Plane of Adherence
His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Two days ago I went to Tarakeshwar, I stayed and gave class there for a few days, and today I returned. Some of the Bengali devotees came and joined the programmes.
Question: Where is it, again?
It is Tarakeshwar. When Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur was passing Tarakeshwar on his way to Vrindavan, he received an order, "Do not go to Vrindavan, go back to Nabadwip." It happened in Tarakeshwar. Also, Tarakeshwar is Lord Siva's place. We have a centre there—Sri Sri Guru Gauranga Radha Madan-Mohan are there. This is where I went. Usually, many devotees come there, but this time only the local devotees came, many of those who live a little far could not come because the train service has not yet started in India, there are only a few buses running, but everyone is afraid to come by bus because buses are crowded, there is no social distance and everyone is afraid of the coronavirus. About fifty-sixty people did join. I told them that I will make the coming Janmastami festival (12-13 August) there.
Does anyone have questions?
Question: Sripad Bhakti Charu Maharaj left his body in a place that is very close to the community of devotees where I live. I am afraid now that it can happen to other devotees too that when they pass away they will be alone without the association of devotees because of the social distance...
Yes, it is a very difficult situation now, and I pray to the Lord that it may not happen to any of our devotees. I pray that it does not happen. We have lost a great sannyasi from Iskcon, and we do not want to lose any more devotees in these circumstances, during the time of this pandemic disease (coronavirus).
Other than that, it is not necessary to be afraid. These things depend upon Krishna. Always leave everything to the Lord—whatever His desire is, that will happen. No one can stop it. So, it is not necessary to be afraid. If we surrender ourselves to the Guru, to the Lord, then we will have no problem. Why must you be afraid of this? You must not. Act as usual, as before, it is not necessary to be afraid. Why will you be afraid? We are doing a great job, we are surrendered to the Lord, we are His sons, we are His daughters, and He will protect us. He will do according to His desire (whatever His desire is, He will do so). Nothing is in our hands. We should understand and always remember this.
Question: Once, Mahaprabhu expanded Himself into seven Mahaprabhus at a Ratha-yatra, and He was present in the kirtan in seven different groups. Could you please tell us about this pastime?
Yes, this happened not only during the Ratha-yatra. When Mahaprabhu started kirtan in Nabadwip and when Chand Kazi tried to stop it, Mahaprabhu told all devotees to form seven parties and start kirtan, and Mahaprabhu Himself joined each of the seven parties. He is Krishna—is there anything that He cannot do? The Lord can be everywhere. There were 16,000 gopis, and Krishna came to the house of every one of those gopis. Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu can expand Himself into seven Chaitanya Mahaprabhus. This is achintya bhedabheda tattva (inconceivable oneness and difference). How can it be not possible? It is possible! He can be everywhere. All over the world, thousands and millions of devotees offer bhog to the Lord, and the Lord comes to everybody's house and takes that food happily. It is not impossible—it is possible! We all offer food to the Lord—all devotees are staying in their houses now in this pandemic situation, they offer bhog to the Deities every day, and Lord Krishna comes to their houses and takes this food happily. What is the problem?
Question: Is it possible to reach prema (transcendental love) through viddhi-bhakti (devotion governed by rules and regulations)?
You must first act according to the viddhi-bhakti (practise devotion following all rules and regulations properly), then you can enter the raga-marga bhakti (service out of spontaneous, natural devotion). Yes, raga-marga bhakti gives Krishna prema, but you must first practise viddhi-marga (vaidhi-marga) bhakti, then only can you enter the raga-marga bhakti. You cannot start from raga-marga, otherwise you will become a sahajiya (imitator). First follow proper rules and regulations (viddhi-marga), then, when you become a higher and a highest devotee, can it be possible for you to come to raga-marga bhakti. Gurudev and Guru Maharaj showed during their final moments that they did not chant on their beads, they only kept chanting, "Doyal Nitai, Doyal Nitai"—it is possible for them because they are the highest devotees, they are always situated in their eternal transcendental pastimes (nitya-lila), they always move on the same plane with Krishna and Srimati Radharani. So, we see it as them performing their own pastimes (lila) as they have already entered the raga-marga bhakti. As for us, we must practise viddhi-marga. We must know what viddhi-marga is, and it is necessary to follow it.
Question: Why did Krishna tell Arjuna to ask for Durga's blessing before the battle of Kuruksetra if Arjuna already had Krishna's blessings and presence?
Krishna shows that He has given some service to Durga, Mother Kali and some other demigods. They all have got some service. Durga Devi is always in a fighting mood—she killed many demons (asuras). That is why Krishna told Arjuna to ask for her blessing. Yes, Arjuna already had Krishna, but at that time he had not surrendered to the Lord fully; at that time, under the influence of Maya, he did not think that Krishna was the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That is why Krishna said at first, "First ask Durga for some help." However, when Arjuna fully surrendered to Krishna, when he said, "I have become Your disciple," then Krishna showed him His form and told everything that was necessary to know.
মন্মনা ভব মদ্ভক্তো মদ্যাজী মাং নমস্কুরু ।
man-mana bhava mad-bhakto, mad-yaji mam namaskuru
"Always think of Me, be my devotee, always worship Me and offer obeisances to Me. Thus offering yourself to Me and taking refuge in Me, you will come to Me."
