The importance of chastity.

By Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj

asat-sanga-tyaga,—ei vaisnava-achara
(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta: Madhya-lila, 22.87)

[“It is the duty of a Vaisnava to avoid bad association.”]

We follow what our Guru Maharaj, Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj, follows. We do not want to know who is good, who is bad, or who is better than others. Why? It is not necessary to criticise anyone. Only we will be chaste to our Guru Maharaj, and we will follow our Guru Maharaj’s conception. Bas [“That is enough”]. That is clear to me, and Srila Guru Maharaj taught us in that way. Otherwise, we will deviate: different opinions, conceptions, and principles can make our mind deviate. We do not want that.

Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur was a famous and great devotee in India. He received the title ‘Siddhanta Saraswati’ for his work in jyoti-sastra [astrology] in Benares. When he debated with a great jyotisi [astrologer] there, he defeated him so strongly that the man, who was elderly, passed stool in the assembly. Srila Siddhanta Saraswati attacked him through jyoti-sastra, and the man could not answer him. The man was completely defeated in the meeting, and Srila Saraswati Thakur got the title ‘Siddhanta Saraswati’ because of this. Later, his name become Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati. Anyhow, he was a great jyotisi; everyone respects him for this.

Srila Guru Maharaj was also a jyotisi, but Guru Maharaj was not famous for being one. Many people do not know he how great a jyotisi Guru Maharaj is; he did not show it.

One day Srila Guru Maharaj asked Srila Prabhupad Saraswati Thakur, “We see in this age that visuddha-siddhanta is the finest calculation, so why are we not following it?”

Srila Saraswati Thakur’s answer was very fanatic: “Yes, I know this calculation is better than PM Bagchi’s, but Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur follows PM Bagchi, and we are followers of Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur. So, we follow PM Bagchi.”

This means that externally PM Bagchi is wrong when compared to visuddha-siddhanta. But Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur accepted PM Bagchi. It is a very serious topic. Bhakti Vinod Thakur followed PM Bagchi, and at that time visuddha-siddhanta had not been developed. Visuddha-siddhanta was made in my time. PM Bagchi was before visuddha-siddhanta, and in his time Bhakti Vinod Thakur followed PM Bagchi. Prabhupad Saraswati Thakur also followed PM Bagchi. But when visuddha-siddhanta come out with calculations that were better than PM Bagchi, Srila Guru Maharaj asked Srila Prabhupad, “We see that visuddha-siddhanta is better than PM Bagchi, so why are we not following it?”

Srila Saraswati Thakur answer was clean and clear: “We are not followers of visuddha-siddhanta or PM Bagchi: we are followers of Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur. Bhakti Vinod Thakur followed PM Bagchi, be it wrong or right I do not care.”

Prabhupad Saraswati Thakur was a great jyotisi—he knew everything about the accuracy of the calculations—but he chose to follow Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur. Srila Guru Maharaj was very happy to hear his answer.

We cannot judge our Guru. We have no right! Before accepting our Guru, we have the right to question, “Am I going in the right way or the wrong way? Is this guru good or bad?” We have some things to consider in this way. But once we are initiated and surrendered to Guru, that surrender should not be just for show: it must be pure. I am always telling our friends, “Chastity and sincerity will give you the supreme position.”

Someone may be very bad or very good; that is not a factor. If they have chastity and sincerity, they will win the race. This is the fact and my feeling. I have experience about this, and many things are behind it. I am always telling this to my friends because there is no other way to get Krishna consciousness.


Spoken on 13 March 2007.


PM Bagchi’s astrological calculations are based on traditional methods of calculating the positions of planets in the sky according to the scripture Sri Surya-siddhanta. When scientists began to chart the movements of physical planets in the sky, their observations did not match the calculations given in PM Bagchi’s panjika (almanac). A group of Indian astrologers then adjusted the traditional equations and tables used to calculate the positions of the planets in the sky to match what was observed by scientists. This new method of calculation has become known as drk-siddhanta (calculations based on what is seen) or ‘visuddha-siddhanta’ (calculations that are truly accurate). Fully aware of all the factors involved—materially and spiritually—Srila Bhakti Sidhhanta Saraswati Thakur instructed that Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur’s preference should be respected above all. On this subject, Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj commented, “Sraddha [faith] is more true. The practices of the mahajanas are more valuable than human calculation. Physical truth, material truth, does not have so much value.”

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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