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Discriminate and Tolerate

His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Srila Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj
Caracas, Venezuela
21 September 2009


Question: How can we remove arrogance and intolerance from our heart?

ভক্তি-অনুকূল মাত্র কার্য্যের স্বীকার ।
ভক্তি-প্রতিকূল ভাব—বর্জ্জনাঙ্গীকার ॥

bhakti-anukula matra karyera svikara
bhakti-pratikula bhava—varjanangikara

(Saranagati, by Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur)

"You must do what is in favour of devotion, and you must reject what is not in favour of devotion." If you sometimes do what is unfavourable to devotion, ego and many nonsense things will come at that time. We must follow the instruction. Sometimes we do what is not necessary, and we get the same result. For example, we gossip—some girl is talking about another girl or boy, and so on. Do not listen to these kinds of things—it is gramya-katha, gramya-varta, it is nonsense. When these things come to us and we do something that is not in favour of devotion, many obstacles then come to our hearts.

Mahaprabhu told Das Goswami Prabhu, "Gramya-katha na sunibe, gramya-varta na kahibe (গ্রাম্যকথা না শুনিবে, গ্রাম্যবার্ত্তা না কহিবে): When there is no Krishna-katha, do not say anything; and when there is no Krishna-katha, do not listen to anything. Bhala na khaibe ara bhala na paribe (ভাল না খাইবে আর ভাল না পরিবে): do not eat fancy food, do not wear fancy clothes." (Cc, 3.6.236) Always control your tongue. Remember this. If you do not control your tongue, then mind will not be controlled—everything will be destroyed...

Sometimes you go to the market and think, "Oh, this is very nice food. I want to eat it." If you see something you want, then buy it, bring it home, give it to the Deity, and take prasad.

I can give you one direct example. I do not want to tell the name, but there was one devotee who used to smoke five packs of cigarettes every day. He came back to India one year later and said, "Maharaj, Krishna is merciful, now I cannot tolerate any smoking." I asked him, "How is it possible?" and he said, "Srimad Bhagavad-gita says that you must give whatever what you want to eat to the Deity or Gurudev." He had a photo of Gurudev in his house and it turned out that when he was going to smoke a cigarette, he would first offer it to the photo. This is how his smoking finished. Do you see?

So, please always avoid what is not offered (or what cannot be offered) to the Lord—such food produces anger. For example, in Uttar Pradesh and South India, people eat onion and garlic in some place and they say it is all right because onion and garlic are vegetables. But we do not take onion and garlic because they give so much anger and energy—Prabhupad Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur always avoided it for this reason.

Sometimes, however, it is also "Sri Hari sevaya yaha anukula / visaya baliya tahara tyage haya bhula (শ্রীহরি সেবায় যাহা অনুকূল / বিষয় বলিয়া তাহার ত্যাগে হয় ভুল): if something is favourable to the service of the Lord, do not reject it saying that it is a material thing; it is wrong." There are times when for the service to the Lord you may not be able to avoid something.

For example, once, Srila Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj went to Kashmir for preaching. In that area, there were no devotees, all people were Muslim, so they did not get any proper food. They ate fruit only, and three days later they went to a hotel to have a meal. They were given some rice and dal. Srila Sridhar Maharaj's godbrother Bon Maharaj and another sannyasi were also there. When they were served the meal, they got the smell of onion and garlic. They said to Srila Sridhar Maharaj, "Maharaj, what is this? What smell is coming?" Srila Sridhar Maharaj replied, "Maha-prasad! Maha-prasad!"

Sometimes we have to digest things—"Hari sevaya yaha anukula"—for the service to the Lord. It is the same with the aeroplane food. For example, to come here to Venezuela from India, you have to take a twenty-two-hour flight. How can you travel without food? Some say that they do not know what they are given—they say it is vegetarian but sometimes when cooking or dishing they may use the same spoon as they use for the non-vegetarian food. What can you do? Sometimes you may have to tolerate for the service to the Lord.

Do you have any other questions?


Question: Is it an offence to Krishna to cook something in the same place where people cook meat?

You must think what devotional activities means. In India also you can see in some families the husband eats meat, fish, and even on the Ekadasi day he brings home meat—what will an Indian wife do? She has to cook for him. There are many Gurudev's disciples like this—the wife is an initiated devotee, and the husband is not a devotee. When the husband bring all the fish and meat, the wife has to cook it otherwise they have to divorce. What can she do? Krishna can see everything...


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