Symptoms of Love

If our hairs do not stand on end at the time of chanting, and tears do not flow from the eyes, and our hearts do not melt, it means we are full of anarthas and offenses. Those who can actually chant with these symptoms of love, and who are free from all faults, beginning with the fault of criticizing others, and who are free from various types of cheating, hypocrisy, and deceit, should be always honored by us. On the other hand, those who are not like this are just like artificial, wooden, or plastic dogs, or like teddy bears.

August 19, 2000 Vṛndāvana

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Giving Guru One’s Body, Mind, and Soul

All the so-called ācāryas became silent and lowered their heads in shame. Gurudeva said, “You gave me your mind, it is indeed my property. Now I am cleaning it and helping you. These others are all independent, and therefore they can neither understand anything nor will their hearts become clean. You will be the next ācārya, because you are not independent, and you offered everything to me.” One day, Param Gurudeva asked Śrīla Gurudeva to take sannyāsa, to which Gurudeva replied, “O Gurujī, you can give me sannyāsa, black cloth, or white cloth. If you wish, you can cut me in half, or do whatever you like with me. I am your property.”

Saphala Ekadasi

Gurudeva taught us to engage every minute in God’s service. He taught us not to collect material things, for they will take us very far away from God and His associates. We will run away to try to enjoy. How many hours do we work to maintain ourselves? We only eat a little bit of pasta, or a piece or two of pizza, or some bread or sandwich, but for that, we are slaves throughout our whole life, simply to maintain this dead material body. How can we come close to God? This Saphala Ekadasi is our helper. She does...

WHY DID RUPA AND SANATANA TAKE 20 YEARS OF EMPLOYMENT FROM A MUSLIM RULER?

