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Live a Sheltered Service Life

His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Srila Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj
Sri Nabadwip Dham Parikrama Adhivas, evening
Sri Nrisingha Palli, 22 March 2021, part 10
Translated from Bengali

 

It is necessary to practise Krishna consciousness.

জীবন অনিত্য জানহ সার
তাহে নানাবিধ বিপদ-ভার ।
নামাশ্রয় করি' যতনে তুমি
থাকহ আপন কাজে ॥

jivana anitya janaha sara
tahe nana-vidha vipada-bhara
namasraya kari' yatane tumi
thakaha apana kaje

"Understand the essence: life is temporary and filled with all sorts of adversity. Carefully taking shelter of the Name, engage in your work."

(Gitavali, Arunodaya kirtan, 1.3, by Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur)

This life is not eternal, and this life is full of dangers. You must live this life taking shelter of the Holy Name. Krishna told Sri Uddhav Maharaj, "Acharya mam vijaniyam: you must know that an acharya is I Myself." We wake up early in the morning and sing in a kirtan,

সাক্ষাদ্ধরিত্বেন সমস্ত-শাস্ত্রৈ-
রুক্তস্তথা ভাব্যত এব সদ্ভিঃ ।
কিন্তু প্রভোর্যঃ প্রিয় এব তস্য
বন্দে গুরোঃ শ্রীচরণারবিন্দম্ ॥

saksad-dharitvena samasta-sastrair
uktas tatha bhavyata eva sadbhih
kintu prabhor yah priya eva tasya
vande guroh sri-charanaravindam

"I offer my obeisance unto the lotus feet of Sri Guru, who is said by all the scriptures to be the Lord Himself, and considered to be so by the sadhus, yet is also the Lord's beloved devotee."

(Sri Sri Gurvastakam, 7)

On the one hand Gurudev is the Lord Himself, and on the other hand Gurudev is also said to be the dearest, closest person of the Lord. When we go for the last day of the parikrama, where do I take you? To Champahatti in Ritudwip. This is the place where all seasons (ritu) exist simultaneously in one place. (A part of Bardhaman district is now located in that area—Nabadwip consists of nine islands and some part of it is located within Bardhaman district; previously, the Ganges used to flow through that area, and at some point the current changed and that area became a part of Bardhaman.) So, when Jayadev Goswami and his wife Padmavati lived there in Champahatti, Jayadev Goswami was going to write the line "Dehi pada pallavam udaram" (দেহি পদপল্লবমুদারম্, "place Your tender feet on My head"), but he suddenly forgot what he was going to write. He stopped writing and told his wife, "Have you finished cooking? Make the offering, I am going to take bath in the Ganges and will come after that." When he left for the Ganges, the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna Himself came in disguise of Jayadev Goswami (nobody could understand who He was) and told Padmavati, "Have you finished cooking and making the offering? Give me prasadam now!" Padmavati fed the Lord thinking He was her husband. After that, the Lord went to the room where Jayadev Goswami had been writing—He wrote that line "Dehi pada pallavam udaram" and went away. After a while, real Jayadev Goswami came home and said to Padmavati, "Where is my prasad? Have you not finished cooking? What has happened?" Padmavati said, "You have just eaten!" "What do you mean I have just eaten?! Where did I eat?" "Just now you came and took prasad!" "What do you mean I took prasad?!" "Yes, you ate and went to your room." Jayadev Goswami was very puzzled, and when he came to the room, he saw the line that he had hesitated to write was completed—"Dehi pada pallavam udaram. I place Your tender feet on My head." The Lord Himself shows what sort of service Srimati Radharani does for Sri Krishna in Seva-kunja... This is the pastime that took place here in Ritudwip that is non-different from Varshana. The Lord Himself took prasad from Padmavati's hand, even she could not understand who came in disguise of her husband.

So, Krishna consciousness is such that once you get that taste you can never forget it. If you ever get the real taste for the Holy Name, you will never be able to leave Krishna consciousness. But we are very unfortunate—although we are all children of the Lord, we are sitting here at ease having forgotten the Lord. The great souls come to us and tell us again and again,

মহান্ত-স্বভাব এই তারিতে পামর ।
নিজ-কার্য্য নাহি তবু যান তার ঘর ॥

mahanta-svabhava ei tarite pamara
nija karya nahi tabu yana tara ghara

"It is the general practice of all saintly people to deliver the fallen. Therefore they go to people's houses, although they have no personal business there."

(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, Madhya-lila, 8.39)

Why do they come to other people's houses? Not for their own business. They come for your benefit, they come to help you—so that you could come to this path and start practising Krishna consciousness (start serving the Lord). That is why Lord Krishna told Sri Uddhav Maharaj, "Uddhav, you must know that an acharya is I Myself." Therefore, Gurudev is the Lord Himself. The Lord comes to this world in the form of the Guru and teaches us everything. This is how Gurudev has bestowed so much mercy on this fallen soul although I may not have spent so much time with him personally.

