THE BENEDICTINE TREE OF DIVINE ASPIRATION: CHAPTER EIGHT
Everyone's Real Friend
At the end of a gathering in Mauritius. A short talk given
We are very fortunate to have had the opportunity in Mauritius to hear from Srila Govinda Maharaj. In a very simple and charming way he has delivered to us some words about Krsna consciousness. As it was mentioned by a respected guest earlier today, "I see Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Prabhupada in Srila Govinda Maharaj." This is no accident, because Srila Prabhupada and Srila Govinda Maharaj are very intimately connected. For many years in India they lived together, and Srila Govinda Maharaj was like a son to Srila Prabhupada. He said, "I consider Govinda Maharaj as my most beloved son, actually."
It was from Srila Prabhupada that Srila Govinda Maharaj studied Srimad Bhagavad-gita. Srila Prabhupada himself studied from Srila Govinda Maharaj's Guru, Srila Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj. So these three form a very intimate group.
After Srila Prabhupada left the world in 1977 we had Srila Sridhar Maharaj to guide and shelter us. We all felt the need that after Srila Sridhar Maharaj's disappearance there would be someone to continue presenting these teachings in a genuine and authentic way. I knew from both Srila Prabhupada and Srila Sridhar Maharaj that the person would be Srila Govinda Maharaj. For this reason I, and others, many times invited him to travel around the world. It is therefore a special event for me that he has kindly taken me with him on these travels.
Here in Mauritius we have all had the opportunity to hear how Srila Maharaj has given us a very happy idea about serving Krsna. He has also expressed much appreciation for this lovely country.
The Vaisnavas never say, "I am Guru." They never show themselves as being superior to us. Srila Maharaj always said, "I am a simple man. Srila Prabhupada was a great Guru, but I am a simple man and I do not know if I can do such big things."
But gradually from all over the world people came to Srila Guru Maharaj's home, Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math in Nabadwip, and as they went back to their own homes around the world they also felt, "We need such a teacher." Consequently they sent more and more invitations. The result is that now, like Srila Prabhupada, Srila Govinda Maharaj is doing these same things and is spreading the exalted teachings of the Sri Rupanuga Sampradaya around the world.
The Vaisnava, the devotee of God, the devotee of Krsna, is the real friend of all living beings and of all human society. He is their natural friend, and he has no enemy in the world. He gives us the teachings of how we also can became Vaisnavas. 'Vaisnava' means 'the servant of God, Visnu.' One who belongs to Visnu is called a Vaisnava. Vaisnavas are not sectarian religionists.
Dharmma is often translated as 'religion'. But dharmma comes from the original root word dhri which means 'to hold'. It means that our very nature, the substantial part that holds us in our life, is dharmma. Vaisnava-dharmma is our original nature, and it is also called jaiva-dharmma. Jaiva comes from the word jiva. As Srila Govinda Maharaj explained here, the jiva is the soul; that is, you and I. We are souls, and our nature is to serve God, to serve Krsna. But now our original spiritual nature has become covered by mundane association, the material world. Therefore the Vaisnava saints come from time to time to awaken us to our original natural self of being a servant of Krsna. In Bengali this is called jivera 'svarupa' haya—krsnera 'nityadasa.' We are not only servants of Krsna in the morning or in the evening, but eternally. Eternal means that there is no beginning, and no end. It is our natural position to serve Him, and we can serve Him through the mercy and grace of the Vaisnava teachers like Srila Govinda Maharaj.
Service to Krsna is the most natural function of the soul. It is not a matter of converting anybody from this religion to that religion. It is already the natural function within the soul of all beings. And, as Srila Maharaj has kindly told us, if we start this knowledge from our childhood and through our youth-hood, it will stay with us eternally. In such a way we shall have a start in life and we shall have some purpose.
In French there is a nice expression, 'raison d'etre'. We must have 'raison d'etre', we must have a goal in life, we must have a purpose in life, not only eating. When we are hungry we can only think about eating, and when we are tired we can only think about sleeping. Later on we may marry and have a family and we may have to fight for our family and for our country. But these things alone are not everything. There is 'raison d'etre'. There is a reason for living, beyond and above our bodily existence.
Srila Maharaj has pointed out to us that we are not this body. The person in this body goes from boyhood to youth to old age. An old person once had a young body, but in both bodies he is the same person, the same soul. Similarly you were also in a young baby's body, now you are in a young lady's or gentleman's body. Your body will become older and old, but you are the same person. From young, to being youthful, to adult, to older, you are the same person; only the body is changing. And that person is spiritual. He or she is jivatma, a living soul. The soul is spiritual and has some spiritual work to do, some spiritual function to do, and that is service to God.
It is Srila Maharaj's observation, and also mine by his grace, that in Mauritius you all naturally have that Godly heart. It is a very happy thing to see, because your future will be very great and bright.
When Srila Prabhupada came here it was reported that he said, "This country can all become Vaisnavas. They can all become devotees of God." He had that vision to see. And Srila Govinda Maharaj also has told us like that. He feels very much happy and at home here.
Just as we were so fortunate to have the association of Srila Prabhupada, we are now so lucky to have Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj. He is carrying the same current. He is a personality of the same soil, the same land. He can, and is, giving us these teachings.
(Verses in glorification of Srila Govinda Maharaj)
II: Chanting the Mahamantra
III: Dasa-vidha Namaparadha
(The Ten Offences to the Holy Name)
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