Questions and Answers
His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
[A devotee asks a question.] I understand your question. How will we do service without offence? We will try to avoid offences. Sometimes, offences are also removed through service. Anyhow, we must not stop our service. Sometimes, you think, "Oh, I am going to do some service, but if I do it, offence will come, so better I not do it, I will stop it." No. We must continuously do our service. Guru and Vaishnavs are very kind and merciful—if we have a good heart and a good mood, Guru and Vaishnavs will always mercifully remove our offences.
Question: You were talking about tolerance, how we must show tolerance when we get some bad words or insults, but sometimes we show we tolerate it but inside we do not tolerate it. How can we increase our mood of tolerance, not just show it externally, but to have internal tolerance?
No, we must be clear—our internal and external mood must be clear. If you show one thing externally and have another thing internally, it is not good. You show something externally and you have another feeling internally, this is not right, we must be tolerant properly and we must be simple-hearted. If something is white, you must say it is white, however sometimes we will keep quiet, we will try not to say anything. It is necessary to have such a mood. For example, somebody is white (good), and you say they are white (good), but the person may get angry; or somebody is black (bad) and you say they are black (bad), and the person will get angry. Then we must understand when to say something and when not. We should not say anything, we will try to tolerate everything. We must try to be like this. Sometimes, however, to keep the devotees' mood in the proper line, we have to tell the truth. This is what I did at the last programme—I told you all what Gurudev said. I had not said anything for ten years, but I thought that many devotees wanted to hear something from me. Param Guru Maharaj Srila Sridhar Maharaj spoke about Gurudev, and Gurudev also had to explain it himself, and at the last programme I told everyone what Gurudev had explained himself, I gave that same explanation to everybody. If somebody is perhaps unhappy about it, I can ask them for forgiveness. Please forgive my offence. This is all I can do. What else can I do? If they are Vaishnavs, they will forgive my offence.
Does anyone else have questions?
Question: What is sahajiya bhajan and how can we avoid it?
Sahajiya bhajan? Where? In the Western countries? There is not so much sahajiya bhajan in the Western countries. Sahajiya bhajans are always here in India. For example, there was a big gathering in Nrisingha Palli yesterday, they were doing sahajiya bhajan there, and I had to listen to it from my room there in Nrisingha Palli. I did not see any sahajiya in the foreign countries. There are some mayavadi gurus in the foreign countries, and that is even worse than sahajiya because sahajiyas at least think that Krishna has a form, but mayavadis do not believe that—they say that everybody is God. This is mayavad thinking. Mayavad is very dangerous, even more dangerous than sahajiya. What is sahajiya bhajan? If somebody sings some song with some fancy tune, you cannot tell them, "This is sahajiya!" You cannot say like this.
Question: Srila Param Guru Maharaj says we should utilise everything in service, even the things that may not necessarily be desirable, the things that are perhaps sad or dangerous. How can we use everything in service, even sad and dangerous things?
Yes, you should use everything is service, of course. How shall I explain it to you? What is sad and dangerous? For example, we can see in Srimad Bhagavad-gita that Arjuna does not want to fight his relatives because he feels it is very sad and very dangerous—so many of his relatives will die in this war. However, Krishna tells him, "You are involved with the illusory environment, that is why you are thinking that you do not want to fight, that you do not want to involve yourself in this war. Even if something is dangerous, even if something is sad, you should consider it properly and engage yourself in this fight with your relatives." In this way, whatever happens, even if sadness comes, even if unhappiness comes, we should still use everything in the service of the Lord.
