Follow Rules and Regulations
His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
There are so many places in Sri Puri Dham. There is Atharnala where Nityananda Prabhu broke Mahaprabhu's danda and threw it into the Bhargi River. There are also pastimes of Srila Gadadhar Pandit there. There, Ramachandra Puri disturbed Mahaprabhu. Srila Madhavendra Puripad also came from Baleshwar to Ksir-chora Gopinath. There is also a place of Saksi Gopal where the story of bara vipra (old brahman) and chhota vipra (young brahman) took place. We visit so many places when we come to Puri—Saksi Gopal's temple, Ananta Vasudev's temple, Sivji Maharaj is also there. We cannot go there this year, but we can still remember all these places from here, and that is also visiting. Our mind must always stay in the holy dham:
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 may not be able to always physically stay in Mathura, but you can always remember, always recite the glories of the holy place, always remember the holy dham in your heart, mind, everything, and it is the same as residing in the dham. We visit many auspicious, filled with pastimes places in this world—Sri Nabadwip Dham, Sri Mathura Dham, Sri Purusottam Ksetra and others; but we must always remember:
তীর্থফল সাধুসঙ্গ, সাধুসঙ্গে অন্তরঙ্গ,
tirtha-phala sadhu-sanga, sadhu-sange antaranga,
"The result of visiting a place of pilgrimage is sadhu-sanga (pure devotees' association) and being drawn to the exclusive service of Sri Krishna. A place of pilgrimage is where a sadhu (pure devotee) is. Always keep the association of pure devotees and firmly fix your mind by such association."
(Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur, Kalyan-kalpataru)
A holy place (tirtha) is where there is a Vaishnav (sadhu). Wherever a Vaishnav stays, that is a holy place, that is Goloka Vrindavan. I heard once from Gurudev that one time Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj Srila Prabhupad had some abscess (some infection) in his back and suffered with very much pain. At that time, he wrote a letter to Srila B.R. Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj saying, "Maharaj, you live in Nabadwip Dham, in Koladwip, and you are engaged in bhajan, but I am living very far away with mlechhas. I am suffering in so many ways here." In reply, Srila Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj wrote, "Maharaj, you are Nityandana Prabhu's saktyavesa avatar—wherever you may be, wherever you are staying, that is always Vrindavan, it is always a holy dham there." So, it is does not matter where a devotees lives because,
যে দিন গৃহে ভজন দেখি ।
ye dina grhe bhajana dekhi
On the days when I see devotional service taking place in my home, I feel that Goloka has manifested there.
('Suddha-bhakata-charana-renu' by Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur)
Where is Goloka Vrindavan? It is the place where devotees every day worship Deities, every day offer bhog to the Deities, every day do arati, etc., where they practise achar-nistha (practise properly, with unflinching regularity).
We always follow rules and regulations. That is the main thing. There are sixty-four types of viddhi-marga (prescribed regulations) or bhaktyanga (limbs of devotion). You know what they are, I list them at the end of the Calendar. For example, we observe and fast on Janmastami, we observe fasting on Nrisingha-chaturdasi, we observe and fast on Gurudev's appearance day, we follow Ekadasi properly, etc. These are all a part of sixty-four angas, or limbs of devotional processes. We must follow them all one by one, all sixty-four(!) limbs.
Even Sriman Mahaprabhu told His mother, "You must follow Ekadasi," but we sometimes forget to fast on Ekadasi, we sometimes cannot tolerate Ekadasi. I have told you this story many times. Once, a foreign devotee wrote to Gurudev asking, "I work at a ship making factory, and I work with a huge hammer that weighs ten kg. It is a very hard labour, so if I fast on Ekadasi, how will I be able to work?" Gurudev replied, "I did not tell you to do a full fast (not to eat anything). If you have to work hard, you can eat five kilo of potato in the morning, what is the problem?" We mostly only do not take grains [*beans, seeds, certain vegetables, etc.] on Ekadasi, but we can take so many things on Ekadasi (fruit, potato, dairy, etc.). Srila Prabhupad Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur relaxed the rules so much, he even said that since people here in India or outside people cannot do a full fast, or if somebody has a health problem and cannot fast in the morning, then they can make some potato, etc. and take it in the morning, it is not a problem.
You must follow rules and regulations. Always. Always avoid dyuta, pana, striya, suna (gambling, intoxicants, illegal sex, slaughter). Gambling, drinking alcohol, taking marijuana—you cannot do this. I have heard that some devotees are now cultivating marijuana! This is not good! Even if you do not eat meat, but if you sell or cook fish, if you cut, cook or distribute meat, then you are an offender! This is very wrong, those who do it are all offenders! Sometimes we cut someone some slack—when somebody comes to us and says, "O Gurudev, my son wants to eat meat, my daughter wants to eat meat"—what can we do?—we say, "OK, cry and cook for your husband or children." Otherwise, sometimes when somebody cooks meat, some smell comes and even if you just feel the smell, it is also one kind of eating.
