June 24, 2007
Balarāma dāsa: Can I ask you a question, Gurudeva? Tomorrow is nirjala Ekādaśī (to be observed by full fasting, even from water). If there were any defects in our following Ekādaśīs during the year, how can we properly observe this nirjala Ekādaśī?
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: We should try to follow all Ekādaśīs. If there was a defect in your observance of any previous Ekādaśīs, simply continue practicing. By chanting nāma, everything will be okay.
Balarāma dāsa: Should one clean one’s teeth on nirjala Ekādaśī?
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Why not? Should you not take bath?
Balarāma dāsa: Bath is not drunk.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: But somehow the water is entering your body.
Of course, you must bathe, but do not take caraṇāmṛta on that day; simply offer praṇāma to the caraṇāmṛta.
Balarāma dāsa: What about ācamana?
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Just touch the water to your lips.
Vṛndāvana dāsa: When you do ācamana, the water is supposed to go to your heart. It says in the Hari-bhakti-vilāsa that the proper way to do ācamana is like this (demonstrates) – like a chicken.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: I have not seen this in any scripture.
Vṛndāvana dāsa: It also says that when you take ācamana, it has to come into the body and purify the heart.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: You can take ācamana in that way on other days, but not on Ekādaśī.
Śrīpāda Nemi Mahārāja: Actually, if we have somehow or other not observed other Ekādaśīs, will observing nirjala Ekādaśī compensate?
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: I have just answered this. You can compensate only by harināma – not by properly following nirjala Ekādaśī. You will have to follow every Ekādaśī. Only for Bhīma was a concession given, only for him.
Vṛndāvana dāsa: We always understood that if someone does not observe the other Ekādaśīs throughout the year, if he very strictly follows Pāṇḍava nirjala Ekādaśī, then he won’t get a bad reaction for not following all of the other Ekādaśīs. Is this not true?
Śrīpāda Mādhava Mahārāja: It is not true at all.
Vṛndāvana dāsa: No, but we always thought this. Everyone thought this.
Nṛhari dāsa: It is also stated in Kṛṣṇa-Balarāma Svāmī’s book – the book you told us not to read.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: They are all wrong. ISKCON [the disciples of Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja, but not Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja personally] has discovered this.
Vṛndāvana dāsa: They are doing this because of Bhīma.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: They are not Bhīma.
From ancient times up to the time of the six Gosvāmīs, like Śrī Rūpa and Śrī Sanātana Gosvāmī, devotees used to observe all Ekādaśīs as nirjala Ekādaśī, without taking even water. Ambarīṣa Mahārāja observed each Ekādaśī for three days: on the first day he controlled his eating; on the second day he avoided eating and drinking (nirjala); and on the third day he ate only once.
Śrīpāda Mādhava Mahārāja: The Pāṇḍavas used to regularly observe nirjala Ekādaśī, but Bhīma once told Kṛṣṇa, “It is not possible for me to do nirjala every time. Kṛṣṇa replied, “On other Ekādaśīs you can take fruits and roots, but you must follow nirjala on this one day.”
Bhisma was thus permitted to observe nirjala on this day alone, but he had to observe all the other Ekādaśīs. This day is therefore called Pāṇḍava nirjala Ekādaśī.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: In India, every Ekādaśī is generally observed without food or water. Pūjyapāda Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja saw that the Western devotees were somewhat weak, so he introduced a concession for them. He said that they could take aṇukalpa (eating a little, just to maintain one’s life) three times in the day. However, instead of following aṇukalpa, they took ‘bṛhat-kalpa,’ eating and drinking as much as they could take. Do you understand? This is not good.
Brajanāth dāsa: They say that if they do not eat sufficiently, they would not have any strength or power.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Bogus; that was the argument of Mohinī.
Devotee: Gurudeva, Śrīla Prabhupāda said that Kṛṣṇa will fulfill a devotee’s desire for preaching only as much as that devotee desires. How can we increase our desire for preaching?