At that time, most of India was under Muslim rule. Nawab Hussain Shah ruled Bengal and Bangladesh. The Muslims rulers mostly had strong desires for two things—kanaka and kāmiṇī—gold and attractive women. They would forcibly take away beautiful women from families, even if they were already married. And if you tried to resist, they would kill you. Everyone was fearful of the Muslim rulers. Once, Nawab Hussain Shah decided that he wanted a minār so tall that he would be able to see all of India and even the ocean from the top of it. So he called his architects and they began to build a huge tower. When the work was almost complete, the king went to the top of the tower and was very pleased. He praised the chief architect, who then foolishly boasted, “Yes, this is a very good tower, but I could build one even better and taller than this.” The architect did not stop to think of the repercussions before he spoke. Enraged, the king roared, “Then why didn’t you!” and he summarily pushed the architect off the tower. The architect’s terrified yells were silenced by the crunch of his body meeting stone 1,000 feet below. Turning to his general, Emperor Hussain Shah snapped, “Go! Bāklācandradvīpa! Quickly!” Afraid of being similarly dispatched, the general descended the tower posthaste. Below, he immediately summoned a retinue of cavalry, and they trotted in column from the capital. But now the general had a problem: what did the king want? What was he to bring? The king had not said, and the general dared not question him, for he knew the rash Muslim ruler spoke most naturally with the edge of his sword. So the general marched with his troops from village to village. The villagers were filled with dread, for the Muslim armies were known to go from village to village plundering and setting fire to houses. They considered all wealth and women as their rightful property. If there were any strong men then they would make them slaves, killing the rest, and taking the women as concubines. When the general and his troops came to the village of Bāklācandradvīpa, the villagers pleaded to Amara and Santośa for help. The two young men went and stood in the street. The soldiers were galloping on their horses, but Amara and Santośa fearlessly stood in their path. The Muslims halted in amazement. Amara and Santośa boldly but politely addressed the general and his men, “Friends, please come. You look exhausted, come and take some refreshments at our home.” The Muslims were happy and said to each other, “Hindus are always afraid of us and neglect or ignore us, but these boys are very cordial. Let us go and get some refreshment.” Although this was a dangerous group of men, Amara and Santośa were not afraid at all. They arranged a sitting place for the soldiers and brought them refreshments. There is a famous saying in Hindi: dayā dharma kā mūla pāpa mūla abhimāna—mercy is the root of dharma; arrogance is the root of sin. One should give up arrogance and show compassion to all entities. Thus, Amara and Santośa gave water and food to the general and his soldiers, and when the men were quite comfortable they asked, “Please explain why you are so agitated.” After hesitating for a few moments, the general explained his predicament. “The king has been making the tallest minār in Bengal. He went on top to oversee the construction when it was almost complete and said to the architect, ‘This is very good. You have made it very nicely.’ But the foolish architect said, ‘I could make one much better.’ So the king then pushed him from the tower to his death and then turned to me and said, ‘Go! Bāklācandradvīpa! Quickly!’ If I had asked the king exactly what to do, he would have killed me, and if we go back empty-handed he will surely kill us. Therefore, we are moving around considering what to do.” “Just rest here a while,” Amara and Santośa said, “we will arrange everything.” Then they called several very qualified architects along with laborers and, after reassuring them that all would be well if they worked with care and precision, they told them to go with the general to the capital and complete the work on the tower. To the general they said, “Bring these architects to your king. They will finish the construction work and everything will be alright.” When the king saw the general return with qualified architects and laborers, he was pleasantly surprised. Arrangements were made for the construction to continue and afterwards the king asked the general, “How did you know what I wanted? In my anger I did not tell you where to go or what to bring.” “I thought that today would be my last day,” the general replied, “but I met two brāhmaṇa youths who were so intelligent. They served us respectfully without enmity or fear. Then they gave me such helpful advice. I have never seen such intelligent and good-natured people.” Enchanted by the general’s description, the king ordered that the two brāhmaṇa youths be summoned and the general sent his soldiers to bring them. When the Muslims returned to the village and ordered that Amara and Santośa come along to the capital in the name of the king, the villagers began to shake with fear. “Please do not go,” the villagers said, “only because of you have we been safe for so long. If you leave now, we will have no protection from the Muslims.” “Don’t worry,” Amara and Santośa assured them, “we are not going to become the king’s servants. We are going in order to purify the king and make him a servant of the Supreme Lord.” When they arrived at the capital, the king was captivated by their beautiful natures and embraced them warmly. He said, “I accept you as my brothers,” and he gave them the names Sākara Mallika and Dabira Khāsa. The king spoke sweetly when welcoming them, but you should know that the nature of wicked people is fickle—kṣaṇe ruṣṭe kṣaṇe tuṣṭe ruṣṭe tuṣṭe kṣaṇe kṣaṇe—at any moment, they may change their mood from being pleased with you to being ready to kill you. Many people have very sweet tongues, but are their hearts sweet or not? And some people are straightforward and even harsh, but have no bitterness inside. Most politicians speak sweetly and show respect outwardly, but have many hidden motives. They know that without sweet speech they cannot control you and make you their follower. After interviewing the brothers and being impressed by their intelligence, the king employed them as his ministers and bade them to adopt the dress of Muslims. In time, he made Sākara Mallika (Sanātana Gosvāmī) his prime minister, and Dabira Khāsa (Rūpa Gosvāmī) his personal secretary. Rūpa and Sanātana requested the king for permission to open a temple and center of the Hindu-dharma and for a monthly stipend from the treasury for brāhmaṇas to come and do Veda-stuti and practice the limbs of bhakti. Happy with the brothers and seeing them as a great help to the successful management of his state, the king agreed. With them in his kingdom to look after everything he was free to focus on conquering neighboring states. So he told the brothers, “You have my permission to do as you wish here; if you desire to make a temple here in the capital and invite brāhmaṇas to do japa and tapa then you may. But you must protect my post as king and satisfactorily administer the kingdom.” (see more)

WHAT IS PADA-SEVANAM? and HOW TO PERFORM IT?

