Hari-katha Articles Ātma-nivedana: Submission of the Self

Ātma-nivedana: Submission of the Self

yāvat janama mora aparadhe hainū bhora
niṣkapaṭe nā bhajinū tomā
tathāpi ha tūmi gati nā chaḍiha prāṇa-pati
mūñi sama nāhika adhamā

Since my birth, I have offended You again and again and failed to worship You sincerely, without duplicity. Nevertheless, You are my only shelter. O Lord of my life, please do not neglect me, there is no one more fallen than I.

Here, Śrīla Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura describes niṣkapaṭa-bhajana: “O Prabhu! I have committed many offenses, life after life. I don’t have a clean heart. I cannot do pure bhajana. I don’t have any strength of my own. The association near me is always trying to steal me away. But I am Yours, Prabhu! You are my beloved. I am fallen! Please take me and keep me close to Your lotus feet. I have no desire to return to māyā!” This should be our prayer.

Once, a devotee came to the āśrama and became a brahmacārī. After some time, he went to a park and saw a couple of lovers embracing and kissing each other.

The brahmacārī thought, “I am dry. I have no friends. Nobody talks with me. Nobody comes near me. Please God! Give me one friend! Then my life will be successful.”

The conditioned souls are very weak and hungry. Also, they have many unsatiated desires. Although they pray to Him, they often revert to their erring, misleading natures. They will jump into the well of māyā, again and again. People are always looking to engage in enjoyment despite having a diseased body. You will have to leave the body. Still, the conditioned souls are so attached to their bodies.

‘eka’ kṛṣṇa-nāme kare sarva-pāpa nāśa
premera kāraṇa bhakti karena prakāśa
Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Ādi-līlā 8.26

Simply chanting kṛṣṇa-nāma once destroys all sins. It brings about bhakti that awakens prema.

premera udaye haya premera vikāra
sveda-kampa-pulakādi gadgadāśrudhāra
Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Ādi-līlā 8.27

When prema awakens, it generates transformations that manifest in the body, such as perspiration, trembling, hairs standing on end, choking of the voice, and tears in the eyes.

anāyāse bhava-kṣaya, kṛṣṇera sevana
eka kṛṣṇa-nāmera phale pāi eta dhana
Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Ādi-līlā 8.28

The fruit of simply chanting kṛṣṇa-nāma just once is that one’s material existence is easily terminated and he receives the wealth of service to Śrī Kṛṣṇa.

hena kṛṣṇa-nāma yadi laya bahu-bāra
tabu yadi prema nahe, nahe aśrudhāra
tabe jāni, aparādha tāhāte pracura
kṛṣṇa-nāma-bīja tāhe nā kare aṅkura
Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Ādi-līlā 8.29–30

If one chants kṛṣṇa-nāma again and again and yet prema does not develop and tears do not fall from the eyes, then know that this is because of so many offenses and thus the seed of the holy name of Kṛṣṇa does not sprout.

By chanting Kṛṣṇa’s name just once, all your sins, anarthas, and offenses will be destroyed. And then, the sādhaka will be admitted into the realm of prema-bhakti. The sādhaka will then be ornamented with the different symptoms of ecstasy. Crossing māyā, the desire for kṛṣṇa-sevā will completely blossom in his heart. Kṛṣṇa’s name bestows many fruits. Although you have been chanting Kṛṣṇa’s names for a long time, your heart doesn’t melt and tears don’t appear. This is because of offenses. Your love is lost because you have shared it with many others. You cannot use your love for God. In this world only ‘mortgage love’ is found.

Kardama Ṛṣi told Devahūti, “I will leave as soon as a son is born. I will stay with you only until our son is born.” Many people think, “The śāstras have stated that a person should be in family life from the age of twenty-five to fifty. So, I will loan myself to one person.”

A person says, “If your father gives ten million rupees, I will become your slave.” This is called kāma-timiṅgila. These giant timiṅgila are always ready to swallow everyone afflicted by lust.

Paḍinā asat-bhole kāma-timiṅgile gile, e nātha kara paritrāṇa. A sādhaka should say, “O Prabhu! O Kṛṣṇa! This lust is very powerful. Please protect me!”

