People are afraid of sādhus because of this. The sādhus cut away our five types of sufferings: (i) avidyā, ignorance or forgetfulness of Kṛṣṇa; (ii) asmitā, or the false egoism arising from the conceptions of “I” and “mine”; (iii) rāga, or attachment for the objects of sense gratification; (iv) dveṣa, or hatred or aversion to unpleasant, disagreeable or adverse situations; and (v) abhiniveṣa, or attachment for or absorption in sinful activities.They vanquish our material attractions, desires, and attachments. By their power, they will remove all our kleśa. This process seems painful, but this is a stage of our purification and is necessary.
Still people think, “Oh, I can come to the dhāma, but who will take care of me when I am old? I will suffer so much and I will not have any one to support me.” But we should have faith in God and His devotees. If we surrender to them, they will make all arrangements for our welfare.The sādhus who are completely free from mundane attachments wield the medicine that cures our material disease. You might think, “When I sit in front of sādhus, they are so strong that it feels like they are cutting me and then throwing salt on my wounds. They are tormenting me.”But this is the process of our purification. Once we are freed of our sickness, we will feel so much happiness. We have been suffering for so many millions of lifetimes from this material disease. Once we are cured we will feel so much bliss. Therefore, we should not be afraid of taking the treatment of sādhus. Sādhus purify everyone by the nectar of hari-kathā. We can receive this rasa by going to sādhu-saṅga.The stage of kleśaghnī—when we undergo the somewhat painful identification and subsequent eradication of our kleśa, or misery—has been described. The next stage is śubhadā.
At this stage we do not suffer; rather, people respect us. They give us wealth and opulence, and offer us worship. This is an extremely dangerous stage. If, at this time, we forget guru and Vaiṣṇavas, then again we will fall into māyā’s clutches. We must be very steady in our sādhana at the stage of śubhadā.Rūpa Gosvāmī writes:yad-brahma-sākṣāt-kṛti-niṣṭhayāpi,vināśam āyāti vinā na bhogaiḥapaiti nāma! sphuraṇena tat te,prārabdha-karmeti virauti vedaḥKṛṣṇa-nāmāṣṭakam 4O nāma! The Vedas loudly declare that even without a devotee undergoing any suffering, his prārabdha-karma, which cannot be eliminated even by resolute meditation on impersonal brāhmaṇa, is at once mitigated by Your appearance on the tongue.Everyone must suffer the results of their prārabdha and aprārabdha-karma, but if we are always doing nāma-kīrtana, then those reactions are taken away from us by those who are criticizing us or abusing us.
This is the only way that the tasting of those fruits is avoided. Those who respect us and praise us take away our puṇya, or the fruits of piousness. Bhajana cannot be performed so long as pāpa and puṇya are present. (click on the Title to read full article)
There are many spiritual teachers in this world. Most are impersonalists or only so-called spiritual teachers, who are really materialists, who do not think about how to help anyone else. How can the conditioned souls progress and get the nectar of pure love and devotion for God?
This is the desire of a bona fide guru. Many people give charity to the poor and destitute. And many philosophers advocate this charity for maintenance of the body. Although they may give food to the poor for a day or two, the next day people will again be hungry. How long can they give shelter to the hungry? If the poor and destitute want to take shelter of the donor and stay with him continuously, the donor will not give any chance. He will give cloth, medicine, and food, and then send them away.
This is one manifestation of pride.If anyone comes near God’s associates in this world, they will take responsibility to help that person cross over the ocean of material existence and attain the shelter of the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord. A so-called spiritual teacher does not help take care of other souls, but only maintains the physical dress of the embodied souls. This is only cruelty and pushes them deeper into illusion.Śrī Guru is not an ordinary mortal.
If someone who does not know how to swim goes to help another drowning person, then they will only drown together. If one is not qualified to help, then one will be pulled down and defeated by the soul drowning in material life. Śrī Guru means he who brings others out of the darkness of illusion into the light of truth. If one acts as guru without qualification, he will be pulled into darkness as well, this is not helping anyone. This is also cruelty. If you do not help others, or if you are pulled down by them, both are problems. If you do everything for God’s pleasure, this will be real help for all souls.
