Before leaving for Holland on July 5, Śrīla Gurudeva held a special discussion. He gave strong instructions on how to balance one’s day: a balance of sādhana-bhajana and temple services, a balance of sādhana-bhajana and preaching activities, a balance of sādhana-bhajana and family responsibilities, and a balance of sādhana-bhajana and earning money. Gurudeva began by saying that those who are not demons but are not doing bhajana are like very ignorant donkeys, kicked by the hind legs of the she-donkeys and taking all the burden of the washerman.
In Holland, Śrīla Gurudeva said: “Persons favorable to devotion are of two kinds, and those who are not following the process, the rules of devotees and devotion, are greater in number. Real devotees are few, and even among that small number there are many divisions. Most are initiated by unqualified, false gurus, and even those with bona fide gurus are of many types. Some think, ‘My fire sacrifice has been performed and I have a sacred thread; therefore I am initiated.’ Such persons wear big tilaka, but there is no dīkṣā in the true sense, and they are continuing their unfavorable or sinful activities.
They are greater in number, and we may be also in this category. There is no thick relationship with Kṛṣṇa and no real knowledge of tattva—not of jīva-tattva, bhagavata-tattva, guru-tattva, māyā tattva, or prema-tattva. Even if they remember a mantra like ‘aiṁ guruve namaḥ,’ their minds are elsewhere. After ten minutes they think, ‘What am I doing?’
They were sleeping or just drifting off. Then, while chanting, ‘klīm caitanyāya vidmahe,’ the mind is absent for half an hour. Most of us are in this category of struggle.”
Śrīla Gurudeva continued: “Worldly affairs come, our job or the like, and we are always very careful and cautious in these affairs. The mind is always there—in computers and here and there—and not in the guru–gayatri and the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahāmantra. A pure devotee comes and inspires them, but as soon as he leaves—nothing is in there. Such persons numbers are greater. Others cannot follow ‘tṛṇad api sunīcena’ or even Srila Rūpa Gosvāmī’s instructions in Upadeśāmṛta: ‘vāco vegaṁ manasaḥ krodha-vegaṁ.’ Some wear neck beads of only one strand, which do not even touch the neck. Even in the military there are some rules and etiquette, and the soldiers are punished if they do not follow them. If we cannot follow these things, how can we follow vraja-prema? Caitanya Mahāprabhu and His associates were all paramahaṁsas, but they all followed Vaiṣṇava etiquette. If we follow their rules and regulations, a taste will come. In school there is daily reading and requirements completing the tasks given by the teacher. First, vāco vegaṁ: control your tongue. The today, ‘I will not quarrel with my wife or husband, children, Gurudeva, and other devotees.’ Without this you cannot control your anger. Don’t take rich foodstuffs. The fault of overeating is not only the fault of the tongue. All five senses are guilty, including the eyes. Looking brings attachment. Don’t try to be astrologers, and don’t read books other than bhakti books. There is no harm if you have not studied in school and colleges. By chanting, remembering, and serving Gurudeva you will be happy. Nothing else will make you happy.
“Don’t criticize all the Kaṁsas and Jarasandas. Spend your time in always glorifying Nanda, Yaśodā, the gopas, gopīs, Kṛṣṇa, and the devotees. Don’t care much for your life’s maintenance. A lower-class devotee can do so, but when you are mature, you have nothing to do in this regard. What you need will easily come. Don’t talk prajalpa. Chant one lākha of holy names daily. If this is not possible, then chant fifty-thousand names. If not, then thirty-two rounds. If not, then go to the ocean and at once jump in. You should certainly go to the Pacific or Atlantic Ocean. Chant, but if your bona fide guru has come to give a lecture, then go and hear. Then your chanting will become high-class. Be confident that by doing all this, surely kṛṣṇa-prema will come. First finish these things, then do anything to maintain your life. The holy name will arrange everything for you.
“Don’t associate with friends or family members if they are not devotees. They are all cheaters. If you are ugly, with two or three children, your husband will reject you and take a new wife. So, give up all your other jobs and come to śaraṇāgati—full surrender to Kṛṣṇa.”
Some of the hundreds of devotees present were meeting Śrīla Gurudeva for the first time, and some had been waiting since the year before, counting the seconds. Some, although meeting with him in one or two countries each year, for the past three, four, or five years, were just now realizing the magnitude of their fortune in getting the most rare and precious association of such a high-class pure Vaiṣṇava from Vraja. Many within the various categories of devotees were now in the process of changing all their priories in life and were preparing to leave their money and position to remain with Śrīla Gurudeva. Holland was the first place of Śrīla Gurudeva’s preaching in the West. He was now fond of calling it “Holyland.” It was in Holland that he first initiated disciples outside of India. By now he had thousands of disciples in the West, and thus far this year’s tour had already made another three hundred fortunate in this way.
Srila Gurudeva ki Jaya! (Excerpted from the Bhaktabandhav book publication, “Sri Guru Darshan”. Available from firstname.lastname@example.org )