MADHU BINDAVAH

THE NATURE OF A DEVOTEE

An affectionate reminder of the foremost advice.

By Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj

Srila-Govinda-Maharaj-Smiling-in-Nabadwip

 

Our mission is Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math. It was organised by Srila Guru Maharaj for rescuing the conditioned souls from this mundane world with the proper medicine of Hari-nam-sankirtan as given by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. From this mission, we are trying as much as possible by us. I am very happy with my godbrothers, sisters, and disciples; they are trying heart and soul as possible to spread this Krishna consciousness in the line of Srila Guru Maharaj. Now all over the world there are so many centres, over fifty or maybe sixty. At every centre, devotees are trying to preach Krishna consciousness, and so many devotees are attending in different ways to all the management of the centres. Not only in one country, but in several countries, sincere seekers are also joining this mission, and I have no doubt that they are trying heart and soul.

But what is my worry? That also I must express because we have heard that to spread Krishna consciousness there is a process, a process given by Sriman Mahaprabhu: humility, tolerance, and giving honour to others. This is the first condition. Whoever will be a preacher, a manager, an administrator—or anything—they first must be qualified with these three qualities. Otherwise, our mission will be disturbed.

You see, in the mouth the tongue and teeth live together, but when they cannot properly keep the balance between them, then the teeth bite the tongue. This is happening sometimes in some places, and seeing that, I am very worried.

We should not only preach by mouth and say by mouth that we are surrendered souls. Really, how much are we surrendered to Lord Krishna? Our quality depends upon this, and if we really are surrendered to Krishna, then we must follow Krishna’s instructions which He gave in His nondifferent form of Sriman Mahaprabhu. We know that; we know Mahaprabhu’s philosophy, and we know Mahaprabhu’s teaching, but we must apply His method upon ourselves.

trnad api sunichena taror iva sahisnuna
amanina manadena kirtaniyah sada harih

Someone will be qualified for preaching and chanting the Holy Name of Lord when they have these three qualities. All over the world now people are disturbed by violence. In this world, we see that there are so many difficulties. Especially here in India where we are living, politics are disturbing the minds of simple people. Everywhere it is like this actually, but a preacher’s nature will be to make harmony with all circumstances, and a preacher can do that if they have these qualities:  humility, tolerance, and giving honour to others. Here, humility is stated first, but I give first preference to being tolerant. Humility, no doubt, is necessary, but we must be tolerant. Otherwise, we cannot proceed towards our life’s goal.

These three qualities must be with all the devotees. ‘Devotees’, we use this word, but how much are we devoted to Lord Krishna? And why are we not following the method Krishna Himself gave us for our spiritual benefit and upliftment? We must try to do that.

We are all suffering in this material world in different ways, but we can tolerate all that suffering. There is no other way, and we are tolerating it. Someone has no house, and someone has a house but inside it there is no proper adjustment with their family. In this way, different types of disturbance and selfishness disturb us greatly. But charity begins at home. We are preaching to others, but we are not preaching to ourselves! We have published a book as beautiful as Prapanna-jivanamrtam, but how many times have we read it? And why can’t we control ourselves through this teaching of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu? Our Guru, our friends the Vaisnavas, and Lord Krishna are all always in favour of us. Still, we cannot make ourselves qualified? What is this?

When this situation comes, then how will we preach happily? It is necessary for every devotee to remember: charity begins at home. First, they must try to maintain their own self with these three qualities: humility, tolerance, and giving honour to others. This method of Mahaprabhu is very essential in this Age of Kali because it is the age of quarrel and the teeth and tongue are always fighting. This is the experience of a man in his old age like me; my teeth are always cutting my tongue. Proper adjustment is necessary. Proper adjustment is the method of our religion, and for that we first must be tolerant.

In another way, Srila Guru Maharaj said, “Wait and see.” If anything wrong comes in front of you, any critical position or disturbance comes in front of you, then first wait and see: how much will it be harmful and how much will it be beneficial for you and others? First try to understand this, and also allow some time for the minds of others to be repaired. I am applying this method, and I am very happy with it.

Once, a devotee was very disturbed and told me, “Maharaj, this has happened, this has happened, and this has happened, and I cannot tolerate it. Etc. etc.” I did not answer him immediately. I waited, and after three or four days that devotee called me again and said, “Oh, everything is harmonised here. You don’t have to worry.” I did not even give an answer; I just choose to “wait and see”. There was a fight, but afterwards they made harmony, and called me again, “Maharaj, it’s okay. No problem.”

