Devotee 1: I appreciate very much that you explained to us how Śrīla Prabhupāda’s purpose is to create a society without envy.
Śrī Śrīmad Gaura Govinda Svāmī Mahārāja: That I quoted from Prabhupāda’s purport from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.
Devotee 1: We see that amongst devotees that are most advanced, the principle is tṛṇād api sunīcena taror iva sahiṣṇunā. It’s not an artificial thing to actually believe…
Śrī Śrīmad Gaura Govinda Svāmī Mahārāja: That is not artificial, bābā! How many days can you act like that before your real svarūpa is revealed? How many days can it go on artificially? However for a Vaiṣṇava this type of humility is quite natural.
Devotee 1: My question is, Śrīla Prabhupāda has said that even if one does not have the practical vision that Kṛṣṇa is behind, in and connected to everything, but understands this theoretically, then he is a devotee who is rightly situated.
Śrī Śrīmad Gaura Govinda Svāmī Mahārāja: Rightly situated? One who sees theoretically is rightly situated?
Devotee 1: But if one has theoretical understanding that he has gotten from the words of the spiritual master, then one is rightly situated. So in your class, though, you said that only the topmost devotee can be compassionate.
Śrī Śrīmad Gaura Govinda Svāmī Mahārāja: Yes, only one who sees Kṛṣṇa.
Devotee 1: Does that mean no one else can be compassionate?
Śrī Śrīmad Gaura Govinda Svāmī Mahārāja: One may be compassionate to fulfill his own selfish desires. He may be compassionate to some and not compassionate to others. He has rāga and dveṣa, liking and disliking. He is not equal to one and all. He cannot be. Unless one sees Kṛṣṇa, how can he be compassionate? When he sees so many jīvas suffering his heart bleeds. He cannot sit tight. He will go out and preach Kṛṣṇa consciousness. And who preaches? Prāṇa āche yānra, se hetu pracāra, one who has life preaches! What is life? Jīvanaṁ sarva-bhūteṣu, Kṛṣṇa says, “I am the life in all living entities”***.
One who sees Kṛṣṇa everywhere, who sees Kṛṣṇa’s jīva suffering because of forgetfulness of Kṛṣṇa, because of a lack of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, he has prāṇa, life. That person goes out and preaches. He is completely surrendered to Kṛṣṇa. For this reason Kṛṣṇa came as Mahāprabhu, as a bhakta, a devotee: to teach devotion and how to surrender to Kṛṣṇa. Śikhāya śaraṇāgati bhakatera prāna, śaraṇāgati is the life of the devotee who is completely surrendered. By such surrender, Kṛṣṇa accepts him, kṛṣṇa tāre kore ātma-sama**. Prāṇa āche yāra sei hetu pracāra, he has life, therefore he goes out and preaches. Otherwise, who can preach if he has no life? How can one preach unless one sees Kṛṣṇa, and sees Kṛṣṇa’s jīva suffering? He does not want anyone to suffer. Everyone should be Kṛṣṇa conscious.
Devotee 2: Mahārāja, a madhyama-adhikārī has strong faith in the process of Kṛṣṇa consciousness but he does not have very extensive knowledge of the scriptures. How can he preach without that?
Śrī Śrīmad Gaura Govinda Svāmī Mahārāja: He should get such knowledge by associating with an uttama-adhikārī. The madhyama-adhikārī is very fortunate, mahā-bhāgyavān, because he has strong faith in the words of sādhu-śāstra-guru and in Kṛṣṇa. He puts faith in the words of Kṛṣṇa and sādhus, those who are mahājanas, and speak what Kṛṣṇa has said. Ādau śraddhā, the first thing is one’s faith. That is most important.
Devotee 3: If an uttama-adhikārī wants to preach, generally he comes down to the level of madhyama and acts like a madhyama.
Śrī Śrīmad Gaura Govinda Svāmī Mahārāja: Yes. Otherwise he cannot preach, because an uttama-adhikārī sees moving and non-moving living entities, but he never sees the outward forms, he always sees Kṛṣṇa.
sthāvara-jaṅgama dekhe, nā dekhe tāra mūrti
sarvatra haya nija iṣṭa-deva-sphūrti*
Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Madhya 8.274)
He sees only Kṛṣṇa. He says, “O, this living entity is Kṛṣṇa’s devotee, he is engaged in Kṛṣṇa’s service”. He never sees the outward form. His vision is completely different. He steps down to the madhyama platform, in order to speak. Otherwise how can he see that the jīva is suffering from a lack of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, from forgetfulness of Kṛṣṇa? Therefore, one who preaches steps down to madhyama-adhikārī, although he is uttama-adhikārī, otherwise he cannot preach. Those who are uttama-bhāgavatas, cannot preach. He sees only Kṛṣṇa. Therefore, one who preaches steps down to the madhyama platform, but he is not a madhyama as described here, śāstra-yukti nāhi jāne, who does not know śāstra. The uttama-adhikārī knows śāstra. An uttama-adhikārī who acts as a madhyama-adhikārī is not like the general type of madhyama-adhikārī, madhyama-bhakta. This madhyama-adhikārī is actually an uttama-adhikārī, but he has stepped down. He knows śāstra and he is very expert in presenting and quoting śāstric evidences, because, tasmāc chāstraṁ pramāṇaṁ te kāryākārya-vyavasthitau. This is śāstra-pramāṇa. What is to be done, kārya, and what is not to be done, akārya, how can we decide? Unless he presents śāstra-pramāṇa, how can he know what is to be done and what is not to be done? He is not a general, ordinary madhyama-adhikārī. He is uttama in madhyama.
