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Sober Householder Life

His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Srila Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj
Nrisingha Palli, 29 November 2020, part 2

 

Prabhu, you learned so many things when you were in Nabadwip—I know that you practised properly at that time and you were engaged full-time in the service to Gurudev's mission... When people develop too much familiarity, they stop getting time to practise properly and preach, this is how people who stay at the temple sometimes leave and go to family life. What becomes of them after that? They enjoy well for a few days, but after that so much suffering and austerity comes to their life, so in the end they get no time to practise and preach so much.

This is why I am telling to everyone—the minimum requirement for all householders is 50/50. It means you must give 50% of your labour to your family and minimum 50% to your Gurudev, to preaching and practising. You must spend minimum 50% of your time on service and spiritual life. You must follow this.

সংসার সংসার ক'রে মিছে গেল কাল ।
লাভ না হইল কিছু ঘটিল জঞ্জাল ॥

'samsara' 'samsara' kari' michhe gela kala
labha na ha-ila kichhu, ghatila janjala

"Time has passed as I have been busy in my material life, and I have got nothing—only became burdened."

কিসের সংসার এই, ছায়াবাজী প্রায় ।
ইহাতে মমতা করি' বৃথা দিন যায় ॥

kisera samsara ei chhayabaji praya
ihate mamata kari vrtha dina yaya

"What sort of world is this? It seems to be just some sort of a magic lantern (deceptive show). While I affectionately take it as my own, days pass by in vain."

দিন যায় মিছা কাজে নিশা নিদ্রাবশে ।
নাহি ভাবি মরণ নিকটে আছে বসে ॥

dina yaya michha kaje, nisa nidra-vase
nahi bhavi marana nikate achhe vase

"My days are passed in useless work and nights are wasted on sleeping. It never occurs to me that there is death sitting next to me."

It is easy to understand the meaning. If you can understand the meaning of this song, you can easily understand what I am saying. The problem is that although we know it, sometimes through emotion or through the result of our karma, we still plunge into material life and family life. There is one proverb in Bengali that goes, "Janma-mrtyu-biye tin Vidhatar niye (জন্ম মৃত্যু বিয়ে তিন বিধাতার নিয়ে)." There are three things—janma means birth, mrityu means death, and biye means marriage—and these three things are not in the hand of anybody, they are only in the hands of the Lord, they come through the Lord. People always like to say this in Bengal.

Our Param Gurudev, Srila Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj, laughed and told also that when he was born an astrologer predicted that he would become a sannyasi, but after that, as you know, it was the will of his mother and father that he would get married—he did not agree to marry, but his parents forced him so much that in the end he was bound to take a wife. Later, Srila Prabhupad Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur gave him relief because Srila Sridhar Maharaj wanted to join Sri Chaitanya Math (Srila Prabhupad's Gaudiya Mission), but he could not come because his wife was alive at that time (they had no children, but his wife was there). One way or another, by the will of Prabhupad, his wife died. Recalling this, Srila Sridhar Maharaj laughed, "I got married by the will of the Lord, by the will of my parents, but my horoscope said I would be a sannyasi, so how could it be possible?" In the end, by the will of Srila Prabhupad, some disease came and Srila Sridhar Maharaj's wife got sick and left her body within three days. How is it possible? Srila Sridhar Maharaj was in Kolkata at that time when a message came that his wife was sick and his family members requested him to come quickly, and when he started off, on the way from Kolkata, he got another message saying his wife had died.

So, while, yes, these things (birth, death, marriage) are the will of Krishna, we must have a strong desire to preach. Even if you live as a householder, you can still try to preach. It is possible. Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur's life is an example for us. Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur had eleven(!) children, he lived householder life wearing babaji-vesh, but the way he lived was more than even a sannyasi's life. His lifestyle was extremely sober, it was more than a sannyasi's life.

I heard from Gurudev also that Sripad Kunja Babu from Sri Chaitanya Math (later he took sannyas and became Srila Bhakti Vilas Tirtha Maharaj) was also a householder, but even though he was a householder, he was the secretary of Sri Chaitanya Math. Not only that, when he would come to Sri Chaitnaya Math, all the sannyasis gave respect to him and paid full dandavats to him. He was a householder, but Srila Prabhupad gave him such a position. There were some devotees and sannyasis who criticised Sripad Kunja Babu, and Srila Sridhar Maharaj was somewhat partial to that group, but Srila Prabhupad told Srila Sridhar Maharaj, "I do not accept it that you would take side of the party who criticises Sripad Kunja Babu." This is the kind of respect Srila Prabhupad Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur gave to Sripad Kunja Babu, who later took sannyas and became Sripad Bhakti Vilas Tirtha Maharaj, the President Acharya of Sri Chaitanya Math (Mayapur).

 

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The Ball Is in Your Court
Now is the time to make the best of your good fortune: fulfil your Guru's desire, practise, and become successful!

 

Jaya jaya gurudever
'Be merciful, O lord, manifestation of Sri Gauranga! This fallen servant always worships you.'
জয় জয় গুরুদেবের

If Gurudev had not come, who would have been able to tell us
about the glories of Gauranga?

"HUMILITY, TOLERANCE, GIVING HONOUR TO OTHERS | HUMILITY, TOLERANCE, GIVING HONOUR TO OTHERS"