Simple-Hearted and Sincere Service
His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
You have heard the story of Tota Gopinath, the story of Saksi Gopal, Ksir-Chora Gopinath, the story of Raghunandan, the little son of Mukunda—everywhere the Lord shows that He accepts what His devotees offer Him. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu too showed it:
His mother Sachi would offer the bhog, thinking, "If only Nimai was here! He likes this dish, and this, and this... but now He is in Puri..." After offering the bhog, she would see the plate was empty and think, "Maybe I forgot to offer it..." But it is not so—Nimai came! Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Himself actually came and took everything! Later, He sent Damodar Pandit with the message, "Tell My mother that in winter season, Paus/Sakranti, she cooked so many pancakes and was thinking about Me. Tell her I took everything that day."
Then there is the story of Raghunandan, Mukunda's son. He was very young at that time, about ten years old. One day, his mother told him, "Raghunandan, I have already cooked the bhog and everything is ready for the offering, but I have no time, I must go to the market with your father. Can you offer the bhog today?" Raghunandan agreed and at noon went to make the offering. He placed the offering at the altar, but he did not know any mantras or slokas, so he said to the Deity, "Hey, please take this! Eat!" The Deity did not eat. Raghunandan did not give up,
"My mother gives You food every day and You eat, and when a little boy is offering it to You, You are not taking! Why are You not accepting it from me? Why are You not taking the food?! If You do not take it, I will beat You with a stick!"
"Yes, yes, I am eating now, do not beat Me. I am eating."
"Eat, and You must take it all!"
The Deity took everything. When the Lord finished the entire offering, Raghunandan kept the empty plate in the kitchen and soon his mother and father came back from the market. When the mother saw the empty plate, she asked Raghunandan,
"Where is our prasadam?"
"Mother, perhaps you cooked a little less today, the Deity has eaten everything."
"Every day I offer the bhog, and the Deity does not take it but today you gave it and everything is gone. You must have eaten it all yourself or given to your friends. I do not believe you."
"Yes, mother, it is so. Please believe me. The Deity took everything."
"OK, then we shall see in the afternoon."
Later, in the afternoon, his mother said to Raghunandan, "OK, now take the fruit and the sweets and make an offering again. The Deity was resting, and now you can offer the afternoon bhog. I want to see what the Deity will eat."
Raghunandan took the offering to the altar and spoke to the Deity, "Now eat!"
"Oh, no. At noon I took so much, I cannot take now again!" replied the Deity.
"No, take! My mother does not believe me, she thinks I have eaten everything. Please take!"
In the meantime, his mother heard his voice and wondered, "Who is he talking to?" She came to the door and peeped through a small hole—she saw the Deity was taking a sweet: one half was in His hand and the other half was in His mouth. Seeing this scene, she fainted.
You can understand that this happens through full faith—not so many things are necessary. Actually, only one thing is necessary for that. What is it? Avoid, Mahaprabhu said, avoid deceitful devotion. Deceitful devotion means you are showing devotion to others but you are not practising properly. False renunciation is very bad for your practising life: you must follow yukta-vairagya, proper renunciation, and avoid deceitful devotion. Look at Raghunandan: he does not know any mantra, he was simple-hearted. You too should be simple-hearted, then if you worship the Deity, the Lord, with full faith, you can understand everything easily and you will be able to see the Lord.
At the same time, do not to lose your patience. Sometimes we lose our patience and think, "Oh, I have been in Krishna consciousness for so many years, but I am not getting the result." Of course: if you make so many offences, if you have so much deceitful devotion, how will you get the result?
Avoid Dham aparadh, avoid seva aparadh, avoid Vaishnav aparadh, and, most importantly, avoid the Nama aparadh, offences to the Holy Name. You know it is very difficult to avoid Nama aparadh, but you must do it, otherwise you are doing so much service but because you are making so many offences to the Holy Name your service will be ruined!
Every day we must arrange some istha-gosthi (ইষ্টগোষ্ঠী), some Hari-katha, Krishna-katha. We must teach devotees properly what is necessary and what is not necessary for our practising life—we must understand it ourselves and then teach others. Otherwise we are only saying,
“গোরার আমি, গোরার আমি” মুখে বলিলে নাহি চলে ।
"gorara ami, gorara ami" mukhe balile nahi chale
Just saying, "I am Gora's! I am Gora's!" does not do. Only when you follow Gora's practices and Gora's conception will you get the proper result.
Sri Sri Prema-vivarta, 8.6
We say we are followers of Gurudev, we are followers of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, but we are not following Gurudev's conception, we are not following Mahaprabhu's teachings and conception. We are only saying it. I have told before that it is easy to say it but it is hard to do it.
লোক দেখান গোরা ভজা তিলক মাত্র ধরি ।
loka dekhana gora bhaja tilaka matra dhari'
Sri Sri Prema-vivarta, 8.7
"You show to the world that you worship Gora, Gauranga Mahaprabhu, you put tilak on your forehead, but secretly you are doing something wrong—but Gora knows you are a thief!"
You must also avoid criticising Vaishnavs, devotees. Do not do পর-চর্চা, পর-নিন্দা, para-charcha, para-ninda (speak bad, or find fault with others). Mahaprabhu taught it to Raghunath Das Goswami—you must understand what it means and avoid it. Gurudev also told me, "If you you criticise a devotee today, that same fault will come later to you—the reaction will come to you."
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