AFFECTIONATE GUIDANCE: CHAPTER TWENTY-SIX
Address to the Assembled Devotees
(On the occasion of his first World Tour,
When we write a letter we always begin 'All glories to Sri Sri Guru and Gauranga.' Actually this is the fact, all glory and all fame are to be given to Sri Gurudev and Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu. They are the real proprietors of that. Srila Prabhupad Saraswati Thakur has written:
vaisnavi pratistha tate koro nistha
Actually I am the servitor of the servitor of the servitor of the Vaisnavas. That is my real identity.
Mahaprabhu has said:
naham vipro na cha nara-patir napi vaisyo na sudro
(Chaitanya-charitamrta: Madhya-lila, 13.80)
Our real identification is this. We are not American, Indian, British, or German. Although we have this human body, it is not really ours. We have this body for the time being, but within this body is our real form and that form is 'Krishna-dasa'—servant of Krishna.
The Scriptures confirm that direct service to Sri Krishna is only possible for His dearmost, intimate devotees. The Rupanuga Sampradaya has shown that the supreme servitor and the supreme potency of Sri Krishna is Srimati Radharani, and She is our topmost guide and guardian. If we adopt this line of thought then our identity is very nice. Mahaprabhu has shown that we are the servitors of the servitors of the servitors of the servitors of Sri Krishna. Krishna has many forms: Krishna in Dwaraka, Krishna in Mathura, Krishna in Vrindavan, and so on, and we are servitors specifically of that Vrindavan Krishna who gives protection and nourishment; who gives service to the Gopis; who is the maintainer of the Gopis and of Govardhan Hill. We are the servants of the servants of the servants of the servants of that Krishna, and that is our true identity.
So all honour is to go to the higher servitor. When we honour someone, if that person is a Vaisnava, then he will immediately send that to his Guru. Srila Guru Maharaj would often say this Bengali phrase:
Whatever respect comes to you, if you do not try to digest that, but immediately if you send that to your Guru then you will be benefited, and not only you, but the person who is honouring you, they will also be benefited. This principle is true in all circumstances. If I collect some money and use that money for the service of Sri Gurudev, then no illusion and no burden will come to me. It won't bring any reaction from this plane, and this is the line of thought that the Scriptures reveal to us.
Today's function has given me this inspiration: you are all the vaibhava of Srila Guru Maharaj (Srila Sridhar Maharaj) and all your honour is going to him. I can say that Srila Guru Maharaj has given me the charge of his Mission for the maintenance of his devotees' spiritual lives, but really I am only a carrier. Guru Maharaj told me, "You look after the devotees and my Deities, and you look after my Mission." This is my tridanda sannyas: I will serve his devotees, I will serve his Deities and I will serve his Mission. And you all are my wealth, of this I have no doubt. I am receiving much energy from the devotees and like a solar battery, whatever light I have, I am using that for the service of Srila Guru Maharaj. In this way I am benefited and you are also benefited.
It was the desire of Srila Guru Maharaj that if he can do anything then first he will do something in London for the satisfaction of his Guru Maharaj. When Srila Prabhupad Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur saw that his other preachers had actually failed to preach successfully in the West, he was very sad and he requested Srila Guru Maharaj, "If I send you to London for preaching, will you go there?"
Srila Guru Maharaj replied, "Yes if it is your order then I must carry that out, but I think that perhaps I am not the fittest person for that service. I do not understand the manner of the English people and I do not know what is the proper courtesy there. I am a brahmana boy and I do not know how to mix with them. If you wish, I will go, but I think it would be better for your preaching to send Aprakrta Prabhu (Sripad Bhakti Saranga Goswami Maharaj)."
Srila Prabhupad thought, "Yes, what Sridhar Maharaj says is true. He is not accustomed to take Prasadam with the mlechas, but Aprakrta Prabhu can do that without any difficulty and it will be necessary to show them that we do not consider them to be less than us."
One of the senior Godbrothers at that time, asked Guru Maharaj, "Do you know why Srila Prabhupad wants you to go to London?"
