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Sharing the Hardships

His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Srila Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj
Speaking to devotees in Caracas, Venezuela
20 October 2018, Dum Dum Park, part 3


You must be always careful. Gurudev told me, "You must protect this Chaitanya Saraswat Math sampradaya," and I am trying to do that. So many problems come, especially so many problems have been coming after Gurudev left, but I have not left my service—I am always with you all and I am always thinking about you all.

You are suffering so much in your country because of the difficult economical and political condition. I want to encourage you.

তোমার সেবায় দুঃখ হয় যত,
সেও ত' পরম সুখ ।

tomara sevaya, duhkha haya yata,
seo ta' parama sukha

"All the distress I face in Your service is also my greatest happiness."

(Saranagati 16.4)

It is actually a welcome austerity. You are suffering so much, but you should see it as pleasure. You cannot supply so much bhoga, you cannot give so many things to Nitai Gaurachandra—it is very difficult for you to collect bhoga, collect materials and things for the Deities and to maintain the service. I understand it and I can feel it from here. I can really understand what you are going through, but you must also understand that when Srila Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj started the temple, his godbrother Sakhi Charan Ray Bhakti Vijay (Srila Prabhupad's disciple and a householder devotee, Gurudev would always call him Sakhi Babu) would give him ten rupees per month to maintain his temple Chaitanya Saraswat Math and this is all he would have. How difficult was it for him to manage with just ten rupees?

He did not even have a toilet—he could not even buy a sheet of plastic that cost one rupee at that time. All of his godbrothers would come to him to hear Hari-katha from him, and they would need to go to the bathroom, but there was no toilet—there was only a piece of wood lying on the ground and you would have to stand on it and pass stool. It was an open place without any cover. Everybody would get shy because people could see everything. Then, the godbrothers told Srila Sridhar Maharaj, "Maharaj, we come here and we have to go to the bathroom, please get some cover to make a wall there." At that time, a sheet of plastic cost one rupee, but Srila Sridhar Maharaj had only fifty paise, half a rupee. He tried to borrow the other half a rupee, but nobody would lend it to him. He could not even get fifty paise at that time. That was the condition of Chaitanya Saraswat Math. Gurudev told me about it.

Gurudev also told me about the dumur trees (fig trees). Every day they would climb a fig tree to collect figs for subji. The trees had so many ants that the brahmacharis had to take turns to collect the figs, and Gurudev told me that whenever his day was coming, he would be terrified—he would climb the tree quickly, get some fruit as quickly as possible and get down. He said when the ants were biting it was so painful that every time he remembered it he could still feel that pain. That kind of austerity they had to tolerate in our Gurudev's time and our Guru Maharaj's time, that kind of tolerance they had to have. I even heard that after Krishna Sharan Prabhu, later he became Aranya Maharaj, finished puja at the mangal arati and morning archan, he would go out to collect rice—he would go to ten-twelve houses, collect half a kilo or a kilo of rice and then come back to the temple with this bhog which they would then cook for Sri Sri Guru Gauranga Gandharva Govinda Sundar. That is what Srila Sridhar Maharaj's temple was like before. He could not even give proper clothes and food to the brahmacharis.

This is how Srila Sridhar Maharaj would run the temple in the beginning. Eventually, Gurudev started doing the printing and tour businesses and he could supply some money to Srila Sridhar Maharaj through that. After that, the temple started to grow slowly. Later, as you know, Srila Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj made Gurudev the acharya of the temple and four years after that Gurudev went abroad to many countries. Many foreign devotees came, Gurudev could collect some money and this is how the temple expanded so much. I have seen it. Gurudev would give the money he collected to me and with his order and permission I made Govinda Kunda, I made a temple in Bamunpara, Ekachakra, Siliguri, I made the Sevak Bhavan, Seva Ashram buildings, Centenary building, devotees' guest house, etc. So many buildings appeared after that, but in Srila Sridhar Maharaj's time there was nothing at the temple and they would manage.

You are getting so much austerity now. Some devotees could not tolerate it and have left for many other countries because they want good food, good prasadam and they want to earn their own money. I am paying my obeisance to those of you who are still there. You are suffering and doing your service, but one day Gaura Nitai will look after you—one day Gurudev will take care of you.

I also want to tell those who have left the country—those who have gone to Spain, London, Peru, Mexico, and other countries—you have left and you are earning some money, but you must think about Parama Karuna Nitai Gaurachandra. You must send something to Them—it does not have to be a lot, you can send even twenty-fifty dollars, whatever your capacity is. I am telling to you: please supply for Venezuela, take care of the devotees there, take care of Parama Karuna Nitai Gaurachandra. If I get an opportunity, I also want to do that. This temple Parama Karuna Nitai Gaurachandra was established in Gurudev's time and I remember how Gurudev told me that Nitai Gaurachandra would go there, how I arranged the Deities for this temple and how later Gurudev's Deity also went there. It is necessary to help them. I am telling all the devotees who have left Venezuela: you are earning money, you are enjoying your family life, but you must also take care of Venezuela's temple. Maintain Venezuela's Deities, temple, and devotees. I am requesting them to please help the devotees.

If any of you want to serve properly, you can also stay with me. You know that I am a very strict person and it is very difficult to stay with me, but if you want to stay with me and if you can tolerate me, then you can stay with me, I do not have any objection. But to stay with me you must be a sincere seeker and you must have chastity. These two qualities are main, this is my Gurudev's teachings.

I always remember Ananda Moy Prabhu. I do not know where he is today. [Ananda Moy Prabhu comes forward.] Dandavat, Prabhu. Ananda Moy Prabhu, how are you? I always remember you. You are a very strict person and you have chastity, you have love and affection for me and for Gurudev also. You stayed with me in my critical position, you helped me. I remember how I would cook and you would be helping me. I always remember you. I am praying to the Lord that your problem will be solved quickly and that you will be able to come to me again. I am praying for you. You can stay with me—come to me with just your one cloth, it is not a problem. I am always with you. You always protected me and I remember how much strength you have. One time, I saw somebody was following my car, they wanted to kill me, but as soon as I showed it to you, you chased them away. I remember it...


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