[During his Bhakti-yoga festival in San Francisco, Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja stayed at the Marriott Residence Inn, which is about a forty-five-minute drive from the festival site at the Asian Cultural Center. Every morning he walked from 5:30 to 6:30 am., and upon his return, his lady disciples would be waiting for him. All the devotees would then enter his room and, before his taking breakfast, he would sit for about twenty minutes and grant them his darśana. As he was returning from his walk on June 17th, Fathers’ Day, about fifteen of his daughters were waiting for him with flowers and gifts in honour of the special holiday.]
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Is today Father’s Day for females only, or also for males?
Devotees: For males also.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Then why are the males not giving me any gifts? I have more affection for my daughters. None of the men told me it is Father’s Day.
Śrīpāda Dāmodara Mahārāja: Śrīla Gurudeva, you said on the morning walk that even though the father has so much affection for his son, he may not show it directly. He may not take the son on his lap. We know you love your sons best; therefore you are not showing it.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: I have more affection for my daughters. My blessings to you all today is that pure bhakti will come in your hearts. The greed to serve in rāgānuga-bhakti will come. My blessings are that you will attain your highest goal. What is your highest goal?
Caru-candrikā dāsī: Mañjarī-bhāva.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Rādhā-dāsyam (personal service to Śrīmatī Rādhikā).
In the West, after the sons’ marriage, the fathers and sons separate from each other. The sons do no service at all for their fathers. But in India, even when their mothers and fathers are very old, the children serve. Nowadays, a ‘wind’ has come from the Western countries to India, and old persons are suffering. They are not allowed to live with their families. In villages, though, they are still taken care of by their children. I want you all to follow varṇāśrama-dharma, of which this is an example.
Gokula dāsa: If we are in family life, we should take care of our mother and father?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Yes, and have good relations with your brothers. Lord Rāma wanted to give His kingdom to Bharata, and Bharata wanted to give the kingdom to Rāma. They were quarrelling about this point. Nowadays, it is the opposite; we quarrel for our own ownership. We should be like Rāma and Bharata.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu told us to be like trees. A tree gives its leaves, fruits, branches, flowers, juice, fruits, shade, and wood to others. We should try to live not for ourselves, but for others.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja left everything in his old age and travelled the entire world to benefit others. I also only travel to help and bring the highest benefit to all, and to follow our guruparamparā.
[Mahāprabhu dāsa from Australia tells Śrīla Mahārāja that his thirteen-year-old daughter, Tulasī dāsī, was there to see him.] Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: She came to hear hari-kathā?
Mahāprabhu dāsa: Yes. She took initiation from you a few years ago, and now she wants second initiation.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: [To Tulasī dāsī] How many rounds do you chant?
Tulasīdāsī: I am building up.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: How many rounds are you chanting?
Tulasī dāsī: Two rounds.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Very good, but no dīkṣā now.
When you realize the glories of the holy name – that the holy name can save you from the pain of endless birth and death – then you will chant more. Money and worldly things cannot make you happy. These holy names will give you kṛṣṇa-prema, and you will be able to serve Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa forever. When you realize this, then you will chant more. Then, when I come to Australia, you can receive the dīkṣā-mantras.
Śyāmarāṇī dāsī: In this morning’s darśana you said we should follow varṇāśrama-dharma. You said we should serve our mother and father and brothers.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Not only on Father’s Day, but every day.
Śyāmarāṇī dāsī: What if we have a non-devotee mother, father, and brother?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Those who are gṛhastha (householders) should do so, and those who are renounced, having given up the world, should serve their holy master.
Śyāmarāṇī dāsī: A householder should serve even their non-devotee mother and father?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Yes, they should serve their mother, father, and brothers – whether their parents are devotees or non-devotees – otherwise they will have to go to hell. Everyone who is not a pure devotee has debts to others in this world. When my father used to come to Mathurā, I would take his foot-dust on my head.
Śrīpāda Mādhava Mahārāja: His father was a devotee.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Even though I am a sannyāsī and he was a gṛhastha, I did so. He was my first guru. He taught me Mahābhārata, Ramāyāna, and other scriptures.
Śrīpāda Mādhava Mahārāja: Devotees serve their parents to inspire them to become devotees. The parents receive good impressions by remembering how their devotee children always give respect to them, and bring them prasādam, and the good news about what is best for their eternal welfare.