Srila Guru Maharaj replied, "Yes, I can guess his reason: so far anyone he has sent to the West, they have returned as a sahib (Western gentleman) but Srila Prabhupad is thinking that will not happen in my case." And that devotee confirmed, "Yes, certainly you will uphold the dress of sannyas and our Mission there, and this is what Prabhupad needs. You will not be converted."
Guru Maharaj said, "If Prabhupad wants to send me then I must go. Whether to swarga or nara, heaven or hell, wherever it may be I will go there. I have no problem. But what will be more fruitful for his mission that is most important, and for this service Aprakrta Prabhu is more qualified than I." Aprakrta Prabhu was sent.
These were the outward events, but actually it was not fully the desire of Srila Prabhupad that Guru Maharaj would leave India at that time.
Guru Maharaj's intelligence was very fine and he could understand that Srila Prabhupad would soon pass away from this world and Guru Maharaj knew that if he were present at that time then that would be more happy for Srila Prabhupad. And so it was that at the time of his passing Srila Prabhupad called Guru Maharaj and gave charge of his sampradaya. At that time his sampradaya was very wide, with sixty-four maths in India and his preaching already expanding into the West. His vision, like that of Srila Swami Maharaj, was very broad.
Once Srila Prabhupad wanted to make a student hostel in London. His idea was that both Indian and Western students would stay there while they were engaged in their studies and we would try to bring them into the line of Krishna consciousness. He said that if necessary then we will supply them with food from the hotel, and that means meat, etc. Hearing this, Guru Maharaj objected, "If we supply this kind of food to the students then the prestige of the mission will be lost." Prabhupad replied angrily, "I contemplated this question a thousand births ago. Vaikuntha vrtti karite habe. We must live in Vaikuntha, not in this material world."
Vaikuntha means vigata kuntha yasmat—where there are no restrictions, where nothing bad can exist, where everything is auspicious—we must direct our consciousness in that direction. We want to do good for others and whatever is necessary we shall use that. Srila A C Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj Prabhupad also had this mood. Swami Maharaj told me that when he first came to America, having no money, he stayed with a gentleman who had become his friend. This gentleman didn't prepare his own food, but he would buy it from the local shop. Prabhupad, on the other hand, would prepare chapati and subji for himself, and would happily take that. His friend asked him to also make some for him and in exchange he offered to purchase the ingredients, and so Prabhupad would cook for him with his own hand.
Srila Swami Maharaj would keep his food in one area of his friend's fridge, and his friend would keep his food—meat, etc.—in another part of that same fridge. When I heard this I thought it must have been intolerable and I asked him, "You would still eat your food?" and he replied "What shall I do? I had no other way. I simply considered that Krishna is giving me this food, and in this way I am eating." This was the type of broad mind of Prabhupad A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj, and through that he received much blessing and mercy from Nityananda Prabhu, from Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and from Prabhupad Saraswati Thakur, otherwise how is it possible that one man from India could spread the chanting of the Hare Krishna Mahamantra all over the world! And when he returned to India nobody could believe what he had done and sadly nobody wanted to give reception to him.
So Swami Maharaj wrote to me, "Govinda Maharaj, I know you have no money but can you give some shelter at your Math?" and I asked Guru Maharaj, and he said "What? Nobody is enthusiastic to receive him! You write to him and say that he is always welcome here and we shall try to give as good a reception as we are able."
I met them at the train station and with some sankirttan I took them to our Math. Srila Swami Maharaj stayed in the 'Blue House' for one month with two devotees, Achyutananda and Ramanuja Prabhus, and every day they met with Guru Maharaj. It was my good fortune that I was able to arrange a 'citizens reception.' On the order of Srila Guru Maharaj all the prominent citizens of Nabadwip gave reception to Srila Swami Maharaj. At first they also did not want to attend the meeting, thinking, "Oh he has gone to mlecha-desa, the countries of the mlechas (barbarous cow-killers) so we shall not give any reception."
Then Guru Maharaj told me, "You go and tell them, 'Sridhar Maharaj will go to that meeting, and Sridhar Maharaj, he is giving that reception.' Then what will they say? I want to know."
