kaumāra ācaret prājño
dharmān bhāgavatān iha
durlabhaṁ mānuṣaṁ janma
tad apy adhruvam arthadam
[Śrī Prahlāda said: One who is sufficiently intelligent should use the human form of body from the very beginning of life – in other words, from the tender age of childhood – to practice the activities of devotional service and giving up all other engagements. The human body is most rarely achieved, and although temporary like other bodies, it is meaningful and beneficial because in human life one can perform devotional service. Even a slight amount of sincere devotional service can give a person complete perfection.]
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: [To Acyutānanda dāsa] Can you explain?
Acyutānanda dāsa: “Human life is very rare. One who is intelligent should perform devotional service to Lord Hari, because even a small amount of devotional service gives one a great amount of benefit.”
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: And what about the next important verse? Can you explain the verse beginning with guru śuśrūṣayā?
śraddhayā tat-kathāyāṁ ca
One must accept the bona fide spiritual master and render service unto him with great devotion and faith. Whatever one has in one’s possession should be offered to the spiritual master, and in the association of saintly persons and devotees one should worship the Lord, hear the glories of the Lord with faith, glorify the transcendental qualities and activities of the Lord, always meditate on the Lord’s lotus feet, and worship the Deity of the Lord strictly according to the injunctions of the śāstra and guru.
Acyutānanda dāsa: “One should approach the guru, worship him, offer all of one’s material possessions unto him, stay in his residence, in his association, and worship Lord Hari.”
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Why from the age of five? Will we not do so in old age?
Acyutānanda dāsa: No.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Why not?
Acytānanda dāsa: Because… uh…
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: We will all die. It may be that some die in the womb of their mother, some will die after ten years, and some after twenty years. There is no certainty when death will come.
So, it is better to begin devotional activities from one’s young age.
Why should we not simply collect money to marry with a very beautiful woman, and have many sons and daughters of good character? Why not do all of this?
Acyutānanda dāsa: Because we have to leave all of these things when we die.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Should we not try to enjoy this world with our children, wives, and all other friends and relatives?
Acyutānanda dāsa: No.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Why not?
Acyutānanda dāsa: Because it doesn’t make a person happy.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: They do not give happiness. Rather, they are like enemies. They take all of our attachment, which should have been given to Kṛṣṇa. In the form of father, mother, son, daughter, and especially wife or husband, they are like dacoits.
Prahlāda Mahārāja is saying that if your age duration is one hundred years, then fifty years goes in sleeping, twenty to twenty-five years for learning to be expert in making money, and from eighty to one hundred years old we are too old to do anything. Then, the remaining ten years goes to marrying, having daughters and sons, and supporting them. So, when will you do bhajana? It is better to perform bhajana from the beginning of your life.
How to begin? First accept a guru and render service to him with a sense of an intimate relationship (viśrambheṇa), and then perform all your activities only for the pleasure of Kṛṣṇa.
[Madhuvrata dāsa, Vrajanātha dāsa, and Vṛndā-devī dāsī recite the verse.]
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Oh, very good, very good! Vṛndā is better than Vrajanātha. [To Vṛndā-devī dāsī] He made mistakes, but you made no mistakes.
[Vṛndā-devī then explains the verse.]
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Very good. [Taking the part of a materialist and challenging Vṛndā-devī dāsī] We will practice bhakti yoga in old age. We should enjoy the world. Why should we learn bhakti from the beginning? Why perform bhakti from childhood?
Vṛndā-devī dāsī: Because an old dog cannot learn new tricks.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Very good, thank you all.
You should remember the śloka of Vṛtāsura. Vṛtāsura was Citraketu Mahārāja in his previous birth. He was a big king with thousands upon thousands of wives but no children, no son, and he was worried for this. Aṅgirā Ṛṣi came and asked him, “Why are you so worried?” He replied, “I have no child. Please give me one child.” Aṅgirā Ṛṣi tried to make him understand that no one can be happy by having a child. One can be happy only by chanting, remembering, and worshiping God. But Citraketu said, “Anyway, please give me a son. Can you give me one?” Angira Ṛṣi said “Yes.” He gave the king some fruit and told him, “Give this to your queen.” A very beautiful son soon came, who was beautiful like the moon, and gradually that son became five years old.
Now the king was always with his queen and son. He was ignoring all the other thousands of queens, and they became worried. They thought, “He does not speak with us, he does not give us oil, cloth, or anything, and the reason is that son.” So, they poisoned that boy and he died. When the king and queen saw what happened, they wept and fainted. All were weeping, and those who gave poison were also weeping to make a show.
At that time, Aṅgirā Ṛṣi arrived with Nārada Ṛṣi and asked, “Why is everyone weeping?” Someone replied, “They are weeping for their son.”
So they told the king, “Oh, he is there; he is sleeping.”
The king replied, “No, he has gone.”
“Where has he gone? I see he is here lying down.”
“Oh, his soul is gone.”
“What harm is there if the soul is gone? Your son is there – he whom you used to call son. If there is no soul present now, then how is he your son? Have you seen the soul?”
“Then why are you weeping?”
Aṅgirā Ṛṣi and Nārada Ṛṣi then gave the king a mantra, and by this he became free from all material attachments and obtained spiritual realizations.
In the king’s next life he committed an offense at the lotus feet of Śaṅkara (Lord Śiva). Actually Śaṅkara was his friend and he was only joking – it was not actually an offence – but Pārvatī-devī (the wife of Śaṅkara) could not realize this and thus cursed him to become a demon. He thus became a demon, but he also remained a pure devotee. He prayed while on the battlefield with Indra, when Indra was going to kill him:
ahaṁ hare tava pādaika-mūla-
dāsānudāso bhavitāsmi bhūyaḥ
manaḥ smaretāsu-pater guṇāṁs te
gṛṇīta vāk karma karotu kāyaḥ
[O Lord, please bestow such mercy upon me, that in my next birth I may obtain the opportunity to exclusively serve the servants who have taken shelter of Your lotus feet. May my mind always remember Your all-auspicious qualities, my speech always chant the glories of these qualities, and my body always remain engaged in Your service.]
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: You should remember the four consecutive ślokas, beginning with this one.
Vrajanātha dāsa: Gurudeva, Nārada made the son come back to life?
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Yes, but the son said, “I cannot come back to you, I am better where I am now. Who is my father? In a previous life, my father may have been my son.* I don’t want to be here. Where I am now, I have a chance to do bhajana.”
Madhuvrata dāsa: Was the son actually Aṅgirā Ṛṣi himself?
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Because he had no son to give to the king, he came himself. He kept his body somewhere and his soul manufactured a body and became that son.** Bas. [That’s all for today.]
* “By the mystic power of Nārada Muni, the living entity re-entered his dead body for a short time and spoke in reply to Nārada Muni’s request. He said: According to the results of my fruitive activities, I, the living being, transmigrate from one body to another, sometimes going to the species of the demigods, sometimes to the species of lower animals, sometimes among the vegetables, and sometimes to the human species. Therefore, in which birth were these my mother and father? No one is actually my mother and father. How can I accept these two people as my parents?” (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 6.16.4).
** Aṅgirā Ṛṣi is one of the seven Ṛṣis (great sages) and he has all mystic powers; thus he can do anything he desires, even keeping his body somewhere else and adopting the body of the son of Queen and King Citraketu. (Śrīpāda Mādhava Mahārāja)
Morning Walks and Conversations with Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja 2007
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