Collecting Jivas, Collecting Bhog

His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Srila Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj
Sri Nabadwip Dham,
Talking to South African devotees
29 March 2016

 

Try to serve there—it is necessary to have the strongest practising and the strongest faith, these two are the main things. Try to find people through preaching, find people who would stay permanently at the temple, do proper service. Do you understand?

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)

There is no Sri Vigraha (Deities) at your temple, but you should first find a good, permanent purjari, and you can worship the vigraha of Gaura Nitai... You can see the kind of preaching we do here. In every house where I give initiation, even the first initiation only, they all have an altar, have our Guru paramprara, and they practice properly. Generally I do not tell anyone to arrange the Deities because when they come for the festival here, who will give food to the Deities? If, however, somebody has many people in the family, all are initiated, then they can worship Deities.

You must hijack people for preaching—those who are suffering a lot with their family, who are not looked after by their son or daughter, they can come and stay at the temple.

Is it very expensive to maintain the temple in your country?

Devotee: We manage with the donations coming from the devotees.

Also, when you invite Sripad Tyagi Maharaj, organise a good, proper programme—arrange for an advertisement in the newspaper, distribute leaflets...

I am teaching you some process how to bring new people. I have been preaching in the Indian villages since Gurudev's times, and you can see how many people come for Gaura Purnima now—in Gurudev's times there were only about two hundred people here at the Gaura Purnima time. Gurudev himself went to preaching in some villages only one-two times, in 1990, after 1990 he never went to the villages: I did.

You are intellectual people—Western, foreign people know only Christ and the Pope, but in India there are so many demigods, and it is a big problem for preaching. There are so many millions of millions of demigods, and so many mayavadi conceptions, so many sahajiya conceptions. When I went preaching, I wanted to give them the real conception of Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math, wanted to bring them to Gurudev—I know I do not have so much qualification, but my Guru has so many qualities, so much qualification, so I would bring them by their hair and throw them at the lotus feet of Gurudev. That was my duty, and this is how I did it. Eventually, so many people got connected to Gurudev...

Basically, you make one programme a week, don't you? On Sunday, right? How many devotees come to the programme?

Devotee: There are ten main devotees, and more come at festival time, maybe twenty.

It is very little... Do people not like prasad? Here in every small branch they make festivals (we do not go there because for Guru Maharaj's festival or Gurudev's festival I am always here, how will I go there?), and many come for prasadam. Invite people for prasadam, and you can also give some lecture, give a talk.

Invite people for prasadam on Gurudev's festivals, Guru Maharaj's festivals. You can make a festival for Krishna (on Janmastami), but if you make a festival for Krishna's servant, Krishna will be happier. Do you understand what I mean? I do not send invitations for the Janmastami festival because as it is so many non-initiated people come here, it is more like a local festival here. Our main festivals are Guru Maharaj's festivals, Gurudev's festivals [their appearance and disappearance days]. You can tell people something about Gurudev's conception, you can glorify Gurudev's pastimes, glorify Guru Maharaj's pastimes, and Krishna will be happy. It will work. Every small branch that we have makes these festivals, and two-three hundred people come there on these days—even the non-devotees come to take prasadam.

You can also arrange collection for such festivals—if cooking for the festival is hard, then you can even serve kitchuri, that is also a festival.

Do you have receipt books in the temple? You can give some devotee a receipt book and tell them, "OK, your duty will be to collect for this festival." This is how I maintain the collection. For example, this Gaura Purnima I gave a hundred grihastha devotees a receipt book each. Some devotees brought 2000 rupees, some devotee gave 500 rupees, 5000 rupees, 8000 rupees, etc. They collect rice, potato, as well as money. Even some old ladies go for collection—when I see there is a strong lady in a village, I give her the receipt book and say, "It is not necessary for you to give anything yourself, but collect from outside. That is your service." For example, the next festival we are making is Gurudev's disappearance festival—you can give ten devotees a receipt book each and ask them to collect from outside. Organise it. Somebody can be the treasurer and keep the account. You make a committee, but if the committee does not work, what is the use of such a committee?

At some temples we also have "musti bhiksa" (মুষ্টি ভিক্ষা, lit. "handful collection"). What is this? For example, I have a temple in some village, like in Bakura, where there are not so many devotees. What did I do? I gave them some money to buy a clay pot (each pot is five-ten rupees, so I gave them 1000 rupees), and I gave those pots to 200 houses. Every day they must put some rice in it—they are not devotees, they eat fish, meat, etc. but when they cook rice, in the morning and in the evening, they must put a handful ('musti') of rice in the pot. Then, on the last day of each month, those who live in the temple take a bag and go by bicycle to collect that rice. Following this process, they have so much rice in Bakura, they cannot even finish it all in one month.

Do you understand? The devotees in the temple asked me about the process, and this is the process I taught them. I learnt it from Gurudev.

 

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Gift of Service
'Mercy comes through desire. If you have a strongest desire, you will serve your Lord, your Guru, and Krishna, Guru will take your service. But if there comes even a little distance from our service, Maya is always ready: as soon as Maya gets some place, you will be immediately attacked by her.'

 

Sujanarvuda-radhita-pada-yugam
'He is the moon that delights his star-like servants. His great, lion-like roar scares away the inimical. His feet bestow auspiciousness upon the simple who accept them. Eternally I offer my obeisance to my master's feet.'
সুজনার্ব্বুদরাধিতপাদযুগং

What is this heavy head on my shoulders for? If you pay obeisance to the Lord, to Guru,
Vaishnav, Bhagavan, your head will become light.

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