Service Without Sahajiyaism
His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Does anyone have any other questions?
Question: I have been living in the temple for a year, and I feel that I am doing service in a mechanical way, but I would like to do it more naturally. How is it possible to change this mood of service?
First of all, you must do service under the guidance of Gurudev, then you will know what is necessary to do. We are not independent, we are always under the guidance of Gurudev. We are like a chatak bird—we must always anxiously wait for service and, when an order comes, we should immediately do that service. This is the service mood.
Sometimes, we think we do service, but it can also be karma. Gurudev always gives this example—when a cat carries a rat in its mouth and when it carries its baby in its mouth, both look the same, but the mood is not the same because when a cat takes a rat by its mouth, it takes it for its own enjoyment, to eat it; but when a cat takes its baby by its mouth, it does it for the service of the kitten. So, sometimes we see this in the temple also—we do something, but we are actually doing whatever comes to our mind, and we do not follow what the scriptures say, what Gurudev had told. Then, our actions become karma, the result of karma is karma-bandhan, bondage of karma, and as a result of karma-bandhan, one goes to hell. So, when we do service, we must do it following the guidance of Gurudev, the guidance of senior Vaishnavs. If there is any contradiction or any problem, you can easily ask your Gurudev, "I want to do this, and my temple manager says I should do like that. Is it correct or not?" You can easily clarify it and harmonise everything in this way.
Devotee: What I mean is that when I do something, I do not necessarily feel I want to do it, I do not feel some enthusiasm, rather I just know I have to do it, so I do it. I do it almost like a robot, just because I am told to do something. I do not feel some genuine, heart-felt enthusiasm.
You are not getting enthusiasm because if somebody has material desires, then enthusiasm does not come easily. If you have a great desire to do some service, then you can easily accomplish that service. Enthusiasm comes through continuous service, through proper practice. You must serve, serve, and serve. You say you have been serving in the temple for only one year, but one year is not sufficient, it is necessary to serve more and more, until your death—then you will not be tired. You are disappointed, "Oh, I have done service for one year, but I am not getting any result," that is why you sometimes become tired.
[Another] devotee adds: Sometimes, the question may be also that there is so much viddhi-marga—we have to do this, we have to do that, and not just in the Deities' service, but in the temple in general, we have to follow so many rules; but at the same time we want to have some love for what we are doing.
We do not want to be sahajiyas. Raga-marga is practised in Vrindavan—Vraja-basis do raga-marga seva, but we must follow viddhi-marga. It is necessary to adjust with the place and circumstance. For example, I have seen in Badrinath, where it is very cold, that the pujari there wears a jacket, thick clothes, socks, so many things; or if you want to do puja in Russia in winter season, you will also have to wear a coat, etc. What is the problem? You can adjust with the situation, but it is necessary to follow the rules. For example, it is sometimes very cold in the temple, the floors are marble, then you must not wear shoes, but you can make something like shoes with some cloth or socks, it is not a problem. Overall, the main thing is that you must feed the Deities, you must give proper offering to the Deities, and you must have love and affection for the Deities.
Question: Sometimes, when we preach to some people, they have some problem with being a vegetarian—they sometimes ask why they cannot take eggs. I find it a bit difficult to answer them.
You cannot take fish, eggs, etc., these are all non-veg. Eggs come from a chicken or some other bird, and eggs are meant for producing babies. Besides, eggs are very high in protein, so they are fully non-veg. Our sampradaya never accepts eggs, fish, or anything like that. This is sahajiyaism. There are some sampradayas here, like Kalachand sampradaya, for example, where they wear tilaks, they wear kanthi-mala, etc., they do not eat meat, but they eat fish. They are not accepted as a Gaudiya sampradaya.
Question: How can I have innocence in my heart to chant the Holy Name and truly serve letting go of selfish intentions?
This depends upon the practitioner. It is called karma-misra bhakti, "I want to worship Krishna, but I want to fulfil some material desire." Mahaprabhu says, "Eha bahya age kaha ara. This is external, give it up, forget it, and go forward." We do not want to be self-centred, we always want to please the Lord, that is our main goal. "How shall I please my Guru? How shall I please devotees? How shall I please the Lord?"—that is our main intention. I can go to hell, I can go to jail, it is not a problem if I can please my guru, please my Lord. This mood comes through practice—practise and practise, then your intention will be perfect. Practice makes perfect. It comes gradually. Also, if some bad emotion, some bad desire sometimes comes to your heart, you must demolish it from the root level, nip it in the bud. Do not keep material desires, bad desires in your heart. If you increase your material or bad desires, then one day you will have to fall down from this society.
