Our Identity

His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Srila Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj
Translated from Bengali
9 December 2018, Tarakeshwar, part 6

 

The Lord Himself says that He may not know Himself, but His devotee knows Him. Who did Mahaprabhu hear Krishna-katha from? Not from some brahman—He heard it from Ramananda Ray. If you read Chaitanya-charitamrita, you will find their conversation there.

Mahaprabhu asked Ramananda Ray, "Pada sloka sadhyera nirnaya: please recite verses about the ultimate goal of life." First, Ramananda Ray said that you can practise devotion to Krishna by following your prescribed duties (the duties of grihastha, brahmacharya, sannyas, etc.). Mahaprabhu said, "Leave this, go further." Then, Ramananda Ray quoted a verse from Gita, "Yyat karosi yad asnasi, yaj juhosi dadasi yat: whatever meditation you practise, whatever sacrifice you make, whatever you do, whatever worship you perform, do it for Me, then you will get Me." This is karma-misra bhakti (devotion mixed with material pursuits). Mahaprabhu did not accept it. After that, Ramananda Ray spoke about jnana-misra bhakti (devotion mixed with knowledge pursuits). Again, it was not accepted. Finally, when Ramananda Ray spoke about jnana-sunya bhakti (devotion devoid of knowledge pursuits), then Mahaprabhu said, "Yes!" Mahaprabhu had told to leave all the other conceptions—karma-misra bhakti, jnana-misra bhakti—and when Ramananda Ray spoke about jnana-sunya bhakti, then only Mahaprabhu accepted it, "Yes, if you follow this, you can get the Lord." Jnana-sunya bhakti means you feel, "I do not know anything, I do not understand anything, I have no quality and qualification." Look at Prahlad Maharaj—how does one get the Lord in santa-rasa (Prahlad Maharaj is a santa-rasa devotee)? He was thrown into fire, he was thrown into water tied to a rock, he was thrown off a hill, he was thrown under the feet of an elephant, he was given snake's venom, but did anything happened to him? He was only five years old, but he always thought about the Lord.

যে যথা মাং প্রপদ্যন্তে তাংস্তথৈব ভজাম্যহম্ ।
মম বর্ত্মানুবর্ত্তন্তে মনুষ্যাঃ পার্থ সর্ব্বশঃ ॥

ye yatha mam prapadyante, tams tathaiva bhajamy aham
mama vartmanuvartante, manusyah partha sarvasah

"Howsoever people surrender to Me, I accordingly reward them. Being the ultimate goal of all paths, I am the objective to be attained by all. O Partha, all men follow My various paths."

Srimad Bhagavad-gita, 4.11

Santa-, dasya-, sakhya-, vatsalya-, madhura-rasa. We always try to serve in dasya-rasa, remember this.

'কৃষ্ণ-নিত্যদাস'—জীব তাহা ভুলি' গেল ।
এই দোষে মায়া তার গলায় বান্ধিল ॥

'krsna-nitya-dasa'—jiva taha bhuli' gela
ei dose maya tara galaya bandhila

"When the jiva soul makes the mistake of forgetting that it is an eternal servant of Krishna, Maya captures the soul by its neck."

(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, Madhya-lila, 22.24)

We have forgotten that we are eternal servants (das) of Krishna, and Maya has tied us by our necks—this is how the jiva souls become incessantly bound to this material world and repeatedly enter this world, repeatedly change their bodies. I am wearing these clothes today, but tomorrow I am going to wear other clothes—we do not wear the same clothes that we wear the day before, we change them. So, just as we always keep changing our clothes, we always keep changing our body.

As you sow so you reap—if I cannot chant the Holy Name in this life, I will have to come back next life, and nobody knows what kind of life I will get. It is said that there are 37 000 jiva souls standing in the queue at every moment, and only one of them gets a human birth. What happens to the rest of the 36 999 souls? They get all kinds of other births—they are born as insects, birds and beast, trees and plants, mosquitoes, potatoes, spinach, etc. All these species have souls, and their souls are the same as ours. Even such a huge animal as an elephant has the same soul as we do. It is said in the scriptures that the soul is so small that you cannot see it with your eye. If you divide the tip of a hair 10 000 times, this is the size of the soul—this is "I".

Sanatan Goswami asked Mahaprabhu five questions: "(1) Who am I (কে আমি, ke ami)? (2) Why am I suffering (কেনে আমায় জারে তাপত্রয়, kene amaya jare tapa-traya)? (3) How can I get relief from this suffering and austerity? How can I get benefit? (কিসে হিত হয়, kise hita haya)? (4) What is the eternal goal (সাধ্য বস্তু কী, sadhya vastu ki)? (5) How can I attain this main goal (সাধ্য বস্তু কী করলে পাওয়া য্য়, sadhya vastu ki korle paowa yaya)?" When somebody asks you, "Who are you?" You say, "So-and-so Chakravarti," "So-and-so Banerjee", "So-and-so Das", "So-and-so Ray", "So-and-so Patra," etc. This is not our real identity—this is the identity of the body. When I am in this body, somebody calls me by a certain name, but when I leave this body, nobody will call me by that name any more. You live in a certain house and people call you "Uncle", "Father", "Mother", etc. but if you leave this house and go to the cremation ghat, nobody will call you that name anymore—you will get a body in another place...

 

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Odds and Ends
'It does not look good for a saffron-clad brahmachari to go to a restaurant and take food there. Sitting there, gossiping and talking, is very ugly. They must be a little shy, they must think a little what they are doing.'

 

Durlabha manava-janma
'I toil like an ass. For whom am I doing this? Still my illusion has not been dispelled.'
দুর্লভ মানব জন্ম

'You must remember that I will never buy rice for Gaura Purnima. I can spend so much money and make Gaura Purnima festival, but I cannot buy rice for Gaura Purnima.'

"HUMILITY, TOLERANCE, GIVING HONOUR TO OTHERS | HUMILITY, TOLERANCE, GIVING HONOUR TO OTHERS"