(9/11) Exclusive Path
His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
You must read the questions and answers part of Guidance 3. Some people say, 'Oh, I worship Kali, you worship Krishna, he worships Ganesh, and another person worships Siva. It is all the same.' Is that so? I wrote the answer here. You should read it and follow what is written here.
'What is the sole duty of man? We are born as humans, but what is our duty?' I wrote about it here, too.
Sometimes, when we attend some programmes, there are some brahmans in the audience who will jump up during the class, claiming, 'We are brahmans! We are higher!' Do you think you can wear three threads on your body and that makes you a brahman, or a Brahmo? You can buy the thread at the market and wear it, but does that make you a brahman? I wrote in Guidance 3 about the difference between a Vaishnav and a brahman. A brahman is a servant of a Vaishnav (vaishnav-das). So, if you become a servant of Vaishnavs, then you can be called a brahman. Just as when you have one lakh (100,000) rupees you automatically have 1,000 rupees, if you are a Vaishnav you are automatically a brahman.
Srila Jiva Goswami Prabhu wrote in Bhakti-sandarbha, and Vyasadev also wrote about it in Garuda Purana: one priest performing sacrifices is higher than a thousand ordinary brahmans, one person learned in the Vedas and all the other scriptures is higher than a thousand such priests, a Vaishnav is higher than millions of such learned experts, and just one devotee of Krishna is higher than thousands of Vaishnavs. Do you think it is so easy to become a devotee of Krishna? People say, 'You must become a devotee of Krishna!' But is it so easy? First become a devotee of Vaishnavs. We must climb the stairs step by step – you cannot jump to the top at once. Suvendu Adhikari, a famous politician, told his nephew, 'I have not got to where I am by landing here with a parachute, neither did I take a lift. I had to struggle climbing the stairs. (আমি প্যারাসুটেও নামিনি, লিফটেও উঠিনি । সিঁড়ি ভাঙতে ভাঙতে উঠেছি ।)' Those of us who come to this line also struggle and climb the stairs. For example, if you need to climb on top of a temple, you cannot just jump to the top – you need to put a ladder at the bottom, climb to a higher place, then put the ladder there again and climb it again. So, those who say that they are devotee of Krishna are not genuine devotees. It is not so easy to become a devotee of the Lord! How can you become a Hare Krishna bhakta if you have not become even a Vaishnav yet? It is said that among a thousand of Vaishnavs, there is only devotee of Krishna. All Vaishnavs are brahmans. A Vaishnav is higher than millions of experts learned in all scriptures. Among millions of such experts there may be only one Vaishnav, and among thousands of such rare Vaishnavs, there can be only one devotee of Krishna. There are very beautiful words. These words are Srila Prabhupad's, not mine.
Many people follow what is called 'mano-dharma' (religion of the mind, a concocted religion that is not established in the scriptures). They say, 'There are many beliefs, so there are many paths (yata mat tata path, যত মত, তত পথ).' There are many practices in this world, but what exclusive practice can bring genuine benefit? Do you remember who asked this question? Pariksit Maharaj asked Sukadev Goswami, 'How can I get benefit?' The question is only one, and the answer is also only one. Those who live in illusory environment have many questions, but Pariksit Maharaj had only one question. That is why Sukadev Goswami said, 'You are a good searcher. You are looking for the right thing!' As he then proceeded to answer Pariksit Maharaj's question, the whole Bhagavatam appeared. Only Hari-kirtan (chanting the Lord's Names and glories) can bring benefit to the soul. This is the only path. But the problem is that we do not like Hari-kirtan. Sri Krishna's Names, qualities, pastimes, associates, paraphernalia are absolutely non-different from Krishna. You all know that there is no difference between the Name (Nama) and He whose Name it is (Nami). Even lila-kirtan singers say, 'Nama o Nami eka. The Name and He whose Name it is are one.' Krishna and Krishna's Name are non-different from each other. That which claims that there is any difference between Krishna and Krishna's Name is called mano-dharma (concoction). Mahaprabhu says in Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita:
দ্বৈতে ভদ্রাভদ্র জ্ঞান, সব মনোধর্ম্ম ।
dvaite bhadra-abhara jnana, saba mano-dharma
'In the material world, conceptions of good and bad are all mental speculations. Therefore, saying "This is good" and "This is bad" is all a mistake.'
If something is suddenly right or suddenly wrong, it is all false, a mistake. Always read these things and remember them.
Who has the right to chant the Holy Name of Krishna? Who can chant the Holy Name?
তৃণাধিক হীন দীন অকিঞ্চন ছার ।
trnadhika hina, dina, akinchana chhara
'Give up ego and consider yourself lower than a blade of grass, poor, destitute and wretched.'
বৃক্ষসম ক্ষমাগুণ করবি সাধন ।
vrksa-sama ksama-guna karabi sadhana
'Practise forgiveness like that of a tree; do not be vindictive, nurture others.'
(Gitavali, Sri Siksastakam Giti, Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur)
If you are as lowly as grass, as tolerant as a tree and if you can give honour to others, then you have the right to chant the Holy Name. Nobody else can have this right. These are Mahaprabhu's words. Many people chant Hare Krishna, but it is not the real Holy Name – it is only external letters. Only those who are humble and tolerant can chant the Holy Name. Be humble, tolerant and give honour to others.
My gurudev gave a very beautiful explanation of sannyas. He said that tridanda-sannyas means 'humility, tolerance and giving honour to others.' Somebody takes nirdanda-sannyasa (no danda), and Mahaprabhu at first took eka-danda-sannyasa (one-part danda), but then His danda was broken into three parts and He became a tridandi-sannyasi (a triple-staff mendicant). When one takes tridanda-sannyas, Srila Prabhupad said that 'tridanda' means 'body, mind and speech' (kaya, mana, vakya): 'I surrender to the Lord and promise to serve the Lord with my body, mind and speech.' Param Guru Maharaj, Srila Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj, said that 'tridanda' means 'you must take care of my temple, you must take care of my Deities, and you must take care of my devotees.' Why do we come to devotees? I come because you have become Gurudev's devotees: you came and surrendered to Gurudev, and Gurudev gave me responsibility to look after you all. That is why I come to you all. There is no other reason. I do not come to you to waste your rice.
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