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Choose Your Association Wisely

His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Srila Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj
13 October 2018, Dum Dum Park, part 3

 

I am trying as much as possible to follow Gurudev's instruction and to do the service that Gurudev gave me. So many difficulties, so many problems come, and I happily accept it. Gurudev told me that some problem would come after him. When I returned from Australia, I came to Gurudev—he was lying down, I paid my dandavat to him, and he called me to come close to his bed. Then, he caught my hand and asked, "Will you not run away from these problems?" I said, "Gurudev, as long as I have blood in my body, I will try to follow your instruction, I will try to do the service you have given me." That is why I am here. So many problems, so many things are coming, but I never run away from these problems. Gurudev warned me about it in many ways.

Sometimes we cannot understand what we are doing, and we always search for faults in others. I may be not qualified, I may have so many faults—and I always say that I am not qualified—but Gurudev gives me energy and strength. I get strength from my Guru.

Gurudev also always told that we should be careful with our association—we must always reject bad association. It is necessary to do this because we can become bad in bad association and it can remove us from spiritual life and service. It is important to understand this.

When I was new (when I just came to the temple) and started to do some service, there was one disciple of Srila Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj, a householder, who was helping Gurudev—he would go to the crops field, do the marketing, etc. Gurudev gave him his own bicycle (that bicycle is still there in Nabadwip, in the Centenary Building), and he used it to do the marketing, to go to the crops field, etc. I would see him going out of the temple. Some time later, one of Srila Sridhar Maharaj's disciples, who was the manager of the temple at the time, told me, "Prabhu, you must start going to the field. I cannot always go there myself, but one of my faithful men, also a disciple of Srila Sridhar Maharaj, always goes the crops field. If you can give me a proper report whether the workers are working there or not and what is going on there, that will be good." Gradually, he gave me many other services.

One day, I went to the crops field and asked the disciple of Srila Sridhar Maharaj who lived there (his name is Keshto Prabhu, he left his body a few months ago), "The temple manager always sends a supervisor to the crops field, where is he?" Keshto Prabhu told me that he had not come to supervise for three-four days. I reported that to the manager, and he understood what was happening—that devotee was doing some other business for his family instead and did not care to supervise the field for the temple.

What did I do one day? I locked his bicycle. I was a new person, and he got very angry and upset. He went to Gurudev to complain: "This new boy came and locked my bicycle!" Gurudev called me and asked, "Have you locked his bicycle? He always goes to the market, crops field, and does other services. Why did you do that?” I told Gurudev, "He does not go to the crops field. He is not doing proper service with the bicycle, he is using it for his own job. When the manager Prabhu was reading the scriptures, he said that everything that exists in the world, and everything that exists in the temple especially, is meant for the service of the Lord; but you have given him this bicycle and he is not using it for the service of the Guru and the temple, he is using it for his own purpose. That is why I have locked it." Gurudev appeared to be astonished for a few seconds: "He is a new boy, how does he know the siddhanta?!” He looked at me for some time and then said, "OK, I will see to it. Give the bicycle to him now." I unlocked the bicycle and gave it to him. Later, Gurudev told me, "What you said was very good. If Srila Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj was alive and heard what you said, he would be very happy. I was thinking what a good thing you said."

But we are in the mundane world: we are conditioned souls, and we do not follow Gurudev's instruction properly. We use everything for ourselves, for our own purpose, for our own business and interest. Why did we come to the temple? Why did we joined Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math? We have come to serve the Guru, we have come to serve the temple, and we have come to help the Deities and devotees. If we do not do it properly—if we follow a wrong conception and do wrong things—it is not good for the devotees and our spiritual life. It does not help anyone. That is why we must see who gives a good instruction, who follows Gurudev's instruction and gives what Gurudev told (gives Gurudev’s conception) properly.

Actually, we cannot understand or recognise a sadhu with our mundane eyes and by someone's mundane activities. Jagadananda Pandit also says in Sri Prema-vivarta:

“গোরার আমি, গোরার আমি” মুখে বলিলে নাহি চলে ।

গোরার আচার, গোরার বিচার লইলে ফল ফলে ॥

"gorara ami, gorara ami" mukhe balile nahi chale
gorara achara, gorara vichara la-ile phala phale

"Just saying, 'I am Gora's! I am Gora's!' will not do. Only when you follow Gora's practices and Gora's conception will you get the proper result."

(Sri Sri Prema-vivarta, 8.6)

You cannot recognise if one is a sadhu by their material (external) activities. Somebody can show externally that they have become a sadhu, but they may have some material desires, some personal interest inside. You must see with your heart, then you can understand it. You must understand this.

Think with your heart. There is a mahanta-guru and a chaitya-guru; you have a Guru in your heart, and you can ask your heart: the chaitya-guru can give you the proper instruction who will be your Guru, who can give you proper advice and guidance, who will direct you towards the proper line.

We must understand and follow this line. In Padma Purana, Sivji Maharaj also says that in this age of Kali, there is a great number of vitta harankari gurus, but there is a very small number of santap harankari guru. It means that some gurus can steal (harankari) your money (vitta), and there are many gurus of this kind in this world; but santap harankari guru, who can relieve you of tritap-jvala (three-fold miseries: adhibhautik, adhidaivik, adhyatmik jvala—miseries caused by other souls, by the nature, and by one’s own body) are very rare. We are sick, we are suffering so much from mundane problems—for example, we are suffering from mental problems so much—but if we can accept the Guru who can relieve that, it is good for us: it will give us relief and so much benefit. These are the main things.

 

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A Sadhu's Character
'A sadhu should be humble, tolerant, and give honour to others.' Two graphic stories that illustrate the extent of tolerance of a sadhu.

 

Krsna haite chatur-mukha
'Sri Rupa's dear followers are the great souls Sri Jiva and Sri Raghunath. Their dear follower is Srila Krsnadas Kaviraj. His dearmost follower is Sri Narottam, who is ever engaged in divine service. His feet are the aspiration of Sri Visvanath Chakravarti Thakur.'
কৃষ্ণ হৈতে চতুর্ম্মুখ

Sometimes devotees may not be following all things, but you should teach them
with love and affection how to do it properly.

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