Daily Practice

— { Observing Festivals } —

 

vaisnavera guna-gana karile jivera trana
suniyachhi sadhu-guru-mukhe
"Singing the glories of the Vaishnavs rescues and protects the jiva soul. I heard this from the mouth of sadhus and my Guru."

 

 

"Why are you making a festival? Making a festival means you are inviting many people and you are giving them some prasadam, engaging them in Krishna consciousness—it means practising Krishna consciousness."


"We are fortunate that every year this day comes in our life. Every year we wait for this day to come, and we must make a commitment. We are arranging the celebration of Gurudev's festival and getting more and more enthusiasm and energy for the service to Gurudev's mission."


"Not everybody has that kind of fortune—not everybody can do service, not everybody can join service and do proper preaching. Preaching is the main thing. Many people can make a temple, but it is necessary to preach. You can make a thousand temples, it is not a problem, but if you make one devotee, it is has more value. It is easy to make a thousand temples, but what is the use if you do not do Vaishnav seva? You can feed ten thousand people but if there is no Vaishnav there, that is not a festival, that is not a mahotsav; but if you can give prasadam to even one Vaishnav, one devotees, that is a great festival."


"I always invite everyone to come at Gaura Purnima time. Make some leaflets and at the end of the class, when we are singing "Hari Haraya Nama..." you can distribute Gaura Purnima leaflets. You must always people to all programme, "Please come to Gaura Purnima, please come to the festival at Nityananda Prabhu's birthplace." You must invite devotees to both festivals."


"Gurudev said, "You can stay anywhere, but you must maintain your spiritual life properly." That is his advice and his practising mood, and we must follow that properly. By service we can prove how much attachment, how much love and affection we have for our Guru, so every year we make his appearance and disappearance festivals, Guru Maharaj's festival, etc."


"Gurudev always told me to make a good Vaishnav seva on Srila B.R. Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj's day—to invite Vaishnavs and give them some good mango. Param Guru Maharaj liked a sort of mango called chaunsa mango. He always ordered me to buy that mango and distribute it to Vaishnavs on that day. This disappearance festival is coming the day after tomorrow and I am also telling the devotees, I am advising them: offer bhog and give prasadam to Vaishnavs on this day, it will be good for our spiritual life in this life..."


"I am extremely happy to see you all. When all devotees come together and have a program, it is like charging the battery. You know, sometimes we forget to charge our mobile phone battery, and after one-two days the phone goes flat. When you make a festival, it is like charging your spiritual battery. It is very nice to see all the devotees together."


"Baladev means Nityananda Prabhu, Gurudev. Sri Sri Baladev Prabhu is our main line. Here in Bengal they are doing jhulan-yatra on this day, but we are not so much attached with jhulan—we are making a grand festival of Baladev Prabhu because this is our conception. Our main line comes from Guru, so whenever we do puja, we always first offer everything to Gurudev. We always first do the Guru-puja, Baladev-puja (Balaram-puja), Nityananda-puja. That is our line. That is why today is an important day for our spiritual life."


"I am very happy to see all the devotees after so many days and to see that you are making a festival. Always make festivals—it helps maintain a good connection with the devotees."


"I am very happy today, today is a special day of Janmastami, it is a fasting day. Also we are making a festival for Nanda Maharaj tomorrow—we will try to make Nanda Maharaj happy. If we can serve Nanda Maharaj, if we can serve Mother Yasoda, then Krishna will be happier. It is necessary to understand this. We do not go directly to Lord Krishna, we do not go directly to Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu—we go for association, we go to great Vaishnavs, then our Guru. 'Guru, Vaishnav, Bhagavan'—nobody says, 'Bhagavan, Vaishnav, Guru.'"


"A festival means Vaishnav seva—giving some Hari-katha and doing Vaishnav seva are the main things. I want to do service on this day, that is why I think today is the best day for me because today this best opportunity has come to me and I can do some service. When we do something, we must do it happily."