Gurudev told me once, "I will leave my body one day, and even on that day you must not stop offering the bhog to the Lord." And you could see that when Gurudev left his body, even on that day the offering, arati, kirtan, all services were going on. That was a very sad day for us, Gurudev left his body, but we still used everything for the service of the Lord. So, whatever comes, even if your life is in a dangerous position, will you remove yourself, will you withdraw yourself from service because of that? No, this is not right. Even if your life is in danger, you are never to withdraw yourself from your service. This is how we must use everything in the service of the Lord. For example, when Prahlad Maharaj's father gave poison to him, he was happy thinking Prahlad Maharaj would die, and Prahlad Maharaj happily drank that poison—he did not think whether he would live or die, he always thought about the Lord. This should be your attitude to unhappiness or danger. You can use everything in the service of the Lord. Everything that exists, is meant for the service of the Lord.
Question: How can we know that Gurudev is happy with us, with our service?
Self-realisation is necessary. What is service? Suppose Krishna wants a samosa, if you can give Him a samosa, then Krishna will be happy. Then, you can easily understand what kind of things Gurudev is happy with, you can observe his mood, his teachings, what makes Gurudev happy. That is why I say that realisation is necessary.
For example, I was teaching one sannyasi yesterday. I told him how much seva attachment it is necessary to have, and I gave him an example. Now, I sometimes switch off my mobile phone because people disturb me, but in Gurudev's time I never switched off my mobile phone. Even when I went to the toilet, I would always keep the phone in the bathroom where the soap is kept; I always kept the phone with me thinking what if Gurudev calls me. He could call me at 2:30, at 3 o'clock in the morning. If I go to the bathroom to take shower, there is so much noise, I may not hear his call, and if Gurudev calls me and I do not answer, he will be angry. So, I kept the phone with me even in the bathroom in case Gurudev called me. This is my experience in Gurudev's time. I told that sannyasi: if I call you and you do not answer, you give me some excuse (ajuhat, অজুহাত—it means you show me your two hands, but you keep something else behind), you say you could not do it or that you did not hear the call because you were in the bathroom. It will not do. If you go to the bathroom, keep your phone there—I am calling you, why are you not answering? Bathroom is not an excuse. This is what I told him.
So, you can realise yourself whether Gurudev is happy or unhappy, you can understand it through your service. It actually depends on the practitioner. Practitioners must be simple-hearted and have a clear heart, then they will understand easily what Gurudev wants and what makes Gurudev happy.
Question: Srila Gurudev told me that in Vaishnav tradition, it is not possible to offer a cake, that it is always sweet rice—he said sweet rice would please the Deities more than a cake, that cakes belong to the Western civilisation.
It is not a problem. Krishna does not always live only in India—Krishna lives in the Western world too. That is why, we sometimes also offer arepa, sometimes some noodles, cakes, sometimes we offer rasam, tofu, pizza, etc. What is the problem?
We hear that this year the chariots during the Ratha-yatra festival in Jagannth Puri will not be pulled by devotees—they will be pulled by elephants. The High Court suggested using machines, but the Odisha government said that machines were no good, they said elephants could pull them. But I am thinking that chariots will not go with elephants—the chariots cannot go from Nilachal to Sundarachal without devotees. Krishna will not go from Dvaraka to Vrindavan without His devotees. Every year, all the devotees, all the Vraja-gopis, take Jagannath, Baladev and Subhadra there, but this year devotees cannot enter there...
[Update: On 19 July, the Supreme Court finally ruled that there shall be no chariot festival in Jagannath Puri at all this year due to the ongoing pandemic situation. Then, on 22 June, the Supreme Court of India has changed its ruling and allowed to hold Sri Ratha Yatra in Sri Jagannath Puri without public attendance on the plea of the servitors of Sri Jagannathdev Temple.]
[His Divine Grace then chants 'Nitai pada kamala', 'Hari Haraye Nama Krsna' and then takes last questions.]
Question: How can my son get sukriti to live in Krishna consciousness?
He should listen to the class, listen to kirtans, he needs good association. Actually, sukriti comes from previous lives—if he could do some good, auspicious works in his previous life, then sukriti will come. Is he vegetarian now?
Devotee: No, he is not.
Why not? Why does he take meat?
Devotee: My wife forcefully gives it to him.
