Raghunātha dāsa: Śrīla Gurudeva, when we have the good fortune of your physical association, by your causeless mercy we feel great strength. But when you travel all around the world, preaching, making new disciples, and giving mercy in other places, we feel weak again. When you are far away, how can we maintain the strength we feel in your personal association?
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvām Mahārāja: You should think that I am always with you in the form of my books and classes; know that I am always guiding you. If you do this you will not be weak, and you will also be able to make others very strong.
Sāvitrī dāsī: When we preach, we tell people that God, Kṛṣṇa, has a personal form. We tell them He is a person with a beautiful, attractive form. When we tell this to people, especially impersonalists, they argue that to say God has a form is limiting Him. How do we explain the truth to them?
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: I explain this wherever I go.
Śrīpāda Mādhava Mahārāja: Gurudeva has explained that the Bible says that God created man after His own image. In the Koran, Mohammedan says, “Innallaha khalaqa adama ala suratihi – Allah has form, and from that likeness He fashioned man.”
Sāvitrī dāsī: Even when I tell people that His form is not material, that it is a transcendental form, still they…
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Try to catch my arguments; try to satisfy them as I do. For example, I say, “There is fire everywhere; there is no place where fire is not present. Generally we cannot see fire, but we can see it by following the process to do so. When we use matches and apply a small flame to any dry substance, this can take the form of a great fire that will not be extinguished even by large amounts of water. It will only be extinguished by the arrangement of Kṛṣṇa; by heavy rain. In America we sometimes see forest fires that cannot be extinguished by any machines or human endeavor. They can be extinguished only by rain.
“Similarly, by following a certain process we can see the very beautiful form of Kṛṣṇa, and we can also see His Universal Form. He is everywhere, whether or not we are seeing Him, but we can see Him by the practice of bhakti-yoga.”
Raghunātha dāsa: Śrīla Gurudeva, I am asking about my personal experience. I have been chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa for many years and I am also getting the mercy and association of Vaiṣṇavas, especially your mercy; but I still have material desires in my heart. Is this because I am committing offenses to the Vaiṣṇavas? Does it mean that my bhakti is ‘leaking out,’ as you sometimes mention in your classes? What do you think may be the reason I still have material desires in my heart?
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvām Mahārāja: Now you are somewhat realizing, “There is some defect in me, and that is why I have no taste in hearing from Vaiṣṇavas. It may be that I am offending a Vaiṣṇava.”
Those in this world who are always totally engaged, one hundred percent or even more than one hundred percent, in sense gratification, don’t realize this. They take wine, they gamble, smoke, and eat meat, beef, and other abominable things. Now you understand something, and by chanting the holy name in the association of elevated Vaiṣṇavas, you will gradually improve further. All unwanted things will disappear and you will be always happy.
You are on the right path. You are inviting me with my traveling group, bearing our expenses, and moreover you are helping my projects. You should know that by this process you will very soon be able to give up all your unwanted habits and mentalities (anarthas). The reactions to any offenses to Vaiṣṇavas will go away, as will all kinds of problems. So be strong by chanting and remembering.
[Excerpted from the Gaudiya Vedanta Publication “Walking With a Saint 2008”]