If you sow and water a seed regularly, it will sprout and grow into a nice plant. Similarly, you should endeavor again and again to progress in the realm of bhajana. You should think, “I will go near Guru and Vaiṣṇavas. They will always protect and water the seed of devotion with śravaṇa-kīrtana. The creeper of devotion will always flourish under their care. I will have good moods. The creeper of devotion will bear many tasteful fruits and fragrant flowers. Then, I will have no more problems. But the seed of this creeper will not sprout if it is placed on a rock. So, I should not make my heart into a stone.”

Śrīla Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī stated in Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Ādi-līlā 8.31):

caitanya-nityānande nāhi e-saba vicāra
nāma laite prema dena, vahe aśrudhāra

But in chanting the holy names of Lord Caitanya and Lord Nityānanda, all these considerations, like offences, are not present. If you chant Their names, They will give you prema, and tears will fall from the eyes.

The holy names of Śrī Caitanya and Nityānanda don’t consider any offense. Just by chanting and praying to Their names, prema will come. Nityānanda Prabhu and Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu gave prema to many offenders and atheists. Even those who committed offenses at the lotus feet of Mahāprabhu, Nityānanda Prabhu, Śrīvāsa Ṭhākura, and their associates were also given prema.

Śacī Mātā had apparently committed an offense at the lotus feet of Śrī Advaita Ācārya. Mahāprabhu therefore told her, “I will only give you prema if you ask Advaita Ācārya for forgiveness.” Although Mahāprabhu and Nityānanda Prabhu are always thinking of how to give the wealth of prema to everyone, Mahāprabhu at first refused to give that precious gift to His own mother, and He gave the same treatement to Devānanda Paṇḍita. Why? Mahāprabhu does not freely give prema to those who have committed offenses. The conditioned souls have been committing offenses for millions of births. Nityānanda Prabhu and Mahāprabhu first check to see if the jīvas are humbly praying and crying to be forgiven for their innumerable offenses. If they are, then it is possible for them to attain prema.

Guru and Vaiṣṇavas understand the inner intentions and behavior of the conditioned souls. They know everything. Mahat-aparādha, an offense commited to a pure devotee, will result in a terrible disease. The offender will become inimical to anything related to bhakti and his heart will become dry. He will no longer serve Guru and Vaiṣṇavas. He will distance himself from service, and soon after will re-establish his relationship with māyā. Guru and Vaiṣṇavas are always ready to shower their mercy and forgive the offender, but the offender himself continues to commit offenses, and due to this, he goes further and further away from Guru and Vaiṣṇavas. He creates a big border and restricts himself from going near to Guru and Vaiṣṇavas.

Guru and Vaiṣṇavas never consider a person’s qualification. Upon seeing a person seeking shelter, they will immediately take that person in their lap and say, “I will clean you and give you all facilities to engage in hari-bhajana.” But the conditioned souls are lost. Due to their independent nature, they have lost everything. If the fortunate souls are serious and don’t choose to lose themselves again, they can always be with Guru and Vaiṣṇavas; then they will always be protected. But if they neglect Guru and Vaiṣṇavas, many offenses will be committed.

The first fruit of an offense is disease and many forms of sickness. Then, weakness, followed by fear will come. The person who has committed offenses will distance himself, saying, “How can I go near Guru and Vaiṣṇavas? I am not qualified; I am not able to. It is not good for me to go near them. It is much better to distance myself from them. I will no longer go near them.”

How can such a person ever be helped? If someone chants harināma but is actually crooked and cheating—if he has not cut off his relationship with māyā (with his body and his followers) and does not offer respect to his Guru-varga, but out of desire for respect from others externally shows himself to be a big sādhu—then such a person can never achieve bhakti.

For example, a king told his son, “Dear son, respect your father and forefathers.”

The son said, “Yes father, I will respect you as you respected your own father.”

The king had put his own father in prison and had given him only one cup of water and a handful of chickpeas to eat. Previously, that king had three brothers—there were four princes in that kingdom—but the brothers all killed each other, and the only surviving prince then took the post of king by force and imprisoned his father. Is this called proper respect of one’s father?

