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Service Challenges

His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Srila Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj
Disappearance festival of Srila Govinda Maharaj
Siliguri, 24 April 2021, part 5
Translated from Bengali

 

Gurudev guided me in so many ways.

When Gurudev was making Vrindavan temple and was going to buy the land there, he sent me to Vrindavan for the first time. At that time I was a new person and did not know anything—Gurudev told me, "Can you take this attaché case, a small briefcase, to Vrindavan?" I said, "Yes, I can." I had never been to Vrindavan in my life, I had never even been to the Howrah station in my life, and I had no idea how I would go there—there were no mobile phones at that time, and I did not even have a ticket. Anyway, Gurudev gave me the briefcase and told me to take good care of it. He did not say what was inside, and I did not ask because it was not my business. So, I came to the Howrah station—I saw it was a very big station, and the crowd was overwhelming. I asked somebody which train was going to Vrindavan and got on the train I was shown. I had bought an express train ticket, but I did not have a booked seat, so I sat near the bathroom on the floor with the briefcase by my side. I sat there until Mughalsarai station (it is half way to Delhi; because it was a Muslim name, this station has been renamed since then by the BJP government, it is called Deen Dayal Upadhyaya now). After Mughalsarai, I asked someone to give me their seat for fifty rupees, the person agreed, and the rest of the way I sat. In this way, I came to Vrindavan, gave the briefcase to the man who was selling the land. At that time there were no mobile phones, and the man called Gurudev using the old kind of phone. He told Gurudev that he had got the briefcase, and after that I went back to the station the same day. I came to the station in the afternoon and caught a train back to Kolkata that same evening. I did not have any business to stay there, and I never even thought to go around, to see any places in Vrindavan. Gurudev told me to go and give the briefcase, and I went there, gave the briefcase and returned the same time. When I returned, Gurudev said, "You did a great job! Do you know what was inside the briefcase? There was seventy lakh rupees. If anybody had known there was so much money inside, they would have killed you and taken the money." Hearing this, I was happy I had not asked what was inside, otherwise I would shiver with fear all the way.

Several years later, when I took sannyas, Gurudev phoned me early in the morning from Kolkata saying, "Oh, I could not sleep the whole night today! Looks like that our Puri Math has been occupied." I was surprised, "How can that be? How can our Puri Math be occupied?" Gurudev said somebody from Puri had called him and told the news. This is what is called 'jumping over the goda [a raised and sloped place for cows to stand and eat hay on] to eat grass.' The man should have let me know first, but instead he told Gurudev and disturbed him. What an offender. I was in charge of the management, I had sent him to Puri, but he went and told Gurudev directly without telling anything to me first. The thing was that somebody had forcefully occupied a land behind the temple, and Gurudev told me he could not sleep the whole night and that I had to go to Puri. I said I would go. Then, I took a shower, went to the Howrah station, and from the Howrah station I took a taxi to Dum Dum Park—I thought I would go by bus, but Gurudev told me not to worry about money and not to waste any time. So, I came to Kolkata by taxi, came to Gurudev, and then Gurudev told me to go to Puri the same day. I did not have any ticket at that time, but I managed to get a general ticket—I gave some money to somebody on the train and got a seat. I took the name of Lord Jagannath praying, "O Jagannath, please be merciful to me," and Lord Jagannath arranged everything—when I came to Puri, the man who had broken the fence of our temple came to me and offered me a full obeisance. I was surprised, "This man is my enemy, but he is paying me a full obeisance!" I came there very angry, ready to fight, but when I saw him paying obeisance to me, I spoke to him calmly. I told him, "Brother, you are an Odia man, a devotee, why are you hijacking the Lord's place? You have made an offence." He said he had done it out of anger. I asked him what he was angry about. Somebody told him not to interfere with the temple management (removed him from his service) and he got angry and did what he did. He was doing some carpenter job and wanted to stay on his own land. I told him not to worry and to leave the land. He did not want to leave, so I asked him how much money he wanted. He asked for 50,000 rupees. I asked him, "Why must I give you 50,000 rupees?" He said he had been looking after the temple, he had done this, this, that. Then he said, "OK, give me 20,000 rupees." I told him I did not have 20,000. I offered him 8,000 rupees. In this way, we bargained down to 15,000 rupees. In the end, I gave him 8,000 rupee (what I had with me), asked another person to give the other 7,000 and told that man to go away. After that, I stayed in Puri for three more days—I fixed the wall, made it higher, made the gate—and then left.

So, in my life I had to do all these hard, hard, very difficult jobs, and I was always successful. Anyhow but I did it. Whether it was getting building plans approved, whether it was any other job, everything was unhampered in the end. You know, when Gurudev was very sick, he could not walk or go upstairs to the second floor, and his servitors used to carry him upstairs, but it was very dangerous (what if they dropped Gurudev?), so I wanted to make a lift in the building. Formally, it was not allowed to make a lift in a building without government permission. I knew Subhas Chakraborty (the leader of CPM at that time) and I went to speak with him. He said he would write to the chairman of the party and get it resolved. There are different groups within a party, so in the end the chairman wrote to me back saying that no permission had been granted. I went to Subhas Chakraborty again and told him they had ignored his letter. He told me, "Go ahead and make the lift. Who will stop you? You do not need anyone's permission. Go ahead and make it." And I did. Gurudev said then to everyone, "So, do you see? You said it was impossible to make a lift, but he has made it!"

There were so many very, very hard jobs like this. I had to deal with the most difficult jobs, with all kinds of fighting and conflicts. At some point I had to even take a rifle in my hands. After that, Gurudev told me not to touch a gun again—he told me to never get a gun license. He said, "You have a very sharp hand, and you get angry easily, so if you take a gun, you will kill somebody!" One time, I took a mock gun used for shooting birds and shot into a monkey that was spoiling the temple's mangoes—I did not think it would actually hit the monkey. After that Gurudev told me to never take a gun in my hands again. Gurudev told me two things—to never drive a motorcycle and to never get a gun license. Gurudev gave me all these instructions and I followed his word.

 

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'Nitai, the jewel of all good qualities, my Nitai, the jewel of all good qualities, brought a flood of divine love and inundated the earth.'
নিতাই গুণমণি আমার

We are finishing our time, and the time goes very quickly, so we must realise
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