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Burning One's Own Fortune

His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Srila Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj
Kolkata, 6 December 2020, part 2


Question: Sometimes, people stay at the temple, but then leave and go to material life, and they feel frustrated. I have heard people say, "Oh, I have spent so many years in the temple, now I am in the street, I have nothing, I have wasted my time!"

Actually, in this situation, it depends on how much sukriti they have—as long as they have sukriti they serve at the temple, but when their sukriti finishes they leave their service. Not everybody has such a great fortune. Not everybody has so much tolerance, so much patience. Everybody's quality and mood is not the same. Those who have tolerance can stay longer, can practise more, whereas those who stay at the temple, but think about material things, material enjoyment, leave the temple and go to another life—somebody may continue practising Krishna consciousness, and somebody may leave practising also.

It happened to many devotees, in so many temples. It happened in Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj's time, it happened in Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur's time also. So many brahmacharis left and started staying on their own because they wanted to live independently. When you live in a temple, you cannot live independently because you must follow the rules and regulations, you must wake up for the mangal arati, you must practise properly, etc.; and if you live alone, you can do your own things, you can live as you like. That is why, for many people it is very difficult to live in the temple. Gurudev also always said it. One time, I told Gurudev, "Gurudev, a brahmachari has run away from the temple," and Gurudev replied, "Yaowata-i svabhavik, thakata-i asvabhavik (যাওয়াটাই স্বাভাবিক, থাকাটাই অস্বাভাবিক). Leaving is common, staying is rare." So, it is very rare for somebody to stay at the temple because to stay at the temple it is necessary to have a lot of tolerance and a lot of patience. It is not easy to stay at the temple.

Another thing is that if somebody thinks, "Oh, I have left the temple, and I have nothing now"—who told you to get out from the temple? It is Gurudev's temple, and everybody has a right to stay there unless they are big offenders. If I am not a big offender, I have a right to stay in Gurudev's temple.

I heard from Gurudev that when Srila Sridhar Maharaj left Chaitanya Math, he did not leave the temple so easily, they had actually ousted him, and Gurudev told me how they did it. Nobody told him to get out, but they made it so that he was bound to leave. Sometimes, such a situation can be arranged, but if we have proper quality and qualification, then even if we have nothing, so what? We can still preach, we can still practise. Gurudev always says that you have a certain capacity, you have certain qualities—learn how to practise and stay at the temple. You have many good qualities to stay at the temple, and you must use these qualities in the service to your Guru, in the preaching for your Guru. So, if Gurudev's mercy is with you, then you do not need anything! If Gurudev's mercy is with you, you do not need to think about money, temple, house, or anything else—if Gurudev's mercy is with you, that is sufficient. The mercy of the Guru is the main thing. If somebody does not have Gurudev's mercy, then even if they stay at the temple, they cannot do anything—they cannot even practise, they cannot preach because they have other ideas, because they always think about kanak (money), kamini (women), pratistha (fame). If somebody thinks about kanak, kamini, pratistha, they will get it.

কৃষ্ণ যদি ছুটে ভক্তে ভুক্তি মুক্তি দিয়া ।
কভু ভক্তি না দেন রাখেন লুকাইয়া ॥

krsna yadi chhute bhakte bhukti mukti diya
kabhu prema-bhakti na dena rakhena lukaiya

"If you ask Krishna for anything except devotion, He can give you those things—bhukti, mukti, liberation, and so on—but He will hide devotion from you. You will not get devotion."

(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, Adi-lila, 8.18)

If you ask the Lord, "Give me some bhukti (enjoyment), mukti (liberation), siddhi (perfections), kami (material desires)," if you want enjoyment, if you want this, this, and that, Krishna will give that to you and He will take you away from devotional life. "If you are happy with these things, if you come to Me and ask Me for such material things—if you ask Me for bhukti, mukti, siddhi, kami instead of devotion—you will get what you want and I will remove devotion from you."

So, those who say, "I have nothing, I have wasted my whole life in the temple," this is completely wrong. It is not correct to think like this. I say it is the opposite. It was your great fortune that you got that time and spent it serving the temple, you passed the best time in your life. It is your great fortune because you got to spend some time with Deities and devotees. This is a great fortune, not a bad fortune.

So many kinds of devotees live in the temple... Gurudev told many times also, "Four types of people come and join the temple—arto, artharthi, jijnasur, jnani. Somebody is poor, somebody is miserable, somebody wants to know something, and somebody is just wise." If anyone comes and practises properly, they can become a great devotee. However, if somebody lives in the temple and instead of devotion they run behind money, ladies, and name and fame, then they will suffer—they will get all the things they want.

So, this idea is fully wrong. If somebody thinks they came to the temple and wasted their life there, it means they do not see their own fault—it means they search others' fault. Srila Prabhupad Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur, all the scriptures, and Mahaprabhu also tell that you must see your own fault, do not see others' faults. Use your eyes to see your own faults, not others'.

Question: How can we help devotees who have left the temple and avoid devotees' association?

You can try to help them and if it does not work, you can send them to me, ask them to contact me, and I will try to help them—I will give them a high dose of antibiotic. If somebody does not want to contact me because some devotee has offended them, I can ask for forgiveness on their behalf, I do not mind it. If I can ask for forgiveness and lose some of my burden (weight) in this way, it will be good for me. I always remember those who have left, I always pray Krishna may give them a good intelligence so that they may come back one day. I know some devotees thought so many things and left... If they feel a great pain because of my behaviour, I can ask them for forgiveness, I do not mind it. I know I am not a perfect person, I always think I am guilty, so I can ask them for forgiveness for my rough behaviour...


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Surrendered Souls' Sustenance
The Lord says, 'If somebody only serves Me without asking Me for anything, I always stay with them. I personally supply food for the surrendered souls,' but there was once a brahman who did not believe it..


'My master, Prabhupad Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur, established the religion of the age, Krishna-sankirtan, and is the chief minister of the universal assembly of leading Vaisnavas. His lotus feet are worshipped by millions of virtuous souls and fulfil the desires of those who dispel souls' fears. Eternally I offer my obeisance to my master's worshippable feet.'

We cannot take things at all places. If you take something from the hands of someone who is not a devotee, a reaction will come to you.