"What do we make a festival on this day for? To make the Vaishnav happy. We want to serve Vaishnavs (do Vaishnav seva), but "Ki-rupe paiba seva muni durachara (কিরূপে পাইব সেবা মুঞি দুরাচার): I am so wicked, how will I ever get service?" We have no qualification, we always do bad things, ours is bad qualification (durachar); we do not follow the rules systematically. How can we get Vaishnav seva? How will we do Vaishnav seva? We have no qualification to do it. (This is what Narottam Das Thakur says.) That is why we pray to the Vaishnavs, 'Please give us some mercy so that we can serve your associate, a servant of your servant—so that we can become their footdust.'"


"Today is a very good and a very big day for us. Today is the disappearance festival of three goswamis. Wherever they are living now, we only want them to allow us to serve their associates, associates of our Gurudev, and our Guru. We do not want to enter their party, but we only want their service as a dog—as a dog! "Tomara kukura, baliya janaha more (তোমার কুকুর বলিয়া জানহ মোরে): if only you can keep me as your dog!" We can only ask something following this line."


"Our Param Gurudev Srila Guru Maharaj Om Vishnupad Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj's appearance day is coming soon. We must give full obeisance at his lotus feet because if he had not come to this world, we would not have been able to get our Gurudev. Guru Maharaj came in this world to give us a great bona fide Guru. We must give full obeisance at his lotus feet. His appearance day is coming and we must make a festival for him. That will give me more pleasure and that will give more benefit to you—it is necessary for our life to do Vaishnav seva."


"So, tomorrow let us make a good festival. Come to the mangal arati, after that I will give class, then there will be a festival programme. You should all come."


"Today is a very important day. Deity installation does not mean we just make a festival for one day, give some sweets, etc. it is not like that actually. It is the day when Nityananda Prabhu Himself came to give mercy to the devotees."


"You must understand what we are making the Janmastami festival for. To show ourselves and our big ego? No. We are making this festival to give much nourishment to the devotees through Hari-katha, through Krishna-katha, by giving good things to them. Also we make this festival because it gives an opportunity for communication. Such festivals do not happen every day, and we lose our faith, we lose our devotional activities because there is this communication gap. We must realise and understand this."


"Today is a very fortunate day because today we can join a disappearance festival of a Vaishnav. "Bhakta-sangete mana anandita anuksana (ভক্ত-সঙ্গেতে মন আনন্দিত অনুক্ষণ)"—when we get the association of great Vaishnavs, we always feel pleasure from that association, and through association our hearts will be clean. That is why we arrange festivals—to get the association of great Vaishnavs.

All Vaishnavs are actually associates of the Lord, they are media—they come to spread Krishna's message to all of us. When we have some problem, we can tell about it to a Vaishnav, and the Vaishnav tells about it to the Lord. The Lord cannot always come Himself, but He always sends His associates to preach Krishna consciousness all over the world, so if we get association of a Vaishnav, we can get mercy of the Lord through them."


"Jive daya, Name ruchi, Vaishnava seva (mercy to other jiva souls, chanting the Holy Name, and service to Vaishnavs). You are chanting, you enjoying the festival this year, but next year you must engage others in enjoying the festival, in service to the devotees, and in chanting the Holy Name.

Actually, you are very fortunate. Devotees come knocking at your door and they are bringing you to such a spiritual place, to Gurudev's place, your real home. You may live in another country, but you can think about your home, Nabadwip. There, it is your rented house; and here, it is your real home."


"Actually, I can tell it to you in advance: you know that on Thursday (19 July 2012) is Srila Sridhar Maharaj's disappearance festival, you must understand it and make some festival. Cook some chickpea dal (chana dal), potato with poppy seeds (aloo posto, or aloo dum), get some good mango, and you can make the bhog with that. It will be good for you.

I am telling to everyone who is staying in the temple, to every centre: you must make a festival for Srila Sridhar Maharaj. This is my message for the devotees all over the world. Also, you must buy white flowers, not any other colour, for this day. Place Srila Sridhar Maharaj's photo on a Vyas asan and give some puspanjali. OK?"


