Hari-katha Articles WHY DO WE OFFER OUR COMPLAINTS AND CRITICISMS TO GURU?

WHY DO WE OFFER OUR COMPLAINTS AND CRITICISMS TO GURU?

Here in this verse Srila Jiva Goswami describes in his Vaisnava Tosani commentary the following. When the gopis first came to Krsna He was indifferent. He said to them in an indifferent mood, “Welcome, welcome gopis. Now you have come, that is good. Now you have had darsana, are you happy? Is everything well at home? You have come and everything is auspicious, so now you should go home.”

GOPIS WHY HAVE YOU COME?

“Oh fortunate gopis, did you come because of any difficulty. Was there any problem at home?” He said; “Oh maha-bhagya – greatly fortunate persons,” with some sarcasm, but also respectfully, He said, “Oh you are very fortunate. By your dharma you have pleased everyone and have conquered the hearts of all. You have no bad qualities, are never contaminated and your consciousness is always pure. You are so fortunate.”

If a person is filled with good fortune then what happens? We see that all good qualities will come to them. So Krsna told the gopis; “You are chaste and very honest. But what do you want Me to do now? Why have you come? Can I please you in any way? Why have you run from your homes and come here to the forest in such strange attire? Please tell Me what you want? You have come and I welcomed you saying, ‘Oh gopis welcome. It is very nice see you.’ But how can I serve you? What can I do to please you in such a way that your dharma is not lost. You are such fortunate and such great personalities, therefore I do not want to disturb you in any way. I am welcoming you and I want to help protect your dharma, so what should I do? Oh dear gopis, please sit down and tell Me what to do? Can I do something to please you?”

Krsna is speaking in an indifferent manner to the gopis and showing them He has no personal desire. He is showing that even if someone comes to Him, He is not controlled by them. He is saying, “I am ready to serve you,” but He is not enamoured by them, or lost in His attraction towards them. He is still neutral saying, “Ok if you want something then take it, then return home. If you need something from Me, then tell Me what it is and I will give that thing and then you can return home. There is no need to delay or waste any time.”

When one comes to have darsana of the Lord one takes His blessing and goes. One gets a boon from the Lord when they go to Guru, Vaisnavas or Bhagavan. They take darsana and get blessings, there is no doubt. One will not get a curse. If one comes with the proper mood they will get a blessing or boon.

Krsna said; “You have come here, do you now want some blessings or something? Is there any way I can serve you? However I do not want to act against dharma. You are very chaste ladies, please tell Me why you have come here. If you need anything, quickly tell Me and then return home.”

FREE WILL THE GREATEST GIFT

Why did Krsna say this? He has said; “If someone comes to Me then no-one can return empty-handed.” When Dhruva prayed to the Lord for so long then the Lord would not let Him return empty-handed. Prahlada Maharaja also could not leave empty-handed. When the Lord gives His darsana He will give some boon and will fulfil whatever desire is in one’s heart. He knows everything. Even though He is the indwelling witness – Paramatma, He does not like to destroy anyone’s independence. Until He satisfies one’s desire, He will never take away anyone’s independence or free will. That free will or independence is the greatest jewel the Lord has given us and He will never take it away.

The Lord said to the gopis, “Ok you should discuss. You have come here to meet with Me so what do you want? You have many types of qualification, not only one kind.” Krsna thus spoke to the gopis. He saw these gopis were all very fortunate and very pure. Why were they so fortunate? In this world in household life it is very difficult to please one at all times and be able to progress. It is not so easy. If you are very clever then you can do something.

Krsna was speaking in a very clever manner to the gopis. He was arranging some special process to give them His rasa – nectar, and was looking to see what mood they have now. Do they have any attachment remaining or any moha, memory of their family?  Do they have any pull of their heart towards the family. He asked them, “Oh how is your husband? How are your parents? How are you sisters and brothers?”

DO NOT TALK ABOUT PREVIOUS ASHRAMS – LOOK FORWARD NOT BACKWARDS

If someone becomes a sadhu – a renunciate, then they should not talk about their purva-ashram – previous ashram, or household life. If someone talks to them about it then it is like they will vomit out talking about their past ten lives. They cannot forget these pastimes.