Similarly, we are all near the Guru-varga now and have received everything from them, but if we have no respect for the them, if we don’t offer our respectful obeisances unto them and instead only think of our own respect and followers, then what will be the result? If a father only respects and loves his own children, he will go down. If someone only likes his followers and disciples, then his disciples will also only like their own disciples. Why would they still respect their guru? But if someone follows his Guru-varga, then his disciples will also follow their Guru-varga, and in this way, the flow of mercy can come.

If a guru only looks down and is only paying attention to his own followers, then no blessings will come from the Guru-varga. The disciples will only possess the fruits of their bad activities because of being inclined towards their wicked moods. Then their bad activities come to that guru. Such a person cannot be called ‘guru;’ he is a ‘goru,’ a cow.

When someone first arrives in the āśrama, the Guru-varga will teach him, “Pray to my Guru Mahārāja. This is proper respect. Then I will be happy. Respect my Guru Mahārāja and the Guru-paramparā.” If the devotees do not teach new-comers to respect Śrī Guru, the Vaiṣṇavas, Param-gurudeva, and the Guru-paramparā, then where are they? Who are they? This would be opposed to the line of bhakti. It would be a new line, or flow, but it would be like coming from Gaṅgā and flowing into a drain instead.

When the water of the Gaṅgā is mixed with drain water and other kinds of water, it becomes like the ocean. Ocean water in itself is not useful. Only when the sun filters and evaporates that water, puts it in the clouds and then, at the proper time, showers it down as rain, then that water will be useful again and helpful for all.

Similarly we can ask, when will all our love and affection be for the Guru-varga only? If our love and affection comes down, like rainwater and it mixes with this material world, then it becomes muddy and dirty. It mixes with drain water and then flows with the river to the ocean and everything is useless. Everyone’s love and affection should go up to the Guru-varga. Every day, at every moment, offer them your respectful obeisances. If you do not do so, you are not a disciple. If you break the discipline, you are not a disciple, and māyā catches the disciples who do not respect Śrī Guru, God, and His family.

He who is attached to his own blood relatives or his own followers is contaminated. This is called anartha, offense, sin, and false ego. All of this throws you down into the drain of material existence.

Who do we serve day and night? Who do we have relationship with? Who do we use all our income for? For whom do we spend all our blood and energy? All this should be considered. Otherwise we are great cheaters and hypocrites.

Who will give judgment? Yamarāja and his soldiers will punish us. Māyā-devī’s popular family members will give their judgment and accordingly, the fruit will come, making everyone realize how honest someone is. Outwardly, someone may perform arcana, pūjā, and offer respect to everyone, but this is not real bhakti.

Many people stay in the holy dhāma, just like crocodiles, fish, and other species live in the waters of the Gaṅgā. Such people may be present in the dhāma, but their heart and mind is with their family, children, and home. If you stay in the dhāma but are doing business or are collecting many things for your own sense enjoyment, then you cannot receive any spiritual treatment. It is very difficult to help such a person. This disease is very strange. Such a person becomes like a brahma-rakṣasa.

Once, a dog came crying for help to Śrī Rāmacandra. In his own language, he complained to the Lord, saying, “You are the king. You give good judgment to all. I surrender to You. I am an orphan animal, please help me.”

Rāmacandra said, “Yes, I will try to help you. What is the difficulty? By your karma you received the body of a dog, but please tell Me what is wrong and I will help. “

The dog said, “I was lying on one side of a street and a Paṇḍita came by and beat me. He broke one of my legs. Now I cannot walk easily. I am suffering so much without any treatment. What can I do?”

Rāmacandra said, “Call the brāhmaṇa.”

Rāmacandra would never give any judgment or punishment to the brāhmaṇas. He always respected them and followed the proper etiquette. If any judgement was necessary, He would call his guru, Vaśiṣṭha.

This time also, Vaśiṣṭha came and Rāma told Him, “Ask the Paṇḍita why he broke the leg of the dog.”

Vaśiṣṭha asked and the Paṇḍita replied, “The dog was lying in the middle of the road and did not give me any respect or go to the side, so that I could cross easily.”

The dog said, “The road is very large, I was only sleeping on one side, without barking or doing anything! Why did he beat me?”

Vaśiṣṭha asked, “What punishment do you want to give him?”

