Gurudeva Katha 1996 Lectures This Will Help Us

This Will Help Us

Śrīla Gurudeva: If we cannot follow, then we should realize that we are in the madhyama-adhikārī stage. So, we should try to have the very good association of a bona fide Vaiṣṇava who is not envious of anyone. His affection is not bound by the walls of constraint. They bestow their love and affection over all. Everyone should be honored. A person may be initiated or not, but if he is chanting one name of Kṛṣṇa, then know that he is favorable and he should be honored. Hence, we should behave appropriately with Vaiṣṇavas. We only want the love of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. We don’t want anything else of this world. We have left our children, our parents, praise, reputation, and everything; and we have taken shelter. We shouldn’t engage ourselves in making unnecessary rules and regulation, in management, and in other extraneous efforts. A division should not be made among devotees. We should always see if our love and affection for Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa has advanced or not. If it is the same, then we should realize that we are still in the same stage we were in, twenty years back. Our activities are not helpful.

Therefore, we should try to correct our devotional practices. There is something amiss in those practices that stunts the growth of our devotion. You may fill a pot with water, but if it has many holes, all the water will leak out. There is no fault on the water’s part; the fault is with the pot that has many holes. If we see that our love and affection is not increasing but rather going less, then we should act quickly and increase our devotion. At first, you may chant sixty four rounds. But, after some time, you began to chant thirty two rounds. After some more time, the chanting halved and reduced to sixteen rounds. Then, you chant eight rounds. And on one day, you find yourself to have stopped chanting completely. After a couple of days, you may start chanting again. But, you chant with your mind not being fixed. You chant, “Hare Kṛṣṇa Hare Kṛṣṇa,” and tell someone, “Oh bring water! Bring water!” You tell another devotee who chants, “Don’t chant Hare Kṛṣṇa so loudly! Don’t shout so much!” You should know that if your devotion has reduced, it is because of offenses. And the taste to perform devotional activities will be on the wane.

We should try to correct our devotional practices, otherwise, what is left of bhakti will also go away. You should measure your advancement of devotion every evening. If this is not possible, then do so every week. Even if this is not possible, then measure your advancement of devotion on the appearance day and disappearance day of your Gurudeva. You should measure to see if your devotion has increased or decreased. A businessman meticulously checks to see every evening if he has churned out a profit or incurred a loss. On incurring a loss, he becomes sad; on churning out a profit, he becomes elated. Similarly, from time to time, we should check to see if our prema, our love and devotion to Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa is increasing or decreasing.

We should especially adopt this process on the Vyasa-pūjā day.

We should diligently engage in these practices and even promote them among devotee circles. This will help us.

[CC-by-NDNC Bhakta Bandhav]

