The following are excerpts from Walking with A Saint – Morning Walks and Conversations 2007/2008/2009 and 2010 by Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja
Walking with A Saint – Morning Walks and Conversations July 11, 2007
Śrīpāda Mādhava Mahārāja: You are initiated?
Devotee: Yes, I am initiated.
Śrīpāda Mādhava Mahārāja: Then why are you smoking?
Devotee: I am trying to give it up.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Give it up.
Devotee: I will do it.
[Then, performing a short marriage ceremony:]
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: You must first promise that after your marriage ceremony you shall remain together for the rest of your lives; that you will not divorce each other.
[To the groom] Repeat after me. I promise that throughout my life…
Devotee: I promise that throughout my life…
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: I will not divorce her.
Devotee: I will not divorce her; I promise.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: You must respect each other. [To the groom] You should respect her.
Walking with A Saint – Morning Walks and Conversations May 23, 2008
Mahābuddhi dāsa: We Western devotees have a lot of trouble in trying to give up sex desire. How can we be successful in doing that, so that we can give our full energy to your service?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Gṛhasthas can remain with their family members and at the same time perform bhajana. Remaining with only one family has been equated to brahmacarya. But those who look here and there, who divorce and remarry, are not pure gṛhasthas.
Mahābuddhi dāsa: But if one desires to advance further – to not always remain in gṛhastha life – how does one give up the desire for it?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Such devotees should give up householder life at once. They need not delay.
Raghunātha dāsa: What if one is not married but still has a strong desire for the opposite sex? How can one adjust?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: How can this be adjusted? He should try to give up that desire. If he does not give it up, then he can do as he likes. No one can stop him; not even guru or Kṛṣṇa can stop him. If someone wants to go to hell, what can I do?
Walking with A Saint – Morning Walks and Conversations June 13, 2008
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: (To Śacīnandana dāsa) But what are you doing now?
Śacīnandana dāsa: I have a job in a computer store.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Where?
Śacīnandana dāsa: In Fresno, where your plane landed yesterday.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Are you with your wife, or not?
Śacīnandana dāsa: No.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Divorced?
Śacīnandana dāsa: She wants that.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: I think that you committed some mistakes. Whenever I marry a couple, I tell them, “Don’t divorce.” Try to follow your duty towards her, and she should also follow her duty. I think it would be better if you compromise and remain with her. Try to satisfy her, and support her and the children.
Walking with A Saint – Morning Walks and Conversations June 14, 2008
Vinaya dāsa: Yesterday you told the history of Rāmacandra Kavirāja. You said that he left his newly married wife. You said we should follow this example, but at other times you said that once one is married he should not divorce. How do we reconcile this?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: I speak according to one’s qualification. Therefore, for those who cannot follow my order to be renounced from family life, I say, “You can marry, but you cannot divorce.”
Walking with A Saint – Morning Walks and Conversations September 14, 2008
Guest: Do you think it is better for spiritual life to be single? Or, is it better to be married – living with a family and practicing spiritual life together with family?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: If the husband and wife have love and affection for each other, then it is alright to be married. They should not quarrel and after some time divorce. If marriage is favourable for spiritual life, then it is alright to marry; if not, it is better to be renounced like us, and be happy.
This instruction is for both husbands and wives, for males and females. Ladies should try to have husbands who are very humble and polite; otherwise they should remain single and renounced like us.
Why is it best to remain single and renounced? In married life we give birth to daughters and sons, and all of our attention goes towards them. If you can be single and renounced, you will possess nothing material to give your energy to. You will be able to meditate on Kṛṣṇa.
Walking with A Saint – Morning Walks and Conversations September 20, 2008
Śrīpāda Sādhu Mahārāja: This is your new disciple, Taruṇī dāsī. She met you in India. She says that she felt spontaneous attraction towards you at that time and received harināma initiation. She does not have much experience in spiritual life, so she is asking you what to do. She does not know if she should get married or remain a brahmacāriṇī. Will you kindly advise her?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: If there is a pure devotee available for marriage, then she can marry. I do not want the men to reject their wives, and I do not want divorce.
Walking with A Saint – Morning Walks and Conversations January 15, 2010
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: [First addressing Prema-prayojana dāsa] O Prema-prayojana, how are you?
Prema-prayojana dāsa (formerly Aranya Mahārāja): I’m okay, Gurudeva. By your grace I could come here.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Has your wife divorced you?
Prema-prayojana dāsa: No.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: I want that she should divorce you or you should divorce her. I have not left my hope that you will again return back [to the sannyāsa āśrama].
Prema-prayojana dāsa: By your grace, at the last moment before the festival I got the ticket to come.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: That is okay, but I want divorce. Either you or she should divorce.
Prema-prayojana dāsa: But in many lectures you told everyone, “No divorce.”
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Last night after your class, I remarked something. Did you understand?
Prema-prayojana dāsa: Yes. Āpane nā kaile dharma śikhāna nā yāya, ei ta’ siddhānta gītā-bhāgavate gāya. [“Unless one practices devotional service himself, he cannot teach it to others. This conclusion is indeed confirmed throughout the Gītā and Bhāgavatam” (Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Ādi-līlā 3.21).]
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Only you and a few others understood my words. Most of the audience could not understand. Don’t lose your life. Be totally towards me. Why [you left sannyāsa], I don’t know – being such a learned scholar, having everything, and still you fell in the dark well. We have given you a rope. Please hold onto it.*
*Vedic śāstra forbids a sannyāsī (one in the renounced order of life) to become a householder. Still, due to their respect for any devotee who was being chastised by Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja, the editors had reservations about publishing this section of the darśana. They expressed their concerns to Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja, who replied, “Why should you publish my words only when I give praise? My entire talk with Prema-prayojana must be given in print. I have chastised him. A guru has the power [authority] to chastise, and others will learn if it is given in print.
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