Devotee 3: One who has laukika-śraddhā should act under the guidance of one who has śāstrīya-śraddhā?
Śrī Śrīmad Gaura Govinda Svāmī Mahārāja: Yes. You should have a bona fide Vaiṣṇava guru. You should do bhajana under his expert guidance. You should not act whimsically. Unless one has guru, how can he preach? Śravaṇa kīrtana. Preaching means kīrtana. Unless one has heard from a bona fide guru, what will he preach? He will only speak what he has heard, “I have heard this from authorities, from my guru”. Preaching is another name for śravaṇa, another name for hearing. “What I have heard I am repeating”. Therefore, only one who has heard can preach and do kīrtana. Otherwise, who can do kīrtana? One who has not heard, what will he say? Who will care to hear all those nasty things such a person may say?
Devotee 3: Guru Mahārāja, you explained that if you can’t see Kṛṣṇa, you should preach under the guidance of someone who can.
Śrī Śrīmad Gaura Govinda Svāmī Mahārāja: Yes.
Devotee 3: … and just simply repeat what you have heard.
Śrī Śrīmad Gaura Govinda Svāmī Mahārāja: Yes, what you have heard, in that way your understanding will develop.
Devotee 3: because that is a form of śravaṇam?
Śrī Śrīmad Gaura Govinda Svāmī Mahārāja: Yes, one should hear, śravaṇa. If you hear, premāñjana will be smeared on your eyes, and then you can see. Śrutekṣita-pathaḥ, śruta, hear and then see.
Devotee 4: So much preaching is going on and Prabhupāda’s books are there so I am hearing that and I am repeating.
Śrī Śrīmad Gaura Govinda Svāmī Mahārāja: Yes, repeat but don’t repeat like a parrot. A parrot is also repeating, but its words have no effect. You should get life first, and then preach. Then it will become effective.
Devotee 4: So Prabhupāda would say, “you judge a thing by its result”.
Śrī Śrīmad Gaura Govinda Svāmī Mahārāja: Yes, by the result.
Devotee 4: So if we’re repeating what we have heard that means that if somebody asks us a question while we are preaching and we can’t answer it …
Śrī Śrīmad Gaura Govinda Svāmī Mahārāja: When you can’t answer their question then they will never hear again from you, “He cannot answer my question”.
Devotee 3: A day when we have no bhāgavata-kathā we are starving.
Śrī Śrīmad Gaura Govinda Svāmī Mahārāja: Bhāgavata-kathā is food for the hungry soul. If you do not take food, then how will you get life? Prāṇa āche yāṅra, se hetu pracāra, when one has prāṇa, he has life and therefore he preaches. If you cannot get food, how can you live? You will become skinny, weak, and have no life.
Devotee 5: Many disciples of Śrīla Prabhupāda were preaching under the orders of Śrīla Prabhupāda and, seeing the miseries of the people, were spreading Śrīla Prabhupāda’s teachings. Now many of them have stopped preaching.
Śrī Śrīmad Gaura Govinda Svāmī Mahārāja: One who has life and sees Kṛṣṇa can never stop preaching. He sees “Kṛṣṇa’s jīva is suffering”. He will preach in spite of all obstacles. When Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura became very old, he had to lift up his eyelids to see, but even at that age he would say, “I want to ride on a horse and go out and preach!” One whose heart bleeds, who has compassion, he will say such a thing. It is a question of compassion. Are you preaching out of compassion? If one is not preaching out of compassion, he may preach for some days, but then he stops. “I lost all my enthusiasm”. “O, why did you lose it? You lost Kṛṣṇa?”
*“The mahā-bhāgavata, the advanced devotee, certainly sees everything mobile and immobile, but he does not exactly see their forms. Rather, everywhere he immediately sees manifest the form of the Supreme Lord.” (http://www.vedabase.com/en/cc/madhya/8/274)
**“At the time of initiation, when a devotee fully surrenders unto the service of the Lord, Kṛṣṇa accepts him to be as good as Himself. (http://www.vedabase.com/en/cc/antya/4/192)
***I am the original fragrance of the earth, and I am the heat in ﬁre. I am the life of all that lives, and I am the penances of all ascetics. (https://www.vedabase.com/en/bg/7/9)
―Śrīla Gaura Govinda Svāmī Mahārāja (http://tvpbooks.com/2016/11/srila-prabhupadas-society-without-envy/)