Many say, "Oh, Acharya Maharaj never stayed with Gurudev." It is true—I never wanted to stay with Gurudev like a mosquito that annoys with its buzzing and biting. I have always took Gurudev's burden off his shoulders and put it on my head. You can understand it yourself too. Even now when the cooks come to cook, they come and ask me how many kg rice they must cook. Even now when a fan breaks down, they come to me and ask to fix everything, "Gurudev, a fan has broken." There is nobody who would help—nobody who would get a mechanic and get it fixed. They do not think that they can get it fixed themselves, instead they come and disturb their Gurudev. This is not Guru-seva. Giving headache to your Guru is not Guru-seva. When will they understand this?

There are many devotees who have been my disciples for ten years already, but how many of them think about the devotees? They do not understand what service to devotees is. When I was in Nabadwip, I always worried when it rained, "Who is staying in the pandal? How are they? Is there any water falling through the pandal? Where do devotees sleep? Is there any trouble? Is everyone OK? Is anyone suffering? Is everybody fed well?"

Here, it is not so bad also—in Nabadwip, neighbours always came and gave so much problem, but here there are not such problems. It is a little crowded at the prasadam time, but do not worry—everybody will get prasadam, one lot will sit, take prasadam, then another lot will come. If there is any problem, you can tell me. Try to understand that "no pain, no gain" (কষ্ট না করলে কেষ্ট পাওয়া যায় না—Kosta na korle kesta pawa yaya na. Lit. 'You cannot get Kesta [Krishna] without suffering some difficulty'). I see that many are sleeping on the veranda, and I am requesting you all—if you sleep on the veranda, please stay quiet, everybody has to wake up early in the morning. The microphone will start waking you all up at half past three every day...

And I want to say also to all those who are staying in the nat mandir. Please remember this. There are not only two-three bathrooms that you see at the front, near the entrance—some of you may not have seen it, but there are also several bathrooms at the back of the temple, near the kitchen. You do not have to wait for others and crowd at the entrance—use the bathrooms at the back. This is for those who are staying in the nat mandir. Other than that, every room has a bathroom, as Gurudev wanted. In Nabadwip we also made a bathroom in every room, and here too. Village houses often have no bathroom at all, is not so? And here the arrangement is good, all the rooms have a bathroom, there is no problem. The only problem is the management. It is necessary to make sure that water runs well, it is necessary to check that all taps are closed in the morning when we leave for the parikrama. Sometimes you go for parikrama and forget to close taps. If you waste water, you yourself will suffer later. We also have tanks with drinking water for everyone.

Try to do this parikrama well, and do not quarrel in the buses. I am saying it to you with folded palms. Do not worry about anything, everything will be all right. You know, seventy devotees came today in a bus from Tarakeshwar. A bus has perhaps fifty seats, and the way is five or six hours—so, twenty devotees sat in the bus on the floor or stood. They travelled like this for five-six hours, and here it is only ten minutes, so what is the problem? Our buses will come in the morning, they are numbered. Get on the bus and do not fight for seats. I have also seen one (very bad) habit among you—somebody gets on the bus, takes a seat, and keeps a seat next to them for their husband, wife, mother, daughter, etc. When you get on the bus and start fighting, it gives me only pain, nothing else. It is not good to be like this.

We come to serve our Guru, so as far as possible, you must not give any headache or disturbance to your Guru. You can understand what my situation is. You think I sit quietly in my room, but this is not so—I have four mobile phones, and they call me saying, "Oh, I have not got a room!", "Oh, which room should I give them?", "Oh, the water is not running!", "Oh, a fan has broken!" I sit till after midnight dealing with all this and wake up at three-four o'clock. I sleep for two-three hours. I am used to it, so it is not a problem for me...

Tomorrow we will start our parikrama—I must walk and chant kirtan together with you all. Try to chant all the kirtans. Do not think, "Oh, they will sing and I will listen." No, you must also sing. You can see Sripad Rama Prabhu going behind the parikrama [on the second cart, with the second loudspeaker] and chanting kirtan, you can learn from him. Chant the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, sometimes chant 'Nitai Gauranga', nothing else. Everybody knows how to chant this, everybody can chant it. The Lord does not want to hear your tune—chant as you can. Chant the Lord's Name and He will respond. I have seen that many women do hulahuli at their homes when chanting the Lord's Name—why then do you not call your sons by hulahuli? You call your sons by their names. If you call them by hulahuli, will they respond to that? Answer me. Do you know what Srila Sridhar Maharaj said? "If you think that you will make much noise and that is chanting the Holy Name, then why do you think bats are abused for their annoying noise?" (চেঁচামেচির যদি এত হরিনাম, তাহলে ছূঁচোর চাবচিকা কেন রে দুর্নাম ?) You think your loud chanting is Harinam, but bats also make much noise—is that also Harinam? If it is, then why do you call them bad names when they make noise?