Then, your wife must first be serious about Krishna cosnciousess, then your child will learn from his parents. How old is he?
Devotee: Six years old.
Oh, he has no capacity to understand whether his father does good or his mother does good. When he understand, "My father is good, he lives in the right way," then if he has some sukriti, he will gradually change by the mercy of Gurudev, by the mercy of Lord Chaitanya. Take him sometimes to the programmes there in Singapore. Devotees make some programmes, some house to house programmes, you can join those programmes with your son. It is necessary. Good association is necessary. He should learn from Doyal Nitai Prabhu, from Vishnu Prabhu, Ramananda Prabhu—they are all children and they have all become good boys, they are vegetarian. Also, in Malaysia, all sons of Rama Ratan Prabhu have become devotees. Take your son to good association. Join devotees' programmes—Ravindra Krishna Prabhu, Jaya Vardhan Prabhu make programmes in Singapore, join those programmes, keep contact with them. Also, teach your son how to bow down to the Lord, how to offer dandavat pranam to the Lord, how to make offering to the Lord, how to chant kirtans, how to play the mridanga. This is how he will learn, this is how he will practise. Practitioners must always practise. Join programmes, but remember that if you want to make your son a devotee, you must give your energy for that.
I have seen Ravindra Krishna Prabhu's son, how he trained him. When we were doing Govardhan parikrama, I was very surprised to see him—he walked and played the mridanga during the whole parikrama! How many kilometres is Govardhan and Vrindavan parikrama, but he carried the mridanga and played it, like a big boy. When I was his age, I could not do that, but he practises very nicely. Not only that, you know, Ravinda Krishna Prabhu's house in Singapore is like a palace—I have not gone there, but I know that his house is a palace, but his son walks in the sun like a simple boy. He reminds me of Srila Raghunath Das Goswami. Srila Raghunath Das Goswami was a big landlord, but he would go begging door to door. Your son can learn from Doyal Nitai, you can see how much austerity that boy can take. When he stayed here in India, he stayed in a simple room, in a simple house. Your son can learn from him. You know, when the Lord was in Dvaraka, He got so much opulence there, but when He later became Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and took sannyas, He would sleep on the ground...
Question: How can we always think about Krishna consciousness and Gurudev even though our mind is very distracted?
Is your mind disturbing a lot? Mind is always very naughty, that is why Gurudev always tells not to listen to your mind. You always have a good intelligence, you must beat your mind through that intelligence. Mind is always naughty, it always goes everywhere, to bad places, to good places, to any place. Do not follow your mind. Follow what Gurudev says. Your mind goes here, there, everywhere, but you must always concentrate your mind on practising Krishna consciousness.
For example, when you go to school, you come home from school and you must first complete the lesson that you have got today, then you will go to school (college, university) the next day. So, you must think tonight what service you will do tomorrow, and make a list of services that you will do tomorrow. You can make this list with a pen, in your heart or in your mind, but you must plan tonight what service you will do tomorrow, and do that service. This is my advice. Join programmes every day, come to magala-arati, wake up properly. Sleep less, eat less. If you eat too much, then you will want to sleep too much. This is how you must concentrate your practising life.
গ্রাম্যকথা না শুনিবে, গ্রাম্যবার্ত্তা না কহিবে ।
gramya-katha na sunibe, gramya-varta na kahibe
"Do not listen to the mundane talks, do not listen to the mundane news. Do not eat fancy food, do not wear fancy clothes. Do not expect honour to yourself, but offer all respect to others. Always chant the Holy Name of Krsna, and in your mind serve Radha-Krsna."
(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, Antya-lila, 6.236-237)
Always avoid wearing fancy clothes, always avoid eating fancy food. It is necessary to do this.
I am giving my full obeisance to all the devotees, to Srila Janardan Maharaj, Srila Ashram Maharaj. Please forgive my offence. Dandavat. I was very happy to see you all. Thank you very much.
Jay Om Vishnupad Jagad-Guru Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami
Maharaj ki jay
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