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: You can do so by following our paramparā. Śrī Nārada, Śrīla Vyāsadeva, Śrīla Śukadeva Gosvāmī, the six Gosvāmīs, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, and all of Mahāprabhu’s followers have personally performed bhajana:
yāre dekha, tāre kaha ‘kṛṣṇa’-upadeśa
āmāra ājñāya guru hañā tāra’ ei deśa
Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Madhya-līlā 7.128)
[Instruct everyone to follow the orders of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa as they are given in the Bhagavad-gītā and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. In this way become a spiritual master and try to liberate everyone in this land.*]
This means that you must first become qualified, and then you can teach and preach. If you are not personally following, and you are not realizing anything, then what can you preach?
By first knowing all siddhānta, all philosophical conclusions, your preaching will be successful. We should think, “Preaching is also a bhajana, so we must preach.”
Preaching means to help others. In Bhagavad-gītā, Śrī Kṛṣṇa told Arjuna, “Do not explain these truths to those who are selfish, or to bad persons. Explain these truths only to those who have a little faith.” In the Bhāgavatam, Kṛṣṇa told Uddhava [in Uddhava-saṁvāda], “What I am telling to you, do not tell it to those who do not have strong faith.” Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī has also written this in his Bṛhad-Bhāgavatāmṛta, and Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī has written this in his Ṣaṭ-sandarbha: Those who have no śraddhā, or faith, should not read my book.
We can read and hear if we have faith. If we think that we will have enormous transcendental gain from such reading or hearing, this means we have śraddhā.
Prana-govinda dāsa: It is seen that Dhṛtarāṣṭra does not have very much śraddhā, but Sañjaya still tells him what is happening on the battlefield of Kurukṣetra.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Śrī Kṛṣṇa allowed that, and at last Vidura inspired Dhṛtarāṣṭra to go to the forest, giving up every-thing. Vidura took him to Haridvāra, where his body burned to ashes.
Sañjaya had told Dhṛtarāṣṭra that, through himself, Vyāsadeva allowed Dhṛtarāṣṭra to ‘see’ the events taking place on the battle-field. This is because Vyāsadeva considered, “Dhṛtarāṣṭra is a blind person. One day his eyes should open. He should see that all of his sons – whom he loved so much and had shown partiality in the tension between the Pāṇḍavas and Kauravas – have died.”
Śrīpāda Mādhava Mahārāja: Dhṛtarāṣṭra wanted to see the Mahābhārata battle, and therefore Vyāsadeva was going to give him the transcendental vision to see it. But then Dhṛtarāṣṭra said, “I will not be able to recognize anyone in the battle, because I have never seen them. It is better that Sañjaya be able to see what is happening, and he can then narrate everything to me.” And Vyāsadeva did just that.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: [To Yaśodānanda dāsa] It is for this that I am attracting you.
Yaśodānanda dāsa: I feel very attracted, Śrīla Gurudeva.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Somehow you are very lucky; your ‘everything’ is engaged in Kṛṣṇa’s service.
Madhuvrata dāsa: Śrīla Gurudeva, you mentioned to Giri Mahārāja on the morning walk that preachers have five symptoms.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: I told him, “Why have you shaved your face? No other brahmacārī or sannyāsī has done this.” He said that he shaved for preaching. Then I said, “We have not shaven, but who is preaching more – you or us?” He admitted, “You and all other sannyāsīs are preaching more than I am.” Then I said, “If you shave in the future, I will reject you.”
Śrīpāda Mādhava Mahārāja: Then you told him some symptoms of a preacher. You said that the number of disciples will increase, and money will come [meaning ‘the results of people’s energy will be offered in Kṛṣṇa’s service’].
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: If one is preaching, but those to whom he is preaching are not inspired to take shelter of guru and initiation, then his preaching is like zero.
Also, money will follow him. Vaiṣṇavas do not want money, but still it will come. The success of one’s preaching depends on how much he inspires others to take harināma and thus make their lives successful. That person is doing a high class of preaching.
I asked him, “What have you done? Nothing.”
I told him, “You preach, but no one is coming to take harināma, so what is your preaching? How much money have you given to me?”
He said, “Nothing.”
“So why are you preaching, and why have you shaved?”
Śrīpāda Nemi Mahārāja: Some devotees think that there is no need for them to preach yet, because they are not yet advanced. They think, “First we will read and chant. Then, when we become advanced, then we will preach.”
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: They should enjoy the world, and then return to the world. They should take birth after birth, and they should suffer the pain of life and death.
Śrīpāda Nemi Mahārāja: I see that you don’t accept their idea.
