Varnashrama and Practising Life

His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Srila Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj
September 7, 2010


Here in India Hindu people say they follow the Veda. When you ask any Hindu, they say, "Oh, we are under this kind of Veda," but they do not follow the rules and regulations of the Vedas. No Veda gives the direction, "You kill a jiva soul." Vedas do not tell this, but people say, "We follow the Veda." Veda means Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda, Atharva Veda, there are these four Vedas.

There are also four ashrams [orders of life]. It is said in Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita,

চারি বর্ণাশ্রমী যদি কৃষ্ণ নাহি ভজে ।
স্বকর্ম্ম করিলেও সে রৌরবে পড়ি মজে ॥

chari varnasrami yadi krsna nahi bhaje
svakarma karileo se raurave padi maje

"Whatever varna (a priest, fighter, manager, or worker) or asram (a celibate, householder, renouncer of the household life, or monk) you may belong to, if you do not worship Krsna but engage in your prescribed duties, you will have to fall into a terrible hell."

Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, Madhya-lila, 22.26

Mahaprabhu said, "Somebody may strictly follow brahmacharya from the age of 1 to 25, then grihastha ashram from 25 to 50, vanaprastha from 50 to 75, and sannyas from 75 to 100, but if they do not follow Krishna consciousness, they still have no hope: they have to go to hell." 'Raurave' (রৌরবে) means hell. They are sinners (papi, পাপী), and they will go to hell. He tells this very nicely.

Even when Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu went to Katwa to take sannyas, Keshav Bharati told Him many times, "How will You take sannyas?"

When Keshav Bharati came to Jagannath Mishra's house, he saw Nimai as a sannyasi, and Nimai also thought, "I will take sannyas for preaching because people do not listen to Me. What have I come here for? I cannot rescue all of them because they are not following Me. I am a grihastha, householder. If I tell them something, they tell the opposite, 'Oh, You take Your wife's food, You sleep on a good cushioned bed, and then You give some good advice—who will listen to You?'" He thought, "To rescue the whole universe, I must take sannyas."

Then Mahaprabhu asked Keshav Bharati something, and Keshav Bharati said, "What are You thinking about? Do You want to take sannyas? Do not do that. Do not even think about it because Your wife is here, and Your mother is also here. If, however, I get the permission from Your mother and wife, then You can take sannyas." He left. When Mahaprabhu came to Keshav Bharati later, they spent the whole night speaking Krishna-katha. Keshav Bharati spoke like this:

"You are only 24 years old, how will You take sannyas? You have not even finished Your brahmacharya life! Even when You become 50, You still cannot control Your senses (rupa, rasa, gandha, sabda, sparsa—the senses of sight, taste, smell, hearing, touch), then how will You take sannyas? Even when You are 50, You cannot take sannyas.

"Then You feel, 'OK, I am 60.' When You are 60, You still suffer from the six faults of kama, krodha, lobha, moha, mada, matsarya (lust, anger, greed, attachment, illusion, envy). When You are 60, You do not know how to use kama, where to use anger, greed, attachment, etc. You have an ego, but what is this ego for?"

Everybody has some ego, but what is that ego for? Your ego must be, "I am the servant of the Lord. I am the servant of my Guru." There is kama, krodha, lobha, mada, moha, matsarya, but Krishna said, "I am not giving any place for matsaryata (envy, jealousy). I am giving five places where you can use the other five, but I cannot tolerate matsaryata, the jealous mood." Matsarya is very bad.

কৃষ্ণসেবা কামার্পণে, ক্রোধ ভক্ত-দ্বেষিজনে,
লোভ সাধুসঙ্গে হরিকথা ।
মোহ ইষ্টলাভ বিনে, মদ কৃষ্ণ গুণগানে,
নিযুক্ত করিব যথা তথা ॥

krsna-seva kamarpane, krodha bhakta-dvesi-jane,
lobha sadhu-sange hari-katha
moha ista-labha bine, mada krsna guna-gane,
niyukta kariba yatha tatha

"I will engage lust by offering it in Krishna's service. Anger I will direct towards those who are envious of the devotees. I will be greedy to hear the topics of Hari in the association of devotees. I will feel illusioned without achieving my worshipable Lord. I will be maddened while singing the glories of Krishna. In this way I will engage these enemies in their proper places."

Sri Prema-bhakti-chandrika, 22

This is Srila Narottam Das Thakur's explanation of Srila Rupa Goswami Prabhu's sloka.

