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His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Srila Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj
Sri Nabadwip Dham, evening class, part 8
7 November 2012, translated from Bengali


What are the obstacles, thorns on the path of devotion? Atyahara, prayascha, prajalpa, niyamagraha, jana-sangancha, laulancha—they destroy devotion. Rupa Goswami wrote this. Atyahara: trying to accumulate too much; prayascha: engaging in activities that are averse to devotion and being attached or addicted to such activities; prajalpa: talking idly and gossiping; niyamagraha: being indifferent to devotional rules and regulations and caring for other rules and regulations; jana-sangancha: associating with other people except devotees; and laulancha: fickle-mindedly take interest in different other theories and teachings.

And what is favourable? Dust of the feet of the devotees, water that washed the feet of the devotees, remnants of devotees' food, remnants of Krishna's food—this all means taking prasad. How will you control your tongue?

প্রসাদ-সেবা করিতে হয়
সকল প্রপঞ্চ জয়

prasada-seva karite haya,
sakala prapancha-jaya

"By honouring the Lord's prasad I conquer all worldly illusions."

(Saranagati, 31.5, by Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur)

If you serve to (honour) prasadam (prasad-seva), all your senses will be subjugated. That is why we say that when you take Harinam (first initiation), you return to your home and you must offer bhog to the Lord with Tulasi leaves, must do Tulasi parikrama, etc. When you do parikrama around Tulasi Devi, you get the same result as when doing a parikrama of Vrindavan. Plant a Tulasi tree at your home, and you will get that kind of result. But we do not do it...

What I also told you about the other day is written here:

যো যস্য মাংসমশ্নাতি স তন্মাংসাদ উচ্যতে ।
মৎস্যাদঃ সর্বমাংসাদস্তস্মান্মৎস্যান্ বিবর্জয়েৎ ॥

yo yasya mamsam-asnati sa tan mamsada uchyate
matsyadah sarva-mamsadas-tasman-mat-syan vivarjayet

"Whoever eats some meat is called an eater of the meat of that entity, but one who eats fish is considered to have eaten all kinds of meat (cow, pig, etc. even one's own meat). Therefore one must completely give up eating fish."

(Manu-samhita, 5.15)

This body is composed of earth, water, fire, air, and ether. When we die, this body will be burnt, it will turn into ash, and the ash will again turn into earth. When the ash becomes earth, another body is created, and that body can be any body—it can be grass, some animal, etc. In this way, those whose meat I enjoyed will enjoy my meat. This is said in the scriptures—in Manu-samhita. Always remember this. If you do not learn these things, how will you get the result?

When you go to primary school, there are many pupils. After that, when you go to high school, you will find there fewer pupils, and in the end may be only one person will go to university. Is it not so? So, even if you are alone, you must serve, you must practise. Why do we not engage in Krishna-kirtan (in serving Krishna, in chanting Krishna's Name, etc.)? Instead we spend time talking all the time about all sorts of other things...

Gurudev places the Holy Name into your heart—what is the Holy Name? The Holy Name is chetan-vastu, it is conscious and it is non-different from the Lord. That Holy Name must come to your tongue. Why is it not coming to your tongue? Because your tongue is not level.

কৃষ্ণ কহে,—আমা ভজে, মাগে বিষয়-সুখ ।
অমৃত ছাড়ি’ বিষ মাগে,—এই বড় মূর্খ ॥

krsna kahe,—ama bhaje, mage visaya-sukha
amrta chhadi' visa mage,—ei bada murkha

"Krishna says, 'They worship Me, desiring material happiness—leaving aside nectar, they ask for poison. They are great fools.'"

(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, Madhya-lila, 22.38)

Krishna says, "I will give these fools knowledge, I will give them material things and they will forget Me..." How many times we pray to the Lord, "Dhanam dehi, vidhyam dehi, rupam dehi, etc." (make me rich, make me clever, make me beautiful, etc.) and what did Mahaprabhu say?

ন ধনং ন জনং ন সুন্দরীং কবিতাং বা জগদীশ কাময়ে ।
মম জন্মনি জন্মনীশ্বরে ভবতাদ্ভক্তিরহৈতুকী ত্বয়ি ॥

na dhanam na janam na sundarim kavitam va jagadisa kamaye
mama janmani janmanisvare bhavatad bhaktir ahaituki tvayi

"I do not want wealth, I do not want knowledge, I do not want beauty, I do not want to be a poet. I only want causeless devotion to Your lotus feet. Give me that kind of devotion to Your lotus feet so that I could do Your service life after life."

(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, Antya-lila, 20.29)

Mahaprabhu says, "May such causeless devotion come to My heart! I want that kind of devotion, Prabhu!" How does devotion come? Not through any karma (pious actions), not through any sacrifices—through these you may only get a better life in future, but you will again have to come back to this world—for example, in a body of a cow, a goat, a cat, etc.) That is why we must understand that "no one can achieve the goal of life without practising, following sadhana" ('sadhya-vastu' 'sadhana' vinu keha nahi paya, ‘সাধ্যবস্তু’ ‘সাধন’ বিনা কেহ নাহি পায়, Cc, 2.8.197). What does "sadhana" mean? It means accepting what is written in the scriptures. Accepting what? There are sixty-four kinds of devotional practices, among them there are nine practices that are very important and among those nine practices there are five main practices. What are they?

