Excerpt from the book My Beloved Masters by Śrīla Bhakti Vijñāna Bhāratī Mahārāja (page 253)
Śrīla Bhaktisāra Gosvāmī Mahārāja told me he once posed a question to his godbrothers: “According to their respective capacities, the many sannyāsīs and brahmacārīs of the maṭha are busily engaged from morning to night in various services. Śrīla Prabhupāda’s gṛhastha and vānaprasthī disciples, also, perform many different services. Do considerations of superiority and inferiority apply to the activities of service? If so, then which service is considered most exalted, and whose service is topmost?”
After an extensive discussion, they could not reach a solid conclusion, and so they relayed the question to Śrīla Prabhupāda via Śrī Paramānanda Prabhu. Śrīla Prabhupāda answered with one sentence: “The more love one has for the Vaiṣṇavas, the more exalted one’s service is.”
In other words, there are no big or small services. Rather, it is the servant’s mood that makes his service either first, second or third class.
Excerpt from the book Ācārya Kesarī by Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja (page 319)
One Ekādaśī morning, Śrī Kṛtiratna Prabhu was chanting śrī harināma, his grave face revealing his absorption in a profound mood. Just then, a brahmacārī brought the news that his godbrother Śrīpāda Nārāyaṇa Mukharjī had come to meet with him. Śrīla Gurudeva instructed the brahmacārī to seat their guest respectfully. It was natural for Kṛtiratna Prabhu to honour guests, but on this day, he did not have even a paisā with which to serve his godbrother, and this disturbed him. Just then, by divine desire, he noticed a chirping sparrow flying from the house to its nest and back again. Suddenly, the bird dropped from its beak a small packet, which clanged as it hit the ground close to Kṛtiratna Prabhu. Out of curiosity he opened the small packet and was happy to find six-and-a-half annas [one anna equals one sixteenth of a rupee] inside. With this money he was able to buy fruits and sweets, offer them to Bhagavān, and thus serve his godbrother. Śrīpāda Nārāyaṇa Mukharjī became most pleased by his godbrother’s affectionate behaviour, and they soon began prema-mayī hari-kathā, a discussion on divine love for Śrī Hari.
Excerpt from a lecture given in Houston on June 11, 1996 by Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja (Srilanarayanmaharaja.com)
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Do you know who Karṇa was? He was a very religious person. He was the son of Kuntī. He was defeated by Arjuna in a battle and greatly injured, was lying down on the battlefield as his death drew near. During the last moments of his life, during the night, when he still had some breaths left in him, a brāhmaṇa came near and said, “O Karṇa, where are you? Where are you?” At last, the brāhmaṇa came by his side.
The brāhmaṇa told Karṇa, “I want something from you. I know that you are dying, but yet, I want a donation.”
Karṇa replied, “I have nothing to give. I have nothing.”
“You do have something.”
“What is it that I have?”
“Your teeth are made of gold. So, give me your teeth. By selling them, I can have my daughter married.”
Karṇa then immediately removed his teeth and gave them to the brāhmaṇa.
The Pāṇḍavas were the most dear devotees of Krsna. Karṇa has nothing to do with Kṛṣṇa. He was not an enemy of Kṛṣṇa, but he was the enemy of the devotees, who are Kṛṣṇa’s life and soul. If anyone honours his Gurudeva, then he must honour others as well. But if he’s the śatru, enemy of any god-brother who serves his Gurudeva more than him, then he’s an enemy to his Gurudeva as well. Understand? Then what will he be called? He will also be called a demon. Although he is serving his Guru, he’s also a demon. Karṇa was also a good person. He gave so much charity, he can even give his head. And he has no enmity to Kṛṣṇa. He used to honour Kṛṣṇa, but he wanted to kill the Pāṇḍavas.
Devotee: He was a Pāṇḍava too.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: He was not a Pāṇḍava. Pāṇḍavas are five— Yudhiṣṭhira, Bhīma, Arjuna, Nakula, and Sahadeva.
