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Ups and Downs of Spiritual Life

His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Srila Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj
Speaking online to San Jose
14 June 2015


I am very happy to see you all after so many days. ভক্ত-সঙ্গেতে মন আনন্দিত অনুক্ষণ, bhakta-sangete mana anandita anuksana (association of devotees brings so much joy).

Yesterday I was reading Chaitanya-charitamrita and telling how much austerity, how much maya (illusion) always comes to a practitioner—Gurudev said that even Brahma will come to take you away. Nevertheless, we are fortunate because we have got a human body and a bona fide Guru, and we can serve the devotees under his guidance.

You must have proper guidance and get proper association, sadhu-sanga—without association we cannot do anything. Along with that, always avoid the Nama aparadh, always avoid the Dham aparadh, always avoid the seva aparadh. If you continue your practising life in this way, that will be good for you.

Srila Sanatan Goswami was a very rich person, he was a chief minister. He left everything and went to Mahaprabhu, but he got so much austerity. Srila Raghunath Das Goswami too—he started from a town near Kolkata and walked to Puri for twelve days and during this time he took food only three times. Three times! How much austerity they got! In a devotee's life there are always so many austerities, there are always ups and downs. You should always think, "It is the wish of the Lord. Everything happens by the will of the Lord, by the will of Gurudev," and do not be sad, do not think that the Lord or the Guru is your enemy. Your enemy is you yourself: kama, krodha, lobha, moha, mada, matsarya—you have so much lust, so much anger, greed, illusion, madness and envy within. You must learn to control it.

ভুক্তি-মুক্তি আদি-বাঞ্ছা যদি মনে হয় ।
সাধন করিলেও প্রেম উৎপন্ন না হয় ॥

bhukti-mukti adi-vancha yadi mane haya
sadhana karileo prema utpanna na haya

"If one is infected with the desire for material enjoyment or material liberation, he cannot rise to the platform of pure loving service unto the Lord, even though he may superficially render devotional service according to the routine regulative principles.

Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, Madhya-lila, 19.175

If you practise Krishna consciousness but have some material desire in your heart, you will not be able to reach the destination because of that desire. You must remove your offences, remove everything unfavourable through practice, through Krishna consciousness, and the main thing is that you must engage yourself in service to the Lord. To do that, you must have the proper seed—the proper seed comes from the proper line. You should take that seed, chant the Holy Name properly, recite the gayatri mantra every day two or three times, and take prasadam.

Even householder people must take prasad.

প্রসাদ-সেবা করিতে হয়
সকল প্রপঞ্চ জয়

prasada-seva karite haya,
sakala prapancha jaya

By honouring the Lord's prasadam I conquer over all worldly illusions.

'Suddha-bhakata' by Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur

Do not take anything without offering it first—not even a glass of water. If you take a glass of water, you must remember your Guru, remember the Lord, then only can you drink it.

Continue your spiritual life practising properly in this way and you will see how much it will improve.

গ্রাম্যকথা না শুনিবে, গ্রাম্যবার্ত্তা না কহিবে ।
ভাল না খাইবে আর ভাল না পরিবে ॥

gramya-katha na sunibe, gramya-varta na kahibe
bhala na khaibe ara bhala na paribe

"Do not talk like people in general or hear what they say. You should not eat very palatable food, nor should you dress very nicely."

Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, Antya-lila, 6.236

Mahaprabhu told Raghunath Das Goswami, "I am giving you advice. Neither gossip yourself, nor hear any gossip, and if you have any questions, you can ask Svarup Damodar, he will give you the proper answer."

For different kinds of devotees the practice is different, but that is not a problem: you must respect everyone, independent of whether they are a householder or a sannyasi. Householders too are senior and must be respected. Be humble, tolerant and give honour to others.

তৃণাধিক হীন দীন অকিঞ্চন ছার ।
আপনে মানবি সদা ছাড়ি অহঙ্কার ॥
বৃক্ষসম ক্ষমাগুণ করবি সাধন ।
প্রতিহিংসা ত্যজি অন্যে করবি পালন ॥

trnadhika hina, dina, akinchana chhara
apane manabi sada chhadi' ahankara
vrksa-sama ksama-guna karabi sadhana
pratihimsa tyaji' anye karabi palana

Give up your false ego, and always consider yourself lower than grass, poor, needy, and mean. Practise tolerance like a tree. Give up vengeance and nurture others.

When Sriman Nityananda Prabhu was beaten by Madhai, He did not launch any case against Madhai, He did not go to the police. What did He do? Nityananda Prabhu rescued him and gave him love and affection—He gave him Krishna prem! He is very merciful...

আর কবে নিতাইচাঁদ করুণা করিবে ।
সংসার-বাসনা মোর কবে তুচ্ছ হ'বে ॥

ara kabe nitaichand karuna karibe
samsara-vasana mora kabe tuchha ha'be

'Prarthana' by Srila Narottam Das Thakur

"When will Nityananda Prabhu give me some mercy? When will my material desires, material attachment be removed from my heart?" Asakti-rahita (আসক্তি-রহিত): material attachment should not come to your mind; attachment to service should come...

We must not search others' fault, instead we must think that we are guilty, that we have so many faults. We must understand what Mahaprabhu's main conception is. We think we are devotees of Gora:

“গোরার আমি, গোরার আমি” মুখে বলিলে নাহি চলে ।

গোরার আচার, গোরার বিচার লইলে ফল ফলে ॥

"gorara ami, gorara ami" mukhe balile nahi chale
gorara achara, gorara vichara la-ile phala phale

Just saying, "I am Gora's! I am Gora's!" does not do. Only when you follow Gora's practices and Gora's conception will you get the proper result.