Yaśodānanda dāsa: Śrīla Gurudeva, how can we help fulfill Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura’s mission to make Kṛṣṇa consciousness the worldwide religion?
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: We are doing this. Śrīla Prabhupāda Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura did this, and after him, Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja preached everywhere. Then, what-ever Śrīla Svāmī Mahārāja left for me as his remnants, I am taking and continuing his mission.
Devotee: Gurudeva, one of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s disciples, Jayapatākā Svāmī, claims to have about 60,000 disciples. Do we consider this to be a symptom of successful preaching?
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: He himself does not chant, and he is not established in bhakti. What to speak of him? In India there is a person named Asaram Bapu, and he gives dīkṣā by phone to thousands of people at a time. He has more disciples than Jayapatākā Svāmī. Do you know Kṛpālu Mahārāja? He is now is jail. He has millions of disciples.
Aniruddha dāsa: Our Śrīla Prabhupāda wanted a planetarium to be constructed in Māyāpura, and now the GBC has pledged to construct it at the cost of about sixty million dollars. They are doing this mostly in order to gather all of the Prabhupāda disciples together, because they are seeing that many devotees are fleeing ISKCON and coming to you. Do you think we should support this project?
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Why are you thinking about them? What is the use? Don’t think about them.
Aniruddha dāsa: But you said that successful preaching means ‘followers and money.’
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: So follow me. Follow Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja and Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī. Why follow them, and why always think about them? If you think about them, their bad qualities may come to you.
What is the teaching in the story we told about the female pigeon and male pigeon?
Devotee: The human form of life is our chance to take up Kṛṣṇa consciousness. It is not possible in any other form of life; only in the human form. So…for the short flickering time, so…I forgot.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: I want to hear the story of the he pigeon and she pigeon. I want Mahibharata prabhu to explain it. What is the teaching behind this story?
Mahibharata dāsa: The teaching behind this story is that one should not become attached to one’s wife and family – and not to even take a wife and family. Simply follow śrī gurudeva.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: The male pigeon was very attached to his wife, and he considered that he could not survive without her. Children also came, and then he became still more attached. Death was waiting for him, but he could not see it.
What became of them? Due to their ‘love’ for each other, both were killed by the hunter. So, if you are attached to ladies, your bhakti will be spoiled. You will be worse than dead. Death is not bad. Worse than death, you will undergo spiritual death, meaning diversion from bhakti. Always think about this.
If you are telling this story and not realizing it, and instead marrying again and again and maintaining a sense of strong relations with children and wives, then your bhakti comes to nothing.
Śrīpāda Padmanābha Mahārāja: He is saying that although sannyāsa, or renunciation, is encouraged, in practical life we see that householders are more steady. They remain in household life and…
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Your realization is zero. We follow the realization of high-class bhaktas. Because you are a conditioned soul, what you tell may be wrong.
Nirguṇa dāsa: Last night I read that the self-realized souls find it quite hilarious that the conditioned souls want to marry, because in actuality we are all female.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: I also say this. They are not realizing that they are both female.
Śrīpāda Padmanābha Mahārāja: We see many cases of god-brothers, older devotees, who have been married once or twice, are now reaching the age of fifty or fifty-five. They say that they must again have a partner.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Be careful.
Śrīpāda Padmanābha Mahārāja: They say that they want to have a companion. They don’t want to have the sex life or children, but they want a companion.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: They are speaking lies. They have so much lust and other contaminations. Why do they not want guru companions or high-class Vaiṣṇava companions?
Gokula dāsa: Gurudeva, I am dying.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Why?
Gokula dāsa: It is natural that I am attached to my wife, because I am a conditioned soul. I cannot stop this.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: You may remain with your wife, no harm. But don’t be attached. Moreover, regarding those who are not married, they should be careful.
Gokula dāsa: But this attachment is natural because I am conditioned.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: It is not natural. We have seen that Mahārāja Janaka, Śrīvāsa Paṇḍita, and others like them remain with their entire families, but they are not attached. They support their families out of a sense of duty, and they don’t consider, “We cannot survive without our wives.”
Śrīpāda Padmanābha Mahārāja: Many of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s disciples have been following you for some years, and they feel so much help and inspiration from your association. We want everyone to have a chance to hear what they are feeling, so we want to record them speaking about their spiritual life – how they have been helped by you in their relationship with our Śrīla Prabhupāda as well as with you. Is this good?
