Pillars of Devotional Life
His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
We must leave everything for the happiness of the Lord, for the happiness of our Guru.
We must live in a place where there is service going on—where is Krishna's puja, Krishna's pastimes, Krishna's beauty, Krishna's service are present and going on. That is why I tell everybody that you must keep an altar at home. You can spend ten-fifteen minutes every day doing your japa (chant the Holy Name) in front of your Deities, you can offer bhoga, and take prasadam. You must manage your life in this way. Your lifestyle must be like this. It is necessary.
Always avoid seva-aparadh and nama-aparadh. Always give honour to cows, brahmans (actual brahmans), Vaishnavs, etc. You must respect everybody. Always avoid bad association—avoid the association of those who are not Vaishnavs. Always engage in practising sravanam, kirtanam, smaranam, archanam, pada-sevanam, vandanam, dasyam, sakhyam, atma-nivedanam (hearing, chanting, remembering, worshipping, serving lotus feet, offering prayers, engaging in service as a servitor, as a friend, and self-submission). Always sing songs, always think about the songs, always recite and remember them. Practise in this way. Also, now is Purushottam Month, you can recite Siksastaka songs during this month:
তৃণাধিক হীন দীন অকিঞ্চন ছার ।
trnadhika hina, dina, akinchana chhara
"Give up your false ego, and always consider yourself lower than grass, poor, needy, and mean."
বৃক্ষসম ক্ষমাগুণ করবি সাধন ।
vrksa-sama ksama-guna karabi sadhana
"Practise tolerance like a tree. Stop ill-treating others, instead nurture them."
জীবন-নির্ব্বাহে আনে উদ্বেগ না দিবে ।
jivana-nirvahe ane udvega na dibe
"Do not trouble others for your own upkeep, and forget your own happiness in the course of helping others."
Practise properly in this way.
We must practise because we have diseases—avidya (ignorance), asmita (false identification), raga (misdirected love), dvesa (aversion to anything that goes against one's enjoyment), and abhinivesa (being unable to give up unfavourable habits). These are our five diseases, and if we follow rules and regulations and take prasadam, we can remove these diseases from our life and our hearts. "Prasada-seva karite haya, sakala prapancha-jaya (প্রসাদ-সেবা করিতে হয় সকল প্রপঞ্চ জয়)—by honouring the Lord's prasad I conquer all worldly illusions."
Being conditioned souls, we have four faults:
(1) Something is not correct, but we always think that it is correct. We even still think, "I am this body." We know, "I am a jiva soul, I am not this body," but we still always make the mistake thinking, "I am this body." If somebody asks you, "What country are you from?" You will say, "I am from Colombia." It is not correct. We all come from Goloka Vrindavan and we must go back there—back to God, back to home. Yet, we think we come from Colombia, we come from India, etc. That is our fault, our mistake.
(2) When there is a rope, we think it is a snake. It is pramad—we always say wrong things and we always hear wrong things.
(3) We suffer in so many ways in this material life, and we inflict suffering onto others. We are deceived and we are deceitful.
(4) We cannot see proper things with our eyes, we cannot hear proper things with our ears. That is our problem.
Another thing is sadhu-ninda. There are four types of criticism of sadhus.
(1) "Oh, you are from mlechhas!", "You are from a lower caste!", "You come from a brahman caste!"—we think in this way and criticise sadhus because of their origin.
(2) Sometimes, somebody can make a mistake, and we say, "Oh, he always makes this mistake!" It is not right, a person can make a mistake once and correct himself after that, so you must not think and criticise the person saying that just because he has done something once, he does it all the time. It can be just a one-time slip.
(3) Somebody may have made some mistake in their previous life, for example, in their childhood, and has since then corrected himself, has removed that fault, but we still blame the person for his previous mistakes saying, "He did this, this, and that!" It is not right.
(4) Somebody may have done something wrong, but they may have already corrected themselves. We must not criticise anyone for their past mistakes. We must give others a chance to correct themselves.
Our vision should be such. Also, I have told you many times what is favourable to devotion and what unfavourable to devotion.
There are six urges, six things that are unfavourable to devotion that are necessary to control (chhaya vega dami')—vakya-veg, jihva-veg, mano-veg, krodha-veg, udar-veg, upastha-veg (urges of speech, tongue, mind, anger, stomach, and genitals). If somebody feels pain in their heart because of your words, you must not talk like that. Do not use bad language, slang, swearing, etc. when talking to others. Control your mind, control your speech and control your anger. Also, our tongue always wants to taste all sorts of things, it is necessary to control it. Udara-veg means eating too much, and upastha-veg means having too much lust—it means having always too much desire related to sex, etc. All these things are unfavourable to devotion and must be avoided.
We must embrace what is favourable to devotion. (1) Utsaha. Always be enthusiastic. Always practise with full respect, and not only that—Gurudev says you must practise with proper respect, so you think, "Oh, Gurudev told to do so, that is why I am doing it." Not like that. When Gurudev tells you to do or follow something, you should do it from our heart. We must do service from our heart. (2) Drdha-visvas. It is necessary to have a strongest faith, I have told you about it. (3) Dhairya, patience. This is the main thing. Almost everyone now has no patience, no tolerance power. Somebody may do something wrong, but we can correct them, we can tell it to them nicely. (4) Bhakti-posak karma: always engage in sravan, kirtan, etc. I have just told you about it. (5) Avaishnav-sanga tyag. We must not give our association to those who are not Vaishnavs. There are many kinds of association. Suppose you go to the market to buy bhoga for Deities—you speak to the shopkeepers, you ask the price, etc., but you do not associate with the shopkeeper; or you go to a pharmacy to buy some medicine. This is not association. Association means always talking to someone, talking about private matters, sharing inner thoughts with each other. Who will you share your inner thoughts with? With a great Vaishnav. (6) Sad-vritti. I have told you this today too. We must learn how previous Vaishnavs maintained their lives, and we must follow their example, their path. We must try to live and maintain our life the way sadhus do. We must try to do that. We must try to practise that. That is the main things.
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