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Questions and Answers

His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Srila Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj
Sri Guru Purnima day, Kolkata-Worldwide
5 July 2020, part 5

 

Question: Sometimes, devotees have some problem, but they try to leave the problems behind, they try to change and associate with other devotees, but after a while they go back to their previous behaviour and do not change. Should we continue associating with such devotees or keep distance?

No, when some devotee is not loyal, not faithful to their Guru, if they disrespect their Guru, then you must always avoid their association. You must avoid their association. You must think whether somebody's association is good or not for you—use your discretion, you have intelligence, and you must think with your intelligence. We always avoid the association of those who are offenders of our Gurudev. Sometimes we may come across them somewhere on the street, we can greet them (How are you? I am OK, thank you. Dandavat) and go away. We maintain some decorum, but we do not mix with them.

Question: How to develop full surrender to our Gurudev?

How to do it depends on the devotee. You must serve with everything you have—with your heart, with your mind, etc. You must give everything to your Guru. You must think you are the property of your Guru, and how Gurudev will use you is his matter.

Everybody wants Gurudev's mercy. They write letters, "Gurudev, give me some mercy!", they tell to his face, "O Gurudev! Give me some mercy! Give me some mercy! Forgive my offence!"—people always do this, but as soon as Gurudev says, "Do this service," they pay dandavat and run away. This is what happens. The main thing is that the relation must be there. You must establish a proper relation with your Guru—through service.

Sometimes, in the Western world the relationship between a husband and a wife is like a house of cards (taser ghar, তাসের ঘর). They fight over simple matters and leave each other (the husband leaves his wife, or the wife leaves her husband), they do not have love and affection for each other. If they had love and affection for each other, then how would they leave their husband or wife? In the same way, some people also change their guru all the time. They change their gurus in the same way that they change their clothes or vegetables—at noon you have one vegetable, at night time another vegetable, and in the morning you have some another food; in the same way, people change their husbands, wives and gurus. Somebody takes a wife or a husband and after three years, after five years they take another husband, another wife...

Question: Could you please tell us more about guru-seva?

When it comes to the service to the Guru, Gurudev used to always say one phrase. "Would you like some luchi (puri) fried in kerosine oil?"—Gurudev told this to me directly. What does this mean? If you bring some complaint to your Guru, it is not good—you must solve the problems yourself. Do not bring problems to your Guru. You must take care of everything yourself, that is good. Sometimes, you can take some advice from your Guru or from your guardian. Getting guidance from a guardian is good.

Question: Can we serve prasadam while the offering is still at the altar?

Yes, it is not a problem. I will give you one example. After Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur left this world, there were so many problems going on in Chaitanya Math, and many brahmacharis and sannyasis came to stay at Srila Sridhar Maharaj's temple. Srila Sridhar Maharaj gave them much love and affection. One day, some devotees had to go to the court (there were so many problems at that time) at ten o'clock and they were coming back later in the afternoon. Srila Sridhar Maharaj ordered the cook, "Cook before ten o'clock—keep some bhoga for the offering to the Deities and then feed the devotees." So, there is some exception for those devotees who are going out for some service. If you stay at the temple and you are not going anywhere, it is not good to take prasadam before the offering. If somebody is going out, then cook something earlier, take out some of the cooked bhoga for the Deities to offer it later at the proper time, and feed those who are going out for service, for collection, etc. properly. This is how you must serve devotees. This is the rule of Srila Sridhar Maharaj's temple.

Question: Do all jiva souls who are in the material body now within this world also have a spiritual body in Vaikuntha?

Those who stay in Vaikuntha, Goloka, Vrindavan also have a body—they are devotees who serve the Lord. There are so many planets—there is Siva-loka, Brahma-loka, etc. There are many Sivas, many Brahmas in the cosmic creation. Besides, if somebody is a proper devotee, their body is also chidananda-maya—transcendental (full of consciousness and bliss). Even if a devotee is present here in this world, their body is always transcendental because one cannot serve the Lord without a transcendental body. So, the body of those who serve the Lord is always transcendental. We think it is a human body, but actually it is not, it is a transcendental body.

Question: If a devotee lives with their family and some of them are not devotees and cook meat in the house, can the devotee conduct programmes in their household and invite others devotees over?

Yes, in India also we go to preach house to house, and I have had so many programmes in such houses where they eat fish, meat, etc. We come there and try to make them devotees. Sometimes, even after many years people cannot give up eating meat, fish, etc., but we still come there. You can also remember Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj Prabhupad. When he went to preach in the West, in his Western pastimes, at the beginning he stayed at one man's house in America—he would make some rice, chapati, etc. in the morning, keep it in the fridge, and go out to preach coming back only in the evening; one day, when he returned, he saw that the man in whose household he was staying, kept beef (cow's meat) in that same fridge. Still, Srila Swami Maharaj tolerated it and he became a great guru. Do you understand?

Jay Srila Gurudev
Jay Sri Guru Purnima ki jay
Jay Om Vishnupad Jagad-Guru Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj ki jay

 

 

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Service Foundation
'Householder devotees can practise everything individually at their homes and come to the programme at the centre every Sunday. You eat every day, you go to the toilet every day, and you must practise every day too!'

 

Sri-krsna-chaitanya prabhu jive daya kari'
'Bhakti Vinod places a straw between his teeth and falls before Srila Rupa Goswami Prabhu and Srila Sanatan Goswami Prabhu, clasping their feet.'
শ্রীকৃষ্ণচৈতন্য প্রভু
জীবে দয়া করি'

Life is very uncertain, temporary—we do not know when this life will be gone.

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