If we go for any personal help, then people will steal and enjoy us.Śrīla Gurudeva guides the soul into a pure loving relation with Kṛṣṇa. Any personal help is not good; no one is our relative if we are not related to Kṛṣṇa. If one is related to Kṛṣṇa then all souls are one’s relatives. A guru will thus have neutrality. He is the servant of Kṛṣṇa, and comes to this world to help the conditioned souls. Gurudeva is internally engaged in service to Kṛṣṇa, but those with no transcendental vision will not be able to see this.
Therefore, guru practically shows by example and teaches others how to serve Kṛṣṇa. Such a guru is called ācārya, or a spiritual preceptor.ācinoti yaḥ śāstrārtham ācāre sthāpayaty apisvayam ācarate yasmād ācāryas tena kīrttitaḥVāyu Purāṇa An ācārya is one who fully understands the conclusions of the revealed scriptures and whose behavior reflects his deep realization. He is a living example because he teaches the meaning of the scriptures both by word and deed.Śrī Guru is present with his disciples through his speech and instructions.
If anyone hears or reads his discourses or books, than Śrī Guru is directly with them. Śrī Guru’s speech is not ordinary words and sentences. It is spiritual. Śrī Guru is eternally present with his instructions. Śrī Guru is always with one who is connected to his message and instructions. (Click on the title to read full article)
Srila Bhaktivedānta Vāmana Gosvami Maharaja and Srila Bhaktivedānta Trivikrama Gosvāmi Mahārāja were very upset when they heard members of the GBC were mistreating Gurudeva and trying to defame him in ISKCON. Some members even had the audacity to criticize Srila Gurudeva in the presence of Srila Vāmana Gosvāmi Mahārāja at Devānanda Gauḍīya Maṭha in Navadvīpa. Someone once said, “He as against the rules and regulations of your Vedānta Samīti by speaking on elevated topics that ordinary jīvas are not qualified to hear. You are president of the Samīti, please tell him to mend his ways or remove him from your society.”
Śrīla Vāmana Gosvāmi Mahārāja rebuked those who thus spoke and said, “I am not separate or different from Srila Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja. Whatever he speaks is correct and in line with “sadhu-guru-sastra”. Śrīla Trivikrama Gosvāmi Mahārāja was also angered at the ill character of the GBC towards Srila Gurudeva.
Srila Vāmana Gosvāmi Mahārāja and Srila Trivikrama Gosvāmi Mahārāja said, “An offense to our dear godbrother is an offense to ourselves and our whole society.”In September 1995, Pūjyapāda Bhaktivedānta Trivikrama Mahārāja arrived in Keavaji Gauḍīya Maṭha. Upon arrival, he offered prostrated obeisance to Śrīla Gurudeva and Gurudeva offered sāṣṭāṅga-praṇāma in return. Śrīla Trivikrama Mahārāja had immense respect for Śrīla Gurudeva.
Sometimes, when Śrīla Gurudeva was residing inside his room, or absent, Śrīla Trivikrama Gosvāmī Mahārāja would bow to Gurudeva’s shoes at his door. In the temple programs, Śrīla Gurudeva and Śrīla Trivikrama Gosvāmī Mahārāja sat together for the kīrtanas and hari-kathā. Gurudeva deeply honored Śrīla Trivikrama Mahārāja and always requested him to speak first. One morning, a few days before Kārtika commenced, Śrīla Trivikrama Mahārāja gave class while Gurudeva was elsewhere engaged.
In his Hindi class, Śrīla Trivikrama Mahārāja raised the question, “How can we attain bhakti? Even if we end all our time with sādhus, if we have no faith in them, then we can never achieve bhakti. By feeding or giving money to sādhus, or even by following sādhu’s instructions, one does not achieve bhakti. Faith and respect for Vaiṣṇavas is crucial! We must never criticize our Vaiṣṇava guardians! Because of our wicked tendencies, when there is obstruction to our sense gratification we perceive defects in the faultless Vaiṣṇavas. Nothing is as despicable as a disciple who is disloyal and who denounces his spiritual guardian. Yet, we see dependents having no fear in making grave offenses to their śikṣāguru.
