Mercy Is Above Justice

His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Srila Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj,
Speaking to devotees in Venezuela
29 July 2012, part 4

 

Srila Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj said, "Mercy is above justice." You must understand that sometimes we can do something wrong, and I saw in Gurudev's time also that Gurudev's servitors would do something wrong and Gurudev would tolerate it, tolerate it, tolerate it, and when in the end he could not tolerate it any more, he would reject them. But Gurudev would pray for them, he never really kicks anybody from the temple.

There was one devotee (he is senior to me, he joined the temple perhaps three-five years before me), his name is Tarapada Gosai. Now [as of 2012] he does the puja at the jal mandir of Giri Govardhan and the temple of Sada Siva Gangadhar in Nabadwip, and at that time he did not do this puja—he would sometimes do puja in Hapaniya, sometimes in Kaikhali, later in Bamunpara (at that time there was no Bamunpara temple yet). Gurudev saw that the service he did was very nice and Gurudev loved him very much—his heart was good, his service was good, but the only problem was that he did not know how to behave with the Guru, he is a little foolish. So, one day Gurudev was walking around the Math, I walked behind him (I was a brahmachari at that time), and Gosai was sitting there in one place. Gurudev asked him something, but when Gosai answered something in return, Gurudev became angry, he told him, "Get out of the temple!" And he left. I was the manager at that time, but Gurudev had ordered to him to get out, so what could I say? I could not stop him and say, "Stay here," because Gurudev is the president, he is the Guru. So, when he ordered him to get out, Tarapada Gosai left the temple.

In evening that day, I went with everybody to Gurudev to pay dandavat to him, and Gurudev asked me, "Has Tarapada Gosai left or what? What has happened?" I told Gurudev, "Yes, Gurudev, he has left." Gurudev was upset, "That boy was a good servitor, but I told him to get out on the spur of the moment and he left..." I could see that Gurudev's mood was not good—he was a little sad because a devotee, that brahmachari, left the service.

And Gosai was actually a little bit adamant—he will do what he will do no matter what. When he left, he went to another temple, not our Gaudiya Math, and did puja there. I came to him many times, asking him, "Gosai, please come back. Please come back." I tried to bring him back to the temple many times during a few months, but at first he did not want to come. He said, "No, I will not go back because Gurudev told me to get out!" I told him, "Gurudev has told you to get out, but he did not tell you not to come back! Please come!" In this way, one year later, after trying and trying, I managed to bring him back to the temple. When he came, Gurudev became very happy—he said, "Oh, now Gosai has become Vinod's disciple! Now I am very happy." (At that time my name was Vinod Brahmachari.)

So, actually, Gurudev always gives us a chance, Gurudev always gives us a chance to do service. Sometimes we do something wrong and the temple management punishes us and tells us to get out, but getting out is not the solution. When we get a chance to come back to a temple, we must also understand that we cannot always do wrong—we cannot keep on doing wrong, wrong, wrong all the time. We must also understand something, we must have some simple heart, we must get some heart—if we secretly do some nonsense, do something wrong at the temple, it is not good.

Gurudev is merciful, Gurudev can allow us to serve, but if I keep on always doing wrong, then one day I can lose his mercy. Nityananda Prabhu is very merciful, but when Mahaprabhu becomes angry, He can remove you (you know that Mahaprabhu can use His Sudarshan chakra). Guru is merciful, but when Krishna is angry, then it is a big problem for us. We must understand that Gurudev is merciful, that is why when we make a mistake he can accept our service again, but we cannot think that we will be always forgiven. We do not think that we are innocent. If you think you are innocent, if you do not admit your guilt, that is not good for your devotional life. From our side, we can accept the service of such persons, but we should realise that those who are doing wrong will suffer because of that, there is no need to worry about that.

For example here in India (I do not know the law there in Venezuela), the law is such that if somebody kills somebody, they get life imprisonment or capital punishment (their punishment is the whole life in prison or maybe hanging). But if you appeal for pardon to the president, the president can cancel the judgement of the supreme court—for example, if the court decides your punishment is the whole life in jail, the presidents can decide to forgive you. This is "mercy above justice." The president can say, "It is OK, you can be free," but it does not mean that you are not guilty! It is not like the president pardons you, gives you mercy, and you think, "Oh, he has released me, now I can commit another murder! I can kill somebody again!" This is not good. You must understand this.

The Guru can say, "Come back to the temple," but it does not mean you will think, "OK, I can make the same offence again!" Or somebody does much wrong, and Gurudev excuses them, gives them a chance to come back to the temple, and now another devotees can make the same mistake and think, "Oh, Gurudev will pardon me too!" It is not the same thing!

This is not the point actually. Gurudev is merciful, but it does not mean that one more chance will come to everybody. If somebody does something wrong again, they may not get that chance, they may not be forgiven. Do you understand it? We must understand that we must not do wrong again and others must not get excited, "Oh, I did wrong, he did wrong, they did wrong, and we all got another chance, so no problem." It is not guaranteed. Mercy is above justice, but not for everybody. It comes in some way, but if somebody else does wrong again, it may not be so easy for them to get relief from that kind of offence.

 

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Sanatan-Sikha: Breaking Free
His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj is reading from Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, chapter 22: 'Devotion to Krishna is the primary goal of life. Karma, yoga, jnana look up to bhakti; these practices have very little power—without devotion to Krishna, they cannot give the result.'

 

Ye anila prema-dhana
'I will break my head on a rock, I will enter into fire—where shall I go to reach the reservoir of all qualities, Sri Gauranga?'
যে আনিল প্রেমধন

We think we know everything, we have everything, we are very powerful and very knowledgeable, but in fact we know nothing, we have nothing.

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