"You can make some little festival on Thursday (2 August 2012), it is Baladev's avirbhav day. If you do not bring many devotees on a festival day, you can make some good offering. You can also make a good offering tomorrow also, it is Srila Rupa Goswami and Gauri Das Pandit's disappearance day..."


"Srila Sridhar Maharaj spread Krishna consciousness all over the world, he gave inspiration to our Guru and sent him all over the world, door to door, corner to corner to give this real food, the proper wealth to others, to us also. We must honour his appearance day properly..."


"You all know that today is the adhivas day (eve) of Srila Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj's appearance. We must all engage in glorification of the Name and qualities of the Lord on this day. We must do service. Tomorrow is the festival day and so many devotees are coming at noon, so it is necessary to decorate the temple, to cut vegetables, etc."


"Srila Gurudev's appearance day is on 30 December (2012), if you celebrate this day very happily, I will be even happier. You can send me the photo, email me, tell me what kind of festival you have made. OK? Make a festival, do Guru-puja, and give some lecture. You must glorify Gurudev on this day, that is called a festival—make Vaishnav-seva and glorify Gurudev, speak about what Gurudev told us, about his pastimes. You can also invite some outside guests, even if they are not devotees or not devotees proper, you can invite them. Give some prasad, give a lecture, and they will be benefitted through that. It will be a Sunday, a holiday. You can invite guests, give them prasadam, that will be good and Gurudev will be very happy."


"So, today we are celebrating Srila B.S. Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj's holy appearance. The main festival will be held at the nat mandir. We will start kirtan at 9-9:30 o'clock, and the programme will start by 10 o'clock and continue until the bhoga arati and Guru arati at 12 o'clock. This is how we are celebrating this day."


"Gurudev's disappearance festival is very soon, and we must arrange some festival, some service to the Vaishnavs. There will be Vaishnavs from Mayapur, many householder devotees will come from different towns of India, also Gurudev's disciples will come. Gurudev's disappearance festival means Vaishnav seva. Vaishnav is the main focus for us. We worship and do everything properly every day, but if we make Gurudev happy—if we make a festival of the Lord's personal associate, if we offer him worship on this day—the Lord also becomes happy. As we know, the worship of the Lord's devotees, of a Vaishnav, is greater than the worship of the Lord, it is actually the highest."


"What did we all join the festival for? How much pleasure have you got? That will depend upon your service, upon your devotion, and upon your faith. We should realise it ourselves: how much can we proceed in our spiritual life and why did we come to Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math? Again and again we do Nabadwip Dham Parikrama, but how much can we use ourselves for the service to the Guru, Vaishnavs, and Bhagavan?"


"If you follow your Guru's instruction, if you fulfil his desire, even after his disappearance, if you always think what will make him happy, then you will get his association, you will feel joy... You can make his disappearance festival, serve him, serve the Vaishnavs, and think what will make him happy and how to make his festival."


"Even if you are a householder devotee, your duty is Vaishnav-seva, sadhu-seva and Nama-sankirtan. These two are your main practices. There is actually no difference between a householder devotee and a sannyasi, but there is some difference in their services. A householder devotee has to maintain their family and a fully renounced person (a sannyasi or a brahmachari) has to maintain Gurudev's family, Krishna's family. That is the difference. Otherwise, you live in your house and you think it is your house, but you must think that everything is Krishna's property, everything is Gurudev's property. You can think in this way and depend in everything on him, then you will have no sadness, no unhappiness—no sadness, no unhappiness will come in your life. Try your best. Do not get so much involved with family affairs and mundane things, the main thing is that you must sacrifice your life for the Guru, for Krishna."


"It is necessary to do Vaishnav-seva (serve the Vaishnavs) and Nama-sankirtan (chant the Holy Name, preach). You may be working somewhere outside, but you are doing Vaishnav-seva, you are doing service. That is the main thing. Somebody becomes sad thinking, "Oh, I am working in an office," or thinking, "Oh, I am busy doing business," but this is not a problem—you are working or doing business for the Lord. That is also service. It is necessary to understand this.