They cannot remember the Lord’s pastimes but instead only remember their own pastimes.
People ask them and they will say, “Oh how I was. What I did when I was a boy. Who my friends and families were. What I did in the life before that and the life before that. Who my partner was. What I do did for a job. What type of life I lived.” They cannot forget this. Therefore if you are renounced you should look forward, not backwards.

It is said by Bhaktivinoda Thakur, purva itihas. How can we forget our past life memories and only remember the Lord, and have the mood that, “You are mine and I am Yours.” Even if we leave the forest of samsara, or household life, still it is very difficult to forget our pastimes there, even for renounced sadhus.

Bhaktivinoda Thakur says when someone asks us about our past then we vomit up our past activities and pour them into people’s ears. “Oh I did this and I did that.” This is all like illusory coverings over the soul. We should forget all these coverings and try to progress in our spiritual life and transcend beyond this world into the spiritual world and not just try to be happy here.

One time in Mathura there was a brahmacari who came to Gurudeva and said; “Oh Gurudeva please protect me.” Gurudeva asked; “What happened?” The brahmacari said; “Oh I am very sad.” Gurudeva asked; “What happened? Tell me. You are serving, you are chanting harinama, you are going to kirtana and arati, so what is the worry?” He said; “I slept and at night I had a dream I was in my house again with my family. Even though I have been in the math for so many years still I cannot forget my house, parents, friends, and partner. I feel I am such a horrible wretch. I cannot forget the past and I cannot be focussed and absorbed in the service of the Lord. I have wandered throughout material existence for so many millions of lives, but I cannot forget these material relationships. Please protect me Srila Gurudeva.” Gurudeva said, “Do not worry. I will help you so that wherever you are, while you are chanting harinama and performing bhajan you can think of Guru and Vaisnavas and try and be related with them.”

When we have a place in our mind and heart for Guru and Vaisnavas then material people will not be able to enter our heart and they will run far away. Now we don’t have real love for Vaisnavas, Guru and the associates of the Lord. We have a place in our heart for maya and all the different filth of maya. We are like vultures trying to eat dead flesh. We should try and give up this nature and bring Guru and Vaisnavas and Krsna’s associates into our hearts. When they come into our heart, Krsna and all His associates will also come and we will not be seeing any worldly things.

Krsna is speaking and joking with the gopis here in an externally indifferent manner. He asks them, “Oh how is your family? Is everything good? Now you should go back home, they will be worried about you.” Krsna wants to see if the gopis are now truly renounced and have left everything behind, or are they still thinking about it. Like when someone comes to the temple we give them prasadam and with some compassion, we speak nicely to them. Krsna is speaking with them nicely saying things like, “How can I help you? Is everything well at home? Is everyone happy? If you don’t need anything now then you should return home.”

If we do not know how to swim then we should not jump into the ocean to try and save a person who is drowning. If we are going to try and save others in samsara – the ocean of material existence, but we don’t know how to swim ourselves, then we will also drown along with them. That drowning person will pull us down with them into the depths of samsara.

OFFERINGS OF FAULTS AND COMPLAINTS

Krsna was approached by these millions of gopis. There were millions of sadhana-siddha gopis who had recently become perfected and left the material world and come to Vraja.

What happened when Sudama came to Krsna? Sudama was very poor. He did not take anything from Krsna, but he brought some chipped rice for Krsna. Later what did Krsna give him? He gave him palaces bigger than Dwaraka. When 99.9% of people come to Guru what do they bring? They bring their faults and complaints and all their bad things. They think about others and want to show Guru that ‘I am so great and everyone else is bad.’ They come to Guru offering all these gifts of complaints, fault-findings and bad things that they have collected.

Then they start to find faults in Guru. They say, “Oh Gurudeva, you have this fault also.” Or they say, “Oh Vaisnavas are useless. Oh Gurudeva you are supporting these Vaisnavas, you are maintaining these Vaisnavas, therefore you are also bogus.”

They will come to Guru and give all these different letters and complaints and fights that they are in. They will go to Krsna and tell Him these things saying; “Oh I have worshipped You so much but my son died and my wealth is lost. What kind of God are You? I will therefore break Your form and throw You in the Yamuna.” We see some people do this. They take Deities of Krsna that they have worshiped for many years, and then they break Their arms and legs and throw Them into the river.