Follow rules and regulations properly. This is good for everybody. Do you understand? Our line is strict about it...
জিহ্বার লালসে যেই ইতি-উতি ধায় ।
jihvara lalase yei iti-uti dhaya
"One who is subservient to the tongue and who thus goes here and there, devoted to the genitals and the belly, cannot attain Krishna."
(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, 3.6.227)
We always follow our tongue—we take whatever our tongues asks for. Sometimes, we think, "Oh, I want to buy a samosa outside." It is OK, you can buy that samosa, but you must buy it, first offer it to the Lord, and then you can take it. If you cannot control your tongue, this desire will come to your heart—your heart will become dirty, and the power of lust (kama-sakti) will become strong, dyuta, pana, striya, etc. will start coming (you will feel desire for gambling, intoxicants, illegal sex, etc.). When this happens, sakti (lust, power) increases and becomes strong, that is why in our line we never take onion and garlic, for example. Onion and garlic are very strong and they make you very angry, it turns your consciousness into an angry mood. Such food is tamasik and rajasik, but you must take only sattvik food. Our Gaudiya guru-varga always follows this—they take only sattvik food, not tamasik, not rajasik. Try to understand this.
I remember now one thing that Gurudev said. Sripad Bhakti Ananda Sagar Maharaj from London used to live in the Land of Nectar (a land near Sri Nabadwip Temple), and Gurudev told him one day, "I live here, why do you stay there, at the Land of Nectar? You can go there, but why not stay with me here?" Then Gurudev added, "I guess, your disciple makes much fried paneer on Ekadasi, that is why you go there... This fried paneer is giving you too much disturbance, you will see it one day." I remember these words of Gurudev, it was more than twenty years ago.
That is why, it is said that if you cannot control your tongue, you will not be able to control anything—you will not be able to control your anger or control your consciousness. Always take proper sattvik prasadam.
প্রসাদ-সেবা করিতে হয়
prasada-seva karite haya,
"By honouring the Lord's prasad I conquer all worldly illusions."
(Saranagati, 31.5, by Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur)
Do not eat very fancy things, eat simple things.
বৈরাগীর কৃত্য—সদা নাম-সঙ্কীর্ত্তন ।
vairagira krtya—sada nama-sankirtana
"The duty of a renunciate is to always engage in Nama-sankirtan, and maintain your stomach with vegetables, leaves, fruit, and roots."
(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, Antya-lila, 6.226)
Mahaprabhu told Srila Raghunath Das Goswami: Vaishnavs are always engaged in Nama-sankirtan and they take only the things that are sufficient to fill their stomach—sak (greens, spinach), patra (leaves), phal (fruit), mul (roots). Eating too much and sleeping too much is very bad. Ahara, nidra, bhaya, maithunam cha (আহার, নিদ্রা, ভয়, মৈথুনং চ, eating, sleeping, fearing, mating). The more you increase these things, the more they will increase. You sleep six hours today, six and a half hours tomorrow, seven hours the day after tomorrow, then you will sleep eight hours, and so on. Today you eat five chapatis, tomorrow you can take six chapatis, and the day after tomorrow you will be taking ten chapatis. Do you understand? This is how you start eating too much, and if you eat too much, you will sleep too much. Control your food. Ahara, nidra, bhaya, maithunam cha. Control these things—the more you increase these things, the more it will increase. If you want to increase these things, you will increase it, in the same way if you want to reduce these things, you can reduce them. For example, I take three chapatis today, and tomorrow I will take two chapatis. This is how you can reduce it gradually.
I am also trying to do that. During this lockdown period, I have gained three kg weight and my doctor chastised me very much. He said, "I giving you two months. If you cannot reduce your weight in two months, I will not see you." I have gained weight because it is lockdown and I am becoming a little lazy—I am not going to so many places now because I am afraid of the coronavirus. I sometimes go out, but not so much, that is why I have gained much weight. The doctor told me, "It is very bad! Come after two months, but first you must drop these three kg, then come." So, now I am trying to do that, I am trying to reduce my prasadam. I will now take two-three chapatis in the evening, not more than that, and small chapatis, not Bihari style chaptis (one Bihari chapati is one kilo!).
I have told you many things today. We should follow these things. I know it is easy to say it, but it is hard to follow it. I also cannot follow everything, but I am telling, telling, telling about it, then one day I can also make myself a proper good boy. I also want to become a good boy...
Sixty-Four Devotional Practices (Bhaktyanga)
(1) Taking shelter at Sri Guru's feet.
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