Escaping Ocean of Suffering
His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
"Adau sraddha, tatah sadhu-sanga. First comes faith, then good saintly association." First sukriti must come—it is necessary to have sukriti from previous life otherwise you cannot serve the Lord without sukriti. After sukriti, there must be faith. There are four types of faith—kamala-sraddha, taranga-sraddha, drdha-sraddha, sudrdha-sraddha (soft lotus-like faith, wave-like faith, strong faith and the strongest faith). The more faith one has, the more devotion one has. "Sraddha-anusari bhakti-adhikari (শ্রদ্ধা-অনুসারী ভক্তি-অধিকারী): the quality of devotion depends upon faith." (Cc, 2.22.64) The type of devotion you get depends on the degree of your faith. You cannot get the Lord without devotion—you cannot get the Lord through any material activities (karma), through any knowledge (jnana), or mystic practices (yoga). Only if you want devotion, only if you have devotion, can you get the Lord. How will devotion come? "Bhaktis tu bhagavad-bhakta-sangena parijayate (ভক্তিস্তু ভগবদ্ভক্তসঙ্গেন পরিজায়তে). You can get devotion through the association of devotees." (Brhan-naradiya Purana) If you associate with devotees, you will get devotion. Sadhu-sanga (saintly devotees' association) means sravan and kirtan.
দিন যায় মিছা কাজে নিশা নিদ্রাবশে ।
dina yaya michha kaje nisa nidra-base
Days are passing in useless work and nights are wasted on sleeping. It never occurs to me that there is death sitting next to me.
('Durlabha manava janma labhiya' by Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur)
Days are passing, and we do not know when our death will come. We do not know when this life will pass away from us, and there is no way to avoid it—one way or another, we all must go. Once born, everyone has to die, and once dead, everyone has to be born again. However, if you want to leave this world of janma-mrtyu-jara-vyadhi (জন্মমৃত্যুজরাব্যাধি, the world of birth, death, old age, and disease, Bg, 13:9), there is a solution. "Bhagavata pada Vaisnavera sthane, ekanta asraya kara Chaitanya-charane (ভাগবত পড় বৈষ্ণবের স্থানে, একান্ত আশ্রয় কর চৈতন্য-চরণে). Read Bhagavatam under guidance of a Vaishnav and take exclusive shelter of the lotus feet of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu." We must hear Bhagavatam (hear the holy topics about the Lord) from Vaishnavs, and we must take shelter of the lotus feet of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. So, if we do not want to suffer this birth, death, old age, and disease, then we must take shelter at the lotus feet of Vaishnavs and Gauranga.
Gauranga Mahaprabhu is a combined form of Radha and Krishna. Krishna Himself took the heart and halo of Radharani and appeared in this Kali-yuga. Who has got what remained of Her? Srila Gadadhar Pandit Goswami. He is the incarnation of Srimati Radharani—whatever remained from Srimati Radharani (after Gauranga had taken Her heart and halo) incarnated as Sri Gadadhar Pandit Goswami.
শ্রীরাধার ভাবে যিনি সুবর্ণ বরণ ।
sri-radhara bhave yini suvarna varana
"I worship with nine kinds of devotion Sri Krishna who is worshipped in Kali-yuga as Sri Gaura-Hari garbed into the divine mood and golden complexion of Sri Radha and performing sankirtan pastimes in Sri Nabadwip."
(Sri Sri Nabadwip-sataka, 1, Bengali translation by Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur)
The Lord can be easily attained through sankirtan. Kali-yuga's religion (dharma) is Harinama sankirtan. If somebody can take the Holy Name genuinely, without offences, then they can attain the gift of prema (transcendental love for the Lord). Gauranga Mahaprabhu and Nityananda Prabhu went door to door knocking at the door of every jiva soul, distributing this gift of Sri Krishna-prema. Have you heard in one of the kirtans,
আরে ভাই! নিতাই আমার দয়া অবধি!
are bhai! nitai amara dayara avadhi!
"O brothers! My Lord Nitai's mercy is limitless! Bestowing His mercy upon the souls of this world He wanders from place to place perpetually offering the great treasure of ecstatic spiritual love to all."
He quickly takes those who are fortunate, who have faith, and the position of those who have no faith is pathetic and deplorable. This Kali-yuga is an ocean of faults, but at the same there is one great good quality in this age—it is easy to get the Lord in this age through sankirtan.
Therefore, take shelter of a bona fide Guru and practise Krishna consciousness. It is necessary to take shelter at the lotus feet of a Guru (guru-padasraya). You cannot practise Krishna consciousness without the shelter of the lotus feet of a Guru. Mahaprabhu Himself took initiation from Ishwara Puri in Gaya. When Mahaprabhu went to Gaya to perform the last rites for his departed father, He got the darshan of His Guru, and as soon as Mahaprabhu saw Ishwara Puri, He said,
সংসার-সমুদ্র হৈতে উদ্ধারহ মোরে ।
"samsara-samudra haite uddharaha more
"Please rescue Me from this ocean of material existence! I am surrendering Myself to you."
(Sri Chaitanya-bhagavat, Adi-khanda, 17.54)
"Prabhu! Save Me from this ocean of material existence that I keep on roaming time and time again!"
কয় বার এলি কয় বার গেলি
kaya bara eli kaya bara geli
"Coming and going, coming and going, and never learnt anything. You have been eating your own brain, who will you blame now, brother?"
Actually, we cannot blame anyone, this is not anyone's fault—I am my own friend and I am my own enemy.
কাম-ক্রোধ আদি ছয় বাটপাড়ে দেয় ভয়
kama-krodha-adi chaya batapare deya bhaya
I am attacked by the six highway robbers lead by kama and krodha, and my life is coming to its end...
("Anadi karama-phale" by Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur)
Kama, krodha, lobha, moha, mada, matsarya (lust, anger, greed, illusion, madness, envy), rupa, rasa, gandha, sabda, sparsa (desire for enjoyment through eyes, tongue, nose, ears, and skin), kanak, kamini, pratistha (desire for money, women, and fame)—we have all these diseases inside, so we are our own friends, and we are our own enemies. You can never get rid of all these disease unless you practise properly and stay conscious of all these diseases. That is why, we must always practise Krishna consciousness in strict adherence to the lotus feet of Sri Guru and Vaishnavs. There is no other way. Always practise Krishna consciousness in this way.
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