Devotee: But his mother was Kuntī.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: His mother was Kuntī, but yet, he was not a Pāṇḍava. Because he was the enemy of the five Pāṇḍavas. So the Pāṇḍavas are only five. Karṇa was against them and fought for the benefit of Duryodhana. So, he is also called a demon.
Excerpt from a lecture given on the disappearance day of Śrī Rāmānujācārya in Mathurā on April 9, 2000 by Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja (Purebhakti.com)
What is the duty of an ideal disciple? He should not merely stay with Gurudeva; he should try to give his energy by body, mind, and words, and try to serve him according to his desires. He should not just be present physically, thinking something exciting is going to happen, while remaining unenthusiastic to serve. That is not a śiṣya, rather something quite opposite. A true disciple always desires, with heart and mind, to better serve Gurudeva. Not only should we intimately serve our Gurudeva, we should also respect and properly honour our god-brothers and god-sisters. If someone is senior to us, having served our Gurudeva longer, we should show that person great honour. If someone is equal to us, we should give friendly honour to him, and if we encounter someone in an inferior position and who is serious about learning, we should always be merciful. We should try to perform devotional service in a very harmonious way.
Excerpt from the book The Soul of Book Distribution by Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja (page 54)
There was once a very sincere devotee of our Guru Mahārāja who rendered him so much service; playing mṛdaṅga and singing excellently, cooking, and washing his cloths. When that young disciple became sick, Guru Mahārāja became busy in serving and caring for him, even though that boy was his disciple. At that time I personally told Guru Mahārāja, “I want to help you, so that you may have time to preach. I will look after my god-brother.” Every day I would wipe off the blood coming from his mouth, and clean up his urine and stool. As a result of this, my Guru Mahārāja became very, very pleased with me, and that is why I have been blessed to come here to preach today.
Excerpt from a lecture spoken at Śrī Madana-mohana Gauḍiya Maṭha, Bangalore on January 3, 2016 by Śrīla Bhakti Vijñāna Bhāratī Mahārāja (Visuddhacaitanyavani.com)
Pūjyapāda Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja once invited me to attend a festival at Śrī Keśavajī Gauḍīya Maṭha in Mathurā in observance of the disappearance day of Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Prajñāna Keśava Gosvāmī Mahārāja. After the glories of Śrīla Keśava Gosvāmī Mahārāja were spoken, all the Vaiṣṇavas sat together to honour prasāda, but pūjyapāda Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja wanted to wait until everyone had been served to their satisfaction before he himself honoured prasāda.
He asked me to sit, but I told him, “No. I will wait, so that we can honour prasāda together.” After all the assembled Vaiṣṇavas finished honouring their prasāda and got up from their seats, we sat down to honour prasāda in pūjyapāda Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja’s room.
Just as we were about to honour prasāda, one disciple of Śrīla Prabhupāda, Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Prapanna Dāmodara Gosvāmī Mahārāja, arrived. Upon seeing Śrīla Dāmodara Gosvāmī Mahārāja, pūjyapāda Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja immediately got up from his seat and said, “Mahārāja, please sit for prasāda.”
Śrīla Dāmodara Gosvāmī Mahārāja replied, “I will certainly sit and honour prasāda, but only after taking bath. I will return shortly.”
After he left, pūjyapāda Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja turned to me and said, “Mahārāja, please honour prasāda now. It will be some time before I honour prasāda.”
I replied, “No, no. I will also wait for some time so that we may honour prasāda together.” In that way, after Śrīla Dāmodara Gosvāmī Mahārāja returned and honoured prasāda, pūjyapāda Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja and I honoured prasāda together.
From that time on, I always kept this exemplary conduct of pūjyapāda Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja in my heart. With my own eyes, I observed that the affection he exhibited for the Vaiṣṇavas was extraordinary, and the service attitude he maintained was unparalleled.
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