Will-O'-the-Wisp of Worldly Wishes
His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Question: When we are young, maya often attacks us in a strong way and we think that we will enjoy our youth to the fullest and when we grow old, then it will be the right time to serve Gurudev and surrender to him. How can we change this wrong way of thinking?
If you give Maya chance, then Maya will attack you. It does not matter whether you are young or old.
When Mahaprabhu took sannyas, He was twenty-four years old—He had left everything, His young thirteen-year-old wife Vishnupriya, His mother, He left everybody in Nabadwip and came to Keshav Bharati. All He had with Him was the clothes He was wearing. When Mahaprabhu came, Keshav Bharati spoke to Mahaprabhu the whole night, and I asked Gurudev once, "What did Mahaprabhu and Keshav Bharati talk about the whole night?" Gurudev said, "You want to hear what conversation happened between them?"—and then he started singing very beautifully. Here is what he told me.
Keshav Bharati said, "You are only twenty-four. You have not even crossed the brahmachari ashram! How have You come to me to take sannyas? One is supposed to follow brahmachari ashram from one to twenty-five years old; grihastha life from twenty-five to fifty years old; vanaprastha from fifty to seventy-five years old; and then, at seventy-five you must take sannyas." (And now is the age of Kali—you may not even live to seventy-five!)
Still, Mahaprabhu said, "All right, if you think I am too young, suppose I am fifty now."
Keshav Bharati replied, "It is not possible to take sannyas at fifty because You cannot control the pancha-rasa (rupa, rasa, gandha, sabda, sparsa—desire to enjoy with beauty, taste, smell, sound, touch). If You cannot control these things, then even if You are fifty, You cannot take sannyas."
Then Mahaprabhu said, "All right, suppose I am sixty."
Keshav Bharati replied, "If You cannot control your six enemes (sad-riru—kama, krodha, lobha, moha, mada, matsarya—lust, anger, greed, illusion, attachment, envy), then even if You are sixty, You cannot take sannyas."
Then, Mahaprabhu jumped to ninety and said, "All right, suppose I am ninety now!"
Keshav Bharati replied, "Yes, You are ninety, but You still do not follow the nava-vidha bhakti (the nine devotional practises) and You have not got through:
আদৌশ্রদ্ধা ততঃ সাধুসঙ্গোঽথ ভজনক্রিয়া ।
adau sraddha tatah sadhu-sango 'tha bhajana-kriya
"In the beginning there is (1) faith, then (2) good association, then (3) practising life. After that, (4) the offences gradually go away, (5) faith becomes stronger, (6) taste comes, then (7) attachment, then there arises (8) love and (9) intense transcendental love. This is how love to God comes to those who practise Krsna consciousness."
(Sri Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhuh, 1.4.15-16)
"Then, even if You are ninety, You cannot take sannyas."
Then, Mahaprabhu said, "All right, I am a hundred!"
Keshav Bharati replied, "Even if You are a hundred, You still cannot control Your ten senses (five karmendriya and five jnanendriya). Then, You cannot take sannyas even if You are a hundred." [The five karmendriya (instruments) are feet, hands, rectum, genitals, mouth (pada, pani, payu, upastha, vak); the five jnanendriya (senses) are eyes, ears, nose, tongue, skin (chaksu, karna, nasika, jihva, tvak).]
Do you understand? It is necessary to control all these things. I told you just a few minutes ago—we must fight against our own selves. Why do you go to fight with others? We will fight with ourselves because we ourselves have so many enemy elements inside us. It does not mean that Maya will attack you when you are young—it depends on the person, it is not always like this. If you try to control your elements, you can control them from a young age. Somebody thinks, "I may not get another life later, so I better enjoy my youth now as much as I can now, and I will join Krishna consciousness when I get old; then Maya will not attack me because I will be old and not beautiful, nobody will like me." People think like this, but if you can control your senses from now, from your youth, then you will not have any problems.