The jivas in this world are always absorbed in their own selfish enjoyment and are always looking for their self-interest. If they go to Guru, Bhagavan and Vaisnavas what gift do they bring? Whatever comes out of their mouth, that is their gift. What is their mood? Are they only going to Guru to try and get some personal benefit?

Krsna tests these gopis thinking, “What did you bring?” He is shaking them with His speech and He sees, “Oh they don’t have any attachment to this samsara. Their husbands tried to stop them by holding sticks and were even ready to beat them. They were even locked inside their rooms. But did they criticize their husbands?”

We see Prahlada Maharaja’s father, Hiranyakasipu, disturbed Prahlada so much. Hiranyakasipu tried to kill Prahlada in various ways, but did Prahlada complain to Nrsinghadeva about his father?

A tridandi sannyasi took sannyasa and went begging for alms. One householder pulled his sikha, another householder pulled his kaupins off, and another person took his danda and tried to beat him with it. He was holding out his cloth for alms and someone threw dirt in it, another passed urine on him and someone threw stool on him. What  type of prayer did he offer?

tat te ‘nukampāṁ susamīkṣamāṇo
bhuñjāna evātma-kṛtaṁ vipākam
hṛd-vāg-vapurbhir vidadhan namas te
jīveta yo mukti-pade sa dāya-bhāk
(Srimad Bhagavatam 10.14.8)

 

“My dear Lord, one who earnestly waits for You to bestow Your causeless mercy upon him, all the while patiently suffering the reactions of his past misdeeds and offering You respectful obeisances with his heart, words and body, is surely eligible for liberation, for it has become his rightful claim.”

The sannyasi thought this is all my past karma. He then remembered if someone can accept this, then he can become liberated. Even though all these bad things were happening to him, he did not blame God.

The Vraja gopis don’t even complain like this thinking; “Oh this is my bad karma.” What was their nature? They had no attachments. What is our nature? We are drowning and Guru comes to pull us out of the water, but we want to bring all the weights in this world that were causing us to drown with us. We want to stay with Guru, but be sick. We don’t want Guru to cure us. Instead we want to bring all our material sicknesses with us and be sick with Guru.

When any problems come we immediately go to Guru. If we have something bad we go and tell Guru, but if something good comes will we go and tell him? We have this nature of bringing out garbage and filth and that is our gift to Guru, that is our bhajana.

Were the gopis like this? Did they come from their house and come to Krsna like this? When the wives of the brahmanas of Mathura came to Krsna with nice foodstuffs for Him, did they complain about their husbands? Before, their husbands would not give the sakhas any nice lunch. Their husbands told the wives not to go, but they went anyway. When they went to Krsna, they did not complain to Him. They said to Krsna; “We have come and we offer ourselves completely to You.” Krsna told them to go home and they accepted His instruction. He said; “Do not worry they will now worship you.” When the wives of the brahmanas went home, we see that the husbands did worship their wives, and they became respected throughout the whole universe.

Did the gopis think like this? “Oh we have come to Krsna and our husbands and families are upset, but Krsna can give us some nice thing now and then we will go home and be glorious all over the universe?” Krsna checks; “Do they want this? Do they have any desire for prestige, name or fame? Whatever they want I will give it to them.”

Sudama Vipra came to Krsna and gave Him a few pieces of chipped rice, Krsna then gave him a palace greater than any palace in Dwaraka, and maidservants even more beautiful than any of His queens in return. Even though Sudama only brought a very small offering, having been sent by his wife, and only because she had desired these things, Krsna fulfilled them. When we are coming to Guru and Vaisnavas we should always examine ourselves and think, “What is my desire?” Otherwise we will be cheated with material things, and be bereft of the spiritual fruits of their association.

Krsna asked the gopis; “Is everything well in your homes? Is everyone happy? You weren’t beaten were you? Did anyone act inappropriately with you and therefore you have come here into the forest in this haphazard way, dressed very strangely? Is there any problem at home?” Krsna is checking, “Do they have any desire? Will they complain?” No one can stay forever with the Lord if they have this mood.

