Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Then I told him, “I want to say something to them.” He at once became inspired and called to them, “Oh, all of you, come near and hear Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja. Please take into your hearts what he is speaking.” Then I told them all, “Don’t think that Śrīla Svāmī Mahārāja is leaving this world. Gurudeva is eternal. You are fortunate to have such a bona fide guru and Vaiṣṇava. You should try to preach his mission more and more enthusiastically. If you are after material things, you will find yourselves quarrelling over name, fame, and worldly gain. You will not be following his teachings. You will not be following his mission; you’ll be doing wrong. So don’t pursue your own self-interest. Give up all these things. To serve Śrīla Svāmī Mahārāja, and to preach his mission, you should be united with all the devotees. Don’t quarrel with others over a small point. Don’t expel anyone from this mission by finding small faults. Try to behave like friends, with brotherhood, and then you can preach. If you have difficulty with any of these things, then, as Śrīla Svāmī Mahārāja has requested me, you can come to me and I will try to help you from the core of my heart.” (My Śikṣā-guru and Priya-bandhu)
Mahābuddhi dāsa: I was brahmacārī for nine years. Then they gave me the position of temple president, and I became gṛhastha.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: How is it that you became attracted to a lady?
Mahābuddhi dāsa: I was influenced by rajaḥ-guṇa (the mode of passion). I am only influenced by rajaḥ-guṇa and tamaḥ-guṇa (the mode of ignorance). I don’t think I am influenced by any sattva-guṇa (the mode of material goodness).
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Then how did your Gurudeva accept you?
Mahābuddhi dāsa: Only by his mercy. And I don’t know how you are accepting me.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: I see something in you. He saw some thing and I also see something. But I don’t know how you have accepted me.
Mahābuddhi dāsa: Śrīla Prabhupāda told me to meditate on this verse every day:
dadāmi buddhi-yogaṁ taṁ
yena mām upayānti te
To those who are constantly devoted to serving Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me.*
He said, “Kṛṣṇa will give you the intelligence how to serve.” So I thought this way and prayed. Then, when I came to Alachua, you had me sit next to you when you were talking to Śrīpāda Bhāgavata Mahārāja’s son, telling him the dangers of meat-eating. My eyes began to water. Then you put your hand on my heart and said, teṣāṁ satata-yuktānāṁ bhajatāṁ prīti-pūrvakam. So, how can I serve you best?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: You are trying to serve me.
Mahābuddhi dāsa: Trying, but not doing very well.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: I am desirous that the gauravāṇī, the instructions of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu which our paramparā preached and which Caitanya Mahāprabhu personally followed, should not stop after I leave this world. It should continue.
Everyone should be united. Try to preach everywhere and publish my books; there are so many books. The temples should not be divided into separate maṭhas with separate interests. All the temples and devotees should be united. You will have to try for that.
Mahābuddhi dāsa: You said that you don’t want the gaura-vāṇī of Lord Caitanya to diminish when you are gone. I understand the mood you are expressing, but if our advancement and understanding of what you are teaching is small, how will we perform substantial service to you, to make sure it doesn’t disappear?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: If all the sannyāsīs and other preachers give up their false pride, self-interest, and desire for their own prestige, then all endeavours will easily yield positive fruits. If they give up these contaminations for the service of guru and Kṛṣṇa, all devotees can be united.
Mahābuddhi dāsa: What about us fallen householders?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: This instruction is true for gṛhasthas (householders) as well. A Vaiṣṇava gṛhastha lives in his home, but his heart is given totally to guru and Kṛṣṇa.
Actually there is no difference between gṛhasthas and sannyāsīs. In fact, sincere gṛhasthas are superior to those sannyāsīs who have worldly desires and selfish motives, and who are not properly following the principles of bhakti:
tṛṇād api sunīcena
taror api sahiṣṇunā
kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ
(Śrī Śikṣāṣṭaka 3)
Considering oneself to be more insignificant than a blade of grass, being more tolerant than a tree, free from all desire for personal prestige, and offering all respect to others, one should constantly be absorbed in hari-kīrtana.
Our Guru Mahārāja has said that if a gṛhastha follows that verse, he is superior.
yei bhaje sei baḍa, abhakta — hīna, chāra
kṛṣṇa-bhajane nāhi jāti-kulādi-vicāra
(Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Antya-līlā 4.67)
Therefore, in the discharge of devotional service to the Lord there is no consideration of the status of one’s family.
