Priorities in Spiritual Life
His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Question: If we live outside the temple and have some fixed service but we cannot do it properly, should we continue trying to do this service or should we change that service?
If you live in a house, you must live as a proper householder devotee. What is the duty of a householder devotee? Turn your house into a temple. Go to bed early, wake up early in the morning, offer bhog, etc. You should fix the time—you know what time you must go to work, so fix your time according to that and do proper service. Always take prasadam, try to avoid any outside food (any food that has not been offered to the Lord). That will be good for you.
প্রসাদ-সেবা করিতে হয়
prasada-seva karite haya,
"By honouring the Lord's prasad I conquer all worldly illusions."
(Saranagati, 31.5, Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur)
If you take prasad, it is good for you, and you should try to avoid the food that has not been offered to the Lord.
বিষয়ীর অন্ন খাইলে মলিন হয় মন ।
visayira anna khaile malina haya mana
"If you take food that comes from materialistic people, your mind becomes contaminated. When your mind is contaminated, you cannot chant the Name of Krishna."
(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, Antya-lila, 6.278)
If you take food that has not been offered to the Lord, that is called visayir anna (materialists' food, or rice)—it can make your mind dirty, and you cannot chant the Holy Name with a dirty mind. This is what scriptures say, you should try to follow it. Arrange an altar in your house, do proper service, offer bhog at proper time. If you cannot do that, then at least you must keep some minimum standard, that will be good for you. Also, the main thing is that you must not waste your time on gossiping, gramya-katha, gramya-varta (discussing material news, material gossips).
Devotee: I think the question is related to householders who have some service in the temple—if they cannot do it properly, should they continue trying to do it or should they get a different service that they can do?
If you have a fixed service in the temple, you can do that service, what is the problem? You will try to do it, try to continue your service in the temple. You must try. I know that in the western world, there are not so many brahmacharis and devotees living permanently in the temple, that is why many householder devotees come and do service there. If householder devotees say, "Oh, I have some job in my house, I cannot do it," then who will come to do the service? Householder devotees should come and and help the service at the temple from time to time. In the West, so many householder devotees live outside, and they come to the temple, serve and do various works there. Here in India, we have many branches, and I bring people through preaching—they stay at the temple and do service there. There are also one-two householders who stay at the temple, but every four to six months they go to their house for a week and then again come back to the temple, but it is different in foreign countries. If every householder devotee says, "I have some job, I have some job," then who will serve at the temple?
Srila Janardan Maharaj: I am thinking also who will run the temple when we are all dead? We are all old and younger devotees come and complain, "Oh, you are so old, you are bothering us!"
No, that's not right. I remember once the milkman from the goshala came to Gurudev. The milkman had spoken to me many times first, but I did not listen to him, so he came to Gurudev directly. He complained, "I have told Acharya Maharaj many times, but he does not listen to me!" Gurudev asked, "What has happened?" Then he said, "Some old cows do not any give milk—why do we feed and waste time taking care of them? It is necessary to sell them!" Gurudev answered, "Yes, I am also old—why do you not sell me too?"
I am finishing for today. I am again giving my full obeisance to everybody. Please forgive my offence.
Jay Om Vishnupad Jagad-Guru Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj ki jay
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