Srila Gurudeva has given many types of advice for those who desire to cross māyā and attain the shelter of Kṛṣṇa. We have wasted so many millions of lives, but now we are very fortunate to hear the glories of rūpānuga–bhakti and Gaurāṅga Mahāprabhu’s movement. This life is very precious and should not be wasted. We should take our life seriously. If we accept the conception of Mahāprabhu, then by His grace we can get relief from our troubles very quickly. And if we do not engage in bhajana we will not experience any relief.
pracīnanaṁ bhajanam atulaṁ duṣkaraṁ śṛṇvato me
nairyasena jvalati hṛdayaṁ bhakti-leśalasasya
viśva-drīcīm aghahara tavakarṇya karuṇya-vīcīm
aśa-bindukṣitam idam upety antare hanta śaityam
Śri Stava Mālā
I am very weak and lazy to do even the smallest devotional service and so when I hear of the peerless and difficult-to perform services performed by the great devotees in ancient times, my heart burns with despair. O Lord, O killer of Aghāsura, when I hear that Your waves of mercy splash everyone from the demigod Brahmā down to the most insignificant creature, then my heart becomes sprinkled with a cooling drop of hope.
In ancient times, sādhus and ṛṣis were in samādhi for thousands of years. They undertook great hardships such as fasting from food, water, and even air. They stood in the midst of blazing fires in the summer and submerged themselves in freezing water during the winter.
They tolerated these extremes to succeed in bhajana. But this is not possible for the conditioned souls in this Kali-yuga. Due to our inability to undertake such hardships in the present day, Mahāprabhu has given a very simply process.
Today people behave worse than animals. They are busily preoccupied with sex life. They are very busy to steal from others to suit their own ends and they torment sādhus. The aspiring sādhus are also suffering from sex desire. Śrīla Gurudeva instructs us to follow a regulated life of self-restraint, self-control; to accept the rules and regulations that are conducive to spiritual life. You have a body and senses. Don’t give any share of this away. Use all of your energy for God, then you will not have any problems in life, no obstacles will come. However, if you use your body and senses even a little bit for any other purpose, you will be defeated.
Mahāprabhu gave us the instruction: “Worship Kṛṣṇa by chanting His names and serving the devotees.” If we follow this advice, then Mahāprabhu will give us strength, energy, and power. If one is seriously using all his energy for Kṛṣṇa, then he will have not have to worry about practicing difficult austerities or meditation. Only try, and Mahāprabhu will give all help. In Kali-yuga, sense control is virtually impossible. How can you control all your senses and offer them? It is very difficult. Rather, wherever you are, whatever position you are in, from there, use everything for Kṛṣṇa’s service. Wherever you are, chant, “Hare Kṛṣṇa! Haribol!” Whatever you do, do it for Kṛṣṇa. While eating, sleeping, bathing, walking, moving about, or looking at any other, be one-pointed to Kṛṣṇa. Whatever you do, do it for Kṛṣṇa.
yat karoṣi yad aśnāsi
yaj juhoṣi dadāsi yat
yat tapasyasi kaunteya
tat kuruṣva mad-arpaṇam
O Kaunteya, whatever activities you perform, whatever you eat, whatever you sacrifice and give in charity and whatever austerities you perform, offer them all to Me.
Kṛṣṇa advised Arjuna, “Whatever you do, offer it to Me.”
Śrīla Gurudeva encouraged us to follow this process, saying, “Try, again and again. Don’t be hopeless. I will give all help and support. Just try!”
Mahāprabhu sent Nityānanda Prabhu everywhere to spread the chanting of harināma. Nityānanda Prabhu traveled the countryside, imploring people:
“O Brothers! Without inhibition, all of you together, continuously chant harināma. If you do so, I will take the responsibility to deliver you from the ocean of material existence. Don’t worry, just chant once, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Haribol! Gaura-hari!”
ek-bār dekhle cakṣe jal
‘gaura’ bo’le nitāi dena sakala sambal
When Nitāi sees a tear welling in someone’s eye upon chanting the name of ‘Gaura’ He instantly gives His support to that person; indeed, He bestows all divine opulence’s. He will help you, maintain you, and take all responsibilities. Nityānanda Prabhu is very kind.
He doesn’t look at our past sins, false ego, and material desires.
We have done wrong over and over, thousands of times. We do not have any goodness. Even now we are doing so many things wrong. So, just carefully chant Kṛṣṇa’s holy names:
Hare Kṛṣṇa Hare Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Hare Hare
Hare Rāma Hare Rāma Rāma Rāma Hare Hare
This process of chanting harināma is very easy. Just chant harināma. Don’t divide your energy to others. Many cheaters will come to steal your energy, but simply utilize all your time in service to Hari, Guru and Vaiṣṇavas, and chanting harināma. In this way, any obstacle that arises will not disturb you. All knowledge and strength will come to your aid. The desire to follow is the most important thing. This desire is called sevonmukha-vṛtti, the tendency to serve Kṛṣṇa.
Merely following the rules and regulations of bhakti is not enough to attain perfection. Our determination will not last for so long. The body, mind, and senses naturally want to enjoy other bodies, minds, and senses, and they want some relation, some sweet talking, touching, looking, smelling, tasting—this desire will never cease. When will divine love blossom in our hearts? Divine love is our soul’s waiting inheritance. We must follow the process to mature into spiritual life, so that we can receive that love for which we all aspire. How long can you mechanically control your senses? Perhaps for one or two days, or some years, but when your self-control wanes, the senses will again dive into the well of material enjoyment.