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: This is good.
Dhīra-kṛṣṇa dāsa: Was there any formal dīkṣā initiation in Satya-yuga?
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Why not? Brahmā took initiation from Kṛṣṇa, and Nārada took initiation from Brahmā.
Dhīra-kṛṣṇa dāsa: That was bhagavati-dīkṣā.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Somehow they gave dīkṣā, as Vyāsadeva took dīkṣā from Nārada. First of all, you must know the meaning of dīkṣā.
Dhīra-kṛṣṇa dāsa: Divyaṁ jñānaṁ yato dadyāt.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Does dīkṣā refer only to that mantra? What do you understand by the word dīkṣā?
Dhīra-kṛṣṇa dāsa: They will learn their relationship with Śrī Kṛṣṇa.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Did they realize their relationship with Kṛṣṇa?
Dhīra-kṛṣṇa dāsa: Yes.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: This is dīkṣā. If they don’t realize their relationship via the mantras, they have not actually received dīkṣā. It is about vidvad-rūḍhī and avidvad-rūḍhī. Do you under-stand?
Brajanāth dāsa: Yes. Real dīkṣā occurs when we have taken complete shelter of sādhu-saṅga and sad-guru, and when we receive nourish-ment from them.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: The devotee has realization; this is dīkṣā. Dīkṣā is not completed by only giving the mantra. Brahmā received kāma-gāyatrī initiation by hearing the sound of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s flute.
Vṛndāvana dāsa: Śrīla Gurudeva, does it mean, then, that unless we have realization of our svarūpa, our siddha-deha, we have not completed the dīkṣā process?
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: We should know all tattvas, established truths, and be situated in those tattvas. We should know our relationship with Kṛṣṇa and our duty towards Him; we should be established in that. This is real dīkṣā.
By avidvad-rūḍhī dīkṣā you are only entering in the course of dīkṣā. If a young boy is admitted in a school, he is a student, and a PhD is also a student, but there is so much difference between the two. Similarly, avidvad-rūḍhī dīkṣā is also dīkṣā, but it is the entrance, and the other is real dīkṣā.
Śrīpāda Padmanābha Mahārāja: Śrīla Gurudeva, I have a question regarding rāgānuga-bhakti. Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Ādi-līlā 4.15) says rāga-mārga bhakti loke karite pracāraṇa, meaning that Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu came to preach rāga-mārga bhakti. You have also said many times that Mahāprabhu did not come to preach vaidhī-bhakti. Vaidhī-bhakti has already been preached by other ācāryas in other ages. Mahāprabhu has come to give rāga-mārga bhakti, and all of our ācāryas in the line of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī are trying to give it.
When a guru is teaching vaidhī-bhakti to the beginner student, as Rūpa Gosvāmī taught it, is there a difference between that vaidhī-bhakti which that rūpānuga-ācārya is preaching and the vaidhī-bhakti which was previously followed and preached?
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: The vaidhī-bhakti preached by Rāmānujācārya, Nimbāditya, and Madhvācārya is different from the vaidhī-bhakti preached by Mahāprabhu and Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī. If one follows the principles of vaidhī-bhakti as taught by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, that devotee is in the beginning stage of rāgānuga-bhakti. If one hears from Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta – Sanātana-śikṣā, Rūpa-śikṣā, and Rāya Rāmānanda Saṁvāda – his vaidhī-bhakti will turn into rāgānuga-bhakti.
Śrīpāda Padmanābha Mahārāja: You have told us that actual rāgānuga-sādhana-bhakti can only be done in the stage of at least āsakti.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: When you have a real desire for perfection– real, not artificial – then to follow bhakti means that āsakti has come.
Giridhari dāsa: Śrīla Gurudeva, is the harināma-guru considered to be the mantra-guru?
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: He is guru. Also, if that guru is qualified but he has passed away from this world and his disciple took only harināma from him, then the disciple will take dīkṣā from a guru who is equal to that harināma-guru. The dīkṣā-guru should be equal to the bona fide harināma-guru, and in the same line.
[Excerpted from the Gaudiya Vedanta Publication “Walking With a Saint 2007”]