The dog said, “Give him the position of being the mahānta of the large and famous Kalinjara temple.”

The Paṇḍita began to dance in great joy thinking a great boon had come for him. Rāmacandra asked the dog, “Why do you want him to have this post?”

The dog said, “I gave him this post because then he will not serve. He will be very greedy to enjoy. He will not serve God and he will be greedy to enjoy all the property that is offered to God. In my last life, I was the ācārya of this Kalinjara temple and I stole everything. Now my tongue is always hanging out of my mouth and saliva is dropping from it. I was always greedy to eat the offerings that were meant for the Lord, and I would steal things before they were offered in the temple. Therefore I got this body as a dog. When the brāhmaṇa becomes a dog, he will understand his faulty nature.”

People come to the temple, to Guru and Vaiṣṇavas, the holy dhāma, Gaṅgā, Godāvarī, and the holy tīrthas, but they are very greedy for mundane things. They want name and fame. They make big announcements and want everyone to be in their group. They want everyone to respect them, and if someone doesn’t, they torment him. They have no love for God and God’s family; they only desire their own respect, name and fame. Will punishment come or not? Ask yourself, “Where am I? Am I really nearby God and the holy dhāma?” Large fish live in the Gaṅgā, but are they really near to Gaṅgā? In the same way, some people stay in the dhāma but cannot get treatment.

How can Śrī Guru, the Vaiṣṇavas, and harināma help them? They fly in the sky, like eagles, but are only looking down for dead bodies. Their attachment is with their own sense recreation. Then how can they cross māyā? They do not follow or give respect to Śrī Guru and the Vaiṣṇavas. Thus, their pride cheats them, and they cannot obtain the blessings of Śrī Guru and the Vaiṣṇavas. How will their anarthas dissipate?

Such people say, “Don’t go to any other Vaiṣṇava. No one else is a Vaiṣṇava. Only hear from me. My group and disciples are Vaiṣṇavas, other guru’s disciples are not.” This is not the nature and etiquette of bhakti and bhajana. Vaiṣṇavism means that you must offer yourself to the Guru-varga, and any service, inspiration, or instruction that the Guru-varga give, must be followed. And you must continuously serve Śrī Guru.

Śrī Guru teaches the glory of God, the Vaiṣṇavas, and the Guru-varga. If someone really respects and loves God, the Vaiṣṇavas, and the holy dhāma, then such a person is a Vaiṣṇava, but our ācāryas have explained that someone who wears tilaka, neckbeads, and has a big śikhā, showing everyone, ‘I am a great Vaiṣṇava and all should serve and follow me,’ is not a Vaiṣṇava in reality. Is he tṛṇād-api sunīcena or not?

Mahat-saṅga helps everyone, but crooked cheaters are not mahat; they are not honest. By going to a great personality, you automatically become cleansed. If you feel you have become impure at heart, have no desire for harināma, and no tendency for service, then you should understand that you are fallen and must be in bad association.

If someone, knowing his own fallen position, repents and surrenders to Śrī Guru and the Vaiṣṇavas, then they will directly reflect that person’s true condition to him—like taking a picture of his heart and showing him how fallen, impure, and full of anarthas he is. Śrī Guru and the Vaiṣṇavas show this, so that he, understanding his own condition, will repent at heart and pray deeply. When he sincerely cries, Śrī Guru will bestow his mercy and purify his heart.

The disciple prays, “You are my eternal master, but I am cheated by māyā and have so much attachment to, and relationship with, the objects of māyā. O master, please help me! I am attached to my body and mind, and have no greed for bhajana or service. I only make a show for everyone, but really, I have no desire. I am fallen, arrested by māyā, and I do not even want to cross this. I am such a fallen soul.”

“I am truly very fallen”—this realization comes. When you have this feeling of repent and lamentation, you can truly attain good fortune, because you will become a recipient of the mercy of God, the holy dhāma, and the Vaiṣṇavas.

Excerpted from the Bhakta Bandhav Publication “ Śrī Prema-bhakti-candrikā”, Chapter 3
[CC-by-NDNC Bhakta Bandhav]

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HOW DID SRILA GURUDEVA PROTECT THE SADHU'S DURING THE 1976 GOVERMENT EMASCULATION PROGRAM?