অন্য অভিলাষ ছাড়ি, জ্ঞান কর্ম্ম পরিহরি,
কায়মনে করিব ভজন ।
সাধুসঙ্গে কৃষ্ণসেবা, না পূজিব দেবী-দেবা,
এই ভক্তি পরম কারণ ॥

anya abhilasa chhadi, jnana karma parihari
kaya-mane kariba bhajana
sadhu-sange krsna-seva, na pujiba devi-deva
ei bhakti parama karana

The topmost process of devotional service is to worship the Lord with body and mind, giving up desires for fruitive activities and mental speculation. One should serve Lord Krishna in the association of devotees without worshipping any demigods.

Sri Prema-bhakti-chandrika, 13

In this way he wrote. You should read these things, it is very nice. You can read this one sloka and understand full Krishna consciousness. Also,

অন্যাভিলাষিতা-শূন্যং জ্ঞান-কর্ম্মাদ্যনাবৃতম্ ।
আনুকূল্যেন কৃষ্ণানুশীলনং ভক্তিরুত্তমা ॥

anyabhilasita sunyam jnana-karmady anavrtam
anukulyena krsnanusilanam bhaktir uttama

"The highest devotion is that which is cultivated for the satisfaction of the Supreme Lord Krishna, with no desire except to serve Him, and divested of all external attempts such as worldly action, knowledge in search of the impersonal Absolute, or the meditational attempt to become one with God."

Sri Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu, 1.1.11, by Srila Rupa Goswami

Narottam Das Thakur wrote that sloka giving the full meaning of Srila Rupa Goswami Prabhu's sloka, and there you can understand all Krishna consciousness: what your practising life is, and what the abhidheya-tattva is. You can understand it all easily.

So, 60 years. Then Mahaprabhu jumped to 90, "OK, Prabhu, I am 90 now."

"When You are 90, You cannot practise nava-vidha bhakti."

আদৌশ্রদ্ধা ততঃ সাধুসঙ্গোঽথ ভজনক্রিয়া ।
ততোঽনর্থনিবৃত্তিঃ স্যাৎ ততো নিষ্ঠা রুচিস্ততঃ ॥
অথাসক্তিস্ততো ভাবস্ততঃ প্রেমাভ্যুদঞ্চতি ।
সাধকানাময়ং প্রেম্ণঃ প্রাদুর্ভাবে ভবেৎ ক্রমঃ ॥

adau sraddha tatah sadhu-sango tato bhajana-kriya
tato 'nartha-nivrttih syat tato nistha ruchis tatah
athasaktis tato bhavas tatah premabhyudanchati
sadhakanam ayam premnah pradurbhave bhavet kramah

"In the beginning there must be faith. Then one becomes interested in associating with pure devotees. Thereafter one is initiated by the spiritual master and executes the regulative principles under his orders. Thus one is freed from all unwanted habits and becomes firmly fixed in devotional service. Thereafter, one develops taste and attachment. This is the way of sadhana-bhakti, the execution of devotional service according to the regulative principles. Gradually emotions intensify, and finally there is an awakening of love. This is the gradual development of love of Godhead for the devotee interested in Krishna consciousness."

Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu, 1.4.15–16

Nistha (নিষ্ঠা, faith) and asakti (আসক্তি, attachment) are necessary. Gurudev told many times about it: everybody does some service, but they have no attachment to their service, they do not take the responsibility. Not even 10% or 5% of the devotees have attachment to their service. It is necessary to do service with attachment.

So, 90. "When You reach 90, You cannot practise nava-vidha bhakti."

If you practise, you chant, and you do everything, then all bad things, all illusory environment—bhukti-mukti-siddhi-adi vancha—will be removed from your heart through sravanam, kirtanam. Only through this. Those who do not do it, they go to hell. Maya attacks them. Sravanam, kirtanam are the main things. There are 64 bhaktanga (limbs, practices of devotion), and to practise these 64 is very difficult, but there are 5 main practices:

সাধুসঙ্গ, নামকীর্ত্তন, ভাগবতশ্রবণ ।
মথুরাবাস, শ্রীমূর্ত্তির শ্রদ্ধায় সেবন ॥

sadhu-sanga, nama-kirtana, bhagavata-sravana
mathura-vasa, sri-murtira sraddhaya sevana

"One should associate with devotees, chant the Holy Name of the Lord, hear Srimad-Bhagavatam, reside at Mathura and worship the Deity with faith and veneration."

Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, Madhya-lila, 22.124

If you get some little association through these five practices, you will be rescued from this material environment. You know the meaning of sadhu-sanga, sravan, kirtan, Bhagavat-sravan, it is not necessary to explain it, and Mathura-vasa means living in the holy places where Krishna-katha is going on. That is called Mathura, that is called Vrindavan. Wherever there is Krishna-katha going on, Krishna always appears there. We cannot see it with this kind of eyes because these eyes are always polluted with Maya, we have illusory dust in our eyes.

অপ্রাকৃত বস্তু নহে প্রাকৃত-গোচর ।
বেদ-পুরাণেতে এই কহে নিরন্তর ॥

aprakrta vastu nahe prakrta-gochara
veda-puranete ei kahe nirantara

"Spiritual substance is never within the jurisdiction of the material conception. This is always the verdict of the Vedas and Puranas."

Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, Madhya-lila, 9.195

We are blind through the illusory dust, so how will you see that transcendental abode? You need another kind of eyes.

ভুক্তি-মুক্তি আদি-বাঞ্ছা যদি মনে হয় ।
সাধন করিলেও প্রেম উৎপন্ন না হয় ॥

bhukti-mukti adi-vancha yadi mane haya
sadhana karile prema utpanna na haya

"If you have material desires, if you want liberation, enjoyment, some mystic powers, and so on, then even if you practise all life, or life after life, prem, divine love, will not come."

Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, Madhya-lila, 19.175

If you practise, do service, everything, but have another desire in your heart, any time you can fall down. You will not be able to get entrance. "I will be the Guru, I will be the manager, I will take this post, I will be the secretary, I will be this, I will be that, I want that"—if you have this kind of mood, if your mind is polluted with this kind of desire, and you are showing that you are doing so much service, then you cannot succeed. Everything is inside desire, so do not attach yourself with that, always keep away.

Sraddhaya sri murti sevana: Somebody does some puja, but they do not do it with affection and faith. No sraddha. They think, "Oh, I have to stay there. I've got one good room, I will get prasadam. If I do not do any service, Maharaj will kick me out, then I have to do something." This is not sraddha. Do you understand? They are doing puja, but without sraddha, without full faith. "Oh, if I do not do some service, Maharaj will be angry, maybe they will take away the room, take away the room key and will not give me prasadam," they say like this. Just to do some service is not faith, sraddha. You must do service with sincerity.

Do you have any other questions?

Question: Is it natural to feel like an offender, to feel like I am not able to do these things, I am so fallen?

If somebody thinks, "Oh, I am doing so much," that is bad for him. But "Oh, I cannot do anything"—if this kind of emotion is coming, then it is something. Prabhupad, Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur, also told it. One disciple said to him,

"Prabhupad, I cannot do bhajan."

"You are telling the truth?"

"Yes, Prabhupad, I am telling the truth. I cannot do bhajan, I cannot practise properly."

"Are you telling the truth?"

"Yes, Prabhupad."

"Then something is happening."

This is a good symptom. If somebody says, "Oh, I am doing bhajan, I am practising so much, I am doing this and that," it is not a good symptom; but if somebody says, "Oh, I cannot do anything, my bhajan is not coming," that is a good symptom.

Devotee: You have told so many times about 'bhukti, mukti, siddhi adi-vancha', but I feel everything I am doing is for 'bhukti, mukti adi-vancha'...

No, actually it is not for everybody. We are not for 'bhukti mukti siddhi adi-vancha'. "তদ্­বিদ্ধি প্রণিপাতেন পরিপ্রশ্নেন সেবয়া, tad-viddhi pranipatena, pariprasnena sevaya: our viddhi is seva-viddhi, seva pravritti, service temper. We have come for service. We got a human body, and this body must be used only for the service to the Lord, service to the Guru. You must think like this, not to say other things.

Sometimes there is a lack of mercy or if we have some bad association, then we may do something wrong. Mahaprabhu said that sometimes one unknowingly does something wrong. But Krishna, Lord Himself, said, "I will rescue this kind of sinner. Sometimes he does not know, he uses some bad language, or sometimes his angry mood comes, but if he is My devotee, if he does this for service, then whatever sinful work he does in his practising life I am removing from him all the reaction for that." Sometimes you can do something wrong, but the Lord will rescue you, so again you engage in the service of the Lord.



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