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Vaishnav Etiquette

His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Srila Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj
Speaking online to London devotees
5 July 2015

 

Did you see the photographs of the marbling at Govinda Kunda? The steps were going to be damaged, so I thought, "If I do not do it now, in my lifetime, I do not know what will be after my death..." I must do my duty—I must finish my service in my lifetime. It is Krishna's arrangement.

matha mandira dalana badira na kara prayasa
artha thake kara bhai yemana abhilasa

Sri Sri Prema-vivarta, 9.29

"It is not necessary to make so many buildings, get involved in so much construction, but if you have money, you can do that, as you desire."

If, however, you have no money, then when some devotee comes to your temple at the prasadam time or at any other time, you will give them some prasad. If you have no prasad, then with a sweet heart talk to them sweetly—your behaviour must be like this. Not like this: somebody comes to your temple and you say, "Get out! I have no prasad now!" You are the manager, and you have ego and think you have the right to tell this to them, but it is not Vaishnav etiquette.

Artha na thake bhai: if you have no money, what is the problem? You can keep the Lord in your heart and offer Him Tulasi and water. That is sufficient if you have no money. Serve Vaishnavs with prasad, but if you have no prasad, you can give them some sweet and humble talk, with folded hands, and give a Tulasi leaf, "Prabhu, this is all I have, please take it." That is Vaishnav etiquette.

I heard some devotees from India came to a temple in some country, and the devotees there first asked me questions, "Who are they? Whose disciples are they?" Even if your enemy comes to your house from far away, you must at least give them some prasad, some sweet rice, some Tulasi, water... It is necessary to keep Vaishnav etiquette.

You might have heard about Lala Babu in Vrindavan. He filed a case in the High Court about some land with two temples, and one early morning he went begging to his enemy's house. The man thought, "My enemy has come and he is begging... He is a very rich man, what am I to give him?" He wanted to give him a lot of gold, but Lala Babu said, "I am rich, and you are also rich, so gold is not necessary. What I came to beg for is the remnants of the prasadam you took last night—I want your remnants." After that day all court cases finished, everything was withdrawn.

So, even if an enemy comes to your house, you must first give them some sweet water, talk to them sweetly...

 

 

 

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Eating Out
'One time, soon after I joined the temple, I asked Gurudev why we must avoid the outside food, like, if you go to some restaurant, there is some vegetarian food, why must we avoid it? And I heard the answer from Gurudev...'

 

Ki jani ki bale
'Weeping, Bhakti Vinod takes shelter at Your feet. Forgiving his offences and giving him a taste for the Name, kindly maintain him.'
কি জানি কি বলে

We have so many hopes, we want to do some service, but we do not know
whether we will be alive.

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