No Hopscotchy Devotion
His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Question: I was recently talking to one of my family members. She wanted to know more about Krishna—she said she had been very attracted to Lord Siva, she had been to Varanasi, etc. I tried to explain to her that Krishna is supreme, but at the same time Lord Siva is a Vaishnav (we have heard about Sada Siva, who has an eternal position of a servant of the Lord; and I was remembering the sloka that Lord Siva said to Parvati—"aradhananam sarvesam..."). So, I was thinking how to explain these things properly?...
You were going in a very perfect way. You can also tell the story of Hari-Hara Ksetra—how Lord Siva become Hari-Hara (Lord Siva and Krishna together).
What you told her about Lord Siva and Parvati Devi is mentioned in Padma Purana,
আরাধনানাং সর্ব্বেষাং বিষ্ণোরারাধনং পরম্ ।
aradhananam sarvesam visnor aradhanam param
"Of all types of worship, worship of Lord Vishnu is best, and better than the worship of Lord Vishnu is the worship of His devotee, the Vaishnava."
And there is also another sloka in Padma Purana where Lord Siva himself says, "Water the root of the tree—it is not necessary to water all branches. If you water the root, then all branches, all parts of the tree will be nourished—it is not necessary to water every branch and every leaf separately." So, there are so many gods, many demigods—there are many Sivas in Siva-loka, many Brahmas in Brahma-loka, but Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna is the Supreme Controller, that is why it is good for you if you serve Krishna and Krishna's devotee.
On the other hand, if somebody prays to Lord Siva, worships Lord Siva, it is also good because Lord Siva is Krishna's devotee, he is a great Vaishnav (vaishnavanam yatha sambhu). So, if you practise worship of Lord Siva, it is not bad. You can worship Lord Siva, but you must not become Lord Siva—you must serve Lord Siva. For example, Siva takes ganja, he can digest it—he can also take poison and digest it; but you must not try to take poison and ganja. Do not come to Lord Siva with your material things. In India, many people serve Lord Siva, especially ladies—because they want to get a good husband from Lord Siva. They think Lord Siva is a very powerful man, so they ask him for a good husband. This is wrong.
Lord Siva is a great devotee. He is Gopeshwar Mahadev who entered the rasa-lila of Krishna (the rasa-mancha). Even Laksmi Devi could not enter there, but Gopeshwar Mahadev could.
There are so many things you can tell about Lord Siva. You can explain these things.
Question: What happens if a devotee takes initiation and then deviates from the path and becomes, for example, a Christian and maybe starts eating meat? What happens to that person?
Eating meat? It means the person has fallen down, and he will get the result for what he has done. He became a devotee, but after that left everything: that means that when he came to surrender to Gurudev, it was false renunciation. If somebody comes to Gurudev, takes initiation declaring, "I am an eternal servant of the Lord!" but a few years later leaves everything, goes back to eating meat, etc. and does what he likes—then he will suffer his karma, his karma-phal (result of his actions)...
Question: Sometimes also, people take initiation, but they do not practise at all—they somehow got attracted, received the beads, but after that they do not join devotees, they forget this life. Is that the same situation?
Yes, it is. Actually, this Chaitanya Saraswat Math is like a university, a school, or a college—people are admitted to a school, but if they do not learn anything, if they do not take classes, do not take advice from their Guru, if they do not practise, then what will happen? They will fail. Such people do not belong to our line, they are not members of Krishna consciousness. They were members of Maya's family before and they still go on living in Maya's family—Krishna will not count such people as His devotees, as His own family. Such people do not belong to our family. There are many people like this in India also. That is why Gurudev said, "So many devotees have taken initiation from me, but who of them has become a disciple?"
Question: It is said that lust arises from attachment, and attachment gives birth to anger. How is it that lust arises from our attachment to the family and loved ones? Why does it arise?
The answer is there,
বিষয়ে যে প্রীতি এবে আছয়ে আমার ।
visaye ye priti ebe achhaye amara
"May I have the same affection and attraction to your feet that I now have for material things."
(Gitavali, 4.5, Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur)
We are attached to our family life, but that kind of attachment should be there for Gurudev and the Lord. I have told you that we sometimes forget our service, we leave our service ourselves or we lose our service, we lose our faith or we do not have a proper strongest faith—at that time Maya Devi enters our life. Maya Devi always tries to take us away from service, that is why we sometimes become attached to our family and sometimes we can be attached to the Lord. This is how life goes. Gurudev also says: everybody does some service, but those who have service attachment are proper devotees. It is necessary to have service attachment.
Question: If I recommend somebody for initiation and that person later deviates from the path, do I get the karma for that?
No, no. That devotee will get the karma, not you. You are trying to serve, you are tying to make him a devotee—what is your fault? Those who do wrong will suffer the kind of karma they deserve.
Question: We were reading Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita. In the teachings of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to Srila Sanatan Goswami, we find that Mahaprabhu speaks in detail about Lord Krishna's expansions (Vishnu avatars, etc.). Generally, we are focused on Vrindavan, Radha-Krishna, and Their pastimes, so why did Mahaprabhu spend so much time elaborating on all these details about Vishnu-tattva?
Mahaprabhu tells it because we should also know Vishnu-tattva. We worship Vishnu-tattva (the ten avatars of the Lord)—we worship Vaman avatar, Nrisingha avatar, Rama avatar, and others. We give respect, give honour to all incarnations. That is why it is necessary to know also that Krishna expands Himself into all these avatars. We must give honour and worship Krishna's expansions, there is nothing bad about it. Devotees should know everything—we cannot jump immediately to Krishna. Sometimes, we should also know about Vishnu-tattva—about Nrisingha avatar, Vaman avatar, Rama avatar, Buddha avatar, and others. That is why Mahaprabhu told Sanatan Goswami about it. He told him to preach about it also, and Sanatan Goswami accepted it. Those who are expert in the mood of sweet love (madhura rasa) accept Vishnu-tattva. We also do not jump over it—we also practise worship of Nrisingha avatar, for example, it is not bad. Even Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur spoke about Lord Nrisinghadev and Prahlad Maharaj's devotion when he was at Radha Kunda. Moreover, even Vraja gopis themselves say, "We do not have any devotion like that of Prahlad Maharaj." You know this.
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