Hundreds and thousands of people come to ashrams but they do Vaisnava-aparadha there. They do offences and look at the faults of everyone. They make offences to the dhama, offences in service, offences to Vaisnavas, offences to Guru, offences to the Deity, and offences to the Holy names. We must be very careful.

It is said that Guru will see; “Oh this person is always criticizing others so let him be far away. I will give him many nice things and great facility. I will give him material reputation, wealth and so forth, and will send him far away from me.” Guru and Krsna are very clever like this. If someone is like that Guru and Krsna will not accept him. Hundreds of thousands of people will come, but how many will stay? It is very rare.

Excerpted from the up and coming Bhakta Bandhav publication, “Rasa Pancadhyayi”

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DID UDDHAVA UNDERSTAND THE GLORIES OF THE VRAJAVASIS?

Uddhava did not want to leave Kṛṣṇa for a minute, but he knew that as long as the Vrajavāsīs were all constantly thinking of Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa would feel no peace in Dvārakā. “Everyone in Vraja-bhūmi is always thinking of Kṛṣṇa, therefore Kṛṣṇa is restless in Mathurā and Dvārakā.” Uddhava thought thus. “I will go and advise them with so much knowledge and I will change them. I will ask them, ‘Why are you lamenting so much? Kṛṣṇa is Parabrahma, Parameśvara, the greatest yogī. Wherever you are, think about Kṛṣṇa, and then He will appear in your heart. Why do you think He is far away from you? He is the all-pervasive Paramātmā.” Uddhava thought he was very intelligent, with so much understanding of tattva-siddhānta, but this was useless in regard to the Vrajavāsīs. It is like collecting pieces of ordinary stone and rejecting priceless gems. Kṛṣṇa told Uddhava, “What knowledge you have collected is not natural; when you go to Vṛndāvana, there, everyone has natural love. They are not relatives of one another, but they are all near and dear to each other. Generally, people have relation and love for their family members, their children and spouses, but in Vraja, there is no need of blood relation for there to be a loving relation.” Everyone has natural love for Kṛṣṇa in Vraja. Their love is unparalleled and unconditional. You can not understand this with your material knowledge and conceptions. Why do all the birds and animals have love for Kṛṣṇa? Why does everyone in Vraja have spontaneous love for Kṛṣṇa? In Dvārakā, however, the peoples’ love is divided, amongst their own blood relatives. They are not one-pointed in their love for Kṛṣṇa, and they do not cry in separation from Kṛṣṇa. If they do not see Kṛṣṇa for some months, they do not feel so much suffering. They know, “He is busy now in Hastināpura. He will come back when He is finished there.” When Kṛṣṇa was shot by many arrows in the Mahābhārata war the Dvārakāvāsīs did not feel pain. They thought, “He is God and feels no pain; He cannot be harmed.” But the Vrajavāsīs could not tolerate this. If they saw that even one hair of Kṛṣṇa’s had fallen down, they would feel so much pain and suffering. Other devotees of Kṛṣṇa have knowledge of His opulence and glory, and this dims their affection for Him. When Uddhava went to Vraja-bhūmi he lost his knowledge and forgot Dvārakā. He then thought, “Vraja-bhūmi is supreme. The Vrajavāsīs have unparalleled love. They are Kṛṣṇa’s nearest and dearest, therefore Kṛṣṇa is always restless and suffering, remembering the Vrajavāsīs’ pure unconditional love. The Vrajavāsīs’ love can never be diminished or finished. It only increases when faced with obstacles.” In this world, if a boy has love for a girl, and she for him, and people, like their relatives, try to stop them from meeting, then they will find any way to meet, regardless of the obstacles. They will find a way to send messages to each other and to meet each other. The Vrajavāsīs’ love for Kṛṣṇa is millions of times greater than this. Their love is shoreless and fathomless. Uddhava could not find the limit of the Vrajavāsīs’ love. Caitanya Mahāprabhu prayed and sang to Jagannātha during the Ratha-yātrā festival. He said, “You sent Uddhava to Vraja-maṇḍala and he gave the Vrajavāsīs so much advice about brahma-jñāna, and You also gave similar advice to them at Kurukṣetra, but how could the Vrajavāsīs follow this? They were already far beyond this brahma-jñāna and could not follow it.” Uddhava told the gopīs, “Do yoga by always remembering Kṛṣṇa.” “We want to forget Kṛṣṇa,” the gopīs replied, “but find it impossible. When there is viyoga, separation, then one must endeavor for yoga, union. But we have no viyoga, because we already incessantly think of Kṛṣṇa; we cannot stop. So how can we follow your yoga? You have viyoga, therefore you advise others to practice yoga. But we have no viyoga from Kṛṣṇa. He is not far from us and we are not far from Him. We want to forget Him and try to forget how He is and what He is doing and who is there with Him, serving Him, if He is sleeping or not, eating or not, but we cannot stop thinking of Him for even a moment. We try to, but find it impossible. But you tell us, ‘Do yoga, forget everything else; only think of Him.’ We have already done this. Udho man na bhayo das-bīs, ek huto so gayo śyām saṅga, ko arādhe īś? You teach us to worship Syāma, but our mind is already captured by that Syāma. He has kept our mind and hearts with Him and we cannot bring them back. He will not return them. Therefore we are suffering and restless.” In the mood of Śrīmatī Rādhārānī, Mahāprabhu said to Jagannātha, “You are very clever. You know My heart.

