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Good Association

His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Srila Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj
speaking to the Colombian devotees,
2 October 2014


Devotee: In the song "Amara jivana", it says "para-sukhe duhkhi", we feel happy when we see others suffering. How can we remove that feeling?

Good feelings and this feeling will come through good association. Para-sukhe sukhi, para-duhkhe duhkhi—when somebody is sad, you will also feel sad. That feeling will come to your heart through good association. Ultimately, it is also the mercy from a great Vaishnav. In this way it will come.

Devotee: How can we recognise what is good association?

It is easy to recognise. Through good association your service mood, your service desire will increase more and more. You can examine yourself and realise, "Is your service increasing or decreasing? Are you increasing your Krishna consciousness, your practising life?"

When you study in a class, pass the exam, and go to a higher class, you will get new friends, and you will lose the previous friends who fail the exam. You will make friends with those who are going to a higher class. You may lose your friend if they fail in Krishna consciousness in that class, but you must always increase your spiritual life, and you will get new friends in your spiritual life.

So, you can easily understand if it is good association or bad association: is your material desire coming more and more, or are your spiritual success, spiritual matters, service mood coming more and more?

You cannot recognise vaishnavata [qualities of a Vaishnava] by the clothes. Sometimes you can see somebody wearing saffron clothes and you may think, "Oh, he is a great Vaishnav!" No.

Many years ago, when I just joined Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math, one saffron-clad brahmachari told me, "Why did you come here? You are young, why are you not looking after your parents? You can get a job and work outside, you can have a family life!" He gave me such advice in the temple, and I thought, "He is a bad association." After that, when I saw him, I always kept some distance from him. I never showed my face to him, and at prasadam time I did not sit close to him. So, you can understand who gives you good advice, who gives you Krishna consciousness, and who speaks gramya-katha. Keep a little distance from those who talk like that.

Devotee: How can we get attachment to service?

Service attachment comes through service. If you serve and serve the whole day, and do more and more service, then service attachment will come. Also the mercy of the Guru is necessary. When through service we do more and more service, service attachment will come automatically.

Jiva Goswami Prabhu served twenty-two and a half hours a day. He spent one hour and thirty minutes only on taking bath, resting, taking prasadam. Only 1,5 hours. The rest of the time, 22,5 hours, he used for the service to his Guru.

If you have that desire to serve the Vaishnavs, to serve the Guru, then automatically you can be successful in your spiritual life and Krishna will fulfil your desire, but faith is necessary.

দৈন্য, আত্মনিবেদন, গোপ্তৃত্বে বরণ ॥
'অবশ্য রক্ষিবে কৃষ্ণ'—বিশ্বাস পালন ॥

dainya, atma-nivedana, goptrtve varana
'avasya raksibe krsna'—visvasa palana

"Humility, self-submission, embracing the Lord's guardianship, maintaining the faith that 'Krishna will certainly protect me'."

Saranagati, 1, by Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur

If you always have this kind of saranagati, then one day Krishna will fulfil your desire.



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'We must clean ourselves through sravan, kirtan, Hari-katha, otherwise no matter how much we labour, the result will not come.'


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