My First Lesson
Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj
Srila Gurudev explains the importance of avoiding Vaishnava-aparadh and the association that leads to it.
A good Vaishnava’s association is very rare in this mundane world. We may see that everyone has some devotion, but we do not know how much devotion everyone has, and in some persons’ association we may lose our devotional mentality by making Vaishnava-aparadh. Someone may be very enthusiastic about, and obedient to, one Vaishnava but not to others. I can say that there are some blind followers of various Vaishnavas. The blind followers of different Vaishnavas must fight with one another, and Vaishnava-aparadh will ensue.
We must avoid Vaishnava-aparadh. This is my first lesson. My first lesson is avoid Vaishnava-aparadh. Because of association someone may fall down, and in the association of such a person, we will also fall down. We should always avoid any situation in which there is haziness. If you ask me for my advice, this is what I will say. It is not necessary to make any offences to Vaishnavas. Groupism sometimes gives us a very bad result.
We learned very miraculous things from Srila Guru Maharaj, Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj. We learned things you will not get anywhere else. One group of Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur’s disciples was in Mayapur, and one was in Bag Bazaar. They were fighting. A third group, led by Guru Maharaj, kept themselves outside of Bag Bazaar and Mayapur. Members of the two groups would come to see Guru Maharaj, and I saw that Guru Maharaj would serve and act very friendly to all of them. Guru Maharaj had no envy or anger towards either party. He always had an affectionate devotional mood.
After some Acharyas from another society made some offences to Guru Maharaj, after they abused him somewhat, in order to maintain their Mission, they understood, “Sridhar Maharaj is not our enemy. Sridhar Maharaj is really our Guru and friend.” Lastly they came to Guru Maharaj to apologise. At that time I saw that Guru Maharaj cried and said, “You are my boys. Why are you staying far away from me?” He spoke in this way and embraced them. I saw this. He did not mention that they made any offences. He only said, “Why are you staying far away from me? Come close” and embraced them. He also glorified each of them.
This is Guru Maharaj, and we were trained by Guru Maharaj. So, we have no envy when we see the big positions of others. We are happy when we see that our godbrother is gloriously preaching Guru Maharaj’s conception. We are not envious. Really, we must try to help our godbrothers more and more. What do we need? We need the preaching conception of Srila Guru Maharaj. We need that. And if anyone tries to preach it, we must try to help him. By any means we must try to help him. We should not discourage him; we should always encourage him.
Anyone who reads the letters I write will never say that I discourage anyone. I always encourage everyone. Someone may be acting wrongly, and I may know he is acting wrongly, but I still encourage him in some way, believing he will grow up in his devotion life. That is goodness, and it’s coming only from Guru Maharaj. We can say that.
We have seen Guru Maharaj, and we have seen so many great persons, like Goswami Maharaj, Bon Maharaj, Tirtha Maharaj, Giri Maharaj, and many of Srila Saraswati Thakur’s other sannyasis, come to Guru Maharaj. Six great authorities took sannyas from Guru Maharaj. In this way we can see Guru Maharaj’s example, and we shall try to run in that way.