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Vaishnavs' Signature Qualities

His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Srila Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj
Kolkata-Worldwide, 18 April 2021, part 5

 

[A devotee expresses concern about His Divine Grace taking a long train journey to Vrindavan.] The train journey is not a problem. When travelling by train, you feel a little bored because you have no job, no service, you are only sitting on the train without doing anything. There is no austerity in it. In Mahaprabhu's time, Mahaprabhu, Srila Rupa Goswami, Srila Sanatan Goswami walked to Vrindavan. How much they suffered when they lived in Vrindavan or Puri! They would sit under a tree, doing their bhajan and Vaishnav-seva there. When we go there, we get an A/C room, but in those days there was no A/C, no electricity. When it gets very hot outside and electricity is gone for even one hour, we lose our mind, but I am thinking how much Srila Rupa Goswami, Srila Sanatan Goswami, Srila Jiva Goswami, Sri Madhu Pandit, Srila Raghunath Das Goswami, Srila Gopal Bhatta Goswami tolerated when they stayed in Vrindavan—there is too much cold in winter and too much heat in summer. I have seen here in Vrindavan people who have no house live in the street, under some tree, or in a shed without any doors, all open—they have no fans or anything. When I think how much those great devotees from Mahaprabhu's times worshipped the Lord and how much austerity they tolerated here, I feel I have no problem.

Are there any questions from anybody?

Question: I have never seen anyone commit offences and I have never been offended by anyone, and I was wondering if I should still say 'please forgive my offences' just in case I commit offences without knowing it?

You think you are not making any offence, but this is not so. Actually, we are making so many offences all the time. Real Vaishnavs will not see others' faults—real Vaishnavs will see their own faults. This is the quality of a real Vaishnav. A Vaishnav must be 'adosa-darasi' (must not see anyone's faults). We always make so many offences—even when we are walking or breathing, so many elements get killed; even when we are drinking some water, we consume so many bacteria. Who says that we do not make any offence? We always make so many offences...

In another way, whether you are making an offence or not, you do not have to think about it—every time you pay an obeisance to a Vaishnav, you must always ask, "Please forgive my offence"; when you come in front of the Deities and pay a dandavat to Them, you must ask, "Please forgive my offence." It is necessary to express this from your heart. Whether you are conscious of your offence or not, you must always ask for forgiveness of your offences.

I can give you one example of a brahmachari who made an offence yesterday. It was necessary to buy something, and one brahmachari went to the market to buy some vegetables or something else. When he came back, he was all wet with sweat because it is very hot outside now. Another brahmachari saw him and started laughing, teasing him, "Oh, very nice! You are sweating now!" The first brahmachari said to me, "Maharaj, do you see? I went to the market and came back all sweating, and he is teasing me! I did not do any particular service before, but now you have given me this service and I am always busy supervising the construction, going to the market, seeing what is necessary to get for the construction, etc. I have just been to the market to get some bhoga, some vegetables, and that brahmachari does not go out, he stays at the temple, and he is laughing at me now!" That was an offence. I told him, "Do not worry that he is laughing or teasing you. It is not necessary to think about this. Do your service and do not mind him."

You know, even Srila Sanatan Goswami once had a problem. There was a devotee who had some physical deformity as a result of which he walked in a crooked way. One day, Srila Rupa Goswami Prabhu invited him to come for Vaishnav-seva that Srila Sanatan Goswami was arranging, but he did not go there because he was angry with Srila Sanatan Goswami. Srila Sanatan Goswami asked Srila Rupa Goswami, "What has happened? Why did he not come?" Srila Rupa Goswami replied, "I have invited him, I do not know why he did not come." Then, Srila Sanatan Goswami himself went to that devotee. He paid an obeisance to him and asked him, "Prabhu, please forgive my offence. I do not know what I have done wrong that you have not come..." That devotee was angry, "You have made an offence! Do you remember the Rasa-purnima day? That day you came here and seeing me walk in a crooked way, you laughed at me! Do you remember that?! You mocked me because of my body." Srila Sanatan Goswami Prabhu replied, "Yes, Prabhu, I remember that day. I laughed that day, but I was not laughing because of you. That day, when I was doing Govardhan parikrama, I saw some very amusing pastimes of Radha and Krishna, and seeing those pastimes I became overwhelmed with joy and began to laugh. This is why I laughed—I was not laughing because I saw you." In this way, Srila Sanatan Goswami apologised to that devotee, brought him to his house, gave him prasadam and served him.

So, what is the problem if you ask for forgiveness for your offences? Gurudev also taught me something once. One day, I came to Gurudev and said, "Gurudev, when I pay dandavat to ***, he does nothing in response—he turns his back and walks away." Do you know what Gurudev replied? He said, "It is all right. Every time you see him, pay him obeisance." And I did that. Then, a few months later, one day Gurudev was sitting at his verdanda in Acharya Bhavan. At that time, I was downstairs in front of his house. I saw *** coming and paid obeisance to him—he again turned his back and walked away as he did every day. Gurudev saw it and called me to his room. He asked me, "Are you still paying your obeisance to him?!" I replied, "Yes, Gurudev, you told me to pay obeisance to him, and I have been doing it." Then Gurudev said, "From today, you are to never pay obeisance to him again." And I did that. My point is that when Gurudev told me to pay obeisance to him, I did that, what is the problem? I did not give any objection to Gurudev. And every time I paid obeisance to him, he would turn his back to me and run away.

Anyway, I am finishing here for today.

One last thing I would like to tell everybody is that you must make Gurudev's disappearance festival. Gurudev's or any Vaishnav's appearance and disappearance are non-different from each other, so you must make a festival in your country on this day. Make this festival according to your capacity (as grand as you can), and Gurudev will be happy with your service. Chant the glorification of Gurudev on this day and try to observe it as much as you have connection with Gurudev. Whatever we see in this world, whatever good association, whatever we have got, we have got everything only by the mercy of Gurudev. Everything we have is by his mercy. So, you must make a festival on Gurudev's disappearance day, it will be a dvadasi day. Fast on the ekadasi (Friday), and the next day you can make a festival. This is my advice to everybody. Please take care of yourself.

 

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Gaurangera Duti Pada
'One whose wealth is Sri Gauranga's feet knows the essence of devotion's rasa. The heart of one who hears Sri Gauranga's sweet Pastimes becomes pure.'

 

Parama karuna
'Nityananda and Gaurachandra are the only source of joy.'
পরম করুণ

Disturbance is not bad, it can actually help in service.

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