Sometimes, people also think, "Sannyasis are always fearful, 'Will I fall down or not?' So, it is better to become a grihastha, stay in your house, practise and have no fear of falling down." Some people think like this, but at the same time people sometimes live as grihasthas and become deha-ramis (devoted to enjoying the body)—they think, "We live in a big house, surrounded by big cushions; we enjoy, get good food, paneer, chana, rasagulla, etc. We enjoy with our grihastha life!" That is called becoming a deha-rami. People start enjoying so much in their householder life, but proper grihastha life is not like this. Proper grihasthas wake up early in the morning and practise properly.
The day before yesterday I got a phone call from one devotee from Europe. He had joined the Mission in Srila Guru Maharaj's time. He is a good devotee, he is helping me and in Gurudev's time, he helped the Mission very much. He is a very enthusiastic man. When he called me, he cried to me, "Maharaj, my life is gone now! You go to sleep at ten o'clock and wake up at four-five o'clock, but my life is just the opposite—I go to sleep at two o'clock and sleep until nine-ten o'clock! I am doing just the opposite. How have I become so bad? I am not practising properly because I am suffering so much in my family life..." His feeling about himself is that "amara jivana sada pape rata nahika punyera lesa (আমার জীবন সদা পাপে রত নাহিক পুণ্যের লেশ)—my life is always engrossed in sin. There is not a trace of piety in it." He said, "I am suffering so much, the whole night I think what I am using my life for, and I am getting so much pain, so much austerity." Such are his feelings.
Yet, "janiya suniya visa khainu (জানিয়া শুনিয়া বিষ খাইনু)—I knew that it was poison, I had heard that it was poison, but still I drank it." You know everything. You were a brahmachari, you did puja, you lived proper devotional life, but then you go to family life and lose your devotional practice, you start slacking and not practise all the time. As soon as you get a weak spot, Maya will attack you. Maya always searches for our weak spots. An ant always searches for a hole and as soon as it finds it, it goes into it—Maya is also like that. She searches for any hole in us and when the time comes, she will attack you. She is always ready to attack you. That is why we must be very careful. Now you say you will become grihastha, but when some years pass, you will regret it. I am not saying that householder life is bad, but I have seen so many brahmacharis in my life who left the temple and went to householder life, and now they think how much austerity there is in householder life. They tell me how much they are suffering, how much they have to work—they work twenty-four hours a day to maintain their family, to maintain their children. They have it very difficult, and they do not get time to come to the mangal arati, etc.
You know the story "Family of Gita" ("Gitar Samsar"). Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur told that story. I have told it many times.
Once, a man took initiation from his Guru, and Gurudev told him to read Bhagavad-gita every day. The man agreed and started reading Bhagavad-gita. After a while, he thought, "There are so many people here, it is too noisy! I had better go to the mountains, somewhere to Rishikesh or Haridwar, and stay there reading Srimad Bhagavad-gita peacefully." So, he went to the mountain and started reading Bhagavad-gita there. The problem is that he had left the world and went to live in the mountain, but he had some material desires—he had not left these material desires in the world, he took them with him. So, one day when he was reading Bhagavad-gita, he fell asleep and when he woke up he saw a rat had bitten his Gita and some pages were gone. Angry, he thought, "I will teach that rat a lesson!" Then, he went to search for a cat. He found a cat, brought it there and the rat was gone. Now, the cat was hungry and kept meowing all the time. What will he feed it? He thought it was necessary to arrange for some milk for the cat. So, he brought there a cow. Next is another problem—who will take care of that cow? Who will give food to the cow? So, he arranged for a girl to serve the cow. Soon, he started some relation with that girl and they got married. He started his householder life and ended up with five children. Every time he sat down to read Bhagavad-gita, all the children came after him, "O papa! Give me this!" "O papa! Give me that!" He was very tired of it. Then, one day his Gurudev decided to come and see him thinking, "I want to see that proper disciple of mine—he has left for Haridwar, Rishikesh. I want to see how he is reading Bhagavad-gita there." When he came there, he saw his disciple, his house and so many children—he saw that his disciples had forgotten all about his Bhagavad-gita reading!
This is how Maya attacks you...
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