Questions and Answers (2)
His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Question: We often hear Your Divine Grace say that we can read certain things in Chaitanya-charitamrita or Srimad Bhagavatam, and at the same time we hear that reading scriptures on our own can be the same as reading a newspaper. How to harmonise it?
Actually, when this is said, it is said as an example. Sometimes you do something, you read something, and it is good if you do it under the guidance of your guru. This is the answer. Whatever you do, do it under the guidance of your guru, that will be good. Otherwise, you will be reading Bhagavatam, but you have no quality and qualification to read Bhagavatam. It is best if you first get permission from your guru. Ask your guru first for permission, "Can I read Srimad Bhagavatam?" If he thinks that you are capable of explaining, reading, or understanding it, then he will give you the direction to read Srimad Bhagavatam.
The main thing is that when you do something, it is necessary to do it under the guidance of your guru. When I was a brahmachari, I had not given any class until Gurudev told me to. One day, Gurudev told me, "You can read Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita in the evening," and I started to read it. I had lived in the temple for six years when Gurudev told me that I could read Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita. Also, Gurudev told me that I could read Sri Gaudiya-kanthahara. And, yes, Gurudev says that if you are going to read Srimad Bhagavatam without the guidance (instruction) of your guru, then it will be like reading a newspaper.
Srila Ashram Maharaj: We heard that there was a hurricane in India the other day. Is everything OK now?
Yes, everything is OK, Maharaj. Only the roof of the goshala at the Tarakeshwar temple fell down, but the cows are OK. There was a very strong wind. The cows are OK, they were not hit (Krishna protects His cows)—the roof fell down to the other side, and I have already started the reconstruction today. That day, 150,000 electric poles fell down in the affected areas of Bengal, but we were lucky, we got the electricity back the same day because some places still do not have electricity. We have electricity in all our temples except Ganga Sagar, there is still no electricity and network there.
Srila Ashram Maharaj: Did the storm hit the whole of Bengal?
Not all Bengal, only the south part—it went through Kolkata up to Nadia.
Srila Ashram Maharaj: Did it affect Nabadwip?
Yes, a little bit. Two trees fell down in our Nrisingha Palli, at Nrisinghadev's place, but they did not hit our house, they fell on the other side, on a building nearby. Our house was not affected. Here in Kolkata, the storm started at 2:30 p.m. and finished at 9 p.m. It lasted seven hours, and five thousand big trees fell down in Kolkata. There were big trees in Park Street (Krishnachura, Radhachura, and others), and now we have lost all these trees, we will not see them again.
Question: Sometimes, we do our service with enthusiasm, but in the course of time, we start to lose that enthusiasm. How to keep that enthusiasm?
If you always think about service, if you chant the Holy Name, if you think about Gurudev, then that enthusiasm will never be lost. Make yourself busy with service. If you are alone and do not do anything, even at that time you must also think about service, then you will not lose enthusiasm.
Question: When we sew an outfit for Srimati Radharani, can we sew a complete white outfit for Her?
Yes, no problem.
Question: I was listening to a lecture of Srila Govinda Maharaj where he says that it is difficult to recognise a Vaishnav. So, I wanted to ask how can we recognise who is a Vaishnav and who is not?
Yes, I also tell it sometimes. You cannot understand it, it is true, but you can recognise who is a Vaishnav and who is not by the mercy of Gurudev. It is said that if somebody chants the Holy Name once, they are a Vaishnav; if somebody chants the Holy Name regularly, they are also a Vaishnav, and
যাঁহার দর্শনে মুখে আইসে কৃষ্ণনাম ।
yanhara darsane mukhe aise krsna-nama
"When you see somebody and Krishna comes to your mouth, then you should know such a person as an uttam-adhikari."
(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, Madhya-lila, 16.74)
Who is the highest Vaishnav? If you see somebody and "Hare Krishna" comes to your mouth, that is the highest Vaishnav. You can understand it in this way. Also, sometimes you can observe carefully a person's activities, their service mood, and you can easily understand who is not a Vaishnav. Actually, even Brahma says, "I am unable to recognise a Vaishnav." So, yes, it is a little difficult for us. Only who is a proper Vaishnav can recognise another Vaishnav. Sometimes, even great scholars, great bona fide gurus also could not recognise a great Vaishnav. We can recognise a Vaishnav only by the mercy of Gurudev, by the mercy of the Vaishnav. Also, it is necessary to observe to what extent one is humble, tolerant, and gives honour to other—the more humble, tolerant, respectful one is, the more Vaishnav quality one has. A Vaishnav will never say, "I am a Vaishnav." A Vaishnav is always a humble soul, a humble servant, he will think, "I am footdust of Vaishnavs, that is my capacity." Those who have such qualities, are Vaishnavs.
Question: In Srila Guru Maharaj's arati song, there is a verse that says, "Tulasi malika haste sri-nama grahana / dekhi' sakalera haya 'prabhu' uddipana—seeing you with the beads, it reminds us of our Lord." What does 'the Lord' mean here, Srila Saraswati Thakur, Lord Krishna, or who?
When he is chanting the Holy Name, when he is showing this mood, everybody is thinking, "He is my master." Not Prabhupad, not the Lord. 'Prabhu' here means everybody is thinking, "Srila Sridhar Maharaj is my master (prabhu)." Srila Guru Maharaj is my prabhu, my master. Srila Gurudev wrote this song for Srila Guru Maharaj.
OK, I am finishing today. I hope to meet with you all again next week. We will try to meet every Sunday.
Jay Srila Guru Maharaj ki jay
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