Vaiṣṇavas next teach how to perform pāda-sevanam. Pāda-sevanam means to serve while following good etiquette. If one has good etiquette, he will serve respectfully without a mood of neglect, as if he is performing a duty by force. This is bhakti’s first aid. At the stage of pāda-sevanam, one has some taste. As Gaṅgā comes from the lotus feet of God, washing and purifying everyone, pāda-sevanam means one has desire for the service of Vaiṣṇavas, God, and the holy dhāma. It also means going on parikramā. Parikramā means going to serve, not to make a place dirty by spitting or passing there. One should clean, worship, and serve the holy places, not go to them for tourism. By serving Kṛṣṇa’s līlā-bhūmi, the mercy of those pastime places will come to one and one will achieve a relationship with the holy dhāma. One should go to the holy dhāmas and serve; otherwise it is not called pāda-sevanam. If one has no service or responsibility, he is like an orphan dog. Seriously take some responsibility, vowing, “Every day I will do this service,” as Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī ordered Śyāmānanda Prabhu, “Daily sweep the pathways of Vraja.” If one has no service, he goes very far away. Pāda-sevanam means direct service of Guru, Hari, Vaiṣṇavas, dhāma, Gaṅgā, Tulasī, and so forth. To make a relationship with the divine personalities, pāda-sevanam, or service, is essential. Pāda-sevanam means one will be a servant, nearby the lotus feet of the transcendental personalities. If one does nothing, only taking care of his health and having no responsibility, with a free mind and desire, he certainly will perform some bad activities. If one serves the Deity, he is near God to a certain extent. If he serves the dhāma, he is closer still; if he serves God’s associates, he is more nearby. And if he serves the Vaiṣṇavas, he is even closer and dearer to God. By pāda-sevanam, all līlās, knowledge, and everything will manifest in the heart. This is called śuddha-sattva-viśeṣātmā—God’s associates will bestow a ray of pure love upon you, and your heart will become very soft. Taste will come. Relation will come. And one will be close and very near. The transcendental personalities will then take care of us. By taking shelter of them, they will be our guardians and will watch over and think about us. Therefore, develop relationship with the Guru-varga. This is very sweet. Then, arcana-aṅga-bhakti comes. If one takes dīkṣā with a viṣṇu-mantra, then he has a relation with Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Without worshipping Śrī Hari and making some offering to Him, one should not eat anything. Otherwise, one will go to hell. Some think, “Now I am a brahmacārī, a tyāgī. I have nothing. How can I serve the Lord?” Such a person tries to cheat God. He has a body and worships his body day and night, doing abhiṣeka by bathing it, worshipping it by giving food, cleaning it and so forth; so, why doesn’t he worship the Deities of God or the Vaiṣṇavas? The servant of his body becomes mad. Because of over-attachment to his body, when leaving his body, he will suffer very much, thinking, “I am losing everything.” If the body has the slightest pain or discomfort, he becomes very sad. If one worships Śrī Vigraha, the Deity of God, attachment for the body will be less and less and then, finally, completely finished. Every fifteen days, one will fast; when the body says, “Give me food or water,” if one says, “No! I won’t give,” the body thinks, “Now he is very strong and is not giving me food. If I act against him, he will not give me anything and will give me up completely.” Then the body will never argue. The sādhaka should worship the Deity with faith that the Lord is directly present before him. Mahāprabhu said, “Pratimā nahe tumi sākṣāt vrajendra-nandana (Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya 5.96) “You are not an image; You are directly Vrajendra-nandana.” One should worship the Deity of Kṛṣṇa as God Himself. The Deity is transcendental. Serve the Lord in His form as a Deity with deep love and faith. When it is Janmāṣṭamī, one should think, “Today is Kṛṣṇa’s birthday! I will arrange a wonderful festival!” When it is Kārtika, one should think, “Oh! It is Rādhārānī’s month! Urjā-vrata! All power comes this month from svarūpa-śakti. Kṛṣṇa distributes the ūrjā, power of Urjeśvarī Śrīmatī Rādhārānī. Kṛṣṇa promises to give anyone who comes to the holy dhāma in this month the power of svarūpa-śakti, whether they are qualified or not, a businessman or madman, old or young. He promises to accept all and give them the power of svarūpa-śakti.” One should think, “It is Ekādaśī. I will worship Kṛṣṇa and invite many people.” Śrīla Gurudeva started this in Mathurā. He invited many people from all over Mathurā to come and perform nāma-saṅkīrtana on every Ekādaśī, in different groups. Then, Vaiṣṇavas teach vandana. How should one pray? Śrīla Gurudeva would instruct his followers to pray with the verse: tat te ‘nukampāṁ su-samīkṣamāṇo

Varuthinī Ekādaśī – The Vrajavāsīs Appeal to Nanda Baba

Mahāprabhu replied, “Following Ekādaśī is the primary limb of bhakti. She is the mother of devotion. One must take shelter of Ekādaśī-devī. If you do not respect her you will be destroyed. No one has the strength to save you if you disrespect Ekādaśī-devī. When Ekādaśī-devī mercifully comes, you must respect her no matter what. You will get mahā-prasāda every day, but on the day of Ekādaśī do not take that mahā-prasāda. Take it the next day, in doing this there is no problem...

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