"There is a reason why we do so many things. We always make so many festivals—just a few days ago we made the Deity installation festival in Siliguri, then we went to Ekachakra, and before that to Panihati for Raghunath Das Goswami's festival... Every time we make a festival we call devotees because we always want to present Gurudev's conception. We want to present something to the devotees—in this world people, the jiva souls, are suffering, and it is our duty to give them some relief, jive daya. This is the main thing that is necessary."


"Our beloved Gurudev's appearance day is coming soon. We are going to see his festival, his appearance day celebrated... We must celebrate it in a proper way, because Gurudev did not leave us here only for eating, sleeping, and to just maintain the body—he left us for preaching Krishna consciousness. We must complete what he had not completed. So, everybody should come together to glorify and preach about our Guru, to please our Guru. A disciple's main duty and service is to please their Guru."


"So, we have gathered here on this occasion and have got to have your darshan, otherwise we do not always get this opportunity. It is a great fortune to have a darshan of a Vaishnav, so on the occasion of this Vaishnav-seva we were fortunate to have heard Hari-katha from your mouth."


"You have all come here to observe this festival tomorrow, the festival of Lord Nrisinghadev's appearance. Amidst so many things you have come here thinking about the Lord. For so many days you have been thinking, 'When will I come for the festival of Lord Nrisinghadev?' You have been planning it, you have been thinking about it. This is how we must always think.

"Tomorrow is a fasting day. It is a very difficult day, but it is necessary to do it. Even if it is hard for you, still you must do it. The other day a man from Colombia died—he had been fed with saline and oxygen for a month before he died; he had not taken any food for a whole month. Think about it. When you are sick and hospitalised, when you have fever or you are operated, you do not get food for a few days. Is it not so? And here you must think, 'I am doing this for the Lord. I am fasting tomorrow for the Lord.'"


"It is easy to blame and criticise others, but those who can arrange and who are arranging the festival, who are managing the temple and doing it properly know how difficult it is practise and how much it takes to maintain the devotees and disciples. Arranging the festival, doing service at the festival, or permanently staying at the temple, and coming to the temple just to enjoy festival is not the same! Somebody can criticise from outside that you are making a festival and there is some little fault, they cannot tolerate it, but it is easy to criticise a festival but it is hard to make a festival."


"So, I am requesting you all: you must try to come every weekend for the festival program. Try to come, OK? Bring some flower, bring some fruit—whatever you have. You must give something to Gaura Nitai. Some devotees can bring some cloth, some devotees can bring some fruit, some devotees can bring some flowers, even if you have nothing you can bring Ganges water and Tulasi for Gaura Nitai, and if you do not have even that, that is not a problem—give yourself to the Lord, to Gurudev."


Question: This week there is a very big festival, and many devotees would like to participate somehow. We would like to ask you for some advice, or instructions.

"Many devotees will come there and you can give a class, you can give some good prasadam to them. Give them nourishment—jive daya, Name ruchi, Vaishnav seva. Serve the devotees, give them some advice about Krishna consciousness. Also, many new people will come to the festival—you can engage them in service, you can help them get spiritual benefit. These are the main things.

"Why are you making a festival? Making a festival means you are inviting many people and you are giving them some prasadam, engaging them in Krishna consciousness—it means practising Krishna consciousness."


"I remember somebody asked me, 'Your mother died (or your father died), why did you not do their sraddha ceremony? Why are you not following any Hindu customs?' I told them, 'Nobody died in my family. My gotra is Achyuta-gotra: my family is Krishna's family. When I took initiation, I left my previous gotra and became a member of Achyuta-gotra. So, if somebody from that family dies, I will make a ceremony, or a festival, for them; but if my 'father' dies, my 'mother' dies, why should I make a ceremony for them? They are not members of my family. Why should I follow these customs? This is not our practice, not our rules and regulations.'"