Question: How can we know if the Deity is satisfied with our service or not?
That is a good question. You can easily realise it through your service. For example, if Gurudev or senior Vaishnavs say that you are a good servitor, that they are very happy with you, that you are doing good service, then you can understand it. Actually, your duty is to do some service, and whether the Lord or Deity is happy or not, that is Their desire, Their mood. Whether the Lord is happy or not, that is not your question, it is not your problem. Do you understand? You must do service, and whether the Lord accepts it or does not accept it, this is up to Him, this is His desire. Our duty is to do our service properly.
Question: We live in Tunja, it is near Paipa and Duitama, but we have felt much loving reciprocation with the devotees in Medellín (it is also in Colombia, but a little far; a new temple was established there not so long ago). Lately, we have been directing our service, some service donation, etc. to the devotees there and have been keeping in touch with the devotees there. We often think that we want to know what you would like us to do, if it is right that we are now keeping in touch with the devotees in Medellín and trying to serve the Deities of Nitai Gauranga there? We wanted to ask how to proceed.
It is not a problem to keep in touch with the Medellín temple. Raganuga Prabhu is there and devotees are doing service there, and you can help them, you can serve there, it is not a problem.
Question: We have heard that there are four main sampradayas, and I was wondering what sampradaya do the pandas in Puri belong to?
[His Divine Grace laughs.] I do not inspect who belongs to which sampradaya. I know our sampradaya better, and I do not go to clarify other sampradayas, who does what, who follows what. I am not going to inspect this. Do you understand? They are Jagannath's servitors, they serve Jagannath, and that is sufficient for me. My duty is to give them respect. I do not think who is where, who does what, who belongs to which sampradaya. It is not necessary to know this.
Question: If someone is already initiated in ISKCON and wants to take initiation from you, wants to take shelter of you, what is the procedure then?
I do not know who is their guru, and I must give respect to them, then how will I give them initiation? If they are very eager to take initiation, I will say that they can take initiation, but they must also give respect to their previous guru. Otherwise, if somebody wants to help our mission, if somebody wants to serve our mission, there is no emergency to change the guru.
Question: How can we develop affection for you, our Guru, if we have never met you in person? Some of us have taken initiation through skype and may not have seen you personally...
Yes, there is some physical distance, but it is not a problem—a guru-disciple connection is heart to heart. Physical distance is not a question. The guru is always with us—just as Krishna is always with us, so is the guru always with us. "Gurute martya-buddhi" (perceiving the guru as a mortal being) is one of the offences of the Holy Name. If you think that your guru has a material body, then it is one of the Nama-aparadhas. The guru has a transcendental body, he is always with us, just as the Lord is always with us. We do not think that the Lord is in Goloka Vrindavan only—otherwise, when we offer bhog to the Lord, how will He come to take it in fifteen minutes from so far? So, this is not a question. Gurudev and the Lord are always around us, it has nothing to do with the distance. We offer bhog to our guru from so many thousands of kilometres away, how does he take it? Moreover, millions of millions of people all over the world offer bhog to the Lord at the same time, and Krishna comes to take it everywhere. How is it possible?
Question: Sometimes, preachers take some proper ideas or conceptions from other Vaishnavs, from their books, lectures or by hearing from them directly, but is it not a Vaishnav-aparadh or sahajiyaism (imitation) if they do not quote or say where they have heard it from, if they do not give proper recognition to the source?
We can tell the source. We can give the name of the person who says it, and when we compose books we also write who says this, who says that. We write their names.
At the same time, Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur also says that we must not read books of so many sampradaya. "Bahu grantha na paribe, bahu kalabhyasa na karibe (বহু গ্রন্থ না পড়িবে, বহু কলাভ্যাস না করিবে): do not read many books, do not practise many artificial things." It is not necessary to accumulate much knowledge. If we take initiation in Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur's line, we should follow his life—we should read the books of our sampradaya. If you read books from other sampradayas, it is an offence to your Guru, it is offensive to your Gurudev. Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur, Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur, Srila Guru Maharaj, Gurudev, Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj wrote many books, there are so many books written by our Gaudiya sampradaya, and if we read these books, it is not a problem, but if we read other things from any other sampradaya, except Gaudiya sampradaya, and we quote so many other sources, then some offence comes through that.
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