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Thorns of Spiritual Life

His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Srila Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj
Kolkata-Worldwide, 16 August 2020, part 1


Haribol. Dandavat. Please accept my humble obeisance to you all.

Jay Om Vishnupad Jagad-Guru Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj ki jay
Visva-varenya Srila Guru Maharaj ki jay
Om Vishnupad Paramahamsa-kula-churamani Jagad-Guru Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj ki jay
Jay Om Vishnupad Bhagavan Sri Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur Prabhupad ki jay
Jay saparikara Sri Sri Guru Gauranga Gandharva Govinda Sundarjiu ki jay
Jay saparikara Sri Sri Nitai Gaurachandrajiu ki jay
Bhakta-prabara Prahlad Maharaj ki jay
Suddha-bhakti-vighnar vinasankari Bhagavan Nrisinghadev ki jay
Samagata Sri Gaura bhakta-vrinda ki jay!
Namacharya Haridas Thakur ki jay
All the assembled devotees ki jay
All the worldwide devotees ki jay
All the worldwide sannyasi-vrinda ki jay
Brahmachari-bhakta-vrinda ki jay
Samagata Sri Gaura bhakta-vrinda ki jay!
Harinam sankirtan ki jay
Nitai Gaura premanande Hari bol

By the mercy of Gurudev, we are meeting again this week after the festivals of Janmastami and Nandotsav. I am very happy to see that all devotees are here after making the festivals. We hear that many countries are resuming work after the pandemic situation, and India is also slowly, slowly opening a little bit, too. We could not make a very big programme on Janmastami this year, but every temple made a programme with the local devotees. The trains are still not running yet and nobody can travel anywhere, many householder devotees are staying in their houses, so they made the Janmastami festival in their own house. They did it like that this year. It is OK, it is the will of the Lord. Everything is the will of Krishna, everything happens by His will. I think that later everything will be very nice, there will not be any harm to devotees. Devotees always serve Krishna, His associate, and His devotees—they always remember their worshippable Lord, therefore I am sure that Krishna will protect His devotees. Krishna Himself says in Srimad Bhagavad-gita, "I personally look after My devotees. I personally protect My devotees." So, we must believe that—we must believe that Krishna always takes care of His devotees, His followers.

Our situation is such that we have again come to this world—we think there is so much suffering, so many problems outside, but we do not think that we have some problems inside us. We have so many enemies inside us—we must see these enemies and we must control ourselves because these enemies are growing more and more, they stop us and take us to a gross material life. We always think about our health, our enjoyment or other things—we always think how to earn money, how to earn enjoyment, we have so much lust. In this way, many are becoming materialists. Because of these things we sometimes end up leaving the Lord's service, we end up forgetting what our Master, our Gurudev has said, what our Gurudev has told us. We sometimes forget all this because of Maya.

কৃষ্ণ ভুলি' সেই জীব অনাদি-বহির্ম্মুখ ।
অতএব মায়া তারে দেয় সংসারাদি-দুঃখ ॥

krsna bhuli' sei jiva anadi-bahirmukha
ataeva maya tare deya samsaradi-duhkha

"Having forgotten Krishna, the soul wanders throughout the universe. Being thus covered by illusion, the soul goes through all kinds of material suffering."

(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, Madhya-lila, 20.117)

'কৃষ্ণ-নিত্যদাস'—জীব তাহা ভুলি' গেল ।
এই দোষে মায়া তার গলায় বান্ধিল ॥

'krsna-nitya-dasa'—jiva taha bhuli' gela
ei dose maya tara galaya bandhila

"When the jiva soul makes the mistake of forgetting that it is an eternal servant of Krishna, Maya captures the soul by its neck."

(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, Madhya-lila, 22.24)

We forget that the jiva soul is an eternal servant of the Lord, that is why Maya attacks us.

'কৃষ্ণ-নিত্যদাস'—জীব তাহা ভুলি' গেল ।
এই দোষে মায়া তার গলায় বান্ধিল ॥

'krsna-nitya-dasa'—jiva taha bhuli' gela
ei dose maya tara galaya bandhila

"When the jiva soul makes the mistake of forgetting that it is an eternal servant of Krishna, Maya captures the soul by its neck."

