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Adjusting with Others and Yourself

His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Srila Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj
Kolkata—Worldwide, 20 September 2020, part 8

 

Question: It is said in the scriptures that sadhu-ninda is the worst offence. We have many godbrothers and godsisters who have not taken sannyas but they serve and preach. Should we consider an offence against them a sadhu-ninda?

If somebody preaches, it is good! Why will we criticise them? Another thing is that somebody may criticise you, but you cannot kick them out of the temple because of that—you must have someone to criticise you. So, if somebody criticises you, you should keep them in the temple. Such people are necessary for you. Krishna has given place for them too. In this world, Krishna has given a place for many kinds of people, many kinds of animals, so if somebody is happy to criticise me, they can criticise, it is not a problem. What is the problem for me? However, if somebody criticises our Guru in front of us, then we should protest—we will say, "No, do not do that!"

Question: Sometimes, in the name of religion and good practices we stop expressing affection to others, including devotees. How to adjust that we live in a war against maya, but not against devotees?

The scriptures say that if somebody is bad association, we must always avoid them (avaishava-sanga tyag) Always avoid bad association. What exactly is your question? [A devotee explains the question but takes it into another direction.] We do not see whether somebody comes from a lower or a higher caste. Srila Prabhupad Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur, Srila Guru Maharaj, Srila Gurudev did not accept such vision. Actually, in this world, there are so many people who claim they belong to the caste of brahmans, but they do not follow brahmanism—they wear some thread and claim, "We are brahmans!" Brahmanism is not about wearing a thread. It is necessary to have good qualities and qualification. That is why, Srila Prabhupad Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur made brahmans out of mlechhas. Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur, Srila Guru Maharaj, Srila Gurudev made devotees from many other castes, lower castes, etc. It does not matter. People come for Krishna consciousness and we do not care who comes from what country, who is lower, who is lowest. Only if somebody is bad association (you know what bad association is), you must always avoid such association.

As for how I can show affection to devotees, we always give respect to others, we always behave humble, tolerant, and respectful. We say these things and we also treat others with respect. You show affection to your parents, mother, husband, wife, etc., and the same kind of love and affection should come towards devotees.

Question: How can I know who is really a bona fide guru?

If somebody is a bona fide guru, he can remove maya from you. Yet, there are some gurus in this world who always swim in maya, then how can you call them a bona fide guru?

গুরুর্ন স স্যাৎ স্বজনো ন স স্যাৎ,
পিতা ন স স্যাজ্জননী ন সা স্যাৎ ।
দৈবং ন তৎ স্যান্ন পতিশ্চ স স্যান্ন,
মোচয়েদ্ যঃ সমুপেতমৃত্যুম্ ॥

gurur na sa syat svajano na sa syat
pita na sa syaj janani na sa syat
daivam na tat syan na patis cha sa syan
na mochayed yah samupeta-mrtyam

"It is not your guru, it is not your family, it is not your father, it is not your mother, it is not your god, it is not your husband if that person cannot save you from the world of birth and death."

(Srimad Bhagavatam, 5.5.18)

Sivji Maharaj says that a bona fide guru is a guru who can give you relief from death. 'Death' means maya. When you go to maya (illusory environment), that is death. So, he who can remove you from such death, is a bona fide guru. Another thing is that a bona fide guru is always selected by another proper guru. A guru does not declare himself to be a guru ("I am a guru!")—a guru is always selected by his guru. Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur selected our Param Gurudev, Srila Sridhar Maharaj, by saying, "I am now peaceful and sure that after me there will be someone left in this world who can preach the conception that I have come to give to this world, who can carry on what I have come to this world for."

Jay Srila Guru Maharaj ki jay.

 

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Practice Makes Happy
'You chant the Holy Name, you always remember Krishna, remember Gurudev, you always practise properly and engage yourself in service to the Lord, so Krishna always makes you happy.'

 

Sujanarvuda-radhita-pada-yugam
'He is the embodiment of Hari-kirtan. He mercifully relieves Mother Earth of the burden upon her. He is an associate of Sri Gaura, and more kind and affectionate than a father. Eternally I offer my obeisance to my master's feet.'
সুজনার্ব্বুদরাধিতপাদযুগং

It is very rare—but if you follow properly, you can be a proper devotee.

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