Pūjyapāda Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja embodies all the 26 qualities of a Vaiṣṇava as described by the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Have full faith in him!”Śrīla Trivikrama Gosvāmi Mahārāja then glorified Srila Gurudeva’s Vaiṣṇava traits. He said”, the primary symptom of a Vaiṣṇava is being saranagata, completely surrendered to Kṛṣṇa. Even if all other symptoms of a Vaiṣṇava are present in someone, if he is not surrendered to Kṛṣṇa, he is not a real Vaiṣṇava. Without the life-giving quality of śaraṇāgati, the other qualities are only like decorations on a corpse.
All Vaiṣṇavas are śaraṇāgata, but not all Vaiṣṇavas possess the 26 characteristics of a Vaiṣṇava mentioned in śāstra. Pūjyapāda Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja is special in that he fully possesses all 26 qualities. He causes all bhaktas to feel that he is their ever well-wisher and spiritual friend.“Vaiṣṇavas are merciful. Whether someone respects or insults him, Pūjyapāda Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja is equipoised. He gives affection and mercy to everyone. He does not consider the faults of others, rather, he sees even the slightest goodness in a person and encourages him to progress.
The method of bestowing mercy on the righteous is different from that of delinquents. Externally, Vaiṣṇavas may appear more kind to sinners than the virtuous. Śrīla Mahārāja chastises the upright devotees to edify them. Meanwhile, he is affectionate to the dissolute so that they become good. The actions of a sādhu of Mahārāja’s caliber are not easy to comprehend. Even the abuse or curse of a sādhu is beneficial—meant for the recipient’s welfare.“Śrīla Mahārāja never considers others his enemies, even if they are ingrates whom he has helped but who have then turned against him.
Śrīla Mahārāja is like a sādhu who picks up drowning scorpions again and again, wanting to save them, even though they keep biting him for his efforts. When I ask, ‘What do you gain by trying to help such badmashes?’ He replies, ‘If they will not give up their nature, why should I forsake mine?’ ”
“Sādhus are tolerant. There is no end to Śrīla Mahārāja’s patience. He maintains and nourishes so many. Yet when many of them have matured, they turn against him. He works always for the welfare of others, yet still people criticize and insult him. But Mahārāja never thinks ill of anyone.“Vaiṣṇavas observe the essence. Mahārāja discerns if a person is eager for bhajana and helps him in all ways. If someone wants to serve māyā, he helps him on his way as well, knowing that, after receiving the continual kicks from māyā, he will come back and be prepared for his help.“Mahārāja is nirdoṣa, faultless.
He never criticizes others or speaks idly of mundane topics. Indeed, he wastes not a moment. He’s always engaged in hari-bhakti. He is magnanimous. He speaks vraja-kathā to inspire others towards vraja-bhakti, even if they are not qualified or strictly practicing bhakti. He knows that ten or twenty lifetimes may pass before a person becomes qualified, but he also knows that unless one hears vraja-kathā and develops greed for vraja-bhakti, he never has a chance to progress toward the ultimate attainment. So, Mahārāja generously speaks vraja-kathā to whomever he meets. Mahārāja is akiñcana—he considers nothing as his own property.
Understanding that everything belongs to the Lord, Mahārāja takes responsibility to engage everything and everyone in God’s service.“Mahārāja is sarvopakāraka—he is interested in the welfare of all living entities. He selflessly takes others on parikramā, maintaining the pilgrims by collecting bhikṣā, and he arranges festivals of bhakti for all people to attend without charge. Materialists use all their assets to gratify their mind and senses.
Mahārāja employs whatever he receives for the upliftment of mankind in many ways, such as: publishing books, orchestrating pilgrimages, maintaining temples, restoring holy places, serving people in general to inspire them to follow bhakti, and serving the sādhus by providing whatever facility they require for performing bhajana, such as prasāda, room, cloth, and medicine.“Mahārāja is never restless. Those who have material desires are always restless, but Mahārāja only desires to serve the transcendental Divine Couple—Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa; no matter what the external circumstances are, he knows that all events occur by the will of Kṛṣṇa. Thus he remains tranquil and internally absorbed in his spiritual service.“Mahārāja is victorious over the six internal enemies and is always in control of his emotions. He never lusts for wealth or power; never becomes angry; always gives to others without being greedy for anything in return; is beyond the spell of illusion and madness; and is forever free of envy. He never boasts. Even though he has done so much service and such great deeds, he never praises himself, for he knows everything is done by the will of Kṛṣṇa and Guru.
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