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Clear Identity

His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Srila Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj
Sri Vyasa Puja of Srila B.S. Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj
Sri Nrisingha Palli, evening class
1 January 2021, part 6, translated from Bengali

 

You must practise Krishna consciousness. Wife, sons, friends, etc. they are all bodily family—all of them are temporary. We do not even know our own identity. You can see this person over there, he says, "I am a brahmachari," but Mahaprabhu says:

নাহং বিপ্রো ন চ নরপতির্নাপি বৈশ্যো ন শূদ্রো
নাহং বর্ণী ন চ গৃহপতির্নো বনস্থো যতির্বা ।
কিন্তু প্রোদ্যন্নিখিলপরমানন্দপূর্ণামৃতাব্ধে-
র্গোপীভর্ত্তুঃ পদকমলয়োর্দাসদাসানুদাসঃ ॥

naham vipro na cha nara-patir napi vaisyo na sudro
naham varni na cha grha-patir no vanastho yatir va
kintu prodyan-nikhila-paramananda-purnamrtabdher
gopi-bhartuh pada-kamalayor dasa-dasanudasah

"I am not a brahman, I am not a ksatriya, I am not a vaisya or a sudra. Nor am I a brahmachari, a householder, a vanaprastha or a sannyasi. I identify Myself only as the servant of the servant of the servant of the lotus feet of Lord Sri Krishna, the maintainer of the gopis. He is like an ocean of nectar, and He is the cause of universal transcendental bliss. He is always existing with brilliance."

(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, Madhya-lila, 13.80)

Mahaprabhu said, "I am not a brahmachari, sannyasi, I am not ksatriya, vaisya, etc. Who am I? I am a servant of the servants of the servants of the servants of the Lord." We have not even developed yet the ego of our true identity (atma-abhiman).

The boy is good, but he sometimes says foolish things. He says, "I am a brahmachari," and he is pointing at his clothes, showing that he is a brahmachari. Anyone can wear brahmachari clothes, does it mean they become brahmachari? I can give somebody saffron clothes and they will wear it, so do they become a brahmachari? Our identity is not based on our clothes! Our identity is not based on any varna—the identity is based on one's behaviour, practice.

Once, a devotee asked another devotee, "Prabhu, you are washing dishes in winter without any warm clothes, do you not feel cold?" He brushed him off, saying, "No! I am a Vaishnav! Why would I feel cold?" The first devotee told me later, "I guess his head has got too cold, that is why he is not thinking straight." What to do? He is a little crazy. If you think you are a Vaishnav, so you do not need to wear warm clothes, then so many have come here wearing warm clothes, that means none of them are Vaishnavs. We never consider ourselves Vaishnavs. A Vaishnav will never say himself that he is a Vaishnav. The degree of one's Vaishnavata (Vaishnav nature, or qualities) is measured by their humility:

তৃণাদপি সুনীচেন তরোরিব সহিষ্ণুনা ।
অমানিনা মানদেন কীর্ত্তনীয়ঃ সদা হরিঃ ॥

trnad api sunichena taror api sahisnuna
amanina manadena kirtaniyah sada harih

"One who is humbler than a blade of grass, more forbearing than a tree, who gives due honour to others without desiring it for himself, is qualified to always chant the Holy Name of Krishna."

(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, Antya-lila, 6.239)

'আমি ত' বৈষ্ণব', এ বুদ্ধি হইলে
অমানী না হ'ব আমি ।

"ami ta' vaisnava," e-buddhi ha-ile,
amani na ha'ba ami

"If I think, 'I am a Vaishnav,' then I will never stop expecting honour from others (I will never become void of the desire for honour)."

If I get this idea (that I am a Vaishnav), then you will not stop desiring respect for yourself. The other day, Shailya Prabhu called me. He said, "Shailya Prabhu is speaking." Do you know what Gurudev said when somebody said that to him? When a devotee called him on the phone and said, "Gurudev, this is such-and-such Prabhu speaking," and Gurudev said, "Yes, Prabhu, dandavat. This is your servant Gobe speaking." ['Gobe' is an extremely informal 'village' variation of the name 'Govinda'; Srila Gurudev sometimes used this name in the intimate relationship with his Srila Guru Maharaj, saying to Srila Guru Maharaj, 'I am your Gobe.'] Gurudev thought, "Everybody calls me Govinda Maharaj now, but if Guru Maharaj had not given me sannyas and had not made me the acharya, then I would still be living as Gobe in Bamunpara."

Another time, a devotee from Govardhan told me that he was going to go to his house to give some money to his family. I asked him, "Where have you got money at this time? It is lockdown time now, where have you got money from?" He explained, "Different temples invited me for festivals, and when I went there, people gave me some donation, what will I do with it? I will give it to my family." I told him, "Oh really? You do not know what to do with donations, so you send it to your home?" Gurudev said once very strong words, I did not tell about it today in front of everybody. You know that Gurudev married and lived with his family during some time. Referring to that time, Gurudev said, "I passed stool behind closed doors, but many of the sannyasis and brahmacharis live at the temple and pass stool in the open." Do you understand the meaning of these words? These are Gurudev's words. There are many brahmacharis and sannyasis living at the temple, and when they pass stool, they pass it in the open, in front of everyone. Do you understand what it means? Gurudev told this to me personally. He said, "Many criticised me for leaving the temple, giving up sannyas, and getting married. I did that and left, but these brahmacharis and sannyasis wear saffron clothes and keep women in their rooms!" Externally, they show they are sannyasis, brahmacharis, but they keep ladies. That is why Gurudev said, "I passed stool in a bathroom, and they pass stool in the open, but does anyone see it?"

You have not heard Gurudev's words, but I heard it from him directly. He told me a few things, and I remembered everything. Not everyone can remember it, and it is also not possible to tell such things in front of everyone, but such was my Gurudev, he never gave anyone a break. He told me many things—how to serve, how to cook, how to serve the Lord, how to offer the bhog. You can see how those who are staying near me are serving. When I chant kirtan and feel thirsty, I do not even have to say that I need water, they can understand themselves that I am thirsty and they give me water themselves. How they serve! I cannot comb my sikha myself. Hair has grown very long, but I cannot comb it myself—Kamalendu Prabhu combs it for me. I take thirty pills every day, do you know it? Yet, if you look at me, you will never think I am not well. I have a very strong mind, but when doctors prescribe medicine, I have to take it. Gurudev also took medicine. Gurudev has given me everything—all the diseases that he had, he also gave everything to me. When Gurudev saw my hand, he said, "You are very restless, you are likely to have diabetes." Gurudev said that, and it happened; and after I got diabetes, so many things came also. Despite that, I still write and read without glasses. Sometimes when I cannot see things clearly far, and doctors told me to wear glasses, but I cannot wear them all the time—I get annoyed there is something on my face all the time. I had a little weak sight even in college, forty years ago, but I do not wear glasses to this day. Sometimes during arati, I feel I cannot see clearly, then I can wear glasses, otherwise not. Apart from that, I can see well when I read or write, only there is some difficulty when I have to see far. I have -1.25. The doctor said, "You are now over 60, you should wear glasses." Sometimes, I wear glasses, for example, when I am in the car, but I do not wear glasses all the time. You know, they wanted to get me glasses that cost 200,000, but if I wear such expensive glasses, people will say, "Look at this sadhu, he is wearing 200,000-rupee glasses!" Not everybody can understand this, but many can. When I walk in Kolkata, people stare at my shoes, and I understand that they recognise that my shoes are very expensive. What am I to do? I did not have other shoes—my shoes were stolen, so I wore what they gave me...

 

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