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(6/16) Core of Devotion

His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Srila Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj
Sri Ganga Sagar, evening class,
11 January 2019, part 6
Translated from Bengali


When Mahaprabhu took sannyas and came to Puri, He told Srila Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya, who was the head of the Jagannath Temple, that He wanted to travel to some places around India. Srila Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya told Him, 'Prabhu, there is another devotee like You living in South India. When You go there, You should meet him. His name is Ramananda Ray.' Actually, Ramananda Ray was a sudra, he was not a brahman, but his position is very high. Mahaprabhu came to the Godavari River and sat on the bank, waiting for him to come. As soon as He saw a man coming on horseback to the river, He understood that it was Ramananda Ray. Ramananda Ray came there, and when he saw a sannyasi sitting on the bank, he got off his horse and offered his obeisance to Him. After that, they started talking.

Mahaprabhu asked him, 'Pada sloka sadhyera nirnaya. Please recite verses about the ultimate goal of life.' At first, Ramananda Ray replied, 'One can attain devotion to Krishna by fulfilling their prescribed duties.' What are the prescribed duties? It means following the religion of householders, celibates, renunciates, and so on. Mahaprabhu said, 'Eha bahya age kaha ara. This is external, go on.' Next, Ramananda Ray mentioned karma-misra bhakti (devotion mixed with material pursuits). Mahaprabhu said again, 'Eha bahya age kaha ara. This is external, go on.' What is karma-misra bhakti? It is described in many scriptures, including Srimad Bhagavad-gita:

যৎ করোষি ষদশ্নাসি যজ্জুহোষি দদাসি যৎ ।
যত্তপস্যসি কৌন্তেয় তৎ কুরুষ্ব মদর্পণম্ ॥

yat karosi yad asnasi, yaj juhosi dadasi yat
yat tapasyasi kaunteya, tat kurusva mad-arpanam

'O Kaunteya, whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you offer in sacrifice, whatever you give and whatever vow you may keep – do everything as an offering unto Me.'

(Srimad Bhagavad-gita, 9.27)

'Whatever you do – whether you do farming or run a business – do everything for the service to Lord Govinda.' This is karma-misra bhakti. Lastly, Gita says:

সর্ব্বধর্ম্মান্ পরিত্যজ্য মামেকং শরণং ব্রজ ।
অহং ত্বাং সর্ব্বপাপেভ্যো মোক্ষয়িষ্যামি মা শুচঃ ॥

sarva-dharman parityajya, mam ekam saranam vraja
aham tvam sarva-papebhyo, moksayisyami ma suchah

'Give up all kinds of religion and surrender to Me alone. I will liberate you from all sins, do not despair.'

(Srimad Bhagavad-gita, 18.66)

'Give up all religions and surrender to Me. Do not worry, there will be no sin on your part.' (Therefore, you do not need to worship any Kali, Durga, Laksmi, and so on.)

I have told you earlier today that thousands and thousands of people are coming to Ganga Sagar at this time, but they are all coming with their own interests. A hundred out of a hundred people come for their own purpose, for their own happiness. They come to get some punya (piety) – for their own happiness. But devotees do not come here for our own happiness. At this time, everyone is offering rice, money and other things, praying, 'Please, help me get well', 'Please, give my son a good job', 'Please, help my daughter get married.' They turn the Lord into their servant and give Him some bribe. Whether you worship Durga, Kali, Ganesh, Kartik or any other god, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur says that you merely turn worshippable gods into bribe-takers. If you want to work in a ministry, you give a bribe to somebody, and they give you a job there. This is bribery. In the same way, you give something to the Lord and ask, 'Give me this!' You give the Lord a bribe and turn Him into a bribe-taker.

If you have any questions, you can ask. You can ask questions, I do not have any objection. I am telling you what Srimad Bhagavatam says – I am sitting here with scriptures. Actually, I do not need to read all scriptures to know them – I have heard many things from my Gurupadpadma's mouth, and I am telling you what I have heard from him; and if you want the proof of what I am saying, then you can see Bhagavatam.

So, people come to the Lord, saying, 'O Lord, give me this!' and expect the Lord to run errands for them. What kind of devotion is this? This is not the devotion that Mahaprabhu taught.