Sri Sri Prema-vivarta, 8.6

Gorar achar, vichar: if you follow Mahaprabhu's advice, Mahaprabhu's conception, then you will get the result. We only say we are devotees of Gauranga Mahaprabhu and do not follow Gauranga Mahaprabhu's conception properly, that is not right—we must understand what kind of preaching, what kind of sankirtan movement Mahaprabhu wanted to spread.

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 and veneration.

Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, Madhya-lila, 22.124

If you always think about Nabadwip, then you can stay in Nabadwip—you can think, "I live in Nabadwip." Do not think that Vrindavan and Nabadwip are different from each other. They are not.

Also, Tulasi seva is important. We cannot make Vrindavan parikrama every day, we do not have that kind of fortune, but if you make Tulasi parikrama every day, you will get the same result.

কি শয়নে, কি ভোজনে, কিবা জাগরণে ।
অহর্নিশ চিন্ত কৃষ্ণ, বলহ বদনে ॥

ki sayane, ki bhojane, kiba jagarane
aharnisa chinta krsna, balaha vadane

Whether you are sleeping, eating, or resting, always chant the Name of Krishna.

Sri Chaitanya-bhagavat, Madhya-khanda, 28.28

Once, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was going to the toilet with His tongue between His teeth. Gopal, one of His followers and the pujari of that house temple, noticed it and asked,

"Prabhu, is anything wrong? Are You not well? Why are You biting Your tongue?"

"My tongue became very naughty..."

"What has happened?"

"My tongue always wants to chant Hare Kishna maha-mantra. I am going to a dirty place, the toilet, but My tongue wants to chant the Holy Name. That is why I am trying to stop it."

"But why? Why do You have to stop chanting in the toilet? You said we could chant the Holy Name everywhere!"

কি শয়নে, কি ভোজনে, কিবা জাগরণে ।
অহর্নিশ চিন্ত কৃষ্ণ, বলহ বদনে ॥

ki sayane, ki bhojane, kiba jagarane
aharnisa chinta krsna, balaha vadane

Whether you are sleeping, eating, or resting, always chant the Name of Krishna.

Sri Chaitanya-bhagavat, Madhya-khanda, 28.28

You can chant the Holy Name at any time—you do not have to wear clean clothes or be in a clean place. You can chant when you are driving your car, or going to the office: সেবোন্মুখে কহে কৃষ্ণনাম, sevon mukhe kahe Krsna Nama.

You must make your family Krishna's family. You are already a member of Krishna's family—you are not a member of any material family. You got the membership in Krishna's family, but be careful—do not lose it through seva aparadh, Vaishnav aparadh, Dham aparadh...

You must follow the prescription that Gurudev gave you. You go to a doctor and the doctor prescribes some medicine, but if you do not buy the medicine and do not take the medicine, your disease will not be cured. That disease is bhava rog (ভব রোগ), the disease of mundanity. If you do not take the medicine properly, that mundane disease not will be removed from your heart. Take the medicine properly: your medicine is Harinam maha-mantra. Do service and follow the instruction of your Guru.

Question: You mentioned austerity in spiritual life, but, honestly, I do not like austerity... Is there some way to increase the desire for austerity or is it the point of austerity that it is not supposed to be something we like?

If you like austerity, it is is good.

তোমার সেবায় দুঃখ হয় যত,
সেও ত' পরম সুখ ।

tomara sevaya, duhkha haya yata,
seo ta' parama sukha

All the distress I encounter in Your service is also my greatest happiness.

Saranagati 16.4

Through your service so much sadness, so much austerity and unhappiness will come, but do not leave your service. As I said just now, do not lose your membership in Krishna's family. Service is very sensitive...

You think you are doing so much, but why do devotees sometimes lose their service? Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, He is infinite. He controls everything—He controls all the demigods, He controls the whole universe. We, on the other hand, are tiny, we are like mosquitos, but we think we are very big. That is our ego.

We have done and are doing so many things, then pratistha comes, acharya abhiman, guru abhiman come and we think we have become a guru. We have not become a guru, we have become a guard of devotion—maybe we have become a servant, an important or great servant, but not the guru, not the acharya of the temple.

If you take sannyas and think, "Everybody will serve me because I am a sannyasi"—if this kind of abhiman, ego, comes, it is very serious and very bad.

As for austerity, you must tolerate it. Many austerities will come in your life.

When Sanatan Goswami wanted to come to Mahaprabhu, he was put into jail, and he tolerated it. When he finally got free from the jail, Maya caught him again—he was attacked by dacoits. He had so many austerities in his spiritual life but he did not forget Krishna consciousness, he did not forget, did not leave his service to Mahaprabhu. He did everything for Mahaprabhu.

Raghunath Das Goswami too. He came from a very rich family, but what he went through! Even our Param Gurudev, Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj, even our Param-param Gurudev, Bhagavan Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur—they came from a very big family, but their life style was so simple. Simple living, high thinking.

We want quality, we do not want quantity. Do not follow, do not run behind maya (illusion)—do not run in a zigzag way after things, do not run behind gorgeous things. Simple living, simple heart, and without deceitful devotion—these are the main things in spiritual life.

সাধু পাওয়া কষ্ট বড় জীবের জানিয়া ।

সাধুগুরুরূপে কৃষ্ণ আইল নদীয়া ॥

sadhu paoya kasta bada jivera janiya
sadhu-bhakta-rupe krsna aila nadiya

Understanding that it is very difficult for a soul to find a sadhu, Krishna came to Nadia in the form of a pure devotee.

Sri Sri Prema-vivarta, 7.8

It is very rare to get a great sadhu in this Age of Kali, that is why Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Krishna Himself, personally came as the Guru. Why? To teach us.




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