In 1975, India faced national crises as the government declared a state of emergency, suspended democracy, arrested thousands of dissidents and officials, and censored the press. The emergency period lasted from June 25, 1975, until January 23, 1977. In September 1976, the ruling party initiated a widespread compulsory sterilization program to control population growth in India. Certain groups were targeted. Over eight million men were sterilized in one year alone. Being antipathetic toward sādhus, the government mandated that all red-cloth bābājīs must be emasculated. Government leaders announced, “Sādhus are like red monkeys, only eating, sleeping, and causing mischief. They are a heavy burden and a disturbance to our country. Rather than doing work to help our society, they beg in the towns and villages and have illicit affairs with women; hence, we will force vasectomies to prevent them from creating unwanted population growth.” Mathurā and Vraja-maṇḍala were heavily targeted areas. Every year thousands of sādhus from different parts of India like Haridvāra and Citrakūṭa assembled in Mathurā to celebrate Janmāṣṭamī. During the Janmāṣṭamī of 1976 the government announced a one-lakh cash incentive for every 100 sādhus that a police officer processed. Policemen would attend temples incognito and invite sādhus for a feast. The sādhus were told they would be taken to a program where they would perform kīrtana, partake of mahā-prasāda, and then brought back. They were then escorted in buses to a local hospital where they were systematically processed with crude surgery and then thrown out on the streets bleeding. Many sādhus died because of infections or complications resulting from unsanitary surgeries and lack of medical attention. After these atrocities continued for several months, many of the remaining sādhus adopted ordinary dress or went into hiding, while others gathered together to protest. Śrīla Gurudeva instructed all red-cloth brahmacārīs to remain in the temple and only those in white would bring vegetables or water for the Maṭha. Because some of the local officials and policeman were favorably disposed to Śrīla Gurudeva and would come regularly to hear from him, there were no problems inside Keśavajī Gauḍīya Maṭha. But going outside always posed a threat. Eventually a group of influential sādhus approached Śrīla Gurudeva and requested, “Please protect us, only you can stop these atrocities.” Śrīla Gurudeva became furious because of this diabolical government policy and summoned secluded conclaves with all the sādhus in Vṛndāvana. There, Gurudeva advised the sādhus to practice their sādhana in āśrāmas rather than roaming about as destitute beggars; and he instructed them on how to properly follow the etiquette of spiritual life. Gurudeva said, “These atrocities to sādhus cannot last for long. In the beginning of Rāma’s līlā, Rāvaṇa sent many cannibalistic demons and rākṣasas to Daṇḍakāraṇya where thousands of sages practiced austerities. Khara, Duśaṇa, Tāḍakā, Mārīca, and many other rākṣasas harassed the ṛṣis—ruthlessly killing and eating them. So many sages were killed that hills formed from their bones. “Rāvaṇa sent his rākṣasas to the sages with the message, ‘You are staying in our King’s territory, therefore, you must pay tax.’ ‘We don’t have any business or agriculture,’ the sages responded, ‘how can we give tax?’ ‘You eat our fruit and drink our water, and from this your body has made a lot of blood. You can give us your blood as tax.’ ‘What will you do with our blood?’ ‘Our king will drink your blood and become more powerful.’ ‘If the sādhus are weak and not doing bhajana,’ the demons thought, ‘then our king will never be defeated, thus, we must kill them or take their blood as tax.’ “Rāvaṇa had conquered heaven, and was controlling the world, but he wanted more power and so he thought, ‘If I drink the blood of the sages, I will acquire the strength of their austerities.’ “The rākṣasas brought a gold pot, and the sages cut open their thighs and gave blood, saying, ‘Take this blood to Rāvaṇa and tell him it will destroy his dynasty!’ The rākṣasas took the pot to Laṅkā, but Rāvaṇa was not present at the time. Hearing of the curse, his wife Mandodari said, ‘Take this pot and bury it at once under the Himālayas! I will give Rāvaṇa animal blood in its place.’ “The pot was buried in the mountainous region of Mithilā where Janaka Mahārāja ruled. Henceforth, Mithilā became devastated by drought, and the women and animals became barren. Desperate to save his kingdom and people, Janaka Mahārāja consulted his brāhmaṇa advisors and planned to begin a sacrifice. While plowing the ground to clean the ceremonial area, they dug up a golden pot and, upon opening it, found a beautiful baby girl inside—Sītā-devī. Sītā was the embodiment of the sādhu’s curse on Rāvaṇa, and in due course she was the cause of the destruction of Rāvaṇa and his dynasty.” Śrīla Gurudeva continued, “Rāma went to the forest for 14 years. There He killed the demons that attacked the sādhus. And when He met the ascetics, He instructed them, ‘Your tapa-bala, strength from austerities, is lost when you become angry. At that me demons can easily devour you.’ “Sādhus that stayed in the āśramas of Gautama, Yājñavalkya, Viśvāmrita, and other great ṛṣis, were not tortured by the demons. Demonic people will torment sādhus that do not surrender to a pure guru and instead try to practice bhajana alone, without kīrtana or hari-kathā. Only those sādhus that were not under the shelter of powerful ṛṣis could be attacked by the rākṣasas. Some think, ‘If I’m alone then I can do bhajana without disturbance.’ Gurudeva concluded, “The sheltered soul who sincerely practices sādhana-bhajana, following the instruction of his Guru-pāda-padma, never falters in his spiritual practice, even if he is subjected to trial upon trial. However, one who gratifies his senses on the pretense of bhajana will surely suffer many tribulations.” The sādhus arranged a large procession to the government offices in Delhi in protest but their calls for justice were ignored. Later, a law was passed stating that sādhus must register with the government, only then would they be left in peace. The government leaders stated, “Rickshaw drivers, thieves, and rogues dress in saffron, either don dreadlocks or completely shave, and beg house-to-house. Posing as saints, they spoil ingenuous women, and thus many illegitimate children are spawned—causing a nuisance to society.” The government also began to charge a toll to enter Vṛndāvana and Govardhana. Checkpoints were set up on the roads and visors entering Vṛndāvana had to incur levies. The penniless sādhus were also expected to pay before they could enter Vṛndāvana. Violators were arrested and ordered to pay the fee. The sādhus became irate. Where were they supposed to get money for paying taxes? They complained to Śrīla Gurudeva about the situation and as a result he met with many high-ranking officials. Eventually, he registered a lawsuit with the magistrate, and by his influence this unjust regulation was terminated and the tax checkpoints shut down. Sādhus had to tolerate immense hardship in those years. Once there was an elderly disciple of Prabhupāda Sarasvatī Ṭhākura named Govardhana dāsa Bābājī who came to Vraja to practice bhajana. He lived in an old stone tower at an obscure Ghāṭa of the Yamunā in Mathurā. One evening he was severely beaten by a rough bunch of local thieves, who stole his few belongings and then threw him in the river, assuming him dead. The dacoits of Vraja would accost sādhus in this way, thinking that they stockpiled donations from the public. Somehow the Bābā remained alive. He had been thrown face up in a shallow part of the Yamunā, and lay there unable to move because of his injuries. It was more than a day before Govardhana dāsa Bābājī was found and taken out of the water in a precarious condition. His wounds and bruises were infected and oozing pus, and his body was covered with worms and insects. Śrīla Gurudeva was called to the site, and he arranged for him to be taken to the hospital. His whole body appeared rotten, and no one wanted to take care of him. Śrīla Gurudeva called for one of his dear brahmacārīs. When he came, Śrīla Gurudeva said, “Care for this sādhu, he is a disciple of Prabhupāda Sarasvatī Ṭhākura. Help him.” The Bābā was senseless. His body was pale and worms were clinging to his sores. The brahmacārī removed the worms and washed his wounds with disinfectants. The doctors gave him medicine and many injections, while the brahmacārī regularly cleaned his wounds and body. Soon he regained consciousness and eventually was completely cured. As soon as he was well again he came to see Śrīla Gurudeva in Keśavajī Gauḍīya Maṭha. “By your mercy I have received new life,” he said. “I have some money in my bank account, please take it. “I did not serve you for selfish reasons,” Śrīla Gurudeva said. “Just promise that you will not go back to that tower.” “I will go back,” the Bābā said boldly. “If Kṛṣṇa wants, He may kill me.” “Please stay here in the temple,” Śrīla Gurudeva requested. Despite Gurudeva’s requests, Govardhana dāsa Bābājī returned to his previous residence after staying for some time in the temple. In those days it was difficult for sādhus. People thought, “Why should we give money to sādhus? They are very rich.” Hence Śrīla Gurudeva never accepted money from people disinclined to bhakti. Most people doubted sādhus at the time and only a few people came to the temple. One time, a sādhu named Gopāla dāsa Bābājī, who did bhajana in a simple residence at Govardhana, was visited by some people who offered praṇāma and tried to give him many gifts. He did not accept their presentations, but that night some dacoits came and accosted him, saying, “You bogus old man! We saw those rich people come earlier today. How mu did they give you?” “I did not accept anything,” said the bābā. “I never do. Sometimes I accept incense and ghee-wicks to worship Girirāja, but only this.” The dacoits did not believe the poor bābā. “No!” they said, “you are lying! We know you have amassed a lot of wealth by your pretense of saintliness.” They beat the Bābā so brutally that he died and then threw his body in an old well. Afterwards, they trashed his hut in search of the presumed wealth, but found nothing. Realizing their sin, some of the group turned themselves in to the police. “We killed an innocent bābā,” they confessed. “Put us in jail. We are ready to suffer for this sin.” The police did not arrest them, and instead they left their case in God’s judgement. Later, the offenders suffered greatly as a result of their sin. People like this are great offenders to Vraja. Śrīla Gurudeva went from village to village meeting with the people of Vṛndāvana and Mathurā. He warned them, “Don’t disturb the bābājīs, they have come for bhajana. You should support them. They only need a small amount of flour and vegetables for their sustenance.” Gurudeva changed the minds of many doubtful people who assumed that all bābājīs and sādhus were imposters, cheaters, and thieves. He thus protected Vraja-maṇḍala and the real Vrajavāsīs. Śrīla Gurudeva began to print many books and as these books were distributed, people began to have more respect for sādhus. In this way, Gurudeva’s influence transformed the nature of the people living in Vraja-maṇḍala. Srila Gurudeva ki Jaya! (Excerpted from the Bhaktabandhav book publication, “Sri Guru Darshan”. Available from rasik@kripa.tv )