অসাধুসঙ্গে ভাই কৃষ্ণনাম নাহি হয় ।

নামাক্ষর বাহিরায় বটে তবু নাম কভু নয় ॥

asadhu-sange bhai krsna-nama nahi haya
namaksara bahiraya bate tabu nama kabhu naya

"Brother, the Name of Krishna never appears in bad association: the letters of the Name may appear, but the Name never does."

(Sri Sri Prema-vivarta, 7.1)

If you chant the 'Holy Name' in unholy association, it can never be the Holy Name. If you want to chant the Holy Name,

'সাধুসঙ্গ', 'সাধুসঙ্গ'—সর্ব্বশাস্ত্রে কয় ।
লবমাত্র সাধুসঙ্গে সর্ব্বসিদ্ধি হয় ॥

'sadhu-sanga', 'sadhu-sanga'—sarva sastre kaya
lava-matra sadhu sange sarva siddhi haya

"Good association", "good association," all the scriptures keep saying. Only by good association can you get all perfection.

(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, 2.22.54)

সাধুসঙ্গে কৃষ্ণনামে—এই মাত্র চাই ।

সংসার জিনিতে আর কোন বস্তু নাই ॥

sadhu-sange krsna-nama—ei matra chai
samsara jinite ara kona vastu nai

I desire only to chant the Name of Krishna in the association of the sadhus. There is no other way to conquer samsara.

(Sri Sri Prema-vivarta, 6.13)

One more thing I want to say to you is this. Please do not take prasadam in your rooms, do not make the rooms dirty. We have come to serve the dham, not to make it dirty. People eat and leave the plates as it is. It is not good. You will be taking prasadam in a field tomorrow, please keep all the plates in one place. We are going to other temples, and if you behave well, then others will also say, "Their Guru has taught them well." And if you climb the temples, leave dirty plates after taking prasadam, etc., then people will say, "This Maharaj has not taught his disciples anything!" Please remember this. Wherever you go, follow the rules and regulations. We will be taking prasadam in a mango grove tomorrow beside the temple of Sri Jagannathdev, keep all plates in one place after you take prasadam otherwise the temple will have a problem (they will have to clean the place). Here too, I have bought and kept there a special drum—throw all plates into that drum. Do not throw plates on the street or anywhere you like. After prasadam you will go to your rooms, please do not make the rooms dirty. This is all a part of practising Krishna consciousness. Cleanness is a part of Krishna consciousness.

How many days will you be alive in this world? As long as you are alive in this world, chant the Holy Name, live your life serving the Lord. Gurudev used me to make so many temples, if any of you want to stay at the temple permanently, if you want to do service, then come to me, get in touch with the temple. If you want to spend your life at a temple, then you are extremely fortunate. Not everybody has this kind of fortune. When I first came to the temple, Gurudev told me, "You have come to get great things, and to do that you have to give up small things." I understood it at that time—I had to give up small things, this is how I could do so many great things.

সাধুসঙ্গে কৃষ্ণনামে—এই মাত্র চাই ।

সংসার জিনিতে আর কোন বস্তু নাই ॥

sadhu-sange krsna-nama—ei matra chai
samsara jinite ara kona vastu nai

I desire only to chant the Name of Krishna in the association of the sadhus. There is no other way to conquer samsara.

(Sri Sri Prema-vivarta, 6.13)

Please practise Krishna consciousness. "Grhe thako, vane thako, sada 'Hari' bole dako (গৃহে থাক, বনে থাক সদা 'হরি' বলে ডাক), whether you stay in a house or in a forest, always call out the Holy Name." "Ye dina grhe bhajana dekhi grhete goloka bhaya (যে দিন গৃহে ভজন দেখি গৃহেতে গোলোক ভায়). On the days when I see devotional service taking place in my home, I feel that Goloka has manifested there." When there is eternal (daily, non-stop) service going on in a house, that house is Goloka Vrindavan. We must engage in eternal service...

 

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Odds and Ends
'Everybody should do service together, jointly. Do not make any groups, give respect to each other—that is good.'

 

Yadi gaura na ha'ta
'I chant 'Gauranga', but have not melted (with love). How have I maintained this body? How has Providence made Vasu a stone rather than a heart?'
যদি, গৌর না হ'ত

You can maintain your spiritual life as a householder, but practise properly.

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