IS GOPI PREMA THE OBJECT OF ALL LOVE?

“The Vedic literature is like an endless ocean,” Gurudeva said. “The books of our Gosvāmīs are also very expanse, like an ocean. It is very difficult to take the abstract of all these in an hour. But I will make an attempt to do so. The essence of all the epics, Vedas, Upaniṣads, and scriptures was given by Caitanya Mahāprabhu in the Śikṣāṣṭakam. Everything is present in the Śikṣāṣṭakam, even more than what is in the Vedas. e Śikṣāṣṭakam is the essence of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Gītā, and all other scriptures. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī understood the essence of all because Caitanya Mahāprabhu inspired everything in his heart at Prayāga; He inspired in his heart all the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, and even what has not been given in the Bhāgavatam—the moods of Rādhikā. Mahāprabhu inspired knowledge of what is love in all its stages: sneha, māna, praṇaya, rāga, anurāga, bhāva, mahābhāva, as well as all their symptoms. Mahāprabhu told Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, ‘Gopī-prema is the object of all love; the gopīs’ prema is the topmost love. To serve the gopīs is the topmost goal of our devotion. First we must fix the object of life, the object of our devotional activities, then we should know what practice to follow so that we can attain our goal.“Caitanya Mahāprabhu taught three things: sambandha, abhideya, and prayojana—in other words: the relation with Kṛṣṇa, how to achieve kṛṣṇa-prema, and the nature of kṛṣṇa-prema. The aim of our life is the love and affection in the hearts of the gopīs, especially in Śrīmatī Rādhikā’s sakhīs. This is our goal, as expressed by Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī has described the process to attain this goal: ādau śraddhā tataḥ sādhu-saṅgo, tato anartha-nivṛtti, tato niṣṭhā ruci āsakti bhāva, and after that prema. In this world we can progress only to rati or bhāva. There can be no prema in this world. And one cannot achieve this very quickly in one birth or two or three or four. We can attain this only by the special causeless mercy of Kṛṣṇa, Caitanya Mahāprabhu, and His associates.“First we should understand śraddhā. There is no restriction that only someone in ISKCON can achieve śraddhā. We can attain śraddhā anywhere in this world. Śrīla Svāmī Mahārāja came to give this śraddhā—which is the seed of bhakti—freely to all people without discrimination. This is not different from the mission of Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Prabhupāda and Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī. It is not something new. He said that śraddhā is the firm belief in your Gurudeva, and that by doing kṛṣṇa-bhakti your life will be successful forever. He said that, by chanting, remembering, and meditating on Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes, we can attain perfection. From śraddhā, again sādhu-saṅga will be there, association with any high-class Vaiṣṇava. And then you’ll think, ‘I must accept initiation from a bona fide guru.’ And if you do not do so, you will be deprived of bhakti. You must accept initiation from a bona fide guru. The symptom of a genuine guru has been described in all scriptures, especially in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.3.21). There, the symptoms of a guru are given:tasmād guruṁ prapadyeta jijjṇāsuḥ śreya uttamamśābde pare ca niṣṇātaṁ brahmaṇy upaśamjāśrayam“There are three symptoms of sad-guru: one is internal and two are external. To know all the śāstras and be able to remove all kinds of doubts from others is one of the external symptoms. To be detached from all worldly desires and sense gratification is the other external symptom. What is the internal symptom? There must be some realization of kṛṣṇa-prema; he