” Devotee: usually we are talking about offending higher Vaisnavas. But what about offending lower Vaisnavas?
Srila Bhakti Vaibhava Puri Maharaja: “But who is a Vaisnava? Low or high, everybody is a Vaisnava. When somebody was reporting to Raghunatha Batta Goswami against any Vaisnava, high or low, he used to reply,,’Sabe krishna bhajana kare-ei matra jane, vaisnavera nindya-karma nahi pade kane. Sir, I don’t want to hear it.
Everybody, you, he, all of you are doing bhajan, but I’m not doing bhajan. And the person about whom you are talking, he is also doing bhajan.’ Finished! Then that person would never come again to him with such reports.
That showed that he was at the level of a supermost sadhu. he was a mahatma, an uttama-bhagavata. Because unless you are not an uttama you cannot speak like that. He was saying, ‘Everybody is doing bhajan, but I’m not doing it. That shows that I’m the smallest Vaisnava.
‘One who speaks like that, who agrees to that, he is a Vaisnava.”
Sri Srimad Bhakti Vaibhava Puri Goswami
“Sri Guru, the Vaisnavas, and Bhagavan – even remembrance of these three obliterates all obstacles.
By extolling their qualities the heart is cleansed and the multitude of vices (anarthas) and impediments to the process of bhajana are cast far away. No vanity or egotism can survive in a heart that is honestly rapt in hearing, chanting and remembering the glories of Sri Guru and Bhagavan.
Such persons have been initiated into the religion of honouring all others, with no expectation of receiving respect in return. They have already abandoned all such adversities to bhajana. This indeed is the undeniable and conclusive truth.”
Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Vamana Gosvami Maharaj
One should give up the association of dharmadvajis, the hypocritically devout, with special care. Those who accept the external signs of dharma but do not actually follow dharma are called dharmadvajis. There are two types of dharmadvajis – the hypocrites and the fools, or the cheaters and the cheated. In devotional service this hypocrisy ruins everything.
Better to associate with sense enjoyers, for in this world there is no worse association than the dharmadvaji. The deceitful dharmadvajis accept the signs of dharma with a desire to cheat the world, and to fulfil their crooked desires they cheat the foolish by helping them in their rascaldom. Some of them become gurus and others become disciples, and by trickery they accumulate wealth, women, false prestige and material assets.
If one gives up the association of crooked hypocrites, then he can honestly engage in devotional service. Honest worship is the only way to attain Krsna’s mercy. As stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.3.38; Suta Gosvami): “Only those who render unreserved [without hypocrisy] uninterrupted, favourable service unto the lotus feet of Lord Krsna can know the creator of the universe in His full glory, power and transcendence”
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura; Sri Bhaktyaloka, p. 37
If you touch a tree’s leaf as though caressing it, the tree will be very happy. If you take a knife to cut the branches, the tree will be scared. It will tremble. If you tell a dog, “Come on, come on,” he will come. And if you are mean, then the dog will attack you. So, our nature – the nature of the soul – is love.
We should practice this at home. We should love our mother and father, for they have done so many things for us. We should love our wife and children; not divorcing each other twenty or thirty times.
If you have love, it may be gradually transferred to God. If you have no love and you are always quarrelling, you cannot have the mercy of God. We should try to discover this love in our heart, and try to practice chanting the holy names: “Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.”
All the names of Krsna are the embodiment of love. “Hare” is the embodiment of love. “Krsna” is very charming and beautiful, and He is the embodiment of love. “Rama” is the embodiment of love. If you are in touch with this love, your life will be happy; otherwise it is not possible. If a man is always cruel to others, he cannot be happy.
Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja, Los Angeles, California, June 8, 1998
When you chant harinama, you can try and visualize that you are anywhere in the eighty-four krosas (thirty-two square mile area) of Vrndavana. You can be under the shade of Vamsi-vata (the tree under which Krsna plays His flute and calls the gopis to come and dance rasa-lila with Him), and sometimes in Nandagaon, at Ter-kadamba (one of the important meeting places of Sri Radha-Krsna). And, if you like to weep bitterly, then go to Uddhava-kyari, where all gopis are lamenting in a mood of separation from Krsna. Sit there for some time and chant Hare Krsna, feeling something of the gopis’ great separation mood.
If your mind is wandering, go then to Govardhana and try to chant Hare Krsna loudly, performing parikrama of Govardhana. You can take some rest at Kusuma-sarovara (where Krsna jokingly chastises Sri Radha for picking ‘His’ flowers) or Govinda-kunda (where King Indra worshipped Krsna), and especially take bath at Radha-kunda. First take bath in Radha-kunda and then in Syama-kunda (where Radha and Krsna and the gopis perform their water sports).
While chanting Hare Krsna and thinking about all of these things, gradually your mind will be controlled. In our sampradaya, especially in the line of Srila Rupa Gosvami, devotees do not have to do anything separate to remove anarthas (detrimental thoughts and habits). We simply engage our minds all the time, second by second, in chanting, remembering, reading, and worshipping Krsna twenty-four hours a day. In this way our minds cannot go here and there, and we can conquer anarthas easily. We have a taste in these processes that assist us in entering bhakti.
Darsana with Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja, spoken in France, on April 27, 1998
“Jana sangas ca—you should not be bound by bad association. Never accept any food or water from the hands of those people who do not engage in the worship of Krishna. Don’t accept anything from them; in their association your intelligence will be destroyed. In their proximity, your bhakti should be kept confidential. Never be engaged in prolonged conversations with them, even if one of the persons happens to be your son, brother, or husband. You can meet and cheat them by speaking on worldly subject matters. But never speak on the confidential truths of bhakti. This way, you should behave accordingly.
You should always be engaged in sadhu-sanga. What is the meaning of sadhu-sanga? It means associating with a high class of a devotee who is in the line of our guru, and especially in the line of Srila Rupa Gosvami and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. On finding such a sadhu, you should try to follow his association and listen to his katha.
Don’t be entangled in the association of worldly people. The association of people who have no devotion must be avoided at all costs, or else your devotion will be destroyed. This applies even to a godbrother. The godbrother may be chattering here and there, so even your godbrother’s association must be avoided. Rather, you should associate with a devotee absorbed in the devotional services of Krishna. This devotee weeps while he continuously chants the holy name, and he is much more advanced than us.” ~
Srila Gurudeva Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja (Den Haag, 14 May 1996)
… if anyone wants a high class of knowledge, tattva-jnana, he should go to a realized soul, to a real, bona fide guru.
One may think, “My guru is so high class. In this world there is no one like my guru.” But that guru may actually be bogus, having no transcendental idea. He’s never touched that realm. One may be thinking, “My gurudeva is now the supreme guru of gurus in the whole world. There’s no one else like him.” Will he gain anything by such thinking? Nothing.
Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
(Perth, Australia, January 31, 2001, pm)
What is bhava-roga? It is punarapi-jananam punarapi-maranam, punanapi janane jatare gamanam. Taking birth and dying and repeatedly entering the womb of another mother to suffer in this material world, is called bhava-roga. So, the glories of Krsna are the topmost medicine for these conditioned souls.
Listen to the pastimes of Krsna from such Mahapurususas who don’t have any trsna, or desire for this material world. The hari-katha they speak is the best medicine for curing this disease of material existence. This medicine is unfailing. Who will not listen to the hari-katha spoken from such personalities?
Those, who have a desire for samsara should listen. Those, who have developed detachment to samsara should also listen. Those, who have developed pure devotion at the lotus feet of Krsna will also listen. The liberated personalities will also listen.
Even those who have attained Goloka Vrndavana listen to the pastimes of Krsna. But, who doesn’t listen? Those who are atma-ghati don’t listen. Atma-ghati means one who kills himself.
Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Goswami Maharaja