Affection for Devotees
His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Question: How can we harmonise with everyone and have compassion not only for devotees but for everyone?
Compromise. I have told it before and you must understand that envy is very bad. Gurudev told it many times also, he says, "If somebody was poor before but now has become rich and lives a good lifestyle, then I will be happy for them." You must not envy anyone thinking, "Oh, how did that man become rich?!" or, "How can some devotees develop their service more and more, more and more, and why cannot I do that?! I envy them!" That is not correct. You must be happy for others. If somebody is happy, you must be happy too. Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur told about it in the song, "Amara jivana sada pape rata nahika punyera lesa." You can see the meaning of this song. He says there, "Para sukhe duhkhi—I am sad when somebody is happy." No, this is not right. If somebody is happy, I must also be happy. If somebody is sad, if something has happened in somebody's life, I must be sad about it, I must not clap and be happy—no, I must be sad about it. This is how you can harmonise with everyone now. However, if somebody is an offender and makes so many offences all the time, then their heart becomes very hard—they make offences all the time and become big offenders, asuras (demons). They always do like that, but our duty is to ignore it—we must tolerate and be patient when it comes to such people. Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur says,
বৈষ্ণব-চরিত্র, সর্ব্বদা পবিত্র,
vaisnava-charitra sarvada pavitra
"The character of Vaishnavs is always pure. Bhaktivinod keeps quiet and does not associate with those who are envious of Vaishnavs and who criticise Vaishnavs."
If we hear somebody gossiping about somebody else, we must keep quiet and remain silent. That is what Bhaktivinod Thakur told.
Does anyone else have any other questions?
Question: How can we show affection, compassion for devotees?
In the current circumstances, do according to your capacity. If you read Sri Sri Prema-vivarta composed by Srila Jagadananda Pandit, you can understand it. Sriman Mahaprabhu says that if you have prasadam, you can give prasadam to others, but if you do not have prasadam, then at least you can give some sweet words to them—give them sweet words, love, and affection. If you have nothing, you can still treat them with humility, show some affection, love. This is what you should do in this current situation. How else can you help? Think how you can help with these kinds of things. You can help those who are suffering a lot with your heart. That will be good.
Question: How can we get prema-bhakti in this life?
If you have that kind of desire, "I want prema-bhakti!" then you will get it. It is necessary to have a great desire, and also mercy of a great personality, then you will get prema-bhakti.
Question: I want to preach, but I did something wrong and the memory of having committed that fault discourages me. How can I get through with this? It still keeps coming to my mind and I do not preach...
If you still do that fault every day, that is not good, but if you did that fault before and do not do it now, then you must remove it from your mind. It sometimes comes to your mind, "Oh, I did wrong before, I have made a mistake!" and you do not get enthusiasm to preach, but you must try and try, try and try to preach and to practise properly. If you chant the Holy Name properly, then you can tell others to please chant the Holy name. If you follow the rules and regulations, then you can tell others also to please follow the rules and regulations. This is how you will get enthusiasm, but do not stop preaching, that is not good.
Question: How to increase love and affection for devotees?
Actually, it increases by serving without offence, by chanting the Holy Name without offence, by practising properly and by not keeping in your heart any bad intention, such as kanak (longing for money), kamini (longing for companions), pratistha (longing for prestige). These three are very bad for us, especially pratistha. Pratistha is very bad, it takes devotees to hell. "I want to be big," "I want to be a big speaker," "I want to be a big singer," "I want to be a big sannyasi," "I want to be a big devotee." This is pratistha. Actually, our line is that we want to be servants of a servant of devotees. Daso daso dasya (a servant of a servant of a servant). When this mood (that I want to be a servant of a servant of devotees) comes to my heart, then I can understand that some devotional activities are happening. My duty is to give love and affection to others, my duty is to serve Guru, Vaishnavs, and the Lord (Bhagavan), and it is their matter if they accept my service or not, but I will do my duty—I will do my best to serve to make them happy.
Question: We want to serve devotees, but in the process of serving devotees, there is always some envy inside. Does this envy go away in the course of service or is there some way to remove it?
তৃণাধিক হীন দীন অকিঞ্চন ছার ।
trnadhika hina, dina, akinchana chhara
"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."
That is what Sriman Mahaprabhu told. Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur explains this verse written by Sriman Mahaprabhu in His Siksastakam. You can find it there. Envy is a disease. What is the medicine for envy? Always do service, always chant the Holy Name, always think about the happiness of your Guru and Vaishnavs, then envy will be removed from your heart.
Question: Can I offer bhog to Gurudev with Tulasi?
Yes, you can offer bhog to Gurudev with Tulasi. Only you must not give Tulasi to Gurudev's feet, but when you offer Tulasi at your altar, you can give Tulasi to Gurudev's hand or chest, not feet. When you offer bhog, you can give Tulasi to every preparation, otherwise how will Gurudev or Deities take the offering without Tulasi?
Question: What is pratistha?
Pratistha is very bad. Pratistha is a very big disease. Pratistha means 'name and fame.' It is a big disease, and it is necessary to have mercy from Gurudev to remove it. Sometimes also pratistha runs behind devotees—one time, Ksir-chora Gopinath kept some prasadam for Madhavendra Puri; when Madhavendra Puri got that prasad, he ran away from Balasore to Puri before the morning came, but when he came to Puri he saw that the news that Gopinath had stole ksir for him, had already reached Puri before he even got there.
At the same time, there is also vaishnava-pratistha. "Vaisnavi pratistha, tate koro nistha (বৈষ্ণবী প্রতিষ্ঠা তাতে কর নিষ্ঠা): you must firmly establish yourself in the consciousness that you are a servant of the Lord." If somebody is a great Vaishnav or a great scholar like our Gurudev, Guru Maharaj, and you preach about Srila Gurudev, Srila Guru Maharaj, Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj Prabhupad, Bhagavan Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur, they all have vaishnava-pratistha and you must pay obeisance to that pratistha. But when it comes to your own pratistha, you must always run away from it.
Question: Can we offer bhoga to Lord Siva with Tulasi?
Yes, why not? Sivji Maharaj is a Vaishnav! Vaisnavam yatha Sambhu.
Question: Sometimes we hear something bad about some devotees and when we associate with those devotees we keep remembering what we have heard before. How to get rid of this?
That is also explained in the scriptures. You must try to forget what you have heard. If somebody made some mistake before or somebody spoke rude, do not hold it against them. When you talk to them, you must understand that they did that before, but now they are doing good and behave very nicely. You must take their good quality and do not think about the bad quality they had before. You must always try to remove such thoughts from your heart.
Question: How can I serve through my doctor's job?
You are a child specialist?
Devotee: Yes, I am paediatrician.
Then you can take care of all the devotees' children. Try to give them some medicine and think how devotees' children can avoid the covid-19.
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