Srila Guru Maharaj said, “Wait and see.” I also wrote on my door for everyone:

sahasa vidadhita na kriyam
(Bharavi: Kiratarjuniyam, 2.30)

“Suddenly, not to do anything; suddenly, not to tell anything.”

Without realisation, do not to take action, and with realisation—with humility and giving honour to others—your tolerance will give you a miracle result. All over the world I am preaching only this, and I am seeing how  happy everyone is.

This year in Mexico, London, America, Holland, Russia, Italy, and Switzerland, everywhere I went, I preached only this.

There is no alternative to chanting the Holy Name of the Lord.

harer nama harer nama harer namaiva kevalam
kalau nasty eva nasty eva nasty eva gatir anyatha
(Brhan-Naradiya-purana)

Chanting the Holy Name is found in all societies. Someone may be Muslim, someone may be Christian, someone may be Buddhist, or someone may be a follower of any other religion, but everyone chants. In this Age of Kali, what has come down from above through Amnaya, Veda, is this mantram, the Hare Krishna mahamantra. Sriman Mahaprabhu, Krishna Himself, gave this mahamantra, and side by side He said that the mahamantra has seven tongues [of fire] that can burn away everything bad—all nonsense and nescience—and give light to everyone, give joy to the hearts of all practitioners.

param vijayate sri-krsna-sankirtanam

[“May Sri Krishna-sankirtan be supremely victorious!”]

But it is not just written in the book. With love and affection—wholeheartedly—we must try to chant and give honour to Mahaprabhu Sri Chaitanyadev and His teaching of trnad api sunichena taror iva sahisnuna amanina manadena. If we do not follow this method, then we will lose everything. It is the Age of Kali, but we have gotten a good opportunity through this human body in which there is full freedom to practise Krishna consciousness, and this is the only way to get relief from the illusory environment. Why shall I not prepare myself? Why shall I not think, “It is my only duty and it is my life’s only goal; I must follow this!”? Mahaprabhu said,

prabhu kahe, “kahilan ei mahamantra
iha japa’ giya sabe kariya nirbandha
iha haite sarva-siddhi ha-ibe sabara
sarva-ksana bala’ ithe vidhi nahi ara”
(Sri Chaitanya-bhagavata: Madhya-khanda, 23.77–8)

There are no hard and fast rules and regulations, only love and affection. Faith is the basis. That I have said a thousand times, but with love and affection it is necessary to chant and follow Mahaprabhu’s procedure of humility, tolerance, and giving honour to others. I think it will be better if instead of Hari-nam we will think only of “humility, tolerance, and giving honour to others, humility, tolerance, and giving honour to others.” We can think only of this mantram of Mahaprabhu’s advice. Kirtaniyah sada Harih: someone who does that can chant properly the Holy Name of the Lord which has descended from the transcendental world, which is the transcendental vibration form of the Lord in this material world. When we get a touch of that transcendental vibration within our heart, we must get relief from this material existence, and then we can live within the plane of devotion.

We are always saying “devotees, devotees”. Who is devotee? I do not know! How can someone who cannot properly follow Mahaprabhu’s method say, “I am a devotee”? Mahaprabhu Himself showed the identity of the jiva-soul. Mahaprabhu did not say, “I am Krishnadas.” This is not our identification. We are not Hindu, we are not Muslim, and we are not Christian.

gopi-bhartuh pada-kamalayor dasa-dasanudasah
(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta: Madhya-lila, 13.80)

Mahaprabhu Himself said, “My identity is not that I am Krishnadas but that I am the servant of the servant of the servant of Krishna. That is My identity.” Why? This is humility. Mahaprabhu also tolerated so much, so many things, and Mahaprabhu advised us, “You must tolerate, and you must give honour to others! Collect your property with these three qualities, chant the Hare Krishna mahamantra without offence, and be happy.”

Source

Spoken on 18 December 2000.

Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj is the foremost modern representative of the teachings of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Both definitive and progressive, his exemplary life, practice, and teachings brilliantly illuminate the path of divine love. For more information on Srila Govinda Maharaj, please visit his biography page.
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