"Even yesterday (the day after the festival), they started serving prasadam after the noon arati and carried on until the evening arati, five-six o'clock. In the evening, I gave them another 400 kg rice. I thought that some may still come later in the evening and told the cooks to make another 100 kg, but not so many people turned up, so in the evening I told them to soak the rice in water and make eight-ten tubs of subji. In the morning, that wet rice was mixed with the subji and distributed—the people finished that too within a few hours. People took even rotten rice....

"Nityananda Prabhu is very merciful to them: they get prasadam and they have attachment to prasadam. Some people came and begged with a stretched out hand, 'Please, give me at least a drop.' Yesterday by the evening everything had finished, all pots were empty, but still, at 5-6 o'clock people came asking for a drop of prasadam.

"Our gate is always open—people like and people love that. Also, if we depend upon the Lord, He will make arrangement for everything. You see how everything happened—no one left without prasadam. People came, got some simple things (even madhukori—everything mixed together), and left..."


"When people serve prasadam affectionately, it is good. When Gurudev could not come to some festival in Nabadwip, he would send his servitor, "Give me the report whether the devotees are getting prasadam or not, whether they are serving properly or not." He would always ask about it, and until the festival has finished, he would be sitting there, waiting for the report. Serving prasadam is very important."


"When we make a festival for Gurudev (appearance day, for example), we offer him what he likes, and Gurudev is happy with that, but when will Gurudev be even happier? When will Prabhupad be even happier? When we preach for him. গুরুর কথা প্রচার করতে হবে, gurur katha prachar korte habe: we must preach, spread the words of our Guru. We must tell people about our Guru, about Krishna consciousness. That is the main thing. Why was Gauranga Mahaprabhu so happy with Nityananda Prabhu? Because Nityananda Prabhu was preaching about Gauranga Mahaprabhu. That is the duty of a pure disciple—the disciple will preach for their Guru, not for their own self, or their own interest."


"We are going to celebrate here and everybody will join—everybody is making a festival, a programme. Many devotees, many sannyasis from different countries have come for this festival, and even those who have not come are also getting a place. Some devotees phoned me, some wrote to me saying that they have some personal problem, some financial problem, or some visa problem. Many things have happened, but they too remember Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's festival, and now is the modern age: they can see the festival through the internet. Even if they live in another country, in another place, but they remember the festival, they will get some sukriti through that. That is their hope.

"Gurudev also said that you may live in another place, but if you think about the holy Dham, the holy place, about Nabadwip, about your Guru, you will get association of your Guru. You do not have to always be sitting beside your Guru or be always near—you can also serve your Guru from far, and that is good for you too."


"Actually, I want some devotees to serve here in India. If anyone wants to come here and stay, try to come. Everybody comes only in winter season, and now it is a little hot here... Devotees only come at the festival time and enjoy the festival, but Gurudev said, "You must not only enjoy with the festival, you must also arrange the festival." To enjoy a festival and to arrange a festival is not the same thing. Enjoying the festival is easy, but arranging the festival is a little hard. You must come earlier to arrange the festival."


"Nityananda Prabhu's appearance day is on Saturday... We do not know, we cannot recognise who will join the festival—we do not have that kind of eyes. We do not know who will come, but our duty is to take their foot dust—it is sufficient for us."


"Past two-three years different temples organised Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur's festival, but I did not go there. Why? Nobody knows it, but it is because I have Gurudev's instruction inside, and if Gurudev told me not to go to the temple where the festival is held, how will I go there, tell me? Maybe Gurudev said it to me twenty-five years ago, but I will not forget it. He told me not to go to this place, and I will not go there. I want to follow that instruction until my death. This year I went there because the festival was in Srila B.D. Madhav Maharaj's temple, and I have no problem with them, Gurudev has no problem with them. That is called chastity."


"There is some culture, or etiquette, that we follow here in India. What do we do? When some householder devotee arranges a programme in their area and invites me and a few hundred devotees for Vaishnav seva, we glorify them at the programme because those who have arranged the Vaishnav seva festival programme are very fortunate and their family members are also fortunate. That is the etiquette, the main things, and it is necessary to do that."