সাধুসঙ্গ, নামকীর্ত্তন, ভাগবতশ্রবণ ।
মথুরাবাস, শ্রীমূর্ত্তির শ্রদ্ধায় সেবন ॥

sadhu-sanga, nama-kirtana, bhagavata-sravana
mathura-vasa, sri-murtira sraddhaya sevana

"One should associate with devotees, chant the Holy Name of the Lord, hear Srimad-Bhagavatam, reside at Mathura and worship the Deity with faith."

Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, Madhya-lila, 22.124

You know what sadhu-sanga (good association), Nama-kirtan (chanting the Holy Name) and Bhagavat-sravan (listening to Srimad Bhagavatam, to the scriptures) are. What is Mathura-vasa? Does it mean you have to go to live in Mathura? No, it means living in the place where there is Krishna-katha, where there is Bhagavad-katha:

যে দিন গৃহে ভজন দেখি ।
গৃহেতে গোলোক ভায় ॥

ye dina grhe bhajana dekhi
grhete goloka bhaya

On the days when I see devotional service taking place in my home, I feel that Goloka has manifested there.

('Suddha-bhakata-charana-renu' by Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur)

You can make your house a temple of the Lord—that is called Mathura-vasa. There, you can practise Bhagavat-sravan and sraddhaya sri-murtir sevana—you must worship the Lord with faith. How many kinds of faith are there? Kamala-sraddha (fragile, sensitive faith), taranga-sraddha (fickle faith), drdha-sraddha (strong faith), and sudrdha-sraddha (the strongest faith).

'শ্রদ্ধা' শব্দে—বিস্বাস কহে সুদৃঢ় নিশ্চয় ।
কৃষ্ণে ভক্তি কৈলে সর্ব্বকর্ম্ম কৃত হয় ॥

'sraddha'-sabde—visvasa kahe sudrdha nischaya
krsne bhakti kaile sarva-karma krta haya

"Sraddha is firm, determined faith that by service to Krishna all actions are accomplished."

(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, Madhya-lila, 22.62)

Faith comes from sukriti (devotional merit). There is jnata sukriti (conscious devotional merit) and ajnata sukriti (unconscious devotional merit). For example, if you use a mango tree's fruit for the service of the Lord, the tree gets some sukriti through that; or if you offer some flowers to the lotus feet of Gurudev, to the lotus feet of the Deity, that flower tree also gets sukriti. Otherwise, a flower tree just dries up, but it can get some sukriti through you, and because the tree does not know about it, it is called ajnata-sukriti (unconscious devotional merit).

You must understand these things and practise these things, otherwise you will not get the result.

You have come here by a great fortune:

অল্প ভাগ্যে সেবা নাহি হয়
কোটি জন্ম থাকলে ভাগ্য
বিষয় ছেড়ে হয় বৈরাগ্য

alpa-bhagye seva nahi haya
koti janma thakle bhagya
visaya chhede haya vairagya

"Service does not come by just a little fortune. Only after ten million births of good fortune, can you leave this material world behind."

You can stay in your family and serve the Lord—"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."

I heard also from Gurudev what Prabhupad had said: What does a "temple" mean? It is a place where the Lord is served under the guidance of the Guru and Vaishnavs. Who lives in a temple? Those who serve the Lord under the guidance of the Guru and Vaishnavs. And what is a "living temple"? If you can bring even one person to the lotus feet of your Gurudev, that is called a living temple (jivanta math). These are Prabhupad's words, and you must remember about this.

If you read books with Prabhupad's instructions, you will find these things there. Guru Maharaj asked me once, "Maharaj, do you read any books?" I said, "I do not get time..." Then, he told me, "Then you can read Gaudiya-kantha-hara. If you read it, you will become a 75% preacher." Then I read this book—I got it the same day and still keep it with me. I read it in the car, in the train, wherever I stay... The whole Bhagavatam is there. Also, have you read Srila Sridhar Maharaj's book Prapanna-jivanamritam? It is very beautiful. If you have not read it yet, you can get it. If we read books, we will learn something...

Now is Niyam-seva month (Kartik month)... I do not know if we will get time to sing the kirtans tomorrow, but we can sing them in the train, what do you say? We must do kirtan in the train, it is not necessary to sleep in the train—we can observe the Niyam-seva month in the train, we can do arati in the train, we can even do Tulasi parikrama in the train. Even if we do not get time, we can still do kirtan. Do not be embarrassed. To fight you need some weapon, somebody uses swords and other weapons but our weapon is kol (mridanga), kartals:

prema vanyaya nadiya bhasaila
ninduka-pasandi-gana dhaiya palaiya

"When the Lord flooded Nadiya with divine love, all offenders and faithless people fled at once!"

We must think and realise what our Gurupadpadma has come to give to us. Gurudev said, "If the Lord wants a singara (samosa), then you must give Him a singara and the matter is over—you will get the Lord." What does it mean? The Lord and Gurudev tell us what they want—it is all written in the scriptures—and we must simply do what they tell us, otherwise imagine you want a singara and I give you a laddu (a sweet)...

Jay Srila Guru Maharaj ki jay!
Harinam sankirtan ki jay!
samagata Sri Gaura bhakta-vrinda ki jay!
Bhakta-raj Prahlada Maharaj ki jay!
Bhagavan Nrisinghadev ki jay!
Jay Harinam sankirtan ki jay!


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