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Service Milestones

His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Srila Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj
Disappearance festival of Srila Govinda Maharaj
Siliguri, 24 April 2021, part 4
Translated from Bengali

 

Gurudev brought me up, he taught me everything. Just like a blacksmith burns a piece of iron and then makes a hammer or a pair of scissors, etc. out of it, in the same way Gurudev moulded me from a young age. I came to the temple before I was thirty. Before I came to the temple, I had a job, and Gurudev told me one word (he told me to leave it) and I at once gave it up and stayed at the temple. It was a very profitable job—I used to teach at a college and got a very good salary, about 170-200,000 rupees—but I left it without thinking, following Gurudev's word. Gurudev said that if you want to get great things, you must give up small things, and I always remember it.

I also remember what Gurudev told about Vaishnav seva—how one must serve Vaishnavs, how one must serve devotees, how to manage the temple, how to discipline others. I have learnt everything from Gurudev. Gurudev taught me the power of tolerance, and you can see how much I am tolerating now following what Gurudev has taught me.

I looked after the cows at the temple, I took care of the construction works. How is it possible to do so much? If you can, you can do, but all this is possible only by Gurudev's mercy. I also cultivated the temple's fifty-bigha land (31 acres, or 12.5 hectare)—I cultivated wheat, mustard, etc. After that, I made many branches of the Mission—I made a temple in Bamunpara and Siliguri in Gurudev's time, the temple in Ekachakra was also half-completed in Gurudev's time. All the other temples were made after Gurudev left. Gurudev heard about the temples in Ganga Sagar and Bankura, but he did not see them in his lifetime. Anyhow, wherever he is now, he can see everything from there and he is giving his mercy from there. He can see everything from his samadhi.

You think this is just a Deity here, but it is actually not so—Gurudev himself is sitting here. He can hear everything, he can see everything, but he is staying in his samadhi form now, so he is not saying anything. This feeling must come to us—we must realise that Guru never leaves this world; he exists eternally, he is present wherever there is eternal service going on.

Srila Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj had many disciples—he had many renounced disciples, many brahmachari and sannyasi disciples; he had many thousands of disciples, but he chose Gurudev. Although Gurudev was a householder at that time, Srila Sridhar Maharaj forcefully took him out of his householder life, gave him sannyas and made him the acharya. At first, Gurudev lives as a brahmachari, then he went to householder life and followed the religion of family life. After that, Srila Sridhar Maharaj brought him back and gave him sannyas—he seated him firmly at his feet at the end of 1985, and two years later, in August 1988 Srila Sridhar Maharaj left this world.

It is very hard to tolerate separation from one's Gurudev. In my life, I suffered so much, and I never cried, even in the hardest times, but I cried when Gurudev left this world and every year when Gurudev's disappearance day comes, I cannot check myself... I have tolerated so many austerities and pain, my godbrothers have given me so many austerities, they even threw me into prison, but even then I did not feel any struggle—I chanted the Holy Name, took prasad, I sat in jail and read scriptures. They filed a false case against me and got me thrown into jail, but I never suffered there. Whatever pain I got, I always stayed with Gurudev, and the only real pain I got was the pain when Gurudev left.

I always did whatever Gurudev told me. I remember one day Gurudev told me in the afternoon, "I want a samosa. Go to the shop and bring me some samosas." I went to a shop and brought him some samosas. Another time he told me, "Bel fruit is overripe on the trees, they are falling on the ground. Why are you not giving me any? Make me some bel sherbet." He told me and I made it. One time, when Gurudev was in Australia (at that time I had not taken sannyas yet, I was a brahmachari, my name was Vinod Ranjan), I knew that the plaster in Gurudev's bathroom had started to fall off the walls and I wanted to repair his bathroom. I took the key and had it repaired, and when it was being repaired, I thought that Gurudev's room was very small, so I expanded it a little. In the meantime, somebody complained to Gurudev that I had broken his house. Gurudev was very upset to hear it and did not talk to me after that. Even when he came back to Nabadwip, he did not speak to me. At that time, he stayed at Sevak Kunja Bhavan, the Centenary Building, and at some point he decided to go to see his previous house. When he came and saw his previous house, he was very surprised, "Oh, he has done a very nice job! I will move back to this building tomorrow." I had also spend some extra money at that time, and when Gurudev went to see the goshala, he saw that I had made a big extension at the back of it. Gurudev was surprised and pleased, "Oh, this is what the money was spent on. Now I understand. I did not know you had made this big goshala." Another time, one of Gurudev's godbrothers complained to Gurudev, "Acharya Maharaj is stealing your money!" Gurudev asked him, "Yes, I know he is 'stealing' money, but can you tell me where he is keeping that money?" Then, the next day some devotee from Australia went with me to Bamunpara and hidingly took a picture of the temple construction in Bamunpara. When that devotee was showing pictures to Gurudev, Gurudev asked him, "What is this? Where was this picture taken?" The devotee told Gurudev it was in Bamunpara, and Gurudev was very surprised, "In Bamunpara?! Are they making a temple there?! I thought they were making a guesthouse there! I did not know Acharya Maharaj was making a temple there!" After that, Gurudev called the person who had complained about me before and said pointing at that photograph in his computer, "Do you see this photo? Do you see what is in this photo?" They said they did not know what it was. Gurudev said, "Oh, you are are staying in Nabadwip, but you do not know anything? This is Bamunpara! He is making a temple there. You said yesterday he was stealing money, but this is what he has been 'stealing' the money for." Gurudev was pleased.

 

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Happy Service Mood
'When devotees practise properly, they are always joyful with Krishna consciousness, always feel very happy with their practising life, with sravan, kirtan. You are happy in your spiritual life, so I think that your practising life is going on properly.'

 

Krsna haite chatur-mukha
'Jaya Dharma's renowned servant was Sri Purusottam Tirtha. After Sri Purusottam Tirtha came the learned Brahmanya Tirtha. Brahmanya Tirtha's servant was Vyasa Tirtha. Vyas Tirtha's servant was Laksmipati. After Laksmipati came Madhavendra Puri.'
কৃষ্ণ হৈতে চতুর্ম্মুখ

If you think that your mind and your heart do not want to hear Krishna-katha,
then you must think that you are still bound by your karma.

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