must have love for Kṛṣṇa. If the two external symptoms are there in a person, but the internal symptom is lacking, then one should not accept him as a guru. But if the internal symptom is there, and something lacks in the external, then we can accept him and it will be favorable for our spiritual life. If he lacks some knowledge of śāstra, there is no harm. But it is absurd to think that someone may have love for Kṛṣṇa, but no knowledge of the scriptures; śāstra-jñāna will run behind that person. Whatever that person does will be śāstra. A guru should be like that. A real guru never falls—never, never, never. Imitator gurus are always falling; but really there is nowhere for them to fall, because they are already fallen. Such a false guru never had niṣṭhā. If he had niṣṭhā he would never fall down.”Śrīla Gurudeva then said, “Caitanya Mahāprabhu mercifully descended to give this gopi-prema through nāma-saṅkīrtanam. If you want to practice the process to attain this goal, then you will have to follow Rūpa Gosvami, as described in this verse:tan-nāma-rūpa-caritādi-sukīrtanānusmṛṭyoḥ krameṇa rasanā-manasī niyojyatiṣṭhan vraje tad-anurāgi-janānugāmīkālaṁ nayed akhilam ity upadeśa-sāram Upadeśāmṛta 8 After asking a devotee to read Śrīla Prabhupāda’s translation and purport of this verse, Śrīla Gurudeva said, “We must do su-kīrtana of Kṛṣṇa’s nāma, rūpa, guṇa, and līlā. There are so many names of Kṛṣṇa:he kṛṣṇa karunā-sindho dīna-bandho jagat-pategopeśa gopikā-kānta rādhā-kānta namo ‘stu te‘O Supreme Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, You are an ocean of kindness. You are the friend of the destitute, Lord of the world, Lord of the gopās, beloved consort of the gopīs, and the most beloved consort of Rādhā. I pay my innumerable obeisances to Your lotus feet.’“Of these names, Gopikā-kānta is superior to the previous, because Kṛṣṇa is controlled by the gopīs. But still, something is missing there: Rādhā-kānta namo stute. This is supreme. ‘O Kṛṣṇa, You are controlled by Rādhā.’ Hearing this, Kṛṣṇa is satisfied. So, these names are gradually superior.” Śrīla Gurudeva next beautifully described how Kṛṣṇa disappeared from the Rāsa dance, how the gopīs searched for Him and sang the Gopī-gīta, and finally how Kṛṣṇa reappeared and confessed His undying love for the gopīs; how He felt He could never repay them, and that He had only disappeared to reveal their glories to the world.Finally, Śrīla Gurudeva concluded his lecture, saying, “You should remember these pastimes with a melted heart and weep incessantly, while chanting:Hare Kṛṣṇa Hare Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Hare HareHare Rāma Hare Rāma Rāma Rāma Hare Hare“If you can progress to this stage of chanting, you will forget when night began and when day started. You will chant constantly, oblivious of the world. This is the process. We must chant and remember these things. But you should be where all these pastimes were performed, in Vṛndāvana, where the Yamunā is still gently flowing, or at Govardhana, or Rādhā-kuṇḍa. If you can’t be there physically, then stay there in your mind. Now, even after five thousand years, the trees are waiting for Kṛṣṇa; they are eagerly waiting, feeling, ‘When will Kṛṣṇa come?’ And they are lying on the ground in separation, offering daṇḍavata-praṇāma. So, be situated there. But still only this will not do; something more is required. A very rasika-tattvajña Vaiṣṇava should be there, and in his guidance you should chant and remember. Then your entire energy can be absorbed in bhajana and that kind of prema, gopī-prema, may come in your heart. This is the essence of all the teachings of the Vedas, Upaniṣads, the Gosvāmīs’ literature, and all scripture. In brief I have described this.” (click on the Title to see more)

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