"You know that if you plant a seed of some tree, you must then water it, give it some fertiliser, some sun, and so on. Similarly, we must take care of our devotional seed—every day we must come to the arati, join the programme, must get some good association. Good association is necessary for our devotional life. If we do not get good association, then there will be a big problem in our devotional life, so every day we must read some devotional books—Srila Sridhar Maharaj and Srila Guru Maharaj wrote so many books, scriptures, we should read them and know what is written in them. Also, we should sing some songs.
"We must continue our practising life in this way every day. Even if you live in your own house, you can turn your house into an ashram, a temple. What do we do at the temple? We do arati, we have an altar, and you too can have an altar with Srila Guru Maharaj's photograph, or the Deities, and every day do arati, offer worship, and offer whatever food you take to the Deities. We must continue our life in this way."
"We should make our house an ashram: we can have Gurudev's picture, Deities' picture on our altar, every day offer some flower, do mangal arati, chant kirtans. We can do it every day. We do not have so much time, but still we can chant some kirtan, we can plant Tulasi, offer some flowers, some water, we can pay our obeisance. We can do all this every day. This is actually our daily programme, and we should continue in this way, every day."
"Nistha [be fixed]: what I will do, I will do that every day. Everybody does not have that service mood, seva pravritti [desire for, or engagement in service]. 'I am only doing today, next day I am not doing'—this is not devotion, this is emotion."
"How many hours are necessary? Wake up early in the morning, practise, and then go to your work. Every office opens at 10 o'clock, so if somebody does a job, leads a householder life, they can also practise. It is not so hard. Come early in the morning to the mangal arati, sing, then take a bath, and go to work. Is it possible or not? But everything is impossible for those who do not do anything."
"Practice makes perfect. Always do sravan, kirtan, and do not sleep in the daytime. Some devotees stay up until 12 o'clock, until 2-3 o'clock at night, gossiping, working, and after that they sleep until 9 o'clock. This is not good for the devotional life. You must wake up from the bed before sunrise. All our Guru-varga—Bhakti Vinod Thakur, Gaura Kishor Das Babaji Maharaj, Srila Prabhupad, our Gurudev, Param Gurudev—everybody goes to sleep early in the evening and wake up at 3-4 o'clock, at 2:30 a.m. You must follow their example."
"If Krishna calls, I am going, but those who are sleeping will sleep through the whole of their life. They will not be able to get there—they will come and go and will always sleep. It is a big problem. Morning arati is called mangal arati. What does 'mangal' mean? 'Mangal' means good fortune, prosperity, benefit, auspicious. If you do not wake up at mangal arati, auspiciousness is ruined for you."
"Do you know what the devotees do here in India? I have seen it many times—when they do Tulasi parikrama they put a clay pot with Tulasi in the centre and put some books there. Maybe fifteen years ago, when I went to some house and saw it, I asked them, "Why do you put the books there?" They told me, "Maharaj, in the books there is a photo of the Nabadwip temple, so every day we do the parikrama of Nabadwip Dham." What a good conception! What a good heart! They cannot take Govinda Kunda to their house, but the photo is there, the temple photo is there in the books, and every day they do the parikrama.
"So, to maintain your spiritual life means to practise and do everything properly—just as when you live in a temple, start the day from the mangal arati, have the morning class, and by 7 o'clock you are done."
"Even if you live outside the temple, in householder life, it is not a problem, but you must maintain your spiritual life properly. How? You must think your house is not your house, it is Krishna's house, Krishna's property. When you cook something, offer it to Krishna, do arati for Krishna, and so on. You stayed in the temple for a few days and you saw what the temple life is like, and you can practise in the same way at home. When you cook, chant, 'Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare / Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.' You must chant when you cook, you must sing, 'Sri-guru-charana-padma kevala bhakati-sadma', 'Ohe Vaisnava Thakura dayara sagara', 'Nitai-pada kamala.' When you cook in the morning, you can also sing, 'Samsara-davanala-lidha-loka.' For example, in the morning when I go to bath, I put water in the bucket and sing this song 'Samsara-davanala-lidha-loka.'
"Practise singing songs in this way, then your mind will be good—your mind, your heart and everything else will go to the Lord Himself, and you will get pleasure, pleasure and more pleasure, you will be happy. Try to do this and tell me what result you get in a month."
"When you get time, read Gurudev's books. If you think, "I am not getting any taste when I read the books," then you can understand that inside you, in your heart, there is an aparadher bij (a seed of sin). You must understand these things, this is important.
"If you want to do something out of emotion, it will not give you any result. That is why it is necessary to have sincerity, nistha is necessary. If you do not have nistha, if you do something without sincerity, then you will not get taste. If you think you are not getting the taste, then you must continuously engage in service—whatever kind of service you have, you must do it continuously."
