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At a Crossroads

His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Srila Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj
24 February 2013


Question: I realise that it has been a short time since I joined the mission, and I feel very strongly that I must fully surrender and be fully dedicated, but at the same time I find myself not able to surrender fully because I always worry about my job and other things. I do not know what to do—whether to ask for some instruction, or just wait for something to happen...

What you are saying is not correct. Somebody always says, "Hari bol! Hari bol! Hari bol!" and you think they are surrendered, but it is not surrender. You must remember Gurudev's words: in the Western culture devotees do not have so much attachment like here in India. Indian people are too attached to their family. Bhakti Vinod Thakur also wrote about this in his songs.

In India, people have children, wait for their son to get married, then wait to see their grandson's wife and maybe even their great-grandson's wife. In the West, if a girl wants to go somewhere alone, her father allows it easily, but in India an unmarried girl cannot go out without her parents, and even a married girl who already has a baby cannot go out without her husband. There is so much attachment.

I go house to house, calling people to join the Vrindavan parikrama, and somebody says, "I want to go to Vrindavan, but I cannot go because this year is my son's wedding ceremony. I will go next year..." Next year their son's wife is pregnant and has a baby, and they have to postpone it again, "I cannot go now, I will go next year." The baby grows up a little and says, "Grandfather, take me to Vrindavan with you, I want to go with you," but they cannot take the baby with them because the baby always needs attention and there are too many problems with the accommodation and other facilities, so they think, "Oh, no, Maharaj, I cannot take this baby with me. Next year maybe..." In this way they can never go to Vrindavan. Attachment is very dangerous, but attachment to the Lord is good for you.

Do not worry about anything. What is the problem? If you must maintain your family, then it is necessary to work; and if it is not necessary to maintain your family, then the temples in Ekachakra, Nabadwip and other places are open for you.

This is the time to come and join because if you join the temple when you become too old and sick to work and your family does not look after you, you will have to take service from the devotees instead of giving service, which is not good for you. It is good to join the temple when you are young. I joined the temple when I was about twenty-seven or twenty-eight years old, but I also think that if I could join earlier, at ten or eleven years old, I could have made more progress. Those who come to the temple at a young age, at fifteen-twenty years old, can control all their senses and can easily cross that part of their life. Have a little tolerance and patience, and you can pass that age very quickly...

Householder life is also not bad. You can maintain your spiritual life as a householder, but practise properly. You see what we do here—mangal arati, parikrama, and so on—and you can do that at your home too. Wake up, have morning arati, cook something and give an offering to Gurudev with Tulasi leaves. Always avoid outside food—cook yourself or your wife can cook. Make an altar in your house, or have a shelf with a photo of the Deities, the Guru-parampara, and offer the food you cook to them. You can take the same food for lunch too. Is it very hard to maintain this? I do not think so... You have to eat something, so cook and offer it for ten minutes to Gurudev and the Deities, in this way all your senses will be controlled, the chhaya dos (the six faults: excessive eating, materialistic endeavours, useless talks, inability to follow instructions, bad association, fickle-mindedness) will be removed, and you will get energy.

Gurudev said that wherever you stay you can maintain your spiritual life. It is viddhi-bhakti. We are practitioners; we are not big devotees or great Vaishnavs...


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Jagadananda Pandit's Chastity
'Pastimes of Jagadananda Pandit and Sanatan Goswami that are an example for the whole world to follow: what is the real meaning of praise and chastisement? How extreme can one's chastity be?'


Sri Sri Damodarastakam
'O Lord, Your lotus face, which is encircled by locks of soft black hair tinged with red, is kissed again and again by Mother Yasoda, and Your lips are reddish like the bimba fruit. May this beautiful vision of Your lotus face be ever manifest in my heart. Thousands and thousands of other benedictions are of no use to me.'

We must realise everything, we must practise our own spiritual life properly, and pray to the feet of Guru, Vaishnavs sincerely, not pretending or showing off.