Then when I went to Nabadwip Sanskrit College, which was full of many big pandits, and told them, they said, "Oh, if Sridhar Maharaj is going there then we will definitely also attend." Actually Guru Maharaj could not attend as he was very sick at that time, but many great brahmana scholars attended that meeting along with many renowned goswamis.
So, broad vision is needed and through that one can preach very easily, but what was done by Srila Swami Maharaj, that is a miracle. Srila Guru Maharaj said, "It is a miracle and we are glad, we are happy and we are proud." And hearing this some of Guru Maharaj's Godbrothers were perplexed, "How Sridhar Maharaj is giving this kind of honour?" and Guru Maharaj told them, "It is respect to our Guru Maharaj. He wanted this, and Swami Maharaj, he fulfilled his desire. Then whatever honour we offer to Swami Maharaj that will immediately go to our Guru Maharaj, and Prabhupad will be happy." And today when I see your chanting and dancing, I am thinking if Srila Prabhupad Saraswati Thakur was present here, of course he is present in another form, but if physically he were present here then his full blessings he would give to you all, I have no doubt.
At the turn of the last century Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur predicted that very soon the intelligent men and women from all parts of the world will come to Nabadwip to enquire where is the birthplace of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and they will chant His glories and take the Name of Sri Sachinandana, they will cry with His Name and dance, mixing with the devotees of India. And today this has come true by the mercy of Srila Swami Maharaj. When he came here, he had no friends. A few people helped him sometimes and he is trying to spread Krishna consciousness. He was successful, and not only that, he blasted the Western materialistic culture and made many friends and through that I have come here. When I came, I have thousands of friends, but when he came he was alone—one man.
But within was Sri Nityananda Prabhu, the blessings of his Guru Maharaj and the well-wishes of Srila Guru Maharaj and a few other disciples of Srila Prabhupad Saraswati Thakur. Now on my tour I have received much honour and grand reception and I am thinking this is all the blessings of Srila Swami Maharaj. And here I am seeing the devotees of London dancing and chanting "Jai Sachinandana, Jai Sachinandana, Jai Sachinandana," and where I am I cannot understand. Is it Goloka Vrindavan or Nabadwip?
This is a miracle. This miracle has happened and I think if it is possible, in the future it will grow more and more. Many devotees of Mahaprabhu, Srila Guru Maharaj and Srila Swami Maharaj are living and trying to preach Krishna consciousness, and through them in the future a glorious preaching movement will be seen. Always we will see that in one wave not everything can be accomplished. Sometimes a very strong wave may come and some of the troubles in its path will be carried away, but always some will remain standing. But again and again a wave will come and they will be carried away, and then they will get their real nourishment from that wave. When the flood comes to Nabadwip we see that all the trees die, but the flood doesn't just kill trees, it also provides much fertilizer for the earth, so that within a very short time new growth appears and soon you cannot see the damage the flood caused.
So everything is possible by the will of Krishna, and it was the earnest desire of Srila Guru Maharaj that he will do some service in London. Many times he told us, "My Guru Maharaj wanted to send me to London. Now all the devotees of the Western world are coming to me, but still I feel some deficiency in my service and if I can do some seva in London I will feel fulfilled."
The devotees wholeheartedly tried to establish that temple at 49 Dinsdale Road and it happened, that property was bought, but Krishna's will went the other way and that place was stolen by Krishna. He wants to give us more chance for service: "Again you try to make another temple for Me." I am seeing in this way. He does not want us to be lazy. "Once you have done, no doubt, but again you try to serve." Krishna wants to give everyone this inspiration that once again your service has come to you and you try to do that.
