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False Ego's Folly

His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Srila Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj
Kolkata, preaching programme,
16 January 2021, part 12
Translated from Bengali


When you come to the temple of Lord Jagannath, there is a place where you can wash your feet before entering the temple (it is a rule that you should clean your feet from dust and dirt before coming in front of the Lord). That place existed in Mahaprabhu's time also. There was one Gaudiya devotee from Nabadwip named Kalidas. Once, he came to Puri and, knowing that it was prohibited to touch Mahaprabhu's feet, he put his hands to catch the water that fell when Mahaprabhu was washing His feet. When devotees noticed it, they immediately tried to stop him, but Mahaprabhu said, "Do not stop him."

Mahaprabhu prohibited everyone to touch His feet, but for this one person He said, "Do not stop him. He is a jhanu vaishnav' ('a seasoned, or crafty, Vaishnav')." What kind of Vaishnav was Kalidas? When all the Vaishnavs were invited to take prasadam, he never sat in one line with everyone, considering himself very lowly and poor; instead, he stayed far off in the jungle. When Vaishnavs finished taking prasadam, they threw their plates in some place, and Kalidas would go there and lick those plates. Do you understand what kind of a Vaishnav he was? When we see somebody's prasadam plate, we feel squeamish or shy to touch it because we have ego.

You have heard about Srila Jagannath Das Babaji Maharaj also. One time, a very old lady invited him to take prasad at her house, "Babaji Maharaj, please come to my house. I will cook something and offer bhog, and you can take prasadam." Babaji Maharaj agreed to come and told her to arrange the date with his servitor, Bihari Das. Due to his age, Srila Jagannath Das Babaji Maharaj's back was so bent that he could not walk, so Bihari Das would carry him in a basket. You know, when Mahaprabhu's birthplace in Mayapur was discovered, he was carried there and as soon as he arrived, he jumped out of the basket and began to dance. So, on the way to this lady's house, some rich man saw Srila Babaji Maharaj and noticed that Babaji Maharaj was wearing torn clothes (he did not actually wear clothes but covered his body with some plain cloth). The rich man came to Babaji Maharaj and said, "Maharaj, please take this money, use it for service." Babaji Maharaj took it without second thoughts, but having walked three miles, he suddenly told Bihari Das, "Let us go back. Go to the house of the man who gave me this money." Bihari Das was surprised ("But why?"), and Babaji Maharaj only said, "Go, go. Let us go back. You will understand it later." When they came to the house, Bihari Das called the man, saying that Babaji Maharaj wanted to talk to him. The man thought, "Oh, he must have come to ask for more money!" Yet, what did Srila Babaji Maharaj do? He took that money out and gave it back to the man! He said, "Listen, I cannot tolerate the burden of this money. I only keep thinking what I will buy and do with this money. I cannot chant the Holy Name! I only keep thinking about this money!" Such was Srila Jagannath Das Babaji Maharaj. Finally, when they came to the house of that lady, it was already late (there were no mobile phones at that time, so they could not call and say, "Oh, Babaji Maharaj is coming a little late"). The lady said, "It is past lunch time, so everything is ready, please sit and take prasad." She told Srila Babaji Maharaj and Bihari Das to sit down and started serving them prasad. Srila Babaji Maharaj ate everything that was on his plate, and the lady thought to herself, "It was so hard to invite Babaji Maharaj, but I have not got any prasadam of Maharaj—he has eaten everything..." Then, she started giving more prasadam forcefully, "Take some more! Take some rice, dal! Take some more subji! Take some more, take some more!" Srila Babaji Maharaj understood what was going on (he is ataryami, he knows everything—he can see everything). First, he tried to refuse, but then he became grave, thinking, "Oh, so you want to take my prasad, that is why you invited me. OK, I will show you." When the lady put prasad again on Srila Babaji Maharaj's plate, Srila Babaji Maharaj took everything again, and this time he also ate the plate!

That is why we sing in the kirtan, "Krpa kara Vaisnava Thakur": "Nije srestha jani' uchchhistadi dane habe abhimana-bhara (নিজে শ্রেষ্ঠ জানি' উচ্ছিষ্টাদি দানে হবে অভিমান-ভার). If I believe, 'I am the greatest,' I will start giving others my food remnants and other things, and my ego will become a heavy burden." I have seen many gurus who leave half of prasadam on their plate and then distribute the remnants to others—people come with stretched out hands, and they sit and distribute their prasad to others. This is ego (guru-abhiman). They think, "I am the highest, and everyone are lower than me, so they should take my prasad."

নিজে শ্রেষ্ঠ জানি' উচ্ছিষ্টাদি দানে
হবে অভিমান-ভার ।
তাই শিষ্য তব থাকিয়া সর্ব্বদা
না লইব পূজা কা'র ॥

nije srestha jani' uchchhistadi dane
habe abhimana-bhara
tai sisya tava thakiya sarvada
na laiba puja ka'ra

‘If I believe, “I am the greatest”, I will start giving others my food remnants and other things, and my ego will become a heavy burden. Therefore, I pray to always remain your disciple and not take worship from anyone’.

We must become disciples—there is no need to become a guru. These are very beautiful words. You must read books.


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Arrange and Enjoy
'Devotees only come at the festival time and enjoy the festival, but enjoying the festival is easy, and arranging the festival is a little hard. You must come earlier to arrange the festival.'


Jaya jaya gurudever
'In the sky of the Gaudiya Vaisnavas, you are the sun-like Acharya. You are always fond of service, and your voice is sweet.'
জয় জয় গুরুদেবের

It is very difficult to avoid maya, but anyhow—by hook or by crook—you must
engage yourself in the service to the Lord.