Exclusive Devotional Life
His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
We are mostly not fully surrendered in our life, that is why we sometimes go away from service. Maya Devi always tries to take us away from Krishna's service and engage us in her service, her duty is like this. However, if we have the strongest faith and if we surrender fully, if we always keep ourselves engaged in the nava-vidha-bhakti, nine devotional processes—"sravanam, kirtanam, smaranam, archanam, pada-sevanam, vandanam, dasyam, sakhyam, atma-nivedanam (hearing, chanting, remembering, worshipping, serving lotus feet, offering prayers, engaging in service as a servitor, as a friend, and self-submission)"—then we will be safe.
আদৌশ্রদ্ধা ততঃ সাধুসঙ্গোঽথ ভজনক্রিয়া ।
adau sraddha tatah sadhu-sango 'tha bhajana-kriya
"In the beginning there is faith, then good association, then practising life. After that, the offences gradually go away, faith becomes stronger, taste comes, then attachment, then there arises affection and love. This is how love to God comes to those who practise Krsna consciousness."
(Sri Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, 1.4.15-16)
We must practise properly, and to practise properly, you need good association, sadhu-sanga and Nama-sankirtan. Good association is necessary.
There is 'ananya-abhilasa' (exclusive desire) and 'anya-abhilasa' (other desires). What is 'ananya-abhilasa'? 'Ananya-abhilasa' means you think only about service to Krishna, nothing else, you have no other thoughts—you only think how to please the Lord, how to please the Lord's friend (Gurudev). All other thoughts are called anya-abhilasa. Srila Rupa Goswami Prabhu says,
অন্যাভিলাষিতা-শূন্যং জ্ঞান-কর্ম্মাদ্যনাবৃতম্ ।
anyabhilasita sunyam jnana-karmady anavrtam
"The highest devotion is that which satisfies Lord Krsna, free from the coverings of any pursuits such as action, knowledge, etc."
(Sri Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, 1.1.11)
We must have no other thoughts or material desires. We always think so much how to become rich, how to earn a lot of money, how to secure much property, how to get much wealth, we think much about family enjoyment, etc. These all are called material desires. Such material desires, as well as attachment to gramya-katha, gramya-varta (material talks, material news) will take us away from service. It is important to understand this. Always keep good association (sadhu-sanga) through scriptures, books, lectures, through kirtans.
When you are singing a song glorifying Vaishnavs, you are remembering Vaishnavs' qualities; when you are singing a song glorifying Gurudev, you can remember Gurudev's face in your heart; when you are singing a song glorifying Nityananda Prabhu, you can remember Nityananda Prabhu's pastimes; when you are singing a song glorifying Gauranga Mahaprabhu, you can remember Gauranga Mahaprabhu's pastimes in your heart. This is how Srila Prabhupad Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur, Srila Guru Maharaj, Srila Gurudev, practised. They did not mix so much with other people—they did not mix with those who do not engage themselves in service.
Engage yourself in service. Making garlands, taking care of Tulasi, doing Tulasi parikrama, sadhu-sanga, coming to the arati, practising kirtans, doing parikrama, etc.—always keep yourself engaged in the services of the Lord from the beginning of the day, from the mangal-arati early in the morning, until you go to sleep. We must do that. We must think, "How can I serve devotees more? How can I follow Gurudev's guidance properly?" This is necessary for our spiritual life. Continue your practising life in this way, and do not worry so much—one day we all have to die; one day we are born and one day we have to die. Everything that is happening, is happening by the will of the Lord, so whatever the Lord wants, it will happen. A few days ago we had a very severe cyclone here, there was so much strong wind here in Kolkata, it is not in our hands. Now there are so many problems in Kolkata, many places still have no electricity.
Mind is always fickle, mind always goes here and there, it is restless and fickle (chanchal, চঞ্চল), but you must concentrate your mind through chanting the Holy Name. Chant the Holy Name loudly: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare / Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. Chant the Holy Name loudly, chant even when you go to the toilet, go to take a shower, when you go to take prasadam. Always think about Krishna. You must offer bhoga to the Lord and when prasadam comes, you should honour that prasadam with folded palms and full respect, realising that Krishna's prasad, Gurudev's prasad has come to you. Also, when you listen to Gurudev's lectures, Guru Maharaj's lectures or guru-varga's lectures, this is also guru-prasad coming to you. You should continue your practising life realising and practising all these things.
সাধুসঙ্গ, নামকীর্ত্তন, ভাগবতশ্রবণ ।
sadhu-sanga, nama-kirtana, bhagavata-sravana
"One should associate with devotees, chant the Holy Name of the Lord, hear Srimad-Bhagavatam, reside at Mathura and worship the Deity with faith."
(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, Madhya-lila, 22.124)
You know, if you read Nabadwip Dham Mahatmya every day, if you remember the glories of Sri Nabadwip Dham, remember how you did the parikrama last year or this year in March, then you will be remembering it and thinking that you are in Nabadwip. I sometimes read Nabadwip Dham Mahatmya, and this is the feeling I get—many Bengali devotees read the Nabadwip Dham Mahatmya book that was composed this year in Bengali, and they tell me, "Maharaj, it is very nice! When I am reading some place, I am thinking that I am in that place. When I am reading about Rudradwip, I feel that I am in Rudradwip. When I am reading Simantadwip's glorification, I am thinking I am in Simantadwip now." Such feeling comes. Always read books, and make it your habit to read books. The problem is that this current generation is not so much habituated to reading books, they always see everything in their mobile phones...
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