Who is a Devotee of Lord Krishna?
Śrīla Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswāmī Mahārāj
(18 December 2000)
Śrīla Gurudev affectionately reminds everyone of his foremost advice.
Our mission is Śrī Chaitanya Sāraswat Maṭh. It was organised by Śrīla Guru Mahārāj for rescuing the conditioned souls from this mundane world with the proper medicine of Hari-nām-saṅkīrtan as given by Śrī Chaitanya Mahāprabhu. 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 Kṛṣṇa consciousness in the line of Śrīla Guru Mahārāj. Now all over the world there are so many centres, over fifty or maybe sixty. At every centre, devotees are trying to preach Kṛṣṇa 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 Kṛṣṇa consciousness there is a process, a process given by Śrīman Mahāprabhu: 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 Kṛṣṇa? Our quality depends upon this, and if we really are surrendered to Kṛṣṇa, then we must follow Kṛṣṇa’s instructions which He gave in His nondifferent form of Śrīman Mahāprabhu. We know that; we know Mahāprabhu’s philosophy, and we
know Mahāprabhu’s teaching, but we must apply His method upon ourselves.
tṛṇād api sunīchena taror iva sahiṣṇunā
amāninā mānadena kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ
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 Kṛṣṇa? And why are we not following the method Kṛṣṇa 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-jīvanāmṛtam, but how many times have we read it? And why can’t we control ourselves through this teaching of Śrī Chaitanya Mahāprabhu? Our Guru, our friends the Vaiṣṇavas, and Lord Kṛṣṇa 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 Mahāprabhu 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, Śrīla Guru Mahārāj 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, “Mahārāj, 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, “Mahārāj, it’s okay. No problem.”
Śrīla Guru Mahārāj said, “Wait and see.” I also wrote on my door for everyone:
sahasā vidadhīta na kriyām
(Bharavi: Kirātārjunīyam, 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 nāma harer nāma harer nāmaiva kevalam
kalau nāsty eva nāsty eva nāsty eva gatir anyathā
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 Āmnāya, Veda, is this mantram, the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahāmantra. Śrīman Mahāprabhu, Kṛṣṇa Himself, gave this mahāmantra, and side by side He said that the mahāmantra 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.
paraṁ vijayate śrī-kṛṣṇa-saṅkīrtanam
[“May Śrī Kṛṣṇa-saṅkīrtan 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 Mahāprabhu Śrī Chaitanyadev and His teaching of tṛṇād api sunīchena taror iva sahiṣṇunā amāninā mānadena. 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 Kṛṣṇa 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!”? Mahāprabhu said,
prabhu kahe, “kahilāṅ ei mahāmantra
ihā japa’ giyā sabe kariyā nirbandha
ihā haite sarva-siddhi ha-ibe sabāra
sarva-kṣaṇa bala’ ithe vidhi nāhi āra”
(Śrī Chaitanya-bhāgavata: Madhya-khaṇḍa, 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 Mahāprabhu’s procedure of humility, tolerance, and giving honour to others. I think it will be better if instead of Hari-nām 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 Mahāprabhu’s advice. Kīrtanīyaḥ sadā Hariḥ: someone who does that can chant properly the Holy Name of 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 Mahāprabhu’s method say, “I am a devotee”? Mahāprabhu Himself showed the identity of the jīva-soul. Mahāprabhu did not say, “I am Kṛṣṇadās.” This is not our identification. We are not Hindu, we are not Muslim, and we are not Christian.
gopī-bhartuḥ pada-kamalayor dāsa-dāsānudāsaḥ
(Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta: Madhya-līlā, 13.80)
Mahāprabhu Himself said, “My identity is not that I am Kṛṣṇadās but that I am the servant of the servant of the servant of Kṛṣṇa. That is My identity.” Why? This is humility. Mahāprabhu also tolerated so much, so many things, and Mahāprabhu advised us, “You must tolerate, and you must give honour to others! Collect your property with these three qualities, chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahāmantra without offence, and be happy.”