A Preview of the Gita – Holland, May 1996

This is the background of the Gītā. Some people don’t know the Gītā’s teachings deeply because they think that Kṛṣṇa is telling Arjuna to fight. Why fight? If anyone wants to realize Gītā, what are the teachings? Then you will have no doubt about this. Kṛṣṇa has not come to create fighting or anything like this. He has come to give peace of mind, tranquility, and happiness, and establish the love that I have told before. He gave the Gītā and its teachings to understand what is yoga. Without following the rules and regulations, and accepting the teachings of Kṛṣṇa, or yoga, we cannot be happy. Everyone wants happiness. No one wants sorrow or suffering but yet we are suffering. The whole world attempts to be happy but yet why are we quarrelling to become happy? At last we see that what we do to get happiness is in vain. We will have to be born, we will have to die.

Constant Absorption In Harinama

Having a high position and being regarded as great by the general public will not be helpful in the sādhaka’s life. How can one become truly great? If you go to great personalities and make a relationship with them, then you will become great. One who continuously performs hari-kīrtana is superior to everyone else, and he who stays with him is really great, fortunate, and qualified. Such a Vaiṣṇava tolerates everything and gives help to everyone without desiring any help from them in return...

WHO ARE YOUR REAL FAMILY MEMBERS?

Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura has written, “Artha-lābha ei āśe kapaṭa vaiṣṇava veśe bramiya bhulaya ghare ghare—desiring wealth I took the attire of a Vaiṣṇava, disguised myself, and began moving door to door.” Laya sādhu veśa anya upadeśa. Dressed as a sādhu I wonder around and give others advice. Yet I myself cannot follow anything in my own life. I am thus a great hypocrite. I am dividing my senses and mind from God to satisfy my own selfish purposes and for the happiness of others. I will go to them acting as a teacher, but only with desire for name and fame. The end result of this deceitful practice will be that my love and energy is going to ordinary persons. Eventually that person will become my authority and guardian. He will then give me advice and instructions and by hook and crook he will enjoy me. Prahlāda says that they are dacoits and cheaters. These are not real family members. The attachment for viṣāya-bhoga is a disease for which there is no cure. This poison will affect us life after life, bringing constant lust, darkness, and hellish conditions. Anyone who is not God’s followers, who will not help me in the service of God, they are my so-called family members. I have no affiliation with them. They are of no value to me. They may die one hundred times over and over and I will not have any problem. Those who are mahat, great devotees, can connect me to greatness and are thus my real family members. I pray to God, “May I never forget my true family.”