(Srimad Bhagavad-gita, 9.34)
First Krishna described karma-yoga, then jnana-yoga, then other yogas. There are so many yogas described in Srimad Bhagavad-gita, you can read it and you will see.
So, basically, the explanation is that because Krishna has given some power to Durga Devi and because Durga Devi also kills demons, then Krishna said Arjuna could get some help from her.
Question: Why does ekadasi calculation differ in our Math and ISKCON?
Srila Prabhupad Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur told to follow an Indian panjika (almanac, or calendar) called P.M. Bagchi Panjika, to follow ekadasi according to this panjika, so from that time we have been following Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur's line and we have been following the P.M. Bagchi Panjika. Chaitanya Math and all other Gaudiya Maths also follow this calculation. ISKCON says that they calculate the dates in a scientific way, so some ekadasis are different in ISKCON and in Gaudiya Maths.
From a lecture of Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj (13 March 2007) on the subject matter of the calendar calculations and disciples' chastity:
অসৎসঙ্গত্যাগ,—এই বৈষ্ণব-আচার ।
"Vaishnav's line of behaviour is to always give up bad association. Those who associate with women is one kind of bad persons, and another kind is those who have no devotion to Krishna."
(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, Madhya-lila, 22.84)
We will follow what our Guru Maharaj follows. We do not want to know who is good, who is bad, who is better, who is worst. It is not necessary to criticise anyone, we will only be chaste to our Guru Maharaj and follow our Guru Maharaj's conception. That is it. This is clear to me, and this is how Guru Maharaj taught us. If we do not understand this, then we will deviate. There are different kinds of opinions, different kinds of conceptions, different kinds of principles, and all this can cause deviation in our mind. We do not want that to happen.
When we try to find a guru, at that time we must consider everything, but once we have surrendered to a guru, surrendered to Krishna, then Krishna conception will be our practising life. That is why it is said that the worship of the guru comes first (adau guru-puja). We are very fortunate that we have got a guru who is very learned and steady in Krishna conception. By the divine mercy of our Guru Maharaj, we have gradually come to understand so many things about our Guru Maharaj, we have got a clear conception, and this is the conception that we will follow.
You know, there must be a hundred panjikas (almanacs, calendars) in this world, but there is one thing that is very important to know. Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur was a great and famous devotee here in India. He has got the title 'Siddhanta Saraswati' in Benares for his expertise in the jyotish sastra (astrological scriptures). One time, Srila Prabhupad was debating with a great jyotishi (astrologer) and he defeated him so soundly that the man actually passed stool at the meeting! Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur attacked him by jyotish sastra and he could not answer anything, so he was finally absolutely defeated. I heard that it was at that meeting that Srila Saraswati Thakur got the title "Siddhanta Saraswati." Later, his sannyas name also became Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati. Anyhow, Srila Saraswati Thakur was no doubt a great astrologer, everyone respected him as a great astrologer. Our Guru Maharaj (Srila B.R. Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj) was also an astrologer, but he did not show it, so many did not know what a great astrologer he was. One day, Guru Maharaj asked Srila Prabhupad Saraswati Thakur, "We see that this other panjika provides the finest calculation in this age, why do we not follow it?" Srila Saraswati Thakur's answer was a very fanatic one—he said, "Yes, I know this calculation is good, I know it is better than P.M. Bagchi, but Bhaktivinod Thakur follows P.M. Bagchi and we are followers of Bhaktivinod Thakur, so we follow P.M. Bagchi!"
It means that externally, compared to Visuddha-siddhanta, P.M. Bagchi's calculation is wrong, but Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur accepted P.M. Bagchi. This is a very serious topic. When Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur accepted P.M. Bagchi, Visuddha-siddhanta was not there at that time—so, Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur followed P.M. Bagchi, Prabhupad Srila Saraswati Thakur also followed P.M. Bagchi, everything is alright, but when Visuddha-siddhanta calculation appeared, it turned out that in terms of calculation it is more accurate than P.M. Bagchi. So, Srila Guru Maharaj asked Srila Prabhupad, "We see that it is better than P.M. Bagchi, then why do we not follow it?" Srila Saraswati Thakur gave a clean and clear answer, "We are followers of neither Visuddha-siddhanta, nor P.M. Bagchi—we are followers of Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur! Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur followed this, and I do not care if it is wrong or right. Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur is a jyotishi, he knows everything about calculations or anything else. We are followers of Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur—Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur followed P.M. Bagchi, so I follow P.M. Bagchi too."
Srila Guru Maharaj was very happy to hear that. We cannot judge our Guru. We have no right to do it. Before taking a guru, we have the right to consider, "Am I going the right way or a wrong way? Is this guru good or bad?" But when we become initiated and surrender to the guru, this surrender will not be for show. Surrender must be pure. I always tell our friends, "Chastity and sincerity will give you a supreme position." You may be very bad or very good, this is not a factor—if you have chastity and sincerity, you will win the race! This is a fact. This is backed up by my own feelings, my own experience, etc., and I always tell this to my friends because other than this there is no other way to get Krishna consciousness.
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