Questions and Answers
His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Question: There was recently a question if a lady can lead Nagar-sankirtan, and then you answered the question...
Yes, actually, ladies can do that in some places. It is not a problem. We do not look who is a lady, who is a man, but in this age of Kali, if ladies do sankirtan, it may not always look good. In some places, there is no sannyasi; in some places, there is a sannyasi, so this actually depends upon the place.
When Mahaprabhu heard Gopi-Gita sung by a lady, He ran towards her to listen to it, but Govinda caught Him on the way and, when Mahaprabhu realised what had happened, He said, "Govinda, you have saved Me!"
At the same time, in some places the situation is now such that ladies are the leaders, and if there is no sannyasi and they do sankirtan, what is the problem? Sometimes there is no sannyasi and a lady is charge of the temple, so if she does sankirtan there, what is the problem? It is not a problem for the Western side, and for the Indian side too—there are many ladies who sing in India.
We do not see who is a lady, who is a gent. It is not the question. We see who does service, who does what. Sometimes, people criticise, "Oh, a lady is doing this service!"—but we will not discriminate between ladies' service and gents' service. In previous time, there were so many things, but now ladies become prime-ministers, ladies become chief ministers, ladies become pilots, ladies become military soldiers, they do everything, so why cannot they lead in Harinam sankirtan?
Devotee: So, they can play the mridanga also?
They can play the mridanga, it is not a problem, but it is necessary to see the time and place.
Devotee: When I was reading the article, it mentioned that you were unhappy when you attended an arati and a lady devotee was playing the mridanga...
Yes, because sometimes it does not look good. If somebody is enthusiastic to do it, they can do it, I do not see any problem with that, but if some lady has material pride thinking, "I am playing the mridanga! I am with the men!"—this is not good.
Are there any other questions?
Question: How does the gayatri mantra help us in our life, now and when we die also?
It gives us a good connection. You recite the gayatri mantra for fifteen-twenty minutes, you concentrate your mind, concentrate your heart, concentrate everything at that time on the Lord, on Srimati Radharani—it is good, it helps us in our spiritual life. Waking up in the morning before the sunrise, taking a shower, applying tilaks, and reciting the gayatri mantras for fifteen-twenty minutes is very nice. You can understand it yourself. If you do it for even one year, you can get the result. Gurudev told this to me directly.
As for how it can help you after death, those who are devotees have the strongest faith, "Gurudev told me if I chant the Holy Name, if I practise properly, if I do service, then I will stay with him forever in Goloka Vrindavan"—then what is the problem? We have the strongest faith in that. "Avasya raksibe Krsna visvasa palana (অবশ্য রক্ষিবে কৃষ্ণ বিশ্বাস পালন)—we must keep a greatest faith that Krishna will certainly protect us and that He will save His devotees."
Are there any other questions?
Question: How can I serve Gurudev and Vaishnavs without thinking about myself, without thinking what benefit I will get from it?
Through practising. It will come through practising. If you practise sravanam, kirtanam, smaranam, pada-sevanam, archanam, vandanam, dasyam, sakhyam, atma-nivedanam (hearing, chanting, remembering the Lord, serving the Lord's lotus feet, worshipping the Deity of the Lord, offering obeisance, rendering service as a servitor, as a friend, and self-submission) properly, step by step, then your everything will go for Gurudev, you will only think about him.
Question: How can we maintain this faith that Krishna will always protect us?
With sincerity and regular practice. When you have saranagati, everything will come. Practise regularly. Sravanam, kirtanam, smaranam, vandanam, etc. Practise all this regularly, then your faith will be strong. Practise regularly. Whatever problem comes, whatever happens, do not hesitate—do your service, do everything properly, then everything will be all right, then your faith, devotion, etc. will grow.
Question: Why did Srila Gadadhar Pandit never go to Vrindavan in his lifetime?
Because Mahaprabhu told him to stay in Puri. He told him, "You are a ksetra-sannyasi, so stay here." That is why he did not leave Puri. Mahaprabhu stayed in Puri, and he also lived in Puri. He followed the instruction of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
One time, Gadadhar Pandit wanted to go with Mahaprabhu, but Mahaprabhu said, "Do not come with Me." To further discourage him, Mahaprabhu said, "I am going to different place and getting very much good food, that is why you want to come with Me!" Gadadhar Pandit became angry and said, "I am not going with You! I am going to see Ai (Mother Sachi)!" Still, Mahaprabhu left without him—when He got into His boat in Cuttack and left, Gadadhar Pandit fell down, senseless. Mahaprabhu said, "Seva chhadibe dosa lage (সেবা ছাড়িবে দোষ লাগে). It is wrong to leave one's service. I have given you service to Tota Gopinath in Puri, and if you leave your service, it will discredit you. It is not good for you."
Question: How can we fight pratistha if we already have it in our hearts?
The situation with pratistha is very difficult in this world. Without a proper captain, without a proper mood of service, a mood of surrender, it is impossible to fight pratistha. At the same time, "Vaisnavi pratistha tate kara nistha (বৈষ্ণবী প্রতিষ্ঠা তাতে কর নিষ্ঠা). Firmly establish yourself as a servant of the Lord." If somebody has such pratistha, we must give respect to them. Also, if somebody wants pratistha, if somebody is happy with pratistha, you can give it to them, it is not a problem. If somebody is happy when you give 'jay' to their name, you can give 'jay' to him. What is the problem? Sometimes, Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur also said (I wrote about it in the books): If somebody says, "No, no, no, do not give me 'jay',"—it actually means, the person is not speaking from their heart; what they are actually saying is, "Yes, give more and more 'jay' to me!" Again, it is very difficult to fight with pratistha, but if somebody wants pratistha, you can give it to them, what is the problem? Sometimes, devotees are happy if somebody glorifies them, they want to hear their own glorification... It happened in Mahaprabhu's time also. One time, Mahaprabhu glorified Sanatan Goswami in front of Jagadananda Pandit, saying that Sanatan Goswami was a perfect, proper Vaishnav, he knew and understood everything, etc. but Jagadananda Pandit did not like it, he was not happy to hear it...
Any other questions?
Question: What is the proper way to ask questions at Sri Guru's lotus feet?
If you have a surrendered mood, then you have the right to ask questions. This is called pariprasna (honest enquiry). First, it is necessary to have a surrendered mood, then you can ask questions.
I am going to finish now. Does anyone have more questions? Last question.
Question: In Krishna consciousness, should one be affectionate only with Vaishnavs or with everybody?
With everybody, but not to the same extent. We give more affection to Vaishnavs, devotees. If somebody does not follow Krishna consciousness, even if they are our relatives or even parents, we will not give them more respect than to devotees—we will give respect to devotees. That is our line. We will give more affection to devotees and less affection to others. Affection is not the same for everyone.
All right, I am finishing here for today. Muchas gracias. Thank you all.
Jay Om Vishnupad Jagad-Guru Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami
Maharaj ki jay
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