Mahābuddhi dāsa: In order to keep this gaura-vāṇī alive, your books are most important because of the realizations you have illuminated there.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: If anyone reads my books, he will surely become attracted to bhakti. (Walking with a Saint – 2008)
Mahābuddhi dāsa: Śrīla Gurudeva, yesterday you said that it is your mission to protect gaura-vāṇī, but we may not be qualified to assist in that mission.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: I was not referring to everyone. I told this for those who are preachers, like Padmanābha Mahārāja, Vana Mahārāja, Mādhava Mahārāja, Nemi Mahārāja, Śuddhādvaitī Mahārāja, and all other preachers. Try to help them stay together and preach. How can you help them? You can beg them, “Oh, Prabhu, please do not be influenced by prestige and self-interest. Please remain together and preach.” (Walking with a Saint – 2008)
Jaya Ṛṣi: (To the guest) You don’t have to change your religion to come to Gurudeva.
Śrīla Gurudeva, Bhakta Mathew was asked to leave the ISKCON temple. He is a sincere young man and he wants to ask if you can help clarify the situation.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: You can happily come to me. I will help you. I am the abode of love for all, without consideration of caste and creed. My door is open for all. All those who are being rejected can come to me. Those leaders who reject others for coming to me are unknowingly cutting off their own feet.
Mathew: How do we associate with those who are creating this division? How is it possible to associate while this division is going on?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: At the time of their gurudeva, Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja, who is renowned throughout the world as Prabhupāda, everything was okay. Everyone was following his instructions. However, after his disappearance many persons gave up that submission to him, and now they want to control everyone. Simply desiring money, such persons think, “If devotees go to Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja, all money will go to him as well, and he will enjoy.”
In reality, I do not want anyone for money or facilities. I am satisfied with whatever devotees easily offer as praṇāmī [any monetary contribution given to sādhus or Deities]. Without any self-interest, I want to give my wealth for the benefit of the entire world.
Śrīpāda Bhāgavata Mahārāja: If they do not allow Śrīla Gurudeva to come to their temples, then we ourselves should not go there.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: It is better not to discuss this topic. It is better to discuss only kṛṣṇa-bhakti. If there is any question about bhakti or anything transcendental, you can inquire about that from me. Try to forget this other topic.
They should do what they want to do. I always think of them as my children. I know that they are doing these things out of ignorance. I excuse them. I have been helping them since the early 1980s, and I want to continue helping them. (Walking with a Saint – 2008)
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Caitanya Mahāprabhu has said that if you want to chant “Hare Kṛṣṇa,” this mood is important to imbibe:
tṛṇād api sunīcena
taror api sahiṣṇunā
kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ
(Śrī Śikṣāṣṭaka, Verse 3)
Thinking oneself to be even lower and more worthless than insignificant grass which is trampled beneath everyone’s feet, being more tolerant than a tree, being prideless, and offering respect to all others according to their respective positions, one should continuously chant the holy name of Śrī Hari.
It is essential for us to meditate in this way: “I am more wretched than a blade of grass. I should be more tolerant than the trees, whose wood, leaves, bark, fruits, and flowers are for others.” Even if a tree is about to die without water, he will not say, “Oh, give me water.” Although someone may cut that tree, he does not protest and say, “Why are you cutting me?” He allows us to make our bed, table, and chairs with his bark and wood.
In this way, if you desire to progress on the path of pure bhakti, give proper respect, not only to devotees but to all living entities, because Śrī Kṛṣṇa is present with them in their hearts.
Also, do not hanker for self-interest and praise. If you follow the principles of this verse, your bhakti will develop without obstruction.
Vrajanātha dāsa: Prabhu is asking this question: You were discussing how we must respect all living entities. In that regard, what should we do if we see cockroaches or mosquitoes in our house?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Do not kill them. Merely catch them and take them out of your house. If an ant is in your way as you are walking, try to save it. Avoid eating meat, fish, and eggs – and even walking on the grass, unless there is a good reason to walk there.
Be kind to all, otherwise Kṛṣṇa, God, will not be kind to you.
Christians, Buddhists, and Muslims mostly do not follow this.
They eat meat, fish, and all other abominable things.
They profess to be religious and not promote cruelty or violence, and therefore some amongst them avoid traveling by train, airplane, boat, and car so as to avoid killing other living entities; but they eat meat, fish, and eggs. (Walking with a Saint – 2008)
Ātmārāma dāsa: The devotees in Bali wanted to come to see you, but they couldn’t. They are feeling separation from you. They could not come because the government has increased the tax for leaving the country from one hundred to three hundred dollars. For the Balinese devotees the average wage is about one hundred dollars per month.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Extend my heartly blessings to them.
(To Śrīpāda Padmanābha Mahārāja) Late Mahārāja has come. How are you?