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Since countless lives I have accepted the gifts of māyā and, considering them to be my own, I have struggled to enjoy separately from Kṛṣṇa. Now may I give this up entirely. O Hare! May I receive the mercy of Your mañjarīs. Let them grant me entrance into kuñja-sevā.”We then chant, ‘Hare Rāma’ and, remembering the fifth verse of Śikṣāṣṭakam, ayi nanda-tanuja kiṅkaraṁ, pray, “O Rādhikā-Ramaṇa-Rāma, You play in the hearts of Your beloveds and dwell within all living entities. O Rādhe! May Your sweet pastimes with Kṛṣṇa appear one after the other in my heart. I have fallen in the dark well of material life. May I become free of this bondage and never again be conquered by the agents of māyā. Without Your help I cannot escape this fearsome saṁsāra. O Rādhe! 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Kindly grant me entrance into vraja-rasa.”Next comes ‘Rāma Rāma’, and we now remember the seventh verse of Śikṣāṣṭakam, yugāyitaṁ nimeṣeṇa cakṣuṣā pravṛṣāyitam: after countless lives apart from Kṛṣṇa, if we make relationship with Him once, then we become overwhelmed in divine love and at every moment desire to serve Him and see Him. If we are apart from Him for even a few moments, it seems like the greatest agony. The world appears void. Our condition becomes like the gopīs’ when Kṛṣṇa left the Rāsa dance. After one’s first time meeting with Kṛṣṇa, when there is separation, the pain of that is unsurpassed. One prays, “O Kṛṣṇa, O Rādhā-Ramaṇa, Rasika-mohana, Rāsa-rasika, Vrajendra-nandana, please accept me. Don’t forsake me. I am unqualified. I have nothing of worth. Just please give me Your darśana one more time.”While chanting the final pair of names in the mahāmantra, ‘Hare Hare’ we remember the eighth and last verse of Śikṣāṣṭakam, and pray, “O Hare, O Rādhe! You may do as You like with me. I completely surrender to You. Beat me or reject me—as You wish. I am so wretched. Kṛṣṇa may scorn me in front of His beloveds, He may kick or forsake me, but I will never take shelter of any other. O Rādhe! O Kṛṣṇa! I am Yours. I am Yours. I am Yours.” Praying like this, one chants harināma with deep absorption.This description of the moods when praying and chanting the mahāmantra in relation to Śikṣāṣṭakam is only a glimpse—a distant darśana, like śākhā-candra-nyāya, the logic of pointing out the moon on the branch. By strong spiritual practice we will experience these moods and fully appreciate them. We pray to Mahāprabhu because without His mercy we will not be able to chant the mahāmantra purely with these moods. We pray to Nāma Prabhu that He manifests His eightfold daily pastimes in our hearts. Then we will understand the deep meanings of the mahāmantra in connection with aṣṭa-kālīya-līlā and will become qualified to enter kṛṣṇa-līlā. Chanting of this mahāmantra, which is composed of 16 names, or eight pairs of names, is the only method to enter Vraja. Chanting the mahāmantra qua lifies one to attain vraja-rasa and vraja-vāsa, the nectar of Vraja and residence in Vraja.We therefore pray, “Hare Kṛṣṇa! Please give me Your mercy. Please offer me to the lotus feet of a sad-guru. By his mercy my contaminated mind will be purified and I will always stay in sādhu-saṅga. Thus my anarthas will gradually be washed away, and as I follow the process of bhajana I will gradually attain the stages of niṣṭhā, ruci, āsakti, bhāva, and prema. Then truly I will understand paraṁ vijayate śrī-kṛṣṇa-saṇkīrtanam—the extraordinary nature and potency of the holy names.”By chanting these names, the anurāgī-bhaktas will give us shelter and help us realize how nāma is cintāmaṇi, transcendentally wish-fulfilling, rasa-vigraha, the embodiment of nectar, pūrṇaḥ śuddho, spotlessly pure, and non-different from Kṛṣṇa Himself. When we remember these names and chant them with absorption, then Kṛṣṇa’s rasa-svarūpa will manifest in our hearts along with His līlā-rasa.All Vedic scriptures and saints have described the glories and specialty of Śrī Nāma. Śrī Tulasī Dāsa said:nāma le to bhava sindhu sukaivicār karo to sujana manomahiA supremely fortunate person comes into the association of a pure guru who grants him kṛṣṇa-nāma. Śrī Nāma appears in this world through five eternal principles, or the pañca-tattva, and with six types of śakti. Of His unlimited potencies, the Lord manifests specifically in six forms for the benefit of the fallen jīvas. Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Adi-līlā 1.32, states:kṛṣṇa, guru, bhakta, śakti, avatāra, prakāśakṛṣṇa ei chaya-rūpe karena vilāsaŚrī Kṛṣṇa manifests and performs pastimes as the different gurus, the bhaktas, His incarnations, plenary portions, and divine potencies.For one who takes shelter of the harināma-mahāmantra, Mahāprabhu gives darśana of His eternal svarūpa and the qualification to serve Him in His own dhāma. This harināma-kīrtana is the supreme dharma of this age.Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Antya-līlā 7.11, states:kali-kālera dharma kṛṣṇa-nāma-saṅkīrtanakṛṣṇa-śakti vinā nahe tāra pravartanaOne cannot spread the holy name of Kṛṣṇa without being specifically empowered by Kṛṣṇa’s Divine Potency.Without Kṛṣṇa’s śakti we cannot purely chant or spread the glories of the holy names. We thus pray to svarūpa-śakti Śrīmatī Rādhikā for Her mercy. Only then will we receive the potency to easily perform kṛṣṇa-kīrtana. We pray to Her, “I am Yours, whether You give me mercy or neglect me, keep me close or send me far away. Whatever You do, I am Yours and will never give up my aspiration to serve You and remain in Your shelter.”In this way, we should pray to Śrīmatī Rādhikā and the Vraja-devīs with a burning desire to achieve their service. We should also pray to Nāma Prabhu. The harināma-mahāmantra composed of 32 syllables, 16 names, and eight pairs is the one and only sweet process to become connected to eternal Vraja and kṛṣṇa-līlā. By following this rasa-upāsana we can become connected to the transcendental realm and līlā-rasa. We will thus become free of the attraction to jaḍa-rasa, material tastes. For countless lives we have been bewildered and attached to material life. By continuously chanting harināma, the soul is nourished and freed of material coverings. 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