His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
I have come today here to Sri Ekachakra Dham to arrange the grand festival here. You have all heard about it. In the coming three-four days, thousands and thousands of people will come and take prasadam every day here at the Ekachakra Temple. A huge number of people will come to take prasadam, to chant the Holy Name. We make a very big festival here every year.
There are not so many foreign devotees this year because of the covid situation. They miss this festival so much, I know that. They think about this festival from their heart—they may not be able to come bodily or physically, but they are all here in Ekachakra mentally. If you can remember Lord Nityananda Prabhu, even being very far away, that is your happiness, and Nityananda Prabhu will also be very happy. Also, you contribute to this festival from far away—you are sending money for this festival; it is good for you, and it pleases Lord Nityananda Prabhu.
You know that I spend everything for my Gurudev's service—even my life, my ego, my everything. I have surrendered everything at the lotus feet of my Gurudev, who is non-different from Sriman Nityananda Prabhu. I have given my life to Gurudev. I joined Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math thirty years ago, and I never once have seen my family in all these years. They are calling me and saying I must come to see them one day, but I am not really interested in it because they are actually not my family—all the devotees all over the world and here in India also are my real family. I am a member of this family, and that is my happiness. I have got so many well-wishers and good friends all over the world, and it is the source of my happiness. You give your life and whatever you earn for the service of the Lord (when I ask you, you always give), it makes me very happy. You are all my family. Those who are real family, they help in this situation. Although I have left the main temple of Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math, you all are helping me, and I am very happy with you.
I have recently made a big festival in Nrisingha Palli on Gurudev's appearance day, and after that I went to many places for collection—I preached and spoke about my Gurudev. Some 'devotees' are crazy (pagal)—they say that it is not necessary to take initiation, it is not necessary to accept a Guru. Srila Narottam Das Thakur says,
আশ্রয় লইয়া ভজে তার কৃষ্ণ নাহি ত্যজে
asraya la-iya bhaje, tare krsna nahi tyaje
"Krishna never leaves those who take shelter in Him and serve Him—all others die in vain."
It is necessary to take shelter of a bona fide Guru, to take initiation, to receive the Holy Name from a proper source, etc. When you are born in this world, you have to learn some things and you need others' help—sometimes we learn from our parents, sometimes from our elder brothers, elder sisters. We learn so many things from so many people around us. Even if you want to learn to cook, you need a teacher. If you want to get school, college or university education, you also need a teacher. The same is true about the spiritual life. It is necessary to have a teacher. In my life, I have got a bona fide Guru, and I have got the best spiritual master, that is my great fortune, great luck. Everybody must understand the importance of accepting a Guru—only those who are crazy do not believe it and say it is not necessary.
ব্রহ্মাণ্ড ভ্রমিতে কোন ভাগ্যবান্ জীব ।
brahmanda bhramite kona bhagyavan jiva
"Having travelled throughout the universe and got the mercy of Guru, Krishna, a fortunate soul receives a seed of the devotional creeper."
(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, Madhya-lila, 19.151)
They think we have spent so many years, so many lives as it is, so why is it necessary to take a guru? We call this 'pagal' in Bengali, foreign devotees call it 'crazy' and South American people call it 'loco'. There are such people in this world...
Dandavat, Srila Ashram Maharaj, please accept my humble obeisance.
Srila Ashram Maharaj: Dandavat, Maharaj. Please accept my humble obeisance also at your holy feet. How is your health?
My health is good, Maharaj. I have been preaching a lot, doing a lot of rice and potato collection—I have been walking a lot, and it is good for my health. I still need one more day to finish the collection, I did not get time to finish everything. They were making the roof of the fourth floor of the guesthouse in Nrisingha Palli, and I came there to see it. I came there on Friday late in the evening (eleven o'clock), and the works had almost finished. I could not come earlier because I had been very busy. Every day we started off at eight o'clock from the place where we were staying, then drove for one hour and started the collection from nine o'clock. We took lunch with us and had prasadam in the car. If we had gone back to take prasadam, it would have taken two hours to drive there and back and one hour to take prasadam, so three hours would have been lost, and I did not want to lose time. So, some devotees made chapati and alur dam in the morning and we (Sripad Sadhu Maharaj, Kamalendu Prabhu, Ananda Moy Prabhu, one Bengali devotee Ashok Prabhu, and myself) would stop the car in a field some time between twelve and two o'clock and took prasadam in the car. Ashok Prabhu helped us with the collection because he knows this area, the rice fields and rice mills there.
Actually, I no longer go house to house to collect rice in villages, Sripad Niriha Maharaj is doing it now. Rice mills give 25 kg, 50 kg of rice, and if you go to a house, they give one kg or two kg at a time. It takes too long to collect, and I do not have so much time. That is why, I go to big mills and the collection goes very well. After the Ekachakra festival I will need one more day for rice collection and one more day for potato collection. We have already collected six hundred bags of potato, and it is necessary to collect one hundred more.
Sripad Niriha Maharaj and one more devotee did the rice collection for the Ekachakra festival, and I collected for Gaura Purnima and the whole year. This rice and potato will last the whole year for all the branches of the Mission. I divide this rice and potato among the temples and send to Ekachakra, Tarakeshwar, Kalna, Nrisingha Palli, Kolkata, etc. I go on collection only one time a year, so this rice and potato will be used for all festivals, all temples throughout the year. We keep the potato in a cold storage and the rice in Nrisingha Palli, and whenever we go to some temples we take some rice and potato from there and bring it to the temples.
So, I have come to Sri Ekachakra Dham today, and I must sing at least one song of Guru-vandana... [His Divine Grace then sings 'Gurudev, krpa bindu diya', 'Nitai-pada-kamala', and 'Gaya Gaura madhura svare'.]
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