"Everybody should help this festival. A festival means we come to serve. If somebody helps and does service, they get even more pleasure. Those who cook prasad, distribute prasad, and those who just sit and take prasad, but do not cook or distribute it—this is not the same, it is two different things. Some come for the festival and only do the parikrama and take prasadam, but when somebody does parikrama, listens to Hari-katha and also does some service, they get a great benefit, a great pleasure and happiness. When somebody hears Hari-katha and gets pleasure in doing service of the Lord, there is no one as fortunate as them. Service brings pleasure, joy."


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. 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."


"Do you see how many people have come today to take prasadam? The festival is tomorrow, but so many people have come today, and I gave an order to the devotees to keep the gate always open. Our heart must also always be open—do not close the door of your heart. Keep it open. If Bhakti Devi comes to you and your door is closed, how will she then enter? Do not close your door, keep it open, then Bhakti Devi will come."


"We all feel very happy to see this festival and we feel inspired to see your great desire to take part in it. We do not feel any disturbance because you have come several days earlier, we are actually becoming happy because if you come earlier you can do more service here. Those who come before the festival can help arrange the festival. To arrange a festival and to enjoy the festival are different things, and it is more important to arrange the festival. So, it is actually more important for us that you come earlier and help arrange the festival. Seeing devotees coming earlier and taking up different services we are becoming very glad, we are becoming very happy."


"Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur told that you can chastise somebody at any other time but not to chastise, not to use bad language when taking prasadam. At the time of prasadam you must be a mother, but our fortune is very bad because we are not getting a good mother. 'We are feeding you!' this type of ego comes to those who are serving prasadam. It is very bad, very unfortunate. It is a seva aparadh, and the service will go away from them. We do not have a real mother in the kitchen—all are stepmothers. That is the problem..."


"It is Param Guru Maharaj's advice: when you serve prasadam to devotees, you must be like a mother. When a mother feeds her baby, she feeds it from the spoon, with a handkerchief, with so much care. I am not telling you to do like that (with a spoon and handkerchief), it is not necessary, but I am watching here how they serve prasadam, and I see there is no love and affection...

"We are always taking but not giving, that is the problem. A sadhu is now a Kali-yuga brahmin—always takes but does not give. It is necessary for our spiritual life to give nourishment to others. Somebody can use bad language, but we will not do that in return, it is not our religion. We joined the Krishna consciousness line, and our line must be very pure—we will be most humble, most tolerant, and give all honour to others. It is very important. When you cut a branch of a tree, the tree does not say anything. Instead, it gives shelter to you—when you are in the sun and feel hot, the tree gives you shadow. We must also be and think like that."


"For my own happiness and enjoyment I will not give any anxiety to others; I will not be the cause of anxiety for anyone. For others' benefit, I must renounce, must throw my own happiness and everything into the Ganges."


ছাড়িয়া বৈষ্ণব-সেবা নিস্তার পায়েছে কেবা

chhadiya vaisnava-seva nistara payechhe keba

"Without service to the Vaishnav, no one can get relief." Only service to the Guru, Vaishnavs, Bhagavan can give you relief:

(Srila Narottam Das Thakur)


তিনের স্মরণে হয় বিঘ্ন-বিনাশন

tinera smarane haya vighna-vinasana

By remembering Guru, Vaishnav, Bhagavan, all obstacles are destroyed.

(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, Adi-lila, 1.21)

 

 

 

 

 

OBSERVING EKADASI TULASI DEVI WORSHIP & CARE

 

Introduction
Setting up the altar
Arati
Daily kirtans
Bhog, cooking, offering
Observing Ekadasi
Observing Festivals
Tulasi Devi
Four regulative principles
Scriptural regulations

 


Gopeshwar Mahadev's Surrender
'...Lord Siva entered the rasa-mancha in this mood, and Krishna understood who had come. Everyone wondered where the new gopi had come from and why Krishna was giving her so much honour.'

Gurudev says that if somebody asks for forgiveness, and the other person cannot forgive, they are not a Vaishnav.

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