The essence of Vaisnavism.
Mahaprabhu said very clearly,
trnad api sunichena taror api sahisnuna
amanina manadena kirtaniyah sada harih
Who can chant properly the Hare Krishna mahamantra? One who is qualified in this way: who is very humble and who can tolerate everything. We must have the tolerating mood; we are always doing wrong in this mundane world, no doubt, but it is necessary to tolerate that and correct that. And we must also give honour to that person who has no position or respect. Then everybody will be happy: I will not get any obstruction from others, and my mind will also always be peaceful with everyone.
alabdhe va vinaste va bhaksyachchhadana-sadhane
aviklava-matir bhutva harim eva dhiya smaret
[“If persons engaged in the devotional service of Lord Hari are unable to obtain food and shelter despite their attempts, or if their acquisitions are lost or destroyed, they should, without anxiety, absorb their hearts deeply in the thought of Lord Hari.”]
All the scriptures say that this is the first qualification. You may be getting or not getting, you may be getting or losing, alabdhe va vinaste va; and that may be your food or your cloth or your mental position or anything, but you must keep your mind quiet, stay in the faithful plane, and try to practise Krishna consciousness very humbly. We can say that this is Vaisnavism in a very simple way.
Newcomers are sometimes confused to see so many things, and it is our duty to help them all. With our behaviour, with our affection, and with our intentions, we must try to help everybody. Srila Prabhupad, Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur, said, “Which is better, to make a big hospital or rescue one conditioned soul from illusion? What is best?” He answered, “By making many hospitals we can disturb the universe, but if we can rescue one jiva-soul from the illusion of maya, that is the best seva to the jiva-souls.”
In the hospitals they are also doing seva, service, but that is not proper seva. One dacoit [bandit] may be shot by the police, go to the hospital, and be treated and cured. After fifteen days or one month, he will be put in jail, and after coming out of jail, he will again do dacoity. There is no goodness in that. My seva for that dacoit is not proper seva. I did seva for that man and cured that man; that is good, but I cannot change his mind, and that is very bad. After getting strength, that man will again do that wrong work. Therefore, Prabhupad Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur said, “It is not necessary to make many hospitals; if we can try to rescue only one jiva-soul from this illusion, that is valuable seva to the jiva-souls.”
Mahaprabhu advised seva to His devotees: jive doya Name ruchi Vaisnava-seva. Jiva doya means kindness to the jiva-souls. Real kindness means that you must serve the jiva-souls by preaching Krishna consciousness to them and turning their illusioned minds towards the service of Krishna. Name ruchi: we must chant the Hare Krishna mahamantra without offence; and Vaisnava-seva. He simply gave these three instructions.
One who is serving the Lord and His associates and devotees twenty-four hours a day is a Vaisnava, and you must serve them. This is the meaning of Vaisnava-seva. If you can do that, you will have no problem. A man may go to the jungle and chant the Hare Krishna mahamantra, but that chanting is not proper chanting; better than chanting is service to the Vaisnavas.
Srila Guru Maharaj is very merciful. He mercifully gave me the association of the devotees, and we are trying together to properly chant the Hare Krishna mahamantra all over the world. We have no problem. Mundane problems must come to us and give us some trouble, but we know that, and we have no problem; we can stay anywhere. We can stay in a building or in a thatched house or anywhere, according to the will of Krishna and our karma, but if we engage ourselves in the service of Guru, Vaisnava, and Bhagavan, then we will have no problem.
Spoken on 10 October 1989.