When Ramananda Ray and Mahaprabhu got to the point of discussing actual devotion, Mahaprabhu asked him what was the highest mood. First, Ramananda Ray spoke about santa-rasa (serving the Lord in a neutral mood). For example, Prahlad Maharaj is a santa-rasa devotee. Why do we say that Vraja gopis are the highest devotees? Mirabai says, 'I have got the treasure of Krishna-prema!' On the other hand, Mahaprabhu, who is the Lord Himself, said, 'I do not have even a trace of devotion to Krishna!' Will those who have got it ever say that they have got it? We say that Vraja gopis are the highest devotees, but what do these Vraja gopis say? Why are they considered to be the highest? Vraja gopis, who serve at Radha-kunda, say, 'We have not got anything. We do not have Krishna, we do not have anything! Compared to Prahlad Maharaj, we do not have any devotion at all. We do not have the kind of devotion that he has.' But Prahlad Maharaj is a santa-rasa devotee.

After santa-rasa, there is dasya-rasa (serving the Lord as a servant). For example, Hanuman and Laksman are dasya-rasa devotees – they served Lord Rama as their Master. Where are they and where are we when we say that we want to serve the Lord as servants?

Mahaprabhu accepted all this but told Ramananda Ray to go on, 'Eha haya, age kaha ara.' After dasya-rasa, there is also sakya-rasa (serving the Lord as a friend) and vatsalya-rasa (serving the Lord as a parent). Mother Yasoda fed Krishna with milk. Did she do this for her own pleasure or to fill Krishna's tummy? She cleaned Krishna's stool – did she do this for her own happiness or for Krishna's happiness? She did everything for Krishna's happiness. In sakhya-rasa, Krishna tells Sridam and other cowherd boys, 'Climb on My shoulder!' This makes Krishna happy. If Krishna says, 'Climb on My shoulder!' are they going to say, 'Gosh, but You are the Lord, I cannot climb on Your shoulder!'? No. They just happily do it. This is their service to the Lord in sakhya-rasa. Sridam, Sudam, Vasudam, Balaram are all sakhya-rasa devotees. They are Krishna's friends. But the highest devotional mellow is madhura-rasa (serving the Lord as a paramour). We cannot discuss it here. We discussed it on the bank of the Godavari because there were some good devotees present at that time, so it was possible to talk about it. Such matters are discussed in a very restricted way. Srila Prabhupad explains why such things are not discussed freely, anywhere and everywhere.

ব্রহ্মাণ্ড ভ্রমিতে কোন ভাগ্যবান্ জীব ।
গুরু-কৃষ্ণ-প্রসাদে পায় ভক্তিলতা-বীজ ॥
মালী হঞা করে সেই বীজ আরোপণ ।
শ্রবণ-কীর্ত্তন-জলে করয়ে সেচন ॥

brahmanda bhramite kona bhagyavan jiva
guru-krsna-prasade paya bhakti-lata-bija
mali hana kare sei bija aropana
sravana-kirtana-jale karaye sechana

'Having travelled throughout the universe, some fortunate souls receive the seed of the devotional creeper by the mercy of Sri Guru, who is non-different from Krishna. As gardeners, they plant this seed and water it with sravan (hearing) and kirtan (chanting, practising).'

(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, 2.19.151–152)

Sravan and kirtan are the water that nourishes the creeper of devotion. When you plant a seed of a tree, you must water it, but if you water it too much, the seed will rot. That is why we must be careful. We must not venture where we have no right to enter. Mahaprabhu also said:

বৃন্দাবনে গিয়া না থাকিয়া চির কাল ।
গোবর্দ্ধনে উঠিয়া না দেখিয়া গোপাল ॥

vrndavane giya na thakiya chira kala
govardhane uthiya na dekhiya gopala

'When you go to Vrindavan, do not stay there for a long time and do not climb the Govardhan Hill to see Gopal.'

For example, we are told to always reside in Mathura, but if you go to Mathura and live there gratifying your own senses and thinking about your own enjoyment, that is not 'living in Mathura'. That is why I am saying also that many thousands of people will come to Ganga Sagar, but they are all thinking about themselves. How many people truly come to worship the Lord? They only come to bribe the Lord...

Anyhow, these are all very high things. People can do whatever they want, we should not discuss who is doing what.


— : • : —





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Size: 42.7 Mb
Length: 86 min
Language: Bengali




1) Keep Trying
2) Highest Realm of Devotion
3) Bribing and Increasing Stool
4) What Is a Soul?
5) Service with Faith and Love
6) Core of Devotion
7) Set Your Heart for Govinda
8) Think and Learn
9) Think about Your Soul
10) Sadhya-Sadhan-Tattva
11) With Faith and Surrender
12) Surrender and Learn
13) Bhakta-Seva Pravritti
14) See Good and Do Good
15) See Through It
16) 'Lord Exists for Those Who Have Devotion'




New Life
'You have come to take initiation from me, but actually you are going to become a member of the Lord's family. The illusory environment will always want to remove you from this family, but through practising you must always renew that membership.'

We have got much time for the service to the Lord, but maya is taking her share.