A brahmacārī cannot remain celibate without tasting the sweetness of divine love. He may not be able to control himself for even one day. But if he tastes love beyond this material world, he will cease to think of himself as a brahmacārī or a vyabhicārī. There are many examples of those previously enraptured in promiscuity, who forgot their lust completely when their love was transferred to God. Our eternal benefit, eternal connection, and eternal loving relation awaits us. We simply must awaken greed for the blissful reality beyond this world. Any strength that comes from suppressing our senses by adhering to rules and regulations ultimately leads to downfall and sin if we do not establish our lost relation and love for God. Love is the eternal property of the soul. But having willingly turned away from God, our love has been perverted into lust for mundane objects.
If we fall from our vows, we may feel remorse, but this remorse is not enough. Therefore, Śrīla Gurudeva instructs us to offer our love to Kṛṣṇa. This process is called rāgānuga-bhakti. We are advised to take shelter of the rāgātmika Vrajavāsīs, eternal associates of Kṛṣṇa, who have unlimited love. If their hearts melt towards us, and a ray of their love shines upon us, then our hearts will also melt, and our inherent love and longing for Kṛṣṇa will awaken, and will lead us home to Vraja. Kṛṣṇa only desires this love. He desires no other offering from the living entities, who are His separated parts and parcels. The love He yearns for cannot be found in Vaikuṇṭha, Ayodhyā, or in the abodes of any of His other incarnations. Love inhibited by opulence and reverence does not satisfy Kṛṣṇa. Where one reveres God as the Almighty, unparalleled natural love for Him is hampered.
A mother has natural love for her baby son, and while he is an infant, the mother and son’s relation is intimate and inseparable. When the son grows to a boy and then a teen, he is shy to be naked before his mother, and his mother is shy before her son. As he grows, the son transfers his love for his mother to others. Similarly, a father has love for his child, and the child for the father, but in time this love also transforms.
The love of the conditioned souls is always transferring from one to another. The soul, however, is not young or old. She is primeval and ever youthful. When the soul achieves perfection, she is born into a spiritual form, in which she serves the Divine Couple, Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, and relishes the bliss of a loving relation with Them.
The Vrajavāsīs have eternal, fathomless love. Their love spreads throughout Vraja-maṇḍala. The Vrajavāsīs all have pure love for Kṛṣṇa. All the mothers in Vraja think, “Kṛṣṇa is my son. I will take Kṛṣṇa in my lap and feed Him my breast milk. I will stroke and massage Him, and I will bathe, dress, decorate, and cook for Him.” All the Vrajavāsīs have ever-increasing love for Kṛṣṇa.
In this world people are afflicted by jealousy, but in Vraja it is absent. Once, in the kingdom of Mahārāja Hariscandra, two women were arguing over a boy both claimed as their own. Hariscandra asked his queen, who acted as his minister, to settle the argument and give judgment. The queen called the general and said, “Take a sword and cut this boy in two pieces, then give half to each of the mothers.”
The general said, “This is not proper.”
“Soldier, cut this boy in half!” the queen ordered.
“He has not done any wrong,” the general said. “Why are you prepared to kill him?”
The queen took the sword and went towards the child herself.
One woman did not resist the queen’s action; however, the other woman fell at the feet of the queen, weeping, and pleading to her, “Please don’t kill my son! You can give him entirely to the other woman. I would rather my son lived separate from me than not at all.”
The queen came to the king and asked, “What is your judgment?”
The king naturally gave the boy to the woman who was ready to give him to another to spare his life. A real mother will not be able to tolerate seeing her child killed for the sake of an argument. The mother had deep love for her child, but the imposter woman wasn’t even crying. She had no love for the child, so how could she be the real mother? A real mother has love for her son.
The Vrajavāsīs’ hearts are full of love and free of jealousy. Some have the mood, “Kṛṣṇa is my son.” Some feel, “Kṛṣṇa is my friend.” And some feel, “Kṛṣṇa is my beloved.” The mothers in Vraja have their own sons, but their love for Kṛṣṇa is greater than the love they feel for their own sons. This motherly love they have for Kṛṣṇa comes from Yaśodā Mātā. Similarly, the love the gopīs have for Kṛṣṇa comes in to their hearts from the love of Śrīmatī Rādhikā.
Now, we have no love for Śrīla Gurudeva, and therefore no love can spread from us to any other’s heart. Many cruel people surround us.
So-called disciples never think of serving Gurudeva. They have no love for the temple, and no love for the Deities. If anyone has pure love it will spread to others. This is the nature of the Vrajavāsīs.
The soul has love, rāga, and this will spread just as the fragrance of a blossoming rose spreads over the land. Where and how can we receive this love? Go to Girirāja Govardhana. There you will find this love everywhere, pervasive like the fragrance of flowers in a garden.
The hearts of the Vrajavāsīs are filled with the fragrance of pure love for Kṛṣṇa, and this love spreads throughout the spiritual world, and even down into the material world.
The ācāryas of our Gauḍīya-paramparā, descending from the Six Gosvāmīs, brought their unparalleled love to this world. Śrīla Gurudeva and Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja travelled all over the Earth spreading the sweet love present in their hearts. The lives of those who directly heard from Śrīla Svāmī Mahārāja or Śrīla Gurudeva, or who met them, saw them, or simply remember them, read their books, or even once see their photos, changes forever, affected by their unconditional love, the love of the Vrajavāsīs.
Srila Gurudeva ki Jaya! (Excerpted from the Bhaktabandhav book publication, “Sri Guru Darshan”. Available from: [email protected] )