Gurudeva Katha 1996 Lectures Building a Stairway to Heaven - 20 June 1996, UK

Building a Stairway to Heaven – 20 June 1996, UK

[Excerpt from Srila Gurudeva: Anthology, U.K. (20 June 1996), the second book in a series of volumes on Srila Gurudeva’s world preaching tours.]

We should be indebted to the devotee who has helped us without any prior motivation or invitation. Prabhupada called me and said, “Oh come on! Come on and help me.” He did not fear of another person entering his preaching field.


Has he told you, “None should enter my territory or boundary?” Some people think that the whole world is their territory and no one should enter it. Do you know dogs?


If a new dog comes, he starts barking, “Don’t come near me.” Svamiji has written of how the visa system is similar to the barking of the dogs. All the countries think, “This is our own country.” All their forefathers have died, but they still think that the place of their birth is their rightful possession. They are of the mentality, “No one should enter our territory.” For this end they have manufactured visas and various rules and regulations that make it cumbersome for a person to enter another country. If you are of a similar mentality how can you be a devotee? If a devotee is helping us and is of the conviction, “Everyone should be pure devotees,” then how can he be opposed? If any worldly gain or loss is considered upon a devotee’s arrival in your ‘field’ then fear will arise—surely it will come. If there is fear you should know that you have not become a true devotee—something is lacking in you.
The Srimad-Bhagavatam states:

labdhva sudurlabham idam bahu-sambhavante
manusyam artha-dam anityam apiha dhirah
turnam yateta na pated anu-mrtyu yavat
nihsreyasaya visayah khalu sarvatah syat

At once! Don’t procrastinate. Don’t think of engaging in bhakti later—like tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. We should not think that, “It’s alright to not perform bhakti now since our life is so long.” Ravana wanted to build a staircase to heaven; he proposed to build it on the same day he was going to fight with Ramacandra. The war between Ramacandra and Ravana was fought for many days, and only one day remained for the war to be finished. So Ravana wanted to build a stair-case to heaven, where anyone, regardless of any prior qualification or merit could climb the staircase and enter heaven. But the next day, on the last day of war, he had no time at all. The monkeys attacked and Rama came before Ravana and a big fight ensued and Ravana was killed. In India it is said: kala kare so aja kara, aja kare so ab. This means: ‘What you want to do tomorrow you should do now.”’

There is no guarantee regarding your life span. Turnam, at once, you should give up your bad habits like smoking. You should not think of waiting for tomorrow. You should give it up this very moment. And you should try to chant harinama starting today, not tomorrow or any other day. You should not think, “Oh, I will gradually give these things up.” You should start to engage in bhakti at once. Who knows what will happen tomorrow? Turnam yateta na pated anu-mrtyu yavat. Before we die we should try to go to a bona fide guru.

We are not qualified to recognize a bona fide guru. We should pray to Krsna to bestow His mercy on us so that we can find a bona fide guru. Krsna knows everything. We should start searching for a bona fide guru from this very moment and be surrendered to him because we have found him by Krsna’s mercy. We should be surrendered to Gurudeva first, then to Krsna. Otherwise, by only serving Krsna, our services will be fruitless.

There was a king called Khatvanga Maharaja. He was very strong. When a war was being fought between the demigods and the demons, he was called to heaven to take part in the war. He was the leading general of the demigod’s army. At last, the demons were defeated. The demigods told Khatvanga Maharaja, “You can ask us for any benediction.”

Khatvanga Maharaja replied, “I want to cross the ocean of birth and death. I want salvation. I want to only serve Krsna.”

The demigods said, “We cannot give this benediction. None can give this benediction. Only Mukunda can bestow this mercy.” ‘Mukunda’ means: one who can give mukti. Only Krsna can give this.

Then he said, “Let me go to Vrndavana of the earthly realm.”

The demigods fulfilled his request at once and Khatvanga Maharaja came to earth. Once in Vrndavana he began to chant, “Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.” At once, four messengers of Visnu came and took him to Vaikuntha. This pastime is written in the Srimad-Bhagavatam.

So, we should know what guru has given us; we should try to keep it carefully in our heart. He has given us the seed to serve Krsna. This seed is called bhakti-lata— the seed of the creeper of devotion. He also gives us the water to nourish the seed. What is that water? It is sravanam-kirtanam (hearing and chanting). Unfortunately for us, and not for him, he was called by his Supreme Master for the direct association of his Prabhu; he is engaged in serving in more intimate, essential, and confidential ways. Some seeds he has sown in the hearts of devotees have not sprouted, some seeds have sprouted, but they need more water. Some water has been given, but it wasn’t enough. The seeds need more water. So, Svami Maharaja requested me to water the seedlings and sprouts.

He told me, “Take this water; I am going to be engaged in another service. You should go and give this water.” What is that water I was told to give? The water is what I have heard from Svamiji, from my spiritual masters, and from what I have gained from Srimad-Bhagavatam and Sri Caitanya-caritamrta—this is the water. I have come for this purpose; to obey his orders—his divine orders. The devotional plants have grown, but they need more water. They have been neglected. Svamiji specifically told me to water these plants. Otherwise, they may wither. And those whose seed of devotion hasn’t yet sprouted, they should also take this water. I want to perform this service that Svamiji has entrusted to me. I pray that Svamiji will be glad with my service. Also Krsna and His associates are very merciful; I pray that they bestow their mercy on me so that I will be able to perform the service that Svamiji has entrusted me with.

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