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Appearance Is Deceptive

His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Srila Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj
17 June 2010


Question: It is said that we should give up our material activities and increase our devotional service, but how to harmonise it if a person has to work hard to maintain their family?

They can do everything within their family life as devotional activities, because actually it is not their family, it is Krishna's family. If they think it is their family, it is a problem; but if they think that it is Krishna's family, then whatever they do will be for Krishna.

If you have children, taking care of these children is also service to the Lord. You can teach them how to practise devotional activities, and that child will be a devotee, will serve the Lord and the Guru. Everything is for Krishna, and you can turn your house into a temple.

In this world people know only exploitation and renunciation, but Prabhupad Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur and Mahaprabhu explained that Krishna is the biggest enjoyer in this world—no one can enjoy more than Krishna. All gopis also said, "We do not want renunciation, we do not want to go to the jungle and chant. We want You to stay and enjoy with us." This is very important for our spiritual life—we do not want a life of renunciation, we do not like that, but we want to live a happy life with the Lord, to live a happy life through Krishna consciousness.

Question: Externally, Pundarik Vidyanidhi used to behave as an ordinary person, and sometimes we may become confused—how can it be possible that such great personalities can behave like an ordinary soul?

Mahaprabhu would always call Pundarik Vidyanidhi 'baba', father. In Dvapar-yuga, he is Radharani's father, King Vrisabhanu, and in Kali-yuga he becomes Pundarik Vidyanidhi. Mahaprabhu knew this and gave much honour to him although Pundarik Vidyanidhi was a householder.

Pundarik Vidyanidhi was a rich man, looking like a landlord, and he would always chew some pan (a mixture of tobacco, pulses, nuts, etc.) and spit it out at a wall. Everyone was appalled, "What is this dirty man doing?" People did not like him, and even Gadadhar Pandit was surprised to see Pundarik Vidyanidhi's behaviour, but when he asked Mahaprabhu to give him initiation, Mahaprabhu said, "Your Guru is coming, wait for him," and later He told Gadadhar Pandit to take initiation from Pundarik Vidyanidhi.

Also, how can you understand that Bhakti Vinod Thakur is a great personality? He was actually saptam Goswami, the seventh Goswami, but he would mix with aul, baul, kartta-bhaja, with all these bad people of apa-sampradaya. He knew why he mixed with that kind of misconception. When he was in Krishna Nagar, he saw that Mahaprabhu's conception had been lost and there was much misconception going on instead, and because he wanted to purify, conquer the people with this kind of mentality, he had to mix with them.

Gurudev also sometimes mixed with such people. There was a very big man who donated the money to build a house for the goshala in Nabadwip, but he smoked a pipe. Once he asked Gurudev, "Do you know what my pipe is saying?" Gurudev joked, "Yes, it is saying, 'Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna.'" Gurudev also mixed with such kind of people, but anyhow, later, that man became a great devotee.

So, how can you understand such personalities? Sometimes their behaviour seems bad, but they are actually great. You cannot understand who they are by their appearance.

Das Goswami Prabhu also—when he first went to meet Mahaprabhu, at first Mahaprabhu told him to go back to his house, and he did that: he got married and led a household life. The grihastha people say, "Oh, but he left his wife and again went to Mahaprabhu"—they think bad, but it was necessary to rescue us, the jiva souls, to rescue all universe.

Until you have reached a particular stage, level of realisation, you cannot understand who is a devotee and who is not just by their external behaviour. You must reach that stage, then you can understand it.



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Akrodha Paramananda Nityananda Raya
'The anger-less, prideless, supremely joyful Nityananda Ray wanders throughout the towns. Going from door to door to the homes of the lowly and fallen souls, He distributes the Hare Krishna mahamantra.'


Durlabha manava-janma
'Dogs and jackals will happily have a festival with my body. This is the fate of my body, its effects, material wealth, and all of my companions.'
দুর্লভ মানব জন্ম

Maya will always try to take you away from the service, but you must
forcefully keep yourself within service.