishnavs. That is the main thing for us. Practise as much as you can, do your service as much as you can and do not see or hear about others' faults—this is not our duty, this is not our business. We must go forward. What is past is past—we must go forward, we must fulfil our Gurudev's desire. That is service mood.



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Lacking Strength or Lacking Effort?
'We must understand how many hours of our time we waste—spend on ourselves, on our own enjoyment—and how many hours we spend on practising. We have come here for service—we have not come for enjoyment. This is our promise.'


Ye anila prema-dhana
'Where are my Svarup, Rupa, and Sanatan? Where is my Raghunath Das? Where are the saviours of the fallen souls?'
যে আনিল প্রেমধন

Whatever capacity we have—with body, mind, and speech—we must serve
his appearance day.