My feeling is that direct service is wanted from us and I think very soon the temple will appear again. It has appeared but now it is in the form of a rented house, but I think that Guru Gauranga Radha Syamasundar must be in Their own house. If Syamasundar wants to take our service then it can happen very quickly. Anyhow our preaching programme must continue. What has been initiated in London, that must not stop. That is my prayer to Mahaprabhu, Nityananda Prabhu, Guru Maharaj and his devotees. You please try to continue it and through this service we can get everything.
etat sarvam gurau bhaktya
If we know something of the Scriptures then we can understand that through the service of Guru Maharaj and the Vaisnavas we will get everything—ecstasy, nectar, love, beauty—in the transcendental service world, and that is our life's goal.
sandhya-vandana bhadram astu bhavato bho snana tubhyam namo
(Srila Madhavendra Puri)
Sandhya, vandanam, snana, puja, archan (morning, noon and evening prayers, reciting of formal prayers, ritual ablution, formal worship, and ritualistic worship of the Deity in the temple) all are in the line of vidhi (calculative devotion) but we are followers of raga-marga, and Guru Maharaj is our preceptor and Guardian of Devotion—we have no problem. We may stay anywhere but we must not forget our life and that is the service life. Service is life. Preaching, that is also service; eating, that can be service; sleeping, that can be service. I am not telling you thereby to sleep always, but for what purpose am I sleeping? After sleeping we will feel much energy, and that is for serving Sri Sri Guru and Gauranga.
Today I was talking up to 4 o'clock, and talking so much that a fever came. Then I took some rest and after awakening I am feeling very nice again and now I am talking with you. So sleeping can also be service. Everything can be transformed into service.
Karmma and bhakti, outwardly they are not different. Bhaktivinod Thakur has said in Sri Brahma-samhita that outwardly karmma and bhakti appear to hold the same position, but when karmma is in the line of devotion and in the line of Vedic instruction, that is karmma-misra bhakti, and that will lead us to jnana-misra bhakti, and that can give us yoga-misra bhakti. However all these have the touch of the mundane world, but our line is the line of pure devotion to Krishna. That is to first offer our everything to Krishna and only then will we do ananya-bhajan. Then everything is going to Krishna, good or bad, and we have no problem.
We can live anywhere and do anything, as long as we do not forget our inner duty, and then no reaction of this world will come to us. Everything belongs to Krishna and everything goes to Krishna, and this is the teaching of Srila Guru Maharaj and Srila Swami Maharaj.
Offence to the Vaisnavas is the only bad thing for us. If we can take care of this consciousness then we will have no problem and we will be able to do anything and everything for the service of Krishna—that is true.
Once a great sadhu of South India was ordered by Sri Ranganath, "You make My temple." By His order that sadhu went to the kings, at that time there were many kings in India, and he petitioned them, "Sri Ranganath has ordered that I build a temple within seven compound walls where He will reside. If you help me I will be very happy and you will be greatly benefited." But none of the kings would give him help and so he was dejected, sitting under a tree thinking, "What shall I do now? It is the order of Ranganath, but I have no capacity to do this seva."
It was then that some men came to him. He preached to them and they were convinced and said to him, "Prabhu, we can build your temple." Each of them had a special ability: one could convince others to do his will just by speaking to them, another could open any lock, and another could immobilise anyone just by touching them. Using their powers they resolved to plunder the treasuries of the kings, and if you see this temple of Sri Ranganath you will see their grand success. They are from the Sri Sampradaya and that is a very heavy sampradaya. They are the followers of vidhi-marga, very strict rules and regulations, but by the order of Ranganathji they can do anything and everything—that type of raga-bhakti came to them. After that, very grand seva was established there, but this was the way in which the temple of Sri Ranganath manifested in the world.
Our creed is raga-bhakti. We live for that.
yena tena prakarena
With all our effort we shall try to serve Guru-Vaisnava, and that is the teaching of our Master. But our Master does not say, "Do robbery!" We have other methods of attempt and through those we shall serve as much as possible. I think the temple will come, someone will come forward by the will of Krishna. And the charge for the seva of that temple will come to us and we shall not forget that. If we try in this way it will come very quickly. I have received much good response from the Western world.
I have only come to meet with my friends and family actually, but I am a sannyasi and preaching always follows me. During this tour, I have been staying in various places, sometimes three days, sometimes four days, and sometimes only one day, but wherever I have been I have received much good response. Just this morning I received a fax from San Jose, and there the devotees want to buy some land. I asked them to try to again establish our Math there, and already they are engaged in this task. And I think our London Math must also come very quickly by the grace of Srila Guru Maharaj. I am seeing the enthusiasm of you all, my friends, my Godbrothers, my worshipable devotees, and I have no doubts in this regard. Krishna wants direct service from us then why should we be misers to give that. We are holding the ego, that "I am devoted to Krishna." Then now we must show that. Krishna has given us all some ability or some facility and we are holding that. Everyone has some capacity and through that capacity we can all do something. Now the cause has come and we are all together. We must think.