Śrīpāda Padmanābha Mahārāja: I don’t know. You will have to tell me how I am, Gurudeva.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Not good.
We should always remember this verse:
tṛṇād api sunīcena
taror api sahiṣṇunā
kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ
(Śikṣāṣṭakam, Verse 3)
[Thinking oneself to be even lower and more worthless than insignificant grass that has been trampled beneath everyone’s feet, being more tolerant than a tree, being prideless and offering respect to all others according to their respective positions, one should continuously chant the holy name of Śrī Hari.]
This verse is not only for one person. It is for everyone, especially for all sannyāsīs. Sannyāsīs should give proper respect to others because Kṛṣṇa resides in everyone’s heart.
uttama hañā vaiṣṇava habe nirabhimāna
jīve sammāna dibe jāni’`kṛṣṇa’-adhiṣṭhāna
(Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Antya-līlā 20.25)
[Although a Vaiṣṇava is the most exalted person, he is prideless. He gives all respect to everyone, knowing everyone to be the resting place of Kṛṣṇa.]
Be tṛṇād api sunīcena, taror api sahiṣṇunā. Give honour and don’t desire it. Is that okay?
Śrīpāda Padmanābha Mahārāja: Yes, Gurudeva.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Do you follow this principle in your life?
Śrīpāda Padmanābha Mahārāja: I am trying to follow.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: There is something wrong; I have received some complaints. We should give respect to disciples, what to speak of godbrothers; not only to sannyāsīs. We should be humble with everyone; then we are sannyāsīs, otherwise not. Suppose certain sannyāsīs think, “I am a guru and he is a disciple,” or, “I am a sannyāsī and my godbrother is a gṛhastha and therefore inferior.” Such persons are not really sannyāsīs, and it will be very hard for them to achieve bhakti.
One more thing: Don’t criticize anyone. Only if you can change someone can you correct him. For example, Nalakūvera and Maṇigrīva were doing wrong, so Nārada came to them and cursed them, out of pity. He did not pay specific attention to what they were doing. He considered only this: “Oh, their lives have gone in vain. How shall I reform them?” He had the power to do what was necessary, and that is why he pointed out their fault. Thus, his curse turned out to be a benediction.
So try to follow these principles; all sannyāsīs must follow them. I have heard some complaint, but I will not tell you from whom. I want all my sannyāsīs to be ideal by giving respect to others. (Walking with a Saint – 2009)
Jīva-pāvana dāsa: Gurudeva, there is so much party spirit; different parties of Vaiṣṇavas. How can we unite everybody?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: You cannot unite everyone. Party spirit is the nature of this world.
Jīva-pāvana dāsa: Should we try?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: You cannot do it; you will not be successful. Just chant Hare Kṛṣṇa.
Jīva-pāvana dāsa: But Vaiṣṇavas are one family.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: If your two sons are quarrelling among themselves, you cannot unite them; can you?
Jīva-pāvana dāsa: No.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Then why do you think you can help in this situation? Don’t waste your time. Chant Hare Kṛṣṇa and be happy. (Walking with a Saint – 2009)
Yaśodānandana dāsa: Gurudeva, after a lot of feedback, response, from devotees, and with your input, the name International Pure Bhakti-Yoga Society, to be known as Pure Bhakti Yoga Society for short, was decided upon. Can you please confirm that this is your desire?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Yes. So like ISKCON, like BHAKTI [the Bhakti Trust International]. This should be preached everywhere. All should know that we are the Bhakti Trust. (In both instances of referring to the Bhakti Trust, the editors have understood that Śrīla Gurudeva actually meant to say the International Pure Bhakti-Yoga Society.)
Yaśodānandana dāsa: You are happy with that name, Gurudeva?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Yes, very happy. I think you are not happy with that name.
Yaśodānandana dāsa: I am happy, because it is the desire of the majority of devotees and yourself. I just wanted to confirm with you on video, because different devotees have different ideas. I am happy because you are happy.
How do you wish the devotees to serve the Society?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: As I am doing – preaching everywhere, publishing books, and distributing books. Like Śyāmarāṇī has devoted her life for me, preaching everywhere, editing my books.
Vrajanātha dāsa: In Miami last year, you had very nice exchanges with Mahābuddhi Prabhu and Padmanābha Mahārāja. Mahābuddhi Prabhu asked you how your mission will go on in the future. At that time you replied that all preachers, especially sannyāsīs, should be ideal – tṛṇād api sunīcena, not having any interest for themselves – and then it will easily continue.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Giving each other honour.
Yaśodānandana dāsa: Thank you, Gurudeva. (Walking with a Saint – 2010)
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