He who is attached to his own blood relations or followers is contaminated. This is called anarthas, offense, sins, and false ego. All of this throws one down into the drain of material existence. Day and night who do we serve? Who do we have relationship with? Who do we use all our income for? Who is our blood and energy spent for? All this should be considered. Otherwise we are great cheaters and hypocrites. Who will give judgment? Yamarāja and his soldiers will punish us. Māyā-devī’s popular family members will give judgment and the fruit will come, making one realize how honest he is. Outwardly one may perform arcana, pūjā, and offer respect to everyone, but this is not real bhakti.
People stay in the holy dhāma just like many crocodiles, fish, and other species live in the water, but do not really live in the Gaṅgā. Similarly, such people are with their families, children, and homes. If one stays in the dhāma, but does business for his own sense enjoyment and collects all things for his own sense gratification, then that person cannot receive any spiritual treatment. It is very difficult to help such a person. This disease is very strange. Such a person becomes like a brahma-rakṣasa.
Once, a dog came to Śrī Rāmacandra crying for help. In his own language he complained to Rāmacandra, “You are the king, You give good judgment to all. I surrender to You. I am an orphan animal, please help me.”
Śrī Rāmacandra said, “Yes, I will try to help you. What is the difficulty? By your karma you received the body of a dog, but please tell Me what is wrong and I will help. “
The dog said, “I was lying on one side of a street and a Paṇḍita came by and beat me. He broke one of my legs. Now I cannot walk easily. I am suffering so much without any treatment. What can I do?”
Rāmacandra said, “Call the brāhmaṇa.” Rāmacandra never gave any judgment or punishment to the brāhmaṇas. He always respected them and followed this etiquette. If any judgement was necessary, He called his guru, Vaśiṣṭha. Vaśiṣṭha came and Rāma told Him, “Ask the Paṇḍita why he broke the leg of the dog.”
Vaśiṣṭha asked and the Paṇḍita replied, “The dog was lying in the middle of the road and did not give me any respect or go to the side so that I could cross easily.”
The dog said, “The road is very large, I was only sleeping on one side, without barking or doing anything, why did he beat me?”
Vaśiṣṭha asked, “What punishment do you want to give him?”
The dog said, “Give him the position of being the mahānta of the large and famous Kalinjara temple.”
The Paṇḍita began to dance in great joy thinking a great boon had come for him.
Rāmacandra asked the dog, “Why do you want him to have this post?”
The dog said, “I gave him this post because then he will not serve. He will be very greedy to enjoy. He will not serve God and he will be greedy to enjoy all the property that is offered to God. In my last life I was the ācārya of this Kalinjara temple and I stole everything. Now my tongue is always hanging outside and saliva is dropping from it. I was always greedy to eat the offerings for the Lord, and I would steal things before they were offered in the temple. Therefore I got this body as a dog. When the brāhmaṇa becomes a dog, he will understand his faulty nature.”
People come to the temple, to Guru and Vaiṣṇavas, the holy dhāma, Gaṅgā, Godāvarī, and the holy tīrthas, but they are very greedy for mundane things. They want name, fame, and they give announcements and want everyone to be in their group and to respect them. And if others don’t offer their respect, they are tormented. They have no love for God and God’s family; they only desire their own respect, name and fame. Will punishment come or not? Where am I?I am not really nearby God and the holy dhāma. Large fish live in the Gaṅgā. In the same way these people stay in the dhāma but can get no treatment. How can Guru, Vaiṣṇavas, and harināma help them? They fly in the sky like eagles but look down for dead bodies. Their attachment is with their own sense recreation. Then how can they cross māyā? They do not follow or give respect to Guru and Vaiṣṇavas. Their pride cheats them of Guru and Vaiṣṇavas’ blessings. How will their anarthas dissipate? People say, “Don’t go to any other Vaiṣṇavas, no one else is a Vaiṣṇava. Only hear from me. My group and disciples are Vaiṣṇavas, other guru’s disciples are not Vaiṣṇavas.”
This is not the nature and etiquette of bhakti and bhajana. Vaiṣṇavism means that one must offer himself to the Guru-varga, and any service, inspiration or instruction the Guru-varga give must be followed. One must continuously serve Śrīla Gurudeva.
Śrīla Gurudeva teaches the glory of the Guru-varga, God and the Vaiṣṇavas. If one really respects and has love for the Vaiṣṇavas, God and the holy dhāma, then such a person is a Vaiṣṇava.
Our ācāryas say that one who wears tilaka and neckbeads, and has a big śikhā showing everyone, ‘I am a great Vaiṣṇava and all should serve and follow me,’ is not a Vaiṣṇava in reality. Is one tṛṇād-api sunīcena or not? Mahat-saṅga helps everyone, but crooked cheaters are not mahat, and they are not honest. By going to a great personality one will automatically become cleansed. If one becomes impure at heart, has no desire for harināma and no tendency for service, then one should understand he is fallen and in bad association.
When one repents, knowing his own fallen position, and surrenders to Guru and Vaiṣṇavas, then they directly show one his own condition, like taking a picture of one’s own heart and showing how fallen, impure, and full of anarthas one is. Guru and Vaiṣṇavas show this and when people understand their own condition, they will repent at heart and pray deeply. When they cry sincerely, then Gurudeva bestows his mercy and purifies the heart.
When the disciple prays, “You are my eternal master, but I am cheated by māyā and have so much attachment and relation to objects of māyā. O master, please help me! I am attached to my body and mind and have no greed for bhajana or se
rvice. I only show everyone, but really have no desire. I am fallen and arrested in māyā and do not even want to cross this. I am such a fallen soul.”
“I am truly very fallen,” this realization comes. When one has this feeling of repent and lamentation, then he can truly attain good fortune because he will become a recipient of God’s mercy, and the mercy of the holy dhāma and Vaiṣṇavas. Their mercy will start to manifest.
Srila Narottama das Thakur ki Jaya! (excerpted from the book “Sri Sri Prema-Bhakti Candrika” by Narottama das Thakur. Available from: [email protected] )