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Beneficial Association

His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Srila Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj
14 October 2018, Dum Dum Park, part 4


What is association? What is good association? Sadhus always speak about Krishna-katha, Bhagavat-katha, about spiritual things. Bad association means you should not listen so much to gossips, do not listen to others criticising Vaishnavs. We cannot recognise a Vaishnav—even Brahma himself says that we cannot recognise with our mundane eyes who is a Vaishnav and who is not. Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur says:

'আমি ত' বৈষ্ণব', এ বুদ্ধি হইলে
অমানী না হ'ব আমি ।

"ami ta' vaisnava," e-buddhi ha-ile,
amani na ha'ba ami

"If I think, 'I am a Vaishnav,' then I will never stop expecting honour from others (I will never become void of the desire for honour)."

(Kalyan-kalpataru, Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur)

If I think that I am a Vaishnav, then I cannot give respect to others. Gurudev always says, "Be humble, tolerant, and give honour (give respect) to others." That is the main thing. This is Mahaprabhu's conception, and Mahaprabhu told it to us also in His Siksastakam. Srila Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj also told this, Gurudev also told this.

Gurudev said many times that it is necessary to have tolerance, that tolerance is the main thing. We can understand what tolerance is from Vasudev Vipra's story. How much Vasudev Vipra tolerated! Many insects were eating all his body, but when some insects sometimes fell down, he would pick them up and put them back into his body. He would say, "This body will anyway be burnt one day, it is useless—this body cannot serve the Lord; so, if this insect is happy to eat this body, what is the problem?"

These are the main things in our spiritual life.

Once, a sadhu was sitting on the bank of the Ganges, chanting the Holy Name. Suddenly, he saw a scorpion going towards the Ganges. The sadhu thought, "If a wave comes from the Ganges, it will die"—he caught the scorpion and put it in a safe place. As he was doing it, the scorpion bit him. After a while, the scorpion again began moving towards the Ganges, and the sadhu protected the insect again. It repeated four-five times. After that, a cowherd boy who was taking care of cows nearby at the bank of the Ganges, noticed what the sadhu was doing. He came up to him and asked, "What is it to you if this insect dies? Why do you keep saving it when it bites you? Whether it is saved or dies, what benefit is it to you?" The sadhu replied, "If this insect cannot change its character, why should I change my character?" A sadhu's character is to always save. It is important to understand this in our spiritual life.

What is good association? It is the association that will benefit you. Sadhus do not ask where your house is, what your problems are. These are mundane things. Gurudev never asked me, "What is your education? What caste were you born in? What is your religion? Where were you born?" Even many years after I took sannyas he never asked me that. These are practical things, and it is the truth. Gurudev does not think what caste I was born in, what my culture is. This is not a question. You can be born anywhere, the important thing is what you are doing, what your main things (siddhanta, conception) are.

I never asked Gurudev for any position. I do not want anything—I do not want to be the Math's trustee member, the Math's secretary, or the Math's president. I do not even think about these things. Before, although there was an official secretary, I was doing all the secretary's work (I did everything the secretary was supposed to do). In Srila Sridhar Maharaj's time, Gurudev was the secretary of the temple, and in 1999, when Gurudev told it was necessary to make a governing body, he first made me a member of that governing body; a year later, in 2000, he gave me the secretary's post. Despite that, I do not think that I am the secretary or that I am the manager—I need service, and I am getting service. I am happy with that.

Gurudev told also about me, "That boy loves spending money. I have money, and no one can spend my money except him—he knows how to spend it properly, that is why he is spending it. What is the problem?" Gurudev always said it.


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