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Crooked Service (2)

His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Srila Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj
Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh
4 January 2019, part 6


I remember one time I went to Midnapore for preaching. The programme was in the evening, but the road was very bad and there was some problem on the road, and when we arrived we had to walk three-four kilometres to the place—and there was no road, we had to walk through a field. So, when we reached the place it was very late, perhaps eight o'clock already. They told me that there were one thousand people in the evening, but because we were late many people had left and only two-three hundred people stayed. When they saw us coming, they started kirtan and gave me a chair. I sat down. Because I had been walking, I was very tired and asked them, "Please give me a glass of water"—but they were already queuing with pots of water, they wanted to wash my feet. I had waited for half an hour thinking, "My glass of water is not coming..." I was very upset, I told them, "What is devotion? What do you want—do you want to please yourself? Is this devotion? This is your own enjoyment!" They only show so much externally. Moreover, later on, I was about to take prasadam, and before I even started taking the food they asked me, "Maharaj, please give us some of your prasad." I got very upset, I told them, "What is this? Who taught you all this? I do not consider myself a Vaishnav, but you are asking me for my prasad. This is external devotion, not internal."

You can remember Srila Jagannath Das Babaji Maharaj's pastimes also—you can see his photograph in our Guru-paramapara, he is the last one on the right. You can see what is called vaishnavata (qualities of a Vaishnav) and how Vaishnavism is practised. When Srila Jagannath Das Babaji Maharaj came from Vrindavan (he was brought from there in a basket by his servant named Bihari Das), he was very old—he left his body when he was 132 years old, so that time he must have been 128-129 years old. So, one time a lady invited Srila Jagannath Das Babaji Maharaj to her house, she wanted to give some prasadam to him. Bihari Das arranged for Srila Jagannath Das Babaji Maharaj to come there.

At that time, there was no transport from Nabadwip—they could reach her place only on foot, and it was something like 20 km from their place to that lady's house. So, Srila Jagannath Das Babaji Maharaj started off with his servitor early in the morning—he told, "OK, there is an invitation for today, we must start out early in the morning because we have to walk for so many hours." You know that Srila Jagannath Das Babaji Maharaj would wear only a short dhoti and an uttaria; he would never wear a kurta. On their way, one rich man saw Srila Jagannath Das Babaji Maharaj from the roof of his house and thought, "Oh, this sadhu has no money. If I help him with something, it will be good." He was very proud of his money. So, the man came down from the roof of his house and gave one rupee to Srila Jagannath Das Babaji Maharaj. Babaji Maharaj took that money, tied it in his cloth, and continued walking. Having walked a little further, Babaji Maharaj told his servitor Bihari Das, "Turn back. Go back to that man." Babaji Maharaj was old and could not speak loudly, so he asked his servitor to call that man. When the man came downstairs again, he thought, "What has happened? He is probably going to again ask for money!" He asked, "What do you want? Tell me." Babaji Maharaj did not say anything—he took the money and gave it back to the man. The man was surprised, "You have taken this money, why are you giving it back now?" Then Babaji Maharaj said, "It is too much money, I cannot tolerate it. When I have this money, I am walking and thinking what I will buy with this money, what I will do with this money and I cannot chant the Holy Name properly on my beads. Please take it back and give me relief."

After that, Srila Jagannath Das Babaji Maharaj continued walking and finally they reached the house of the lady; it was a little late. The lady said, "Oh, you have come. I am waiting for you. The prasadam is ready." Babaji Maharaj said, "No problem, Bihari Das can offer the bhog to the Deities, after that we can take prasad." After the bhog was offered, the lady started serving prasadam to both Srila Jagannath Das Babaji Maharaj and Bihari Das. Babaji Maharaj took little, but he finished whatever she gave. Seeing this, the lady thought, "I have brought him to my house, he is a great Vaishnav and I want his prasadam, but he has taken everything!" She did not say anything and again started serving him prasadam. Babaji Maharaj said, "No, no. Not necessary, not necessary!" But she insisted, "No, take, take!"—she again gave him some rice, dal, etc. Then, Babaji Maharaj again took prasadam and this time he not only took everything, he ate the banana leaf plate (kola-pata) as well. Bihari Das became very afraid, he said, "I will never again accept such invitations!"

This is material desire. Gurudev said that this is not right—you want to serve your Guru, and if you want to take some prasadam of your Guru, you should not put too much on his plate for your own enjoyment. If your Guru leaves prasadam on the plate, then you can take a little when you are cleaning the plate—at that time you can take, but you must not force your Guru, "Give me, give me." This is real Vaishnavism—we want to learn from great Vaishnavs.


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