(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, Madhya-lila, 22.24)

For this one mistake Maya can attack us. Sometimes, some good moment comes to us in our service, some good symptom comes, but at this moment some bad elements come and Maya takes us away from the service.

You know that so many people have taken initiation from Gurudev, so many people have stayed in the temple living a brahmachari life, a sannyasi life, but after some time they left their brahmachari or sannyasi life and went to karmi life—they stop practising Krishna consciousness. I am sad about it, and Gurudev is also very sad about it. This is their bad luck. They had some sukriti, they were doing some service—they have some good qualities to do service, but in the course of time they stop using their good qualities for service and go away. They take up some work outside, they become outside workers and forget Krishna consciousness, they even give up being vegetarian (they were vegetarian before, but they give it up and go back to eating meat, fish, etc.). They have only themselves to blame—it happens because of their own ego. This is how Maya attacks us.

Therefore, the main thing for us is that we should do what Gurudev wants—we must understand how we should live. If anyone disrespects our Guru, we will not stay with them—we will not associate with them. That is very important. It is necessary to have chastity. Our line is straight—if you cannot respect my Guru, then I will not have any connection with you. That is our main vision. We are zero without our Gurudev's connection—we do not have any quality or qualification without the connection with the Guru. If we have a proper relationship with our Guru, then we will go in the proper way, and if there is no proper relationship, if we do not acquire sambandha-jnana (knowledge of the relationship), then what is our position? Sambandha-jnana does not come just by taking initiation. It is necessary to take initiation for those who aspire to live a spiritual life, who aspire to live a Krishna consciousness life—initiation is the first requirement. It is OK, you have all taken initiation, but after taking initiation you must follow your Guru—you must follow what Guru says, you must follow his instruction. This is how you can become a proper disciple. Do not cross your Guru. Neither must you cross your limit.

Everybody has some limitation—everybody has some qualification or several qualifications to serve the Lord, but everybody's qualification is not the same. Whatever your qualification is, you must serve the Lord through that. Visakha serves Krishna in one way, Lalita serves Krishna in another way, Chitralekha serves Krishna in her way, and Vrinda Devi serves Krishna in her way, but, no matter what, their mood goes in one channel—their mood, their main aspiration is to please their guru. So, service can be of different kinds, there are several ways one can serve their Gurudev—somebody makes Gurudev's prasadam, somebody cleans his bed, somebody builds his temple, somebody follows his instruction, etc. There are so many ways one can serve the Guru, and we should respect everybody. This is what is called 'giving honour to others.' We should give respect to every service, no matter how small it may be. Somebody can be doing some little service, somebody may be doing some big service, everybody's capacity is not the same, and everybody does what they can—the main thing is that whatever capacity I have, I will give everything to my Guru, I will serve my Guru with everything. I will serve my Guru with whatever I have. This is how you can proceed properly to your goal. This is the main thing.

Therefore, in one way or another, we will try to please our Guru—we must give everything for his service. You know that Bali Maharaj had promised Vamandev three steps of land; but, having taken the entire universe with His first two steps, Vamandev did not see where to place His third step, so He asked Bali Maharaj, "Where shall I place My third step?" Bali Maharaj replied, "Prabhu, I have nothing left—I have given everything to You." Vamandev asked him again and again, "Are you sure? Are you sure you do not have anything else? No, no, you do have something! Think carefully." In the end, Bali Maharaj's wife came and said to her husband, "You have given everything to the Lord, but have you given yourself to Him?" He had forgotten about it. Then, Bali Maharaj said, "Yes, I forgot! Prabhu, I have indeed not given You everything—I have not given myself to You!" Then, he bowed down his head at Vamandev's lotus feet—a leg appeared from Vamandev's navel and He put that leg on Bali Maharaj's head. So, the main thing is that you must give yourself to your Guru. Do you understand it? You must give yourself to your Guru, to the service of the Lord, then your Guru will be happy. If your Guru is happy with you, then you can reach your main, proper destination.

What is our proper destination? Outside people always say, "Oh, we are born only one time, and we die only one time, too." It is not true. We come and go many times, we are born many times and we die many times. Material people do not understand this. They do not know how many times we have been coming to this world and how many times we will have to die again and again. That is the difference between the karmis (materialist) people and the spiritual people.

It is very important for us to understand all these things.


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