'How much do you hanker in your heart?'
His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Question: Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj Prabhupad mentioned in Srimad Bhagavatam that if the world politicians and leaders followed the advice of pure devotees of the Lord, it would bring peace and relief to the nations. How can we directly offer this advice of our guru-varga to the politicians and leaders of the countries where we live?
You can try to do it. Why is it not possible? If you can try to preach to ministers, presidents, everywhere, you can try, why is it not possible? I also sometimes meet with some governors, ministers, I give them my advice, and they accept it. On the other hand, you know that politicians are always very clever and they always think about themselves, about their own pratistha, so it is very difficult to preach to them. You can tell them what you know yourself, you can try. What is the problem? Whether they will listen to you or not, that is their matter, but you can try.
Question: How can we remain enthusiastic and avoid pratistha?
It is very difficult to avoid pratistha, but there is good pratistha—"Vaisnavi pratistha tate kara nistha (বৈষ্ণবী প্রতিষ্ঠা তাতে কর নিষ্ঠা). Firmly establish yourself as a servant of the Lord." When Madhavendra Puri got pratistha, he became afraid of it and ran away from Khirchora Gopinath in Baleshwar to Puri, but that pratistha had already come to Puri before he reached it. So, we should be always afraid of pratistha, but even if pratistha comes, we must not ask for any pratistha ourselves. If pratistha comes on its own, how will you avoid it? We must give respect to 'Vaishnavi pratistha'.
Actually, our duty is to always remember that we are simple souls, we have no quality, no qualification, we are 'trinad api sunichena'—we are lower than a blade of grass. This is what you should always think about yourself. This should be your Vaishnav quality. It is necessary to be simple, to be humble, tolerant, and to give honour to others. This is how you can avoid pratistha, name and fame. It comes through practising. Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur says that pratistha is 'sukarer vistha' (pig stool)—it is very dangerous, and it has a very bad smell. We must avoid it.
In this world, everybody wants to be a guru, everybody wants pratistha, everybody says, "Oh, you must do puja for me! You must wash my feet and drink the wash water!" We see so many gurus like that in this world. They say, "Hey, you must do arati for me every morning and evening. You do the arati for the Deities, and you must do arati for myself also." Or they say, "Why is there not my photo on the altar?! I am the guru!" So many things are going on in this world... But why is it necessary to keep a picture on the altar? The main thing is that you must keep your guru in your heart. You must love and care for your guru, and the guru will also love and care for you, he will always remember you. These are the main things. It is not necessary to show your devotion externally. Always keep your devotion in your heart. "Apana bhajana-katha na kahibe yatha tatha (আপন ভজন-কথা, না কহিবে যথা তথা): Do not tell anyone and everyone about your own bhajan, service and practice." We are not going to talk in a public place about how we worship and how we practise. That is why even when we chant on our beads, we always cover our beads with an uttariya (upper body cloth). In some societies, they give beads to even not initiated people, and those people take out their mala, put it in front for everyone to see and chant, "Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare..." They show their devotion in the front of everybody—this is external, but how much do you hanker within yourself, in your heart? That is the question...
Question: What should we think about at the time of death?
About Guru and Krishna. Chant the Holy Name at that time. If you cannot talk at that time, you must think about Krishna's face and Gurudev's face.
Question: At my work, I am in charge of providing lunch for the employees. I always get vegetarian food for myself, but others are not vegetarian and are not interested in becoming devotees, so they tell me that they want to eat meat. What should I do?
But what can you do? You have to run your factory or some business, you are the boss, then how is it possible to avoid it? If you tell them not to take meat, they may not come to work, and you will have to discharge them. So, you can not fight with them, you cannot discharge them. What can you do? You must harmonise with them. In this world, 99% people eat non-veg, so what can you do? Try to tell them not to take non-veg food—advise them to try veg food, explain to them that their health will be good, etc. Give some good advice, try to tell them to avoid non-veg food, and if they do not listen to it, then what can you do?
Question: We have started a catering service from the temple, so we now deliver prasadam to everyone...
Devotee: No, we charge some money and use that money for the service of Lord Jagannath here in the temple.
Yes, that is good, do not give for free.
Devotee: We only do free food distribution at the Ganesh temple once a month...
Yes, that is another thing. You can go there for preaching, that is OK. If you distribute free food once a month for preaching, that is another thing. When you give them free prasadam, you must give them some brochure with the address, invite people to come to the temple—they will come, listen to some Krishna-katha, Hari-katha, and they can join the Mission. Do the preaching in this way, alright?
Question: In Srimad Bhagavad-gita, Lord Krishna says, "From Me arises the soul's remembrance, knowledge, and forgetfulness." Is there any way we can utilise forgetfulness in Krishna consciousness?
Forgetfulness? Not really. In devotion to Krishna, it is not good to forget. Why will we forget? On the contrary, we must always remember. Sometimes, we can forget some things, but Krishna always sees if the devotee is a sincere seeker or not. We sometimes makes some offence, we sometimes forget something, we cannot do things properly, etc. It happens. Yesterday evening, one lady asked me a question, "I am seventy-five years old, and I still do puja five times a day, but sometimes I forget to change my sari five times a day. What should I do?" I told her, "If you forget it willingly, that is one thing, but if you forget it unwillingly, then it is another thing. Try not to forget, but if you sometimes forget something by mistake, Krishna always removes our offences—offences can be removed through service." Sometimes, Gurudev also tells us to do something and we may forget it, but Gurudev is always kind, he is merciful, and the Lord is also kind and merciful—they always forgive us when such things happen, when we forget something by mistake.
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