"...Engaging in service. How? Follow bhakti-anukul (accept what is favourable to devotion), do sadhu-sanga, read books, do Nama sankirtan, Bhagavat sravan, you must come to the mangal arati, come to the morning class, sing morning bhajans, evening bhajans, cook for the Deities, offer the bhog, and so on."
"Ahara, nidra, bhaya, maithunam cha—life should not be wasted on eating, sleeping, fearing, and mating. Even if you live as a householder, you can still wake up early in the morning, do arati, and so on."
"Going to be bed at 10 p.m. and waking up at 4-4:30 a.m. is sufficient for one's health. If you continue and practise in this way every day with sincerity, you will be benefitted."
"Some think, 'There are so many problems here, I would rather stay alone.' Some live on their own because if you live in a temple, you must follow many rules and regulations—wake up early, come to the mangal arati, come to the regular classes, come to the kirtan, and so on; but if you live alone, it is not necessary to follow anything—nobody sees what you are doing. However, living in some house, eating well and not practising, not doing sadhu-sanga does not make you a Vaishnav."
"Sometimes we do not like crowds, we do not like so many people, and we want to live alone. We do not want to stay in the temple because there are so many rules and regulations in the temple—we have to take prasadam at a certain time, go to mangal arati at a certain time, give class at a certain time, and so on—everything has to be maintained at a certain time, and if you live alone, nobody will tell you anything, but you will be losing your devotional activities. This is what we do not understand. Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur said that nirjan bhajan is just self-deception."
"You must maintain your family through Krishna consciousness. What is your regular duty? Wake up early in the morning, do arati, offer the bhog to your Guru at the altar in your room or house, take prasadam, chant the Holy Name, and as much as it is possible you can preach outside. You must follow a regular programme like this. Even if you live alone, sing the songs, chant the Holy Name, and if some Vaishnavs come to your house, give them some prasadam. Mahaprabhu told to Sanatan Goswami, "Jive daya, Name ruci, Vaisnava seva." Give benefit to the jiva souls, chant the Holy Name, and serve the Vaishnavs—these are your main things, and in this way you can maintain your spiritual life. And follow all the rules and regulations, follow Mahaprabhu's conception."
"We must join the arati. If everyone can get up half an hour before the arati, take shower, etc. and join the arati, that is very good.
"Arati is not for the Deity, arati is for yourself. We show the lamp to the Deity, but actually we do the arati for ourselves, we glorify the Lord early in the morning, do all the morning practices—that is all for us. If the Deity wakes up at 5 o'clock or 6 o'clock, it is no problem for the Deity, but our habit should grow to worship the Deity timely, and that time has been selected by the scriptures. Everything you see—blowing the conchshell, ringing the bell, etc.—it is all for our benefit. The Deity is not the beneficiary; we are the beneficiary of the arati."
(Srila B.S. Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj)
"Somebody may not be a good singer, somebody cannot sing Hare Krishna maha-mantra so well, but Krishna does not want your tune, Krishna knows what you are singing, what you want to say, Gurudev knows it. You must understand it."
"If you understand the meaning of the song, you will get more pleasure, it will be then kirtan. And we do not really sing songs—we do kirtan. Singing a song and doing kirtan is not the same thing. Most of the people sing songs and do not know their meaning, but if you know the meaning of the song, you will actually get pleasure.
"Kirtan means practising—practising Krishna consciousness. When you practise Krishna consciousness, you will get pleasure. If you just sing a song, you will not get pleasure. If you know the meaning of the song, you will always get energy to do kirtan; if you just sing a song, you will not get that energy.
"When somebody does not understand the meaning of the song, they start playing, making naughty, disturbing when others are singing—I have seen this many times... But those who are doing the actual kirtan get pleasure and always do kirtan. When one does Krishna kirtan, chants the Holy Name of Krishna, Krishna's Name, Beauty, Pastimes are all there. Nityananda's kirtan is Nityananda's Pastimes, Krishna's kirtan is Krishna's Pastimes, Mahaprabhu's kirtan is Mahaprabhu's Pastimes. Remembering is also one kind of practice."
yad asanga kriya karma janata vapy ajanata
May whatever offences I have knowingly or unknowingly committed be completely absolved by chanting the Holy Names of the Lord.
"If the priest or the person who is doing a sacrifice lastly chants the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, he will think that the sacrifice has gone with full satisfaction. Whatever we do, we will do it with Krishna Nama sankirtan: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Hare Hare / Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare; then, if we do everything with this mantram, it will be fulfilled and satisfying to Krishna and Guru-Gauranga."
(Srila B.S. Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj)
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