Guru Maharaj has left us much wealth in his books and we are publishing many more. It is no joking matter. At one time Srila Kesava Maharaj told me, "Govinda Maharaj, if you can publish twelve books then I will put your name on the publishers list and you will receive much help and facility from the government." Then we had only published eight books but I told Kesava Maharaj that I would try to publish another four.
Although it was very difficult and we only had little money I managed to it. Now we have published over sixty books from Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math, but still to this day I have not approached the government. I will not even give one of our books for review. It is my thinking that, who are they to review Guru Maharaj's books? They have no capacity. I do not want their certificate for Guru Maharaj, so I have not given even one book for review. If they will say that there is anything wrong with that book, I cannot tolerate it. They have no right to review Guru Maharaj's book.
Since I have come to the West many newspapers from around the world have given good reports about our World Tour. Only this morning I received a clipping from an Australian newspaper. The article was called, 'Ganges comes to Australia.' We are not looking for their praise but still it is coming. Actually, we know that they have no right to give certificate to us. We are reading with Lord Brahma and with Lord Siva, in the same class—Guru Maharaj told us this.
Once, when he was very young, Hari Charan Prabhu was studying Sanskrit with me. We had both passed some examination and Hari Charan Prabhu told me that he wanted to continue his studies at college. He told me, "I will return to my family home and after I graduate from college I will come back to the Math." I was very sad.
At that time we were only three or four brahmacharis, so I went to Guru Maharaj and told him, "Maharaj, Hari Charan Prabhu wants to return to his home for studying and when he has graduated he will come back to the Math."
Guru Maharaj called Hari Charan Prabhu and said, "You are very foolish, do you not know what you are studying here? You have been living here with me and other Vaisnavas for two years but you have not got any good feelings for that?"
Hari Charan was thinking, "What is it that Guru Maharaj wants to say?" And Guru Maharaj continued, "Do you know where you are living? You are living in the same 'college' with Lord Brahma, with Lord Siva, with Sukadev, with Vyasadeva, and with many of the stalwart rsis. You are studying in the same class as them, so what more will you get if you go back to your house?" And Guru Maharaj expanded on this point with many explanations, and Hari Charan Prabhu never returned to his family home.
So we are all studying in the same class with Lord Brahma, Narada, Lord Siva, and if we try to realise that then we will get much strength and we must proceed more exclusively in the line of Krishna consciousness, and together, helping each other.
Congregational chanting will give us more benefit, but if we look at each other with an eye to find wrong, then that possibility will go far away from us. So we must not make offence to each other. And ego, that is a very bad thing, so we must leave the ego. The ego is with everybody, no one can say that they have no ego, but we must leave aside the mundane ego and keep only one ego, and that is: "I am the servant of the Vaisnavas." This is the main conception needed for the conditioned soul.
Vaisnavi pratistha tate koro nistha. Srila Saraswati Thakur has written this in his poem, 'Who is a Vaisnava:' "When your ego will grow to embrace the ideal that you are the servitor of a Vaisnava, you try and hold that within your heart."
I am very happy and feeling much peace in my heart that all my Godbrothers and Godsisters, and all my friends, they are very enthusiastic to chant congregationally with me, and that inspiration is coming more and more and it is very hopeful no doubt. And if you will continue this I can come again and again, no problem at all. Before it was not my plan, but I was invited by the devotees and now I am thinking not only India; not only Puri, Nabadwip and Vrindavan, but with the association of the devotees I will preach something in the West also. If Krishna and Guru Maharaj will give me that chance again, then why should I not take it? I shall try to serve the devotees. Preaching is our life and Guru Maharaj has given that life to me, and I am trying as much as possible.
Section 1 — 'Siddhanta'
Section 3 — 'Our Devotional Line'
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