The disciple’s duty.

By Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj


Question: What were Srila Guru Maharaj’s final instructions?

Srila Govinda Maharaj: Srila Guru Maharaj made his Last Will and Testament two years ago, and his clear instruction is there. We also have many books from Guru Maharaj—Sri Guru and His Grace, Search for Sri Krishna, Loving Search for the Lost Servant, Sermons of the Guardian of Devotion—and we may get many instructions from Guru Maharaj there. There are so many questions and answers there. We have four, five, or six books in English and we will get general instructions there. We also have books in Bengali, Sanskrit, and so on.

But mostly: when Guru Maharaj gave Hari-nam mantra and diksa to the devotees, the devotees would generally ask what seva they could do, and Guru Maharaj would tell them, “Try to chant the Hari-nam mahamantra without offence, and you cannot do direct seva to Krishna, so try to do the seva of my Deity here in Chaitanya Saraswat Math, and try to do seva of the devotees of Chaitanya Saraswat Math. In this way you will be the gainer.” This is clear, and Guru Maharaj would give these instructions when he was asked by any disciple.

The Guru does not die at any moment: he is staying hidden to see the mood of his disciples. That is called samadhi, and there in samadhi he is doing seva for his Lord, for his Radharani, and the sakhis, in his form. He is taking so many forms. He is present in our society. He is doing the seva of Krishna in many forms.

We can also do that. It is like the essence of flowers: you cannot see the essence of flowers but you can smell the essence of flowers. In this way our transcendental mind must serve him. That service will go directly to Guru Maharaj and Guru Maharaj will throw the service to Krishna and Radharani. A good football player always takes the football and throws it into the goal.

Question: Here we get so much instruction but when we go back to our countries, it sometimes becomes difficult to understand the service: what to do and how to do. Can you give us advice on how to keep always the right understanding in our dealings, in our minds, and in our actions?

Srila Govinda Maharaj: Kaya, manasa, and vacha: by body, by mind, and by speaking we can practise proper Krishna consciousness under the guidance and instruction of our Gurudev. Bodily we can do some seva, but the result of that must go to Guru Maharaj. This idea must come. We can do anything, but the result, and result means good result, must go to Guru Maharaj. It will go to Guru Maharaj, and then to Krishna. If we eat something in our room, we must eat mahaprsadam. If we do something, that must be for the seva of Guru-Vaisnava. It will run in this way. If Gurudev tells me to do the seva of the Deity, and I do it, then that is seva. In this way our service mood will increase.

Krishna said to Arjuna in Gita (9.27),

yat karoṣi yad aśnāsi yaj juhoṣi dadāsi yat
yat tapasyasi kaunteya tat kuruṣva mad-arpaṇam

This is a Sanskrit verse: “What you are doing, yat karosi, what you are eating, yad asnasi, what you are offering, yaj juhosi, what you are sacrificing, dadasi yat, what you are meditating—you must offer everything to your Lord.”

If you can maintain your mundane life in this way, it will transform into spiritual life. Other persons will see it as mundane activity, but it is not mundane activity. That must go to Krishna-seva in the form of spiritual activity.

I can tell you what my goal is, and what I am doing. When I was young, I would sometimes sleep very heavily, and when Guru Maharaj gave a lecture, I would sleep. Guru Maharaj ordered me, “Every day I shall give a lecture for one or two hours, and you must hear that lecture and then tell me what I told the audience.”

That was my duty, and when I went to the lecture hall with Guru Maharaj, I would play mrdanga and chant. After the chanting, Guru Maharaj started the lecture, and I would sleep. For two or three days, Guru Maharaj gave me a slap, and so I was very fearful. Every day I was sleeping but hearing, sleeping but hearing. One day, at Jajavar Maharaj’s Math in Midnapore, Guru Maharaj looked at me during his lecture, sleeping and hearing, sleeping and hearing. When we came back that night at eleven o’clock, I gave some prasadam to Guru Maharaj, and we took prasadam and I slept. Then early in the morning I woke up and went to Guru Maharaj, and Guru Maharaj told me, “You write what you heard yesterday, what I told to the audience; you write it and show me.” Then I wrote something and showed it to Guru Maharaj, and Guru Maharaj was very surprised to see that. Guru Maharaj saw that I was sleeping, so how could I know what he spoke in the lecture! I mentioned all the vital points of the lecture there. That lecture is still with me now, from seventeen years old. I had one small notebook, and every day this was my duty, to write what I heard in Guru Maharaj’s lecture.

Proper hearing is sometimes not possible, but if we give attention physically and mentally to catch that, we must catch it. We can guess the instructions of Guru Maharaj from his lectures. And what he said, we shall try to do; that is our duty. Sometimes he is telling us directly, and sometimes through his servitors or his devotees. That is not a problem, but we must try to follow his instructions and orders and try to fulfil his desire. This is the disciple’s duty. And in this way you can do anything, in your grhastha life, or brahmachari life, or sannyasi life.


Spoken on 9 March 1989.

The original audio recording of this talk can be heard here.