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Sober Interaction

His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Srila Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj
Kolkata, 13 December 2020, part 6


Question: How do Vaishnavs treat those who are non-devotees? Should they judge or criticise them or they feel they are superior to them?

No! A real Vaishnav will be very gentle—a real Vaishnav will not act like an asura (demon). Even if somebody is not a devotee, sakale samman karite sakati—you should give respect even to dogs. We must respect everything and everyone. Even if it is a non-devotee, you must not behave like, "Oh, he is not a devotee, get out from here! I hate you! I will not talk with you!" This is all ego. Those who have ego behave like this, but those who are humble always behave gentle with everyone, including non-devotees. It is necessary to behave good.

Question: What do the scriptures say about devotees having 'fun'? We want to be humble and do not want to be enjoyers, but at the same time we want to have a sweet and simple relationship with other devotees. How do we find that balance?

Well, Nityananda Prabhu and Advaita Acharya also played sometimes. If you sometimes behave in a light-hearted way among yourselves, what is the problem? But it must be gentle (sober). A brahmachari must never mix with ladies. If there are some ladies, you must see them as your mother. Do not joke with ladies, do not have 'fun' with ladies. There are some rules and regulations pertaining to a temple or ashram. There should be no free mixing; free mixing is not good. You must control your senses. This is how you must see these things.

Devotee: But what about other devotees? What about having fun with other devotees in the mood of having a sweet relation? Not to be an enjoyer, but to have a sweet relationship with other devotees...

Sweet relation? But if you follow Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur, if you follow our guru-varga, then 'sweet relationship' means you sometimes talk with others, but you talk for service. You can interact with others for the sake of service, but if you talk with some girl in a hidden place, alone, then it looks very ugly. You cannot do that. You cannot show such behaviour, you cannot talk nonsense with others. I have told you today—except for Krishna-katha, everything else is nonsense talks. So, it will be better if you talk with others only about Krishna-katha. It is necessary to avoid other kinds of relationship. Try to avoid it, it will be good for you, good for everybody also.

I have seen there is so much free mixing in foreign countries. I have seen that people steal each others' wives—one person 'steals' one person's wife, and that person in turn steals somebody else's wife. Their lifestyle is like this. They think so many things, they doubt each other, and so much problem comes to their family relationship. This is not good. People get jealous and fight each other, "Why are you talking with my wife in such a friendly way?!" This can happen, so we must be always careful. We must be always serious in our life.

Gurudev also taught me this. One time, there was a foreign lady from Mexico who lived permanently in Nabadwip, and she got very sick (she had hepatitis B). I was a brahmachari at that time. In those days the temple did not have a car—only Gurudev had a jeep, and we all took rickshaws when we travelled around Nabadwip. So, before going to Gurudev to ask him for permission to take that lady to the doctor, I had arranged two rickshaws, one for myself, one for the lady because if we had gone in one rickshaw, it would not look right. So, I arranged the rickshaws and then came to Gurudev's veranda saying, "Gurudev, this lady is very sick, can I take her to the doctor? She does not know the language..." Gurudev said, "All right, you can go, but do not go in the same rickshaw." I said, "Gurudev, I have already booked two rickshaws." Gurudev replied, "Oh, very nice! I am very happy." This is what I learned from Gurudev. I was the temple supervisor, or manager, at that time, and if I went with a lady in one rickshaw, people would criticise and say, "Oh, he has a bad relation with her!" etc.

So, beware! Be always careful with these things. Why behave in such a way that it gives others chance to criticise and see your fault? Always be careful. Always be alert about this.


— : • : —





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Tolerance vs. Chastity
'When you have that kind of love and affection to your Guru, Deity, and Vaishnavs, at that time there are no rules and regulations. Humility, tolerance, giving honour to others is the rule, but when you see there is some problem, it is not the time for tolerance.'


Ye anila prema-dhana
'Where has Advaita Acharya, the Lord who mercifully brought the wealth of divine love to this world, gone?'
যে আনিল প্রেমধন

Anyabhilasa sunya: when we do service, other desires must be zero.