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Practical Questions

His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Srila Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj
speaking to the Colombian devotees,
2 October 2014


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

I always give this example: who wants to be big, who wants to be bigger, it is not devotion, it is not vaishnavata (quality of a devotee). Sometimes it gives pain, but what can I do?... Now I am always praying, as Bhakti Vinod Thakur said,

তৃণাদিক হীন কবে নিজে মানি
সহিষ্ণুতা-গুণ হৃদয়েতে আনি'

trnadhika hina kabe nije mani
sahisnuta-guna hrdayete ani'

"When will I feel lower than a blade of grass, bring the quality of tolerance into my heart?"

'Kabe habe bolo, se dina amar?' by Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur

Krishna and Mahaprabhu tolerate so much, and I have to tolerate too.

Do you have any questions?

Devotee: How should we deal with the relationship with non-devotees?

Give them respect, even to a non-devotee. Actually, why do you see they are a non-devotee? সর্ব্বে জীব সম দর্শন, sarve jiva sama darshan [seeing all souls equal]. You can see there is a jiva-soul, and we must rescue, we must give nourishment to them. They are also born for the service to the Lord, but they lost their consciousness because of maya, and we should fight against maya. We should not fight against the person—they are a jiva-soul, attacked by the illusory environment, maya, so we must fight against maya, and we must give proper nourishment, tell them to come to the temple, to take prasadam. Do you understand?

কবে জীবে দয়া হইবে উদয়,
নিজ সুখ ভুলি' সুদীন-হৃদয়

kabe jive daya haibe udaya,
nija-sukha bhuli' sudina-hrdaya

'Kabe habe bolo, se dina amar?' by Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur

"When will I get that kind of mercy to be able to give benefit to the jiva-soul and forget my own happiness, atmendriya-tattva?"

We should not see somebody as a non-devotee. Nityananda Prabhu was beaten by them, but He rescued them. We will also act in this way. We will give respect to others, give honour to others. That is necessary.

Devotee: We are told that we should always remember Krishna. What is the best way to do it?

Through service to Krishna's devotees, through chanting His Name, and glorification of His Name. Krishna's Name, Beauty, Pastimes are nondifferent from Krishna, so you should always remember Krishna's Name, Pastimes, His Form, and you should always serve Krishna's devotees, then you can easily remember Krishna. It is bhakter laksan (ভক্তের লক্ষণ), a symptom of a devotee. 'মদ্গতপ্রাণা, মচ্চিত্তা, Mad gata prana, mach-chitta'—a devotee always, with all his life, his heart, his everything, thinks for Krishna (Bg, 10.9).

সর্ব্বস্ব তোমার চরণে সঁপিয়া
পড়েছি তোমার ঘরে ।

sarvasva tomara, charane sampiya,
parechhi tomara ghare

Saranagati, 19, by Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur

If you always recite this song from Saranagati, your ego will not come, you will not think you are a Vaishnav. Take remnants of the Vaishnavs, prasad, and always think you are a fallen soul, then you will never get proud, "Oh, I am taking the remnants!" Humility, dainyata, will come.

Devotee: We know the instruction of the Guru, but still we cannot act properly. Why is it like this?

Because of the disease. We are sick, and we have to take treatment, medicine.

ভুক্তি-মুক্তি আদি-বাঞ্ছা যদি মনে হয় ।
সাধন করিলেও প্রেম উৎপন্ন না হয় ॥

bhukti-mukti adi-vancha yadi mane haya
sadhana karileo prema utpanna na haya

"If you have material desires, if you want liberation, enjoyment, some mystic powers, and so on, then even if you practise all life, or life after life, prem, divine love, will not come. Nothing will come."

Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, Madhya-lila, 19.175

Krishna Das Kaviraj Goswami wrote in Chaitanya-charitamrita that we are practising Krishna consciousness, but we do not get real love and affection, real prem because we have a disease—material desires, attachments, desire for liberation, etc.

কৃষ্ণ যদি ছুটে ভক্তে ভুক্তি মুক্তি দিয়া ।
কভু ভক্তি না দেন রাখেন লুকাইয়া ॥

krsna yadi chhute bhakte bhukti mukti diya
kabhu prema-bhakti na dena rakhena lukaiya

"If you ask Me for anything except devotion, I can give you those things—bhukti, mukti, liberation, everything—but I will hide devotion from you. You will not get devotion."

Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, Adi-lila, 8.18

Externally, we do some service, some work, but internally we have some material desire, some other things, and one day it will grow and we will see that we can be ousted from this line. We can fall down from this line because of the material desires inside us. We keep these desires inside, we do not show them at first, but it is supta [সুপ্ত, dormant], like a dormant fire inside ash. It will slowly, slowly grow, and will eventually come out. That is why you can see many sannyasis, many yogis fall down. Saubhari Muni was a big yogi, but even he lost his consciousness, lost his everything—he got his 50 wives, 5000 sons, etc. His story is like this.

Devotee: How can we develop strong faith if we are not with the devotees, but in the material environment?

You can see the example of mustard oil and water—if you want to mix it, it will not mix properly. If we go to the material environment, we will not take that. We go to material people to bring them Krishna consciousness, but we will not take their association. Do you understand? We will do sadhu-sanga—we will get the good association from a sadhu, a senior Vaishnav. We go to preach in the material world, but like Bhakti Hriday Bon Maharaj who went to collect some money to the prostitutes' quarter—he went there not for his own enjoyment or for their association, he went there to collect for Srila Prabhupad.

We can mix with the materialistic people—our sannyasi and brahmachari go to householder people and so many materialistic people—but we will not do sanga with them, we will not associate with them. We will teach them Mahaprabhu's conception, Gurudev's conception, and they will learn. We will bring something to them, not take association from them. For example, when we go to the market, we ask the shopkeeper the price, give them the money, say just one-two words and go; we do not associate with them.

Devotee: How can we offer the work we are doing to remember Krishna? How can this work be connected with Krishna?

To have connection with Krishna, you must come through a channel, always serve the devotees through that channel—if you come often to the temple, hear the class, you will automatically get this connection. You already have sukriti and have got association of the devotees, so gradually you can get connection with Krishna. Everybody understands that we get connection with the Lord through the Guru, through his devotees, through Krishna's devotees: Guru, Vaishnav, Bhagavan.

Krishna Himself said, "If somebody has left their property, their wife, their children, their relatives, their everything for Me, how can I leave them? I am always with them." Vraja gopis left everything—their shame, honour, respect—for Krishna, so Krishna is always with them.

When Durvasa Muni made an offence to a Vaishnav, Ambarish Maharaj, Krishna could not tolerate it and He showed Durvasa Muni His Sudarsan chakra. Krishna cannot tolerate maryada-langhan [মর্যাদা-লঙ্ঘন, showing disrespect, breaking the rules of proper conduct]. If you dishonour Vaishnavs, Krishna cannot tolerate it. You know the story of Ambarish Maharaj, how Krishna always protected him. Vaisnaver hridaye Govinda visram (বৈষ্ণবের হৃদয়ে গোবিন্দ-বিশ্রাম): Govinda always rests in the heart of a Vaishnav...



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