IS IT OK TO CHANT RADHA NAMA?

O brother, simply by chanting the names of Kṛṣṇa, one can receive the lotus feet of Rādhikā, and by chanting the names of Rādhikā, one can receive the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa. Thus, I have briefly explained everything by which you will be relieved from the pains of your heart. All other topics are full of miseries and dualities. Txt.1 Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī writes in the Nāmaṣṭaka, “Nārada muni bājāya vīṇā rādhikā-ramaṇa name_Nārada Muni plays his vīṇā, singing the names of Śrī Rādhikā-Ramaṇa.” nārada-vīṇojjīvana! sudhormi-niryāsa-mādhurī-pūra! tvaṁ kṛṣṇa-nāma! kāmaṁ sphura me rasane rasena sadā O life of Nārada’s vīṇā! You are the exhilarating waves on the transcendental ocean of nectar! O condensed form of all sweetness! O holy name of Kṛṣṇa! By Your own sweet will, may You eternally dance on my tongue, along with all transcendental rasa. Before, Nārada Muni chanted God’s holy name. But once Kṛṣṇa appeared in Vṛndāvana, Nārada understood that Kṛṣṇa can never leave His svarūpa-śakti, and he must receive Her mercy; therefore, Śrīmatī Rādhārānī must also have appeared nearby. Nārada came to Vṛṣabhānupura for Śrīmatī Rādhārānī’s darśana, but Vṛṣabhānu Mahārāja was hiding Her. Nārada Ṛṣi’s desire to have darśana of svarūpa-śakti was very strong, so somehow he convinced Vṛṣabhānu Mahārāja to give Her darśana. He requested Vṛṣabhānu Mahārāja to bring the necessary paraphernalia to perform a blessing ceremony. Once Vṛṣabhānu Mahārāja had left the room, Nārada Ṛṣi offered sāṣṭāṅga-praṇāma and performed parikramā of Śrīmatī Rādhikā. She gave Nārada Ṛṣi Her darśana and mercy and instructed him to go to the foot of Girirāja Govardhan and there to wait at Nārada Kuṇḍa. She told him to wait there and soon he would understand and witness everything. From that time on Nārada began chanting Rādhā’s holy name. He thought, “I have chanted Kṛṣṇa’s name for millions of years, and now this chanting has produced the fruit of rādhā-nāma.” By chanting kṛṣṇa-nāma, His causeless mercy will manifest as a taste for chanting the name of Rādhā. For that person who chants Her name, Kṛṣṇa will arrange a place in sevā-kuñja with Rādhikā and the mañjarīs. The sādhaka will learn there to serve Her lotus feet. Therefore it should be understood that if one continuously chants kṛṣṇa-nāma, the result will be the blessing of service to Rādhā’s feet. When one chants rādhā-nāma, all of Kṛṣṇa’s nāma, rūpa, guṇa, līlā and mādhurya-mayī sevā will manifest in his heart. Chanting of Kṛṣṇa’s name alone is the same as brahma-upāsanā or the worship of impersonal Brahma. Brahma is not Parameśvara, the Supreme Lord or avatārī, the source of all incarnations. If the Lord is without svarūpa-śakti then He is śakti-hīna or devoid of all power; He is only Brahma. The name Kṛṣṇa implies that He is present with His svarūpa-śakti. Then He is complete and happy. Similarly if someone is not taking shelter at svarūpa-śaktis’ feet, then Kṛṣṇa will never be happy with that person. Kṛṣṇa Himself does ārādhana of Śrīmatī Rādhārānī and also teaches everyone rādhā-upāsanā.

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