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His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Srila Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj
Kolkata, 20 December 2020, part 5


Question: How to get away from the people who do not follow this path of service? Sometimes they feel they must say hello to us or come to us for a favour...

If somebody is not a devotee, you can preach to them. You can give them humility, tolerance, and honour. Show humility, tolerance and giving honour to others through your activities, deal with others sweetly, show a good mood, talk sweetly. If somebody is a new person, you must talk to them nicely. Such behaviour is good for devotees. We must practise Mahaprabhu's teachings (siksa), we must practise what Srila Rupa Goswami Prabhu says,

বাচো বেগং মনসঃ ক্রোধবেগং
জিহ্বাবেগমুদরোপস্থবেগম্ ।
এতান্ বেগান্ যো বিষহেত ধীরঃ
সর্বামপীমাং পৃথিবীং স শিষাৎ ॥

vacho vegam manasah krodha-vegam
jihva-vegam udaropastha-vegam
etan vegan yo visaheta dhirah
sarvam apimam prthivim sa sisyat

"A sober person who can tolerate (1) the urge to speak, (2) the mind's demands, (3) the actions of anger and the urges of the (4) tongue, (5) belly and (6) genitals is qualified to make disciples all over the world."

(Sri Upadesamrta, 1)

We must deal with others in a very nice way. If somebody is not a devotee, we will not treat them in a haughty way. You can talk to them sweetly, you can invite them to the temple to come and see the Deities, they can pay respect to the Deities, you can talk to them, give them prasadam. This is the basics. Do not tell anyone, "Get out from here!" It is not good.

If you come at the time of Gaura Purnima, you will see that so many people join Sri Nabadwip Dham parikrama, and not everybody is initiated, but they like to join, and they join year after year, they chant kirtans, mix with devotees, gradually they start to practise, and this is how people come—their hearts become clean and they become pure devotees. Devotees must be always humble, it is necessary for everyone. Learn to be humble, tolerant and to give honour to others from Mahaprabhu and Gurudev. You must apply all these things in your life. These are the main things in one's life.

Question: On the other hand, listening to guru-ninda is a great offence, and, on the other hand, protesting to guru-ninda can be Vaishnav aparadh(?), so how can we tolerate this?

Do not listen to guru-ninda. You can tell the person not to speak like that. I did not tell you to tolerate it. You can say, "Prabhu, do not do that. Do not criticise Gurudev." If you tell the person and they still continue doing it again and again, you can go away from that person and keep some distance from them. It is necessary to understand it.

Question: If possible, could you tell us when and how you started preaching programmes?

When I was a brahmachari (I had not taken sannyas at that time), Gurudev told me, "I have been preaching in many villages of Burdwan district before Gaura Purnima, and now that preaching has become rice collection only. If you can try to preach there, it would be good." So, I started house to house preaching in various villages in Burdwan and Midnapore, started visiting many places. It all started in Gurudev's time.

At that time, devotees would mainly go out to distribute invitations for Gaura Purnima and to collect rice, but I started preaching. I would start early in the morning when everybody was still sleeping—I would wake up early, take my Deities (photographs and the altar), do mangal arati, etc. We did everything in the same way how we do it in the temple—we would turn the house into a temple. Sometimes, I would take along some brahmacharis and some foreign devotees also. Sripad Trivikram Maharaj was not a sannyasi at that time, he also went with me, Bhakta Bandhu Prabhu, Munindra Mohan Prabhu, Sadhu Priya Prabhu, Gaurachandra Prabhu, and many other devotees also went with me. At that time, devotees would come for Gurudev's appearance day, so there were usually a lot of foreign devotees living at the temple.

Before that, those who went to villages did not follow so many things—they would wake up, take some breakfast and then go to collect rice. What for will people give them rice? What for do we go for collection? When I go, I mainly give attention to the preaching programme—more than to the actual rice collection. What for do we come? We do not come just for rice or money. We come to preach. So, I would stay in some devotee's house and from there go on a sankirtan with a megaphone (hand mic) around the whole village announcing and inviting everybody to some programme or to the evening programme. People like it, they become excited, "Oh, Krishna-Name has come to my house!" I would invite everyone, "There is going to be a programme in the evening. Please come, everybody." In the meantime, I would tell the person where I stayed to prepare prasadam for two-three hundred people, and they are usually rich people, so they were happy to feed others. I invited everyone to the programme and for prasadam ("Come to this house tonight, join our programme"), and many people would come just for prasadam, but they joined the programme, listened to my class, and so on. This is how I started preaching. In the evening, most of villagers do not work, they sit and gossip at the tea stall or some village shop—I thought better they instead come to my class and hear some kirtan. In this way, I would give a class, chant kirtans, and the next day I would go for collection and people happily gave much rice because they understood what for they were giving it.

We are not beggars. We are not going house to house asking for some rice. No. We do not come as beggars—we come to give something to them. We are actually donors coming to give them something, we do not come to take anything from them. Those who understood it happily gave very much rice.

This is how I started this preaching and this is how so many people also started coming and joining Sri Nabadwip Dham parikrama. Gurudev was very happy with that. Over the years, the number of devotees attending the parikrama kept growing—so many people would come, there would be no place to accommodate everyone, we had to make many pandals, make many arrangements, etc. Gurudev was happy to see that. When I joined the Mission (in 1992), there were only about two hundred and fifty people joining Sri Nabadwip Dham parikrama, but now a few thousand people come to Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math for Sri Nabadwip Dham parikrama. You have seen that.


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Odds and Ends
'Now I hear all over the world all devotees always say, 'Love and affection, love and affection,' but they do not know what the real love and affection is..'


Jaya jaya gurudever
'All glory to the effulgent arati of Srila Gurudev taking place at the foot of Govardhan for the beneft of the world!'
জয় জয় গুরুদেবের

If you think your Guru is far, then how far is Krishna?