śrī śrī guru-gaurāṅgau jayataḥ
All glories to Śrī Guru and Śrī Gaurāṅga
Śrī Caitanya Gauḍīya Maṭha
Dear recipient of my affection,
I received your letter, dated 18 December, 1963. I have learned that you travelled to Assam with Kṛṣṇa-keśava Prabhu.
I am pained to hear the news of your father’s illness. I understand he knows death is inevitable and has not overendeavoured to maintain the ephemeral body. But if he can remain constantly absorbed in thoughts of Bhagavān, it will be a matter of joy and dignity. I understand that he is unwilling to see a doctor. Nevertheless, it is the duty of his sons and family members to take care of him.
There are three considerations regarding a family’s parents and three kinds of intelligence among offspring that correlate with the way in which they serve their parents or other family members.
The dull-witted and the mad identify themselves with the body and thus remain busy day and night seeking out bodily pleasure, an objective they consequently deem to be in their best interest. They consider attending to their parents’ bodily comforts to be bhakti, the topmost service, and behave accordingly.
Those who mistake the subtle body—which consists of mana (mind), buddhi, (intelligence) and ahaṅkāra (false ego)—to be the self, consider paying heed to their mental proclivities to be in their best interest. Accordingly, they think they do a great service by trying to appease the mind of their kith and kin.
Those who consider themselves to be cit-tattva (conscious substance), or ātmā (soul), are intelligent. They consider the ability to gain happiness of the soul—eternal spiritual bliss, or paramārtha (spiritual gain)—to be in their best interest. In other words, they seek to obtain the service of Bhagavān. It is impossible for anyone to attain the Supreme Lord without taking to the path of bhagavad–bhakti, or prema. Therefore, these highly intelligent persons endeavour to attain śrī bhagavat-prema and accordingly serve their parents and family members in a manner favourable for their family’s attainment of śrī bhagavat-prema. Just as a person who has attained some wealth may use that wealth to please his dear ones, it is only when a person attains śrī kṛṣṇa-prema that he attains the ability to enrich his parents or dear ones with that same prema. It is for this reason alone that mahā-bhāgavata Śrī Prahlāda, a person of ideal character who blessed the whole universe with the topmost auspiciousness, engaged in śrī kṛṣṇa-bhakti, even against his father’s wishes. Also, if we examine the life and character of Śrīman Mahāprabhu, we can see that, externally, He brought grief to His aged, widowed mother and His young wife, Śrī Viṣṇupriyā-devī, and caused them to weep when He renounced them for the sake of attaining love of Śrī Kṛṣṇa:
ānera tanaye āne rajata-kāñcana
āmi āni dibô māgo kṛṣṇa prema dhana
Other sons bring silver and gold. O mother, I will bring the wealth of kṛṣṇa-prema.*
By these words, He consoled His mother before leaving family life and became fully enraptured in incessantly tasting prema for Śrī Kṛṣṇa. How eager are the people of the world to obtain His mercy today!
In my opinion, you have been serving your father for quite some time, so now, taking his permission, it would be best for you to return to Śrī Māyāpura. Regarding serving loved ones, there is no duty or self-interest in the whole world higher than performing bhajana of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. This alone brings all happiness.
Know that I am bestowing my affectionate blessings upon you all.
In this way, I conclude—
Your ever well-wisher,
Śrī Bhakti Dayita Mādhava
*anera tanaya ane rajata suvarṇa
kaile vinā sa jaya nahe para-dharma
ami ani dibo kṛṣṇa-prema hena dhana
sakala sampada maya kṛṣṇera caraṇa
[Śrī Śacīnandana Gaurahari told Śacīdevī:] Other people’s sons bring wealth in the form of silver and gold for sense gratification, but this wealth is perishable and cannot bestow the supreme destination. I, however, shall bring the real wealth of kṛṣṇa-prema. The lotus feet of Śrī Kṛṣṇa are the actual abode of all prosperity and auspiciousness.
Source: Affection and Reproach (Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Dayita Mādhava Mahārāja)
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