Nistha: The Core of Devotion

His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Srila Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj
Sri Nabadwip Dham
11 November 2010

 

The main thing is to serve the Lord, serve the Guru. That is our seva vritti (or seva pravritti)—it is necessary to have such service temper, such devotion (bhagavad-bhakti).

There is sravanam, kirtanam, asakti, ruchi, nistha—first of all and above all it is necessary to have sincerity, nistha. In Bengali and English, the meaning of sincerity is a little different—nistha is something more than sincerity. Nistha [being firm, fixed, determined] means if you do something you must do it every day.

Gurudev told me: How can you understand, or when can you think, that devotion is coming to you? You are not going to take any test to check if devotion is coming or not—there is no examination that will tell you, "Passed or failed." When you go to school, you study and take an examination, and the result of the examination shows you if you have studied properly or not—you get the examination result and you can understand it. But you do not take such an examination in Krishna consciousness, so how can you understand if devotion is coming or not? You can understand it by checking yourself: if you see that you like Gurudev's lectures, you like reading Gurudev's books—if this kind of feeling comes from your mind, then you can think that some devotion is coming to you, that you have some progress.

You can examine yourself and see it for yourself. If you always want to do some service; if your mind always tells you, "Oh, do some service, read a book"; and on the other hand if you do not like the material movement, you feel annoyed (virakta) at other things, material things that are not related to Krishna consciousness; if you do not like to engage in any outside matters, do some material job; if you do not like talking so much unnecessarily, talking nonsense with others, if do not like talking about anything that is not related to Krishna consciousness; if you do not like reading other books—if you only like doing service and reading Gurudev's books, hearing Krishna-katha—then you can understand that some devotional mood is coming to you.

Such practice removes the seed of sin (aparadher bij). This kind of nistha is necessary for this movement, otherwise if you say something today and the next day forget about it, when you do something for the show, this is not devotion, it is emotion and it will not last. That is why it is necessary for our spiritual life to have proper guidance.

You should associate with pure devotees, otherwise if you always mix with the association of those who do not know anything, you will become contaminated. Gurudev always told this and often told it to me personally also. What does association means? When you talk to somebody in the course of your job, for example when I engage some lady for cleaning service, I talk with her, but this is not association. Just talking with somebody a lot is not association. Gurudev said that if you are, for example, a senior devotee and you take association of a junior devotee from another sampradaya, it will not be fruitful or beneficial, you will not get any good result. You must mix with higher, senior devotees. If you do not get higher senior devotee association, you can read Gurudev's books, Guru Maharaj's books and keep good association through that.

When you get time, read Gurudev's books. If you think, "I am not getting any taste when I read the books," then you can understand that inside you, in your heart, there is an aparadher bij (a seed of sin). You must understand these things, this is important.

If you want to do something out of emotion, it will not give you any result. That is why it is necessary to have sincerity, nistha is necessary. If you do not have nistha, if you do something without sincerity, then you will not get taste. If you think you are not getting the taste, then you must continuously engage in service—whatever kind of service you have, you must do it continuously.

 

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